Hello all of you beautiful people! It has been a hot-freakin-minute since I last talked to you all. Like, over 2 weeks (I think? I haven’t gone back to see the date of my last post – lazy). And that’s a long time for somebody who loves to overshare and talk about herself! Truth be told, I’ve been suffering some severe creative block. I don’t consider myself a very creative person at all BUT this blog + cooking = somewhat creative. And I just haven’t had the energy or creative juices flowing to get this show on the road! So, I’m sorry for that my friends. I know you’ve missed me.
Today we’re gonna talk a little bit about the marathon and then a little bit of What’s Next? for me now that the marathon is over. Ready to dive in? Let’s get into my Life Lately.
If you’ve been out of the loop or if you’ve just been a bad friend (you know who you are), I ran the Chicago Marathon on October 8. Well, I didn’t run the whole thing because I didn’t finish. I got injured towards the halfway point and ended up dropping the race around mile 16 L It’s been disappointing, for sure, because I trained for months and for what? It sucks.
HOWEVER – I definitely plan on running the 2018 race… assuming I get in through the lottery! I had so much fun in the week leading up to the race + race day itself (minus the injury) that I realized I need to give it another go. And I am. Hurray! Well, assuming I get in through the lottery. If I don’t… I may give fundraising another go but I will likely just find another big-city marathon to enter. So, that’s on the agenda for the next year.
Hmm, what is next for me? LOTS OF THINGS. Let’s break it up by department, shall we?
- Food: I have so many fun recipes planned! I’ll be testing them throughout the next few weeks and sharing them as I go along. Breakfast? Check. Dessert? Duh. Holiday recipes? Of course. I’ve even got a vegan recipe lined up. Say whaaat.
- Fitness: Since the marathon is over, I have more time for other fitness thangz! I’m going to keep up with the running (duh) but I am also getting back into lifting – finally! My long lost love. I also cannot wait to incorporate some new things like regular yoga + some Orangetheory!
- Fun: Matt & I have a really fun trip planned – my first trip to NYC – in November! Matt’s brother is running the NYC Marathon and we’re going with him to check out the city & eat all of the food. Our first thing on the agenda? Pizza. Can it compare to Chicago-style? We’ll see. And bagels. NYC bagels + deli counters. And touristy things like: Central Park, the Friends apartment, 9/11 Memorial, the Plaza (I love Gossip Girl, okay?). I’m really hoping to have a NYC Housewives Run-In, too – preferably Dorinda, Lu, or Bethenny but I’d be cool with Ramona or Carole.
And that’s what’s up with my life lately. HOW IS YOUR LIFE? What are you doing? ANYTHING FUN?!
“On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”
“It’s October 3rd.”
Happy Mean Girls day! And Happy October! With the start of a new month, I thought I’d reflect on some of my September favorites. I sometimes hate posts like these because often, at least the ones I read, they’re full of consumer/material goods and I just don’t really spend a lot of money on that sh*t.
All pumpkin everything
I got a head start on fall flavors this year with these delicious Pumpkin Spice Muffins. I also attempted to create an Apple Cider cupcake but those have yet to turn out. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated 😉 Aside from the homemade muffins, I went further into basic-territory when I bought Pumpkin Spice Granola from Trader Joe’s. And you know what? It was everything I imagined and more. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s nearby, you can order it on Amazon! What a win for everyone!
When life gives you lemons, pray they are lulu
I will 100% admit that I was a lululemon fanatic at one point in my life. Now? I’m mostly over lulu since their prices are stupid and the quality is lacking. But I got a gift card last Christmas and decided to finally use it in September. I was in dire need of some black crops that are suitable for running so I got the Final Lap Crops. And boy, oh boy, am I in love! They’re high rise and the bottoms don’t ride up my calves. They also have a ton of pockets! Which is great because I’ll need them to stuff some marathon snacks into. I have also read that lulu brought back some old favorites like the Astro Pant (now under the Throw Back Pant) and the Cool Racerback tank. Who knows if the quality is as good as the older versions but we can only hope! I may have to make a trip to my local lulu shortly 😉
New mealtime staples
September has been quite a busy month for me for reasons I don’t entirely understand. Maybe it’s the commute to/from work, working, and then having to run for 1+ hours afterwards. Maybe it’s the fact that the sun sets earlier? For whatever reason, I feel busy. And I feel tired. And the last thing I want to do when I get home from work is cook dinner so I’ve been relying a lot on 30-minute meals. Like this Korean Beef I shared not too long ago! Matt and I have it once a week for dinner and then again for lunch the next day. We love it. It’s simple, it’s fast, and it tastes oh so good. IN FACT! We’ll probably have it for dinner tonight since we’ve got a busy evening ahead of us (mine has running + catching up on some of my shows ;))
And those are my favorite things from the month of September!
Before we start, my prayers go out to everyone in and effected by the attack on Las Vegas late Sunday evening. My sister was in Orlando for a training when the Pulse shooting happened and I remember how terrified my family and I were when we didn’t hear from her right away. I cannot even fathom going to a concert, having a ton of fun, only to be running for cover and safety.
Can. You. Believe. It?! I am a week away from the Chicago Marathon. A week!! Well, actually 6 days, so not quite a week. But I have almost no training left which is awesome! And so scary. Like, do I feel ready? Not really. Am I ready? We’ll find out soon. (I think so.) I’m in my final WEEK of training which means TAPER TIME! And not a whole lot of running. Well, just not as much as the last 3.5 months. So let’s get on to my Running Recap for Week 16 & 17, shall we?
Week 16 Running Recap:
- Monday: easy 5 miles & my body hated me after my 16er the day before. I had a MASSIVE blister in the arch of my foot. Actually, it was 2 blisters. YEAH. So although I popped them before the run, my foot was still bothering me but I got over it real quick.
- Tuesday: easy 5 miles
- Wednesday: No run
- Thursday: Easy 5
- Friday: Easy 5
- Saturday: Easy 8
- Sunday: Long 10 – and with that! It’s my last double-digit run until the marathon. How-freakin-crazy is that?! Really crazy!!
Total mileage: 38 miles
Week 17 Running recap:
- Monday: No Run
- Tuesday: 5 mi
- Wednesday: No run
- Thursday: 5 mi – before the week began, I fully intended to do this run on Wednesday so I could sit on my butt all of Thursday evening for Grey’s & HTGAWM but for some reason, I decided rest day on Wednesday would be best. Well, I was VERYWRONG! It took us 2 hours to get home so I ran from ~6:30PM-7:30PM (aka DARK!)
- Friday: 5 mi
- Saturday: 6 mi
- Sunday: 5 mi
Total mileage: 26 miles
And that’s all she wrote, folks. Next week, I’ll recap my final week of training & do a separate post on the marathon itself. I am a bundle of nerves: excited for my first 26.2 and also – so, so nervous to run that far and that long.
Happy Wellness Wednesday, friends! I’ll be sharing a Running Recap instead of my usual Wellness Wednesday because life got in the way this weekend/earlier this week. IT HAPPENS. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from blogging it’s that I absolutely need to draft my posts earlier than the night before 😉
Anyway, today’s running recap is all about my peak week! Ahh! The marathon is so soon! I have 3 weeks of “training” left but really, I’m just ramping down the mileage in order to get my body (and mind!) rested for the big day.
I’m running the Chicago Marathon for Action for Healthy Kids this year. AFHK is a non-profit organization that works with low-income schools to provide healthy meals (breakfast and lunch) and equipment for physical activity. Nutrition and physical activity are so important to a child’s development so raising money for AFHK is very important to me. If you’d like to donate to my race, please follow this link. I appreciate you so much!
And now: the running recap!
As I said above, this was my peak week. I have never run so many miles in one week! It is crazy what the body can do. I’ll fully admit that I am pretty tired this week so I’m glad the mileage is decreasing the next few weeks. It’s not a lot but every little bit helps.
- Monday: easy 7
- Tuesday: easy 5
- Wednesday: rest
- Thursday: easy 5 – Was a beautiful night for running. I managed to snap a cool picture of Lake Michigan at sunset!
- Friday: easy 6
- Saturday: easy 6 – I hit the road pretty early this morning because the temperatures were going to get up to the high 70s/low 80s and sunny so I wanted to avoid all of that nonsense. The trail was full of other runners & running groups getting in their last long run before the marathon. The trail was crowded but it was cool to see!
- Sunday: 16 miles – honestly, I was feeling pretty good for a majority of this run. I headed south on the lakefront trail and was debating just going for 18 but it started to downpour just before I hit the halfway mark (at Soldier Field) so I didn’t push it any further. So, I ran around Soldier and headed home. Since it was getting darker out, Matt met me (after finishing his run) with a bottle of water to walk me home. How sweet!
Total mileage: 57 miles (including my warm-up & cool-down running – otherwise 45)
I also finally incorporated some post-run yoga! It’s not an everyday thing but… it helps! The running + sitting in a desk all day is really taking its toll on my body. I’ve just been doing some short Yoga with Adriene videos and while 8 minutes might not seem like a lot, I can really feel a difference afterwards!
And that’s all we’ve got for this week! We’ll be back to your regularly scheduled programming next week 😉 I’ve also got another fun fall recipe coming for ya!
Happy Saturday morning! I am up really early today for no reason other than I just couldn’t stay asleep. I guess that’s what happens when you go to bed before 10 PM. Related: I get about the same amount of sleep during the work week so then WHY is getting up at 5:40 so difficult?! If you have any thoughts, let me know. Anyway, yes, I’m sitting here in the dark with my Pumpkin Spice candle lit because what else I would I be doing? I mean, it’s (almost) fall right? The other day I baked Pumpkin Spice Muffins and the candle smells just as good but lingers a lot longer 🙂
The thought of eating pumpkin anything used to really weird me out. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I loved carving jack-o-lanterns, scooping out the guts, and toasting pumpkin seeds for a salty snack. But the idea of… eating… a pumpkin? Just. Weird. I never ate any type of squash or gourd growing up, let alone pumpkin! So I just never really got the hype about pumpkin spice anything. Especially those disgusting lattes. Yes, I know. I just alienated like, 90% of my reader-base (American women). Don’t care. Pumpkin spice lattes are disgusting. I’ll stick to my iced (or hot!) coffee until peppermint mochas are acceptable.
Moving on… I first tried spaghetti squash back in college and then graduated (ha) on to acorn and butternut squash. And by golly, I love those! I decided to take a leap and see what this pumpkin craze was all about. And am I glad I did! If I hadn’t been ~adventurous (ha again), I would have never made these delicious Pumpkin Spice Muffins that I’m sharing with you all today. So, LUCKY YOU! You’re welcome.
I actually got the idea to make these when I was home a few weeks ago and saw Costco size pumpkin spice muffins on the counter. My dad can eat a whole one for breakfast nearly everyday but my stepmom, Lynn, was saying she can’t really eat too many treats like that because they’re so big! And calorie dense! And she is quite literally half the size of my dad so it only makes sense.
My Pumpkin Spice Muffins are by no means a healthy alternative to other snacks but they’re moist, fluffy, and I normal sized! But I’ll let you in on a little secret: you can use any size muffin tins (or even bread tins!) that you’d like. Crazy, right? Maybe Lynn will give these a shot. My favorite time to eat these muffins is anytime, but they’re especially good before a run because #carbs
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- A few pinches (1/2 tsp) salt
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground pumpkin spice
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 2 large eggs
- 1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp milk
- Preheat your oven to 400F and line your muffin tin with liners or spray with nonstick spray
- In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, and milk until just combined
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, soda, and spices
- In batches, incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all ingredients have been mixed together - this batter will be THICC
- Scoop batter into muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
I used skip milk in this recipe because it's what I have on hand Also, you made need to warm up your coconut oil if it is a solid Speaking of oil, I tried this with another mild-tasting oil and it worked well
Looking for more pumpkin flavor? Try these pumpkin spice bars! They go great with a cream cheese frosting (and who doesn’t love a cream cheese frosting?!)
Hey everyone! Welcome back for another Wellness Wednesday! As I said on Monday, I’m 4 weeks out from the Chicago Marathon! CUH-RAZYYY! In keeping up with the Marathon theme, the next few Wellness Wednesday posts will be all about marathon prep! Today’s topic: how to stick to a schedule!
If you know me, you know that I like to have things planned and am not very good at ~going with the flow. Like, unless I’m on a beach vacation, I like to have most of my days planned out! I also stick to roughly the same weekly schedule with few variations. Monday – Friday = work, run, dinner & maybe a show. Saturday & Sunday = run, chores & errands, maybe something fun in the evening (a restaurant, movie night, an event). I know, how boring. Live a little!
Stick to a Schedule!
Well, the truth is, sticking to a schedule is really important when training for a marathon. As I stated the last few weeks (1, 2), recovery is just as important as actually doing the run. When you’ve got your days planned, you know when you’re going to sleep every night and when you’re waking up. Aside from the sleep and rest aspect of scheduling, having a schedule helps you know when you’re going to be running! You’re less likely to skip out on training if you not only plan for it, but if your mind is ready for it as well.
For example, I know that I’m going to be running around 6PM every workday and around 8AM on the weekends. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Sure, there are some (a lot!) of days when running after work is just the absolute worst but it’s a part of the schedule so it needs to be done.
So, how do I (do my best to) stick to my schedule?
- Work your schedule with somebody! I’m really lucky that Matt is running the marathon this year as well. There’s something to be said about somebody going through the same things you’re going through. And I must say, we make quite the team! We both work the same hours and commute to work together (so that’s fun!) so if one of us (usually me – guilty!) decides to sleep in for 5 more minutes, the other gets up to make coffee & start breakfast (Matt). Then, after our runs, whoever gets home earlier starts dinner (usually me – my plan has me running less miles than Matt). After dinner, we prepare our lunches for the next day, catch up on some TV, and chill, only to start it all over again the next day. While I fully admit that this schedule does get boring and repetitive, it works for us for now.
- Write it down! I also use a Bullet Journal to jot down my daily tasks and future projects – this helps me stay focused on my goals, do the things I need to do, and work on my projects like this here blog! I even jot down laundry time, meals for the week, and when my favorite TV shows are on (can’t wait for TGIT!!). My bullet journal helps me stay efficient, for sure! I have tried to use apps on my phone but I’m definitely a pen & paper gal – do what works for you!
- Learn to say no! This is a big one. Maybe your friends want you to go out on Saturday night and you know that if you say yes, you’ll be out until the wee hours of Sunday morning. And you won’t get the sleep you need. Ask yourself: do I want to do this? Will this compromise my goals? If you don’t want to do it, say no. If it will compromise your goals, say no. Obviously, there are times when friends come before training but this late in the game, sleep comes first! Of course, the way I prioritize my time will differ from you.
HO BOY. I’ve officially got less than a month until the marathon! AHH! How crazy?! I have had some good runs lately which is really encouraging! I’ll be talking alllll about them in the Running Recap below! Before we get into that, if you’re feeling generous, I’d so appreciate it if you would donate to my race!
- Monday: Long 16 miles (yes, really). So according to my training plan, I was supposed to do this run on Sunday but with Megan being home and having plans Sunday afternoon, I figured pushing the 16-miler off until Monday was best for everyone. I say everyone because I’m typically cranky (dehydrated, tired) after every half-marathon I’ve done and I figured this would be no different. I was right and wrong – I experimented with my Camelbak Charm (which I love, by the way!) and my ClifBloks Energy Chews! I don’t think I’ll be wearing the backpack during the race because the course will have water every 1.5-2 miles. Because of this, that’s how often I drank from the CamelBak! As for the energy chews, I decided to bring 1 pack (of 6 chews) and have 2 chews every 40-45 minutes which was great because I had some extra energy every 4ish miles. I feel like this strategy was very successful. Although the run itself was challenging, I felt pretty good for the most part!
- Tuesday: Easy 6
- Wednesday: No run
- Thursday: Easy 5
- Friday: Easy 6
- Saturday: Easy 6
- Sunday: Long 12 – Another experiment but this time, I didn’t bring my CamelBak with me 🙁 I began to regret that decision when, at about 6 miles, I was so thirsty and stopping at the water fountain was more of a pain than a pleasure.
Total Mileage: 51 miles! Uh… can I get a WHAT WHAT! (what what). Definitely feeling all that mileage today! But the race is THISCLOSE and I’m feeling pretty okay about things now 😉
And that’s it for this week! ONLY 4 WEEKS UNTIL THE MARATHON!
It’s time again for some Wellness Wednesday action! YAY! It’s the middle of the week! WOOHOO! Anyway, in keeping up with the marathon theme, today’s Wellness Wednesday is all about the importance of rest and recovery. If you’re training for a race, long runs are important. If you’re training for a powerlifting competition, your lifting schedule is important. It only makes sense, weight? We have to train. As it turns out, rest and recovery is just as important as the hard work you’re putting in.
There are two kinds of rest and recovery: total rest and active rest. For today, I’m going to focus on total rest. You can head on over here to learn more about active recovery.
What is total rest?
The answer should be fairly obvious. Total rest means instead of being active (whether that’s yoga, going for a walk, etc), you’re chillin’ on the couch and not doing much at all. Now, obviously, sitting on the couch all day is probably not an option for you. I mean, you have to go to work! And you have a never-ending to-do list! So really, total rest (to me!) just means you aren’t working out.
Benefits of Total Rest:
Like active recovery, total rest has its own fair share of benefits.
- Repair muscles: Total rest, including sleep, allows for your body to chill out and work on repairing itself. When you’re working out every day, you’re breaking down your muscles and causing microscopic tears. Rest days are important because they allow your muscles, nerves, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild.
- Avoid burnout: Working out and working hard every day not only causes physical strain but mental strain as well. It’s why days off from work (weekends or otherwise!) are such a welcome treat. So, your brain needs a day off from working out too!
- Sleep: Sleep is a type of total rest (duh) and it’s something we do every day. When you’re sleeping (specifically REM-sleep), your body produces more growth hormone, which helps in repairing and rebuilding your muscles. Cool, right?
The body, and all of its processes, is wild. It is crazy how much the body can do when you treat it well. Treat your body right with active recovery and rest and you’ll see some major improvements in your physical activity. Check back next week for some more helpful tips specifically catered to running. If you’re looking for more Wellness Wednesdays, you can check here for carb-loading, here for active recovery, and here for electrolytes!
Questions for you!
What are your favorite ways to rest?
I prefer a 60-minute deep tissue massage followed by a Netflix binge 🙂
Oh, the dreaded Monday night after a 3-day weekend. 3-day weekends are both a blessing and a curse; for starters, you have 3(!!) days off of work + a 4-day work week. But then the weekends still don’t feel long enough. Like, I need another day just to recover from my days off. And my run from yesterday which is not going to be in this weeks Running Recap.
I… don’t have a whole lot to say today. I’m currently lounging in bed, (finally) watching the Gilmore Girls reboot waiting for some laundry to dry. It was a very busy weekend and I’m in desperate need to decompress and ~chill. Anyway, on to the running:
- Monday: easy 5 miles
- Tuesday: 3x2mi, 400m recovery – these interval/strength training runs are definitely getting more challenging. I am finding it difficult to keep up the same pace and intensity for the entirety of the interval and the amount of intervals. Like, running at X pace for 2 miles. Okay, I can do that. But to repeat it 2 more times? It’s definitely a mind game, that’s for sure.
- Wednesday: No run
- Thursday: Tempo 8
- Friday: easy 6 miles
- Saturday: easy 6 miles
- Sunday: easy 6 miles in the morning – I knew I needed to get these miles in before I went to my parents house for the day because if I didn’t, they weren’t going to get done. Running in the morning, for me, is so much better than the afternoons/evenings. I love getting the run done to have the rest of the day to do whatever.
Total Mileage: ~38 miles
And that’s all for this week, folks! I am just 4 weeks out! AHH! Scary.
Happy Friday & Happy Labor Day Weekend! It’s my first Labor Day weekend in YEARS that isn’t going to be spent closing up another summer season at the pool. I actually can’t remember the last Labor Day I had off (I think it was 2012?! and only because I was away at school) so this weekend is going to be quite the treat! Labor Day marks the “official” end to summer and it’s a perfect time to celebrate the season with family and friends on the water, at a rooftop bar, or grilling this Chili Lime Steak at home.
Can I just take a moment to express to you all how happy I am for this long weekend? This week was my first full week since August 7th-11th and I definitely felt it. The days felt long and traffic felt even worse. Driving home yesterday was awful; Matt and I spent nearly 2 hours in the car thanks to Cubs, Bears, and long-weekend traffic. GRRR.
I am so looking forward to taking some extended time this weekend to chill out and have some family time this weekend. Megan is home (again!) this weekend. YAY! I haven’t seen her yet but she’s coming over tomorrow! And I might spend the night at my parent’s house with her. Might. I need to figure out my ride situation since Matt and I drove to work. Anyway! This weekend is going to be especially great because she is leaving Clemson with me overnight on Saturday! I am so excited to have a little pupper in the apartment. I wishwishwish I could have my own dog but it’s just not practical right now 🙁 sad!
Should we get on to this Chili Lime Steak?
I am thinking absolutely YES.
This sweet, sweet baby of a Chili Lime Steak was made earlier this week because I had a hankerin’ for some red meat. I don’t crave red meat all that often, aside from maybe a burger, but when I do it’s like: gimme a steak. STAT! And this was one of those situations, for sure. Steak is great for so many reasons but I especially love its versatility. You see, I made this piece of meat for dinner on Monday with potatoes and some grilled asparagus. Sounds delicious, right? It was really tasty and I had to all but force Matt to leave enough for Tuesday leftovers. On Tuesday night, I shredded up the steak and tossed it in a skillet to warm up. And then what do you know, I had chili lime steak tacos for dinner! How great does that sound? It’s been a blessed week in the meal department (we had gnocchi on Wednesday ;)).
Now that I’ve talked (typed) your ears (eyes) off, let’s get on with the recipe. Honestly, can you even call this a recipe? I just threw a bunch of things that sound good together in a Ziploc bag and let it marinate for as long as I could stand it. I actually marinated the steak overnight because #FORESIGHT! Actually, I can thank Matt for that. I probably would’ve gotten home Monday and been like, “OKAY STEAK, TIME TO GET SAUCY!” So, yeah. It’s recipe time. I’ve gone on for far too long.
- 1 1/2-2lbs flank steak
- Juice from 1 lime
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (approx. 2 tsp minced garlic)
- Chili powder (to taste)
- In a Ziploc bag (or a bowl) mix together all of the ingredients
- Marinate steak for 30+ minutes in the fridge, overnight is great!
- Preheat grill to a medium heat
- While grill is heating, remove steak from fridge and bring to room temperature (approx. 10 minutes out of fridge)
- Grill steak - 3-4 minutes per side
- Remove steak from grill and let rest 8-10 minutes before slicing and serving
Questions for you:
What are your favorite grilled dishes?
Do you have any plans for the long weekend?! Share them below!