Archive | March, 2014

Well. Today Is THE Day.

31 Mar

I’m happy to report that I’m not dead in a ditch somewhere – not that any of YOU PEOPLE even checked in on me.  Jerks.  My laptop is, though.  RIP little buddy – you done us proud and done us good, but life must go on!  I moved my computer (aka the best computer I’ve ever owned) from the home office to the work office, so we are back in business.

Y’all.  I turn 30 today.


I don’t even know how to feel about it.  It’s kind of surreal when you reach the age that you always thought of as “old,” especially since I still get carded to buy basically anything or get into a bar.  I’m not even sure this is real life.  To be honest, I always thought I’d have a little pack of kids by this point because most of the people from my small hometown all ready do.  But I can’t even picture myself with a kid right now.  Not being responsible for keeping something with 2 legs alive is kind of awesome.  I slept in until 9AM today just because I felt like it.  If that doesn’t sound like winning, then I don’t know what.  Don’t get me wrong, I want kids some day but the only time I feel like I’m in a hurry is when I compare myself to others.  Then I read their 900th Facebook post about how sleep deprived they are and how they found applesauce in their hair when they got to work and how they don’t have enough hours in their day and teething and potty training and mean kids in their play group and baby daddy drama and ex-spouses (sheesh, those were quick marriages!)…as I pour myself a glass of wine at 2 in the afternoon, prop my feet up on my desk, and chuckle.


I’m not lamenting the end of my 20s.  Until I was like 24-25, I was a complete shit show.  My late 20s were a time period where I undid all of the things from my early 20s – toxic friendships, bad lifestyle habits, unhealthy behaviors, along with a whole lot of other crap.  It’s been rough and kind of backwards.  I believe they call what happened to me a “quarter-life crisis.”  With that having been said, my 30s are probably going to rock compared to my 20s.  Someone remind me that later when I’m crying into some tiramisu.



5 Thing Friday (Fitness Themed)

20 Mar

1.  Turning Up The Heat!

Clearly not talking about the weather. (Looking at you, fake spring!) This week was the week where I turned the corner on training.  With just 44 more days to go until the Pittsburgh Marathon (of which I am running leg 4 of the marathon relay), I started working with a virtual trainer.  Allyn, over at Triumfit Training, is also a personal trainer in real time, but all the way over in Washington D.C.   I’ve known Allyn since college, so when I read on her website that she offers virtual training options, I jumped at the chance to work with a certified professional.  I told her about my fitness goals aka being a better runner, and she developed a HIIT (High-Intensity-Interval-Training) circuit for me to do on non-running days.  She also gave me some exercises to do daily and some foam rolling work.

2.  Foam Rolling

Me and my foam roller! BFFs!!

Me and my foam roller! BFFs!!

So far the foam roller is basically my new BFF.  It deserves its own separate topic.  How did I not know about this?  I could foam roll all day.  And thanks to several sets of HIIT squats, I basically have been!  It’s incredible how sore I am, then after some foam rolling, water, and rest – I’m feeling good as new!  We actually bought 2 different ones, a regular foam roller and a deep tissue one that is supposed to be better but isn’t really.  After finding out how deeply enjoyable foam rolling is, I started You Tube trolling for more ways to use it.  It’s like healthy people porn.  I will stop there.

3.  Embarrassing Race Photos

Wow.  Like so much so that I’m not even going to share them here.  Or tag myself on Facebook.  Or remember that I ever saw them.  Or even remotely tell y’all where to find them.  Let’s just say – I looked about as great as I felt that day and my mom and I got a good laugh at them.  Moving on with haste…

4.  Reason #928350 Why I Love Running

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If you follow me on Instagram (DO IT! @MichelleSFTS), you may occasionally see photos I post of things I see when running.  I realized the other day that those moments are just another reason why I continue to believe running is good for my soul.  This new pedestrian hobby of mine has given me such a different perspective of the beautiful city I love.  There’s something about the way the light dances on the river or the way the clouds look over a tree line that I just never noticed from my car at 60 m.p.h. while trying to figure out what lane I should be in during a 15 second time window.  Running has invited me to slow down, open my eyes, observe, and appreciate so much that I took for granted before.

5.  The Problem is Always Food.  Always.

Once a fat kid, always a fat kid?  Mentally, yes.  Since buckling down this week, I realized that my sugar addiction is out of control.  Yes, I’m eating clean meals.  But, I just want sweets and chocolate and diet soda all day long.  The more I tell myself not to eat them, the stronger my urge to binge.  That coupled with a boost in my appetite from upping my exercise are all ready proving to be counter-productive.  It has to stop.  Sheesh, you make one batch of scones and before you know it you are hiding in a corner pouring a bag of dark chocolate chips you found in the back of the pantry directly into your mouth.  It’s a slippery slope is all I’m saying people.


Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze

17 Mar

Who’s got two thumbs and learned a hard lesson last week?  This girl!

While it may be a good idea to run with someone who is faster than you, it might not be the best idea to do it every time you run for a week.  I basically spent the weekend feeling like I got hit by a truck!  Womp womp.

Since we opted to pass on St. Paddy’s Day festivities this year (time constraints + training), I was feeling like I needed some Irish pride in my life!  Hence, me making scones late into the evening.  Here is my recipe, if you happen to be feeling festive as well!  I have no clue where this recipe came from, but I’ve been using the same one for 10+ years.

Cranberry Orange Scones with Orange Glaze


  • For scones:
    • 2 c. flour
    • 7 t. sugar + 3 t. sugar
    • 1 T. grated orange peel
    • 2 t. baking powder
    • 1/2 t. salt
    • 1/4 t. baking soda
    • 1/3 c. cold butter
    • 1 c. dried cranberries
    • 1/4 c. orange juice
    • 1/4 c. half and half
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 T. unsweetened almond milk
  •   For glaze:
    • 1/2 c. powdered sugar
    • 1 T. orange juice

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and then set aside.  In a smaller bowl, mix together cranberries, orange zest, OJ, half and half, and the egg.  When you are ready, cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients using 2 knives until mixture appears crumbly.  Then, add in the egg/OJ mixture and mix until you get a loose dough.  Turn the dough out on a floured surface 6-8 times and then shape it into an 8″ circle. Cranberry-Orange-Scones-1 Cut the dough into 8 even pieces, place on parchment paper, and then brush with milk. Cranberry-Orange-Scones-2 Sprinkle the remaining 3 t. sugar evenly over scones.  Then bake for approximately 12 minutes at 400*F or until lightly browned on top. Move them to a wire rack and mix together the powdered sugar and orange juice to make the glaze.  Drizzle evenly with a spoon and then proceed to do a little Irish jig because you just knocked one out of the park!!! Cranerry-Orange-Scones-3

Race Recap: Brave American 5K

11 Mar

I am happy to announce that my first 5K of the 2014 season is completed!

In a strange twist of fate, my mom went to high school with the race director so when I first heard about the Brave American 5K via Facebook, I knew it was a sign.  I was drawn in immediately by their cause:  raising money for wounded veterans returning from duty.  After a bit more research, I was hooked!!  I got to run and my race fee went to the Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors – a wonderful place which offers traditional and non-traditional wellness to vets in a rural setting.


Anyway, let’s talk about my favorite subject: me!  If you’re a regular around here, then you know I’ve been struggling lately with running in general.  The last week or so, I’ve also been bogged down with a sinus infection so I had serious reservations and anxiety about whether or not I should even run the race.  Christina wouldn’t be able to make it for support either, which made my anxiety spike even more!  My mom even offered to drive 40 minutes to cheer me on, but I told her I would be fine.  I waffled back and forth all day Thursday and all day Friday in the most dramatic fashion (aka my norm), but at the last minute I thought:  Geez girl, just go and walk if you have to.  It’s not the end of the world.

Saturday morning, I set my alarm SUPER early so that I could get a  serious dose of Sudafed in me well before the start time of 9:00AM.  It worked like a charm and I was only mildly plugged up by the time I pulled my car into the parking lot at 8:45.  I was still scared to death.  I’m not an overly independent person, so being all by myself while sick and under-trained…well, let’s just say it felt like a wave of doom coming for me.

After the national anthem and a prayer, we all shuffled over to the starting line.  These were the only 2 pictures I managed to snap, the view in front and behind me at the starting line:



From the start, I knew I was pushing myself a little bit too hard.  Too hard to maintain, anyway, and I knew that the possibility of me hitting a wall and having to walk to the finish was very real.  Once the crowd thinned out a bit, I found a comfortable pace and tried to stick around the same 4-5 runners.  I took a few walking breaks every mile and tried to clear out my sinuses as best I could.

I was surprised at how flat the course was!  I mean, the Ole 5K was also advertised as a mostly flat course and it was not at all.  This course was pretty flat, except for one medium size hill right after mile 2.  At least I think it was mile 2, I was pretty much in the zone the whole time!


Damn right I pushed myself up that hill!! I don’t want to say that this race was easy, because that would be a lie.  But, I was pleasantly surprised at how much easier it was for me than the races I did last year.  Emphasis on the –er.  By the time we starting coming down the home stretch and I could see the steeple of the church at the finish line, I was shocked!  3 miles had just flown by!!

By the time I rounded the corner, a little crowd of people cheering had formed and it took everything I had just to keep my little momentum going.  No one wants to lose gas when the finish lie is in sight and all eyes are on you!  As I entered the church parking lot, where the finish line/clock were, I was taken aback.  It was counting down the last few seconds and about to turn to 34 minutes!!  How is this possible?  Is this real?  I was in shock!  My current PR was 36:47.  I FLOORED IT.  People were probably wondering why I was trying to full on sprint to that finishing mat!!  Somehow, by the grace of God and my own stubborn will, I managed to snag a new PR!

I swear to you it felt like I was floating back to my car with my 2 banana halves and a smile as big as my face!!  I am so happy that I signed up for this race to begin with, but I’m also so thankful that my support system pushed me when I tried to flake out.  This was exactly what I needed to get pumped up for marathon relay training!

And then I ate a muffin as big as my face.  The End.

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COST: $25, which went to great charity.

PARKING:  The epicenter of the race was St. Stephen’s church right in the middle of Sewickley.  There was plenty of free parking in the lots and in the nearby neighborhoods.  I arrived only 15 minutes prior to the start time and found a spot directly across the street!

BATHROOMS: The epicenter of the race was St. Stephen’s church.  It’s where the check-ins, food, prayers, and announcements were made.  It’s also where we started and finished.  They had 2 public restrooms which were available, but there were no other bathrooms on the course.

PRE-RACE GRUB:  I saw coffee, water, and some donuts but honestly I was too uncomfortable being alone in a room full of strangers to even notice!  There were options, though, because I saw people eating.

TIMING:  Chip-timed!

WEATHER:  Training for this race was TOUGH.  I have never been a cold weather runner, but boy did this race change that!  Thankfully, the weather on race day was a gorgeous 32*F with very little wind.

POST-RACE GRUB:  I grabbed bananas, but there were cookies and other fruit.  The race organizers really made this a great event with lots of friendly people and accessibility.

My Most Pointless Post Yet

3 Mar

I would love to be posting today about some great recipe, some finished home project, or awesome weekend of running but…I woke up on Sunday with the worst sinus headache/pressure.  Apparently sleeping with your mouth open all night makes your throat feel like you gargled with broken glass.  Basically yesterday and today have been real fun.


I didn’t even have the energy to watch the Oscars, which…


I’m trying to stay positive.  I actually am hopeful that if the medicine I purchased keeps working its magic, I will be able to run on Saturday.  Let’s all pretend we don’t know that I haven’t trained.  Like at all really.  Whatever.  I will at least finish and then I can start focusing on my next goal: 6.1 miles of the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay!



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