Thursday, February 5, 2015

Quick Update

Greetings, readers! I have to apologize for the lack of posts lately. In all honesty, I've felt uninspired -- not really sure what I should be writing about. This blog has followed my journey of becoming a runner -- everything from my first 5K to training for two half marathons. I have absolutely no interest in moving up to a marathon anytime soon -- so what do I write about now?! I'm not really sure. But I'm going to use this post to spew out a bunch of updates and maybe I'll start feel inspired again soon.

First off, I'm training for half marathon #3, the Murray Half Marathon on April 18th. I'm really excited about this one for several reasons -- but most importantly because Murray is a gorgeous, little college town and I think it'll be a fun race. If you check out their website, you'll see that every 1/2 mile or so there will be a Spirit Team -- a group holding signs and cheering the runners on. How cool is that?! I really enjoyed the spectator support at the Evansville Half back in October, but it was pretty spread out. We would go several miles and not see anyone holding signs/cheering. I think the Spirit Teams will definitely help break up the run and keep me motivated! I'm also super excited about the medal -- 71 days and that baby will be hanging around my neck!

One cool thing I'm doing this year is the 2,015 Miles in 2015 Challenge! Don't worry, I'm not attempting to run over 2,000 miles by myself -- I'm on a team with two other girls, so we're splitting up the mileage. Knowing that I need to get an average of 1.8 miles in each day to stay on track has really helped motivate me. Miles count whether you walk, run or use the elliptical. And since it's still incredibly cold in Indiana, I've been relying a lot on my gym's treadmill and Leslie Sansone's Walk Away The Pounds DVDs. I'm hoping that I can start running outside more regularly soon & start taking my girls on neighborhood walks to help bump up my mileage. Best part? Once your team hits 2,015 miles, each member gets a medal! At the rate my team is going now, we may actually finish up in the early fall. I was a little skeptical going into this challenge, but very glad I decided to do it!

What else is going on? I've been trying to focus on weight loss (don't I say that all the time?!) since the new year, and have lost about 5 pounds so far. It sounds great, but in reality I've just lost the extra pounds I gained during the holidays. So I'm basically at square one now. We're going on vacation in October (Disney World! Eeee!) and I would really, really love to be at my goal weight by then. If that's going to happen though, I'll need to keep up this momentum going & stop getting so comfortable with my current weight. That has definitely been my problem in the past.

Another running-related note, I lost my beloved Garmin watch. My first one. The watch that was with me during my two half marathons - yeah, that's gone. I feel like it's in our house somewhere, but we've torn this place apart looking for it with no luck. If I had to venture a guess as to what happened -- my money would be on a certain little 2-year-old girl that likes to throw things in the trash that don't belong there. Sigh.

But anyway, a very generous person on one of my Facebook running groups offered to sell me her old Garmin for an extremely reasonable price so I jumped on it!

It's a much nicer watch than my original one (new one is a Garmin Forerunner CX405) but I honestly don't like it. It's complicated. It has so many features on it that I don't need. I miss the simplicity of my old watch. But, it's getting the job done and I'm thankful that I have one at all.

My next race is on Valentine's Day -- the Hearts On Fire 5K. I'm really hoping for a decent 5K time, but mostly I'm just excited about my girls doing the kid's race afterwards and adding some more medals to their collections! Aren't my little runners just the cutest?! These were from the Jingle Bell Run 5K in December -- Reese's first race!

Thanks for reading -- hopefully I'll have some more updates soon! Or at least some more cute pictures of my baby girls racking up more medals than their mama. ;-)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Getting Into Juicing + Two Recipes!

A few weeks ago, my friend Abbey made some fresh juice when I was over at her house. Let me tell you, IT WAS AMAZING. She skillfully prepped random fruits & veggies (ones you wouldn't think would even taste good together!) into her fancy machine & out came a refreshing treat. I was hooked.

I went home that afternoon -- rewatched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (I had halfway watched it a couple years ago) and started pricing juicers on Amazon. 

Man, some of those suckers are expensive! $350+?!

Me? I went with the $30 model from Black & Decker

It's basically the cheapest juicer you can find. And you know what? It's working perfectly so far! I love it! Just proves that you don't always need to spend the extra moolah -- especially for stuff like this. 

Here's a few things I've learned about juicing so far. 

1. It doesn't have to be expensive. One word for you: Aldi's. If you're lucky enough to live near an Aldi's, juicing can actually be pretty cheap! I went there to get the ingredients for my first juicing extravaganza & it cost me $14. I think the only thing I couldn't find there was ginger. 

2. It's the perfect way to trick picky kids into consuming fruits/veggies. My 4-year-old has a long list of foods she is unwilling to eat nowadays & the majority of them are vegetables. It drives me crazy. But what does she beg me to make multiple times a week? "Orange juice." See the recipe below! ;)

3. It's kind of annoying to wash all the separate parts of the juicer. Especially now that our dishwasher isn't working anymore. So washing the pieces by hand... yeah, kinda sucks. 

4. It doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. When I used to think of juicing, I thought of detoxes and cleanses where that's all you had for a week. Two weeks. Or longer! It doesn't have to be that. It could be your breakfast one morning. It could be an after school snack for you & your kiddos. You get the health benefits from juicing any time you do it -- but it doesn't have to be for every meal!

Okay, so now onto a couple recipes! I'm still experimenting with different flavors -- but these two varieties have been a big hit in our house.



A couple handfuls of spinach (I love Organic Girl's Super Spinach)
One cucumber (leave skin on, but cut so it'll fit in the juicer)
4 celery stalks 
Two apples (cored, but not peeled)
Two lemons (peeled) 

This recipe makes approximately 24 oz of juice. It's amazing to me how much juice the cucumbers yield! I love using that Organic Girl spinach -- not because I'm strict about buying organic, I'm not -- but it's a good mix of greens! Baby spinach, baby bok choy & sweet baby kale. It tastes really good when used for salad, too. 



Two oranges (peeled)
One large sweet potato (peeled & cut into smaller pieces)
Two large carrots or heaping handful of baby carrots

So yeah. I get my super picky little girl to BEG for sweet potatoes & carrots. And she knows they're in there -- she helps me make it! It's a beautiful thing. 

So if any of this is appealing to you, my advice is to first watch Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. It's such a good documentary & it'll get you fired up about juicing. Second, buy a cheap juicer. You can always upgrade to a better one later. Then, get on Pinterest & find some recipes that look good to you! You can throw all kinds of stuff in a juicer. I've heard beets and pineapple are both really good! Not sure about together, but maybe? Somebody try that out! ;)

But, unlike some people, I'm not juicing strictly for weight loss -- mostly just for the health benefits. I don't plan on doing any extreme detoxing or anything like that. I'm not even sure I could handle that. I'm someone who really, really, REALLY loves to eat! ;)

Next up on my race calendar: Drumstick Dash 8K on November 22nd! Looking forward to it -- it was one of my favorite races last year!

(Disclaimer: I was provided free products from Organic Girl. As always, all opinions are 100% my own!) 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Evansville Half Marathon Race Recap

So........ I DID IT! Survived half marathon numero dos.

This was also my first time doing a half marathon in "my" city. And, in all honesty, I will probably be doing it every year from now on! It was amazing. I'm really bad at keeping people in suspense, so... I PR'ed! My official time was 2:46:11. So I shaved about 6.5 minutes off my half marathon time from April -- which felt indescribable!

The race started at 7 a.m., so I had an insanely early alarm set that morning. I always like to wake up early before races so I have time to have my beloved coffee and a good breakfast. I like to keep things simple -- that morning it was two slices of peanut butter toast and a banana.

There's something else I should say about that morning... it was cold. Like really, really cold. I had trained in 90+ degree temperatures all summer and *boom* - Mother Nature decides it would be fun to throw a 45 degree morning my way. It made me nervous, but it actually turned out to be really good running weather!

So my amazing running buddy Heather picked me up at 6 a.m. and we were both insanely nervous. This was her first half marathon -- and she rocked it! (She crossed the finish line at 2:32:11!) We found parking, sat in her van for awhile trying to calm our nerves and then walked to the start line. It was time!

Things I did differently this half marathon vs. the Hoosier Half in April:
  • Intervals. I do believe I'm a Jeff Galloway convert now. I used to think that using run/walk intervals made you weaker, but man - was I wrong! I did 4/1 (4 minutes of running, 1 minute of walking) intervals through the whole race and it was really helpful. I have to admit, it was really hard to stick with them toward the end. My feet hurt and all I wanted to do was walk -- but my Garmin watch beeping at me let me know it was time to run. So I did, even though it was a very slow run at times. 
  • Handheld water bottle. Heather and I both got these towards the end of our training and it was SUCH A GOOD DECISION. I used my personal water bottle on top of stopping at almost every water station. 
  • Had my little girls waiting for me at the finish line. It was pretty strong motivation to know that my two daughters were waiting at the finish line for me. The faster I finished, the faster we could get them out of the cold! 
Speaking of the finish line, I told my husband that if it was possible, I really wanted to cross the finish line with my daughter, Caroline. It was her 4th birthday and she always wants to "run with mommy." I ended up spotting Brad with the girls about 1/4 mile away from the finish line & ran towards them. We lifted Caroline over the barrier and set off running together. I probably could have completed the race under my 2:45 goal time if I had finished by myself, but this was SO MUCH BETTER. I had tears in my eyes the whole time. Caroline ran the entire 1/4 mile & was proud to accept my medal as we crossed the finish line. It was the sweetest thing ever. I hope someday she realizes what a proud moment that was for me -- she had no idea at the time. She was just set on getting that medal & then snatching up a free banana for her little sister. 

It was too cold for the girls to ditch their jackets at the race, but they were both sporting these super cute "Run Mommy Run" tees from littlemacboutique on Etsy!

So yeah. PR of 2:46:11. Got to cross the finish line with my birthday girl. I would say that equals a pretty good race! I absolutely loved the course & pray the keep it the same for next year. We got to see a lot of downtown Evansville, the Greenway (where I had trained) and ran right against the riverfront. And check out the hardware... I'm kind of in love with it.

I absolutely love the relief of not having to train anymore. I get to do whatever I want at the gym without any pressure from a training schedule. On Tuesday I tried a BodyPump class for the first time -- my friend had recommended it to me. Basically it's 60 minutes of weight training -- but in a comfortable, fun setting. I've always felt a little awkward lifting weights at the gym because I'm not 100% sure what I'm doing when my husband isn't there. I have a feeling this class is going to help with my confidence in that area. Bad part about BodyPump? It was so hardcore, I was sore for four freaking days! But I'm planning on going back next Tuesday & sticking with it!

My next race isn't until November 1st, when I'll be doing the Chilly Hilly 5K again. Here's my recap of last year's race -- it was definitely a challenge. I have to admit I'm doing it partially because of the free Columbia jacket... okay, that's a big part of it! ;) I'm also hoping to beat my time from last year of 47:04.

Thanks to everyone for all the support over this last round of training! Thankful it's over, but also looking forward to planning my spring races! Crazy how that works.... :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How A Mom of Two Does Breakfast Night + Krusteaz Giveaway

Long time, no blog - right?! I'm back at it after taking a few weeks off from the blogging scene. Good timing, too -- only 10 days left until the Evansville Half Marathon! Eek! I'll be sure to write up a full recap. Just to throw it out there, my goal time is 2:45, but I would be ecstatic to set a PR -- which would be anything faster than 2:52:50. Fingers crossed!

I've been trying something new these past few months: meal planning. I got a chalkboard decal for the fridge & I write our weekly menu on it. Somehow, I still hear the words "what are we having for supper?" come out of my hubby's mouth all the damn time. But, yeah. It's posted every week & I try my best to stick to it.

One of my go-to meals is breakfast food! This can be a variation of a zillion different things for us: pancakes, hash browns, scrambled eggs, biscuits, bacon, sausage, egg sandwiches - anything! So it leaves that night somewhat flexible for me & I like that. 

But since I have two toddlers, pancakes are a favorite. Hell, they're a favorite of mine, too! Tonight we had a breakfast night using Krusteaz products and it was delicious. The pancakes turned out light & fluffy -- something I usually don't get when I buy store brands. But it doesn't really matter what brand I buy, this is how preparing breakfast night usually goes in this house...

1. Start the bacon. Because my husband requires bacon every single time we have breakfast night. He's the only one in the house who eats it & we go through an entire package. You do the math on that one. 

By the way, do you guys know how to cook bacon in the oven? This was life changing for me since I'm usually doing 5201 other things in the kitchen. Getting splattered with hot bacon grease isn't exactly something I miss.

2. Ask my kids what they want in the pancakes. My 1-year-old: "cheese!" Your vote doesn't count, Reese. That sounds gross. My (almost) 4-year-old: "uhhh,. chocolate chips!" Check cabinets. Nope... nada. No chocolate chips. Why did I even ask them?! Crap. 

3. Attempt to calm Caroline as she throws a fit over the fact that she will be eating chocolate chip-less pancakes.

4. Consider going to Schnucks to get chocolate chips.

5. Realize that's just crazy. Veto that idea.

6. Pull out my box of Krusteaz Buttermilk Pancake Mix. Check back of box. Oh, thank God. All I need to add is water! That makes my life easier.

7. Go turn on Netflix in the living room for the girls, hoping to be able to cook in peace. 

8. Get the griddle started. I absolutely love my griddle! I can cook a billion pancakes on it at once. Or eggs. Or whatever. Not really sure I ever lived without it.

9. Run to the living room after hearing Caroline yell "MY ELBOW! MY ELBOW!" She's a tad dramatic. She was fine.

10. Check on the bacon. Needs a few more minutes. 

11. Start cutting strawberries to serve with the pancakes. My girls inhale strawberries! Hopefully that will help make up for the fact that we didn't have chocolate chips. 

12. Tend to Reese who runs in the kitchen saying "Pee! Pee! Pee!" This means she wants you to take her shorts & diaper off so she can sit on the potty for 5 minutes, do nothing, get up and pee in a random part of the house. That's always fun. 

13. Check on bacon. Almost done.

14. Find phone charger. Phone just died. Why do I let the battery get so low?! Ugh. 

15. Prepare a sippy cup of juice, at Princess Caroline's request.

16. Get one for Reese because she must have everything her big sister does. 

17. Prepare pancake batter & start them on the griddle. 

18. Go back in the living room & turn on the next episode of Super Why. 

19. Flip pancakes. Make a couple cute heart-shaped ones for the girls. After that, I just recklessly sling pancake batter onto the griddle. 

20. Listen to Reese scream "Apple! Apple! Apple!" while pointing at the strawberries on the counter. Fruits can be confusing. Cut her one & pray she goes to entertain herself somewhere. 

21. Try to ignore the fact that Caroline just came in the kitchen and proclaimed "I don't want pancakes anymore. I want spaghetti." Sorry about your luck, kid. 

22. Bacon's finally done. Take it out. I seriously love the cold oven method. 

23. Finish up the pancakes & start making the girls' plates. Cute, right? 

24. Make my plate. Not as cute, but it sure was delicious. I've been eating peanut butter & syrup on my pancakes since high school. SO GOOD. 

25. Bag up portions for hubby's lunch/supper/whatever meal a night shifter eats at 11 p.m. is called.

Kitchen is closed, folks! I'll clean up later... hopefully. 

We've been really happy with all of the Krusteaz products we've tried so far! Their blueberry muffin mix is to die for. They include a can of real blueberries with the mix & that totally makes a difference! And here's a picture of Reese enjoying some Krusteaz Beligan waffles last week. She's definitely a fan! 

And now, the best part! Krusteaz has offered to send one lucky reader a Breakfast Night gift pack! They'll receive a Buttermilk Pancake Mix, a Blueberry Pancake Mix, a Belgian Waffle Mix, a Wild Blueberry Muffin Mix & some great coupons!

Just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below to enter! I'll announce the winner in one week. Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(I received free products from Krusteaz in return for this review. All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own.) 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Quest Protein Chips Review & Training Update

Sorry for the lack of posts! No excuses - I just haven't felt that much in my life is blog-worthy lately!

Still chugging along in my training for the Evansville Half Marathon on October 4th. I signed up for a series of warm-up runs, with the 10K already under my belt with a time of 1:15:05. I was very happy with that! The 15K warm up run is on September 6th. 

The biggest thing I'm doing differently in my training this time is the fact that I'm actually cross training! We joined our local YMCA last month & I absolutely love it. I've been doing strength training 2-3x a week & have been taking advantage of their treadmills for some of my short training runs. 

Diet-wise, things are about the same. I try to eat healthy about 75% of the time and still allow myself some cheat meals. I'm still hovering around 175 pounds -- which is so annoying since I was down to 167 earlier in the year. I know they say it's hard to lose weight when you're training for a long race, but man it sure would be nice to see the scale start moving.

I do know that it's important to increase your protein intake during training, so that's been a priority of mine. And when I heard that Quest Nutrition was going to start making protein chips I jumped for joy! Seriously. I'm obsessed with their protein bars -- so much so that I've been ordering a new box almost every payday!

 My husband's favorite is their new Cookies & Cream. It is pretty delicious -- there are huge chunks of Oreo-like cookies in it. My current favorite is their White Chocolate Raspberry. If you're Quest bar virgin, heat it up in your for 8-10 seconds before eating. You can thank me later. 

Anyway, the chips. There are three flavors: BBQ, Sea Salt & Cheddar and Sour Cream. 

You can't open the bag and dive in expecting normal chips. These things are actually healthy, so they obviously don't taste just like your bag of greasy Lay's (yum). The Quest chips are kind of really airy baked chips? That's the best way I can describe them.

They're packed with 21 grams of protein & only 120 calories per bag. That's a damn good ratio in my book. 

And the flavor is definitely there! I personally like the sea salt flavor the best, but all 3 are delicious. You can buy individual bags on their website or get an 8 pack for $16.75, which is the best deal. They're too expensive for us to keep in the house at all times, but they're definitely something I'll order occasionally along with my beloved Quest bars! 

My training plan has me doing a 9 miler this weekend, so that's my next challenge. I'm honestly not as nervous about this half marathon as I was during my training in the spring. After completing the Hoosier Half, I now know that my body has the ability to run 13.1 miles. Pretty slowly, but I'm capable. Hopefully that knowledge will help carry me through the rest of my training & to the finish line at the Evansville Half. 

Happy running, everyone! 

(Disclaimer: I was provided free products from Quest Nutrition in exchange for my review. All opinions are 100% my own.)