Overdue Christmas Post

So, it’s been a while!

To be honest, I didn’t really feel much like posting while I was home. And the past few days I’ve been back have been insanely busy. Oh well, better late than never, right?!

Christmas

christmastree12/25/12

I had a really enjoyable Christmas morning at home with my immediate family and my grandparents, who came to stay with us for a week. I was so happy they were able to come – they hadn’t been to our house for the holidays since I was little!

G-ma & I

G-ma & I

Stockings are totally my favorite part of the gift-opening festivities. I was so excited to play Santa this year for everyone…with the help of a big Target shopping spree ;-)

Stuffed and left by the chimney with care

Stuffed and left by the chimney with care

Amazingly, we had a White Christmas in Texas! We typically get about one snow “storm” per year, but it was such a coincidence that it happened on December 25th this year. It was beautiful. The only downside was that I couldn’t go see my mom for a couple of days because the roads were too icy (Texans don’t know how to deal with that stuff!). However, in some ways it was really nice to be forced to truly relax and do nothing.

Crazaaay

Crazaaay

Anyway, back to the day’s recap…after a relaxing Christmas morning, we got ready for our guests (mainly my step-mom’s family) and main meal. Here are the recipes I contributed to the day’s feast…I sort of forgot to take pictures before we dug in!

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Top: Basic Roasted Brussel Sprouts, left: Cranberry Orange Lentil Loaf, right: Sweet Potato Grits

Full spread

Full spread

I was shocked almost all of the lentil loaf got eaten! Most of my step-mom’s family members are more traditional meat and potato eaters, but I guess it looked appetizing?! Everyone said it was good :-)

Personally, I really liked the grits! We ended up having a lot left over, so I ate them throughout the week with some eggs on top – delish.

For dessert, I made this Carrot Cake 

carrotcake12/25/12

I have no idea why, but it didn’t rise…like at all. It still tasted great, though! I used Tofutti Cream Cheese to make the frosting, but accidentally added a bit too much almond milk so it was bit too runny.

My step-sister and I also made a LOT of Christmas cookies. We have started a great tradition of staying up late and decorating them together on Christmas Eve :-)

x3 = a LOT of decorating

x3 = a LOT of decorating

I have used this recipe (gluten free!) the past couple of years, they turned out a little crisper than I would have liked this time around, but I think that’s just a personal preference. No one could tell they were GF!

Finally, I went the homemade route for some of my gifts this year, and was very pleased with how they came out! I followed the directions here exactly, doubling the recipe to make a total of 8 jars.

homemadesoupjars12/25/12

Ok, well I think that’s enough recapping for now… New Years’ and half-marathon recaps coming soon!

Rest of Thanksgiving & Believe 2012 5k Recap

This past week was a busy one!

I didn’t get back to my apartment until almost 1 am on Monday, and the week was literally non-stop between school, babysitting, and my internship. I just finally unpacked yesterday…oops.

Anyway, I mentioned I had a few more exciting things to share from my trip home…so I am doing that now.

First was that I got to go to an Eli Young Band concert (country music, for all you non-country folks) with some friends. You may know this currently popular song

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The concert was a lot of fun! It was at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, which I had never been to. It’s a really big place and very unique in that there are lots of things to do (i.e games, dance, watch people ride bulls, etc.). The band is actually from a town really close to my hometown, and I saw them years ago when they weren’t quite so big yet…much bigger crowd than the last time I saw them! 

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It’s funny going “out” when I’m home now, because I obviously wasn’t old enough to do so when I actually lived there…places are so different from what I’m used to in Boston. After the concert we went to another bar for a little bit that was soooo honky-tonk. I don’t even have words to describe it, except to say that I have never seen anything like it. Amusing to watch, but definitely did not fit in there!

We didn’t get home from the concert until almost 3 a.m (!!!) and I was unsure about whether I’d run in the 5k I had intended to the next morning. I really wanted to do the race because I have the past 3 years and wanted to continue the tradition, but purposely didn’t register in advance because I didn’t know how my plans would unfold. Plus, it’s a pretty small race so I knew I’d have the option of day-of registration.

I decided to set an alarm and see how I felt when it went off in 4.5 hours. I definitely wanted/could have used more sleep, but when the alarm went off and I could not fall back asleep after 20 minutes, I decided to just go for it. I literally got ready and was out the door with my dad (who generously drove me to the race) in 10 minutes.

The race was supposed to begin at 8:30, and we got there at 8:20. Thanks to the fastest/most efficient registration process ever (all computerized), I was set to go within 3 minutes of being there!

Clothing-wise, I was a little unprepared for the temperature that morning. I think it was around 35 degrees, which was definitely unexpected given the rest of the time I was home the temperatures were at least in the 60s. Fortunately, I had an old long-sleeved tee at home and coincidentally had ordered some new gloves to be delivered at home, so I was able to wear those and feel comfortable in the cold.

Despite my lack of sleep and unpreparedness, I finished with a time of 24:23, which totally shocked me. I didn’t have my Garmin with me so I had no idea what my pace was like, and I definitely felt sluggish. 

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I was just happy that I got up and did the race! It’s always a fun one. Lots of little children dressed up running with their parents, and it starts/ends in the adorable downtown area of my hometown. Plus, my dad gets to come with me, which is usually not the case with me being so far away! :-) 

believe5k11/23/12(2)

We left pretty quickly after the race because I was in desperate need of a nap before jetting off to my next event (a Christmas show with my mom and aunt), but I later found out that I placed 2nd in my age group!! I never would have expected this because my age group is typically is so large and I am in no way an elite runner, but still pretty cool!

Until next time everyone, have a great weekend!

Thanksgiving 2012

Hello friends! Hope you all had a fantastic holiday (if you were celebrating) and weekend!

It was a quick trip home for me! I feel like I was just talking about how excited I was to be going home. and now here I am again, writing from the airport. 

It was great to be able to spend time with my family, and I am already counting the days until I am back for the Christmas holidays. It’s also hard to leave this weather behind…

Anyway, I am happy to report that the foods I made for Thanksgiving seemed to be a huge success with my mostly meat-eating family!

Here’s what I made…

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (w/lentils! – no one guessed  it :-))

Vegan & GF Crockpot Stuffing

Cinnamon Cider Brussel Sprouts w/ Apples & Pears < big hit, even with the brussel haters!!

Cranberry-Orange-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I used this recipe as the base, and made it a bit more Thanksgiving-appropriate by adding the cranberry and orange ingredients based on this recipe

BTW the recipe used as the base is literally the BEST chocolate chip cookie recipe I’ve ever made, by far. Including those made with gluten. If you are GF, you absolutely MUST try them.

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake (I left off the topping) 

When I made this, I got a chance to play with the new toy my dad bought.. amazing.com

I have a few more exciting things to share from the trip, but I am about to board my flight so they will have to wait until I’m back in Boston!

Why Home (Can Be) Awesome

I got back late last night from an awesome week in Texas! Here are a few of the reasons why my week was so great….

…..I was reunited with these weirdos…I miss them so much!!

….I was able to enjoy outdoor lap swimming  in a pool all to MYSELF! Holla early a.m adult lap swim!

…..I caught up with a couple of friends who I hadn’t seen in ages!

….I made a couple of recipes and discovered a couple of new foods that were a hit with my family! Post on that to come tomorrow :-)

…..I went shopping. I’m actually such a bad shopper because I get overwhelmed really easily and end up leaving with nothing. This time I am happy to report that I got a few new tops, some earrings, and some awesome new minimalist shoes! I’m going to wear them for camp

Love the neon.

….. I spent Friday and Saturday them both in the sun, in the water, and on boats!

My aunt and uncle ironically purchased a boat and lake house around the same time that my family got our boat, so my mom and made the trip to go check it out. The lake was beautiful! It’s was located in East Texas and was much smaller lake than Texoma, but different in that it was very peaceful and heavily wooded.


…..I went waterskiing! On Saturday, my dad, step-mom, and I headed out on our own boat…we had a great time just the 3 of us!! 

They recently got the skis, so this was my first time out on them. I was a little nervous because I haven’t waterskiied in a couple of years, but I was excited that it came right back to me! It probably helped that the skis were made for very beginners – they were super wide. At one point I tried to drop to one ski, but I didn’t quite get there. Next time! 

So fun!

Driving the boat….Yeah, right

Lounging

That’s all folks! I’ll be back tomorrow with the new recipes/food finds!

Goodnight!

Smoothiesssss

Hi friends! 

This post IS about smoothies, but I just wanted to give you a little update on my life status first.

1. Yesterday was my last day at school. I don’t think it’s really hit me yet, but I am definitely going to miss the kiddos. Fortunately, the student I was primarily an aide to is going to my summer camp, so I won’t have to suffer from too much separation anxiety :-)

2. I am at home! I came back to the grand ole state of Texas last night and I will be here until Sunday so that I can be back for some camp trainings.

3. My runner envy is out of control. Runners are EVERYWHERE in the nice weather. Two more weeks of my self- imposed hiatus from running! Knee better be ready.
Ok, so…remember that time I said I would post soon about smoothies? Whoops! Better late than never :-)

Smoothies are my very favorite thing for getting a lot of nutrients in each morning. I really feel like I have more energy when I have a smoothie for breakfast compared to other things I might have for breakfast. Plus, they’re so portable, versatile, and QUICK! 

In general, I use the same measurements of ingredients, but mix up the flavors a bit. Here’s my standard “recipe”

Favorite Smoothie Combos

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 a frozen banana (wait until they are REALLY ripe, then break into chunks and freeze)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup frozen fruit (strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 scoop protein powder (current fave is Sun Warrior Blend)
  • 1 tbsp nut butter OR 2 tbsp whole nuts
  • handful of spinach or kale (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp guar and/or xanthan gum (optional – makes smoothie thick)

Sometimes I add cocoa powder or cinnamon depending on the other ingredients. I also sometimes add a few drops of liquid stevia after taste-testing – sometimes I add a bit more spinach than I mean to – but usually the combination of fruit and protein powder makes it sweet enough.

The great thing about this recipe is that it is really adaptable. You can really use whatever fruit you want (sometimes I do a whole banana and no other fruit), and things like the flax, oats, protein powder, and nut butter can be omitted if you don’t have them or are looking for a lighter snack versus a whole meal.

Steps

1. In this order, add frozen fruits, flax, oats, nuts/nut butter, spinach/kale, almond milk

2. Blend! Stop to stir if needed.

3. Add protein powder, pulse a few times then allow to blend completely

4. Taste test, add stevia if desired.

5. Add guar/xanthan gums (if using) and blend until desired consistency is reached.

And visually…

I realize the color of this smoothie is a bit disgusting (this is due to the spinach), but I promise you won’t think a thing of it after you taste it! ;-) Also, cocoa powder/choco protein powder can help mask the color if it really freaks ya out at first.

Happy smoothie making! Let me know if you try any stellar flavor combos!

San Diego Marathon Recap – Part 2

I left off in my last post right after I had crossed the finish line with a final time of 5:07. Not super stoked about this time, but so happy I finished that I didn’t even care (more about this in reflections at bottom of post).

I had been instructed to go to the Team in Training tent to check in immediately upon finishing. I started to wonder around, looking for the tent and/or anyone I knew. I kept seeing signs, but the actual tent was no where in sight.

On my way over, I was stoked to find some potato chips (not sure why I was craving them so badly), but much of the other post-race food was gone by this point. I really wanted to find out where the bag pick-up was because I was eager to get my phone to call my parents. Fortunately, I spotted it before finding the tent, which was a good thing because the tent was still another good .5 mile away. Seriously?!?

After checking in at TNT, I wanted nothing more than to sit. So sit I did. I spotted some teammates and called them over;  there was no way I was getting up, especially with those potato chips in hand.

We took a couple of photos, then headed to the shuttle back to the hotel.

Winners!

When I got back to my room, I was in a bit of a mental funk. I wanted to take an ice bath, but also knew I needed to eat a real meal. I decided delivery was the way to go, so I started looking up places on my phone while alternately trying to figure out the bath situation. I usually just do really cold water (no ice), but the water was not getting cold, and I definitely did not feel going to the ice machine 1032492 times.

After looking through delivery menus with no success (either places were closed or had nothing I wanted), it occured to me to look at the room service menu. Umm, duh? They had a tofu breakfast burrito that sounded amazing,  but it was post-breakfast hours. Luckily, they were still able to hook it up! Score.

Once I had ordered, I made a single trip to the ice machine to fill up my ice bucket, and I got into a semi-cold bath. By the time I was done, I wasn’t sure if I’d have time to shower before the room service came, so I just changed back into clothes and decided to wait. I felt absolutely disgusting, so as soon as the food came I tried to quickly shower, however that ended up being a mega fail because it took me 19319 minutes to detangle a huge knot in my hair. The braid system failed me.

Finally clean, I was more than ready to eat.

Devoured.

At this point, it was about 3:30. I debated taking a nap, but decided my time would be better spent hanging out with friends for my last few hours there. Plus, I figured then I would actually sleep on the plane. I slowly got my act together and headed to a friend’s room. We laid on her bed and recapped/gossiped for about an hour. Then, it was time to get ready for the Victory Dinner! 

The dinner turned out to be a bit of a bust. It was a come-and-go kind of thing, very informal. Also, vegetarian options were really lacking. It was still fun to see the whole team, though! Lots of congratulations, hugs, and photos were had. 

After a while, everyone was ready to move on. They wanted to go get drinks elsewhere, but I decided to head back to the hotel because we were leaving in about an hour for the airport and I needed to finish packing and do some stretching. 

Luckily/coincidentally, my two coaches were on the same flight as me. I was absolutely exhausted by the time we got to the airport. After going through security, we had a bit of time before our flight, and decided to get some beverages to help us sleep a little easier ;-)

Hydration Station

The flight was not so great. I slept, but not restfully. I woke up several times and could not get comfortable. When we landed, I just wanted to get into my bed. I actually started to feel really nauseous in the cab back to my apartment, but eventually it subsided and I was able to get to work.

Everyone was really understanding at work and tried to help me out as much as possible, which was great because the slightest movements were quite a task.

As soon as work was over, I came home and ate lunch, and promptly passed out for 3 hours. It was a fabulous nap :-)

Since then, I feel like I have definitely caught up on my sleep. The first few days my legs (especially quads) were pretty sore – stairs were a total joke. Now, I can go up and down them at a normal pace and they don’t feel sore at all. My knee is definitely not healed, so I am going to continue physical therapy and give it as much rest as it needs – although I am already getting runner envy. I have been taking it easy this week and going to yoga a lot though, which I definitely feel has helped. 

Reflections

1. I am so happy to have been able to have this experience.

2. I would definitely recommend Team in Training to anyone training for their first endurance event. First of all, they really take care of you and prepare you in every way possible. Additionally, they are such an amazingly supportive group of people, and I feel like I have really formed some great friendships that will last beyond this race.

3. I would definitely like to do another marathon sometime in the next year or so, after my body has totally recovered. As I mentioned, I wasn’t stoked about my time, but given my injury all I really cared about was finishing and I am so happy I achieved that goal. That being said, I definitely have even more motivation to see what my body can do when it is not injured

4. Things I would do differently next time:

  • Not be injured during training
  • At least two 20mile runs beforehand – I don’t think the one 18-miler this time was enough to prepare my body for the 26.2 mile distance
  • Yoga at least once a week

And that concludes my recap and reflections – hope you enjoyed reading them!

Have a wonderful weekend!

I Finished!!! My First Marathon – Part 1

Hi friends!

I am so happy to report that on Sunday I finished my FIRST FULL MARATHON!!!

I had mentioned before that because of my knee injury, I was having a lot of doubt that I would be able to make it all 26.2 miles.

Thanks to a lot of rest, stretching, KT taping, and most of all, the amazing support of Team and Training, I did! And I couldn’t be happier.

Here’s a recap of the race weekend (warning – will be long!)

Friday

Leave Boston around 4:00pm.

Someone switches seats with a teammate of mine, we chat for a good part of the flight (life stories shared!), while the rest was spent sleeping/reading. Flight flies by!

Arrive in San Diego around 7:30pm (10:30 in Boston).

Go to hotel, eat, stretch, ice, and pass out for several hours (so needed).

Saturday

  • Eventually get out of bed to stretch and eat some breakfast.
  • Meet team to go to the race expo.
    • Overwhelmed – I have never been to an expo this big! Also, so excited.
    • I buy a shirt, then get in line at the Sports Authority booth to get my knee taped.
    • The line takes FOREVER. Luckily, an awesome friend of mine is nice enough to wait with me!
    • Finally, it is my turn. The guy explains to me what he is doing (cutting two pieces in half, stretching bottom piece out to 100% then back down to 75%, next piece out to 100% then 30% for this half 80% for that, etc) – I just nod my head. Never going to remember what he said.
  • Finally done! Back to the hotel.
  • Lounge around in one of my teammate’s rooms with the rest of the team. She was one of the top 10 fundraisers of all of TNT (over $10k!), so she scored the presidential suite, which was out of control ridiculous.
  • Boston TNT chills hard

  • Get ready;  walk back to convention center for Inspiration Dinner
  • Great speaker, crappy food.
  • Decorate our singlets in the presidential suite.

    Very concentrated

  • Back to my room; lay out outfit/gear/fuel.

    Note the brightness & in-tactness of the puffy paint on the singlet…

  • Stretch/ice one last time. Say a prayer that my knee will hold up.
  • Lights out, alarm set for 3:45!

Sunday

  • Wake up at 3:15. Drank wayyyy too much water.
  • 3:18 - back in bed…somehow manage to fall back asleep for 20 minutes.
  • Up and at ‘em!
  • Quickly brush teeth and start to get dressed, then realize my fail of the night before. It didn’t occur to me to put a piece of newspaper in between my shirt, so the paint bled right through to the other side, and onto the bedspread! OOPS!
  • Gently put my still-wet singlet on, and head downstairs to meet my team.
  • Take team photos(full team photo coming soon)

    See that puffy paint now? Yeah, lesson learned.

  • Get on shuttle bus. SO NERVOUS
  • It is cold. Perfect running weather, though – 65 and cloudy. Very thankful that a friend had an extra throw-away shirt she let me wear :-) Noted for next race.
  • Get in line for porta potty.
  • Chat with teammates to ease each other’s anxiety. 45 minutes later, it is our turn!

Mile by Mile

  • Head to Corral 27. Myself and 6 others decided we’d all start there (some of us were in earlier corrals)

    Love this. Clearly, we all have different expressions of anxiety

  • First gun goes off at 6:15 am

    *Not sure when this was taken (borrowed photo)

  • About 40 minutes later, we are finally crossing the start line! Everyone is dancing and so excited.
  • Immediately break off into two groups (of 3 and 4).
  • Mile 1: Instantly feel knee pain. Thinking there is no way I will finish this race.
  • Mile 1-3: Great much awesome spectator energy! Great bands/music.
  • Mile 3: I am already so unexpectedly sweaty. Humidity? See best sign of the day: “I just farted. Keep running!”
  • Mile 5: Run through the Padres’ stadium!
  • Mile 5.5: Vanilla Gu + water. Decide that my knee will be fine unless pain gets worse
  • Mile 6: The other 3 girls I was with go ahead; I know I should be maintaining a slower pace.
  • Mile 8: See my coaches standing above me at an overpass!!! So glad to see them.
  • Mile 8-10: Highway stretch. Mostly uphill, and the road was totally slanted. Super uncomfortable. Also, so quiet! No bands/cheerleaders.
  • Mile 11: Chocolate GU + lots of water.
  • Mile 11-14: a bit of a blur…I remember feeling really cold at one point – maybe dried sweat? Gross.
  • Mile 14: Knee goes numb. Feeling GREAT! Thinking about when I should sign up for my next marathon.
  • Mile 16: Why have I not seen ANYONE I know in so long?!?
  • Mile 17: Finally pass friends headed the other direction. Ecstatic to see them!
  • Mile 17.5: Vanilla GU + salt packet + lots of water. See favorite runner costume of the day: Gumby!
  • Mile 18 – 20: Beginning to slow down a bit…
  • Mile 20: EFF this. Body is done. Everything hurts.
  • Mile 20-22: take a walking break every mile. Walk about 1/10th of a mile, very slowly run the rest of each mile.
  • Mile 22:  Chocolate GU + water. A coach hands me another salt packet, which I figure can’t hurt.
  • Mile 22: TNT coach runs with me for about .25 mile. Welcomed distraction/conversation!
  • Mile 23: See my coaches again! Cross over the water to run around a 2 mile island. Thinking I can still maintain sub-5:00
  • Mile 23-25: ISLAND OF DEATH. Normally, this part of the course would have been beautiful. I mean really, an island in San Diego?? Plus, it was super flat. But, during this time, I wanted nothing more than to lay down. Everything is hurting so much. I begin taking a LOT more walking breaks. There are also more TNT coaches (from other teams) during this stretch, so I frequently get asked how I’m doing/if I need anything.
  • Mile 24: Realize sub-5:00 is out of the question. Primary goal becomes finishing.
  • Mile 25: 1.2 miles has never seemed so long.
  • Mile 25.8: Finally see my coaches again after getting off the island!! Try my best to smile for a picture
  • Mile 26: Clearly see the finish line. Want to start crying. A random coach runs with me
  • Mile 26.4 (race was off a bit): DONE!!! Want to immediately start crying. Get handed a metal. Do my best to compose myself for the professional pictures

Stay tuned for a Part 2 - post-race recap + my reflections on the race!