Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last run of the year

Today was my last run of the year. Crazily, The weather was in the upper 70's...and beautiful!
It was not an easy run, and I had to resort to walking .15 every mile and half-mile after 4 miles. However, I enjoyed the run. It didn't bring me much clarity when it comes to my New Year's resolutions like I'd hoped, but here's what I came up with:
1. Eat healthy 5 days a week (no sugar or white carbs)
2. Run or cross-train 4 times a week
3. Read my Bible 3 times a week
4. Strength train 2 times a week

Mileage Report
Weekly: 11.7 miles
YTD: 809.95 miles

More than 800 miles for the year! I'm thrilled with that! My goal was 1100k, or 683 miles...and I totally got that! I'm working on a specific number for next year...stay tuned :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So off schedule

Between Christmas festivities, getting sick and no work for my husband and me, I am so off schedule. I thrive on routine, so this is hard for me. I know I should just chill out and enjoy the laziness, but that is just not my nature. We are getting things done...just not on a scheduled plan. And knowing our break is three quarters of the way over is sad. I never feel like I got as much done as I wanted or enjoyed the time as much as I could have.

So, here's a plan for today. If I have a plan, I will at least feel better.
1. Run, even if it is a short one
2. Shower
3. Nap
4. Catch up on some magazine reading. I think I have about 6 magazines on my Nook that I haven't even seen yet.
5. Make dinner (it has been so easy to just eat out!)
6. Play with the kids

Ok, so nothing on there is earth-shattering, but it's a list. I will feel like I have accomplished something if I can check them off the list.

***Update: I managed to run, shower, and play with the kids. That's half the list. We're heading out of town tomorrow for the day, so I'll take care of the nap and magazines then :)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Disappointed

I have had a sore throat since Friday evening. I didn't run Saturday even though I wanted a nice long run. Not sleeping well and getting up early didn't sound like a good mix with the sore throat and cold weather (especially since I felt better Saturday morning than I did Friday night when we were out in the cold looking at lights). Of course, Saturday and Sunday were crazy, busy Christmas fun, so there wasn't any room for a run...not that I would have felt like it.

And here it is Monday and my throat still hurts and I don't feel like running. I know that supposedly you can still run if it's above the neck, but I can't imagine sucking in air through this throat of mine.

Then there is that never-easy question of when do I actually give in and go to the doctor. I seem to be ok...just the sore throat. I am off this week, so at least I have time to go if I decide I should. Of course, it looks like we may be taking my little buddy in too. He either has a cold or sinus infection. I just never know when to take him to the doc.

My husband has now completed Week 2 of C25K. I am so proud of him! With the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in about 6 weeks, I don't want my training and endurance to get derailed.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

1. I am still so very behind with all things Christmas. I did manage to wrap a lot of presents today with the help of SB. It was just us since little brother was at the grandparents' house. We still have several gifts to buy tomorrow, but Chad is off. I'm hoping we can divide and conquer.

2. Because it was just SB and me for most of the day, she declared it a girls' day, which meant doing basically whatever she wanted to do. I painted her nails with a candy cane stripe, had a tea party and played princess games on the Wii. Yes, that meant I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped, but we had a good day.

3. Tonight we had a friend's birthday party to go to. It was 80's themed. Without much notice or time, I was able to pull together a decent outfit. It was nice to get out of the house tonight for some adult time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reasons to Run

Ok, I have lots of reasons I run...but here are two that I think are especially worthwhile this holiday season (and before you start thinking in the highly sentimental vein, they are both high-calorie, yummy goodness).

#1 S'Mores Dip
A friend brought this to a Christmas party a couple of weeks ago, and when I found out last-minute that I had to bring a sweet treat for our luncheon on the last day of school, I called her for the recipe. It was so easy and good that I took it to my sister's ornament exchange last night too.




And here's how:
Mix 12 oz of semi-sweet chocolate morsels with 1 can sweetened condensed milk. Melt this in the microwave for about one minute. Stir. Add 13 oz of marshmallow creme (or 2-7 oz jars will work). Mix. You can mix well for a even smooth dip or leave swirly. The chocolate will sink to the bottom as it cools. Stir it again or reheat if needed. Serve with graham crackers.

You can also find this recipe over at Tasty Kitchen (this is their picture, not mine).

#2 Happy Holidays Hot Vanilla
This is a take on my hot vanilla that I drink every ice bath. I started drinking this last year after we were snowed/iced in for several days using this recipe from Family Fun.



I made a big batch for the ornament exchange last night. I heated 8 cups of milk in the microwave and added it to the crockpot on warm (bumped to low if it seemed cool). Add 1/3 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. The "happy" part comes next. Add an ounce of Kahlua to a mug, add the hot vanilla, and top with whipped cream and mini-chocolate chips. Cinnamon would be a nice addition as well. If you want to make an individual serving, mix 1 cup of milk with 2 teaspoons sugar. Heat in the microwave. Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and any extras you want. Yum!

And those two treats are why I ran at 4 this morning even though I'd been awake since 2.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Surprise!

I was thrilled today to receive a package...my Secret Santa gift from the blogger exchange over at Run With Jill. Here's what I got...4 sparkly Active Bands...aren't they cute?!


I tried to get my daughter to take a picture of me wearing the pink one, but those didn't turn out so well :)

I wore one to workout at the Y with my husband (week 2, workout 1 of C25K). I loved it. It held back all those little flyaways and didn't budge.

The only thing is my Secret Santa didn't tell me who she is...just signed it Secret Santa...so if you are her, please let me know who you are! And thanks so much! These are awesome!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Feeling a little lost

No training plan...a race two months away. I'm feeling a liitle lost. In all the Christmas craziness, I haven't had time to sit down and make any kind of plan. I keep thinking that with a couple of weeks off, I'll be able to catch up, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to happen. With two kids at home every day, it's a lot more likely that I'll be breaking up arguments, cleaning messes slightly slower than they're made, making breakfast, lunch, and snacks, doing laundry and dishes, and trying to entertain two "bored" kids.

So, what would I like to do with the time off instead?
1. Make a training plan
2. Read
3. Wrap gifts (because there isn't a single gift under the tree)
4. Nap
5. Restock my breakfast cookies by baking with the kids

But I know I will be able to enjoy these things so much more if I get caught up first. First thing in the morning.

Friday, December 16, 2011

And the winner is...

Me!

I found out yesterday as I left school that I won one of the five individual Refuel with Chocolate Milk grants for this round. I am so excited!

All of my students, family, coworkers and friends got involved in the voting, and I am so thankful! I wish I knew how many votes they all logged. It was pretty cool to see my students getting excited about it.

My plans are to use the grant to offset the cost of the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k in Dallas this February. Fitting that I use a chocolate milk grant to fund a hot chocolate event, huh? And how awesome that is it that it's my hubby's first 5k?!

I've been craving chocolate milk, even when it's not post-run...like last night, this morning, now. There just isn't anything as satisfying as a cold glass of milk. The fact that it's an incredible recovery drink after a workout, providing protein, carbs, electrolytes, and vitamins, makes it even better!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

1. I've found a way to make myself do my strength training. Chad started C25K this week. We did his workout together at the Y Monday night during SB's gymnastics. Last night, he hopped on the treadmill in the garage for workout #2, so I joined him out there and did a short strength training plan. If I do it during the two workouts he does at home, I'll get in my strength training twice a week...finally. See, it's never too late :) That's been a goal all year. Now that it's December, I'm finally doing it.

2. Christmas has completely snuck up on me this year. I guess I kept putting things off until "after Vegas." Well, now it's after Vegas, and I've got tons to do. I'm hoping to make a big dent in things tonight. Chad and I are Christmas shopping for Date Night this week.

3. School is almost out! I have today and a half day tomorrow. I've got lots to finish before then since grades are due...late work to grade, finals to grade, a project to grade. Yikes. I may be here a while tonight!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Goals, or at least one

It just dawned on me that I'm doing pretty good on my goals for 2011...but it's now almost the end of the year. I haven't even started to think about new ones. However, I now have at least one.
My husband and I signed up for this race today. He'll be running his first 5k! I'll be doing the 10k. Lots of our family and friends will be running it too. I am so excited that Chad has decided to do this! He say he hates to run, but I'm thrilled that he is giving it a try. If he really doesn't like it, I'm ok with that too.

And what can be bad about a race that gives you a running jacket and chocolate goodies at the finish line?!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Never Too Late

It's December, so I had just about given up on my two time goals for the year. I only had four goals: run 1100km in 2011, run a half with Chandra (check), run a sub-26 5k, and run a sub-60 10k. I had come so close to that 10k goal this spring, and then things fell apart. I just figured I'd concentrate on the half and worry about the speed later. After last weekend's chaotic, crowded race (and a frustrating morning with the kids), I was ready for a good run this afternoon.

I took off and it immediately felt fabulous...no one in front of me or near me, just the road and me. It was chilly and a little hazy, but beautiful. It felt good physically, and was good for the soul. I had no real distance planned, thinking I'd run 3 or 4 miles today.

The first mile was in 9:38. I thought that was pretty darn good since it usually takes me a mile or two to warm up. The second mile followed suit with a 9:34. I figured I'd see how I'd do for a 5k, so the third mile was in 9:35. I still felt great, so I just kept on going. At the end of mile 4 (in 9:30), I could feel my muscles tiring, but nothing hurt. That made me realize that I could potentially get that elusive sub-60 10k I've been chasing all year.

The run did get a little harder, but it never hurt, never felt bad. I am sure I had a huge grin when I made 5 miles in under 50 minutes because I knew then that I was going to do it! With my last mile in 9:06 and the last .2 in less than 2 minutes, I so did!


I can not tell you how good it feels to finally reach that goal! Even better is that I just really needed that run today. After being so frustrated with my performance at the half last weekend, a long week of catching up, and a rough morning with the kids, that run left me feeling positive, energized, and strong.

Mileage Report
Weekly- 9.73 miles
YTD- 773.5 miles

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Three thing Thursday

1. I was able to run this morning. After this weekend's race, I wasn't so sure I'd be able to run this week at all. I really just wanted to shake my legs out and check out the damage. Luckily, there wasn't much :) The two miles felt really good. I actually am ready for a good, long run since Vegas didn't give me that freeing, long-run feeling I crave.

2. I think we've almost recovered from this weekend. The to do list for the weekend is getting longer, but I feel almost caught up. Going out of town always sounds so relaxing, but it really just creates more work.

3. Tomorrow is Friday! Just one more week until Christmas break! Yes, that makes me excited...but man, do I have a lot to get done between now and then! Anyone else feel like Christmas sneaks up on them every year?!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Race Recovery Should Have's

So...Sunday's race taught me a lot...like everything I did wrong. Here is what I should have done instead:

1. I was starving as we crossed the finish line (and freezing) and slurped down two Go-Gurts because I figured yogurt is kind of like milk. Wrong. I should have waitied for my chocolate milk packed in my husband's backpack.

2. Our hotel didn't have a bathtub, and I was freezing by the time we got to the room. Instead of an ice bath to help my sore muscles, I took a nice hot shower to warm up. I should have iced my legs instead.

3. Two short flights, a layover and a car ride home means a whole lot of sitting still. I should have worn my compression sleeves.

4. I was so ready to see my kids, and I slipped right into mommy-mode when we got home. I should have taken a few minutes to foam roll and use The Stick.

5. I just let laziness get the best of me and didn't really think about it. I should have taken ibuprofen regularly the day after the race.

Maybe it's not the best way to learn my lessons, but they are still lessons learned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Quick Mileage Update

Mileage Report (for last week)
Weekly: 19.72 miles
YTD: 763.77 miles

I'm not sure when I'll be able to really run again. I am definitely going to take a few days off. I'm very sore after the race Sunday. After my first half, I was able to run again fairly quickly, doing a 10K on the Saturday after the race faster than I'd done before. That's not going to happen this time.

Monday, December 5, 2011

RnR Las Vegas Recap

I'm exhausted, but I want to get this out there. I'll add pictures later.

The weekend started Friday with Jessica, Jeff and us driving to Dallas, flying to Albuquerque and then on to Vegas. It was really late when we got there, but somehow we managed to stay up even longer to visit with Chandra and Mike who flew in from Montana and play a little.

Saturday morning we woke bright and early and explored the Strip a liitle...ok, a lot. We went to the Expo and got our race packets and bibs. I got to meet Dimity and SBs of Run Like a Mother and got them to autograph my book. We didn't get back to our hotel for lunch until 4. then we visited with some friends of ours that live in Vegas until we ate a late dinner...hey, we weren't going to let our all-day buffet pass go to waste!

Then Sunday morning, we all got up and headed to the infamous Las Vegas sign. Almost 10 years ago, Chad and I couldn't find that sign on our honeymoon, so it was a fitting place to renew our vows. Our friend Bill "officiated" the ceremony. It was fun and special to have our friends there and to look back on 10 years together...and look forward to many more!

After lunch with everyone, the girls decided to rest before the race. We thought we'd get down there for part of the concert, but by the time we actually made our way to the start line, we didn't see much. It got crowded quickly, and the wait was cold. We met up with Dana and Shad, who ran my first half with me in Dallas, in our corral. The wave start moved pretty quickly, and we all took off together. That didn't last long as the course was crazy crowded. There were tons of walkers all over the course making it very difficult to navigate. Chandra and I lost each other by mile 3 but found each other a couple miles later (only because she pulled off to the side and waited for me). Our first half was pretty good, but it went downhill quickly...or I should say, I did. Chandra ran a solid, strong race and easily could have finished ahead of me. But she stuck with me and kept me going. I basically fell apart.

I hurt pretty much all over from all the bobbing, weaving, dodging, and hopping on and off curbs we had to do. Chandra and I couldn't really even chat because we couldn't stay close enough tomeach other. It was a giant game of Marco Polo..."you there?"..."behind you"..."I'm here" etc. My neck hurt from being so tense from both cold and the maneuvering. We realized at about the halfway point that we had the potential to run a 2:10. But, mentally and physically, I couldn't find my stride. I was very disappointed that I never got that strong feeling I usually get at mile 8. I've run negative splits on every long run this round of training...but it wasn't there. So very frustrating. It was all I could do to finish last night. We still averaged under 11:00 miles and finished in the top third of women and about 1500 out of 4000 inour division. Our time was 2:23:31, which was slower than my first half and not the PR I was hoping for. Still, Chandra and I finished together!

It was crazy at the finish line. Luckily, we were able to walk through the indoor walkways to our nearby hotel. Others weren't nearly that lucky. The girls all showered and planned to eat. Jessica decided to stay in and rest, and I attempted to pull it together so I could eat with Chandra and Mike. We had an early morning flight scheduled, so I knew I wouldn't see them this morning. However, my body had other plans. I felt extremely nauseous and had to sit several times to avoid throwing up. I made it upstairs to the food court and realized there we was no way I could make it. Chad and I headed back up the room...where I proceeded to puke. I have never had that after a race. I'm still not quite up to par...the flights and car ride today left my stomach somewhat questionable, but I'm feeling better this evening.

Friday, December 2, 2011

So close...again!

Last Wednesday, Another Mother Runner hosted a giveaway contest. The goal? Write the best ode to the treadmill in haiku form to win a NordicTrack C900 treadmill. Yes, I have a treadmill, but it's nothing like this thing! And I truly do love having a treadmill...it's my sanity-saver during the week. The only way I can get my runs done as early as I do is to hit the treadmill in the garage. My haiku:

I'm running in place,
Pounding out my frustrations,
For a better me.

And the cool thing? I made the "finalists." Yes, it would have been cooler if I'd actually won the treadmill, but making the top 6 out of 565 entries isn't bad.

And this isn't the first time I've come close either! More than a year ago, Another Mother Runner had a t-shirt slogan contest. I had several ideas, but my favorite was Run, Rest, Repeat. It was even mentioned in their post on which slogan won. While it didn't win, later, they started selling a shirt that said, Rise, Run, Repeat. So close...again!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Destination Races

When I signed up for the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half way back in the spring, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Well, obviously, I knew about the running and training and the race itself. I just didn't think this whole destination race thing through all the way.

I'm spending this week trying to figure out what to pack, what to wear for the race, what shoes to take so I don't kill my feet walking around Vegas for two days before the race, what to pack for my kids while we're gone...the list goes on and on. My main goal is to end up in Vegas with enough running gear to get me to the race.

The good news is that it's leaving me a lot less time to worry about the race itself. I know that before my first half, every time I'd even think about the race, my stomach would drop and I'd feel nervous. This time is different. I haven't had much time to think about the race itself at all.

So, the jury is still out on the destination race thing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

And the countdown begins!

Today was my last long run before the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas! It wasn't windy when I first got up, but it sure was by the time I headed out the door. It was odd because it was about 55, but it felt colder than that. It took two or three tries of standing out on the back porch to figure out what to wear. It turned out fine with a tank, light jacket, tights and my BondiBand beanie.

The first two miles were rough and I really questioned my ability to do 8 today, but things quickly got better. I don't know what happens between miles 7 and 8, but I absolutely love it! My body relaxes, my chest opens up, my mind focuses and my stride settles in. I ended up a little farther from home than expected and ran an extra mile because I felt so good.

Splits
Mile 1- 11:19
Mile 2- 11:23
Mile 3- 11:49
Mile 4- 11:04
Mile 5- 11:10
Mile 6- 10:31
Mile 7- 10:46
Mile 8- 10:07
Mile 9- 9:24
Total- 1:37:36

Mileage Report
Weekly: 24 miles
YTD: 744.05 miles

A couple of phrases that have been rattling around my brain for a couple of weeks are "no fear" and "no excuses." I tend to let the what-if's control my thoughts and actions. It's mot a conscious thing, but I'm afraid I wont live up to my own expectations. I have to work hard to focus on what I can do to keep this negativity at bay. Thinking "no excuses" and "no fear" (and yes, every time I think of that last one, I think of those 90's shirts) helps me just do what I can do. No excuses means I can't do less than I'm able while the no fear reminds me to push past what I think I am capable of. It seems to be working!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Putting some thought into it

Similar to yesterday's post about mind over matter when it comes to speed, I think eating healthy has a lot to do with my mind as well. When I plan ahead, both meals and snacks, I do better. When I make conscious choices, I'm happier with what I eat. Today is Thanksgiving and so much of this holiday has to do with food. It is all about being thankful, and I've chosen to focus on that.

When it comes to the food, though, I had some choices to make. We have had three Thanksgiving meals since Sunday (and one more of leftovers). Yes, I had a little of everything...but the key was just a little. I chose my favorites and ate small portions of those. I tried to make sure and have a regular portion of protein. I also made better choices in the meals around these big ones. I rook my little buddy to McDonalds in a rare mommy-son day yesterday, and even though a burger, Coke and fries sounded awesome, I stuck with the better choices of a grilled chicken snack wrap and a yogurt parfait, knowing I had a big dinner planned at my parents. I did have some cake balls there (so worth it!) and rolls. I didn't feel deprived, but I also didn't derail my eating.

I made some dill dip with Greek yogurt and snacked on it with pretzel sticks and pepper slices before dinner so I had a healthy start on dinner and wasn't famished when I got there.

Today, I had oatmeal for breakfast knowing we had a big lunch. I made sure to take a side of roasted veggies so I'd have a healthy option. I filled a third or more of my plate with those veggies and a fresh fruit salad with no sauce or drsssing. Ham took up another quarter of my plate. The last bit of my plate was filled with small samples of a few (not all) of the casseroles available. I had one piece of pumpkin roll for dessert and that left me full but not over stuffed.

And tonight for dinner we had sandwiches at the in-law's. It's amazing how our minds "eat" first. I piled my sandwich with spinach, cucumbers, tomato, peppers...and then a little ham and cheese. Completely satisfying...no mayo or chips needed.

Overall, it's all about wrapping my head around better choices and how I ultimately want to feel about the choices I make. I'm seeing improvement in my fitness, speed, and even my weight...which of course, leads to improvement in my confidence and happiness. Those are things I'm not willing to sacrifice for a plate of food.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mind Over Matter

I had it in my head before I went to bed last night that this morning's run would be a hard one, and I held to it. My training plan called for 3x1600. I did my repeats in 9:06, 8:35, and 8:05! I knew I hadn't been pushing myself as much as I could have, so I decided to see how much I could. I realized after my last mile repeat that I could easily finish a 10k in under an hour and meet that elusive sub-60 I've been after, but I didn't want to push too hard this close to the half.

It's amazing the power your mind has over your body. It makes me wonder how much more I can do. It also reinforces the idea that it's all connected...the mind, body and spirit. When my mind is in the right place, my body can do so much more.

Of course, there is some truth in the idea of "don't think, just run" idea I've seen touted on the Another Mother Runner blog. Sometimes, it's best to just shut off the never-ending thought train and let your body do what it can.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My Mom


This is Mom at the Bolder Boulder this past May. That was a race she and Dad both did, one she really wanted to do. Today she crossed another race off her list...her first half marathon. She chose the Route 66 Half Marathon, partly because she and Dad have spent the last couple of summers road tripping on Route 66 to the east and west.

And she rocked that half Mary today, finishing in 1:58:28! She placed ninth in her division! I am so proud of her and completely amazed by her!

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another change-up

Last week's change-up was that I had to move my long run to Sunday. This week, I had a running buddy. My sister-in-law Kayla is running a half the same day I'm running Vegas, so we both had 10 miles on the radar for today. She runs much faster than me but was up for running together today. Who knew you could find 10 miles of things to talk about?! It was really nice because the miles seemed to fly by. My pace is slow, so talking and running isn't too difficult.

Our splits:
Mile 1. 11:07
Mike 2. 11:10
Mile 3. 11:23
Mile 4. 11:18
Mile 5. 11:23
Mile 6. 11:14
Mile 7. 11:16
Mile 8. 11:10
Mile 9. 11:07
Mile 10. 10:46
Total. 2:05:11

Yes, I realize I'm slow, and I've also learned that I could probably be going a lot faster. My speed work is improving. I know a lot of my battles are mental, but I'm ok with my progress for now. I'm pretty impressed with the consistency of my miles though.

Mileage Report
Weekly 20.2 miles
YTD 721.05 miles

Today begins the HBBC! It's a challenge to keep you moving and making healthy choices throughout the holidays. I'm looking forward to having some outside motivation, especially after Vegas and since I met my yearly mileage goal!

Photobucket

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

1. Confirmation is up for the Rock 'N' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon! I have a bib number and corral! It's hard to believe that two weeks from tomorrow, I'll be on my way to Vegas!!!


2. On a last-minute whim, I applied for a Refuel with Chocolate Milk grant. My application was accepted and voting continues until December 15. If I get one of the five $250 grants, I'll use it to enter a winter race (in January or February). Since I drink chocolate milk after every run, I'd love to be a part of Team Refuel! Be sure and vote for me as often as you can!
3. Thursdays are date night. It's nothing fancy, but it's our time together. This weekend we actually took a picture just the two of us. It's been a while since we've done that...and I love it. I'm really looking foward to Vegas. Chad and I are going to renew our vows Vegas style since our 10 year anniversary is right around the corner in March.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Maybe it worked...

After moving my long run to Sunday instead of my usual Saturday, I was feeling pretty sore at school yesterday. It wasn't pain, just soreness. Last night, I was feeling wiped out! A hot bath sounded awesome, but I wasn't sure if that would help or hurt. After a couple quick texts to my mom and virtual running buddy, I decided it would be a good thing, especially with the addition of Epsom salts. I was amazed this morning to have considerably less soreness (as in almost none).

Another cool trick I learned (and I have absolutely no idea where I read it) is to make my own moldable ice packs. By mixing one part rubbing alcohol to three parts water in a ziploc, the ice pack won't freeze solid. Instead of a solid block of ice, you end up with a slushy mix that can easily fit around a knee or ankle. So far, I don't need to ice anything...although the ball of my left foot hurts. I'm just not sure I need to ice it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Beautiful Run

I can not get over how beautiful this morning's run was! We are actually having a quasi-fall, which is as close as it gets in Texas. The leaves are changing colors and the temps are cooler (although I think it reached almost 80 outside this afternoon). I had to move my long run to Sunday this week due to family pictures yesterday morning, which turned out fabulously.


These are just the ones we took with my camera.
I ran 12 miles this morning. I wasn't as fast as I would have liked, but I have to say, I'm ok with that. It's hard to explain why. I was just continually reminded this morning how blessed I am to run at all, and to get to enjoy God's amazing creation while I'm doing it? Even better! On top of that, I fit in an ice bath and still made it to church, after eating the breakfast my awesome hubby had ready when I walked in the door...and a good thing, too...I was hungry!

For the first couple of miles, my right calf felt like it was going to cramp, but luckily, it never did. I only ended up with one "injury" today...a small spot on the underside of my right arm. I guess my arm warmers rubbed it. They never have before, so that was weird. It was kind of difficult to dress for today. I wore a tank and arm warmers; I had on gloves but ditched them before I started (smart move). I also wore my BondiBand hat, but I had to move it behind my ears just a few miles in. It was warmer than it initially felt, and it kept warming up as the sun moved higher in the sky. I ended up pushing the arm warmers down.

Here are my splits:
Mile 1- 11:15
Mile 2- 11:17
Mile 3- 11:47
Mile 4- 11:29
Mile 5- 11:40
Mile 6- 11:18
Mile 7- 11:05
Mile 8- 11:08
Mile 9- 10:53
Mile 10- 10:14
Mile 11- 10:34
Mile 12- 10:35
Total- 2:13:19

Mileage Report
Weekly: 24 miles
YTD: 700.85 miles

Wow! I'm over 700 miles for this year!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Success!

It's time to celebrate! Today I met my goal of 1100km in 2011! With several weeks left in the year, including the last few weeks of half marathon training, I think I have another 100 in me still.

And more success...I've already lost a little weight! I hate to go into numbers because I know that will fluctuate on a regular basis. Still, it feels good to have my efforts pay off. All I've done is cut out sugar, watched my portions, and controlled the balance of foods (less carbs, more fruits/veggies, more protein). Amazing.

The power of setting and having goals is incredible. No, we don't always reach our goals (sub-60 10k, anyone?), but without some lofty hope or dream, our efforts fade. Sometimes the goals are less about numbers and more about the way we live. I re-read a little plaque in my classroom today, and it really resonated with me. It says, "Love fully. Live simply. Laugh often." I liked the "live simply" part, and while I was trying to find a pretty version of it, I came across this:


Even better. Time for a few new goals.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cut the Crap

That's what I'm calling my latest trek back onto the healthy eating wagon...the "Cut the Crap" diet. Now if it could just make me millions (but unfortunately, after a quick Google search, the idea isn't completely new).

Here's the basic idea...I let a lot of crap into my body, both physically and mentally. I figure if I can cut the crap out of my diet and my mind, I'll make some progress.

So, for the mental aspect, I am going to try really REALLY hard to focus on the positive. For me that means guarding my thoughts and keeping these chronic offenders out:
1. Comparisons...of distance, speed, size, weight, style...all of the above.
2. Negative self-talk
3. Doubts

For the physical part, it's all about limiting the "crap" I put into this body of mine:
1. Sugar
2. Processed foods
3. Excess, well, anything

Food, and the preparing of it, should really be about nourishing our bodies, fueling our activities, and nurturing our souls. That's my goal...to cut the crap and get down to the basics.

I liked this quote and how it touches on the physical and mental...


I keep my mind focused on peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, I can’t be distracted by doubt, anxiety, or fear. –Edith Armstrong

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Fall back week


It's a "fall back" week in more ways than one. I will be thankful for the extra hour of sleep tonight, and I have to say that I am thankful for a "fall back" week in training this week. The plan said 4, my brain said 6...so my body compromised with 5. I really wanted to break that sub-60 10K, but it's just not there. That's ok. Right now is all about being ready for Vegas...in one month!

Today's splits:
Mile 1     9:40
Mile 2     10:05
Mile 3     10:05 (how's that for consistency?)
Mile 4     10:42 (oops)
Mile 5     10:20
Cooldown 18:12

I am using November to remember all that I am thankful for...and I have so many blessings to list. It's nice to have that focus and to think about all the good things in life. So, while I haven't done a great job on my Happiness Project, I think I'll use the next couple of weeks (until Nov. 18, so I can catch up) to focus on gratefulness.

Mileage Report
Weekly: 18 miles
YTD: 676.85 miles (so close!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

I've got a couple of challenges going right now.

1. The first is Pile on the Miles (POTM). The idea here is to pile on the miles (running or walking) instead of the pounds this November as holiday season gets started. There's a group spreadsheet to be updated before Friday each week, and there are weekly prizes. That's enough to keep me motivated to run (as if Vegas wasn't enough).

2. The second is the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge (HBBC). This one covers all the holidays, running from November 19 to January 6. It's based on points for the activities you do, as well as points for eating fruits/veggies, responding on Facebook or completing challenges. I'm all for a good challenge!

3. My very own 1100K in 2011! I'm almost there! I need to think of a reward for myself :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Can't pass up a deal

A couple of weeks ago I saw that Old Navy's compression gear was on sale, and as luck would have it on the day I checked it out online, it was on sale with an additional 20% if you ordered online. On top of that, there was free shipping for orders over $50, so of course, like any sane runner mother would do, I had to order at least that much :)

Here's what I found:

 I tried these out this morning and loved them. Very comfortable!
This jacket has thumbholes, but you can easily cuff the sleeves and not have them over your hands at all. There's a pocket on the sleeve as well.
Wore this for this morning's run too. I love that the straps are adjustable. The back is nice because it has a vented area down the middle and reflectives stripes all the way down the back. There's also a small zippered pocket over the left hip. It is definitely compression wear though and fits snug.
I haven't tried these in a run yet, but I did try them on. They fit well. I liked that they had reflective stripes on the legs. The bottoms are zippered (although I haven't yet figured out the need for that).










When I went to our Old Navy this weekend, I also found a pair of shorts for $2.25! They hit just above the knee and had the small pocket on the back. I saw a couple of tops like the one I got, but in a size too small...and too bad! They were cheap!

I love new running clothes. They made me smile this morning during my run :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun

We had three days of Halloween fun. SB dressed as Fancy Nancy, complete with a tutu I made Friday night. My lil buddy dressed as "Busby" aka Bumblebee the Transformer. For whatever reason, he couldn't get the name right. This is the first year he really "got" the whole Halloween deal, and it was so much fun!

Day 1: Truck or Treat at my in-law's church


This was a pretty cool deal. They had trick-or-treating out of trucks around their rodeo arena. Then inside the arena, they had fire pits for cooking hot dogs. Unfortunately, SB was not feeling well, so she and I spent most of the time in the car.

Day 2: Trunk or Treat at our church (and I even dressed up for this one...as a runner...what a stretch, huh?)


Yes, I had to do the karate move or he wouldn't take the picture :)
This was the first year for our church to do this...and it was huge! About 75 spots of games and trick-or-treating and tons of people...the kids had a great time!



Day 3: Our annual Halloween family soup supper and trick or treating
We've done this for several years now, and it keeps getting bigger and bigger...and I love it! We had potato soup, chili, tomato/pasta soup, and all the fixings. We actually ate first, which put us trick-or-treating in the dark, but the kids had a great time! We only had three trick-or-treaters with us, but we had 9 (leaving behind 3 adults and a baby) adults. The weather was great for the walk. Poor Ryan was so tired, he put himself to sleep.


Monday, October 31, 2011

Two steps forward, one step back

That's the way it seems with my running...two steps forward, one step back. I had a couple of great weeks of getting faster, and then Saturday's long run happens. It was slow. But I'm actually ok with it. With a run that long, I had time to really think about it and come to grips with it. I think sometimes we have runs like that to learn something.

What I learned:
1. I never "use up" anything, whether my energy and strength on a run or that Bath & Body Works lotion. I always want to save up for the "what if's" that might never happen. I'm working on it.

2. I'm finding that I finish strong. My last two miles were my fastest. Pretty cool.

3. I'm pretty darn proud of myself. I'm actually up and running when others are sleeping. I'm sticking to my training plan but also taking care of myself when necessary (like skipping a run Thursday). I finish the run.

I know there were a lot of factors that played into this slow run. I didn't have my speed-demon Momma to push me like last week. I had a week of being almost sick (or if I really admitted it, sick). I had two late nights at the end of the week due to the Rangers World Series games. I was up with a sick kid at 4 a.m. before the run. I had some stomach issues of my own before and even during the run. Yes, all those things could be excuses, but they are what they are...factors that had a role in the outcome of the run.

The run gave me lots of time to enjoy the beautiful weather we're having...chilly, for once! One really good thing was the lack of soreness I had afterward. I felt like I could have done another 10 within a half hour of stopping. And I had very little soreness at all and was able to enjoy the rest of the day with my family. Gotta be happy with that!

After spending about an hour fighting with my soon-to-be-replaced laptop, I gave up trying to get a fancy version of my splits (which I'm happy to say, I got my Garmin to do). Here they are:
Mile 1     12:26
Mile 2     12:19
Mile 3     11:48
Mile 4     12:21
Mile 5     11:21
Mile 6     11:46
Mile 7     11:44
Mile 8     11:49
Mile 9     10:48
Mile 10   10:59
Total      1:57:27

Mileage Report
Weekly: 19 miles
YTD: 658.85 miles

Friday, October 28, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

*Oops! I forgot to post this last night.

1. I think we are all getting sick. No fun. That said, I skipped my first run this morning. I really don't miss many runs, but an hour more of sleep sounded much more promising. And to be honest, I felt a lot better at school today than I did yesterday.

2. My parents pick up the kids most Thursdays, so I was able to get "almost" caught up at school...and these days, "almost" is as good as it gets. I'm ok with that. However, Chad went home sick today, so no date night for us...unless you count us watching the Rangers game together a date.

3. We had to turn the heater on for the first time tonight! The house wasn't freezing, but it was getting chilly. Nice problem to have for once.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Garmin...what else can it do?

Ok, so this has nothing to do with yesterday's run, but it is a picture of my Garmin
I have to admit, I am not a technological wizard. I get by and can figure out most things. However, I have not figured out my Garmin's capabilities at all. I use it for two things: 1. How far have I gone? and 2. How long did it take me? I'm just now realizing all it can do.

For example, I wanted to know my mile splits from yesterday's long run. I didn't know I had to set it to do that. I really thought I could just plug my Garmin into my computer and it would tell me. Wrong. I did figure out through the Connect.Garmin website how to get my total time at each mile, so I can figure my splits (although math is not my strong suit). Still, here's what I came up with for my splits:

Mile 1     10:06
Mile 2     10:19
Mile 3     11:00
Mile 4     10:34
Mile 5     10:47
Mile 6     11:05
Mile 7     10:23
Mile 8     9:50 (oh, yeah!)
Mile 9     10:11   

My 10K time was 1:05:54, which isn't too much slower than my 10K race. What I was most proud of was that my 8 mile time was 1:24:04. Last week, I did 8 miles in 1:26:30 and the week before that, I did 8 miles in 1:31:30. That makes me happy!

So now, I am on a quest to figure out what else this thing can do (and maybe even break out the heart rate monitor that came with it!).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Building speed

Training for the RnR Las Vegas is building speed...I had nine miles to go this morning. My husband was out of town, so I planned wisely and headed to my parents' yesterday evening so my dad could watch the kids during this morning's long run.

We had some stargazing fun last night. Sometimes, I miss the small town things like seeing so many stars at night. It was really good to have a chance to visit with my parents and just relax a little after this week.

This morning, Mom and I were both awake at 6. Unfortunately, she had been up with my lil buddy who had thrown up a couple of times. He seemed to be ok though (a red ices, ice cream and strawberry milk might not have been a good idea, huh?). We decided it wasn't light enough and went back to bed for another hour. At 7, we geared up and headed out around 7:30. Both of us had new Amphipod fuel belts to try out. The first half mile was hilarious as both of us sloshed and adjusted and re-strapped those belts. Luckily, once they settled in (or we got used to them) we were fine. In fact, I really liked being able to have both water and Gatorade for once.

The first two or three miles were really rough for me. I just couldn't get loose and find my rhythm. After three, things felt better, but not great. I think I finally hit my stride around six or seven. Crazy, I know, but the last couple of miles felt pretty good.

I am actually building a little speed again. I did a negative split "tempo" run this week with consecutive miles in 9:40, 9:20, and 8:57. I don't know what my splits were today, but even Mom could tell I was faster and stronger at the end than I was at the beginning of today's run. I will have to plug my Garmin into the computer to see my splits though.

Mom was only scheduled for 6 after her Double at the Tulsa Route 66 Quarter Marathon last weekend. She ended up doing the whole nine with me today. I know it was considerably slower than her normal pace, which is probably why she did the whole distance with me, but it was really nice to have company. It didn't hurt that keeping up with her kept my pace up.

I wish we had thought to get a picture of the two of us this morning. I was going to try and post a picture of her and Dad running last week's race, but my computer is just not cooperating.

One of the best parts of today's run (besides the fact that I ran with my mom) was that I finished strong and felt proud of me. I get so bogged down with other people's speed or distance that I forget that I am doing the best job I can do. I choose to run, so I can choose to enjoy it and celebrate my own accomplishments, no matter what that might be for me. After all, I finished nine miles this morning before lots of people ever left their beds. so maybe my confidence is picking up a little speed as well :)

Mileage Report
Weekly: 20 miles
YTD: 639.85 miles

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Three thing Thursday

1. There is power in planning! My Type A personality does have its perks, and this morning was proof of that. I worked my rear off last night to make sure we were set up for a good morning this morning. With my husband leaving well before the kids would get up, I was on my own...and we had an awesome morning! No fits, no fussing, everything done, including a load of dishes and a load of laundry! I thought tomorrow morning was going to be easy, but with some unforeseen circumstances, I'll be doing a little more prep work again tonight to make sure it goes smoothly.

2. Thursdays are usually date night, but I was on my own tonight. I spent some time at Toys R Us and found a few bargains to save for later. Then I went to Tuesday Morning. I don't go there often, but it's fun to see what I can find. Tonight I found a beautiful corduroy coat for my daughter. It's the little things that matter.

3. The Rangers won tonight! It was a nail biter of a game, but they did it!

And now I am off to get ready for tomorrow...coffee maker programmed, clothes out, water bottle ready, etc. It's really not so bad for tomorrow because my little buddy doesn't go to school on Fridays, so making lunches isn't as crucial. Although that reminds me that I need to make my own lunch.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lesson learned

No matter how much I know, it is all useless if I don't put it into practice. Today's recipe for disaster:
5-mile run (which pretty much rocked)
+ no time for breakfast
+ forgot my vitamins at home
+ no time to make coffee at school
+ no time to fill up my water bottle
+ stuck in testing for four class periods
= one really bad idea

I ended up with a hideous headache by 11, and nothing was helping. I even drank a Coke at lunch hoping the caffeine would help. It took the edge off, but not by much.

I think I finally have myself closer to hydrated, and after an Excedrin, I am feeling a little better (almost 12 hours later).

The thing is, I know what I should have done and how all this could have been avoided, but for whatever reason (read: laziness won out) I didn't follow through with those things.

The things I should have done:
Grabbed a granola bar on the way out the door
Filled up a water bottle as I left
Taken my vitamins with me to take after I ate
Fixed my lunch the night before

So, tonight, I have truly learned my lesson. I have already made mine and the kids' lunches for tomorrow. I have my vitamin case filled and in my purse. I have Gatorade and a bottled water in the fridge since I know I will be running in the morning. The running clothes are out too. I've done the dishes so I don't have to face a messy kitchen in the morning. And even better? I have the coffee maker set to brew nice and early...and unlike the last time I tried that, this time I didn't accidentally start it instead.

Now, all those little things I know make my life run just a little bit smoother are being put to use, and I can only hope it makes tomorrow that much better.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Today

Today, I took a "mental health day" with my mom and sister. It was actually a day to cash in our birthday IOU's from Mom at Luke's Locker in Fort Worth. For Carrie, it was a pair of shoes. For me, it was a fuel belt.


Today was good for the sole soul.

We decided to leave around 8, giving us some extra time at home in the morning, a rarity for the three of us teachers. I made homemade donuts for the kids and had time to eat with them. I also got to take my lil buddy to Grammy's and SB to school.

We had a great time on the way down there, laughing our heads off at silly things, and getting to catch up with each other. It's probably been a year since we've done something just the three of us...and it was probably going to Luke's last year!

Once at Luke's Carrie, then Mom, got fitted for new shoes. I think they both ended up in Brooks. I think I'm going to stick with my Asics Cumulus 13 and order them online soon since they are cheaper that way...especially since I found them in a different color.
I went looking for a hydration belt and ended up with the Amphipod RunLite4. The flasks are movable and removable and you can add things to the belt. I'm looking forward to giving this a try soon! It seems to be pretty secure and easy to use. We will see...

We then had lunch at a deli and stopped by one other running store we saw on our way out. I ended up with two more pairs of my favorite running socks, Wright brand. Love those things!

Once home we picked up the kids and headed to Academy for some Rangers shirts. We're looking forward to game 1 of the World Series tomorrow night! The coolest thing ever is that my hubby got to work the game Saturday night when the Rangers clinched it. Here's what he brought home for a souvenir for the kids:

video

Doesn't my husband rock? And I have to give kudos to Josh Hamilton too...the kids, mainly Ryan, thought this was awesome and still giggles every time he watches it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Piecing it together

So yesterday's run was totally pieced together, but it turned out really well. I had a time frame because my husband had a meeting, so I knew I had to be back. However, it was still really dark when I needed to be starting, so I hopped on the treadmill for two miles while I was waiting for it to lighten up a bit. I took those miles pretty slow, and in retrospect, should have picked up the pace. To be honest, during the treadmill miles, I was reallybquetioning my ability to do 8. I was also seriously wondering whether my compression sleeves were a good idea. They made my legs feel weird. I hit the the road with 6 to go. It was nice and chilly outside, but I had already warmed up nicely, so I ditched the arm warmers before I began. I regretted that about a half mile down the road but I ended up warming up nicely as the sun came up. The compression sleeves ended up feeling pretty good by the end of the run. I was actually able to do negative splits on the run. I should probably plug the Garmin in to see exactly what my pace looked like, but I know I did the last 2.8 in 27 minutes. I jogged about a quarter mile after my 8 to get me home quicker. I came in, checked on the kids, and cooled down the rest of a mile on the treadmill.

So, my run was pieced together, but it worked! The break down would look like this:
2 miles on the treadmill
6 miles on the road
.32 miles cooling down on the road
.68 miles cooling down on the treadmill

I did cut 5 minutes off last week's 8-mile run! I am really happy with that!

Overall the run was really a good one. I focused on enjoying my "me" time and really enjoying the peacefulness of being outside on a beautiful day.

Mileage Report:
Weekly: 20 miles
YTD: 619.85 miles

I am now over 600 miles for the year! Just about 63 to go to reach my goal for the year!

That also means it is about time to replace my shoes. I am torn between just getting a new pair of what I have (after all, they are working) and trying something new. I will be at a Luke's Locker this week and may see what they have to say. If I stick with what I have, I can get them online for a lot less than what I originally paid for mine.

This week is shaping up to be a crazy week, so I may have to practice this idea of piecing it all together...but it works!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Things You'd Never Know

This weekend I was visiting one of my favorite Facebook pages, Run Like a Mother: The Book, and saw someone's post about piriformis syndrome. I had no clue what that even was, so I Googled it. Lo and behold! I now have the name for the pain I felt a few weeks ago, the one where I found the knot between my hip and spine using my foam roller.

The bad news is, that pain is back today. Weird how things sometimes work out like that. For those of you that are just as clueless as me  curious, here's a visual:


The piriformis is that triangular muscles between your hip and spine, right on the sciatic nerve. Yep, there's the problem. It's hurts when that muscle gets irritated enough to bother that nerve.

It's interesting that a lot of the stretches to ease the pain are the same ones I use for my IT Bands. It makes you wonder if there's some sort of connection there too.

So, I've already foam rolled this evening, and I'll be working on the stretches as we watch the Rangers game. I know going to the chiropractor would probably help, but frankly, right now, that's not in the budget. The good news is that it doesn't hurt when I run...just walk, sit, stand, etc.

I still think it's odd how I never even knew this muscle existed, never found a cause of the pain a few weeks ago, and now that mine hurts again, I see a random post about it. Now, if only I can get some relief.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Saturday Night

Mileage report:
Weekly: 20 miles
YTD: 599.85 miles (makes me want to hop on the treadmill for .15!)

I signed up for the local Race for the Cure assuming we would do like we did last year and walk the one-mile as Patsy's Posse with Grammy. This week, after all, marks two years since her diagnosis. However, they decided not to do the race. I had planned on getting up and running 5 and then doing the 5K. Because of the change in plans, I decided to just do my 8 on my own.

I woke up to a very overcast morning. It was surprisingly warmer than it looked though. A tank and shorts were fine. I wore my visor hoping for rain in case it rained. I probably looked dumb in a hat on a cloudy day, especially since I kept pushing it up because I was hot. Unfortunately, I only got a few sprinkles...but at least I stayed cool.

For the first couple of miles, I really questioned whether I could do 8. This is the longest run of this training round so far, and I had forgotten how hard 8 could be. At about mile 3, things felt good, and that lasted until about mile 5 or so. By 6, I was wondering if I could make it the last two. Of course, I was at least 2 miles from home so I figured I didn't have much choice.

After my run and a breakfast cooked by my husband (the best kind!), I headed out to help the BFFs, the team I walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure with last year. They were holding a fundraiser today...Fill the Cups...at a busy intersection. It was very overcast, which was so much better than when we did the same fundraiser last year...in August...in extreme temps. I even made the local news: BFFs Fill the Cups. (And yes, I look silly running back and forth for donations...but the cause is worth it!)

I had planned on staying a couple of hours...and ended up leaving right as a front moved through. I couldn't believe the change in temperatures. By the time I got home (just a few blocks away), the rain had arrived! And it has rained all day long! How awesome is that?! It is, of course, messing up the Rangers game...but it's giving us plenty of time to catch up on our shows :)

I forgot to add that I got to sneak away this evening for a much-needed pedicure with a friend. I am pretty sure I haven't had one in more than a year. I could be wrong. I know I wanted one after my 3-Day last year, but I had to wait for blisters to heal, and by that time, I had already started training for my half. Poor girl doing my feet...I feel a little sorry for her...but man, do my feet look better!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

Three things that made me happy today...

1. Even though I've been awake for 17 hours now and on my feet and in heels for almost 15 of them, these shoes made it possible.

I'm too worn out to take a picture of my actual shoes right now.
The best part is that I only paid $11.89 for these shoes at Sears during their big clearance sale (by the way, I just saw that these are on clearance for $4.99 on sears.com right now!). I had to walk across a gravel parking lot twice for our annual 8th grade picture at the nearby stadium, hold parent conferences all day, and then walk across that same parking lot again to go to a high school football game this evening. And yes, my feet were happy when I took the shoes off, but I'm not hurting at all. Love these things.

2. My hubby knows how to brighten my day. He bought me these:
Giant pumpkin-shaped vanilla marshmallows
And yes, once again, I'm too tired to take pictures of mine
The coolest thing is that just a few weeks ago when I was talking about dipping marshmallows in chocolate, I said the only thing they needed to do was make pumpkin flavored ones...and they did! Can't wait to actually try these!

3. I almost didn't go to the football game with Chad and the kids tonight. I definitely could have spent the time cleaning, but the kids wanted me to go. And I'm so glad I did. We've really been struggling with SB being super whiny and fussy...but she actually talked to me during the game about her day and things that are important to her (like the latest iPad app she likes). Granted, she was whiny again after that, but it was so nice to have a real conversation with her and be reminded that she really does have a sweet, curious, fun-loving side. I needed that :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

All Things Apples

Nothing says fall like apples...well, maybe pumpkins, but apples definitely scream autumn, even if we don't really have that season here in Texas. And research is proving that an apple a day really could keep the doctor away, so anything that helps me get that apple in is a good thing.

A Trick
A trick I keep forgetting to mention...you can soak apples in Sprite for a few minutes (like while you're cutting the rest up...10 minutes will do), and they won't turn brown! This also prevents that yucky too-lemony flavor store-bought precut apples have. It works well to send apples in the kids' lunches or for me to take with some peanut butter to school.

Apple-Pear Butter
I had some apples that had a texture I didn't like, at least for snacking. And I had some pears that were on their last legs. I figured I could make some apple-pear butter in the crockpot. After looking at a few recipes online, I came up with my own. For one thing, I only had about 5 small apples and 4 or 5 pears, and most of the recipes called for tons of apples. I will say, after making it once, I'll definitely make a bigger batch next time. Sarah Beth told me this afternoon that it was super-duper delicious. :)

Place cored and quartered apples and pears (my large crockpot was barely half full). You can leave the peel on and pull them out later or you can peel them first. My apples were so small that it was harder to peel them. Add about 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the apples and pears are very soft. Pull out the peels using a pair of tongs. They should come off the apples very easily. (And from what I've read, leaving the peels on during cooking actually adds to the nutrients.)

Add 1/4 cup brown sugar (or more, if you'd like...I didn't want too much sugar). Add 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1/2 to 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice. Add a pinch of salt. And then add 2 tsp. vanilla. Stir to combine.

Cook on low another 8 hours or so. You'll probably want to vent the lid at some point to allow the liquid to evaporate. I put mine on high for the last 30 minutes or so this morning and the liquid really started to carmelize nicely.

We had this on little mini biscuits fresh from the oven this morning. I'm thinking I'll add it to oatmeal in the morning. It was really good. I didn't put mine in a blender or anything to make it super smooth, but you definitely could. Mine's not super sweet, but you can play with the sugar to your own liking.

Caramel Apples
Ok, so I haven't made these yet, but I'm planning on it closer to Halloween.



I bought the caramel bits because the thought of unwrapping all those candies didn't sound so fun. I hope to make some caramel apples like these...


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Freezer breakfasts, part 2

I finally got around to making another freezer breakfast. I didn't tackle all that I wanted to, but considering the freezer has quite a few of my "make once, eat twice" kind of foods, it's enough for today.

I've made these before, but this time, I doubled the recipe and made a few adjustments so I'd have plenty to freeze. These are fabulous, and I really like them as a pre-run fuel.

Note: This is NOT my cookie...my photography skills are not this good :)

The original recipe is from Ellie Krieger on Food Network's Healthy Living. The original recipe makes 12 largish cookies at about 180-190 calories a piece. I doubled mine but got 40 smaller cookies out of it. I didn't calculate my adjustments, but it would be about 108 calories a piece.

Here's mine. This is the doubled version:

1 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour


1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup brown sugar

5 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (although the first time I used mashed bananas)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup bran cereal flakes

1/4 cup craisins  
 
Scoop out and place on a sprayed cookie sheet. Flatten using moistened fingers (they don't spread at all) and bake at 350 for 12 minutes.

I let these cool and freeze flat in individual bags of two cookies inside of a larger bag, much like I did yesterday's lil smokie pigs in a blanket.

I also am working on a way to use up some overripe pears and some apples that I didn't like the texture of. I have them peeled and quartered and in the crockpot cooking down now. This evening, I'll add some spices and a little sugar to make some apple-pear butter. I'm thinking biscuits in the morning with this on top will be fabulous!

I'm planning on making a loaf of banana bread this evening too. Maybe that with the apple-pear butter would be even better :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Saturday Catch-Up


Ok, I thought about a post for Three Thing Thursday. I began a post as a Four Thing Friday. And now it's Saturday. Yep, the picture shows how this week has gone. So, let's recap.

Tuesday: SB complains of a headache and throws up all the way home from Grammy's. She goes right to sleep. Ryan falls asleep while we are cleaning up the mess. Both kids sleep until the next morning.

Wednesday: The doctor wants to see SB because of the headache/vomiting combo, so we take her in that afternoon. It looks like she has migraines. Not what you want to hear for a six-year-old, but at least it's manageable.

Thursday: I was scheduled to run on Thursday this week. It's the first week of four runs, but I didn't get it done before school and it was too hot after school. Plus, it was date night! I don't run in the dark alone so a night run wasn't really an option...although Chad did offer to pull the treadmill into the driveway for me. I'm pretty sure that would have looked redneck drawn a few stares.

Friday: I made myself get up and run. I should have run 3, but I cut it a half-mile short. Knowing that my virtual running buddy Chandra was on the same schedule as me, I figured she had run Thursday as scheduled, so I made myself run. What I didn't know was that she cut hers short too. We must have been on the same wavelength after all.

Saturday: What a beautiful morning for a run! It was quite a bit cooler than I expected. I headed out in shorts, a tank and arm warmers. I didn't dare go back inside to add a layer because I didn't want to wake anyone up. It turned out ok though. It was chilly for the first couple miles, but it felt fabulous! After hitting almost 100 degrees toward the end of this week, I'll take the cooler temps. Plus, at about 1.85 miles, I saw my sister running past, so we were able to run the last couple miles together. We both had 4 on the plan for today and met up pretty close. I ended up running 4.4 to finish her 4 with her. It makes such a difference to have a running buddy.

I came home and morphed into SuperMom. The kids and I fixed breakfast...a huge batch of the lil pigs in a blanket using lil smokies and crescent rolls. I bagged a lot of them up for the freezer so they can have them for breakfast in the next couple of weeks.


I did laundry and dishes, cleared the kitchen counters (oh, how I love clean counters!), and went to a church down the street that was having a garage sale. We scored a Lite Brite for 50 cents! And that thing kept the two of them playing quietly together (oh, yes, you heard me right! TOGETHER!) for almost an hour. I got down in the floor and played with them for a while since Chad was at a meeting. What fun! I love that the little things can be so entertaining.


And now we're in resting mode before Ryan's soccer game. SB has had a rash on and off all week, and it looks worse today than it has so far. And it's spread to her face a little. The doctor saw the faint version of it on Wednesday and seemed to think it was a reaction to something. She's in the tub now to see if that helps. Rashes make me nervous though. Luckily, it's not itchy so she's not complaining.

The to-do list is getting longer, and I'm getting very little of it done. I feel like I'm juggling all these parts, just waiting for something to fall. Running (not likely!)? School (not really an option)? Being a good mom? Being a good wife? Being a good friend (I hate that this one is sometimes it)? The house (most likely!)? I'm hoping that a new six weeks at school will bring a little less chaos and a little more order, at least mentally.

Anyway, half marathon training is officially underway. Just 60 days to go!

Mileage Report
Weekly: 15.4 miles
YTD: 579.85 miles (103 miles to go!)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Nonstop Day

Why is it that on a school day, I can get up, run, shower, blow dry my hair, make lunches, make breakfast, get dressed, do the dishes, fold a load of laundry and still get out the door in about 2 hours but on Sundays, I barely make it to church with a shower...and that's it? How does that happen?

And that, my friends, is the way my day has been. Nonstop. On the go. Never resting.

And all I really wanted to do was bake some breakfast cookies and scones to put in the freezer for breakfast on the go. I doubt I'll find the time to do any baking this week though. Eh, well...that's the way it goes some days, huh?

On the plus side, I did make a double batch of mini-muffins early last week before school one day and was able to freeze a few for later. And we had breakfast for dinner one night this week, so I made a double batch of pancakes and froze a few of those too. I'm liking this double batch thing...work once, eat twice. I even cooked more chicken than needed for tonight's chicken spaghetti so Chad and I could have some chicken salad for lunches this week.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Saturday Check-In

I'm counting today's run as my September Moms Run This Town Virtual Run. I didn't print out my bib before I ran, and I didn't think to take a picture, which is too bad because I actually had a running buddy today.

The kids were at my parents' last night, so my husband and I got a much-needed dinner and a movie date night. I also got to sleep in this morning...but that meant I got a late start running. Luckily, the weather was beautiful this morning!

Because I got a late start, I thought I'd see if my friend Jessica could come run with me. She tends to be a treadmill runner, so I thought it'd be good to hit the road together. She was able to come but didn't want to do the 6 I had planned. I went ahead and got a couple miles in before she got here, and then we ran 3.25 together with just one walk break. We walked home afterwards, and it was really nice to get to visit while we walked.

Running is good for so many things. Sometimes it's my much-needed alone time. Sometimes it's how I deal with stress or frustration. Other times it's about the running community. And other times it's about a connection with friends (or family, in my case). And of course, it's about health and fitness some of the time.

Training has officially started for the Las Vegas half in December. I still haven't figured out how to fit in strength training, but at least I'm running :)

Mileage Report
Weekly: 16.6 miles
YTD: 564.45 miles

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Three Thing Thursday

1. After a morning that required two cups of coffee and a new chocolate covered sea salted caramel granola bar, I was happy when my husband offered to bring me lunch. I love when I get to see him mid-day, especially when my planned lunch was rather uninspired.

2. I got to sneak in a two-miler after school. I had plaaned it and taken my clothes to school. It was a great run...the weather was quite cool (and we have to enjoy it while we can since we will be close to 100 again this weekend) and it just felt good to move. This is the first week in the training plan with four runs.

3. This evening was pretty good. We made breakfast for dinner, a favorite around here. The kids helped me make pancakes, and Chad cooked the bacon and eggs. Then afterward, we played outside and just enjoyed some good family time. Granted, good things don't last. We had a bedtime battle with our daughter including some drama over her first loose tooth that really needs to come out. Never a dull moment!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Happiness Project--Heart

This summer, I read The Happiness Project. It was right before my birthday, so I started a similar journey of my own. I began with Home, mainly order of said home. I cleared out tons of clutter, making several trips to the donation shed for the local Salvation Army. I worked on the projects pretty consistently, tackling small areas of the house each day. The phraes "Do It Now" really started to sink in. And then school happened.

I totally skipped a month...no idea where it went. I had planned what I wanted to do next, but I just never got around to it (so much for "do it now" huh?). And here we are in mid-September. However, yesterday was the 18th, which reminded me of this project. Even though I missed a month, I figured late was better than never. 

This month's focus is going to be Heart. What that means to me is doing things that make others smile and doing things that make my heart happy. Yesterday, I had quite a few of these "heart smiles"...making domino trains with the kids in the floor, restoring order to a good chunk of the house, opening the windows, and just sitting still in my nice, quiet bedroom thinking about these things.

Today, after school, I reminded myself to enjoy the time with the kids. Yes, I did manage to do a little laundry and pick up a few things, but I also sat and really listened to Sarah Beth read her story for homework and played chess with Ryan and all his crazy rules of the game.

I wish I could say these little changes were making things all rosy and perfect, but the challenges are still the same. I still had moments of frustration with the kids or with what needed to be done. But I did enjoy the time I spent with the kids this afternoon and even had more patience with their dinner time antics and silliness before bed. And even now, I'm enjoying sitting in my slightly-less-cluttered-than-this-morning bedroom for a few minutes.

I'll continue to work on enjoying the moment and being present this month (all while not forgetting or letting order slide) and keep you updated.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Freezer breakfasts, part 1

I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I just never seem to be able to get it done. But...I've found that if I just never sit down on a Sunday afternoon, I can get all sort of things done!

I'm working on making some freezer breakfasts so I can make sure that we have a healthy breakfast even when we're in a rush in the mornings. Today's freezer breakfasts are all savory. I'll do another batch of sweet ones later.

First up, Freezer McMuffins!

To begin, you'll need ramekins. I only had 4, so that's how many I made. If you have a large muffin tin (not just standard sized), you could use it. If this works well, I'll have to figure out a way to make this in a larger batch to save even  more time.


Crack an egg into each greased or sprayed ramekin. Break the yolk and add salt and pepper if desired. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 for about 20 minutes, until cooked through.

The assembly line

Layer the English muffin (I used 100 calorie, whole wheat ones) with half a piece of colby/jack cheese and a couple slices of Canadian bacon. Place the cooked egg on top and let cool before wrapping and freezing. According to everything I can find, these should cook in the microwave in 1-2 minutes.


My best guess on the nutritional content: 240 calories, 9 g fat, 10 g protein.

Second up, Egg Muffins, not to be confused with the McMuffins above.

I underestimated how many I could make with 8 eggs...I ended up adding 3 more cups.
Beat 8 eggs with a splash of milk and salt and pepper if desired. Place desired fillings into greased muffin tins before pouring mixture on top. I used spinach, red bell pepper and mushrooms for veggie muffins for me and bacon bits and cheese for the kids (and husband). Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes, until set. Let cool and freeze in serving sized portions.


If I'd thought about it sooner, I would have added some corn salsa I had in the freezer to some of the cups. Oh, well...there's always next time.

These kind of stuck to the pan, even though I sprayed it. I read a tip somewhere that you could add a little salted water to the bottom of the pan to prevent that. I may have to try it next time. The ramekins worked so much better for the first type of egg.

Each veggie muffin, by my best guess, has about 85 calories.
Each bacon, cheese muffin probably has about 135 calories.

Stay tuned for Freezer Breakfasts, Part 2 (probably next weekend). I think I'll make some scones that you can make by freezing the dough and baking fresh from the freezer and maybe some more breakfast cookies. I've made the cookies before and really like them (especially as pre-run fuel), but I didn't take any pictures while I made them. Plus, I need to make a double batch of them!