Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mediocrity and a guest appearance

This morning, my friend and fellow blogger tweeted that his post today was about a woman in curlers. I thought he might need a little inspiration, so sent him some. Well, low and behold! I ended up making a guest appearance in his blog today!! 

Check it out here:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What I eat Wednesday

We've been trying to eat more clean and healthy recently. Ideally, I like to plan and prepare my weekly meals ahead of time but "ain't nobody got time for that"!  I turned to the interwebs looking for fast fixing, clean eating recipes and found this winner, winner, chicken dinner:

Jamie Eason's Turkey Meatloaf Muffins
Minutes to Prepare: 5
Minutes to Cook: 40
Number of Servings: 12


1 cup dry oats
egg white, fresh, 3 large
Onions, raw, 1 cup, chopped
Celery, raw, 1 cup, diced
 Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast, 2.5 lbs
Ground cumin, 0.5 tsp
Thyme, Dried Ground 1 tsp
Dry, ground mustard 2 tsp
Black pepper 2 tsp
Chipotle pepper, ground, 2 tsp (I've subbed chili powder successfully)
Salt, 1 tsp
Garlic powder, 2 tbsp

combine all dry ingredients and mix up,

add chopped veggies and ground turkey and egg whites,

mix well.

Spray non stick spray on muffin tin,

Fill each spot with tennis ball sized amount of turkey mixture,

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 min.

Each muffin is about 90 calories each. These can be a little on the dry side. You can add shredded or finely chopped zucchini squash for taste and extra moisture, if desired. I've tried it and it is quite tasty. You could use fresh spinach leaves too, if desired. I haven't tried that but I might the next time I make these. These freeze, store and reheat well. They're easy to pack in a lunch too!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Sunday afternoon in Fort Worth

It's been years since I've been to Ft. Worth. My aunt Paula lives there, but sadly we don't see her very often. We arrived back at the hotel room post-race around 11:30. Our train didn't leave for OKC until 5:25pm. So we had some time to kill. I had heard that Joe T Garcia's was a must do but we didn't have transportation. Aunt Paula to the rescue!!  She offered to pick us up at the hotel after church and drive to the restaurant. We invited a couple of our close friends, Kelly and Sharon, to go with us.

She picked us up at 1 pm and off we went in search of "the best Mexican food in Ft Worth" The line was out the door and down the street when we arrived. Sharon, Kelly and I got us a place in line while Aunt Paula and hubs parked the car. After a few minutes, hubs went indoors to get us drinks. He came back with a Tecate for him and a pitcher of margaritas for us!!  I had heard about these margaritas and haven't had one in ages, so I was excited!!  They were perfectly yummy with the best salt around the rim!!  YUM!!  I could have consumed the pitcher all by myself but they would have had to pour me in the car!

We waited for about 15 minutes when we realized that we were waiting for patio seating and the line for indoor seating was much shorter.  We went inside where we had to wait for about 10 more minutes and were then directed to a large table in the center of the room. The atmosphere and decor was AWESOMELY authentic!!  It was obvious that we were in for a treat!!  We were met immediately with baskets of chips and bowls of yummy salsa. I heard the food was served family style but we were given menus and it looked like there was something for everyone, including our vegetarian friend, Kelly. We ordered queso and our meals. We had a short wait for our food but we were busy enjoying the chips and salsa and conversation so it didn't seem to take that long. The food was a delicious as we had been told and we all left with full bellies.

Afterward, we had a nice guided tour of Fort Worth ala Aunt Paula. She drove us through the stockyards, past TCU, the botanical gardens/zoo and several really cool, business areas. After the scenic tour, she dropped us off at the train station where we waited for our friends. We all hopped the train and headed home without incident. Over all, it was a brief, whirlwind trip but it was very fun!!  I think we're going to have to do it again when we have more time to explore. It would be a perfect girls weekend or a quick weekend get away for me and hubs!!  Plus, I enjoyed the visit with my aunt!! 

Well, I'm off. We're expecting some winter weather so I have to go get bread and milk which is what we do here in Oklahoma when they forecast snow!!  TTFN

Cowtown Half Marathon: Additional thoughts

As I said previously, the post race logistics left quite a bit to be desired. Hubs and I were newbies to this race, so we didn't really know what to expect at the finish. He had left his cell phone in the hotel room, so he was sans communication device. Well, once the runner's finished, they proceed down a VERY long finish chute to the south entrance of the exhibit hall were they were "herded" much like cattle, through the post race food lines. The runner's families were all bunched up in the hall outside the food room essentially creating a traffic jam in the hall. It certainly made egress/digress difficult especially if one were pushing a stroller or wheelchair. I'm quite certain it violated fire code in case of some unforeseen emergency! This was the first contact we were allowed to have with the runners post-race. The spectators outdoors were kept a great distance from the finishers chute. I get the whole idea in theory, and I suppose it flowed ok for most runners for the most part. My issue was I the fact that I wasn't familiar w/ the finish "procedure" I didn't know where to wait for my husband and friends and I couldn't get anyone, volunteers or runners to tell me where to go wait. I was so far away from him that I couldn't see that he didn't enter the building like the herd other runners, but found another way out of the finish chute and made a bee-line for the porta-let. Had I known that, I wouldn't have gotten flustered when I couldn't immediately find him! He was limping post race, so I thought he might have gone to medical. They did let me in to the medical room to check for him. While I was in there, I over heard a husband telling the medical personnel that his wife was collapsed outside and needed attention. This was a little disconcerting for me and reminded me of the 2011 RnR Las Vegas fiasco. Where were the medical volunteers outside? Or weren't the volunteers cautioned to watch for distressed runners and direct them/get the medical help ASAP?!

After all my other friends were funneled through the food room (more on that in a minute) and still no husband, I started to get very concerned. No one had seen him. 30 minutes had passed. I was getting more than a little anxious. After probably 30 or 40 minutes and still no husband, I went to the information desk for help. The volunteer there was ill equipped to handle my question so she directed me into the exhibition hall to the "solutions" kiosk. There, I approached a police officer whose response was, "well call him on his cell phone" (my thoughts were: bright idea lady! Why didn't I think of that sooner?! And, if he had a d*@# cell phone on him, do you really think I would be asking you for help?!) and "why don't you go outside and look for him" Now, I'm not a complete dolt. I realize that I could have gone outside and looked for him, but bear in mind there were approximately 27,000 runners and their families. It would have been like finding a needle in a haystack. And what if he came inside while I was outside. Against my better judgement, I went outside but of course I didn't see him. I was headed back inside to locate the police officer again, as I was determined to get some help when I happened to see my husband across the large exhibit hall. He had in fact come in while I was outside looking for him. ARGH!! But, I was so relieved to see him!!  We got his finisher shirt and headed straight for the shuttle back to the hotel before I had a full-blown anxiety attack.

This whole process took an hour, which I believe was completely UNACCEPTABLE!!  I've been told that "perhaps you expect too much of race organizers and volunteers" We pay a great deal of our hard earned money for race entry fees. I expect things to be well organized and safe. And I expect willingness to help find a solution to a problem instead of smart assed remarks!!  If this is "expecting too much" then I guess I do!  My friends had a good experience and for that I'm happy but I saw another side of things and for that reason, hubs and I won't be running the Cowtown again anytime in the near future.

Have you ever had a bad race experience??

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cowtown half marathon race recap

Saturday morning, I got up before the butt crack of dawn, not to go run as I usually do on Saturday mornings, but to hop an Amtrack train with my husband and 14 of my good running buddies en route to Fort Worth, Texas. We arrived in OKC, located all of our group and boarded the train without incident. The train ride overall was very enjoyable!!

We arrived in Ft. Worth around 12:40. We had a short walk to our hotel. After we all got checked in, the decision was made to go to the expo and eat later. Several of us were really hungry but we went along with the majority.

The expo was approimately 2.5 miles from the hotel. Some of our group hopped in a cab, several others car pooled with other friends who had a car and a few of us decided to walk as it was a nice day. The expo was incredibly busy and we were all getting HANGRY after our death march nice little jaunt, so we called a cab and headed back to the hotel with the intention of ordering pizzas when we got back. Our nice taxi driver over heard our meal planning and offered to drop us off a few blocks from our hotel, but within walking distance of quite a few eating establishments. We chose an Italian place called Picchi Pacchi. Weird name, but really good food!! The portions were more than generous and the prices were very reasonable. After we stuffed ourselves and our bellies were beyond full, we hopped on the "Molley the trolley" to get us back to the hotel. Hubs and I put on our pj's and retired to our room for the night.

We woke up @ 4:30 on race day, I showered, curled my hair and put on make up. What the heck?? Why would she do all that to run a race, you're wondering. Well, I had decided to sit this one out. :-( My IT band has been irritated for a couple of months. It is finally on the mend, but I didn't want to take any chances. We got ready, got downstairs to the lobby, grabbed a little breakfast and met our group to board the shuttle to the start line, which was the same location as the expo. We got there about 45 minutes early, everyone made their final trips to the potty and we hung out inside the expo center until about 10 minutes till gun time. Most of the group was in corral 4, so they all lined up and I heckled them from the other side of the fence. It was a wave start so corral 4 didn't acutally start at 7 am but closer to 7:15. I watched the massive sea of runners from corral take off  when the gun sounded. It seemed like it took an eternity for all of those runners to cross the start line. It was very surreal not to be running with my friends.

I suddenly found myself with about 2.5 - 3 hours on my hands. What to do??  I thought about a cab back to the hotel but I wandered back to the expo center. I got a cup of coffee and a Chobani sample and decided to camp out for a while. I checked out the Cowtown swag area and got some really good deals. About that time, I got a text alerting me to my husbands 10k time. I decided to go outside and wait for him. I made some silly signs and camped out on a corner near mile 12. It was fun to hear the band, watch the police officer dancing and cheering on the runners and of course, to cheer/encourage the runners. It was about an hour later when I saw hubs coming up the hill @ mile 12, I snapped his photo and headed back to the expo center to try to catch him crossing the finish line. I got there just in time!!

The post race was a fiasco, but that's another story!!  Bottom line, I'm glad we came and I'm glad it's over!!  I am glad I DIDN'T run it. I thought the logistics were a disaster at best. I don't think this is a race that we will run again!!  Now, we're off to find some Mexican food and big azz margaritas!!  Gotta run!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Snack attack

We've all heard that a healthy diet consists of small, frequent meals. Eating every 3-4 hours will help keep blood sugar levels steady which can help avoid energy slumps. Plus, psychologically you won't feel deprived so snacking can help prevent binge eating. But excessive snacking can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Here are some tips to help keep you on the right snack track:

1: Calories can add up. Even if you're snacking on "healthy" foods, it is a good idea to track your calories. I use My Fitness Pal app and it can be an eye opener. Pay close attention to portion sizes. For instance, almonds are healthy in moderation, but a serving size is 1 ounce or about 24 nuts.

2: Include protein and fat to help fill you up and keep you feeling full longer.

3:  Avoid foods high in sugar. Sugar is just "empty calories" and has very little nutritional value. Eating snacks that are high in sugar will satisfy your hungry temporarily but you will quickly become hungry again. And refined sugars are a catalyst for fat storage.

4: Avoid refined carbohydrates. Remember, anything that is processed, enriched, or refined has likely had all the nutritional benefits stripped from it.

5: Avoid processed foods. Read your labels carefully. If you can't pronounce all the ingredients, then you should avoid it. A good rule of thumb is: "if your snack can go bad, then it is good for you". It is better to snack on fresh, whole foods which are full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.

6: Don't be fooled by snack packs or snack bars just because they are labeled low calorie or low fat. This is just a clever marketing technique used to trick you into eating junk food by convincing you that it's good for you. Junk food is still junk food no matter what. 100 calories of fresh, whole foods will fill you up and keep you full longer than 100 calories worth of chips, cookies or crackers.

So, what should you snack on, you ask??  Some good examples are: sliced vegetables, hard boiled eggs, sliced apples, nut butters, fresh seasonal berries, nuts, low sodium beef jerky, etc. Plan snacks ahead of time for convenience and to prevent snacking "mishaps": keep prepared veggies, berries and hard boiled eggs on hand in the fridge for easy go-to snacks. Buy nuts in bulk and portion them out in snack sized baggies. If you have to grab a snack bar for convenience, brands that I would recommend are Kind bars, Larabars, or Clif organic bars. They are all made with all natural ingredients. Watch your labels closely! Just because a bar claims to contain no sugar, they are often high in sugar alcohols like malitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. These are carbohydrates which occur naturally in foods, but can cause stomach upset and cramping.

So, now you have my 2 cents worth on incorporating healthy snacks into your diet to help you reach your weight loss goals!!  Happy snacking!!

What is your all time, favorite healthy snack??

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Speed Work and Snow

My previous experiences with speed work have been less than desirable, so naturally, I'm not real eager to get myself to the track for speed workouts.

Speed work essentially trains your body to run faster and improves your VO2 max, your body's ability to take up and utilize oxygen. There are different types of speed work, but probably the most common is intervals. There are a plethora of speed workouts, but we won't get too technical about that here.

My first trip to the track was about 3 months after I started running and was in August of 2011, the hottest summer on record in the state of Oklahoma. It was all I could do to make it around the track even once! My next attempt at speedwork was a month later. The temperature was much better and I had a little more confidence, so I was pushing myself when I felt a sudden, sharp "pop" in my groin. OUCH!!  Groin strains are painful and take a long time to heal, for the record. Consequently, I've had a very bad attitude about speedwork. As a coach of a local running program, I have to participate in the speed workouts, but I haven't been giving it any effort which doesn't set a good example for the participants. I wasn't thrilled to see speed work on the training schedule for this week, but in an effort to be a better coach, I decided to embrace speed workouts.

My enthusiasm was short lived when I saw the weather forecast predicting SNOW!!  I kept watching the weather radar and my email hoping that a blizzard would occur and the track workout would be cancelled. I'm not opposed to running in the cold or in the rain but being cold and wet at the same time is not my idea of fun! At 5pm, I checked my email again. No cancellation! I grudgingly changed into my running clothes, prayed that I had on enough layers and headed to the track. Initially, we warmed up and ran the first couple sets of 800m run/200m walk in the freezing rain w/ a brisk north wind. The rain eventually changed over to snow as we completed our last 2 intervals. I was soaked to the bone and frozen but something happened to me out there on that track in the rain and snow. I felt like I was flying around that track! I was able to run the entire interval with minimal difficulty and no IT band pain. I WAS ACTUALLY ENJOYING MYSELF! I was reminded, yet again, of why I love running. I wasn't looking forward to that workout but was so glad I had done it when it was all said and done. From now on out, I'm pretty sure I will have a different opinion of speed work and will be a better runner/coach for it in the long run!!

What is your favorite speed workout??

Have you ever run in the snow??  Did you enjoy it??

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Fat Tuesday fit tips/motivation

Laissez les bon temps rouler!! Happy Fat Tuesday y'all!!

I thought this would be a good day to post a few of my favorite fit and healthy tips for you. But let me start by saying this: last week I posted a "fat pic" of me on Instagram and Facebook. I was surprised by the response to that pic. Many of you told me that I was an inspiration to you or motivational and for that, I say "Thank You"! What I want you all to know is that "a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".  Anything that you want to acheive is possible if you just believe!!  You can accomplish anything that you want if you put your mind to it and work hard.

For me, the key to my weight loss was diet and nutrition. I still struggle with it on a daily basis. I have a sweet tooth and don't mind indulging it. I would say cookies are my weakness but that's really not the case. Any and all sweets are my weakness!! And I can't seem to just eat one!!  Here are a few things I do to avoid a binge or if I have over indulged:

1: I track my calories pretty much daily. I use My Fitness Pal which is a free app for Android, iphone and online. It helps keep me accountable and helps me prevent binging.

2: While I do eat as healthy as possible 99% of the time, I also don't deprive myself and I don't eat perfectly every day. If you slip up and go over your calories, don't beat yourself up. Just get back at it tomorrow. Allow yourself a day where you increase your calorie limit to 1800 or 200 so you can enjoy a treat and don't feel so deprived.

3: Clean eating. I can't express this one enough!! You cannot feed your body crap if you expect to be successful. And there are so many misleading products out there. Simpy put, eat as many whole foods as you possibly can every day, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. Remember if it comes in a box or can with an expiration date, it really isn't good for you. The same goes for anything marketed as "fat free" or "sugar free" Remember if they took the fat or sugar out of it, they had to replace it with something and most of the time that means some artificial, chemical crap!! Shop the perimeter of your grocery store and try to avoid the center aisles where the boxed and canned goods are. And, if your great grandmother didn't eat it, you shouldn't eat it either!!

So, with all this being said, you can do it, if you want to!! Start small!!  Don't change everything at once and don't expect perfection  or instant results. We're human!!  Allow yourself to makes mistakes and don't beat yourself up for it. You'll find that if you make small changes, those changes will likely become habit. You'll be much more successful and enjoy yourself so much more. It will be more natural and less of a struggle. Reward yourself for your accomplishments too! This will help keep you motivated.  Set goals and treat yourself to a massage, mani/pedi, or new workout clothes when you reach those milestones.
What are your favorite healthy, whole foods to eat?? 

How do you handle it if you have a diet slip up??

How do you keep yourself motivated??