Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Right on track

This title would have been way funnier had I posted yesterday. Several weeks ago I had set the Monday after the big Chicago shower and bachelorette party as the date I would start my 12-week half-marathon training program. It's a bit longer than twelve weeks until the race, but I figured I'd be repeating some of the weeks. I have three programs I'm looking at: the Galloway method, Hal Higdon, and some random program I found when I googled "half marathon walking training program". And you know what every single one of them said for Monday? Rest day. And so I did. See - right on track on the very first day!

Today was a 3-mile walk, which is done. Since I got up at 6:00 to beat the heat and humidity, it wasn't a problem. Now on race day I only have to do that 3-plus more times, and the 13.1 miles would be completed! I'm thinking this might be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. But I should be in pretty good shape and trained by the time the race rolls around. And by "race", for me it means "completion without dying".

I had every good intention of keeping meticulous track on My Fitness Pal of everything from last Wednesday through Sunday, and it worked - until Wednesday afternoon. Well, actually Thursday morning, and then I lost track. There was only one meal that was stupid - Culvers, where I had a burger, fries, and since we WERE in Wisconsin at the time - cheese curds.

Good picture for a healthy-living blog, huh?!
While I certainly didn't starve, and certainly had more than my share of cocktails, we did walk everywhere. We stayed at the Westin on Michigan Avenue and put on many miles every day. On Saturday morning, the girls and I woke up, put on workout clothes, and walked / ran (mostly walked for me and Erin, ran for Emmy, Kate, Aly, and Cari) for four miles along the lake. It was a beautiful day, and a great way to spend an hour with my girls.

Toto, we're not in Nebraska any more
While walking back to the hotel, we saw this HUGE flock of pigeons in a park by the Deborah Butterfield sculpture
This is just how a fire station should look
On the way home, Erin and Emily introduced me to a new taste treat - pizza at Casey's. Seriously. I have never given gas station pizza a second glance, but they insisted it was delicious. And since we had passed the Iowa City exit with all the restaurants, and we were hungry, we stopped and they were right! We were pretty tired driving home on Sunday, but you know what livened up the trip? Interpretive dancing:

I was SO TIRED when I got home. The two hours from Des Moines to Omaha took f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and since I had dropped off the girls, there was no dancing involved. Dwight and I wanted a fast early dinner and opted for Cheddar's - not exactly fine dining, but it did the trick. This entire meal (salad and four sides) was less than $7. Couldn't beat it.

Double broccoli, carrots, and red beans and rice
So yesterday - back on the wagon (including my scheduled rest day!)

Today's breakfast (Guess I was hungry - notice the bite out of the English muffin?!)
Lunch today: romaine, carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, and goat cheese from the farmer's market topped with cilantro dressing
And that brings me up to date. Here are a few random pictures that make me smile:

Alex and Aly moved into their brand new house last week. This is Ella, wondering where all her stuff was going
Favor from the bridal shower - it was pretty AND delicious!
Me and my beautiful girls!
Birthday present from my friend Amy - I have it in the living room and it totally cracks me up!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Almost myself

I know. It's been awhile. I was put on some new medication the other week that totally messed with me. This particular cure was worse than the disease; the side effects were excessive thirst (which I could handle by drinking water), excessive sweating (oh well, I'm a big sweater anyway and it IS summer), extreme fatigue (which I could handle by taking a nap but I was sleeping all.day.long), and pressure in my chest (which I could not handle.) So of course I googled the symptoms, and decided that I was having female symptoms of a heart attack. Or bad side effects of the drug, neither of which did much for the anxiety quotient. To show you just how bad I was feeling, another side effect was that it totally KILLED my appetite, and I STILL wanted to stop despite the weight loss. I spoke with the doc, and he was surprised I was having effects at such a low dosage, but I got to stop and am slowly feeling better. We may be adding something different in, so if I am MIA again, that could be the reason.

I thought I'd go to My Fitness Pal and see what I had for some of the meals, but there were entire days I didn't record anything. I know we ate; just can't remember. Let's start over:

I had to go back and reread the last post; it has really been awhile. Erin came home for a few days and I redeemed my Mother's Day / birthday coupon for a ticket to "Hairspray" and dinner with my favorite blue-eyed child. We went to Pitch and shared some roasted Brussels sprouts and a Mia pizza. I should really try something different there, but it's just so good! And you know what else was good? The Omaha Community Playhouse's performance of "Hairspray". Our friend's daughter was fabulous, but the entire cast was too. What a fun, joyful night! (Thanks again, Honey!)

Dwight broke in his new grill on Father's Day by grilling steaks. He chose a T-bone, while I had a strip. We had some corn on the cob (I could seriously make a meal of just this), some parmesan bread, and a salad. We were talking about how many different foods we had at that meal; we usually have the main dish and a salad or veggies. Too many choices! The best of which was my favorite wine:

OH - I cooked the corn a new way. I have been boiling it my entire life, but I read on Pinterest that you could microwave it - husk and silk intact. So I just googled "microwave corn on the cob", and it came up, complete with chart for cooking times. I cooked four ears (made some black bean / corn salsa yesterday with the leftovers), and the chart said eight minutes, turning halfway. So I dampened a paper towel, cut of the long pointy end of the corn, and put all four of them in the microwave. I cooked for four minutes, turned them over, and cooked for another four. When they were done I wrapped them in a dishtowel for about five minutes and then husked them. The husk and silk peeled right off. It was w-a-y easier than cleaning them before cooking.

Breakfast yesterday was a protein waffle and some blueberries. I haven't written the recipe for awhile, so just in case you were wondering: 1/2 cup uncooked oatmeal, 1/2 cup cottage cheese, 3 egg whites, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp almond extract. Put it in your Magic Bullet for a minute, and then cook. This recipe is from my friend MaryLu, and I've been making it for YEARS. Except that I was making them as pancakes; they are way easier to just pour the batter into (onto?) the waffle iron.

I made Thai chicken burgers last night when Emmy and her friend Tony were in town for the day. I know I've written about them before. I had made them on Erin's recommendation, and they were a hit once again. Tony said it tasted like an entire Thai dinner in one bite. (I did 'fess up to the fact that I was out of cilantro. I ALWAYS have cilantro in the fridge - except for yesterday. But they were still good.)

oatmeal with a tablespoon of PB, teaspoon of brown sugar, and almond-coconut milk
apparently I'm good at remembering to photograph my breakfasts
(A note on the coffee mug in the above two photos: I bought it last year at Sur La Table to drink my English breakfast tea and eat my English muffin while watching the royal wedding in my big hat and bathrobe. Totally true story. I'm a huge nerd. Coincidentally, that was the day that Alex proposed to Aly!)

Okay, back to food. I was running errands today, one stop of which was Whole Foods. And since it was lunchtime, I made a trip through the salad bar: mixed greens, spinach, roasted edamame, pulled chicken, shredded carrots and shredded radishes. And some Kombucha - I haven't had any for quite awhile, and there was a whole bunch of fermentation going on in my bottle. I'm glad I opened it outside my car! (That's right, I couldn't wait till I got home. Busted.)

And check out this new find:

It is every bit as good as it sounds. I had a basket full of goodies at Trader Joe's and the clerk asked if I was planning on tossing the broccoli slaw with the cilantro dressing. I wasn't, but I am now! I'm making gingered beef for dinner tonight and bought the slaw to toss with some sesame oil and rice vinegar for an Asian-inspired salad. I think I'll like this idea better.

Exercise side note: today is the first time I've done anything for a few weeks. I just walked the perimeter of the 'hood, which is two miles and many hills. I usually listen to my own workout playlist, but after reading about it on Carrots-n-Cake, I put on Pandora's Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout station. I found that Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music" is my perfect walking cadence!

I probably won't post again till next week because I'm leaving tomorrow for several days of birthday / bachelorette party fun! Until then:

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

One lucky mom

So I went to Des Moines on Saturday and had the best time with Emily! As I mentioned in my last post, she ran a 20K that morning (!) and still had the energy to look cute and WEAR HEELS that night! When I got to her apartment, her best friend was there with a bottle of champagne to help Emily celebrate her race - I had to join them. Then, since Emily was STARVING, we changed into our party clothes and headed to a fun restaurant where we had a few appetizers and an elderflower martini. We then went to the Planned Parenthood event being held at a winery in Des Moines. It was absolutely lovely, with wonderful food and pretty good local wine. It was fun to meet Emily's co-workers on the Board; I am so impressed with the level of commitment and compassion that these young professionals exhibit. We must have done something right as parents. (And how cute do we look?!)

We went out to my favorite breakfast place in Des Moines on Sunday, Waveland. It's become a tradition for us to there whenever we stay over. It is basically a greasy spoon diner with the best food ever. I always get the breakfast special with everything hashbrowns, and this was no exception. When I got home and figured out the calorie count, it came to 750. I'm not surprised at all, but I'm glad that it was both breakfast AND lunch.

I tried a new recipe for dinner on Sunday: Lemony Shrimp with White Beans and Couscous. It took hardly any time at all - maybe fifteen minutes total hands-on. The recipe served four, and the serving size was A TON. Or maybe it was two cups. But it seemed like a whole bunch. Since there were two servings left over, I had it for lunch yesterday and today. I have to say that there might be just too many carbs in that meal. (I don't believe I've ever uttered those words before!) I think I will just use half the amount of couscous the next time I make it, or else I'll use rice, Israeli couscous, or quinoa.

This is in my BIG skillet
It might not look like a lot, but trust me
I woke up yesterday morning and had a nice sweaty walk outside, and came home and made an Abs Diet Banana Split Smoothie. I haven't made one in awhile; do I ever love those.

Last night's dinner was whatever I could find in the freezer: it ended up being a Boboli crust topped with a packet of Boboli pizza sauce, some Italian sauce, and mozzarella. Along with a salad, it made the perfect dinner.

Remember those cute kitties I showed you? Well, they weren't so cute waking me up every forty-five minutes during the night. I got up for good at 5:30 and just puttered until it was time to go to work at the museum. Our Egyptian show closed on Sunday to massive crowds, and the shop looked like a bomb had exploded. We had so much merchandise for so long, and it was absolutely decimated. It was a good day to clean and consolidate.

And that brings us to now. I'm sitting here writing and waiting for ERIN TO COME HOME!! That's right, I get to see both my daughters in the same week! (Missing Alex and Aly though.) We have a fun time planned - check out the reason she's coming home:

We're going to see Hairspray at the Playhouse tomorrow. Our good friend's daughter is in the cast, and both play (and Bailey) have gotten excellent reviews. Can't wait! I haven't decided where to go for dinner; maybe Pitch. She's the only one of our kids who hasn't eaten there, and I know she'd love it. Don't worry, I'll fill you in!


Saturday, June 2, 2012


No, not the day-to-day challenges of everyday life, but specific challenges to help me along this journey. Emily recently posted a challenge from Runner's World on her Facebook page; namely to run at least a mile a day from Memorial Day through the Fourth of July. I know I'm not a good runner, but I can certainly walk, ride, or (attempt to) run that mile each day. And since I kind of forgot about it until I sat down to write this morning, I am counting the miles from my bike ride earlier in the week!

Another challenge is from a blog that I read, Oh She Glows. Angela challenged her readers to eat a salad a day during the month of June. This one will be easy for me, as I love salads. She has some great recipes in case you're stuck in the salad = lettuce, tomatoes, and carrots mode. And since I forgot to start yesterday, I'll just have to make up for it today.

I am headed to Des Moines later this afternoon for a date with my favorite brown-eyed daughter. She is on the board of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, and tonight is their big gala, of which she is a benefactor. And as such, she has two tickets to the event and asked me to go with her. Since Dwight is in Columbus, Ohio to watch the Memorial Golf Tournament and, oh yeah, help Alex and his buddies celebrate his bachelor party, it is a perfect day for me to leave the kitties to fend for themselves and head east.

Seriously, how cute are these guys?!
So I'll be packing up my high heels and Spanx for a fun-filled evening. Emily told me to suck it up and put on my big-girl panties, too, because even though the event is from 6-9 pm, we are going downtown and meeting her friends afterwards. No early bed time for me! We'll see if she changes her tune, though, as she is running a 20K race this morning. I can't imagine wearing heels after that.

Here are a few of the meals that I had this week. Breakfast is obviously a fave!

oatmeal with a dollop of peanut butter, almond-coconut milk, and coffee
peanut butter bagel thin, fruit, chocolate skim milk, and coffee
protein waffle, fruit and, oh yeah, coffee

Lunches must have been uneventful, since I photographed NONE of them. But here are a few dinners:

Costco rotisserie chicken, steamed green beans, and kale chips
Chili lime chicken burgers, red pepper strips, and sliced kohlrabi
And best of all, a complete portion-controlled dessert:


Just a note on the chili lime chicken burgers. I know I've mentioned them several times before, but they are seriously our favorite meal right now. And they taste as delicious as leftovers as they do the first night. This is coming from someone who HATES leftovers, so it is high praise indeed.

It's time to change into my workout clothes, put a few miles on my shoes, and then get ready for a fun Saturday. Have a good one!