Saturday, July 31, 2010

Kind of amazing

I came across this on someone's blog a little while ago, and since then have sent it to a few of my pregnant friends, who have all loved it! I thought I would post it up here because really, it is amazing. I can't move like this now ... and I'm not pregnant. I definitely thought that maybe she wasn't really pregnant in this video, but apparently it was featured in Sports Illustrated, who confirmed she really was 38 weeks at the time of filming. Enjoy!

Watermelon Gazpacho

Despite the fact that Lucy thinks that soup should only be hot, I completely disagree and have been known to enjoy many cold soups. A couple of months ago, I came across this amazing recipe for watermelon gazpacho. I was intrigued, and I must admit that it sounded amazing. There was a big watermelon in my CSA share last week, and another one this week, so I decided I finally had enough watermelon to make it! I altered the original recipe a bit (of course ... don't I always?) since I didn't have all the ingredients and also, I don't really like cilantro.

3 cups of seeded watermelon blended
2 cups of watermelon diced
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 cups of seeded and peeled cucumber, diced (I didn't seed the cucumbers and somehow, I survived)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp minced ginger (totally forgot to put this in!)
1/2 a seeded and minced jalapeno, if you like spicy (I left this out, although I know it would have been tasty!)
handful of fresh cilantro leaves (I didn't use them)
juice from one lime (I also didn't use this ... forgot to get a lime!)
lime peel from one lime (ditto)
salt and pepper

Just mix everything together and chill in the fridge. Serves 4-5 ... or 1, over a course of many days. :)

So ... my watermelon gazpacho was pretty basic, since I didn't put in any of the fun stuff - I left out cilantro and jalapeno and forgot the ginger and lime stuff. Oh well. I did add some very finely diced onion, and I really felt like that intensified the flavor.

The verdict? AMAZING. I had a bowl of it right when I made it, then threw the rest in the fridge. Aaaand I just had another bowl. It is such a great, crisp, cool, refreshing summer treat! And OH so healthy. Plus it looks pretty! See?
I am really sorry I keep forgetting to take photos of my CSA shares. I suck. This week, I got ... a watermelon, peaches, tomatoes, potatoes, a cucumber, and some goat cheese. And this morning, Kyle and I went to the farmer's market and I picked up some onions, leeks, and more cucumbers. And - an entire chicken! It has been roasting in the slow cooker all day with some onion, potatoes, and fresh sage from my little herb garden. It smells AMAZING and it may not be done until around 10pm, but I will be eating delicious roasted chicken for the rest of the week!

Tomorrow, I am off to Holiday World with some of my SILs and their kids. I am so excited! I haven't been to an amusement park of any kind in YEARS, and this one has a huge water park. Yay for a day being a kid! I hope y'all have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Hot spot

Aaaaand no, I don't mean a wireless hot spot. I wish! I'm talking about Oscar's hot spot. Seriously ... why is he having all of his veterinary emergencies while Matt is gone? Sad face. While Oscar was out frolicking about in Canada, having a blast being an outside dog, he must have gotten a bug bite or something. He started licking this spot on his tail overnight on Sunday ... and I guess it continued on quite a bit. I guess I wasn't realizing that he kept licking the same spot. Tuesday night when I got back to Bloomington, I took him out and realized that there was a huge chunk of his tail fur gone!!!!

Aaaagh. I totally freaked out. He had licked down to the skin on a good 2-3 inch section of his tail. I was horrified!!! It looked soooo sad. And every time I tried to look at it, he got growly. Clearly, the tail was hurting. Yesterday, I took him to the pet store and they gave me a spray - it has hydrocortisone and lidocaine and stuff. I sprayed it on his tail at the store, and I think it hurt him! I felt so bad. We got in the car to drive home from the store, and he crawled into my lap in the car. He is NOT a lap dog! He just curled up and rested his head on my arm and it was sooo sad. :(

So I made a vet appointment and took him there this morning - the vet made a scary face when she saw his tail and said it was a good thing I brought him in. He got a shot in his tail (sad face again!!!), and a prescription for benadryl, cephalexen (sp?), and an antibiotic ointment. Oy.

Apparently he will be loopy while he's on the benadryl (for the next 10 days!), so that should be interesting. In the meantime ... say a happy little thought that his tail fur grows back in okay!!! Because I really like it. It's cute and fluffy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Great White North

I have returned to my native homeland from the great white north ... and I must say, I thought twice about, um, ever coming home. Not only did I fall in love with the beautiful orchards and vineyards, but I just had the best time with Jenny and Lucy. Lucy wrote a great post today about how it seems like we have always been friends - and not just "internet friends." She was right.

This is a really photo-heavy post - it was just too hard to narrow it down and keep it short. Deal with it! I arrived Friday afternoon, and Jenny arrived after dinner. Lucy and her husband gave us a nice tour of the area, and we went to an amazing ice cream place called Toute Sweet. The ice cream was amazing!!! It was like a Coldstone-type-place only the ice cream and mixins are all made in-house. Delish. We attempted to take a photo. It ummmm took awhile.

Ah, finally - a cute one! Ta da!
Lucy's hubs shows us a place called Balls Falls. Literally.
That night, Jenny and Lucy shacked up together, and Oscar jumped up because, well, he's been sleeping on the bed and that's just what he's used to. However, he's not used to there being more than one person in the bed!
So he had kind of a hard time finding a comfy place.
This only lasted a minute. Then he came out to sleep on the floor next to the couch, where I was sleeping (Lucy's hubs was sleeping on their crib mattress on the floor of the baby's room. What a man!).
Oscar even made a new, Canadian girlfriend! This is Nika. For the most part, they got along great. They had a couple of fights but quickly made up. :)
On Saturday, Lucy took us to a fast food place to get a good Canadian treat - poutine. This was something I had never heard of before, but turned out to be delish! Fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. Yes, you heard that right. No complaints here!

We walked around Niagara-on-the-Lake for awhile but it rained off and on, which was kind of a bummer. But that's okay! Let's move on to the next meal ... we went to this amazing Brazilian barbeque place right by Niagara Falls called Copacabana. Delish! It's one of those places where they keep bringing you meat. Hmm. That's what she said.

Here I am at the bar with Jenny, looking shiny. Note to concerned readers: Lindsay's hubs and I were the only ones who enjoyed a beer.
Jenny and Lucy. Look at that baby belly on L!
It was SERIOUSLY delicious. SERIOUSLY.
Here we are, post-meal. I think we looked better pre-dinner - afterwards we were all pretty stuffed. But had a great time eating and talking and enjoying the bachelor party going on behind us!
I cannot believe I'm sharing this photo with you - I almost wanted to post it on my blog as a joke, but then Lucy posted it on HER blog and now you know it's a fake. I did, indeed, ask the ladies working at the maternity store if I had to be pregnant to try on the fake belly. They said no ... so I did it to send to Matt as a little joke. The ladies at the maternity store thought I was crazy. But we had a pretty amazing laugh at it!
Here is Jenny with the belly - she will actually look like this in a few months!!!! Yay!
After the maternity store, we wandered over to Walmart so we could find a super cheap fake wedding band for L. And we parked in the expectant mothers spot! I had to take a photo of two of my favorite expectant mothers.
Look, it's L's hubs! On a roof! Gratuitous shirtless man photo.
Meanwhile, back at the farm ... Oscar had the most amazing weekend being an outside dog. Plus, ummm they have chickens!!!! Chickens! Oscar spent a lot of time RIGHT here. Watching them, and possibly plotting a way to get into the coop.
The humans enjoyed wandering around the beautiful garden and orchards.
Oooh, a fresh tomato! Um, I ate that one. It was delicious.
Late afternoon on Sunday, we wandered through the orchard to a pond for the pups to swim.
Seriously - can you believe this is L's back yard? I am tres jealous.

Canada = Oscar heaven
Canada also = friend heaven.
Already planning my next trip - but not until Baby Cramp is here!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Weekend adventure!

Greetings from Michigan, friends! I drove up to my parents' house yesterday (in a mess of storms and random tornado fronts and hiding out at gas stations) because TODAY I am heading up to the Great White North (i.e., the exotic foreign country of CANADA) to see Lucy!!!! We had a blast back in February when we first met and I absolutely cannot wait to check out her digs, have our dogs become BFFs (yes, Oscar is roadtripping with me! I brought his passport and everything!), and eat some tasty food. Yay!

And ... well what have we here? Jenny decided at the last minute to join us for the weekend, too! So excited to see her again, yay!!!! I guess we have a regular bloggy get-together scheduled.
Anyway - I am about to get on the road. I hope you all have a fabulous weekend, and I'll be back on Tuesday with photos and fun!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deployment in Review: Month SIX.

I'm a few days late with this, but hopefully you don't mind. Cannot believe it's already been six months (and 26 weeks!) ... but also, I definitely can. At this point, it seems like Matt's been gone for forever. I don't like it! The good news? We should only have approximately four months to go. Thank goodness. I'm to the point where I think about him coming home nonstop ... which is probably not helping anything! On the one hand, it seems like four months is nothing and he should basically be home tomorrow. But on the other hand ... it's still four months. It's NOT tomorrow. Blah.

Not that much has happened this past month - since I'm on my summer schedule, things have been pretty relaxed. Work is pretty fun over the summer, but over the last couple of weeks, all I've done is make what is adding up to hundreds of phone calls to the parents of incoming freshman, trying to set up meetings over the summer. I have probably left about 60 some voicemails at this point. And guess how many people have called me back so far? ZERO. I am getting extremely frustrated ... but I guess people just don't want to think about school in the summer. Ugh!

Anyway. Over the past month, I have ...

-Spent the weekend at my parents' house and saw my Granddad and his lady friend Doris, who were in town for a visit. While at home, my mom helped me plant a pretty potted plant that is now on my patio. One month later ... it's still alive! Which is very impressive. I don't think I ever posted a photo of my pretty plant ... I'll do that soon.

-Saw my good friend Adrienne from grad school, who came into town with her mom to visit some of her cousins who live in Bloomington. It was great to see her and talk about the old times! Not only did we go to grad school together, but we also both moved to DC after school and worked together at the hospital. Lots of memories!

-Lisa came to visit! We had a great weekend of, well, watching a lot of Real Housewives (both the 3-part NY reunion and NJ!) and some bad movies and enjoying the Taste of Bloomington. Fun times were had by all!

-I discovered that I love eggplant ... and have made it about 800 times since that day. Seriously people - EGGPLANT IS DELICIOUS!!!

-I have NOT been good at posting my CSA share contents each week, but know that I am still getting amazing stuff and loving it! I will try to bring that back ... well, as soon as I can remember. This week, I received eggplant, zucchini (okay, enough with the zucchini already!), a cucumber, some tomatoes, green peppers, potatoes, and a jar of locally made pasta sauce. Delish!

-I also discovered that I LOVE BEETS! I have been getting them at the farmer's market and roasting them to throw in salads. Seriously delicious. I cannot believe I have always assumed they were icky!

-I got out my bike after years of having it in storage, only to discover that biking is hard! But it gets easier every time. And I was happy to hear from so many of you who agree with me ... I thought I was alone! :)

-My half marathon training has gone up a notch, and I am running longer distances than I EVER have before. From here on out, I won't run less than 4 miles, I believe. Even though I rarely feel like an accomplished runner, and it always feels incredibly difficult to me ... I keep thinking back on 1-2 years ago, when I really couldn't run. At all. Now, knowing that I can run FIVE MILES - even if I struggle to do so - well, that's a huge accomplishment!

-My amazing husband gifted me with a Garmin 110 - which is now helping my training each and every day!

-My mom and my grandma came to visit last weekend, and we had a great time just relaxing.

-My class started, and it has taken over my life like crazy!!! I spent the majority of this entire weekend doing reading and assignments for school. This is a big class with a ton of material to fit into a 6 week summer session - whew!

Well, I guess that's it for the month - hey, it looks like I was pretty busy after all! I never really think so until I write it all down in a blog post. :)

Coming up in the next month:

-I'm headed to Canada this weekend to hang out with Lucy!!! I haven't been to Canada in a long time. L, I'll be sure to pack my winter parka and snow boots. I am bringing Oscar along to pull my sled. Hehe.

-I'm going to go to Holiday World with some of my SILs, nieces and nephews, which should be fun! I haven't been to any sort of amusement/water park in a million years. Can't wait!

-I also can't wait to head up to northern Michigan, where I am going to spend a week with my parents at a lake house they rented on Bear Lake. It is pet-friendly, so Oscar is coming with me to frolic in the water. I am really looking forward to the relaxation, and I can't wait to spent some time "up north." It's been awhile!

And then, before I know it - the school year will start back up again and I'll be busy seeing all of my kids. The relaxed summer schedule is great, but to be honest - I much prefer the school year. I love seeing my kids and doing my job, and it's really hard to check in with my kids over the summer.

Anyway! This ended up being a much longer post than I was intending. Are you bored yet? Are you even still reading? If not, I don't blame you. Happy Monday, everyone - time for a workout!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In praise of early mornings

I don't really consider myself a morning person, although many people (including my husband and Lisa, probably) would disagree with that statement. I'm probably more of a morning person than others, though - I often wake up early on my own. I just hate being woken up by an alarm! Without the alarm, I will likely wake up by myself at around 6:30 or 7 with the sun. However, now that I've been getting up early to run, 6:30 or 7 just doesn't cut it. It takes me a little while to wake up, stretch, splash water on my face, etc to get ready to run, and all of that usually takes me around 30 minutes. And then sometimes (like yesterday), I will walk outside for my run (after 7am) and realize that it's already too hot/humid/miserable. Annoying!

So like I blogged last night, I got in bed early (8pm!!) to read and turned off the light at 9:00. Was YOUR Saturday night that exciting?! Ha. I set the alarm for 5:45am. It was definitely hard to get up when the alarm went off, but I splashed my face with water (trust me: this is a definite MUST if you are waking up early for a workout!), checked the weather, got dressed, stretched, and was on my way.

On the agenda for today: 5 miles. I was a little nervous (okay, a lot nervous) because I ran 5 miles for the first time on Wednesday and it was SO SO hard. I had taken d.a.r.'s advice to split it up into two different runs. I ran about 2 miles, stopped to stretch and rest for awhile, then ran 3 more miles. This didn't work out as nicely as I was hoping, as it was incredibly hard for me to start back up again after the break. I ended up walking from around mile 3.5-4.5 and I just felt like I was dragging. In the end, I finished in 1:04:11, but I kinda felt like I cheated by walking so much. Of course, I didn't just walk that mile in the middle - I stopped to walk several other times.

Because my training schedule got so whack this week, I skipped my short runs (2 x 3.5) and then headed out this morning for another 5 mile run. In theory, this should have been a terrible run: I didn't drink enough water yesterday and spent half the day frolicking in the sun. However, today's run felt (almost) great! I took things slow (I always feel the need to say that ... even though you and I both know that I never take things "fast") and explored a new neighborhood.

OH WAIT. I haven't yet blogged about my new, amazing, incredible, superduperfantastic toy!
*image found here*
That's right, folks. I have been the proud owner of a Garmin Forerunner 110 for about a week now. My absolutely wonderful, loving, supportive husband surprised me with this to help with my 1/2 training. I love you, M!

I am completely and utterly obsessed with the Garmin. It does so many fun tricks. But perhaps the thing I love most is that I can just take off and run - I don't have to spend time planning out my routes ahead of time. Seriously, the Garmin is probably the most amazing training tool you could have - I am beyond thrilled to call this baby my own. :) I LOVE to upload my run info and analyze it online. I also wear it to walk and bike - I just love knowing how far I have gone, and how long it has taken me!

Soooooo anyway. I had a tentative route planned out in my head this morning, but at the spur of the moment went straight instead of turning and went a completely new way for awhile. It was great! I ran 2.5 miles before stopping for a quick walk break, then continued on for another mile, took a quick walk break, and then finished the 5 miles in 59:23 - about 5 minutes faster than the other day.

And the best news: my last mile was the fastest! Here is my info. Please don't laugh at how slow I am.

Mile 1: 11:54
Mile 2: 12:10
Mile 3: 12:05
Mile 4: 12:38
Mile 5: 10:34

Woot! I kinda kicked ass on that last mile, right? My goal is to be able to run every mile in around 10 minutes. I used to be able to do that on my shorter runs (you know, a few weeks ago) but for some reason 10 minute miles seem like I am reeeeeally pushing it these days. I guess that speed is something that comes with training.

For the Chicago 1/2, you have to maintain a 13 minute mile, or they send a little bus to come around and pick you up. So, my goal? RUN FASTER THAN A 13 MINUTE MILE. I refuse to be the person that they have to collect on the bus! :)

Overall, I'm very happy with today's run. It was also cloudy and overcast the entire time, which helped immensely. With a slight breeze, it was almost enjoyable out. Afterwards, I chatted a little with Matt on gchat, walked the dog, went to the pool to swim a little (read: float around) and read. When I got back home, it was only 10:15am. I can't lie ... setting the alarm for 5:45 any morning sucks - and it especially sucks on a day you don't have to get up early. But you know what? I feel great. It was totally worth it!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Nice little Saturday

Well even though it's only 7:15pm, I am already in my jammies, curled up in front of the tv, winding down to go to bed early. :) I got up early this morning to go for a run, but it took me awhile to get out of bed. I didn't get outside until 7, and by then it was already too late. The humidity was out of control! So instead of running, I took Oscar for a nice long walk and then settled down to do school stuff ALL MORNING.

I read, worked on a group project, read some more, read a little more, and then took a quiz. Wah wah wah.

Then, I put on my bathing suit, loaded Oscar in the car, and drove down to my SIL Meleah's! They just got this big inflatable water slide type thing that looks almost exactly like this:

*image found here*
I then proceeded to spend around an hour playing on the slide with my 5 y/o nephew, Cooper. I can't lie ... it was probably the most fun I've had in awhile. Meleah took some photos but I don't have them yet, so ... stay tuned.

After awhile, my SIL Micah came over with my nephew Jarrett and nieces Jaylanne and Jessie. I let the kids play in the slide while I socialized with my SILs, and Oscar spent a good couple of hours herding their horses. Oooooh Oscar. Between the horses, the pig pond, and several trips through the woods, he got absolutely FILTHY disgusting. And smelled like manure. I gave him a quick bath outside and then we hopped in the car to come back home! Oscar is fast asleep on the floor, and to be honest ... I will probably be heading to bed on the early side myself.

PLUS ... I have to get up early tomorrow for a 5 mile run! For real, this time. My training schedule got a little wonky this week and I basically skipped my short runs. But oh well - that's okay. Tomorrow morning: 5 mile run, then a walk with Oscar, and then MORE READING FOR SCHOOL!

For all of you out there that went back to school after taking several years off - I take my hat off to you. This is only ONE class and I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. Whew!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekend visitors!

As always, I am behind with my blogging ... but last weekend, I had some visitors! My mom and my grandma drove down from Michigan to spend the weekend with me. We did some exciting stuff, like watch movies and drive around downtown and, you know, rest. This is the only photo I got from the weekend:
So that should give you a good idea of how exciting I am! Hehe. Oscar had kind of a stressful weekend, though - Grandma is on oxygen, and he did not like the big oxygen machine. He spent a lot of time growling and stalking around looking concerned about things. He is such a baby. I made some tasty chicken salad on Saturday though, and smelling the rotisserie chicken really perked him up. Here he is sleeping in the kitchen in hopes of getting a little taste.
Before, during, and after my weekend visitors, I have been hard at work reading this book for the class I'm taking - the DSM-IV. Wah wah. I now know a lot about schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, and mood disorders.
Let's see ... going through more photos ... I have fallen in love with a new type of roasted beet salad that I guess I created. I roasted the beets like I did before and threw them in a bowl with some onions and that other stuff like before (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, a dash of sugar, salt and pepper). Then I also threw in some mozzarella at the end so that more stuff could be pink. I like pink.
Then I sauteed shiitake mushrooms and more (yes, more) onions in a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of butter. Then I did the usual thing ... caramelize them by splashing in a little bit of balsamic vinegar.
Then I threw everything together on lettuce - the perfect combination of savory and sweet.
Let's see, what else have I been up to ... oh yeah! I colored my hair. Which usually isn't newsworthy, but when I went to the store to pick up my usual color (I've been coloring my own hair for the last year and a half-ish in an effort to save money) but they were out. So, I got something new - a little redder than I've gone in the past. I took this relatively unattractive, makeup-less photo to send to Matt. LOOK HOW LONG MY HAIR IS GETTING!!!
Oscar was very concerned while I took this photo out on the patio ... he doesn't like when I go outside without him. Can you see his little face in the window?
Anyway. I guess that's about all that's been going on! This weekend, I am hard at work for more school stuff, and I think I'm going down to my SIL's to play with the kids on their new water slide! Happy weekend!

Friends don't let friends use olive oil from Walmart

I received a surprise package yesterday from my sweet friend Lisa - a good bottle of extra virgin olive oil. A few years ago, she went on a study abroad program in Tuscany, where she learned that cheap olive oil in clear bottles gives you cancer. I can only imagine her dismay when she came to visit a few weeks ago and noticed my Walmart "Great Value" brand evoo in a cheap, clear, plastic bottle. Terrible! I love good olive oil with a passion, but lately I must admit that I've just been going for the cheap stuff.

I cannot WAIT to open this baby up and drizzle a little over some tomato and mozzarella salad!

For the life of me ... I cannot get this picture to rotate. So, please ignore my technical difficulties. :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Biking = hard!

Wow, I actually feel like I have a lot of things to blog about! Neat, right? These things involve visitors, working out, and food. Naturally. So, the usual stuff. I wanted to blog about food tonight, but I am having some iphoto issues so instead I'll tell you about how bike riding is hard.

Cross training is, apparently, an important part of training for a big race. An important part that I ignored for awhile before I finally coerced Kyle's husband to come over and wrestle my bike out of our outdoor storage closet. When I set out for my first bike ride last week, I envisioned a happy little evening stroll with the breeze flying through my helmeted head. Imagine my surprise when I could barely bike up the tiniest of inclines!

Before last Tuesday (or was it Wednesday?), the last time I had been on a bike was probably about 2 years ago. My parents had brought my bike out to Virginia, and Matt bought a cheap bike from Walmart. We headed out for a bike ride along the GW Parkway bike trail for all of 20 minutes, and it was glorious. I think. That trail is mostly flat, so I'm not really sure. Before then, it was probably ... high school? I think?

So anyway. When I started my little bike stroll last week, I passed a girl out walking. I went down a long hill and then turned to bike up around the junior high we live near. Wow. I could barely get through the PARKING LOT. Muscles in my legs that I apparently do not use for running were screaming at me. Wow - I was shocked! I made it up the, um, hill (okay, it was a slight incline) and went around the track a couple of times. Then I went out through the neighborhood, down a big hill, and (you know what's coming, don't you?) then I had a very large hill (okay, it was a moderate incline) to bike up. The same girl was walking up the hill. I passed her, and then - yeah. I couldn't make it up the hill. I had to stop about halfway for a rest, at which point the walking girl totally passed me. Embarrassing!!! I totally pretended that I was playing with my watch or something so she wouldn't know I couldn't make it up the hill (sidenote: I walk up that hill pretty much every day). And then I just turned around, went back down the hill, and biked home. Total minutes spent riding the bike: 15.

It was really hard, and I was so surprised. I really didn't think it would be that hard, especially since my legs are so much stronger now. But, like I said before, biking seems to use TOTALLY different muscles. I decided once and for all that I was going to conquer the damn bike. I took it out Sunday morning for an early bike ride - I made it 35 minutes and biked a little over 4 miles. Yes, that is pretty darn slow still. Yes, someone passed me ... while running. But that's not the point. The point is that I did it! And I am going to bike twice a week, every week. My bike needs some work - it's making a clanging noise that probably woke some people up on Sunday morning. Oh, and the seat is in the wrong place. And it needs to be lubed up or something.

That's what she said. Sorry, I had to put that in there for Lucy.

Monday, July 12, 2010


I meant to blog tonight, but ... I'm too busy watching RHONJ. There are so many amazing things happening on this show ... I cannot even put my glee into words.

So I won't try. Anyone else out there in the bloglands loving this show tonight???

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More running stuff

Thanks to those of you who gave me some suggestions/advice for running the other day. I took all of your advice, smooshed it together, and used it to have a great 3.5 mile run yesterday. I planned my route out online the night before, studied it and felt comfortable with it. I set out my clothes, wiped my ipod shuffle clean and put it on autofill for some fresh tunes, and went to bed feeling confident. I set my alarm for 5:45am (so that I could reset it for 6:15, haha!) and bounced out of bed (okay, maybe not) ready to go.

I decided to really take it easy, run a bit slower than usual and work on endurance instead of speed. My goal was to run 3.5 miles in 40 minutes with minimal walk breaks. I ended up stopping to walk three times, all on serious uphills, and each time only for about 1-2 minutes. In the end, I felt great, and finished in 39:40 - right at my goal. I was really pleased!

I am heading out tomorrow morning to run another 3.5 and I hope to feel just as good. Maybe tomorrow ... I'll blog about my attempt at a bike ride the other day! It was pretty hilarious. Happy almost-weekend! Anyone have anything fun planned? My mom and my grandma are coming into town tomorrow for the weekend and I am really looking forward to it. We don't have much planned, but I think it will be a fun time!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

4, 3, 2, 3, 4 ...

These numbers represent the mileage of my last five runs. Last Sunday, I ran 4 miles for the first time ever (although "running" is kind of an exaggeration - it was so, so hot and sunny that I probably walked 1/3 of it). Then on Tuesday, I ran 3. Wednesday, 2. On Thursday, I was supposed to run 3 again but I was out late the night before (and I've been setting my alarm for 6am on running days to try to beat the heat). So I put it off until Friday morning ... but on Thursday night, I was out late enjoying a few (several) cocktails with my friend Patty. So I put it off until Friday night. But Friday night, I was sucked into one of USA's marathons (I think it was Royal Pains. Or maybe NCIS? Can't remember...) so I put it off until Saturday morning. FINALLY, I woke up early on Saturday morning and ended up running 3 miles in JUST over 30 minutes (30:58, I believe) which was a HUGE PR for me (can you have PRs during training??). In comparison, on May 1st I ran a 5k in 37 minutes. Yesterday, I got up early and ran 4 again - and this time, I mostly ran. I did have to take several walk breaks, and ended up finishing in around 46 minutes.

My running is clearly improving, but I am in a major rut - which is why I am typing this all out to you. I need help! Since I started my *official* 1/2 marathon training a couple of weeks ago, I haven't been able to run without stopping for walk breaks. And most of the time when I stop to catch my breath or rest my legs, I realize that I didn't really need to do either. It's all in my head. I get this feeling that I NEED to walk for a couple of minutes to "rest up" for the rest of my run, and I have the hardest time NOT stopping once I get that idea in my head. I talked with my friend Kyle about it last night, and her suggestion was to mix things up - change out the songs on my ipod, just do stuff differently. I am going to try this for my run tomorrow, but I know I will still struggle with my BRAIN telling me that I CAN'T. As I told her last night, part of it is that I'm not a natural athlete ... and the other part is that I keep telling myself I'm not a natural athlete.

I need your help/advice/thoughts, please! And any motivators you use to get to the proverbial finish line, even if it is just a training run. There are no more short runs - I start at 3.5 tomorrow and on Sunday, FIVE. FIVE MILES. Anything you can offer me would be much appreciated!!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

24 weeks later ... goal review

So, as of yesterday, it has been 24 weeks since Matt left. Wow. Okay. That's a really long time! Anyway. I thought now was as good a time as any to review me deployment goals ... and see if I have actually accomplished anything in the last 24 weeks.

1. Organize the scary closet in the guest room (Matt joked that this will likely take 99% of the time he's gone).
Okay. Not surprisingly, I haven't actually started the Closet of Doom and Despair yet. I plan to start it, um, soon. Really soon. Really. I promise.

2. Join the community orchestra
Well. I haven't done this either, and I am still getting into practicing regularly. This has been tough for me, but I really do want to go through with this.

3. Take a yoga class
Well okay. 3 for 3. I haven't done this either! Okay, this is starting to get depressing. I have, however, done a yoga video a few times .... does that count???

4. Learn how to cook lots of good stuff (and remember how to cook for one again)
Okay. I have done this! I have been cooking and trying new things (see Friday's post) and I have kind of been cooking stuff for one. It's usually pretty simple stuff, and lots of salads, but I am getting by!

5. Hang some photos in the apartment
Okay, I seriously do not remember putting this on the list. I haven't done this ... and I don't really think I need to. So there. :)

6. Visit lots of friends - especially those in Chicago.
I went to Chicago once in February but haven't had the chance to go back. I have also been to Charlotte, NC to see Anna, Mae, Cassie and Charlie, and I've been to Clarksville TN to visit Jenn. This summer, I will fit in some more visits, and then in September I will head back to Chicago for the big half marathon and hang out with Jenn (formerly of Jeans Friday), d.a.r. and MTM! Soooo excited.

Okay. I'm a little surprised that this is all I wrote down ... perhaps I had another post with goals somewhere? Not sure. I thought for sure that losing some weight would be on there. I have lost somewhere around 10-15 pounds since Matt left. I have been running, doing yoga, walking, and doing strength training regularly. I feel good and I keep feeling better, thanks to the running. I have noticed my legs really looking more muscular, and I feel stronger. Good things!

As for the other goals ... well, I'll tackle that closet eventually. Really. I will. Promise. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Farmer's Market Finds!

Can you handle how much I have posted over the past 2 days? No? Me either. Ha!

Today was a beautiful day (okay, it still is!) and I headed to the farmer's market this morning. Serious growing season has definitely begun! Look what I found:

Lettuce, shiitake mushrooms, beautiful tomatoes ...
... Amish-grown peaches, cippolini onions, and beets.
For all of this (plus a bottle of water and bbq pulled pork sandwich for me!), I paid only $22! And everything looks so beautiful.

In my previous life of a person who was not very experimental with veggies, I didn't like beets. But the other day, I had some beets on a salad from a salad bar and I thought they were mighty tasty. So, I picked up some beets at the market and then looked up this tasty sounding recipe for Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts and Goat Cheese.

1/2 cup walnuts
2 teaspoons olive oil
dash salt
dash pepper

6 medium beets, trimmed and washed (I only used 2 - because there is only one of me!)
1/3 cup thinly sliced red onions (I used one sliced cippolini onion)

6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (I only used about 2)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (I just threw in a dash of apple cider vinegar)
3/4 teaspoon salt (I just threw in a little bit)
1/4 teaspoon sugar (I just put in a little honey)
dash of black pepper

1/2 lb fresh spinach leaves (I just used my farmer's market lettuce)
3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Okay. Clearly I changed pretty much every part of this recipe. But that's not the point.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees - toss the walnuts with the olive oil, salt and pepper and throw them on a cookie sheet. Toast in the oven for around 7-10 minutes. Remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.

Wrap each beet individually in aluminum foil and place on a cookie sheet. Roast in the oven (still at 350 degrees) for about an hour and a half. Take them out and let cool for about 20 minutes. Then, run under cold water and peel the skins off. Chop into pieces, throw them in a mixing bowl with the onion.

Then, mix the dressing up and throw it in the bowl with the beet/onion mixture. Let sit out at room temperature for at least one hour. Then - serve over lettuce with goat cheese and throw the walnuts on top. Delish! I also drizzled some of the, um, beet juice/dressing on top. Look how pretty it is - hot pink!

Anyway, this was so freaking delicious that I gobbled it up. And then gobbled up a second serving. Quick, go make this!!!

Review coming ...

I was recently asked to review something for CSN Stores - I'm so excited!!! It was great working with them for the giveaway I hosted about a month ago, so I'm really looking forward to picking something out. As I'm sure you probably know by now, CSN has a gazillion internet stores and you can pretty much find whatever you want, from stuff for your dining room, kitchen, bedroom, anything for every part of your house!

I'm still trying to decide what I'm going to get ... any suggestions?

Friday, July 2, 2010

CSA Week ... I have no idea

Okay, so I stopped telling you about what I've been getting in my CSA. My bad. I just kept forgetting to take photos before I used the goodies. That being said ... I have totally lost count of what week this is ... perhaps I can figure it out before next week. Oh, and I still didn't take a photo. But this week I received:

-2 zucchini
-1 eggplant
-whipped cinnamon honey

So ... I have never liked eggplant. Or zucchini. But one of my goals for this CSA was to try new things, despite my previous perceptions of them. Zucchini has been a tough one - I never really know what to do with it. And I currently have FIVE zucchini at home (3 were leftover from last week's CSA share!) that I'm struggling to figure out what to do with. I have already made zucchini chocolate chip bread, and Lucy gave me some other ideas, too. Do you have any good zucchini recipes? If so ... can you please share them with me? I have freaking FIVE zucchinis, friends. FIVE. Help me.

That being said ... I knew I had to try the eggplant. It was so pretty, and well ... I wasn't just going to ignore it. So, I made something up. I thinly sliced the eggplant and sauteed it in a little bit of olive oil. Meanwhile, I cooked some gluten-free pasta and made basil pesto. My pesto was delicious! Made with farm-fresh basil and 3 cloves of farm-fresh garlic, some olive oil, and a sprinkling of grated parmesan. I threw it all in the food processor and let it run until the garlic was minced. Then I threw everything together! It looked like this:

Okay, so maybe it isn't the prettiest meal. But guess what? It was freaking AMAZING. I am officially taking eggplant off my list of things I don't like. The eggplant was perfectly cooked and had a great flavor, the pesto was so fresh and green and had a kick thanks to the fresh garlic. YUM! The bottom line is that anything with fresh pesto just screams summer.

What are your favorite eggplant recipes? And zucchini! Don't forget zucchini!