Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Reading Report

My 2013 Reading Goal increased from 50 books to 75 books with a sub-goal of 12 non-fiction books. Here is what January held for me:

  • The Amish Nanny by Mindy Starns Clark
  • The Amish Bride by Mindy Starns Clark
  • Letters from Home by Kristina McMorris
  • Private London by James Patterson
  • Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell
  • All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell
  • Cruel and Unusual by Patricia Cornwell
  • Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal (audio)
  • No More Christian Nice Girl by Paul Coughlin
  • The Body Farm by Patricia Cornwell
  • From Potter's Farm by Patricia Cornwell
  • Cause of Death by Patricia Cornwell

So, in January, I read 12 books and fulfilled my goal of one non-fiction book, No More Christian Nice Girl, so I am % ahead of my 2013 goal. 

My favorite from this month? Oh, so hard to decide.... Its probably tied between Private, London and The Body Farm

Please, send me your suggestions, and consider following me on

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Another Week of Running

Today I finished Week 4 of Half-Marathon Training. The farthest I have ever run, and the most consistent I have every been in a training program. Let's recap this week:

Sunday - 2.5 mile recovery walk/run
Tuesday - 2.2 mile run and .3 mile hill walk
Wednesday - "Loredo" cross-fit workout (Sprint 1/4 mile, 24 squats, 12 push-ups, and arm workout x 4) - so 1 mile ran
Friday - 3.2 mile run
Saturday - 7 miles (5 miles on the treadmill, 2 outside)

Phew! That is a 16.2 mile week. :)

After tomorrow's short recovery run/walk, I start back into a challenging mix of maintaining my running schedule while working this week AND sending husband back to work. Since I work Tuesday-Thursday, I find myself doing my 3 mile runs on Monday and Friday. Then, on Wednesday (after work, after dinner, after flag football, baths, and bed for the kids) I will head to the gym and crank out some miles on the treadmill. I'm really not sure how many I will do. At least 3, put I'm aiming for 5. Today I did 5 in an hour, and I was not bored or overly exhausted. I figure I'll give it another shot on Wednesday and up my miles for the week before hitting a long run of 8 miles on Saturday.

Next week's long run on Saturday marks the official 4 week countdown to my race, which is on March 2nd. I'll run 8 miles, then 10 miles, then 11 miles, then taper with a local 8k (5 mile) race the Saturday before my race. Shockingly, I'm getting faster. Today, mile one (warm-up mile) was right about 12:50 pace (not bad  considering there was 5 minutes of walking built into that first mile). Miles 2 and 3 were at 12:10, and 12:07. Then miles 4 and 5 were both at the 11:30 mark. I need to work on pacing myself outside but now that I know I can run faster, I'm going to do it for sure! My goal of finishing all 13.1 miles of my half-marathon under 3 hours seems very doable. In fact, I'm going to go out on a limb and say I'd really LOVE to finish in 2:30 or under. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Icebreaker 10k Race Report

First of all, I am so, so, very glad that it was above freezing when we started this race this morning. 41 degrees and clear. We set out on turf, then a bit of gravel, then up a slight hill and onto the road. I felt confident and happy in my training, and more prepared for this race than any before it. I had no nervousness, I had a good night's sleep, some coffee, and some food in my belly. And, most importantly, I was decked out in awesome running gear!

Mile 1 (12:18): Had a slight uphill but was pretty normal, I'd run that section before and it was fine. The group thinned out during that first mile.
Mile 2 (12:36): Felt great, again a mostly familiar area, with some fantastic motivational signs on the light poles. This is part of the normal army running route, so the signs were "Honor, Duty, Integrity, Loyalty, Respect, etc." They boosted my morale, and I knew I'd be doubling back this way for the tail end of the race and they'd really come in handy.
Mile 3 (13:59): Horrible Heritage Hill. Right before this hill is a little dip, where the temperature dropped significantly for a few minutes. Then its up a long, steep hill. I initially attacked it Jennifer style, measuring out my run/walk ratio by the light poles. Then, after the initial climb, I turned to walking quickly up the last, slow incline. I knew, however, that after this hill, the race was in the bag.
Mile 4 (12:04): This felt fantastic. I was running a straight road, with a slight decline and it felt awesome. The sun was out, I was warm but not too hot.
Mile 5 (12:02): This was even better than mile 4. I cannot believe this was my pace for the 5th mile. I'm still amazed at this. I was heading past those awesome signs, all on my own on the open road and it felt great. I need to make every mile like this.
Mile 6 (12:25): The end of the race felt great. I was running an extremely familiar route, knowing exactly where I needed to pick it up and power through to the end. As soon as I turned the last corner, I could hear the loudspeaker from the finish line announcing another runner was coming in. People cheered for me by name, I turned on the speed as I passed the last soldier watching traffic on the road and sprinted into the finish. As soon as I saw the clock, I was incredibly pleased.

My goal for this race was a) to finish and b) to finish under 90 minutes. My 2013 goal for the 10k is to finish under 75 minutes. I felt awesome finishing in 1:21:21. With a 12:27 pace, I feel that I can surpass the 75 minute goal by the time the year is done. I also feel very strong going into the longer part of my half-marathon training. At the finish line, they had sign up sheets for the next installation race, which is on 23 February and is an 8k. Its the week before my half, and I feel that may be a good taper.... Plus I want to run all the races on base this year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

52 Week Money Challenge

Here's the deal, each week of the year you put that number of dollars into an envelope. Week 1, $1. Week 20, $20. At the end you'll have $1,378.00. Not too shabby, huh? I see how its super easy at the beginning and could become more of a strain at the end, especially towards the holidays, but as your envelope grows fatter, you will want to keep adding to it, I promise.

Here's the chart. I'm doing cash and keeping it in an envelope, but friends of mine are doing it as a savings account, and therefore need more to open the account. (And will have more at the end.)

Now, to dream of all the things I can do with this extra money......

Friday, January 11, 2013

January Workout Goals

I've posted about long-term goals for my physical life this year, now its time to focus on my short-term goals.

1. Half-Marathon on March 2nd

Really, everything I am doing the next two months revolve around this goal. It is a huge goal, once I have worked towards before and one I will achieve this year.

My January workout plan has me doing 3 things pretty much every day. I'm scheduled to run 64 miles, including one 10k (6.2 mile) race on January 19th.  I'm also participating in a plank challenge, which has me doing planks ranging from 1 minute to 4 minutes by the end of the month. The third thing I'm working on is push-ups. Real push-ups. Off of my knees. I'm doing a challenge that has me starting at 5 push-ups and working up to 40.

When this is all said and done, I think I'll be right on track for my short-term goal. February will consist of more running with my long runs building up to 10-11 miles before the race. I'm not sure of my February strength/core goals yet, but that will be decided soon enough.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Just Do it, Don't Think About it

Sometimes, you just want to workout without having to go to the gym, or put in a video, or think about it. I'm compiling some cross-fit workouts to do when we just want to sweat and don't want to think. I think I'll done or two over the next few weeks, probably on working days, where I just need to get something done, but don't have a lot of time.

24 squats
24 pushups
24 walking lunge steps
Run 400 meters (1/4 mile)
Repeat 6 times

Run 800 meters
50 Back Extensions
50 Sit ups
Repeat 3 times

Tabata This
Tabata Row
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Squat
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Pull-up
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Push-up
Rest 1 minute
Tabata Sit-up

The Tabata interval is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest for 8 intervals. So you would do a complete Tabata interval of Rows and then 60 second rest.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Financial Goal

Money is one of those odd things everyone wants to know about, but no one wants to talk about. In the hopes of encouraging others to save and spend wisely, I'm going to delve into my financial theories and goals for 2013.

We are not big earners, but we are not big spenders. I feel as though we are pretty average in the American world. Husband's income is public knowledge, as you can find it on the internet, and for the past 6 years, we've lived very comfortably and happily on just his income. We've traveled Europe, had two kids, owned a few cars, and kept a savings account with a comma in it. But now that we are more established in life, we'd like to have a bit more financial stability and prepare for the future.

We were very lucky to start our marriage with no debt. Husband had a car loan, which was away ahead of schedule and I had no debt, but some a few thousand in savings to our name. Our first year was tight, as it should be, and we got by just fine, keeping about $1,000 in savings at all times. Luckily for us, tax time is a good time, and with deployments, we always seem to get some back.

After three years in Europe and two kids, we had some financial and culture shock coming back to the states and settling in, very expensive, Maryland. Thanks to some creative financial planning, we made it through those two years and were able to start 2013 in a great place.

My goals for 2013 in the financial realm are as follows:

1. Pay off the Ford.
2. Get our emergency savings account up to $5,000.
3. Continue to save for our 10 year anniversary.
4. Increase 529 Contribution from $25 to $50 monthly.
5. Save for family vacation fund, have $2,500.
6. Keep our general savings at $1,000.

Can't wait to check these items off of my list as the year goes by.

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Week of Soups

This is my last week as a full-time stay at home mom. I've got 20+ meals in the freezer ready to go. But I want to cook still. So, I'm making a week of soups. I'm making double batches and freezing them. It will be heavenly.

Monday: Baked Potato Soup
Throw 6 large, peeled, diced potatoes in the crockpot with 1 quart of broth, 4 tablespoons butter, 3 cloves of garlic, and a diced onion, or onion powder. Cook on low for 8 hours, blend it up, add in bacon bits, cheese, sour cream, chives, etc.

Tuesday: One husband goes to the store, I will make Guiness and Onion Soup, since I have lots of onions left over from my cooking for the month this weekend. I made this one on the stove, but it will be reheated in the crockpot.

Wednesday: Sweet Potato Soup

Made it on the stove top and then split it into two ziploc bags for easing freezing and reheating later on. I doubled the recipe, since it serves 4.

Over medium-low heat cook 1T flour and 1T butter and make a roux. Then add 1 1/2 cup broth and 1 T brown sugar. Bring to a boil and then lower to simmer. Stir in 1 1/2 cup cooked sweet potatoes, bring to a simmer again and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/4t ginger, 1/8 t nutmeg, and 1/8 t cinnamon and then puree soup using immersion blender (my new toy!) or a regular blender. Then add 1 cup milk, stir and serve.

Thursday: Butternut Squash Soup

Would you believe I made an extra trip to the store just for butternut squash? I did. (Hangs head in shame.) That is two trips in two days. But I really wanted this soup in my freezer. I've made it before and its so wonderful. I roasted the squash in the oven, then peeled and cubed it. Now its in my freezer so I can simply dump it into the crockpot and enjoy sometime this month when I want soup.

Friday: Taco Soup
An old stand-by in this house, courtesy of my friend Kate, the first time we lived in Arizona. This soup is perfect for the spicy palates and the toddlers in the house. Its super easy to make (open cans and dump into crockpot) and it reheats perfectly. I've had leftovers every time except once, when I had 5 extra adults in the house, so I'm confident that we will have plenty left over to freeze for lunches.

In crockpot, put one diced onion, 16 oz can of chili beans, 15 oz can of black beans, 15 oz can of corn (or fresh/frozen), 8 oz can of tomato sauce, 1 packet of taco seasoning, 12 oz of beer (we use a pale ale or lager) and 2 cans of rotel diced tomatoes with chilis  Place 3 to 4 chicken breasts on top and then push them down under the liquid. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, then shred the chicken and return it to the pot. Garnish with sour cream, cheese, and tortilla chips.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Running Goal

In 2012 I ran 283 miles, I fought off a stress fracture that thwarted my first half-marathon plan. I trained for a 10k and was tripped up (literally) by a piece of trash and sprained my ankle. I ran a 5k in a personal best of 38:09, almost 2 minutes better than my first race of the year.

2013 Goals:
500 miles for the year
5k in under 35 minutes
10k in under 70 minutes
13.1 miles in under 3 hours

Tentative Race Schedule:

19 January - Ice Breaker 10k, Ft Huachuca, AZ
10 February - Fine Valentine's Couple Relay, Tucson, AZ - with my wonderful husband! 
2 March - Phoenix Half-Marathon
24 March - Arizona Distance Classic, Quarter Marathon, Oro Valley, AZ
May/June - RMM Meetup 
20-21 September - Napa Valley Ragnar Relay - - MAYBE?
Thanksgiving Turkey Trot - destination TBD, wherever we are at that time!
December 2013 - Tucson Half Marathon

How I'm going to reach my goals:
Well, I'm part of a fantastic running group, the Running Mom Mafia, and we support each other in various ways. In January, we are doing a pushup and plank challenge to strengthen our bodies in ways other than running. I imagine we will continue to find challenges like these throughout the year. 

Another group I'm in, is a group of runners from Ft Meade, our last duty station. They also do challenges, mostly mileage challenges, and I'm still participating in those. The first challenge there, is Plow Through the Season and runs from Jan 2 to March 20, and it is to run 10 miles a week, every week, for 11 weeks. That will put us at 110 miles, which is right on track for my 500 mile yearly goal. (Obviously I will surpass this goal, with running a half marathon in March, but that is ok!) This group has a year long challenge that will compile all our smaller challenges and that is to run 1000 miles in 2013. I'm really not sure I will hit that goal, but I will continue to join in each of the challenges and see where we go.

My year-long training plan looks something like this:

Jan & Feb - half marathon training: 2-3 runs per week, one long run on the weekend; RMM pushup and plank challenge; annihilation (a class at the gym) whenever possible

Mar & Apr - run half marathon, quarter marathon and then 2 mid-week runs and a 6 mile long run; continue weight training

May - Sept - maintain 5-6 mile long runs, triathlon training (cycling and swimming); continue weight training

Oct & Nov - half marathon training

Dec - run half marathon, and then maintain 5-6 mile long runs

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 - Reading Goal

In 2012 I set out to read 50 books. I had done this in 2010, when I first got my kindle, was on bed rest with Abigail and thought I had more time to read. This year I wasn't sure I would make it, but I surpassed my goal in early December. I am reading the last book of Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes series and have decided I will conquer books a different way in 2013.

In 2013 I intend to read the complete Kay Scarpetta series by Patricia Cornwell. In fact, I already started and completed Book 1 last week. So that gives me 19 books. There are also a few other Cornwell series, a series by murder mystery author Karin Slaughter, and I need to stay current on my James Patterson releases.

I'd also like to read more non-fiction. I plan to read one non-fiction book a month this year. So between Cornwell and my non-fiction books, I'll be halfway to 50 books for 2013.

I am starting a book club here at Fort Huachuca, modelling it after my beloved book club at Fort Meade. We will read whatever we like, get together over snacks and share reviews and swap titles. I can't wait for our first meeting in January. I keep my reading lists up-to-date on if you'd like to follow.

Total books read in 2012: 56!

Complete List:

#1 - Spying in High Heels by Gemma Halliday (High Heels Mysteries Series #1)
#2 - Killer in High Heels by Gemma Halliday (High Heels Mysteries Series #2)
#3 - Frequent Traveler by Pandora Poikilos
#4 - Officer Down by by David DeLee
#5 - Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
#6 - Through Smoke by JR Tate
#7 - Babies in the Bargain by Mona Risk
#8 - The Red Tent by Anita Diament
#9 - Toys by James Patterson
#10 - The Spinster Sisters by Stacey Ballis
#11 - Ivy and Bean, Book One
#12 - True Devotion by Dee Henderson
#13 - For His Eyes Only by TC Archer
#14 - A Week at the Beach by Virginia Jewel
#15 - Blue Skies Tomorrw by Sarah Sundin
#16 - Private #1 Suspect by James Patterson
#17 - The Merlot Murders by Ellen Crosby
#18 - The Chardonnay Charade by Ellen Crosby
#19 - The Bordeaux Betrayal by Ellen Crosby
#20 - The Reisling Retribution by Ellen Crosby
#21 - The Viognier Vendetta by Ellen Crosby
#22 - Private Games by James Patterson
#23 - The Sauvignon Secret by Ellen Crosby (I think this is the last one, and I'm bummed.)
#24 - A Painted House by John Grisham
#25 - Calico Joe by John Grisham
#26 - Guilty Wives by James Patterson
#27 - From Ashes to Honor by Loree Lough
#28 - Rest in Pizza by Chris Cavender
#29 - In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
#30 - Off the Menu by Stacey Ballis
#31 - 11th Hour by James Patterson
#32 - Oceans Apart by Karen Kingsbury
#33 - Kill me if you can by James Patterson
#34 - The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (didn't exactly finish, but I gave it a good try)
#35 - Confessions of a Counterfeitt Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale
#36 - Jackdaws by Ken Follett
#37 - Zoo by James Patterson
#38 - Hostage in Havana by Noel Hynd
#39 - Ford County by John Grisham
#40 - Don't Blink by James Patterson
#41 - Murder in Miami by Noel Hynd
#42 - Blueberries with Sal by Robery McClousky
#43 - Emergency: Wife Lost and Found by Carol Marinelli
#44 - Murder at the Library of Congress by Margaret Truman
#45 - Murder at Ford's Theater by Margaret Truman
#46 - NYPD Red by James Patterson
#47 - Murder at the Opera by Margaret Truman
#48 - Murder at Union Station by Margaret Truman
#49 - Murder on K Street by Margaret Truman
#50 - Sorority Sisters by Claudia Welch
#51 - Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell
#52 - Murder inside the Beltway by Margaret Truman
#53 - Murder at the Washington Tribune by Margaret Truman
#54 - Monument to Murder by Margaret Truman
#55 - The Amish Midwife by Mindy Starns Clark, Leslie Gould
#56 - Mr. Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal