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mother. marathoner. blogger. reader.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

"The Decision"

Well, I did it.

I signed up for my first ultramarathon.

On September 28, 2013, I will be running in The North Face Endurance Challenge Trail 50k.

I don't think it has quite sunk in yet. I'm sure I'll wake up, a couple weeks from now, and smack myself in the head for getting myself into yet another crazy situation. An exciting, nerve wracking, butterflies in the stomach, life changing, crazy situation.


Friday, March 29, 2013

Recipe Review: Easy Turkey Chili

I'm not big on blogging about recipes. Primarily because every time I step into the kitchen its a crap shoot whether or not anything good will come of it. Take last night as an example. I had this grandiose vision of my children eating and loving sweet potato pancakes. I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take to grate 3 medium sized sweet potatoes. Then I grossly underestimated the amount of time it would take to cook those cute little orange patties. W had an evening TBall practice, so after many sighs and frantic looks at the clock, I abandoned my dreams and we had McDonald's for dinner - fail.

This was not the case with Easy Turkey Chili. It's almost foul-proof. Unless you stop paying attention and burn the oil in the bottom of the pot. Not that I did that, I'm just saying it's a possibility. It's basically turkey, tomatoes, beans, & veggies. Easy peasy. Throw everything into a big pot and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes and you're good to go. I'm not a huge fan of chili but this one is delicious. Shockingly, I didn't even need sour cream. It is simple, filling (but not in a "I need to change into my elastic waistband pants" kind of way), and I even got to get the kids to eat it by putting it on pasta.

I didn't take any pictures because it was gone by the time I thought about it. The above link will take you to the Runner's World website where your eyes can feast upon the glory that is Easy Turkey Chili.

Here is the recipe.. go and make it now! I promise your taste buds will thank you.

P.S. I didn't include all the spices... I'm Norwegian & Polish so I like my food with a little hop as opposed to a kick. Feel free to add and subtract.

Easy Turkey Chili
What you'll need:
3 medium bell peppers, any color, rough chopped
medium white onion, rough chopped
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 can canellini beans, drained
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 to 2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup beer of your choice
1 tablespoon oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon paprika (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground cumin (or to taste)
1 teaspoon chili powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Grated cheese, sour cream, hot sauce to top (all optional)
How to make it:
1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the ground turkey. Saute until mostly cooked.
2. Add in the peppers and onion. Saute until the onions are translucent, the peppers are soft, and the meat is fully cooked (about 10-15 minutes).
3. Add the tomatoes, beans, beer, and spices. Simmer for at least 30 minutes, or until the chili has the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste. Optional: Add toppings.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

contemplating a new challenge

I have discovered, over the years, that running never get easier. A mile is still a mile. It still takes effort. You still sweat. The difference is confidence. Each new distance conquered or time goal met gives you the confidence to try something new.

When I signed up for my first race in 2006, a 5 miler, I never thought I would be able to run a half marathon. After I ran that half, I thought "wow. If I can do that why not try a full marathon?" 4 marathons later, I can say with confidence that I know I can run 26.2 miles. It's not easy and is still a challenge but it is doable. 

Recently, I started trail running. Well, let's not get crazy. I don't run trails as much as I sign up for trail races and then pray I don't hurt myself. The last three attempts have been successful. No broken bones or "SOS I'm lost" cries for help. Clearly, that means I'm ready for a 50k trail race. 50K you say? How far is that exactly you ask? Well, according to Google it is 31.25 miles and "technically" qualifies as an ultramarathon.   

I am 75% confident that I can run 31.25 miles. It will hurt and I will probably cry but I think I can do it. Or at least I want to think that I can do it. In running, though, that tends to be the same thing.

I haven't actually registered for the race yet. I have until April 4th, when the price increases, to register. So, from now until then I will be searching for my inner ultra marathoner diva and hoping her swagger is enough to get me to that starting line. 

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start." -John Bingham


Monday, March 25, 2013

'Would You Rather..."

I know you're dying to learn a little bit more about me. So I thought I would share my answers to OliveToRun's "Would you Rather" running survey...  

1. Would you rather run a 5k or a marathon? 
A marathon. I enjoy the challenge of training and the satisfaction running that many miles at one time brings.
2. Would you rather run in the heat of summer or the icy winter?
Icy winter. I hate running in the heat with an intense passion. I hate sweat and how it makes my face itchy. Also, heat makes me chafe. I hate chafing more then I hate the heat.

3. Would you rather have new running shoes or a new running outfit?
New running shoes. I've been wearing the same 2 pairs of shorts for almost 5 years (I promise I wash them regularly) but I get new shoes every 6 months or 500 miles. 
4. Would you rather run alone or in a group?
I am a lone wolf. I haven't run in a group since high school and rarely run with a partner. I enjoy the time to myself. I use it to pray, think, write blog posts etc...
5. Would you rather run next to someone in a race who tries to talk to you constantly or someone who breathes heavy and grunts?
Um... neither. If I had to chose I would pick a talker. Heavy breathing freaks me out. I tend to sing while I run which I'm sure makes people love me.
6. Would you rather run a race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?
Convenience. I don't know about anyone else but my race bags lately have been sadly lacking. A whole lot of paper and not much else. I will say that I have plans to run the Nike Women's Marathon because of the Tiffany loot.
7. Would you rather run a race with a group of friends or by yourself?
By myself. I have never actually ran a race with a friend. This makes me sound pathetic. I have friends. I even have friends who run but most of them live too far away or are too quick for me (looking at you Maggie). With that said, I am running a half this fall with my best friend and my Roommate from college and I am very excited. 

8. Would you rather run a PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?
I would rather finish strong and miss a PR. No injury is worth a PR. I want to be that awesome 75 year old that wins her age group. 
9. Would you rather eat a big meal the night before or a big meal after a race?

A big meal the night before. I generally don't eat a lot right after a race. After my second marathon I ate two large Arby's Beef n' Cheddars and fell into a salt coma. Not literally but it felt that way. 
10. Would you rather be chased by a swarm of bees or a pack of dogs? 
Bees. Dogs scare the poop out of me when they're free and wandering. I'm convinced if I die while running it will either be by a person pulling out of the Bojangles drive-thru and hitting me or a pack of feral dogs. 

Tag! You're it!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

pour some sugar on me

I think I'm addicted to sugar.

It might be hormonal or a result of marathon tapering but either way it is clear I have a problem.

I've lost track of how many boxes of Girl Scout cookies I have eaten. Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils. I can't eat just one - oh no. I have to eat half a sleeve.

Easter is almost here. Not only am I celebrating the resurrection of my Savior but I'm enjoying the many varieties of chocolate that are available of my local store's shelves. Cadbury Eggs, Peanut Butter Eggs - if it's in the shape of an egg and contains chocolate there's a good chance I'm going to eat it.   

It's becoming more clear to me, as I contemplate running and racing at longer distances, that I need to make better food choices. I've made changes to our dinner menus; trying to include more vegetables and more balance between the number of pasta and meat dishes. My kids will only eat corn. Any other vegetable offered is met with choruses of "ew, I don't like that." No amount of pleading or bribing works. It can be maddening.

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I like to eat but I hate thinking about food. I hate thinking about where it came from, what's in it, how bad or good it is for me. I just want to eat it. I know that this personality flaw makes me irresponsible and downright sacrilegious in some circles. I get it. I'm working on it. I follow tons of clean eating, meat hating, plant loving people on Twitter and everyday they guilt me into caring a little bit more. Today, though, I just need to stop shoving cookies down my gullet. Tomorrow we'll work on less chocolate. Next week: peas.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Letting Go

My son had his first TBall practice last week.

He was excited and thrilled. I was a nervous wreck.

W is my firstborn. The child that first stole my heart and held it in his tiny little fist. The child that I spent two hours a day rocking, while stroking his forehead, and singing "Hello Goodbye" to over and over and over.

It wasn't until he was born that I understood what it means to love someone so fiercely, so deeply that it actually hurts. At W's 2 year old check up appointment, his pediatrician was concerned that he was showing warning signs of Autism. During the next few months, Seth and I had W evaluated. We cried. We enrolled him in preschool. We prayed and cried some more. We got him into speech therapy and prayed some more. We anxiously watched him interact with children his own age, videotaped him playing with his toys, and downplayed how worried we really were. The fear of Autism, the fear that something could be "wrong" with my child, something that I couldn't fix, was overwhelming.

By 3, he was making huge improvements and the red flags were disappearing one by one. My little boy was growing into himself; his personality emerging and all the pieces falling into place. Even though I saw this happening and I knew in my heart that an Autism diagnosis was highly unlikely (and in fact there was nothing left to be concerned about) - I was still worried. My heart ached when I saw him at the playground at school, pressed up against the fence, watching the cars go by.

Today, my boy barely resembles that introverted 2 year old who raised his doctor's concern. However, I still carry a piece of that uncertainty, that fear, with me. I worry how he will react in a new situation, if he'll participate, and am concerned that he won't fit in and will be an "outsider". I think every parent has these types of worries, but for me it comes from that possible Autism diagnosis, the possibility that my child is not who I expected him to be.

I have always believed that sports and athletics will be key for W. Team sports and shared interests will be the bridge that connects him to others. He is naturally well coordinated, has uncannily good hand/eye coordination, and enjoys being active. Judging by his first TBall practice (which I watched anxiously and nervously) - he'll be fine. He was eager to participate, listened well to his coaches, and had fun. I think it might be time to finally let all those fears go. My boy is who he is, and I couldn't be more proud or love him anymore.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paris and Taper Madness

I'm back.

Paris was AMAZING.

The history, the food, the churches, the museums, the food. The food. Did I mention how good the food was? Each meal was better then the last and the bread.... oh the bread. The pastries.... there are no words.

If you ever have the chance to go... GO! If you don't get a chance, go anyway. One eclair and a trip to Versailles will make it all worth it.

There was no running in Paris. Well, there were people running but I was not one of them. Instead, my husband and I walked all over the city; taking in magnificent churches, looking at priceless pieces of art, and eating marvelous food.

I came home to two children who only missed me a tiny bit as they had spent the week being doted on by their great-grandmother and grandmother. I also came home with a bruised heel that made the 15 miles I needed to run this week particularly painful. I was doing the marathon shuffle for the first mile or so of each run - not pretty. I'm hoping a day of rest and some ice will do the trick.

Saturday is my last long run before the taper starts. Then I have about three weeks where I decrease my mileage, start twitching and itching in my skin, and have anxiety dreams about running. Oh the joys of marathon running. To be honest though, I am actually looking forward to it. Bring on the taper madness... I'm coming for you Knoxville!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

the one where the weather channel tells a fib

I ran 21 miles yesterday. In the snow. In the rain. In the sunshine. Seriously, it was like one of those movies where the evil genius creates a weather machine and then reeks havoc on the unsuspecting public.

When I went to put my Garmin outside to find a signal, it was raining. In the 10 minutes or so it took me to get my shoes on it started to snow. In Georgia. On March 2nd. Snow. Are you getting how crazy that is? Snow. Big, huge snowflakes that made my pants wet and stuck to my cheeks. It has been quite awhile since I've run in the snow. I realized that living in the South has made me weak and I need to move.

Around mile 12 or 13 it stopped snowing and starting lightly raining. The sun started to shine at about mile 17  and continued to shine for the rest of the day.

The schizophrenic weather sort of resembles my state of mind these days. Tomorrow, my husband and I are leaving for a trip - without our kids - for five days. I love to travel but I also love routine. Taking a trip and leaving our kids with someone else is nerve wracking. I've also decided (drum roll please) not to bring my running gear. That's 5 days of not running, and although we are going to be doing a lot of walking, I can't help but mourn those missed miles.

The Knoxville Marathon is fast approaching. I have one more long run then it's taper time. I am a bundle of excitement and nerves. The rest of my race schedule for the year is starting to take shape. I'm racing more this year then I have ever before - including the Cincinnati half marathon in October with my best friend and college roommate.

So while you're out there hitting the road and the trails this week - think of me. I'll be strolling down the streets of Paris and only feeling a tiny bit bad about missing my miles :)