Sunday, January 31, 2016

Savory Sunday #6

So I followed a recipe for Clean Blueberry Protein Muffins that I found on the Eat Yourself Skinny blog for our savory treat this week. Besides the 2 1/2 CUPS of protein powder, it took 10 eggs to make 1 1/2 cups of egg whites. Then the batter looked way too thin to me so I added 1 cup of oatmeal. They came out looking more like popovers than muffins but they taste pretty good! 

Sunday Summary:
Despite the weather during the week, I managed to get all of my miles in for the week. Mainly because I ran both Saturday and Sunday. I ended with 19.2 running miles. I also managed to get myself to a yoga class today. It was the perfect way to end my Weekend Warrior phase.

Accomplishments this week:
1. I was down by a pound on the scale. 
2. I went to yoga!!
3. I have already been grocery shopping and done some meal prepping for the week.

January Goals:
Even though I never formally announced them, my goals for this month focused on consistency. I wanted to be more consistent with both running and the blog. This makes the 18th post on the blog this month, so much more consistency there. And, I had 60.63 running miles this month. Comparing that to previous years' totals, I think I'm doing great.
2012       3.64
2013     60.07
2014     50.27
2015     44.63
2016     60.63

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sweaty Saturday

I have a Saturday sense of accomplishment! I woke up nice and early and met Kristine for our bridge repeats, our speed training in disguise. Two weeks ago we did 3 sets for 7.5 miles and they felt good. Today was 4 sets over and back for a total of 10 miles. It was a cool morning and the first thing I did was take these babies out of the box!

My new Brooks Adrenalines arrived this week but the rain had preempted my regularly scheduled runs. And I really wasn't kidding about the RAIN. We recorded 2.25 inches on Wednesday and 1.67 on Thursday. Normally I would have preferred to try the new running shoes out on a shorter run first, but that was just not meant to be. 

Anyway, I had some problems with the last model of the Brooks Adrenalines so I was happy to hear they went back to the old style of sizing for the 16s. Much to my dismay, the heel was a bit loose on these and as I walked out the door I noticed I had some sock issues. Back into the bedroom I went and grabbed my heel inserts and a pair of socks with the lip at the heel. I changed everything in the parking lot of the park and tightened up the laces a bit more...good to go! 

Bridges were much tougher this week. My legs felt stiff and tired right away. We had increased our interval to 2:1 in preparation for some upcoming races, but took it nice and easy. We did seem to warm up after the first go around, but it never seemed as "easy" as it did last time. Of course, there was more mileage and I didn't get my runs or any crosstraining in during the week, so that could be a part of it.

I must say, I am pretty proud of us. Sometimes, especially when we are both not feeling it, we "negotiate". I'm sure if one of us had broached the topic the other would have easily been convinced to just walk the last trip over and back. I am pleased to announce that this was not the case! We completed all four trips. 

BAM!! Training goal reached and new shoes broken in!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Full of Excuses and Comfort Food

A great 3 mile run in the morning.
Maintained good eating habits.
And then....

Meant to be a cross training morning but it felt nice to sip coffee and relax in the morning.
Drive 1.5 hours, workshop 3 hours, drive 1.5 hours.
Cheeseburger and fries for lunch.

Woke up to rain = no run.
All day workshop.
Indulged in a facial and got home late.
Unmotivated to work out!!!

Worked late.
Settled in to pity party mode.
Thai food for dinner.
Starting to feel like this:

Missed communication with my running partner and missed run.
Pasta and meat sauce for dinner.
Working on blog and forcing myself to change my attitude...

Note to self for Saturday:
You CAN do 10 miles of Bridge Repeats.
You WILL eat clean, healthy food and get back on track.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Savory Sunday #5

This week's treat comes from the CleanFoodCrush website again. Chris loves peanut butter cookies so I thought I'd give these a try: Clean Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Can you believe there were only five ingredients? I mashed the banana and mixed it with the peanut butter. Then added the nutmeg and cinnamon. Finally, I mixed in the chocolate chips and baked this tasty dessert. As was the case with the Chickpea Blondies I made last week, these cookies were very moist and really not that sweet. These type of treats are helping me to cut back on the sugar and get rid of the cravings. The cookies fulfilled my need for chocolate that I still can't seem to get rid of. 

Sunday Summary

I ended the week with a total of 7.6 running miles - a little low due to the weather. I also walked for 3 miles, completed one Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred workout and had a two hour elliptical session.

This week's accomplishments:

1. I was down .4 of a pound on the scale.
2. I got some strength training back in.
3. I'm cooking more meals at home lately.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Weather Made Me Wimpy

I wimped out today. I admit it. I have seen posts of people with snow and icicles forming on their eyelashes and in their beards, but I just couldn't do it. No, it didn't snow here in Florida. The weather was actually in the low 50's at 5:00 am this morning, however, the winds were 25-30 mph! Tomorrow is not going to be much better. It's predicted to be in the lower 30's and still a brutal wind. 

Instead, I snuggled in my cozy bed until about 8:00 am. I really didn't think I could sleep that late any more since I am so used to getting up bright and early. The training plan called for 13 miles this morning but I did 2 hours on the elliptical. I know it sounds like the ultimate in boredom, but Chris set me up so that I could watch The Biggest Loser on my iPad and I was off and "running". Thanks to the fitbit, I am able to post the proof. I'm wondering now how it all equates. Regardless, I worked up a good sweat and burned some calories. 

Tonight's dinner was the last of this week's boxes from Hello Fresh. The picture shows the Greek Salad Flatbread with Olives, Artichokes, and Feta. I just turned it into a pizza shape. Hello Fresh truly is a good product. We have been eating at home more often and I am really enjoying making the recipes. Every single item has been delicious! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016


It's been a very busy few days, especially work-wise. Last night, I was happy to come home to my Hello Fresh box. It's such a bonus not to have to worry about dinner when you have to work late. I opened a box, followed the recipe and our meal was ready in less than 30 minutes.

It's been pretty chilly here in Florida lately, so this week's box will certainly hit the spot. The first dinner we tried this week was Butternut Squash Agnolotti with Apples, Spinach, and Sage-Brown Butter Sauce. The good part of these Hello Fresh deliveries is that the ingredients provide a meal for exactly two people. It's good because it really helps with portion control and the temptation to over-indulge. The bad part is that there are no leftovers!!

I met Nadine for a nice, brisk run this morning. I noticed such a difference in my outlook this morning because I already had a sense of accomplishment before I went to work. It turned into a double workout day for me today. Once I got home from work and the grocery store, I did Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. 

I know, I know, I haven't been consistent with the strength training!

BUT, I may now have some renewed motivation. Today I was winning! I participated in a live Twitter with the dietician from Hello Fresh and a trainer from It was really informative. Each company gave out a prize for the other. In the end, I won a year membership to, so stay tuned and I'll report back on some video workouts. 

Tonight's Hello Fresh dinner was Hearty Lentil and Bean Stew with Ginger, Cilantro, and Basmati Rice. It was the perfect dinner to fill me up on this winter day after two workouts. And, it's pretty too!

Monday, January 18, 2016

An Extra Day

It was nice to have a three day weekend. That extra day meant extra accomplishments around the house. Finally, all the Christmas things are packed and put away. There was also plenty of laundry to be done, and the living room and kitchen are pretty clean. I even got a jump start on the bedroom. Can you tell I've been behind (read: unmotivated) for quite some time?

I started the day with a 4.5 mile run. I decided to up the interval this morning to 4:1. I'm still building endurance to try to run a 5K straight for my shorter runs, but taking it extremely slow. There will be no more injuries for this running girl. This week I plan to add an extra day of running to try to increase my mileage a bit. It was perfect timing with the holiday although it was only 47 degrees and a bit blustery. Ah, to be able to run at 7:00 am every day!

Dinner tonight was another (oh no, the last of this week's boxes!) Hello Fresh recipe: Crispy Chickpea and Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Quinoa and Roasted Garlic Viaigrette. I must admit I wasn't overly thrilled when looking at this recipe initially but I'm excited to report that with one bite I was regretting that I ever had any doubt at all. Wow, such a delicious warm winter salad.  

I ended up having the last chocolate chip chickpea blondie for dessert. Yes, I just made them yesterday. I awoke to find half the pan had disappeared. Of course, the teenager had a mighty difficult time admitting that she ate and LIKED something so healthy! 

And, she asked me to French braid her hair for work today. Things that make you go hmmmmm!! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Savory Sunday #4

Now that I've returned from three days of eating crap, it was time to get back on track. Breakfast was a poached egg on sesame Ezekiel bread with an orange.

I got in a 40 minute elliptical workout and refueled with a shrimp salad with pear gorgonzola dressing.

Dinner tonight was another Hello Fresh recipe by Jamie Oliver. Jamie's Baked Sweet Potatoes with Grated Salad and Sticky Seeds was much more prep work than some of the other recipes but the taste combination was truly unique. What you can't see in the picture is the bottom layer which is actually the sweet potato. Spread on top of the sweet potato was yogurt seasoned with lemon zest, turmeric and cumin. Another layer included the shaved salad consisting of red onion, carrot, radishes, a beet and an apple. The final ingredient besides the arugula you see was the sticky seeds: pumpkin and sunflower seeds mixed with some maple syrup.

And who can forget dessert? Tonight's treat was Chocolate Chip Chickpea Brownies from the Cleanfoodcrush website. Wow, a super moist brownie with just enough sweetness to curb the cravings. Even the teenage daughter had to admit she liked them!!

Sunday Summary

I ended the week with 14.81 running miles, a 3 mile walk and 40 minutes on the elliptical. It was not as good a training week as I would have liked, but being away at a conference for three days took a toll. We will hope for better next week, especially getting back to incorporating some strength workouts into the routine. 

This weeks's accomplishments:

1. I recorded a .6 pound weight loss. 
2. I met my personal goal of meeting the 10,000 Fitbit steps four times this week.
3. The Christmas decorations are just about put away!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Time to Train

It's Saturday...time for the long training run. Today was bridge repeats. Over and back and over and back for 7.5 miles. But, it felt good! All in training for this at the Austin Half Marathon:

The next few Saturdays will include another set of bridge repeats, and then, depending upon the weather, Kristine and I may do the Publix Half Marathon. After that, it's on to Austin! Time goes by quickly when you are training.

This week I will try to get back on track with some more healthy eating after indulging in total crap at a conference for the last three days. It's frustrating to me that there are so few decent options sometimes! I stuck to steel cut oatmeal at Panera's this morning after my run and then we just snacked through the day. 

I made dinner during half time of the Patriots game. Chris loves his tortellini. This Hello Fresh recipe is Tortellini en Brodo with Shredded Brussels Sprouts, Kale and Parmesan. I often make tortellini in broth, but the added vegetables made it very satisfying. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Savory Sunday #3

I made some treats over the course of the week. Last Sunday, I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Energy Balls. The combination of oats, almond butter, chocolate chips and a bit of maple syrup was absolutely fabulous. I had two of these energy balls instead of dessert and it really satisfied that urge for sweetness without feeling like I had cheated. I also ate two of these prior to my 11 mile run on Saturday. I really think this was the perfect pre-race fuel for me. We will be keeping this recipe and making them again! 

Tonight, since I still had half a can of pumpkin puree left, I made Pumpkin Breakfast Cookies. I like having a quick breakfast alternative during the week and I have a feeling these will hit the spot. The recipe made twelve big cookies. While the energy balls were a soft, no bake treat, the cookies are more like a moist granola bar. They are definitely not as sweet, but I did enjoy the pairing of the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries in this new recipe.

Sunday Summary

I ended the week with 14 running miles, one 20 minute elliptical session and three video workouts using Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred. I was very pleased, especially with yesterday's 11 mile run - I feel like I'm getting back on track in the running department. Also, I'm happy that I added some strength training into the schedule, but not happy that this week's schedule did not allow for any yoga classes.

This week's accomplishments:

1. I recorded a 1.8 pound weight loss. I've just been focusing on using healthy ingredients and portion size for now. 
2. I met the Fitbit 10,000 steps goal 3 out of the 7 days for the past two weeks. I'll be aiming to increase that this week.

Running and Risotto

I love it when a long run feels good! There's really nothing better to motivate you to continue as when you successfully make it through 11 miles. 

I shut off the alarm at o'dark thirty and met Kristine. The weather was a happy medium - not too hot, not too cold and the humidity of late had finally let up. We did a 90/45 second interval that made it easy keep up our incessant chatting. It was a great way to regroup after having a couple of busy, non-training days. 

Of course, getting up before the crack of dawn and running 11 miles wiped me out, so a nap was in order. The rest of the day was quite lazy, but that's ok - it's the weekend!

Last week's first attempt at risotto was so good, I was excited to try another recipe. Dinner was Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto with Feta and Pepitas. Wow, I'm loving this! What a great combination of tastes in this nice, comforting dish. I even splurged on dessert tonight. I figured I'd earned the calories, so hopefully the scale won't sound sirens or anything the next time I step on it.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Race Schedules

I ended up canceling my run today as I wasn't feeling well. In fact, bad enough that I called in sick to work. I slept very late and lounged around all day. Definitely not going to make that Fitbit steps goal today. I did, however, meet the sleep goal. 

In addition to continuing to read Year of No Sugar, I surfed the internet looking at races that fell on my school breaks. I think I have finally convinced Chris into going to Arizona over spring break! This would bring my upcoming races to include: the Austin Half Marathon in February, the Tuscaloosa Half Marathon and the Arizona Distance Classic in March. 

I still have a couple of personal days and a Southwest gift card, so there's a possibility of another race later this spring. And, since I'll be working summer school, there should be extra funds for a late summer trip before school starts up again in August. This should keep me motivated to stick to the training! I've rescheduled with Nadine for an easy run tomorrow and I've got 11 miles on tap with Kristine on Saturday. I'm also going to try to get in the 30 Day Shred video as I'm feeling much better.

This all reminds me that I've got to catch up with race recaps on this blog...I've fallen way behind!

Dinner tonight was Southwestern Black Bean Chili with Cheddar and Sour Cream. I'm down to one more Hello Fresh meal for this week, which means I'll have to go back to cooking on my own over the weekend! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Over the Hump

It's Wednesday, and I'm happy to report that I've completed another Jillian Michaels' 30 day Shred workout. According to my Fitbit, I've been pretty consistent. The workout is 26 minutes long and my heartrate has stayed pretty much 70-80% in the fat burning zone. It's not getting any easier yet, but I'm still hoping to see some results especially in my upper body. Let's hope that I'm shredding that back fat!

Tonight's dinner was Jamie's Salsa Spaghetti with Black Olives & Fresh Basil. The sauce had a nice flavor with no added sugar. I really enjoyed the fresh basil. I'm finding this experiment with Hello Fresh interesting because the recipes come perfectly portioned for two servings. You would receive four times this much if you ordered it in a restaurant. Speaking of which, this recipe was by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has recently joined up with the Hello Fresh team to create some special recipes for us at home. 

I mentioned the no added sugar a moment ago because I've been reading Year of No Sugar by Eve O. Schaub. When my daughter first saw the book she asked, "When did you switch to horror?" Typical teenager! Just the first few chapters have made me much more conscious of what is going into these recipes that I've been making. Some of the recipes have been higher in calories, but that has been due to the use of olive oil and the inclusion of healthy fats such as avocado and nuts and seeds. I can't wait to read about the changes this family has experienced throughout their year of no sugar. 

I'm sitting here watching The Biggest Loser and anticipating the big changes coming their way. I really find it inspirational how hard these contestants work. But why does it always make me cry?

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Two in a Row

Thank goodness for running buddies. Nadine and I have a standing early morning date twice each week, so I really did get out of bed this morning. Ah, accountability! 

After experiencing record breaking high temperatures many times over the last month or so, today was a nice, cool run. There was a ferocious wind along the river, but it was downright refreshing after the hot, humid running conditions we have been enduring. We had a slight increase in pace as a result.

When I returned home from work today, I initially thought Chris and Julie had Subway for lunch. When they do, the smell of raw onion permeates the house for hours. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was not Subway, but that Chris had started dinner. Thank you Hello Fresh for making life so easy! Tonight we had Vegetable Ministrone with Tuscan Kale, Cannellini Beans, and Parmesan. I was caught a bit off guard that this soup did not have pasta as an ingredient, but we really didn't miss it. The veggies and beans were enough in the sweet broth, although I did add some cornbread to round out our meal.

While the cornbread was baking, I completed day two on level one of Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I used the same modifications as yesterday and kept up pretty well. I love using the fitbit to track my workouts. It showed that I stayed right in the fat burning zone for this video, which is exactly where I want to be. 

Speaking of fitbit, I received an email today with a summary of my week...yeah, I'm kind of geeking out over all this information! 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Monday Motivation

I had every intention of getting up at 5:45 and getting a workout in before work. I guess I just need to face the fact that I am NOT a morning person. Forget the snooze button, even before the alarm sounded I changed the wakeup time thus eliminating any chance I would have of squeezing out the time to exercise. I do like to sip on my coffee and scroll through Facebook before getting ready for the day. Is that so wrong?

Instead, I had an afternoon snack when I got home and immediately changed into my workout clothes. I had gotten the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred as a gift (at my request) LAST Christmas and until today it had not yet been opened. I read a few blogs about the workout and was impressed by some of the results that were reported. I did heed their caution and took it slowly for my first time through.

Can I just say that I have absolutely no upper body strength. I run, but that's it. My legs can go and go and go (while running, of course, not performing squats and lunges). I've been called Katharine Hepburn one more than one occasion due to the tremors I experience almost immediately when lifting any size weights. 

I think I did pretty well with the video workout. First, I liked the fact that in total it was 22 minutes long. There was a two minute warmup followed by three rounds of exercises. Each round consisted of three minutes of strength exercises, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs. I took the modifications for most of the exercises so that I would not only be able to walk and move tomorrow, but so that I would be inclined to replay the video tomorrow.

From what I read, it is suggested that each of the three levels be completed for ten days, hence the 30 day shred. Hopefully, I will be able to keep this up as a cross-training activity while I continue to train for half marathons. It is quite obvious that I need to incorporate more strength training to my routine.

I was also motivated today by participating in a fitbit challenge, so while I was in the midst of cooking dinner I took a 20 minute break and hopped on the elliptical, rocking out to some 80's tunes.

Dinner tonight was roasted acorn squash with a coconut curry sauce served with jasmine fried rice. This recipe was really tasty and not that difficult to make. 

All in all, not bad for a Monday. Now, I'm wondering if I can get in 500 more steps to meet my fitbit goal before bed. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Savory Sunday #2

For a couple of weeks now I've been receiving shipments from Hello Fresh. Every once in a while I need some new inspiration for cooking dinner, whether it be a new cookbook, a new diet challenge, or in this case, a delivery service. I opted to get the vegetarian meals as I often get tired of meat and lean more toward plant-based eating. Also, it was the cheaper option.

One of the meals I made this week was Stovetop Shells and Cheddar with Crispy Breadcrumbs and Roasted Carrots. This dish was really very easy to make. The shells cooked right in the sauce and everything really melted together when stirring in the shredded cheddar cheese. The homestyle twist came when topping it with some seasoned panko and giving it a quick broil. The side dish was roasted carrots which tasted just like sweet potato fries. 

Another night we had Creamy Pear and Turnip Soup with Radish, Pepitas, and Toasted Baguette. When I opened the box for this one I was a bit wary as there was just one teeny, tiny turnip. After peeling and chopping it, and cooking the turnip right along with the pear, I saw that not much would be needed to help flavor the soup. This recipe was a bit more labor intensive than some of the others since there was the preparing, cooking and then blending, but it was well worth the effort. I thoroughly enjoyed the creamy soup combined with the crunchy texture of the radishes and pumpkin seeds. 

Tonights dinner was also a bit ambitious: Winter Risotto with Kale, Fennel Seed and Parmesan. I have never made risotto. In fact, I've always been a bit scared to after watching Hell's Kitchen and no competitor could ever live up to Chef Ramsay's expectations when making risotto. I half expected him to barge into my kitchen and take over, but alas, I understand his frustrations a bit more now: you can't rush risotto! And, when it's done right it's absolutely delicious!

Sunday Summary:

Given the fact that it was New Year's Resolution time and that I was on Winter Break, I really intended to get in more exercise. However, I am L.A.Z.Y. and I like my naps. I did manage to get the dust out of the exercise room and finished the week with two 30-minute elliptical sessions, one 21 Day Fix video workout, one yoga class and logging 10.63 running miles. 

This week's accomplishments:

1. I used the fitbit for a whole week and earned 5 badges. 
2. Cleaned off my home desk
3. Purchased the necessities to get some organizing done around the house

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Sleepy Saturday

Saturday mornings are long runs. For this training cycle Kristine and I are disguising our speed training in the way of hill training, or more precisely, bridge repeats here in Florida. We ran four crossings totaling five miles. Our interval was 90/45 seconds with a final average pace of 12:38. Not bad for the first time doing the bridges in about a year. 

Getting up at 5:00 am always leaves me sleepy, so I came home and took a nice long nap! This was followed by grocery shopping and some cooking. Dinner tonight was turnip and pear soup. After it was blended the recipe suggested adding radishes and pumpkin seeds for some texture. Yum! 

2015 Running Year in Review

Best race experience?

This year I had the opportunity to check two states off on my quest to complete a half marathon in all 50 states.

#15 Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon in Anchorage
#16 Route 66 Half Marathon in Tulsa

The Alaskan trip has been in my mind for years and I don't know why, but I never really believed it would or could even happen, until it did. The expedition took two years to plan and save for, but boy was it worth it!

I was thrilled to see so much wildlife - only the moose was missing!

It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and I'm so glad to have shared it with Chris and some great friends! 

Best run?

One of the best parts of my year was training with Tammy, a friend who had not run in some years. She committed to completing the C25K program with Nadine and I by running intervals 2-3 times each week. At the end of the program, the three of us participated in a virtual 5K run with Mothers Run This Town. Even her daughter came out that morning to help cheer her on! We were all so proud!!

Best piece of running advice you received?

I had the great fortune of attending Jeff Galloway's running clinic this past summer. We were able to get some great advice such as:
     "No pain, no puking, and no dying."  
     "When you run with a fast crowd, you can get into trouble."

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be?

One step forward and two steps back!
It seems I was plagued with injury this year and had many stops and restarts. It was one of my lowest mileage years so far at 417.43. So that brings me to next year's goal. I'm determined to double those miles to 834.86, which would surpass my highest mileage year (2014 @ 620.30). Slow and steady consistency will lead me closer to my goals.