Friday, February 22, 2013

Taking a break...

It is hard to believe it has been five years since I got hit with the running "bug" shortly followed by a similar strain called triathlon.  WOW.  Five years since I started documenting it all for the whomever cared to read about it.  Mostly family and (in real life) friends but then others starting chiming in.  I can't remember when I got my first comment from someone I didn't actually know but I remember it was exciting.

We all have the sport in common in one way or another.  We may be at different places but we are on the journey together.  I love reading all of your blogs.  I don't comment like I used to but I am there, lurking and reading.  (Sounds creepy, doesn't it?  I am lurking in a positive way...)

In the beginning, I was so excited for having completed my first half marathon I just wanted to document it.  Then I kept documenting.  Somehow I need to compile all these posts and preserve them.  They may not mean much to anyone else but what great memories they evoke when I re-read them.

...and the friends.  I have met several of you in real life and you have turned into great friends that I cherish.  I have learned so much just being around you.  Whether it is inspiration to someday really get on the "faster 10k" plan so I can maybe be in the same league with you, just be in awe of all you have accomplished, or laugh at your jokes.  You guys are the best!

In the last year I feel like I have run out of things to say.  A little like the movie Groundhog Day I keep doing the same things over and over.  Hard to keep it fresh, you know?  With that said, I am taking a little break from this little blog o' mine.  Thanks for reading, keeping in touch and inspiring me with all you do.  I will be out there...  reading and lurking.

A special shout out to my two most faithful readers - Dad and CR.  Dad, thanks for getting me to the start line of the Peachtree for the past five years.  Running it won't be the same without you!  In fact, I am not sure I even want to try...  No one knows how to navigate that race like you.  Loved those times together.  CR, thanks for being my constant support (and for letting me know when you needed a blog update - ha ha).  Crazy times and all.  Life would not be the same without you.  Nothing but love :)


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

and we have a winner!...

Congrats to Kevin for winning the Publix Gift Card.  Now you have a little extra to cash to make that eggplant parm :)     I also know that Kevin did the A1A Marathon this weekend - his second marathon in about a month.  Nice job, Kevin!  I will shoot you an email later to get your address.  CONGRATS!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend Update & Publix gift card giveaway...

Happy Weekend kids!  Had a great training ride and run with Team's Blues Clues.  I mean Team Blue Iron...  (working on a relay name for a race in April so random titles with the word BLUE keep popping in my head).  Still can't settle on one.  Any ideas?  It is a mixed relay - me and a guy from our group.  I am doing the swim/run and he is going to bust out the riding.  The only caveat is that the team name has to contain the word blue.  ....and GO!

I lifted this photo from Mari's Facebook page.  As we know, if it weren't for others there would be very few photos on this blog.  (what is my issue with taking pictures????).  We were grinding it out indoors - it was actually supposed to snow yesterday after having been 60 the day before.  Craziness.  Looking forward to March when we take it all outdoors again.  I love the benefits of the trainer rides but my self diagnosed ADHD needs something to look at other than the walls! LOOK - a butterfly!   :)

I came home and made an awesome pork tenderloin and even a pizza baked on a cauliflower crust!  No, the crust won't fool you as it isn't crispy like you would expect BUT the toppings sort of cover that up.  I got the recipe via friends who are also following a no sugar, no grains way of eating.  It really is a decent substitute - would make it again for sure...  

...  and on that note I am off for a quick run followed by tennis.  Hope you all have a great day!   If you missed it, head over to my post HERE and enter a comment to win a $25 Publix gift card.  Your odds are looking pretty good :)


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Italian Days and giveaways...

CR is a huge spaghetti fan.  Noodles, sauce and ground beef.  It is pretty easy to make him happy.  Sadly, now that we are keeping grains out of our lives it makes spaghetti a little more challenging.  Enter spaghetti squash.

If you haven't seen or heard of spaghetti squash.  It looks like a big melon.  Once you slice it and bake it, the inside is shredded and looks like spaghetti noodles.  

They are soooo easy to prepare too!  Heat in the microwave for 1 minute then slice it in half lengthwise.  

Scoop out the membranes and the seeds then place cut side down in a microwaveable dish with 1/2 cup of water.  I had to cook one half at a time since my microwave wasn't quite large enough for both halves.  Cook on high for 12 minutes.

Once it is done, you shred the insides with a fork


See?  It looks like spaghetti! The flavor is a little bit on the sweet side.  You could just add salt, pepper and butter and call it a day.  Maybe sprinkling a little pepper jack cheese on top would be good too.   

I had spaghetti with meat sauce on the brain so I made up a tomato sauce.  While the squash was cooking, I sauteed a medium onion and a clove of minced garlic in some olive oil.  

I added a 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. If you like your sauce chunky you could call it done there but CR is not an onion fan so I put mine in a blender for a few seconds to smooth it out.   

I added some ground beef to the finished sauce.  The odds of CR eating it greatly improve when there is meat involved.   I topped the "spaghetti" with the meat sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan & romano cheeses before blasting it in the micro for a quick second to melt.  

Let's be real, these aren't actual noodles so you aren't going to fool anyone into thinking they are something they are not BUT if that someone has committed to joining you on your No Sugar / No Grains journey it might make a pretty awesome substitute!  CR is pretty picky about veggies and he thought the squash was pretty good which is a HUGE stamp of approval.  

 ....   and on to the GIVEAWAY!

If you shop at Publix very often you might be familiar with their Italian Days specials.  You know they have deals on pasta, sauces and the like.  What you might now know is that I have a $25 Publix card to give away!  You can use it to buy your own spaghetti squash or even some traditional pasta.  I won't me.    

The Italian Days event runs from February 11th through March 1st at Publix.  During the even shoppers will be able to enter for a chance to be 1 of the 500 shoppers that will win a $100 Publix® gift card! To enter for a chance to win and to download great coupon savings and delicious recipes, look in-store or visit

If you would like to win a $25 Publix Gift Card to make your Italian inspired creation, just leave me a comment with the name of your favorite Italian dish.  Winner will be chosen at random on February 20th.  (make sure you provide your email so I can contact you).

General Mills and Publix provided me with the information and gift card for this giveaway but all tasty recipes were my own!  :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Group Training at its Finest...

Did I tell you I was training as part of a group this year?  As someone who has almost exclusively trained on her own this is quite the change for me.  I am extremely independent by nature so to let go and sort of let someone else manage this facet of my life is not always as easy as it would seem.  As with a lot of training groups, our schedule is posted in training peaks so I have quickly become accustomed to knowing what my training will look like well in advance.  (...and the obvious bonus there is I didn't  have to painstakingly map out my schedule for the entire year - it was already done for me!).  The other bonus is that Team Blue Iron is taking me outside of my box.  Not only have I now done some trail running thanks to TBI, I also am venturing outside of my comfort zone and running/biking in other parts of town.  Prior to this I pretty much ran at Stone Mountain and biked out near Harbins Park week in and week out.  I have to say, I have really enjoyed getting to see some other parts of the city.

Case in point, Sunday's run was at Chastain Park.  If you are from Atlanta, you might find it hard to believe that I have lived here 44 years and have NEVER been to Chastain.  A crying shame.  For those of you not from Atlanta, Chastain is mostly known for its concert venue but also has a golf course, tennis facilities and a nice pool among other things.  We met up outside the horse park this morning.  (Who knew they had a horse park there???)  Our group only has about 6 or 7 people right now and this morning there were only three of us so I halfway expected to be running on my own. Not a huge deal, I knew it was a looped course so as long as I didn't get lost I was good.  The plan was to run 100 minutes total, that way we all re-group at the end no matter your pace.

Coach Mari and I ended up running together the whole way and had a nice get to know you session.  It was seriously some good therapy.  I mean you sign up for coaching and don't expect to get counseling but it was actually kind of nice. We ended up getting in about 9.5 miles and it went by so fast thanks to all the talking!  I actually have been feeling like my running has been slacking lately so it was nice to get in a good run and made it so much easier to have someone running with me.  (Also I wasn't as tempted to bust into super long walking stretches since I had someone with me - funny how running with others pushes you just a bit more...).

Admittedly, it took me a month or so to sort of get in the swing of the group training.  Coming off of B2B and then the Disney marathon, I think I was just ready for a little break.  In the past couple of weeks I have felt ready to dive back in and am really enjoying being part of the group.  I don't know how many of you are in the Atlanta area but we are always looking for more people to come play with us.  Check out Team Blue Iron online or shoot me an email.

Our target races are:  West Point Lake (April), Rev3 Knoxville (May), Tugaloo Oly (September) and Rev3 Anderson (October).  In addition to the races, we have a weekend of riding in the North GA mountains planned so we can work on our hills skillz and a 5k open water swim in June.  A couple of teammates also have some other IMs on their calendar so even if you don't do the team races, maybe you could just train with us.   :)

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sugar, what sugar?

Life has been a combined whirlwind of workouts and work lately.  Time just has a way of flying by and before you know it two weeks have come and gone. I have been playing more tennis lately.  My time off is certainly showing on the court.  I am trying the best I can to knock the rust off.  While I am SO proud of finishing my IM races over the past couple of years, I did miss having time to sort of do whatever I wanted.  It has been nice to dial it all down a notch.

Ever since I got home from Disney I have been following a no sugar, no grains way of eating.  If you followed me around with a camera prior to Disney you might have staged a sugar intervention for me as there was A LOT of clean up that needed to be done to get my eating in check.  I feel like I am at a healthy weight  (and was before the no sugar thing) but just felt like I was living two different lives.  I was busting my butt in the gym but then 75% of what I was using for fuel was some sort of processed food.  Doritos, cupcakes, ice cream were all on my rotation of eats.  I was raised on snack foods and Tab cola so we are talking about a lifetime of habit in the making.

I listened to a lot of podcasts on the drive to and from Disney - more specifically, Vinnie Tortorich -  and decided to try to make a change.  There is a lot of interesting research behind the low carb lifestyle and I won't go into it here but it made sense to me, I could see it seemed to work for others and I knew it was something that I could follow easily as it really isn't overly complicated.  Basically, there is not any measuring or counting to speak of I simply avoid sugar and grains.  Boom.  I think the most important thing about eating is to try and find what works for you.  There are studies and proven results behind a lot of eating styles out there (vegan, vegetarianism, weight watchers, etc.)but if they aren't something you think you can stick to then what good is it?  For me, this works.  Just a lot of clean eating.

The surprising thing is that as addicted as I felt like I was to sugar, I have not had any craving for sweets WHATSOEVER since changing my eating habits.  I can't explain it but am told that it just works that way.  Your body becomes satiated from the fats you are taking in (I eat full fat products as opposed to 2% or low fat/no fat along with healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, etc.).  I am eating plenty of meats, dairy and veggies along with a small amount of fruit.  I really don't miss any of the other things.  I am not about depriving myself so if I want to eat a cupcake or chips I would do it occasionally but now I look at that stuff and it doesn't appeal to me.  I know - that is crazy talk...

I am not as hungry all the time like I used to be and definitely have more energy.  I really believe that sugar and glucose made me need so much more sleep that necessary.  I almost always felt like like I needed a nap around 2 or 3 in the afternoon.  I still get 7 or 8 hours a night but don't feel like I need to take naps in the middle of the day anymore.

I have lost 6 pounds since I started a little over three weeks ago.  I really didn't go in it to lose weight but certainly am not upset with any lost poundage :)  I can tell you with all the crap I was eating, weight loss was bound to happen. Did I mention my junky eating habits?

I know it sounds like some weird food cult has infiltrated my mind but this is where I am at right now.  Trying to eat better!  In the interest of full disclosure I am still chugging down diet sodas.  I felt like getting rid of the soda AND sugar all at once would have been too much for my mental state.  Operation crush the diet soda cans starts next week!