Archive | May, 2014

Phone Dump

28 May

I know you mostly come here for the gratuitous pictures of my dogs, so here is one that Christina caught of Mr. Perfect himself:


Like a little greeting card from Dogtopia.  ♥

I rarely if ever buy my food pre-made and processed in a box, bag, or carton.  HOWEVER, about once a year I get a serious jonesin’ for Kashi’s frozen Mayan Harvest Bake.  Everything about it is just tasty and delicious – plantains, sweet potatoes, black beans, and kale in this smoky ancho chili sauce a over pilaf/amaranth/polenta medley.


I’ve also been diving into ethnic food lately and I’m determined to try different Indian flavors to decide which ones I like the best.  I know next to nothing about Indian cuisine, but I love flavors like cumin, coriander, tumeric, curry, etc.  The last few times I’ve been to the grocery store, I make sure to grab a different simmer sauce to test out.  I figure if I like it even a little bit, I can hunt around for a recipe to duplicate at home.  Last night was Chicken Vindaloo over Coconut Rice – I was really happy with the heat in this one!  It had smoky undertones and it was spicy!  It has a pretty big kick, but it didn’t last long enough that you felt like you were suffering through the spice.  It kind of overpowered my precious coconut rice, so I won’t be using that combo again!  The texture of the simmer sauce was a bit gritty, I don’t know if that’s normal or not.  Anyone out there with more Indian experience let me know your thoughts/suggestions, I want more more more!!!


I feel weird saying this, but I’ve actually been enjoying some of the HIIT/Tabata work I’ve been doing!  Here is the circuit I’ve been doing lately:


I am going to have to do 2x more than I’ve been doing if I’m going to work off all that simmer sauce! 😉  I regret nothing!!

Oh and hi from us!


Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-Up

27 May

So far, this last weekend was the most relaxing weekend of the year for me.  Low key combined with gorgeous weather – you just can’t ask for more.

I was off work on Saturday, so I spent the majority of the day cleaning my house, shopping, and prepping for parties I would be attending Saturday night – Monday.  I just love a good Memorial Day picnic, don’t you?  🙂  My friends had a little gathering at their house on Saturday, which was random and fun.  I actually didn’t take a single picture because I was having too much fun!

On Sunday, I headed up to New Castle to visit my family and ate the best meal in the history of the world.


Lamb on the rod absolutely smothered in hot pepper sauce and garlic sauce, Syrian bread, and a kale-Brussels sprouts salad I made.  So good.  Can you tell I like garlic sauce?  YUMMMMMMMMM!  The key is to dip the Syrian bread in all the garlicy pepper oily lamb sauce.  DO IT!  I also made a Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad, but I didn’t snap a pic (it wasn’t very photogenic anyway!).


my sister and I ♥

On Monday, Christina and I took advantage of some serious Memorial Day savings at the Ross Park Mall and then I ended up back at my friend’s house for some more festivities.


Grilled Chicken & Veg Kebobs with veg medley, mushrooms, and baked beans.  More yumness!

Bea Arthur had a smashingly good time with 2 new pals, Gus and Lily!  She found a new bestie in Lily because they both loved being chased and chasing each other.  She was so tired that she passed out on the way home and didn’t wake up once – it was a very nice alternative from the vomiting that the car usually induces.


I hope everyone else had a wonderful Memorial Day – full of food, family, and freedom!  Thank you for your service, vets!!


“Life does not start and stop at your convenience, Donny.”

15 May

The last 2 weeks have felt like I’m trying to walk a mile through a foot of honey.  I mean that figuratively (see: My legs are fine, yet I’ve managed to do absolutely NOTHING fitness related).  We were planning on moving to a new house, but at the last minute we decided we could make more money flipping it.  My heart is broken that I won’t be using the newly remodeled, gorgeous kitchen but I know this is a better decision for us.


Honestly, it will take a miracle to find something that beats the location of our current house!!  Now, I am trying to reorganize the current house because half of our stuff is packed up and strewn all around.  Fun times!  It’s actually a good opportunity for us to get everything in order and purge some unnecessary belongings.  Needless to say, my race/fitness budget is tighter than ever.  I know that my last post said I will be running the Erie Half Marathon, but 2 days ago the full marathon sold out.  I won’t be able to register until the beginning of June.  GAH!


Keep your fingers crossed for me, I don’t want to have to go on the waiting list!  If it’s mean to be, it will be.  Otherwise, I will have to find another fall half marathon. 😦  And I really want to do the flat one.  😦  LOL!!

I’ve managed to stay on track with nutrition MOSTLY since the relay, but we all know what happens if I lose momentum with fitness…


Running a half marathon isn’t my only goal and I need to keep sight of them all, finding balance every day.  My major goal for 2014 is to get down to my goal weight:  I’m 23 lbs. away from just being in the overweight BMI range (as opposed to staying in the obese BMI range like I am now), but 43 lbs. away from being in the healthy BMI range. The OMG-eat-everything-in-sight urge that running gives me combined with a real lack of commitment has sort of hindered my progress towards that goal so far.  I’ve dropped a few pounds since January, obviously, but the level of activity that I’m putting in right now isn’t going to get the job done.  I’m only managing to maintain my current weight, still fluctuating within 10 lbs. of my starting weight on any given day.  23 lbs. honestly isn’t even that much weight, I don’t know what my problem is!  Oh yeah, chocolate.

Beginning TODAY (no, not tomorrow, not this weekend, not Monday, TODAY), I am really committing myself to this HIIT / Tabata strength training in addition to the one my trainer assigned me AND maintaining regular cardio.  If there is anything I’ve learned from the journey thus far it is this:  You will only get out of it what you put into it.  And boy am I sick of being this size.  It’s the time of year where I need to be buying summer clothes and I am nowhere near happy with how my body looks.  But, I will get there.  I will get there.  I will get there.  The only thing stopping me is me!

It’s time to BUCKLE DOWN.


This chick abides, man.

The Biggest Announcement Yet!

9 May

2014 has been a strange sort of year for me.  I’ve got personal goals spewing out of my mouth like bottle rockets: upcoming races, books I want to read, writing goals, fitness ideas.


It’s all becoming a bit of a problem.  When you’re an indecisive person like I am, the last thing you need is inspiration like firecrackers: excitement building, a big sudden bang, but then suddenly just smoke in the wind.


This year (aka the year I turned 30), I knew I had to make a change in my attitude or I would forever be caught in a cycle of things left unfinished.  I told myself that I didn’t want to feel like that ever again.  So, I changed.  I stopped putting so much pressure on myself, I started using running mantras, I embraced flexibility as a means to success, I stopped comparing my progress and performance to the progress and performance of others, I starting being accountable for what goes in my body.  I started having fun with running and that changed everything.


I took this week as a recovery week.  I’ve been reflecting on my work schedule, family obligations, etc. to figure out what my next move is.  Last summer, I was all wishy-washy about my goals and I ended up squandering opportunities to run 2 of the big races I really wanted to do:  The Man Up 10K and The Great Race.  Now that I’ve proven to myself that I can finish a 10K, I’m ready to make a big move.

So let’s chat goals.  There are a few 5Ks and 10Ks I’d like to run in the next few months, but one big fat race waiting for me in the fall.  I feel sick typing this, but here goes nothing:  I’ve made up my mind to run the Erie Half Marathon.  I’ve now said it out loud on the internet so that means I have to do it, right?  It’s a flat half marathon in an incredibly scenic state park that is spectator friendly.  Any races I participate in between now and September 14th are just preparation for that day.


Oh, this is going to be a winding, lovely road built of blood, sweat, and tears.  In the back of my mind, the idea of running a friggin’ half marathon has been slowly gaining momentum for years and I’ve never felt more ready.  I am trading in my anxiety and self-doubt.  I’m trading them in for a really hard, elusive, demanding, difficult-to-explain thing that is the half marathon.  I can’t wait to suck every drop out of this experience, document it, and store it away here in this place that I love.


UPDATE (6/5/13):  I will no longer be running the 2014 Erie Half – it’s the Pittsburgh Half 2015 or die trying!  ♥  


2014 Pittsburgh Marathon Relay Recap

5 May



I friggin’ did it!  I ran 6.1 miles in the 2014 Pittsburgh Marathon Relay!

This isn’t going to be as in depth as my previous race recaps because I just ran a portion of the relay, but let me start at the beginning.  I spent the majority of Friday and Saturday trying to do as little as possible except stretch and hydrate.  I was convinced that I would roll my ankle or Kevin Ware my leg at any given moment.  RISK NOTHING ITS MARATHON WEEKEND!  I went to bed super early and was basically up at 5:30AM when Christina left with her dad and sister for the start of the race.  My future sister-in-law started us off strong as our first relay runner!  I then managed to pace around my house, talking to my pets (and myself) and trying not to binge eat all of my anxiety.  I tried eating half an English muffin and literally could not get it down, I was so worked up!  Note to self:  running a leg of the relay that starts later in the day is THE WORST.  I managed to get myself redonk stressed by the time I headed to my exchange point at 9AM.  It was a tad chilly by the time I started running around 10:30, but for running purposes the temps were perfect.

Since the Race Joy app completely crashed the morning of the race, I relied on text messages from my team as people started/finished running.  No big, we are all pretty close so we were texting each other anyway.  When I got the call that the first 2 legs were done, I headed to my exchange point.  I didn’t run into any road closures on my way to Relay Exchange 3, so it took me all of 10 minutes to drive there and find a parking space basically at the corner of 5th Ave.  BONUS!

The exchange point was well coordinated but hectic with so many people hanging out waiting for runners, plus spectators just hanging out to cheer.


I had to go to the bathroom, but I was way to nervous that my runner would come as soon as I got in line.  Instead, I ended up standing under a tree for 20 minutes in a nervous cold sweat.  There was a guy announcing the last 3 numbers on the incoming bibs and that’s how you knew when your person was coming.  It felt like he was auctioning my sanity off to the highest bidder.  Eventually I heard my number and saw my runner appear!  I put the medal around her neck, gave her a big hug and I was off!


Clearly I didn’t remember to hit start on my Garmin until I turned the corner onto Penn Ave!  I also forgot to let Christina know that I was starting my leg, so that sent her into a scramble to get ahead of me.  (Not an easy feat with all the road closures!)  That would not be my last rookie mistake of the race…

My first mile was too fast.  I knew that was going to happen because I was all pumped up and I had Tom Petty singing American Girl to me, so I hit the bathrooms at mile 1 and forced myself to restart at a more sustainable pace.  People had told me the crowds on this leg were awesome, but I could never have imagined that they would be as amazing as they were!  There wasn’t a single block that I ran in Homewood or East Liberty where people weren’t lining the streets – standing, in chairs, under tents, outside restaurants, cooking out, hanging out with greyhounds, giving high fives, just an incredible turn out.

I have never given so many high fives to little kids in my life, it was awesome!!!!!  I tried to keep my energy high and positive the whole time and the crowds were totally feeding it.  I told myself that somewhere in the middle of my leg, I would try to take in Gatorade and whatever fuel was offered.  Frankstown Avenue was a very long, long stretch of road and I was trying to stay in my zone as much as I could.  That’s the only explanation I have for the fact that at some point I was handed Body Glide/Vaseline on a paper towel and absent-mindedly ATE IT.  Ok, I didn’t eat it necessarily, but I definitely put a big glob of it in my mouth.  When I realized that it had the texture of Crisco but no taste, I immediately spit it out.  I was laughing hysterically at myself (inner monologue style) when I noticed the woman running next to me looking horrified. At which point I powered up and ran the HELL OUT OF THERE and away from anyone who saw my hysterical faux pas.


Thank God I didn’t swallow or chew or bite down really.  As soon as it hit my tongue I realized my mistake and saved myself!  I called my mom and told her about this afterwards – we both could not stop laughing at how typical that is of me!!  Anyway, thankfully there was a water station immediately afterwards so I could sort of rinse out my mouth and keep going.

Nothing else significant really happened after that until mile 5, where I got a sudden jolt of HOLY SHIT I’M RUNNING IN THE PITTSBURGH FRIGGIN’ MARATHON and managed to negative split on this mile.

Just before I crossed Relay Exchange Point 4, my phone was ringing and it was Christina!  She was living a nightmare trying furiously to get ahead of me and the road closures and wasn’t able to get where she needed to be.  Having her voice in my earphones instead of stupid music as I crossed that timing mat was seriously so cool!  I felt like she was really with me in that moment, almost more than if she had been off in the crowd cheering.  I immediately found my runner and wandered off to the side of the parking lot to try and hold my tears in.  I had done it – a PDR at 6.1 miles and my most significant running experience to date.  Not long after, Christina found me and gave me the biggest biggest hug in the world while I basked in all of the moment’s glory.


I was emotionally and physically exhausted, so we decided to head home by way of Subway and just come back for my car later in the day.  I was seriously on cloud 9 all day yesterday and I basically still am!


The rest of the day, I fielded phone calls of people asking what the heck happened with the Race Joy app and why our team’s numbers were so messed up on marathon’s website.  Turns out that our first runner didn’t wear her timing chip (aka because her dad and sister lost it somewhere downtown).  The real problem started when the runner who handed off to me decided to keep running to the finish line with her timing chip on.  Sooooo basically it looks like we were a 1 man relay team that started at leg 3?  Thanks for not reading handbook jagoff!  God I’m such a hall monitor, but seriously.  READ THE FRIGGIN’ BOOK.


Thankfully I had my Garmin so I know my stats and that’s all that matters!  We signed up for the relay as a fun race, so I’m not really upset about the timing chip issues.  My only real goals were to finish injury-free with a medal and a PDR – and I accomplished all of it!  I am so ready to take on the next challenge!  Also, for anyone wondering about the Race Joy issues/refunds, see below.  They have been awesome via Twitter and other social media as far as communicating with users. For such a new company, I’m pretty impressed at how great their customer service has been with handling such a large issue.  Hopefully they work out the kinks, the app seems really great!


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