Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

Monday- Slow Cooker Sloppy Joes

Tuesday- either Firehouse Subs or leftovers, not sure yet....

Wednesday- Turkey Burgers on the grill (it is supposed to be almost 70 on Wednesday, so we are going to take advantage of the nice weather and have burgers)

Thursday-Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

Friday- Pizza Movie night- working on some yummy new pizza combinations to try :)

Saturday- Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Tacos- We will be having company over the weekend to celebrate two birthdays in our family.  I wanted to make something easy that I could put in the crock pot, so I went with this choice.  I will probably serve it with mexican quiona- a good substitute for mexican rice.

Sunday- It's the oldest monkey's birthday, so he gets to choose dinner for this evening :)

Monday, January 21, 2013

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2:45's early, but so worth it.  Our Team was supposed to meet in the hotel lobby at 3:15 am to walk over to the start corrals.  I was walking with Edna and Michelle- we were all in corral C, so we dropped our stuff off and then made a surprisingly quick stop at the porta potties and then made our way to our corral.  It was a little chilly waiting, but I had my sweatshirt and gloves and I was pretty comfortable while waiting for the start time.   Before we knew it the national anthem was being sung and shortly after that corral A was on their way and then corral B and then it was our turn!

My plan was to follow at 2 min run/1 min walk ratio for this race.  I started off down the road and then turned to enter California Adventure and made our way through the park and got to see parts of the new Cars Land (which was so much fun to visit later that day!) and they had the the colorful fountains from the World of Color show on for us as we ran by, and I stopped to take a quick picture.  When it was time to leave California Adventure, I received my first update text from runDisney about my 5k split. I realized that the timing was off for that split, so I sent a quick text to my husband to let him know that during one of my walk breaks.  That split said my pace was 17:54 and I knew that was not possible.  I had been checking my pace every now and then and the pace on my watch was showing an average of 13:11.  I felt good, I was not too worried about falling off my pace, though I did feel like I may be going a little too fast, but I didn't intentionally slow down.            

Next up was Disneyland!  It was really nice to run through the park since I wasn't planning on visiting the park during this trip.  I love seeing the parks at night, and since it was still dark out, I was able to see the castle all lit up.  Again, I happened to be at a walk break right at the castle, so I stopped to take a quick picture before moving along.

After leaving Disneyland, the course took us through Downtown Disney and then we rounded the corner near the Disneyland Hotel and there were the Red Hat ladies!  These by far, these ladies are the best cheering section of the race.  Possibly even the best cheering section of any race.  Shortly after that,  I got my 10k split text from runDisney saying that my 10k time was 1:25:03, with my pace being 13:41.  Definitely an improvement over the 5k split (they must have fixed whatever the original timing was).  I was still feeling great, and I was surprised to see how quickly this race seemed to be going by.  

I kept up with my 2:1 ratio plan and it was going great.  Most of this race is through the city after finishing with the parks.  runDisney does a great job of lining up schools to have groups out on the course to cheer us on, so going through the city isn't that bad.  Plus, there are some mountains out in the distance that are really pretty to look at along the way.  

Soon I received my 15k split (time 2:07:07, pace 13:38).  Still really feeling good.  I was really surprised to find that I was not hitting that wall that I usually do around mile 8-10.  It was also then that I was surprised to find out that finishing this half marathon under 3 hours was a real possibility.  I decided then that I was going to make it under 3 hours, and I knew if I stuck with my plan, I would be able to do just that.  

Many times along the way, I was met with TNT coaches that checked in on me, most yelling "go Team!" and me giving the thumbs up in response.  A couple coaches caught me on a walk break and I was able to talk with them and tell them that I was doing fine.  I met up with one around mile 12 and she asked how I was doing and my response was "great, this should be my fastest time yet!"  She congratulated me and I went along my way.  I crossed the finish line with an official time of 2:58:29- my newest PR- by 16 minutes!  And that is also a 31 minute improvement over last years time!

Immediately after crossing the finish line, my phone rang.  It was my husband calling to congratulate me.  It was so great to hear from him and all of my monkeys cheering me on from home.   I got my medal, water and my snack box and then went over to check in with my TNT Flex team.  I stayed for a couple minutes, checked in with a couple people and then I decided to head back to my room.  It was a great way to cool down from this race and I don't think anyone could wipe the smile off my face.  

Here are my unofficial mile splits from my watch:
Mile 1:  12:55
Mile 2:  13:30
Mile 3:  12:55
Mile 4:  13:16
Mile 5:  13:56
Mile 6:  13:29
Mile 7:  13:25
Mile 8:  13:40
Mile 9:  13:35
Mile 10:  13:18
Mile 11:  13:38
Mile 12:  13:18
Mile 13:  13:28

I was so pleasantly surprised to see that most of my miles were in the 13s and two of them were 12:55! I can't wait to see what comes next :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Meal Planning

Getting back into the swing of things after being out of town is one of the hardest things for me.  By planning ahead, I can avoid getting too far off track.

Monday- This is my travel day, so I'll be having food on the go, not sure what they'll be having at home.

Tuesday- We are going to go to Firehouse Subs after gymnastics, my plan is to go grocery shopping at some point during the day so I'm prepared for the rest of the week.

Wednesday-  Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Thursday-  Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili

Friday- We have a birthday to celebrate today, so it's the birthday boy's choice for dinner :)  And a cupcake of course!

Saturday- Chicken Divan

Sunday- Leftovers or dinner out.

No new recipes this week- everyone seems to like these, so it should make for an easy week as far as cooking goes!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Day Before Tink- Working, Resting, Celebrating TNT

Saturday morning I tried to sleep in a little, but that did not happen- I was clearly still on east coast time, and despite the long day on Friday, I was still awake way before my alarm.  I actually didn't mind this because I like staying more on east coast time so that waking up for the early morning race time doesn't seem that early.  I took my time getting ready for the day and just kind of hanging out for a while before heading over to Downtown Disney to find something for breakfast.

The weather in California was beautiful the whole weekend I was there and I really enjoyed being able to get outside and enjoy walking around and enjoying the sunshine.  I was scheduled for a morning shift at the Sparkle Skirts booth, so I wandered around the expo for a little bit to see if there was something that I missed the day before.  I really had a great time working at the booth and getting to meet all of the people who were looking forward to running the race the next day.  It was a great experience, and I do hope that I can do it again soon!

After I finished with my shift, I went to get a late lunch.  Part of my pre-race routine is usually to have fajitas the day before (usually for dinner, but I had a TNT dinner Saturday evening).  I went to Tortilla Joe's and was able to have some delicious shrimp fajitas.  I wandered around Downtown Disney a little bit more before heading back to my room to relax for a little longer.

When I got back to my room, my roommate had arrived and we met and talked a little while we both relaxed and then got ready for the TNT Inspiration dinner.  The dinner was great.  It was a buffet style with salads, pasta and sauce choices, and chicken.  We were directed to our table and then were able to talk for a little bit before the program began.   This dinner was for all of the TNT participants in the Tinker Bell half, lots of Team members and lots of energy!  The total amount of money raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from this event was over $800,000!  I was a part of the TNT Flex team, and the members of my team alone were responsible for $200,000.

After dinner we had a short Team meeting.  I then went down to the hotel's deli to grab a bagel and some peanut butter (I didn't want to try to do it in the morning) Then it was time to turn in early- 2:45 am comes early no matter what coast you are on!  I got back to my room, made sure I had everything laid out for the race, got my check bag ready, and double and triple checked my alarm.

I didn't have much trouble falling asleep and despite a bad dream about oversleeping and missing the race, I woke up at 2:45 feeling well rested and ready to tackle this race.

Next up:  2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo

Today was my travel day!  I woke up really early on east coast time and made my way to the airport, made it onto the airplane and then we sat.  We've had some pretty chilly weather lately and the plane had to be de-iced.  Unfortunately for us, the de-icer truck broke down and we had to wait for the company to send a new truck.  So we waited.....about an hour.  I was a little nervous because I had about an hour and a half layover in Dallas, and this was eating into that time.  But, we finally got on our way and I was able to make my flight with a little time to spare and then we landed safely in California.  I made my way to the hotel and was able to relax for a little bit before meeting up with some of my TNT teammates for a trip to the expo.

runDisney expos do not disappoint.  The vendors are wonderful and there is no shortage of great merchandise to browse and purchase!  When you arrive at the expo, you are directed to first pick up your bib.  Once the business part is taken care of, you are directed upstairs for goody bag and shirt pick up and then on to the shopping!  This year, tink participants were given a long sleeve shirt and a mesh bag.  

My next stop was the official runDisney merchandise.  I love to look at all the stuff that they have, and the "I Did It" shirt is a must have for me:

The other purchase I made was one of the new runDisney vinylmation and the Tinker Bell medal (I'm planning on getting the princess medal in February to mark my next race:

Some of the other great merchandise:

And who can forget the wings?  I didn't personally run in wings, but I did see a lot of wings on the course Sunday morning!

I then wandered around the expo a little more, browsed a little at the raw threads booth:

I also took a few minutes to check out the exclusive New Balance runDisney shoes:


I stopped by to meet Leah of Sparkle Skirts.  I was lucky enough to be able to work a few hours on Saturday morning in the Sparkles Skirts booth, helping lots of ladies (and a few gentlemen) find the perfect skirt for race day.  

I had a great time at the expo and I am really looking forward to the next runDisney event- Princess weekend!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tinker Bell 2013

I can't believe it is almost time for this race again. The 2012 Tinker Bell half marathon was a very important race for me last year. It was the first race of my deployment challenge to myself, and completing it was the start of a whole new phase in my life.

This year is quite a different story from last year.  Last year I was so nervous, it was only my second half marathon and I was still very nervous about not being able to finish in time.  This year I feel so much better prepared and I do not have doubts about being able to finish this race within the time allowed.

This time, I am doing this race with Team in Training and I am heading out early Friday morning to California.  I will get to meet up with some of my TNT flex team on Friday.  I also plan on hitting up the expo on Friday- runDisney expos are great- so much fun stuff to check out!  Saturday I volunteered to work a shift for Sparkle Skirts, I will be there from 10 am- 2 pm, if you are there, please stop by and say hello :).    Saturday evening is the TNT inspiration dinner and then Sunday is the big day!

The race starts at 5 am- thank goodness it is on the west coast- it's so much easier to get up for those early races out there!  I plan on sticking with my 2:1 run:walk ratio for this race, I've been training at that ratio for the past couple of months so I am hoping that will help me with a new PR for this race (current PR is from the Wine and Dine in November).

In other news- I am still on track with meals cooked at home for this month and also keeping up with my Moon Jogger miles- I'm looking forward to adding those 13.1 miles to the total next week :).  In order to keep up with my goals, I am planning to meal plan for next week early so that I don't miss out on any days.  I found out last year that planning ahead is key!

So, anyone else running Tink this year?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

Monday- Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken- we've had this one before and it was met with smiling faces, so hopefully we'll have the same result tomorrow.

Tuesday-  Skinny Tuna Noodle Casserole- another one we've had before.  It should be easy to prepare earlier in the day and then my husband can put it in the oven while we are at gymnastics.

Wednesday- Chicken Divan  this should also have some leftovers that can be used over the weekend.

Thursday- Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce- this is another one that supposedly makes a lot, so it will hopefully make some extra so that it can be used over the weekend.

I am flying out to California early Friday morning, so it is Daddy's weekend with the kiddos.  I am trying to leave some ideas and meal plans for him so that it is one less thing he has to worry about.

Friday- Pizza night (not sure if he'll make homemade or order- homemade pizza is a little bit of a two person job since it does take a little time)

Saturday- Chicken and Broccoli Noodle Casserole  I'm planning on making this and leaving it to be cooked later on.

Sunday-  Leftovers or if he feels brave enough, he can take them out to dinner :)

Monday- Also still leftovers- there should be plenty!

The Sweet Cupcake Race Update!

So far we have 64 participants for The Sweet Cupcake Race to benefit TNT!  Registration will close on January 31, don't miss your chance to earn this medal:

Also available, a special edition Happy Band!  The ribbon will match the medal neck ribbon!  Registration over to the right ----------->

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Somewhat on Track :)

Meals cooked at home are on track so far!  We had the Spinach Lasagna Rolls which were better this time than last time I made them.  The only thing I did differently was that I used the steam fresh spinach and since I'd forgotten to thaw the spinach, I was able to cook the spinach in the bag using the microwave.  I think that may have made the spinach a little softer and made it mix better with the ricotta and parmesan mixture that is in the noodles.  But the best part......clean plates all around!

I had a plan for todays run.  My run that was scheduled was a one mile for time improvement, and then a 4 mile run.  My plan was to do the warm up, the 5 minute warm up run and the mile for time all on the treadmill and then switch up and do the 4 mile run outside- after all, it was a beautiful day!  Well, I go through the warm up and the mile for time and my legs were just not having it today.  I kept trying to talk myself into it, but it just wasn't happening today.  I managed to get a little more than 2 miles in and I was done.  It's ok- I just switched my planned mileage days (I had a short 2 miler planned later this week), but I do wish I'd been able to push through.

Today is my rest day from JMBR as well, so there isn't anything to report from there :)For some fun news..... runDisney announced today that New Balance is the official running shoe of runDisney.  They have even released a new limited edition New Balance men's and women's running shoe, the 860v3 runDisney edition- in special Mickey and Minnie colors.  I've been running in New Balance minimus zeros for as long as I've been running, and I've loved them.  I'm actually now looking for a new pair to replace my current ones- which means a new color maybe....these are my current ones:   
What are your current shoes?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Slow Cooker Black Bean Chicken Tacos

This meal was maybe the biggest hit so far.  It was super easy and full of flavor.  I didn't even start the crock pot until 2:30 and dinner was still ready by 6.  The rotel and black beans were combined and put on the bottom of the crock pot and the chicken seasoned and laid on top of the beans and rotel.  It cooks up very quickly, then you shred the chicken and add it back in for a little longer.  While we were at gymnastics, my husband made some brown rice and broccoli that was ready for us when we got home. The kids had their meal taco style in whole wheat tortillas with a little cheese and avocado.  They had rice and broccoli on the side- everyone cleaned their plates- and two of the four even had a second taco!  My husband liked it even more than the soup we had last week.  I had mine minus the tortilla- so rice, chicken, a little cheese and avocado.  Very yummy and will definitely go on our list to have again.

Today was a little different.  My plan today was to get up early and run because my littlest had a doctor appointment.  The problem with that always is that I don't want to wake anyone up any earlier than they need to be woken up.  So, after some thought, I decided to wait until after her appointment- I thought I'd have plenty of time between the appointment and when it was time to pick up our monkey from preschool.  Well, the appointment took a lot longer than I thought it would and as I was driving home, I was really having a mind battle- trying to talk myself out of doing the run.  I did have about an hour and a half so I did have enough time to do it, I really think I just didn't really have the desire to do it.  I hate when my mind gets in the way like that.  But, despite that, when we got home, I got the littlest settled in with a show and some milk and got on the treadmill.  I had a 45 minuted run scheduled for today, still following the 2 min run:1 min walk ratio and ended up averaging a 12:20 pace- very exciting!  So, my time is improving, and I'm anxious to see what my time looks like at the Tinker Bell half next weekend.

After tucking the kiddos in bed this evening, I also did JMBR workout 4.  Lots of squats and lunges in that one....always fun after putting my legs through that run just a few hours earlier....

Monday, January 7, 2013

Baked Chicken Parmesan Review

This was my first time trying out this meal and it turned out great.  It was very easy to put together and took less than 45 minutes from start to finish.  I love easy meals- it makes my life so much easier.  We had the chicken parmesan with a small serving of fettuccine and some sautéed yellow squash and zucchini.  While the kiddos were more than happy to finish off the chicken and noodles, they were hesitant on the veggies.  One of my kiddos even said "Mommy, where did you get the squash- I thought your plants were dead?"  He's referring to the squash and zucchini that we grew over the summer- I thought he'd be over the amount of squash he ate over the summer :)

This morning I ran intervals and cadence drills and then did a couple more miles.  I am still working off the Half Marathon with Jeff Galloway app for my phone.  That gives me 3 runs per week and then I am just adding in another run or two to make up the extra miles to complete my moon jogger miles for the week.

I have been wanting to get back to the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution for a while, but timing has not really worked out until now.  Tonight my husband joined me and we did our first workout in a while.  We had finished weeks 1 and 2 several weeks ago, so we decided to start with workout 3.  I forgot how tough that workout was.  Thankfully I do remember that the odd numbered workouts are harder than the even numbered workouts, so tomorrow should be easier :)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Meal Planning

This past week I tried out several new recipes and had success with each of them, I'm hoping that I have similar success this week.  I'm on track for home cooked meals so far- I cooked at least one meal each day, and I'm hoping to continue that this week.

Monday- Baked Chicken Parmesan from Skinytaste.   New recipe- this will be a first for us, but with it being chicken and noodles, I don't think it can go wrong.

Tuesday- Slow Cooker Chicken Black Bean Tacos.  Tuesday is still our gymnastics day, and since this is one that can be done in the crock pot, it makes for an easy dinner for one of our busiest nights.

Wednesday- Spinach Lasagna Rolls- we didn't have this last week, so I'm keeping it on the menu for this week.

Thursday- Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs- we've had this before, and the kids liked it.  So I'm hoping it will go over as well this time as the last.

Friday- Pizza night with homemade pizza.  I'm still looking for a good sauce recipe, but I've got a little more time.  I like trying out new options.....anyone have a favorite pizza sauce recipe?

Saturday- Crock Pot Potato Cheese Soup- I really liked this one the last time we had it and it is fairly easy.  We've been working on reorganizing our house, so with an easy meal, we can get a lot more done.

Sunday- Leftover night

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bangin Good Shrimp Dinner

Delicious!  Because I knew this would be a spicier meal, I did make some macaroni and cheese for the kiddos.  But, we did have company for the weekend, so my husband, my sister, and my mom got to be the guinea pigs for this meal.  They all told me it was really good.

This was a very quick meal to prepare, it only took a few minutes to mix the sauce and cook the shrimp.  I served it over purple cabbage along with some avocado.  We also had broccoli as a side.  The shrimp with the cabbage was a really good combination.

This morning my mom and sister we nice enough to keep up with the kiddos while my husband was nice enough to join me on a 6.61 mile run.  We did a 2 min run/1 min walk ratio and then ran the final .75 mile to finish up our run.  I'm thankful that my husband is willing to run with me (my pace is definitely slower than his!) and that he is willing to try out the run/walk/run program.  He's very good at  being encouraging while we are running and I really enjoyed the miles yesterday.  I'm also above my target goal for moon jogger miles this week, 17.703 for the week.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Pizza Night!

Tonight we had pizza like our normal Friday night, but instead of ordering, everything was made at home.  I used our new bread machine to make the pizza dough and while that was going I made the pizza sauce.  I found this recipe for the pizza sauce using my vitamix (which means my pizza sauce was done in about 5 minutes!).  

The pizza dough was finished in about 45 minutes and then I took it out and divided it into 4 pieces:

I did a kiddo pizza with just cheese, this was before baking:

And the finished adult pizza with sausage and mushrooms:

The result?  Again- every bit was gone and it was delicious.  I'm really looking forward to trying out new pizza toppings on our next pizza night.  The sauce was good as well, but I think I am going to continue to look for a different sauce that we just love....

Today was a rest day from running, I will be doing my long run tomorrow morning, hoping that the new pain in my hip will go away overnight :)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili Review

Another winner for us!  This was another one that we all enjoyed and the boys even all had seconds again.  This was a very filling meal and so easy to make.  It's another one of those "toss everything in the crockpot and check on it later" meals.  The combination of all of the ingredients made this very tasty and not too spicy for the kids to eat it.

We are so far going very strong with our home cooked meals, three in a row!  Tomorrow we will be using our new bread machine to make homemade pizza to enjoy during our family movie night.

Before I had dinner, I did a quick 2.5 mile run to add to my Moon Jogger miles.  Between that run and the delicious Crock Pot Chicken Taco Chili, I count this as a successful day :)

My 13 in 2013

One of my three goals is to complete 13 races in 2013.  I have several planned out, but need some more races to fill in the gaps....I'm open to suggestions if anyone has any!

1 ~ January 20- Tinker Bell Half Marathon (registered)
2 ~ February 24- Princess Half Marathon (registered)
3 ~ March 17- Shamrock Half Marathon (registered)
4 ~ April 28- Nike Women's Half Marathon (registered)
5 ~ September 1- Rock and Roll Half Marathon (registered)
6 ~ September 28- Tower of Terror 10 Miler (possible)
7 ~ October 5- Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon (possible)
8 ~ October 26- Wicked 10k (possible)
9 ~ December 7- Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler (possible)
10 ~
11 ~
12 ~

So, I've got some empty spots....any ideas?

Also, if you'd like to be a part of 13 in 2013, find the details and sign up here:  13 in 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Dinner Review

Tonight's dinner consisted of two new recipes, both from SkinnyTaste:  Garlic Lover's Roast Beef and Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  We also had steamed broccoli, our family's favorite vegetable.  This entire meal was a hit with everyone.  Even had all of the boys asking for seconds.

The roast was really great, it smelled great while cooking and was very easy....just put it in the oven and wait.   I used my pampered chef small ridged baker for the roast- it was the perfect size and the ridges kept the roast from sitting in the juices that came from the roast.  Delicious :) The potatoes were also really good, I added a little bit of parmesan cheese to the potatoes, and that made them even yummier :)

This morning I did a 5.266 mile run using my half marathon with Jeff Galloway app.  It was a pretty good run- there were intervals in the workout, so not just running the miles on the treadmill-  the variety helps when doing that kind of distance.  So far I am on track for my moon jogger distance.  Tomorrow will be a shorter run, followed by a rest day and long run on Saturday.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

I thought for a while about what goals I would like to set for 2013.  Coming across the Moon Jogger  challenge made it easier to commit to the 1000 mile goal.  I've already created my plan for January, and if I follow that plan, I will complete almost 90 miles of the 1000 mile challenge.

I am also committing to run 13 races in 2013.  These won't all be half marathon distances, but I am already registered for 5 half marathons this year.  I'm looking for others to register for, hopefully some local ones as well as maybe a little more traveling :)

Next I thought more about my meal planning and what we are eating at home.  I then decided that my next goal would be to make 250 home cooked meals (mainly dinners) over the next year.  I am mainly counting dinners (the meal that we eat as a family), but the occasional lunch will also count as long as it is something cooked- not sandwiches.  And considering that we only have 365 opportunities to have dinner as a family, if we have 250 home cooked meals, we will be eating about 68% of our dinners at home.

So, those are my goals for this coming year.  2012 was a great start for me, I really made changes to my activity level and made changes to what I ate.  Because of that I saw results, but more importantly, I felt results!  I feel so much better than I felt last year at this time.  2012 was a great year for those changes, and I am really looking forward to seeing the changes that come from my new goals for 2013!