Monday, June 29, 2015

Forgetting Fear

Yesterday I listened to a really great podcast during my long run. Thanks to the Run to the Top podcasts, via my Runners Connect training site, I listen to a lot of running-related interviews while I run. Not only are they entertaining and/or informative, but usually they're also pretty inspiring. 

This particular podcast was with Dr. Stan Beecham, entitled "Why You Need to Believe You are Good Enough."

Dr. Stan is a sports psychologist, and he notes that all too often he sees athletes who doubt themselves in their sports. Not just runners, although the interview was mainly focused on running. 

What he really focused on is the idea that we set goals that are "safe", even when we don't think so. When we're training on our own, we structure workouts that we know we can succeed at, because failing is scary. Failing puts that seed of doubt in our minds that maybe we can't do it - whatever "it" is that we're training for. Not only is he a big proponent of running with a coach or training group, but also setting scary goals. 

What time are you 100% sure you can run? Throw that out the window.
What time are you 90% sure you can run? Throw that out the window.
60%? - There's the sweet spot. Dr. Stan encourages his athletes to set goals that they are 60% sure they can hit, but have 40% chance of failure. His reasoning?

Failing isn't bad. 

I repeat. Failing. Is. Not. Bad.

Failing teaches us how to reorder our priorities, and what we need to work on to hit our desired goals. Or to modifiy a goal to be more realistic. If you're like me, sitting there thinking "well, I'm not sure what time I could run with a 60% success rate so I'll just pick an arbitrary number and go for it." Then failure can help us learn to be more in line with an appropriate number. 

Because once you've fallen a few times, then you can succeed. Then you can put the fear behind you. Even if you fail at your 60% goal, you're still running faster than that 100% goal. Once the fear of failure is gone, then we can grow - accept the bumps with the successes and move along in our path towards our goal. We're not doing what is "safe"; we're challenging ourselves. In the end, even if you do fail, wouldn't you rather know that you tried your hardest rather than played it safe? 

I will admit, I have a pretty aggressive goal for my first marathon: 4 hours or less. According to my training program through RunnersConnect, that is attainable. Maybe not this training cycle, but I'm sure gonna try. Because my biggest obstacle towards that goal is my own self doubt, so I'm going to try my hardest to believe in myself. That may take several reminders, but hey - we're all a work in progress.

Do you set safe goals? How do you challenge yourself?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fitness Friday

Happy Friday!

I've been recovering from my race this week, so the theme for this week has been "easy, easy, easy!"

Saturday - The Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. See my recap here. 13.1 miles in 1:52:59 - 8:38 pace.

Sunday - Resting & recovering. My quads and hamstrings definitely felt used. So lots of stretching and some foam rolling.

Monday  - Another rest day. Between the rain and not rehydrating the best after the race (read: Alison should not drink beer as a recovery drink), I'm going on day 3 of a migraine headache. Thankfully it cleared up by mid-morning, but no running for me today. I did fit in some hip & lower leg strength exercises after work though.

Tuesday - A nice, easy pace 3 miles. It felt good to get back on the road and run some of the race kinks out. Legs are feeling good! Paces were: 9:53, 9:50, 9:45.

Wednesday - I woke up at my usual time to fit in my circuit training routine. 4 sets of strength exercises with three 800m jogs in between. It takes about 30 minutes, and I watch the news at the same time. I haven't done it in a little while, so my legs felt the burn after all those dang mountain climbers. But I wanted to get some kind of exercise in today, despite it being a "rest" day. We went to an event called "Wine on the Mississippi" tonight, that includes...wait for! Also, wood-fired pizza and live music. So I wanted to bank some calories. :o)

Thursday - an easy 3 miler again. Nothing too exciting about this run. It was cool, but humid, and I got to run through some patches of fog. Average pace: 9:38.

Side note: I started memorizing the Detroit marathon course, mostly out of boredom. Did you know that there is a whole mile that goes through a tunnel? It's from Canada back into Michigan, known as the "Underwater Mile". Apparently, it's a thing.

Friday - Another easy 3 miles. I know I'm supposed to be resting this week after my race, but these easy 3's are getting a little boring. But I have 11 miles planned for Sunday, so I guess I should stop complaining. Average pace: 9:42.

So there you have it, folks. What a recovery week looks like in the midst of marathon training - 20 miles of easy running. No biggie!

How do you feel about running through a tunnel? Over bridges? 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Father's Day

This year it felt like Father's Day was a little overshadowed by my race on Saturday.

Ok, a lot overshadowed. My bad.

Originally, we had intended on going to the in-laws for a BBQ, but apparently no one passed this info along to my Father-in-law. So Trav's grandparents took him out for dinner instead. We weren't exactly invited although I'm sure it would have been ok if we went along, but we didn't find out until Sunday morning as we were trying to finalize plans with Trav's sisters. So....

Change of plans.

Instead, we decided to just stay home and celebrate as a family. Our CSA share included rhubarb for this week, so I decided to make a strawberry rhubarb pie. I'm not a big fan of rhubarb, but hey - might as well use it.

Here's my little helper, hamming it up for the camera. For some reason, she really, really, REALLY wanted to wear a dress on Sunday. Like, cried about it because she wanted to wear one so bad. Ok fine. But once she wanted to go outside, I told her she had to change into play clothes so she didn't get her dress dirty. She was totally fine with that, thankfully. So, the dress lasted about 2 hours. Whatever.

We were blessed with fabulous weather on Sunday (hello, where was this on Saturday?!), so we were outside a lot. We grilled brats, some corn on the cob, and I made a fresh salad. We even had a bonfire after dinner for a little bit. 

I think this all the time, but I probably don't say it enough. Emily is so lucky to have Travis as a Dad. He is amazing in his love and support for us both. I am beyond lucky to have him as a husband and partner-parent. 

I saw this on Facebook awhile ago, and it continues to ring true for me:

My Dad has always been there to support me, love me, cheer me on, guide me, and lift me up. He is one of the most self-sacrificing people I know in his way of giving to others, especially family. He has given me an incredible example of what a Dad should be, and I hope that Emily sees that in Travis as well. Because I sure do.

As for that pie? Well, it wasn't the most beautiful pie ever, but it sure did taste good!

How did you spend Father's Day? Have you ever tried rhubarb?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Race Recap - Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Here we are back at Monday. How does this happen so quickly? I swear it was just Friday...

When I left you, I was stressing out about the weather for my race on Saturday. Friday was just absolutely gorgeous, so it was hard to believe that we'd have thunderstorms in just 12 short hours. My theme for the day was "Let go & Let God". I really wanted to stop stressing about it, and just go through the motions. So that's what we did.

Friday afternoon, hubby and I packed up and headed to Duluth. We checked into our hotel, then popped over to one of our favorite restaurants in Duluth for dinner, Sara's Table at Chester Creek Cafe. I am not one of those runners who can gobble down spaghetti the night before a race. Instead, I typically eat fish, veggies, and some kind of whole grain. When eating out, that can get tricky. But I found a nice salad on their menu that had trout, lots of veggies, and I asked for a roll on the side. That seemed to be an excellent choice come Saturday morning. No tummy troubles, and I was actually a little hungry.

Sat morning I woke up at 3:15am. Holy cow is that early! I like to allow myself plenty of time to get ready, and we had to be on the buses by 5am to get transported to the start line. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't raining yet, and the rain was suppose to hold off. what do I wear? I decided to wear my rain jacket anyway, just in case. Very wise decision...

I met up with a fellow runner from my club at the start line, and we ran together for the first few miles. It was humid, and a tad warm at 60 (I know that's not *warm*, but for 6:15am, that's warm). She ended up falling back a little and we separated around mile 4. The rain started right around mile 3, so I was really glad to have my jacket. It drizzled for the rest of the race, but never more than just a drizzle. I also put duct tape on my shoes, over the mesh parts, but that just fell off once it started getting wet.

I started to hit the wall right around mile 6. Not good. Not good at all. Just as we started running back into town, it seemed to be much more humid, and it was harder for me to keep the pace. I was running a tad fast at the beginning, and now I started to pay for it. My pace slipped from 8:30 min/mile to just under 8:40. Not much of a difference, but that was real work. There's a couple of hills in mile 9 that slowed me down again. Even though I brought my gels, and took them at appropriate intervals, I still had to supplement with a little Powerade from the aid station, and an orange slice - which actually tasted amazing!

I was able to kick it back into gear around mile 11, get over the last hill, and then power into the finish. I tried to run that last mile as fast as I could, but there are a lot of turns as you head into Canal Park and the finish line which slowed me down. My finish time was 1:52:59. 14 seconds slower than my PR, but definitely acceptable on what was a really tough day for me.

Overall, I'm proud of my effort for this race. Even though it started getting tough for me, I didn't back down and held a good pace. Mentally, I rocked this race. I just kept telling myself to shut up and keep going. Breaking things up once I started getting tired helped as well. "Three more miles until Lemon Drop Hill. That will be nice to use your legs differently!" "One more mile until the grocery store where we turn!" "Once you hit the cobblestone, there's only 2 miles left!"

So, one race down for the summer. Onwards!

What do you do when you're having a tough race? Do you eat weird foods from the aid stations?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fitness Friday: Pre-race edition

Hello and Happy Friday!

Tomorrow is my first half marathon of the year, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. The weather is not looking too hot at the moment (90% chance of thunderstorms? Give me a break!), but I'm going to ignore it until I absolutely have to deal with it. Like...tomorrow morning. Anyway, this week was pretty laid back for me, training-wise.

Saturday - Easy pace 5 miles. Slow and steady, nothing to exciting. Average pace: 9:49.

Sunday  - rest. On Saturday we ended up going to the lake for 3 hours, so Sunday was spent inside, avoiding the sun. While none of us were lobster-red, we could all stand to take a break from the UV rays. Plus, I had a lot of house work to do.

Monday - typically a rest day for me, but I ended up doing an easy 3 miles instead. Last week was really stressful at work, and I felt like I needed to burn some Monday morning anxiety before heading in for more of the same. I somewhat succeeded, and it turned out not to be so bad of a Monday. Average pace: 9:47.

Tuesday - my first VO2 max workout. I'm not too clear on the specifics, but I read a lot about VO2 max in my running magazines. Thankfully, my training program gives nice little descriptions of each workout so I know why I'm running it.

"Defined simply, VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during exercise. It’s a combination of how much oxygen-rich blood your heart can pump and the muscles efficiency in extracting and utilizing the oxygen. Training at VO2max increases the amount of oxygen your body can use. "

So today I had to do 1 mile warm up, then 6 800m repeats at 7:45-7:55 pace, with 3 minutes of rest in between, followed by a cool down mile. I headed over to the track at 5am again, but no one else showed up. Which is okay, because then it allowed me to really concentrate. My paces for the intervals were: 7:33, 7:50, 7:46, 7:50, 7:50, & 7:50. I would say that I pretty much nailed it. :o)

Wednesday - rest & hip/lower leg strengthening exercises. 

Thursday - 3 easy miles, averaged a 9:44 pace. My last run before the half this weekend! Nothing special to note about this one. Pace was easy, the miles felt short, body is feeling good. 

Friday - rest day & traveling to Duluth for the race tomorrow. Wish me luck!

How's your training going? Any tips for running in the rain?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Circle Link-Up: Summer Staples

Today I'm linking up again with Kiki over at In Its Time for her montly Circle Link-up. 


We're talking about our summer must-haves. In Minnesota, that can only mean one thing:

A lake. Preferably with a nice beach.

A really pretty lake.

Probably a boat, too. Most likely a pontoon.

But maybe also...

A cool drink. Maybe of the adult variety.

Fresh produce. We're really a big state of farmers, dontchaknow.


A bonfire to roast s'mores on. Because who doesn't love s'mores? The smoke helps to keep the mosquitos away. So I'm told.

What are your summer must haves? Link up with us and share!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Book Review: Still Alice

My book club pick for the month of June was Still Alice by Lisa Genova. The story is about Alice Howland, a Linguistics professor at Harvard, who is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease.

The reader meets Alice early on, when she just starts to have some memory trouble. She forgets the word she wants to use, she misplaces small items, or forgets a meeting. Small things that happen to us all when life gets busy and hectic. Alice chalks these things up to menopause at first, and goes to see a doctor about it. It isn't until she gets lost on a run, forgetting where she lives on a very familiar route, that she starts to think something more could be wrong. 

After a few rounds of testing, she is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease at the age of 50. She struggles with telling her husband and her three adult children, because cognitive prowess is so highly regarded in her family. Her husband is also a professor at Harvard, her son a doctor, and her daughter a lawyer. When Alice starts a seemingly rapid downward spiral into the disease, she finally does tell her husband and they tell their children together. Alice realizes that they may want to be tested for the disease. 

The novel becomes about finding what truly matters to you in life. What would you spend your time on if you knew you only had years, or even months, left to remember it all? With the help of her youngest daughter, the wild-child, carefree and full of life, I thought that Alice really did a 180 from who she was when the book started. 

My book club had such a great discussion with this novel! Whether you know someone with Alzheimer's or not, I really think that anyone can relate to this book. Genova does a great job putting you in Alice's shoes so that you can really understand the frustration that she is going through. The fear of losing yourself. 

We talked about whether or not we would get tested for Alzheimer's. Having the disease on both sides of my family, there is a very real possibility that I could have it as well. There are often times when I do forget something small, whether it be a name or a detail, and it makes me wonder - is this just a memory slip? Or is it more? Genova does a great job at making the reader take a step back to analyze their own life, and think about what is really important to them.

The book was also made into a movie recently, staring Julianne Moore. Although the film was good, several of us that had seen the movie agreed that the book was so much better. The movie just skims the top layer, whereas the book gives you so much more detail and "meat". Since the book is not very long, I definitely recommend it over the movie. 

For more information about Alzheimer's Disease, go to the Alzheimer's Association website to learn more. 

If you knew you had the disease, how would you want to spend the rest of your healthy years? What kind of care would you want to have? What would your expectations be for your spouse? 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fitness Friday

Hello! It's time to check in on marathon training again. This week was actually really nice since it is a "rest" week for me. Technically my week starts on Monday, but I include the previous weekend's long run in my recap posts here. So don't think I'm a total crazy person when I combine "rest" with "14 mile long run"...

Saturday - 14 mile long run! A group from my running club meets up most Saturday mornings. Typically, I run Sunday morning, but I knew the weather was going to be icky on Sunday so I changed things up a bit. There's anywhere between 6-8 runners in this Sat morning group, all different paces. One in particular ran about my pace, but she started off super slow. So I ran the first 5ish miles alone, then 4 with her, then 4 alone again because she stopped to use the restroom at a gas station we passed. By the time that I only had 2 miles left, she had caught up to me and passed me! But I kept her in my sights and ended up following her in for that last mile. We ran an out & back course, and the wind was in my face the entire time coming back. That made things kind of tough, but overall it was a good run. Average pace: 9:47.

Sunday - Nothing but rest!

Monday - I had every intention of doing yoga before going to work this morning. However, I woke up 3 times through the night with an excruciating headache that aspirin just wasn't touching. By the time 4:45am rolled around, there was no way I was getting up for yoga. The extra hour of sleep didn't do much for me, but I know I needed it.

Tuesday - Fartleks at the track. 1 mile warm up, 5 x 800m @ 7:50-8:00 pace with 3 min rest, 1 mi cool down. I met up with 2 other running club members for this one. At 5 am! I'm very excited that my little early AM group is growing, even if it's by one person. The intervals were pretty easy, but my Garmin lost satellite signal in the 3rd fartlek so I had to run the last 2 by feel. So my paces for the first 2 were 7:44 & 7:57. The last 3 took me 4:06, 4:11, & 4:07 min, respectively. I think that's in the right pace range judging by the times for the first two, which were 4:05 & 4:15. I don't's all so confusing!

Wednesday - Since my half marathon next weekend is on Sat, I decided to stick with the Sat schedule this week as well, and moved my Thurs run to Wed. So 4 miles at an easy pace this morning. It was 55 degrees and breezy - beautiful! My first run this year without a jacket too. 2 of these miles were a little too fast, and my quads are letting me know that, but it was really hard to slow down today for some reason. Average pace: 9:35.

Thursday  - nada. Loving this rest week! Actually, work has been super stressful this week, so tonight I enjoyed a glass of wine al fresco and did not even think once about exercising.

Friday - Super easy 4 miles. My quads are still a little tight, so I tried keeping this run really, really easy. Average pace: 9:54.

Tomorrow I have another easy pace run on tap: a "long" run of only 5 miles. I kind of love these taper weeks! But this coming Tuesday I have a hard VO2 max workout. Not sure what that's about with my half marathon coming up next weekend, but I'm trusting the training and going with the schedule.

Happy Friday!

How's your training going? Do you enjoy tapering or rest weeks?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Four Things

I got this from Tracy over at A Change of Pace. It looked like a fun little "get to know you" post!

Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1. Al
2. Ali
3. Babe
4. Jennifer (seriously, there are a few guys I work with that cannot remember my name, and call me Jennifer. Also, I ran as a "Jenny" after buying someone's bib last year for a half marathon. If the shoe fits?)

Four jobs I've had:
1. Steak'n'Shake drive thru operator/server
2. Stable worker (feed horses, muck stalls, etc.)
3. Assistant Manager of a really ghetto hat store. So ironic.
4. Bank Teller

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. A Christmas Story. #forlife
2. My Girl
3. Frozen (thank you Emily)
4. Little Mermaid - my childhood favorite, and I force Emily to watch it every now and then, too.

Four places I've lived:
1. Detroit, MI
2. Boynton Beach, FL
3. St. Charles, MO
4. Hibbing, MN

Four places I've visited:
1. Washington, D.C.
2. Charleston, SC
3. Estes Park, CO
4. Bayfield, WI

Four things I don't eat:
(This is a tough one)
1. Lutefisk
2. Headcheese
3. Fast food (except on very, very rare occasions)
4. Uh...Rocky Mountain Oysters? Enter anything really bizarre here.

Four of my favorite foods:
(This is tough too!)
1. Chocolate. Or dessert of any kind. I don't discriminate
2. Bananas
3. Veggie omelettes with salsa on top
4. Any food that includes cheesy goodness. Mac n'cheese. Grilled cheese. Pasta with cheese. Too bad this is few and far between in my diet...

Four TV shows I watch:
1. Sons of Anarchy - currently watching
2. Parenthood
3. Walking Dead
4. American Horror Story

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in less than 2 weeks
2. Minnesota Half in August + weekend getaway with hubby
3. Runners Retreat in NC!
4. Detroit Marathon in October!
(are we seeing a theme here? How about visiting the new Mr. Roberts restaurant, owned by semi-famous Sarah Master? Also, hitting up Wine on the Mississppi at some point this summer.)

Four things I'm always saying:
1. "Hey babe?"
2. "Emily..." in any tone
3. "What the f**k?" - usually but not limited to work
4. "I don't know" - mostly at work. For some reason, a select few employees seem to think I know everything. Flattering, but annoying.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Weekend in Review

Happy Monday!

Screw that. Is Monday over yet? I am not having a great Monday morning. Woke up with a headache, super tired from said headache, and the humidity today is putting a serious damper on my hair.

But we had a great weekend!

Saturday morning started out with my long run. A first for me - 14 miles!

Then I had to go grocery shopping when I went home. By the time lunch rolled around, I was seriously ready for a nap. Even after a nap, I was pretty tuckered out so we just stayed home for the rest of the night.

Travis rented 50 Shades of Grey for us to watch on Saturday night. Because apparently he doesn't get sarcasm. I was totally lying when I said "oh, we could get 50 Shades of Grey...or American Sniper!" Guess which one he came home with? Complete waste of money & time.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain & overcast skies. So Emily and I (mostly I) made homemade peanut butter.

This is what a 3 year old hot mess looks like. Yeesh!

She conveniently showed up right at the end when I was scooping the peanut butter into a mason jar for storage. But she liked it! "Kid Tested, Mom Approved".

Side note: I made the PB with locally produced honey that I bought at our Farmer's Market. I felt like such a hippy! It's creamed honey, so it's more like a butter spread almost. It made the peanut butter very light and fluffy. We love it! 

A friend of mine invited me over to watch the movie version of Still Alice, since we had just read it for book club this month. If you're not familiar with the book or movie, the story is told from Alice's point of view as she struggles with early onset Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's runs in my family, so this was particularly interesting for me but also incredibly heartbreaking. I'm proud of myself that I didn't cry during the movie, but I sure did while reading the book! 

Once I got home, the weather had really cleared up. I told Travis that I absolutely did not want to stay home and make soup for dinner, which is what we had planned. Instead, we jetted off to Grand Rapids to eat at Zorbaz on Lake Pokegama. It's kind of a rowdy place that serves pizza & Mexican food, but it was really nice sitting outside and enjoying the atmosphere. 

They had a volleyball tournament going on down at the beach, and there were tons of boaters out. Afterwards, we went to CherryBerry for dessert. It's a serve-yourself froyo place. That's fun for Emily since she can put all sorts of stuff on her yogurt. Personally, I don't like their frozen yogurt. I'd rather have the real thing! 

We got home kind of late, so it was bath time and bedtime - for Emily and I both! I'm pretty exhausted this morning from all our fun this weekend. How is it that some weekends seem relaxing, but end up jam packed anyway?

How was your weekend? Do you like frozen yogurt or ice cream better? 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fitness Friday

Sunday  - 13 miles, easy pace. I mentioned on Monday that I did this run with another member of my running group. She has similar time goals for our half marathon coming up, so she also had a similar "easy pace" which meant we were able to stick with each other the entire run. This was the first time I'd ever met her, and I always worry that things will be awkward running with a complete stranger. But the conversation was easy, and we got to know each other over the 2 hours that we ran together. We might even try to run Garry Bjorklund together. Her time goal is slightly slower than mine, but she said she'd love to use me as "competition" to keep up with. I'm game for that! Average pace: 9:35.

Monday - no yoga in the AM. But I did do hip & lower leg strengthening after work. I think I might be over yoga. Not 100% sure yet.

Tuesday - Threshold Intervals at the track. The workout included 6 800m repeats at 7:55-8:00 pace. I posted this workout as an event in my running group, mostly because I didn't want to be alone at the track at 5am. I only had 1 taker, who turned out to be a bit of an oddball character. Nice guy, but odd all the same. He ran right next to me through all the laps, and was kind of chatty. I don't mind chatting on a run, but at 5 am...while running much faster than conversational pace...let's just say that he helped to add an extra layer of challenge to this workout. So much so that I lost count during the second set and only did one lap, so we added an extra 400m at the end. However, I was relatively comfortable at the paces, even while talking. So I'll chalk this one up to success! Paces were: 9:38 warm up, 7:58, 8:00 (400m), 7:56, 7:58, 7:56, 7:57, 7:52 (400m), 9:26.

Wednesday - National Running Day! I originally was not planning on running today, but after incessantly checking the weather for this weekend I decided to squeeze in a run after work. I typically run on Sunday mornings, but it's supposed to rain and be gross. I don't want to deal with that. So, 4 miles at easy pace for an average of 9:42 min/mi.

Thursday - Another 4 miles at easy pace. My legs felt a bit tired with the back to back runs, but I couldn't slow down for some reason. My paces broke out at 9:33, 9:37, 9:40, 9:33. This run should have been closer to a 10:00 min pace due to my Wed evening run. Oh well.

Friday - resting. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to be running tomorrow morning rather than Sunday morning, so I'm letting my legs take a break. I should have done circuit training, but every once in awhile my quads get a bit sore so I'm just being extra cautious.

Saturday - hopefully 14 miles - a distance PR for this lady. I'd appreciate lots of good thoughts sent my way!

How's your training going? Any big plans on tap for the weekend?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Recipe Review: Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes

I have to share this recipe with you. You have to try it. Yes...have to and have to.

So you know I try to eat healthy. Travis is trying to eat healthy right now too. Recently I stumbled across a link on Pinterest for 30 Vegetarian Dinners that you can make in 30 minutes. Hello, I am down with that. 

There were so many good recipes in that link, this one included. We made these tacos, also from the Minimalist Baker, that were amazing. Make those too, ok? 

Anyway, sweet potatoes. Sometimes I'm on the fence with sweet potatoes because they are obviously good for you, but they're also a potato. Years and years of my mom brainwashing me that potatoes = starch = bad has led to not always trust the sweet potato health benefits. But I was willing to take the plunge for these babies. 

Basically, you cut your potatoes in half, rub 'em up with olive oil, and bake them in the oven for 25 minutes. The chickpeas are mixed with a few spices, and roasted on the same pan in the same amount of time. Stupid easy. 

The sauce is hummus or tahini based. Tahini is the main ingredient in most versions of hummus, just in case you didn't know. I have tahini on hand, so that's what I used, with generous amounts of lemon juice & dill for some bright flavor. I also diced up a tomato, and mixed that with parsley, dill, and lemon juice. 

Tada! Dinner is done! What did I tell you? Stupid easy. The hardest part was cutting the sweet potatoes in half without cutting a finger off. 

The flavors are so good together - savory, a little sweet, and zesty from the lemon juice. For Emily, I just scooped some of the sweet potato out of the skin, put it in a bowl, topped it with everything else, and she ate most of it. After trying a couple of chickpeas, she decided those were not her favorite. But Travis and I definitely enjoyed them! 

So. Add this to your next menu plan. K?

Do you have any favorite vegetarian dishes? What do you think of sweet potatoes - good or bad?

Monday, June 1, 2015

It's June! Plus a Weekend Recap

Good Monday morning to you! Can you believe it's June already? Where does the time go? I feel like I'm always saying that, but seriously. Life is on warp-speed setting, and I can't seem to slow it down.

June is host to my first half marathon of the year, the Garry Bjorklund Half Marthon in conjunction with the infamous Grandma's Marathon. I have a goal time in mind, but we'll see what happens. I'm hoping the weather is a little nicer than last year. It was cold, misty, and foggy the entire race in 2014. While I don't want it to be hot, a little sunshine would be nice! Given our weather this weekend though, cold is a possibility. This weekend we had low's in the 30's and a high yesterday of barely 60 degrees. I don't mind cool weather, but when it's that cold at the end of May...enough already! But maybe if this could continue for my race...that wouldn't be so bad.

We had a pretty uneventful weekend, which is always ok with me. Friday afternoon I picked up our first CSA share. We'll be picking up every Friday through the summer, so it's a little like Christmas! Since our growing season starts a bit later here in northern MN, the farmer doesn't have much produce yet. Just spinach and rhubarb. I opted for 2 bundles of spinach since I'm not a big fan of rhubarb. They supplemented with 2 pounds of ground pork, and a dozen eggs.

We've already made a big dent on the spinach, and used half the eggs. I know that we already paid for this food, but it kind of feels like we're getting free stuff! Love it!

Saturday Emily and I went out to lunch at a local golf course with a friend that I used to work with. We had a nice visit, and Emily was really good, considering we were there for almost 2 hours. We sat inside, but had a nice view of the course and the "waterfall", or fountain in a pond outside. Emily enjoyed watching the golfers come and go. Then we did a little shopping, but we both started to fade pretty fast. By the time we got home, I was more than happy that Emily wanted to veg out on the couch and watch Peter Pan.

Sunday I woke up with the sun to get 13 miles in. I planned to meet up with 2 other members of my running group. One of which wanted to do 13, the other needed to get 22 miles in before his next marathon in a few weeks. Needless to say, he left us after a few miles! But it was nice running with someone else for the entire run; the miles really fly by. I'm starting to get worried that my next solo long run will be a bear without the distraction!

Afterwards, I was all about relaxing. I use these ProCompression socks for recovery, and had to giggle at how bright my orange socks are.

Hello safety orange! I posted this pic on facebook with the caption "and tomorrow I'm applying to be a school crossing guard".

We ended the night with a little vino and popcorn, and the movie "Chef", with Jon Favreau and John Leguizamo. It was pretty good, funny, and just made us hungry!

What are your June goals? How is the weather in your neck of the woods?