Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Taper Time

After months of training I can no longer put off the inevitable. The marathon is coming...Saturday!  I've never run a marathon this late in the year. The weather looks to be pretty good, albeit cold. 27 degrees at the start...BRR!
But I am ready. I'm not going after the time that I had originally hoped for, but I was under the influence of pain meds when I set that goal back in April.

I can easily say that this is the sickest I've been ever in my life. I feel like I've battled the same little cold just about every month since June. That's what happens when you have 2 little ones and one is in daycare and the other doesn't sleep more than 4 hours at a time. Don has been good enough to put both kids to bed this week so I can get over this latest cold and be healthy and rested for Saturday. I am feeling much better and I only have an annoying cough remaining.

This is taper week, which of course means a lot less running and letting the body rest and recover from the months of hard training I've put in. I don't do the usual taper. I taper down my long runs, but not really my regular runs until the final week. This time around I started a week early mainly because I was sick last week. I did my usual 10 mile long run on Sunday and then my usual 8x500 meter repeats on Tuesday. Now it is 4 miles a day and rest, rest, rest!

I have a nasty habit of thinking beyond the race when it gets to be this time. I am already thinking about how I will recover next week and when I will start my new training program. I am kicking around the idea of trying out Crossfit for a while. I feel that not only have I lost the usual muscle you lose with age, but I also lost muscle and strength during my pregnancies. I feel I still have fast times in me, but I'm going to have to get stronger to get there again. I also want to work on speed, so no spring marathon for me!! But, I have to remind myself first things first, lets get through Saturday!

Recipe of the Week
Hash Brown Quiche
3 cups shredded hash brown potatoes
1/3 cup butter, melted
seasoning salt to taste
1 cup diced cooked ham
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste 
 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). 
Press hash browns onto the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie dish. Drizzle with melted butter, and sprinkle with seasoning salt. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until beginning to brown.
In a small bowl, combine ham, onion and shredded cheese. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and a little seasoning salt. When crust is ready, spread ham mixture on the bottom, then cover with egg mixture.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C.) Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until filling is puffed and golden brown. 

Don loved this, but said he prefers the regular crust, so I will try it again, only with the regular pie crust and no onions, because I thought they were a bit overwhelming. 


Pic of the Week
 
                 The Kids with Grandpa Parks, aka.. Santa

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Today while I was on my run I was thinking about the new Paleo Diet craze. I have a few friends who are VERY into it. It is really more of an obsession than a diet I think. I've put the book on my Christmas list so that I can learn more about how to eat like a cave man, but really, all these crazy anti-carb diets got me thinking. I should write my own diet book!

Yup, I would call it "The 1940's Diet: How to eat like your Grandmother did". My grandmother Helen is pushing 90 years young. She gave birth to seven children. Helen is a lean little lady, and the few moments I've been able to spend with her in the past 10 years I've learned this about her eating. Helen eats oats with milk everyday for breakfast, and not the pre-packaged sugary kid either. She also has a banana. For dinner she will have 2 servings of veggies along with her starch and protein.  I don't really know what she has for lunch, but I think it's something in the way of a salad or sandwich. She doesn't eat any pre-packaged sugary snacks, and she stays away from soda and usually alcohol. I have seen her drink wine on occasion. Seems pretty simple really, make your food and eat it, and don't eat a bunch of processed food.

Heading into Thanksgiving, there are a few rules I have for the weekend. I must earn my turkey! Meaning, a walk or run some time in the morning. I have a fun 5k Turkey Trot planned. We will be in South Carolina, so I will probably take a lot of walks and soak in the last days of warmth and sunlight before we head back north into the winter!

I already ran a Turkey Trot in New Jersey this past weekend. It didn't go as well as I would hope. It seems I can't stay healthy for more than a few days. After a nice 5k time trial with the WVU Cross Country team on Tuesday evening (18:04) I was sick to my stomach on Wednesday with no idea why. The little bit of vomitting I did seemed to zap my energy, and after a long car ride I was in no mood to run fast. I did okay with my 29:50 for 5 miles which is the equivelant of an 18:00 5k, but I wanted more. Maybe this Thursday's Turkey Trot will go better. I have been pumping myself with vitamins and trying to get rest. We'll see!

Recipe of the Week
This week's recipe is my dad's Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich recipe.
You need some nice sturdy bread. Then you spread some cranberry sauce on the bread, top with turkey, then stuffing, then mashed potatoes, maybe even a little bit of mayo, or gravy. I prefer to warm everything before it goes on the sandwich so the cranberry stands out, but you could warm the whole sandwich also if you like.
Tell me what you think!!

Picture of the Week

An aerial view of the Manasquan Turkey Trot. Taken by my sister Jane.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Dream a little dream

On Sunday I sat with Eileen and watched the NYC Marathon. It is a marathon that I have yet to conquer. NYC was supposed to be my first marathon back in 2001, right after 9/11 and the death of my father. I guess it wasn't meant to be since I got some kind of 24 hour bug the night before and I spent the whole evening throwing up. If it happened to me now I would definitely pack my bags and take off for home before the race even started, but back then I figured I needed to at least try. I tried for 4 miles, then I got on the subway and went to Brooklyn. I eventually got turned in the direction of Central park and made it there in about the same time it would've taken me to run it. Oh well!

As I sat there watching these incredible women run awesomely fast on a not so fast course, I couldn't help but think maybe one day that will be Eileen. Maybe she will be able to achieve what I couldn't. Or maybe she'll be a snow boarder, or a mountain biker. Maybe she'll be the President. Who knows! But it's both awesome and scarey to hang out with a 7 month old, or a 3 year old, and wonder what lies ahead for them. What will they turn out to be? Only time will tell!

Now that I am over my sickness (I gave in and went and got some anti-biotics on Friday) I've had a great week of training. I finished off my "down" week with a 16 mile run. Then on Tuesday I jumped in with the WVU girls for my first track workout in over a year and a half. 8x800's. Felt great!! My right achilles has been bothering me a bit, otherwise I'm sure I could've done 10. One day at a time.

Since I gave up on trying to run Philadelphia Marathon (it's next weekend) I am going to bump up my long runs again and go for 22 this Saturday. I've decided to run Rehobeth Marathon in Delaware in December. I feel much better about that decision. I have an extra three weeks of training.

Product Review
Lately I've been loving a couple of new Saucony Products, so I feel I should share the joy!!
The first is the Saucony AMP Pro2 Reco.  These are recovery slippers that I like to wear after a long run or hard workout, or just when below my knees are hurting. They come in whole sizes, so I would recommend ordering up. I am a 7.5, and I ordered a 7, I should've ordered an 8.

My other favorite right now is the ProGrid Peregrine.  I am fond of Trail shoes because I live on dirt roads and I like to run on trails, but these are extra nice because they are very light weight for a trail shoe. I have been doing most of my running in them, even my long runs, and I ran the Spruce Knob half marathon in them.

Recipe of the Week
I chose this one because I make an easy, one pot version, and I wanted to see if I could do better, which I did. Also, I had egg noodles and Mushroom soup that needed to be used!
I used Panko bread crumbs instead of the home made kind here, and also black pepper because I didn't have red pepper.

TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE 
8 oz yolk-free, whole wheat wide egg noddles
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 (10 oz can) condensed, reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup light sour cream
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
12 oz white tuna, packed in water, drained, broken into chunks
1-1/2 cups frozen baby peas
1 slice whole wheat bread
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 cup low-fat milk
Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray a 2-1/2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

Cook noodles in large saucepan as directed. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Add onion, cook 4-5 minutes. Stir in soup, sour cream, milk and red pepper until well blended. Remove from heat.

Drain noodles; return noodles to pan. Add soup mix, tuna and peas. Toss well. Transfer mix to casserole dish.

Prepare fresh breadcrumbs: Tear bread into pieces, place in bowl of food processor. Process until finely minced. Sprinkle evenly over casserole. Top with paprika. Spray top of casserole with cooking spray.
Bake 30-35 minutes or until heated through.

Pic of the Week
                                          Travis and Rocky on our dirt road!!
 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's November

This wacky weather has given me yet another cold. It's my third in six months. The last two I went and got anti-biotics, so I pretty much refuse this time! I will try to weather the storm. If I am no better by Monday I might bite the bullet and go to the doctor.

Funny enough, this latest sickness came only hours after my best long run in 2 years. Ron (my long run partner) and I ran 20 miles at 7:30 pace, progressing the last 8 miles and finishing at 6:48 pace for the final mile. When I got home I started to get the chills and sorted other funkiness. I really hate being sick. I especially hate it three weeks before a marathon.

I was already on the fence about actually running Philadelphia Marathon. I was feeling like I needed a little more time. A few more weeks to get in some runs longer than 20 miles, and also some good workouts. So when I got sick I decided to throw in the towel. I will basically be missing another week of training just when my toe was getting better.

I've decided to run Rehobeth Beach Marathon in Delaware with my training partner. that will give me 3 more weeks of training. The weather has been beautiful, but I am now armed with a nice weather cover for the jogger. I hope I won't have to use it too often before Christmas.

I'm hoping this funk will be gone by the end of the weekend. I have been drinking more tea than the queen! At least I am staying hydrated. If Eileen would sleep for more than 4 hours in a stretch it would help me greatly, but she doesn't seem to be in any rush to do that!

The big hub-bub around here lately was of course the snow storm. I was all set to get up on Saturday morning and drive up to Oakland to try and win a pumpkin role at the 10k. I woke to snow covered roads and called my friend Jen who lives up that way. Oakland gets more snow than Bruceton, and Bruceton gets more snow than Morgantown. So it was raining in Morgantown, snowing in Bruceton with a couple inches of accumulation, and snowing even more in Oakland with about 7 inches of accumulation. Jen told me I should stay home and she braved the snow covered roads to get to Broadford park which is usually 20 minutes away but took her 50 minutes. Then they decided not to run the 10k and only run the 5k. So, I am glad I stayed home!

Recipe of the Week (or two)
Last week I hosted a Pampered Chef Party, We had great fun. It prompted me to look on their website for some recipes. This is what I found:
Easy Chicken Fajitas

1   medium red bell pepper
1   medium green bell pepper
1   large onion
1   plum tomato
1   pound boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1   package (1-1.25 ounces) fajita seasoning mix
2   garlic cloves, pressed
1   small lime, cut in half
8   (7-8-inch) flour tortillas, warmed
   Optional toppings: salsa, shredded cheese, guacamole, sliced pitted ripe olives and sour cream
Directions:
  1. Cut bell peppers into 1/2-inch strips. Cut onion and tomato into 1/4-inch wedges. Set vegetables aside. Cut chicken into 1/4-inch strips. Combine chicken and seasoning mix in small bowl; toss to coat and set aside.
  2. Heat Grill Pan over medium-high heat. Lightly spray pan with vegetable oil using Kitchen Spritzer. Add bell peppers and onion; cook 3 minutes without stirring. Stir and cook an additional 3 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from pan; set aside.
  3. Spray pan again with vegetable oil. Add chicken; cook 2-3 minutes without stirring. Add garlic. Stir and cook 3-4 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Add reserved vegetable mixture and tomato to pan. Squeeze lime over chicken mixture. Cook 1 minute or until heated through; stir.
  4. To serve, spoon a portion of the chicken and vegetable mixture in center of each tortilla. Top with desired toppings, if desired.
You of course don't have to use their grill pan. 

Picture of the week

                                            Dragon Takes flight!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Glorious Autumn!

Today was the first day I ran in long tights and a jacket. The weather is absolutely wicked out there. Blustery and cold! I ordered a rain shield for the baby jogger, but it has yet to get here, so I had to wait until Don got home from work today so I could go for a run. I suppose I could've run on the treadmill, but I'm just not in that state of mind yet.

Yesterday I did my first tempo run by myself. I ran on our usual tempo loop that I've been running for years. I used my GPS to try and keep myself at a decent pace, but the stupid watch is always a bit off, so here I thought I was running about 6:30 pace and I was really running about a 6:15 pace. Not that I'm complaining, but I do feel like I would've been more likely to go 10 miles instead of 8 if I hadn't been pushing the pace a bit. I had to get back to the kids anyway so I didn't have the extra time. It's a nice step in the right direction with Philadelphia Marathon 4 weeks away!!

On Saturday I went up to Oakland, Maryland and ran the Autumn Glory 5k with some friends. In my old age I start out a lot slower than I used to, but I make up ground quickly. By the time I hit a mile I was leading the entire race. This is both a blessing and a curse for a woman! I'm used to having guys around me to pace off of and to block the wind. So when I hit the turn around point of the race it was like running into a wall! The wind was rediculous. A race that should be a fast course turned out to be a not so fast 19:20 for the win.

Sunday was my first 20 mile run in more than a year and a half. It felt great! Most of my runs have become progression runs simply because I am usually pushing the kids or I have to shake the rust off of the old legs, and Sunday was no different. Our last two miles were the fastest, so I was ecstatic! My toe is still bothering me some, but it really only hurts after runs, when it will throb for a while. I'm fairly sure that the toe nail will fall off, I'm just hoping it happens before Philly and not during.

Recipe of the Week

Pulled Pork Burritos

Put some pork loin in the slow cooker and cover with Root Beer. Let it cook on low for 6-7 hours. Pull and cover with Bar-b-que sauce. This is the pulled pork recipe I had, and while I was on my run I thought wouldn't it be great with some red beans and rice in a burrito. But I got home and I only had jumbalaya rice. So I used that instead. We loved it!! Simple, without the burrito shell it is gluten free too!

Picture of the Week
                                      Eileen and her pumpkin (Cousin JD's hand-me-downs)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just call me mountain goat!

This past week Don was away on business, so I was a single mom. Again I utilized the baby jogger, and also some good friends, so I could get in my runs.  I had one big test this week, I took the kids camping up at the Mountain Institute in Spruce Knob, West Virginia. I packed up the car and headed into the mountains all by myself, including setting up the tent for the first time in my life.

Now, you may be sitting there saying, SO What! But for this Jersey Girl, it's kind of a big deal. I wasn't in girl scouts, my family didn't go camping, and I was only allowed to go to 4H camp one year. So until the age of 25 I had very little outdoorsy experience. I do love it now though!

The trip to the mountains was also to run the half marathon portion of the WV Trilogy. Some crazy ultra runners, who will remain nameless, thought up this weekend of torture. On Friday there is a 50k, Saturday a 50 miler, then Sunday the half.  They also have a 5k that Don and I ran last year when I was pregnant.
                               finish line of the trilogy

Once you get outside of Elkins, you have no cell service. I was driving dirt mountain roads with two young kids and no cell service. I was a little nervous. But, I had enough food and water for two days and I wasn't completely isolated, there were some homes along the way, and it was a beautiful fall weekend, so there were lots of people around checking out the leaves.

Thanks to Lara Lehman I was able to run the half without worry. We started at 9 am and I left the kids in her capable hands at the finish line. After our first little 2 mile loop around the Mountain Institute's property, we headed down a huge downhill to a creek which we had to cross not once, but twice. I managed to stay relatively dry, although my friend Pete did splash me as I came through the creek the second time.  After heading down the creek for a bit, we started back into the trails for what seemed like forever uphill. This is where I stumbled a bit and may have broken my toe. I'm no doctor, but it hurts! I was about 5 miles in, so I just kept on running! Up and Up and Up we went until I'm pretty sure we were at the top of Spruce Knob (the highest point in WV). We finally got to turn around. We were on a road section of the course at this point, but I couldn't take full advantage of it because of my painful toe.  We headed back the way we came, then headed down a different trail. This took us to an open field, at which point I lost the trail. I stood there for about a minute trying to figure where we were supposed to go when two guys came from behind me and we finally found the marker down the field. I was being blinded by the sun and couldn't see it before. We then headed back onto a trail which went through some fields at which point we had to jump some farm fences. I had heard talk about a fence the night before and I thought "surely they are joking", but no, they were not, and there was not just one, but four. I think. I lost count!  While going over one of the fences I thought to myself  "I can't believe I am 36 years old and I am jumping friggin fences!" Then I thought "Good for me!!"After all that we came out along the creek again. Almost home at this point, but not before we had to climb back up the huge hill we went down in the 3rd mile.  I was happy to be at the finish line. But I must say, it was a fun race and a beautiful weekend for the second year in a row.
                                Eileen is a happy camper!

When I did get back to the finish (in first place), Eileen was playing on her blanket with her blocks and Travis was playing in the woods with some other kids. Neither seemed to be effected by my absence.  After I showered and packed up our tent, they had a pig roast and awards. We were then on our way back home, another adventure into the wilderness, with my broken toe on the pedal!

Recipe of the Week
Pumpkin Turkey Chili
I tbsp Vegetable oil, 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup green bell peppers, 1/2 cup yellow peppers, 1 clove garlic minced, 1 lb. ground turkey (I used two), 1 can diced tomatoes (I used two), 2 cups pumpkin puree, 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 1 dash salt, 1/2 cup shredded cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream.  Cook up the oil, onions, peppers and garlic in a skillet. Add the ground turkey to brown. Throw it all in the crock pot with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 4-5 hours and then add the cheese and sour cream.

I added Corn because I didn't have yellow peppers and I like corn in my chili. I also added a can of kidney beans. Right now this is cooking in my crock pot.


 Picture of the Week
                                   Leaving the Mountain Institute

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Baby Joggin!

Lately I've been doing a lot of my running while pushing the kids in the Baby Jogger. I am fortunate enough to have a couple of hand-me-down baby joggers. The one that I am currently using is probably 10 years old and comes from my sister. So far it's working just fine and both the kids seem to enjoy trucking along in it, as long as it's a nice day.
Along with my awesome baby jogger, I am fortunate enough to have easy access to rail trails. This is nice because it is the only flat place in West Virginia to push 2 kids for 8 miles. My favorite new spot is the Cheat Lake Rail Trail which also has a nice park for Travis to play after we are done running. I do often take the kids up to Big Bear and push them there, but it is hillier and I don't like to do that more than a couple of times a week.

It would be very hard for me to push the kids from here at home since we only have about 1200 meters of paved road, and it would be difficult to get out of the way of any on coming cars.

I also have a treadmill in the basement, but I save this for winter. I really like to wait until the last possible moment to have to get on the "dreadmill" and run. I think a big part of what I love about running is being outside, so getting on the treadmill just is not appealing to me at all!

Race Recap!

Since my last post I have run 3 races. Two of those races were in one day. I really don't know what I was thinking!? I had planned on running the Scottdale Fall Festival 10k all along, hoping to win and get some cash. But then there was also the September Stride 5k in Morgantown that I always run and also had money. The 5k was at 9 am and the 10k was at 2:30pm, so I talked myself into doing both.

In the 5k I placed 3rd. There is always stiff competition there! I knew I wasn't going to have a great race because Eileen didn't let me sleep much the night before, so I felt tired from the get go. But then I took a nap in the car on the way up to Scottdale and I felt much better for the 10k, which I won.  Although I don't recommend doing 2 races in one day, I feel I am better off having done it, simply because I am partly trying to race myself into shape, so running two hard efforts in one day is good marathon training.

Yesterday I ran the Great Allegany Run 15k. This race in Cumberland, Maryland is slightly downhill for 10k and then a flat 5k on the end. I've run this many times before and knew what I was in for, I also knew my competition. After 2 miles I struck out on my own and tried to run a hard, even pace and finish strong. I wound up running 6:19 pace and getting the win. I was hoping for a bit faster, but I ran by myself for a while.

I now have 7 weeks until the Philadelphia Marathon, and who knows what will happen there!

Recipes of the week

Today was the 3rd in a series of blustery, cold, rainy days here. October has brought an early threat of snow to our little mountain. So I was thinking, after Don's request, that a chicken pot pie would be a good Sunday dinner.  I got some mixed stew veggies and some chicken, low fat cream of chicken soup, some all spice, and mixed it all up in a casserole dish. Then I whipped up some low fat biscuit mix and poured it on top. Pop it in the oven at 400 degrees. The recipe says 30 minutes, but this wasn't long enough to cook the chicken and veggies, so it wound up in the oven for an hour. It was delish!!

I also made a homemade apple pie with apples from our own apple tree! I used a frozen pie crust for the bottom and then made a pie crust from scratch for the top. Remembering our old neighbor Bea, I made a "healthy" crust using canola oil! It too was delish and probably the best pie that I've made. I've had better, but hey, this pie cost me about $2!


Pic of the Week!
Travis at the Buckwheat Festival

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Helvetia!

This past weekend (September 10th) I celebrated my 6th wedding anniversary. Apparently I am not a normal woman, as every year for my wedding anniversary I like to go to the small town of Helvetia, camp out in my friends yard, hang out with friends, maybe go to the square dance, and then wake up the next morning for the 10k Mountain Run.

Helvetia is a small village in the heart of West Virginia that was settled by Swiss/German immigrants in 1869. The town still holds that original charm and is like stepping back in time. In fact, I had to tell my assistant at work that she wouldn't be able to get a hold of me because I wouldn't have cell service.

When you arrive in Helvetia you make the 3 mile journey into the woods on a dirt road to Mr. Dan Lehmann's house.  Sometime after you arrive you will be asked to participate in a hash run that doesn't leave the Lehmann property and is guaranteed to leave you with mud splattered legs and cuts from brier bushes. After you've finished the hash and set up your tent for the night, everyone gathers around the fire for some good food brought by good friends (we brought brownies and watermelon from the garden). If you don't get carried away in conversation, you might choose to go to the square dance in the community hall. We have done this a few times in the past, but we forgot about it this year. It will probably be more fun next year when Eileen is a little older anyway.

In the morning we woke and got ready for the race. I had planned to try and get my long run in along with the race, so I was going to run from Dan's house down to the start and then add on a couple more miles. In doing my long warm up with training partner Ron, I forgot all about the kids race. Don had Travis down to the start in time to participate, but I missed it.
Once I got my 4 miles in, it was time to head to the start line, that is after I gave Don a bottle for the baby and changed shoes. The race is a fun 10k with the first 3 miles on pavement and a little grass/dirt, then you start to head up to Dan's house on his dirt road. Once you pass Dan's house you have a half mile uphill climb that will leave you walking. When you hit the top you want to get your stride back so you can use the extreme downhill mile back to the finish to make up some lost time.  I won the race with a 48:50 and 10 miles already done. I ran 4 miles while waiting for the awards to get going.

Every year Dan tries to mix it up with the awards. This year we got some nice pottery that just happened to match some awards I've gotten form other races. We also get a free meal at the Hutte, which is the only restaurant in Helvetia and well worth the drive. 

So once Don and I went back to the house to get showered and pack up the car, the family headed to the Hutte for some lunch before the 2 hour ride home. Another fun weekend spent in Helvetia!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Under New Management

Okay, I've been very bad about this whole blogging thing. Now that I've gotten Labor Day Weekend out of the way my work schedule slows down and I'll have some more time to work on my blog, my running, and maybe even some more recipes!

This post is one that I've been thinking about since July 16th which was the Big Bear 12 hour run/relay race that I put on at work. Although I have actually run in this race, I did not run this year or last year because I am the race director and it is just too much to try and do both. Don helps a great deal and I'm sure I could have snuck in a lap or two, but I scheduled myself a day off. But anyway, on to my post!

I've heard it said that everyone who participates in sports should also have to be an umpire or referee at some point. Why, you might ask? Well, because then you see the other side of things and you are less likely to want to run onto the field and punch the referee in the face when you think he made a bad call. The same can be said in running. I think most runners don't realize just what it takes to put on a race, or the cost for that matter. That's why I think every runner should also have to be a race director at some point!

I recently saw a message board post where it was asked what is a deal breaker for a race, meaning, as a runner why would you NOT go back to a race. One person replied that a race should have 5 year age groups, tech t-shirts, chip timing. These things all cost money. So lets go with a typical 5k fee of around $18. Per runner, a trophy will cost about $3, tech t-shirt starting at $12 (I got tie dyed for my race and they were $10), Chip timing $100 plus $1 a runner (I'm going on what I've heard, my lovely husband always does timing for me), post race food about $150 (if you go simple pizza, granola bars, water), Race Insurance about $3 per runner, Photography carries a fee, as well as advertising, Porta Potties which run about $100 each per day. Then you also have to order numbers and pins (don't forget the pins!). You also have to have your t-shirt sizes to the printer at least a week in advance, so you have  to guess on the number of race day registrations you are going to have or you will have a box of extra t-shirts left over.  If you have your race in a town like Morgantown, you have to get a parade permit, which isn't a lot of money, but kind of a pain. Then you also have to rally volunteers to help. This usually isn't an issue with my event because we have many of the same people coming back year to year and someone is always willing to help.

For a 12 hour race I went with hand made awards which cost quite a bit more and nice quality t-shirts. Then I also have to figure what I will have to have at each aid station per the number of participants for each lap of the race. I also have to take into account the fact that my race is in mid-July and although we usually have awesome weather up on the mountain, we do have the random hot and humid day which will require much more water/gatorage/heed.

Now, I am very fortunate that I have the support of Big Bear, a country store nearby to get extra provisions if I need them, and great support from Saucony and Hammergel which helps out tremendously with the aid stations, numbers, and awards.

I'm sure that I am forgetting something, but you get the point. I don't like high entry fees or an unorganized race, but I will give most races the benefit of the doubt and give them a second chance. I think sometimes people have good intentions with putting on a race and don't know what they are getting into. As a runner, I like to race, and I like to have choices of where to race every weekend, so I try not to complain too much about any race!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yeah, I'm that girl!

In my quest to get back to shape somewhat quickly I am running races even though I am no where near my best shape or my best race times. This means I have to accept having my arse handed to me! I'm ok with that, as long as I run faster along the way, but it has brought me to another mile stone if you will.  I am  now "that girl", or even better "that woman"!

Recently I ran a 10k and briefly took the lead only to lose it again going up a hill that always causes me pain, whether I am in shape or not. After the race I wished the winner congratulations and asked who she was. She said she had just gotten done telling her mother that I was the woman who always won the race in her home town back when she was in High School. So basically, I'm old! LOL!  I made sure I mentioned the fact that I had just had my second child 3 months ago!

This whole experience brought me back to when I used to run for WVU. It was either my Senior year or the year after that I stood on the starting line of an indoor mile with a 38 year old mother of two. My team mates and I looked at her like "this old lady has no chance, we are gonna crush her!" The gun went off and she proceeded to absolutely kick our arses, running a sub-5 minute mile on a slow track.  I was impressed! I vowed that I would one day be that woman!

Now, I'm no where near a sub-5 minute mile, but I'm training hard and hope to be back there someday. That's the wonderful world of running I guess. Here I am 36 years old and I still feel the same as that 22 year old who thought she couldn't get beat by the old lady, and then I go to a race with a 22 year old and I all of a sudden feel like a 36 year old mother of two. But, I am proud to be that 36 year old mother of two, after all, I could just throw in the towel and never run a step again and keep all my mommy weight on and talk about when I was 114 lbs. back in the day and ran 17 minute 5k's.

My competitive self has vowed to never let that girl beat me again! At least not until after the next baby. We'll have to see.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Using races for tempos!

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post. I am the worst blogger ever! We just have so much going on right now, and of course when I sit down for some quiet time to write I get interrupted by a screaming child. But all is good right now, as both Travis and Eileen are very happy hanging out with their daddy.

Since last I wrote I have run two 5k's and a half marathon. I definitely did not expect to be super fast, but it doesn't bother me at all. I have learned that there are some runners that won't come out and race unless they are in tip top shape, and there are other runners who really could care less and just want to toe the line!  I just like to race. I've always liked to race, since 7th grade when I was getting my butt kicked by the two Christine's, both 8th graders on my own team, I just wanted to get out there.

While riding the bus up to the start of the Decker's Creek Half Marathon, I realized that racing is my drug. I love the nervous energy and the anticipation. Here I was 10 weeks post baby and I was nervous for some stupid reason. I knew I was only going to try and run 8 minute pace, I wasn't going to be anywhere near the winners, but I was still giddy with anticipation.

Right now there is only one good reason for me to race, FITNESS! I need to do some kind of faster paced runs with other people pushing me, but I'm not near fit enough to do workouts with my usual running partners, so race it is. That's what 5k's are for. I decided to run the Half Marathon because I was having a hard time getting over 9 miles on my long run days, so I figured I would use it as a hard long run. I had the extra bonus of Don watching the kids since he had to time the race anyway!

I thought a lot today about how having kids changes a long distance runner. When you are a runner you are a very solitary person, and you are a very selfish person. You do whatever you can to work life around your runs. Before kids came along I could plan my day according to work and running, and when I went to a race all I had to worry about was racing well. Now I have to make sure the baby is fed and the diaper bags are stocked with an emergency bottle, sunscreen, and snacks for Travis. When Don went away over Memorial Day weekend, my babysitter canceled on me because her dog got sick and she had to make an emergency trip to the vet, so I didn't get my run in that day. You have to learn to roll with the punches, that's for sure. Luckily it had been about 3 weeks since I had a day off, so I was glad to take it! I realize every day that I am luckier than most and my husband will watch the kids in the evening if I am too lazy to get out of bed at 6 am and get my run in, or that my kids are both very good in the baby jogger if I have to go that route.  I also have wonderful baby sitters if need be!

At more than 10 weeks postpartum I have somewhat relaxed my expectations, even though my training is going very well so far. If November comes along and I am not in marathon shape, so be it! But I have a feeling it will happen, as long as Eileen keeps up her awesome baby attitude and I can keep getting some decent sleep!

I have recently started my HABIT prolapse rehab dvd. The physical therapist that came  up with the whole program is a triathlete and she claims that within 8 weeks you should be good to go, if you do the workouts three times a week. So I am trying hard to get it done 3 times a week and I am hoping for the best. Really the whole thing is not bothering me much anymore, but I'd like to do whatever I can to make it better and maybe it won't be so bad after the next baby (oye, next baby, lol)!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Only Seven Weeks!

Seven weeks yesterday I gave birth to Eileen. It seems like she's always been around. I can't remember life without Travis and Eileen. It's a bit weird to think that, I guess. Of course, as soon as I sit down to try and write this she is fussing and wants to be held. So now I am sitting with her in my lap and typing away. We are human beings after all, and we have an amazing ability to adapt.

Against every baby and parenting journal out there I have had Eileen in the jogger stroller already. Our hand me down side by side double stroller reclines just enough and I have a funny little device that keeps her head stable. She's a strong baby and she already holds her head up, so I just try to stay off the rough roads and the three of us go out on lovely 4 mile runs.

I am now up to 8 miles on my "long" runs. I ran that yesterday. My quest is to break the 4 mile a day barrier. Somehow 4 miles seems so easy to get in, but 5 miles not so much! Most days I am pushing the kids in the jogger, so that probably zaps my energy more than I like, but it burns more calories and makes you stronger.  I am lucky to have an understanding husband who will watch the kids while I run, but I don't like to take advantage of this if I don't have to. Lately the weather has not been very good for being outside with the kids because of all the rain. I've decided it is probably time to start retraining my body clock to go to bed early and wake up early so I can run before Don goes to work. I will certainly hate it, but we moms must do what we have to in order to maintain some sense of ourselves.

Last week I went to my 6 week check up. The doctor says everything is fine, considering I've had two big kids. He says my prolapse is not going to get any better without surgery, but I've read otherwise. I've done a lot of research and decided I may try some Yoga moves to help. I really do not enjoy yoga, I am very inflexible after years of running, but I'm willing to try anything!

I'm planning on running my first 5k this upcoming Saturday. We'll see how that goes!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Slacker no more!

Okay, Okay, I've let this blog go for too long without updating. I haven't been too good with my New Year's resolution either, but that is still fixable.  So after about a month here is a post that I hope will get me posting more often.

I'm coming up on 6 weeks postpartum. I can say that I feel great. I've been running for almost 3 weeks and I feel much better than I did when I started running after having Travis. As they say, it is important to remember that every person and pregnancy is different. I think the difference is that although I stopped running at 35 weeks with Eileen, I made an effort to keep walking every day right up to the day I went into labor. With Travis it was the dead of winter and I was unmotivated to move after a while.

I've worked my way up to about 4 miles a day and 5 on my long run day last Sunday. I hope to run 7 this Sunday. This is not without it's issues of course, nothing ever is. Just before I wanted to start running I discovered what is called a bladder prolapse. This is one of those things they don't tell us women when we are so anxious to get pregnant. I kind of knew what was going on, so of course I googled the heck out of it and read all these horror stories about doctors telling women they could never run again because of this and other prolapse (there's Uterine and Rectal too, joy!).

Afraid that my bladder was going to fall out, I went to the doctor at 3 weeks postpartum and he told me everything would be fine and I could keep running. This apparently was caused by two large babies, and can only really be fixed by surgery, which they will only do if you are done having babies. We'll decide that in a year, because if you asked me right now, I'd be done having babies! ;)

So that day after I got over my depression I started running. Some days are good, some days are uncomfortable, but that's how running is regardless of a prolapse. I've also started back on the weights (mostly exercise videos because that's just easier) and although it is tough, it feels great after wards and I'm well aware of all the muscle tone that is lost during pregnancy, even if you still workout. Those abs aren't going to go back by themselves! It takes a lot of work and patience.

I had myself talked into "racing" a 5k this weekend, but it turns out I have to work anyway. In reality it is probably too soon and I may come away from it very disappointed. But I have realized through two pregnancies that after about 25 years of running, it's fun to have a reason to be sub-par. When I stepped out for my first run, even though it was only a mile and a half, I was so excited! Then last week when I ran 4 miles at 8:40 pace, again I was excited. Then when you start going to races and you run a time that you ran in high school, people think you are super woman. You're able to enjoy the process and the small accomplishments again, instead of chasing a PR that you set 5 years ago. you may never see that PR again, but now you have postpartum PR's. It's a new lease on your running career. In a way I guess it makes racing and running fun again. It also gives me a chance to be out in the quiet of our woods and fields with out hearing a 3 year old that won't stop talking and a 5 week old who won't stop screaming. My kids are great kids, but sometimes I need a time out!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

2 Weeks with Eileen

Tomorrow our little girl will be 2 weeks old. So far she has been a great baby. I think God knows that I need good babies because I have little patience. She has been a joy.

Thankfully the weather has gotten better and I've gotten some good exercise in. I've worked my way up to 3 miles of walking now, while carrying Eileen. I've also been doing my  postpartum ab exercises so I'm nice and strong by the time I start really running again.  I feel great and almost had myself talked into trying to run tomorrow, but I decided it would be best if I waited another week like I did with Travis. I wouldn't want to go backwards! I only want to move forwards.

Today Eileen and I walked part of the Mt.Summit Challenge. This is a race I have always wanted to do, but something has always come up. So I decided to take Eileen, my newest walking partner, with me to do the race.

The race is 3.5 miles uphill from the little town of Hopwood, Pennsylvania. What I didn't realize was that there is no shuttle back down the mountain. I couldn't very well hitch a ride with just anyone since I would need a car seat, so I decided to just walk 1.5 miles up the hill and then turn around and walk back down to the car. This was 1 mile longer than I have walked in a while. On the warmest day of the year so far Eileen and I made the trek. We had a great time, and she slept most of the way. Lets hope it's the first of many races for Baby Eileen!

The spring racing season is now in full swing, and Boston Marathon is coming up next week, so I am really itching to run. I have to remind myself that I am still a good 15 pounds overweight and it will not be easy or even really enjoyable when I go out for my first few runs. I'm just hoping I can survive for 30 minutes. I just have to look for the light at the end of the tunnel! I make it through these first few weeks and the rest of the summer will be awesome!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eileen Lorraine Parks, 3/28/11

I've neglected my blog long enough. I guess I was preparing for our little one to come and it slipped my mind. I wasn't walking much, and I wasn't cooking from scratch much in the past couple weeks, so I really didn't have anything to write about. I have made Huevos Rancheros, corned beef and cabbage for my birthday (not a cookbook recipe, but it's tradition), Tacos with sweet potato puree and deer meat, and others that I will get to at a later time.

On Sunday I woke up having minor contractions. I had been having these kinds of contractions for about a week and they would go away, so I thought it might not be the real deal. As the morning went on they kept up and got a little more intense. I told Don that he may not be going to work on Monday, which he didn't mind one bit.

That afternoon Don had to time the Cooper's Rock 10k, and I took Travis to Morgantown to the Dance Baby Dance children's cancer fundraiser. We were having a great time, and we saw lots of friends. These friends all thought I was joking when I told them I was in labor. Nope, I was serious. It's kind of funny to tell people that though, standing there having a contraction "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm in labor". I was the only one that knew there was no reason to panic, after all I figured it would be about 18 hours. Travis was 36 hours with 2 1/2 hours of pushing. No fun at all.

I picked Don up on the way home and still the contractions were getting more intense, but still bearable. We got home around 4:30 and Don went to go do some chores around the farm. I thought he was only going to be gone for about 30 minutes or so. An hour went by and the contractions were getting bad. Travis was not feeling well, so he wanted to be hugged. Every time a contraction would come on I would ask him to get off me. He had no idea what was going on and I was getting pretty upset that Don was not back yet. I called Don and said "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" To this he responded that he would be home shortly.  At that point I was in tears and Travis was saying "Don't cry mommy!" I felt so bad.

Don came home and we made Tacos. I still didn't really know if this was a fake out, so I wanted to eat some spicy food (well, spicy for me). I could barely make it through the meal. I called the mid-wife and she said I'd better come in sooner rather than later so I could get an IV in. So I called my assistant track coach and told him to come get the track book, then I called Travis' baby sitter and asked her to come get him. We still weren't in a panic yet, but by the time everyone came and went, my contractions were 5 minutes apart and we live about 40 minutes from the hospital.

On the ride in my contractions continued to be 5 minutes apart, so we were now panicking.  I could hardly stand to walk, and of course they wanted me to fill paper work out when I got to the desk. Why do they ask you if you have a living will and power of attorney right before you're going in? Not very reassuring!

So, at about 9 pm I layed down in the bed and my contractions of course slowed down. They were so intense though that I could hardly breathe through them and I would tense up. I got the nubane but it really didn't help at all. I knew I still had a while to go, so at midnight I gave into the epidural. I don't know why I tried to tough it out. With Travis when  I got the epidural my contractions got closer together and more regular and did their job! Same thing happened here.

While Don was trying to sleep in a recliner, I also tried to sleep all the while looking at the monitor for Eileen's HR and my HR and wondering about contractions and being worried that maybe I'll have to have a C-section if she doesn't progress. I was having flashbacks of Travis' birth.. The mid-wife refused to break my water which was making me angry, but I'm no doctor, so whatever.

At about 6 am the mid-wife came in and said "well, you're 9 3/4 dilated, but you're water hasn't broken yet." Great! Jeez! I've got some stubborn kids! She told me I would know when my water broke and that I would feel some pressure when it was time to push. The 7 o'clock hour came and I didn't think my water broke, but I was starting to feel some pressure.

A little before 8 o'clock a new mid-wife came in, fresh off of vacation. She said "oh, you're water broke" and I said I had been feeling some pressure, and she said "Oh, there's the head, we're ready to push"! Not 15 minutes later (thank GOD!) Eileen came into this world, all 8 lbs. 12 ounces of her. 

So now we're recuperating. I went on my first walk yesterday (Friday) and another one this morning. Just an easy 30 minutes and some very light abdominal exercises. I will do this for another 2 weeks then I will hopefully try running. Easy does it! I hope Eileen likes being outside as much as Travis does!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mashin' Taters!

Ahh, another week gone by. 37 weeks and I'm beginning to think I may start charging this kid rent. It is getting painful to even walk now, but I try. The wicked March weather isn't helping my situation any, but it is what it is.

This week I tried a couple of fairly easy recipes. I think although I am nesting, I've lost my drive to create great food. Some of the recipes in the Mealtime sections of Jessica's cookbooks aren't really "meals". Some are just side dishes. This week I decided to make mashed potatoes from "Deceptively Delicious" and Skinny Egg Salad from "Double Delicious".  I had already made the Skinny Egg Salad before New Year's Eve, but Don told me that I couldn't count it towards my resolution. Stickler!

The mashed potatoes were very easy. Just like making homemade mashed potatoes, only you add cauliflower puree. 1 lb. baking potatoes peeled and cubed (we used red), 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 2 tablespoons margarine spread, 1/2 cup low fat buttermilk. We never use buttermilk, so I just used skim milk. I also added a little bit of garlic salt.  We had it with our deer steak stir fry that Don likes to make and it was delicious!

Onto the Skinny Egg Salad. 1 dozen large eggs hard boiled, 4 green onions (left them out, didn't have them), 6 tablespoons reduced fat mayo, 1/4 cup plain yogurt (used greek, but i think it made it taste funny), 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1 teaspoon dijon mustard, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, pinch of sweet paprika, whole wheat sandwich bread. Mix everything together and yummo! But really, it tastes a little bit funny to me just because of the greek yogurt I think. But hey, I used a lot of our eggs!

Tonight it's Huevos Rancheros! Can't wait!!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

36 weeks! Can you tell I'm counting down the days?

I have to admit, I have not gotten in any running in the past week. I have been walking about 2 miles a day though, so I'm happy with that. My ligaments are starting to protest my daily activities. It's so strange the things that happen to your body when you are pregnant, and fascinating at the same time. I'm not quite sure how we came to be (God, evolution, yada yada) but it can be really mind boggling when you find out how everything works to bring a new life into this world. I must admit though, I sometimes wish I was a kangaroo so I could store this baby on the outside of my body for a while. I suppose that's what the Baby Bjorn is for.

If you'd like a good laugh, you should go walk around Target or Walmart with me right now. You can see the fear in people's eyes as they think my water is going to break right on the spot or something. I am quite a sight. Don says he will wait to take a belly shot of me at least another week since I was almost 40 weeks when he took the picture of my belly with Travis. So maybe I will post that picture until then and you will get the idea.

On to this weeks recipes!  The first recipe is Tortilla "Cigars" out of "Deceptively Delicious". The picture of this recipe in the book reminded me of my high school days working at Ponderosa. One of my favorite things to steal off of the buffet were the Toquitos. They were probably very bad for me, and I have to admit, although I worked there all through high school, I've only set foot in a Ponderosa once in the last 17 years.

So, I decided to use my leftover deer meat for this recipe instead of making a meatloaf. I was running out of time in the week to get my two recipes in, so I looked for something to make here instead. 1 cup of sauteed meat (you can use chicken or turkey if you like), 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup yellow squash puree ( I used sweet potato), 1/2 cup carrot puree, 4 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, 1/4 tspn garlic powder, 1/4 tspn salt, 6 large whole wheat tortillas cut in half.

Stir together meat, cheese, purees, cream cheese, garlic powder, and salt. Spread about 2 tablespoons of the mix on the tortilla's edge. Roll the tortilla into a cigar shape. Place seam-side down on the baking sheet. Bake until the tortillas are begin to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.

Don and I loved this recipe, Travis does not like red meat so he wasn't too fond of it. Oh well, more for us!

My other recipe for the week was home made macaroni and cheese out of "Double Delicious". I told a friend that I made it on Sunday and he said "oh, yum, my mom and grandma always made home made mac and cheese". I had to explain to him that his mom's recipe was probably much tastier just for the simple fact that it is traditional southern mac and cheese, and not the healthy hidden veggie kind I made.

The recipe is as follows: 1 lb. whole wheat pasta, 2 Tablespoons fat free margarine, 2 1/2 cups skim milk, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup cheddar cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup sweet potato puree, 1/4 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan. Heat margarine in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Slowly whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the cheddar cheese, salt, and sweet potato puree, whisk until smooth. Stir the cheese mixture in with your already cooked pasta. Transfer to a baking dish and sprinkle the top with bread crumbs and Parmesan. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.

We all loved this one and we had plenty of leftovers.  It's another recipe that I will probably make again. Tonight I made the chicken enchiladas recipe again and it was just as good as the first time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

35 weeks!

Here we are at 35 weeks. Could be 3 more weeks, could be 6 more weeks. AHH, science. I'm very impatient this time around. I just want to get on with it. I thought spring was around for about 3 days, but now we have some snow on the ground again and I am back to feeling as if the sun will never come out again and this baby will never come. On top of that, Travis is getting so excited about his little sister he asks me multiple times a day when she is coming out. I just want to say "Your guess is as good as mine kid!" But, it has given me plenty of time to stick to my resolution and keep on cooking.

This past week I made Chicken Enchiladas and Meatball Soup. Both got good reviews from my judges, but the Chicken Enchiladas were by far the more popular and Don has requested that I make them often.

Recipe is as follows: 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cubed, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 cup sweet potato puree, 1/4 cup fat free sour cream, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or mozzarella) divided, 6 whole grain tortillas, 1/2 cup spinach puree, 1/2 cup mild tomato salsa.

Preheat the oven 350*. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Warm oil in a large skillet. Sprinkle the chicken with garlic and pepper. Cook the chicken until it is cooked through. Off the heat mix the sweet potato puree, sour cream, and half the cheese in the skillet. Fill each tortilla with the chicken mixture and roll up. Place seam side down in the baking dish. Dot the tops of the enchiladas with the spinach puree. Spoon salsa over the top and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.

I pretty much stuck to the recipe here except I put a bit of salsa in the chicken mixture and I didn't use the spinach puree. We all loved it. I will probably make it again this week, maybe with some rice.

The Meatball Soup had a long list of ingredients that really intimidated me. I of course used Deer Meat for the meatballs this time. They held together much better than when I tried to make meatball subs. The recipe said to put them in the soup to cook, but I was afraid they would fall apart, so I cooked them in the skillet first and then dropped them in the soup.

Ingredients: 3 ounces of pasta (we used wagon wheels), 1 small onion (I used half), 2 cloves garlic, 28 ounces of whole peeled tomatoes, 1/4 cup carrot puree, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 3 cups reduced fat beef broth, 3 slices whole wheat bread cubed, 1 large egg beaten, 1/4 cup sweet potato puree, 1/4 cup non fat milk, 2 Tsp Parmesan cheese, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/2 lb lean ground turkey (I used deer meat).

I pureed everything including the tomatoes. Cook the onion and garlic in oil in the soup pot you will be using. 3 to 4 minutes until onion is softened. Add the tomatoes and carrot puree along with the salt and the broth. reduce heat to low and let simmer while you are making the meatballs.

Put the bread in a large bowl. Add the egg, sweet potato puree, milk, Parmesan, salt, pepper, and paprika and let the bread soak it all up.  Stir to break up the bread and then add the meat.  Form into mini meatballs and add to the soup. Cook 12-15 minutes. Add already cooked pasta.

I have to say that I prefer the Chicken Enchiladas over the soup as well. But both are good February meals. I'm going to make Bea's meatloaf this week. I haven't decided what meals I will make out of the Seinfeld books. We'll have to see. 

If you would like more information on Jessica Seinfeld's cook books here is her website.
http://www.doitdelicious.com/

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Keeping your New Year's Resolution!

Well, so far so good as far as my New Year's resolution goes! I almost let it slide last week, after all, it's a lot easier to pop some pasta in a pot than follow a new recipe with a long list of ingredients. I do find myself a bit intimidated at times just looking through the cookbooks trying to find something to make. I'm hoping it's just my pregnancy brain psyching me out.

Pregnancy brain! Myth or not, I have been misplacing things more lately (thankfully never Travis) or walking into a room and forgetting why I am there. It is very frustrating for me. I feel as if I am slowly going crazy. I think maybe it's because I am just a bit more tired than before and I now have to remember things for Travis and I, and sometimes Don, who by the way has what I affectionately refer to as "sometimers".

Last week I made Lasagna. Her recipe calls for ground turkey or sirloin, but I decided to go with the meatless version which is an option in the cookbook. It's all the same as your usual Lasagna, except she called for low fat sour cream and low fat cottage cheese. I had some low fat ricotta cheese in the fridge already. I bought it thinking I needed it for a recipe, but I couldn't remember which recipe. Really, it's driving me crazy. So, I used it in the lasagna instead of the sour cream and cottage cheese. It sounded better anyway.

Since I wasn't using meat I mixed the sweet potato puree, cauliflower puree, egg white, ricotta cheese and Parmesan cheese all together for my filling. She tells you how to make your own tomato sauce, but I just used regular old Ragu, which is also an option she offers to save time. I used noodles I had from another Lasagna venture a while back. We all loved it, but of course Don said next time I should use meat. I thought we needed a break from meat!

My second recipe of the week was Honey Mustard Chicken. This is the one where I was dragging my feet. I finally decided to make it on Tuesday for lunch and have the leftovers waiting for Don when he got home since Travis and I would be at Track club.

The recipe is as follows: 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/2 cup crushed pretzels, 1 Tsp Parmesan, 1/2 tsp Paprika, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, all stirred together in a bowl and set aside. Then 1 cup sweet potato puree, 3 Tablespoons honey, 1 large egg, 1 tsp Dijon Mustard all mixed together in another bowl and set aside.

Take the 1 1/2 lbs of skinless chicken breasts and cut them into cubes. Dip the chicken in the sweet potato mixture and then coat them with the dry mixture and drop into a pan on medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides 4 to 5 minutes on each side until the chicken is cooked through.

Really, after having to crush the pretzels and mix everything together, this is a pretty simple recipe. I was on my way to track club when I got a phone call from Don who said I need a big food processor instead of my little tiny puree blender because the chicken was awesome and he is loving my recipes. Travis and I ate the chicken for lunch along with sweet potato fries and Travis seemed to like it too.

This week I am trying Chicken Enchiladas and Meatball soup. I am going to try and use Deer meat again, we'll see if it works!

PS. I am now 34 weeks and baby is running out of room. I've had many people tell me that I will probably go early. GOOD LORD I HOPE SO!! 3 more weeks at least. I have been enjoying the nicer weather and even got outside with Travis today and walked/jogged 2 miles on the rail trail while he was in the jogger. Maybe I can walk/jog this kid right out of me!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Deer Meat!!!!

When an 86 year old woman gives you her meat loaf recipe, you cherish it! You think "there can be no better meat loaf recipe than this meat loaf recipe!". This is a recipe that needs to be passed from generation to generation and must always be your go to recipe. This is how I feel about our neighbor Bea's recipe. She passed away a year ago, and I learned little secrets from her not only about her meat loaf, but also about apple pies and kettle corn. So it's understandable that I would have my reservations about making meat loaf with another recipe, but I did.

This week I tried the Turkey Meatloaf recipe from "Double Delicious". Of course I changed the recipe a bit. The recipe calls for 2 lbs. of lean ground Turkey, but I used ground Deer Meat, because that's what we eat in our house. I mixed in some sausage per Don's request simply because Deer Meat has very little fat. I think next time I might just be able to use the Deer Meat. The recipe also calls for 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, 3 large egg whites, 1/2 cup carrot puree ( I used sweet potato because I had some made already), 1/2 cup cauliflower puree.  Mix everything together and put in a 9x5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and bake 50-55 minutes.

I have to say, it turned out pretty well. I enjoyed it, Travis enjoyed it, and to my surprise, Don even said he thought it was better than Bea's. All I could think about was that she, much like my own 86 year old grandmother, would love the fact that it was "healthy" and had veggies hidden in it. After all, she made her pie crusts with Canola Oil so they would be healthier!

A couple days later we had some meat left to use, so I decided to make the Burgers 1 recipe from "Deceptively Delicious" (there are 2 hamburger recipes in this book).

Again the recipe called for 1/2 lb. lean ground turkey and I used the Deer Meat and sausage combo. 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1/4 cup skim milk,  2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 cloves garlic, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1 tablespoon olive oil,  whole grain dinner rolls. Stir together all the ingredients (except the olive oil, that's for the pan) and mold into hamburger patties.

We were going to try and cook these on the grill, but the weather turned wicked and Don didn't want to be outside on the front porch, and I don't blame him. We wound up using my pampered chef stone pan to broil them in the oven, which turned out great. So even healthier probably than frying them in the pan. We paired it with potatoes and peppers which were also roasted in the oven. We ate the burgers on Thomas' whole wheat english muffins, and it was great!

I don't yet know what I will make for this weeks recipes. I'll have to think about that tonight. Now at 33 weeks pregnant I am beyond the point where I stopped running with Travis. I ran a mile on Saturday and Sunday at the track along with some drills and hope to get another mile in today.  But I must say, my belly has gotten to that point where I am amazed that it can stretch this far and I am convinced it will never go back again! It's quite a sight!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Are we there yet?

I'll admit I am getting a bit antsy. I am feeling good and I can still run a bit, walk for a while, and do some running drills, but it's just not the same. I sit here in the house on a 40 degree day, the first in a while, and I am trapped because of ice.

As any marathoner does, I like to plan out my training schedules. I print out a big calendar and write down what I will do each week for a long run, when I will start double days, how much mileage I'd like to get in, etc. I haven't done this in about a year. When this baby is born, it will be just about a whole year since I've done any serious training. I took the summer "off" only running 30 minutes a day for a while knowing we would want to get pregnant and that I would be working 50 hours a week. I was happy at the time to take a break.

After a couple months I got tired of my flabby self and started upping my mileage. I felt like crap! I thought, wow, I'm really in horrible shape. Then I told myself, maybe it's the hot weather on top of not running that much, I'll bounce back in a couple of weeks, I just have to struggle through this crappy time.

In the back of my mind I was thinking I might be pregnant, but I kept taking the tests and they kept coming back negative. I was very frustrated....until one day, BAM! a positive test result.  Now, I never drink really, but I had just gotten done being race director for our Big Bear 12 hour run and one of the racers had a Smithwick's (a lovely Irish Beer!) so I had to have one.  Then after that I had a Yuengling Black and Tan. Two beers and I was good and drunk. (weak, I know!) It wasn't a week later that I had the positive test. Oh the damage I must have done. LOL!

So here I am. I had my 32 week check up and everything was great. Not only am I preparing for the baby, trying to get organized, I've started planning out my training.  I understand that there are many variables that are beyond my control, but I am still planning my comeback like I would do a marathon training plan. It actually is a marathon training plan, except that I am starting completely from scratch and it goes well beyond the normal 24 week training plan.

The other night I counted out the weeks from my due date (I know she'll come late though) to my goal marathon. On paper it seems like a long time, I know in real life not so much. Don saw all of my calculations and asked what they were. I briefly explained, but I don't think he really understands or cares, and that's okay. It will keep me sane to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and then goals to keep me on track!  Now I've just got to figure out the logistics of lugging two kids around everywhere instead of just one.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

32 weeks and counting!

AHH! The end of a pretty hellish week. Last Thursday and Friday Travis got the little flu bug. Friday and Saturday Don got it (although it seemed to linger all week) then Saturday night I started feeling yucky. It's a scary feeling being on the verge of a fever and having chills when you are 31 weeks pregnant. This year I actually got a flu shot for the first time. I thought I was covered, apparently not. All in all it was a minor flu. I just felt yucky and achy and had chills. So I didn't get much exercise at all in this week.

With all our sickness I decided it was a good time to make some home made chicken soup. I chose the Chicken Alphabet soup from "Deceptively Delicious". 3 quarts reduced fat low-sodium chicken broth, 1/2 pound of chicken, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup alphabet pasta (I used some tiny bow tie pasta with peas, carrots, and corn because it needed to be eaten and I thought it would be good), 1/4 cup cauliflower puree, 1/4 cup sweet potato puree.

Cook the chicken in the broth and then take it out and add all of the other ingredients. Cook for about 6 minutes and then add the chicken back in. It was good stuff and it lasted a couple days for us. Not only was the chicken broth good for our sickness, but in case you didn't know, sweet potatoes are the super veggie which has everything you need! So I was sure this would get us healthy quick!

For breakfast one morning (I think it was Sunday) I made the Baked Egg Puffs from "Deceptively Delicious". They looked so good in the picture in the book, I was sure they would be wonderful. I don't know if I cooked them too long or if I was just having a pregnancy aversion to eggs on that day, but they didn't sit well with me. They also didn't come out quite like the picture. Don and Travis seemed to like them, but I'm figuring out that they'll eat anything.

A couple nights later we were still feeling a bit yucky, and I really didn't feel like cooking. I thought I would make the home made Tomato Soup recipe from "Double Delicious", but we were snow bound and I didn't have all the ingredients. Don got home from work and asked what we were having. I told him I thought about making the tomato soup, and he agreed to make some grilled cheese. So I made some adjustments to the recipe with what I had around the house and just hoped it would come out okay.

The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 stalks celery (didn't have any, left it out), 1 small onion, 3 cloves garlic (just used garlic powder), 1 can whole peeled tomatoes (used diced, same thing), 1 cup sweet potato puree, 1/2 cup broccoli puree, 1 quart beef broth (used chicken), 1 bay leaf (left out), 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 4 ounces of low fat cream cheese.

Cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium-high heat until the onion softens. Add tomatoes, sweet potato puree, broccoli puree, broth, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until it starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Take off the heat and add the cream cheese. It says to blend with an immersion blender, I don't have one so I just put it in our regular blender.

The tomato soup actually came out really good. It was a bit more like a tomato bisque, and Don said it would've been great with some seafood in it. Along with the grilled cheese it was awesome.

We all seem to be pretty healthy now, although we are buried in snow with some more on the way. I did get in a little run/walk yesterday and I ran 1 mile at the track today and then walked about a mile. So I am starting to feel better and I hope that I can keep running just a bit until about 35 weeks. We'll have to see!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicken and Biscuits

Well, it's been one of those mommy weeks! On Wednesday I decided to make Chicken and Biscuits. Sounded like a nice comfort food, and with the snowy weather moving in on us again I thought it would be good. Keep in mind that I mentioned before, I like to change recipes a lot, does that make me a non-conformist?  I suppose it helps me learn a little more about cooking. This time around I changed the recipe to take the easy way out on the biscuits part, but it turned out good anyway.

The basics of the recipe are 1 tablespoon Olive Oil, 1 lb. chicken breast cubed, 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 can of reduced fat cream of celery soup, 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup of sweet potato puree. I added carrots and celery because I thought this seemed more like a chicken pot pie, and I love chicken pot pie, and you can never go wrong with extra veggies!

You cook the chicken in the oil (after peppering it) until brown (4 to 5 minutes) then you stir in all the other ingredients until they are well combined. Then remove from heat.

I put everything into a small casserole dish. Then I was onto the biscuit topping. This is where I cut corners. The recipe called for cream of tartar and buttermilk, neither of which I usually have around the house. I never use them and I've never bought them, so I figured it would be silly to spend the money on them just for this recipe only to have the leftovers go bad in the refrigerator. So went to the old standby, heart healthy Bisquick mix. I spread the biscuit mixture over the top of the ingredients in the casserole dish, then I put it in the oven for 25 minutes.

The result was a pretty little dish, not hard to make, and the family seemed to like it. We had enough leftover for everyone's lunch yesterday.

I made the leftovers for Travis, but he didn't eat any because he was running a nice fever and coughing and just not feeling well at all. When he was a little baby and he was sick I couldn't wait until he would be old enough to be able to tell me what was wrong. But now he is old enough, and he just cried and clung to me and said "mommy, make me better!" Well, let me see, eye of neut, chicken's feet, blood of a rare snake. I'm sure it will do the trick. Wound up all he really needed was lots of sleep.

He seems to be doing better now. I snuck out to the mailbox while he was sleeping, but that was pretty much all the exercise I got yesterday. Well, unless you include carrying around a 3 year old for half the day. I'm looking forward to some nice treadmill time today, since it is snowy and 15 degrees outside. I think I'll try the Chicken and Alphabet soup today. ON ON!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Yummy Chicken Salad

It's been a long weekend! Travis and I were left alone while Don went on his annual winter hike. Before he left I made some Chicken Salad from the "Deceptively Delicious" cookbook. I wish I would have taken a picture of it, it was beautiful! It was also absolutely delicious. Needless to say I will be making it again.

2 large hard boiled eggs (farm fresh of course), 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken cutlets or breasts, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp Olive Oil, 3/4 cup reduced fat mayo (I use smart balance), 2 stalks celery finely chopped, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1/2 cup non fat plain yogurt (I used greek), 1/2 cup green grapes coarsely chopped.

This recipe was fairly easy to make. You want to sprinkle all of the spices on the chicken and then cook in the oil. Just about the hardest thing was peeling the eggs. It must be because they are farm fresh and not store bought, I don't know! The Greek yogurt has more protein, and I use the smart balance mayo because I have to watch my cholesterol (can you believe that?!). The recipe also calls for taking all the yokes out of the eggs before chopping them, but I only took out two.

So you slice everything up and drop everything into a bowl and mix! It was fantastic! I loved it, and Travis loved it, especially the grapes, and I think as far as a chicken salad goes, very good for you! I will definitely be making this one again!

Now onto a little running and pregnancy update.....Today I had my 30 week check-up. I was happy that I had maintained weight instead of gaining after two weeks, but I know that you could gain no weight one week, and five pounds the next. I just keep trying to eat healthy and exercise and hope that I won't be too far in the whole come April. The Mid wife said everything was great, and I'm feeling great too, except for the occasional day when it feels like the baby is trying to pull an alien on me and jump out of my stomach. Oh, and every time I see someone I haven't seen in a while I get "wow, your belly is really popping out there!" well, where exactly do you expect the baby to go? Kinda like your only option for building in New Jersey is up, your only option for growing in my belly is out! I've come to terms with the fact that this baby will probably be over 9 lbs, and my belly will be HUGE come March! It's an amazing thing.

Despite my giant belly, I'm still getting around pretty good. Last week we had some wicked snow, so I stayed home with Travis from Monday night until Friday. I was able to get out for the occasional walk/run to the mailbox, and otherwise I got on the treadmill. I'm holding steady at about 2 miles. I've also been doing more exercises for legs and core. No abs of course, but some random running drills. I did a nice 45 minute routine with some of the WVU girls last night and I am feeling it today! The hips just don't want to do much except for walk! So today was an easy day of just walking since I am very sore, but it's a good sore!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lemon Chicken

This week I tried the Lemon Chicken recipe out of "Double Delicious". I paired it with couscous and string beans as you can see from the picture. I have to admit, there are times when I look at the recipes and they seem daunting. So I've decided to just take a deep breath and go slowly. What's the worst that could happen? I make a completely inedible dish. I have frozen pizza in the freezer for back up.

This recipe calls for: 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic, 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil separated, 3 cups chicken broth, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 2 teaspoons water, 2 teaspoons cornstarch, 1/2 cup cauliflower puree, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley (optional), 2 large egg whites, 1 large eggs, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

You cook all the ingredients up until the parsley in a sauce pan to make the lemon sauce. This wasn't too bad at all, the cornstarch and cauliflower puree made it somewhat thick. Then you combine the other dry ingredients for the coating and beat the eggs, dredging the chicken in the flour mixture, then the egg and drop it in the oil, 4 minutes each side or until chicken is cooked.

This turned out really well, although the flour coating came off of my chicken when I cut into it, but really I would've eaten it without the coating, especially with the sauce. I used the sauce on the couscous and string beans too. Don and Travis seemed to like it also. I think Travis likes saying couscous more than eating it though. I would make this recipe again!

Today I plan to try the chicken salad recipe. Travis and I have been stuck inside since Monday night because of the lovely lake effect snow showers. So I have plenty of time to cook.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beer Belly without the beer!

It's that time again. I did this when I was pregnant with Travis too. I would look down at my belly and think, "oh, there is no way that is going back the way it was!" Usually after going a whole day of walking around and a little running/working out, I wonder just how it is that a man can walk around with a giant beer belly and do nothing about it. I mean, it is really uncomfortable! I at least can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Some time, hopefully before April starts, this baby will be out, and after a few weeks, I will start to feel like my old self again (I hope). But a man with a beer belly, there is no reward. Maybe he sees beer as the reward. I will never understand it. I prefer to be able to see my feet. I digress...

This week has been somewhat challenging for my running since it has been so cold and snowy. Monday I got outside for a run/walk for about 2 miles because Don was home, and it's also the day Travis goes to school. Tuesday I ran 2 miles straight on the indoor track. I was really happy about that. On Wednesday I pushed Travis around our little town of Bruceton while I ran/ walked for 40 minutes. Thursday and Friday I got on the treadmill for about 35 minutes, again just walking and running.

I also decided to start, or resume, some prenatal exercises so that I don't completely lose my muscle tone. Most of the exercises are for my legs, hips, and butt. Right now, my hips are retaliating against me. I guess they are going through a lot getting ready for a couple months from now. I never thought lifting my own body weight could hurt so much.

Yesterday I took my day off. I pretty much have had a day off every week. Today I feel lazy, but I am going to the indoor track again so hopefully I will get in another 2 miles. I keep plugging along, now at 28 weeks, hoping I can make it at least 6 more weeks being able to eek out my "running" or what some would call race walking. Maybe I can run this baby right out of me!

Friday, January 7, 2011

I never said I was a chef!

Ahh, staying at home with much time to cook. It can be a beautiful thing! That is, when your almost 3 year old isn't climbing up your leg. Travis wanted to "help" me cook this week, but he quickly lost interest. So I was on my own with my recipes.

Earlier in the week I tried home made chicken nuggets from "Deceptively Delicious". I had tried this recipe once before when I first got the cook book, so I figured I could handle it, and Travis loves chicken nuggets. One thing I must note is I like to change recipes a lot, either substituting or leaving something out because I don't have it around the house.

This recipe called for 1 cup panko breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup flaxseed meal (didn't have it, so I left it out), 1 tablespoon grated parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon Paprika, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1 cup broccoli puree, 1 large egg beaten, 1 pound chicken cut into small chunks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon Olive oil (I used Canola).

You mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and the egg and broccoli puree in another. Get the skillet nice and hot with the oil and start breading the chicken. First in the egg/puree mixture, and then in the dry mixture, drop in the pan. 3 to 4 minutes on each side until chicken is cooked.
 
This really was a quick easy recipe that i paired with the broccoli that I didn't puree and some mashed sweet potatoes. Don and I loved it, Travis loved the broccoli, but prefers the store bought chicken nuggets. I plan to make this recipe again, so he'll just have to get over it!

A couple days later I decided to make the meatball sub recipe from "Double Delicious". I used deer meat instead of the ground meat and ground turkey that she suggested. Don said it might not hold together pretty well since there isn't a lot of fat in Deer meat, but I went ahead anyway.

Recipe: 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs, 1 cup chicken broth, 1 cup sweet potato puree, 1 large egg white, garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, 1 pound meat (1/2 ground, 1/2 turkey), 1 table spoon olive oil, 1/2 onion chopped, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 can diced tomato.

I had a pregnancy brain moment and missed the step where it said to put 1/2 the chicken broth into the meatball mixture, so I put all the chicken broth in. Too much! I had to heat the onions in the oil and get it ready for the first meatballs. I plopped them in and tried to gently turn them when ready. It wasn't working out so well. Some of them decided to fall apart. When I was done with the whole thing I had about half meatballs and half sloppy joe. Oh well! I will try it again later, much later!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Reason's why?

I'm only guessing that every runner asks themselves at one time or another, "Why do I do this?".
I've been running consistently since I was in 7th grade, and I've noticed as time has gone by that my reasons for running have changed. When I first began running it was something to do, a way to be apart of things. I've noticed that with the middle school kids that I coach, it is 98 percent social for them.

When I got into High School it became more about competition and being the best. I did not like to lose. I trained with the boys because I knew it would make me faster. I ran in all sorts of weather, most days leaving the house with my father saying "you're going out in this?".

When I became a Senior running became my way to pay for college. Then, when I went to college, it became my job.

It wasn't until I was about 26 years old that it changed again. My father died of a massive stroke at the age of 56. His father died of a massive heart attack and the age of 56, and his brother died at the age of 54. This was when I realized, I could never stop running. Somewhere along the line my father went from a strong, athletic man, to an old man with diabetes and bad legs. It scared me to think that at 26 I might be at mid-life. If I take after my father (which I do in most respects) then the clock was ticking!

Now I run mostly for health and sanity. The social aspect that was there when I was in middle school has come back. I like having running buddies, although they are sometimes hard to find. I like going to the hash runs just to hang out with other runners. I like being outside and saying I ran the Boston Marathon in a Nor'easter, or I ran outside when we had 3 feet of snow on the ground.

It has turned out that running has been my constant companion for almost 25 years. Everything changes, that's just life, but running will always be there! At least I hope!