Friday, January 7, 2011


What do you do when a day gives you lemons?


You make cinnamon swirl bread, of course.


You get resourceful and make a fire to create a warm spot for the dough to rise.


You also organize your coupons.


You admire your dog sleeping and then you wake him up so you can put a scarf on him. He’s obviously cold – even with the fire.

You decide that your dog is so cute that you need to make a photo album of him.

And then you wait around for your husband to get home so he can give return your car keys (which he took to work) and you can go to Target.

Hope y’all have a great rest of the day!

Friday love

Pre-workout eats: Orange-cranberry oats

Workout: Ran 3.17 miles; average pace, 9:18.

I’m having a FML kind of morning. But there’s no need to let a pair of “stolen” keys ruin my morning (it’s a long story that involves me being very upset with my husband). It’s Friday, and it’s time for Friday love!

crock-pot-santa-fe-chickenFood. I try to make a dish at the beginning of the week that I can take to work for lunch several times. This week it was Santa Fe Chicken inspired by Gina @ Skinny Taste.  It’s a slow cooker recipe but we all know my slow cooker is out of commission until the new lid is ordered and shipped. So I made some adjustments (and additions, based on how I thought this tasted after it was made).

Santa Fe Chicken

1 large chicken breast

1 can Rotel tomatoes with mild green chiles

1 cup frozen corn

1 can black beans

1/2 jalapeno, minced

3 scallions, sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon cumin

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt to taste

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Add all ingredients except the cilantro to a Dutch oven. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or so until it’s no longer soupy. Stir in cilantro. Serve over rice, with cheese and sour cream (reminds me of a burrito bowl at Chipotle). For lunch today, I plan to put it on a bed of lettuce for a taco salad.

Fitness. I’m probably the last person on Earth to not share one of these videos on my blog but this one really made me feel cool. Especially as I ran this morning when it was 18 degrees.

Life. Even though I’m not particularly fond of him right now, I am excited to celebrate Mark’s birthday with him tomorrow. He’s going to be 31. 31! Did I tell you he’s going to be 31? Ha! I have some surprises in store for him so hopefully they go over well. (And I’m planning to be a good blogger this weekend and take pictures!)

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Workout: 2.5-mile walk with Denali

1. After 10+ straight days of moving my body, I was craving a rest day. And let me tell you, I rested this morning. I hung out on the couch and kept up on blogs. I made pancakes and scrambled egg whites for breakfast - consumed while watching last night's "Top Chef All Stars." To top it all off, I took a bath before even thinking about walking Denali. It was awesome.

2. I swear I must have the tightest hips on the planet. In yesterday's yoga class, we were instructed to go into a yoga squat with the goal of getting the butt almost to the floor so your elbows could rest in the nooks of your knees. I kept trying to sink but my body was having none of it. The instructor came over and advised me to lift my heels and try to sink lower. I think I got another inch. She then put a blanket under my heels for support and almost pushed me down - in a good way. The other member of the class, who happened to be the owner of the studio, was in the pose perfectly. Apparently, it's the pose she takes when playing with her kids. If that's the case, I have a lot of work to do!

3. Randomness ... I burnt my lip the other day on some leftovers that spent too much time in the microwave. It might have been worth it had it been my Cincinnati chili but no. No, I had to burn it on the Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu, a so-so dish that had already left a bad taste in my mouth. Why? Denali got a little nosy (literally) while we were plating the dinner and knocked the lid to the slow cooker on the floor, shattering it until a million pieces. Not my happiest hour. Thankfully, I can order a replacement lid for $7.99 and get back to slow cookin' my heart out.

Do you use a slow cooker? What's your favorite recipe?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Lucky 13

I am now 13 weeks pregnant and, depending on which book you read, in my second trimester. (The other books say the second trimester begins at 14 weeks. I don't like those books.)

My little sea monkey, she’s the size of a peach. (I only say she in a wishful thinking sort of way.) Last week, she was a plum and before that a green olive.

It’s a bit weird referring to the sea monkey’s size in terms of fruit. Why not balls – and not those balls, you dirty people. She’s the size of a Ping Pong ball or a tennis ball or a Bocce ball. But, oh no, we refer to it as fruit.

green-olive summer-plum summer-peaches


Probably, because as a pregnant lady, all you think about is how much you either hate food or how much you want food.

Lucky for me … I guess … it’s been about how much I want food. I don’t want anything in particular, if you’re curious. No pickles and ice cream for me although I did get an odd hankering for jalapeno poppers one night. It went unfulfilled, though. I though I'd save Mark from midnight runs till I can't see my toes. My issue has been non-stop hunger and when things taste good, they taste GOOD. Two breakfasts and sometimes a morning snack each day. The other day, I ate every bit on my plate at the Thai place only to come home and eat a PB&J.

As far as too good foods, there’s popcorn-peanut butter M&M combo Mark subjected me to at the movies and the 10 million Nilla Wafers I ate on Monday ... and 10 million more on Tuesday. Thank goodness some of the other things tasting good include pineapple, cantaloupe (which I hated before) and cucumbers.

Pregnant or not, what foods do you crave?

A perfect 10?

Pre-workout eats: PB&J oats

Workout: 2.2-mile walk with Denali and 60-minute Vinyasa Flow class

10 days of yoga …

It’s done.

    yoga squatacfea6c23af0de97_1-legged-staff-pose

I've tested my body with yogic squats and one-legged chaturangas.


My mind, which is so used to leaving problems behind when out for a run, has been forced to confront things in savasana.

It’s been an experience far more than I ever anticipated, opening a new door of wellness - both physical and mental.

And, after a fantastic New Year’s class, I was anxious to see what lies beyond that door … but I knew it wasn’t as simple as telling Mark, “I love yoga and want to go all the time.” There were things to consider - like how long I can physically practice yoga; the cost (twice of what a gym runs); and whether I really wanted it, as opposed to a stationary bike or gym membership. And then there’s running – how much did I want to run, if at all.

The last question was easy to answer. Of course, I wanted to run – just not 20 miles a week. As far as the gym, there’s not much there that I couldn’t do at home. How long I’ll be able to do it is anyone’s guess but I have a good two or three months before I get BIG.

So the money … Mark, my forever-awesome husband, said if it’s something that works for me, we’ll work it out.

And it works for me – the social aspect, having a schedule (it reminds me of training for a race!),the sense of nurturing I feel and the pace suits tired ole me just fine.

I’ll be incorporating yoga three to four times a week and running three times a week, hopefully at least 10 miles (for the week – not at a time).

Have you ever tried yoga? What’s your fave class?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sound of music

Pre-workout eats: Kashi Island Vanilla with sliced banana and 1% milk
Workout: Ran 4.35 miles; average pace, 9:18.

It seemed like such a good idea. For my first solo run in two weeks, I'd bring along my iPod. It would keep me company and help distract me if I felt tired or uninspired. A slower music selection, too, could help keep me at a comfortable pace as to prevent at least the tired part of my worries.

But, oh, the ideas that seem so good - and so easy - to execute never are.

My music was on my old laptop, not the new one (named Dexter, if you care). I spent a chunk of my evening yesterday transferring files, renaming stuff in iTunes and dreaming of a gift card to purchase new songs. I was conscious to make sure my iPod was sufficiently charged so it would be ready to go, as well.

So this morning, when I laced up my sneakers and snapped on my Road ID, I was pumped. I was going to listen to the "Crazy Heart" soundtrack, zone out and run on.

Yeah ... about that ... I uploaded songs to iTunes but never saved them on my computer. No Jeff Bridges for me. It would be Alanis Morisette, AFI, Destiny's Child and Tyrone Wells - talk about an odd mix - for me. But it would work. It would, I say!

I put in my ear buds, started with Tyrone Wells and set off. For a quarter mile. Stop; adjust ear buds. Another quarter mile. Stop; adjust ear buds. Just after the mile mark, I got frustrated and said enough. I took out the ear buds, stuffed the iPod in my pocket and was ready to go.

Until ...

Until I realized that if I disconnected the buds that I could still hear the music. I didn't know iPod nanos had built in speakers but mine does. Score!

The rest of the run was pretty good. I went nearly 2 miles without stopping, which doesn't happen often anymore, and I felt decent enough the whole time. Double score!

Do you take your iPod on runs? What's your favorite music to listen to?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Full intention

Pre-workout eats: Egg white thin and yogurt parfait
Workout: 2.2-mile walk with Denali and 60-minute Slow Flow yoga class

I've been spoiled. For two weeks, Mark was home when I left for work and home when I returned. He was there to do dishes, do laundry and, most importantly, walk Denali.

But winter break is now over ... for both of us.

Mark returned to the classroom today, and I returned to my regular morning routine of breakfast for one and dog walking. A bit sad and a bit refreshing - especially when 20-degree weather smacks you right in the face.

◊ ◊ ◊

Sore. Everything. Sore. Triceps, back, shoulders. Even the upper hamstrings where my legs meet my butt. This 10 days of yoga thing is no joke.

Today was day 8, and a return to my first class of the "challenge" - Slow Flow. I was really hinging my hopes on the slow part but was up and ready for (almost) anything Dani threw our way.

Class started sitting down and a stretch for the hips. We were reminded to set our intention, one we stated in class New Year's Day. What did we want to do this year? How did we want to improve? It's so easy to pick a health-related goal - get fit, eat less sugar, eat more cleanly, etc. - but she urged us to look a little deeper. After all, she said, we often have what we already want. We do. The only thing blocking us is the obstacles we put in our path.

It's a bit crazy to think about but important, too. How many times do we set goals only to tell ourselves that we can't do them? Maybe you want to run a mile but then you tell yourself that you are too slow, too old, too overweight. You want to go to the gym and get fit but you don't go to the gym. People like you don't go to the gym. You want to eat better but, really, what's the point. You are who you are and will always be that person.

You get in your own way.

You have to stop thinking like that, start allowing yourself to believe that you are worth the measures required. Once you do that, things fall into place. With a little hard work, of course.

Stepping off soapbox.

For me, it's pretty obvious that my intention was going to be a little less, ummm, physical. I have so many things to be grateful for: a husband who loves me despite violent, hormonal mood swings; a family who is always there for me; fantastic friends; a dog who makes sure I get off my butt; and the most special thing of all, a sea monkey. Yet, I often myself cranky and unhappy. Even depressed, maybe. Why? I let myself get caught up on the little things, to be a nag, to get defensive. And for no reason.

So my intention for 2011 is to allow myself to be happy. I deserve to be happy.

And so do you.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sunday, lazy Sunday

Workout: Ran 4.27 miles (average pace, 9:23) and a 75-minute Deep Stretch Flow Yoga class.

My day started off so well - a run, postponed from yesterday because someone (ahem, Mark) wasn't feeling so good after New Year's Eve, and my hardest yoga class yet. Challenging. Active. Fulfilling. Definitely a great morning.

And then it got kind of lazy.

"House Hunters," "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" and "Wedding Date" on ABC Family. An overflowing basket of laundry went neglected. Too many games of Spider Solitaire.

Thank goodness I had a pot of chili on the stove that needed to simmer for three hours. It guaranteed my bum that it would get off the couch at least once every 15 minutes. And it guaranteed my belly that I'd have something warm and comforting on this chilly winter Sunday.

Old-School Cincinnati-Style Chili

1 quart waterchili

2 pounds ground beef (the recipe calls for ground chuck but you can use a leaner cut)

3 bay leaves

15 whole allspice

5 whole cloves (optional)

2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce

2 medium onions, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons white vinegar

4 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1.5 teaspoons salt

1/2 ounce unsweetened chocolate

Add ground chuck to water; boil for half-hour, breaking up meat with wooden spoon. Put bay leaves, allspice and cloves into a tea ball or cheesecloth. Add remaining ingredients and tea ball/cheesecloth of spices to the pot. Simmer for three hours. Serve over a bed of spaghetti (I prefer Ronzoni SmartTaste) and top with cheddar cheese (we use 2% in this house) for a Cincinnati 3-way. Add onions or kidney beans for a 4-way – both for a 5-way. You can also use the chili as a coney sauce.

I will tell you this, guys and dolls, Cincinnati chili can be an acquired taste and many unfamiliar with it balk at the whole pasta and cheese thing. Let me tell you, though, if you go in with an open mind, you will be pleasantly surprised.


P.S. Thank you everyone for the kind words on our big announcement. Mark and I are thrilled, and I’m excited to navigate this adventure as healthfully as I can. I do hope you continue to follow it as well.

We're No. 1

I made a list of 11 goals for 2011 only to give you 10. I told you to stay tuned. But I did it with good intentions because my No. 1 for 2011 is big. Huge.

In 2011, I want to be more like Kara Goucher.

kara goucher

She runs marathons, like, super fast – she was third at Boston in 2009. She’s an Olympian, having participated in the 2008 Beijing Games. She’s uber dedicated to running and passionate about the sport. And she might just be the nicest person you’ll ever meet (I met her at RnR Chicago).

But you’re not going to find me in Boston in April. You won’t see me in London in 2012. And, depending on my mood, whether I’m even nice is questionable.

So … just how do I want to be more like Kara Goucher?

me kara kara pregnant

I want to be like Kara Goucher in the mom sort of way.

Yes, jelly beans, I am with child. Pregnant. Knocked up. I have a bun in the oven. A member of the pudding club.

The blessed child is due July 13, which puts me at the very end of my first trimester. While I haven’t a hard time of it so far – no morning sickness – it hasn’t been easy so to speak. I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that all I want to do is sleep and eat (seriously, I am hungry ALL THE TIME) and I will gain weight (5-ish pounds so far).

It’s also the reason I’ve been slowing down, the reason I’ve been focusing on shorter distances, the reason I cry on my runs. But I am determined to run. Until the doctor tells me to toss the sneakers, I will be out on the trails trying, at least, to do my thing.