Thursday, April 30, 2009

Setting the Bar Low

In 2 days I will run my 9th Indianapolis Mini-Marathon. I love running the Mini. It is actually the largest half marathon in the U.S. (I Indiana, can you believe it?!) with over 35,000 runners.

My favorite part of the race is when we get to run the 2 miles around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I grew up going to the race every Memorial Day weekend, so it's exciting to run on the same track that racers like Mario Andretti, Danica Patrick, and many others have driven. (Note, I am not featured in the photo below. I'm pretty sure these guys would have kicked my ass).

I found a website that listed all of my past times, which was kind of fun. Back in '97 and '98, we didn't even chips.....whew, I am old. :-) It's interesting to see how I was "stuck" for 5 years with about the same pace - and this is without a Garmin or really paying much attention to my pace.

1997: 2:21:44
1998: 2:20:31
1999: 1:55:23
2001: 1:55:48
2002: 1:57:15
2003: 1:54:35
2004: 1:54:37
2005: 1:46:37

The first time I ran the Mini I was 16 - a young pup! I made the mistake of under training (note to self: a 7 mile run is NOT long enough when training for a half-marathon), and got a stress fracture as a result. Live and learn!

The last time I ran the Mini I PR'd (is that a verb? I made it one). I'm not expecting to PR this year, since I'm not nearly in the shape I was then. But it made me think about what my goal time will be. Usually for races, and I think with a lot of things I do, I set the bar low. I guess I do this so that I will not disappoint myself if I don't succeed. I remember doing this when I was in school, too. I would HOPE for an A, but expect a B. In my head I always have my ideal goal, but I don't let myself focus on that too much for fear of letting myself down. For example, when I ran my 15-K a few weeks ago, my goal was under 80 minutes. But deep, deep down, I knew I really wanted to get around 75 minutes.

With that said, my "low" goal this year for the Mini is 1:55 and under. My "ideal" goal is 1:50. And I'm going to really try to NOT beat myself up if I don't achieve my ideal goal. After all, this isn't the Olympics, and I ain't no Kara Goucher. :-)

What about you? When you have an event coming up, do you set your bar high? Low? Or do you just sit and drink at it?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break My Stride

This Saturday night, I’m going to a party for one of my friends. The weather is supposed to be perfect, and I’m excited to see my friend and her family. However, my stomach is in knots because a girl I know will be there (actually, I used to be friends with her), and she makes me nervous.

I can’t explain it. I’m such a people pleaser, and I get incredible anxiety if I think someone doesn’t like me or is mad at me. Short story long: this girl (we’ll call her “J”) and I used to be friends, and now she is very condescending and snotty towards me. In short, she makes me feel bad about myself.

I think we’ve all been in this situation (or maybe it’s just melodramatic ole’ me), when we’ve had to go to an event where we know we’ll see someone we don’t necessarily want to see. Weddings are a big one for me – why do so many of my exes insist on being invited to the same weddings as me? lol.

Whenever I’m feeling anxious about a situation such as the party this weekend, or anything really, sometimes my anxiety manifests itself through my eating. I hate that it does, when really I should just take a walk, meditate, or call a friend when feeling stressed. But eating cookie dough is easier. ;-)

I’ve been eating so well the past few months; why should I let the presence of someone else dictate my eating this week? Exactly. It’s a hard habit to break because I’ve been using food as my emotional outlet (under eating/overeating/binging and purging) for years. But I’m challenging myself to NOT let this stress get to me.

How about you? How do you deal with stress and upcoming events? Ever tried to hide from an ex in a conga line at a wedding?

Check out Daily Good's Bob's Red Mill Giveaway!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Down on the (Southaven) Farm

I was SUPER excited when I won my very first contest and received these last week from the lovely Sara!

There are 5 baking mixes from Southaven Farm. Of COURSE the Cinnamon Baking Mix jumped out at me first.

What I absolutely love about these is that they are SO EASY to make - and they give you suggestions on the back of the mix for 3 various ways to use the mix. My family was getting together on Saturday to work at my house, so the least I could do was feed 'em some of this loveliness, right?

And....voila! This was PERFECTION. Incredibly moist and tasted fantastic! I'm so excited to try the other mixes. Next time, I'm thinkin' either pancakes or muffins.

Thanks again so much, Sara!

And don't forget to check out:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Three Years Ago....

...was one of the best days of my life. Maybe the best so far.

It was always my dream since I started running at age 16 to a. run a full marathon and b. qualify for the Boston. I ran my first full marathon when I was 24, with a time of 3:58:38. To qualify for the Boston at my age/gender, I had to complete a full marathon in less than 3:40. I knew I had my work cut out for me! But qualifying for the Boston was not something I wanted to do by a certain age - it was something I wanted to do at SOME point in my life.

Just before my 25th birthday, I ran the Cleveland marathon. My training went really well, and I even cut down to a 4 day/week program because I did a lot of cross training. I was in a zone that day, and when I crossed the finish line with a time of 3:35:42, I could hardly believe it. It's like someone could have told me I just won American Idol - I really was in SUCH SHOCK!

On April 17, 2006, I finished the Boston Marathon. FINISHED being the operative word. It was the toughest physical thing I have ever, ever done. I live in NO HILL LAND. We consider highway overpasses "hills". While I did the little hill training that I could, nothing could have prepared me for Heartbreak Hill. (I always thought of Heartbreak Hill as being ONE hill - it is actually 5 miles uphill! Heartbreak Hill was the last hill around mile 20. It is also where I wished to curl up into a ball and be taken away on a stretcher).

My goal during the Boston was the exact same that I have had for all of my races - to not stop running. While I did have to wait 2 minutes to potty around mile 14, I am proud to say I didn't stop running the whole way. My friends and family back home were also tracking me live, and this gave me extra determination to NOT STOP. I finally crossed the finish line with a time of 3:52:57, and a volunteer promptly asked me, "Miss, would you like a wheel chair?" I must not have looked that great. ;-)

(Signing my name by my bib number - 12626)

(Recovering at the finish line - I was freeeeezing. No wheel chair required.)

My dad made the trip with me, having been a runner for 35+ years himself! He dropped me off at the start line and actually managed to find me 2 different places along the course. I cannot explain how proud I was of myself knowing my dad was so proud of me. I think this is something many daughters strive for, and it meant so much more knowing my dad was a runner and knew how hard I'd worked. I truly have the best father in the world!

(Me somewhere around mile 20)
(Celebrating that night at dinner - of course I had pasta)

Thanks for letting me relive my memory for a little bit. While I would LOVE to be Boston bound again at some point in my life, I am proud of myself for achieving the goal I had set for myself. Good luck to all the runners out there today - you deserve to throw back a beer (or two or three) tonight. :-)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Just Chillin'

I am realizing that I eat a lot of soups and stews - is that horrible? I guess I like them because they are a. great for leftovers and b. super easy to make.

I found this recipe for Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili and, given I love both SPs and BBs, I wanted to try it out.
Like WHOA. This stuff was awesome! I am a huge fan of cilantro + lime + cumin (always feel dirty typing that), and they added a great flavah to the mix.

In running news, my half-marathon is two weeks from tomorrow! I'm so excited - I feel like it's my first one. I'm nervous about my time, but that's a whole other post.

Sorry to be blah blah boring - hope you all enjoy your weekends!! Anyone doing anything fun? I have an 11 miler tomorrow (wahoo! bring on the carbs) and my family is coming to "help out" with my landscaping and some house projects. (I realize my age in typing out that sentence, moreso because it's exciting to me...hmm). I plan on ordering, eating pizza and directing them. lol. Just kidding - I'll at least pick up a paintbrush. ;-)

Don't forget to check out:

Heather's Stonyfield contest!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Cottage Cheese Roast

I really don't LOVE to cook. I love to BAKE. (That may or may not have something to do with testing the dough and or batter at any given time during the baking process). But one of the things I DO love about cooking is the chance to find a delicious new recipe. I'm not adventurous at all when it comes to eating, but I have been since I've focused on eating more home cooked meals and no mo' frozen dinnahs.

So I saw this recipe for Cottage Cheese Roast - sounds nast, right? But I LOVE cottage cheese. I love corn flakes. I love roast. So there ya go. I modified the recipe by omitting the oil and walnuts, and I also added shredded spinach.

The result:

Looks pretty tasty, right? Of course I expected nothing but perfection after reading reviews like, "This was just as all the five-star reviewers described: Absolutely delicious and loved by every member of my family, including my meat-loving husband who didn't realize it was meatless. Can't wait to make it again and again!"

Normally I find the reviews on to be fairly accurate, but WHOA BETTY, this didn't deserve the 4.5/5 stars that it received! Maybe it was the omission of the oil? Addition of the spinach? The cook? I don't know. I did finally think to add ketchup to the leftovers as I ate it (I don't waste food! Unless it takes like poo.) The ketchup made it better, but I probably won't make this again.

Oh, well. Better luck next time!

Have you ever tried a recipe/combination that sounded completely disgusting, but tastes great? I get weird looks at restaurants if I put ketchup on baked potatoes ('it's like a big french fry!' I tell people. But still the weird looks.), but it is EXCELLENT.

Friday, April 10, 2009

New Things: Almond Butter and a New Quinoa Recipe

I had to try it. And BOY am I glad I did!

Now, I had every intention of purchasing BARNEY BUTTER - I even made a special trip to the Fresh Market to get some. Wouldn't you know as I was unloading my groceries that night I noticed ONE thing that I forgot? lol. I do that sometimes. Okay, a lot of times. Anywho, thankfully Miss MaraNatha came to my rescue at my normal grocery store.

WOW!! Is all I can say. This is SO very yummy. I love my PB, but this is nice to change things up a bit. It's sweet, too, and perfect with vanilla yogurt/fruit (sounds weird, but YUM!) or shmeared on a sandwich thin. I still want to try Barney Butter, though. Really I just like the name "Barney Butter." But I would like to give it a shot.

Since my new found love of quinoa, I was *tipped off* to this recipe on Wiggs website, The Beholder. Quinoa-camole. YUM!!! I added lotso cilantro (oh, how I love thee) and this was just absolutely perfect. And cherry tomatoes? I love you gals, too. Thanks, Wiggs! This will definitely be reappearing soon.

Well, we made it through another week...I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend (and Happy Easter if you celebrate)! The Easter Bunny still comes to my parent's house for me. Yeah, I know. But I'm not trying to stop him! (Her?)
Happy Friday!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reason No. 328 NOT to Run in the Dark


I am a clutsy girl. I run into things, I fall down, and sometimes people might think I'm drunk when I'm 100% completely sober. So as I was running the other morning and totally BIT IT on the sidewalk, it really shouldn't have come as a surprise. Thankfully, no one was around to see the comical event (unlike when I fell on the treadmill at the gym. Yep, it was just as embarrassing as you think). If you run, have you ever fallen during a run? Or do you fall when you are walking? Please make me feel better here, folks.
Let's also say that doing Level 2 of The Shred that night was NOT a great idea. (Hello, plank jacks). Speaking of Level 2, I definitely agree that it is much harder than Level 1 (duh, Holly!). Surprisingly it's the cardio that is more challenging than the strength - I thought it'd be the other way around. My FAVORITE part is towards the end, when Jillian yells, "I WANT YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE GOING TO DIE." It just makes me giggle. Love you, Jill.

Thank you for all of your sweet comments about my run! They all made me feel so good, and it's so fun to share this stuff with you guys. You made my day!

And don't forget to check out The Hungry Yogini's Fage Giveaway!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mission Complete

Well, I finished my 15-K - and my hip feels great! :D

Pre-race pic: (excuse my pasty self and my weird eyes...I think they look different colors or one looks really large. Hmmm.)
I'd never raced in pants before, but when I found out it was 40 degrees this morning, pants it was. I also had to chug-a-lug this guy before I got out of my car. No vodka was added, that I can assure you.

I know, I know....aspartame, yuck yuck yuck. But, it's kind of a ritual of mine to have one before each race and before my long runs. I really feel like they make me run faster...maybe it is just in my head? Either way, it's my one guilty pleasure and I'm stickin' to it!
I started out my first mile a little fast for me (8:00), but I was all amped up (see above pic) and really didn't want to slow down. My pride takes over during a race, and I really have to force myself to slow down. It's hard to do because who likes it when people pass them, ya know?
I picked 3 girls to 'follow' in the beginning, but they all took off between miles 3 and 5. Lucky for me, I found a hot firefighter (or a cute guy just wearing a firefighter t-shirt, either way, it works for me here) and followed him to mile 8. I told myself I was going to pick it up during the last mile, and I sprinted the last 0.3 miles of the race. And guess who I passed? 2 of the 3 girls from the beginning. It made me feel a lot better knowing that I'd saved my energy for the end. I did feel like I was going to puke for a second, which I actually thought was funny because I just commented on Kelly's blog that I am not a post-race puker. I think God was just testing me?
Here are my official stats:

time: 1:15:14
pace: 8:06
It feels SO good to have met my goal!!! This whole day I've been a bit euphoric, because not only 6 months ago I couldn't even run one mile because of my hip. So for any of you who are injured, have been injured, or will get injured in the future: don't ever give up hope that you can get back out there! It sounds incredibly cheesy, but so many people tried to get me to give up running. It is such a passion of mine, though, and I was determined to hit the pavement again. I'm starting to sound like a serious after-school special, so I will stop. :-)
I hope you all had a wonderful Saturday!

Friday, April 3, 2009


Inspired by reading about Heather's yoga journey, I decided to give yoga a shot after a 3ish year sabbatical. I'd taken yoga for about a year and LOVED it; however, the $$ factor came into play when I started to save for my house. I decided to do a few walk-in classes at a studio close to where I live, just to test the waters again. I reallyreally want to do Bikram, however, I don't think it's offered where I live (we always get things about 5 years behind everyone else, so....I'm expecting it to come in the next 3 years). lol. Also, in coming back from my injury I made my body a promise: I resolved to take better care of my body to prevent further injury, and that means more varied workouts (not JUST running!), more stretching, and YOGA.

The class I went to was a basic Hatha/Vinyasa class. I absolutely loved the teacher - she was incredibly sweet and SO ripped! I felt surprisingly strong in most of the poses (thanks, Jill) and left feeling verrrrrry refreshed. Although I love my cardio, I love the peaceful feeling I get after leaving yoga.

My 15-K is tomorrow - yay! The forecast says it will be 61 and sunny. Although I'd prefer clouds (for running only!), I am SO glad it's going to be dry. I'm a bit nervous, but my goal is to finish in under 80 minutes. Hopefully I can do it, but more importantly I don't want to push myself too hard and get hurt.


Check out these giveaways!

- Meghann's Erin Baker's Giveaway!

- Fit Feet's Southaven Farm Giveaway!

- Lucky Taste Bud's Zoe's Giveaway!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Things: Tofu and a Quaker Show Down

I took the plunge and finally tried tofu. Did anyone ever read the Babysitter's Club books? Remember Dawn was such a health foodie and she ate tofu? I remember vividly thinking, Ugh - what a disgusting sounding name for a (probably) disgusting food. (I was, like 8 years old, and if it wasn't pasta or pizza I probably wasn't eating it). Anywho, Dawn would be so proud of me today.
Because I could eat quiche for each and every meal of my life, when I find this recipe for Eggless Tofu Spinach Quiche I decided to give it a whirl. I thought it would be a nice way to ease me into the world of tofu.

I just finished a long run when I made this and think I dove into it too quickly. ;-) It wasn't really set up and.....I wasn't so sure on the flavah. I gave it try no. 2 after it'd been in the fridge overnight, and I'm so glad I did! I really liked it. Now, I don't know if I would make this for other tofu virgins (or people who don't like tofu) because I can definitely taste it. I want to try baked tofu next, because I try to be equal opportunity like that.

I was also inspired by Heather to try the "other" oats by the cute, old Quaker guy.

Now, as a COH (creature of habit), I have become just a TAD obsessed with eating my oatmeal in the morning (+ cinnamon + nanner + PB thankyouverymuch). But the OB is gonna give the OM a run for its money! The best part is that I had it at 9:00 a.m. and it kept me full until almost 2! Yow.

Last but not least, I needed something chocolately at the store and snagged these babies:
Simply Well? Simply DIVINE. These were so yummy, and the ingredients/nutritional stats weren't that bad, either:

My ONLY qualm with these is that it left me wanting more. (Aren't you always supposed to leave them wanting more?) I did love them, but not sure if I'd get them again because it definitely set off all 15 of my sweet teeth.

What about you? What is your favorite chocolately snack? I gave up candy for Lent (which is a great thing and maybe it'll be permanent!) so, please, help a sistah out.