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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Things You Need to Remember This Summer

If you get nothing else out of this post, at least read this. Unless you are a man. Then you can skip ahead. But even if you aren't a mom, there are several things you can still take away from this:
#3 and #4 are my favorites!
We visited my friend Megan to give her new baby a proper welcome to the world. I got to snuggle her when she was brand new in the hospital, but my girls still needed to meet her. My girls are pretty much in love with Megan's new baby. Only one of them wants one of our own though. Believe it or not, it's Ellie. She couldn't give enough little kisses and she never wanted to stop holding her.

We took some chocolate chip cookies with us. New babies should be celebrated with cookies. Because of an egg allergy at Megan's house, I found an egg-free recipe. They turned out super yummy! We ate the ones we kept for ourselves so quickly I never managed to get a picture of the final product. If you or your kids love cookie dough but you don't want to risk salmonella, this is the perfect recipe!!

And since we are on the subject of cookies and treats, I made cake batter oatmeal for my girls this morning. And they both liked it! I cooked a packet of plain oatmeal according to the directions, using milk. Then I added 1/4 teaspoon butter flavor and about 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Topped it with jimmies, and it was cake batter perfection. I never realized cake = sweet and buttery. But it does. Trust me. You could use sugar free sweetener in place of the sugar to make it healthier.

And then there was this moment yesterday. Ellie Bean's first piano lesson. She has been looking forward to it for weeks and I'm pretty sure it lived up to expectations, which I was a little worried about because I figured she'd want to come home knowing how to play Mozart. Or at least a few Christmas songs.

I came home from my run yesterday to the girls listening to Christmas music. We aren't picky about when we break out the holiday tunes around here.

And even though it's already Wednesday, here are my workouts from last week:

  • Sunday: rest day
  • Monday: 30 minute run (15 minutes easy/15 minutes tempo); 30 minutes cycling
  • Tuesday: 30 minute easy run; 35 minutes cycling; upper and lower body strength
  • Wednesday: 45 minute run; 20 minute core workout
  • Thursday: 7 mile run
  • Friday: 35 minutes cycling; total body strength
  • Saturday: 35 minute run


Monday, July 28, 2014

Running is the perfect way to kick off a Moab vacation

Saturday morning I felt a little overwhelmed with all I needed to do. We were heading to Moab that day, and I still needed to pack, get the oil changed in our vehicle and run a few other errands. I put my running clothes on first thing in the morning and then later texted Scott to say I wasn't going to run so I could get everything done. But he texted back that I should run, then called to make sure it would happen. So I somewhat begrudgingly headed out for my short 30 minute run.

30 minutes later, I felt 100% better and ready to tackle my to do list. Which I did, with time to spare.

Then we headed to Moab where we made the most of every second we were there.

We hiked in Arches. This outing was not without it's moments of whining and tired legs, but it was worth it to get to the Delicate Arch. And Ellie is a big fan of hikes (and bike rides) that are downhill on the return trip!
There was, of course, also lots of swimming. You would think they never get to swim based on how excited they were to hit the hotel pool!
And no Moab trip would be complete without a meal at Pasta Jay's, my favorite Moab restaurant.

We also took the girls to a few special-to-us spots. Scott and I got engaged in Moab and celebrate the anniversary of when we met (July 26) there almost every year.

This little waterfall spot was one of the highlights for sure. And being able to let Rowdy swim, which for some reason Grace loves to do (although I'm pretty sure Rowdy doesn't share her enthusiasm), made it even better.

Need more proof that we played hard? The few times Ellie Bean slowed down for a few seconds, she crashed hard!

What is your favorite pasta dish?

Do you prefer to swim in rivers/lakes or chlorinated pools?


Friday, July 25, 2014

My Lucky Charms and You Can Get Lucky (a giveaway and other stuff)

Sometimes you have Lucky Charms for dinner. It just happens. Because this is real life.

Apparently Lucky charms are great running fuel because I had one of my best post-injury runs yet the next day. It may have also had something to do with running in one of my favorite places.

Scott and the girls dropped me off and then went rock hunting in their special spot while I ran. Then they took me to their special spot for the first time. The spent a lot of time in their secret spot last year during several of my long runs. We threw rocks in the river and tried skipping rocks until one of us had to go potty (Grace!) and another one of us needed some serious food (me!).

This little person was a trooper all day. She isn't one who complains, so you have to really probe to find out how she feels when you suspect she might be sick. She got water in her ear the day before our running/rock hunting adventure, and it turned into an ear infection. She started to slow down and actually admitted her ear was bothering that afternoon. We got lots of snuggle time once she finally stopped going like the energizer bunny.

And it's time again for a free Spartan Race giveaway! (Obviously I don't always insist on smooth transitions when I'm writing.)

There is a new race in Ohio on October 4th. But if that isn't close to your neck of the woods, there are plenty of other races to choose from! Check out the list of races HERE!

Also, did you know Spartan Race has partnered with Runner's World?

The collaboration kicked off this month. Highlights of Runner’s World’s involvement in Spartan Race events include: Customized Spartan Race training plans designed by Runner’s World experts as well as exclusive stories and videos to be available only on; Runner’s World content on; and a Runner’s World presence at select Spartan Race events.

You can get 10% off your Spartan Race entry using the code: SPARTANBLOGGER.

Or here's how you can enter to win a Spartan Race entry to any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US:

  • Leave a comment telling me which race you would enter and why you want to be a Spartan. (Required)
  • Share this giveaway on Twitter, Instagram, and /or Facebook. Each place you share it gets you an additional entry. Leave a comment letting me know you shared or tag me (@ihaverun on Twitter and Instagram). (Optional)

Winner will be selected by and announced Friday, August 1.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Three Summer Sanity Savers

Let's face it. We all have these moments (I'm sure she'll appreciate me posting this picture someday). Unfortunately I can't play the "only five years old" card. To keep myself from having too many meltdown moments of my own this summer, we've implemented a few summer sanity savers at our house.

Snacks Bags: I can only hear the words "I'm hungry!" so many times before I want to stab out my eardrums. How they make it hour after hour without starving to death at school I'll never know. Last summer we started having daily snack bags so my girls don't ever have to ask for a snack. They can eat whatever is in their snack bag whenever they want throughout the day. Plus they can have any fruits and veggies they want any time. It is actually surprising how often they have snacks left in their bags at the end of the day!
Separate Rooms: I have always loved that my girls shared a room. I think it has made them closer. But a few weeks ago we decided to put them in their own rooms. This has made them want to play together more, and it has made for a more peaceful home when they don't want to do the same thing or when they need some alone time (or I need them to have some alone time) because they have all their own things in one room, and they don't fight over who gets the toy room (now Grace's room) when they have quiet/separate time.
Library Time: In addition to going to the library weekly to check out books, we signed up for the summer reading program. The girls get prizes for reading a certain amount of time each day, there is a weekly story time, and there is a different craft each week. And it's all free. I'm finding that most public libraries have some sort of summer reading program, so if it's too late to join at your library this summer, I highly recommend looking into it next year.

Did you share a room when you were growing up?


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'll miss my chocolate milk

Can we talk about this awesome yellow jacket nest? Somehow none of us at our house noticed it (right outside our front door) until yesterday. It has since been sprayed and the yellow jackets are no more. But seriously. It's almost cool how big it is and how much work that had to be for those tiny little insects. Just not cool enough to let the yellow jackets set up permanent residence.
Not cool is how often these are a part of my life:

I've suspected for a while that dairy might not be my body's best friend. My stomach kind of rebels after I have milk or yogurt, especially when I have it first thing in the morning. But I kept telling myself it is just a coincidence.

I told myself the same thing again Sunday morning when I ate Grapenuts for breakfast. I had a moment of hesitation when I debated between using regular (cow's) milk or almond milk. But I brushed off the thought that the cow's milk would affect me, poured it on my cereal and inhaled my breakfast so I wouldn't be late for church. By the time I got to church, my stomach was not happy and I felt like I looked at least 6 months pregnant. Then last night I had a bowl of Greek yogurt with blueberries and bananas. And I woke up bloated and uncomfortable. Just how I love to feel when I head out for a run!

So I'm going to see how cutting out dairy affects how I feel the next few days. One of the hardest parts would normally be going without my post run glass of chocolate milk, but luckily I only indulge in it when I run more than 60 minutes, which hasn't happened in months and is still a week away from happening on my training plan.

I know it's possible to develop intolerance or allergies at any age, so I'm finally letting myself believe I might have some degree of lactose intolerance. There are tests I could have done to find out for sure, but I figure I might as well try the process of elimination first. Wish me luck!


Do you have any food allergies or intolerances?

What is your favorite post-run fuel?



Monday, July 21, 2014

Christmas in July and tiny chucks

Last week, my girls received a much anticipated package in the mail.

They each got a backpack full of athletic gear from Under Armour. It was seriously like Christmas in July!

They couldn't wait to test out their new gear. Ellie was so excited, she laid her outfit out next to her when she went to bed (on Grace's floor). When they woke me up the next morning, they were already dressed and ready to go!
They loved everything, and are still wearing it every chance they get. I have to say, I am a little jealous. Especially of their shoes!!!
Friday night I went to a baby shower for one of my favorite people in the world. Emily is expecting her second, much anticipated baby. The women at the shower are seriously amazing. And all runners of course!
I made cupcakes: tiny chucks because they went along with Emily's announcement that she was expecting a few months ago; and boxing gloves because Baby B is her "little fighter."
Have I mentioned our RUNNERD website? If you haven't checked it out, you should. And now you can get your own official oval RUNNERD sticker. It's only $2 on the website's Home Page!

And because it was a happy event for me, I have to share my run from this morning. It was 15 minutes easy followed by a 15 minute tempo at sub-7:15 pace. I was really scared to tackle it. Every time I saw it getting closer on my plan last week, I got nervous. But when I told Scott about it last night, he was completely confident that I would totally conquer it. So I channeled his confidence in me and just focused on relaxing and breathing. And I did it!

Last week's workouts:

Sunday: Rest day

Monday: 30 minute run; 30 minutes cycling

Tuesday: 35 minute run; lower body strength (T25)

Wednesday: 65 minutes elliptical; upper body strength & core

Thursday: 30 minute run + 6x 100 meter speed sprints; 45 minutes cycling

Friday: 30 minute run; upper body strength & core

Saturday: 45 minute run; 4-mile family bike ride


Do you like tempo runs? I like speed intervals better than tempo runs.

What is your favorite flavor of cupcakes? The ones I made for the shower were carrot cake, Emily's favorite.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Things I Love Thursday - Weird Al

How could I not love this?!?

And I especially love that one of my favorite people sent it to me last night because it made her think of me!


What's your favorite Weird Al video? If you aren't familiar with Weird Al, it's time to hit YouTube and change that!!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

This is what happens...

This is what happens when you let yourself get too hungry. You inhale a maple bar without a second of regret, and this is how much you have left when you realize you should take a picture of the deliciousness that was so fresh it was still a little warm.

And this is what happens when your "return to running" plan has you cross training and you walk into the fitness center to find its 83 degrees. You set up camp as close to the giant fan as possible.

This is what happens when you have a good mail day. Only a runnerd would be this happy about getting some new socks to try out. Of course I was most excited about trying the Kushyfoot Athletics, which I wore to ellipticize today and loved.

This is what happens when you are testing out and creating new recipes for your other website. You try a salad that is a new favorite. It's easy, healthy and even my kids like it. Although here are a few insider tips: leave out the red pepper flakes if you have kiddos who might not like that extra kick; add some cherry tomatoes sliced in half if you like that kind of thing; and add an additional tablespoon of ranch dressing just before serving to make it a little creamier.

Do you have a favorite brand of running/athletic socks?

Do you like tomatoes? I don't like them on sandwiches and in things like salads, but I LOVE salsa and homemade tomato soup is my favorite!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Be Careful Out There - My Little PSA

When I go running, Scott always tells me to have a good run and be safe. It's not just something he says out of habit. He says it with meaning. Every. Time.

Remember Sherry Arnold, the school teacher who was abducted while running and later found dead? Or Meg Cross Menzies who was killed by a drunk driver while running? And locally we've all read stories of runners being attacked while running.

After Arnold disappeared, I remember being extra careful to run where there was plenty of traffic, and I always made sure my husband knew exactly where I would be running. Then after Menzies was killed I was super paranoid and extra cautious when running around traffic. I would try to meet the eyes of drivers passing to make sure they saw me, and I spent more time on the paved trail by my house to avoid being near vehicles.

But as time goes by I start to let my guard down. I'm less aware of my surroundings, and I let myself get distracted by my thoughts and my music more. Sometimes that is okay.

If I'm on the trail during a busy time of day when cyclists and runners pass me regularly, I can justify letting myself get lost in my run. But when I'm on the street, running with cars just a few feet away or when I'm on the trail and I don't see anyone else for 10 minutes or more at a time, I need to be careful. We all need to be careful.

Please let this be your reminder to be careful out there. I don't want any of us to be the next reminder to be more careful.

Do you listen to music when you run?

Where is your favorite place to run?


Monday, July 14, 2014

How do YOU define healthy?

When my shin started hurting and I went to see my doctor several months ago, he asked me a bunch of questions about my running habits, my mental state when I can't run, and my eating habits. He specifically asked if I eat treats or junk food. He was asking to make sure I DO allow myself to eat treats and junk food. Because that is healthy. And so many runners have unhealthy relationships with food.

You don't usually think of treats as healthy, but that's where I think a lot of people get off track when trying to be "healthy."

Too often, healthy is equated with extremes. Replacing natural ingredients with unnatural ingredients to cut calories or fat. Modifying normal recipes to add extra protein to everything. Things like this are not healthy.

So as you start a new week, remember you don't need to put protein powder in your waffles and yogurt and even your smoothie unless you are training for a body building competition or it's your post-workout snack with the proper ratio of proteins and carbs to refuel. I find that a lot of times, all I'm really doing by adding supplements to my smoothies is adding unnecessary calories and fat.
And don't replace sugar with artificial sweeteners in everything you eat. There are enough conflicting studies out there about whether or not sugar substitutes are good or bad for you. Sugar has been around forever. It won't hurt you in reasonable quantities. Almost anything can be bad for you in extremes.

There is something to be said for moderation. I find the more balance I have, the easier it is to be healthy. I don't have irresistible cravings. I don't feel like I'm starving. I love this tool for finding the perfect healthy snack: 121 Delicious Healthy Snacks for Every Type of Snacker.

When I'm eating mostly healthy foods but also allowing myself the occasional cupcake or handful of chips, I find I like my body more, I don't constantly focus on food, and I feel better physically. And it shows in my mood, energy and even how my skin looks.

It's Monday! Make this week a good one by being a little nicer to yourself. And treat yourself a little. I promise you'll ultimately be happier and healthier for it.

If you REALLY want to indulge a little, you can make these Nutella Peanut Butter Cups. They were a request from Scott, but all he had was a picture of what he wanted. So I put together my own version, and it more than lived up to all of our expectations!

Nutella Peanut Butter Cups
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In small bowl, mix:
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
In mixer, cream:
  • 1/2 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
Add until mixed:
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup peanut butter
Add dry ingredients and mix until combined.

Grease muffin tins. Roll dough in large balls (about 1 1/2 inches).

Place balls in muffin cups and press down in center with shot glass. Bake 11-12 minutes until edges begin to brown just slightly. Cool about 10 minutes. Remove gently from pans and place on cooling rack.

In small bowl, swirl together (do not completely mix, just gently stir until slightly combined):
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
Spoon Nutella mixture to fill center of each cookie cup. Allow to completely cool and set. Makes approximately 18 cookie cups.

What healthy indulgences do you allow yourself?

Friday, July 11, 2014

An everlasting book, salad towers and box forts because it's Friday

Happy Friday! Before you head off into the bliss of the weekend, tell me about your runs and races scheduled for the next two days. I am up to running 35 minutes at a time, but I miss my long runs. Like really, really miss them. They just make me really happy.
Here are some other things making me happy lately:
This is Princess Grace's summer reading book, but she kind of forgot about it until the other night. Since I've never read it (hope that doesn't mean they'll take my English degree away!), I decided to read it with Grace. I'm almost finished and she has yet to start, but hopefully my enthusiasm for it will encourage her to get reading! For the record, it is good. It sucked me right in. And it is just as entertaining for adults as I imagine it will be for my girl.

Jason's Deli decided to skip town, so I haven't had a decent salad bar salad in a while. This one lived up to the standards set by Jason's Deli! Plus it was part of a birthday celebration for my cute little cousin who was turning 12. What about all that wouldn't make a person happy?!?

A cardboard box fortress? Yes, please. They got the boxes out of the garage, put them together (with just a little help from Mom), and stacked them up to make their own little corner of the world.

It's only our second water park outing this summer, and they were already braving more slides and even put off nachos to go on their new favorite a few more times. But of course it wouldn't have been complete without nachos and Dippin' Dots!


What good books have you read lately?

Where's your favorite salad bar?


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Not all unicorns and rainbows over here

Sometimes we look at other people and think their lives are perfect. Especially with social media helping portray so much perfection.

I try to be a positive person, but I also try to be honest. Yet sometimes I leave out some of the "real" stuff because it might come across as negative. My life, as good as it really is, is not all sunshine, butterflies, rainbows and unicorns.

Like when we go on our family outings. Sometimes one of the girls complains. Saturday we took our bikes to Park City to ride on a new-to-us trail. It was our first time on a dirt trail, and we started on a slight, slow gradual uphill. Ellie was not happy and her legs got tired quickly. She complained until we turned around after only a mile. A mile that took us 20 minute. On bikes.

She was much happier on the downhill and even cooperated for some pictures. But we only made it two miles because she was tired and whiny, and I was tired of her whining.

Our family bike rides and runs sometimes take extra patience. But the girls are gradually complaining less and less and their legs are getting stronger and stronger. More often than not, our entire rides and runs are fun and memorable with little or no complaints. So those pictures of us smiling and having fun are real. Because it's always better to focus on the good!

Some days I wake up tired, with a headache, and this happens. Then it makes me jittery from drinking caffeine on a practically empty stomach. But I don't want to eat because I just sucked down enough calories to equal a meal.

I'm human.

Then there's the fact that my girls are temporarily sleeping in separate rooms in hopes that bedtime will be more peaceful and it won't take an hour for them to finally fall asleep because they argue or because one of them gets out of bed and the other has to know why or comes downstairs to tattle.

And that extra hour they are awake every night makes for grumpier girls the next day. There's also the hope that the first one awake won't insist on waking the other one up.

Yet there are so many nights when they want to sleep on the floor together because their bunk beds are "too far apart," or they spend the day building a fortress out of cardboard boxes and want to sleep in it together. They are kids. They have their moments. And go through phases. Good and bad. But mostly good!

And yesterday I ran 25 minutes. But it was hot. And hard. And I crossed the street at a stoplight instead of turning just so I had an excuse to stop. And I get discouraged when I see pregnant women running farther and faster than me. Or when I see the countdown to my next marathon on my phone and wonder if there's any possible way I will actually be ready for it.

Sunshine sometimes sucks when you start running and it's already in the 80s and there isn't a cloud in the sky. Butterflies are disgusting in their larva stage. Rainbows are temporary. Unicorns don't exist. And if they did, they would have really big turds.

So when you look at pictures of perfection and read about idyllic adventures, just remember we are ALL human. There's no such thing as perfect.



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