Training – The BAD Week

I haven’t updated with regard to my race training in a little while, so I figured it’s time. I’m glad I have a place to hold myself accountable and keep it real, because folks, last week was UGLY. Maybe it was the weather. It was cloudy, dreary, and rainy most of the week. Maybe it’s because this is the longest that I have been this consistent with my training. Whatever the reason, I was sluggish, I didn’t feel good, and I just plain didn’t want to run. But I did. I ran through the pain and the mental nightmare, and I made it through the week. Barely. Seriously, try running a few miles with this mantra, “I don’t want to be here. I want to go home. I wish I could just stop running!” It’s not helpful. It’s definitely not going to help me finish a 13.1-mile race.

Luckily, on Friday morning, the sun came out and worked a little magic on my mood. I ran 9 miles, and I wasn’t miserable. Hallelujah! Thankfully, I’m feeling good again this week…aside from the cold I’m starting to get, but whatever. A cold seems like nothing compared to having my mental focus working against me. I’m working my way to 10!

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Eat – Tomato Soup

Tomato soup, also known as heaven in a bowl. It’s the ultimate in comfort food to me. However, with all the sandwich shop versions I’ve enjoyed now, I am no longer crazy about the kind that comes straight out of a can. I’ve become a tomato soup snob, I suppose.

A couple years ago, I stumbled upon this recipe, by Edie at Life in Grace. I never imagined that I would love spicy tomato soup, but I do. If you’re not a spicy person, just skip the Sriracha. It will still be delicious. Also, dried basil works as a substitute for fresh. I can almost never find fresh basil at my grocery store.

It’s been so gray and gloomy here all week, that I made a batch of tomato soup yesterday to help myself feel better. If I’d been feeling really bad, I’d have added a super-buttery grilled cheese sandwich to the mix. I resisted. 🙂 Instead, I put a few buttery croutons on top of my soup.

The next time it’s cold and rainy and you need a bowl of happy, try this out. You won’t be disappointed.

Project 52 – Imperfection

Week four of my Project 52 was themed “Imperfection.” I get a lot of these types of photos, but I rarely ever share them. You know the ones. The ones where the sun blows out a corner, when she won’t even look at you, and when her hair is a complete mess. For this child, that’s most of the time. On a very rare occasion, she’ll wear a ponytail. That’s it. No bows. No pig tails. Nothin’. For once, it was appropriate to share one of the photos that don’t usually make the cut.

This is the runner-up. 🙂

Eat – Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

There is nothing I love more than an easy, delicious dinner. This is quickly becoming one of my go-to’s. In the morning, put a package of boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker. Pour in a jar of your favorite salsa (I like green, but red will do, too), and turn the slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.

When it’s done cooking, take two forks and shred the chicken. The meat will be super moist and perfectly seasoned, without adding tons of calories. You can use it to make tacos, quesadillas, tostadas, or put it on top of a salad. We never eat all of it in one night, so I like to make enchiladas or something that calls for already cooked meat later in the week. Yum! And did I mention that it’s easy? I love that something so easy is so delicious. However, this particular night, I decided to attempt homemade tortillas for the first time. More on that another time…

Project 52/3 – Inspiration

If we’re doing word association, the first thing that pops into my head upon hearing the word “inspiration” is the Chicago song, “You’re the Inspiration.” I can’t seem to help myself. I worked very hard to get past it for this week’s Project 52 photo.

It can be hard to put what inspires you into words, much less a single photo. I decided to go with something that recently inspired me to pick up my camera and switch to manual again – my nephew. It’s no secret that I love a sweet baby boy. After seeing this little guy just once via web cam, I was all over the internet, scouring newborn photos. I wanted to take this little guy’s picture…badly. Thankfully his Mommy, a photographer herself, obliged me.

I chose my favorite photo to use for my Project 52, but I’m also sharing a few others. I had a difficult time choosing just one.

Running – The Race

I have chosen my first race – the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon in Dallas on March 25th. I am excited! It was fun to begin training, but now that I have a specific race to look forward to, it’s even better.

Here’s how last week’s training went.

Monday, January 9 – 3 miles, morning run, indoor track. Holy thunderstorm! It rained cats & dogs all night and kept going into the morning. I was hoping for an outdoor run, since I’ll have a little one with me tomorrow and will have to run at the gym where there’s childcare. Oh, well. The weather forced me inside. I kept about a 10-minute pace.

Tuesday, January 10 – 4 miles, morning run, indoor track. It’s still raining, so I didn’t feel so bad about having to run inside. I was slow today. 4 miles in 42:45. I blame my music choice – the Mamma Mia! soundtrack. Hopefully, I can be outside tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 11 – 3 miles, morning run, outdoors. We traded the rain for wind. At least I was outside, though. The path I ran today is only 3/4 mile, so I still had to do a little bit of running in circles, but four times around is much more tolerable (and easier to count) than 36 times around. I made 3 miles in 29 minutes, even with the wind. Woo! Woo!

Thursday, January 12 – Rest.

Friday, January 13 – 7 miles, morning run, outdoors. Boy, was it cold! I put Jack Johnson on the iPod and imagined I was in Hawaii. Other than that, everything was smooth sailing. I finished in 66 minutes, so I feel awesome about my speed.

Saturday & Sunday, January 14 & 15 – I had family visiting, so I skipped my cross-training day and rested for two days.

Eat – Smoothie Packets

On Pinterest, I recently saw this idea for making your own freezer smoothie packets. Since I have lately become addicted a fan of Yoplait’s smoothie packets – and my pocketbook groans every time I buy one – I decided that this would be a good thing to try myself. Of course, the week I chose to make them, good-looking fruit was slim pickings at my grocery store, so I bought what I could fresh and used already frozen fruit for the rest.

This is my work station, all set up. Like I said – slim pickings. I froze plain non-fat yogurt in an ice cube tray, so I can add a couple of cubes to each packet. I sliced my kiwi and bananas and froze them on a cookie sheet, so they wouldn’t get stuck to the other, already frozen fruit. (Not that it matters, since you’re going to be blending it up later anyway. I’m a dork.)

I ended up with eight packets, each holding about 2 cups of fruit. Each of these will serve two, because whenever I make a smoothie, Neely has to have one, too. If you’re the only one drinking them, you would definitely want to scale back how much is in the pouch. If you’re calorie-counting, which I am not at the moment, you would want to measure your fruit a little more carefully. You could use a Sharpie to write your calorie count on the bag, so you don’t have to figure it out later.

When it’s time to make your smoothie, just dump the contents of the pouch into your blender, add skim milk, juice, or water, and crank it up! This is an easy breakfast or snack that you don’t have to think about…except when you’re putting together your packets. 🙂