Saturday, December 29, 2012

Turkey Soup Provencal

I came across this recipe and all the ingredients sounded wonderful! Lean turkey, beans, spinach, tomatoes, what's not to like?

I was actually a little worried that it would turn out bland because it called for such few ingredients, but this soup was full of flavor. It was extra good served with a little parmesan and a side of crusty bread.


1 pound ground turkey breast
1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence, crushed
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans, drained (I used garbanzo beans)
1 (14.5-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with garlic and onion, undrained
4 cups chopped fresh spinach
(I also added just a pinch of sea salt at the same time as the spinach)


Cook turkey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble.
Add herbes de Provence, beans, broth, and tomatoes to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in spinach; simmer 5 minutes.

Robyn Webb, Cooking Light
MARCH 2003

Monday, December 10, 2012

Dallas Marathon Race Recap

My race did not go as planned, not even a little bit. Sorry in advance for the length, feel free to skip to the end to find out what happened!

The weather was forecast to be hot and humid as the race started with temperatures falling in the late afternoon. I wore shorts, a short sleeve tech shirt and compression calf sleeves. Laigha (running the half) and her husband met us at our apartment, we headed to downtown about 6:15. I was meeting my running group at Reunion Tower, one of the ladies works in the building and let us into her office to use an indoor bathroom. We headed to the starting corrals at 7:00. Michael had set up a GPS tracker on my phone, so I started it and sent the link to my family and friends who wanted to track me during the race.

There were only three corrals, A, B and C. I was assigned to A but decided to start in B with the rest of my group. Most of them started in the back of corral B but four of us headed towards the front and decided to stick together and run two by two for the beginning of the race. The starting line was a lot of fun, lots of great energy and confetti! We started off at a good pace, didn't bob and weave through the crowds but made good progress. The first part of the course took us out of downtown and into West Dallas. It's not particularly scenic and we still had the crowds to contend with. We bypassed the first water stop (I'd decided not to bring my hand-held bottle and instead just carried a plastic bottle that I planned to get me through the first, most crowded water stops and then ditch). We went across the Margaret Hunt Hill bridge, which is really beautiful! I had never gotten to see it up close.

Within the first few miles, I was HOT. The streets were wet as if it had rained, but it was all humidity. At the second water station, I knew I wanted Gatorade. I tried to stop but the crowds were overwhelming and the volunteers could not keep up with the demand. My small group got separated but we found each other again, thankfully. At this point I was already feeling the humidity, I was really struggling. We passed the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, the benefactor of the Dallas Marathon. It was great to see people out in front cheering and as I struggled up the hill I tried to tell myself that it was nothing compared to the struggle these kids face every day.

Around mile 5 I saw a runner on the ground and paramedics lifting him onto a stretcher. I said a silent prayer that he was okay and wondered what happened to take him down that early in the race. (Apparently, Michael and some of our friends were right there, but we missed each other.)

Things started to go wrong at this point. Remember when I started tapering and I had some mysterious knee pain? I had chalked it up to "taper madness," that my body was just healing from the months of high mileage. Going through the hilliest part of the course, my knee started talking to me. Then my stomach joined in. I was frustrated already and walked up one of the steepest hills to catch my breath (and try to settle my stomach). I lost my small group but I knew I needed to hold back for a bit.

I started running again (slower) and around mile 6 saw two of my friends (Stacey and Suzanne), I laughed when I saw Suzanne's sign that said, "Run Faster, I Hear Banjos!" Then I saw three more friends (Dianthe, Sarah and Virginia). We went through Oak Lawn and Turtle Creek before the half marathoners split off. Then we ran through Highland Park. I kept telling myself I would run to the next mile marker and then walk, but it hurt more and more to run, so I took more frequent walk breaks. I noticed a lot of people around me doing the same thing. I thought about stopping at the Port-a-potties around mile 9 but it was a long wait so I skipped it. I was taking water and Gatorade at almost every station I passed, even if I could only manage a few sips.

At mile 10 I saw Michael and some of our friends (Judson, Elliott and Scott), it cheered me up to see them! They were pretty far away, if they had been closer I would have told Michael how much I hurt. Next we ran through the M streets and I finally saw some Port-a-potties with no line, so I jumped in one but... nothing. I didn't want to waste much time, so I quickly got back onto the course. Not long after, I saw two friends cheering for me ("We know her!" yelled Victoria), which also lifted my spirits. Next was a big uphill across a bridge. I had to stop and walk again, my knee just could not handle going uphill. All of a sudden, I saw my mother in law! I was so surprised to see her there (I thought she was going to be in a different spot) that I said, "You caught me walking!" Once I got up the hill, I stopped and stretched which helped temporarily.

Once I got to the lake, I was in a lot of pain. I walked the majority of the next few miles. I saw several people stopping at the medical tents and saw one girl walk up to one of the officers blocking traffic and said, "What do I do if I'm done?" I thought about joining her but kept going. I got so frustrated around the 15 mile mark that I took out my phone and texted Michael. "I'm in a lot of pain, I'm walking more than I'm running." He called, said he was just past the 16 mile marker and said I just needed to get to him. I walk/jogged to him and immediately stopped. I wanted to cry but I think my body was holding onto all the fluid! He walked with me for a little ways and helped me feel a lot better. He said even if I had to run/walk the rest, that I could definitely finish. We passed a couple holding a sign that said, "Beer after the race!" and Michael pointed to it, reminding me that I could have beer after I finished. The couple noticed that I was struggling and they chimed in, "Yes! You can have all the beer you want at the finish line!" I pushed on.

Around this point, I ran into Jessica and Michele from my running group. Jessica was miserable, she was severely nauseous and couldn't run more than a few steps. Michele was struggling, but feeling a little better. I walked with them for a bit and Michele and I jogged forward. At the 17 mile mark, the DRC had a water stop and I knew Brandon would be there. As soon as I saw him, I almost burst into tears (again). I told him how much pain I was in and he gave me some very reassuring words. I told him, "Even if I have to walk, I'm going to finish!" He told me later that after I left he got worried and tried to run after me, but couldn't catch up to me. What a great friend! I also saw two more friends who had made me a sign that said, "If this was easy, it would be called Your Mom."

At this point, the temperatures were dropping as a Northern wind came in. It was such a relief to feel the hot, humid air lifting.

Jessica and I walked together for a little while longer, I saw Scott and Laigha (who had her finisher medal from the half) just before the 19 mile mark as I was walking again. The 19 mile mark was a party! There was an MC and a big banner that said "Start," the MC explained that this was the start of the wall and the start of the hardest part of the race. There were Clif shots (or Gu?), water and Gatorade all handed out by Hooters girls. And... Port-a-potties! I stopped and (TMI) was finally able to get some stomach relief. I felt much better! This next section was super hilly, Jessica and I walked most of it. I got a tiny Dixie cup of cold beer from the Hash House Harriers at mile 20. A little bit after that, I told Jessica I was going to run ahead. I couldn't do much more than a jog, but with my stomach feeling better, I decided to go for it.

Once I started moving faster, I realized that my knee didn't hurt as much but that I still had very sharp pain radiating from the knee, up my outer thigh all the way to my right glute. Around mile 21.5, I caught up to running buddy Ritu. She was moving about the same pace I was and I asked if I could run with her for a little bit. She said sure, we ran together silently for a while. Around mile 22, we saw Vishal, who heads up all the DRC training groups, and his fiancee Ashley. Vishal ran alongside us for a minute and gave us a great pep talk. Again, I could have cried.

Ritu and I stuck together for the rest of the race. We took a few walking breaks but we ran (well, jogged) more than we walked. I ran into Kelly and Diana from my 4:10 group, Diana was having a rough day as well and Kelly refused to leave her side. The last few miles are kind of a blur. The spectators were so encouraging at this point. Ritu and I ran silently most of the time but coached each other when we needed it.

We got back to downtown and we were so close we could taste it! I heard one of the police officers tell us, "Just a quarter mile and you're done!" We were walking at this point and I said, "Let's finish this!" As we got to the finish line, I heard some people yelling Ritu's name and realized it was her family. I felt her determination and as we rounded the last corner we had an unspoken moment of "Let's bring it home!" We both started running as fast as our legs could carry us! (Which, let's be honest, was not very fast but it felt that way.) As we ran through the finish chute, I saw Michael as well as Dianthe and Sarah. Ritu and I ran across the finish line together and we were done!

My finish time was 5:40:41, which was nowhere near what I wanted to do. I'm so frustrated that it took me so long to finish, but considering all the walking I had to do I have to be okay with that.

I got my medal and a space blanket, chatted with a few of my running friends, then made my way to the finisher's area. I got my finisher's tech shirt, a beer (well earned!) and a bag of pretzels which were like sawdust in my mouth. My phone was almost dead and apparently Michael's phone had died, but I managed to get in touch with him and the rest of our friends. We visited for a few minutes and took pictures.

I changed into some compression socks as soon as we got to the car and put on a jacket as it had really gotten cold! We headed to Jake's where I inhaled a spicy black bean burger and sweet potato fries. Once I got home and showered, I put my feet up and just relaxed the rest of the day with an ice pack on my knee. It was so fun to get on Facebook and read all my runner (and spectator) friends' reports from the day!

I took Monday off work and got a sports massage which helped with the soreness immensely. My knee is definitely swollen, so I'm going to keep ice on it.

Part of me says that this race experience sucked and that I never want to do it again. Another part of me says that I need to show this course who's boss. We shall see!

And now on to our next adventure... we're moving next weekend. Eek!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Race Week!

Last week's workouts:
Sun 11/25: Yoga Rest
Mon 11/26: Yoga or rest Detox Yoga, 20 min
Tues 11/27: 50 min pace run 4.17 miles, 47:50
Wed 11/28: Strength training Rest
Thurs 11/29: 40 min recovery run Rest
Fri 11/30: Yoga or rest Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Sat 12/1: 9 mi run 9.25 mi, 1:46:43

I ended up taking more rest days than I'd planned, I was worried about my knee. I also had another sports massage on Wednesday, it was great! I am getting another one the day after the marathon, I'm already excited.

Hard to believe that race week is here already! It seems like training has flown by, but at the same time I know how much time and effort I have put into preparing myself. At this point, I am as ready as I can be and just need to get myself to the starting line. I'm almost paranoid that I'm going to get sick or hurt before Sunday, maybe I should wrap myself in bubble wrap until then!

This week's plans:
Sun 12/2: Rest (I went to the zoo with some friends, so we were walking for several hours)
Mon 12/3: 30 min elliptical
Tues 12/4: 2.78 mi, 30:44
Wed 12/5: Strength training
Thurs 12/6: Rest or yoga
Fri 12/7: 30 min easy run
Sat 12/8: Rest or yoga
Sun 12/9: RACE DAY! 26.2 miles

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 18 Complete

Alternate title: Taper Week 1 Complete

I know people talk about "taper madness" and that it's hard to cut back the miles at the end of training, but I am loving this break! I think my legs will feel so well-rested in time for the marathon.

Last week's plans:
Sun 11/18: Rest
Mon 11/19: Easy 30 min run Power Yoga 2 podcast, 30 min
Tues 11/20: Yoga 2.69 mi run (my phone died so not sure of the time, but about 30 minutes)
Wed 11/21: Strength training
Thurs 11/22: 8 mile Turkey Trot 1:23:27
Fri 11/23: Rest or yoga
Sat 11/24: 12 miles easy 12.3 mi, 2:23

My face is healing up well, I'm still so glad that my injuries were only superficial.

I started the Thanksgiving holiday by running the Dallas Turkey Trot 8 mile race. This is one of the biggest turkey trots in the country, with over 35,000 participants. Every year I get so annoyed by the crowds at the beginning. There are no corrals, so everyone starts together. Considering that I was forced to walk most of the first mile until the crowd thinned out, I was happy with my time.

This was my first year doing the 8 mile run, previously I have opted for the 5K, which splits off after about 2 miles. I didn't realize how many bridges (i.e. hills) we would go over, my legs were super sore afterwards.

My 12 mile run was harder than I thought it would be. My legs felt like lead after the Turkey Trot and my right knee randomly started really hurting. I thought about stopping to walk the last couple of miles, but I was able to run through the pain and it actually felt fine once we stopped running. Weird. I have been icing it and I think I will rest it until our Tuesday run just to be safe.

Monday night I have an appointment for another sports massage, I hope this will work out all the soreness from the last few long runs and get my legs ready for December 9!

This week's plans:
Sun: Yoga
Mon: Yoga or rest
Tues: 50 min pace run
Wed: Strength training
Thurs: 40 min recovery run
Fri: Yoga or rest
Sat: 9 mi run

Hope everyone had a healthy and happy Thanksgiving weekend! Ours was full of family and food, with a healthy dose of relaxing.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 17 complete

I can't believe I made it through marathon training! Our last long run was my hardest yet, but I'll get to that.

Last week's workouts:
Sun 11/11: 7.5 mi bike ride
Mon 11/12: Power Vinyasa 4, 25 min
Tues 11/13: DRC pace run, 7.3 mi 1:20
Wed 11/14: 3 2.3 mi easy
Thurs 11/15: Strength training
Fri 11/16: Yoga or rest Yoga for Runners podcast, 25 min
Sat 11/17: 22 22.3 miles, 4:22

Saturday's run started out okay, I was nervous about the distance and my hip flexor was acting up again. But I had on brand new shoes (replacements of my beloved Brooks Glycerins) and got caught up in chatting with my group. We ran through some different neighborhoods though a lot of construction and uneven sidewalks. My pace leader tripped and fell as we left our second water stop (around 8 miles in). Then another team member tripped as we ran through Highland Park (in front of my alma mater Armstrong Elementary).

And finally, when we were in East Dallas, I tripped on an uneven sidewalk and did a complete wipeout. It happened so fast, I didn't even have time to put my hands down to stop my fall. I landed face first, scraping my chin and busting my upper lip. I sat up and could see the look of panic on my teammates' faces. I didn't feel any pain (yet) and asked, "Am I bleeding?" Everyone nodded yes and I put my hand to my face and realized I was *really* bleeding. I didn't worry too much because I know any head wounds bleed a lot even if they are not serious.

My teammates are amazing, several grabbed tissues, wet them with their water bottles and cleaned up my face. Big props to Michelle who literally pulled gravel and grass out of my face with no squeamishness. After several minutes, our pace leader Vicki calmly asked if I wanted to keep going or call someone to pick me up. She didn't put any pressure on me either way and said I could do whatever I felt comfortable with. By this time, I had stopped gushing blood and was able to stand up with no problem. I decided to keep going, promising my teammates that if I started to not feel well, I would stop.

Believe it or not, I felt much better once I started going again. I had a new determination to finish that run! My knee had also gotten scraped in the process and I bled on my new shoes. My teeth must have hit the inside of my upper lip because I could feel it swelling up. But my body felt good, I know that I'm actually lucky that I didn't twist an ankle or really hurt my knee. I talked to my nurse friend Victoria and she pointed out that our jaws are pretty tough, but our wrists are not. Even if I had put my hands out to catch myself, I could have easily broken a wrist.

Well, that's one way to finish out marathon training, with a bang you might say. Overall, I know I'm lucky, it could have been much worse. I should have been keeping a better eye on the sidewalk. I try to keep my head up when I run, but with uneven terrain like that, you have to be aware of every footfall and potential hazard. I don't know what I would have done without my teammates there to help, they are amazing.

I actually finished this run feeling way more confident about December 9th. If I can make it through 22 miles after literally falling on my face, I can make it through 26.2 no problem! I'll just have to keep reminding myself of that.

This week is Thanksgiving week and I'm not looking forward to trying to eat turkey and sweet potatoes with a bandage on my chin, but at least it will make a good story.

This week's plans:
Sun 11/18: Rest
Mon 11/19: Easy 30 min run
Tues 11/20: Yoga
Wed 11/21: Strength training
Thurs 11/22: 8 mile Turkey Trot
Fri 11/23: Rest or yoga
Sat 11/24: 12 miles easy

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 16 Complete

Last week's workouts:
Mon 11/5: Walked, 2.28 mi 38:04
Tues 11/6: Ran, 3.13 mi 36:23
Wed 11/7: Stationary bike 15 min, 4 mi; upper body strength training
Thurs 11/8: 45 min easy run 47:00, 4.04 mi
Fri 11/9: Yoga Cardio Burn Yoga, 20 min
Sat 11/10: 18 mi easy 18.5 mi

Not sure about my finish time on Saturday's run. Our group ended up splitting up towards the end, a few fell behind and I ended up skipping our last water stop. My hip flexor was bothering me and actually hurt worse when I stopped, so I pushed on. Overall, it was a good run and I felt like I finished strong. After icing my hip flexor, it feels tons better.

Michael and I took our bikes out for a ride on Sunday morning, it was a great way to shake out my legs and fun for us to spend time on the White Rock Creek Trail again. We decided we will try to go for a bike ride most Sundays!

This week's plans/actual:
Sun 11/11: 7.5 mi bike ride
Mon 11/12: Power Vinyasa 4, 25 min
Tues 11/13: DRC pace run, 7.3 mi 1:20
Wed 11/14: 3 mi easy
Thurs 11/15: Strength training
Fri 11/16: Yoga or rest
Sat 11/17: 22 miles easy

Saturday is our last long run before the race, hard to believe it's already here!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 15 complete

Last week's workouts:
Sun 10/28: YMCA Fired Up! 5K, 34:33 (a new PR... for slowest 5K time!)
Mon 10/29: Yoga Power Yoga 4, 35min
Tues 10/30: 1:10 mile repeats tempo run, 6.67 mi, 1:11
Wed 10/31: Rest Run On Social Run, 3.03 mi, 31:44
Thurs 11/1: 1:00 easy run strength training
Fri 11/2: 40 min easy run OR bike + upper body strength training 3.69 mi, 45:27
Sat 11/3: Yoga Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Sun 11/4: Dallas Running Club Half Marathon 2:11:08

Sunday's race was tough but a lot of fun! I knew I wasn't in PR shape, so I tried to stick with the 2:10 pace group (led by one of my 4:10 pace leaders, Melinda). I ended up falling a little bit behind them after the halfway point. The course was very hilly and I was really struggling, but I'm proud of myself for pushing forward at the end when I really just wanted to stop and walk.

I loved seeing so many familiar faces during the race! I got to the race pretty early and spent time chatting with fellow DRC members, talking about our race goals. My brother-in-law and nephew Luke came out to cheer for me, plus I saw lots of people from the running community. I knew Michael would be at the finish line, but so was our friend Brandon! It made me so happy to see them both, I know it was hard for Brandon to be there because he wishes he could be running with us. But considering he almost lost his life just a couple of months ago, it is amazing that he was able to be there at all!

Michael got some great pictures of me coming into the finish line, here is where I spotted them and ran over to give Brandon a high-five!

Unfortunately, I have been really sore since the race so this week's workouts have been a little lackluster. I skipped our Tuesday night group tempo run to just do an easy few miles around the neighborhood. I'm hoping for a little longer run tonight, but we'll see. I'm mainly focusing on being ready for Saturday's long run.

This week's plans/actual:
Mon 11/5: Walked, 2.28 mi 38:04
Tues 11/6: Ran, 3.13 mi 36:23
Wed 11/7: Stationary bike 15 min, 4 mi; upper body strength training
Thurs 11/8: 45 min easy run
Fri 11/9: Yoga
Sat 11/10: 18 mi easy

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Turkey, Kale and Brown Rice Soup

My coworker made this soup for a potluck and I loved it so much, she sent me home with the leftovers. When I asked her for the recipe, she told me it was a Giada de Laurentis recipe, so I immediately looked it up and made it at home. It is a delicious, hearty soup, healthy but still very flavorful!

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 to 6 large shallots, chopped
3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/3 cups)
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 ounces ground white turkey meat, broken into small chunks
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence (I actually used dried Italian seasoning, but I think the herbes de Provence would be so much better, so I will definitely use that the next time I make the recipe.)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice, drained
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 small bunch kale, coarsely chopped (about 4 packed cups)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, optional
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, carrots and bell pepper and saute, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown and soften slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ground turkey and stir until the meat turns white and begins to color very slightly around the edges, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the herbes de Provence and stir, 1 minute. Add 4 cups broth, tomatoes and rice. Bring to a boil. Stir in the kale and season with 3/4 teaspoon salt and the freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle each serving with parsley and Parmesan, if using, and serve.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 14 Complete

Last week's workouts:
Sun 10/21: 25 min yoga (Yoga for Runners podcast)
Mon 10/22: 3 mi easy + power yoga upper body strength training
Tues 10/23: 1 hr run (not sure if I'll tackle mile repeats or take it easy again)- I did a tempo run with the 4:30 group, 10 min warmup; 15 min @ 10min/mi; 5 min recovery; 20 min @ 10 min/mile
Wed 10/24: 3 mi easy 20 min yoga podcast, Hip Opening Flow
Thurs 10/25: 60 min run 3.1 mi run, 35 min
Fri 10/26: Off
Sat 10/27: 20 mi easy 20.54mi, 4:07:45, avg pace 12:03

When I say "easy," I am referring to the pace. Trust me, there is nothing easy about 20 miles! The 4:30 group was awesome, both the pace leaders were out (one with an injury, one was running the Marine Corps Marathon) and everyone stepped up to the plate and worked as a team to get in our 20 miles. I still can't believe I did it! I could have cried afterwards, but I was just too tired.

I am still very nervous about the actual race. Twenty miles was tough, my legs were sooooo sore and I was mentally drained. I can't imagine still having to run another 6 miles after that.

I am planning on finishing the season with the 4:30 group. I think I am just not in 4:10 shape and it was an ambitious goal for my first marathon. So many people have told me to not even have a goal time, to just focus on finishing, so that is going to be my only goal.

This week's plan:
Sun 10/28: YMCA Fired Up! 5K, 34:33 (a new PR... for slowest 5K time!)
Mon 10/29: Yoga
Tues 10/30: 1:10 mile repeats
Wed 10/31: Rest
Thurs 11/1: 1:00 easy run
Fri 11/2: 40 min easy run OR bike + upper body strength training
Sat 11/3: Yoga
Sun 11/4: Dallas Running Club Half Marathon

I'm a little nervous for the half marathon, my legs have not been in good racing shape, but I will try my best!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 13 Complete

Last Saturday, after having taken a couple of weeks off, I joined back up with my training group to run 17 miles. It was not pretty. I wore compression sleeves and these helped my leg pain a lot, but my stamina was nowhere near where it had been. Throw in some crazy humidity and I had to run/walk the last 3 miles. It was very discouraging and one of my pace leaders (Alan) suggested that I think about dropping down to the half marathon.

Even worse, I was super sore for several days afterwards. So I focused on preparing for my next long run. Instead of running mile repeats with my group on Tuesday night, I ran an easy 5.5 miles with a few other injured runners. I went to the State Fair on Wednesday and wore my compression socks under my pants. (So stylish!)

Then on Thursday, I got my first sports massage. Holy cow, this massage was like none other I've ever had. The masseuse is also a personal trainer and works with a lot of pro athletes, so she knew what she was doing. She worked so much tension out of my legs and glutes. I took an Epsom salt bath afterwards and the next day still felt like I'd had a hardcore lower-body strength workout. (Full disclosure, I had bruises from where she'd gotten really deep into those muscles!)

Friday morning, Michael and I got up early to go for a run and for the first time in, well, months, I did not feel like I was limping while I ran. My legs were sore, but I still felt good and a few easy miles shook those muscles out.

Saturday morning, I ran with the 4:30 pace group instead of my usual 4:10 group. I missed my teammates but this group was really nice and good to run with. The slower pace was just what I needed and I was able to finish the whole 18 miles. It was an amazing confidence boost!

I feel like I have missed a lot of key workouts (hill repeats and mile repeats) so I have adjusted my marathon goal to "just finish." I think for my first marathon, especially with all the problems I have had, this will have to do.

This week's plan:

Sun 10/21: 25 min yoga (Yoga for Runners podcast)
Mon 10/22: 3 mi easy + power yoga
Tues 10/23: 1 hr run (not sure if I'll tackle mile repeats or take it easy again)
Wed 10/24: 3 mi easy
Thurs 10/25: 60 min run
Fri 10/26: Off
Sat 10/27: 20 mi easy

I am also signed up for a 5K on Sunday 10/28, eep! Not sure how I'll feel about that after having done 20 mi the day before.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Spinach and Tortellini Soup

This weekend the weather turned chilly and I was in the mood for soup. My good friend Jen posted a picture on Facebook of a delicious looking soup simmering on her stove, so I immediately requested the recipe! It turned out delicious and we have been enjoying the leftovers for lunches this week.

Pam & 1 tbs olive oil (I just used olive oil)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
4 gloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz cans crushed or diced tomatoes (I did diced with Italian seasoning)
2 15-oz cans tomato sauce (keep the cans b/c you will need 2 15-oz cans of water)
1 10- or 12-oz box frozen spinach
1 12-oz bag frozen cheese tortellini (The only cheese tortellini I saw in the freezer case was 19-oz so ours was heavy on the tortellini!)
black pepper (to taste, I'd say at least a heaping tbs)
salt to taste
1 tsp dried oregano (or to taste)
1 tsp dried basil (or to taste)

Cook the onion and garlic on medium/low to let the onions sweat until soft and tender.

Add the cans of tomato sauce, tomatoes, water, basil, oregano and pepper. Turn up heat until it simmers. I let it simmer for a bit but I was in no hurry. If you are, continue on!

Add the frozen spinach (still frozen) and stir occasionally to help it break up. Once the spinach is mixed in, add the tortellini (still frozen). Cook on medium/high until the tortellini is tender (about 10 minutes). Add salt to taste. Voila!

Makes 8, 2-cup servings.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Time off

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. The pain in my leg got worse and I took a second trip the the doctor. I got another anti-inflammatory and instructions to foam roll and ice after every run. This seemed to help some and I was able to complete a 16 mile training run with my group last Saturday. However, I was in a lot of pain for the rest of the week. I managed a short run on Wednesday, then Friday set out for an hour but had to stop after only 20 minutes because of the pain right above my ankle.

Obviously, this is not what I wanted to happen during marathon training. It's not a good feeling when your mind wants to run but your body won't cooperate. But I would rather take time off now than be forced to miss my goal race. At this point, I know I couldn't even finish my upcoming November half marathon with a decent time.

So I will be doing yoga and the elliptical for a couple of weeks and then re-evaluate how I feel.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 7 Complete

Last week's workouts:
Sun 8/26: Yoga for Runners podcast, 25 min
Mon 8/27: Gaia Flow Yoga, Ocean practice, 90 min
Tues 8/28: Rest
Wed 8/29: Detox Yoga podcast, 20 min + strength training
Thurs 8/30: 2.32 mi run, 25:45
Fri 8/31: Yoga for Runners podcast, 25 min
Sat 9/1: 9 mi lake loop + 5 mi "race" (didn't race, just ran)

I went for a little "test run" on Thursday and my leg was feeling much better, not quite 100% but better. I felt confident that I could make it through my Saturday run.

I'm not sure on the time for our 9 mi loop, but I finished the 5 mi DRC Breakfast Bash 5 mi race in 54:46. I purposely kept my pace slow and only stopped at one water stop to walk and stretch. So Saturday was a new distance PR for me, 14 miles total! I guess all my long runs will be new distances after this point. :)

This week is another play-it-by ear week! On Wednesday night, we head to Galveston and Thursday morning we board a cruise to Cozumel! We are so excited for the vacation but the best part will be seeing our close friends Scott and Laigha get married.

The ship has a fitness center and an outdoor track so I will try to get in some workouts but I am not going to plan ahead for the days on the ship. Last week was actually supposed to be only 5 miles per our training plan but I knew I would not be running 14 miles on the ship, so I got that mileage done already!

So here is my abbreviated plan for the week:
Sun 9/2: Rest
Mon 9/3: 35 min recovery run
Tues 9/4: 1 hr DRC group run
Wed 9/5: Yoga

Have a happy and healthy week!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Chicken and Black Bean Burritos

Another recipe I tore out of Cooking Light several months ago and put in my "to-try" notebook. Then a friend mentioned she had made it and loved it so I decided to grab the ingredients and give it a try!

I decided it needed a boost of veggies, so I added some zucchini to the filling. I loved the addition, but Michael is not a squash fan so next time I would leave it out for him.

3/4 pound chicken breast tenders, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup lower-sodium canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 garlic clove, minced
2 (10-inch) flour tortillas
1 ounce preshredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1/4 cup)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup pico de gallo (I swapped this for some spicier salsa)
1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream (we left this out, not huge sour cream fans in this house)

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl; toss well.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chicken mixture; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Add beans and garlic (this is when I also added the chopped zucchini); cook 2 minutes or until heated, stirring frequently. Divide chicken mixture evenly among tortillas. Top each burrito with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up each burrito jelly-roll fashion.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat both sides of burritos evenly with cooking spray. Place burritos in pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. (I don't know what my malfunction was, but I could not get the burritos to brown without tearing the tortilla! My friend did not have a problem, so I really think it was just me. Anyway, they were still really good not browned.) Cut burritos in half. Top with pico de gallo and sour cream.

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 6 Complete

Last week's workouts:
Sun 8/19: Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Mon 8/20: 30 min recovery run (3.11 mi, 33:22)+ Gaia Flow Yoga (Ocean Practice, 90 min)
Tues 8/21: DRC training group, 1 hr base/easy (5.83 mi, 1:01:35)
Wed 8/22: Rest or strength training
Thurs 8/23: 50 min base/easy (3 mi, 35:00)
Fri 8/24: 30 min recovery run
Sat 8/25: DRC Training Group, 12 mi (12.65 mi, 2:17:26)

First things first, our friend Brandon is improving every day! He was taken off the respirator on Friday, had his neck brace taken off Saturday and was moved out of ICU on Sunday. Yay!

On Wednesday, my calf felt a little sore. We had done a little off-roading (not trail running exactly but definitely off the beaten path) and I was also wearing new shoes. Wednesday was a planned rest day from running and Thursday I woke up ready to get my run on. Unfortunately, I felt pain immediately and knew something was not right. I cut my run short and went home to ice and foam roll. I took Friday as a rest day and did more icing and foam rolling. By Saturday morning, it felt much better, but was hurting again not long after we started our 12 mile run. I stretched really well on our 8 mile water stop and the rest of the run felt a little easier. However, by Saturday afternoon, I was really hobbling around and going up and down stairs felt horrible.

Sunday I did yoga, foam rolled and iced some more. I called my doctor's office first thing Monday morning and they managed to fit me in that morning. Luckily, the doctor thought it was just a minor muscle strain and recommended rest and some prescription strength anti-inflammatory meds. I'm already feeling good this evening, but I'm definitely going to continue to rest most of the week to make sure everything is healed up.

So no plan for this week, I'll do yoga as many days as I can.

Have a happy and healthy week!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 5 Complete

Last week's workouts:
Sun 8/12: Gaia Flow Yoga (Gentle Flow class, 60 min)
Mon 8/13: 30 min recovery run 2.95 mi, 31:14
Tues 8/14: DRC Training Group, 50 min base/easy 4.88 mi, 52:00
Wed 8/15: Rest or strength training
Thurs 8/16: 50 min base/easy 4.64 mi, 49:52
Fri 8/17: 30 min recovery 2.26 mi, 25:08
Sat 8/18: DRC Training Group, 10 mi 10.5 mi, 1:52

On Monday night, my good friend and marathon training teammate had a horrible accident. He, my husband and our other friend Scott were flying a remote control helicopter at Scott's house when the helicopter got caught in a tree. Brandon used a ladder to get into the tree along with an aluminum pole to knock out the helicopter. He tripped and fell into a power line, was shocked and then fell head-first almost 15 feet. He was not breathing when he hit the ground but luckily Michael and Scott knew CPR and were able to start him breathing again by the time paramedics arrived on the scene.

Brandon is still in ICU at Parkland Hospital. He is expected to recover but has a long road ahead of him. You can follow his progress at You can also donate blood in his name at any Carter BloodCare location (, just give them the number 051727. He has already had to receive 22 pints of blood and any blood donated will be credited to him.

Our training group runs are not the same without Brandon, he is definitely missed. I know how much he was looking forward to running his first marathon in December, but there will be plenty of opportunities for him to race in the future. Brandon is a fighter and is in the best shape of his life, so I know he will recover.

This week's plans:
Sun 8/19: Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Mon 8/20: 30 min recovery run + Gaia Flow Yoga
Tues 8/21: DRC training group, 1 hr base/easy
Wed 8/22: Rest or strength training
Thurs 8/23: 50 min base/easy
Fri 8/24: 30 min recovery run
Sat 8/25: DRC Training Group, 12 mi

Minestrone with Spring Vegetables

I love to make soup on Sundays, it's great to take for lunches all week! I gave this one a try this week, it was delicious! I would definitely make it again but might cut it in half. Michael is not a big soup eater (other than his favorite Black Bean and Lentil Soup), so I ended up with way more leftovers than I could eat!

I found this recipe in Runner's World a couple of months ago and decided to give it a try even though we're well into summer. :) Like most of the soup recipes I like, it is a great base recipe, very easy to play around the ingredients.

2 quarts good-quality vegetable broth
1 14.5-ounce can petite-diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, cut into small dice
1 celery stalk, cut into small dice (I skipped this, don't like celery)
1 peeled carrot, cut into small dice
2 teaspoons Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes, or to taste
2 cans (15 to 16 ounces each) small white beans, not drained (I used one can of cannellini beans, one of chickpeas)
8 ounces frozen green peas
8 ounces coarsely chopped escarole (I used spinach because that is what I had)
1 cup ditalini (or any bite-size pasta) (I used orzo)
Sprinkle of salt and ground black pepper

Microwave broth and tomatoes together on high until steaming (5 minutes). (I actually skipped this step and just heated them both in the bot when the recipe called to add them, I didn't see the point in dirtying up another bowl.)

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot. Add onions, celery, and carrots; saute till tender (5 minutes). Add Italian seasonings and red pepper; saute until fragrant (one minute).

Add broth mixture and remaining ingredients; cover and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low; continue to simmer, partially covered and stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft and pasta is tender (15 minutes). (I actually waited until the pasta was almost done to add the peas and spinach, I didn't want them to get overcooked.) Serves eight.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 4 Complete!

Last week's workouts:
Sun 8/5: Rest
Mon 8/6: Recovery run- 2.74 mi, 30 min
Tues 8/7: DRC Training Group base/easy- 4.63 mi, 50:55
Wed 8/8: Yoga for Runners, 20 min + strength training
Thurs 8/9: Base/easy, 50 min- 4.25 mi, I'm not sure on the time because my phone died during the run. I was going super slow, though!
Friday 8/10: Recovery run, 30 min- 2.75 in 29:44 + Gaia flow yoga (My legs were feeling sore and I decided that sweating for 90 min was not a good idea the night before a long run)
Sat 8/11: DRC Training Group, 9 mi- We ended up at 9.4 mi, in 1:42.

Saturday's run was awesome! I didn't have my usual buddies with me (Lauren and Brandon couldn't make it), so I was a little nervous as I usually am in big groups where I don't know people well. I had also woken up with a sinus headache that progressively got worse throughout our run. :( I think running into the rising sun was especially unhelpful, so I ended up taking some good meds when I got home. (I didn't want to take anything before the run, I have learned the hard way that that is no bueno for my stomach.)

Other than the headache, it was a great run! We went off of the lake path and into the neighborhood next to it. We did sooooo many hills! It was an awesome workout and the weather was beautiful! It had cooled off overnight, it had only gotten up to 84 by the time we finished. So refreshing! (And a little sad that I consider the low-80's "cooled off!")

This week's plans:
Sun 8/12: Gaia Flow Yoga (Gentle Flow class, 60 min)
Mon 8/13: 30 min recovery run
Tues 8/14: DRC Training Group, 50 min base/easy
Wed 8/15: Rest or strength training
Thurs 8/16: 50 min base/easy
Fri 8/17: 30 min recovery
Sat 8/18: DRC Training Group, 10 mi

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 3 complete!

Last week's workouts:
Sun 7/29: Rest
Mon 7/30: 30 min recovery run (3 mi)- 3.35 mi, 37:00
Tues 7/31: DRC training group, 50 min base/easy- 4.71 mi, 50:41
Wed 8/1: 30 min cross training (yoga)- Gaia Flow Yoga, Mountain Practice (90 min)
Thurs: 8/2: 50 min base/easy run (5 mi) Rest
Fri 8/3: 30 min recovery run (3 mi)- 4.4 mi, 48:71
Sat 8/4: DRC training group, 8 mi long- 6.5 mi to and from race start (1:10:30), 2 mi leg of relay race (17:44)

Wednesday, I left work early enough to (barely) make it to Gaia Flow Yoga, where I had a Groupon I needed to redeem before it expired. I knew they had classes every weeknight at 6:00 but I didn't bother to check what class was on Wednesday nights. Turns out it was an advanced class, gulp! After 30 min of abs, we proceeded into an extremely challenging series with lots of headstands, standing splits and handstands with splits. I was sore before I even left: abs, glutes and biceps especially. Thursday was a much needed rest day!

Saturday I met up with my 4:10 pace group to run to the DRC Cross Country Relay Race. The race didn't start until 8:00am so we met up at 7:00am. That means I got to sleep in a little bit! Sad. Here is a picture of the Three's Company Relay Team, we got lots of comments on our shirts!

We ran 3.25 miles from the DRC Clubhouse to Norbuck Park for the race. The relay race was not exactly what I was expecting, it was almost a trail race and there were even hay bales we had to jump over (or run around). I was nervous about falling so I kept my pace slower than I probably needed to, but I made it across the finish line in one piece!

#118 Overall - #17 in our age group - 0:51:03
17:44 (Me = slowpoke)
17:25 (Lauren)
15:54 (Brandon= long legs)

After the race, I went home, showered and we hit the road for the Hyatt Lost Pines for a much needed getaway! Michael and I had a blast hanging by the pool and just relaxing.

This week's plans/actual so far:
Sun 8/5: Rest
Mon 8/6: Recovery run- 2.74 mi, 30 min
Tues 8/7: DRC Training Group base/easy- 4.63 mi, 50:55
Wed 8/8: Yoga for Runners, 20 min + strength training
Thurs 8/9: Base/easy, 50 min
Friday 8/10: Recovery run, 30 min + Gaia flow yoga (gentle flow class this time!)
Sat 8/11: DRC Training Group, 9 mi

Rumor has it that we have a hilly route planned on Saturday. Eek!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 2 Complete

Last week's plan and actual:

Sun 7/22: 30 min cross train Yoga for Runners podcast, 25 min
Mon 7/23: 30 min recovery run 3.12 mi, 32 min + upper body strength training
Tues 7/24: DRC training group, 50 min base/easy 4.89 mi, 53 min
Wed 7/25: 30 min recovery run Rest
Thurs: 7/26: 50 min base/easy run 3.28 mi, 34 min
Fri 7/27: Rest Detox yoga, 22 min
Sat 7/28: DRC training group, 8 mi long 8.02, 1:27

These Tuesday night runs are going to be hard for me in the heat of the summer. I brought one of my small water bottles and had to refill at least twice. I'm thinking about getting a handheld bottle since I hate wearing the fuel belt. The rest of the runs I did in the early morning.

Saturday, our long run went great! I had ordered a new pair of Glycerin 9's on liquidation and was so excited to take them out for a spin. I noticed the laces didn't seem as long as I was tying them and thought it was odd. They felt good during my run, just a little tight even though I had room in the toe box. When I got home, I took them off, looked at the label on the tongue and realized they were a narrow. Fail! Back they go.

This week's plan is almost the same as last week's, just a few tweaks for scheduling reasons.

Sun 7/29: Rest
Mon 7/30: 30 min recovery run (3 mi)
Tues 7/31: DRC training group, 50 min base/easy
Wed 8/1: 30 min cross training (yoga)
Thurs: 8/2: 50 min base/easy run (5 mi)
Fri 8/3: 30 min recovery run (3 mi)
Sat 8/4: DRC training group, 8 mi long

Saturday's run should be interesting, we will do a relay race in three-person teams. Brandon, Lauren and I are Three's Company and we even have shirts! We will run as a group to the race start, run the race and then run a few more miles to round it out to about 8 miles.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dallas Marathon Training: Week 1 Complete!

So I decided to bite the bullet and train for the 2012 Dallas Marathon (the race formerly known as the White Rock Marathon). Three other friends have signed up as well and we are doing the Dallas Run Club training program, so it's great to have a group to train with as well as people I already know in the group.

This past Tuesday, we had our orientation meeting where we learned what pace group we would be in and met our pace leaders. In order to determine our group, the DRC used past race times (which we submitted when we signed up online) plus the results from the DRC Independence Day 10K. The 10K was my slowest 10K to date because of the heat, so I was surprised to learn that they wanted to put me in the 4:00 pace group. That seems awfully ambitious to me! My friend Brandon finished the same race faster than I did and was placed in the 4:20 pace group. He thought that would be too slow so we decided to split the difference and both run with the 4:10 group.

Saturday morning, I met my running buddies Brandon and Laigha bright (well, dark) and early so we could carpool to White Rock Lake for our first training run with the group. Our friend Lauren met us there, she will also be training with the 4:10 group. For our first run, we did an easy 7 miles. Nelson, our pace leader, kept us at a comfortable 11:00min/mile pace. The pace leaders let us know that our long runs would be much slower than we are used to. The first 8 weeks of the program are base-building weeks.

The DRC has group runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The rest of the runs I will be completing on my own (or with some running buddies if that works out). There is another group, an offshoot of DRC, that meets Wednesday nights so if it works out that I can run with them some weeks I will.

So, after all that explanation, here is the plan for this week. The training schedule that the DRC gave us has times instead of miles (ex: 30 min instead of 3 miles) but I will note my planned mileage as well.

Sun 7/22: 30 min cross train (yoga)
Mon 7/23: 30 min recovery run (3 mi)
Tues 7/24: DRC training group, 50 min base/easy
Wed 7/25: 30 min recovery run (3 mi)
Thurs: 7/26: 50 min base/easy run (5 mi)
Fri 7/27: Rest
Sat 7/28: DRC training group, 8 mi long

That's more days running than I am used to, so we shall see!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Arugula Pesto

I've been on the lookout for recipes that don't require much heat, our kitchen can heat up the entire downstairs. It's hot enough outside, no need to bring it indoors!

This recipe from Cooking Light seemed to fit the bill. I don't make pesto at home often because the ingredients can be expensive. I read that you can store pine nuts in the freezer for up to a year, so at least they will not go to waste. I ended up making this two weeks in a row to use up the extra basil and arugula, but it was so good I couldn't wait to repeat it!

Linguine with Arugula Pesto

12 ounces uncooked linguine (I used whole wheat spaghetti)
1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups loosely packed arugula
2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 tablespoons grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese (I used parmesan)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Place pasta in a bowl.
2. Place 1 tablespoon pine nuts and garlic in a food processor; process until minced. Add arugula and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper), and process until well combined.
3. Add arugula mixture and reserved cooking liquid to serving bowl; toss well to coat. Serve with cheese.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

This is another recipe that I tore out of Cooking Light a while ago and forgot about. So glad I found it again and decided to try it, it turned out delicious! I have been working crazy hours lately so I did a lot of the prep work (like chopping the squash and onion) ahead of time. It came together very quickly! The recipe also had a lot of "wiggle room" as I made several tweaks that I noted below. Not major changes, just things that would work better with what I had on hand and would require less measuring.

Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies

4 ounces uncooked ziti (I used half a box of whole wheat shells)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped yellow squash (I used two squashes)
1 cup chopped zucchini (I used two squashes)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped tomato (I used a can of diced tomatoes)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano (I used about a half teaspoon of dried Italian herbs)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese (I used whole milk ricotta)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray (I never use cooking spray, just a little olive oil)


1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat; drain.
2. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan. Add squash, zucchini, and onion; sauté 5 minutes. Add tomato and garlic; sauté 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in pasta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, herbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper.
4. Combine ricotta, remaining salt, and egg. Stir into pasta mixture. Spoon into an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until bubbly and browned.
Blakeslee Wright, Cooking Light
JULY 2011

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Pasta with Fresh Tomato-Basil Sauce

I came across this recipe in Cooking Light a while back, tore it out and forgot about it. It turned up again while I was going through some recipes and I decided to get the ingredients for an easy weeknight meal. Super easy and delicious!

1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated fresh fettuccine (I used whole wheat penne)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved (about 1/2 cup)

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; place pasta in a large bowl.
2. While pasta cooks, heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes and salt; cover and cook 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in basil and pepper. Add tomato mixture to pasta; toss well to combine. Top with cheese.
Barbara Seelig Brown, Cooking Light

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Salsa and Black Bean Chicken

I decided to try this recipe because I needed something easy and I had all of these ingredients on hand. Honestly, I didn't have high hopes for this, but it turned out really good! Michael's review: "This is fucking delicious!" That's high praise in this house.

I served this with lime-cilantro rice and some steamed broccoli.

1 1.3 lb package chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups salsa (I used Safeway brand chunky habanero salsa.)
2 cups cooked black beans (I used 1 can, rinsed and drained.)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder (The first time I made this, I minced a clove of garlic. The second time, I left it out and didn't notice the difference)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions Place the chicken breasts into an 8×8 inch glass baking dish. Pour the salsa over the top and then stir in the black beans, cumin and garlic powder.
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle. Dice the chicken and mix it all up with the salsa and black beans.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pecan Crusted Tilapia

I am not a big seafood person. I've never liked shellfish or sushi, but once in a while I will order fish at a restaurant, usually something mild like trout or tilapia.

A few weeks ago, my friends and had dinner at Nick and Sam's Grill and I ordered the pecan crusted trout. It was so delicious that I decided I was going to try a similar recipe at home.

I've only rarely cooked fish at home for a few reasons. Fish goes bad so quickly that I'm afraid if I don't use it immediately, it will go to waste. I also don't like the kitchen to smell like fish. Finally, Michael is not a fan of fish at all. But I found this recipe and decided to give it a try. It was super easy to put together and even made good leftovers. Mine didn't turn out nearly as pretty as the picture but I think that had more to do with my fish-handling skills than anything else. I served it with brown rice and steamed broccoli.


1/2 cup dry breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 (6-ounce) tilapia or snapper fillets
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
4 lemon wedges


Combine first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish. Combine buttermilk and hot sauce in a medium bowl; place flour in a shallow dish. Dredge 1 fillet in flour. Dip in buttermilk mixture; dredge in breadcrumb mixture. Repeat procedure with remaining fillets, flour, buttermilk mixture, and breadcrumb mixture.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 fillets; cook 3 minutes on each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Repeat procedure with remaining oil and fillets. Serve with lemon wedges.
Cooking Light

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dallas Rock & Roll Half Marathon Race Report

This year was the third year for Rock & Roll in Dallas and my second year running. Rock & Roll really puts on a good race, I have been impressed with the organization both times.

We left the house about 7:00 in order to make it to the runner drop-off area downtown by 7:30 for the 8:00 race start. The race started downtown near City Hall and finished at Fair Park. Runners could park at Fair Park and take a (free) shuttle to the start line but we decided to have friends drop us off. We used our extra time to wait in line for the Porta-Potties and then made our way to Corral 7. I was assigned to Corral 6 but we had decided to start together, so I went back one corral. Our wave started about 10 minutes after 8:00 and we were off!

The course was exactly the same as last year, which I loved. The beginning was crowded, as to be expected. I dodged and wove through the pack and lost Michael pretty quickly. Whoops! (He was fine with it, he told me later he decided to start out slower and save his energy. A good tactic!) The entire first half of the race was a gradual incline with a couple of pretty steep hills in Uptown. Dallas is not known for its hills, but we found them!

I really had trouble with my energy this race. My legs felt strong but the rest of me felt "off." I had a hard time keeping my breathing regular, probably because of allergy congestion. I usually breathe through my nose but I kept ending up mouth-breathing even though I knew I wasn't pushing that hard. I also kept feeling like I had side stitches, but on both sides of my waist. This was probably also due to breathing issues.

Finally around the 3.5-4 mile mark I settled into a pace that felt okay. By then, it was really warming up! The temperature had been pretty mild the last few days but Sunday it spiked up over 80 degrees. I took water or Gatorade at every station and by the last stations I was taking 2 cups. I knew I was getting overheated and was even getting chill bumps. I took a couple of walk breaks in shady areas and it seemed to help.

The support along the course was great! There were so many great volunteers and so many people came out to cheer. There were some really funny signs, my favorite was "Worst Parade Ever!" Runners Drink Beer was handing out little cups of beer on Swiss Avenue, I grabbed one and while I wish it had been colder, it really hit the spot! There was also someone with a sprinkler hose standing on a roof as we ran through Deep Ellum (near the finish line)-- needless to say, he was everybody's best friend!

When we entered Fair Park, there were lots more people there to cheer us into the finish. I tried to push myself, but I was spent! I finished in 2:10:30. Not my best time, but not my worst. Considering the heat, I'm happy with it! I am also happy when I compare it to the exact same course last year. The weather was perfect and I finished in 2:12 and some change, which was a PR at the time. So clearly I am getting faster!

5K 27:36
10K 57:32
7 mi 1:06:22
10 mi 1:37:26
Finish 2:10:30
Avg pace 9:58 (Clearly I slowed down a lot the second half!)

I grabbed a bag of pretzels, a Gatorade and a bottle of water as soon as I got through the finish chute. I wanted an ice towel, but it was too crowded for me to get over to them, so I just skipped it. The finish chute was super crowded and the family reunion area was even worse! Instead of waiting by the correct letter, everyone just crowded around the finish chute exit. One of the volunteers was on a bullhorn and was trying to get people through. He finally said, "These runners are thirsty and need beer! You are keeping them from beer!" HA!

Michael did great for his first half with a finish of 2:28! Awesome job!

I hope to be able to update with some pictures soon! I think this will be my last "long" race until the weather starts cooling off. It's going to be a hot summer!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rock & Roll Half Marathon Training: Race Week!

Last week's plans:
Mon 3/12: Yoga for Runners podcast, 25 min
Tues 3/13: 2.5 mi run + upper body strength training
Wed 3/14: 5 4.2 mi social run
Thurs 3/15: Rest or easy yoga
Fri 3/16: 3 mi run
Sat 3/17: Yoga class
Sun 3/18: 6-7 mi run

Not bad, considering that work has been crazy. My boss asked us to all come in early and stay late, so I've been doing 11 hour days and it's going to be the same way this week, too! Add in the time change and it was a challenging week.

Tuesday I got up extra early to do my run and came across a fox in the neighborhood! So strange, I have never seen one in person before. It looked like a cat at first-- it was running several yards in front of me and keep in mind it was still dark out. It wasn't until I saw its head that I realized it was no cat! It was so odd to see a fox in our neighborhood which is so urban. He must have been looking for bunnies!

I did manage to make it to the social run on Wednesday night, it was great to run in the evening while it was still light out! We tried out a new route and then Michael, our friend Brandon and I decided to go a little further. We thought we would end up at 5 miles but not quite.

Saturday's yoga class was different than usual. I am used to a fast flow style of class. Our substitute instructor had us use straps to get really deep into our poses. It didn't feel difficult at the time, but I was super sore Sunday morning. Our run was really difficult, I was sore all over (my back especially) and it was very humid out. It was not a pretty run, but we did 7 miles as our last long-ish run before the race.

Whew! That was my exciting week!

This week's plans:
Mon 3/19: Yoga for Runners, 25 min
Tues 3/20: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 3/21: 3 mi run
Thurs 3/22: Rest or easy yoga
Fri 3/23: 3 mi run
Sat 3/24: Rest or yoga
Sun 3/25: Race day! 13.1 miles!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Rock & Roll Half Marathon Training: Week 4 complete

Last week's workouts:
Mon 3/5: Power yoga class
Tues 3/6: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 3/7: Strength training + 5 3 mi social run
Thurs 3/8: Rest
Fri 3/9: 2-3 mi run
Sat 3/10: Yoga class podcast, 40 min
Sun 3/11: 12 mile run

Sunday's run was tough, it was raining and Michael's knee hurt so he stopped after 10 miles. I kept going (someone had to get back to the car!) and I actually felt really strong.

This week's plans:
Mon 3/12: Yoga for Runners podcast, 25 min
Tues 3/13: 2.5 mi run + upper body strength training
Wed 3/14: 5 mi social run
Thurs 3/15: Rest or easy yoga
Fri 3/16: 3 mi run
Sat 3/17: Yoga class
Sun 3/18: 6-7 mi run

This week is crazy busy at work, so I hope I can get it all in!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rock & Roll Half Marathon Training: Week 3 complete

Last week's workouts:
Mon 2/27: Power Yoga class
Tues 2/28: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 2/29: 3 5 mi social run
Thurs 3/1: Rest
Fri 3/2: 3 2.5 mi run
Sat 3/3: Yoga class
Sun 3/4: 11 mi run

The weather has been beautiful this week! And it has started to stay light for longer, so getting my evening run in on Friday was no problem.

Our friend Brandon joined us for the Run On! social run on Wednesday night, it was nice to have some more company so we did a 5 mile route. We couldn't quite keep up with the faster pace group, but we let them know before we left that we were following them (the store didn't have any maps for us) so they knew to make sure they were in our sight.

Sunday's long run was tough, my legs were sore from yoga class and just did not want to go very fast. We also started out later than I like (after 9:00am) so it warmed up quickly. But we finished!

This week's plan:
Mon 3/5: Power yoga class
Tues 3/6: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 3/7: 5 mi social run
Thurs 3/8: Rest
Fri 3/9: 2-3 mi run
Sat 3/10: Yoga class
Sun 3/11: 12 mile run

This is the first time in half marathon training that I have gone over 10 miles for a training run. I have never thought it was necessary, but we'll see if this helps me finish a little stronger this time! I can't remember if I have already shared this or not, but Michael decided to run Rock & Roll with me, his first half marathon! It has been great to have a training and racing buddy. I'm glad this is something we can do together!

Have a happy and healthy week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tomato Chickpea Pesto Soup

Another great soup recipe from Runner's World!

Mmm, I love chickpeas! From the article:

"According to a study published in 2010 in the journal Appetite, participants who added half a cup of chickpeas to their daily diet ate less junk food and felt fuller compared with days they didn't eat chickpeas. Researchers credit the bean's fiber (11 grams per cup) for the healthy results. Cooked tomatoes provide the antioxidant lycopene, which studies show can protect skin from UV rays. Pesto adds a rich flavor, while basil contains anti-inflammatory antioxidants, says Dorfman. She also notes it's packed with magnesium, a mineral that regulates blood sugar."

This was super easy to put together. Michael's not a big soup person but he went back for seconds.


1/2 onion, diced (I used yellow)
1 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes (I couldn't find fire-roasted, I just used regular crushed tomatoes)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt (I left this out, I normally leave out added salt when using canned goods as I don't ever think the recipe needs it)
1/2 tsp black pepper
Prepared pesto (I used Buitoni reduced fat)


In a pot, saute 1/2 a diced medium onion in 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat till soft. Add 1 minced garlic clove; cook 30 seconds. Add one 28-ounce can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes and 1/3 cup water; bring to a boil. Add 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper. If you like a smooth soup, puree mixture in a blender. Transfer back to pot. Add one 15-ounce can drained, rinsed chickpeas. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Top each serving with a dollop of jarred basil pesto.

Rock & Roll Half Marathon Training: Week 2 complete

Last week's workouts:

Monday 2/20: Walk to/from work, power yoga class podcast (45 min)
Tues 2/21: 3 mi run + upper body strength training
Wed 2/22: Walked to work + 3 mi social run
Thurs 2/23: Rest
Fri 2/24: 3 mi run + walked home from work
Sat 2/25: Yoga class Rest, I had a horrible migraine/sinus headache
Sun 2/26: 10 mi run

Michael and I were sharing a car while his was in the shop, so I got some extra miles in the form of walking! Luckily the weather was really beautiful, perfect for being outside even though my allergies did not agree. (See Saturday's unplanned rest day.)

Sunday's run was tough, I wasn't feeling very motivated and it was super windy when we started. Michael had taken time off running since the Hot Chocolate race and this was the farthest he had run since high school. He was really struggling the last couple of miles. But we finished and managed to average a 10 minute pace.

This week's plans:
Mon 2/27: Power Yoga class
Tues 2/28: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 2/29: 3-5 mi social run
Thurs 3/1: Rest
Fri 3/2: 3 mi run (I'll have to get motivated to do it after work, I have a dentist appointment before work)
Sat 3/3: Yoga class
Sun 3/4: 11 mi run

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rock & Roll Half Marathon Training: Week 1 complete

Last week's plans:
Sunday 2/12: Yoga for Runners podcast (25 min)
Monday 2/13: 3 mi run Rest
Tuesday 2/14: 3 mi run + Upper body strength training
Wednesday 2/15: 3 mi social run
Thursday 2/16: Rest or Detox yoga podcast (20 min)
Friday 2/17: 3 mi run
Saturday 2/18: 7 mi run Yoga class (1 hr)
Sunday 2/19: 7 mi run

Wednesday night's social run was great! I was feeling pretty anti-social (I had a headache coming on) and ended up running with an older gentleman who wasn't very talkative either, but we kept each other on a good pace. Turns out he was running a marathon this weekend and he has actually run marathons in 25 states! Very cool, I love that running is a lifetime sport. Afterwards, we had a massage therapist who worked on my shoulders and upper back, the perfect way to end the run.

However, Thursday I woke up with a migraine and while medicine helped, it came back with a vengeance Friday night. Saturday I woke up to storms and was still feeling woozy from my medicine so I skipped my run and went to yoga instead. Sunday I had a good run, I kept my pace pretty slow and just enjoyed being outside.

This week's plans:
Monday 2/20: Walk to/from work, power yoga class
Tues 2/21: 3 mi run + upper body strength training
Wed 2/22: 3 mi social run
Thurs 2/23: Rest
Fri 2/24: 3 mi run
Sat 2/25: Yoga class
Sun 2/26: 10 mi run

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Hot Chocolate 15K Race Review

Last week's workouts:
Mon 2/6: Power yoga class
Tues 2/7: 3 mi run
Wed 2/8: 3 mi run (social run) + strength training
Thurs 2/9: Rest or yoga (Walked to and from work, ~2 mi)
Fri: 2/10: 3 mi run
Sat: 2/11: Race day! 9.3 miles

I was a little nervous going into the Hot Chocolate race for a couple of reasons. First, the race in Washington, DC got terrible reviews. But I have done other RAM races before so I was hopeful that the organizers had learned from their mistakes. Second, the weather took a turn for the cold on Friday and overnight lows were predicted to be about 25 degrees. In the early morning hours, Hot Chocolate even sent out an email encouraging 15K participants to switch to the 5K if their pace would be under 12 miles an hour. In addition, they added, the wind chill was about 19 degrees. Yikes!

But, hey, I've run in worse weather conditions (White Rock 2011 and Wounded Warrior come to mind), so Michael and I decided we would bundle up and still race. I wore my Athleta Streamline pants, a short-sleeve t-shirt and my favorite New Balance half-zip top with foldover mittens. I wore a Lululemon headband that is pretty wide so I could pull it down over my ears.

Our race morning started with a snafu that was completely my fault-- I thought I had set the alarm for 5:00 but had actually set it for 6:15. Whoops! We had planned on leaving at 7:00 so this did not leave much time to eat breakfast, drink coffee and digest but luckily we were able to get ready and hit the road by 7:15. We are pretty familiar with Fair Park so we took a shortcut that we knew of and didn't have to sit in any traffic to get to the race site. Parking was quick and easy (and free!) and we found the start line right as the 5K started.

We didn't get into our assigned corral because people were already moving and it didn't seem like the corrals were very strictly enforced. No matter, we got in with some L's and M's and it was no big deal. We were lining up in the same spot we had at White Rock but there were more entrances to get to the corrals, so no bottlenecks. The MC was great, he kept the crowd pumped and we started right on time!

The first couple of miles were super crowded and I was weaving in and out (walkers to the right, please!). No worse than any other big race I've done, though. Michael and I lost each other pretty quickly, which was fine because we hadn't planned on running the whole thing together.

The course was great, we went through the Fair Park area, up Swiss Avenue, through East Dallas and then back down Lindsley. It was surprisingly hilly; I know Swiss has a slope, so I knew we would have an incline there but I didn't realize how hilly some of the other sreets are! That coupled with the wind made it quite challenging, but it was still enjoyable. There were water and Gatorade stations every 2 miles and mile markers with the gun time at every mile. I took water and Gatorade at mile 4, then Gatorade at mile 8. I brought some Honey Stinger chews but didn't end up taking any. Not a lot of spectators were out, but this was the first year for this race and it was cold!

One last big hill (this one was a bridge) and we were back in Fair Park! There was good energy at the finish line, the MC was keeping the crowd lively and one of the officials was standing in the finish chute high-fiving everyone who came through.

Finish time: 1:25:46
5K split 28:07 (9:04 min/mile)
10K split 28:49 (9:18 min/mile)
Finish 28:49 (9:18 min/mile)

So you can see where I started out fast (which I knew I was doing) but the last two 5K's were exactly the same so I found a good pace. And since it was my first 15K, it's an automatic PR!

After I crossed the finish line, I got another small cup of Gatorade and a bottle of water, then headed for the chocolate party. The only thing I didn't like about the race was that the finish line was by where we had parked, but the afterparty was in the Automobile Building, on the other side of Fair Park! So it was at least a half-mile walk to get to our chocolate! I'm sure that was how it had to be done because of the way Fair Park is set up, but my legs were tired by this point! But I was determined to get my chocolate, so I headed to the building and got a platter of chocolate fondue. It was a plastic tray with apple slices, half a banana, two marshmallows and a pretzel rod. Somehow, I got a tray without a pretzel but one of the volunteers was nice enough to give me two. Then I got a scoop of chocolate sauce from another volunteer. The fruit was a little sad looking (cut fruit doesn't look too pretty after a while) but all I cared about were the marshmallows and pretzels anyway.

Around this time, Michael started calling my phone because he was ready to leave. He had finished just a couple minutes behind me and he found me quickly (shoveling chocolate covered marshmallows into my mouth, ha!). I saw some people with Ghiradelli squares, but Michael was anxious to leave so I just grabbed a hot chocolate (No lines! This is my kind of post-race party!) and we hiked back to the car. Now that we weren't running, the wind felt really cold again so the hot chocolate was great!

Sorry that was so long, but I was really impressed with everything about this race. I thought it was really well organized, great volunteers and I loved the post-race goodies!

Next up: Rock & Roll Half Marathon March 25!

This week's plans:
Sunday 2/12: Yoga for Runners podcast (25 min)
Monday 2/13: 3 mi run
Tuesday 2/14: Upper body strength training
Wednesday 2/15: 3 mi social run (I've heard rumors of a massage therapist afterwards!)
Thursday 2/16: Rest or yoga
Friday 2/17: 3 mi run
Saturday 2/18: 7 mi run

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Will Run for Chocolate

Last week's workouts:
Mon 1/30: Power yoga class
Tues 1/31: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 2/1: 3 mi run
Thurs: 2/2: Rest or yoga
Fri 2/3: 3 mi run
Sat 2/4: Yoga
Sun 2/5: 9 mi run

Hey, I did good sticking to my plan this week! Nothing much exciting to report, I did all my weekday runs in the mornings, I couldn't make the social run this week because I had dinner plans. Those early morning runs sure do get boring! It's dark, I don't vary my route too much because there aren't a lot of streets that are lit and of course I'm by myself. Running with a friend or two makes a big difference! Plus, I'm really not a morning person so I kind of go on autopilot.

Any suggestions to make those morning runs a little more fun?

Michael and I had our last long run before the Hot Chocolate 15K next weekend! I'm excited for the new distance and the instant PR. And of course, the chocolate feast afterwards!

This week's plan:
Mon 2/6: Power yoga class
Tues 2/7: 3 mi run
Wed 2/8: 3 mi run (social run) + strength training
Thurs 2/9: Rest or yoga
Fri: 2/10: 3 mi run
Sat: 2/11: Race day! 9.3 miles

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Shopping = Crosstraining

This week's workouts:
Sunday 1/22: Rest
Mon 1/23: 3 mi run + power yoga class
Tues 1/24: Strength training
Wed 1/25: 3 mi run (Another social run at Run On!)
Thurs: 1/26: Yoga Rest (Well, I went shopping. That counts as cardio, right?)
Fri: 1/27: 3 mi run
Sat 1/28: Yoga class (1 hour, easy flow as opposed to my usual power)
Sun 1/29: 8 mi run

On Sunday, Michael and I hit up the White Rock Creek Trail. I hadn't been out there before but Michael ran on it last weekend and liked it and a coworker/neighbor has mentioned she runs on it occasionally. We parked at Northwood Park near Royal and Greenville and ran the trail all the way to Northwest Highway and back. It was nice to have a change of scenery, even if the trail isn't quite as well maintained as the Katy Trail. We didn't see many people at all when we started out, but by the time we were finishing up (about 9:30), lots of people were out running, biking and walking dogs. I will definitely check it out again!

We kept our pace a little slower the first half but picked it up about mile 5.

This week's plans:
Mon 1/30: Power yoga class
Tues 1/31: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed 2/1: 3 mi run
Thurs: 2/2: Rest or yoga
Fri 2/3: 3 mi run
Sat 2/4: Yoga
Sun 2/5: 9 mi run

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Ice, Ice Baby

Last week's workouts:
Sun: Yoga (Detox Yoga, 20 min)
Mon: Power Yoga class
Tues: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed: 3 mi run
Thurs: Yoga or rest
Fri: 3 1.7 mi run
Sat: 9 7 mi run

My shin has been hurting this week, not sure what is going on with it. I ended up cutting Saturday's run short because of it. So I've been icing the old shin and it seems to be alleviating the tenderness.

Wednesday night I went back to the Run On! social run. This time I stuck around a little longer afterwards and found out that they draw for prizes after the run. I won a $25 gift card, sweet! I think I'll buy myself some new Feetures socks.

I also treated myself to some workout clothes from Target (2 half zip tops and a lightweight jacket) and Old Navy (two pairs of compression capris). Everything was on super sale and I needed some new cold-weather gear! Nothing like new clothes to motivate you to get moving!

This week's plan:
Sunday 1/22: Rest
Mon 1/23: 3 mi run + power yoga class
Tues 1/24: Strength training
Wed 1/25: 3 mi run
Thurs: 1/26: Yoga
Fri: 1/27: 3 mi run
Sat 1/28 or Sun 1/29: 8 mi run

Michael ran on the new White Rock extension trail and said he really liked it, so we will probably hit that up for our long run. Not sure if we will be running Saturday or Sunday, I will do yoga on whichever day we don't run. I'd love to make it to the Saturday yoga class.

Hope everyone has a happy and healthy week! Have any other Dallas runners used the White Rock extension? Do you like it?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hotcake Hustle 10K Review

Last week's workouts:
Sun: 7 mi run
Mon: Yoga (Power Yoga 4, 45 min)
Tues: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed: 3 mi run (I went to an evening social run at Run On! It was lots of fun, I'll definitely go again.)
Thurs: Yoga or rest
Fri: Yoga or rest (Yoga for Runners, 20 min)+ walked to and from work (2 mi)
Sat: 10K race (6.2 mi)

Saturday morning, we left about 7:45 for the race (which started at 8:30). Our good friend Elliot was nice enough to drive us and cheer for us. Parking was a breeze, the race was in Addison Circle so we were familiar with the area and parking garages. We had plenty of time until the start so Michael decided to use the Port-a-Potties. He was in line for a really long time (7 Port-a-Potties for a 2500 person race, doesn't seem like a lot but I know they also had indoor restrooms. We guessed they would be even more crowded and we knew we had time so he just waited.) I wore my favorite Athleta capris, short sleeve top and then a long-sleeve half zip. I was cold while we waited but it was warming up quickly and I knew I would warm up once I got started.

The MC was very energetic and got everyone pumped while we waited to start. At 8:30 we were off! The 5K and 10K started at the same time and ran the same course, with the 10K-ers running the course twice. It was the exact same course as Oktoberfest so I knew what was coming-- the bridge! And I knew I was going to have to run over it 4 times. O_o

The start was definitely crowded, I was dodging and weaving to get around the crowd (and the walkers who wanted to walk on the left instead of the right), so I knew I started out fast but wasn't that worried about it. So we went out of Addison Circle, over the bridge, then just a little further to the turnaround. There was a water station here, which I skipped. The crowd had thinned out a lot by this point and as I came down the bridge for the second time, I could see the 10K leaders looping back around. So fast! As we came back to the starting line, the 5K-ers turned right to the finish while the 10K-ers looped back and did it again.

I was worried about passing the slower 5K-ers on the second loop, but luckily we had room to get through on the left. I could feel myself slowing down by the fourth (!) time I went over the bridge but luckily I didn't have to stop. I came across the finish line at about 54:00 so I knew I had beat my previous time. When the official results came in, I earned 52:13! That's an 8:25 pace, faster than my 5K PR! I did slow down the second half but only by a few seconds, so I am really proud.

I had seen Michael on my fourth pass of the bridge as he was on his third and he looked good! After I finished, I got some water and looked around at the after-party setup. The line for pancakes was out of control already, it wrapped all the way around the building and then across the lawn. Yikes!

I waited with Elliot to watch Michael cross the finish line, he came in with 1:04:20, an awesome time for his first 10K! We decided to forgo the ridiculous lines for food and beverages and just headed home. I wanted pancakes, but not that bad! Overall, I had a great race and would do it again.

My first race of 2012 was a success! Now looking forward to the Hot Chocolate 15K on Feb. 11!

This week's plans:
Sun: Yoga
Mon: Power Yoga class
Tues: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed: 3 mi run
Thurs: Yoga or rest
Fri: 3 mi run
Sat: 9 mi run

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Plan It Out, Work It Out

So what races have my running buddies signed up for?

So far, I am running:
The Hotcake Hustle 10K on Jan. 14 (Pancakes and coffee at the finish? I'm in.)

The Hot Chocolate 15K on Feb. 11 (Hot chocolate and more chocolate goodies at the finish? I'm in.)

Rock & Roll Dallas Half Marathon on March 25 (I loved this race last year!)

I think the first two races will help me build back up to the Half Marathon in March. My mileage base is still pretty good and I'm confident about these races! The 15K will be my first race of that distance, it should be fun!

Michael is running the Hotcake Hustle as well, his first 10K! I put together a training plan for him and I know he'll do great!

So here is this week's training plan.
Sun: 7 mi run
Mon: Yoga
Tues: 3 mi run + strength training
Wed: 3 mi run
Thurs: Yoga or rest
Fri: Yoga or rest
Sat: 10K race (6.2 mi)

Let the spring race season begin!

Lentil and Black Bean Soup

I came across this recipe in the November issue of Runner's World and just now had a chance to make it. It was delicious, super thick and filling with just the right amount of spice.

Description from the article:
"This vegan stew is thick and superfilling thanks to the beans and lentils. Both are good sources of protein and fiber-rich carbs. "The body absorbs these nutrients slowly, keeping energy and hunger levels on an even keel," says sports nutritionist Monique Ryan, R.D. One cup of lentils contains almost all of your daily need for folate, a B vitamin that's key for the formation of energy-supplying red blood cells. Chili powder, cumin, and paprika punch up the flavor while providing a dose of anti-inflammatory antioxidants."

Delicious and a great post-run meal!

1/2 large onion (I used yellow)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
2 c vegetable broth
1 T tomato paste
1/2 c red lentils (My Tom Thumb only had one kind of lentils, they were a brown-green and they worked fine.)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
Lime juice
Cilantro (for garnish)

Chop half a large onion and saute in a pot on medium heat until soft. I added just a little vegetable oil even though the recipe didn't call for it. Add 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon paprika; saute 1 minute. Add 2 cups vegetable broth and 1 tablespoon tomato paste; bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup red lentils; cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Partially mash 1 cup drained, rinsed canned black beans; add to soup with 1/4 teaspoon salt, juice of one lime, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cook five minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Note: The second time I made this recipe, I put in a whole box of broth (about 4 cups) and also put a lid on the pot while the lentils cooked. I think the consistency turned out much better with these two adjustments.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a happy (and safe) start to 2012! We celebrated at home like most years.

Do you make New Years' Resolutions? I usually do, I like to have goals for the coming year. Here are the resolutions I made for 2011:

1. Run three half marathons. Check! I actually ran four and got my PR down to 2:03:42..

2. Floss more regularly. Check! My dentist appointments went so much better this year.

3. Keep the apartment cleaner. (I need to come up with a cleaning schedule for myself.) Debtatable. I think I did a better job overall, but I still have a ways to go. I didn't make a schedule for myself.

4. Read 25 books. Check! I read 27.
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
Atonement by Ian McEwan
When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
Outliers: The True Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
Mile Markers: The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong
The Best American Short Stories 2010
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laren Hillenbrand
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life With Autism by Temple Grandin
SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt
The Shipping News by Annie Proulx
Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
Rules of Thumb by Tom Parker

5. Take a vacation with my husband. Check! In August we went to the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in the Hill Country. It was great to get away for a few days! We also went to the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs between Christmas and New Years with my parents. More of a family vacation, but we did have a lot of time to ourselves which was nice.

So what do you want to accomplish in 2012? Here are my goals:

1. Get to a healthier weight. I've lost some weight this year, probably just due to stress. I'd like to put about 5 lbs back on so that my jeans will fit again.

2. Strength train at least once a week.

3. Get to work by 8:00 every morning. Ever since I switched to working out in the morning, it has been harder and harder to get in on time! I'm lucky that my boss is really relaxed about when we come in and I'm not even the last one in. I think a big part of this will be breaking the snooze button habit! I'm bad about hitting it several times before I actually get up.

4. Read 25 books.

Those are the only goals I'm going to set for myself for now. I thought about setting a mileage or race goal for running, but I think I just want to maintain my fitness level and see where that takes me.

I hope 2012 is a happy and healthy year for you and yours!