Running

Gummy bear nightmare

My long run this morning started off so, so promising. It really did.

RunningBFF and I went out to the Silver Comet trail to log 17 miles this morning. We were foam rolled, stretched, Advil-ed, and ready to go. The only hitch was that I was out of GU, so we decided to swing by a gas station on our way to the trail and see what they had available. They had a pretty solid candy selection, so I scooped a few ounces of gummy bears into a baggy to use as a substitute fuel.

A little foreshadowing: changing up you nutrition in the final weeks of marathon prep is a bad idea.

me gummibear

I would come to regret this picture.

A few miles into our run, BFF and I were both feeling fantastic. We were clicking off the miles, holding an easy, solid pace, and we were consistent with our splits. The trail is beautiful, and there were a ton of people out running and cycling while we were there.

silver comet

We hit the turn around at mile eight and a half, and I figured it was gummy bear time. I chomped down about half my baggy, and chased it all down with some blue Gatorade. Everything felt great, my legs still felt light, and our pace was still fast and felt easy.

gummi gatorade

Then…disaster struck, in the form of major stomach cramps that kept me at a walk for most of the second half of the run. Like, every jostle is pain and I almost yakked through my nose just plain awful cramps and nausea. All within ten minutes of the gummy bears. Can I still call it a run when I had to walk five of the seventeen miles? I’m lucky that RunningBFF is a good person and doesn’t ditch me every time (read: every long run) I have issues of some kind. I pushed on with running as long as I could, but eventually my (newly picky and very demanding) stomach won the battle.

Poor planning. I can’t pretend that this run was affected by anything other than my failure to get proper nutrition that I know works for me.

Positives: Holding a steady, even pace, the pace feeling easy, no serious hip pain.

Negatives: Poor nutrition planning, stomach cramps from hell.

Probably the biggest positive out of everything today is my recovery speed. After one episode of NCIS and a meal of shoveling as much to-go brunch into my face as possible, I actually feel pretty good. This is a new development—I’m usually out for the rest of the day after a huge effort.

If I can manage to link everything together (pain level, nutrition, pace) in one of my next three long runs, it will definitely boost my confidence. Knowing that all the pieces are there, but not being able to put them together in one run? A little demoralizing.

At least I’ve got three more shots to try?

Uncategorized

The easiest party dish ever

One big advantage of my new job is having weekends off. After two plus years of having to work at least one weekend day, I have been learning to embrace Saturdays and Sundays.

I woke up this morning feeling less than stellar. I’ve been battling allergies and a scratchy throat all week, so I took some medicine, drank some tea with honey, and went right back to bed. I woke up feeling loads better, and just in time to watch a little football! I’m just hanging out at home snacking, stretching, and rolling out my legs in preparation for tomorrow’s long run. What are your weekend plans?

When I’m not feeling under the weather, I prefer to watch football in the company of friends, and if I go to someone’s house to watch the game, I hate showing up empty-handed. My go-to dish is sausage and Rotel dip.

IMG_1668.JPG
This is the simplest dip in the world. Take one pound of hot sausage crumbles, sixteen ounces of softened cream cheese, and two cans of Rotel, drained. Mix everything together in a bowl, then spread the mixture evenly into a 9×13 glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and eat hot!

Since I quit eating meat, I have been making my dip with Boca crumbles. To add the heat from the sausage back in, I switched one can of Rotel for the spicy mixture with habaneros. The veggie version is still just as popular, even among my most carnivorous friends!

IMG_1669.JPG
What’s your favorite party dish?

Healthy living

Missing it

Oh, uh, hey there, Internet! Haven’t talked to you in almost a year….

Around this time last year, I found myself really not wanting to blog anymore. And since this whole blogging thing is supposed to be fun, I quit. I put all kinds of completely unrealistic pressure on myself to produce awesome content on an almost daily basis. I also learned that isn’t possible for me.

I’ve been doing a lot of work in the past year on finding balance in my life. I’ve changed jobs, I’ve gone back to school, and I’m still running. Plus, I still try to fit a social life in there somewhere. It’s a lot to juggle.

Recently, however, I’ve gotten the urge to write again. Not all the time. Not about everything. But I do finally miss blogging.

So, I’m back. With lots of new stuff to talk about. So here’s a quick update on what’s new in my life.

School:

IMG_1663

After two and half years away from the classroom, I have finally decided to return to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree in Human Services. I’m starting slowly—I took one easy class over the summer, and I’m just taking two classes this fall. But it’s going really well so far, and I have a new desire to learn and gratitude for my education that wasn’t there before.

Work:

I did it. I left the animal shelter and all of the adorable, sweet, cats and dogs there. Sort of. I still volunteer at both shelter locations for a total of 8-10 hours a week. I have moved on to another nonprofit, this time in cancer research and patient advocacy. In the shelter, I worked on the operations side, so to work on the fundraising side of a nonprofit is definitely a new and exciting experience.

Running:

IMG_1498IMG_1544

I ran my second half marathon last November, and my third one in March. I also ran my second Peachtree Road Race and the Race for the Cure this summer. Oh, and I’m training for my first marathon on November 8th in Columbus, GA! Training has had a lot of setbacks, so I’m a little nervous, but I have no doubt that my awesome running partner and I will get through it!

I’ve been on a huge learning curve, trying to adjust to a million changes at one time. But things seem to finally be settling into a rhythm, and I’m inspired to write again.

I don’t know how often I’ll post on here; I just know that I want to blog again. But it’s good to be back.

Healthy living

Accountability and balance

Accountability. It’s not something I’ve had much of recently in regards to my work outs or  my dieting. I’ve been going it alone for about three years now, and I’m used to only having to be accountable to myself. And I accept the lamest excuses in the world.

I know that for me to get everything in, I have to get up early and hit my workout first thing. I know that I need to eat healthfully and focus on the quality of food I’m putting into my body. I know that I need to be making sleep and time for myself a priority. But I’m not.

I feel like I just can’t get it together.

The funny thing is, I’ve recently felt really productive at work. I’ve been sidelined the past week from being under the weather, but other than that, I’m genuinely happy going into work most days right now. Work is not the issue. Letting work tip everything else out of balance? That has become a little bit of an issue.

juggling life

This is how I’ve felt recently.

The real issue, however, is me. I let my busy schedule become an excuse for not taking care of myself. I miss sleep, I eat “convenient” meals, and I skip workouts in that name of “me time”. I don’t know about you, but when I sacrifice the YouTube zombie time and actually use my me time to do something good for myself, whether it be running, reading a book, cooking, or spending a few hours with a friend, my life seems to almost effortlessly fall into a natural rhythm.

So why can’t I pull it together and do what I know I need to do? Accountability, man. I’ve got to find ways to remind myself to keep the appointments and promises I make with myself.

WheelLifeBalanceSmall

Apparently this is what a balanced life is supposed to look like: energy directed equally to all the important areas of your life. Ahem. Maybe if you gave career half the wheel, social/fun and friends/family/community a quarter, and smushed everything else into the remaining quarter you might have a more accurate representation of what my life looks like right now.

My point in writing this post is to give myself a little more accountability to focus on the neglected areas of my life. I felt awful yesterday, so I went down the the river (less than a mile and a half from my apartment!) and soaked in a little nature. And I snuggled with my foster kitty a whole lot.

hoochittypants

It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Just for fun · Running

My running playlist is so cliché

When I see other bloggers post their “favorite running playlist” I’m always shocked by the diversity of the music. There seems to be a lot of slower songs, gentler songs, feel-good tunes (which I understand), and wordless electronica. Or maybe I just have a really cliché playlist.

For lack of a better term, I listen to straight-up 80’s cock rock. Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Journey, Motley Crue, Van Halen, etc. They’re called pump-up songs for a reason, people. There really isn’t any other feeling like hitting the last half mile of a long run and having ‘Eye of the Tiger’ or ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’ blast through your headphones. Yeah, I really am cliché.

acdc

However, I do have a few not-as-popular songs that make it into my regular rotation. They offer me a really nice change of pace when I’m running, and they’re always songs I can sing along to in my head. They’re also almost all from the 90’s. When it comes to music, I’m totally stuck in the past.

1. ‘Argue’, Matchbox20

This gem off Matchbox20’s first album has an awesome driving beat that keeps me going. Also, it’s just plain catchy, and come on, what girl wouldn’t want to run towards 1996 Rob Thomas?

robthomas96

Forget Ryan Gosling, I’m gonna go catch me one of those.

2. ‘I Want You’, Savage Garden

This one’s just fun. It’s fast-paced, but honestly, I just love the lead singer’s voice and the chorus. I still am not 100% sure on the verses, but I definitely pretend I know the words while I’m running.

3. ‘Crawling in the Dark’, Hoobastank

Ok, so this one’s not from the 1990’s, but it is from 2001, so that’s pretty close. I catch a lot of grief for liking this song, but those beginning few chords have been a part of my pre-race pump up routine since middle school swimming. It’s just one of those songs that makes me feel like a little butt-kicker.

4. ‘Numb/Encore’, Linkin Park and Jay-Z

Another one not from the 90’s, but from the early 2000’s. Really anything off this album is on my eternal running playlist. The beat keeps me going, plus I can pretend I can actually rap in my head. Fun fact: I learned all the words to 99 Problems by running to this album. I used to entertain my old roommates in the car on long rides by rapping for them.

209

Imagine that face rapping for you. Terrifying.

Looking at that list, it’s still pretty cliché. I’m not going to lie and say I have OMGawesome taste in music, and I’m totally living in the past on my iPod, but I’m okay with that. After all, the stereotypical workout songs are that way for a reason, right?

Healthy living

Green eyed monsters

It’s so easy to want what other people have.

The body, the house, the car, the husband, the half marathon time, the blog readership, the money, etc. I used to get very stuck in a cycle of “if I can get this, then everything will be perfect.”

Anyone else ever go there?

I get stuck in that cycle far less these days, but it’s still so tempting to compare myself to other people. Especially other women. Why do I do that?

Why is it so easy to focus on everything positive about her and focus on everything negative about me?

I can look at a picture of myself, like it, then keep looking at it until I loathe it.

I’m my own biggest critic. And that leads to me giving up rather than trying because, frankly, I’m terrified of failing. It’s so much easier to blame it on something else in my life. To say that if I had more money, or more time, then everything in my life would just effortlessly fall into place.

Guess what? Time and money are two things I’m not getting more of any time soon.

busier running

Harsh, but probably true.

It really comes down to not wanting to fail. I’m still really, really terrified of failure. Completely petrified.

But each failure is a learning lesson. I’m starting to drill that into my head. Missed my runs this week because I couldn’t drag my butt out of bed? I learned that I only get up when I put my phone on the other side of the room so I have to physically get up. Ate like crap the last two days? Remember to pack lunch the night before. Unhappy with my home décor? I’ve been procrastinating on cheap decorating ideas.

It’s the simple things. These are the things the women I envy do. Most of them work out at 5 am. Most of them have busy lives with jobs, kids, significant others, school, and a bazillion other things. Maybe, just maybe, I can use them as inspiration instead of envy.

Except for running skirts. I’m always going to envy those of you who can pull running skirts off without looking ridiculous.

Recipe time

Overnight oat obsessed

Ummm , so how did I not try these before? I’ve been reading about other bloggers eating overnight oats for months, but I was never very interested. Dumb.

On Saturday, I hit up Harry’s Farmers’ Market and realized that organic rolled oats were only $1.59 a pound. It was enough of a push to try overnight oats for the first time.

I based my oats off a recipe from Kathy Eats Real Food and after a few days of playing around, got to a consistency I really dig. I like mine best with vanilla Greek yogurt, agave, and cinnamon. Soooooo yummy.

20130924-085937.jpg
Only a few simple ingredients.

I make mine in a mason jar so that it’s easily portable. I love having some left over for a mid morning snack! Plus, everything looks cuter in mason jars.

20130924-090132.jpg

Super filling, super delicious, super cheap. Winner in my book.

What’s your go to breakfast food?

How do you like your oats?

Very crafty

Decorating is hard for the undomesticated

I moved into my apartment last January, and just resigned my lease for another year. I’ve been meaning to decorate oh…since I moved in. Hasn’t happened yet.

I have friends whose houses look impeccable. Everything goes together, the pictures and artwork are framed and hung, and they have liners in their kitchen cabinets. Not I. My apartment is a mishmash of free furniture and sale finds. I have ideas to make it all come together, but my undomestic side tends to get in the way.

However, a few weeks ago, I got creative with a girlfriend and recreated a few things I saw on Pinterest. It’s a start right?

20130919-095115.jpg

I saw this little gem done with another state (Ohio, maybe? Geography isn’t my strength), and I knew I wanted to do a Georgia version. It’s pretty simple. I think the whole project cost me about $7. Here’s the original link: http://theharpsterhome.wordpress.com/2011/12/12/heart-in-ohio/.

Next, I decided to make a monogram for my bedroom. The joke is that if monogram my forehead if I could. I painted some letters from Hobby Lobby with polka dots. Again, less than $10 for the whole project. Super simple. I still need to hang them though…

20130919-095618.jpg

I have plans for a few more projects, like the afghan I’m crocheting, actually putting together a dining area at my kitchen bar, and getting a picture wall together. Maybe it won’t take 9 months this time.

Recipe time

Granola goodness

I love, love, love granola. I eat tons of it, especially in the morning with Greek yogurt. So I was thrilled when I got to my mom’s house for dinner and she has whipped up these yummy granola squares.

My mom found this recipe on allrecipes.com. The original has corn syrup, but I modified it slightly to use agave syrup instead.

Gobble Up Granola Snacks

20130914-202927.jpg

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

1. In a large bowl, stir together cereal, oats, and raisins. Set aside. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Combine brown sugar and agave syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just boiling, then remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Pour over cereal and oat mixture. Mix well.

3. Press mixture into greased pan using the back of a large spoon. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

These are super delicious and satisfying. And they make the perfect snack while watching football!

What are your favorite football snacks?

20130914-202948.jpg

Healthy living

The 5 am club

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you know that I am not a morning person. I look at people who get up at 5 am to do stuff with amused skepticism. C’mon, you don’t really feel better when you work out before the sun has even thought about coming up, do you?

Well, given that my schedule is now insanely hectic, I’ve come to the unfortunate realization that I’m going to have to join the 5 am club if I want to keep any kind of balance in my life.

Tuesday morning, I started the painful process of a 5 am wake up call. Shocker: I’m a big baby and it wasn’t that bad. As much as I rag on morning people, I do truly enjoy the early morning hours. I just usually enjoy my bed far more.

20130911-092013.jpg

Note the super hot I-just-rolled-out-of-bed selfie.

I hit a 5k before 6:15 am and then spent some time getting myself spiritually fit to face the day.

20130911-092207.jpg

I liked it so much, I talked myself into doing it again this morning.

Let’s get something straight. I’m not saying that I am thrilled to get out of bed at the crack of dawn. I’m saying once I get up, it’s actually a pleasant way to start my day. I felt much more prepared to tackle my daily tasks by getting in some time just for me first.

Maybe the “morning people” are onto something.