Battling a Bug

For the past week, every once in a while I’ll feel a slight twinge in the back of my throat like it wants to start hurting. I haven’t really had any runny noses (minus after I spend time outside in the cold, of course), nor any fever, but there’s just been something that has been nagging at me for a while that I’m not 100%.

I’ve been battling that annoying feeling with mugs of green tea with antioxidants, Zicam, and a little more sleep/rest and a little less high intensity workouts. Wednesday, though, I felt like whatever it was was starting to drag me down for the count.¬†I was rundown, feeling that slight sore throat, and just not at my best.

My latest tool in my battle to feel better: Green Tea Kombucha. Pretty tasty!

My latest tool in my battle to feel better: Green Tea Kombucha. Pretty tasty!

 

I had run a little over 3.5 miles on the treadmill that morning (which was a tough speed interval workout because I felt so tired), but I decided I wouldn’t make my second workout of the day for upper body weights and, instead, went home to my comfy Murray State sweatpants, fuzzy socks, and a tshirt. I wrapped myself up in a soft, fuzzy blanket, turned on Food Network, and settled in for a nap on the couch with my pups. A little while later, M came out to check on me and added another blanket to me (which then invited my old cat to curl up on my chest). (He knew I had to be sick if I didn’t go to the gym after work like usual.) I was there until I had an appointment and then M made dinner.

It was time to listen to my body and really rest, so I didn’t even attempt to do a yoga DVD this morning, but instead I slept in. I think the extra hour of sleep helped, because I’m feeling better today. I’m a firm believer in trying to sweat out the negative stuff, so as long as I’m still feeling better after work, I hope to hit the gym for a good sweat session of some light cardio and weights. I have a 13-mile run on the docket for Saturday, and my parents are coming into town, so I don’t want to push myself too much, but I’ve got to do something!

Why is it when you’re sick your appetite goes into full force? Wednesday night I was craving macaroni and cheese or queso and chips! M thought it was a weird combination, so he stuck with his meal plan of baked chicken with SteamFresh chicken fried rice and pineapple. ūüėČ

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The Best De-Stressor

Because I was at a dog agility trial over the weekend (I have some cute photos to share with you, soon!), I didn’t get in my long run as part of my half marathon training. Saturday morning, while we were on our way to the trial site, I couldn’t help but notice all the people out running and it actually made me sad that I was missing a long run. That totally surprised me, but that’s when I realized that on a weekend that I needed to clear my head the most, I wouldn’t be able to use running as the clearing. (Though, I will say I was pretty pre-occupied with everything agility-related while I was with my friends and dogs, so it still worked out.)

Running for me is a de-stressor. I’ve been able to use it to collect my thoughts, or clear my head. I’m able to relax more on a run outside than on the treadmill, and in the sunshine rather in the dark. So when the weather forecast called for a sunny day with a high of 50, I knew I was going to tackle some mileage outside after work!

How awesome is it that the days are getting longer?? The sun was still out when I finished my run after work!

How awesome is it that the days are getting longer?? The sun was still out when I finished my run after work!

My goal was to run 4-5 miles around where I work/where I used to live, I’m lucky with where our building is located that there is plenty of space to run, even during rush hour traffic. So I started out with one earphone in and the Linkin Park channel on Pandora and just ran. I didn’t have my Garmin, so I wasn’t checking my distance or my time, I just wanted to run to see how far I could go. When I started heading back to my office, I checked my RunKeeper app to see my mileage and saw that I was around 4 miles. The circle where my office is is a little over a mile long, so I went around the long way and just continued running. By this point I was starting to feel my legs some, but I wasn’t tired and my breathing wasn’t stressed–I just felt great!

Once I returned to my truck, I walked around the parking lot for a cool-down and then stretched some. My app was acting funky again, so I wanted to go home and use MapMyRun to double-check my distance. It said I covered 6.5 miles in 00:49:47, which would put my average mile at 7:37–I don’t think I’ve ever run a mile that fast, let alone six of them! Once again, the RunKeeper app failed me.

Upon review of MapMyRun, I actually ran 5.52 miles in 0:49:47, which is still pretty darn good! I’m proud of that run because I wasn’t really running for time or for any real distance (I was aiming for around 5), I just wanted to run to de-stress from the usual Monday at work and get in some fresh air.

How did you finish your Monday?

Running Groups — More Motivation than You Thought You Needed

Last year, when I was training for my first half marathon, I did it almost essentially on my own. My shorter, morning runs were with a couple of friends on the treadmill, but for the most part my longer runs were alone (some times a friend would join me for a small chunk of the course). It was so hard to get motivated to wake up early and get outside and train, no matter the weather. I remember my last long run–the weather was chilly and rainy and I ¬†was thinking of pushing the the run back (I didn’t have anyone to run with, so there was no one to worry about disappointing). But I got through it. It was¬†excruciating¬† It was demotivating. It wasn’t fun.

So this winter, while I was contemplating running half marathons, I started thinking about joining a running group. I was a member of one on Facebook, but I hadn’t met up with them. Then another local running group tweeted their run was going to be over part of the course from another half marathon in the area and I jumped aboard. (Another downfall to running by yourself is not being able to branch out to try new running routes because you don’t know the area that well and are afraid to go to the unknown by yourself.)

I loved it! I might not have ran with someone by my side at all times, but to see other people along the course (either behind or ahead) and knowing there would be someone to cheer you on as you pass them, made me feel awesome. Now I cannot wait until the group run locations are posted for the coming Saturday run, where someone will¬†coordinate¬†the location and then have everyone post how many miles they’re going and their pace.

Because of these two running groups (shout out LexRunLadies and John’s Striders), I feel stronger and more confident in my runs. I’ve explored parts of Lexington and Midway that I never would have before, and I’ve loved every minute. I’ve been inspired by running with a 60-year-old marathoner, or a mother of a college-aged daughter who looks younger than me, and those who are even just running a few miles compared to my double digit runs.

The LexRunLadies group preparing for a run in Midway (my first group run).

The LexRunLadies group preparing for a run in Midway (my first group run).

The past few Saturday mornings, I haven’t wanted to wake up at 5 to get my runs in, but I did because I know I posted on the wall that I’d be there and how many miles I needed to get in–I’m afraid to let anyone down, even if they don’t know me very well yet. I know we’re all “suffering” together waking up early on a supposed “day off” and sweating through our layers of clothes, even though it’s barely 20* out and snowing.

I do enjoy my (shorter) runs alone, especially on beautiful afternoons after work, when I need to clear my head or just want to run without worrying about someone keeping up with me. But it’s good to know I have a support system of runners who knows exactly what it’ll take to achieve the goals I’m pursuing.

Do you run alone, or with a running group?

5 Things Friday – 2.22.13

It’s Friday, which means it’s time for “5 Things Friday”! I have to say I’m liking these posts because they allow me to be as random as I want, and write short tidbits without feeling like I need to do a full post on one particular item. I hope you’re enjoying them, too.

5 card

  1. New¬†Side-dish¬† I am intrigued by spaghetti squash and I want to learn more ways to cook it now. I’m definitely going to have to make my Spaghetti Squash Mac & Cheese very soon. Please share any easy SS recipes you have!
  2. Agility Trial This weekend I’m off to Ohio with my dog friends for another agility trial and I’m excited. It’s been a month since our last one, and it’ll be the last trial I have until we head to Tulsa, Okla., for the AKC National Agility Championships. Dally’s had her monthly chiropractor appointment and LaMesa’s been a weaving machine, so I have high hopes for this weekend!
  3. No Long Run¬† Because of the agility trial, this means no long run for me on Saturday. But, I’m alright with that. My last two runs (12.5 and 11 miles) have been pretty hard on my body, so I think it’s ready for a short break. To make up for the lack of running I added in a speed interval workout on the treadmill this morning (I usually only run twice a week, with cross training, when I have a long run scheduled). Next week I’ll tackle 13 miles on the entire Run the Bluegrass course…that’ll be scary!
  4. A Break From Reality ¬†Again, because of my agility trial, it gives me a weekend where I’ll have other things to occupy my mind like my dogs, my friends, my runs, where we’ll eat dinner Saturday night, etc. Which is good, because after the news I got on Wednesday and the jumbled up, frustrated feelings I’ve felt since then, I need a break from it all. And that’s one big reason why I love my animals…
  5. Babies, Babies, Babies ¬†I officially have six friends that are having babies in July…that’s right–all of my friends that are expecting are due in the same month. How weird is that?? And so far, four of them are expecting girls, and the latest one is expecting a boy (the sixth one hasn’t had her appointment to see the sex). Two of them I work with, so of course I joke about being careful with the water around the office. It’s so funny to be hearing all the expectant mother talk…

Finally, I wanted to share this blog post by Robyn because lately I’ve been feeling like I really am addicted to sugar and I need to figure out how to break the addiction. I’ve given up chocolate for Lent, but I still find myself scouring the kitchen at night (after dinner) for “something sweet” to satiate my sweet tooth. I’m trying to use more natural sugars, like honey, in my baking and cooking, and I don’t drink that much soda (Coke Zero or Diet Mountain Dew every now and then), so I didn’t think I was that addicted, but maybe I am? Anyway, this was a good post with a yummy recipe at the end for those trying to kick the sugar habit.

What are your weekend plans?

Too Busy to be In Love?

(Note: This is another one of those personal stream of thought postings [that I’m trying to not get too personal], so please forgive me if this post doesn’t make 100% sense…)

Is it possible that you can be too busy to be in love with life? I ask this because of a personal issue to someone I’m connected with, that I was always concerned that they were too busy for their personal life and too busy to make their marriage work.

In this day and age, it’s not hard to find someone who is burning the candle at both ends–I know I’m guilty of it, especially in the summer when my volleyball reffing gig picks up. We seem to be more focused on status–whether it be of monetary value or professional value–which then takes our focus away from the other, perhaps smaller things, in life.

Do we really have to live by the tones of an alarm clock to find happiness?

Do we really have to live by the tones of an alarm clock to find happiness?

But isn’t there a point where you just have to stop and think for a minute that perhaps you’re attacking your life all wrong? Lately it seems like I’ll look back and can’t believe I’ve been married for almost five months now…time seems to be flying! And when I look at everything I’ve done since October, it’s no wonder that the days all zoom by me–I’m too busy to take a few deep breaths and enjoy what’s already around me. And I fear that’s what’s happened to my family member who has just realized she isn’t in love.

We look hard and long for that special someone who makes our life whole, and then we (well, most of us) take our time getting to know that person so we know if they’re right for us. Then we marry and our life truly begins again…and then you turn on the fast forward button.

You keep yourself so busy that the marriage becomes one of convenience–you know you’re not coming home to an empty house and there’s someone to take care of the pets while you’re out and about doing whatever. But you forget that you married that special someone to spend your life and share your time with, not to have as an convenience. Your spouse is there to be your supporter, but they’re also there to share themselves with you. If you don’t give them that opportunity, then you quickly forget why you married that someone.

I know I’ve been guilty of never being home, of being too busy with my friends and other plans that I’ve neglected my relationship with M. And I’ve worked hard to rectify that situation and to make life better for us. It’s so difficult to keep that delicate balance because there’s so much I want to do and to accomplish, and I always feel like life won’t let me catch up. But you have to be mature enough to really step back and realize how you got to the point you’re at now and why you are there. You have to make the effort to fix what you’ve broken because of your inattentiveness. You can’t expect 100% of that effort to come from the other party, instead it has to a team experience–50/50.

Do I fear that this individual has just given up and doesn’t want to try to fix things? Yes, I do. And it’s a selfish act to just give up on someone you’ve once proclaimed you loved with all your heart, and that someone you know would move heaven and earth for. It’s selfish to just give up, to just move on like you’re not hurting anyone. Because it’s more than just yourself you should be thinking about, but the other party and those affected by the dissolving of a marriage. I know you have to make yourself happy, but you also need to look deep inside yourself to figure out what it is you really need that was pulling you away and¬†pushing¬†you to be so busy.

Things are going to be rocky for a while, but I hope the boat rightens itself soon…

Leftover Spaghetti Squash? Make Mac n’ Cheese!

After cooking my first spaghetti squash on Valentine’s Day, I still had some leftover that I knew needed to be eaten quickly. Luckily, I have a few different spaghetti squash recipes pinned on Pinterest, so I just dove into my boards and found one that resembled macaroni and cheese (my all time favorite).

I just so happened to have everything already (give or take), so it was a no-brainer that I should try this. I was pairing it up with grilled chicken breasts (55* in February at night? Hello, grill!) and some steamed veggies.

Spaghetti Squash Mac n’ Cheese

1/2 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
1/4 cup milk (I used non-fat)
1/4 cup blended shredded cheese (Colby Jack for me)
1 1/2 cups spaghetti squash, cooked
1 slice green bell pepper, diced
1 tbsp frozen peas
Salt & Pepper to taste
A pinch (or 2) shredded parmesan cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F. Prepare a small square casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the flour with some salt and pepper, and slowly whisk in the milk over medium heat, until smooth. (This part was frustrating to me, so if you can’t tell if it’s smooth, that’s alright, just move onto the next step.)
  3. Stir in the cheese and mix until the sauce is thick and cheese is melted (I ended up adding a little more cheese to this, so just do to your tastes). Remove from heat. Poor over the spaghetti squash in a small bowl and combine the two until the “noodles” are covered in cheese sauce.
  4. At this point, I added about a teaspoon of diced green pepper to the mixture for extra flavor. Then pour the mixture into the casserole dish. Top with the remaining green pepper and frozen peas (next time I’m going to mix in some peas as well). Sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the squash is heated through.
  6. Enjoy!

The original author said for the entire dish (not just one serving), the stats were: 220 calories, 9 g fat, 20 g carbs, 17 g protein.

Cheesy, yummy goodness!

Cheesy, yummy goodness!

M loved it and so did I! Next time I will add more peas to the mix (in addition to the topping) to get some more veggies in.

 

A Look at the Week Ahead

Mondays are often viewed as a chance to re-start things. You often hear people saying they’ll get back to their diet come Monday. Even though, technically, Sunday is the start of the week, we always view Monday as the stepping stone for the next six days.

This morning I woke up already thinking about how I can make this week better. I didn’t go to my morning spin class because Sunday night I felt like I was starting to get sick and went to bed at 9:30 (!!) and decided I wouldn’t set my alarm for the usual 5 am wake-up. I woke up feeling better, thankfully, and fully-rested to start the week.

So here’s my look-ahead for the week ahead:

Monday – Evening spin class (the legs are feeling good today, after my rest day Sunday that consisted of just a 2-mile walk with the pups), followed by dinner and then tackling today’s HealthysELF challenge of a nagging task. My task is our bathroom cabinet. It’s a cluttered mess! Yesterday M and I bought an organizer for the cabinet in hopes that’ll help things, so I’ll use that to hopefully get the cabinet organized and cleaned.

Tuesday – Morning run on the treadmill and probably weights in the evening. I really need to start working on a couple of freelance articles, so this will be the evening I get that going.

Wednesday – Morning run on the treadmill. I might take the pups to do some agility training after work, so I want to be sure to get a good sweat in the morning.

Thursday – Yoga in the morning, weights/cross-training in the evening. More freelance work, hopefully.

Friday – Run in the morning and maybe a light session in the evening. I won’t be doing a long training run this weekend because I will be out of town for an agility trial, so I’m going to throw in an extra run Friday morning to make up for the lack of miles.

Saturday & Sunday – Kick some doggie butt with my two girls at the agility trial in Ohio and hope for the best!

Another positive start to the week? M and I finally got a new blender with some wedding gift cards and leftover Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, so I got to have a protein shake for breakfast for the first time in months! Yay! But now I need to buy more protein powder. What’s your favorite?

How’s your week looking?

12 Miles Conquered in the Cold

The day dawned cold, and early, for me–5 am alarms on a Saturday can be cruel, but when you’re waking up early to get your mileage in, you just want to get out there and get it done.

If you’re joining a little late, I’m training for the Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon at the end of March. I’ve had to up my mileage/training earlier because I will be missing some weekends of training (like next weekend and a weekend in mid-March) due to dog agility trials. So this weekend I had 12 miles on the docket. I ran with one of the running groups I’ve joined, and Keith took us on a “wild goose chase for 12 miles” all around the city of Lexington.

There were some hills, so I was still getting hill work in, and we started out at a quick pace–much faster than the past few runs. So, needless to say that towards the end of the run, my legs were feeling heavy and dead, but I pushed through. In fact, after getting separated from the leaders of our run, I ended up running 12.5 miles. I probably could have pushed myself to run the rest of the way to my car, which ended up being a full 13.1, but I didn’t want to push my luck with my legs, so I walked the last bit. Funny thing is, I still ended up finishing the 13.1 with a faster time than my first half marathon last April! Maybe that’s a good sign for March?

photo-21

Here were my splits:

Mile 1 – 9:42
Mile 2 – 9:38
Mile 3 – 9:46
Mile 4 – 9:56
Mile 5 – 9:33
Mile 6 – 9:46
Mile 7 – 9:49
Mile 8 – 10:27 (<–Big hill and traffic)
Mile 9 – 10:01
Mile 10 – 10:13
Mile 11 – 9:54
Mile 12 – 9:42
0.5 nubbin – 5:35
Total: 12.55 miles 2:04:09 (9:54 average)

It was a crisp 25 degrees when we started and ended, and even though it was cold, I was soaked with sweat–steam was pouring off of me as I stretched next to my car on the cold asphalt. I promptly came home, whipped up a banana protein shake, stretched more and foam rolled, then relished a long, hot shower. (Which was good, since I had icicles in my hair after my run.)

True story: My hair had icicles in it after my run!

True story: My hair had icicles in it after my run!

Now I’m off to do some agility training with the dogs while rocking my ProCompression socks to help me recover.

5 Things Friday – 2.15.13

Happy Friday! I’m always looking forward to the weekends any more, because it means I have my long training run and then relaxation!

So let’s get right to my five things for this week:

  1. M’s New Job. Last Friday M was offered a job as a security guard at the local horse racetrack, and he started on Wednesday! I’m so excited for him and he seems to be liking everything so far. Yesterday he commented that the days go by pretty quickly for him because he’s so busy, which is a very good thing! The money might not be what we’re used to, but that just means doing a better job at budgets and maybe picking up overtime (for him) and more side gigs (for me). No word, yet, on what shift he’ll have permanently, though…
  2. Healthy, Easy Cookies. I tried two new healthy cookie recipes over the weekend and loved them both. You can’t go wrong with oatmeal raisin or peanut butter cookies! I hope you’ve had a chance to try them.
  3. Fit 40. So we haven’t had the best start for our Fit 40 for Lent challenge between the two of us, with Valentine’s Day yesterday, but you can always start fresh and regroup the next day. This weekend I see us coming up with some meal plans (M has to take his lunch with him now anyway), so hopefully we’ll get some healthy grocery shopping in this weekend.
  4. Running Love. Wednesday I posted a blog post as part of #Runchat’s “Why I Love Running” contest and I won a prize! I won two boxes from StrideBox. I don’t know much about this concept, but I’m looking forward to the goodies and will share with everyone when I find out more.
  5. New Tradition. For M’s Valentine, I bought a book recommended by Elle. I found it at Anthropologie (they just opened a store here in Lex) and I gave it to him saying that every night, when we go to bed together, we should take turns reading some of the book to each other. This might not last very long, if he gets second shift for work, but for now it’s something we both need for affirmation of our marriage/relationship with each other. I’m excited to see how the book plays out.
Fall in Love for Life

Fall in Love for Life

Here’s an article I’m looking forward to reading (when I have a moment) by Tina. Perfect timing considering I’ve been feeling this way: Is Marriage Making You Fat? 3 Ways to Stop Overeating¬†Thanks, Tina!

And, one last thing that’s made me smile today. Because of the¬†meteorite¬†that smashed into Russia earlier today, my friend Merinda posted this on her blog that I loved! Tips from the Brews Brothers.

Tomorrow morning I’m braving another double-digit run in frigid weather, only this time starting at 6 am. Cross your fingers my foot holds up for 12 miles….

Valentine’s Dinner Recap

It was my night to fix dinner on Valentine’s, so I decided to try to make it special, but healthy. So I found a recipe for a skillet chicken¬†parmesan¬†and decided to pair it with a salad with my pumpkin¬†vinaigrette¬†and spaghetti squash. This was my first time making chicken parmesan and spaghetti squash, so I was a little nervous about how it would all come out.

My "romantic" candlelit dinner was serenaded by a song list on my IPhone.

My “romantic” candlelit dinner was serenaded by a song list on my IPhone.

FIrst of all, the spaghetti squash. It was so much easier than I thought it was! First I stabbed it (quite) a few times with a fork, then put it in a shallow pan in the oven at 350* for an hour. While that was cooking, M was playing a video game and I took the dogs for a walk (productive!).

After the hour was up, I removed the squash from the oven and let it cool for about 10 minutes. I pulled out a serrated knife and cut the squash in half and then cleaned out the seeds. Finally I scraped out the insides with a fork into a bowl, and there you have it: spaghetti squash!

Next came the skillet chicken parmesan. I had gotten a couple of chicken breasts out to thaw that morning, and then did a light coat of a roasted tomato vinaigrette marinade that afternoon.

  1. While the squash was cooking, I took out the chicken, placed it in some plastic wrap and then used the side of a hammer (we don’t have a meat mallet) to pound the breasts to about a 1/4 inch thick.
  2. I then placed them in a skillet with some olive oil and minced garlic for about 3 minutes on each side, then removed them to a plate.
  3. I added some more minced garlic and some diced onion to the pan to cook down a little, then poured a can of crushed tomatos into the pan. I added a little Italian seasoning and some garlic power, then stirred to mix it together.
  4. I remembered I had some roasted zucchini and summer squash from earlier this week, so I added that to the sauce.
  5. In a bowl, combine some bread crumbs with garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Coat the two chicken breasts in the bread crumbs.
  6. After the spaghetti squash was done, I turned the oven to broil at 400*, then placed the two chicken breasts in the tomato mixture (I was using an oven-safe pan), topped with some part-skim¬†mozzarella¬† and place the pan in the oven to brown the cheese and crisp the breading. (Keep your eyes on the cheese so it doesn’t burn.)
  7. Once complete, I assembled the plates with some spaghetti squash, some of the sauce with veggies, and then the chicken breast.

The result: Deliciousness!!

My "romantic" candlelit dinner, complete with a salad and homemade pumpkin vinaigrette.

Dinner: complete with a salad and homemade pumpkin vinaigrette.

I was going to make a (healthy) strawberry shortcake cupcake for our desert, but M brought home some cupcakes from a local bakery (Caramanda’s) that were decorated for the holiday. So, I figure Valentine’s Day is the one respite from Lent and we could treat ourselves.

Valentine's cupcakes from Caramanda's.

Valentine’s cupcakes from Caramanda’s.