Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wednesday Love

Today I'm trying to be positive, in light of the rain and snow that is falling outside my window. So here's something I'm totally loving on right now:

These little chocolate covered acai and blueberry goodies. I've heard that acai is good for you, but I wasn't really sure why. So off to Wikipedia I went, my trusted source for all things that could possibly be true. (Hey, it is the internet). There are a lot of purported health benefits to the acai berry, "rich" in antioxidents, including weight loss, and reversal of diabetes and other chronic illnesses.

Apparently the FDA has not done any studies on the health benefits of the acai berry, so any claim made is unproven at the moment. The acai berry has less antioxidents than the blueberry, but more than an orange. So, there's that.

In any event, these little treats are good. At a whopping 170 calories for 16 pieces though, I have to limit myself slightly. But they are the perfect mix-in with a handful of walnuts for a tasty little afternoon snack. Yum!

Monday, April 28, 2014

HOPE Springs 5K

Good morning readers!

This weekend was full of activities, and topping the list was the HOPE Springs 5K! I was really worried about the weather, but the rain/snow held off and we had a breezy run in 35 degree weather. Something I'm pretty comfortable in, but I know a lot of the other runners were cold.

The race started at the hospital which is only 2 blocks away. I picked up my race packet the night before, and we planned to get there with plenty of time for parking, stretching, and whatnot. Luckily we did, because we managed to lock our keys in the house before we left, so we had to break into the house just to get the car keys! Ridiculous!

We made it with more than enough time to go inside and check out all the raffle giveaways, plus say hi to some people we know. I love small town races because there's no corrals or squeezing in. You just line up behind the start line and when they say go, off you go.

The race started off well, except one guy fell over the time mat. A few people stopped to help him up. I totally would have if I had been closer. I like the start of this race because there's a big downhill right at the beginning. Then you feel like you're flying! But I did have to tell myself to slow down a bit. We're just getting started here!

Last year, I finished this 5K in 27 minutes even. My goal for this year was to get in under that. I was checking my pace the entire way, and felt really fast. A few times I looked down and saw that I was doing about 8:15ish - 8:30 min/mile. I alternated between "can I really keep this pace up?" and "Man, I am rocking this!" With only about a mile left to go, I decided to just hold steady. I had plenty of time to meet my goal.

Remember that hill we got to scream down in the beginning? Yea, well we have to go up that to get to the finish line, too. There was a girl wearing a bright pink shirt that I had been trailing for about half a mile. I  knew if I could just keep her in my sites, then I was good.

Me: white vest.

Here I am blasting past her up the hill. I was on fire! I turned the corner and sprinted to the finish line. I was so excited to look down and see my time:

PR baby! What's even better? My official chip time was 25:56!! I am pretty pleased with that, thankyouverymuch. Couldn't have done it without my little cheer squad.

Emily thinks I'm the best runner in the world.
So, I'm on a high from racing this weekend. Anyone else have a "toot my own horn" worthy weekend?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Easter Recap

Hello blog world!

This is a little late, but Happy Belated Easter! We had a great day, despite a few bumps along the way.

Since I'm training for a half-marathon right now, and I have a 5K this weekend, I knew I needed to do my long run regardless of the holiday. My plan was to run on Saturday, but our weather included freezing rain, ice, and 22mph winds. Not gonna happen. So I sucked it up and got up super early to run before church. Early as in I saw the sun rise.

The weather was actually beautiful, and I had an awesome run. I'm not sure if I was just in a hurry, or maybe all my training work is helping, but my overall pace was 8:56 min/mile. I ran 10 miles in 1:29:21. Last weekend I ran 9.5 miles in 1:28:50. I was hauling butt, ya'll!

When I returned at 7:50, Emily had just started eating breakfast. I figured our timing was perfect to find her basket and get on the road to church by 9:15. Travis decided to run a covert ops mission for basket hiding this year though, which I had not planned on at all. A little much for a 2 1/2 year old if you ask me. So after some helpful guidance from mom, Emily finally found her basket in the kitchen cabinet.

You wish you were as cool as my kid. 
After discovering what the Easter Bunny brought, I raced upstairs to take a shower. I was making good time and almost done getting ready when I finally heard Travis bring Emily upstairs to get dressed. I listen to them talk about putting her tights on, and her pretty dress. Then I hear:

"Emily, NO!!!".......SPLASH.....

My husband felt it necessary to bring his coffee upstairs to aid in getting clothes on, and of course my daughter spilled it all over her Easter dress. Wonderful...

So I made a mad dash for the dress, rinsed out the coffee in the bathroom sink to the best of my abilities, and threw it in the dryer. It was now 8:45, and I was praying that it dried enough. Cue small crying fit about ruining her dress, having to convince her that everything will be ok, and now being in a slight panic about getting everything together in time. Thankfully, the dress dried in time, and you can't even see the stain. I can, but that's because I'm  mom. Thank God for busy prints!

My adorable girl!

In the end, we made it to church on time and Emily was beautifully behaved through the service. Afterwards, we spent the day at the in-laws playing outside, lounging around watching movies, and eating way too much food.

It was a good day!

How was your Easter? 
Do you have any laundry tips for possibly set in coffee stains?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Runners Tell All Linkup: Go Before You Go

It's once again time to link up with fellow runner bloggers via The Lady Okie!

This month's topic is sharing a bad race or training experience and what you learned from it.

Without grossing you out with too many details, I will admit that my worst training experience (by far!) was a 5 mile run cut short by the call of nature that required a shower immediately upon returning home. 'Nuff said, right?

Since then, I've had a few more occasions where I've had to become one with nature because I was too far from home, but thankfully they are becoming a rarity. Thank God!

I've learned the hard way, that you have to go before you go. Also, I have to pay attention to what I'm eating before I run, as well as the day before I do a long run or race. Every runner is different, but lighter is better for me. I cannot do a huge spaghetti dinner the night before a race. I've learned that lean protein and veggies are better for me. I love to eat fish the night before a big run.

The morning of I prefer a Honey Stinger Waffle. I know some people can eat an entire bagel or toast with peanut butter, but that usually ends in disaster for me. I bring along energy chews to continue fueling during a long run. An embarrassing secret: I also take 2 immodium. Just to be safe.

If you're not a runner, this is probably totally grossing you out. I'm sorry. But, unfortunately, it is the nature of the beast. Running messes with your digestive system like no other. There's a lot of sloshing around, and more blood pumping, and general increase of "flow". You gotta do what you gotta do. I know it seems crazy that we runners would put up with all this just to run a little bit longer, but once you get addicted to those endorphins, they're hard to resist!

So, now that I've told you my dirty secrets, what are yours? Worst training experience?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thursday Confessions

I saw this on another blog I follow (Run, Eat, Repeat), and thought it was a good idea. Here's some confessions about me:

1. I started using Instagram but I have no idea what goes on there or why I'm using it. I take pictures and post them? You take pictures and post them? We look at each other's pictures? I don't get it.

2. I read an article about brain healthy foods that help fight exercise fatigue. Basically 99.9% of the items listed are not things in my daily diet. So, I'm trying to incorporate more walnuts, eggs, and avocados. However, I'm quickly learning that I don't really love walnuts, eggs, and avocados. I like guacamole, does that count? But I'm sitting here eating my walnuts, grudgingly, because they're "brain food".

3. I am very much a type A person, and might have a little OCD. I hate the joke how it should be CDO though, because it's alphabetically correct then. To a dyslexic person maybe...

4. I know that I come off as pushy and overbearing sometimes because of #3. I try to calm that down a little, but I'm not always successful. Like with my Ragnar Relay team. MUST GET ALL THE THINGS DONE TODAY. < truly how I feel, deep down. Not sorry.

5. I have not read any classic books like Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Dracula, etc. Yes, I was an English major in college. I focused on children's lit/young adult lit because those classes were way more interesting. And fun.

6. I ran on the treadmill today because we got a trace amount of snow last night, and I'm sick of dealing with it. I've put on a brave face (and 15 layers of clothes) for far too long. Over it!

7. I'm overly excited about Easter this year, because this is the first year that we're putting mostly candy in Emily's basket. I fully intend on eating half of it. Including the peanut butter filled chocolate rabbit I bought. That sucker has my name all over it.

What would you like to confess? I can't promise you absolution, but it's fun to let it out :o)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

There's a Fungus Among Us

We think. That's kind of gross, right? Here, let me explain.

Emily has a little bald patch on the back of her head, slightly off center to the right. I noticed it about a week ago, and said something to Travis about it. He said "oh yea, she had some hair come out after her bath a few weeks ago." He typically gives her baths while I do dinner dishes. I was kind of surprised that he wouldn't say something about that...

Of course my mind jumped to the worst possible conclusions on my wee-one's hair loss. But, I tried to stay calm and think of other explanations. The in-law's came over for dinner on Sunday, and I showed my mother-in-law. She suggested taking her to the doctor, just to be safe.

I know, rather safe than sorry.

So yesterday I called the nurse's line first, hoping that they could easily explain it away. They asked a billion questions like was it itching? painful? red? was she pulling at it? did she complain of pain? using new bath soap? lots of pony tails? etc....

No. The answer is mostly no to all those questions. She just has a thin spot, which is weird in itself. I thought, maybe, that she was losing some baby hair? The nurse nicely told me that that doesn't really happen. Ok. They suggested taking her in to the doctor as well, just to be safe. Ok! I get it. I'll take her in. We hung up, and the nurse called back not 5 minutes later to suggest that maybe it was ringworm. Ringworm!?!? No, it's not ringworm. I know what that looks like and this isn't it. But again, we'd rather be safe than sorry.

I was able to get an appointment for Emily yesterday, kind of right away. Shocking! Anyway, the doctor looked at it, we ruled out all the other possible things that I discussed with the nurse, and she finally decided that it could have been a fungus. Basically because it was just one patch. The hair is already starting to grow back though, so it's not ongoing or contagious. Phew!

She prescribed a topical anti-fungal cream that we get to use for 2 weeks, and then we go see a dermatologist just to make sure it's really gone. So, that's going to cost me a pretty penny. For what is probably nothing.

So now I have to wash all of Emily's sheets, pillows, hats, stuffed animals, etc. She gets to have a gunky head for two weeks. But, if it "cures" whatever is going on there and her hair comes back in, then it's worth it.

Oh the glamorous life of a parent...

Side note: did you know there was a lunar eclipse last night resulting in the very rare blood moon? I did not get up at 2:30 in the morning to check it out, but I'm seeing pictures from Facebook friends. Did you see it?

Friday, April 11, 2014

This and That

Yesterday I was kind of down on myself because I ran 5 miles at a 9:16 overall pace. I know this is dumb to most people, and most people just wouldn't understand. But I know I can comfortably run faster than that in my prime, and I've been doing hills and fartleks in an effort to get back to where I was last summer before the Apocalypse Winter.

This morning, despite almost convincing myself to go back to bed, I went out and did hill repeats anyway. I read this blog post by Beth over at Shut Up and Run, in which she talks about doing 8 hill repeats. On a dirt trail. So I put my big girl undies on and walked out the door. (I also had all my other clothes on too, just to clarify).

Imagine my surprise when I stopped my watch at 3 miles and had a sub-9 min/mile pace!

Hills are kind of like doing speed work in disguise since you get to run a little faster on the downhill. But mile 3 was nothing but flat stretches. Whoop for an 8:39 pace! 

The main reason why I was so tired this morning is because we went out last night. Not like we're big party animals though - we were home by 9:15! I scored some free tickets to the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota's "Flavor of the North" event. It's a food tasting/judging event with over 20 restaurants and vendors from around the area, plus free wine and beer tasting! Each restaurant prepares one dish in one of three categories: appetizer, entree, or dessert. Then we got to taste everything and vote for our favorites. All of the proceeds go to the Buddy Backpack Program, which supplies food to children over the weekends during the school year. To qualify, they just have to be on the free or reduced lunch program. UWNEMN supported over 600 kids through Buddy Backpacks this year!

I am a lame blogger because I had every intention to take pictures, but I totally forgot! In any case, this event was so much fun. I ate way more than I should have, but everything was so good! My favorites included walleye tacos with a pineapple salsa (they won 1st place!), a prosciutto wrapped jumbo prawn with jalapeno and a jicama slaw, bacon wrapped dates, and s'mores cupcakes. The cupcakes were truly drool worthy - I had two! They also won 1st place in the dessert category, and the prawns won 1st for apps. 

They also had tons of silent auction items to peruse, as well as a live auction and a ticket-type auction. I'm not sure what the name is, but basically you buy X amount of tickets and put them in buckets for certain prizes. Then they draw a ticket out for the winner. I love to bid on stuff and help drive up the prices, but I never really win anything. So I was really excited to have won this painting by a local artist:

It was donated by a local art/gift shop called Soho Arts. All of the artwork that they sell is created at the Range Center by people with disabilities. I totally love that there is an outlet for that, and a business willing to support it. We have another painting of a big pear that I bought there. I got to meet the artist of my pear painting at the Hibbing Gallery Hop a few years ago. You could tell that he was pleased as punch that I bought his painting and truly love it. It hangs in my kitchen and is one of my favorite pieces.

This new painting will probably go in my kitchen as well. I'm thinking of doing a wine-themed display above one of the cabinets with this as a backdrop. I only paid $20 and probably would have gone higher, but I was the only bidder! I mean, it's no Picasso, but it's cute and supports a great cause! I hope that whoever "Rebekah" is, she knows that her painting was sold and hopefully encouraged to keep at it!

Monday, April 7, 2014

PRO Compression Sock Review

The other day I posted this picture on Instagram:

Hot pink compression socks! I realize they are kind of blinding, but they are fun. I'm not sure why I always steer towards hot pink for my running stuff, but it definitely makes me more visible.

Anyway, compression anything is pretty hot in the running world. I have to admit that I just didn't get it. Compression pants, sleeves, calf sleeves, and socks. What's the hype all about? The best explanation I've been given so far is that it's like a hug on tired muscles. Hmm....ok....we all need a hug sometimes, right?

Making the transition from treadmill to roads again has been a little hard on my poor legs. They are bouncing back, but I still experience soreness from time to time. So, when one of my favorite running blogs (Run, Eat, Repeat) offered a coupon code to PRO Compression, I decided to give it a whirl. Here's what they have to say: "The benefit of wearing compression socks over 26.2 miles, 18 holes or 8 hours at work is the delay of muscular breakdown that comes from spending hours on your feet. PRO Compression works against gravity by helping your vascular system increase blood flow which relieves discomfort and assists in recovery."

This Sunday I logged 9 miles, and put on my hugging socks afterwards. Normally after a long run, my legs are pretty tired and all I want to do is sit down on the couch. These socks are supportive, without being to constricting or tight. The foot part is even a little loose for me. I wear a size 9 shoe and got the small, so if you're foot is smaller than you may want to consider the extra-small. The socks are definitely not miracle workers that gave me more energy, but did offer support through the day. I even went to Walmart to meander around for awhile. Once I took them off in the afternoon, my legs weren't sore or achy like they tend to be.

When it comes down to it, I'm not sure if my body is just reacting better to road runs or these socks are really helpful. But I'm going to continue to use them in the hopes that they are! This is obviously just my opinion as I'm not receiving anything from PRO Compression for my review. Just putting it out there for fellow runners and athletes.

Right now, PRO Compression is offering a coupon code for 40% off plus free shipping with code SOM4 if you purchase the "sock of the month" (purple or light blue) in support of Team in Training and Train 4 Autism.

I'm kind of eyeballing the purple...or the blue...or the purple...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

When Pinterest Fails Me

Recently we've been making loads of different recipes that I find on Pinterest. Usually, I check out the supermarket circular to see what meat is on sale, then log on to Pinterest to see what kind of recipes I've pinned involving that meat. We also add in staples like spaghetti, tacos, breakfast for dinner, etc. Then off to the grocery store I go with a Pollyanna attitude. This has been a great way to change up the dinner menu and try new things. 9 times out of 10, the recipe is delicious. Sometimes a little more laborious than planned, but hey...we can't all be perfect now, can we?

Meet the 1/10th:
Slow-cooker White Wine and Garlic Chicken
(I'm not posting pictures or the recipe to protect the innocent original blogger. This recipe just wasn't our style)

It sounds really good, right? Yes, I thought so too. The picture makes it look pretty good. It was relatively easy to throw together, and the house smelled amazing with this cooking up in the crock-pot. So I'm not really sure where it went wrong?

The funny thing is that I actually had to buy wine to make this recipe. Normally, we always have wine in the house. But we only had red, which I'm sure I could have used, but I wanted to stay true to the recipe for the first go-round. So I bought some cheap $3 white wine. I mean, come on, I'm not spending good money on good wine just to dump it into a recipe! Wine is for drinking!

Anyway, the flavor was just kind of off. It was really bitter. The sauce also congealed a bit once it was on the plate.  All three of us ended up scraping the sauce off the chicken. Luckily we made it with some Rice-a-Roni (because we're fancy like that) and veggies, so there was enough food on the plate with other flavors. But I definitely don't think we'll be making this again. Travis specifically asked to take it out of the recipe book.

Have you ever made anything that appeared to be amazing and fell flat?