Monthly Archives: October 2011

Why I Run


One of the main reasons I run is for my kids. Being active now will hopefully prevent disease later, which means more time that I’ll hopefully have with them. Being active also helps set a great example and shows how important it is to me and our family that we exercise. My five-year-old, Audrey, is really active and loves to run – you know, at recess and playing tag in the yard. But for the first time this year the kids ran in a fun run; they did a little less than a mile and I did a 5K. I ran with Audrey and was surprised at how well she did. She didn’t get out of breath and didn’t have to walk at all. Luke (the eight-year-old and not naturally inclined to do sports) also enjoyed it and they both want to participate in more races.

Today, when I said I needed to do a trail run and the hubs told the kids they would hike the same trail, Audrey told me she wanted to run with me. She wanted me to pick out clothes for her that would be appropriate for running. She is definitely paying attention to everything I do! I decided I would let her tag along for my first lap and then I’d do one at more my speed. Man, was she good! I was worried she would trip but she was really good at looking out for obstacles. And she was fast! We ran part of the Woodpecker Trail System shown on the right side of this picture. It helped that we started downhill (the P in the lower right), went down W-5, right at W-1, then accidentally up W-2 (we should have turned at W-3). She needed to walk at W-2 because it was uphill. We got to the top and realized we needed to go back down and pretty much walked the rest, up W-3 then ran just a short part at the top. She really enjoyed it. I think we ran about 4 tenths of a mile in about six minutes, and part of it was uphill. In total the run plus walking was 1.2 miles.

Here we are after our first trail run together.

I then did another loop by myself and went 1.3 miles in 14:24. Like I said in my last trail running post, I absolutely love it. And it appears I have already passed that love on. πŸ™‚



Trail Run


On my list of races to possibly do yet this year is a 4 mile trail run on November 6. I have just been doing 5Ks on pavement so I thought it might be a good idea to actually run on a trail before I register. πŸ™‚ Sometimes I try to run on the grass instead of the sidewalk but that gets tricky when there are tall weeds and when the utility company has been digging holes and doesn’t fill them in.

I’m so thrilled to report that trail running was much easier and more fun than trying to run in the grass. I chose a trail that we have hiked many times although I didn’t know the distance. Trying to decipher the trail head map was difficult because it gave the distances between 2 points and in order to know how far I went I would have to add up a few sections. Once I was finished I realized I could use the calculator on my phone to add the sections and the loop I did was 1.3 miles. The trail started downhill which was nice, but this section had stairs with a path next to them. I opted for the worn down path next to the stairs instead of hoping over stairs. The next half mile or so was pretty flat and went along the lake; it was such a pretty view! A welcome change from my usual runs in town.

Besides the natural beauty of this trail, the next best part about it was the soft dirt and leaves. The leaves pretty much covered everything but somehow I managed not to trip. The last section was uphill, which most people would groan about, but I was happy to do hills. There are none in the small city where I live. I know there will be hills during the 4 mile race so I need to be prepared! The loop ended up being shorter than I thought it would be so after returning to my starting point I went back down the first section, turned around and tried to run back up. It was pretty steep (this was the part with the stairs) and I had to walk part of it. All in all it was a great run and I went ahead and registered for the 4 mile race on the 6th. I’m looking forward to more trail running before then!

Fridge Friday – Better


Our household definitely ate more fruits and vegetables this week but I failed to get a picture when the fridge was full! So as not to bore you, I won’t post a picture of what it looks like now, because it’s somewhat similar to last Friday. I need to remember to snap a picture right after the trip to the grocery store! We tried some new recipes this week, at least, the hubs and I did. The challenge with some of the recipes we choose is that we know the kids won’t like them, so we try to give them some of the ingredients before throwing it all together.

We tried a new spinach salad with homemade balsamic vinegar dressing and bread sticks. We put mushrooms, avocado, tomato, chickpeas, and hard-boiled eggs in. It was pretty tasty but my favorite new meal is cheese tortellini with shrimp, broccoli, and tomatoes with a pesto sauce. Delicious! Had that for lunch today, as well. The kids ate sandwiches when we had the spinach salad and we gave them plain tortellini when we ate the tortellini with shrimp,Β  pesto, etc – they did not like the pesto when I tried to make them taste it on broccoli and tomato! We also had one of our favorite casseroles, an egg and ham with rolled-0ut crescent rolls on the bottom, which the kids love as well. And I cooked some sliced apples with cinnamon to go along with it.

I told myself this week that I was going to eat less sugar; we don’t eat a ton – don’t keep cookies around regularly and try not to eat a lot of cereal, but of course, with Halloween coming up it’s going to be difficult. I do so love the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. πŸ™‚ And I gave in and bought a package of Halloween Oreos last weekend. I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to eat any, ANY, and then the Oreos won and I sat down and had about 5 (who’s counting?) dunked in Dairy Ease. Fail. But they were so good. Then about half an hour later my stomach was churning – dairy and I don’t always get along and I would guess the cream has some form of dairy in it. I’m not one to completely cut something out, ’cause that’s just going to make me want it more. Exhibit 1 – Oreos. I just have to tell myself the goal is to eat LESS sugar because I do not want to deny myself something so scrumptious. Maybe I should do something like run a mile for each piece of candy eaten after Halloween? Notice I said AFTER, not before or the day-of. πŸ™‚

Valance or Curtains?


Guess what, I have interests other than running and eating! And I feel like writing about it and gather some advice while I’m at it. I enjoy decorating and changing things up around the house every once in a while and recently I have had the itch to do a few things. We have been in our house for 3 1/2 years and bought it brand-new, so there isn’t a great need to do much expect personalize it. Being new we had to buy all the window coverings; eight windows, one sliding door, and a small narrow window next to the front door. One of the biggest challenges is that our living room, dining room and kitchen are all one big space, which I love, but it makes choosing window coverings a challenge because there are four windows and the sliding door in the same space.

I currently have the same shimmery gold curtains on the two living room windows and the dining room window, along with white faux wood blinds. We also have a sliding door off of the dining room which is on the same wall as the two living room windows. To save money we bought white vertical blinds for the door, which quite honestly, I dislike. Surprisingly, the husband recently said he doesn’t like the valance and he’d like something different. I misinterpreted that to mean he wanted all new blinds, but no, he means just the valance. I haven’t done much research for ideas, so I’m open to suggestions.

The other project I am going to do is kitchen curtains. The window has the same white blinds as all the other windows so it’s feeling a little cold and I want to soften it up. My first thought was to do simple curtains like these (found here):

I got a yard of this fabric, Simple Pleasures by Debbie Beaves:

It’s brighter in person, though and luckily coordinates really well with the other curtains in the area (the dining room window is on the same wall). Then while looking around on Pinterest I came across this photo (from here):

I am leaning towards doing this one. The main reason is we have an outlet just to the right of the window sill where the coffee pot is plugged in and I’m sort of paranoid that if there was a spark or something the curtains would catch fire. Now I just need to find a nice ribbon, get a rod, and get it done. I wonder if something similar could be hung above the vertical blinds? Might need to wait and see how it looks on the kitchen window.

Protein Bars


My friend Shauna shared these bars with me a long time ago and I finally got around to making them last week (and again this week!). I wish I hadn’t waited so long to make them.

2 cups peanut butter
1 3/4 cups honey (or you can use half honey half agave)
2 1/4 cups Arbonne Protein Powder (found here and you can find Shauna’s Health and Wellness page on Facebook here)
– They have vanilla and chocolate protein powder; Shauna uses half vanilla/half chocolate and I used about 2 cups vanilla and the rest was cocoa. πŸ™‚
3 cups rolled oats (I used Quaker cooking oats)

Heat peanut butter and honey in a large microwavable bowl.
Heat 60-90 seconds. Stir.
Add protein powder and mix well.
Add oats and stir gently.
Press into pan and refrigerate 1 hour. Cut into 24 squares.

So simple and so yummy – give them a try!

Fridge Friday – Fail


Not a lot has changed in my fridge since last Friday. I think somehow we made do with what was in the freezer and pantry for dinners. Some nights we just snack for dinner or have cereal. I did go to the grocery once and mostly bought drinks, as well as bacon, ice cream, applesauce, grapes, dried pineapple and my new favorite dried fruit, mango. Dried mango is delicious! The only downside is the added sugar; I must find a brand that does not have so much sugar. You might have noticed the same blue casserole dish on the top shelf. It is not the same pan of protein bars from last Friday, but a newly made batch. πŸ™‚ They are so yummy and good for breakfast with bacon and good for a snack after running. And maybe more bacon. What? I’m just trying to up my protein intake! I definitely failed my goal of getting more fruits and veggies in there. Guess we’ll have to try harder!

I found a few delicious sounding/looking recipes on Pinterest that I hope to try over the weekend or next week. I also have a few weeks’ worth of Six O’Clock Scramble recipes to choose from. Side note: If you are not on Pinterest let me know and I will send you an invite. Just think organized eye candy and any do-it-yourself instruction at the click of the mouse. You can pretty much “pin” any picture from the internet onto your “boards” and the URL will stay with the picture for reference. You organize your pins on boards that you give any title, so you can keep like pins together.

So there you have it. Hopefully next week I can share how we have increased the amount of fresh fruits and veggies in the fridge!

5K – Met My Goal


This past Sunday I ran a 5K. It was a fundraiser for our school district and also included a 10K and half marathon. In total 2400 people participated! This was my first time running the course and I was a little nervous. I looked at the map to get a feel for it but didn’t really know what the elevation changes would be like. Luckily I found the kids’ PE teacher at the starting line and this was her 26th time running the race. I knew her goal time was 28-29 minutes and wanted to stay with her as long as I could. We worked great together and were able to talk during most of it, her telling me when an incline was coming and giving me a heads-up as to when we should kick it in high gear. She didn’t know I was pretty much already in high gear during the first mile. πŸ™‚ We ran a 9:20 mile and during training I do a 9:40 first mile.

She commented that we were perfect running partners and it was as-if we had been running together all our lives. I was very impressed with her and hope I can run the same pace when I am her age (pretty sure she’s in her fifties, I am 32). I stuck with her for 2.5 miles and was then winded; the second mile was mostly uphill. My legs felt heavy and my hamstrings were a bit tight. It was also warm and I am not a good warm-weather runner. Β She wanted to finish strong so took off, while I then walked for fifteen seconds to catch my breath. That last half mile felt LONG but at least it was downhill. It’s one of those courses where you can see the finish line during the last quarter of a mile so you start to sprint and then realize you sprinted too soon. At least, that’s what usually happens to me. I ended up finishing strong though and beat my goal time of 30 minutes by five seconds. If I had not run with the PE teacher I would not have reached that goal. I love having a running partner during races!

While I am happy with my time, I still want to improve and get faster but am not sure how to get there. I need to do some research on that. I also need to do an activity other than running and do some strength training. My plan is to start attending a zumba class because they seem to be wildly popular and I hear it’s a great workout. Anyone out there do zumba? Run a race this month? Have any training advice?

Happy Running!