Archive | October, 2011

Foodie Penpals Round 2 – October Edition

30 Oct

Good morning! Welcome to Round 2 of Foodie Penpals.  

What? You don’t know what Foodie Penpals is? You can read all about it on Lindsay’s Post, which describes the program in detail. You can also read about our first Foodie Penpals month on my September Edition Post.

Okay, now onto the goods.  My Foodie Penpals package came from Kayla at Sprouty Buns

One of the Foodie Penpals requirements is that there must be something handwritten.  Kayla sent all of her handwritten notes in a cute envelope.

Stubb’s BBQ Sauce – this stuff is so good.  I put it on a grilled turkey burger so far, but I am definitely going to try Kayla’s suggestion of putting it on roasted sweet potatoes – YUM! And, Stubb’s is made in Texas, where Kayla’s from! I can’t wait to eat more of it – I bet it’d be good on black bean burgers too, hmmm…that’s a good idea.

Gnu Foods Flavor & Fiber Bar – this bar was like eating banana walnut bread.  The taste was spot on, the texture was great, and it kept my belly full for a while! Gotta love fiber!

All I have to say about this is O. M. G. Yes. That and I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t eat both of these in one sitting along with a big ol’ glass of red wine. 

I was a tad skeptical on this one.  I’m not a huge white chocolate fan. I like it, but I don’t choose it on purpose.  And, the “grown up” Clif Bars (aside from the Mojo bars) are just yucky – they taste like ground up saw dust glued together.  Not the case with the Clif Kid Z Bar – this bar was delicious, and the white chocolate chips were not prominent in the flavor of the bar.  I will definitely be trying more flavors of these!

Snackimals – first of all, what a freaking cute name for animal crackers. And they’re super cute:

These are adorable, delicious, and all natural.  I definitely have to find more of these!

Peanut. Butter. Granola.  Holy, yum. This stuff is so freakin’ good. I’ve eaten it by the handful, and I also made a wicked yogurt bowl – plain Chobani, granola, a banana, and honey – it was so so so so good.  I already told Kayla how much I love this stuff. And she was sweet enough to tell me when I get close to running out, if I can’t find it, she’ll send me more! Oh boy will I need more!

That’s a wrap friends! I can’t wait to see what kind of goodies I get and what kind of goodies I can find to send next month! 


Thursday Tangents

28 Oct

Happy Thursday friends! Sorry I’ve been absent for a couple of days, but boy have I been busy. Where do I begin?

Tuesday: The big stuff got moved on Tuesday. It’s interesting moving with one man and two women – but we did it! Not without incident of course…

  • Two fingers on my left hand got crushed on a concrete step by the loveseat, and I lost a whole bunch of skin.  It still kinda hurts – and I’m left handed, writing with bandaids on my fingers is difficult!
  • My desk fell out of the trailer – WHOOPS! It’s repairable though, no big deal.
  • My boxspring won’t fit up the stairs of my parents 200 year old house (yeah it’s that old – or pretty damn close anyway). So right now my mattress is on the floor, but I’ll get some plywood, put it in my bedframe, and make do, it’s only for a year-ish.
Now I’m unpacking, reorganizing, etc…it took me until 10:30 last night to put away all my clothes!

Wednesday: I RAN! I RAN! Yes, I ran! Before last night I had run once in 9 days, now twice in 10 days.  I’m mostly okay with it, I’d rather be running than moving, but hey such is life, right? Tuesday night I knew I had to run though, I just knew it, so I mentally prepared myself to run after work on Wednesday.

Anyway – check out this run: 
Right?  As Coachy said, “Enjoy the quality over quantity runs while you can.” Okay, I’ll take that and run with it (bahahahahahah did I mention I’m freakin tired?). So, this run started as a tempo run and quickly ended up as fartleks (does that word make anyone else giggle). I drank a TON of water yesterday, and didn’t stop right up until I started running, so I got a huge belly cramp.  So, I turned my tempo run (accidental tempo BTW – My legs just wanted to GO) into fartleks (hehehehe). Holy crap though, right?

Okay enough about that … maybe…for now…oh yeah, one more thing, this was another “run just to run”…awesome.

What else?

Oh Two things I’m WICKED excited about:

1) Coachy now has a blog.  “And if ya don’t know now you know….” (Bonus points if you know that song…) If you have not checked it out, I highly recommend it.  He may not blab as much as I do but when he does, prepare to be amused AND see beautiful pictures. Check it here yo: RunBikeSurf: Ramblings, babblings and snapshots

Speaking of beautiful pictures… wow I’m on a wicked tangent tonight…I’ve been driving by this for 6 years and finally took pics:

Okay, back on track (is there a track to this post?)

Oh yeah, the second thing I’m excited about:

Read this post from a half marathon PR-ing awesome super awesome woman. And then get excited with me cuz JESS IS RUNNING HER FIRST 26.2 IN CHICAGO! And, um, well, I’m already stalking Chicago registration for the day it opens because I AM running that race next year. There’s more to that, than that, but more on that later.  Follow? 

Okay, if I haven’t lost you by now you should win a prize or something.

Goodnight darlings!

A Truly Enjoyable Run

25 Oct

Yesterday morning I went out for my first run since the Amica Half.  I headed out with only one goal in mind: run. I had 6 miles on the brain, since that’s my magic “easy” number, but I wasn’t going to fret if I didn’t make it.

I headed out in the brisk 40 degree morning. I was sure glad I had taken my tights out of winter storage earlier in the week, that is too cold for shorts! Everything just felt right, and even though I was wearing my Garmin, I wasn’t paying attention to pace. Turns out I averaged 10:05 over 5.89 miles! I’ll take it!

Not paying attention to pace really made this run enjoyable.  I just ran to run, to get some miles in, and get my exercise.  I really paid attention to my surroundings – it was a beautiful fall morning.  Crisp air, not very many cars out on the road, colorful leaves everywhere.

At about two miles I was running by a huge flock of geese, and everything in the early morning light looked so beautiful I had to stop and take a picture:

I also ran this route, with some extra different twists and turns in it.  It’s amazing how the world looks different even when you’re on the same road, just traveling in the opposite direction.

When I got home from this great run, I did this:

I’ve done this before, but I just read this article on that cites the benefits of laying on the floor with your legs on the wall. A few of the benefits are:

*Relieves tired cramped legs
*Gently stretches hamstrings and back of the neck
*Calms the mind

It’s truly relaxing to lay like that, I almost fell asleep!

I hope everyone had a great weekend and great Monday! 

What are your training plans for the week? I’m going to try to run at least Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday this week. My strength training will be moving furniture and boxes.

When I Fall Off the Wagon…

22 Oct

…I tumble for miles. I’ve never been hit so hard, emotionally or physically, by a race as I was by the Amica Half Marathon. For those of you that have been checking in on me every day, yes, I feel much better. I’m not over it, that probably won’t come until I finally make that sub 2-hour goal, but I’m not sad anymore, and I’m not sore anymore.

This week, I not only allowed my fitness habits to relax, but also my eating habits.  I’ve eaten fast food roast beef sandwiches and fries, donut holes, too much candy, and I’m craving more MORE MORE. I’ll call this my post-race depression. But now it’s time to pick up the pieces and move on. Starting with better eating ASAP. I gave up fast food and junk for a reason – oh I feel gross.

I’m going to go for my first post-race run Sunday morning, I’m looking forward to a few easy miles to test my hip and back. Hopefully all goes well and I can resume normal training.

And when I say resume normal training that actually means an entirely new training plan. I learned a couple of very valuable lessons with my “injuries” (I use the term loosely, because I’m not really injured…or maybe I am, just on a much lesser level than I consider injury?) – and I know now what I need, and what I will do.

1) I need to do more core work.  I spend my day sitting at a desk, which compresses the spine, no matter how hard I focus on my posture and sitting up straight. I will dedicate one day a week to core training. By the end of the week I feel like this guy:


2) I will dedicate myself to one active rest day per week, preferably Saturday. I am going to make sure to stretch for at least 1/2 hour on Saturdays, which I should precede with something simple like a short walk or quick ride on the stationary bike (the rents have one positioned perfectly for television watching). I need to rest from anything hard core, but I also need to focus on stretching. Combining the two the day before my typical long run day is a great plan.

3) I will only run 4 days per week and I will run by feel.  The only set run day is Sunday, which is my long run day. All the other days will depend solely on how my legs feel but of course I’ll incorporate tempo runs, speed work, hills, and recovery runs. 

4) I will do more strength training.  I started doing the 100 push up challenge before the half, I plan on restarting and seeing it through.  I also plan on doing the 200 sit up challenge. Those two items also help with core, but I also need to do upper body and leg strength.  I’ll hit machines at the gym, or do free weights, or find some new videos to keep me interested.

5) I’m going to mix up my work outs because I get bored easily.  Since I’m moving I’m also going to have new running routes to explore.  And, plenty of hills for those hill workouts.

I like the “loose plan” idea that I’m working here – but I need a schedule…makes sense, right? I think Coachy will be proud of my new approach…I didn’t run it by him yet, um, why didn’t I tell him yet? Whoops…sorry Coachy…do you approve? I’m thinking of a schedule something like this:

Monday: Core
Tuesday: Run
Wednesday: Run
Thursday: Weights
Friday: Run
Saturday: Active Rest Day/Stretch
Sunday: Long Run

Now, hold me accountable, k? Thanks in advance. 

How was everyone’s Friday? What are your training plans like? Any fun races coming up? I apparently am doing 4 more 5ks this year (why do I let people talk me into stuff…you know who you are.)

Moving On

21 Oct

First of all, I feel awful. You guys are awesome.  The messages here and on Twitter in response to my race report from Sunday really warmed my heart. It’s good (well not really but…) to know I’m not the only one that has had a crappy race. Your comments made me feel tough, strong, able to overcome…I don’t know how I pushed through that pain, but I did. As you can see, I was not a happy camper:

Celebrating the finish line? Or angry that I still have to make 10 more steps?

I didn’t look that miserable the whole time, early in the race I was enjoying myself, even if I was concentrating a bit too much:

I was in a serious rhythm, damn hip…

Okay so enough of that. Onto more important stuff…

I have not worked out since Sunday. That race really knocked the life out of me.  Today, Thursday, is the best I’ve felt all week. I went to the chiropractor last night and she was shocked at how tight my back was, and did her best to loosen it up, but it’s not completely there.  Stretching and a massage on Monday oughta do the trick. She also told me that what I experience in my left hip is a symptom of my congenital hip dysplasia (in English…I was born with a dislocated hip, so I’m prone to problems). I went in August for a sports medicine massage and was taught how to take care of it, now I just have to remember to do it. So that’s that – the back is healing, the hip will never be right but I can take care of it with stretching. And after multiple nights of 8-9 or more hours of sleep, I don’t feel so zombie like anymore.

I was going to do yoga tonight, but it was gorgeous out (aside from the wind) so I decided to finish cleaning out my shed for the move, since tomorrow’s garbage day.  Why am I telling you all of this? Because, I’ve talked a few times here and there about moving but haven’t really gotten into it.

Well here it is.  Due to issues in my former life (i.e., my life pre-April of this year that I don’t talk about but it still exists) I have been left with some rather unruly credit card debt. While the details of why this debt exists and what happened to cause it aren’t necessary and won’t be discussed here, I will tell you this: it sucks.  It sucks the life out of you.  So… in September I had a sit down with the ‘rents and they offered to let me move back in. They gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse and it will help me straighten out my finances in about a year. It feels weird that I’m moving back in with my rents on the eve of my 30th birthday. 

So, again, why am I telling you all of this? Here’s why:

Every project I tell my mother I have to do, she has a similar one and says we can do them together. Me and my mom get along great – I just hope I don’t have to hide in my room with the door locked to get some alone time. (hehe, sorry mommy…) It will be fun though, to have someone to bake with and get crafty with – she already warned me that I better not mess up her kitchen though (does she know me?).  See the pic in my header of me and the  lady in matching shirts and Irish socks, yup that’s my mom.  She already told me we need to find Thanksgiving socks for the Turkey Trot. She’s lots of fun, but still a mom. 

I think my step-dad is thinking “Good lord, I’m never going to get any peace and quiet now.” … You see, I come as a package deal with my little Lexi baby, who LOVES my parents dog, and is always trying to play with him. Plus, I’m a little loud. Just a little though. Oh, and I’m always trying to rectify his eating and exercise habits… I can’t help it, it’s what I do. It’s a good thing he’s good at “losing himself” in his computer when he doesn’t want to listen to someone. (I’m digging all sorts of holes tonight)

Then there’s my brother – him and I butt heads a lot, but we also get along and agree a lot.  It should be interesting. Two things we do agree on, all the time: food and fitness. And for some reason he’s the only (human) male my dog isn’t afraid of.

So, stay tuned for what I’m sure is going to be an interesting year full of stories of 90 pound Zach versus 35 pound Lexi, tales of the rents, tales of a 30 year old living with the rest of her family, and more.  I’ll of course still write about all of my fitness adventures too, but the rest of this oughta make for some fun when my runs are just a bit too boring for everyone.

I’ve already dubbed Friday “Foodie Friday” – while my step-dad is out playing cards with his friends (he’s not as open to funky foods as me, mom, and bro) I’m going to subject my mom and brother to my cooking create delicious new meals for everyone to try. 

Strap on your seat belt and enjoy the silly/crazy/wild ride. And in all reality, I love my family, even if I do pick on them.  It’s going to be strange and interesting but I’m sure we’ll make it as fun as we can!

Disclaimer: If my family doesn’t lose weight they want to lose, or worse, gains weight, while I live there, it is not my fault.  I can’t stop baking- they need to learn self control. (Hehe, why do I feel I’m going to get myself into trouble with that statement?!) 

Love Yourself, Be Yourself

20 Oct

Today is National Love Your Body Day. When I first heard that this morning, I knew I had to write about it. There’s a lot of hyped up, silly “this, that, and the other thing” days – but National Love Your Body Day really resonates with me.

I have to wonder though, what does Love Your Body mean? 

Love your body for what it physically looks like?

Love your body for what it can do for you?

Love your body for what’s on the inside?

It’s a vague “holiday”, isn’t it? Vague as it is, it’s important to me, even though every day should be Love Your Body Day.

Once upon a time, I let myself go. I stopped going to the gym. I smoked. I drank too much.  A lot was happening in my life, and it wasn’t a good time for me. I lost me.

Then my weight started to creep up.  Slowly, but steadily.  And with everything happening in my life, I almost didn’t realize it. It took my mother doing Weight Watchers and getting thinner than me for me to go “Holy shit, I need to do something.” 

Then I struggled until May 2010 with figuring out and learning what I could do to regain myself.  But it wasn’t just my physical self. It was my mental self, physical self, inside health self. 

So I started running.  Slowly but surely. And I started eating healthier. Again, slowly but surely.  And of course, I quit smoking, but that happened before all of this.

And then, slowly but surely, I started to regain myself. So, back to what I asked before, what does Love Your Body mean? 

Love your body for what it physically looks like?

I did not always love my physical body.  I’d pick everything apart – my thighs are too big, I have a gut, look at all that cellulite. I’d dress in empire waist shirts to hide my stomach, I’d always wear heels because I thought my legs looked too stumpy in flats. And now, my body may not be perfect, but I love it. The cellulite is gone. My arms don’t jiggle when I blow dry my hair. I like how I look in a bikini. I walk with my head held high and confident. I am not a supermodel, nor do I aspire to be.  I am not a size 0 and I’m not 6 feet tall. But today I am happy in my own skin. 

Love your body for what it can do for you?

My office has one flight of stairs that I have to climb often to bring stuff to my boss. If I ran up those stairs a few years ago, I’d reach the top panting, knees in pain, feeling old and out of shape. I used to ride dirtbikes, and by the end of the day I would be so worn out that I’d fall asleep in my camp chair while everyone else was having a few beers chatting and enjoying the night. Today my body has carried me across 18 finish lines and over 1200 miles. Today my body will sweat and shake through 90 minutes of P90X Yoga, but I will survive each.and.every.minute and feel great about it when I’m done. I am strong and powerful and I do not take for granted my daily ability to do these things.

Love your body for what’s on the inside?

This can be taken in so many different directions. On the inside as in my health.  I am healthy. My heart and lungs are strong, I fill my body with nutritious food, vitamins, and supplements to make sure I’m getting all of the nutrients I need on a daily basis.

But more important than my health – on the inside of my body, is me. The real, genuine me.  That is the part of me I love the most.  I love my friends and family, I love cooking and baking, I love animals. I love running, blogging, and fitness.  I have finally found myself, and I love what I have found.

Do I have moments of weakness where I think I’m not able, not strong enough, not good enough, I can’t fit into those jeans in the junior’s department because my hips are too wide and my thighs are too big? Yes of course, but I have gotten very good at smashing these thoughts almost as soon as they enter my brain, because I am BETTER than that. 

I hope I have inspired others with this post to reach out to yourself, find you, be you, and most importantly, love you physically and on the inside.

Amica Half Marathon Race Recap

18 Oct

Honestly, I don’t really want to write this.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook know why. But, I must, so here goes.

The Amica United Healthcare Half Marathon in Newport, RI was my 5th half marathon in 2011 (well, actually ever) and my 12th race in 2011. I signed up for this race the day I got back from running the US Air Force Marathon. Coachy and I were convinced I could do really well with this race, because I was in peak condition endurance wise after running two marathons in two months (I’m pretty sure I heard cries of protest from my legs when I submitted my race registration…).

Saturday morning I drove to Newport to pick up my race pack and check out the expo (what expo?). Okay there were a few vendors, but nothing impressive, so I left. I then went to the farm to work, and spent 8 1/2 hours on my feet – I went from cashier to parking lot attendant all in one day. Needless to say, when I got home Saturday night I was exhausted.  I sat on the couch and put my feet up for about an hour, then at 10 called it a night, knowing the alarm was set for 4 a.m.

Apparently 4 a.m. is early because even Lexi didn’t want to get up. I snoozed until 4:20 and finally dragged my butt out of bed.  I hadn’t prepared anything the night before because I was too exhausted.  It only took me an hour to get dressed and gather everything I needed (breakfast, gu’s, blister prevention, Body Glide, etc…). I hopped in the car for the 45 minute drive to Newport.

I am so glad I left early because when I arrived at the designated half marathon parking area, one school bus was already full of people headed to the start line, and the second bus was filling fast.  I quickly grabbed my backpack and got on the bus.

After a short drive to the start we were dropped off at the rotunda at Easton’s Beach in Newport.  It was a beautiful morning, aside from the wind, which drove all of the runners inside the building. Myself included, because I forgot to put on long pants, and that’s why you are not seeing any gorgeous early morning beach photos right now. 

 I sat and chatted with a few different people while eating my peanut butter, banana, and honey whole wheat toast sandwich. The sun was fully up by then, so I went outside to check my bag and warm up.  It was about 1/2 hour to start. I ran a very slow 1/2 mile or so, then stretched, and stretched a lot. I was getting nervous given my sub 2-hour goal, but I felt great and the weather was perfect, so I was confident.

The usual race business happened next – blah blah blah announcer talk, National Anthem, time to go. 

Half a mile in and it’s straight up hill.  My lungs weren’t quite warm enough yet, so I panted my way up but I did it and felt great. It took almost the entire mile to get on pace, the race had over 5,000 runners. The next few miles were truly anti-climactic. I ran my tail off. I slowed at the water stops and took short sips and continued on my way.  I lost my pace big time on the water stop at mile 4- thanks to two bozos who stopped dead in front of me blocking the road, so I had to push to make up the time. Luckily by about 4.25 miles we were going downhill so it was easy to bring it back around and Mile 4 was one of my best miles. 

I kept pushing, and it was starting to feel a bit hard by Mile 6, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  I got my Gu out and ready for the next water stop.  The scenery in this race was absolutely gorgeous.  Beautiful neighborhoods in Newport, all the way down to a point with spectacular (albeit windy) ocean views.  I was finally able to eat my Gu around Mile 7 when there was another water stop. Ugh that stuff is so hard to choke down when you’re running that hard.

By Mile 8 my left leg started to feel a bit funny, but I ignored it.  I figured it was all in my head – at this point this was the best 8 miles of my life (literally) and I was not going to let my brain stop me. But by the time I got into Mile 9 I knew something was wrong. My leg was seizing, from the hip down through the middle of my calf, and there was nothing I could do about it but slow down.  So I slowed. Mile 9 was still a good mile, even if it was a minute slower than goal pace.  I figured if I can at least keep this pace I’ll PR.

At about 9.5 miles the leg pain brought me to a walk. From blazing along at a roughly 9mm for 8 miles, to a freakin’ walk. I was so upset I started crying. I knew my dreams of a sub 2-hour half marathon were gone, but I still had 3.5 miles to go. My leg hurt. 

By the way – crying while running is not a good idea. It caused me to practically hyperventilate.

I had conversations with myself – stop crying it won’t do you any good, quit being a baby and run, etc…

I’d run as much as I could until the pain forced me to slow down again.  I’d get to the point where it felt like either my hip was going to blow completely out of the socket or my calf was going to explode. And then I’d walk. This went on for the next 2.5 miles. 

At Mile 12 I knew I was very close to a miles worth of nothing but running downhill.  I had another crying spell (good lord I’m such a baby), I stopped very briefly and stretched on a light post.

I started running again. But now I was angry. I was pissed off. And I thought a PR was still in reach. So I gave it everything I had. I think nothing other than straight up endorphins drove me through to that finish line. I ran my ass off for the last mile, it was so hard that I could only manage a 10 minute mile going down 77 feet. 77 feet worth of elevation loss and all I could muster was a 10 minute mile – pathetic for the girl who LOVES the downhills like nobody’s business. 

I crossed the finish line, got my water and medal, and immediately made my way out of there. I wanted to cry more (which I did, in the car on the way home where people wouldn’t stare at me).  I was upset. I was angry. I was so psyched for 9 miles that my goal was this close. Only to be beaten down by broken body parts.

Final time: 2:10:24 (official – 11 seconds slower than my PR, which was in May). I realize this is very good considering. I could have given up completely and moped for 3.5 miles til I crossed the finish line. I realize some people would kill for a half time like that, with all of their healthy body parts. 

That doesn’t mean I have to like it. I don’t. And I won’t. I’m still upset, I’m still angry, and I’m disappointed. Not in myself, just in general. At least I now know I’ve got the mental game down…

I hope you enjoyed my recap.  I’m not sorry that I don’t have a good attitude about this.  Coachy says I should be proud that even with broken parts I essentially ran my best half (2:10:26, 13.32 miles, and 9:48 average pace according to my Garmin). My mom called me a slacker, but of course was kidding, and also told me “At least you did it and finished.”

So many other friends and family members have supported me and tried to make me feel better, and I appreciate it.  I just think I need a few more days of mourning, and healing.  I’m going to be visiting my chiropractor and masseuse in the next week to hopefully get me back in shape quick. I’ll keep you posted on my diagnosis (I hope there isn’t one an alignment and massage can’t fix – fingers crossed). 

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