the last long run.

  I am most confident in a pair of running sneakers.  I feel my best when I am sweaty and tired and moving.

 Calm.  Centered.  Focused.

My weekend long run was such a mental feat for me today.  I knew it would be as soon as I woke up, feeling as if I had already ran the 12 miles.  Twelve miles?  Pshh…Try one.

Yes.  A serious mental feat.  In fact, I almost didn’t go.

But of course, with the half marathon being but two weeks away, I had a good dose of motivation to get out and run.  I told myself that if I still didn’t feel good by the 6th mile, I could shorten the running loop.

After the first mile, I felt on top of the world–-light as a feather.  This carried me through until somewhere between mile 6 and mile 7.  Which is when I had to muster up every last inch of strength that I could possibly find.  My legs and breathing were near perfect but my mind was a million miles away.  And then Negative Nancy paid me a visit.

“You can’t do this, you know.”

What are you thinking???”

You’re not a runner, silly!”

With each step, I pretended I was squashing each negative thought.  Staying positive is crucial for carrying me through these longer runs!!

When I came home, I slipped on my comfiest flats and headed back out into the sunshine for a little stroll around the yard.  Stretching out felt absolutely delicious on the legs!

Half marathon: I think I am ready.  I’ll see you in two weeks! 😀

QUESTION: What was the highlight of your Saturday?

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To Be Continued…

Today I will be attempting to run my final long run before the big Half Marathon day in two weeks.  You think I’d be on edge.  Full of energy and nerves and ready to pump out ever last mile.

You’d think.

But no.  This past week with all its business and chaos has left me feeling like Stitch will a belly full of food.  Tired.  Pooped.  Completely tuckered out.  Yes.  This may very well be the run that will test my mental strength and motivation.

I’ll tell you all about it upon my return…and if you happen not to hear from me, please send the posse.  It means I’m lying on the side of the road, somewhere, in need of a caffeine IV.  😉

To Be Continued…

Wish me luck and Happy Saturday! 😀

Easter 2011

“9” Things I Loved About This Year’s Easter

1. Nicole’s creativity, dispersed into the cutest place settings that I have ever seen.

(Nicole is the up and coming Martha Stewart, in case you didn’t know.)

2. Quiet time spent with family and friends.

3. The food.  (of course!)

Nicole made a large batch of sweet potato and rosemary soup.  For a moment, I completely lost my senses and found myself wishing that I was one of mom’s homemade butter rolls being dunked into the rich, orange broth.

Did I just say that out loud?

Heavenly.

I honestly could have made a meal out of the bread and soup, but the main meal was pretty scrumptious too.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Summer Squash w/ Dill Saute

Ham and Turkey

Broccoli Casserole

Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots

Green Beans

I hated the meal.  All of it.  Obviously. 😉

4. Seeing my bestie: Nicole @ Loving Simple Moments

5. Dessert. (because this is a completely different reason than the #3!)

Nicole went all out with the entirety of the meal.  And then she ended it with a loud, lemony, coconut bang.

Kelsey brought a trio of yummy vegan desserts for the table to share as well.

Delish!

6. End of meal conversations.

This is always my favorite part of every holiday.  Empty plates.  Quiet chatter.  Candles glowing.  People laughing.  Bellies feeling full and content.

7. Goodie bags! :mrgreen:

Thanks, Nicole!

8. Cuddling with a cat named Stitch.

Because he never ceases to make me laugh.

9. Remembering all of the good things in life.

Sometimes I forget to thank God for the simple moments.  Which is funny, because these are the moments that I continue to remember, long after the day has passed.  The moments that mean the most.  I love that Easter reminds me of all these things. 

Happy Easter!!!

QUESTION: What is your favorite part of Easter?

let it…snow?

Well.  I tried to be mature about this.  But waking up to snow this morning was not at all my cup of tea.

In fact, I felt like doing nothing more (or less) than griping and complaining.  And I definitely let out a loud groan as I turned the coffee maker on, which probably (most definitely) woke my parents up.  Yep.  Real mature.

But a girl can change her mind, right?

I slipped on my flats (because I absolutely refuse to wear Uggs in April!) and stood on the porch, overlooking the magic around me.  It was beautiful.  Everything.  Beautiful.  The snowflakes were large and melted on my face as I grinned up at the sky.  The world was asleep and I was completely alone.  Watching the snowflakes.  Life is so beautiful.

Dad walked into the kitchen and ate some breakfast with a mug of coffee.  And then we decided to head out for our morning run.  In the snow.  I felt like a little kid on my day off from school, running and splashing through puddles.  Fingers feeling numb from the cold.  Face feeling frozen.  This is what contentment feels like.

Happy Easter, everyone!  I hope that you are able to enjoy the day with the ones you love the most.  😀

QUESTION: How are you celebrating Easter this year?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sarah’s “Official” Half Marathon Training Plan

Week 1: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 2: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 3: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—2.5 miles

Week 4: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—6.5 miles (YIPPEE!)

Week 5: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 6: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—8 miles (We. Did. It! :D )

Week 7: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—3 miles

Week 8: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—9.5 miles (Feelin’ Good!!)

Week 9: 
Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 10: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—11 miles

Week 11: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 12: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—12.5 miles

Week 13: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—4 miles

Week 14: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—14 miles

Week 15: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—5 miles

Week 16: Tues—3 miles   Thurs—3 miles   Saturday—HALF MARATHON RACE DAY


Tomorrow? I’m ready.

Tomorrow, I’ll be attempting my weekly long run of 12.5 miles.  The longest I have ever—ever!—run.  (Please note: “attempting” is the key word here.)

Tomorrow, I’ll be wearing heels.  I mean.  High, high heels.  I never wear heels.  (Pray for me, please.)

Tomorrow, I’ll be up until well past 10.  (FYI, this never happens.)

Tomorrow, I’ll be dancing, eating prime rib, laughing, chatting with family, and indulging my love of frosting and cake at my cousin’s wedding.

Tomorrow, I’ll be going, going, going.  And then going (and going) some more.

And so, tonight I stopped.

Tonight, I ate grilled, wild caught salmon on a bed of garlicky swiss chard.  I ate slow.

Tonight, I visited and chatted with Pepere.

Tonight, I went to Whole Foods, bought some mixed nuts, drank a kombucha, and laughed with some friends.

Tonight, I took a bubble bath.  I read a magazine.  And then I plan on reading some more.

And so, tomorrow?  I’m ready.

Garlicky Swiss Chard

Swiss chard reminds me of kale.  But it also reminds me of spinach.  I happen to think that it has the delightful best of both personalities.  The leaves are soft and tender.  They will wilt and shrivel with embarrassment in just a few moments.  Of course, my favorite component of swiss chard is the flavor.  Where kale is strong and boisterous, swiss chard has a much more mild manner.  It’s slightly withdrawn, so to speak.  Which makes it perfect for showcasing your favorite choice of protein, be it grilled tofu, chicken breast, or–in my case–salmon.

Round out the meal with some form of starch.  I opted for potatoes, as that’s what I happen to have a lot of in my basement right now.  I think quinoa or brown rice or even a hunk of favorite, whole grain bread would pair nicely as well.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 1 medium bunch of rainbow swiss chard, tough stems removed, leaves chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • splash of red wine vinegar
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  1. Heat oil in a medium pot.
  2. Add garlic and cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until garlic begins to smell fragrant.
  3. Add swiss chard.  Cook until leaves are beginning to wilt.  Add vinegar, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until leaves are tender and wilted.  Taste to be sure that salt and pepper are to liking.  Plate and enjoy! 😀
QUESTION: What are YOU doing tomorrow?

Fast Food.

Well.  I thought I’d let you in on a couple of my most recent, fast food favorites.

And no.  I’m not talking about that kind of fast food…

Recently, I went to a state dietetic conference, in which there were all kinds of free giveaways, goodies and snag bags.  Yep, just one of the many perks of going into a food-related job. 😉

I sampled my way through delicious (and, to be honest, sometimes not so delicious) chocolate, yogurts, and cheese.  Lots of cheese.  By the end of the day, I discovered a couple of new (to me) products that I plan on using in my kitchen if ever I need food fast.  Fast food.

Fast Food #1: Dell’Amore Tomato Sauce

Supposedly, this sauce is homemade in Vermont.  I’m not usually a fan of store bought tomato sauces, but I’m really, really liking this one.  The sodium content is reasonable and the flavor is as deliciously close to homemade sauce as I’ve yet to find.  Best of all, the ingredients are 100% pronounceable.

It is pretty pricey though.  I paid $5.00 for one bottle.  But considering how cheap pasta noodles are, this meal really comes out to be a pretty affordable deal.

I like to bulk it all up with some extra veggies: zucchini, mushrooms, onions

…and a crunchy side salad.

The sauce gets mixed with the cooked veggies and then I smother it all over a plate of whole wheat noodles.

There you have it.  Fast food at its finest.

Fast Food #2: Flat-Out Wraps

At the end of the dietetic conference, there were more and more giveaways, as companies tried to just get rid of their products before heading home.  I snagged a couple of these flat-out wraps to be used for quick meals and snacks.

The best serving method that I discovered for these wraps, was when I served them alongside bowls of homemade channa masala, which I had pulled from the freezer.

Fast food.

The taste and texture of the flat-outs are fun.  I liked them.  But I’m still not crazy about that long ingredient list.  I wonder if the non-light ones are a little shorter?

Fast food doesn’t have to involve drive through’s, greasy fingers or eating in 5 minutes flat.  A little planning can go a long way in preparing foods at home that won’t take hours and hours of your time.

Eating On the Road:

  • Stop at a grocery store and make a meal from the deli with a whole wheat bulkie roll, a couple slices of turkey breast, a slice of cheese and some lettuce and tomato.  BONUS: Park in the furthest parking spot and get some walking into your day.
  • Pack a sandwich into a cooler if you know your day will be a long one.  Chop up some chicken, mix it with a bit of mayo, add some grapes and walnuts, and tuck into a whole wheat pita with lettuce.  Serve with some fresh raw veggie sticks for crunch and a piece of dark chocolate for dessert.
  • Pack a substantial snack to hold you over until you can sit down and have dinner: half a peanut butter and banana sandwich, almonds with apricots, cheese stick and a piece of fruit, yogurt with fresh berries and granola, etc.

Quick Meals At Home:

  • Breakfast for Dinner: Scrambled eggs, whole wheat toasts with a pat of jam, and roasted veggies on the side with fruit salad for dessert.
  • Tuna Melts: Grilled cheese with tuna salad tucked in between.  Serve with raw or roasted veggies and fresh fruit for dessert.
  • Black bean burgers on whole wheat buns with avocado, lettuce, and tomato.  Serve with homemade french fries and side salads
  • Make big batches of soups, chili, stews, salads, etc. on your weekend and stash in the freezer or fridge for an upcoming busy week.

Healthy fast food.  What a concept.

QUESTION: What is your favorite “fast food?”

a series of serious questions

I was in an especially thoughtful kind of mood today, spending some time chewing over those very important, real-life kinds of issues.

Things like, why can’t I sleep past 6 o’clock on a Saturday? Or, why do cold oats never keep me as full as warm? And, why am I still using St. Patrick’s Day napkins on April 2?

Because, you know, these are all very important, current, real-life issues that must be mulled over every now and then.

The real question, however, was this: Why do I feel the need to run?

Some would argue the point that runners run because they can.  Plain and simple.

But that answer just doesn’t work for me.  Because theoretically, I could go bungee jumping…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could eat an entire cake in one sitting…”because I can.” But I don’t.  I could walk up to a tall, dark and handsome stranger, give him my number, and tell him to call me…“because I can.” Theoretically.  But I don’t.

So what is it about running that lures me in?  Why do I run?  Why do you run?

This is what I came up with…

When I run, I pray. Sometimes I pray just to keep me focused.   Sometimes I do it just because it feels good to finally be alone and talking to God.  And sometime do it just to get my mind off of the way that my legs are starting to feel like dead weights hanging from my body.  😉

When I run, life feels more simple. My schedule suddenly makes sense.  My days don’t seem so crazy.  I feel focused and ready to embrace all that life brings.

When I run, I am strong.

When I run, I feel free. No phones, gadgets, internet connections (even worse, lack of) or demands.  I am alone.  I am content.  I am blissfully free.

Yes, bungee jumping is something that I could, theoretically, do.  But it wouldn’t really make life seem more simple.  It wouldn’t make me feel free in a good way.  And while I would be talking to God, I wouldn’t necessarily be praying.  More like begging and pleading for my life.

And so, take it or leave it, this is why I run.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Grilled Salmon

This salmon is simple enough to make for a busy weeknight, but delicious enough to serve when company comes over.  It also makes the perfect post-running fuel, as its chock full of omega 3 fatty acids which may help to reduce inflammation.

Serve with your favorite veggies and some mashed sweet potatoes, rice, or a baked potato.  Enjoy!

  • 1 lb. wild caught salmon
  • 1 tsp lite soy sauce
  • garlic powder
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh or dried parsley
  1. Heat grill to medium heat.
  2. Drizzle salmon with soy sauce and sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper and parsley.  Cook skin side down on grill for about 5 minutes.  Flip.  Continue cooking for another 3-5 minutes, depending on desired doneness.  Fish will flake easily with a fork when finished.  Avoid overcooking.  ENJOY! 😀

QUESTION: What is your exercise of choice?  What makes this your favorite?

one, two, three…

ONE

The number of “new” breakfasts eaten this week.

(this will change tomorrow, and that’s all I’m saying)

TWO

The number of quotes that made me smile and/or reflect today.

Quote Number #1: “I love hot water.  I should have been born a tea bag.”
Nicole @ Loving Simple Moments

Quote Number #2: “We are always getting ready to live but never living.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson

THREE

The number of months since my last hair cut.  And the last time I checked, the shag wasn’t really in style.

I really should get on that.

Four

The time that my alarm clock went off this morning.

Yes.  It hurt.


FIVE

The number of pre-dinner walks that I’ve gone over this past week.

Delicious.  Absolutely delicious.

SIX

The number of banana bran muffins consumed.

SEVEN

The number of larger-than-life salads consumed.

EIGHT

The current time.

Time to pull on some fuzzy socks and unwind with a good book. 😉

QUESTION: What are some NUMBERS from your past week? Three mile run?  Hanging out with your two best friends?  A one dollar jar of peanut butter?

in the early morning

While I’ve always been a morning person, I don’t always bounce out of bed with limitless energy.  And yet, that’s exactly what I did this morning.  At 4:30 am.  On a Saturday.

What is wrong with me?

Anyways, I put the extra morning time to good use.

First, I got to work on fixing yesterday’s conundrum.  The misspelled word on my poster.  There was absolutely no way—no way!—that I was going to pay another $30 to have the poster printed.  So I took some photo quality printer paper and printed out part of the poster on an 8×11 sheet.  I really just wanted the word “The” so that I could paste it on top of the word “To.”

(It practically killed me to replace “to” with “the” on my saved version, without being able to so easily change it on the hard copy!)

While I wouldn’t say this was the most perfect, flawless solution, it did solve the problem…

My hope is that most people will stand far back and not even take notice. 😉

The sun was still barely waking up, as I rolled the poster back into its case.  It was just shy of 6 o’clock.  I didn’t have a long run planned.  I didn’t need to be out of the house until 9:30.  I literally still had an entirely full morning left.

Obviously, it only made sense that I bake a batch of blueberry muffins for breakfast.

I have always said that if I were to ever make it famous in life, I would want to be most famous for one of these two scenarios: (1) Owner and operator of a gourmet oatmeal buffet (don’t laugh, I can totally picture this!)  Or (2) a baker.  Of breads and pies and pastries.  And, mostly, of muffins.

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Whole Wheat Banana Berry Muffins

Warm from the oven, these muffins make for an absolutely fabulous weekend breakfast.  They’re delicious as is, or crumbled into yogurt with almond butter too.  They also make the perfect breakfast-to-go, but honestly, I prefer eating them in the comfort of my home on some Saturday morning, in my pj’s, with a hot cup of coffee.

I used whole wheat graham flour for the fun, nutty texture.  But really, you can use any whole wheat flour that you happen to have on hand.  Enjoy! 😀

  • 2 c. whole wheat graham flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mashed, very ripe banana (about 1-1/2 bananas)
  • 1-1/2 c. frozen blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Whisk together first 5 ingredients up to nutmeg.  Whisk together next 7 ingredients up to banana in a separate bowl.
  3. Add blueberries to dry mix; stir until blueberries are coated with the flour.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix.  Stir just until moistened.
  5. Pour batter into 12-muffin pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 17-20 minutes in preheated oven.  Once done, run knife around edges and pop out onto cooking rack to cool.  Serve warm for the ultimate muffin experience.

Sigh.

I love muffins.

I love early mornings.

Question: What was the highlight of your Saturday?

the smile list, part II

5 Things That Made Me Smile Today

1. Coming home to a completely empty house after a super busy day.

For an internship requirement, we (my fellow interns and I) volunteered at some local elderly feeding sites.  Our main job was to do some light education on sodium and fiber.  It was a little challenging, since there was a definite language barrier.  Just one more reason why I need to learn Spanish!  But the people were adorable and very willing to listen.  One woman was shocked to learn that potatoes and beans were good sources of fiber.  I had so much FUN talking with the people!

By the end, however, I was pretty much zonked out.  So I made a super simple salad complete with avocado, beans (FIBER! 😀 ) and sunflower seeds, with a whole wheat onion bagel on the side.  I finished it all off with a bubble bath and some yoga.

D-e-l-i-g-h-t-f-u-l.

2. Buying tickets for an upcoming Josh Groban concert.  The price was a little ridiculous, but for Josh Groban, I will gladly tighten the wallet in other areas.  Yes.  I will even give up my bi-weekly almond butters…ha!

3. Starting my day with a brisk morning walk.

Waking up with the sun.  A fresh new morning.  Feeling 100% energized.

4. Dessert.

There are times when I want fancy creme brulee and creamy cheesecakes.  And then there are times when I want a tried and true, nothing fancy, regular ol’ piece of candy.  Reeses are my favorite!

5. Realizing that it is Friday and I have a busy weekend filled to the brim with fun things.

  • 8-mile run tomorrow morning.
  • Ice skating and a church buffet tomorrow afternoon.
  • Volunteering at a 5k, Sunday morning.
  • Hanging with my bestie—aka, Nicole—Sunday afternoon.

What is your favorite candy/dessert?

AND

What made YOU smile today?

The Smile List, Part I.