Friday, November 18, 2011

Mic Check 1-2-1-2



Hello. Hello. Is this thing still on? It's been months since I blogged and I am contemplating coming back to it.

You see I lost my mojo for awhile. A lot has happened since I regularly blogged. We moved houses, but that didn't work out very well for us. We basically ended up buying a money pit and a lot has gone wrong. I was also not very happy in my work life. So, things were stressful at work, stressful at home and I let it derail me and get the best of me. However, I'm back, baby. And I think I may blog about it. I still have lots to do and many more races to conquer.

I am finishing up my last week at my current job and will soon be embarking on a new adventure. I have found my way into a work from home job and I cannot even believe it. I am super excited to get started and try my hand at a new career (sales!). Plus, the extra time at home is going to reinvent my workout life and give me more time with my daughter.

Today I "started over" for the millionth time in my life. I have put on about 6-8 lbs and look forward to getting them off. I recently bought a groupon for 6 weeks of unlimited bootcamp at BCOR. I am going to the Solon location. My alarm went off at 4:10am, groan, but I rolled out of bed ready to get back on the proverbial horse. The class started at 5am. It was a good workout. I am so out of shape. The trainer is good, the music was great and he kicked my butt. Nothing too out of the box, lots of lunges and squats and plyometrics. He essentially ran us through 2 different circuits and we did each one 4 times. The 45 mins flew by and I can totally feel that I am going to be sore with a capitol S tomorrow. But I miss that feeling and welcome it!

I have signed up for the Louisville marathon in April and will probably do the Wine Glass marathon in the fall. I want to do 2 others as well.


Hope all my bloggy friends are still out there and doing well!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tofu Xpress = Awesome!



Ack. My how time flies! Life has been so crazy with the move. I feel like we are finally settled in our new house. My eating has been all over the place and I am trying to clean that up and get more into cooking. Being a vegetarian I have gotten really boring with my eating. Think lots of frozen veggies and pasta. Whenever we eat out I always hit up asian places b/c I love to get their stir fried wok tofu. Love it! But every time I try to make tofu at home it is an epic fail.
So, I did a little research and found out about tofu presses! voila. I am a tofu making genius. Here's a little blurb from their site-

"The TofuXpress is designed to be the vegetarian’s kitchen tool! It presses water effectively from a standard size brick of commercially made tofu so you can change its texture and add flavoring. Tofu is a great source of vegetarian protein. By using tofu as a substitute for meat
protein we can conserve the amount of natural resources needed to produce our protein sources. It is estimated that every family that replaces 1 pound of meat for 1 pound of tofu will conserve 20,000 gallons of water per year."

Using this little doohicky is what
was missing. It shrinks the size of my tofu and makes the texture so much better. I've been making my favorite tofu recipe which I am pasting below from Peas and Thank you, my absolute favorite website. She just came out with a book, you must get it.


Hoisin Ginger Tofu with Smoky Tahin

Slaw

by Mama Pea

Prep Time: 45 min.

Cook Time: 12 min.

Ingredients (2-4 servings)

    For the Tofu:
    • One 15 oz. package extra-firm tofu, pressed and sliced into 1 x 2 inch slabs
    • 2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce
    • 2 T. hoisin sauce
    • 1 t. lemon juice
    • 2 T. water
    • 2 t. minced ginger
    • 2 t. minced garlic
    For the Slaw:
    • 4 c. shredded cabbage
    • 2 carrots, shredded
    • 1/2 large bell pepper, julienned
    • 2 T. lemon juice
    • 1 1/2 T. tahini
    • 2 t. minced ginger
    • 1 t. agave or stevia to taste
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 3 slices tempeh bacon, cooked and chopped into pieces

    Instructions

    • To make the tofu, drain and press and cut into slabs.
    • Prepare the marinade, by combining soy sauce, hoisin sauce, lemon juice, water, ginger and garlic.
    • Reserve half of the minced ginger for the slaw, if you are making it as well.
    • Add tofu to the marinade and lightly toss.
    • Allow tofu to marinate for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight.
    • Meanwhile, prepare slaw by placing cabbage in a large bowl.
    • Add shredded carrots and bell pepper strips.
    • For the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, tahini, ginger, sweetener of choice and salt and pepper.
    • Drizzle dressing over the top of the slaw and toss until evenly coated.
    • Top with tempeh bacon, if using. Cover and refrigerate until serving.
    • Preheat broiler to prepare tofu.
    • Remove tofu from marinade and place on a cookie sheet that has been spritzed with oil or sprayed with cooking spray.
    • Drizzle tofu with any remaining marinade and broil for 5-6 minutes on each side.
    • Plate tofu with slaw and serve.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    An Epic Day: Sunburst South Bend IN race recap

    I am super busy packing up our lives into cardboard boxes so that we can make our move in 2 measly weeks, but I have to write a quick update on the race I ran yesterday. Sunburst South Bend IN marathon.

    I left work at noon on Friday and made what was supposed to be a 4 hour drive with my friends, married couple RH & KH. RH was running the full and KH was running the half. The trip to the race must have been an omen as it took us 5.5 hours and we sat in standstill traffic twice. Once b/c Obama was in Toldeo and they closed the high way and the second time b/c people were gawking at a horrendous wreck on the opposite side of the highway. We got to South Bend at like 5:30 and headed to expo. The expo was very small, about 5 booths, but it was super easy to find out race number and get our packet. I also really liked the shirts b/c they had women specific tech shirts with a nice clean design on white. I am sick of stupid shirts that are made to fit a man, so I was pleased to get a shirt that I will like to wear. From there we rushed to our hotel, had about 20 mins of downtime and then made the 20 min walk to where we were meeting our other 3 friends who came to town for dinner. The town of South Bend is super cute and I wish I had more time to explore. Dinner was okay, we ate at an upscale Italian place called Ciao's. I am not a big Italian fan anyway and there wasn't much on the menu that looked safe for my belly. So, I had a piece of tuna steak that was really good and some rice and veggies that was way too butter soaked for my taste. My crew walked back to the hotel and we got there around 9:30. I laid all my stuff out and was in bed by 10 for my 4:45 wake up call!

    On Saturday the race started at 6am! That's a little early for my taste, but thank goodness it did. This was the first marathon I traveled too that I didn't get to stay in a house, so I learned a few important tips about mary traveling. I wasn't prepared properly for breakfast. I brought oatmeal packets, but had no where to get hot water and no spoon! So, I ate my oatmeal using nasty hotel room coffee machine water and used the end of my toothbrush to shovel it into my mouth! Our sub par hotel had no continental breakfast, but they did sit out fruit and water.

    We walked up the street at 5:40 and met our 3 friends who stayed at another hotel. J and B were running the full too, the other friend was just watching her boyfriend. At this race the mary and half start at different times and run different courses, so it was a relative ghost town since only about 1000 people were running the full. We got in line at the start w/o issue and used the portapotties without a line. It was very nice. The race start at 6 was an anti climatic cap gun and we were off. I was in no way shape or form in top marathon shape. So, my plan going in was to run an easy race, stay around a 10 min pace and just have fun. Our friend B was running his first marathon even and hoping for a 4:30 and honestly I just would have been happy with that. RH and I stayed together at the beginning as the course wound through nice, quaint neighborhoods and a park along the water. The first half went perfectly fine. I felt good, I could have gone a little faster, but we were trotting along and talking to everyone along way. We crossed the half at 2:12.

    At the start the temperature was 69 degrees. As we ran I felt a little more humid and sweaty than I would have liked, I started to worry. I was sweating very salty. We had such a cold and wet spring that I had only really ran in the heat once or twice. At 13 my shoulders started to cramp. I ate my GUs, I walked through the water stops at 13 and 14. By the time we got to 17 I knew things were not going to get better. I started to take walk breaks. Finally I convinced RH to go on without me. I met up with a nice gal at 18 and we walked together for awhile. We started helping each other along. Talking each other into running a few mins and then taking a walk break. We ran/walked our way back to mile 20. At this the race clock had been running for about 4:10. We started to do the math and decided that we might as well just power walk the rest. Every time I started to run I would get really nauseous and light headed. when I was running it was about an 11 min pace. We were able to walk at about a 14 min pace. Everyone was walking and I mean everyone. From mile 17-20 it's an out and back in a very nice park along the river. A lot of us ran into the park, but were walking on our way out. Once you leave the park at mile 20, you go back into town and run on the asphalt. There were sporadic little groups of people walking. At the mile 20 water stop the volunteer told me they had "red flagged" the race b/c of the heat and that we could take a shuttle back. My new friend and I decided to finish it out, I wanted an official time for the 50 state club! We picked up another women as we walked in and caught up with my friends J & B who were also now walking for the most part. The next 6 miles were a blur, but my little group of ladies busied ourselves talking and pushing each other on, we all would have love to quit.

    At mile 25 a guy with a walky talky told me the race was closed, the race director had black flagged it. He said that we could go on at our own discretion. The Notre Dame campus was in eye shot at this point, so of course we had come that far we were going to finish! You finish on the Notre Dame football field and get to run through the tunnel the players do and onto the field. I started running again once i hit mile 26 and ran onto the field. Only to be met by everyone packing it up. It was 5:15 at this point, I wasn't directed to the finish, but over to get water. But they did call my name as I ran onto the field. I did end up backtracking and going through the finish, but the clock was off. Turns out they turned it off at 5:08 and rolled up the mat! I don't disagree with the director's choice to close the race, it was 95 degrees out and way hotter on the asphalt, but I am very peeved that they didn't let those of us within a few minutes get a chance to officially finish. It was quite a day. There were so many sad people, one women was crying b/c she had just done her 3rd marathon in 90 days and was trying to get into the marathon maniacs club. W/o official results, she might not be able to. It was not the end to my race that I was hoping for. But I know it's not the end of the world. Another state done, another marathon and this one will hopefully be the worse race I ever run.
    Friday, May 27, 2011

    Hitch up your britches and get back on the horse



    I am a healthy person who loves to talk about good eats, exercise, marathons, triathlons and juggling it all while working full time and mothering a 2 year old. But the truth is that I’m a bit of a phony. I don’t really practice what I preach and I haven’t for a long time. I don’t know at what point I got soooo out of my routine. I started back to work full time last May and Harper was 13 months old. I managed to change my stay at home mom routine to a 5am workout schedule and held on to it through a fall marathon in West Virginia. Things derailed after that. I had another marathon a month later in Delaware and the 4 weeks between I barely ran and it showed in Delaware, that mary hurt! I then switched to P90x, but only managed to stick with it for about 4 weeks. I have been completely running on auto pilot since January of this year. I am just going to be honest and put it all out there! I have only worked out on average 3 times a week. Up until this point in my life, aside from pregnancy, I always worked out at least 5 days a week. Once I started training for my June mary, those 3 workouts were just running and occasionally I threw in an abs DVD. I am soft, I am undertrained and this is the perfect prescription for an injury. I have a marathon staring me in the face on June 4th. No amount of work this weekend and next will make up for my running sins. I am running a marathon with an average weekly mileage somewhere in the 20s. I did get in all my long runs and they weren’t that bad, but South Bend is going to be a huge mental challenge.

    Why am I blabbing about all this? It’s just for myself. Getting it out there and now holding myself accountable. Because here is one thing that I know for sure, one huge truth that I have proven to myself time and time again – I am not a nice person or a happy person when I am not working out. I fall into a rut that snowballs and this has been one huge snowball. I do not like this Monica and I am going to change it. I am going to get through this marathon, give myself a week off running and then I will be back with a vengeance. I have 2 fall marathons and I am not going to let myself be this soft. I am going to hit the track, pick up the dumbells again, I am going to do abs every other day and I am putting my pushup bar by the bed and doing pushups before bed every night! Fonzie will be happier too, he's only getting like 1 run a week, poor dog and he is showing his distaste with extreme obnoxiousness.

    What gets you back on track after a hiatus?
    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    Is spring here!?

    Hey there Bloggy friends. A lot has happened since last we met. I ran a sub par half marathon at Cleveland this past weekend. I finished in 2:08 in change. Seeing as my fastest half was only last fall at 1:56:06 I really wanted to be better this year. But I’m not. Not even close. But I cannot be mad about it b/c I have not put in the time. I have barely been working out. I am doing all my long runs and that’s almost it weekly. So, I should be happy that I can run under a 10 min mile for that long at this point. But spring is here and change is in the air. I am feeling a renewed devotion to running thanks to an activity that I have been working on. I can honestly say that this winter/early spring I have worked out less than ever in my life. I have to change that soon.

    I have said here before that I plan to run a marathon in all 50 states and I am happy to have a partner in crime in a friend from my hometown Twila, she blogs over at Twila runs 2010 in 2010. You can read her recap of the Cleveland marathon. She came to stay with me for the weekend and tore that course up and got a big fat PR, despite gross weather conditions. It was cold and rainy and all day. But anyway I have been working on a spreadsheet of all the races I want to run and it has been fun. I have been reading reviews and trying to find a balance between big city races and small scenic routes. If you have run a marathon that I should put on my list, please leave me a comment.

    In other news our house drama is almost done. We move into our new house on June 16th and I am looking forward to the next chapter of our lives in our Lucky Bell Lane house! I will miss my running hood, but look forward to exploring our new neighborhood. I will also be closer to South Chagrin Reservation which is quite hilly. So, I look forward to alternating my long runs there and know those hills will only make me stronger. I have really slacked on the running front and look forward to making up for lost time.

    I am now blogging over at Unmiserable Cleveland as well. I am really excited. I have loved that site and what my friend who started it has done with it and I am honored to be able to post there. My posts are under the handler mhn, have a look!

    I am in taper mode now and South Bend is quickly approaching. I wish I could say I am excited. I really am not b/c I haven’t trained and I really would have loved to get a PR. But I am just going to try and enjoy the race and run with my friends. One person in our group is running their first full and just looking to do it in under 4:30 and I hope to help them to that goal.

    So tell me, is it finally spring in your neck of the woods? Are you looking forward to getting back into the groove or have you been trucking along all winter despite the unfavorable weather?
    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    Saturday procrastination


    It's 5:56 am right now, I got up about 20 mins ago. I have 22 miles on the docket for today and only have company lined up for 10-12 of those miles. So. I am procrastinating. I will give myself until 6:20 then I MUST be on my way. My throat hurts and I don't wanna go! My goal is to only have 3-4 to do by myself after I meet my friend at 8 for the 10-12.

    A few random notes:
    • * I did 20 miles last weekend with a friend. We kept our pace steady around 10:20 and it was a gorgeous, enjoyable run. I really think for South Bend since my training has been so spotty I am just going to run with this friend and not even worry about time. I will still finish in under 4:30. It won't be a PR, but I have not been training (aside from long runs) so I cannot complain.

    • * Today is day 3 of my cleanse. I didn't start on Monday like I was going to b/c I had the week from hell at work. BUt days 1 and 2 were not hard at all. There was even an amazing crepes buffet set up at work on Friday and I breezed on by it. Today we have a communion party and that will be tough, my plan is just to eat beforehand. I know they are having salad and veggies so I can load up my plate with those.
    * Harper made me the most adorable card and little box with her picture on it that she painted at daycare. I about cried. I need to post pictures. That kid just gets more awesome all the time.

    * I am so so so ready for all the house stuff to be done. Our home didn't appraise for what the guy offered to buy it for so now he wants some money off of our agreed upon price. It sucks though b/c we basically got screwed on the appraisal and they guy wrote that mold COULD form in our basement b/c we had water in our root cellar after about a month straight of rain and then it was a hot day so the walls were covered in condensation. We have never had mold or water damage. And the comparable properties he chose were not really comparable and they sold for less and sold months ago. The whole thing just stinks and I am ready to be done. We move on June 16th and I cannot wait!

    * And this photo is of Harper and my monster cat. Harper has her on a diet of bananas (not really).

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    May is wellness month!




    I am on the wellness committee at work and May is wellness month. I am super excited for all the great things that we have planned. I arranged 3 great “lunch and learns” which are basically presentations over lunch. The first week we have someone from NEO Team in Training coming to tell everyone about TNT and what you can get if you sign up to train with them. Then next week I have a lovely yoga instructor coming in to walk people through yoga poses to help undo the stress of sitting all day. And then for weeks 3 and 4 we are going to screen the movie Food Inc in 2 parts! How fun is that. Don’t you wish you worked here. On top of that I managed to gather 8 people who are interested in doing a cleanse with me! I am going to lead the group, so I think that will be the right amount of motivation to stay on the cleanse. In fact I am going to start on Monday (instead of Friday like them) so I have a few solid days under my belt. The cleanse will be based on the book Quantum Wellness, I did this cleanse once before, but only made it 15 days. But this cleanse is what solidified that I could be a vegetarian and I haven’t wavered on that once since I made the decision early last year. I will blog about the cleanse for anyone interested. Here is an email I sent out to the group today:

    “Hi cleanse group members! If you are going to go shopping this weekend or early next week to prepare for the cleanse, below are some shopping items you will want to stock up on. All of these foods are approved on the cleanse. I am assuming no one has read the book yet, so I pulled this from the website, with some notes from me. When I did this cleanse last time I lived on popcorn, rice noodles, hummus and steamed veggies with different spices on them. Trader Joes has really great, cheap, spice grinders. I am in love with their lemon pepper and 21 spice salute.


    The Quantum Wellness Cleanse Grocery List:


    The items on this grocery list are specifically outlined for the “Quantum Wellness Cleanse” which precludes sugar, alcohol, caffeine, gluten, and all animal products. This does not mean that all of these items are not vegan, rather these items are specifically for the 21 day cleanse.



    1. Irish steel cut oats (for most people, this is tolerable insofar as gluten; unless you are particularly sensitive, ok to use), mixed grain hot cereals, gluten and sugar (maple, honey, etc.) free

    2. Rice cakes

    3. Flax crackers

    4. Gluten free bread (vegan) (MN: Check out the brand Ezekiel, they make many types of sprouted breads that are gluten free)

    5. Sweet potatoes, yams-Grains: brown or wild rice, millet, quinoa, amaranth, corn, buckwheat, corn

    6. Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, soy nuts, macadamia nuts, filberts, etc.

    7. Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, sesame

    8. Nut or seed butters: peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, cashew butter (unsweetened)

    9. Vegan butter (earth balance, soy garden)

    10. Vegan mayonnaise

    11. Non-dairy protein powder (Solaray strawberry is a tasty sugar free one), also others that are pea, rice, and soy based are good (MN: Whole Foods has a very tasty banana pea/rice protein powder)

    12. Beans and legumes: black beans, lentils, chickpeas, lima beans, adzuki beans, black-eyed peas, edamame, fava beans

    13. Tofu-Tempeh-Faux meats: burgers, sausage patties, "meat crumbles", "chicken" patties (make sure gluten free)

    14. Artichoke/rice/quinoa pasta (MN: Trader Joes has some yummy and cheap rice stick pasta)-Pasta sauce (no sugar added)

    15. Vegetables: kale, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, asparagus, brussel sprouts, zucchini, eggplant, collard greens, butternut, spaghetti, and acorn squash (MN: Check out the frozen ones at WF, my lunch staple will be various frozen veggies with different spices)

    16. Mushrooms: shitake, hen of the woods, etc. (grilled, they make a great centerpiece for a meal)

    17. Salad "fixins": arugala, raddichio, endive, mixed greens, peppers, avocado, tomato, etc.

    18. Fruits: apples, cherries, peaches, blueberries, goji berries

    19. Lemons, limes for sparkling water cocktails. A splash of unsweetened pomegranate juice-Coconut water

    20. Teecino (coffee substitute), rooibos tea, herbal teas

    21. Rice, almond, soy milk (unsweetened) (MN: Both TJS and WF have their own unsweetened brand of Almond and soy milk and its way cheaper than the name brands. I personally like almond milk way better than soy)

    22. Stevia, agave nectar to sweeten smoothies, milks, cereals, etc.

    23. Extra virgin olive oil, expeller pressed organic canola, high-oleic versions of sunflower and safflower oils

    24. Garlic, ginger, tamari, Himalayan crystal salt, pepper

    25. Flours to cook or bake with: bean, pea, soy, potato, buckwheat, tapioca, nut and seed, arrowroot

    26. Popcorn

    27. Corn chips (MN: TJs has a very tasty veggie flaxseed tortilla chip, its great with hummus or homeage guac)

    28. Guacamole

    29. Hummus

    30. Soy cheese (no rennet or casein)

    31. Frozen spinach (to throw into smoothies… you won't even taste it!)

    32. Flax seed oil, freshly ground flax seeds

    33. Vegetarian stock for cookingPre-prepared foods at health food stores are often tasty and nutritious. Visit the "raw" section and deli/salad bar area”
    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Cleveland 10 miler race report, kind of




    Well I had a race. Or maybe I should say I had a run. I decided as I slogged through this year’s Cleveland 10 miler, that I am a runner, not a racer. I love to run. I only hate it when I worry myself about pace and about how I am not logging enough miles (which I am not at all by the way!). So, why in the world do I put the pressure on myself? I am an 8 something miler at best, I am never going to win a race, so why not just enjoy it. My overall goal is to finish a marathon in all 50 states, I don’t have to finish them in under 4 hours! Or even in under 5. Sure I would love to think that someday I can go to Boston, but not at the rate I am going.

    So, the theme of the Cleveland 10 miler for me this year was relax and run. It was an impressive turn out with 2300 runners. I really like this race b/c it goes through a very pretty part of Cleveland’s west side that I do not visit often. For the most part the race is flat and you get a nice downhill right at the end. Parking is plentiful and you get to walk up a big hill to pick up your packet and move to the start line, which is a nice warm up. My best pal Michelle and I met up at 7am to be at the park by 7:30 for packet pickup. I was disappointed to see that this year’s shirt was the same as last years and I hated last year’s shirt! Hated it. It has stupid stripes on the sleeves that make them poke up at the shoulders, it looks awful on me. Oh well. Last year, this was a break through race for me, I ran it in 1:28 and it was the very first time that I maintained an 8something min mile for that long. I was so proud of myself. So, going into the race this year I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to do as well. However, I was pleased to finish in 1:30. I didn’t think even that was possible and it was super-hot and I felt overheated the whole time. I can honestly say that I gave the race my all and worked through moments where I really wanted to just say Screw It and walk.

    If you want a total confession I have honestly only been running 2 times a week on average. I mean can you believe that I am training for a marathon on 2 measly runs a week! I will be lucky to finish South Bend, it’s not like I can make up for it now, the race is 5 weeks away. But I can promise myself to try harder for Eerie in Sept. If I can manage a 9min pace for 10 miles with barely training, then I know that if I train properly this summer I very well may be able to break 4 hours at Eerie or Chicago. And if I don’t? Well guess what it doesn’t matter. By the end of the year I will have another 3 states marked off the map and that is the goal, isn’t it!'






    In other news, Harper rocked Easter and totally enjoyed her first Easter egg hunt and multiple Easter baskets. That kid is cute! Even if she refuses to smile in pictures. Check out her dress! I want one.
    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    2 years old already? Happy birthday baby.

    730 days ago you came into the world without a sound. No screaming, no crying for you. You just sat back and took it all in. This new shiny world, and that is how you have remained. Happy and calm. I never knew that one’s heart could be so filled with love for someone else or worry about all the bad that the world could drop on you. Not until you entered the world. I cannot even remember what life was like before you were there, always at my side, my constant companion, my shadow. I cannot wait to see what unfolds in this next year. You are changing so quickly that I want to grab the clock and tell it to stop, to hold on just a few more minutes. All of a sudden you are a big girl, standing 3 feet tall and full of words. Able to maneuver the playground equipment all by yourself and walk the entire mile around our block. You help with dishes and like to vacuum. You love cottage cheese w/apple sauce and frozen peas. You tell the dogs to cut it out when they are playing and corral the cat into your lap for cuddling. You brush your teeth and sporadically go on the potty. You hug like you mean it and give the sloppiest kisses and you love to hold my hand. I hope to remember what you were like at 2 for always b/c right now you are the most amazing child that ever walked the earth, I just know it! Happy birthday Harper.
    Monday, April 18, 2011

    Feeling MUCH better~!


    All the house stresses are almost behind us! Everything is done on our home, officially sold! Inspection went just fine. We have bought a house! Just got the signed contract in my email. We still need to have the inspection this coming Friday, but barring any huge issues, we will be living in a rural farm town called Newbury that is very close to my very favorite down town area ever - Chagrin Falls. It has 4 bedrooms, a 3 season porch, awesome master bath and a finished basement! We will have 2.5 acres and I am totally going to learn to garden! Here are some pics:









    Oh and I had a pretty decent 18 miler this past weekend. So, I am going to go ahead and power through my June 4th marathon. It will not be my fastest race ever, but I am just going to try and have fun.
    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    Funk Soul Sister


    Anyone still here? I haven't posted in awhile, mostly b/c my life has been one huge jumbled ball of stress and negative attitude and I don't like to post when I am in a funk. So what's "wrong"

    1. Well our house went up for sale 2 Saturdays ago. And in the one week it was on the market, we had 1 realtor open house, 1 public open house, 5 showings and 2 offers. The 2 p

    eople bid it out with 1 guy being the victor. Now that sounds like good news right!? Well of course I am not going to complain about my house selling so quickly. But it was very stressful to have to run home from work to show the house. It was hard keeping it clean and it was torture driving around with Harper and the dogs in the car. To make matters worse it rained all week.

    2. So, now the house is "sold" and we have a contract. Well on the contract we wrote in some comments on the date that the guy could have the house and then he said he wouldn't sign. So, long story short we ran around like idiots all day looking at our "favorite" houses on our list and we didn't like them. So, we told the guy to tear the contract up and he changed his mind. But it was the most stressful day.

    3. We still have to get through inspection and I have a 1920s house and we are worried that something may come up that will be costly or scare the guy away. So, our house is not sold yet.

    4. But if our house IS sold, we have to be out by June 30th. And we have nowhere to go. We haven't liked any of the houses we've looked at and I am getting really nervous. We are looking at 6 houses today, I hope something is better in person than it is online. But I certainly don't want to settle. The bottom line is that I am really second guessing our decision to move and I kind of wish I could take it all back. But it's not possible at this point, so I am trying to stay positive and just move forward.

    5. All the house stress has made me fall into bad behaviors with my eating. Way too much sugar, way too much food. I feel gross and bloated and tired.

    6. Bad eating leads to bad exercise habits.

    7. So all in all I am a total mess. At least I have been for about 3 weeks. My marathon training is just ridiculous. I am running 2-3 times a week. Although my long runs have been okay. I did a half marathon last weekend, not a PR by any means, but I was able to stay steady at around a 9:30 pace.

    8. This is the end of my list of whining. Tomorrow I start my mary training "again". I have to do 16 miles. It will be great, I just know it, lol.


    In other news, Harper is almost 2!

    Thursday, March 17, 2011

    I love you Sun!



    I’m in Love, I’m in Love and I don’t care who knows it (said in my best Will Ferrell a la Elf impression). I am in love with the sunshine that is out today. After a long, perilous Cleveland winter the sun has showed up this week. I am going to put up my blinders and ignore the fact that it is back in the 30s next week and soak up every minute of this cold weather reprieve. Yesterday it was 45 after work and I harnessed up the dogs, strapped Harper in the BOB and took them all for a 2 mile walk. Then I let the kid out of her restraints and we ran back up and down our street. Harper was so cute in footy jammies and big pink snow boots. We splashed in puddles, picked up rocks and took sticks and stuck them in the remaining snow mounds. Then I even let the kid stomp around our mud pit of a backyard, that’s how geeked I was about the weather. I didn’t even care that her hands were covered in muds and her boots now resembled mud pies. It was fun!

    Fonzie and I have had 2 wonderful 5:30am runs this week. I have also gone out on lunch and walked 2 miles twice. See I freak out a little when it warms up and take as many steps as humanly possible. I am looking forward to taking the dogs for another long walk after work and letting Harper walk alllll the way to the swing set for some fun. How are you enjoying this break in the weather?
    Monday, March 14, 2011

    READY. SET. GO!



    It's March 14th people and do you know what that means? My offical marathon training starts TO-DAY! Wow, I do not feel a bit like I am capable of running a marathon in 3 months. I picked a 12 week plan b/c I thought I would have my normal base mileage already ramped up. BUt if you read my last 5 whining, bitching posts about how I am constantly sick and never run you can find out how my winter has gone.




    So, today I start off my marathon training with 3 5 milers and a 10 miler. So 25 miles. After running 9 last week, 10 the week before, 0 the week before that and so on. Basically this is a recipe to get hurt, but I am hoping the cross training I did this winter will carry me through. We shall see!

    Monday - Weights, 30 min. spin on bike
    Tuesday - 5 miles (hill repeats), abs
    Wed - plyometrics DVD
    Thurs - 5 miles (tempo run), abs
    Friday - Weights, 30 min. spin on bike
    Saturday - 5 miles easy, abs
    Sunday - 10 mile long run


    This weekend my friend and I went to see the Roller Derby. It was pretty entertaining and its always nice to do something new. We matched a match of the Cleveland Steamers against the Hellbombers. I so rarely do things on the weekends, aside from running, that it always feels foreign. It was nice to get out and do something with another adult that doesn't require running 10 miles. I had a margarita and popcorn, it was lovely.
    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    One lucky lady!



    I was going to blog this morning about how the doctor told me I had the flu. How down I feel about my gained winter weight and my failed marathon training (thus far), but you know what it really doesn't matter. It doesn't at all when you realize that there are much bigger and worse things going on in the world. My heart and prayers go out to the vitcims of the tsunami. Such tragedy is hard to even wrap your brain around. I look at the pictures, but it feels like a movie. Like its not real. Today I will choose to focus on whats good in my life and just how lucky I am.



    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    2011 pretty much blows so far


    I am declaring this the year of SICK. I cannot catch a break ya’ll. I have jumped from one bad illness to another. I had a sinus infection in Dec. Then got knocked down by another sinus infection and double ear infection in Jan that had me off my game for almost 3 weeks and now I think I have the flu. These lovely illnesses all come to me after taking care of a sick toddler. So, I suffer through the fun that is a whiny, snotty mess of a kid and then become one myself. And as any mom out there can attest, it doesn’t matter how sick you are, moms DO NOT get a day off. I could be bleeding out of every orifice and I would still be the one who needs to walk the dogs, do the dishes and make sure Harper’s not pulling Fonzie’s tail. I am on the verge of a nervous breakdown I am so sick of being sick. I wonder if I would care so much if I wasn’t someone who regularly works out? Because that is what really upsets me, I don’t work out much when I am sick. I am already calling my marathon in June doomed b/c I haven’t been running much at all lately. I need a few good solid weeks of 20-25 miles and I haven’t had it and next Monday is day 1 of my official 12 week training plan. Yes, 12 weeks, an abbreviated plan b/c I assumed I would have my normal running base. Ack.

    I do have to say that I had the most AMAZING 5 mile run on Sat. It was raining and unusually warm and Fonzie and I tore it up. Even with his million pee breaks we held close to an 8 min mile for all 5 miles. Harper had come home sick from school on Friday, so she was pretty sick Friday and Sat and I woke up Sunday with the worst sore throat and it has just gone downhill from there. I went out for a 10 miler on Sunday and called it quits about 4 miles in and then had to run (walk!) 2 miles back to my car in the ridiculous 3 inches of snow we got overnight.

    Also on a positive note, I joined my works wellness committee. I had previously mentioned how we are participating in the Virgin Health Miles program where you track your steps for a year and you also get points for all other kinds of workouts. It’s a lot of fun and the committee put together some really cool prizes for each level you reach (2-5, everyone starts on 1, duh). We are also going to pull together monthly lunch and learns. We have one lined up where we will get our body fat calculated and then we’ll have the guy come back at the end of the year so you can see your progress! And I am putting one together on desk yoga! Fun stuff.
    Sunday, February 27, 2011

    Toddler mom running


    This is my first winter having a toddler and trying to stay in a running routine. I am finding it next to impossible. The only solution is to get a treadmill I am saddened to say. Here is my dilemma, weekends aside, I can only run when it is dark out. My running choices are either 5:30am or 8pm. I have to run before Harper is awake, that is my rule. I only see her about 3 hours a day and I am not going to "waste" one of those hours running. This winter has been the iciest and coldest in a really long time and it just doesn't feel safe. Now I will admit I let myself get out of the running habit and wasted a few decent days, but for the most part, it just hasn't been possible. So, in our new house I will be getting a treadmill for sure, so next winter I will have to learn to use it, ugh. I never run on the treadmill, I hate it with a ridiculous passion. I will do an alternate exercise before I get on that hamster wheel. But I will learn, I have to. In the spring I will just take Harper with me and not feel bad b/c we can sing songs and talk and it's good for her to get some fresh air. Do any of you have the BOB weather shield? If so, at what temp do you think its safe to take them running?

    I have only been running 1-2 times a week for well over a month which is not acceptable. However, I do have to say that my longs runs have been going really well. I had an awesome 10 miler with my hometown friend Twila last weekend. I visited KY with Harper to see my family. We had glorious weather, a taste of spring was much appreciated. But I am really sore after these long runs. My hamstrings especially, I can totally tell how much running strength I have lost. I just hope I have enough time to get it back before my races. I have a 10 miler in April, a half in May and a full in June.

    I am heading out for a 12 miler this morning. Fonzie got skunked first thing this morning. Luckily it was just his snout, but our whole house stinks. Poor guy. I inhaled so much of it that I found myself dry heaving over the kitchen sink shortly after bathing him. Good times! Here are some lovely pics from our KY visit last weekend.



    Friday, February 11, 2011

    I'm back bitches

    Hey everyone. So, I was away reinventing myself. Imagine that. A psychiatrist would probably love to read this blog and identify my ridiculous repeat phases. Phase 1 – go gung ho. Phase 2- start to get tired of the routine. Phase 3 – completely quit working out for a week, gain all the weight you lost in that single week, stuff your face. Phase 4 – wallow and hate yourself for a few days. Phase 5 – find a new routine!

    So, I do love P90x, I do. But it’s just not working for me right now. My weight has gotten really high. I weigh more than I ever have as an adult, aside from when I was pregnant. None of my pants fit and my thighs are rubbing together. I am disgusted with myself and wishing there was some fast fix. Alas, I am smart enough to know there is not. So, I have gotten over my wallow phase and made a few choices.

    · I need to run. I miss it. I had a kickass 8 miler last week, plus I have a marathon in 17 weeks and running once a week isn’t going to cut it!
    · I am going to follow a 12 week marathon training plan. That gives me a month to get back to running 3-4 days a week, no exceptions so that I am ready to start the plan with a long run of 10 miles.
    · I will keep doing P90x, I do not want to lose the muscle I have gained. I can see a difference in my arms and waist for sure. My plan is to run 3-4 days a week and do 3-4 P90x DVDs, I will rotate them. I will likely do core synergistics and plyo each week and then 1-2 of the upper body routines.
    · I work out on lunch twice a week, that is going to be ab ripper
    · Food. No more sugar. I am swearing it off for awhile. I am going to participate in a diet challenge group that Whole Foods is putting on based on the Engine 2 diet. The challenge starts next week. It is a vegan diet. No oil, sugar or white flour. So basically I will be drinking shakes and eating veggies, fine by me.
    · This challenge will force me to pre plan dinners, which will likely save us some money anyway.
    · Oh yeah, and I am going to start growing my hair out. Yuck, it’s going to be awful. But I don’t have enough self esteem right now to rock the Halle Berry hair.


    In other news the house selling is coming together. We are listing in March. Hubby is almost done with our bathroom rehab. I have packed up pretty much every non necessary item in our house. We are looking at houses starting this weekend. Exciting and stressful times.
    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Just another manic Friday

    Good day Bloggy friends. I have been crazy busy and haven’t had time to blog. I went to Vegas for work last week. It was great to get to go to Vegas for free, but a bummer b/c it was over the weekend and I lost out on much needed family snuggly weekend time. The weather was gorgeous. I didn’t do so great with P90x that week b/c I took the DVDs with plans to work out all 3 days and they wouldn’t play on my laptop! So, I ended up only doing 2 P90x DVDs (plyo and arms) and running 3 times. But I am okay with that, I contemplated doing week 5 over but decided against it. I have to start marathon training soon and the sooner I am done with P90x the better. I am rocking week 6. Although I have to say that I have not made my 5am wakeup call one time this week. I have been stuck doing the workouts in the evenings and I hate that. I do not look forward to working out at 8pm at all. I have done them for the most part around 7 when Harper is awake, but feel bad from taking time away from her since I only see her about 3 hours a day. The first 20 mins or so of a workout, she likes to play along, run in place and do her own little downward dogs. It’s pretty funny to watch her mimic me. But then I have to keep pausing it to deal with whatever tantrum or bad thing she is getting into and my 58 min workout takes 90 mins. Seriously, last night I ended up doing the sneaky lunges while HOLDING her! So, all those lunges on my toes holding a 30 lbs kid on my hip. But it is what it is, you make do and get it done. Here is my schedule for this week:


    Monday – rest
    Tuesday – Chest, Triceps, Shoulders/ Ab Ripper
    Wed- Plyo
    Thurs – Legs and Back/ Ab Ripper
    Fri – Kenpo
    Sat – Yoga and 4-5 mile run
    Sun – Biceps, Back/ Ab Ripper and 8-10 mile run

    Now on another front, my weight has shot back up. I am back to 137 and spitting mad. I can tell a bit of a difference in my body. Mostly my stomach doesn’t seem as big, but I am so sad when I see that number on the scale. I will keep forging ahead. I can work on cleaning my diet up a bit, but there’s not much to clean up (disregard the 3 donut holes I had this morning please). I still 6 more weeks of P90x and I pray that things start to change on the scale. I hope that adding in the miles from here on out will not mess with my weight further. I swear I am the only person in the world who has a harder time losing weight when she is working out. I honestly think I am cursed with one of the world’s worst metabolisms.

    It is February and that means that I have got to get back to running. This week aside b/c the weather screwed me, I need to try for 3 runs a week. Usually that will be a Sat/Sun and one week night run. My June marathon will be here before I know it!

    Thursday, January 27, 2011

    A Winner! And a downer of a post!

    And the winners are! Organic Warrier and Clare. Congrats! Thanks for playing everyone. So, I’d like to sing the praises of the CVS Minute Clinic for a minute b/c not a lot of people even know it exists. Did you? It is a doc office at your local CVS! You will see either a medical assistant or a RN. You don’t need an appointment and it costs the same co-pay with most health insurances. Since I started going to CVS I haven’t been to my doctor in 2 years! I still see my lady bits doctor, so I figure this is a fine arrangement. The clinic workers can write you a prescription and you can sit there while it gets filled. I have never had to wait for than 30 mins to get in and I can’t even say that about my regular doc when I have a stinking appt! I love you minute clinic. I got a prescription of anti-biotics which are slowly taking my cold away, but on the downside my stomach is now a wreck. So, I stopped at the store this morning and picked up some probiotics, hopefully that helps.

    This time of year is a tough time for me. My dad died 3 years ago tomorrow. You would think time would make it easier, but it really hasn’t. If anything the pain, grief, hole in my heart, whatever you want to call it has gotten worse. I think that has to do with being a mom now. To know that Harper will never meet her grandfather really bothers me. A lot about my dad’s last few months on earth bother me, I said some really not nice things to him, believe me all well deserved but it has hung on my conscious like 20 extra lbs. I don’t remember my last conversation with him and I hate that. When someone dies unexpectedly you find yourself spending way to much time on the shoulda, woulda, coulda's. I wish I had a better picture of his last days on earth, I wish I had picked up the phone, I wish a lot of things. But most of all I wish he was still here.
    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    P90X Week 5, Day 1 and 2 - It hurts!

    Oh it hurts. Sitting, standing, bending, lifting my arms. You name the body part and it hurts right now! And only from 2 days of working out. Monday was a whirlwind and it regretebly became my rest day. I had to finally break down and get some meds for this never ending cold. So, I spent my evening at the CVS minute clinic and found out I had a double ear and sinus infection. Oh joy!

    Tuesday was Day 1 of Week 5 and I got to do a new DVD – Shoulder, Chest and Triceps. Here are the excercises:

    Slow-Motion 3-in-1 Push-up
    This workout wastes no time in wiping out your pushing muscles! The 3-in-1 Slow-Motion Push-up is a slow 4-count on the way down, and then a slow 4-count on the way back up. You do that from a wide push-up position, a standard width push-up position, and a military style (hands close to body) push-up position.
    In & Out Shoulder Fly
    This is a basic front shoulder raise with a dumbbell in each hand, and then immediately doing a lateral (side) raise with the same weight. As always, you want to use a weight that will get you to your goal number of reps (8-10 for size, 12-15 for leaner muscles), so choose a weight that you can do that number of reps with while still keeping excellent form.
    Chair Dip
    This is just a standard dip.
    Plange Push-up
    The Plange Push-up is kind of weird, but it does a great job of working your pushing muscles from a different angle than they are used to. Different is always good when it comes getting results! For this movement, you keep your hands very close to your body, right near your rib cage, and you have your fingertips facing out away from your body, rather than forward as in a normal push-up.
    Pike Press
    The Pike Press is a GREAT exercise for your shoulders! Basically, you bend over at the waist, and go up on your toes while your hands are on the floor in front of you. As you drop down, you keep your face towards your legs and drop the top of your head towards the floor. I was able to do 1! Yes 1, suck it Tony Horton.
    Side Tri-Rise
    For this you lay on your side and try and use your tricep to push yourself up. It’s a toughie, you do it on both sides. I can eek out 15 of these, but it is hard.
    Floor Fly
    This exercise has such a simple name, but it does OH SO much! Basically what you are doing is putting a towel, plate, piece of cardboard, or something else underneath one of your hands, and sliding that hand out before going down into a push-up. You then slide it back, do another push-up, then out for another push-up, etc. This is an awesome exercise because it works the entire chest area, not to mention the triceps.
    Scarecrow
    With a dumbbell in each hand, you bring your upper arms up and parallel to the floor, and let your lower arms hang at a 90-degree angle, perpendicular to the floor. Picture a scarecrow and you'll have the general idea. From there, without moving your upper arms, you twist the dumbbells all the way up until your palms are facing forward, then all the way down again until they are facing backwards. I tried to do this with my 10 lb weights, which was impossible. I need to get some 5lbs.
    Overhead Triceps Extension
    This is a pretty standard triceps movement because it is such an effective exercise. Hold both dumbbells overhead with your arms completely straight, then unhinge your elbows, bringing both dumbbells down behind your head. Lift them both back up to full overhead extension and repeat. If you have dumbbells that have flat surfaces, you can keep the dumbbells touching during the entire exercise.
    Two-Twitch Speed Push-up
    Going back to slow-motion push-ups that were done earlier in this workout, now we also add in fast push-ups as well. You do 4 fast push-ups (all the way down and all the way up), and then you do 3 slow-motion push-ups, using the 4-count on the way down and on the way up.
    Y-Press
    This is like a standard dumbbell overhead press, only you push up at approximately a 45-degree angle, rather than pushing straight overhead. Love it.
    Lying Triceps Extension
    This is another classic triceps exercise, and it is very effective as long as you perform the movement with perfect form. You are on the floor on your back with 2 dumbbells held up at arm's length. One at a time, you drop one of the dumbbells down to the opposite side of your head, close to your ear, being sure not to let your elbow flare out to the side. You can also do this exercise with both dumbbells at the same time by dropping them down towards the back of your head, but again, don't let your elbows move at all.
    Side-to-Side Push-up
    Another awesome push-up variation, you basically "hop" one leg and one arm out to one side, do a push-up, and then return to center briefly before going out to the other side and doing the same thing. At this point I was D-O-N-E and could barely do 5 of these.
    Pour Fly
    Time to put the pride away, because you won't be doing this exercise with very much weight! Basically all you do is stand with a dumbbell in each hand, arms extended fully out to both sides of your body. Without moving your arms at all (keeping your shoulders in a static contraction the entire time), you twist your wrist to bring the dumbbells perpendicular to the floor, then back to parallel to the floor. Again, I am going to need to get 5 lb weights for this. 10 is too tough.
    Side-Leaning Triceps Extension
    This is another overhead triceps movement, only this time you are sitting in a chair and leaning on the back of the chair away from the direction that you'll be pressing the dumbbell up overhead. The idea is that by leaning away from the direction of the exercise, you'll be able to push the weight up more effectively, only without letting your elbow flare out to the side.
    One-Arm Push-up
    This is just like it sounds, and yes, it IS that hard! LOL, I just skipped this, as if, said in my best Clueless impression.
    Weighted Circle
    This exercise is basically doing the arm circles that are normally done during the warm-up sessions, only now you are doing them with dumbbells in your hands. Once again, light weights are called for here, and if you try to go heavy, you'll never last.
    Throw the Bomb
    This is a cool twist on a standard overhead triceps extension. You do one arm at a time, and with the other arm, you point forward as if you were pointing to a receiver down the field that you were about to throw a football to. Press the dumbbell straight up in the air and be sure to stop when you get to the top! You aren't actually throwing the dumbbell, but rather modifying the move so that you can put a slight hip twist into it.
    Clap or Plyo Push-up
    There are 2 version of this exercise, and you should try them both to see which is better suited to your present (but growing) level of fitness. The plyo version is basically just pushing yourself up off of the floor when you get to the top part of a standard push-up. The clap version is pushing yourself far enough off of the floor so that you can clap your hands and then get them back underneath you before you face-plant on the floor. Again – AS IF!
    Slow-Mo Throw
    This is very similar to the Scarecrow that you did earlier in this workout, only this time you raise your arms straight out in front of you. From the up position, you then rotate at the elbow to bring the dumbbells back to your ears, then rotate forward to the straight arm position. Drop your arms briefly to your sides, and then repeat.
    Front-to-Back Triceps Extension
    This is a one-arm overhead triceps extension, only the front-to-back portion is thrown in to work the muscles from a slightly different angle. You basically extend the dumbbell up, then drop it down in front of your face, and then extend it up again before dropping it down behind your head.
    One-Arm Balance Push-up
    This exercise combines a push-up with the Yoga X one-arm balance pose. You do a standard push-up, then - while still in the up position - roll over to one side while stacking your feet on top of each other. Keep your hips up as high as you can by engaging your core muscles, and raise one arm all the way to the sky. Roll back down into the push-up position, do another push-up, then repeat on the other side. Say it with me – AS IF!
    Fly-Row Press
    The Fly-Row Press actually combines 4 different exercises: the Dumbbell Fly, the Upright Row, the Overhead Dumbbell Press, and the Reverse Curl. You do the fly first, then drop your arms back to your sides before doing the upright row. Without coming out of the up position of the row, drop your elbows and push the dumbbells up overhead, then bring them down and do a reverse curl, ending the movement in the starting position for the next repetition.
    Dumbbell Cross-Body Blow
    This is the final exercise in this routine, and by this point, you are very, very tired. Grab two dumbbells of a reasonable weight, and then get on your back on the floor. In a pseudo-punching movement, you punch one dumbbell then the other across your body.


    I like the videos that have this kind of format, as opposed to the repetition format where your repeat the excercises. I feel like this goes faster. After completeing this workout I still had to do Ab Ripper! So, that was a tough day. This morning I got up and did Plyometrics and boy was I tired and sore. I still do love Ploymetrics even though I suck at most of the moves.

    LAST CHANCE ON MY CONTEST! ENTER BELOW.

    About Me

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    Mnowac
    distance runner attempting to run a marathon in every state, vegetarian foodie, mediocre triathlete, sucky swimmer, mommy to Harper, tea lover, coffee drinker, animal saver, hubby snuggler, race addict, full time working 31 year old living in cleveland
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    Marathons so far

    • Sept 2012 - Corning, NY - TBD
    • April 2012 - Louisville, KY - TBD
    • Sept 2011 - Erie PA - 4:25
    • June 2011 - South Bend IN - 5 hrs+ (it was 98 degrees!)
    • Dec 2010 - Rehoboth Beach DE - 4:26:06
    • Nov 2010 - Huntington WV - 4:11:44
    • Oct 2009 - Towpath - Cleveland area OH - 4:30:35

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