"To know what you want, to understand why you're doing it, to dedicate every breath in your body, to achieve . . . If you feel that you have something to give, if you feel that your particular talent is worth developing, is worth caring for, then there's nothing you can't achieve." Kevin Spacey

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cheap, Easy & Tasty

We did a lot of running in 2011 now we need to eat! We earned it right?! Hell ya. So I've been interested in this slow cooking fad and have wanted to try something. If you're new to this or a seasoned veteran you'll love this recipe I found at Midwest Living. I prepared this the other morning as I made my 8 minute egg; that's how fast and easy it is. It is the most amazing and flavorful dinner I have ever tasted and have ever made. It's also very economical! I'm still trying to figure out why it's called Angel Chicken?!
Makes 4+
Prep Time: 15 mins (it only took me 8 mins)
Cook: 4 - 5 hours
4 skinless boneless chekcen breast halves about 1 1/2 lbs (I used 3 and I think you could use up to 5 to 6 if you wanted)
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (optional)
1 8 oz mushroom pkg fresh button mushrooms, quartered (I just bought the halved ones and called it GOOD)
1 8 oz pkg fresh shitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced (I thought these were really expensive so I just used a 4 oz can of mushrooms and called it GOOD)
1/4 Cup Butter
1 0.7 oz pkg Italian dry salad dressing mix
1 10 3/4 oz can condensed golden mushroom soup (I just used a can of Campbells Mushroom Soup and yes called it GOOD)
1/2 Cup dry white wine (I used $3 Chuck Pinot Grigio and yes this was good and of course I added a bit more but not too much because you will need the rest of the bottle to drink when the chicken is done. Share if you must)
1/2 8 oz onion and chives cream cheese (oops I just noticed that it said 1/2, just throw the whole thing in there, believe me it was awesome)
Hot cooked rice or angel hair pasta (We have this really large bag of Couscous from Costco and used this and it was awesome but really any starch will do)
Snipped fresh chives or green onion (forgot this but it would've been a nice addition)
"If you like", brown chicken on both sides in a large skillet in hot oil over medium heat. Combine mushrooms in a 3 1/2 to 4 -quart slow cooker; top with chicken. Melt butter in a medium saucepan (I just used the skillet I browned the chicken in to get some of the chicken and butter flavor). Stir in Italian dressing mix. Stir in mushroom soup, white wine, and cream cheese until melted; pour over chicken.
2. Cover; cook on low heat setting for 4 to 5 hours
3. Serve chicken and sauce over cooked rice. Sprinkle with chives, "if you like" (what's this mean? if you like? Someone really nice or from Minnesota must have submitted this recipe! Oh and don't forgot the rest of the wine!
And that's it! Easy peasy! Cheap, Easy and Tasty and I'm not talking about me! Try this and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's the Journey . . . Not the Destination . . . Kind of Sort of

OMG! It has been hard for me to sit down and write about this. A mixture of procrastination, being busy and maybe a little depression. Depressed it is all over! It was a great experience to run my first marathon from start to finish. I wrote about how great the training was now we pick up with the event.
I went a couple of days early so I could spend some time with my brother Richard and his wife Vicki who live in Maryland.
So awesome to see them. My brother is a retired Marine and Vicki is a runner. They took me to the Expo. I hope I inspired Vicki to run a long race someday too! And that's a picture of me with my new nephew Sugar Ray!
Off to packet pickup. This is like the best part of the race! Lucky number 26996! The Expo was amazing. Brooks was the official sponsor and I had to get a jacket! This was something way a head of time I had been planning on purchasing! Of course I also picked up a knit cap, a baseball cap as well as a shirt! Oh and I also needed the poster. My goal was to get a jacket. So to my dismay they were all out of mediums, heartbreak! But I tried on the large and of course with my long arms it fit and a helpful runner suggested that I could cinch it at the bottom, disaster averted. Thank goodness because this was something I had my heart set on! Screw the run I want that jacket.
We need to talk weather. The one variable you can't plan. All along everyone had warned us about the heat. Washington DC is usually very humid, and it actually was when I landed on Thursday. But the day before the race it was cold and pouring rain and it was supposed to snow! WTF! And it did snow that evening. The northeast was getting a foot or 2 of snow but we were on the edge and they were predicting nicer weather on Sunday the day of the race but it would be a chilly start. In the end our training had prepared us for any kind of weather, so bring it.
Everyone we spoke to was saying they were planning on wearing what they planned to, so I just stuck to the plan; compression shorts and tank top, with arm warmers and 2 layers that I could throw along with gloves. It was a very chilly morning. As I
recall it was in the 20's but they kept saying it would get into the 50's and be sunny. That's us all bundled up and us right before we started. See all the cold people around us?
After running the same terrain over and over again the sights and sounds of Virginia and DC provided a spectacular background. As the sun rose we could see that we were by the Pentagon and just over to the right was General Lee's home which overlooks Arlington National Cemetery.
The first 8 miles was pretty hilly. Check out the elevation chart at:
http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/4242930 Thank you Baker Park and Medicine Lake! The training we did at Baker and Medicine Lake, especially on the hot days really paid off. It was so nice to literally glide by all the other runners. I was initially worried that having all the hills in the beginning would be hard but it was nice to get them out of the way. The next 12 miles was pretty flat. Miles 20 - 23 is a climb of about 76 feet then a nice downhill. It's at this point when I was like wow I'm almost done. Totally cruising and I saw the flag for 26 miles, "I am so done" then I stopped dead in my tracks. The incline at 26 miles is called "The Wall" and crap when you've run 26 miles and you hit this wall which is a steep incline (which I had conveniently forgotten about) it does hit you like a wall. The only thing that got me going was that when I looked up I saw a Marine at the top and thought I can't let that guy see me walk! They need to line that last .2 with Marines!! Great way to finish.
Consistency is the key. But it doesn't just happen, you have to train for it and include it in every pre race training run. Mostly for my documentation this what was recorded on my Garmin for each mile: 10:46, 10:40, 10:11, 9:51, 10:08, 10:06, 10:17, 10:24, 10:00, 10:01, 10:07, 10:00, 9:55, 10:19, 10:09, 9:57, 10:36, 10:24, 10:04, 10:37, 10:31, 11:05, 11:16, 12:04, 11:18, 11:04 = Avg. 10:29 = Final Time = 4:37:28 Probably the best compliment I got was on my way to the airport the next morning when a very experienced marathoner asked me my time and said "I wish I was that fast" ! Wow that was so cool!
Did this marathon change my life? My initial reaction is no but from a woman who has a room full of half finished projects . . . scrapbooks, crafts, sewing, knitting, business start ups, etc! Huge accomplishment. I set a goal and accomplished it. I surrounded myself with experienced and knowledgeable people which was key to my success. I did think I would be more emotional about it but not so much. However, I had so much fun. Overall, an awesome experience. I can't wait to run another marathon with hopefully a newbie. I hope I can inspire someone to run because truely if I can do it anyone can!
A big thanks to Beth and Debbie who were there to hold my hand!
And for making me feel so tall! Until I saw this picture I did not realize that I was so short! Also a big thanks to Renee, Holly, Mike and everyone that is and has been a part of Lifetime Run club for being so inspirational! I can now put that 26.2 sticker on the car and know that I did it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Are We There Yet?

Almost! I started this blog to record my journey but then, to me, that becomes a journal and I just fail epically at that. Mostly because I internalize EVERYTHING. But I just had to this out before I ran this marathon so that I would have something to gauge my before and after status. I have the feeling this will be life changing and that just need to documented. After this race I will be a Marathon Runner! Now that is life changing! The biggest question is if I will do another one. My training buddy Debbie already has one picked out for us to do in the Spring and Beth who I train with has 2 scheduled already for next year. Let me do this one first and then I'll let you know.
So as far as the training went I've clocked in 18 weeks of training, approximately 72 runs (running 4x a week) and about 557 miles. Just guesstimating at 10 minute miles as an average that is 93 hours of running. Holy balls! So the answer to my question "Are we there yet?" is a bonafide yes!
With a first marathon there has been 3 significant milestones. The first and most fun was 15 miles. Basically we tacked on 2 miles to a Half Marathon race. Highly suggest this tactic during training. Mostly because on a long training run during the summer there is a lot of support at each mile - so water and goo are all taken care of. For this training run we warmed up with 2 miles and then did the 13.1. Besides being my longest run I ended having a PR. Must of been the training, the course and just taking it easy.
The second was 18 miles. This actually was my favorite (I can picture Beth and Debbie scratching their heads at this one). The day we chose to run 18 was incredibly hot and humid, one of this summers hottest. I think it's my favorite because it totally defines our MCM training. Hot, long, brutal but in the end quite an accomplishment. I think it was around mile 15 or so where we turned around on the Luce Line where I was so hot and tired and almost hallucinating. I felt so completely exposed to the heat and sun on this dusty trail but willing myself to finish - "only 3 to go, you can make it." Then 1 mile from finishing at our last water stop I was sweating so much it was streaming down my legs and arms like a river of pea! At this point, I knew I could do this thing. After that run it really gave me a load of confidence. Very happy to be done!
The third milestone was 20 miles. We decided to run at Baker because it's hilly and the MCM has a killer hill at the front end and then a slow gradual one at the end. So we had to do it. So at Baker to get a 20 mile in we would need to circle the path 3x and then add on 2 miles at the end. The run was going well until around 16. It was at this point that I was thinking "what the f*** do I think I'm doing?!" I'm at 16 I have 4 more to do today and at race day I'll have 10.2 more to do . . .f,f,f,f etc. I was so ecstatic to be done with this run but it hurt and it wasn't much fun. And I think it was after this run that the real drama began. . .
In the bag? Right? Wrong! After this run my hip started to hurt. Injury free for 14 weeks and with the race 4 weeks away I am hurting bad. So basically my self diagnosing didn't work and the things I was doing was actually making it worse I finally got it checked out by a professional. Diagnosis - Bursitis. Basically an inflamed bursa. Treatment - Chiro thought steroids or Cortisone shot (chiro can't prescribe so went to Urgent Care), PA - not steroids too many side effects but an injection of Topadahl (ibuprofen) and 4 tabs of Ibuprofen 3 x a day - if it doesn't go away then Cortisone. Worked but not fast enough so went to Tria saw an ortho doctor and got the Cortisone shot. AHHHHH! Like the doctor said, should've gone to him first! So my taper began a little early but it took away all the pain and swelling.
So that is my marathon tale. It has been joyful and painful mentally and physically. Like the trails we run: there are ups and downs, bumpy and dusty, and some some flat places in between. I love the similarities because life isn't a sprint it's a marathon. See you at the finish line!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

110 and counting!

OMG I have written this blog at least a million times in my head but just couldn't get it into this computer! I even forget how to access my blog. But I have to write and keep my log up to date as I start to train for this marathon. I need it documented for my own sake. So here goes . . .
The last few months have been hell. I stopped blogging when I started a new job. It was great for the first 2 weeks and then just went to absolute shit from there! Anyway I quit by April and have been training for tri's since then. The job hunt has been slow but I am starting to at least get interviews. As long as it doesn't interfere with my races, LOL JK
So the countdown begins. The Marine Corp Marathon is in 110 days or 16 weeks. Plane ticket bought, some accomodations in place and oh yeah running. Yes I am doing that along with bike rides and lots of swimming.
Committing myself to keeping up with documenting my journey and training for it as well!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lap Counter works!

I was finally able to use one of my new Christmas toys on Sunday. It's called "Pool-Mate" Automatic Swimming computer by Swimovate. It displays lap count, time, calories, average stroke per lap, speed & efficiency. I did 2 laps to begin with and there on the watch it told me I had done 2 laps. It worked very well. I on the otherhand need to learn how to use it. In between sets you can hit the start button to pause and somehow I pressed some wrong buttons in between sets and had to start again, however, it did store my previous information. In the end it told me what I wanted to know and that is: yardage, number of laps & calories. I think this device will be really nice when I have a workout where I have to do a straight 1500. The only thing I was bummed about is that it is strictly for pool swimming but we really only spend about 3 months open water swimming anyway so maybe someday I'll get the super duper Garmin that I can use in the lake. To find out more go to http://swimovate.com/ Next pool toy I get to try out is my h2o Audio Interval waterproof headphone system. Just waiting for my Ipod shuffle to arrive! Yesterdays swim was 2600 yards (6 x75 wu, 2 200's, 1 100, 2 300's, 2 200's, 1 100, 6 x75 cd) Todays run was 6 miles at Parkers Lake. I experimented with my clothing. Butt warmers, Swix long johns and wind pants on the bottom half. Swix top, Pearl Izumi top and Brooks jacket on top. 2 pairs of sox. Perfect.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Polar Dash

January1st New Years Day I ran the Polar Dash. The theme of the day was "Suck it up Princess"! The weather was our foe. I believe by the start of the race it may have warmed up to 7 above, however the windchill was 15 below. With that said, can you believe I can't complain. The race was well organized. They had us assigned to various parking lots, warm shuttle buses waited for us and dropped us off at the race site, the race site had plenty of potties and tents to stand in while we waited for the start protected us from the elements and were fairly warm. Thankfully my friend Beth had some toe warmers for me and hand warmers. Those toe warmers saved my life. But even then by the start time I couldn't feel my feet. It felt really strange when we started to run because I really couldn't feel my feet. However by mile 3 I got my feeling back and my whole body had warmed up and it was time to take the gloves off, figuritively and literally!
I started the race off with my friends Deb and Beth and it was a bit too fast for me. The first mile was 9:46. I really like my first mile to be a bit slower. So to make up for it my 2nd mile was slower at a 10:03 pace. I lost Deb and Beth but I could see them just ahead of me. I remembered Beth's advice and just ran my own race. Mile 3 was 9:42, Mile 4 was 9:45, Mile 5 was 9:50. It was about this point when I caught up to Deb and Beth and we did that last mile at a 9:32 pace. Official end time: 59:39. The princesses totally sucked it up!
Notes to self about running in a race: Eat oatmeal for breakfast, bring a bar or banana to eat before race, 2 layers on the bottom would've been fine, have boots on during the wait and put in drop bag - duh, start slower then negative split, have toe and hand warmers, don't be scared of the weather report!

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Eve

Back in the day NYE was all about the party. Now it's work outs, saving money on races and dining out with good friends. Change is good! Today was a weight lifting day and a spin class. My 2 favorites. . . NOT . . . but necessary. I'm learning to like them because I am seeing results. Don't we hate to be wrong?! I signed up for my first Triathlon for 2011. I was talking with my friend Meaghan and she wanted to do a tri together. She lives in Michigan. I told her my nephew is getting married in August and I'd look for one nearby. Unbelieveable but I found one right by her house! What are the odds? So we are doing the Sanford & Sun on August 13th. Meg will do the sprint and I will do the Olympic distance. Tri in the morning and wedding in the afternoon. We signed up today and saved $10. Dinner with friends tonight at the Spaghetti Factory. Not bad. Because I'm really watching what I'm eating I checked out ahead of time what to eat. I had the Chicken Penne hold the Alfredo. I actually have never eaten there before, it wasn't bad and was not badly priced. Early night though because we are all so old, no it's because we are such amazing athletes and we need to get to bed early so we can kick some butt tomorrow at the Polar Dash! (more like freeze our butt's off!) HAPPY NEW YEAR