Monday, August 5, 2013

Paleo-ish Dessert

We are flooded with produce in this house, and after the children demolished dinner, and behaved well on our shopping trip to Tucson, I knew I had to make something fruit-ish for dessert. I had stumbled across "Fried" Honey Bananas on Pinterest and knew this was the winner for tonight.

Super simple ingredients:
1 slightly under ripe banana
1 Tablespoon Honey (this is the paleo-ish part)
olive oil

First slice the banana, drizzle the olive oil in the pan and then place the bananas in a single layer in the skillet. Cook the bananas for about 2 minutes each side.

Whisk the honey and 1 tablespoon of water together. Remove the skillet from heat and pour the honey mixture on top.

Then sprinkle with cinnamon. The kids were not huge fans, but this was fantastic. I can only imagine how good it would be on ice cream, or french toast.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Juice for Breakfast, Day 2

This morning  I whipped up another kid-friendly Declan-friendly juice, Abigail has no desire to even try it if its green.

1 cup of Spinach
1 Tomato
1 Apple
2 Carrots

I again doubled the recipe and we all enjoyed it.

And, according to this website, one 8 ounce glass of juice is equal to a full day requirement of fruits and vegetables. So this family is well on its way to surpassing the recommended requirements of fruits and veggies.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Meet Bella .... my juicer

Meet Bella, my juicer. She recently joined the ranks of kitchen appliances and has a prominent place on the counter. The first juice I made with Bella was a disaster. Totally yucky and sour. But then I attempted a simple pineapple and strawberry and it ws great. The worst part, of course, is clean-up. BUT, its all dishwasher safe. I also kept the pineapple pulp because I figure one day I'll use it for something.

This morning, Steven made the trek for our Bountiful Basket pick-up. $15 for all of this produce! I had also bought a pineapple, spinach, kale, celery, oranges, pears, apples, zucchini, a cucumber, and mushrooms yesterday. We are now more than ready for the week ahead.

I knew I had to do something with all of these veggies and fruits. I googled "kid-friendly juice recipes" and they were right. My first successful fruit/veggie combo drink was a hit with the kids.

This recipe was super easy. I doubled it to have enough for all three of us.

Carrot Pear Orange Juice
1 pear
1 orange
2 carrots

So simple. I think I'm actually going to prepare this ahead of time, similar to how I do most crock pot meals, so that it can accompany breakfast once a week. So yummy!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

My take on Zucchini Bites

I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course) and attempted it last night.

I made a few changes. No bread crubms, no onions. And I added onion and garlic powder. Next time I will also add shredded carrots to it.

They are AMAZING! If I hadn't promised Declan one in the morning, I would have eaten them all. So good!

Recipe adapted: The Naptime Chef
yields: 12 mini muffins

1 cups zucchini, grated
1 egg (1 large egg equals 3-4 tbsp when whisked together)
1/4 yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup cheese (cheddar or Parmesan work the best)
1/4 cup bread crumbs - I used Italian style
Salt and Pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside.
2. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach; if you skip this part, the middle of the zucchini tots will be really soggy while the outside gets crispy and no one wants that.
3. In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper.
4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set. - See more at:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

CrossFit Week of July 15th

This week has been awesome at CrossFit. Monday I wasn't able to make a class time, so I worked on my pull-ups and cleans at Open Gym. Finally made it past 95# and can now (inconsistently) clean 105#.

Tuesday we did Karen, another of the infamous 'Ladies of CrossFit.' As fast as you can, complete 150 wall ball shots. Prescribed weight is 18#/ for women and 20# for men. I did 16# and completed it in 9:16. I should have tried the 18#.

Wednesday was Death by Push-ups. This is very similar to the pull-up continuum we did a few weeks ago. The first minute, one push-up; the second minute, two push-ups, etc until you can't do the allotted number in the amount of time. I decided to do strict push-ups and do less of them instead of doing girl push-ups. I completed 6 rounds and 6 push-ups into the 7th round for a total of 27.

Thursday we had another girl workout - this time Nicole. Nicole is 20 minutes of as many rounds as possible of two elements. First, run 400 meters, then perform as many pull-ups as you can without stopping. As soon as you stop, return back to the run. Repeat as many times as possible. I completed 5 full rounds. Using the green and blue bands (a feat in itself) I completed 10, 5, 8, 7, 6 pull-ups totaling 36. Not bad for 20 minutes of work.

Friday was a Hero WOD. It was a fun one, but still really tough. 7 rounds of 15 kettlebell swings, 15 power cleans, and 15 box jumps. The Rx for this was 1.5 pood (55lbs) for the kettlebells, 95# for the cleans, and a 24" box. Before we started the workout, I attempted a 20" box jump for the first time ever, and did it! I scaled my workout as follows: 1 pood (36lbs) for the kettlebell swings, 85# for the power cleans, and a 16" box. I completed all 7 rounds in 38:47. Next time, I will do this workout as prescribed.

For all my efforts this week, I got this wonderful bruise.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Paleo Lunch Date - Spaghetti Squash Style

Since I started (restarted?) my whole foods/clean eating/paleo thing (I refuse to call it a diet), husband has been on board, 95% of the way. He still likes his beer. Most days when I'm not working, I bring him lunch. We try to eat our bigger meal at lunch, since by the time we are home from CrossFit and get the kids fed/bathed/in bed, its pushing 7:30. Today I wanted something different.

Spaghetti Squash Goodness

I roasted my spaghetti squash in the crockpot. Its so easy. Put it in whole and add 1/2 cup of water. Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours. Then I cut it in half, let it cool, scraped out the yucky insides and then scraped out the "noodles."

I added half a chopped tomato to each dish, as well as some bacon bits, and caramelized, garlic mushrooms. Of course those I found on pinterest.

All loaded up in some Tupperware and ready for a lunch date with my husband. He's lucky I didn't eat all the mushrooms before I got there.

Hope WOD, CrossFit Cures

Saturday, July 6 - CrossFit gyms and athletes around the world participate in a CrossFit Cures event. This year the event raised money for St. Jude's. Members performed the same WOD, called Hope, raising money for the organization in the process. CrossFit Cochise, added to this and honored a very special little boy, Brendon, who at age 5 lost his battle with brain cancer and was a St. Jude's kid. The nephew of one of our members, he loved the color orange, so we all wore orange on Saturday. CrossFit Cochise also encouraged non-members to participate, either by running or walking a 5k or sponsoring an athlete.

The WOD was a hard one. For one minute each, you preform five exercises, and then rest for 1 minute. You do this three times. Steven and I did this together at the 9 o'clock time slot and we, as always, had a great time with our friends, feeling like our workout was making a difference in the world.

Here was the breakdown: (Steven/Rebecca)
Power Snatch 75#/55#
Box Jumps 24"/20" step-ups
Thrusters 75#/55#
Chest-to-bar Pull-ups/assisted with black band

Steven did a total of 185 repetitions  and I did 150. We were both really happy with that and totally exhausted afterwards.


Friday, July 5, 2013

The Girls of CrossFit

No, I'm not talking about my girlfriends, I'm talking about the workouts that are named after girls. Why? As one guy stated, "Because if you are going to end up laying on the floor after a workout, its nice to know it was named after a woman."

Here are the girl workouts, and here are my times on them. I hope to get each one in by the end of 2013 so I can improve drastically in 2014.

Keep in mind this chart is generally scaled for men, so the women's chart will be a bit lower on scaled weight.

I try to hit everything Prescribed (Rx) but on some things its just not possible yet. My goal is to get everything Rx, which will of course mean nailing the kipping pull-ups soon, and then improve rapidly on time.

I like the idea of the Just Yo' Body workouts as travel days or off days from the gym.

Mix it Up:
Jackie (May 31) 14:12; box pull-ups
Fran (May 9) 7:25; 45# Thrusters, box pull-ups
Elizabeth (June 28) 13:37, 95#; pull-ups instead of ring dips due to shoulder, green and blue bands

Nancy (June 25): 22:22, 10#; due to shoulder

Lynne (June 24)  71 reps, 85#, black band for pull-ups

Get Heavy: 
Linda (May 14) 42:49; 145# Deadlifts, 75# bench press, 85# cleans
Grace (May 1) 10:42, 75#
Isabel (May 7) 4:00, 45#

Sunday, June 30, 2013

July 2013

Tomorrow starts July. I really can't believe half of 2013 is now behind us. The second half will bring lots of amazing things: kindergarten for Declan among them. Half of the summer is also behind us now. Where does time go? I've absolutely enjoyed all the good that 2013 and living in Arizona has brought to us and I can't wait to see what is coming next.

Since I ran my half-marathon in early March, running has been put on the back burner. I started weight lifting in March and Steven and I started CrossFit in May. This month, I plan to find a balance between running and CrossFit (and the rest of my life). My mileage goal for July is 30 miles. And I want to run 3 times a week.

I plan to start July off right by participating in a Virtual Run on July 4th. The proceeds will benefit The Wounded Warrior Project and I get this cool medal. This will be my 6th race of the year, which means I have 7 more until I've earned my "13 in 13" medal. Too easy.

Seems totally doable, especially because in January and February I was hitting 50 miles. But, its all about starting to get back into the rhythm and training again. I have a pretty full fall/winter race season and I'd like to be very ready to go.

I think that I can continue going to CrossFit 5-6 times a week while running 3 times a week. July is busy for us, but my work schedule isn't extreme. Even on the weeks that I do work, I only work 3 days.   We shall see how the balance goes and I will continue to tweak the number of WODs I do with the steady increase of miles as I train for my fall half-marathons. I know I can find a balance and still enjoy both.

Whole 30: Day 6

Day 6 did not go as well as planned. But I'm accepting that its ok.

Breakfast was great, scrambled eggs with sausage and a decaf coffee with almond milk. We spent the morning on chores, cleaning Declan's room and building his bunk beds. Lunch was a slight "cheat." I made the kids waffles and was so tempted. I resisted that temptation and instead had Cascadian Farms Organic Granola with almond milk.

I went to a Foundations Class at the gym and spent almost two horus working on squats. We did a lot of work on form and then did a workout.

3 Rounds for time:
25 Air Squats
20 Front Squats (45#)
10 Overhead Squats (35#)
I did it in 11:25 and boy are my legs SORE!

By the time we got home after that it was almost 4pm. I was tired, kids were tired, and so we got pizza for dinner. It was loaded with veggies which is better than nothing. I took it one step further and had some beer.

After feeling guilty for a little while  I decided that one "bad" meal a week is not the end of the world. Really, its ok. I felt great all week, and that "diet" is totally maintainable IF I let myself have some things I enjoy in moderation as well.

Day 7 will start me back on the Whole 30, or at least the version I've been doing.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Whole 30: Day 5 (HALFWAY DONE!)

Yes, I know the point is doing 30 days, but right now, my goal is 10. I plan to then see how I do on my own. I've been very happy so far, so I think it will be easy to keep on track. Anyway, Day 5, one full of temptations, but I stuck to my plan.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs with sausage, made by my wonderful husband. I then met the girls for some Starbucks mid-morning and succumbed to the temptation of getting the new Valenica Orange Refresher. Its definitely the most healthy drink on the menu, as its fruit and water. And, it was really good!

For lunch, I made Cold Avocado and Crab Soup. I found the recipe in my Runner's World magazine. I was hesitant as it comes out really green, but it was good! We both enjoyed it, which is good, because there are leftovers.

This afternoon we went bowling with some of Steven's co-workers. We were hungry and didn't plan well, so we had to get something there. We made the best out of it and got some sweet potato fries and a burger with avocado and bacon. I ate my half of the burger without the bun so I felt good about that.

Tonight at CrossFit was fun and challenging. I was looking forward to the workout, which involved cleans, but I wasn't looking forward to the mental breakdown I knew would come. Cleans are a very mental lift for me. Today I broke through just a little bit. The workout's name was Elizabeth and it consists of 21 reps of cleans, 21 reps of ring dips, then 15 reps of each, then 9 reps of each.

The prescribed weight is 95# for women and 135# for men. I was able to get 95# for the first 13 reps of the first round. After that I dropped down to 85#. I also wasn't able to do ring dips due to a sore rotator cuff, so I did pull-ups 15 the first round, then 10, then 5. I completed the whole workout in 13:37. Not as fast as I wanted, but respectable.

For dinner I grilled up the last of the eggplant and ate the leftover pork chops and mushrooms. It was yummy. Day 5 was good, Day 6 will be better.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Whole 30: Day 4

So, I cheated a little bit on the morning of Day 4. No, nothing food related, I cheated with the scale. I desperately wanted to know what was going on with the weight changes and I'm so glad I did! I'm down 2.6 pounds from when I started. It was definite motivation to keep on going!

I started off the day with my usual scrambled eggs and added the nitrate free sausage I had prepared the night before. I mixed up another almond milk smoothie, this time with half a banana and some strawberries.

I struggled with finding something for lunch, as it was hot and I was tired. The tuna fish and avocado from Wednesday sounded really good, so I made another serving of that.

I sliced another cantaloupe for my snack and took about 1/4 of that in for my 3pm energy boost.

I had prepared Paleo Chicken Curry a month ago and defrosted it and put it in the crock pot for dinner.

Since we took Wednesday off, we went into the gym and did the most horrible workout ever.

15 minutes, as many rounds as possible

25 Double Unders (ratio was 4:1 for singles)
10 Burpee to Broad Jumps

I completed only 3 rounds and all of the single jump ropes for the 4th round. This WOD was hard. My shoulder was sore on the burpees, my feet were sore from my heels and then jumping. Ugh.

BUT, I DID IT. And the part of CrossFit that applies here is practicing what you dislike or are bad at to make it your strength.

After the workout, I did 3 sets of 5 pull-ups on the green band for the first set (which takes away 65# of your body weight) and the last two sets with the green and red band (taking away a total of 90#).

I had some celery, carrots, and red peppers with a homemade avocado dip for a late night snack.

Another good day. Almost half-way through my 10 days.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Whole 30: Day 3

Today was another good day for good food. Breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs and salsa, which Steven carefully inspected the label on yesterday so it passed the test. I also mixed up another decaf coffee, almond milk, banana shake for my mid-morning snack.

Lunch was tuna fish and an avocado. You'd think I would soon tire of avocados, but I haven't yet. I love them in all forms.

I brought some cantaloupe for a snack but didn't get a chance to eat it until I was on the way home. Then I created a nice, colorful, healthy dinner.

Grilled pork chops with mushrooms, served with sweet potato fries and steamed broccoli. Miraculously, the children ate dinner today! And it was wonderful. And, we both have lunch ready for tomorrow.

I'm really surprised at how I'm not hungry. The reason I fail at every single diet I've tried is because I'm hungry. With this, I'm not at all. I'm usually reaching for a snack about 4pm, especially on the days I'm heading to the gym, but that's it. And, after dinner, I'm fine until the next day.

This isn't something I would want to do for the rest of my life, but it is something I could maintain most days. So, three days down, and 7 more until my 10 days are up. At that point I'll reevaluate and perhaps reintroduce some foods.

*Today was a rest day for both of us. We needed some time to heal sore shoulders, and some additional time with the kiddos this evening. It was well worth it.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Whole 30: Day 2

Day 2 was not quite as good as Day 1, but I managed to get through. This was also my first day back to work since starting this. So, I now know I need to do some preparation ahead of time.

Breakfast was good, bacon and eggs. I also whipped up a drink of a half banana, decaf coffee, and dark chocolate almond milk. Now, I know the almond milk is not 100% Whole30 approved, BUT, its a conscious decision that I am going to drink it until it runs out and then get the unsweetened original or try coconut milk. I've accepted it, you all can too. ;)

Lunch was leftovers from last night: baked chicken, grilled eggplant and tomatoes, and I added an avocado. I snacked on some cantaloupe about 3pm. I was a bear come 4:30. Obviously, something was off in my body. So, I decided to have dinner early, I had about half a serving of Mexican Pork Stew. Pork chops, sweet potatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, and diced green chiles. This made me much happier.

We hit the 6:30 class at CrossFit Cochise, which is new for us, but due to work schedules that is where we are this week. It was a good class. "Nancy" was the workout.

5 rounds for time:
400m Run
15 Overhead Squats 95# for men, 65# for women

Due to my plaguing shoulder issues, which I think was made much worse by yesterday's bench press and pull-up workout, I did overhead squats with only a 10# bar. But, for me, the big deal was the run. I completed the workout in 22:22. I ran the entire 400m every time. That is big for me.

So, after dinner I had a bit of almond milk and I called it a day.

Day 2 done, and now I'm prepared for Day 3.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Whole 30: Day 1

Day 1:

I was a little apprehensive but excited about Day 1. Usually, the hunger makes me snap. And, since I was not working today and was at home with all the "other" food available to me, I was not sure of my chances. But, I DID IT!

Meal 1: Scrambled eggs (with water instead of milk), nitrate-free sausage, and red peppers; served over half an avocado  Since my husband embarked on this with me, a little uncertainly, I made enough for both of us. My goal was to make it to 10 o'clock before feeling hungry. I couldn't even finish my plate full of good food, and I wasn't hungry until I started packing up lunch.

I did a speed workout this morning, 1/2 mile warm-up at 10:30 pace and then 8x100m repeats at 8:00 pace.

I prepared lunch to take to eat with Steven at work. I baked tilapia with some seasoning blend from Costco. I also chopped up raw vegetables (celery, red pepper, carrots) and then whipped up an avocado dip with my emersion blender. We ate this and it was good!

I had a small snack mid-afternoon, because I knew dinner would be late due to CrossFit. I had a quarter of a cantaloupe and some cashews.

CrossFit today was another benchmark workout, Lynne. For this we did 5 rounds for max reps. Bench press and pull-ups. So, for Round 1, you do as many bench press reps as you can and then you do as many pull-ups as you can. Then the rest of the rounds, resting as needed. You are supposed to do this bench press with your body weight. Obviously, that is hard for a lot of people, particularly women. So, I did bench press at 85#. And I used the black band for my pull-ups.

My left shoulder was sore today and it was obvious on these two exercises. But, I learned a few new technique things on my bench press that I think will help me when I'm at 100%. And, after class, I attempted to go down in bands. The bands make you lighter when you are doing pull-ups, the black band "takes away" 100 pounds. The next one is the green one, which removes 60 pounds. I was able to combine the blue and red and go down to 90 pounds. Its a step in the right direction of pull-ups.

I did 71 total reps tonight. A good benchmark for the next time, at least.

I came home and prepared dinner. I had put chicken in the crockpot with olive oil and some of that same seasoning blend. Then I grilled eggplant slices and served them with tomato on top. It was excellent. And, husband has lunch for tomorrow.

Day 1 was a great success. Day 2 will be as well!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Whole 30: Lifestyle Change

This morning, I'm embarking on my Whole 30 Journey. This plan for food is pretty simple, Eat Good Food. Its a very strict version of the Paleo Diet. I will eat protein, produce, and healthy fats. I will not eat grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, or other processed foods.

I'm focusing on what I CAN eat, things like chicken, beef, eggs, sausage, bacon, avocados  cashews, olive oil, coconut oil, any fruit or vegetable. This is 30 days of eating whole foods, good foods.

I've been reading the book It Starts With Food and I'm somewhat prepared for what the next 30 days will entail. The first week will be rough. After week 2 I should be good to go. No cheats, none. None, none, none.

Steven has agreed to start this process with me, and no matter what, support me in this. I cleaned off a shelf in the pantry and filled it with Whole30 Approved foods. Declan and I hit the local Co-op and Safeway this afternoon to fill the fridge with fruits and veggies. I've found some great recipes and I'm encouraged by the fact that there are virtually no limitations of how much good food I can eat. As many vegetables as I want. As much protein as I need to stay satisfied and there is so much variety!

I'll be updating and keeping track via my blog, along with my workouts from this week. I hope that I'm as excited and upbeat about this on Day 7 as I am on Day "0."

Friday, June 21, 2013

Hero Wod at CrossFit Verve: Nate

So, I'm travelling on business and was able to find quite possibly the coolest CrossFit gym in Denver. CrossFit Verve is the home gym of Matt Chan. So, I signed up online and navigated through Friday afternoon Denver traffic.

Verve proved my theory on the CrossFit community, they are all welcoming and helpful. I walked in the door and barely had time to look around before someone was asking me if I needed help. I was welcomed to the gym, shown to the locker rooms, and then introduced to the coaches. The other people in my class were so welcoming.

For our warm-up, we ran with our PVCs (think a barbell but light like a PVC pipe) to the corner and then did pass-thrus and around-the-worlds to stretch out our shoulders. After a run to the next corner, we did leg swings and good mornings. At the third corner, we did lunges with the PVC overhead. The final corner was squats with pass-thrus.

After our warm-up, we paired up (I was pleased to be approached by one of the experienced Cross-Fitters to be his partner) and worked on a progression to help us with handstand push-ups. The progression was really enlightening and helpful. While I am nowhere near ready to do a correct handstand push-up, I have a lot of ways to work on that technique.

The workout was a Hero WOD, which is named for one of our fallen heroes. Chief Petty Officer Nate Hardy was killed February 4, 2008 in Iraq. This workout was created for him on February 12, 2008. Here is the workout:

As many rounds as possible in 20 Minutes:

2 Muscle-ups
4 Handstand push-ups
8 Kettlebell Swings, 2 poods

A lot of people have to modify this workout in one way or another. I had to modify all of it. Muscle-ups are one of the hardest moves ever. So instead of doing them, I did 2 ring pull-ups and 2 muscle-up progressions. I finally have the movement down, now I just have to work on the strength.

Same thing with handstand push-ups. I learned a lot on how to work up to the skill and will continue to do so. I did pike push-ups on a 24" box.

Kettlebell Swings for women was prescribed at 1.5 poods. A Pood is a Russian measurement. 1 pood is 16kg or 35 pounds. I did this workout with 1 pood kettlebell. I know I can lift and swing a 1.5 pood, but since today was one of the first days my back hasn't hurt in almost 2 weeks, I was not going to risk it.

I completed 11 full rounds and the 2 modified Muscle-ups that started the 12th round. I was pretty happy with that, as my goal was 10 rounds.

I miss my coaches, fellow athletes, and my favorite workout partner. But this workout and this gym was awesome. If I ever find myself back in Denver again, I will not hesitate to go there and workout. The coaches today, Luke and Emily, were fantastic.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Heavy Day & Maintenance Day

I've been asking the coaches for a day where we can discover our max weights on certain lifts to see where we are. I was rewarded with a "Max Effort" day on Wednesday.

We had 15 minutes to find our max weight for 1 rep on back squat, push press, and then our 3 rep max on power cleans.

I hit 205# on back squat (which was good considering my recent back soreness but not great considering I hit that weight back in March.)

For push press I did 90#. Which was a 15# increase from the last time I did push press.

I totally biffed it on the cleans. Why this move is so hard for me, I just can't understand. I can do it at light weight just fine, but get to 95# and I crumble. Its so frustrating. Anyway, I did 80# on Wednesday.

Thursday I hit the Buckley AFB gym and, since there was limited space and equipment, did a little lifting.

Power Cleans
5 at 65#, 10 at 75#
Front Squats
5 at 95#, 5 at 105#, 5 at 115#
Back Squats
5 at 95#, 5 at 145#, 5 at 155#
Push Press
5 at 65#, 10 at 75#

Tomorrow I get to go workout at Crossfit Verve. I'm very exited about that, but nervous at the same time.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Brain Freeze

Today was another awesome Monday. I started off the day with the Spartan WOD:

100 m sprint
10 push-ups
100 m sprint
10 lunges
100 m sprint
10 push-ups
100 m sprint
10 squats
100 m spring, 100 m recovery x 2

Then I went to Annihilation class with Jill. It was a rough day! Lots of jumping jacks, squats, and some weight work.

Then, I headed to CrossFit for my favorite (?) part of the day. Tonight's workout had 3 elements, quite possibly my 3 least favorite elements ever.

50 Double Unders ( I can't quite do these yet, so I did 150 singles)
50 Slurpees - medicine ball slam - burpee - thruster - with a 15# ball
50 Sit-ups

I completed it in 13:59, and no, I won't ever round that up. My goal was 15 minutes and I'm pleased to have met that goal.

Another good day in the gym, and I'm excited about our adventure tomorrow!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day 2013

I'm so blessed to have so many wonderful men in my life. I'm happy I was able to spend time with almost all of them recently, even though the miles continue to separate us.

My father, who has been supportive in everything I've dared to dream up and has been publicly proud of all that I've managed to accomplish. And I know that he has been so very happy to be Gramps to my kids. (And I know he won't mind sharing this post with the other men he's brought into my life.)

My father-in-law, who has never once treated me like an "in-law," has always been happy to have us visit, and has been a great grandfather to our kids. He even ran a 5k with me on a muggy, rainy day last August.

My Father-in-law and my Father at our wedding, 2006.
My PopPop and my Grandpa Middleton were so much fun growing up! Sneaking us cookies and playing cards past bedtime. I am so lucky to have been able to spend some time with Grandpa Middleton and still have my PopPop around to be sneaking cookies to my kids.

PopPop and Abi watching the waves
March 2011.

My Uncle Tom has been a special gift to me. He's always pushing me to do my best and to keep on learning. I think I owe my desire to keep reading and learning to him. He and Aunt Sue have always been there for the important things in my life, and I'm so glad for it!

Uncle Tom, affectionately called the UT
at Lisa's wedding. May 2013.
And, of course, my husband. Who I'm so blessed to spend (almost) every day with and watch him play with our kids. Marriage is a journey, and we've had our share of excitement, moves, and time apart, but seeing the kids run to him when he comes home each night is the best part!

Visting Daddy when he had to "sleep over at work"
last week. June 2013.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Fundamental Friday

Friday was a return to fundamentals. Coach was concerned that we, the members at the box, may be progressing too quickly with too much weight, so we spent time on technique. The nine fundamental Crossfit movements are:

Air squats
Front squats
Overheard squats
Straight press
Push press
Push jerk
Medicine ball clean
Sumo deadlift high pull

After performing these correctly, a good number of times. We were to choose our weakest movement and complete 5 rounds of 10 reps with weight.

I didn't have much choice, as the push jerk is one of my weakest movements by far. I didn't even have time to add weight to my Bella Bar (more on that next post). I left the gym feeling frustrated.

Crossfit was my third workout of the day, I had run 1.5 miles earlier that morning, and then attended Annihilation class, which was full of squats and lunges. My legs were tired and I was discouraged. But, it was another day closer to getting better at this sport.

We are only as strong as our weakest element. I have my work cut out for me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Tabata Thursday

Thursday at CrossFit has become to be an "Active Rest" day. Usually we do body weight exercise, or sled pushes, or tire flipping. Something that is hard but not heavy weight. Yesterday, we did a Tabata workout. Tabata workouts are formatted in this way: 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest. Repeat. Tabata's generally last 4 minutes. Four minutes doesn't seem that long, but it really is when you're working hard for 20 seconds at a time.

Thursday we did this Tabata workout:

20 seconds of medicine ball slams
10 seconds of plank (REST)
20 seconds of kettlebell swings
10 seconds of plank (REST)
For 10 minutes.

Steven and I paired up, so that one of us could count while the other worked out. I went first. Prescribed weight for women was 20# medicine ball and 1 pood (16kg) kettlebell. I did 131 reps total. Steven's prescribed weight was 30# medicine ball and 1.5 pood (24kg). He did 139 reps total.

It was a good workout. I followed it up with some more pull-up work so I can get even closer to my birthday goal.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Wednesday was my date day with Declan. Throughout the summer, I'm doing some special things with each kid, and some trips together. Last week Abigail had Friday with me, this week Declan had Wednesday. We started the day with a 1/2 mile run on the track. Declan was thrilled with this. Then we went to Annihilation with Miss Jill. Declan loves going to this class with me, he gets his own mat, his own step, his own weights and he works out hard. We did box jumps, squats, lunges, push-ups, and he did it all with me.

After a stint at the playground, a lot of errands, and some nice relaxation at home, we all headed to CrossFit. My kids do not like that they have to play with other kids at CrossFit instead of working out with us. But, we let them workout a little bit afterwards. They swing on the rings, do pull-ups, squats, and handstands.

Yesterday's WOD was Mari. It was pretty brutal, but relatively short. The average person did it in 10-15 minutes.

10 Burpees - 1 Pull-up
9 Burpees - 2 Pull-up
8 Burpees - 3 Pull-up
7 Burpees - 4 Pull-up
6 Burpees - 5 Pull-up
5 Burpees - 6 Pull-up
4 Burpees - 7 Pull-up
3 Burpees - 8 Pull-up
2 Burpees - 9 Pull-up
1 Burpees - 10 Pull-up

I had to modify my burpees and step-out instead of jump due to my back (which is slowly getting better!) and I used the black band for pull-ups. This was a huge step for me. Two weeks ago I was still jumping off the box. It really feels like I may be able to do a pull-up on my own before my birthday. I completed this workout in 12:04. My rock-star of a husband completed it in 5:15.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I Know Squat

Front Squat
Today my coach asked me if I check the website for the WOD before I come in. "Of course," I said, "how else do I know what socks to wear?"

Today we did a workout involving front squats. These used to scare me, but now I embrace them. So, of course, I wore my purple socks. They say I KNOW on one and SQUAT on the other. They are SoxBox socks, one of my favorite pairs.

Today's Workout for time:
5 rounds
10 Ring Dips (I did mine with the green band)
5 Front Squats 95#
10 Renegade Rows 15#

Since I'm apparnetly a glutton for punishment, and I love working out with my husband, I skipped my evening run and went back to do the workout again. This time we did it for strength, increasing in weight on the front squat.

Renegade Rows
I did a few sets of the ring dips and renegade rows, but spent most of my time on the front squats.
First Round: 5 reps at 105#
Second Round: 5 reps at 115#
Third Round, first attempt: 2 reps at 135#
Third Round, second attempt: 1 rep at 135#
Fourth Round: 5 reps at 125#

So another successful day at Crossfit Cochise. I love going there, I love the coaches, I love the people we workout with. Such a great feeling when I walk into the gym.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Life is a Marathon, Not a Sprint

This line is quite appropriate as Monday, at Crossfit, we did a workout called Muscle Snatch Marathon. This workout has 3 Levels.

Level 1: Group of 3, alternating to hit 1,000 Muscle Snatches
Level 2: Partners, alternating to hit 1,000 Muscle Snatches
Level 3: All by yourself - 1,000 Muscle Snatches

I did Level 2 with a 35# bar with Kristen. We had a 50 minute time max. We hit 650 reps. Kristen did 350 and I did 300. It was a ROUGH workout.

In the evening, when the temperatures were back in the low 90s, I hit the track for my evening run. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do, but I ended up doing this:

4 rounds of 300m run/100m walk
4 rounds of 200m run/100m walk
4 rounds of 100m sprint/100m walk

All in all, it was a great Monday for working out. A great way to start the week!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Catching up on the week

Weeks always seem so hectic when I work, add to that Steven started golfing for the Commander's Cup Competition, and one staff duty and I'm not shocked the next time I can write is on Friday.

Tuesday's WOD: Fight Gone Bad
This workout is a rough 17 minutes!
You do each thing for 1 minute, after the 5th thing, you take a 1 minute rest. Then you repeat for 3 full rounds.

1 - wall ball shots (14#)
2 - sumo deadlift high pulls (55#)
3 - 24" box jumps (I did step-ups)
4 - push press (55#)
5 - row, for calories

For each round, you counted your reps and then added the calories you rowed. My goal was to hit 50 reps on each round. My scores looked like this:

Round 1: 78
Round 2: 63
Round 3: 55
Total Score: 196

Wednesday's WOD: Snatches

I went into the box on Wednesday feeling pretty sore and tired. I did the warm-up, I practiced Snatches, I even got one round into the workout, and then I stopped. I was so proud of myself that I actually stopped because it hurt. I was glad of the support from the coaches and the rest of the class that it was the right decision.

Thursday: I took this day completely off due to the continued soreness in my back. I was really hoping a day off would "fix" it.

Friday: Amazing Grace

I was right! A day off did me good! I headed into the gym with pep in my step and was determined to complete the WOD.

3 rounds:
10 Clean and Jerks 65#
10 Handstand push-ups (I can only do halfway down, so I did 20 halfway pushups instead)

I completed this in 14:58. As we discovered today, I can do this with more weight. But I'm having some form issues on my clean. So I was glad to use the lower weight to try to break through the dead end that I hit  with cleans. I did the clean and jerk at 85, but was unable to do it at 95. The other girls in the gym rocked it and were able to hit new PRs (Personal Records) and hit 90# and 95#. I just love it when someone hits a new record!

I can't wait to see what Saturday morning holds for us at CrossFit Cochise!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Just another Manic Monday

What should have been an awesome WOD today was thwarted. First by the soreness from Saturday's intense lunges. Then by the dead legs I had from running for the first time in over a week  last night. And third, by my concern for my daughter. I left Abigail at school screaming her head off for no apparent reason.

So, with all of that in my head, I approached the WOD with low expectations.

"Deadman Sprinting"
15 min AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
5 Deadlifts 1.5 BW/BW
200m Sprint

So, no way was I doing my body weight for deadlifts today. I settled for 155#. Halfway through the second round, I dropped it to 135#. I completed only 5 full rounds, getting all the deadlifts for the 6th round done before time stopped.

My back is sore, my legs are sore, and my hands are sore, despite wearing gloves. But, Workout #1 for the day is done. This afternoon/evening I will crank out a cardio session, I'm thinking rowing, and call today a success.

And, the best part: Tomorrow is another day with another WOD.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Perfect Date

One of the things I cherish most about CrossFit is when Steven and I get to go together. It happens most Saturdays and just a few other times during the week. Today was a great example about why I love it.

Our workout today involved partners. Ordinarily, Steven would be paired up with another guy, as men and women generally lift different weights. In our group this morning, there weren't any other men who could lift his weight. I said I would try the 95#. It didn't exactly work, so we compromised from my 65# and landed at 75#. We then took turns walking with the barbell in the front squat position. We each did 10m at a time until we went 20 times each, or 400m total.

It was really fun working with him. He pushes me and encourages me, and makes me want to do better to keep up with him. It was a lot of fun.

After our lunges, we each did 200 situps with either a 5# plate (me) or a 10# plate (him). This was not as much fun, but I powered right through.

I can't wait until Tuesday night, when we get to go together again. Who knows, may be one day we'll take a picture like this....

June Challenge

I twisted my friend Amy's arm into creating a challenge for us for June 1-15. Here it is:

1. Post in our group daily
2. Get 30 minutes of cardio or exercise each day
3. Avoid Caffeine

So glad that the hard work for #3 was already done. I just need to avoid the chocolate, unless it is unsweetened.

Another woman in my group posted this picture for an Ab Challenge. I am also doing this and I WILL STICK TO IT!

So, my month should shape up to include at least 5 days of CrossFit a week, this Ab Challenge, along with my normal healthy eating (leaning more towards paleo every day), and some running. I'm doing two-a-days every week day that I am not working so I can get my running where it needs to be. 

June is my month!

Friday, May 31, 2013


I was absolutely thrilled when I saw today's WOD. It was Jackie.

1000m Row
50 Thrusters at 45#
30 Pull-ups

You're probably thinking, "That's it?" Yes, that was it. About 15 minutes of awesomeness. Due to the number of people in our class, I opted to start with Thrusters. So mine looked more like this.

50 Thrusters at 45#
30 Pull-ups (jumping pullups off the 12" box)
1000m Row

My time was 14:12. It would have been so much faster if I could just master the pull-ups. But, I was very pleased. The prescribed weight, in our box, for women was only 35#. I knew I could do 45# and I was very pleased to complete that.

The thruster looks like this:
It's a combination of front squat and a push press. Luckily, we did some of these on Tuesday and I learned the value of going past parallel on the squat. 

Pull-ups are the bane of my existence lately. I'm still jumping off the box. When I use the band, I can do the kipping motion, I just don't quite get high enough. This is my new focus. I really want to do kipping pullups, with the band, by my birthday. 6 weeks to go, I know I can do it.

The row machine is one of my favorite parts. Its a lot like running, I can pace myself well, turn on the speed in the last 250m and let my mind wander.

I can't wait to do "Jackie" again in the coming months when I can improve my time and do those pullups!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Back in the gym .... John Henry

This morning husband and I faced the music and went back to the gym for our WOD. Thankfully it was an "active rest" day. This is by no means restful, but its generally less pounding on your body. Here's what today looked like:

24 kettlebell swings at 1 pood (Russian measurement for 36 pounds)

20m Sprint

24 sledgehammer on a tire (11 pound hammer)

We were to do as many of these rounds as possible in 24 minutes. I did 7 full rounds and one extra set of sledgehammers.

It was a good first day back, I'm sure tomorrow will be differently hard, but I'm ready for it. I really missed working out with the great people at Crossfit Cochise, I'm glad to be part of such a community.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Trying to get back into the swing of things....

Today I woke up at 6am (east coast time) and traveled for about 10 hours, with my children and husband. After getting home, I decided I had to hit the gym. Over the course of my 8 day vacation, I ran once, did a short Tabata workout, walked the Washington Mall/Smithsonian, and did one CrossFit Workout. My body hates me right now. After yesterday's Visitor WOD, I knew I needed to keep moving or I would basically be starting all over again. So I headed to the gym on post to do something.

This is what I came up with:
5 Clean-Thruster-Overhead Squat at 65#
250m Row
5 Clean-Thruster at 75#
250m Row
5 Clean at 85#
250m Row
5 Clean at 95#

Attempted cleans at 105# and 100# but my brain got the best of me.

My body is sore, but happy, and I am so glad that I went. Tomorrow will only be easier.... right?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Visitor WOD

This morning, on the tail end of our family vacation to the East Coast, my husband and I found a new box in town. We were able to attend a class for free this morning and convinced our friends to join us.

This box was set up slightly differently, but they welcomed us with open arms. The kids were in an area of their own to play, but they could still see us.

We warmed up with a 500m row, 15 wall ball shots with 14#, 10 pushups, 5 hollow rockers and supermans, and then 5 minutes of handstand work.

After that we moved into some strength workouts. 4 sets of 2 reps of back squats increasing in weight each time. Then a 5 rep maximum weight press. (Think the same move as a bench press but while standing.)

Then the WOD. This consisted of 5 Thrusters (115# for men/75# for women), 10 hollow rockers, and 5 chin-ups. We did this circuit as many times as possible in 15 minutes. I did 8 full rounds. I did the first two at 75# and the last 6 at 65#.

I'm really glad we were able to workout today and that this other box was so welcoming and accommodating. It encourages me to continue to find Crossfit gyms and communities as work may have me traveling in the future.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hero WOD

One of the things I like most about CrossFit is the sense of communities and support you get from the other people in the gym. Never have I felt like people were frustrated or upset due to having to wait for someone to finish. More times than not, people are willing to run the last 400m with you, or do the last 15 burpees with you, or row 1000m while you finish up your workout. Its something I think ties in nicely with my little military lifestyle. In fact, a lot of the people we work out with are military families as well.

Last week, I experienced my first Hero WOD (Workout of the Day). These Hero WODs are appropriately named after fallen heroes. We did one honoring Army Captain Dan Whitten. This workout consisted of:
5 rounds, for time
22 kettlebell swings, 70#
22 box jumps, 24" box
400m run
22 burpees
22 wall ball shots, 20# medicine ball

Needless to say, Hero WODs are incredilby intense, both physically and mentally. On this day, most of us could only do 3 rounds, and with a reduced (or scaled) weight.

Monday, May 20, 2013

CrossFit Goals for 2013

I talk to my workshops every week about setting goals and writing them down. Of course, at that point I'm talking about professional goals working towards their transition, but it works for all goals. So, here are my CrossFit Goals for 2013.

1. Do a pull-up by the end of the year, on my own. Just one.
2. Join the 1000 pound club. (This means that the total of my deadlift, bench press, and back squat weight equals 1000.) Right now I'm at 185 for deadlift, 95 for bench press, and 205 for squat. So I basically need to double all of these weights to hit it.
3. Break the 35 minute mark on my 5k. (Not entirely CrossFit related, but I know getting stronger will make me faster.)

*And, of course, I reserve the right to updated, modify, and reevaluate these goals whenever I see fit.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Does She Crossfit?

This may not be the first question that runs through your head when/if you see me on the street. Unless, of course, I'm wearing my awesome SoxBox socks and gym clothes. But, the answer is "Yes!" I'm a CrossFit convert. Husband and I tried out some free classes at the local gym, CrossFit Cochise and we were immediately hooked.

Friday marked my 14th Workout at CrossFit. I'm still loving it. I've seen improvement in skills in just 3 weeks. I'm stronger and probably faster than when I started. We work in three basic areas: gymnastics skills, weight lifting, and cardio programs. Each day we have a WOD (workout of the day) that usually consists of one of these skills or a combination. The great part of doing CrossFit at the gym is that they take the time to teach us the fundamentals and work with us on form. The coaches are great, they have quickly identified our strengths and weaknesses and push us where we need it.

The skills we work on are things like handstand push-ups, pull-ups, burpees, and box jumps (jumping up on a 24# wooden box.)

Weight Lifting:
My favorite part of CrossFit by far. I really enjoy lifting weights and take great pride in lifting more weight than others. (I know this sounds prideful and wrong, but we are all a little bit competitive.) Things we work on here are deadlifts, bench press, cleans, push press, squats, etc.

This is probably the most challenging part of CrossFit. Its a combination of gymnastics and weight lifting and its done for time. Sometimes its also involves jump rope, rowing on the machine, and/or running. A lot of these workouts are given girls' names. Some of the most popular are Fran, Isabel, and Linda.

Here are some of my beginning stats:
Fran: 21-15-9 (number of reps per set) of Thursters and then Pull-ups. I did this with 45# weights and jumping pullups in 7:25.
Linda: 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Cleans. I did this in 42:49 with 145# deadlifts, 85# cleans and 75# bench press.

Stay tuned for more information on CrossFit and my progress over the next few weeks. I'm really excited about getting stronger and faster!

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Challenge

I'm starting my Primal/Paleo dietary change tomorrow. Week one is focusing on dinners. I've got 10 meals prepared and ready to go in the crockpot for dinner each night. While I'm starting with dinners, I'm not going to completely ignore the other meals. I do mostly eggs for breakfast and we just got a Bountiful Basket yesterday with tons of fresh fruit and veggies, so I'm sure I will be eating those as well.

I'm also going to wean myself off my coffee creamer and maybe even coffee? Gasp! I'm hoping to learn to like it with just a touch of milk or even black. But if not, out it goes. My family is doing this with me. The kids don't really mind new things on the table and husband is curious to see how this goes.

I'm also giving up alcohol for the month. Not such a big deal to most, I know. But I do enjoy a nice cold beer or a Kahlua and milk dessert. I've found, however, when I stopped drinking soda in February, that it was easier just to stop completely. To break the habit and then occasionally worked.

I'm moving into my second 4 weeks of my Busy Mom Gets Fit weight training and I've really enjoyed this program. I love recording the weights I use and then seeing how I progress each time I go to the gym. For the second four weeks, I repeat the first weeks but do 3 sets of 10 reps with a heavier weight. I'm hoping to bench press 135# by the end of this 12 week program, and squat 220#.

You'll notice there is no mileage challenge for April. While I still enjoy running, its not my main focus right now. There aren't many races here until almost September, mostly due to the heat of the summer, so I'm going to start training again when school starts here, in early August. In the meantime, I'm running here and there, enough to stay ready to train again, but not so much were it becomes a chore. I've schedule a 4.01k (2.5 mile) race in April and a 5k in June.

So, ready or not, here I go. Stay tuned for updates!

Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Patrick's Day Virtual Race

St. Patrick's Day Virtual Race through this Virtual Race Series, is the next race in my quest for 13 in 2013.

I decided on 5 miles and I set out for a run on St. Patrick's Day morning. I picked a decent route, with a few uphills so I can keep challenging myself. I did not, however, anticipate how sore my legs were going to be after weight lifting on Friday.

I lasted 4.7 miles and it took me about 65 minutes. An absolute terrible pace, but there it was. Obviously I need to continue running throughout the week and pay more attention to when I schedule legs days in the gym. Aiming for 10-15 miles per week for the rest of March and April, so I need to figure out the right balance.

This race makes #5 in my quest, so I am over a third of the way there. Next race is a short 4.01k (2.5 miles) in mid-April.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

13 Races in 2013

I stumbled across this Challenge and thought it would be fun. 13 races of any distance or type in 2013. Its mid-March and I'm at 4 already, so I figured this is doable. Plus, I'll get a cool medal, and its really all about the medals.

So, quick recap:
Jan - Ice Breaker 10k
Feb - Sentinel Chase 8k
Mar - Phoenix Half-Marathon and Run to Remember 5k

May - National Kidney Walk (well, I'm going to run)
October - Bisbee 1000
December - Tucson Half-Marathon

If you know of any other cool races or virtual races that benefit a good cause, please let me know!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Amazing Asparagus

No, its not a Veggie Tales movie title. Its the fantastic dish I made yesterday for lunch. I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest (shocking) and adapted it to the veggies I had in the fridge.

I just trimmed the ends off the asparagus, grouped them in fours and then wrapped each group with two pieces of bacon. Then I baked it at 375 for about 20 minutes or so. Depends on the done-ness level you want your bacon.

I sampled this plate. Then went back for two more stalk-groups. I devoured the leftovers for lunch today. I added aspsargus to the shopping list so I can continue to eat this delicious dish.

The original pinterest recipe had green beans. Cooked at 375 for 1 hour. That could be yummy, too!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

February Running Recap

Here are a few stats from February.

Total miles: 56
Weekly Mileage breakdown: 14, 20, 17, 7
Fastest run: 8k in 57 minutes
Longest run: 11.5 in 2:40:00

And, most important, the sticker chart. 14 of the 28 days were running days. The last week was pretty pathetic, but it was a taper week.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Race Report: 9th Annual Run to Remember

Sunday morning, Robin and I ran a 5k run supporting Families of Fallen Law Enforcement Officials in Arizona. It was a very well organized and conducted run. We ran around the capitol building and other government buildings in Phoenix and it was so interesting to see everything green! Apparently, Phoenix spends some money on irrigation to make the city look less desert-y.

My legs were very, very, very tired and this was by far not my best run, but it was fun. It was fun to see all the people, there were several kids running, and older people walking. They had two water stations, and let me tell you, the hour and half difference in start times was obvious to me. This race started at 8 and it was already warmer than most of the half-marathon the previous day!

After the race we grabbed donuts (I know, a cop race with donuts at the end....) and then headed back home. I wish we had taken a picture, but I didn't think about it until we were home. If I run the Phoenix half next year, we will definitely do this race again.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Race Report: Phoenix Half-Marathon

First things first, I DID IT!

Ok, now that we have gotten that point across, let's talk about the race. Packet pickup was fun and easy. It was held in a parking lot outside a RoadRunner's store, and was fun. Not too crowded. Picked up my bib, confirmed I did not have to ride the 5:15 am bus, and then walked into the store, crossing over a chip tester strip. Then I received my shirt, a nice Nike DriFit sized for women. We did a little window shopping and then headed to the hotel.

The alarm went off at 5:15 and we were out the door by 5:45, on our way to the starting area. I checked my bag, struggled with a safety pin and then posed for a picture. I was so glad I opted for the tall socks and makeshift arm warmers. It was 55 at the start, but still kind of cool.

And, we were off! I started out slow, knowing I would need to pace myself, but also wanting to hit that magic number of under 3 hours. I crossed the starting line about 4 minutes into the timer, so I knew not to get discouraged if I crossed the finish line a little after 3:00:00. The first few miles flew by. I felt great, felt fast, was moving well. I stopped at mile 4 for a quick pit stop and then kept on going. I met up with a new friend about mile 5/6 and we stuck together until the last 1/2 mile or so. We were stopped by police officers trying to clear up traffic for about 2 minutes and I was a bit discouraged, but understood why they were doing it.

The lead marathon runners passed us at mile 8.5 on pace for a sub 3 hour marathon. Starting at mile 8, there were aid stations every mile. They had water, Powerade, cliff blocks, sometimes fruit and jolly ranchers. I only took water throughout the race, but I took water at each aid station. I had my own Gatorade chews for the times I needed a little more.

Just before mile 13, when I could see the finish, I wished my friend good luck and took off. I sprinted (in my mind, at least) in to the finish line, passing 4 or 5 people along the way. The clock read 3:01:00 and I knew I did it. Robin was waiting for me at then end with some awesome signs. She also met me along the way, it was so nice to have a friendly face there. I enjoyed the recovery area, had some Rocket Refuel chocolate milk and bought myself a 13.1 treat.

Overall the race was easier than I expected. I never really hit "the wall." I never once doubted that I could do it. Obviously, the training paid off and I am stronger than I thought. I will be doing another one, and working to improve my time!

After my shower, I applied some dragon ice recovery balm to my calves and fell asleep. We celebrated that night with some Olive Garden! And went to bed early for, yet another race, the next morning.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March Madness

On March 2nd, I will run my first half-marathon (13.1) miles and be able to cross a goal off my list. On March 3rd, I will run a 5k with my friend Robin to honor Fallen Arizona Law Enforcement Officials. After that, I plan to scale back my running a bit. I want to focus on weight training and reducing body fat. I've made a lot of progress on losing weight and shaping my body to be more healthy. I'm going to take the next 12 weeks and focus on that, instead of mileage.

Don't get me wrong, I still plan to run, at least 3 times a week, averaging 10-15 mile weeks for the next 12 weeks. But my focus will be on weight training and eating healthy. I purchased a 3-day a week program from Busy Mom Gets Fit. She's a mom of 4 boys and an army wife, and in incredible shape. She designed this program for 30-45 minutes, 3 days a week of strength training at the gym.

Eating healthy is not a huge problem for me, I'm slowly getting all the areas of my diet to line up. I eliminated soda in February. I increased my water intake and am slowly taking all other beverages out of my diet. With my fascination with freezer cooking, we eat healthy meals much more often. I just need to keep on doing it. My awesome Running Mom friends and I are embarking on a Go Green March Challenge. We will add one serving of something green (veggies or fruit) each week in March. Week 1, add one serving; Week 2 add two servings, etc. Hopefully green food becomes the staple for snacks, and not snacky food.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are in the gym. Tuesday and Thursday will be speed work/shorter runs. And Saturday or Sunday will be my longer run, 6-8 miles probably. I want to really work on my speed so I can improve my race times. I also want to be ready to run a 10k at any point, and to jump back into half-marathon training whenever I'm ready.

I think all the pieces together will really help me get to where I want to be by June. Oh, and to add to my daily schedule, I'm going to work on this challenge as well. I'm skipping the 2nd though, and I don't feel bad about that at all.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Garlic Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes

This was on my Once a Month Mom schedule for February and we've eaten it twice in two weeks and devoured it. Its amazing, so I wanted to share.

Garlic Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes
Author/Source: Get Crocked, adapted by me.

Makes 8 servings.

1tsp olive oil
About 3 pounds of pork, I used pork chops, you could use a roast
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 medium onion, sliced into thin rings
5 tsps garlic, minced
1/4 tsp poultry seasoning (?? I skipped this)
1/4 cup apple juice or white wine (I used apple juice)
3 1/4 cup sweet potatoes, cubed (about one large one)
1 cup chicken broth

Divide the ingredients into two freezer bags. Freeze/Thaw. Cook on low in crockpot for 7-8 hours.

I served it tonight with CousCous (husband) and Macaroni & Cheese (kids). It was a hit, again. I need to double it next time so we have enough for leftovers.

Race Report: Sentinel 8k Run

I just love going into a race knowing I am going to PR. Of course, it helps when I am running a brand new distance! Today I ran the Sentinel Chase 8k on Fort Huachuca. An 8k race is just shy of 5 miles. My goal was to do it under 1 hour, I was SO CLOSE! My Nike+ watch said I crossed the line at 1:00:55, the clock at the finish line said an even 1:01:00. I'm still awaiting chip times, but even so, I'm very pleased with this race.

While the logistics of the race were a bit frazzled (it was the first time this group had done this race) the course was great. It was something I was very comfortable with, as I've run pretty much every road on this installation this year.

Mile Splits:
Mile 1: 10:30
Mile 2: 12:22 (a few walk breaks, mile 2 is always the hardest)
Mile 3: 12:18
Mile 4: 11:59
Mile 5: 11:51

The average pace was 11:43, which is significantly faster than my last race. I'm well on my way to hit my sub 3hour goal at my half-marathon next week.

As I get pictures I will add them here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cooking for the Month, Lasanga Soup

Since this got a lot of comments on my Facebook page, here is the Recipe.

Lasagna Soup
Adapted from A Farm Girl's Dabble, taken from Once a Month Mom (and some revisions from me)
Serves 8

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean Italian Sausage, chopped into 1-inch sections (I just used ground sausage)
  • 3 cups onions, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups carrots, finely chopped (I omitted these entirely)
  • 2 cans (28 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
Cheese Mixture
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 8 oz part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 2 cups part-skim mozzarella  cheese, shredded
Pasta - 8 ounces crushed lasagna pasta (for serving day)

Directions (if you are serving right away, then don't freeze....)
Mix the cheeses together, separate into two sandwich bags, freeze flat, (with minimal air inside them).
Heat oil in large pot over medium heat, brown sausage  then add onions until they are softened. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for one minute. Mix in tomato paste, for a few more minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce for 30 minutes on simmer. 

Then, when it cools, I divide it into 2 gallon sized freezer bags and then freeze it. And, right now, I think it tastes so good, I may not even add the pasta!

Nutritional Facts: Calories 282, Total Fat 15g, Sat Fat 6.6g, Total  Carbs 15.1g, Fiber 2.4g, Protein 21,9g, Weight Watchers Points: 7

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cooking for the Month, Step One

This morning, Abigail and I went shopping for our month of food. The best part about Once a Month Mom, is the detailed shopping list. It comes in an Excel spreadsheet (can't you hear my yelling yay! all the way over there?) and you can alter the recipes by the number of servings. I cook for 4. This gives us at least one leftover portion for lunch.

The list is broken down by section of the store, produce, meats, grains, canned, etc. And it gives you the amount you need. Luckily, I have a math brain because the list says things like .67 cups of spinach. I know this is 2/3 cup, but some of you may have to utilize the handy conversion chart.

After pouring through my cupboards  meat stash in the freezer, and my coupons, I pared down my list and was ready to shop. Abigail was my shopping partner today and she asked to bring a snack and Fancy Nancy, her newest book obsession. The commissary was pretty empty, I went about 15 minutes after they opened, on the first day after payday weekend. It was heavenly. We only backtracked once because I had some issues finding beans. We had an interesting discussion about baked beans, which Abigail asked that I buy so she can have them with chicken nuggets and broccoli. I obliged, because she's never asked for broccoli before. An hour in the store, just under $100 (thanks coupons!) and I had everything I needed for these meals. There are 15, by the way, and most of them make enough for two meals. A few are snacky/lunch type foods and 3 are breakfasts. I plan to utilize one of the breakfasts for dinner, though.

I unpacked, cleaned the kitchen, fed Abi and put her down for a nap. Then I turned on my latest Audiobook (Gone Girl - its fantastic!) and got to work. I found the Chopping List to be distracting, and not entirely helpful. I think I prefer to go through recipe by recipe and complete one at each time. This process is different from my crockpot meals, because some of them need to be cooked partially or fully before frozen. This takes longer, but I'm ok with that because variety is good.

I started with Spinach Mac and Cheese cups, baked in a muffin tin, that flash frozen, and stored in plastic bags to accompany soup or sandwiches. I cooked the whole box of pasta for another easy meal later on, and froze the rest of that.

Then I moved onto the easy assembly meals.

  • Garlic Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes
  • Chicken Provencal with White Beans
  • Tuna Stuffed Bell Peppers (which are frozen in an aluminum 8x8 pan with a top. This is new for me.
Then I made the Pasta e Fagioli Soup. This was much more time intensive, a lot of chopping and about 30 minutes of time on the stove. But, once it cools and I divide it out, I will have another 2 meals. 

Tomorrow I will tackle the rest, I already have some of the meat defrosting that needs to be cooked, and tonight I will cook up some bacon that is needed for a casserole dish. But, for today, I'm enjoying my afternoon coffee, making a game plan for efficiency in tomorrow's kitchen and trying to decide what we are eating tonight. Happy Cooking!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Freezer Cooking, Once a Month

A friend of mine received a membership to Once a Month Mom, a wonderful website where they give you recipes, shopping lists, printable labels, and directions for your food for the month. I'm always looking for new freezer recipes, so I took a look at the website, and last night, at the shopping lists and recipes she had printed out. I was hooked. This site does it all for you. They have multiple options for meals, gluten free, paleo, diet, traditional, whole foods, and even do a baby food menu. All the recipes are free, the membership gets you the extras. The shopping list that you can alter based on how many people you are cooking for, the recipe cards so you can make it easy on cooking day. For $8 a month or $72 a year, (and you pay via paypal for immediate satisfaction and access to all the good stuff) they do all the preparation for you. That's about an hour of your time (I'm using the average minimum wage here) and you would spend MUCH more time gathering recipes, preparing the amounts you need to buy, etc. This is well worth it.

I'm cooking this week for the next month. Lucky for me, we hit Costco last month and are well stocked on meats. So I think I have to buy maybe one pound of sausage for this month's worth of meals. Ok, I can handle that. I'm now scouring through my pantry and cabinets to determine what I actually need to buy. I love knowing that I have things, it cuts the price way down. Oh, did I mention the Google Docs Spreadsheet they give you for shopping has places you can include the cost, so you get an accurate idea of how much you are spending on food? Yeah, its pretty awesome.

Abigail and I will go shopping on Tuesday, and then I will cook a few meals as we go through the rest of the week. Then my freezer will be full again, and we'll be set for another month. Stay tuned for all the recipes I'm making and how much this endeavor actually cost me.

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Project - Purchases

I'm so excited that I have gotten so much work done on this section that its time to purchase some items to make it easier to maintain.

From this wonderful website, I ordered these two items.

The black, flat, mail in/out tray will be perfect for sorting mail and our paperwork that needs to go somewhere. And the charging station is just perfection. It can charge a tablet, a laptop, and 3 smaller devices (our two phones and the ipod) without the ugly cords and they will all be in one place.

Halfway through the budget and almost halfway through the month. Even better, I think I'm more than halfway done with this project! All that is left is filing the stack of papers I've decided are important enough to keep.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

52 Week Money Plan - Week 7

Remember this? We started 2013 with an envelope, a list and $1. Well, we are now starting week 7, so you should have $28 in that account, or envelope. 

If you did it in reverse, you should have $343. 

How are you doing? Have you forgotten? Do you know what you're going to do with this money? Is it in a savings account somewhere or in cash?

(This is your friendly reminder to keep saving!)

Monday, February 4, 2013

More Freezer Cooking

I've really embraced this Freezer Cooking and I'm so glad that I have! We are eating out less and eating healthier in general. I wanted to take the time to share some new recipes with you.

Lemon Pork Chops
4 boneless pork chops
24 oz tomato sauce
1 onion, quartered and sliced
1 green pepper, cut into strips
1T lemon-pepper seasoning (I use Mrs. Dash)
1T Worcestershire Sauce
1-2 Lemons (halved)

Put everything in the crockpot (or freezer bag and then crockpot) and cook on low for 8 hours. It is recommended to serve with rice or couscous, but I just steamed some broccoli and mixed it all together. It was awesome, and the reserve sauce would be perfect on some (veggie) spaghetti.

1.5 pounds ground beef
2 large onions
1 3/4 cup stock
8oz salsa
1 T tomato paste
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1/2 c raisins

Cook the onions and ground beef and then add everything else to the bag. Freeze. Thaw and cook for 7-8 hours on low. Serve with rice, pasta, or tortillas. (I split the recipe into two bags.)

Brown Sugar Chicken
6 chicken breasts
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda
2/3 cup vinegar
3 cloves of garlic, smashed and chopped
2T soy sauce
1t pepper

Cook on low for 6-9 hours or high for 4-5. The chicken falls apart in the crockpot. So yummy!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

February Project: Step One

So, I decided to tackle the project by dealing with what is currently in the "home office area." Then, as I get that organized, set up the way I like, I can add the rest of the stuff (ie, paperwork, office supplies, computer wires) to an already organized area.

I'm starting with the baskets/bags/boxes of stuff underneath. As I find paperwork, I am putting it either in the plastic bin I am using as file cabinet OR directly into the shredder. This should truly make life easier. At least, I hope.

After the bottom half is done, I am moving to the mounds of paperwork on top of the printer. Same concept, in the box to be filed or shredded. And, I already have a cup for pens, a few baskets for envelopes, stamps, etc.

This blogger, highly suggests a Home Mail System Organizer. Awesome! I have one! It has enough slots for:

  • bills to be paid/checks to be cashed
  • outgoing mail 
  • And a "to be dealt with later" section
  • And, it has a spot for our keys, which is key

Now, I fully plan on color-coordinating and organizing our file system, but right now, I'm focused on getting it all in one place and off of the desk.

And, look at all this open wall space! I have tons of room to add shelving, wire baskets, etc to make things more functional. I have some idea of things I want to purchase, but I'm going to try to reuse as many things in my house as possible, so I can come in under budget.