The countdown is on, running and racing, plus some fantastic food finds

It’s time to get serious…the countdown to the Fargo Half-Marathon is on.

There is a countdown timer on the website and I have to admit, it kind of freaked me out.

32 days. THIRTY-TWO DAYS! How the heck did that happen? I’m not ready. At least I don’t think so. Or maybe I don’t feel as ready as I was for the San Jose Half-Marathon last October. The half that I actually followed a training schedule. This time? Not so much.

Why? Three words. 1. Winter. 2. Snow. 3. Cold.

I know one thing is for sure, I don’t think I will ever sign up for a spring half-marathon again. At least not while I am living in the winters-from-hell state of MinneSNOWta! Seriously, between all the dumb snowstorms and the bitterly cold temperatures, there wasn’t much running/training happening. I did actually run some on the DREADmill at the YMCA, but seriously, I don’t think I ever ran more than three and half miles on it. I. Am. Not. A. Fan. of the dreaded treadmill, hence the DREADmill name!

There was one day where it was snow storming and I was just pissy, so I said, “Screw it!” and went out for a run anyway. I only ran four miles, but it was four miles I didn’t have to do on the treadmill!

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten in a few runs, more than I thought I would and that makes me happy. I did get in a couple of long runs, too. I did an eight-mile and on Sunday, April 6, I did a 10-mile.

I think the temps were actually in the 50′s, which was SO NICE! When I got back, my hubby was sitting on the deck, so I decided to hang with him for a bit. It felt so good just to crash and lay on the deck with my feet up – on the table and straight up in the air! The run felt awesome and I actually shaved off about three minutes from the last time I ran a 10-miler, which was at the Monster Dash in October!

Training will continue as best it can for the next 32 days. I guess, maybe, just maybe, I might be more ready than I think for the upcoming half-marathon. I guess we’ll see how this weekend’s 10-mile race goes.

Speaking of which, if you are a runner who lives in, around or near the Twin Cities area, you really should check out this Saturday’s race – the Fred Kurz 10-mile! According to the race website – click here – “Starting times are handicapped by the “world-renowned” Lanin Guessimetric Method, with the slowest runners starting first and, ideally, all runners finishing at about the same time.” How cool is that? Additionally, the race is easy on the pocketbook – it’s only $15 to enter – or $8 if you are a member of the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA). Seriously, check it out!

WHAT ELSE HAS BEEN HAPPENING?

We’ve had a couple of races since my last posting. And, I have had some awesome food finds. The rest of my post will be done in pictures. Enjoy!

This is from the Get Lucky 7K race in the Twin Cities on March 15.

I finished the 7K in 43:28. I was pumped because I was shooting for around 45 minutes. I was honestly ecstatic about my time!

Al did awesome, as well! Seriously, he kicked some major butt!

This is from the iRock Run in Cold Spring, MN, which benefits the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. It was a nice day, although a little windy. My hubby, Al, finished in 24:45. I finished in 29:33, which is a PR for this year. And my friend, Tonya, finished in 27:28. It was a great race and hopefully, we can do it again next year.

After the race was done, the three of us grabbed some lunch at Mongo’s Grill in St. Cloud and then Al and I had some errands to run. We had a few things to get at the mall and I forgot my extra clothes to change into, so I got to walk around the mall in my running gear, which included these crazy pants, which are SO comfortable and I love them. Yes, even though they are a bit bright! OMG! I have never, EVER in my life received so many strange looks and stares from people. The hubster, who was always dressed in his running gear, which include running tights with a pair of shorts over them and a very bright, neon green shirt, also received LOTS of looks. There were even a few people who glared/gave dirty looks. It was comical. Seriously, I kind of wanted to keep walking around just to watch peoples’ reaction to how we were dressed. It was entertaining, yet kind of pathetic.

FOOD FINDS!

The other day, my husband made chicken burgers (pictured later) and we really wanted some fries to go with them. My husband found these in the grocery store and thought we would give them a whirl. (Yes, I know we could have just made our own, but we didn’t feel like it!). For my Weight Watchers friends out there, these are definitely worth it. You can have 21 fries for only 4 PointsPlus Values. And they are nice-sized fries. Not little ones. They were fantastic and we will definitely have these again.

OMG! These are by far the BEST “healthy puffs” I have ever had. I have tried the baked Cheetos brand and other brands, but I will never buy anything else but these. Seriously, they had the BEST flavor. They actually tasted like real puffs only better. I am not kidding. Best part? You can have 52 of these things for only 4 PointsPlus Values. These will now be a staple in our house. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! They are made by Green Giant, check out the link here.

My husband had bought some very lean ground chicken. If I remember right, I think he said it was actually 100 percent fat-free. Anyway, we thought he should try something different with them and make actual burgers. He took the chicken and mixed it with half an egg, a crushed up bag of Weight Watchers Cheddar Twists, a little BBQ sauce, a little liquid smoke, salt, pepper and some Lowry’s seasoning. Each burger was only 3 PointsPlus Values. And the BEST part? They tasted fantastic. They were NOT dry. They were juicy and full of flavor. We will definitely make these again.

I know I have talked about my smoothie pancakes before, but if you haven’t tried them yet, give them a try. I started adding 2 tablespoons of PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter to the mix. It not only adds additional protein, it adds flavor. I use 3/4 cup of the liquid egg whites, mix in one Weight Watchers smoothie packet (you can use any flavor you want) and then the PB2. Beat together and then cook in a pan sprayed with cooking spray until they are done. I don’t time anything, so I can’t tell you long. The pancake is a total of 4 PointsPlus Values – 2 for the smoothie mix, 1 for the 3/4 cup of egg whites and 1 for the PB2. I don’t put anything on mine, but a lot of times, I eat it with a banana. VERY FILLING!

These are necessarily a new food find, but lately, I have been obsessed with blackberries. I am not sure this is even the season for them, but OMG! they have been so good lately. I eat at least one container a day. They are so tasty, juicy, sweet, kind of crunchy. Just YUM!

MISC PICS

I just have to include a pic of my new iPhone 5C case I designed at MyCustomCase.com. I know it is “just a case,” but I am probably the most picky person when it comes to phone cases – just ask my husband! Anyway, I found the website somehow and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my new case. There are literally hundreds of cases to choose from and then you can pick the color and “write” whatever you want on it. Some have just monogrammed letters, others, like mine have words that can run along the bottom or along the side. Seriously, check them out. They have cases for all kinds of phones. It is definitely worth your time!

And lastly, I have to include a picture – or two or three or four – of my son, Brandon, and his absolutely stunningly beautiful girlfriend, Kenzie. They attended her junior prom. Aren’t they both just adorable. I am so happy for them!

As always, remember, you can find me on Facebook here or here and you can also find me on Instagram, here. If you want, you can also send me an email to confessionsofaformerfatgirl at gmail dot com (confessionsofaformerfatgirl@gmail.com).

Lots to talk about! (Meaning, it’s a LONG post!)

Warning: This post is going to be filled with LOTS of pictures!

First things first…I RAN!

It was slow, but I didn’t even care. IT. WAS. AWESOME!

This was my first run since January 28 – nearly one month ago! Because we have been having such stupid weather (bitterly cold temps, snow and lots of wind), I opted to run on the dreadmill (yes, this is what I call it!) at the YMCA and on the track. I ran two miles on the ‘mill and one mile around the track. Even though it was slow, it felt amazingly awesome to be able to run again. I haven’t been running because of my neck issue and because I have been sick. By the way, after two rounds of antibiotics (zithromax and augmentin) and one round of prednisone, along with heavy duty cough meds, I am almost back to feeling 100 percent normal. Well, as normal as I can be, that is! :-)

With our first half-marathon of the year coming up on May 10, I think it is high-time I start training! Yes, I am going to take it easy, but my physical therapist indicated it would be okay if I started running. After the injection I had and the physical therapy I’ve been doing, my arm pain is nearly gone. Yes, there is still some pain, every now and then, but it is not nearly as bad as it was. I can actually sleep on my right side – for awhile anyway!

The physical therapy is going well. I am doing traction on my neck with a machine. I have one more session left and then I get to do it at home with an over-the-door contraption. That should be interesting!

I have a check-up with my doctor in early April. I think he’ll be happy with how things are going. Although, I will admit, he may not be real happy with how much I’ve been wearing the neck brace. For some reason, it makes me feel really nauseous. I am going to make an effort to wear it more. In fact, I am wearing right it now as I type this blog! Yeah, me!

BACK ON TRACK – with my weight and eating!

This winter, I have been struggling as far as my weight and my eating habits are concerned. I gained about eight pounds and my eating was out of control. Something finally snapped a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I am finally back on track. I lost most of the weight I gained and am now back to feeling like I am in control. My weight is now hovering around the 142 mark and I am happy with that…for now. I would like it to be closer to between 138 and 140, which is doable, especially now that I am back to working out – running and biking. I am also back to logging my food again, as in tracking using the Weight Watchers PointsPlus system. As many of you know, I lost my weight (about 55 pounds) with Weight Watchers and now work full-time for the company. In fact, I just celebrated my four-year anniversary of working for Weight Watchers on Valentine’s Day.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, check out the present I got from my husband.

Isn’t he the sweetest. Flowers AND fruit! I LOVED IT! I am so VERY thankful he is supportive of me and my healthy living journey. Actually, I should say OUR healthy living journey. We are both trying to live a healthier style and I am so grateful for that.

I am also extremely grateful – actually, I can’t really put into words how appreciative I am – that my husband does 99.9 percent of the cooking and 99.9 percent of the grocery shopping. I am beyond blessed that he loves to cook AND grocery shop. AND, he likes to cook healthy meals. He loves to research recipes online and then he will tweak them so they are even healthier. Here’s a small teeny-tiny glimpse into some of the food we have had over the course of the past few weeks:

Turkey breast marinated in an orange-spiced brandy sauce and roasted Brussels sprouts with balsamic and a little bit of asiago cheese. (7 PointsPlus Values)

Chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce and queso fresco cheese. (13 PointsPlus Values for two of them.)

Stuffed bell peppers made with ground turkey. That is not marshmallows on top, it is queso fresco cheese! (9 PointsPlus Values for three of them!)

This is a grilled pizza with whole-wheat crust (Al made this from scratch) with fresh tomato pizza sauce (Al makes this), shredded chicken breast with garlic and fresh basil, diced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, toasted pine nuts and kale. (11 PointsPlus Values for two pieces.)

This is a grilled pizza (again with homemade whole-wheat crust) with garlic-infused olive oil as the base and then diced tomatoes, fresh basil, artichokes, kalamata olives, fat-free feta cheese and a little shredded asiago cheese. (9 PointsPlus Values for two pieces.)

I ACTUALLY COOKED THIS! It is chicken breast dipped in egg and then rolled in crushed up Weight Watchers Cheddar Twists. The side was roasted sweet potatoes. (10 PointsPlus values for the whole meal.)

Al and I made this meal together. It was lobster mac and cheese with roasted asparagus drizzled with balsamic vinegar and a little bit of asiago cheese. (13 PointsPlus Values per serving for the lobster mac and cheese.) See recipe below.

Here is a comparison of PointsPlus Values for the recipe we used for the lobster and mac and cheese and a couple of other recipes. It’s amazing how different they can be! And I will tell you that the recipe we used was beyond delicious. The lobster mac and cheese was creamy, cheesy, decadent, rich and seriously GOOD!

RUNNING RACES

So, Al and I spent last weekend signing up for races. Here is a list of what we have on the agenda so far for this year:

March 8 – 100% Irish for a Day 5K

March 15 – Get Lucky 7K

April 18 – Earth Day 5K

April 26 – Get in Gear 10K

May 10 – Fargo Half-Marathon

June 7 – Lake Region Half-Marathon Relay

June 21 – Color Vibe 5K (this is just me as I am walking this with my sister, niece, nephew, niece-in-law and several others)

August 2 – Dirty Girl Mud Run 5K obstacle course – (I am doing this with a bunch of my friends. We did it last year for the first time and had so much fun, we decided to do it again. Our group is called the Dirty Girl Boob Troupe.)

August 30 – Women Rock 10K (Again, this is just me as this is an all-women race.)

September 6 – Graniteman 10K

We have several others we are thinking about, but these are just the ones we have already signed up for.

TWO LAST PICTURES

I will leave you with two more pics – one of the gorgeous sun dogs that were out Friday, February 21 and a pic of the hubster and I on Valentine’s Day. ENJOY!

Remember, you can always find me on Facebook here and here, and also, you can follow me on Instagram here.

Race reports, doctor appointments, goals and more

So, hey. How ya doing? I guess it’s been a little while, huh? If you were to check my blog each year at around this time of year, you would probably find the same thing – few and far between posts.

See, the thing is, I get in a funk this time of year. As it gets colder and there is less and less daylight, I get crabbier and crabbier and kind of get in a funk of sorts. I try not to, but it just happens. Every year. Winter is NOT my favorite season. At. All.

Well, I apologize. I will try – TRY – to post a little more often this winter season. But, I’m not making any guarantees or promises. Just hang with me, okay? I am gonna warn you for this post…IT. IS. GOING. TO. BE…….LONG!!!!!!

RACE REPORTS

So, first things first…races #29 and #30! YES! I hit my goal of participating in 30 different organized running events this year.

Number 29 was the Turkey Trot in Fergus Falls on November 16. We – my hubby, Al, and I – did the 10K this year. This was the first year that distance was offered. We’ve ran in Fergus Falls before and so we knew the race would probably include some hills. BUT…we didn’t quite expect the route to be as hilly as it was. The weather was kind of chilly that day, but not too bad for running a race. Al finished the race in 51:29 (according to his sports watch) and I finished in 1:04:44 (according to my LogYourRun Pro app on my phone). Because of how hilly the race was, we were both actually pleased with our times. Here’s a photo from after the race:

The next pic is the map with route and elevation of the run. Yes, it was HILLY! As much as I disliked the hills, I liked the hills because they were challenging and I am always up for a challenge.

And lastly, here is a look at my splits, as well as my husband’s splits. Can you tell which miles we both struggled on? Mine are on the left (obviously!) and Al’s are on the right. We thought they were kind of interesting.

Our next race took place on Thanksgiving Day. Our YMCA held it’s third-annual Turkey Day 5K. This year, however, was a little different; the race wasn’t timed. It was just a fun run.

However, I didn’t care that it wasn’t timed. This was my first race with a new gadget I bought – an early Christmas present! I got the new Garmin Forerunner 220. Yes, there is a fancier one, the Garmin Forerunner 620, but the 220 works for my needs, PLUS, it was cheaper! And, I have to say, I AM LOVING IT! I have tried several watches in the past, not because I don’t like my iPhone app, LogYourRun Pro, but because I like gadgets and because my husband has one a watch – the Nike+ SportWatch by TomTom. And, he loves his watch. I tried the Nike+ one and then I tried a different one, can’t remember what it was, but I brought them all back. I just didn’t like how they felt on my wrist. I love, love, love the way this one feels. It’s not stiff. It’s just perfect. Here’s a pic of what it looks like:

Okay, back to the YMCA Turkey Day 5K. I have to admit I was a little bummed with my time. Because it was the last race of the season, I was really hoping that I could get under 30 minutes. I thought I was pushing myself, but it was kind of cold and there were a couple of inclines that got me. My time, according to my new watch, was 30:14. Yes, I am still happy with my time, but I was just hoping to get under that dang 30-minute mark. Al finished the race in an even 24:00 minutes. Out of the 200 or so runners, Al guessed that he came in within the first 20 runners. So cool. He’s so awesome!

After the race while we were warming up inside the YMCA.

A look at my splits, as well as the weather. This is just a few pieces of information I can now look at on the GarminConnect website after I upload the information from my watch. (Can you tell I am slightly excited about it?!?!) There is so much information, it’s really kind of cool. Especially, if you are a data geek!

There, race reports complete. Onto some not so fun stuff!

DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS

Yes, plural. As in more than one doctor appointment since the last time I blogged. First things first, ATTENTION MEN……you may want to skip this part!

So in a previous blog post, I talked about the feeling I had after running long distance…you know, the feeling like my uterus was going to fall out. Well, at the suggestion of many of you, I decided to checked with my doctor. Turns out, some of you were right. I have pelvic organ prolapse. Here’s a brief description from the brochure that my doctor gave me:

Almost one half of women who have babies have some degree of prolapse. Those who have bigger babies – my son was 9-pounds, 3-ounces – have an increased chance of prolapse. Keeping in mine, that my baby is now 20-years-old. Still floors me.

Anyway, my OB/GYN said that basically, if I can deal with it, to deal with it. If it gets bad enough, there are other options. But for now, if I am good with it, just go with it. So, that is what I am going to do. Just go with it. At least I know what it is and that for the most part, I’m normal! Well, as normal as I can be.

In addition to the whole uterus-might-be-falling-out-thing. I have been dealing with a couple of other issues. Seriously, you turn 40 (well, okay, I’m 41) and your whole body starts falling apart. Sad thing is, this is the healthiest I’ve been since probably high school.

Anyway, I’ve been dealing with some major heartburn/GERD issues lately and have been scarfing down Rolaids/Tums like there’s no tomorrow. Well, after I posted on Facebook asking friends what they felt worked best for heartburn, I had several people tell me to go get checked by the doctor. So….I did. She gave me a prescription for Pantoprazole. I have to take it for two weeks. If it’s not better, I have to call her back and then I get to have a scope done. Yippee.

I also talked to her about the shoulder pain I have been having in my right shoulder that I have been dealing with. Yes, dealing with. I’ve had it for the last oh, four to six months or so. I just thought it would get better on its own. Guess not. It has actually gotten worse. It even wakes me up in the middle of the night and I can’t ever sleep on my right side anymore. So, the doctor’s prediction? A torn rotator cuff. Really? Really? I don’t remember injuring it or anything. AARGH! Whatever! Because she wasn’t 100 percent positive, today, I got to have an MRI done. Oh, joy! Seriously, those things are just awful. Awful. Now, we play the waiting game.

And if all that isn’t bad enough…………I have a hearing appointment on December 30. Yes, you “heard” me right, a hearing appointment. I’ve been struggling for quite some time and to be honest, kind of faking my way through it when talking to people. I figured as long as I was talking to the doctor about all that other crap, I may as well talk to her about my hearing. When I visited the doctor, she had a student doctor with her and my doctor let the student do a prelim hearing test on me to see if a “real” hearing test was warranted. Obviously, being I have an appointment scheduled, the test is warranted. I have to say, the tests were pretty cool. The student did a couple of hearing tuning fork tests on me. The first, the Weber’s test, is where the tuning fork, once activated, is place on my forehead and then I was told to say which side I could hear better with or if there was no difference at all. Oddly, the sound was WAY louder on my left side. I could barely hear it on my right. Seriously, it was so weird. The second test, the Rinne’s Test, is where the tuning fork was placed behind each ear after it was activated. She did my left first and I could hear it, but it wasn’t super loud by any means. Then, she did the right side and WHOA!, the sound was about half as loud as it was in my left ear. Again, it was weird, kind of bizarre and almost surreal for some reason.

At any rate, both the doctor and the student concluded that a hearing test was definitely warranted and so, December 30 I get to go see an audiologist! Yeah, me. Seriously, I am so excited. I don’t give two cents if I end up with hearing aids. If I can hear, I am totally 100 percent fine with it. I just hope everyone else is!

Now, let’s talk about something a little more upbeat…goals!

GOALS

I set a goal this year to do 30 organized events/races. I achieved that. I don’t necessarily want to do that many races next year, so instead, I set a goal of completing at least two half-marathons. Yes, I know I said once upon a time if – and that was a pretty big IF – I ever did a half-marathon, I would only do one and then never do one again. Yeah, that didn’t work out. I’ve now completed two half-marathons. And now, I want to do two half-marathons…in one year! Crazy. Well, crazy for me. I know for some, half-marathons are no big deal. But to me, it is a BIG deal.

My hubby and I have already signed up for one half-marathon…the Fargo half-marathon in early May. I’m kind of excited about this, but at the same time, extremely nervous because this means some or much of my training will have to be done on a treadmill. And most of you know how I feel about treadmills. I have been running on one at our local YMCA, but it is SO not my favorite. I will run outside – yes, even in the snow (see below) – before running on the treadmill. Unless, of course, it is beastly cold out like it currently is in our town!

Running on snow-packed trails really adds time to you time!

As for our other half-marathon, we are not sure yet which one. We know we want to do a destination run, but we are unsure where we want to go. We are thinking sometime in October, late November (not early because of elections…my newspaper editor husband just might be a bit busy during this time) or early December. We would love to do another Rock ‘n’ Roll series race, but not sure where. We are now thinking San Antonio, Texas or Vancouver, British Columbia. However, the Canadian one scares me just a bit because I’m thinking that race might be kind of hilly. I know, I shouldn’t let that scare me. And it doesn’t when it comes to a 5K or a 10K, but 13.1 miles, ummmm, not so sure.

Other states we are looking at, although the race wouldn’t be a Rock ‘n’ Roll series one, include Florida, Oregon, Idaho or maybe even Maine. We are doing some research and will make a decision maybe after the first of the year.

As for other running goals, I really want to work on trying to get a little faster. I really would like to get under the 30-minute mark for my 5K’s and I would really, really, really love to be consistent at getting under an hour for my 10K’s. I will admit that I think the treadmill will help me with this. When I run outside, I let myself slow down and don’t push as hard as I probably could. On a treadmill, it’s not quite as easy to slow down. Plus, it might be one way for me to tolerate the treadmill – to play on it and push myself. I guess time will tell.

AND MORE…

As if all my ramblings haven’t been enough, I will share just a bit more. I’ve. Been. Struggling. Struggling with my food choices. There’s that one saying I have used many times, you know the one about what you eat in private. Well, yeah, that’s been me…to a tee…100 percent! If you don’t know the saying, it goes a little something like this:

Or maybe something a little like this:

Yep, that’s kind of been me lately. I eat good when everyone is around and then when I am by myself, especially when I am in the car driving from meeting to meeting, I can’t seem to control myself. Chocolate donuts. Ice cream. Frosting. Doritos. Cheetos. Fast food. Oh, boy! It has been horrible lately. Sometimes, I track what I eat. Sometimes, I don’t. I am lucky that I have kept up with my exercising – for the most part – but I know if I don’t watch it, it’s going to get even more out of control. (Although I’m not so sure it can!)

As for my weight, which I know you are all wondering about, right? For right now, it has been staying mostly the same. Although I did do a little experiment awhile back. I talk with my Weight Watchers members on a regular basis about how much our weigh can fluctuate on a daily basis. And, that there are so many factors/variables that can cause this fluctuation, including but not limited to sodium intake, water consumption, activity and more. I do typically weigh myself every day, but I only pay attention to what I weigh each Friday. My weight gains and losses only count each and every Friday. My experiment, or whatever you want to call it, is that I weighed myself almost every day for a week AND kept track, just to show just how much it can fluctuate. On Friday, November 22, I weighed 140.8. I didn’t weigh on Saturday or Sunday, but then on Monday, November 25, I did and my weight jumped up to 146 something (I didn’t really pay attention to the “. whatever” again until Friday. My weight on Tuesday, November 26 was 143.?. On Wednesday, November 27, it was 144.? My weight on Thursday, November 38 was 145.? and then on Friday, when my weight actually counted, I was 141.8. So, even though during the week, I had gained/loss about six or so pounds, my actual true weigh gain/loss was that I was up one pound. I was okay with that. I will see what happens tomorrow, when I “officially” weigh in again. My guess….up one or two more pounds. YIKES! Like many of members this time of year who struggle and tell themselves it’s time to get back on track. They are right. IT IS TIME! Time to get my head out of my arse and get back to plan and NO MORE eating in private. Enough is enough. I won’t let myself gain as much as I did last winter – about 10 pounds. It was awful and I don’t want to feel like that again.

Well, this post is definitely WAY TOO LONG. It’s time to say goodnight! Take care my dear readers. And remember, you can always find me on Facebook and also, you can find me on Instagram (#celbeam). I would love to have you follow me!

Candy, Chocoholic Frolic and more

Last weekend, my husband and I participated in our first-ever Chocoholic Frolic race. We opted for the 10K, which is 6.2 miles. I found out about this race after seeing a billboard for it along Interstate 94. I also think a few friends told me about it, but apparently I didn’t really pay attention to them. For some reason, that billboard made me take notice and check into the race, which is put on by Final Stretch.

The them of the race, of course, was chocolate, as it was sponsored by World’s Finest Chocolates, among other sponsors. Besides what you would normally find in your race goodie bag, such as your bib number, flyers for other races, pins and possible shirt, our chocolate-colored goodie bag also contained chocolates. Yes, they were yummy. Here’s a few chocolate-themed pics from the event.

Our goodie, the chocolates and my bib number.

The “finish line” at the race expo on Saturday. This was directly above the World’s Finest Chocolate booth, which is of course, where we picked up a few more chocolates!

A sign at the expo. This sounds like my kind of “diet.”

Another sign at the expo. There were plenty of more, but I only took the time to capture these two. I was kind of bummed when we were walking about the expo as there was a cupcake booth, which was supposed to have samples of cupcakes. They were gone by the time we got there…an hour after the expo started! Apparently the company didn’t realize just how much runners like cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes!

The starting line for the 10K race. Notice the two women in brown shirts – these were the shirts we received with our registration. They are awesome!

And here we are at the finish line, which yes, is falling down! Sunday, which was race day, was an especially windy day! As we were getting our photo taken (as usual, by a random stranger!), a big gust came up and started blowing down the inflatable finish line. Luckily, it didn’t blow completely down as there were still runners coming across. Al finished the 6.2 mile run in 50:55 and I finished in 1:02:46. Despite the wind and the VERY hilly start, we were both pleased with our times. And, we both said this was one of the most prettier courses we’ve ran. For those of you in the St. Paul area who are looking for a pretty route, check out this link to the map. It seriously was gorgeous!

Here’s a look at my splits…yes, I started WAY too fast (for me). Surprising, considering the first half-mile was all up hill! Oh, and by the way, the “issue/problem” I talked about in my last blog post, surfaced near the end, but wasn’t nearly as bad as the half-marathon or the 10-mile Monster Dash. And, to let everyone know, YES, I made a doctor appointment. I go in November 19. I’ll keep you all posted. Thank you, by the way, to those who responded via message, FB message, email or in person. I appreciate your thoughts and concern.

So, as if the chocolate we received in our bags and at the expo wasn’t enough, there was chocolate along the route as well. Around mile 2, there were chocolate cupcakes and around mile 4, there were chocolate candy pieces or something. Believe it or not, I DID NOT indulge in any of the chocolate along the route. As much as I LOVE chocolate, it just didn’t sound appealing to me as I was running. And if that chocolate wasn’t enough, there was even more chocolate…we each received a chocolate caramel “finisher’s bar” at the end of the race. That is what they handed out instead of medals.

This is my husband’s candy bar. It’s Wednesday. The race was Sunday. He STILL hasn’t eaten it. Mine? I polished it off Monday morning…for breakfast! (To my Weight Watchers members, don’t ask how many PointsPlus values it was. It may shock you, but I didn’t figure it out! Which means, I didn’t track it. Nope, I did not!)

Now that the weather has gotten slightly colder and we have less and less daylight, my hubby and I have found we are spending more time at the YMCA. AND………I tried something I said I hated doing and that I would never do. THE TREADMILL! Yes, I ran on the treadmill. And, more than once already. And…..it’s not THAT BAD! I guess.

 

10-miler, medical tent, misc stuff and LOTS of food!

Last weekend, the hubs and I participated in Team Ortho’s Monster Dash 10-mile run. We ran this race last year as a training run leading up to our first half-marathon. This year, we ran it AFTER our half-marathon. For tons of pictures, take the time to check out the Monster Dash Facebook page…it really gives a good perspective as to how many people participated in this race and what kinds of costumes there were. As you can see, my hubby and I were “real” creative.

For the most part the race went really well. Better than I expected. I felt good the first couple of miles and then I had to pull off to the side and fix my running pants…they weren’t tied tight enough and felt like they were falling down. I really didn’t want to stop and fix them, but I knew if I didn’t, I wouldn’t stop thinking about them. So, I took a few seconds to pull off to the side of the course and tie them tighter, along with adjust my iPhone, which I have clipped to my pants. Side note: I can’t stand having my phone in an armband on my arm, so I found this clip thing that I just clip it to my pants and it works great…at least for me it does. Other people may not like it. Anyway, my pace was “pretty even” for the first six miles, well, except for mile three when I had to stop. You can tell by my splits that I got tired starting at about mile 7-8. I do have to say, though, that for the most part, I felt good. For the most part. Here’s a look at my splits:

As I was nearing mile 9, I started feeling the same way I did toward the end of the half-marathon a couple of weeks ago. WARNING TO ANY MEN READING THIS….you may want to skip the next bit…I talk about female parts!

To all the women reading this, if you have any advice or thoughts, PLEASE SHARE! Okay, so, as I was nearing the end of the race, again, I got this weird feeling, you know, “down below.” The only way I can describe it is this: it completely felt like my uterus was going to fall out. It wasn’t necessarily painful in that it hurt really bad because a muscle was pulled or I was bloated or it was cramping. It was “painful” because it was uncomfortable and it felt like there was a lot of pressure and that something was literally going to fall out of my crotch area! Seriously, it is the weirdest feeling. Regardless of what kind of “pain” it was, it just wasn’t any fun at all. I just wanted to be done. And to not feel like anything was going to fall out of me that shouldn’t be! :-)

OKAY MEN, YOU CAN CONTINUE READING FROM HERE ON OUT!

Again, it was so awesome to have Al waiting there for me at the finish line. As much as I wanted him to be back in our hotel room where it was nice and toasty warm instead of having him stand in the cold in his sweaty running clothes, I am always happy to see him at the finish line. And, it is always awesome to be able to give him a big hug and kiss when I am done. But this time at the finish line, Al wasn’t the only one waiting. So was a medical volunteer. At almost every big race we have participated in, there are medical volunteers at the end to assist those in need.

And apparently, the grimacing look on my face and the peculiar way I was walking, made the medical volunteer think I was one of those “in need” of medical attention. The woman swiftly and assertively led me, along with Al, to the medical tent. I kind of didn’t have a choice. But to honest, I was kind of okay with it…except I was still worried about Al and how cold he must of been. He not only had to wait “forever” for me to finish the race, he now had to wait – in his wet running clothes with the fierce wind blowing on him – while the medical person attended to me. She asked me several questions about where it hurt and so forth and then applied a ice pack to the area, which truly was kind of weird, but oddly felt good. She also checked my pulse and my blood pressure, which were both surprisingly good, despite the fact that I just ran 10 miles. Oh, besides the “pain” I was in, I also felt extremely nauseous and did everything in my power not to yak on the side of the cot I was laying on. I succeeded in not throwing up. Yeah for me…and everyone else around me. So, after just a couple minutes in the medical tent, which I truly DID NOT expect to ever be in, I, along with my near-frozen husband, were on our way. But not without some advice from the awesome medical volunteer, “GO talk to your doctor!”

I will….if it happens again!

Oh, by the way, if you’re curious how I actually did in the race. Well, according to my phone app, LogYourRun Pro, I completed 10.12 miles in 1:48:39…nearly six minutes faster than last year’s race! My app last year showed that I ran 10.13 miles in 1:54:11. NOTE: I have to go by my time because there was a technical glitch with the timing of this year’s race for some runners. I was “lucky” enough to be one of those runners. Shit happens.

Us, after the race, with our awesome medals! Thanks again to Team Ortho for a fantastic race. Team Ortho knows how to do races!

MISC STUFF AND LOTS OF FOOD!

Because I have blathered on and on enough already, I will finish this post in pictures. Hope you enjoy!

The weather has been perfect for this recipe – hearty chicken stew with butternut squash and quinoa.

The recipe, which I heard about from my awesome friend, erin, can be found here, Cookin’ Canuck.

I was so not happy when the flakes starting flying on October 20! I am not a lover of winter at all.

I prefer to run when it looks like this outside!

A new food find that I absolutely LOVE! And, for my Weight Watchers friends out there, it is only 1 PointsPlus Value per 2 tbsp. Or, only 7 PPV’s if you eat the whole container!

Another awesome food find…and this one also has only 1 PPV’s per 2 tbsp. Best part…it tasted so good!

And yet another awesome food find. This one I didn’t find on my own. A friend posted it on Instagram (by the way, you can follow me on Instagram if you would like to!) I typically don’t eat “boxed” meals like this because of the sodium content, but this one just looked so good and it only has 7 PPV’s for the whole thing. AND…….it was DELICIOUS! Worth every single PPV.

On Sunday morning, before taking off for home, Al and I went to this awesome little restaurant for breakfast, Blackbird Cafe. We have eaten there one other time so we knew the food was good. I had the whole grain cakes, which are described as “dense and chewy,” and come with sesame honey butter and real maple syrup. Seriously, the best pancakes I have EVER had. And definitely not your typical pancakes….they have wild rice in them. DELISH! I also had the sweet potato biscuit – well, okay, I had two – that come with honey butter. The. Best. Biscuits. EVER! Don’t ask me the PPV’s on either of these items because I have no idea and I have no care in the world. They are both worth whatever they are.

These photos just don’t do this food any justice, but I tried. If you ever find yourself near the corner of 38th Street and Nicollet Avenue, make a stop at Blackbird.

Pancakes!

Biscuits!

Alright, I know this post is WAY TOO LONG, but I have to share one more picture………

After we finished our brunch at Blackbird, we headed to the Mall of America so we could walk off some of our food. (Secretly, I wanted to go there because of one particular store…CUPCAKE!) As you can see, we found it!