Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Years Eve Update

Glad you guys liked my 2010 post.  I feel like this was a really good year for me.  Kind of pivotal even in becoming more the person I am (to get all Oprah on you), if that makes sense.  I just felt pretty positive all year long and a little more fearless.  It reminded me more of the girl I was in my early 20s when I dove head first in to becoming a cop, moved across a few states without a second thought, and flew by the seat of my pants a little more.  I think when I got married, settled in, and was dealing with all the stress we have from Greg's furlough, I tended to go into my shell for a while.  I didn't really want to do anything else to rock our already tumultous boat, so I just kind of laid low.  This year I was done with that.  I threw caution to the wind and said I wasn't going to sit around and wait for things to improve, I was going to go out and make my own happiness and do things that were a little more risky.  It's been a total blast.

Anyway, back to this week.  I don't want 2010 to end on a negative note, but I want to update you on some running developments this week.  Wednesday night I decided to do another short training run, even though I usually don't run two nights in a row.  The reason I don't usually run two nights in a row (in case you are wondering what my deal is with that), is because I truly believe that in that one day off, my body does little things to repair itself and is ready to perform better on the next running day.  This week started to look a lot like last week though, in terms of when I would need to do my long run (I'll get into why in a second), and I realized if I wanted to do more than one short run this week, I'd have to do them back to back or not at all.  Therefore, Wednesday night I went out and got in 4.5 miles in 44:52 minutes. 

The run was ok.  At this stage in marathon training, it's hard to know what feels normal and what does not.  I feel all kinds of things when I'm running and after I run, and even in the days following a run.  I don't know that anything feels "normal" or "not normal" to me anymore.  It's kind of a big blur of sensations at this point.  But, at the same time, I do have one area that I've recently felt more pain and discomfort than other areas, and that's sort of my whole upper left leg socket where the leg meets the hip/groin.  Sometimes it feels like the IT band, and sometimes it feels like it's more in the front of my upper leg.  Anyway, it did bother me a little on the run.  I did my best to foam roll and stretch after, hoping it would help.  Yesterday at work, I noticed it was bothering me A LOT.  I'm worried this is more than just soreness/discomfort.  I promptly called Greenapple (my sports medicine people) and made an appointment for early next week. 

I also talked to Michelle (my marathon training buddy) about it, and she suggested I not run on it for a few days.  My training plan had me scheduled for a 12 mile run this weekend, which I'd planned on doing today.  I don't want to get off track, but I think this issue needs to be addressed.  At this point, I feel like the "injury" is not deal breaking.  If I had to, I could probably push through and get the marathon done right now.  But, ideally, I'd like to feel closer to 100 % injury free and I think right now that means I need to rest, ice, and see my doctor about this issue.  Therefore, I chose to not do my 12 mile run today.  I walked Clyde instead, and even that bothered me a little.  :( 

I kind of think that my hilly neighborhood running is part of the issue.  Even though my neighborhood is pretty small there are a lot of hills and I feel like that's bothered my leg going up and down so much on my runs. 
I also have struggled with breaking in my new Asics, STILL, after having them a couple months now.  For some reason they still don't feel that comfortable, even though I've tried to break them in and worn them on countless runs.  They just feel really stiff.  I'm thinking I may just run in my older pair for the rest of training in case the new shoes are part of the problem.

Anyway, I hope that it will be ok.  I've resolved not to freak out.

The reason I was putting pressure on myself to get in my two shorter runs earlier this week so that I could do my long run today, is because a few days ago, Greg and I decided that I would drive with him to Houston this weekend, since he is starting training back at Continental on Monday.  He wants to have our third car out there with him so he has a way to get around so he's opting to drive it out and I thought I would go too.  We are planning on driving to New Orleans for the night Saturday night, and I'm pretty psyched about it because I've never been! 

One thing I noticed when looking at 2010 in review was the lack of positive happenings involving Greg.  I think it's normal, since he's a pilot, that he's not there for some events, but another goal I have for 2011 is to try and create more special memories with him.  Why not kick of 2011 together with a little road trip?  Clyde is coming too!  The plan is to leave fairly early tomorrow (New Years day), drive to New Orleans, stay the night, explore some, then drive the rest of the way to Houston on Sunday.  On Monday Clyde and I are flying back to Charlotte. 

We're only going to be in New Orleans for one night and part of Sunday.  Cafe Du Monde has been suggested a lot.  Any other spots that are must sees that I can fit in in less than 24 hours??

So that's the plan.  Since we are leaving fairly early tomorrow, we've opted to not go out for New Years Eve tonight.  Waaaa waaaaa waaaa....  I know, we're boring. 

Other than running and prepping for this trip, I did get in one social outing this week.  Last night I met Diana, Nicole, and Katy for fro-yo at Yoforia last night, since Katy is in town for a few days.  She's planning on moving to Charlotte!  Yay!


Katy and Adam

Diana came a little late so I somehow missed getting a picture of her!  It was great to see the girls and meet Adam.  We had fun chatting it up.

I had a mix of pinapple, pomegranate, and taro fro-yo with fruit, mochi, and coconut on top:

Yuuuuuuuuuuum!  It's way too long since my last fro-yo outing, although, it did leave me shivering just a little since it's kinda cold out there!

Well, that's probably going to be it for 2010, and until later in the weekend, or maybe even after the weekend since I'm not sure how much time I'll have to blog while on the road and in the air.  Thank you all for reading about my year, and I'll see you guys next week in 2011!!!  :)


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Summing Up 2010

I was recently reading Ali's blog  and saw that she had this post about the year 2010 in review.  I thought her list of questions was great and figured I'd answer them in a blog post to sum up my year.  Here's my answers to her list of questions.

1.  Your 2010 in three words:  
  • Clyde
  • Running!
  • Hope (because Greg's career is finally making a comeback)
 2.  Your top 10 best moments/nights/events/etc. of 2010:  
3.  The best purchase you made in 2010?

4.  The music that defined your year?
I'll go with some of the stuff on my running playlist, since I listened to it so much this year with all my running.  Here's some of my favorites:
  • Just Say Yes- Snow Patrol
  • Lovers In Japan- Coldplay
  • Forever- Chris Brown
  • Teenage Dream- Katy Perry (and the Glee version)
  • All I Have- Mat Kearney
  • Young and In Love- The London
  • Crossfire- Brandon Flowers
  • Get it Right- Brendan James
  • 1901- Phoenix
  • Thunderstruck- AC/DC
  • Learning to Fly- Tom Petty
  • Crash and Burn- Lifehouse
5.  Your best kiss of 2010:
The first kiss I had with my hubby after he got home from being gone at training for about 5-6 weeks in the spring.

6.  The night you felt the best/prettiest all year:  ??  Kelly's wedding maybe??  I really liked my hair.

7.  The best meal you ate in 2010:  I can't pick just one... A bunch were:  Carpe Diem, Custom Shop, Fiamma, Dolce.

8.  The people you missed the most in 2010:  My friend Jen that I grew up with in NH.  I saw her twice in 2009, but it did not work out for us to get together in 2010 :(  She has a baby I haven't met yet too!

9.  The best movie you saw all year:  Probably Avatar?  I think I saw it in the beginning of 2010 and it was fun seeing it in 3D on the big screen.

10.  The person you got to know the most in 2010:  Jen and my friend Michelle.  I credit both with turning me into the running nut I've become.

11.  The person you grew apart from the most in 2010:  Probably my friend Gibson.  We're still good friends, but we spend less time together these days than we did the year before.  Our lives are just busier now.

12.  The biggest risk you took in 2010: Signing up to run a full marathon.

13.  The biggest change you made in 2010:  Doing all this running and all these races!  Seriously, the longest single run I did in 2009 was about 4 miles.  Now I'm up to 20!  Who am I??!!

14.  Your biggest accomplishment in 2010:  My three half marathons and also all my runs longer than 13 miles made me feel really accomplished too.  Also, just getting out of the funk (read back to the beginning of my blog in 2009 to see what I'm talking about) I had been in most of 2009 and getting motivated and inspired to take charge of my own happiness.

15.  What you’re hoping for in 2011:
  • A strong marathon finish in January.
  • To get pregnant.
  • For Greg's job with the airlines to be stable and continue on an upward trend.
  • To be happy!!!  (I wish for that every year)
  • To visit family and friends I didn't get to see enough in 2010.  I'm due to visit people in NH, NJ, DC/VA, and IN.
  • Do more yoga.
    How was your year?  What are your hopes for next year?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ski Memories

Confession, I took THREE days off from running after my 20 miler on Friday! 
It wasn't intentional.  I would have run Sunday but everything was covered in snow and I was enjoying my day inside in pajamas a little too much. 
I would have run Monday night, but it was below 30 degrees (and windy!) and I had to go with Greg to pick up a car we had in the shop after work, so by the time we got home it was around 6:30pm and I wanted to make Greg dinner before he headed out to work.  I did do some more at home yoga that night though!

Anyway, last night I finally got back out there and did a little over 5 miles. 

It was a little cold, but not too terrible.  I realized that running in the dark, cold air with snow on the ground reminds me of something...  Night skiing!  Growing up in New England, I learned to downhill ski somewhere around second or third grade.  I was pretty much hooked from the first time I clipped into my skis.  My mom took my brother and I to a small mountain near where I grew up almost every Friday night.  I took lessons and then enjoyed hours and hours of ski time with my friends.  The place I went was called Maple Valley, and I'm not even sure it's actually still running.  How sad!

I remember worrying we wouldn't get to go if the roads were bad, but somehow my mom usually seemed to be willing to take us.  I learned a lot in my lessons and picked up skiing fast.  It wasn't long before I went from this: 

"Pizza, french fry, pizza, french fry"  
(Watch the Aspen episode of South Park, and you'll know what I'm talking about...)

to this:

Haha, just kidding, that's Picabo Street.  I was never anywhere near that good.  But I could do the black diamond trails at Maple Valley ;)

Here's the good ol' lodge, where I ate many a french fry and drank gallons of hot chocolate.

I remember how I would be bundled up in my ski pants, jacket, gloves, goggles, and hat, with just my nose exposed (if it wasn't tucked into my neck warmer) and how the cold, crisp air felt riding up that ski lift.  I remember looking down at the white snow on the pretty evergreen forest in the moonlight and then bounding off the lift ready to race down and do it all again.  I loved carving my tracks in the fresh snow and skiing down the mountain like lightning.  It was a total blast and I'm so grateful to my parents for exposing me to skiing as a kid.  Skiing is pretty expensive, so it was pretty cool that they were willing to spend the money and let us go. 

I also skied all through high school at another small mountain in Western Mass called Berkshire East (wow, it's still there/open!).

I went twice a week all winter long and loved every minute of it.  Fun Fact: I actually had my first kiss on the bus ride home from skiing when I was in tenth!

I really miss skiing a lot and I've said to Greg if there's one trip I'd like to take in the US that I haven't taken yet, it would be to go out west somewhere and ski someday.  I went to a few other bigger mountains in New England to ski a bunch of times but have never gotten a chance to ski out west.  Greg actually skis too and is pretty good for a Chicago born boy.  We went together a few times in western Virginia when we lived up there and had a blast.

After my run and flood of ski memories, I created this for dinner.

Basically a scaled down version of vegetable marrakesh, because I was using what I had in the house.

I used:
1 acorn squash, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and cubed
1 apple, peeled and cubed
1/2 onion
1/2 roasted red pepper
1 heaping teaspoon of garlic (1 or 2 cloves)
1/2 cup pureed butternut squash
1 can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
3 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt
1/2 cup apple juice
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of tumeric
1 tablespoon of cumin
Plus 3/4 cup Quinoa cooked in stock

I roasted the acorn squash, carrots, and apple for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.

Then, I put about a tablespoon of oil in a large pan, and sauteed the onion, garlic, and pepper for a few minutes.  Once the roasted veggies were done in the oven, I added them and the chickpeas into my pan along with the cinnamon, tumeric, and cumin.  Stir in the pureed butternut squash and the apple juice.  Lastly add your cooked Quinoa and stir til everything is well combined and heated through.

I love the flavors in this dish.  :)

Have you ever skied?  What did you do in the winter when you were a kid?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Snowed In

Christmas night I kept checking out the window looking for snow.  I heard via Twitter that other people in Charlotte were getting snow, but we had none (I live on the south side)!  Boo!  Finally, late Saturday night, before I went to bed, I finally saw some snow sticking and went to bed happy knowing we were getting some snow!

I woke up Sunday morning to see this!!

Yay!  Sometimes the Northern girl in me wants her snow, you know??  It was good excuse to feel cozy and snowed in.  We did not leave the house!

I made Steel cut oats with brown sugar and maple syrup for breakfast.  And coffee of course!

Clyde only has two speeds, hyper or passed out, and he definitely was the latter most of Sunday.  Greg made him a little nest in a blanket on the couch and he was in there a LOT of the day.

When it was time to go out, he was like, "Um, remember how you rescued me from winter in Chicago last year, and I HATED this white stuff??  Why is it here????"

It took him way longer than normal to do his business as he assessed his options...

Finally he gave up and dove in.

He did not like it!!  He promptly returned to his warm nest on the couch after going out.

I was definitely pretty unproductive yesterday.  I spent a lot of the day watching movies and reading.
I did do one more productive thing though: I made a light box!  
I didn't get very fancy with mine though, I just used tissue paper, no velcro, and some lights we already had laying around. 

Test shot.  Check it out...

I also started reading the manual for my DSLR.  My father-in-law didn't bring me the hard copy with my camera, so I searched online and found it.  I'm determined to learn more about how to take better pictures with my camera.  Here's some shots playing with Aperture Priority.

I should use this setting more often, I love the sharp object with the blurry background look.  Very cool.

For dinner I made my own version of cannelloni, inspired by last week's yummy dinner at Dolce.  I also used some inspiration from The Accidental Vegetarian, which has a recipe similar to this in it.  I liked the idea of the roasted tomatoes, which this recipe has.

8-10 lasagna noodles
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 cup of tomatoes diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
a couple shakes of thyme
4 cloves of garlic
2-3 cups of spinach
1 cup of white mushrooms
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.
-Cook lasagna noodles according to package, about 10 minutes.  Once done, drain and let cool slightly.
-Dice your tomatoes, and place in a baking dish with olive oil (coat the tomatoes) and bake for 10 minutes.  Add thyme and two cloves of minced garlic and stir with tomatoes, then bake another 15 minutes, til roasted.
-In a separate pan, cook the spinach and mushrooms in a little olive oil with the rest of the garlic.  
-In a bowl, combine the ricotta, goat cheese, shredded parmesan, and the sauteed spinach/mushrooms, plus salt and pepper.
-Lower oven to 350 degrees.
-Coat the bottom of a baking dish with tomato sauce.  
-Cut your lasagna noodles in half, and take a heaping tablespoon or so of the cheesy spinach mixture and roll it up in the lasagna noodle.  Place in baking dish.  Keep going til the dish is filled and all the noodles and cheese mixture are used.  Then pour your roasted tomatoes over the top.  You could actually add more tomato sauce to the top too if you like a lot of sauce.
-Bake about 15-20 minutes til heated through.  Top with more shredded parmesan and serve.

I served the pasta with a simple green salad.

It was pretty good!!  I'm glad I tried something new in the kitchen.  Can I please have like 200 more days off and I promise I'll be more creative in the kitchen!?  Hmmm, guess that's unrealistic since I have to work and all... 
Oh well, how was your Christmas weekend?  What did you do?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Crepes

Thank you for all of your positive comments on my 20 mile run!  I felt really accomplished getting it done, and I actually didn't feel all that sore yesterday, so I must be doing something right.

I spent all day yesterday at home with no plans and I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvved it!  Even though I was initially sad that we didn't end up going to Hilton Head, it was nice to be home and just hang out there with Greg and Clyde for the whole day.  Greg is leaving for training in Houston in just a couple weeks, so I need to appreciate what time we have together right now.

The day started off with coffee and then we all opened presents.  Clyde went first.

Oooooooh, what's in there?!

Yay, a squeaky Santa duck, red doggie, raw hides, and rings!

Yum, candy cane raw hide!

I LOVE this thing!

Greg and I alternated til we opened our presents.  He did very well with things for me:

I tried labeling, but it might be too small:
  • Shoe rack for my closet
  • Dachshund ornament
  • The Heart of The Matter, Emily Giffin
  • The Kind Diet, Alicia Silverstone
  • Immersion hand blender
  • XM Satellite Radio for my car
  • Yoga towel
  • Yoga mat bag
  • Allied Steel Runner Medal hanger
  • Necklace from Anthro
  • ITunes Gift Card
Oh and he got me this blown glass light for over our kitchen sink!

I LOVE it :)

Nice job Babe!!

I got Greg new pajama pants, a gray half zip sweater top, an IOU for this flight simulator software he wants that isn't out yet, a six pack of a new beer he hasn't tried, assorted hot sauce contiments (he loves that stuff), a new coffee maker for his apt, and a new electric razor. 

We both did very well.

After presents I wanted to make us something unique for Christmas breakfast.  I perused some of my cookbooks and found a cool recipe for crepes in The Moosewood Cookbook (probably my favorite cookbook that I stole from my mom).  I changed some ingredieants, so here is my version, adapted.

Cinnamon Apple Crepes

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
2 eggs, plus 1 egg white
1 cup of evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of vanilla yogurt (I used Stoneyfield)
About 4 tablespoons of cream cheese.
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 large peeled and grated apple
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon


Preheat oven to 350.
For the crepes, sift together the dry ingredients, then blend with the wet ingredients with a mixer or in a blender for about 30 seconds, til mixed.

Heat a non stick skillet or crepe pan on medium high.  Grease pan slightly with spray.  Use about 1/4 cup batter and turn pan to get batter evenly spread out.  Use a rubber spatula and your fingers to carefully flip the crepe once bubbles form.  It'll only need to cook about 20 seconds or so on each side.  Stack crepes on a plate.

For filling, blend all ingedients in a food processor.

Take a shallow rectangular baking dish and spray with cooking spray.  Place a crepe in the dish and a few tablespoons of filling in it, then roll up.  Continue until all crepes and filling are used.  Bake covered for about 15 minutes.  I actually uncovered mine at the end and broiled them for about 30 seconds to get them a tiny bit brown, but be careful if you do this because crepes are delicate and WILL burn!

I drizzled them with maple syrup.

They were SO GOOD.  Do make them.  Please.

Eaten while watching a classic...

How was your Christmas morning??
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