Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The last week has been a long one . . .

So, a week ago I was flat on my back and felt like I was dying.  In reality, I only had a sinus infection and strep throat, but it sure felt like death at the time.  Ugh, I really, really hate getting sick in the spring.

As per usual, I pushed it too much too soon after getting sick and spent most of Sunday exhausted.  However, I did have a lot of fun . . . especially on Friday night when I went on a night hike:

I was all decked out in neon colors and I even wore a headlamp!  It was super fun and the moonlight was beautiful!!  It was nice to get out and exercise after spending the week in bed.

After resting a lot on Sunday, I feel back to myself again.

I got my workouts done Monday and yesterday.  WOAH!! it transitioned to summer while I was sick.  Yesterday I ran four miles in 97 degrees.  That was definitely the most miserable run I've done in awhile.  Yesterday was better because it was only 92 degrees.  I guess this heat is here to stay and is only going to get worse.  Hopefully my body acclimates as much as possible.

How do you acclimate when the weather gets hot?
- I think I'm going to try to start getting up a little earlier in an effort to become a morning runner.  I really, really do not want to resort to spending the next 4+ months on the dreadmill.

Do you cross-train?  What do you do to cross-train?
- Obviously I hike a lot to cross-train.  It has really helped strengthen the stabilizing muscles in my ankles and knees.  I also swim, when I have time.

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Monday, April 22, 2013

How can a weekend be so non-productive and productive at the same time?

If you looked up unproductive in the dictionary, it would show a picture of me from Saturday.  The most productive part was when I drove to Papa Johns to pick up a pizza.  But Sunday was a different story, kind of . . .

After being super lazy all morning, I finally cleaned my kitchen and did my laundry and went grocery shopping.  My grocery shopping trip included a trip to Target (where I spent too much money, sorry Husband), a trip to Fresh & Easy, and a trip to Albertson's.  Why?  I don't know.

Once I got home I decided to make one of my favorite recipes:  Stuffed Bell Peppers.  They're great because they refrigerate and heat up in the microwave super well - I like to make 4-6 at a time and then eat them for lunch all week.

The recipe is essentially this one from epicurious, but I added cumin to the ground turkey, because I'm wild like that.

Start by cutting off the top and pulling out the seeds.  I use yellow bell peppers because they're a little bit sweeter and I like sweet.

Then, you pop the peppers in boiling water for 5 minutes: 

Once the peppers are done in the boiling water, place them upside down on a plate with a paper towel so they can dry out a bit.

Next, you chop/dice/whatever one zucchini and half an onion.  Put those in a skillet with a little olive oil, garlic, and diced tomatoes.  **I cheat by buying big jars of minced garlic and using a can of diced tomatoes** 

Brown your ground turkey.  You can use ground beef if you want, but I use extra lean jennie-o ground turkey just to maximize the healthiness. 

Add the ground turkey to the vegetable mixture.  At this point, you also add some crumbled feta cheese and some cooked brown rice. 

For the rice, I cheat and use one packet of this magical (microwavable) stuff:

Finally, now that everything is cooked and combined, it is time to spoon the mixture into the peppers and top with more feta cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes and voila!!

I am *really* going to enjoy lunch this week.

6 bell peppers
1/2 cup brown rice (uncooked) OR one packet of Trader Joe's frozen brown rice
1 zucchini
1/2 onion
2 cloves garlic OR a spoonful of minced garlic from the jar (I use this so much that I buy it at Costco)
1 tomato OR 1 can of diced tomatoes
several mint leaves (I never add this because I'm cheap and don't want to buy mint)
olive oil

1.  Cut tops off of peppers, remove seeds and membranes.
2.  Bring a large pot of covered water with a dash of salt to boil, add peppers, re-cover, and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove and drain upside down on paper towels.
3.  In a small pot, cook 1/2 cup rice in 1 1/4 cup water, set aside once rice has soaked up all water.  It is sooo much easier if you use the rice from Trader Joe's because it just requires that you put the packet of rice in the microwave for 3 minutes.  
4.  Finely chop garlic (unnecessary if you use the minced garlic in a jar), chop onion, zucchini, and tomato (also unnecessary if you use canned).  Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in large skillet.  On medium/low heat, add garlic to skillet first, then onion.  Cook while stirring for about 3 minutes.  Lower heat if the garlic starts to brown.  Then add zucchini, cook for another minute or so.  Add tomato last, continue stirring.
5.  Meanwhile, cook ground turkey in a separate skillet.  This is where I add the cumin.
6.  Stir in cooked rice and turkey to vegetable mixture.  Stir in a few tablespoons of feta cheese.  Chop up the several mint leaves and stir them in as well. (I don't use mint)  Add black pepper to taste.  Spoon mixture into peppers (fill them up!)
7.  Stand peppers upright in deep baking dish and sprinkle feta cheese on top.  Cover dish and place in preheated 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.

I also bought this for Husband while I was out on my errands.  It's one of his favorites . . . this is mostly a test to see if he reads this whole post =)

Was your weekend productive?

What is your favorite recipe to make and refrigerate to eat later?

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My daily post-work battle against my couch

I am not a morning person.  Because I like to / have to be at work by 8:00am (sometimes later, but definitely before 8:30) and because I'm not a super speedy runner, it is difficult for me to complete my daily run in the morning before going to work.  So, I'm an evening runner.  However, I have another responsibility . . . these adorable girls:

They're not really allowed on the bed...don't tell my husband =)

Meet Emma:
Emma is my 6-year old scottish terrier.  We've been together since she was 3 months old.  I actually got her before I even met my husband.  I'm pretty sure I love her way more than she loves me.

Meet Maggie:
Maggie is almost 5 years old (her birthday is at the end of May) and she is half labrador retriever and half golden retriever.  She is the most loving, attentive, sensitive dog I've ever encountered.  Maggie likes to hike too!  Contrary to Emma, Maggie might love me more that I love her (but it is probably about equal).

Obviously, Emma and Maggie would prefer that I come straight home from work to let them out and feed them (mostly they just want me to feed them).  The problem with that is how inviting my couch looks.  I have fallen in to the trap of taking care of the dogs and then sitting on my couch, intending that it would just be for a minute or two, and suddenly I've watched 4 episodes of Big Bang Theory on TBS and it is time to go to bed.  Not good for marathon training.  

I'm happy to report that today I won the battle against my comfy couch.  I cam home, loved and fed my dogs and promptly left and ran 5 miles!!  The weather was beautiful today.  It was fantastic.  **insert corny winning-the-battle-but-not-the-war joke here**

Are you a morning or evening workout person?

How do you make yourself get up and go workout after you come home from work?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mid-Week Motivation, a fantastic run, and a DELICIOUS salad

The Wednesday/Thursday time frame is when I start to lose my motivation to complete by workouts and also lose my motivation to eat balanced meals (thin mints and bacon, anyone?).  So, I needed a little pep-talk . . .

. . . and Dove chocolate was there to help pick me up . . .

Dove spoke to me today while I was satisfying my daily hourly chocolate craving.  To me, it just means to try new things and/or push yourself beyond what you think are your limits.  I feel a little empowered each time I try a new hike or try to run a little farther or a little faster.  I don’t always run as fast as I want or run as fast for as long as I want, but I’m never sorry that I pushed myself and tested my limits.  

This also works to energize me:

I know it is kind of old news, but is still incredible.

Today's Workout:
Today I only planned on running 3 miles, but I felt so great I went ahead and did 4.  The weather has been a little cooler her in Las Vegas this week, but mostly due to the wind.  Today, the wind finally relented a little and I got to get outside and stretch my legs.  I was also probably fueled by the inspiration that I'm constantly reading on twitter from the runners around the country/globe who are running in honor of those affected by Monday's senseless attacks

Random Food Notes:
I made a really delicious salad for lunch today.  I should really take more pictures . . . I'll work on that.  My salad consisted of spinach, pepitas, golden raisins, two chicken fingers drenched in buffalo sauce, and, of course, my trusty yogurt-based blue cheese dressing (last seen here).  *so* delicious - next time there will be pictures.  It was actually a nice mix of colors.

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Monday, April 15, 2013

This is not the post I had planned for today...

I woke up this morning like a kid on Christmas morning.

That's my normal behavior before a major marathon is on tv.  I sat with my eyes glued to my computer screen during the 2011 New York Marathon when I should have been studying Evidence or Administrative Law.  Then, I sat with similar mesmerization watching the Olympic Trials in Houston on my laptop in the law library.  Somewhat more recently, I woke up at ungodly hours to watch the Olympic Marathon this past summer even though I was supposed to be in my post-bar exam relaxation mode.

My excitement quickly faded...

In the wake of this tragedy, the outpouring of support from the running community and beyond has really left me speechless.  From the rush to donate blood to the twitter/facebook campaign to show support by wearing race shirts tomorrow (Tuesday).

As I did my two-mile tempo run tonight and my strength training, I was overcome by a feeling of gratefulness.  I was grateful that none of my loved ones were in Boston; grateful that I had the ability to complete my workout; and grateful that I get the opportunity to show my support for the running community tomorrow and run another day.  

My thoughts and prayers will continue to go out to all those affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy.  The search for answers will continue tomorrow who knows when or if, that search will be completed.  It seems to me that these types of senseless acts are never fully explained, so there will always be questioned left unanswered...namely, the question of "why?"

#prayforboston #runnersunite

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Roundup - My trip to Iowa

This weekend I traveled to the distant land of Iowa, specifically, the town of Cedar Rapids.  This shouldn’t come to a surprise to anyone that knows me:  I. Love. Iowa.  However, the weather in Iowa must have forgotten that I was coming from Las Vegas.

This was the weather in Vegas....

.....and this was the weather in Iowa.....

.....kind of a big difference.....  I mean, I realize 46 degrees isn’t that cold, but it is April after all.  In reality, I shouldn’t be complaining, my little sister, who lives in southern Minnesota got 3 inches of fresh snowfall on Friday morning. (gross!)

All this weather nonsense aside, I was in Iowa for a *very* important reason.  This little guy turned one year old on Friday!!

That little man is my crazy-adorable nephew.  He turned one year old on Friday and was baptized today (Sunday).  Obviously, an event that no amount of cold temperatures or wind could stop me from attending.  Plus, who wouldn’t travel two time zones to spend some time with these handsome devils?

That handsome devil on the right is my wonderful daddy.  (He already made a cameo on the blog as one-half of the pair that makes up my disgustingly adorable parents here)

Now, I’m going to spend a few seconds gushing and boring you with pictures of my nephew.  (I hardly ever get to see him, so you won’t have to endure this very often) 

My brother and his wife (adorable nephew’s parents) also have a very sweet dog named Lucy.  I love her almost as much as my nephew, but not quite.  There are no words to describe how adorable it is when nephew interacts with his dog.  He loves her so much and she very patiently suffers through any mild baby abuse he inflicts.

Finally, adorable nephew recently started walking and climbing.  He will be climbing mountains with me in no time!  He is already a champion at climbing stairs.  The way I see it, to a baby, climbing stairs is almost like Class 3 scrambling!!

(Not my best photographic work, but, hey, that baby was moving fast!!)

That’s about it for my weekend.  With all the family excitement, I skipped my running this weekend (insert sad face here), but I’ll be back on the road or the treadmill tomorrow and will be doing a tough training week to make up for my recent slacking.  Stay tuned....

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dropping [out of Boston] like flies! =(

I had just started to recover from my sadness that Meb has withdrawn from the Boston Marathon when I saw that Abdi Abdirahman has withdrawn too!!  Given Ryan Hall's announcement, back in March, that he was withdrawing, none of the US Olympians will be part of the Boston field.

Call me strange, but I've been looking forward to these guys running another big race ever since the Olympics.  As for the women, two of the three US Olympians are still in the field:  Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher (The remaining US Olympian Des Davila previously withdrew in December)

It takes a lot of courage, intelligence, and self-awareness to withdraw from a race when you're not at your best.  It definitely takes an intelligence and an awareness that I lack.  I can think of at least three long races that I definitely should not have run, but I'm a little stubborn and refused to listen to the voice(s) of reason....remember Goofy Challenge 2013?

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I'm back! + Mid-Week Motivation!

This is going to be a pretty random post, but these are some of the thoughts that have been racing through my head today

isn't this incredible?!?
Anniversary Narrows
Lake Mead - Las Vegas, NV

#1dear friends, sorry for my absence the last two weeks.  I had CRAZY amounts of family in town last week....my parents ("MM parents"), Husband's parents, Husband's sister and her family....you get the idea.  It was a busy, busy week!!  It was a lot of fun - I really enjoy it when my parents come to town.  We ate *tons* of food and went hiking three or four days!!! So awesome =)

aren't my parents disgustingly cute?!

#2 I am *obsessed* with this dressing.  LOVE.

In general, I love love love blue cheese dressing.  What I do not love, however, is all the calories that are in normal blue cheese dressing.  Enter this beauty.  Rather than being buttermilk based, or whatever serves as the base for regular blue cheese dressing, this is yogurt based!  Cuts down on the calories and it tastes oh so delicious!  If you're not a fan of creamy or blue cheese, this brand has tons of other varieties that are much healthier versions of normal dressing.  (I bought this delicious bottle of heaven at Albertson's here in Las Vegas)

#3 - Spring is here!! Spring is here!! Spring is here!! Aside from allergies, what's not to love about Spring?  Beautiful flowers, spring clothes, sunshine...you get the idea

GORGEOUS daffodils at the Bellagio garden

 #4 - We can all use a little mid-week motivation and this quote is so perfect for any sort of training. (the quote is also good for live in general, but given that it appeared in my Runner's World daily calendar, I'll limit it to running)  
Even when we our runs or other workouts make us feel like we're suffering and can't go one step further, every moment of agony makes us stronger, mentally and physically.

Well, that's it to this week's random post!  Until next time . . . 

♥ Wishing You Merry Miles ♥