Confessions: Be Bold!

Hi Friends! Happy 2K15!

I hope you and yours are safe, happy and healthy today (and hopefully not nursing too much of hangover–from food or drink).

This year I decided to join the #365daysoftruth reading plan (reading the entire Bible this year) with the She Reads Truth community. I’ve never read the entire Bible  and felt today was a good day to start. I’ve got a lot to learn and fully admit that!

It is so amazing how God works; I’ve really felt it pressing on my heart and soul to be more of a sign that points to HIM and less of … Myself, if that makes sense. That sentiment has been a constant subject of prayer lately and I’ve been wondering exactly how I’m supposed to accomplish this.

Part of this morning’s reading on the 365 plan was John 1. Though I’ve read the book of John several times, the first chapter really struck me this morning.

Though John was a great man of God in and of himself, he always made it so clear that the world was waiting for someone far greater than him. He “was not the light; he was only a witness to the light (John 1:8, NLT).”

The whole chapter was the perfect place to start this journey that is the new year.

My favorite verse was John 1:23.

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NLT

A voice shouting in the wilderness! That is our purpose… Not to conform to this world but to stand out and to give glory to Him.

Wow! John empowered me this morning and though I’m still not entirely sure what this means, I’ve got these words to push me closer to that end goal.

That’s all for today friends, have a great day!

Be BOLD!


2014 Running Recap

Since I spilled my guts about my 2014 great racing plans gone awry last week, I figured that I should give you all a proper recap. Looking back, I kind of failed at posting race recaps this year.

Anyway, I did nine races this year…with the schedule I had, I am pretty proud of that! True, I didn’t have any crazy PRs or end up doing a full marathon, but it wasn’t too bad of a year after all.

Races of 2014 Past:

Race 1: Run to Chocolate. This was only a two mile race, but Farmer Ben and I had so much fun!
Time: 18:44

Race 2: Frostbite 5k. The day after Run to Chocolate… It was cold. REALLY cold. But we ran fast, had fun and our friends’ son ran his first 5k that day! Time: 29:01

Race 3: Doc Lopez Run for Hope (5k). I was supposed to do the half but after taking a spill at work and messing my knee up, I decided to drop down to the 5k. It turned out to be a pretty fun race and had amazing post-race food! I took second in my age group.
Time: 28:28

Race 4: Plattsburgh Half Marathon. This was my first (official) half marathon. My friend Kristy ran with me the whole race (even though she is faster than me), and I am so glad she was there! We were decked out in pink tutus and got a lot of encouragement along the way because of this wardrobe choice. My training for this was…okay. I did a few long runs. Regardless, it was great to spend a couple hours hanging out with Kristy, running all over Plattsburgh. The hardest part was running on the neighborhood streets behind the college, I don’t know why but that part of the course really messed with my head. Either way, it was a good race. Time: 2:28:30

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Race 5: Families Helping Families 5k. This was really well put together and had an interesting and flat course. I ran the fastest 5k I’ve done in a couple of years and ended up running into an old friend. Another plus? The proceeds went to a local charity.
Time: 27:34

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I stopped my watch late...

Race 6: Biggest Loser Half Marathon. Not gonna lie, this sucked. I wasn’t sure I was going to do this race but I ended up signing up at the expo the day before. The race took place shortly after the restaurant opened and I really hadn’t done any running (other than 4 or 5 miles here or there) in at least a month. We worked really late the night before and I woke up knowing that this was going to be tough. Kristy started out with me (we rocked our pink tutus again) but I immediately started feeling some stomach discomfort and told her to go on without me a few miles in. From mile five to six, I seriously considered not finishing but I refused on the grounds that I had paid to race. I ended up walking a lot and finished about 15 minutes slower than the half I had done a month before. As for the race itself, it was a let down in that I expected more people to be out watching/cheering, especially down town. Also, there were so many runners in the 5k but hardly any running the half.
The plus side is that I had a lot of people cheering me along the course and the volunteers were great!
Time: 2:45:49

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Race 7: Dirty Girl Mud Run in DC/MD. My friend Liz scored a Groupon deal on this race and I ended up road-tripping with our friend Kayla down to DC. This was my first obstacle run and first time running a women-only race. We had a good time.
It was rainy and cold…and muddy… I think the best part was being able to hang out with Liz and Kayla for the weekend, eating delicious food and drinking too much wine. The only negative aspect was the parking was super disorganized and the wait for the showers/changing area was outrageous.  Luckily, we aren’t that modest and ended up changing in the parking lot.
Time: I have no idea!

Race 8: Adirondack Ragnar Relay. Shortly after the mud run, I decided to drop down to the half marathon for Wineglass and Ben and I got an invitation to join our friend’s Ragnar team. Of course we said yes.

I chose the shortest leg but also ended up running a few extra miles for one of our teammates. Ben chose one of the longer legs and hit a distance PR. I was so so so proud of him! Unfortunately, he ended up hurting his knee.
Ragnar also showed me that I was not in that great of shape and confirmed that my decision to do the Half instead of the Full was the right one.
Time: various.

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Race 9: Wine Glass Half Marathon. I was excited to run this as it takes place where I grew up…but also pretty nervous…Part of this was my total lack of training in the months of September and most of August, and part was that I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself with racing and this was no exception. I was thrilled that Farmer Ben was (unexpectedly) able to join me on the trip down to my sister’s (where we stayed) and we got to spend some time with the family, toodling around my old stomping grounds. We hit up the race expo to pick up my bib and swag bag (champagne for the win!) and then spent the rest of the day with the family.

On Sunday, we woke up at an ungodly hour and my sister and Ben drove me to meet the shuttle to the starting line. There was some confusion with this and I breathed a sigh of relief because if I had shown up any later, I would have been one of the poor people who missed the last shuttle and weren’t able to race. This was the first time I had taken a bus to the starting line, luckily, I met some pretty cool people waiting. As my bus was one of the last ones to arrive the starting area, I had to sprint to the bag check and the porta-potties and barely made it to the start line before the gun went off. There were a lot of people!

Since I had already decided that I wasn’t going to race this, I just had fun, talking to the people around me and enjoying the autumn scenery. The weather was perfect.

I hung out with a couple of the pace groups, but ended up leaving them so I could be alone with my thoughts. I randomly ran right by my sister, Meghan, and Farmer Ben (unbeknownst to me, they would end up buying a new battery for my car because mine died…Thanks!) just before the 8 mile mark. This made me so happy, I can’t even tell you! Running down Market Street, toward the finish line, I passed my dad and was called a Bad Ass by another runner (she found out I had run it the weekend before).

The finish area was super organized and there was delicious soup, pizza, bagels and other goodies. I ended up eating half of the items and sharing the rest with Ben and my dad.

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I ended up running the race in 2hrs and 31 minutes… not my fastest time for 13.1, but I was definitely happy with it, considering my training.

To be honest, I got a little emotional, especially watching the first marathon runners cross the finish line (it turns out, I actually ran Cross Country with the winner!)…people of all abilities, running to complete the elusive 26.2 mile race… and I wasn’t even one of them this year! Then Ben told me that he was really proud of me and I almost cried.

I definitely enjoyed this race the most, from the hand-blown glass medal, to the volunteers and the finish on Market Street, it was really well organized and everyone was SO nice. My family being there definitely helped.
Time: 2:31 (I think)

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In short, It was not the year I had planned, but it still pretty fantastic!

Your turn: Favorite race? Greatest achievement in 2014? 


(Food) Scenes from a Christmas Weekend

Hi Friends!

Hope you had a lovely holiday… I know that I did, in spite of still having this pesky cough! I didn’t capture a lot of photos…

Here’s a quick recap:

We continued our tradition of Chinese food on Christmas Eve paired with some wine (thanks Uncle Mike & Aunt Terry!)

The Christmas day menu was as follows: delicious leg of lamb, along with spanakopita, tabouleh, a marinated mushroom salad and a roasted root vegetable soup on Christmas Day. Basically, we ate all day long…which is totally fine! Unfortunately, I wasn’t feeling up to baking so we didn’t have any desserts other than a few cookies (thanks Ben & Ashley!) and some chocolate. And that was really okay with us.
 

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Even though I was really missing the family this year, it was really nice to sleep in and just relax—I ended up reading a book and a half (the half a book being really long!) and sipping on hot toddies for the long weekend.

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Other than some major relaxing, we went to see Into the Woods with a couple of friends. Who knew Chris Pine could sing?!

On Saturday, we drove over to Burlington to pick up a few essentials (like siggi’s and coffee) and skipped over to Trader Joe’s… I LOVE that store.

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We also discovered a new pizza place which was delicious…and we may have eaten all but two slices of the pie on the drive back across the lake… Whoops!

I made a batch of almond butter and a chocolate peanut butter (sweetened with stevia) in the ninja. Note to self: Next time either soak or roast the almonds first.

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Sunday was spent doing a lot of running around and church. Not gonna lie, it felt like a long day.

Monday we had small group and wound up at the bowling alley. Have I ever discussed my bowling skills? Yeah, I don’t have any. My friend Ashley tried bowling with her left hand and ended up tossing the ball into the next lane… it was probably the funniest thing I have seen in 2014!

Tuesday, I started my morning at the DMV…after work I went home and went to bed early!

 And here we are on Wednesday…At the moment, we don’t have any plans for New Year’s Eve… which is okay. Ben is working for part of the evening… we will probably pick up some wine and snacks and call it all good! I’m hoping this cough goes away.. It is so last year!

What about you? Any NYE plans? Most embarrassing bowling experience? 


Maple Rum Granola

Can we talk granola today? WHY don’t we make it ourselves? It’s ridiculously easy and totally adaptable. (and if you’re looking for a last minute/budget friendly gift for the people in your life, this granola will make you a rock star. Can you say Pinterest-Mason jar win? Huzzah!). I forget how much I actually enjoy making it…until this weekend.

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I like my granola to be interesting, and by “interesting,” I mean that it should have as much stuff as I can find to throw into it. Texture is huge.

This granola has a wonderful rummy undertone…because I can’t leave well enough alone and made it boozey.

The recipe below makes a pretty big batch if you want to share it, and if not granola will last for quite some time in an airtight container. Breakfast on the run or purse snacks, anyone?

Maple Rum Granola

What you’ll need:

10 cups oats

1 ½ cups pecans, coarsely chopped (I just broke apart with my hands)

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/3 cup ground flax seed meal.

1 cup sunflower seeds (unsalted)

2 cups coconut  flakes (unsweetened)

1 cup cocoa nibs

1 Tbsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. sea salt

1 ¼ cup maple syrup

1 cup olive oil

1/3 cup dark rum

1 splash vanilla

Dried cranberries-to your taste- I threw in a few handfuls.

What to do:

Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 325.

Combine all dry ingredients except cranberries in a large bowl. Note:  Don’t have a big enough mixing bowl? A giant soup pot works really well!

Heat maple syrup, olive oil and dark rum in a sauce pan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil for about two minutes, stirring occasionally. Then turn off heat. Let cool slightly and stir in vanilla.

Add your maple mixture to dry ingredients and toss until evenly coated.

Pour granola onto 3 lined baking sheets and bake in pre-heated oven for about 50 minutes or until granola is golden brown, taking out once to toss (so your oats don’t burn).

Allow granola to cool completely, then mix in dried cranberries and store in an airtight container. 

Happy eating!


#elf4health & #holidaysweat Week 4 Recap

Hi Friends! Happy Monday! And happy-almost-Christmas!

Yesterday was the last week of the #elf4health challenge and another week of #holidaysweat. Overall, I did pretty well! Let’s take a look!

Big thanks to Elle & Lindsay for organizing the #elf4health challenge again.

#elf4health:

Monday-Read, Write or Meditate: My small group is going through The Purpose Driven Life and with the chapter-a-day approach, this was the perfect book to read today. It’s very timely for Farmer Ben and I and so far I’m enjoying it (even though only reading a small chunk at a time is a challenge in and of itself).  

Tuesday-Push-Up Challenge: I really meant to do this, but I failed.

Wednesday-Share your expertise: I didn’t do this but I did share a few recipes last week… let’s call it even!

Thursday-Veggies with breakfast: I had a smoothie with Skoop and spinach, paired with a carrot pear muffin.

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Friday-What You Love About You: I didn’t do this, but I did share some life updates and discussed some recent acceptance of life happening. Again, let’s call it even.

Saturday-New Fitness Goal: I shared my 2015 fitness goals in my last post. Check it out here.

Sunday-Make a donation: Hmm… On Saturday, I volunteered to help with our youth Christmas party at church… this included making a RIDICULOUS amount of mac and cheese and hanging out with the some teenagers. Boom. Done!

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#holidaysweat:

You know how last week I said I was starting to feel better? Well, I lied. I’m still sick. Therefore it was more walking, some stretching and not much else.

BUT, I’m still on my freggie and H20 a-game, so that’s something!

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Let’s chat: How is your December eating/fitness? Favorite kind of Christmas cookie?


What’s Next? Fitness Goals in 2015

Hi Friends! It’s Saturday! Can we talk about how amazing it felt to sleep in?!

Today is our church’s youth Christmas party, so this afternoon, I’ll be busy making a ridiculous amount of mac and cheese and hanging out with some teenagers who are way cooler than me.  
Moving on, today’s #elf4health challenge is to set (and announce) a new fitness goal…so I figured we would discuss goals again.

The New Year is one of my favorite holidays because of the feelings of expectation and being able to turn over a new leaf. Making a fresh start is always exciting…and sometimes terrifying. I have to say that I have been very blessed in my 27 years with many “new beginnings.” That being said, I very rarely make resolutions any more. Goals, yes. Resolutions, no.

As I mentioned yesterday, 2014 was not the year of fitness. And that’s okay. But, I’m ready for another go at it!

So knowing that I’ve had this challenge coming up and keeping in mind everything that I’ve learned over the last few months, it was tough to settle on a goal (not resolution) for 2015.
 
This is what I came up with:

1. Marathon # 2. It didn’t work out this year, but I am ready to commit to it in 2015. I’m not sure which race I’m doing, so I’ll keep you posted.

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After Marathon 1, 2013 Adirondack Marathon

2. Coaching Certification. This is something I’ve secretly thought about for some time… I’ve been searching for a way to better serve others. Running has opened up so many doors for me and brought me so much joy and I want to share that!

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So I will be working to become a certified running coach in 2015! I have the certification narrowed down to two programs… any advice on this is welcome! Stay tuned!

3. Life is too short for cheap chocolate. I try to live by the 80/20 principle… But lately it is more of a 70/30 ratio. So this is my new reminder.

There is a candy drawer in a co-worker’s office and for whatever reason, I have been making way into it a lot more often than I care to admit…and you know the ridiculous part? When I eat the chocolate in this drawer, it’s not all that satisfying!

Please do not misunderstand, I am NOT giving up chocolate, or even depriving myself, but I want to get back to being more intentional with everything I put in my body.

I know there are foods that make me feel terrible. And others that make me feel not so great. So why am I wasting my time eating something that doesn’t do it for me when I could be enjoying something else that satisfies me and doesn’t have a lot of weird junk in it?  Exactly.

Your turn: what are your fitness goals for 2015?


Confessions: On Running (Or Not Running)

Can we talk about how 2014 was not anything I imagined it would be? To say the year did not go as planned would be a giant understatement.

Yesterday, we talked about how Farmer Ben and I had a lot of change…and a lot of stress…and then even more change. Some of this was for the good, and some was not. My faith, among other things, was definitely tested this year, but as a result, it is stronger than ever.

A quick recap:
Ben left a secure job and went in as a partner to open a restaurant. And then, we left it. At the time, it was a really tough decision, but it turns out that it was for the best.

Today, let’s talk about fitness in 2014. Or…how there was a lack of it.
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On the Fitness Side of Things:

· I was excited to run marathon number 2. But, with restaurant responsibilities (on top of my regular job), I was working too much. As a result, I could not make time for training. I had to prioritize-running or relationships—and sleep.
· I was planning to hit some elusive health and fitness goals this year, including14 races and losing those last 10-15 pounds… Instead, I ended up working a ridiculous amount of hours, being overly stressed and only doing 9 races (which I am still pretty happy with)…and I gained 10 pounds (that literally hurt to type).
· I finally ran a half marathon-in a pink tutu (Thanks to my dear friend Kristy for running with me!).

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Plattsburgh Half with Kristy

· I wanted to run faster. This didn’t happen.
· I ran 2 more half marathons this year, both of which I did not train for (I don’t recommend this).

In all honestly, I can’t say that I really trained for any of my races this year, at least not with any sort of consistency. Yes, I was still running but without intention. As a result, I wound up with a pain in my foot that caused me to run even less (it’s mostly healed now).

Instead of hitting these fitness goals, I was barely able to get out and run a couple of days of week… or do anything else outside of work! On top of that, I was constantly feeling guilty for not “doing it all.” Social media did not help my guilt.

But, in the grand scheme of things, it wasn’t the end of the world. 

I guess my point is this: Even though it kind of feels like 2014 was a major bust, I was able to re-evaluate, find rest, and regroup. Like I said yesterday, Farmer Ben and I tried something and it didn’t work. But we learned from it.

The same thing goes for my running goals; I had to decide if my fitness goals were more important than my relationships. And in the end, they are not.

NOTE: I’m NOT saying that fitness is not important, because it is. However, when it stresses you out and consumes you, then it is a problem

This year, I could NOT find a balance between the two. In all honesty, work took over my life for much of the year. As a result, I had to let some things go. For a time, it was my running goals, and in the end, I let working (more than one job) go.

I really, truly love to run. That hasn’t changed. But this year, it stressed me out more than it helped me…there were days when I was close to tears because I had to choose between going out for a run or spending a few precious moments with my husband (I realize this seems dramatic, but totally true). My insane schedule—that I had created—would not allow for both. If (and when) I missed a run, I would panic…and then, I would over-do it on the next run.

So I stepped away from it…The biggest (and most difficult) choice I made was switching from the full to the half marathon at Wineglass. This sucked… Still, it was the best decision for my sanity well-being. When I took the pressure off, I was able to go out and enjoy the run and it went back to being a stress reliever, instead of a stress inducer.

Yes, I continued running but I wasn’t attempting and failing at training. Yes, I still ran that third half marathon–but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to race it. To my surprise, I actually had a respectable time (for me) and I enjoyed this race the most out of the nine I completed this year…probably because my family was waiting for me on the course and at the finish line. Balance.

In the end, by letting my running goals go (for a short time), I was able to rediscover my love of the run and find peace balance.

Now, it’s time for a new year and new goals!

Let’s chat, what surprises did 2014 hold for you? 


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