We had a pretty fantastic start to our weekend, if I do say so myself. After leaving work Scott and I met up with his older sister and her husband at a pumpkin patch. We had so much fun watching our sweet little niece, Kate, experience some stuff she’s never seen before. She was so cute!
Later I met up with with Rachael, a new friend of mine, and we shopped for some winter running apparel. She’s getting into running (YAY) and our local Fleet Feet was having a huge sale so we hit that up and had a great time trying on all kind of running stuff. After that we picked up her boyfriend (a running friend of mine and Scott’s, Jeff) and we went to a local Mexican place for dinner and Karaoke night. I ate the tacos al pastor (LIFE CHANGINGLY DELICIOUS, one of my favorite meals) and sang some Shania Twain. I think I truly missed my calling in life by not becoming a singer, y’all. (/sarcasm)
Now I’m home way past my bed time and strangely full of energy. I’m sure I’ll crash any time now… Off to bed. What a Friday!
Q:Rice success tips: use only jasmine. It seems more forgiving. But the biggest thing is to weigh the rice and do an exact 2:1 ratio of water: rice. A cup is actually about 6 oz dry measure. I put it on my scale every time. 6 oz rice, 12 oz water (liquid measuring cup is fine), NOT "1 cup rice, 2 cups water" like the package says, which would be 16 oz water. Bring water to boil, drop rice in, cover, reduce to low, leave alone for 25 minutes. For brown, boil the rice with the water from the start.
Another expert method to try! I feel the need to go home and make several pots of rice immediately. Thanks Melissa :)
Last year during the summer I started a group for my local running club that met on Thursday nights. We usually had an excellent turn out of all levels and paces, so it was always a fun weeknight social run. I kept the group going until summer of this year, and then put it…
YES. Thank you! This is awesome. It’s so weird, because I grew up with a lot of rice and beans too— my mom was just flat out broke and my dad remarried to someone with Mexican heritage— so in theory I should be an expert but I’m just dreadful at it. I can’t wait to try this method!
Run of the Day - 3.5 miles, 38:13, 10:55 min/mi
Last year during the summer I started a group for my local running club that met on Thursday nights. We usually had an excellent turn out of all levels and paces, so it was always a fun weeknight social run. I kept the group going until summer of this year, and then put it on hiatus because our local Fleet Feet was hosting summer fun runs on Thursday night and I wanted the group to support those. I planned to start back when the summer fun runs ended, but with my health issues I wasn’t able to. Now that I’m healthy again I decided to start the group again and tonight was our reunion run!
Usually this is a 6 mile route, but it’s easily made longer or shorter depending on your needs. I decided to go shorter today and ran the 3.5 mile loop with my friend Maureen. I felt good, the hills were definitely slightly challenging but I think I did well over all. My pace was much faster than I was expecting, which might have had something to do with the AMAZING weather today. It was 70 degrees and only 50% humidity! After a week of constant thunderstorms (literally— Sunday through Wednesday it was raining!), the break in the weather was very welcome. I also got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset! It was a great run and I’m excited the group is back together again.
For dinner I prepared some stuffed peppers with the pretty little bell peppers I got at the farmer’s market. They were crazy good! First I prepped the filling (ground beef, onion, tomato puree, seasoning) and while I did that I coated the peppers in olive oil and roasted them for about 20 minutes. Then I stuffed them, topped with cheese, and put them back in the oven until the cheese was nice and melty (personally I like my cheese to be a little past melty and more like slightly burnt and crispy on the edges, is that weird?). DELICIOUS! The photo looks gross, I know, but it’s hard to make a stuffed pepper look pretty okay? One thing I can’t seem to master in the kitchen? RICE. I attempted cilantro lime rice tonight, but every time I end up trying to cook rice in a pot I end up with something more like risotto or grits. It gets all creamy, which is good if that’s what you’re going for, but I want some normal, not creamy, separate-grain rice! Maybe I just need to get a rice cooker… But I have a really tiny kitchen, so I really try to avoid uni-taskers, especially ones that will take up a lot of space. Any tips from my kitchen pros out there?
What a WEEKEND! I need an extra weekend to rest from the weekend I just had. We were busy as little bees!
For a while now Scott and I have been looking around as houses kind of casually— but we didn’t plan on moving until sometime next year. Our lease will be up near the end of this year and we planned on signing on for another few months. A few weeks ago though, we randomly stumbled upon a house that we LOVED everything about, and it was at a great price. We were ready to make an offer on the spot, we liked it that much! The next day we were on our way to the bank when we recieved a call from the realtor selling the house, apparently someone ELSE came in and offered full price for the house. Bummer. We were really sad and realized that we are more eager than we thought we were to get out of our tiny apartment (with horrible neighbors). So I started to really search, and we went to go see several homes over the course of the past few weeks. We didn’t find any houses we loved as much as the original one, and worst of all, none of the realtors we reached out to seemed to take us very seriously. We were stood up multiple times, some would take cell phone calls while they were showing us a house, most of them didn’t seem very interested in helping us, basically everyone we met was completely unprofessional and not easy to work with. One day, mom and I were driving around looking at houses and we called a phone number on a for sale sign to get more information— the lady who answered the phone was named Michelle. Michelle ended up being the most AMAZING realtor in all of the world— she was so eager to help us and really seemed to know what she was talking about. We spent the entire weekend with her, including Monday, a holiday off work for us. She took us all over town showing us homes she thought we would like, and we ended up finding THE PERFECT HOUSE. We honestly never thought we would find something we loved as much as the orignal house, but thanks to Michelle we did! It’s just beautiful and is literally perfect by our standards. We are working towards putting an offer in on it, and if all goes well we should be in our dream home by Christmas. Exciting, right?
Not only did we spend hours upon hours looking at what felt like a hundred different homes, we also went to the wedding of a couple of our friends, and my sister was home from college for the weekend so I spent some quality time with her and mom. Also, I crammed in some study time for my classes and took two of my midterm exams. Somehow, I also found the time to get some food prep in for the week using up some of my beautiful farmer’s market finds— egg skillet with greens, potatos, onion, and pork sausage, and some roasted sweet potato, steamed broccoli + green beans, and chicken breasts for lunch!
See what I mean about needing a weekend after my weekend?? I think I’ll go take a nap now… :)
2015 Goals - AKA My Comeback
To anyone who’s been reading my blog regularly for the past little while, it’s kind of old news that I’ve had some set backs in the past few months. In the spring, I had just finished a series of SEVERAL amazing races— my first marathon, a legendary 25k trail race, a 43 mile stage race, several half marathons, and other short distance races too— and I was on a bit of a high. My running confidence was higher than ever and I set some big goals— I was going to take the summer easy, and then run two marathons and my first 50k in the fall and winter. Then I got sick.. and sicker… and sicker… and sicker, and well, y’all know that story. Now that I’ve had my defective bodily organ removed, I’m feeling the best I have in SO LONG and while I know the goals I set for myself aren’t going to happen exactly as planned, I’m still eager to set some new goals and get back into training.
The first marathon (7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga October) and the 50k (Dizzy Fifties 50k in November) I wanted to do aren’t going to happen, obviously— but I think I can get the training in for the second marathon I planned (Rocket City Marathon in December), so not all is lost. As for next year? I have a lot to look forward to:
- XTERRA Monte Sano 15k, Monte Sano State Park, January - I raced this last year as my first trail race, recap here. I’d love to beat my time last year, and maybe even place in my AG again, depending on who shows up :)
- Tick Ridge Trek 25k, Elkton, Tennessee, February - Last year (recap here) I COMPLETELY FAILED this trail race. It was a 15 mile race and I got completely lost on the course and ended up with only 11 miles and my very first DNF. Yeah. Failure! My only goal for this is to run the whole course this time :)
- Delano 12 Hour Race, Decatur, Alabama, March - I ran this as a relay last year and our team racked up 79 miles total (recap here), about 20 miles each. It was a BLAST and I’d love to form another team and see if we can beat our number from last year.
- Mckay Hollow Madness, Monte Sano State Park, March - This was my BIG long distance goal race last spring. I ended up getting a HORRID virus a few days before and spent the days leading up to the race barfing and pooping constantly. Needless to say, the race was a struggle, BUT I DID IT (recap here)!! I can’t wait to try it again, but healthy this time.
- Heel and Crank Dualthlon + Bridge Street Half Marathon, Huntsville, Alabama, April - I ran the Bridge Street half last year and BOMBED!! It was a PR for my personal worst time (recap here). This year I’d love to run it again with out so much pain and suffering, and on top of that, I registered for a dualthon (3 mile run, 16 mile bike, 3 mile run) the day before! If you finish Heel and Crank and Bridgestreet within the time limits, you complete the 35.1 mile Challenge and get a special mug at the finish line in addition to the finisher’s medal. I can’t wait.
- And finally: Grand Viduta Stage Race, Monte Sano State Park, April - 43 miles, 3 days, infinite glory. I completed this race last year as a finale to a HUGE racing season for me, and it couldn’t have been any better (recap here). I placed 1st in my age group and had the absolute time of my life. If you live ANYWHERE close to Alabama and like to run trials, very seriously consider registering for this event. It kicks major butt.
Yes, I know, that is A LOT of racing. I have 100% faith in myself— after all, I’ve done them all before (except for Heel & Crank), so I know it’s possible, right?? To some people this would seem crazy, but truth be told, in the areaI live in, running this many races (and for some people even MORE than this) is entirely normal. We have a thriving running community and just too many first class events that are impossible to pass up. I can’t wait for the start of 2015, MY BODY IS READY! (okay, maybe not… but I’m working on it.)
Magical Beer Bread
A while back I spent an evening at my grandmother’s house going through all of her hand written recipe books. I collected several recipes to try, including this one, and I am kicking myself for not having made it sooner! It’s wonderful— slightly sweet and perfectly dense, it was a great companion to our dinner last night. Plus, with only 5 ingredients, it’s amazingly simple and sure to impress anyone you serve it to. Please make this bread, it will make your heart happy inside.
- 3 cups of flour
- 4 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 12 ounces of beer (I used Yuengling because we always have that on hand)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9x5 bread pan.
Combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the beer and stir with a wooden spoon until it is just combined. Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown. You may need to insert a toothpick into the bread to ensure the middle is cooked through.
Allow to sit for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a rack for another 5-10 minutes (or until you just can’t stand waiting anymore!!). Serve warm with plenty of butter. Drool. Enjoy. Die of pure carby bliss.
I REPEAT: please make this bread, it will make your heart happy inside.
thestoryofusplus, I wouldn’t call Scott a TRUE veggie hater— he LOVES salads and will down almost an entire tub of spinach in one sitting if I’m not careful to remind him I need it for other stuff during the week. He also loves all kinds of peppers and will eat roasted asparagus, too. But as far as the typical simple steamed or sautéed veggies I like to serve as a side to dinners, like broccoli, zucchini, peats, green beans, etc., he stays FAR away from that stuff and will usually only eat a tiny amount if if I serve it on his plate…
So you are totally right, I really shouldn’t complain— I have a good eater to cook for! He ate all his good plus like three more slices of bread, ha! But I do feel like a mom sometimes when I say things like, “Eat your peas Scott… They are good for you!” :)
Run of the Day: 2.11 miles, 31:32
Another glorious trail run! I met up with some friends that are training for a local 50k to get some loops in on the course. Each loop was about ~2 miles and I planned to get at least two in… As you can see that didn’t end up working out. It was a gorgeous day in the woods, but my legs and my lungs were just POOPED, especially since this route was not flat in the slightest (500 feet of elevation gain in the span of 1 mile!). I hadn’t eaten very much during the day (a slice of raisin bread, an apple, and some hummus), and so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I was low on energy.
One odd thing about eating so little for so long— I feel like my stomach has gotten smaller! I’m still working on consuming a normal amount of calories and some days I don’t hit the mark because I’m just SO FULL, even on just a little food. Slowly but surely, working towards normal.
Later, I came home and whipped up some dinner: Grilled chicken thighs, baked sweet potato, peas, and HOME MADE BEER BREAD! Boy was it delicious.
The “grilled” chicken and veggies are obviously simple— just marinated the chicken thighs for a few hours before searing them on a grill pan and sticking them in the oven (we don’t have a real grill, but this method yields the same taste). The bread though, wow. So simple and yet so delicious, I will share the recipe with you guys for sure. Time to go veg on the couch and watch some Doctor Who, night y’all!
(BTW, can you tell I have a vegetable hater on my hands? hee, more peas for ME!)
Favorite TV Series and Favorite Movies
I have been tagged by straightarrowlife to share my top ten favorite movies, and fitnerd tagged me to share my top ten favorite TV shows! Thanks guys, I LOVE reading tags that go around and I love participating in them too :)
One (perhaps?) embarrassing thing about me— I am an awful movie critic. I would say that nine times out of ten, I walk out of a movie completely pleased with my viewing experience. I can’t count the number of times I have left a movie thinking, “Well that was nice!” only to feel awkward when all my friend start to declare how awful it was and I’m just sitting there thinking, “Did I watch something different??” I don’t know, I guess I just lack whatever skills it requires to know what makes a film good or not, ha. Maybe I’m just too easy to please :) Also, we don’t have cable… so I’m not exactly up on current television programs. So, I don’t have a top ten MOST FAVORITE movies and TV shows, but I can think of a few to share.
- Howl’s Moving Castle, 2004 - I am a HUGE Miyazaki fan and it was hard for me to claim just one of his films as my most favorite, but Howl’s definitely wins the top spot without question. THIS MOVIE. It is the movie I watch over and over and never get tired of. Stunning animation, intriguing storyline, well developed and interesting characters, it has it all. The story is just so wonderful and very heartfelt and, to me, one of the best examples of Miyazaki’s work. I love everything about it. PLEASE WATCH IT!
- Terms of Endearment, 1894 - If anyone wants an idea of what the relationship between me and my mom is like, watch this movie. My mom IS Aurora Greenway, haha. Funny, touching, sentimental, it will make you crack up laughing and cry big fat tears.
- Mean Girls, 2004 - I KNOW, I know. But I can’t lie. No explanation required. I have rewatched this movie a thousand times. It’s just hilarious. I have a gigantic girl crush on Tina Fey and probably will until the day I die.
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) - Yes, I know Sharon (runslikeapenguin) included this on hers, but I too ADORE THIS MOVIE. And everything Guillermo del Toro is involved with for that matter. This movie is just beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, you must. I don’t do scary movies, so don’t let the creepy feel of it turn you off. It is not a scary movie, creepy in parts, yes, but not scary.
Favorite TV Shows:
- Star Trek, Voyager, 1995 - Yes, I am a full blown Trekkie. I love all of the Star Trek series, but Voyager is absolutely my favorite. Captain Janeway is my ultimate hero and I want to be just like her when I grow up. To me, the plot of this series vs. the plot of the other Star Trek series is probably the most interesting.
- 30 Rock, 2006 - Again, Tina Fey, she’s my homegirl. What’s not to love? I have rewatched this show many a time and it never fails to deliver on the laughs.
- Adventure Time, 2010 - *singing* ~ADVENTURE TIME, COME ON GRAB YOUR FRIENDS~ Full disclosure: this is a children’s show. It airs on Cartoon Network. I love it. The land of Ooo is absolutely what my imagination looks like. But really, for a kid’s show, this one is amazingly clever, full of great one-liners, has A+ voice acting, and is simply impossible to resist.
- Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, 2014 - Move over Tina Fey, I also have a giant crush on Neil DeGrasse Tyson. I have watched this series MULTIPLE times and it’s still relatively new. It’s just AWESOME and feeds my never-ending thirst for science that gets down on my 3rd grade comprehension level. I learn something new every time I rewatch, and as you are probably learning, I have a weak spot for anything that includes some kick-butt animation.
Q:I saw your pics on Motive Weight and I want to congratulate you on all your success! :-) You look fabulous!! I wanted to know what changes you made to get your results as I feel my body now is the same as your body in the before pic - what exercise do you do? Is it strictly running? And what is your diet consisting of? Sorry for all the questions I just hope to have the same body as you one day!!!
Hi, thank you! As far as changes that I made in my lifestyle, they were pretty simple— I ate less junk and I started to exercise. Before I became interested in fitness I was almost entirely sedentary and ate a lot of fast food, so there was a pretty obvious change that needed to be made. My primary form of exercise has always been running, with some strength/weight training tossed in every once in a while, and lately I’ve been cycling a fair amount too. My diet has never really been anything of note— I don’t follow a specific plan or guideline. In the beginning I counted calories because I literally had NO IDEA about the nutritional value of most foods. But even then, I didn’t restrict myself from anything or have any rules that I followed, just made a point to fuel myself well and make sure my body had the nutrients it needed to stay healthy and strong. Additionally, I focused on learning to cook and prepare my own foods rather than eating things out of a box or a from restaurant all of the time. These days I don’t count calories, but I do try to make a point to get a fair amount of nutrient dense foods in, while still enjoying things like cookies and pizza :) If you’re interested in seeing some of the stuff I eat and cook, you can check out my food tag here!
While all of this began as a way to lose weight and “look better,” eventually I learned that there was a lot more to learning to love myself than what the scale said. Bodies are not constant, you can’t place your worth in something that is always changing. I might lose more weight or I might gain it all back… I’m going to have kids one day and I’m sure my body will change drastically again. I feel confident in saying I would be okay with that, because I have learned that my weight and appearance is probably at the bottom on the list of important things about me. I hope you know the same thing, and love YOUR body the way it is right now. :)
Q:How would you recommend someone who does no exercise at all at the moment to get started? How did you start? :-)
I started exercising with a couch to 5k running app, then I joined a 5k training group, and the rest is history!
I had no previous experience with exercise— I never really played any sports growing up and didn’t know much about exercise at all. For me, running was the easiest thing to try since all it required was some running shoes and my neighborhood streets. I ended up discovering that I LOVED to run and it has stuck ever since! If you want to start exercising, I suggest trying out many different things to find what you enjoy, because if you love it, you are more likely to maintain a habit. So give any and everything you have access to a try— walking, running, yoga, swimming, weigh lifting, Zumba… The possibilities are endless! Start gradually, find something you love, make a commitment, and enjoy the ride :)
1. I just went to the eye doctor to pick up my prescription, ALONE, and upon leaving I went straight to the passenger side of the car, got in, and waited… I sat there for WAY TOO LONG before my brain finally turned back on and I thought, “Wait… What am I DOING?!” I suspect that I am either a CIA sleeper agent or a victim of the Imperius Curse.
2. I am a tiny bit sore from my trail run on Sunday. This make me very happy :)
3. We have been spending our afternoons and weekends for the past little while looking at houses and meeting realtors. We are either going to find one this month, or resign on our lease for another 6 months and start looking again sometime next year (switching to a month-to-month lease is RIDICULOUSLY expensive— it’s nearly cheaper to sign up 6 more months and then pay the fee to break the lease). It’s been exciting and frustrating; we found one we LOVED and were ready to buy on the spot but the next day, just before our appointment with our lender, it was sold out from under us. Major bummer— it was 100% perfect and now I feel like I will never find a home that I liked as much as that one, but I deep down know that’s silly. I have finally nailed down what kind of homes I love— Cape Cod/plantation style with pointy roofs, big front porches, dormers… But unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be a common thing in our area. The search goes on for our dream home!
4. My post about my body image thoughts has kind of blown up and I have mixed feelings about it. From some the anonymous messages I received I feel like some folks might have missed my point. I am struggling with answering their messages in a way that answers the questions and still drives my original thoughts on overall health, body positivity, and self acceptance home. Overall I’m happy that my story was spread, and VERY happy with the feed back I received regarding it’s original intention and I’m thrilled that my words have helped to encourage some people in their journey.
5. Speaking of that post, I seem to have gotten a large influx of new followers— hello there! Please don’t by shy, stop by my message box and introduce yourself, I love making new friends :)
Happy Monday, everyone! Let’s make this week great!
Run of the Day - 5.11 miles, 1:14
It feels so good to sit down and write a run of the day post. This morning was the re-start of the Sunday trail group that my two friends and favorite trail running buddies, Kim and Amanda (who you might remember from my Viduta Stage Race recaps), started up last year. Last year we took turns sweeping the group to make sure no one was left behind, and today I volunteered to do so right off the bat since I’m still getting back into things.
We followed a five mile loop that stays on the plateau and is relatively flat and easy to run. It was a brisk morning, about 40 degrees when we started (cold for this southern belle!), and as soon as we headed out into the woods I felt my spirit giving a great sigh of relief. Out in the woods on a chilly morning, leaves crunching, each breath is visible in the air, and a slight numbness in your fingers and nose, this is absolutely my happy place. During the run I felt every single one of my cares and anxieties slip away. It was just me and the trees out there, and the folks I was running with of course :) Suffice it to say, this run was extremely rejuvenating for my soul.
Physically, I felt GREAT! I’m absolutely thrilled at how well my body performed and how it seems to be taking back to being active with relative ease. FIVE MILES!! I haven’t run that far in forever! It felt like a great accomplishment and definitely left me with a big, goofy grin on my face for the rest of the morning.
After the run Amanda very kindly brought out some delicious muffins— they were actually vegan so Kim could eat them, and I was surprised at how amazing they were. She sent the recipe to me so I will absolutely be giving that a try and sharing with you all if it’s a success. As if the muffins weren’t enough, after that I came home and made biscuits and spicy sausage gravy with some of the locally raised pork sausage I bought at the farmer’s market. PHENOMENAL. The simplest foods are always the best, am I right?