Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Rogue Running: Would you do it?

Here's the situation, Ben and I are trying to cut back in many ways. The little things that add up so easily, like buying coffee. I've made a no coffee buying pledge for December, and asked for Starbucks gift cards to curb this spending post holiday season as well. One of the ways I spend too much, is race entries. Sure, the big races are worth it, especially ones from Team Ortho, with the awesome swag you get. But some races, are just not worth it, and now that I'm running longer distances, 5K's especially.

So, this weekend a friend and I were speaking of running a 5K without paying for it, just showing up and running, and another runner was appalled. The thing is, I know for a fact this 5K doesn't give any of the profits to charity, it all goes to pad this company's wallet, and they make money in PLENTY of other ways, trust you me.

So, I don't really feel bad about it. In fact, I've paid for their races before, and the food lines are always atrocious, and I rarely actually stay to get the food because it's not worth the long wait and chaos to get it. The cotton shirts that come with the race entry always shrink, and end up being pathetic pajama shirts I wouldn't be seen in public in.

So, I'm not feeling bad about "rogue running" this race. I'm not stealing from the poor, and I pay for a lot of race entries during the year that do benefit great causes.

SO, what do you think? How do you manage to keep your race entry spending under control? Do you think it's OK not to pay for a race entry if the money doesn't go to charity and you don't get what you expect in return??

Monday, November 29, 2010

Love and Other Drugs

Sunday, I went and saw Love and Other Drugs with my friend Jen. It was a definite chick flick, that I'm glad I went to see with a girlfriend instead of Ben (and he didn't want to go anyway... so there was that!)

The movie was really good, not great, but good, and kept my attention the whole time. I love Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal, and thought they were both perfect casting for these characters. The premise is, Jake Gyllenhall is a drug rep for Pizer during the Viagra rush of the 90's, and through that job he meets Anne Hathaway, who is suffering from Stage 1 Parkinson's Disease, let the montages of lovely times, followed by tumultuous arguments ensue.

I'm glad I saw the movie, and would recommend it to a lady looking for a good time movie to see with girlfriends. There is also a lot of Anne Hathaway nudity, if you need to convince your significant other to attend (along with some Jake Gyllenhall nudity as well!).

In recipe news, I tried this great recipe for Chocolate Chip Dough Balls from Diana over at the Chic Life, and let me tell you, delicious! Ben insisted on taste testing at least three of them, and he's not even a big sweets guy. I highly recommend you try them! I threw two of these in my lunch today, and they were the perfect post lunch treat. =)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving in Wisconsin

I'm going to tell you right now what YOU should be thankful for, you should be thankful that I'm not going to give you a list of what I'm thankful for in this post, because I've read too many blogs this week with lists that go on and on of what people are thankful for, and frankly, I only care so much. It's pretty self-indulgent, and if I'm not thankful for my health, family, etc. than I'm not human.

So, anyway, Ben and I just arrived back from a wonderful few days in my hometown in Wisconsin about a 2.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities. We had a great meal, obviously, (I took no pictures of it) and had great times with my family.

This weekend, Ben and I got meet our nephew Andrew for the first time, and let me tell you, at 12 weeks he acts more like a five month old baby with his size and strength, and can win anyone over with his smile.

As you can see, Cooper refused to be overshadowed by a baby (although we did put him up in the chair with me for the last picture), but it was really cute to see his reaction the first time around a baby. Andrew is such a cute and cuddly baby, smiling when talked to, and starting to talk back with his own little babbles as well.

The best part about my hometown, is that there is A LOT of delicious, local places to eat there. Ben and I went to Rocky Rococo for pizza, and it was just like going back in time. Delicious, thick crust pizza served piping hot and fast.

I got the lunch combo with a slice of cheese pizza, the salad bar, and a drink. And yes, my salad is swimming in blue cheese dressing-- it's a holiday weekend, come on! I also had one of Ben's breadsticks, as their breadsticks are legendary delicious, no other pizza place can top them.

I also got in a run this weekend, my first in over a month, as I've finally been deemed clear to run, woo hoo!! It was a bit tough on my asthma the way that I went against the wind, but it felt good to go out. I took it easy doing 2.25 miles, and it was the perfect amount. Tomorrow, I'll be taking on 3.1 miles in the AM.

Hope you all are having a great holiday weekend!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Pumpkin Oatmeal

My friend Kaitlin posted a recipe on her facebook for Pumpkin Oatmeal, and I was intrigued, it looked like a great hearty meal, and super easy. So, I gave it a whirl, and mmmm, mmmm was it delicious, so much so that I had to share it with you all. I always see fancy Oatmeal recipes on people's blogs, but never know just how they make oatmeal look so delectable, so I hope I do the same for you!

I started with a half cup of quick oats, a half cup of milk and a few spoon fulls of canned Pumpkin (NOT Pumpkin Pie mix).

Then microwaved for about two minutes (this time can vary, depending on your microwave).

Then, after mixing the hot mix, I added a few spoonfuls of apple sauce, along with nutmeg and cinnamon. Cinnamon was my own addition, and not being careful, I added to big of a shake, so make sure you just give it a light dash.

The following goodness ensued, and was a hearty dinner (yes dinner!) after a great workout, and kept me nice and full.

S0, there you have it, Pumpkin Oatmeal ala Kaitlin. This has inspired me to try and come up with a cooked apple oatmeal, stay tuned!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

30 Day Shred

Tonight I went to physical therapy, and I got some great news, no more wearing my boot, yay! I've been pain free in normal activity for over a week, so now my left shoes can try to catch up to all the wear my right shoes have received over the past few weeks.

The bad news, I'm still not ready to run, and need to get stronger before I do. Hearing this, made me want to cry (and maybe I did tear up a little and feel like a fool). I had planned to run this Saturday, just a couple of miles with a friend since I've been feeling so great on foot, however, my PT informed me that's a recipe for disaster and I need to get stronger first with the rest of my body so it can support running first.

I drove home from this news feeling down, and not wanting to go to the gym, even though I knew I should, then it hit me, all my workout DVD's! I keep hearing great things about Jillian's 30 Day Shred, and I bought it this summer with hand weights, why don't I integrate that into my get stronger routine?

So, I came home, popped it in, and hit it for 20 minutes, and it was great! She mixes strength training, cardio and abs, and in the 20 minutes, I burned over 200 calories and my arms feel like they got a killer workout!

So, I've decided to integrate the DVD into my normal workouts. There are so many days I think I don't have time to workout, but what's 20 minutes here? I can get up 20 minutes earlier, I can do it for 20 minutes on Sunday nights instead of being a couch potato that whole night, I can do it the days this winter when the roads are too bad to get to the gym... why not??

I know many people, including Missy at the Marketing Mama, who have had great success with this DVD, so here goes nothing! I'll be sure to report back.

What is your favorite tried and true workout DVD? Or is there one you've been wanting to try??

Also, we have a winner for the Surf Sweets Give Away! With the help of random.org, the winner is...

#8 Kristi!!

Kristi said, "My favorite sugary candy are Mike and Ike's!"

Kristi, leave your e-mail address in a comment and we'll exchange information, congratulations!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter 5K and 10K Traning Clinics

Happy Tuesday All! I have a fun and exciting announcement to make. As, I've told most of you, I started running a few years back, thanks to a Learn to Run Program with a Twin Cities area running store. If it weren't for the instructors here who helped me learn that it's OK to run at my own pace (ie not very fast), how to pace myself and how to manage my asthma while doing cardiovascular workouts, I wouldn't have completed my first marathon, or be at all the athlete I am today.

I am so thankful for this program, and the wonderful friends and support system that I met through this program, that I'm excited to announce I will now be coaching Train for a 5K and Train for a 10K clinics this winter!! It's such a weird idea, that I'll be coaching people how to run, but I am so excited, and I'm hoping that some of you will join me during these clinics.

They are really meant for everyone, whether you've run a 5K or 10K before, whether you love to run and need motivation to get out on the trails this winter, whether you find running with others or signing up for a race intimidating, this is YOUR clinic!!

Running and Staying Healthy Together this Winter (but with a lot more layers on than in this picture!)

For this program, we run intervals, meaning, running for a certain number of minutes, and then walking for a minute, and repeating this process. For me as an asthmatic, this helps me manage running, and many people have found that this system of running actually helps them run faster during races than straight running alone. However, if you do not like to interval run, do not be deterred, this is a clinic for everyone's running style!

If you are interested in this program, leave a message, or shoot me at DM on Twitter (@AlexaTC), and I will send you the specific information on where and when the group will be meeting. The group does not start meeting until the start of 2011, so now worries about being busy during the holidays.

There is a small fee for the clinic ($50), the fee includes: instructional guest speakers on preventing injury, winter running clothing tips, finding the right shoe, etc. Plus, the fee includes a great dry fit shirt and over two months of training together-- that's cheaper than most gym memberships! I hope that those of you in the Twin Cities area will look into this; it's going to be a great winter of running together!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Surf Sweets Give Away

Who doesn't like a give away to start the week off right? And better yet, who doesn't like a CANDY give away? (do I have your attention now? ;)

About a year ago I started eating Surf Sweets as a sugary candy alternative. I was drawn to them for a few reasons:
  • They're all natural with no High Fructose Corn Syrup!
  • They have Vitamin C
  • They come in small, portion controlled packaging
One package of their Sour Gummy Bears has 80 calories, and they're so delicious, I feel like I'm getting an amazing sugary treat, when really, I'm getting a not so bad for me, not so sugary treat!

Surf Sweets Sour Gummy Bears

These snacks were also mentioned by Stacy from Kitchenwerks at last month's Prior Fat Girl meet up, as one of the few fruit/gummy snacks not to be made with tons of artificial crap!

The kind people at Surf Sweets sent me a few of their products to sample, so I wanted to give you all a chance to try a couple too, it isn't a big give away, but I still like to share. =)

So, here's what you can win, a pack of Surf Sweets Original Flavor Gummy Bears and Jelly Beans, at 80 and 90 calories a pack.

Here's how you can win:

  1. Officially follow the blog, and leave a comment saying you are, or already were
  2. Tell me what your favorite sugary candy that makes your mouth water is
  3. Tweet about the give away using my handle @AlexaTC (make up an inventive tweet!)
(Separate comments please for each entry)

So, there are three separate ways you can win!

Here is the fine print: This giveaway is open U.S. Residents only. Entries must be received by Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. A random winner will be announced by Thursday, November 18, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Central Time and the winner have until Friday, November 19, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. Central to contact me, otherwise a new winner will be chosen.

**Surf Sweets gave me these samples for me to try for free, the opinions are all mine, and I just wanted to share the love!**

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cold Weather Recipes

This week, I picked up all the ingredients to make "my" Three Bean Chili. I'm not sure when I found this recipe, maybe in college, but it is SO delicious, filling, and pretty healthy too. I make it with the leanest ground turkey, and don't put in the pepper since I'm not a fan, but I love this chili recipe; plus, it's super easy!

Three Bean Chili cooking up in the crock pot

I'm also a HUGE leftovers queen, so I put these in Tupperware and put them in the freezer, and they last forever (almost), so that way we don't have to eat high sodium, no nutritional value Lean Cuisines when we need a quick lunch, we've got chili bitches! (I guess this chili makes me so excited, I swear about it).

The crazy party in all of this, is I grew up hating chili (probably because I would never try it with the tomatoes, still not a tomatoes fan); my mom made it every Halloween and I wouldn't eat a bite. However, when I went to college and was looking for options in the cafeteria, I decided to try it, and LOVED it!! In fact, I still think that the UDS Chicken Chili at the University of Minnesota is a meal fit for a king, and will stop and buy a cup whenever I'm in the area.

Last night, my friend Kelsey came over to enjoy the chili, so I made some Apple Crisp as well from the apples I sliced up this fall that came from Ben's uncle's organic farm in Southeastern Minnesota. This is a great recipe, that always produces rave reviews and is super easy. Again, not sure when I found this, but Ben's eyes light up like a kid's on Christmas morning when I say I'm going to make this apple crisp.

Kelsey enjoying her apple crisp

A tip for any recipe that calls for apples, ALWAYS use fresh (not canned) apples, and always cinnamon and sugar the apples. My mom always did for her apple pie squares (when I share that recipe, you will melt, not just over how fatty it is, but how delicious it is!), and I think it really does the trick on this delicious dessert. Plus, it's fruit with oatmeal, so I can justify eating seconds of this dessert, right??!?!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cafe Maude Review

This week, I'm all about the food, since I'm literally stressed out not being able to workout as much with my stress reaction in my foot, I have some dinner dates set up, and some great meals planned out.

Granted, I'm still working out, swimming (which is so tiring by the way, I'm really starting to love it!), doing yoga and strength training, and this weekend I'm going to hit up a spin class for the first time in months (my butt is going to huurrrrrrt!). However, the good part about not being at the gym, or outside running as much (since it gets dark at 4:30 too, boo), is that I can spend more time in the kitchen after work and on weekends, yay!

Tonight, I went to Cafe Maude in South Minneapolis with my friend/cousin-in-law Annie. I've heard some great reviews, and was super excited!

The food here did not disappoint, we each started with a great glass of Pinto Grigio, and then got our main courses.

Annie had the Tuscan Rice and Cheddar Crouquets:

And I ate the Grilled Flat Bread with Seared Halloumi, Cilantro, Mint Yogurt and Cucumbers

We also split a side order of their fries with fondue cheese dipping sauce. I'm a huge ketchup fan, I didn't even miss it with the delicious cheese on the side!

We decided to splurge on dessert; Annie got the Hazelnut and Chocolate Torte and I got the Apple Cream Brulee.

To say these desserts were delicious would be an understatement; we were happy diners!

Currently, I'm also obsessing over these aprons from Anthropologie, they are so darn cute! Especially these two:

I think they're a fun way to spice up cooking and baking, and a great way to protect your clothes of course. The problem is, these cost about as much, or sometimes more, than what I would pay for the shirt I would be wearing underneath it, so for now, I'll pine at these beautiful items and add them to my Christmas list.

Do you have a favorite apron or kitchen accessory that gets you excited to cook and bake?

Monday, November 8, 2010

One to One Thousand

I noticed today I hit 1,000 pictures tagged of me on facebook, holy moly! I joined facebook in the fall of 2004, so roughly six years ago. I decided to take a look back at picture number one then, to see how it compares to number 1,000, and throw in number 500 for good measure.

Picture #1 Girls Night at Molly's Apartment Senior Year of College (me, top left), October 2005

Picture #500, My best friend Ashley's wedding shower at my parent's house, love this one! Spring 2009

Picture #1,000 with Kate-Madonna Hindes at this past weekend's Microsoft Store Opening Pre-Party, November 2010

My hair has gone back to being almost as short as it was in picture number one, and I've lost about 15ish pounds since that picture, and never wear short little turtle necks with jeans like that anymore as I had in epiphany one day (not sure when) that they're not flattering!

Also, the amount I probably drank as a "social" night of drinking during the night picture number one was taken, would probably send me into a an all day hangover the next day if I drank that much now (I'm not even sure how much I drank that night, I can just guarantee it).

Thanks for letting me indulge in this little trip through time readers. =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Fabulous Weekend

What a wonderful, wonderful weekend. For the most part I remembered to take pictures too for blogging this great weekend.

It started out Friday after work with a drink with co-workers at Hells Kitchen in Minneapolis. If you ever get the chance to go there, they have the best huevos rancheros I've EVER had!

Crown and Diet Coke to start the weekend, mmmm

Next, I rushed home to change, then headed out to the Mall of America to meet some fellow bloggers for a sneak preview of the new Microsoft Store there, set to open the next day. It's only the sixth Microsoft store in the nation, and the second in the Midwest, so we were all excited for the tour that was set up by Suzi at Pink Vanilla Cupcakes.

It was a great time, with free food and drinks before the store tour at Crave (my first time there, very delicious!) and a tour of the great store, which has some really neat things to offer, and is very interactive.

Kate, Molly and I enjoying delicious eats and drinks at Crave

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures while on the tour. Molly over the Snyder 5 wrote a great post about this, and I pretty much echo her sentiments.

The sealed off store, it's very cool on the inside!

Saturday, after going for a swim in the AM, Ben and I headed up to our friend's Garth and Kari's wedding. Garth's younger sister Greta is a good friend of mine, she was a bridesmaid in our wedding in June, I'm godmother to her son Joshua, and through middle school and high school I spent a lot of time at their house, thus with Garth!

Their wedding was so great; the reception was held at a beautiful venue in Rogers, Minnesota called The Wellstead, and it did not disappoint.

We had great food, including these to start:

Ben and I split this plate, guess who ate all the fruit? =)

I love when we get to get all dressed up and go out together!

The reception also had one of my favorite trends in weddings lately, a candy buffet for the favors.

Whoever started this trend of candy buffets is both my least favorite, and most favorite person ever. I enjoyed a few (ok, like five) gummy fruit slices, and some M&M's at the reception, and made a little bag of the dark chocolates to take home for treats during the work week. I'll definitely be thanking Garth and Kari for my sugar pick me up's at work every afternoon this week!

It was great to see my friend Greta, as she lives in Springfield, Missouri now, and she looked so beautiful in her bridesmaid dress.

Greta and I

After falling back, and loving the extra hour of sleep, I got up Sunday refreshed and went to my first strength training class in over two months taught by my friend Meghan. Holy crap, I even took it easy, as to not put pressure on my foot, but I am going to be SORE tomorrow. I used my new Polar Heart Rate Monitor that I received at the Prior Fat Girl meet up, and it said I burned 436 calories, nice!

I'm warning you now, get ready for a cuteness overload, because what I did this afternoon, is just precious. I went to see my friend Joleen and Dean's three week only baby Logan for the first time, and as you can see from the pictures, he is beyond perfect.

Logan was a complete angel while I was there (His mom says I should see him at 2am, hehehe). Whenever he fussed a little, he settled right down back into a comfortable sleep and I got the joy of feeding him three ounces.

Logan Charles, sleeping peacefully

To say I love babies is an understatement, and perfect little Logan is no different.

Now, this week, it's all about balance, resting my foot, but still getting in my workouts, plus, putting in the extra time at work as our quarter wraps up. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Painting and Boots

Hey Friends, Sorry for the lack of posts this week, it's been a busy one. In fact, we didn't even get time to celebrate Halloween this past weekend. We spent the whole weekend painting with my parents (i.e. Ben and my Dad painted) while my mom and I cleaned, organized, took stuff off and put it back on the wall, and made the meals for their hard work. Besides only picking up a paint brush once, the weekend was exhausting.

Ben Painting Away

I was in bed early every night, up early in the morning and got at least eight hours of sleep, but was just spent come Sunday night, so no Halloween celebrations here. Our condo is looking great though, so I'm soooo happy for my parents help!!

Although I've mentioned things about it a few times on twitter, I haven't told you all that I'm dragging around a lovely walking boot on my left foot these days. After the marathon, the inner side of my left food ballooned up and was in a lot of pain. I took my PT's advice, and iced and elevated it, but thought it was just a normal post marathon pain. Well, when all the other marathon pains went away, my foot still hurt, and I could see that it still didn't look exactly right.

Last week, I went into the doctor and they told me I have a stress reaction in my foot, basically, the start of a stress fracture. The bone hasn't fractured yet, but if I don't take care of it, it will. So, I'm wearing a lovely walking boot each day for the next few weeks, and I'm also doing alternative workouts like water jogging (again), yoga, and strength training that doesn't put stress on my foot.

Robo Boot

It's frustrating, because I love to be active, and was so looking forward to doing whatever I wanted post marathon as far as working out and not having a schedule for just running. But, I'm listening to my body, and have actually taken some rest days with no workout at all, and even tried to cut down on my walking around downtown during lunch to help my foot heal. I figure, the faster it heals, the faster I'll be back to hitting the pavement!