Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ah, Running

First, I apologize for not posting last night.  As I (think I) mentioned in a previous post, I'm not going to stress myself out about posting daily.  I work a lot, I volunteer a lot, and I am just busy a lot.  And, when I'm not busy, I kind of want to hang out with The Boy.  So, that's what I did last night.

When I say I'm not going to stress about posting every day, though, I am actually going to try and post a few times a week.  No more three-month sabbaticals for this girl.

One reason I didn't post yesterday was because I was so darn busy working out and eating healthfully.  Oh yeah, get at me.

I started the day off with a delicious Almond Joy smoothie, courtesy of the Abs Diet.

Speaking of the Abs Diet, I think I may have given the cookbook some love:

How much longer do I have before it falls apart all together?

For a morning snack, I brought a small granny smith apple and a piece of string cheese.  (It's been a while since I've had string cheese, and whoa: it's so darn good.)

For lunch, I ate Amy's Organic Tortilla Casserole and Black Bean Bowl.  It was soooooo good.  And, despite the sodium content, pretty darn healthy for a frozen meal.  I do believe I'll be eating this again.

For an afternoon snack, I had half of a Fiber One bar.  I swear: those things are candy in disguise.  I just wasn't super hungry and didn't want to get stuffed before my workout.

Yes, I said workout.

Since it was 85 degrees below zero (or, okay, like a 15-degree windchill or something), I headed to the Y for the first time in months and hopped on the treadmill.  I was mildly dreading the run since a.) it had been 49 days since my last run, and b.) it was inside on a treadmill (blech).

However, I cranked out two miles fairly easily.  And, I even chatted with an SRDM friend for quite a while without panting like a dead dog.  (I am fully aware that dead dogs don't pant.  It just sounds good.  Lay off.)

Also, I loved the Galloway method.  I did three minutes jogging, one minute fast walking, and felt great.

I know I'm not fast.  Shut up.
After my run, I headed to the mats to crank out 25 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, two 30-second planks, and 25 squats.  All of them (except for the sit-ups) were tough, but I did 'em!  And I'm feelin' 'em today!

I headed home and whipped up a delicious dinner: homemade Chipotle burrito bowls, courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats.  One of my vegetarian friends was coming over for a meeting, and this was a super easy dish to make for both vegetarians and meat-eaters.

I enjoyed a glass of wine with KB, and I'm not going to lie: when The Boy and I were watching TV, I may have had some popcorn.  But, at least it was popcorn, not flaming hot Cheetos.

Today, I made something new for breakfast: the French Toast Breakfast Scrambler, courtesy of Carrots 'n Cake.

It sounds crazy: essentially, it's a banana and some spices mixed in with scrambled eggs.  

But seriously.  Make it.  Tomorrow.

It was yummy, and it kept me full until lunch - which was good since the apple I had brought for a snack made it about two bites until I decided that it was absolutely disgusting.

For lunch, I had a leftover burrito bowl, and I'm pretty sure it was just as good today as it was last night.  

Side note (since I just remembered): I always have a mug of coffee in the morning, and lately I've been bringing my go cup of water with Crystal Light packets.  Interestingly, teaching is not the most convenient profession for using the restroom since I can't just leave a classroom of 30 14-year-olds by themselves.  I'm pretty sure I got some good workouts sprinting across the school during our five-minute passing periods.

But I digress.

After school, I ran some Christmas errands!  Yes, I am absolutely obsessed with the holiday this year.  It's always been my favorite holiday, but for some reason, I am way more excited than normal this year.  All I want to do is buy stuff for people, listen to Christmas music, and wrap presents.  In fact, as we speak, this is going on:

The Pandora Christmas station is wonderful.
I even listened to Christmas music on my run this evening.  I mean, nothing says "work it harder" than O, Holy Night.

Speaking of running, I actually ran outside today.  My errands took a little longer than I anticipated, and since I had to go to Walgreen's to pick up some photos, I decided to run there as part of my two-mile run.  It wasn't the greatest idea since it was super dark outside (and uphill the whole way back), but it was totally worth it to be outside rather than on the treadmill.  And even though it was pretty chilly, I was drenched in sweat when I got home.

Unfortunately, that meant that I hopped in the shower prior to doing my sit-ups, push-ups, planks, and squats.  Oh well.  I'm pretty sore anyway.  And, frankly, I think my hip flexors need a bit of a break.  They're pretty sore, and since I've had problems with them in the past, I'd better take it somewhat easy.

I currently have Chili Mack with Jack cooking on the stove, and I'm waiting for The Boy to get home from work.  What do you think the chances are of convincing him to watch a Christmas movie tonight?  :)

Also, I wanted to warn you: tomorrow my workout schedule says that I'm going to Y-Pump at 5:10 a.m.  I'm already not planning on that, as I have had two really crappy nights of sleep, and I think the extra 90 minutes will be really beneficial tomorrow.  We'll see if I can squeeze something in between school and my evening obligations.  

No promises.

Peace out.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Back. Again.

I swear: I was fully intending to blog regularly this time around.  But, I guess when you head to Vegas, quit CrossFit, spend Thanksgiving in Omaha, eat too much junk food, and get super busy at work, blogging kind of takes a back burner.

And, I've felt pretty crappy in regards to self-esteem lately.  (I'd like to give a shout-out to Cheetos and no exercise and five pounds of weight gain.)  A lack of self-esteem does not leave for positive entries on a healthy-living blog.

However, I have decided to take matters into my own hands and get back to blogging - and healthy living.

And I'd like to tell you how I plan on making that happen.

First, I have planned a hugely busy (in regards to races) spring.  In a matter of five weeks, I will be tackling three big races: the Drake Relays Half Marathon, the Lincoln Half Marathon, and Dam to Dam (20k).  Leading up to that, I have three smaller races planned: the Red Flannel Run (5k), Loop the Lake (10k), and the Glow Run (un-timed 5k).  I will also likely do Gladiator Assault again (5-mile trail run with over 30 crazy obstacles).

Interestingly, I have not run at all since the marathon.  Two months ago.

So, I put together a fairly structured exercise schedule that starts tomorrow and that I will be sharing with you weekly:

  • Monday: run two miles
  • Tuesday: run two miles
  • Wednesday: Y-pump
  • Thursday: run two miles
  • Friday: Y-pump
  • Saturday: run three miles
  • Sunday: yoga
In addition, every day I will be doing 25 sit-ups, 25 push-ups, two 30-second planks, and 25 squats.

I am going to try really, really hard to stick with this, and rest assured, I will post here how it's going.

Second to exercise, I am planning to eat much healthier.  This means that when The Boy is enjoying Cheetos and Oreos while we're watching TV together, I will not.  Rather, I will eat healthier options: pretzels, light popcorn, apple slices, etc.  

Again, in order to stick to healthy-eating, I am working on weekly meal plans.  Those have worked tremendously in the past, and although they take a lot of time up-front, they make meals during the week so much easier.  Like before, I am hoping to follow the Abs Diet as closely as possible.  It just makes sense.

So, here's this week's plans:
  • Monday: 
    • Almond Joy smoothie
    • Apple + hard-boiled egg
    • Healthy Choice rice bowl (only because I will not have leftovers for lunch)
    • Fiber One bar
    • Chipotle rice bowl
  • Tuesday:
  • Wednesday:
    • Virgin Cabo Daiquiri
    • Apple + hard-boiled egg
    • Chili Mac with Jack
    • Minimal consumption of junk food
      • Holiday social at work
      • Potluck for bowling league
  • Thursday:
    • Two-ingredient pancake
    • Apple + string cheese
    • Amy's rice bowl (again, only because I will not have leftovers for lunch)
    • Fiber One bar
    • Sausage, grape, and pasta skillet
  • Friday:
    • Almond Joy smoothie
    • Apple + hard-boiled egg
    • Sausage, grape, and pasta skillet
    • Fiber One bar
Like before when I was so successful with healthy eating, I am planning on logging each and every morsel with My Fitness Pal.  Again, it. just. makes. sense.

I am not doing this "crazy" diet and exercise plan in order to lose weight.  I am simply doing it to feel better.  It's a wonder what that can do.

See you tomorrow!  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blogging en Espanol

Just kidding.  I can't write a whole post in Spanish.  Yet.

I know you're all wondering whether or not I was able to crawl out of bed at 4:15 this morning to get my butt kicked at CrossFit.

Go ahead and guess.

If you guessed "yes," you'd be wrong.  It turns out that 4:15 is quite early, especially when the windchill is -800 degrees.

So, instead of working out early, I slept in, stuffed my face with Bruegger's, and went to school.

For lunch, my student teacher and I ordered sushi.  I had a cup of miso soup, two pieces of nigiri, and a house roll.  Hello, sodium!

After stealing several pieces of chocolate from my neighboring teacher, I stayed at school until shortly after 4:00 when I headed home to change and chill for five minutes before trekking to CrossFit.

Today's WOD was crazy.  It was five rounds for time of the following: 15 kettle bell swings, 10 squat-clean-thrusters, and 15 burpees.  When I saw the WOD posted on Facebook last night, I about died.  




But, I managed to "get 'er done" in 22:32.  Since I'm still a newbie and not using the full weights yet, I did 18 pounds for the kettle bell swings and 15 (the bar) for the squat-clean-thrusters.  I think I could've done a bit more for both (especially if we were only doing one or two rounds), but despite the lowered weight, I was dying.

And, drenched in sweat, I headed to Spanish class.  (Did I tell you I'm taking Spanish?  I figure that since The Boy comes from a Spanish-speaking family, I'd better learn the language if I want to communicate effectively.  Also, I live in the United States: it's a pretty important language to know.)

Anyway, halfway through Spanish class, I inhaled a Palmer's salad and a cup of mixed fruit (grapes, cantaloupe, kiwi, apples, honeydew, etc).

(Side note: this weekend, The Boy and I were discussing things that really irk us, specifically table manners.  My major pet peeves were people who eat with their elbow on the table, people who eat before everyone's been served and/or seated, and people who don't take their hat off at the table.  The Boy's was people who eat too fast.  Turns out he does not appreciate the speed-eating that I so greatly honed after years of having no more than 10 minutes to eat lunch at work.  Oops.)

(Another side note: tonight wrapped up the eight-week Spanish course.  While I'm pretty much the rock star, teacher's pet student in class, I feel like the only thing I'm really good at Spanish-wise is talking about my cats.  Charlie es un gato gordo flojo, y Chloe es gris con lineas negras.  Charlie y Chloe son mis gatos.  You're welcome.)

(Yet another side note: I recently got an iPad 2 and realized that it had a camera.  I took three pictures "just to test it out," and I bet you'll never guess what the subjects of those photos are.)

And back to the real blog.

You may have noticed my horrible diet choices scattered throughout this (lengthy) blog post.  I tell you: I have been eating so horribly lately.  First, I am absolutely famished, likely due to the crazy weight-lifting I've been doing lately (and probably because my food choices haven't been the most protein-laden options).  Second, I have been horrible at snacking.  I really haven't been much of a snacker in the last couple of years, but The Boy likes munchies - specifically Flaming Hot Cheetos and Sour Patch Kids (okay, maybe I'm the one who's partial to the SPK).  If we're chilling in front of the TV and he's eating Flaming Hot Cheetos, I probably have my fair share, too.

This needs to end, people.  Now.

Because I'm going out of town shortly and don't want to buy a bunch of perishable things that will likely go to waste (and because I'm going to Vegas and want to eat good food - and then am going to Omaha to chow down on Thanksgiving grub), I have decided a few things:
  1. Operation MyFitnessPal will resume on Monday, November 26th.  I will be documenting - religiously - every morsel that I eat.
  2. I need to drink approximately 18 more gallons of water each day than I already do.
  3. I need to buy healthier "snack" options - which is why I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from Spanish class.
I bought two things.  First, I bought a few chocolate and peanut-butter Clif Builder bars to take to school (and Vegas) with me.  I talked to my sister-in-law on the way out to CrossFit, and she swears by these.  I'm excited to try 'em.

Second, I bought things to make a trail mix:

One of my friends (hey, Emmy Jean!) has made this the two times I've been over to her house in the last couple of weeks.  It's raw almonds, craisins, and chocolate chips.  I threw in an entire bag of Blue Diamond almonds, a whole bag of craisins, and about half a bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  It is absolutely perfect - and mostly healthy - and just enough "snackie" to make me feel indulgent.

So, while I wait a while longer to pick up The Boy from the airport, I'm going to munch on some trail mix.

And just so you know, the plan is to wake up at 4:15 tomorrow for a morning CrossFit session.  Who wants to make a wager on whether or not I can do it?

Peace out, yo.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


So, I may have missed a few days of blogging.  While I normally would feel super bad about this, I only feel mildly negligent, as I have decided that if I stress about blogging every. single. day., I will no longer enjoy it as much as I do.

Therefore, I will blog when I get the chance.

The primary reason I have not blogged since Tuesday is that I have been just so darn tired!  We had our second fundamentals class for CrossFit on Wednesday, and I cannot even remember all of the exercises that we did.  I know there were some Olympic lifts in there, but until I get the lingo down, I can't really tell you exactly what those were.

We also did our first Workout of the Day (WOD), although I think it was a bit abbreviated because we were all new.  Again, I cannot remember what exactly that workout was, but I do know that I beat The Boy, so that felt pretty good.

(I mean, not that I'm competitive or anything...)

(And let's not mention the fact that I was using way less weight than he was.)

On Thursday, we went to our first "real" CrossFit class.  We warmed up by completing a boot camp workout.  (Yes, that's how crazy CrossFit is.  The saying, "Your workout is my warm-up" really is true.)  The warm-up included three rounds of 20 walking lunges, three rope progressions (lay down on the floor and pull yourself to standing - and lower yourself down - using the rope), and five wall-balls.

Following the warm-up, we practiced an exercise progression using PVC pipes.

Finally, we did the 12-minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) workout: 12 push jerks, ten box jumps, and eight pull-ups.  I did four complete rounds and then made it through all of the box jumps on the fifth.


I'm still hurting.

But maybe someday I can look like this.
On Friday, The Boy and I went on a date.  He'd been craving Joe's Crab Shack, so we went there for dinner (the first time I've been there in probably ten years).  It was pretty good, but definitely not my favorite seafood.  We also wanted to go see the new James Bond movie, but since we couldn't find a parking spot at the theater, we decided to head home for a night of board games, champagne, and movies.

And it was perfect.

Yesterday, I slept in and then headed to Walnut Woods State Park with BFF and her doggies.  It was so fun hiking through the woods and down to the river, and it was an absolutely beautiful day.  (But, 80 degrees in November?!  Really?!)

I had totally intended to be productive, but we then decided to go out to lunch, and while we were waiting for The Boy to join us, had a couple of margaritas, and then turned into an entire day of entirely too much fun and zero work.  (And it was wonderful - and so greatly needed.)

Today, however, I made up for it.  After dropping The Boy off at the airport, I cleaned the entire apartment.  I didn't just put stuff away, but I scrubbed the floors, scoured the countertops, dusted the shelves, threw loads of things away, scared kitties with the vacuum, and organized.

I am pooped.

And, since I'm planning on waking up super early to go to the 5:00 a.m. CrossFit class tomorrow, likely heading to bed in approximately three minutes.

Catch you tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

So. Many. Squats.

I bet you didn't think you'd see me back so soon, huh?  Well, glad I could prove you wrong.

Before I get to my daily run-down, I have to fill you in on what made me really want to start blogging again.  First, I straight-up missed it: writing is so darn calming.  I, along with all freelance writers, was let go from LivingSocial, and because of that, I really haven't had much of an excuse to write lately.  Therefore, I deemed blogging a must.  Second, I love reading blogs (especially my mama's and my sister-in-law's) but find that I don't do so nearly as much as when I write them.  Third, I want to get back to super healthy eating and exercising (aside from simply running a bazillion miles), and this is a good place to document all of that.

So, there you have it.

Back in July, I bought a LivingSocial for The Boy and I to join a CrossFit box for a month.  Last night we (and Mags!) had our first fundamentals class.

O. M. G.

This was just practice, friends.  We simply went through the motions.  We hardly worked out at all.

And I am dying.

We started the night by practicing good form for squats.  After air squats we moved to back squats, front squats, and overhead squats.  (If you're good at math, you'll know that that's a lot of squatting.)  After we were done squatting (for a second, at least), we practiced shoulder exercises: a shoulder press, a push press, and a split-jerk.  (Check out all the exercises here.)

Following practicing those exercises for approximately 15,000 times, we did some Tabata training (a H.I.I.T. workout).  It was an eight-minute session that included eight sets: 20 seconds of squatting, 10 seconds of rest, 20 seconds of push-ups, 10 seconds of rest.

Again: O. M. G.

After we wiped ourselves off the mat and managed to maneuver out to the car, we made it home, and The Boy cooked dinner:

(Quite possibly the worst food photo ever.  I was hungry and in a hurry.)
He whipped up some ah-maze-ing grilled cheese: mozzarella, avocado, and tomato.  (I believe he added salami to his.)  On the side, we shared some wild rice and chicken soup.  It was perfect.

Tonight, I made what will likely become a rotation in our weekly meals: homemade Chipotle burrito bowls, courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats:

(Again, not a great photo.  Lay off.)
Basically, we mixed some delicious rice with seasoned black beans, guacamole (that The Boy put together), salsa, and cheese.  Let me tell you how filling that meal was: neither of us was able to finish it.

We're heading back to CrossFit for our second fundamentals class tomorrow, but for tonight, my favorite boys (and girl, somewhere) are settling in to watch the election.

G'night, y'all!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Three-Month Recap

Nothing like a three-month hiatus, huh?

While I should not make excuses for a complete and utter lack of blogging, I am going to anyway.  After all, a list of excuses is a nice way to fill you in on what's been going on lately.  So, here goes:
  • First, I started August with a half marathon in Minneapolis.  I had a blast with the kids and other mentors at the Mall of America, laughed way too much while being smashed in the face with a gooey cookie at Buca di Beppo, and brought out my inner-kid when I slept on an air mattress in a church youth room.  Oh, and ran 13.1 miles for the third (official) time in my life.
  • After a few days of meetings for school, I headed to Cali.  I had an awesome time bumming around, running on the beach, and meeting The Boy's family and friends.
  • After about a week of sunshine, we drove halfway across the country, thereby crossing every single mountain in the entire United States.  Because we were also carting loads of belongings and heavy furniture, this was not an easy endeavor and took quite a bit of time - and gas.  At least it was a pretty trip with some fairly awesome company.
  • The day after we returned to the 515, school started.  Turns out that teaching is a fairly exhausting profession.  It's weird how quickly I forget - and then remember - that tiny fact.
  • After the first week of school, something amazing happened: I officially got a sister-in-law!  The wedding was absolutely beautiful, we had entirely too much fun the entire time, and I could not be happier that Aly is now "for real" stuck with us.
  • After the weekend in Omaha, I took a break from traveling for a while and instead focused on running.  First, I ran the Capital Pursuit 10-mile race; there was a lot of hurting going on, so that one wasn't too fun.  Second, I ran Des Moines' inaugural Color Run; aside from the -50,000,000 degree temperatures and the pre-race six-mile warm-up run, it was a lot of fun (likely because I was running with two of my favorite people).
  •  I was focused so much on running, in fact, that I finally ran a marathon.  I'm not sure I can do those 26.2 miles justice just yet, but suffice it to say that it was a pretty darn difficult race.  But, I finished.  :)
  • And, I just now realized (two weeks after the fact) that in addition to some new bling, I also got a pretty toenail.  And I love it.  You're welcome.

That's all I have for tonight.  It's been a long day, and I need to go crash.  But, hopefully you'll see me again tomorrow.

G'night, y'all!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Parable

I apologize for not blogging yesterday: it was an exhausting day - both physically and emotionally - and I just needed to crash.

Two friends and I left Des Moines at 7:00 a.m. to go to another friend's funeral.  Diane Ishmael, my practicum teacher in 2002 and my cooperating teacher in 2004, lost her battle with cancer.  During my 30-hour practicum with Diane, I immediately realized that she was a phenomenal teacher: she had hugely high expectations for her students, yet she had amazing relationships with them.  Despite her being a super strict teacher, all of her students loved and respected her.  When I received my student teaching placement in spring 2004, I was absolutely thrilled to discover that I'd be working with her in the fall.  That summer - and throughout the time I spent working with her - we developed a strong relationship, and I credit much of what I do today to how she taught me, influenced me, and supported me.

Throughout the last few months, Diane kept a Caring Bridge blog, and if you choose to read through it, you will see that she was the epitome of grace and poise while also proving to be a courageous, strong fighter.  I truly hope that when I am no longer needed on this earth that I can leave with as much bravery as she did.

Before I continue, let me offer you a piece of advice: always tell the people in your life how much they mean to you.  I was supposed to visit Diane on Saturday for her birthday party; we had communicated via Facebook in June that I was planning on attending, but since I received the actual invitation while I was in Denver and then got so busy afterward, I did not RSVP.  I let life get the best of me, and I did not talk to my friend before she left us.  And that devastates me.  Always, always, always tell your loved ones how much you care.

And after writing all of that, I am having a difficult time writing anything else.

So, I'll continue tomorrow.

Source: The Parable of Immortality

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Breather


I think one of my goals for this summer was to blog at least once a day, preferably more.  Perhaps I should've made the goal to blog once a month since that's what appears to be happening.

You know, for this being the first summer I have not worked, it has been by far my busiest.

I spent the first two weeks of June writing a grant for school, and then I headed to a conference in Iowa City for three-and-a-half days.  It was really, really fun: the conference was great, and I loved Iowa City.

Immediately upon my return, a friend came to visit - a friend who has since become my boyfriend!

(Can you believe it?!  Me neither.  And I could not be more excited.)

Anyway, he was here for a full week, and then I left for my soon-to-be sister-in-law's bridal shower and bachelorette party in Chicago.  It was a wonderful five days spent with my mom, my sister, my aunts, and Aly and her family and friends.

As soon as I returned from Chicago, I came down really hard with bronchitis - and who knows what else on top of it.  I was seriously out of commission for weeks.

I went to a two-day concert with my besties, and then we all headed to the Florida Keys for a week.  It was such an amazing vacation with my absolute bestest friends in the universe.

I wasn't even home 24 hours before I headed back to the airport - where I flew to Denver for a week for another conference.  It was my first "real" trip to Denver (other than one night in college for a concert), and it was a great time.  Denver is a pretty cool city.

This week I'm heading to NE Iowa for a funeral (awful, horrible, sad) and St. Paul for a half-marathon with my students.  And then I have one week before I fly out again - but this time to pick up someone special!  :)

And then - right after we get back - school starts!

Whew.  I'm exhausted just typing all of that!

So, let's move on to the meat of this post.

My brother's wedding is in exactly one month.  After trying on my bridesmaid's dress for the 8,000th time, I realized that I need to get my butt in gear.  My body is telling me that three weeks of abusing it with too much good food and tasty beverages and not enough running (bronchitis + altitude + humidity = not ideal) is not good.

(Oh, and now I have TWO weddings to prep for - congrats to my sister and her FIANCE!  Eeeeee!  So excited!)

I obviously have some sort of a workout program in place for the half-marathon that is in less than a week and the full marathon that is just two months away, but I decided I needed to add a bit to that.  So, I worked up an abs workout reminiscent of Fab Abs February and Mad Abs March.  Today, I did 45 sit-ups, 15 crunches, 10 push-ups, a 35-second plank, and a 15-second side plank on each side.  It wasn't nearly as horrible as I was anticipating.

Yesterday, I mapped out my week's meal schedule and hit up the grocery store for the first time since before Florida.

For breakfast today I had my favorite Abs Diet smoothie: the Virgin Cabo Daiquiri:

The combination of mango, banana, and strawberries is oh-so-tasty.

Because the recipe makes two servings, I usually sip on it all morning and count the calories as those for breakfast and my morning "snack."

For lunch, I whipped up a recipe I found and adapted from Pinterest: Southwestern Chopped Chicken Salad:

To adapt the recipe to make it healthier, I nixed the tortilla chips and the dressing and, to make it dressing-like, I added a couple spoonfuls of salsa.

It was a HUGE salad for only 440 calories.  In the future, I may only eat half a serving (I still have three servings in the fridge!) and accompany it with some bread.  For some reason - likely due to years of conditioning - my body just doesn't feel full unless it gets some solid carbs.  :)

To wash it all down, I had one of my new favorite drinks:

The Starbucks Refreshers are made with green coffee extract and offer a natural energy boost.  The Cool Lime Refresher that is made in the store is so, so, so delicious - it tastes just like a mojito!  But this Raspberry Pomegranate one is also super yummy.

For dinner, I whipped up a batch of another favorite Abs Diet meal: Chili Mac with Jack.

As usual, this was super good, and I now have three more servings to last my through the week.  I'm going to be eating this and salad all. week. long.  :)

Now, I'm watching the Olympics and relaxing a bit before (hopefully) turning in relatively early.  It's been so darn hot in Des Moines that I've been sleeping on my couch - closer to the air conditioner.  While my couch is ├╝ber comfortable, it still isn't the same as a bed - especially after a month.

Here's to cooler temperatures!

Peace out, yo.

Monday, June 4, 2012


Today was productive - but a little different than I had planned.

I woke up bright and early to go run with See-Us Run Des Moines.

For breakfast, I ate a Kind Bar.  Have you forgotten how much I loooooove those?

At practice, we ran one mile for a warm-up, and we followed that by three one-third mile loops with core and strength exercises after each third.  For example, we did burpees, supermans, push-ups, crunches, triceps dips, etc.  And then we ran one mile for a cool-down.  For those of you who are math-impaired, that was a total of three miles.

And it was tough today!  My muscles are still exhausted from Dam to Dam on Saturday, so I was moving pretty darn slowly.  Oh well.

I was planning on going to Y-Pump after the workout, but I had to stay a little after practice to meet with a Des Moines Register reporter who is going to have one of our kiddos blog about her experience training for the marathon.  I'm really excited to see how it turns out.  And don't worry: I'll totally hook y'all up with the link as soon as she's published.

So anyway, I was too late for Y-Pump, and since we had done some strength training at practice, I went home and did my abs exercises and ate some almonds and an apple.

I did not eat the bamboo - but how pretty is that?!  From a good friend on a bad day.  :)
After scarfing down my snack and taking a shower, I went back to bed.

And slept for three hours.

I must've needed the sleep.  (Shockingly, I'm absolutely drained right now, too.  I might go to bed before 9:00, and it's not even a school night!)

I woke up just in time to make lunch: the California sandwich, adapted from Ezra Pound Cake.

Make this.  Now.  It's sooooooo good and sooooooo filling.  I toasted some bread and topped it with a Greek yogurt and chive spread and a piece of pepper-jack cheese.  On top of that was a mixture of tomato, avocado, and cucumber.

It was absolutely delicious, and I'm excited to eat leftovers tomorrow.

I ran up to school for a quick errand and then headed out west for my last pre-paid massage.  After running that crazy race on Saturday, the massage was very much needed.  It was so relaxing, but I could also tell she really worked out the kinks (ouch) - especially in my upper back.  For some reason that is where I carry all my stress.  And, apparently there's been a lot of that lately!

Finally, at 3:15, I hit up Caribou for my productivity for the day.  The grant that I coordinate has a proposal due very, very soon, so I spent a few hours sipping on a white peach berry smoothie and crunching data.

When I reached somewhat of a stopping point, I headed home to whip up dinner: Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole, inspired by Iowa Girl Eats.

Again: go make this.  Now.

First, the portion sizes are huge for not a whole lot of calories (oh, because I substituted Greek yogurt for the sour cream).  Second, it is so freakin' good.

I suppose it's good that it's tasty since I'll be eating it for the rest of the week.  Oh, the woes of cooking for one.  :)

Tomorrow looks much like today did: practice with the kids followed by grant stuff.  And honestly, I think I'm going to be going to be shortly so that I can be well rested.

I am such a nerd.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Week Ahead

Before looking ahead at the coming week, I want to rewind to last night.  After I ran 12.4 miles and relaxed a bit, my mama came to town!

First, we had celebratory champagne with BFF, and then my mom and I headed to Americana for tapas and cocktails.  I was absolutely starving, likely because I did not refuel properly after running.  I inhaled a small pomegranate salad, and we split the scallop lollipops (duh) and the brie crostini.

Mmm, mmm, mmm.

After, to kill some time before our event, we drove a little of the half marathon route since she (and my sister and my aunt!) will be walking/running it in October.

And then we showed up to Jasper Winery for Uncork Your Passion, Planned Parenthood of the Heartland's annual event.  It was set up beautifully:

And I have decided that in a million years when I get married, I want it to be at this venue and with this minimalist decor - but probably some nicer chairs.  :)

Tangerine catered the event and had an amazing array of food.  Turns out we didn't even need the tapas from Americana.  There were sliders, Cuban sandwiches, fruit and veggies, different crostini options, Thai noodles, desserts galore, and more.

And...there was an open bar.

A dance party definitely happened.

I am so thankful my mom was able to attend this event with me.  Planned Parenthood is obviously something I wholeheartedly support, and I attribute so much of my passion for social justice, equality, and community involvement to my parents.

After we left Jasper Winery, we weren't done for the evening: we headed to - wait for it - Star Bar.  And of course, fueled by a glass of champagne, an Elderflower martini, and a few glasses of wine, I had to add to my cocktail attire - with my Dam to Dam medal.

Because you know what I am?  Classy.

We listened to live music and watched some hippies dance around for a while, and then it was time to head home.  After a nice chat on the living room floor (what?!), we headed to bed, only to wake up bright and early for breakfast at Waveland.

I love, love, love my mom and am so happy that she was with me this weekend.  I so wish we lived closer.

And now with absolutely zero transition, I bring you to my weekly meal and workout plan:

Creating this plan actually made me a bit sad.  One of my besties - Mags - left for Chicago this morning, and she's not going to be back until August.  She and I have dinner quite regularly during the week and have been working out together fairly often as well.  And now she's gone.  :(

I'll fill you in on my food plans day by day, but I thought I'd give you a preview of the weekly workouts:

Monday: running with the kiddos, likely about three miles, followed by Y-Pump and 20 reps of #1-5 of the Fitnessista's 10 Ways to Crunch.

Tuesday: running with the kiddos, likely a speed workout, followed by 20 reps of #6-10 of the Fitnessista's 10 Ways to Crunch.

Wednesday: Y-Pump, followed by 20 reps of #1-5.

Thursday: running with the kiddos, likely about three miles, followed by Y-Pump and 20 reps of #6-10.

Friday: spin class, followed by 20 reps of #1-5.

Saturday: running with the kiddos, likely about six miles, followed by 20 reps of #6-10.

Sunday: 20 reps of #1-5.

It seems ambitious, I know.  But I can.  And I will.

Best Dam Race

For 33 years, Iowa has sponsored the country's largest 20k: Dam to Dam.  It is a favorite race among many Iowa runners, and since this is the first year I participated, I would have to agree.

Before I get into the details of the race, let me tell you that I have gotten to be quite the pro at pre-race planning.  I mean, just check out the gear:

There is A LOT that goes into running: shoes with time chip, vaseline (that didn't seem to help, but I'll spare you those pictures, GU, ear buds, the backpack with number affixed for bag drop, the Garmin, blister-resistant socks, sports bra that actually holds the girls in place, "One Hot Mess" headband (that I couldn't find at first and was obsessively freaking out about), Immodium (that did the trick, thank God), earrings, bracelet that says "miles to go before i sleep," tank with bib attached, capris, long-sleeved top for pre-race, rubber hair tie, Spibelt, and I think that's it.

One thing I still haven't figured out, however, is how to properly eat prior to a race.  I have the hydrating part down (finally).  I was guzzling water - more so than usual - all week.  The day prior to the race, I ate a bagel for breakfast, Jimmy John's for lunch, and salad, pasta, and bread for dinner.  I just don't think the particular pasta I ate sat well with my stomach - or maybe it was just too meaty and not enough pasta-y.  I don't know.

But anyway, race day:

I woke up bright and early at 4:30 a.m. so that my two friends and I could head downtown and grab a bus.  Note to self: get there earlier next year so that we have more time at the actual start.

A school bus at 5:15 a.m. is quite dark.
The first thing we did when we got off the bus was drop off our bags.  We had to strip down to our race clothes and throw our string bags into designated (by bib numbers) garbage bags.

Then we headed to the porta-potties.  And stood in line for 25 minutes.  It was ridiculous, but we knew that it was a definite necessity prior to starting a 12.4-mile run.

After taking care of business, we started the half-mile trek to the start line.  

The race starts on the dam at Saylorville, and being absolutely surrounded by water (obviously) is a breathtaking view.  Plus, we could see downtown Des Moines (the finish line) from up north:

Looks kind of far, huh?
While we waited for the Star Spangled Banner to be sung and for the fast runners to take off, we took some requisite pre-race photos:

My training buddy, KW.
KW, me, Amber, and Alexson - I love this photo.
About ten minutes after the gun went off, we started running (we were back with the 11:00 pacers, and there were quite a few people in front of us).

Kiara took off, and Amber, Alexson, and I stuck together for about the first mile, and then Amber - training with the Jeff Galloway method - took her first walk segment.  Alexson and I continued to stick together, which was really, really nice.  I was a bit nervous at first because I know that Alexson doesn't take walk breaks (and I pretty much don't care: if I'm tired, I'll walk), but we kept it up.

The first 10k were through rural Iowa: we saw a lot of cornfields, soybean fields, and gravel roads (which many runners used for potty breaks).  It was an absolutely gorgeous, overcast day, and being in the midst of the prairie made me love my state even more.

Around mile six, I realized that this was the furthest I had run - ever - without taking a walk break.

(Okay, I took a 10-step walk break in order to GU and water since I couldn't figure out how to do all of that while running.  I timed it better for my second GU and was able to do so without breaking stride.)

And I was feeling GOOD!  Rarely do I feel amazing during a race, but I felt just fabulous during Dam to Dam - and I attribute so much of it to Alexson.  We were trekking right along, chatting, listening to music the whole way.

Then came mile seven.

As you can see from the first picture in the post and the elevation chart at the bottom, I was dreading mile seven:

It's really hard to snap photos while running, but this is a hill.
Actually, it wasn't that bad.  Alexson and I just kept on running, taking it one step at a time, offering encouragement the whole way.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but both sides of the hill were lined with American flags with the sentiment to "remember those who've served."  It was really, really neat and honestly gave me goosebumps.

Alexson and I passed loads upon loads of walkers and made it to the top of the hill and started winding through the city: the second 10k was all urban, looping through neighborhoods and downtown.

Around mile 8.5 or 9 (?), I was so surprised to see my good friend Cindi, her husband, and three of their children.  It was the exact boost of motivation that I needed: running 12.4 miles is hard work, and it was really nice to see a friendly, familiar, encouraging face on the course.

Shortly thereafter, Alexson and I ran into her husband, and that was another nice piece of encouragement before we hit the trail to wind alongside the Des Moines River.

This is when it got tough.  Around mile nine, Alexson started really hurting.  Around mile 10, I really started hurting and honestly wasn't sure that my legs could work any longer.  But, we kept telling ourselves that we really only had one mile left since the last mile was filled with live music, the Isiserettes, other fun entertainment, and throngs of people.

But still: it was really, really hard.

Finally, we reached the chute.  We saw the 400 meter mark and started taking longer, faster strides.  It felt so good to know that we had run over 12 miles and had not walked at all.

And then the 200-meter mark came.  And I had to stop.

I was literally choking back vomit and dry heaving into my hands.  There was nowhere to "let it out," as the chute was surrounded by spectators.

I thought I was going to puke into my hands - or, what I thought might be a better option, down my shirt.


This girl.

And honestly, I was too sick and too sore and too oblivious to my surroundings to care.  I had someone (who?!) cut off my timing chip while someone else (who?!) shoved a medal into my hand.  And then I found a trashcan.  And then some Powerade.

Alexson and I about ten minutes post-race - after we could motivate ourselves to stand back up and stretch.
It was an absolutely beautiful race, and I am so extremely proud of myself for finishing in 2:27.  That is by far the best "dam" race that I have ever had, but it is also by far the worst I have felt upon finishing.  Not only was I nearly throwing up, but my muscles just pretty much refused to work.  No amount of stretching, walking, stretching, sitting, stretching, or anything would help.

After trying everything (and eating a banana and drinking some chocolate milk), I met up with Amber, and we decided to just head home.

I am very, very proud of myself.  I pushed myself harder than I ever thought possible, and while I'm definitely a hot mess today, it was all totally worth it.

I can't wait for next year.