Monthly Archives: February 2012

Productivity Rocks!

I love days when I feel productive. I think I’m happiest when I feel like I’ve accomplished things, no matter how big or small, even if its just getting a good workout in and cooking healthy meals for my family. Today has already been one of those days. 🙂

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Breakfast is usually so boring to me. I get excited when I get creative and come up with something delcious! This morning I made an egg white sandwich with grilled veggies (artichoke hearts and eggplant), tomato, swiss cheese and a little hummus. So yummy!

Today is a cross-training day for me after a 15 mile run yesterday, so the little man and I headed to the gym. He loves the childwatch program at the Y and I hit the elliptical.

I started reading The Hunger Games, while I worked out. I’m only 2 chapters in and I already see what the fuss is all about. Dang it. My productivity level at home is probably about to go down the drain until I finish these books.

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I worked up a good appetite at the gym, came home and cooked up another veggie heavy lunch for the fam.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves (from Costco), Israeli Couscous Salad and avocado.

I went ahead and threw some potatoes in the crockpot for dinner tonight so they will be ready after hot yoga!

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So simple, but I probably never would have thought of the idea on my own. Thanks Pinterest!

Hope everyone else is having a productive day as well. Happy Monday!

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Mercedes Half Marathon 2012

Yesterday I ran the Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon in Birmingham, AL for the third time! This is my favorite race by far of the ones I’ve done, it’s such a well orchestrated event. My recaps for 2010 and 2011 are here and here.

Saturday afternoon Tim and I headed to Birmingham, checked into our hotel and hit the Expo. I was stressed out because we discovered a few days ago that Tim was accidently registered for the full marathon instead of the half marathon. Before we could fix the mistake the race had sold out for both the half and the full, I was afraid there might be problems switching his race. It turned out to be no problem at all. Whew!

Once I came down out of panic-mode we were able to enjoy the Expo. My purchases:

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Saturday night I met up with my almost-life-long friend Vanessa and her boyfriend Ryan for dinner at Surin West.

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It has become a pre-Mercedes tradition. I always contemplate branching out and trying something new, but I’m more of a stick with what you know you will like kind of girl. I leave the branching out to the Hubby and then steal most of his food.

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Vegetable Tempura Maki and Tofu Massaman Curry. And yes, those are the exact same pictures I used last year also, in case they looked familiar.

Somehow before dinner was over at one moment I was laughing and talking with my friends and then all of a sudden it was like I teleported out of my chair to the next table and was doing the Heimlich Maneuver on a woman who was choking. It was all very surreal. Kind of killed the night and we left shortly after to move the party to the Century Bar inside our hotel. We reconvened with some other friends, had a night cap and then headed to our rooms for some sleep.

Sunday morning was COLD. Super cold.

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We’ve been spoiled by the mild winter so
far, but it was in full effect for the race.

The wind chill made the temp seem in the teens!  I was a little concerned, but mentally prepared to deal with it which makes all the difference in the world. I was actually more afraid of over-dressing and being too hot than being too cold. I’ve had trouble in the past with that and finding the right balance isn’t easy for me. When in doubt of what to wear, I’d always rather end up cold than hot.

Tim and I met up with our friends Mike and Marsha in the hotel lobby for a few quick photos before heading to the starting line.

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I never really decided in my mind what my intentions were for this race. Usually I know ahead of time if I’m racing for time or just having fun. Lately I’ve been focusing on having fun alot more often. I have a bigger picture in mind.

The race started at 7:03 am and just after I crossed the starting mat I recognized the back-side of my friends James and Kaitlin. I weaved through the crowd to catch up to them. They were doing the full  marathon. I considered running my race with them until we split off at the end, but ultimately decided after about a mile that I felt good enough that I wanted to go on alone and run a little faster.

The first 5 miles or so of the course are very flat, there are a few mild hills in the middle and a gradual downhill/flat finish.

I kept plugging along at what felt like a comfortable pace that I could maintain. I made quick walking stops at the water stations. The ground was covered in ice at the water stations and I saw several people slip, so I was careful to not try to run through the stations.

At about mile 8, I did the math in my head and realized that I was on target for a really decent finish. I had plenty of energy and at that point decided to start really racing. You can see the difference in my splits after that point…

8:29, 7:58, 7:49, 7:54, 8:01, 7:51, 8:05, 8:06, 7:34, 7:44, 7:25, 7:21, 7:24 and last .1 at 6:40 pace.

I realized in the last 2 miles that not only was I going to finish strong, I was going to be REALLY close to setting a new PR.

When I crossed the finish line the clock said 1:43:something … I knew I didn’t start right at the gun time, but I wasn’t sure at that point if I had beaten my PR of 1:42:12. I collected my medal and my finishers hat and found a place to sit, then I called my friend Eric from my cellphone that I always carry on me. I knew Eric had been watching me on the Live Tracking.

“What was my time?” … “1:42:20, you missed your PR by 8 seconds”.

I was so happy to have such a great race that I didn’t care. I’ve never run a Half at that speed and not felt bad at the end. Nothing hurt, no blisters, no soreness. I was really really happy!

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Tim beat his PR by 2 minutes and finished in 2:25:00! Marsha and Mike made a “couples PR” of 1:57:47. Hilary finished in 1:54:16. James and Kaitlin finished the full marathon in 3:31:00, which qualified Kaitlin for Boston!

What an amazing race for all of my friends!

After taking a hot shower and warming up in the hotel we headed to Flip Burger Boutique with Mike and Marsha for lunch before heading home.

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EAT ALL THE THINGS!

I ordered the Veg Burger, which was a black bean burger with avocado puree, bibb lettuce, grilled onions, pico de gallo, cilantro and lime juice. I also ordered the sweet potato tots and the fried B&B pickles.

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The burger was good, the pickles were great and the tots were outstanding!

Tim got the Tuna Tartare Burger with the Truffle Mac & Cheese and French Fries.

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I’m in love … or lust … I’m not sure which. But if Flip Burger is wrong I don’t want to be right. I’m already dreaming of the next trip!

Next up: Scenic City Half Marathon in Chattanooga, TN – February 25th.

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A Few of My Favorite Things

I planned to wake up at 5:30 this morning and get an early 7 mile run in before the hubby had to start working. I was sleeping so well that I did something I rarely ever do, I turned the alarm off and went back to bed. I woke up an hour later feeling very well rested and realized that I still had time to get my miles in. Win/Win.

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Today’s run wasn’t anything particularly special. I was alone, nothing interesting or funny happened, I didn’t see any wildlife or get chased by any dogs. But I did have one of those rare runs where I can just separate myself from everything else in my life and even the act of running itself and just zone out.

Thoughts came and went but I didn’t concentrate on one idea, I didn’t make to-do lists in my mind, do math about my run, pace, distance, worry about anything in my personal life, nothing. It was AWESOME!

After my run I was starving! I’ve been really digging on avocados lately and buying them in bulk at Costco. For lunch yesterday I made this falafel pita creation …

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Oat Bran pita with hummus, pre-prepared falafels, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber. I topped it off with a dollop of tzatziki and some fresh spinach leaves. Yum!

I found 2 random English muffins in the bottom of my freezer this morning, egg whites (the kind in a carton) and this Roasted Eggplant Spread.

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I knew I could work avocado into this scenario somehow. I could have probably made it a little more photogenic by adding in some tomatoes, spinach, something … but like I said … I was hangry.

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Our recent avocado obsession sparked a conversation over breakfast about our Top 10 Favorite Ingredients. The rules: no alcohol, no sweets. My list so far:

  1. Goat Cheese
  2. Avocado
  3. Peanut Butter
  4. Cashews
  5. Cilantro
  6. Pickled Okra
  7. Olives
  8. ….
  9. ….
  10. ….

Gotta work on those last 3. It’s alot of pressure. 😛

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Callaway Gardens Half Marathon 2012

This past Sunday I completed the Callaway Gardens Half Marathon with two amazing friends by my side.

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This race was my 8th Half Marathon and the 2nd of 4 in a streak of races I have planned for the next couple of months.

Saturday morning I met a few of my friends for an early run and breakfast before heading to Pine Mountain, Georgia for the race festivities. The drive took about 2 hours but went by really fast once I changed drivers. 😉

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Well … it did go by really fast until we actually got to Callaway Gardens and couldn’t find our hotel. It wasn’t the hotel’s fault, it never moved an inch. But we did get a sneak peak of the race course while we drove around in circles for an hour.

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Can’t complain about the view though.

Saturday night after packet pickup and checking in to our hotel rooms, The Crew got together for pre-dinner drinks before a nice night out at Carriage and Horses Restaurant.

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The food was .. eh. And the entertainment was … interesting, but some fantastic memories were made.

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Sunday morning before the race we all got together for a quick photo op before the race started.

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Because I have so many races I’m doing in a short period of time, my only goal for this race was to have a freaking blast! That and not to aggravate my achy leg that has been tender since the Louisiana Half. Barbara has been nursing a knee injury and wasn’t looking to break any records with this race either. Duane also had no specific agenda other than to have fun. We all teamed up to run the race together side by side.

And that’s just what we did …

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The course itself was absolutely beautiful, but HILLY. The downhills certainly made up for the uphills, but it was a challenging course for sure. Some of the details could have been managed more efficiently, such as the water stations which were mostly unmanned tables in odd locations. Overall though, the good outweighed the not so good.

Barbara and I both placed in our age divisions: her 1st and me 2nd.

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Janie PR’d with a time of 1:40:48 and took 1st in her AD and 3rd overall female!

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Next up …

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Bring it!

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Filed under Half Marathon, Races