12 Days!

I’ve been slacking again and sometimes I don’t even realize it. Is it just me or are the days (weeks/months) just flying by. It’s a little crazy. I’ve been trying to write this post for a week. I’m 12 days from my first race of the season, my 10k in Key West. I am both excited and nervous for a number of reasons. Not only are we going for the race, but it is also our 4th wedding anniversary, AND we’re bringing the dog!

Meet Boo!ย ย  IMG_7428

Boo is our 4 1/2 year old Humane Society mutt. She is one of the goofiest dogs I know. Look at that face! I compare her to Buddy the Elf because she loves EVERYTHING, including…

Boats

Kongs

Kongs

and Pillows

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She is 55 pounds of fun and kisses, which could be both good and bad on vacation. She’s never gone on vacation, and I know she will have an absolute blast. BUT, will the random roosters and cats be too much to handle? Can she sit at a bar or restaurant and people watch without bursting (and barking) with excitement? We’re about to find out!

Then there’s the race. I’m up to 8 miles in training so I should be able to do 6.2 without a problem, but it’s still a little hot, and extra humid outside. All my long runs are still being done on the treadmill. I’m worried this will slow me down, but either way I’m going to have a blast. It’s hosted by the Rum Barrel and I’m sure the after party will be great!

And the best part? I get to spend a few days with my guy, not worrying about work, or vacuuming, just enjoying each other (and Boo!) and all the wonder that is Key West!

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Lessons of the Day…

or week, or month because I’m a slacker.

  • Don’t get plastic surgery in Mexico because it’s cheap! I was watching Never Been Kissed on E! last week and when it ended the train wreck that is Botched came on. My sister has mentioned this show several times, but I said “no.” Because it is exactly as it sounds, botched plastic surgeries. But as with any train wreck, you can’t turn away. Wow! I’ll leave it at that. If you’re interested you’ll find it, but my husband had to leave the room and insisted he wouldn’t be able to eat dinner.
  • Crock pots are amazing. I’ve only made one real meal so far but I’m obsessed! I was off last Wednesday and decided to give slow cooker beef stroganoff a try. Stew meat, mushrooms, beef broth, garlic and herbs all thrown in the pot and that was it, I went about my day. My whole house smelled like stew within an hour and by the time Brian got home for dinner the meat was falling apart. Add a little sour cream and serve over egg noodles. Amazing. And super helpful for those evenings when I do my long runs after work (which should start this week). And so I hit pinterest for recipes and decided that this week we will try cashew chicken. But my simple (and free) crock pot only has two settings which both would lead to over cooked chicken. In a panic I took to Amazon and thanks to Prime, our new crock pot will be here tomorrow, just enough time for Cashew Chicken Thursday and a 7 mile run. Which leads to my last lesson…
  • Running is all mental. At least for me. It takes me a good 40-45 minutes for me to think, wow, I can do this. Before that I can stop that treadmill at any minute. Because, yes, I am training on the treadmill. It’s still well into the 90s in the Sunshine State, with heat index in the 100s and humidity downing us all. I just can’t do it. I’ve been trying to get on the treadmill 3 times a week, two 3-milers and one longer run. It’s been tough. I’m struggling to maintain double digits for the week, mostly because of a muscle knot in my left thigh that is going on 4+ months. Despite all the contraptions I’ve bought, I can’t get it out. On the plus side, I am getting my longer runs done, so far. I’ve done two 6-milers so far, and have a 7-miler on the books for Cashew Chicken Thursday. I am gaining speed and feeling good about my progress so far. I fully intend to be prepared this time for my half in November (officially 12 weeks out now). I’d like to be able to walk the next day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Feed Me!

The thing about dieting as a foodie, is, well, it sucks. Plain and simple. I think about food constantly.

I love it, all of it. Bread, butter, cheese. I want mayo on my sandwich and I don’t care who knows. I want wine with my dinner and maybe after and I don’t want to have to think about it, worry about it, or care about it. I almost ripped into a bag of Smartfood in the grocery store checkout line just because I wasn’t supposed to eat it.

It is a struggle. I’ve been working on moderation. I made giant caprese paninis Thursday night. My compromise? I only put mayo on one side of the bread and I ended up only eating half. See! Progress!

I’m still trying to count my points most of the time, and I’ve been running. I managed to get three good runs in last week, which is pretty impressive for me, especially since I couldn’t move for two days after Tuesday’s 4 miler. I’m working through, slowly. 10 miles total, which is almost a record for me for the week. I’ve set up my training schedule for the next year with the hopes of being better prepared for my half’s, as well as making sure I don’t push it and get injured. One day at a time, right?

One of those days.

I’m not sure what happened. I slept pretty well. No problems getting up, other than the fact that I had to get up. But non-the-less, everything seems to be irritating today!

I have nothing really to complain about, life is actually good, but every now and then you have one of those days. The dog was barking too much at nothing, complaints at work about things that are out of my control, but I think the biggest trigger today was the scale. I KNOW I’m not supposed to get on the scale every day but it’s the only way I stay on track! I lost 2.4 pounds on week 1 of Weight Watchers but this morning, I gained one.

It’s probably water weight, I’m sure it’s a fluke, but it set the mood for the rest of the day.

Week One hasn’t been so bad. I stayed within my points every day and used my extras on the weekend for a chicken wing (or 5) and some wine. I’ve been making special stops at the Farmer’s Market to keep fully stocked on fresh fruits and veggies. Lots of them. I bought kale. It’s all the rage.

This guy likes it. And I like him, cause he’s adorable.

I made kale chips, which were too soggy the next day to eat, and I think I’ll try some tonight with some turkey sausage and pasta.

I’ve been working out too. A few days on the elliptical and a 4 miler on Tuesday. Perfect start to Key West 10k training, which at some point will merge into half training. The lines are kind of blurred. I’m weight training twice a week too. My tookus is a bit sore from some leg presses yesterday. Those are the same as squats, right?

I can honestly say, after sitting down to right this, I feel so much better (it’s probably that bunny). Here’s to a great weekend, more healthy eating, more pounds dropped, and maybe a little fun in the sun.

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It’s a New Day

I have been a horrible blogger. Life seems to be moving faster than I can keep up. So, here’s a quick run down of what’s been going on for the last month….

  • I bought new running shoes. A beautiful pink and grey pair of Brooks Ghost 6. I’d been having some aches and muscle cramps so this seemed logical as my other pair hit 400 miles. I’m still suffering from a nasty knot on my thigh, just above me knee. There are a lot of weird foam rolling positions happening at my house because of it, but it’s getting better.
  • I finally had a watermelon in my garden! She was a beauty, until I picked her too soon, cut her open and she was no where near ripe. Lesson learned. Fortunately, I have another one it’s way, we’ll let her mature before I take her in.
  • Other than the watermelon plant, most of the garden is not looking good. We just got back from a weekend in Connecticut to find half my tomato plants dead and covered in bugs. ๐Ÿ˜ฆย ย  I’m going to see if they can be recovered but most likely we’ll have to remove them and start fresh.
  • We went on vacation! A very close friend got married over the 4th of July weekend. It was really nice to visit “home” but it’s also good to be back in Florida, in my own bed, with my own shower.
  • I have gained an unacceptable amount of weight. I want to spend my days in air conditioning wearing sweat pants, sports bras, and over-sized shirts. Ugh. And so, I’ve joined Weight Watchers again. It worked the first time, so lets hope it works again. I will keep you posted on that.

There you have it, my month of June (first week of July). Now that the CT trip is over I can get back to focusing on healthy eating, training and saving money! Some how there never seems to be enough of any of that in my life.

Just Move

I’ve take a bit of a hiatus and I apologize. We went on a mini vacation to the Keys last month (post to come as soon as I upload my pics), and well, I’ve had a hard time getting back on a schedule. But here we are, June already, and not much to show for it, except….my $1 registration for the Best Damn Race in Orlando 2015!! If you’re not familiar with Best Damn Race, when registration opens the first 10 people get in for a $1, 10-20 are $5, etc. I was eagerly waiting at my computer yesterday hitting refresh until the registration opened hoping to get $35 or less. Low and behold, I was number 4 to register, $1. I did a little happy dance on the couch, so excited. It was such a fun race, the staff is awesome, and it will always hold a special place in my heart as my first half marathon.

In addition to the Best Damn Race, which is February 28, 2015, I have also signed up for the Southern Most Marathon’s 10k in October (any excuse to go to Key West), and the St. Augustine Half Marathon in November, another beautiful city that I just adore. There are large bridges in St. Augustine so I’m not expecting a miraculous time, but I just want to get back out there and feel that rush again. I can’t wait.

Running/Motivation has been a struggle this past month. It’s hot, so the treadmill is my only option and some days (most days) it’s just too hard to make myself go. I need to get over that. Before mini-vaca I ran two of my fastest treadmill 5k’s ever, since we got back, not so much. I just need to learn to do it, and not every run is going to be fast, or record breaking. Doing it is what counts, moving and burning those calories. And also cherish the fact that I’m not in pain, I have no shin splints or sore feet, and just move.ย  I think that will be my motto for June, just move. ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Quite the Pickle…

In the past week I harvested five 6-7 inch cucumbers. Beauties if I do say so myself, but too much for the two of us to eat before they go bad.

 

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What does one do with all these cucumbers? We make pickles! I have never pickled anything before but have always wanted to try, and I have these adorable 8 oz. canning jars so I set out to do a refrigerator pickle. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s a pickle you put right in the fridge, it’s not pantry safe since it’s not officially “canned” and according to this recipe they should last about 3 months.

After a few google searches, I decided on a Food Network recipe, which you can find here.ย  Though I added my own spin.

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Since my jars are small I went for little round pickles and I broke out my beloved mandoline with the crinkle cut blade. I also added 3 small slices of jalapeno from my garden to the bottom of each jar with the cloves of garlic and fresh cracked black pepper since I didn’t have whole peppercorns. I skipped the dill. And a teaspoon of salt to the vinegar brine. That one teaspoon wasn’t much for the large amount of brine I made but my husband swears they were sweet. Next batch I’ll have to leave it out and see.

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All jarred up and ready to go. Pour the brine over the top and let them cool, then refrigerate. They tasted like pickles in about 4 hours and by the next day you could definitely feel a small amount of heat from the jalapenos. I would say they were definitely a success. I shared with family and friends (who shared with random people at the steakhouse bar!), and everyone seemed to enjoy them. Next up will be a hot pepper relish as soon as my hot cherry peppers ripen!

 

Weekend Wrap Up

It’s Monday again. Not much to say about that. Another weekend flew by but I have to say, it was a nice relaxing weekend. Here are the highlights:

  • Friday, these guys started turning red. I’m up to 6 now, possibly a few more will be ready when I get home from work. We’ll be enjoying these on a salad tonight with dinner. I also made awesome salsa with some jalapenos from the garden.

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  • Saturday, I managed to get up a little early and walk along the Indian River for 45 minutes before work. Love when I can get my workout out of the way first thing. Here’s my view….

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  • ย And Sunday, after several hours of scrubbing in the sun, B and I made it out on the boat for the first time this season. (Did I mention we have a small fishing boat?) It was a beautiful day on the river and so relaxing. We truly live in a beautiful place.

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Hope you had a great weekend too! Already getting ready for the next one.

The cucumber that took over the world (or at least my garden)

When we started looking for our first home 5 years ago, I desperately wanted a yard. A fenced in yard so I could have a dog and a garden. Turns out the dog was easier to maintain then the garden. That first spring Brian dug out a corner of the yard and built me a garden, complete with a rabbit/dog proof fence. And since then that garden has probably held more weeds than viable vegetables. It’s hot in Florida, things die and then I lose interest. It’s sad. But every spring I try again. Two years ago I bought $40 worth of seeds online to have “fancy” tomatoes and “carnival” peppers. They never even made it out of the house. Last year I didn’t even try. This year however, this year would be different.

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image Meet the Garden. March 2014.

Lowes had a sale in March on veggies so one wild Saturday night after a 4:00 showing of the Veronica Mars Movie, we headed over to stock up. And so we have red, green and orange bell peppers, icebox watermelon, two types of beefsteak tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes, and the cucumber that took over the world. It’s still pretty early to claim success. I haven’t actually been able to eat anything yet BUT I must say, I have some pretty happy veggies on my hand, and I will credit it to my $20 mister landscaper kit and timer that waters everything twice a day while I watch from my bedroom window.

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April 2014, the killer cucumber.

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April 2014

Cucumber, still going, all the way up the back fence.

Cucumber, still going, all the way up the back fence.

It’s my own little science project in the backyard. It’s amazing how fast every grows and changes literally every day. I can look at it before I leave for work and 8 hours later it is completely different. I check it daily to try and keep up with the weeds, but also to make sure the cucumber isn’t choking any of it’s neighbors. It’s tried. At this rate I will have years worth of pickles in my fridge, which I’m looking forward to trying, along with some hot sauces and relishes.

In addition to the raised bed, I have a patio full of herbs and citrus trees, cherry tomatoes, jalapenos, and hot cherry peppers. There’s a lot going on! Be prepared for more posts as things live, die and hopefully give me endless amounts of produce so I don’t have to by $2 tomatoes at the store. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

I ran a half marathon!

I’ve been walk/running on and off for a couple years, nothing serious, nothing fun, just a means to burn calories. I don’t remember why but about a year ago I decided to push myself a little more. It was a struggle. I’m not designed to run. I had muscle cramps and shin splints, a bout with tendonitis. I had all kinds of equipment that made getting ready to run quite the ordeal; compression sleeves, heart rate monitor, belts, bike lights for night runs. It took forever to get out there.

In November I made a commitment to do something more. I could run 5 miles, there was no reason I couldn’t run a half in the spring. I found The Best Damn Race Orlando on google and it was cheap, probably the only reason I signed up. Four months should have been plenty of time to train. It wasn’t, not for me at least. I’m lazy and by the time Christmas hit my training ceased to exist. Christmas cookies and glasses of wine become much more enjoyable then running. My longest run was 8 miles, and that was in January, almost a full two months before the race.

A week and a half before the race I set out to do 10 miles, the last long one. I hit 7 and crashed. I was tired, bored, my feet went numb. I sat in my driveway and cried. I wasn’t ready and it was my own fault. I told Brian (my husband) I was going to cancel, I didn’t want to get hurt. But he talked me down from my emotional ledge and convinced me to go, do my best and walk as much as I had to. The only person I was competing with was myself and I could finish. And so I did.

I spent that last week hydrating, trying to eat right and mentally preparing. We headed to Orlando Friday night for packet pick up, a quick dinner and an early night.

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Meet my bib number, complete coincidence, but that’s my birthday, 05/12. Made me smile. ๐Ÿ™‚

The morning of was a whirlwind of nerves. I nearly missed that start because I somehow missed all the signs and went the wrong way to line up. I got in the back and was just going to do my own thing. The whistle blew and I went, and went and went. It was a beautiful, cool morning in the 50s and I remember every mile. I hit mile 8 and couldn’t believe how good I felt, how happy, how proud. I had never gone that far in my life. I didn’t hurt until mile 10….11….12…it got tough, I slowed but I didn’t care, I was going to finish. And I did! And I did it that time I was hoping for! 2:45:07.

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That’s me in the pink!

I was so excited I nearly missed getting my medal because I wanted to tell Brian all about. It was the most amazing feeling. I thought I would cry, I even brought tissues but I was just too happy! I stretched, drank more water, and then we went out for tacos and tequila. (For those of you who don’t know me yet, I LOVE TACOS!) It was the perfect day, until about 4:00 when all of the muscles in my legs started cramping and I had a headache for two days after. But I would do it all over again, and plan too, but with more preparation, more training. Now I have a time to beat. ๐Ÿ˜‰