Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar. Fail?

So remember that one time I made that "contract" and posted my quest for no sugar?



ya see....

sometimes I'm not so good at those things.

I have this problem. It's called: when I want something really bad, I do whatever it takes to get it, and I do get it. When I want something but then change my mind and decide I don't really care, everything falls apart and I don't reach my goal.

So guess what?

I decided I wanted some ice cream more than I wanted to be sugar free.
I decided I wanted some cookies when I was stressed.
I decided I actually consumed more calories in trying to satisfy my desire for treats with other foods than had I actually eaten that treat.
I decided I didn't really care.

So I stopped.
I think I made it about one consecutive week without sugar.
Life happens.
I have friends.
Friends have birthdays, and movie nights, and cookie cook offs.
I can't not participate.

I don't feel like a failure. Just like a little indecisive.
But I still know that sugar makes me feel a little sick.
I just need to always remember that, especially when the chocolate craving hits.
Which is always.

Now I'm just trying to eat healthy and enjoy living my life.

Excuse me while I go eat some brownies...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Me: Finishing a 1/2 Marathon

I am proud to say I have now completed my first 1/2 marathon!

The day before, I was nervous, anxious, and stressed about everything. Every possible negative thought and scenario was flying through my mind. I felt sick nearly all day. I started calming down once we were in the car and on our way. The race was in Columbia, just under 2 hours away from home. We dropped off Bub's with some friends, picked up Jaron, and headed out. Once we got there we picked up Meagan (who was at a work conference), grabbed our race packets and checked in to our hotel.

After relaxing for a bit, we drove to Olive Garden to meet up with the crew.
When I say crew, I really mean, Big Crew. There were 9 girls from my ward, Meagan and I, and our 2 hubbies. So 13 in all.
We had a blast eating and chatting and prepping ourselves for the big day the next morning. Unfortunately our server must have thought we were having a little too much fun, and we ended up being there for over 2 hours. Which was a little too long for my taste. But we made the best of it.
We went back to the hotel and dropped the boys off. Us girls headed over to one of the suites another group of girls had. We all painted our fingernails hot pink and had some fun Girl Talk.
Then the infamous bed time.
I'm not sure anyone in our whole group of 13 got more than 3-4 solid hours of sleep.
Personally, I tossed and turned and kept waking up thinking it was time for my alarm to go off.

All set up and ready for the big morning.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat in the morning, we set off for the race. It wasn't as cold as I was expecting it to be, but it was still pretty chilly. I was happy I had bought a jacket from Goodwill that I could wear and toss. Our crew walked over to the start line, snapped a few pictures, some of us did a short warm up jog, then it was TIME!!!

We joined the crowds of people lining up to start.
Of course by this point I was far more excited than nervous.
Meagan, Leia, and I, lined up before saying bye to our hubs. Luckily for us, as the crowd started moving, they jumped in from the sidelines and ran with us the first block or two. Then, of course, they took off.

The first 4 miles we so much fun! I had a blast running, chatting, and taking in all the excitement around us. There were little groups of people here and there along the race that were holding signs and cheering for people. But since we needed cheering too, we always hooped and hollered and got them to cheer for us.
One group of people had signs that were pretty raunchy but pretty hilarious too.
Us girls took turns leading each other around other runners and keeping our pace. At one point Meagan busted out: "I feel good! na na na na na" and we all jumped in singing and dancing the words. We passed a few other runners and they thought it was quite funny.
Around mile 5 we made a pit stop. I thought the line was too long, so after waiting 2 minutes, I took off and left Meagan. I ran hard to catch up with Leia, who had gone ahead. It took me about 1.60 miles running at a sub 8:00 pace to catch her. I thought for sure I wouldn't see Meagan again.
But between mile 8-9 she came out of nowhere!! She seriously hauled tail for at least 3 miles to catch up with us.
Once we were back together, her and I took off. Don't worry, Leia had found another running friend on the course so we didn't abandon her.
We ran hard for the next few miles and had such a fun time laughing, talking, and pushing each other. We kept a quick pace too, which was awesome.
Then the unfortunate hit.
If you've ever run any sort of distance, you know that running really triggers the digestive system. Well, apparently mine wanted to rebel between mile 10-11. I started feeling really sick and stomach crampy, but I didn't want to stop since we were in such a good groove!

Then came the hills.
Brutal, awful, terrible, end of the race, hills.

I really love hills, but these were especially tough being at the end while feeling sick. Meagan kept pushing me and did a great job of keeping us going.
Around mile 12.5, as we were cruising up the hill, we heard some loud cheering. It was our boys!!!
We were SO thrilled to see them, and they were thrilled to see us since we were making good time!
They pulled us through the finish line.
It wasn't easy at the end, but it was so worth it! And even though I thought every last ounce of energy was spent, somehow when I entered the finish chute I had a little more guts left and sprinted toward the end.

It was such an incredible experience to finish my first long race.
After I used the bathroom, got some water, and stretched a bit, I realized I wasn't as tired and spent as I thought I would be. I also wasn't as sore as I expected.
To me that says my training was spot on and I worked hard to get to that place.
Just after finishing. 

My time according to my watch (which was borrowed, and which I stopped at the pit stop).
My chip time was 2:10.

Our matchy-matchy boys.
They ROCKED the race!
Jaron had a time of 1:33 and Scott had a time of 1:37.

Me and Meagan post race.

We did it!

We did whaaaat?

It was really fun once we finished to watch and cheer for all the other girls crossing the line. We made quite the welcome noise! I loved watching each of my friends faces as they realized how close they were and that their friends were cheering and excited for them to finish. 

Running this race was really an incredible experience. I loved every minute of it! I never thought I could have so much fun running but I did! 
The next morning I told my hubby it didn't feel that much different than my training runs and that it felt a little too easy, so I needed to train and run a full marathon. I think part of the whole training/racing package is the work you put in to make the race feel easy. That's where the true grit lies. 

My new goals are: 
run a 2:00 half marathon
run a sub 2:00 half marathon
run a full marathon

I know I can do it, and I'm excited to work for something new! 

Bubs and his girlyfriend he stayed with. 
Aren't they so cute! They love playing together.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Me: The Day Before My First 1/2 Marathon

Tomorrow is race day.

I feel sick.
Like nervous, anxious, excited, sick.

I really cannot believe it's already here.
The summer went by so slow yet so fast.

One day, back in July, I was having a particularly diffucult week.
I felt discouraged.
I felt inadequate.
I felt like I couldn't do it.

So, I sat down with my husband and he asked me some deep questions.
One of which was: "Why are you running?"
Then he had me write down my answers.

I still have the paper.
At the top of the page I scribbled: "for when I don't want to run"

Looks like I feel the need to prove something, eh?

After that exercise we made a schedule of training. Something challenging yet doable.
At the time, it seemed completely insurmountable. Impossible. Undoable. Overwhelming.

Well, guess what?
Tomorrow is September 22, 2012.
I have followed my training schedule and completed every single run I needed to.
Some were shorter. Some were longer.
But I ran every single time I scheduled myself to.

Tomorrow is the big day.
I will run 13.1 miles: my farthest distance yet.
I will set my first PR for a half marathon.
I will accomplish something I have dreamed about doing since the beginning of the year.
I will do something I never, ever, thought was possible.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I Won!!

Big news.

I did it.


Now I have to rub it in just a teeny little bit.

After 4 years of marriage and many, many rounds of playing the card game, "Wizard"... (it's sorta like Rook)

I finally beat my husband.


Twice in a row.

By over a hundred points. Both times.


I'm just a teeny little bit excited.

Mama D, Becky, you guys should be proud.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chocolate Therapy for a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Every so often, as life is quickly sailing by, we get hit by a "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day."

Mine came last week.
My morning run began by encountering a random man, in the darkness of dawn, who stopped me to ask for directions. Then I waited patiently for a car to cross the intersection. Then another. And another. I also waited for a couple cars back out of driveways. All of this while it was very nearly black outside and all I wanted to do was run. A sort of omen for the way my day would progress.
Back at home things started falling apart quickly.
Bubs woke up an hour early (read 6 am).
Puppy consumed most of Bub's breakfast. Then vomited.
Remote to DVD player became un-programmed (darn universal things) and Cars was unplayable.
Bubs stole favorite makeup brush and dipped in Puppy's water. Then fed to Puppy. (who did not eat it)
Puppy found and explored an old, wet diaper. Yum.
Bubs "poo poo!"-ed then sat on his potty. Said poo poo leaked and smudged all over the seat.
Puppy vomited again.
Bubs decided that screaming, whining, and tantrums were the most fun means of communication.

For almost 2 hours.

Normally it lasts 3-4.
Cue aforementioned screaming, whining, and tantrums.
Then a bath for the Puppy.
5 minutes later, chalk, all over clean Puppy.
5 minutes later, Puppy pee on my rug, due to scary vacuum.
During dinner prep, an entire container of wipes, piled on my kitchen table.
Water on kitchen table.
Bubs on kitchen table.
Frame that was on wall, on kitchen table.
Pizza in oven, smoke detector beeping angrily.
Smoke detector beaten to smithereens by frustrated cook.
Sudden, unknown pain in finger.
Somehow I chopped a chunk out of my finger between attacking the smoke detector and removing the pizza from the oven.

Whining, screaming, dinner tantrums.
Finally, bed time. And peace.

It was a whopper of a day.

So guess what I did the next day?
I ran. Then we drove to Kathryn's.(we're related)
When two tired, overwhelmed, stressed, and missing their hubbies, moms, get together, usually chocolate breaks forth in a wonderful, incredible, therapeutic way.
This time it was cupcakes. Recipe courtesy of Sweet Tooth Fairy.
Rich, fudgey, dark chocolate with melty chocolate chips. Topped with a white chocolate cream cheese frosting.
They were the perfect anecdote to a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

After this one, I think I'm set with bad days for about a month. At least.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Homemade Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Burrito, Smothered

Forgive me while my site is somewhat under construction. I am trying to update, improve, and make better my blog.

Moving on.

One of the things I miss most about Utah is Cafe Rio. Some affectionately claim that Costa Vida is "so much better", and sometimes I agree, but the overall concept is the same: shredded sweet pork, spicy sauce, tangy rice and beans, stuffed in a huge, fresh cooked tortilla, slathered in green salsa and melted cheese. Whoever designed it was genius.

Here in Missouri, we often crave sweet pork burritos. The closest we have ever come was the sweet pork salad but it doesn't ever quite hit the spot. Something about the flavors and textures of the smothered burrito make it particularly addicting.

However, I recently discovered a combination of recipes that when meshed together create an authentic, nearly identical tasting, Cafe Rio sweet pork burrito, smothered style. Want to know my secrets? Read on!

Sweet Pork Barbacoa
recipe adapted from Laura and Brandon Allison
Total cook time: 12-15 hours

5-6 lbs bone in, pork butt roast

-Place in crock pot on low, sprinkle with: salt, cumin, and brown sugar. Fill up crock to about halfway up the pork. Let cook about 7-9 hours.
*Bone-in pork will produce much more flavor but also a significantly higher amount of fat. If watching fat content, try the boneless shoulder or butt roast, and trim the fat before cooking, but know it won't have nearly as deep of flavor.

In the AM:
-Drain the water from the pork.
-Mix in a bowl:
1, 7 oz. can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
1 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
3/4 c. red taco sauce
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
21 oz. Dr. Pepper (or Coke, not diet!!)

Pour the can of chipotle chilies in the bowl, then some of the Dr. Pepper to rinse the sauce off the chilies. Remove the chilies unless you want it hot, hot, hot! You can alter the amount of heat by adding more or less chilies, spicier taco sauce, and more cayenne pepper. Mix everything else into the bowl and pour the mixture over the pork, re-lid, and cook about 4 more hours.

-Remove the meat or shred it in the crock.
Add (to taste):
1/2-1 cup more brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Generous sprinkle of cumin and cayenne pepper.
Stir together and cook another hour or two until ready to serve.

Spicy Green Enchilada Sauce

2, 4 oz cans of diced green chilies
2, 7 oz. cans salsa verde, ("Embasa" brand is good)
1 c. chicken broth
4 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. salt

Combine together in a medium saucepan. Simmer for about 10-20 minutes. Refrigerating over night will help flavors meld together better.

Black Beans
lightly adapted from Our Best Bites

1 Tbl. olive oil
1 medium-small onion, diced (about 2/3 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2, 15 oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. chicken broth
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. dried cilantro
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
Juice of 1 lime

Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute another 30 seconds. Add beans, broth, spices, and bring to a boil. Simmer gently for 7-15 minutes, depending on desired consistency. To make a thicker mixture, smash part of the beans with the back of the spoon, and cook longer. For a thinner consistency, cook less time, don't smash as many beans, and add more broth as needed. Squeeze lime juice over beans just before serving.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
lightly adapted from Our Best Bites

1 cups rice, uncooked
2 cups water
2 Tbl. butter
Juice from 1 lime
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

Cook the rice and water in a saucepan about 20 minutes, or cook in a rice cooker. Add the butter, lime juice, and cilantro. Mix and fluff gently. You can add a dash of salt and pepper to taste if desired.

Pico De Gallo
lightly adapted from Our Best Bites

4 roma tomatoes

1 small, sweet onion
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Sea salt.
Jalapeno, diced, optional.

Slice the ends off the tomatoes and under running water, slide a finger into to membranes to release the seeds and juice. Dice into small pieces and place in bowl. Dice onion into small pieces, mix with tomatoes. Add cilantro and lime juice. Grind sea salt generously to taste. Let marinate in fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Other ingredients:
-Uncooked tortillas, we like Tortilla Land from Costco
-Monterey Jack cheese
-Guacamole & Sour Cream, if desired


-Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
-Cook the tortillas according to package instructions.
-Layer on tortilla in desired amounts: rice, beans, sweet pork, green salsa, cheese.
-Roll up and place in a 9x13 baking dish. Repeat for desired amounts.
-Slather green salsa generously over all burritos in dish, sprinkle with more cheese.
-Heat in oven about 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly.
-Serve with Pico de Gallo, Guac, and sour cream on the side.

Of course I thought to take a picture of the finished product after we had already cleaned our plates. Oops. Just take my honest word for the fact that they seriously look, feel, and taste almost identical to Cafe Rio burritos! I was thrilled and very proud of myself for finding and combining all the elements together. The pork recipe feeds a crowd, so plan on doubling everything else if you want more than about 10-12 burritos. Good luck and HAPPY SWEET PORK!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Me: Running 11 miles

11 miles.

Who in their right mind wakes up early on a Saturday morning and says: "ooh, I think I'll go run 11 miles today."
Apparently I did. Last week.
Fortunately we made a quick weekend trip to visit my family so Dad was able to watch Bubs while Mr. Man and I ran together.
Note to self: Husband runs much faster than wife. 

The first 5.5 miles were lovely. The clouds were thick, street lights illuminated the sidewalk, bugs were still chirping, and traffic was minimal. We jogged slowly through the sleeping businesses, down the hill, around the bend, and under the bridge into a quiet, forested trail winding along a golf course.  It wasn't long before dawn broke and we saw a beautiful sunrise. We chatted about life, running, goals, funny stories, and the lack of hills ahead.

Around mile 4.5 we entered a clearing that reminded me of fall: skinny tree trunks, crunchy leaves, and grey skies. We picked up the pace every so slightly and continued on. When we reached our turning point, we stopped to  re-hydrate and check our time. Suddenly our lovely, beautiful, jog took a disappointing turn: I was relying on him to set the pace (since he was faster), and he was relying on me to set the pace, so we ended up running an 11:30 mile for the first half. In our minds this was unacceptable.

The next 3 miles were tough. We wanted to make up time. He pushed me. I pushed myself. Our 11:30 pace quickly shifted to a sub 9:00 minute mile pace and I started to get a little tired. Around mile 7 the horrible, awful, nobody-ever-tells-you-about, digestive system kicked in. Since we were running along the lovely golf course, there was a potty...nowhere. Around mile 9 I thought I was going to puke, pass out, and die. Mile 10 I felt like I couldn't possibly take another step, but with the promise of a "nice downhill just around the corner" I pressed forward. Well, that downhill was actually an uphill. Then a flat. Then a very short and subtle decline before another small uphill. Right when I knew I couldn't take a single step more, we reached 11 miles. 11.03 to be exact.

In the end, there were some memorable moments. I realized, way deep down, that running really is about 90% mental and 10% physical. If you say and think "I can't", guess what? You can't. But if you remind yourself how strong you are and tell yourself that you can do it, guess what? You can.

Between miles 9-11, Mr. Man had to keep reminding me how great I was doing. He kept throwing back things like: "You can do this!" "Keep it up!" "Come on, you got this!" "Don't give up! Don't quit! You're a fighter, you don't give up!", and my personal favorite mantra: "You're stronger than you think!"

Most of the time it was motivational. A few times it was frustrating because I felt like I couldn't go any faster or push any harder. But I finished. I also did not die. Or puke. Or pass out.

This Saturday I had the same crazy thought: "Ooh, I think I'll wake up early and go run 11 miles today." This time I joined up with a group of girl friends and ran with them. My usually training partner was out of town, so I ran with a couple other girls, who kept reminding me "If you want to run faster ahead, you can. It's okay." Mostly because I've been training at a slightly faster pace. However, I decided I needed to build some confidence in myself and have positive thoughts toward a long run, so I wanted to go slower, take breaks, and enjoy the run more. We did just that. We took plenty of walking breaks, a couple bathroom breaks, and really just enjoyed running. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and the company. I also enjoyed feeling much better about myself, my capabilities, and my strength...since I finished well and didn't feel completely spent at the end. (unlike my last 11 mile run)

So, moral of the story? Running long distance is hard. Really, really, really, hard. But I think like anything else, it takes time to build up the strength and endurance, then eventually it becomes easier and easier. I am really excited about the race coming up. Only 2 more long, Saturday, training runs before culminating event.

My mantra for the race? (and every other hard run I run): You're stronger than you think. 

Because, by golly, it is so gosh, darn true. For every single aspect of life.