Friday, January 28, 2011

Off & Running

First and foremost...I am completely humbled by the fact that 18 people are following my blog.  I believe the number jumped up yesterday and I am shocked each and every time I check my blog and see new followers and comments from new bloggy friends.  

Moving along....the car is packed and I am ready to go.  Driving to Miami today with my friend Jenn and picking up Randi (Iron Strand 2010) from the Miami Airport.  Our 4 other friends will arrive over the next 24 hours.  I am excited to say that my husband who tends to be a work-a-holic somehow got the weekend off so he will be arriving tomorrow and be there to watch me on Sunday, race day and my Birthday.

Everything happens for a reason and today I am feeling great.  Ready to run, ready to take that next step as a runner.  My body feels great, my mind feels great and whatever happens on Sunday I will be proud that I trained for months to do something many people would not even attempt.

While packing up my car I looked up and saw the simply most amazing cloud striations in the sky.  Both my mom and I grabbed our cameras since neither of us have ever scene anything like it before.

Truly amazing if you ask me.  

So..Off I go to Miami for what is sure to be an amazing weekend with friends.  I can't wit to share my experience with everyone when I arrive home.  Send good thoughts my way Sunday morning... and I can say with all honesty that the support I have felt and the feedback I have received these past 3 weeks from all of you has re energized me and made this whole experience so much more exciting.  I feel like I have a team behind me!  

Have a wonderful weekend full of running, relaxing and cherishing the time with family and loved ones.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Everyone else is doing it, so I am jumping on the bandwagon.

1.  This morning I caught a glimpse of the weather forecast for this Sunday and needless to say I am THRILLED!
Seriously could not be any better....and like I tell all of you that live in chilly, snowy areas around the US...come for a visit to Florida~  (even though truth be told I am completely jealous of everyone with snow!  I miss the change of the seasons the most.  I ran the first 2/3 of my life in a snowy cold climate and before Florida ran in Green Bay, WI for 2 winter!)

2.  Shorts or 3/4 capris?  I am always going back an forth when the temperatures are in the 50's and low 60's which way to go.  I love my 3/4 pants, but don't want to be hot once the sun is shining down.  Thoughts?  I think shorts will win out.

3.  I have been seeing mentions of Green Smoothies and I wanted to chime in.  I DO NOT make green smoothies, but I would if I had a Vita Mix or some amazing commercial grade blender.  In my opinion the blender makes the shake.  Many of my friends drink green smoothies daily and a great friend of mine shared her recipe with me (she uses a Vita Mix)
Green Smoothie Recipe!
1 Cup Vanilla Rice Milk
2 Stems Green Kale
1 Cup baby spinach
1 banana (she freeze them)
1/4 Cup frozen mango's
1/4 Cup frozen strawberries
1-2 Tablespoons hemp protein

I kid you not this thing is AMAZING!  The texture is really creamy and you taste NO green veggies and I would make them daily IF I had the right tools.  

I am off for my last run before taking off for Miami.  Super Excited.  Really Gittery.  Ready to GO!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Butterflies..I may pee my pants!

I have not even broken down to check the weather for this Sunday...does that make me weird?  I know as soon as I look it will make all of "this" real.  I am nervous...anxious and ready to run...NOW!

After 4 or so days off due to my body becoming a crumbling mess of Taper "injuries" I headed out yesterday for a run in some very very windy conditions.  My logic is always off so I ran out my door as if I was being chased by a mad man.  I looked at my watch a few times and say numbers like 7:23, 7:42 & 7:15.  Ummmmm just a little fast for this lady.  I think it was good though because I could test my knees that were bothering me and see how they would handle some speed.  I believe that mile ended up around a 7:45 pace or something.  Mile #2 I slowed it down a tad and managed to run that in about 8:07 and then from there I decided to just relax and jog into the wind to finish up.  Just a short run....feels weird to only run 3.5 miles after not dipping below 5 for some time.

Today I stopped into Target and Costco to grab some essentials and the local running store to stock up on my Cliff some mocha and espresso running through my veins.  Now I just get to wait.

Tomorrow I will finally decide on what to wear and pack up and Friday I am out the door.

With all this said I am trying to figure out mile splits and pace times for a 4 hour marathon.  I found this, but I was hoping for something that had me starting out slower and finishing up faster....If you have any ideas where i can obtain this knowledge via the Internet let me know.

Avg Pace
Total Time
Chip Time

Off to check Miami's forecast for Sunday at 6am!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Goals...Attainable or unrealistic

When I signed up for my first Marathon in October I had these goals of a BQ...  NOW I am just praying to Finish!  

I am completely psyching myself out!  I am aware of it and trying to figure out just what my game plan for this Sunday is.  I know what I am capable of, but in the past, my 1/2's end up with me crashing and burning and the races I excel at are 5ks...only because I can go out like a bat out of hell and know I will be done in a mile or 2 when I feel like dying.  1/2's usually find me going out a bit too fast and then by mile 10 or so I am kicking myself for not being conservative and starting out at an easy pace to be able to pick it up at the end.  For the Palm Beach 1/2 in December I started out at an 8:20-8:30 pace and finished up a minute slower.

My game plan for Miami is not even close to being finalized.  I have run all my long runs the way they should be done...start out slow, finish hard, but I am still unsure of my strength at this point.  Mr. McMillian has me clocked out at a 4:02 marathon if all goes as legs feel like they are flying, the wind is always at my back...and my stomach is settled and therefore I get to blow kisses to the port-o-potties as I whizz by.

I am just beginning to doubt myself and what I am capable of.  That 4:02 time has me running a very low 9 min pace.  I ran 21miles, 2 weeks ago in 3:25 and it was not a race and I was definitely feeling like crap...awful run.  With that said, I believe I could run that last 5 miles at a fairly low 8 min pace if my legs hold up and I feel great.  BUT I am a chicken!  You heard it from me...I AM A CHICKEN.  This marathon is on my mind 24-7 and one second I think that I should just go balls-to-the-wall and shoot for that 9:17 pace and go from there while part of me thinks I should be very conservative and run about a 10 min pace for a while even though I don't ever run a 10 min pace...just so I will feel like doing back flips across the finish line.

I am torn!  I know all will be figured out by 6am Sunday, but until then I am going to be going mad with doubt and excitement and nerves....

What was your plan for your 1st Marathon?
Did you stick to it?

I just don't want to be disappointed and I tend to set very high standards and goals for myself...
I am debating staying with the 4 min pace group?  
Have you ever run with the pace group?

Monday, January 24, 2011

We've Got CRABS....and some broccoli soup too!

We do have crabs and I hope people (my 11 readers) don't think I am a sick-o for my title.  (more to on!)  I feel like it has been ages since I posted anything and I know this is bound to be a jumbled mess...

I am currently in recovery mode from the most amazing 2 1/2 childless days in over a year.  AHHHHHHHHHH!  I could say it over and over again.  I am trying to adjust back into my mommy role and shake off the freedom I felt for about 55 hours.  I am a firm believe that moms need their time and it makes us much much better at what we do when we get some time to our self.  (hence we all run!)

I unfortunately I took virtually no pictures as I forgot my camera but the memories are quite vivid.   I saw some friends that I have not seen in ages, but have known since I was very young.  It is great when you see those people that no matter how long it has been since you saw them, it seems like it was just yesterday.
Ali and Oscar during a quick visit to our house.

We Spent the weekend in Fort Lauderdale at my friends house and just relaxed and laughed all weekend.  I am proud to say that we went "out" on Friday night and I had to laugh at the experience as a whole (lots of people watching!) and just the fact that we rolled in the door at 2am Saturday morning which is actually 5 hours after my normal Friday night bedtime and about 2 1/2 hours before my normal long run wake up call.  

I decided to buy the boys a little treat and opted for some hermit crabs.  We got the most active ones in the store and so those little guys are LOUD.  I feel like PETA is going to come for me as these crabs definitely want out of their home.

I got home just in time Sunday morning to take Oscar to a Birthday party and Googles just love these Elton John sunglasses...we can't keep them off of him.
Nana is a serious card maker and Oscar loves to make cards with her.  He is a very crafty kid and eats this type of thing up....stamping, gluing, cutting, etc.

We had some very large rains last week so my garden is a bit of a rain forest right now.  I came home to so much broccoli, the picture below does not even due it any justice. All the broccoli was flowering so I decided to whip up about 2 gallons of broccoli soup with cabbage and carrots....can you say colon cleanse?  I will probably be eating this soup around the clock until I ought not be eating it too close to Marathon Weekend!  Can you imagine the port-o-potty stoppage that would occur?  I am a firm believer that your time should stop when you cross the threshold of the pot-o-john...It's only fair right?

So, now it is Monday and Marathon numero- uno is less than 1 week away.  I have not run in a few days due to the weekend with friends and also because I became a bit nervous about my left knee.  My knee just feels off...almost like I hyper extended it maybe?  I don't think it is anything major, but since I did 12 last Monday and a few short runs I decided to skip this past weekends 8 miler.  I am getting really excited, really nervous and really ready for this weekend of fun! 

Sorry this is ALL over the place.  

How was your weekend?
Any great runs?
Are you crafty?  scrap booking? card making?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My roommates for race weekend... Just your Run of the Mill Ultramarathoners

Today is a BIG day....My mom arrives back into town.  She only left 2 weeks ago be she is arriving in tonight.  I love when my family is around, or when anyone visits....YOU want to come to Florida?  We have a room waiting with your name on it!  I have fun with my mom and love to have her around.  She is always up for anything and there is no "entertaining" her as she will go with the flow.  We took this picture last Spring at mom drove this exact car years ago so she did a pose with it.  We must have looked nuts to everyone in the crowded parking lot.

Ali, Brooke and Sara, friends from NY
Ali and I in high school
I have some friends from NY coming to visit for the weekend, so mom is going to help out with the kiddies so I can get away without having to pay a babysitter since Oz will be working.  I am excited for a girls weekend!

I cannot believe that 1 week from tomorrow I will be on the road (a short 2 hour drive) to South Beach for the weekend.  Have I mentioned who I am staying with Friday night?  Just your run of the mill Ultra marathoners.  My friend Randi who I met while living in Green Bay (she now lives in Denver) and her friend Becki who lives on the West Coast of Florida are running Miami with me in addition to 3 other friends from West Palm Beach. Randi and Becki met last year while running the Crooms Run, a 50 mile trail run in Central Florida.  They met during the race and became instant friends and a support system for one another.

I met Randi via the Internet about 3 years ago while her and her husband were training for the Madrid, Spain Marathon.  Randi has run tons of Marathons and competed in her first full Ironman this fall with her husband, taking on Ironman Wisconsin.  Our first meeting came on a cold, dark January morning in Green Bay when I met her for a quick run (ended up being over 9 miles which was a LOT for me) on the icy/snowy streets.  We became instant friends and even though we have both left Wisconsin our friendship has stayed strong.

Have you ever had a friend like that?  It is so easy to stay in touch these days with the Internet and all..but with every one's crazy lives in the mix it is just as easy to lose touch with people as weeks and months fly by at a record pace.

So, I am so excited to pick these girls brains over the weekend.  They are both using Miami ING as a "warm-up" for the real race both are training for.....They are traveling to South Africa to run Commrades, a 56 mile ultra marathon and one of the most well known International races on Earth.  HARDCORE!

Did I mention I tried so hard to run a 7 +min mile pace yesterday...I had a short 3 miler and thought that after seeing so many 7min paces on every ones blogs I would go for it...SO close.  Finished the 3 miles at 24:12.  (8:04)  ahhhhhhh.  I started out a little too ambitious and so after 1 mile I had to drop back a bit.  Going to try again today with a 4 miler.

What are you running today?
Any desire to run an Ultra????

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My running life

My original idea for today's post got scrapper after reading The Hungry Runner Girl today, I too will share when I caught the running Bug.

Abby Wambach
Growing up I was always very involved in sports.  My father was a high school and college basketball coach and my mother played tennis, so I was involved in everything from softball to soccer to basketball and horseback riding.  Around middle school all other sports began to fade and I think that was when I became a "soccer player."  My life was completely consumed in all things soccer.  I played club/travel soccer, indoor soccer, high school soccer and was part of the NY West ODP Team (Olympic development program).  My days were filled being shuffled from one practice to another, one soccer camp to another.  My weekends were rarely spent in NY during my high school years and I went to my senior prom with a locked brace under my dress from having ACL reconstructive surgery.  I LOVED SOCCER, and I was lucky enough to play with amazing players in an amazing area of the country for the sport.  (in fact my ODP roommate, club soccer teammate and high school opponent is the leading lady of the National   Team these days!)

When college came around I had to red shirt my freshman yeah due to the ACL injury, so I decided to pack up my stuff and move to Florida for college.  (coming from snow ridden upstate NY, Florida sounded pretty dreamy!)  My college years were spent playing soccer down in Florida through the school year and then when I would travel back home for the summer I would play in the W-League (a semi pro soccer league for women.)

The summer before my 5th and final season down in Florida, I was CUT, you heard it CUT from the Rochester Ravens, the W-League team in Rochester.  I recall at the time not really being fazed by it.  I was beginning to get burnt out and wanted to enjoy my last summer of freedom before graduating after that fall soccer season.  I knew I had to do something with myself other than lifeguard at the Country Club pool, so I just started running....think Forest Gump!  Laced up my sneakers and never looked back.  Many days I would run twice.  I began signing up for every 5k, 10k and 15k I could find.  One week running 3 5ks in one week.  (Rochester has many many races during the summer...night races, afternoon races, you name a day and I could probably find you a race.)  That same summer I also jumped into the the triathlon gig, joining the local RATS group (Rochester Area Triathletes...sweet name huh?) (we are talking summer of 2003 here...just for some frame of reference.)

That summer of 2003 I just went for it.  My mind completely became that of a individual sport athlete after being on a team for so long, relying on others in addition to yourself.  I knew I could push myself and the times on the clocks at races began to drop.  I loved to run and I LOVED to run a 5k.  The adrenaline I got from literally sprinting for 3.1 miles was intoxicating.  My best time being a 22:06...I actually vividly remember many of the 5ks.  I ALWAYS wanted to get into the 21's and came so close.

So now, lets fast forward to today.  8 years later, culinary school done, husband met and married, 2 kids that are no longer "babies" (even though you and I both know our kids will ALWAYS be our babies) and feeling"settled" for the first time in who knows how long.  If you were to ask me last year if I wanted to run a marathon I would have laughed in your face, it was just something I have never had any desire to do.  5ks YES, 10ks YES, even a 1/2 marathon would not have been too bad, but something this summer changed.  I think it is just my inner athlete trying to get back out.  I tend to struggle with the idea of simply being defined as a "mother" and "wife."  I know that may sound terribly selfish, but I need more.  If I was working in the "real world" I think I would be fine to run here and there, hit up the gym and go about my days, knowing I was a "Chef."  But I want more.  I want to be defined by something else and I think it may just be that I am a "RUNNER!"  I hope in the near future to once again also be able to define myself as a "TRIATHLETE."

SO there you have it.  I need more!  I push myself a ton and want so much out of myself.  I have not even run my 1st Marathon yet, but in 12 days I will have.  My time will probably NOT qualify me for Boston (If it does you will probably hear a very large scream around 10am East coast time on the 30th) but I will run Boston...2012? 2013? Who Know?  Someday I will also hear over a loudspeaker "Heather Cruz YOU are an Ironman!" when I cross the finish line in Kona!

(sorry for the lack of pictures....we all like pictures, but I don't have any scanned from my early life.  I will jump on that task soon!)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stylin' and Profilin'

Note...for some reason my posts are getting all messed up and things are being left out and I am losing my patience...hoping it works this time!

To my shock, amazement, and some "jazz hands," I accept The Stylish Blogger Award from Jenn @ Running Sane.  (If only you could see me in my too-large pj pants, long sleeved bright green turkey trot t-shirt and barefoot...and it's 4:22 in the afternoon!)

From reading many Stylish Blogger Awards the past few weeks I believe I must now share 7 things about myself and then tag someone else to do the same....( I think that rules have become a bit more lax as it is going to take a little searching to find someone who has not received this most prestigious award...)
(a little fyi, these may be a bit random as I did 31 things about me the other week and that was tough for me and I am hoping not to repeat...)

1.  Milk
I am a freak of nature.  I drink a gallon of SKIM milk every 2 days...that's about 4 gallons a week.  I LOVE MILK.  Nobody else in my family drinks "cow" milk, so I am not going to lie, I drink it straight out of the gallon.  Just me and my gallon of milk.  It quenches my thirst, goes great with everything I eat and puts a smile on my face.  If I forget to lug my gallon over to the couch (my husband and I tend to eat dinners late when he gets home from his Chef duties), all I have to do is say "Oz" and he automatically jumps up and retrieves my gallon for me.  My "relationship" with skim milk goes back many many years, to my earliest memory of childhood when our fridge would be packed with those cardboard 1/2 gallons of mom even had a Tupperware milk holder that held the 1/2 gallon.  To this day if you were to ask any of my Rochester, NY amigos from childhood they would definitely be able to tell you I was just as obsessed with it back then....(don't judge me by my milk consumption)

2. Summer Camp
When I think back to my childhood I think some of my fondest memories are of the 2 weeks I spent every summer for about 8 years at Camp Stella Maris on Conesus Lake in Upstate New York.  I went the same weeks every year (weeks C & D), the last 2 weeks of July.  From this camp I gained a love for musical artists that most kids my age would NOT have been into as I was elementary age when I started going to this camp, maybe 7 or 8 years old.  Some of my favorites were and still are  Sting, James Taylor, Indigo Girls, and They Might Be Giants.  I often wish that there was summer camp for adults as I could use a break from my life occasionally and wouldn't mind doing some arts and crafts, playing tether ball and swimming endlessly in a lake with friends.

3. Coffee
I have a very odd relationship with coffee.  I am by NO means a coffee snob, but very particular.  Our coffee at home is Whole Foods Italian roast that I grind every morning.  To that I I add a rather large pour of Coffee Mate Vanilla Creamer.  (not sugar or fat free)  BUT that is where I become a little "odd."  I don't like to drink coffee with food and I don't gulp it down fast, so many mornings I make this nice tasty beverage to take a few sips and am done, leaving a 1/2 full cup of coffee on the counter. (If we go out to breakfast I get unsweetened iced tea)  My mom told my friends that I "like the IDEA if coffee."  I don't believe is always chaotic around here and so it is not like I get to sit down with my coffee, watching the morning news and relax.  I do have some favorite coffee places and I will share my favorites...
Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf- those of you living no the west coast are some lucky duckers!  I dream of an Ice Blended Vanilla Extreme DAILY! (no milk, all coffee extract)
Whole Foods-  Since we have no Coffee Beans here in Florida, Whole foods makes a mean non-fat blended espresso, hold the whip cream
& Finally Starbucks- I am always happiest when it is Pumpkin Spice latte time (also non fat)
When I get any of these tasty treats I definitely slurp the whole thing up....and I don't get them much so it is a HUGE treat!

4. My Friends
I'm the blond
I am the blond on the left with the braid
I am lucky enough to have the most amazing friends.  Since I have no family living in Florida it is important to have a great support system and for me that is my friends.  

5. Lance Armstrong Quote
I read Lance Armstrong's 2 books many years ago but one quote still sticks out in my mind daily as I kinda feel the same way...
When asked what pleasure Lance Armstrong gets from biking for so long he responded, "I don't do it for the pleasure. I do it for the pain."
I love to push myself and sweat and be sore and maybe that makes me nuts, but that is just me!

6. Vacationing
ahhhh a girl can dream right?

7. Restaurant
It is my dream for my husband and I to own and operate a breakfast/lunch cafe.  I love to work alongside him in the kitchen and think it would be the ideal situation for us.  Have you seen "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin?  The Bakery/Restaurant Meryl had is exactly what I am hoping for!  (maybe a pipe dream?)  I want a place that is cozy, comfortable and has an eclectic addition I want a pastry counter with all sorts of goodies that people can take home with them....

So, now I must tag someone else to share 7 interesting things about themselves.  I believe G @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner of 3 (Kids) may not have received this prestigious award yet.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Taper on the Mind (or rather losing my mind)

T-Minus 12 days until Miami ING and I may slowly losing it.  (this 1st step is me actually admitting it is happening)

A wonderful blogger, G sent me a link to a very funny letter she received from her coach for me to read during this difficult time (haha).  If you would like to check it out here it is...(G I hope you don't mind, but seeing you had already posted it on your blog I thought it would be OK.)  nofsahmof3

Some of my symptoms:

- A foot problem...came up last week.  Don't recall injuring myself but last week found myself on the couch telling my husband that I wasn't going to be able to run.  I could not walk or run and then POOOOOF it was gone about 3 days later???

- knee pain...possibly tripped over a shoe and twisted my left knee trying to get out the door in the dark on an early morning Starbucks run with the 2 kids in tow.  Ran on the leg today and the 1st half was NOT GOOD.  AND pain started spreading...ahhhhhhhh

- Knee pain became back of leg pain and shin splint pain?  OK, now I am just losing it.  The pain spread to the back of my leg right where my hamstring meets my calf and then spread to my shins???  (I wish I was kidding here but I am NOT!)  Luckily it subsided as I ran, but if really felt like my left leg was a cramped up mess.

NOTE~  I am definitely thinking all these leg and knee pains are because of the weather.  I am NOT a hypochondriac and with all the surgeries I have had on my knees when we have a storm front come through and there is a large pressure change my knees usually feel like crap-o-la.  (did you see Florida on the news???  the whole state was red because of the wonderful storms coming through....I heart a good storm!)

- I just had to run my 12 mile run that got cut short Saturday.  I mean it was my last double digit run of this training cycle and you and I both know if I didn't run it I would just DIE come marathon day  (Am I playing head games or what????)  even though I ran a 21miler last Saturday.  So, into my taper I ran this 12 miler that was supposed to be done Saturday or Sunday because I am looooooosin' in big time!!  

-  AM I getting sick?  Oh Sh*T!!!!!  No I can't be getting sick.  Is that plem in my throat?  (on top of it Oscar, my 4 year old, and middle of the night bed companion (yeah my 4 year old climbs in my bed every night at 2am, but someday he'll stop right?  I mean he won't be a 16 year old in my least I hope not!)  Well, any who....he came into my bed hacking up a lung and complaining of a sore throat.  Is it mean that I told him to stay waaaaaay over THERE and not to look in my direction?  AND when he woke up his nose was a clogged mess and NOW I AM JUST POSITIVE I AM GONNA BE SICK!

-  And finally yesterday I was a sleepy waste of space.  I slept in, found myself napping all day....could it be MONO?  I mean I haven't kissed anyone besides Oz in what 7 years?  (just kidding but I thought I would throw it in there!)

Am I losing it?  

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Dear Speed Demons...

My Dearest Bloggy Speed Demons,

Hello there, I hope I am catching you all at a GREAT time because I have a favor to ask you....just a small favor and I hope you can help me.  So, here it is...I want to be fast like you.  I want to someday get a BQ and hoping for it sooner rather than later.

All I am asking for is for you to let me into your "circle of trust," and share with me where you get the pill or powder or whatever it is you take because I can't imagine it takes "hard work" or "just comes naturally."  I swear I won't tell your secrets and I won't invite anyone else into the "circle."

So, that is it...all I really want is to be fast like you..A-SAP.  Comprendo?  Thanks a million.

You friend,

P.S. - I know nothing about speed work besides running sprints the length of a soccer fiend or doing suicides on a basketball that bad?

Friday, January 14, 2011

FaVoRiTe ThInGs FrIdAy!!!

1st things list.....somehow, someway my foot is "better?"  No really it is, I am sooooooo NOT lying.  It does still hurt a bit when I am barefoot or wearing my rainbow sandals, but as long as I wear my running sneakers or any sneaker is seems to be fine.  Ran a quick 4 miles on the gym treadmill (8:25 pace) and felt like a million bucks.....

FAVORITE THINGS FRIDAY (Oprah can do it so why can't I???)
A fun look at the food, fun, family and fitness things that work for my family and may work for you too!  

Friendship Whipped Cottage Cheese
"It's just cottage cheese" you may say and to that I would say" "Ohhhhhh NO it isn't!"  Have you ever tried Friendship Whipped cottage cheese?  I am a HUGE cottage cheese fan.  I pair it with just about everything and anything.  The reason it is so unbelievable is because it is a "dry" cottage cheese and it is not large curds, but rather almost a pureed consistency.  It is delightful...  TRY IT!
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Bread Mix
 Even though I spent many years baking and making every dessert from scratch, now that I am home and not in a professional kitchen I try to find good products that are quick and easy and many times way more cost effective than purchasing all the ingredients that would go into a cake, etc.  This pumpkin mix is UNBELIEVABLE!  I don't even have a Trader Joe's in Florida, but luckily my parents grab me a few boxes whenever they are coming in for a visit.  AND you can use TJ's pumpkin butter in place of the oil to make it that much better.  (I tend to add heaping cups of chocolate chips also...

Toy Story Yahtzee

We are a big time game family and finding games that can actually be played with a 4 year old where all of the rules can be followed can be tough.  ( many games make me want to rip my hair out and seriously test my patience with Oscar. )  This game is SUPER easy and a lot of fun to play.  Quick enough that you can start and finish it too.  (games like Sorry and Trouble are great, but unless we get a freak snow storm down here in Florida and are stuck home, games that can go on and on and on for hours are a NO GO! )

Veggie Garden
I have become such an advocate for people having their own gardens, on top of producing your own food, they are so fun for the whole family.  My 2 year old LOVES LOVES LOVES to water the garden and my 4 year old enjoys searching for new blooms, picking plants, planting seeds and just about everything in between.  They are very inexpensive to start up and once you have a  structure you are golden and can just plant seeds or buy "baby" plants for under $3 for a pack of 8.  If you don't have the space you can always plant in flower pots or even get a kiddie plastic pool...punch some holes in the bottom and use that.  I think our garden is so much fun and I am by no means a person with a "green thumb."  There is not much work to a garden once it is done and eating a salad with everything you grew is a GREAT feeling.  Right now we have zucchini, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, red leaf lettuce, spinach, butter and romaine lettuce, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes.  All I need is a goat and a rice field and we would never have to leave home again!

The Hunger Games Trilogy
I LOVE to read but am always looking for books that don't require much effort as I need stimulation right off the bat else I will either close the book or fall asleep.  I have only read The Hunger Games, waiting on the 2nd book from the Library.  The book was really easy reading (Twilight level) and even though I am not a sci-fi person it really grabbed me.  


These past 10 days have been SO-MUCH-FUN!  No joke!  I am finally feeling like I have an outlet to say what I want and even if nobody reads what I write it is such an amazing form of therapy.  I have been reading many many blogs for years and having some of these ladies comment on my little posts is the greatest feeling in the world.  I am so happy with my 5 followers and hope more trickle on in.  

Tracy Anderson Dvd's

These DVD's are great.  You don't need anything besides a chair, mat and 3# weights and they kick-arse!  Tracy does have a set of cardio dance type DVD's also, but I get enough cardio by running, biking, swimming and hopping on the elliptical, and I can't really imagine bopping around my house once I put the boys to bed at night.   
I bought mine on Amazon and I think they are great!

Asics Kayano 17
No, I don't even own 'em yet because I am cheap and don't want to shell out that kind of money...but aren't they dreamy?  I have a serious sneaker problem.  
"My name is Heather and I have an Asics Kayano addiction!" 
I have owned many many pairs of Kayano's throughout the years and I sometimes wish I had kept them all.  No joke I have probably had between 35 and 40 pairs I would guess.  Right now in my home I have 6 pairs and I sent my mom home with 3 more.  Normally I just have 1 pair for running, another "older" pair for everyday errands, and a pair of old old old ones for garden/yard work.  BUT I found an incredible deal on the 16's and so now I am breaking in 2 pairs with the high hopes of alternating sneakers.  (I have heard it is a great thing to do for the life of your sneakers to allow for the cushion and support to recover after use.)  I buy all of my sneakers through Kelly's Running Warehouse.  Their prices are the cheapest and once you get on their email list they send coupons for $20 off $100 and thing like that all the time.  

Have a great Friday!!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lots Happening

Lots going on down here in Florida...
1.  After my 21 miler on Saturday I found myself taking a few days off.  I always set such high aspirations for peaceful runs when my husband is off, (varies from week to week but this week he was off Monday and Tuesday) but for some reason when he actually is off and I have all the time in the world to run, I find myself being a hermit and just wanting to stay home and veg out.  I wear running shorts and a sports bra all day long thinking that time will come when I will bolt out the door, but instead I find myself reading on a lounge chair in the backyard or curled up in bed half napping half watching "What Not To Wear."  Ugh and then I reflect Wednesday morning when Oz goes to work and kick myself for being so stupid for not running when I had the chance to be outside, kid free, treadmill free and not during the crack of dawn.  So, instead of running those days, I built this....and believe me it was much much harder than any run I could have gone on.  At one point my husband said "why are you even doing this, it is frustrating you so much."  So, I walked away and then 3 minutes later went at it again because I could not be defeated by a marble set-up.

2.  Bringing me to point # 2!  So, I did go for a 5 miler yesterday and found myself with some serious foot pain running down the outside of my right foot.  I do not recall hurting it or anything so that has sent me into a tizzy.  I have Marathon #1 2 weeks from Sunday and now I have this pain in my foot that yesterday made me think my high aspirations for a solid race will now involve ....I can't even bring myself to write it  (in a whisper...WALKING!)  ahhhhhhhhhhhh......

3.  I feel like a shmuck for even commenting on Florida weather simply because I know many of my actual 5 readers of this blog reside in locals that are much much colder, snowier, rainier, than here.  BUT with that said when it does get cold here (and last night our windchill was below 30 I have to tent my garden and I spend all night envisioning my poor garden dead because of the freeze.)  When I hear the nightly news do a piece on the Florida crops killed by a cold snap I think that they are talking about my little garden and my husband has to bring me back to reality that my garden does not supply anyone besides our family and a few friends.  But I mean it is like my 3rd child...I spend a lot of time babying the thing and freezing my butt off trying to wrap it up when needed.

4.  After months and months of doctors and therapists hemming and hawing my little Googles (real name Jax) was diagnosed with Autism today.  Very low end of the spectrum but none the less he's on there and my emotions are all over the place.  I am sad and confused and thinking "what did I do wrong during my pregnancy, during those first months, etc."  It is enough to make you go simply mad!  But seriously I am just so grateful that there is finally an answer.  I have known something was "off" for ages but people always have to chime in and say how they see nothing and there kid doesn't talk either, or is a picky eater too or throws fits also....It is just reassuring that someone else besides myself and family finally see it and we have a point to move forward from.  

5.  To run or not to run....My foot is feeling better today and I want to test it out tonight on the treadmill at the gym, but I ought to just wait it out and maybe shoot for tomorrow.  It is hard for me to stay I go back to my pre kids roots and bake because doesn't it make sense to eat baked goods when you can't even do any physical activity to burn it off???
pumpkin choc chip cake6
6. Saw this quote and loved it
"What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals."
Zig Ziglar

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's a jungle around here

I am not a fan of bugs, reptiles or small furry creatures like mice, rats, etc.  I am a lunatic when it comes to these things.  I would scream if from the rooftops if I could.

I think it all began in college when I moved to FL and quickly became introduced to the likes of roaches and ants  (all types of ants that I had no idea even existed.)  We were warned by our soccer coach that running barefoot, even on our beautiful Bermuda grass field should be avoided if we knew what was good for us...not getting bit by red ants that would leave a gross zit like bite on our body.  I also recall having the same roach lie on its back outside my freshman year dorm and squirm for a good 2 weeks before finally biting the bullet simply because there was no way I was going to touch it and as long as it stayed in that same spot and I could eye it...that was good enough for me.

My first apartment in college really drove into me my hatred of bugs.  My parents were visiting and my entire closet became infested with sugar ants...gross!!!!  I had ants in my clothes and all over everything.  Needless to say I am not a fan of ants.

A few years later I was living in San Francisco in a "dorm" while in culinary school.  Up until this point in my life I had never really been exposed to mice and rats but lucky for me, my building had a serious infestation problem.  Ever night I was woken up to the bite bite biting and chewing of mice.  One of the first nights in my room I woke up, flicked on the light and no joke, about 6 or so mice scurried across my floor.  GROSS GROSS GROSS.  ( I was a big fan of peanuts and had a huge Costco bag and they love 'em too!)  I became paranoid beyond belief!  I put towels on the floor on the inside and outside of my door in the hopes of stopping them from entering.  (little did I know that a mouse can get through an opening the size of a dime.)  In turn I moved to the top floor of the building somehow reassuring myself that mice wouldn't dare venture up that high...even though we all know that is pretty stupid reasoning.

Fast forward to my life now, back in sunny Florida and back to ants, roaches, mice, rats, possums, iguanas, snakes and everything in between.  We are lucky enough to live on a "lake."  I put it in quotes because lakes in Florida are definitely not the fun swimming holes I am used to growing up in upstate New York.  I would NEVER under any circumstance get into Florida lake due to the possibility of an alligator and mine especially because I believe it to be more of a run off type lake that could cause me to grow and extra toe or limb.  This lake is beautiful on the eyes, but home to many things I would rather not have scurrying around my house...snakes, turtles, rats, mice, possums, etc, etc, etc.  There are many mornings when a rather large rat will run past our back window.  I see the same mouse down snacking around my orange tree and in the warmer months, I have fished snakes out of our pool and been sitting on the pool's edge and looked a few feet away to see a black racer just sun bathing.  One afternoon while lying on my hammock I heard an unfamiliar noise and there was a snake right under the hammock.

We also have the same possum that I see do its morning workout of walking down the side of our yard, back by the lake and then many times walk right by our sliding glass door like we are in it's way.  (and lucky for me a few months back there were possum babies too!  JOY!)  So, snakes...check, mice and rats...check, possums...check.  What do we have left...of yes the mating iguanas that are shacking up in our tree.  Don't get me wrong they are a beautiful shade of lime green, but who wants these things making babies 15 feet from their house?  Not me!!!  And finally there are the turtles.  We had one bury itself 2 feet from our house, lay eggs and then proceed to stand on its hind legs and claw at our gate until Oz threw it into a recycle bin and toss it back to the lake.

So, all this brings me to today and our ant issues.  I will say it again I don't like ants.  Sugar ants are the worst because they are almost transparent and are so hard to get rid of.  We found a trail coming in our back door last week and this morning we found them in our master bathroom.  It sends me into a panic and I want them gone.  I truly am crazy and can envision a gang of ants taking over our house. Lucky for me Oz works the weekend and so today is his Saturday and thankfully he can deal with ridding the house of these pests.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Road Kill

ahhhh Road Kill.  I believe that around mile 17 I did toy with the idea of stepping into on coming traffic just to put an end to the unbelievable pain I was experiencing..and become road kill.  But lets rewind about 4 hours and just look more closely at where a standard 20 miler became the toughest 21 miler EVER!

I wish I could say that this "glamour shot" was taken at the completion of what will be remembered as the "Demoralizing 21 of 2011," but truth be told it was taken at about 5:20AM before the downward spiral.

So, here it goes!
We began our run in Juno Beach just past 5:30AM.  Temperatures were good, I had eaten the same as I did 2 weeks before on Christmas Eve when I ran the previous 20 miler (a diet of white bagels, I realize not optimum pre long run food).  I knew going into the run that my legs were a bit sore due to a very challenging class I had taken Wednesday at the gym.  (This class will come back to haunt me from about mile 15 1/2 thru 21!)  Not your normal "Step" class, though we do use the steppers (I can't do those jump over, jump back, somersault over the step type of classes...more mind work for me that a real workout as I stand with a confused look on my face for 2/3 of the class).  No, this class was the opposite...40 minutes of squats and lunges, toe taps and box jumps off of a 3 tiered stepper.  MY KIND OF CLASS!

Miles 1 thru 10 were pretty harmless.  I had Jen (pictured with me above) and Meg my running buddies there and like always we talk and talk and talk some more.  We dropped Meg at the parking lot at the 1/2 way point and began out on the 2nd half of our run.  My legs were sore and for some reason my Cliff Espresso double shots weren't doing their normal thing for me and my stomach even felt a bit uneasy.

Miles 10 thru 15 were Ok.  I told Jen over and over that "my legs are sore and heavy....LEAVE me if I am slowing you down."  Surprisingly, the days pace was actually really good, much faster than the other 20 miler.

Miles 15 thru 21 were torture, a disaster....At the turn around I sat down to stretch because my legs were beginning to tighten up in a way I have never felt.  My calves felt like they have golf ball sized knots in them and essentially my body from the waist down was falling apart.  From the waist up I was OK, but when your body takes a huge nose dive, unfortunately it is very very easy for your mind to become best friends with your body and decide that it too is about to lose it.  When we began to run that final 5 miles my knees wouldn't bend and my stride was all off, my mind was telling me over and over to just stop.  "you are going to hurt yourself!!!!"  But I just couldn't stop.  I think I stopped to stretch about 5 times which is very unlike me...I like to push through.  I couldn't gage if stopping to stretch was even beneficial because when I would stand back up my body would be stiff and I would once again have to try and loosen up when we took off again.  This is when my mind LOST IT!
Some quotes from me
" I am stopping at 20 miles because that was all we were supposed to do"
quickly followed by
"I will run the whole 21 miles''
"I am going to slow it down"
quickly followed by my pace speeding up to an 8 min pace.
After one stretching stop I even almost fell due to a mixture of fatigue and addition to miss stepping a few times and almost falling off the sidewalk simply because I felt like my legs were doing what they wanted not necessarily what I wanted them to do.

3 hours and 23 minutes later we finished all 21 miles and I still can't believe I made it those last 5 miles.  I don't think my description does any justice to how I really felt, but believe me when I tell you it was awful.  It was a huge shock simply due to the fact that the 20 miler 2 weeks ago was a PIECE OF CAKE.  During the run and since the run I have been going over and over in my head what exactly caused it all to go in such a different direction from what I had intended.  We did go at a faster pace, but it didn't feel as though we were pushing it.  I hydrated properly as well as fueled myself before and during the run.  The only thing that I guess did it was that damn class 3 days before.

So, now looking back at the run 24 hours later...
-I am so proud I did it
-that I actually ran an 8min+ last mile
-that I didn't stop when I said over and over that I had to...and that at mile 20 I would just sit down and be done, not finishing the last mile  (NO, I am one of those people who would beat myself up to no end all day and probably make myself throw my boys in the double BOB and complete that final mile.)
-that Jen and I ran 21 miles in 3:23, 2 minutes FASTER and 1 mile FURTHER than our last 20 miler

Have you ever had one of those demoralizing runs?  Hope not, but let it be known if you have I am right there with you.