Sunday, August 31, 2014

15/18 : The Good Kind of Busy

It's back to zombie mode school which means I am back to working from sun up to sun down. I'm not complaining as I love, love, love being this kind of busy because this kind of busy is filled with things I enjoy doing and with people that I enjoy being surrounded by! However, clocking in at 7:15am means there is no way for me to get my morning runs in before work, so these last three weeks of training are going to challenge my problem solving skills to see if I can piece together my training runs as well as lifting.

For week 15, I lifted before work and ran either with K or after I got home from being with her. I thought leaving the house while the sun is still sleeping would be hard but I forgot how much I enjoy the atmosphere of a gym. Note: Atmosphere, not smell or people who don't wipe down their machines or guys who think they are Ahhhnold Schwarzengger.

Yesterday was my last 20 mile run before my race. I made a killer plate of spaghetti on Friday night and woke up feeling rested and ready. The first 10 miles were AMAZING. Like, couldn't have gone any better. Until, that is, my legs started feeling a bazillion pounds, my feet felt on fire and the temps started to rise, making me want a gallon of water and an ice cold shower. S-t-a-t. I pushed through but by mile 17 I physically and mentally hit a wall. I tried everything - recited motivational quotes, turned my Pandora station, mentally made my grocery list (over and over), counted how many bubbles I could blow with my gum. Any random thing you can think of, I did.

I got back to my house and felt defeated. How am I suppose to run a marathon if I can't even run 20 miles? I texted Mel because she can relate to 100% of the things I'm going through as she's gone through them, too.

I went on with my day and settled in with the fact that it's OK I only ran 17 and not the scheduled 20. I know race day is a whole other ball game and "easier" to find motivation and stick with it. By the afternoon, I thought about heading out to run my last 3 miles. I knew it wasn't going to necessarily help me but my stubborness kicked me out my front door and by the end of the day Saturday, I had completed 20 miles worth of running. 

Monday - Lift (Chest & Triceps)

Tuesday - Lift (Back & Biceps), 5 mile run 

Wednesday - Lift (Legs & Calves), 5 mile run

Thursday - (Shoulders & Abs), 5 mile run

Friday - rest

Saturday - 20 mile run  

Sunday - 5 mile bike ride

Let's end this post with a little running humor for ya, shall we? 

P. S. What tricks do you use when you a hit a wall? Comment below.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Story Within a Story

My dear friend and blogger, Vicky, challenged me to make a list of ten books that have impacted my life in some way. It didn't take long to form this list and it sent me on a trip down memory lane while doing so.

It took me back to first grade, reading Frog and Toad books in Mr. Dooher's class and to my bedroom where my my mom would read Love You Forever before turning my lamp off and tucking me in for the night. I remembered myself sitting in my desk as I was reading Charlotte's Web and I was reminded what I learned by reading So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore.

We read words on pages and when there are no more pages to turn, we think we are done. We either enjoyed the book or not, so we put it on a shelf (to be an obstacle when dusting) or rave about it to our friends and lend it to them as they MUST read it.

After we have closed the book, we are only beginning to start another story about the story just read. The characters, the plot, the teachable moments that strike us with importance and value and depth. Those things stay with us long after the last word is read; the last tear has dropped; the last "just one more chapter" has been spoken because we have made connections and memories in some way to those black letters on white pages.

Here is my list of the ten books that have been meaningful, in some way, in my life. Three of these books remedied heartache. One of these books ignited my adventurous side. One of these books added to my interest in learning about the Holocaust. Three of these books deepened my faith. Three of these books were with me while I was in overalls and pigtails. One of these books taught me about Down Syndrome. One of these books reminded me that nothing is going to get done unless I'm a do-er.

1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

2. The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

3. Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist

4. Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist

5. Bloom by Kelle Hampton

6. So Long, Insecurity by Beth Moore

7. Love Does by Bob Goff

8. Charlotte's Web by E.B White

9. Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

10. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel 

P.S. What books would be on your list and what story do you have to go along with them? Comment below.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Playing Your Game // 14/18

To say that I am over training couldn't be further from the truth. While I still enjoy the act of running, I don't enjoy having to run a certain number of miles on a certain day at a certain time. Back when my alarm would go off at 5am, I couldn't wait to start my morning with some fresh air and an easy run in the park opposed to now when it goes off I want throw a 4 year old fit and just go back to bed.

But I don't because I'm not training for nothing here, folks. I have to constantly remind myself that this isn't easy and that's why not everyone is doing it. 

Monday - 2+ mile hike at Hanging Lake

Tuesday - 5 mile run 

Wednesday - 5 mile run 

Thursday -  5 mile run 

Friday - rest

Saturday - 8 mile run 

Sunday - 12 mile run 

I met a man yesterday that said he hasn't put on a pair of tennis shoes since he ran a marathon 12 years ago. I informed him that I was training for my first marathon and he said if I can run 20 miles, I can run 26.2. Being that I ran 20 miles last week and will do so again this upcoming week, I'm guessing that I should feel at ease and somewhat "relieved" knowing I can do this. Wrong. I'm internally freaking the you-know-what out every hour of every day.

Then my hairstylist yesterday said that she wishes she had the motivation and passion that I do. Me? Umm, girlfriend, I honestly don't know how I've made it this far. Yes, I will pride myself in the fact that I push through the runs that absolutely suck and I get them done because if I say I'm going to following a training plan, I'm going to do just that. But that's not to say that I've teared up a time or two because my body physically and mentally just aches.

Running, well any tough activity for that matter, is such a mental game. When you're in the thick of it and want to give up, you keep going because you switch the negative in your brain to positive and before you know it you are done. You walk in your door, slowly melt in-between every crevasse in your couch, and think how the hell did I just do that?

We get through it; we always do. We cross the finish line only to turn around and begin training for something else because we are human and the clock keeps ticking. Find what it is that keeps your mental and physical game playing, even if your piece is moving at a pace that is too fast, too slow, or in the square that you didn't' see coming. After all, it's just a game, right?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Volunteering is the New Black

You don't need a reason to help others. There isn't a "to-do" list to complete before you can lend a hand, a test to take before offering your time, or a dollar amount to pay before assisting your peers. 

I started being a greeter at my church this summer. I welcome both strangers and friends into a building full of life and hope and love. I'm there already so why not flash a smile and say hello! 

Just today I was a volunteer at the Colorado Courage Run, Denver's only race supporting Parkinson's! The morning was perfect - beautiful weather, location, and people (I even met a woman whose family is from Fargo). Combining my love for running with the satisfaction of offering my time towards a great cause is enough to fill my plate with all things splendid. 

5 Reasons To Volunteer

1. Develop new skills
2. Help a cause that lights you up
3. Meet new people
4. Connect with you community
5. Expand your horizons

P.S. What is your favorite experience as a volunteer? Comment below. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

You Shouldn't Be Able to Capture It All

My mom would lull her camera to every special occasion in our lives. From birthday parties to championship games, there she was with her Canon. I have fond memories of going to Monarch Photo on 25th Street in Fargo to develop and pick up our prints. We would sit in the mini-van and flip through the stack of memories while we talked about the stories that went beyond the faces in the pictures.

Her camera was worn more around her neck than any piece of jewelry and coincidentally enough, now I do the same. I’m what we like to call a “pictureaholic” and my friends know that if they don’t capture something on their iPhone, I will. 14 times.

With school staring next Monday, this is my final week of summer. I’m ready for routine and busyness and leaving my house at 5:30am and not returning until 7pm (Is that normal?). I look forward to a new group of kids, new responsibilities including math tutoring, and watching K grow both socially and academically for another year.

Being that my days of having a flexible schedule are numbered, Nicole and I took full advantage of it. We hit the road at 5:30am and headed west. Final destination: Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs. When I was looking at pictures before we left, every-single-one of them looked fake. The colors of the water and the trees looked identical to something you would see while flipping through the pages of a children’s book with the plot taking place in a fantasy land.

Once we started the hike up to the lake, I immediately started pushing the "big button on the top" down over and over again, trying to capture the beauty that surrounded me as best I could. At times I would pull away from my camera and look in awe of the snapshot just taken, while other times I looked at the screen with disappointment as it simply didn't look like what I was seeing in person.


When we reached Hanging Lake, it was clear why this is one of the most popular hikes in Colorado and dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World by…me. I continued to click away and continued to get frustrated as to why my camera wasn't encapsulating what I was asking it to. I gave up and sat down next to Nicole on the wooden bench.

"This is when you put your camera down and capture it all with your eyes, your mind, and your heart."

As we sat there, I let it all sink in. My surroundings, the sounds of other onlookers, the feeling of being so in love with a part of nature I had only been in for a mere ten minutes. There were things I was a part of at that second in time where I couldn't catch with my camera and maybe that's how life is suppose to be. 

Maybe the moments that we can't capture through a lens are the moments that are meant to be lived. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Throwing Up My White Flag

I decided to make an appointment with a Dietician for a couple reasons, with some I wish not to discuss on here. One of the main reasons being that I was noticing the days following a longer run I felt "blah". I had zero energy, felt faint and lightheaded, and overall just not with it. I eat healthy 95% of the time but when my stomach was growling 24/7, carrots weren't at the top of my list to grab - junk food was and usually at a time in the day were I should be sleeping.

I was getting tired of feeling tired, eating food that wasn't giving me any nutritional value, and I was no longer looking forward to my longer runs because I knew I was going to feel like I was living in slow motion soon after. So, those reasons led me to the Clinical Nutrition Center.

My first visit I felt completely out of my element and a little guilty. Here I was, sitting in a lobby surrounded by overweight women discussing which Protein Bars and Meal Replacements were their favorite. I checked in, stepped on the scale, and was given a packet to read while I waited for the RD. As I started reading, I felt even more out of place.

"It is no more your fault that you have obesity than any other medical condition."

"The primary causes of obesity are genetics and environment."

"It is these behaviors that will be responsible for you feeling empowered to keep this weight off once and for all!"

The RD called my name and we walked back to her office. First thing she said was, "You clearly don't look like my usual clients so what brings you in today?". Where do I start? I thought to myself. I told her what I told you and then some. She asked me follow up questions and I answered as best I could. She dug into my brain and picked at my words and thoughts. 

It came down to her wanting to see what I was putting in my body and when, so that she could see if their were any "holes" in my nutrition. She added that I needed to stop obsessing so much about eating this food vs. that and to stop reading books and articles and you name it about food as well. Her goal was to essentially re-wire my brain to think differently about food and to erase everything that I've read and learned up until this point. 

"I want you to keep a food journal and see me next week. From there we can put a plan in place as to what food groups you should be eating and at what time of the day."

For the next week I carried my pink journal around like it was my new best friend. I was diligent in what I wrote down; adding in the measurement of the food, how I felt after I ate, the time in which I worked out, etc. 

When I returned for my follow-up consultation, I was a hot mess to say the least.

"You are eating no protein at breakfast."

"Where is your sodium intake?"

"Stop drinking Muscle Milk immediately. There are traces of lead and arsenic in it."

"Do you eat any starch?"

I felt like I was back in elementary school sitting at conferences in where the teacher was telling me all the assignments I didn't do and how the ones I did do were incorrect. I wanted to be defensive, "I have some eggs at breakfast every now and then. Look! I had tortilla chips that had salt on them that one night. Bread makes me bloated and my stomach gets upset so that's my reasoning for the lack of starches in my diet.", but I knew that would defeat the purpose of being there, so I removed my crown and surrendered to the fact that I had to admit I was doing it all wrong. 

We discussed other issues that I was having and ended the session with her writing me an individualized food plan. Here she wrote down how many servings of protein, vegetables, fruit, dairy, and starches I should be having every day and at what time of the day I should be consuming them. 

My mindset has definitely had to make a complete 180* but I know I need to be smarter about how I'm fueling and refueling my body. I'm hesitant with just how much food she is wanting me to eat, but again, I need to re-wire my brain to think differently than it has been for the past year or so. Remember THIS post? Yeah, that monster still likes to hide under my bed. 

I am eager to really start following my training plan as the last couple weeks I've had to make adjustments due to injuries, social events, etc. It's crazy to think I only have about a month left until my marathon but let's just say I'm ready to have a life outside of tying up my Brooks, having my alarm set for 5am four mornings out of the week, and trying to map out new routes to keep things somewhat exciting. 

Week 13 Workouts

Monday - 3.5 miles

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - elliptical & lift

Thursday - rest

Friday - 20 mile run 

Saturday - rest

Sunday - 4.5 mile run, Jillian Michael's Ab video

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Day My Foot Was a Model

On Sunday I wrote about how I practically couldn't move my body without my foot acting up. Well, shortly after clicking Publish, I went for a run. A long, pain-free, smile stuck on my face run. You're probably confused and hey, I was too. Add in weirded out and we have ourselves one big question mark!

I bought a new pair of running shoes (same brand, different style) a little over a week ago and noticed pain in my foot soon after my first rodeo in them. They felt big, like I were wearing clown shoes, but figured I just needed to get use to them. So I did, and they landed me here:

I made my Podiatrist appointment on Thursday, but it didn't dawn on me until Sunday that my injury may be caused by the shoes; hence why I went for a limp-free run on Sunday in my old pair. I went back and forth on whether to keep or cancel my appointment. Even though I was 98% sure that the new shoes were the problem, I'm no doctor, so I kept the appointment and went on Monday.

The doctor came in and I told him the situation. After touching certain parts of my foot while asking "does this hurt?" at each contact, he sent me to the x-ray room to see if there was a stress fracture. Internally freaking out, I followed the nurse into a corner room where she took pretty little pictures of my foot. Side note: If I had known, I probably would have gotten a pedicure. Yikes. 

After my photo shoot, I waited for eternity the doctor to come back to the room. I knew it wasn't a stress fracture the second he opened the door with a big grin on his face. He told me that I had Peroneal Tendonitis and that he recommends doing 3 things:

1. Ice 
He told me to have my boyfriend massage the ice on my foot rather than just sitting with an ice pack resting on it. I asked if he prescribed one of those - unfortunately he just laughed. 
2. Stop wearing flip-flops
3. Find an outdoor track to run on for stability 

I am beyond relieved that my injury isn't too serious and that I can get back to training. I have a 20 mile run on Friday so have been taking it easy the past few days. I plan to run for years and years to come so continuing my training strong and smart is my main focus.

I have my follow-up appointment with my Dietician tomorrow and will share what she has to say then! Happy Hump Day!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to Run When You Can't Walk

How do you run when you can't walk? You don't. You get frustrated, discouraged, and wonder how in the heck you're suppose to train for a marathon when you flinch every time your right foot kisses the floor. Unfortunately, that life is my life at the moment. 

Monday - Yoga

Tuesday -  4.5 mile run 

Wednesday - Elliptical & lift

Thursday - Yoga

Friday - 3 mile walk 

Saturday - Elliptical & Bodypump

Sunday - 14 mile bike ride 

Not being able to run has made me stir crazy. I live in a city where no matter what time of day it is there are runners on every sidewalk and I want so badly to be one of them, but I can't. I tried to be on Tuesday but ended up making my foot even more cranky (yes, my foot apparently has the emotions of a teenager) which equaled more pulsing pain.

However, with no big runs this week I was able to act my age and enjoy a couple drinks with friends and not have to order water and be in bed by 10pm. Right now, that's the only positive I am finding through all this.

"The Doctor Will See You Now"

I had a consultation last week with a Dietician and will see her again on Thursday. I will go more in depth about my reasons for going and what she is teaching/helping me with after my follow up session! My next "big" appointment (the one that I'm most freaking out about) is tomorrow when I see a Podiatrist. I'm praying and hoping and crossing everything that can be crossed that my foot injury isn't too serious and that I will get the clear to continue my training according to the schedule I am *trying* to follow. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Product Review // L A R A B A R

Would you believe me if I told you that my snack of choice these days is a Blueberry Muffin that has only 190 calories and 6 ingredients? If you don't, you should, all in thanks to LARABAR!

When I got this little package in the mail, it didn't take long before I ripped it open to see what flavors LARABAR sent me to review. All four - Carrot Cake, Cappuccino, Peanut Butter & Jelly, and Pecan Pie - sounded more than delicious and I think I spent more time deciding which one to try first more than anything else.

Cappuccino LARABAR
Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Cashews, Coffee, Vanilla Extract

Review: I could certainly taste the coffee but it wasn't too overbearing. Perfect on-the-go Joe!

Peanut Butter & Jelly LARABAR
Ingredients: Dates, Peanuts, Unsweetened Cherries, Sea Salt

Review: In a freakishly awesome way, it tasted exactly like a PB & J sandwich! 

Ingredients: Dates, Pecans, Almonds

Review: While this one tasted ok, it was my least favorite of the group. However, I did like the mix of chewy and crunchy.

Carrot Cake LARABAR
Ingredients: Dates, Almonds, Walnuts, Raisins, Pineapple, Unsweetened Coconut, Carrots, Cinnamon, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Review: Y-U-M! I could taste how lightly spiced the bar was and like the PB & J, it tasted (almost) identical to a piece of cake.

While none of them disappointed my taste buds, my favorite of the day would have to be Peanut Butter & Jelly!

What makes LARABAR different from the rest is that they all contain whole food and no flavor contains more than nine ingredients. In a world where it seems everything is infused with cups of sugar and smothered in butter, it's a no brainer that these will always be stocked in my pantry and I think they should in yours, too!

Don't worry, chocolate lovers, LARABAR didn't forget about you! Look at all the flavors you have to choose from ---

For more information click HERE

P. S. What is your favorite LARABAR flavor? Comment below. 

*Thank you LARABAR for this product review opportunity!*

Monday, August 4, 2014

Living With a Vegetarian // Black Bean Burger Recipe

When Nicole first told me she didn't eat meat, I quickly apologized for the bulk of chicken that was sitting in the freezer. She assured me that she doesn't get grossed out by it or frowns upon the fact that I put it in my body. Well that was all fine and dandy, it made me think about why I eat it and just how much and how often, too.

While sitting at our kitchen table this weekend, we decided to look for a meatless recipe that we would both enjoy and settled on Black Bean Burgers by the fit cook. With the ingredients in one hand (and a Corona in the other), it was our turn to see if we would end up with a "Pinterest Fail" or not.


1 15oz. can of black beans, rinsed and drained
3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup diced red pepper
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
salt + pepper


1. Heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 2 minutes. Add the rice and beans to the pot, and cook for another 5 minutes.

2. Transfer the rice and beans to a bowl, add the corn, and let the mixture cool. You can put it in the fridge to speed up the process.  

3. Add the cilantro and get ready to mash. Using a potato masher or a fork *we used a food processor*, press into the mixture until it reaches a paste-like consistency, or until it has potential to be shaped into a patty.

4. Divide the bean mixture into four equal parts and shape into patties. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. (If your bean mixture won't hold together, no matter how hard you press it together, add 1 egg white to the mixture.)

5. Bring a large pan up to medium heat and coat with a thin layer of olive oil or cooking spray. Carefully place the patties on the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes, until browned and toasty.

6. VERY carefully flip the patties and cook until the other side is browned.

While I had already finished my dinner by the time these were done, I brought one to work today and added it to my salad. The verdict? DELICIOUS! You could also eat these Black Bean Burgers…like a burger…and top with an avocado for added flavor!

P.S. Do you have any meatless recipes? Comment below and share! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

11/18 With a Side of BLT Pasta

With an 18 mile run planned for today, I carb loaded last night with this BLT Pasta.

Gluten Free Pasta with Turkey Bacon, Spinach, Cherry Tomatoes, Avocado, & Parmesan Cheese
While I felt energized and ready to go this morning, my foot had a different plan. Hint: this is the current situation...

My plantar fasciitis came back to visit earlier in the week. 

I'm a stubborn person and If I say I'm going to do something, I do it. This morning tested just how stubborn I can be and it came down to me hanging up my invisible superhero cape and waving my white flag to surrender. 

By mile 8, I couldn't run anymore and even had trouble walking. I was frustrated, upset, and determined to run 18 miles because I said I was going to. I slowly started running back to the park where I met up with my roommate and ran another 3 miles. I stopped for water and the pain fired back up so I walked for a mile before forcing myself to head home. Again, I ran but it was slow and painful. I mapped it out when I got home and it ended up being roughly 16 miles.

I'm trying not to get too down on myself because…I ran 16 miles…but I think I'm just nervous for how the weeks to follow are going to go leading up to my marathon. Fingers crossed this annoying injury eases up! 

Monday - Bodypump

Tuesday - rest

Wednesday - 5 mile run

Thursday - 4 mile run

Friday - 2.5 hour hike

Saturday - 3 mile run

Sunday - 16 mile run

This next week is pretty "laid back" in the training department and I am going to take full advantage of it. Bring on the ice packs and Advil, baby!