Friday, May 29, 2009

To Soy or Not to Soy?

Yesterday's Run:
5.7 miles over the Ravenel Bridge (And to those of you who asked, yes you can run the bridge anytime! Not just during Bridge Run weekend. There is a sweet little walk way for runners/walkers and a separate lane for bikers. It's basically Charleston's only hill, so I try to run over down, turn around and run over and back at least once a week. Since I've been a slacker this week, I did it yesterday as well as Wednesday to try and whip my little tail back into shape.)

It was tough for sure, and very humid. I had to take 2 walk breaks coming back over! How lame am I.

Tonight I'm taking off running to clean/study. Plus I woke up mucho sore this morning. This weekend is 100% studying...I moved my test to next Thursday so I would have enough time to study for my upcoming 7 hour test! If I don't pass, I have to wait 30 days to take it again, plus I will have to pay the test fees out of my pocket so I definitely don't want that!

Saturday and Sunday are both running days. A short one on Saturday and my first TNT "long" run Sunday morning, I am really excited to officially meet everyone!

So on to today's discussion about soy.

Recently I switched from drinking cow's milk to trying out various alternatives, including soy milk and almond milk. I never have been a huge milk drinker, I like it in my cereal and occasionally I might want a glass, and of course it's in my coffee and (sometimes) tea, but that's about it. Matt however, goes through a gallon in like negative 5 days.

But since I started up with these green smoothies, I have been consuming a TON of it as well. I have always heard a bit of noise about the negative effects of soy, but it never really pertained to me when I wasn't consuming much of it, so once I started, naturally I was curious and a bit concerned. Especially about the negative effects of soy in relation to women and breast cancer. Although it doesn't run in my family, I know it could easily happen to me, so I obvisouly want to take precaution where I can.

{I have also been researching a bit on the benefits of buying organic produce, and have been buying organic greens for my smoothies and organic apples and bananas and other produce where I eat the skin (when I can afford it). It hasn't proved to be that much more expensive yet. But more on that topic (and other rants) another day.}

So yesterday I decided to ask everyone's favorite raw foodist (I don't know if I could ever go raw...but here's to her!) and nutritional smarty pants, Gena, of Choosing Raw about her throughts on all things soy.

Hi Gena!

I've been reading your blog and I find that your way of eating is very inspiring, and extremely informative. I have always had an interest in a healthy lifestyle and I eat pretty well, although I am not vegan or raw :) I tend to stay away from most meats and I'm starting to ween myself off dairy. (Cheese is the hard part!) Anyways, I was just wondering if you could shed some light for me on soy products. Are they bad for us? Why?


Hey Kristin!

Thanks for your message! I am delighted to hear from you and so happy that you like my blog. It's not about 100% vegan or raw, my dear: it's about 100% healthiest you can be within what works in your own lifestyle.

Here's my deal with soy: if you're looking to transition into a vegan lifestyle, then I absolutely support soy as a transitional food, meaning that I think it's fine to eat tofu or tempeh as you get used to life without meat. But that's where my support ends. I'm fundamentally quite anti soy, for a few reasons:

1) Soy is heavily mucuos forming, which means it ends up clogging digestion
2) Soy affects phytoestrogen levels in the body, which means that it's not only a bit scary, but also a very precarious food for women who have a family history of breast cancer (and my Mom is a breast cancer survivor).
3) Soy slows down thyroid function.
4) Most soy is heavily processed: tofu included.

Bottom line? I'd stay away.
Thanks Gena! (Y'all should definitely go visit her site for some info on the raw food lifestyle. It's definitely not for everyone, but I still think it's fascinating and is a great healthy choice to make for yourself, even if you only do it on occasion.)

I was going to do some internet digging on the subject, but I know that you guys probably know way more than I do, so can you point me in the direction of some solid soy facts?

Do you guys eat soy? Do you worry about it's negative effects or do you think it's all hype? I hope I get some good responses because this really intrigues me!

In the meantime, I'm all almond milk ;)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Best Running Shorts + Wild West Relay!

A few of you were wondering about what shorts I wear, since I claimed they are the best for running because they don't chafe...well they don't and they are simply fab. The only problem is, they are hard to find.

I bought my first pair of the Hind P.E. Short at Dick's a few years ago, and then found more online at Unfortunately, that site doesn't carry them anymore. Sometimes I luck up and find them at race expos, for some reason they are ALWAYS at expos.

They are short and light weight, perfect for running in the humid & hot summers of Charleston. They also come in a bunch of colors!

They're not fancy, and they're pretty inexpensive. If you want to try them out, I found a few online here: (but after looking more closely, they all only carry L and XL...I wear a M.)

Dick's Sporting Goods $31.99
Joe's Sports $14.97
Sierra Trading Post $6.99!!

I couldn't find any more online that were in S or M, if you guys do, let me know. Sorry for the tease, but check out the picture and then when you're at the next race expo, pick up a pair!

Last night I ran the bridge with Shannon, who lives in Charleston and is also running the Wild West Relay on our Dangerous Dozen team! We had a nice run, chatting and getting to know each other. I love meeting people in real life from blog land :) I don't know my time or splits, my Garmin was doing something REALLY weird. Basically it kept switching screens and chirping like, every 30 seconds. It was quite annoying to say the least. When I got home it was working fine, so maybe it was just the heat? ;)

But total I think I ran about 5.5-5.8 miles.

It was rough, I'm not gonna lie.
I haven't ran the bridge in probably a month, it was hot, and let's face it, I've been slacking lately. But I think I'm slowly getting back into the running groove.

If you haven't been reading long enough, in August I will be flying out to Colorado to participate in a 200 mile overnight relay with 11 other runners!

The idea all started when I found the Bourbon Chase Relay in Kentucky through Twitter. I started looking around to see who might want to run it with me, and after week or so I decided that maybe we should do a race that wasn't in it's inaugural year. Plus, I had never been to Colorado :)

Abby shared with me a link for a relay in Vermont, which is the sister race to the Wild West Relay I ultimately decided on. Bobbi has been helping me organize, and the rest is that! I will post more later on about this, but that's the bare bones story about how it came to be. I am pumped about it, and had a great time running with Shannon yesterday. I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of our WWR team and kicking some ass in Colorado!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Want some dessert?

Ok guys, I know there are a few of you in the Charleston area who lurk around here without commenting...that's okay! I love you all. But I just opened a poll question on the right side of the blog and I want your input!

I am considering putting together an "All You Can Eat" Dessert & Coffee Night at my apartment building downtown to help raise money for my Team in Training campaign. In order to gauge interest for this event, I opened up a poll to see what you all think.

It's quick, and it's easy. Best of all its anonymous so all you lurkers can vote without having to actually comment! :) So please help me out here!

If I feel like this event will be a success, I might ask you guys to help me with other details for the night. But I think it would be so fun and could be pretty successful for my campaign. I would probably hold it on a Thursday evening, after work hours. I would collect a ton of goodies from my own kitchen, co-workers and friends who would willingly donate some sugary treats for this cause. Then I would charge a "cover fee" per plate with a minimum donation of some amount.

But hey, if you want to donate $10 or so now, I wouldn't be mad! If everyone who visited this blog gave $10 today I would have...well, not a whole lot, but more than I have now! ;)

Also you guys should check out my fundraising page, I added a bit about the little boy who I will be running for! How can you say no to that grin?

I'm hoping to meet up with a new Twitter/blog/Wild West Relay team member Shannon tonight after work to run the bridge, which is about 5-6 miles round trip from my work. I haven't ran it in a while, plus I'm sure it will be hot and muggy so I hope Shannon isn't mad when I'm slowing her down :)

Then I'm meeting up with my pal Sandy for some Bride Wars and dinner! Love me some girls night. See y'all later!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

doin' the gobble

Hope everyone had a fantastic Memorial Day weekend! I spent most of mine studying & laying around...and eating. A lot. I have come to the conclusion that when the cat is away...I will eat a crap load of food. And of course by cat, I mean Matt who is back home in Kentucky this week.

Just to further prove my point, look what I demolished Saturday night...

Yeah, I ate ALL of that in one sitting. (Maybe I shouldn't have shown you guys that...) I can KILL some chips and dip. (The pic is actually from the next day, when I finished it off...god I need to shut up.) Needless to say, I was sick almost all weekend. I might have also rented Nights in Rodanthe since there was no boy around insisting we get Gran Torino or something similar. It was pretty good, I think I really liked it because it featured my home state of NC!

Sunday morning I didn't run, instead I got up and cleaned the apartment and spent the day studying and running errands. And making pulled BBQ chicken. Behold:

I got the recipe idea from Erica, but I made a few changes. Since I was only making this for me, I used three frozen chicken cutlets (smaller than a breast) and a mixture of about 1/2 TJ's All Natural BBQ Sauce, about 1 T of TJ's chili sauce, and a sprinkling of brown sugar. (Probably a bit too much sauce but it was still amazing.)

I had it on a Whole Wheat Arnold's Sandwich thin with 1/2 avocado and some diced onions. This made about 2 servings.

Monday morning I HAD to run, and since I was off work, I had planned on doing 10. But when I got up I knew that wasn't happening. So I set out on a loop that I thought was 5.5 to 6. When I got home, my Garmin said 5.0. Oh well! Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 10:21
Mile 2: 9:57
Mile 3: 10:09
Mile 4: 10:03
Mile 5: 9:15

It wasn't the best run, but when I felt like stopping at mile 2, I told myself I had to push on!! I cannot have another marathon performance like my first, and I need to be stricter with myself on stopping when I feel tired. So I never stopped and walked, and when I got home, I felt a lot better for it.

Today I woke up and I felt bloated...and cranky. I have been eating a mixture of really healthy and really unhealthy foods which I know isn't settling well with me, so I wish Matt would get back so I could feel like everything was normal again!

I had my first TNT meeting tonight at the TrySports in Mt. Pleasant. It was basically a beginner's "seminar" on running gear, gels, shoes, etc. I think I owned almost everything they had on their display table. But still it was fun to "meet" some of my teammates, although I don't think everyone was there. I am looking forward to our long run this Sunday!

I also realized that I don't run with the recommended, I trained for my whole marathon without carrying one single water bottle or fuel belt. I can't stand them! I have one and have only used it once. Instead I planned my long runs around water fountains, or stashed water bottles along the route.

I also NEVER needed Body Glide. I bought some the day before the marathon and used it, but that was the only time! Our coach and the other staff there were saying that it was a must have and all distance runners need it. I think I didn't need it because I have the PERFECT running shorts! (the only ones I will wear and I have them in 3 colors!) I did chafe a few times at my bikini line, but it wasn't that bad and I think it was because I was wearing undies underneath my tights. I also have great running capris and tights which I think helped a lot during the colder months. Plus, I don't really have boobs so there is no chafage anywhere near there! (*sidenote, I have gone down a cup size during marathon training. fantastic.)

But I was excited to see that they carry Hammer products, I will be trying those out soon since I have only used GU's thus far. I like that Hammer is all-natural and stuff.

Since the meeting was at 7, I didn't get to run tonight. I told Matt I was going to run afterwards or "go on a walk" and he freaked out thinking I was going to be running in the dark by I guess to make him feel better I didn't :)

Will DEFINITELY be running at least 4 tomorrow, so will report back on that!

And this is what my cat Callie was doing this weekend...

That bag had spilled beer all in the bottom because we use it for recyclables...I guess that didn't bother her.
Ya know how I mentioned that my mom was starting to run? Well she wants to do a 5k with me at some point so she's starting out slow. But she called me Friday after she had gotten back from the gym, and she was so proud of herself because she said she almost talked herself out of it, and instead, she walk/ran on the treadmill for 1 hour!

She said, "Well I thought if Kristin can run for 5 hours, I can do 1 hour!" Yea, yeah thanks for rubbing that in.

Both of my parents also called this weekend to tell me that "your brother ran a mile this morning." My dad is convinced that he is "training" to beat me in "the gobble" on Thanksgiving Day. (I ran a 5k at my dads last Thanksgiving called the Greensboro Gobbler, but my dad only refers to it as "the gobble.") So of course I had to call my brother to tell him I knew he was "secretly training to beat me in the gobble." He laughed and said, "Yeah Kristin, I am secretly training."

Anyways, I am proud of my family for running! Also I am a little worried about my brother's secret training, because although he is not a runner, he is the athlete in the family and will probably be kicking my ass in the gobble this year.

New marathon training plan to come this week...getting pumped. (But why is South Park on my TV right now?? Must.Change.)

TNT Total: $562
Want to donate and help me reach my $4,000 goal?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

TNT + My New Running Attitude

Since this is a running blog after all, I figure I should get back to that subject.

I have been so busy lately, that I haven't really had the time to sit down and think about my new marathon training goals for this summer, so while I have nothing better to do today, I thought I would take the time.

If you're new here, I just finished my first marathon on May 2nd in a pretty slow/sustained/whatever time of 5:01. I have since signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 25th through Team in Training to try and beat that time by about 30 minutes as well as to raise some much needed funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I have already raised $537 towards my $4,000 fundraising goal! (My minimum amount I have to raise by August 23rd is $3,500...but my personal goal is to beat that by $500.)

While I was out of town last week on business, I missed our TNT kick-off meeting Tuesday night, so I made sure to find out if we had our first "long" run this Sunday morning...I was told that we didn't. Of course we actually did, which I found out this afternoon when I got an email recapping the run. Way to start off on the crappiest foot ever with my TNT team!

Oh well, I will be there Tuesday night! If you're not familiar with Team in Training, it basically works like this:
  • In exchange for raising money for the Leukuemia & Lymphoma Society, each runner trains for a distance event with trained coaches as well as their other team mates.
  • The fundraising minimum is a lot, and varies by event. For the Marine Corps, the minimum is $3,500.
  • Each team meets twice a week; once on Tuesday night for either a shorter run or a clinic of some sort (this coming week is a shoe clinic at a local running store), and Sunday morning for the weekly long run. (Of course the rest of the week you run on your own.)
  • Each runner gets a training schedule (I think this varies based on running experience/pace/goal marathon time, etc. but honestly I'm not sure since I have missed the first two meetings).
  • TNT pays each runner's way to the race, including airfare, hotel and other expenses.
  • They don't only do marathons, you can also train with TNT for Olympic distance triathlons and century bike rides.
  • Although I can certainly train on my own, I think this TNT experience will A) be a lot of fun! B) make me feel as if I am a part of something larger than my own selfish self and C) be a way to make new running friends!
So yeah, I am excited. I plan on following their training schedule as much as possible, but I'm sure I will be tweaking it here and there. I still plan to stick to my 4-5 days a week running schedule, that looks something like this:
  • Sunday: Long run
  • Monday: Off/cross train/abs
  • Tuesday: Hills (4 -6 miles)/TNT run
  • Wednesday: Mid-week long run ( 5-10 miles)/abs
  • Thursday: Speedwork @ the track (3-6+ miles)
  • Friday: Off/cross-train/abs
  • Saturday: Off/cross-train/short run (3-5 miles)
This time around, I also plan on adding yoga & strength training to the mix more frequently. This week, I am going to visit a few yoga studios & gyms to decide what I want to do with that. I really enjoyed working out in a gym last week and I would love to be able to afford to do that more regularly. I might actually be doing some yoga tomorrow if I can find a studio that's open!

My time goal for the marathon this time around is anything sub 4:30.

I was sort of shooting for that last time, but obviously, that didn't happen. It didn't happen for a few reasons, one being that I didn't train based on time, I just went out there and ran. Sure I tried to keep a good, even pace and to keep negative splits, but I wasn't really bothered if I didn't, I just wanted to finish. Another reason I didn't hit my goal was because I clearly had not done enough hill training! North Carolina ain't the Rockies, but it was definitely more hilly than my training ground of below sea-level, flat as a pancake, Charleston! I was also kind of lazy out there, and once I took my first walk break, my mental toughness was was all run/walk from that point on.

So...other than sticking to my training schedule over the next 5 months or so, I also want to maintain a few things:
  1. I will not skip speedwork or hills, period.
  2. I will strength train at the minimum two times a week.
  3. I will work on my abs three non-consecutive days of the week.
  4. I will never skip a long run. (This only happened once last time, and it messed me up for almost a month!)
  5. I will be aware of my goal pace for each run, and try to stick to it as much as possible.
  6. I will ride my bike and/or cross-train 2-3 times a week.
  7. I will take up yoga.
  8. I will continue to eat healthy :)
  9. I will continue to drink a crap load of water.
  10. I will run happy!
So there you go! I think that if I can stick to these above things, I will improve drastically as a runner. Everyone is different, and every runner has different goals. For me, my first marathon was all about finishing. This time, I'm coming back for a rematch with myself and I am determined to kick the crap out of the runner I was on May 2nd!

I may also do a sprint triathlon at some point this summer. If I do decide on that, then I guess I need to start swimming, huh??

In addition to my athletic goals, my professional life is crazy hectic these days. I am going through my second and then final tests over the next few months, and after that happens, I will be moving slowly into a new role at my office. It is scary and it's not the easiest, but I think it will be all worth it in the end! So needless to say my life is about to get a whole lot busier.

This weekend has been great so far! I went to the Farmer's Market yesterday morning with friends, and then we went out on their boat for most of the day. It was nice, and I got a little sunburnt...oddly I think from the Farmer's Market...wouldn't you know it.

Today has been lazy and great. I made some suuuhhhweeet BBQ pulled chicken tonight that couldn't have been more easy! (Thanks to Erica for the idea & recipe!) I will post pics later on.

Hope everyone has a fantastic Memorial Day tomorrow, and don't forget to thank our men and women in uniform, as well as to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.


Friday, May 22, 2009


Well hello there, how have y'all been ALL WEEK??

I have been so out of commission since Sunday, and I am just getting back to Charleston and back to work this morning. It has been a crazy week! Too much to post about but here are some bullets for a lazy Friday morning (eve of holiday weekend WOO HOO!):
  • Last Friday night we made pizza! Best.Pizza.Ever. Here is the recipe for the dough (whole wheat thin crust!), from one of my favorite food blogs. (I decided you guys could handle the mess that was my kitchen that night, I mean, I'm not trying to be someone I'm not, right?!)
  • The only sub I made, was I used 1.5 cups organic whole wheat flour and 1 cup all purpose. I put cheese, onions, asparagus and PESTO on mine.After generously rubbing the dough with olive oil...
  • Holy yum.
  • Saturday Matt and I played in a cornhole tournament!! We won our first game and then lost the next two.
  • We got jipped out of the second round play and were pretty mad because we wanted to keep playing! (So instead we sat there and watched everyone else/drank beer/ate BBQ/all was good.) I also finally met in person a local Twitter friend. Gotta love the internet!
  • After the tourney/when we had enough beer in our bellies, Matt and I went to the beach at around 6 pm and stayed there until dusk. Beautiful!

  • Sunday morning I headed out early for Charlotte! My mom lives there, so I was staying with her until Thursday because I had to take a class downtown for work. (I am taking my Series 7 General Securities Exam this Saturday! That's stocks/bonds/options/mutual funds/etc.)
  • So basically Monday-Thursday were spent sitting in a classroom from 8:30 to about 4 learning about things that make my brain hurt. (Although I stuck to the TSL Challenge and brought my lunch and snacks every day!)
  • I made a mad run for Trader Joe's downtown Monday at lunch. Ohmygoodness how I miss thee.
  • My mom and I went to her gym on Monday night and got in a HELL of a workout. Man, I forget how much I like to go to the gym! We started out on the treadmill and my mom did a run/walk routine for about 35 minutes! I was so proud of her!
  • I did a speed routine (which is much easier on the treadmill) and started with a 10 minute warm up (1 mile) then did 4 x 1/2 mile intervals at 7:30 to 7:18 pace. In between I jogged for the first few for about 2 minutes, then at the end I ended up walking in between. I did a cool down walk for about 8 minutes. I was beat!!!
  • Then we did abs: planks, side planks, the superman (I don't know what this is really called), balance ball crunches, regular crunches....whew!
  • We hopped on the bike for 10 minutes.
  • My mom decided to go tan so I got on the elliptical for 10 minutes and also did some free weights for my arms. What a workout!
  • For someone who ONLY runs, I was sore for almost three days! So was my mom!
  • I ran again on Wednesday, for about 4 miles outside. It was HOT! My mom started out the run with me and ran about .3 miles, I'm so proud of her for running.
  • In between all of this, I managed to see my grandparents twice, my extended family on my moms side, hang out with my younger brother (who also stayed Sunday-Thursday), played with a really cute Chihauhau that I no longer covet because it poops on the floor, introduced the fam to the green monster, drank a ton of coffee and green tea to keep my sanity, found out my cousin in going to West Point in the fall, saw a pretty bad wreck on I-77 where an entire car was burnt to a crisp (no one was hurt though), found out I was the 3rd highest fundraiser this week for my Team in Training team (thanks y'all!! I am at $512!), realized again just how much I love Charlotte, went to South Park Mall and didn't buy anything, went to Anthropologie and coveted everything yet didn't buy anything, and tried raw almond butter!
That was a lot to digest. You guys still there? Anyone removed me from their readers yet thinking I had given up blogging for a new love? I hope not! :)

Gotta get back to work now but I am OFF on Monday for Memorial Day which I am SUPER pumped about. Also, Matt is leaving me to go home to Kentucky tomorrow morning for a WEEK, anyone want to hang out?

Are you guys jealous of where I live yet?! Here is the view from the pond next to our building. Love it!

Have a fab Friday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Generosity :)

Yesterday I posted my fund raising page for my Team in Training fund raising campaign for the Marine Corps Marathon. Since then, I have received $437 in donations! That is just crazy to me, I am so excited for how much I can potentially raise for this organization in the next five months!

So I was thinking about interesting things that I could do to raise money, and after browsing through TNT's tips and talking to some co-workers, here are some ideas:
  • Partner with local restaurants to have a TNT night where a percentage of the profits goes towards my campaign (usually about 10%)
  • Hold a "dessert-a-thon" where I invite a ton of people over for all you can eat desserts in exchange for a "cover charge" (I would like to do this in multiple locations, like once at my moms house with her friends and maybe once here)
  • Seek company sponsorships, both locally and with companies I have connections with outside of Charleston
  • Hook up with local sports teams to see how I could either get a portion of the night's profits, or work a booth to raise money
I'm sure there are tons more, but these are the first few that piqued my interest. Y'all let me know if you can think of any more!

Also I have been greatly surprised by those who have donated so far whom I only know through Twitter or the blog! How crazy is that?? Oh, the power of the internet! (And of course, a big THANK YOU to those of you who have donated! You know who you are :)

As far as training goes, I officially have 30 weeks until my next marathon. Wayyy more time than I had to train for my first, plus since I already have one under my belt I should be set. Our Team in Training kick-off meeting is next Tuesday, but unfortunately, I will be out of town for business so I will have to miss it! I'm kind of mad about that, but I think that our first group run should be next that's exciting!

I have a meeting tonight so I can't run, plus it's pretty bad weather here today, so I'm going to do some yoga at home. I have a TON of studying to do before I go out of town next week so I will have my nose in a book basically from now until Monday morning. Blah.

For some color, I thought I would post today about our three-year anniversary dinner at S.N.O.B. here in Charleston a few weeks back.

S.N.O.B. stands for "Slightly North of Broad" because the restaurant is right above the famed Broad Street in historic downtown Charleston. I had heard nothing but good things about this place, so I was pumped to try it out! Matt was too, and was in a pretty good mood once we got there :)

We had scoped out the menu online before we went, so we knew we wanted to try the cheese plate as an appetizer. Check this baby out!! Three different types of cheese (changed daily), plus strawberries, grapes, pineapple, walnuts, almonds, dried fruits and toasted bread. YUM!

When I asked Matt if I could take a picture of this, he said, "Yes. If you hurry." Gotta love a hungry man :) (Check out the top of the pic, he's ready, knife in hand!) The cheeses were fresh and creamy and oh so good. They also brought us out some white bread and cornbread squares. What more could a girl want?

This girl wanted fresh veggies, so I decided to order the Vegetable Plate when our server told me it had 12 different local veggies!

Oh man, this did NOT disappoint. Let me see if I can remember everything on this gigantic plate of food. Summer squash, okra, eggplant, zucchini, roasted tomato, green beans, asparagus, broccoli, scalloped potatoes, tofu, some sort of weirdo mushrooms, white corn, and even some southern grits with a sweet chutney. That's actually 13!

After eating the cheese plate, the bread they brought out, and tackling this, I had about 1/2 of it leftover to take home. (Matt's stuffed flounder came with sweet potato mash and mushrooms, which he promptly gave to me...needless to say I had a lot of food!)

So I transformed it into my lunch the next day.

All I added was some whole grains with a little leftover Kashi Pilaf and tomatoes. (I find that pilaf to be pretty bland on its own even after cooking in low sodium chicken broth, so I add a can of no salt added diced tomatoes, juice and all.)

What I loved most about this entree, was that it was cooked with minimal oils and sauces, and everything was cooked differently. Some were steamed, some baked, some grilled. It was delicious for sure! If you're ever in Charleston (you better call me up) I would definitely recommend S.N.O.B.

Ok guys, I've got to finish up a few things and then I am off to my Habitat for Humanity meeting! Don't forget...if you want some good karma, donate a lil bit to my Leukemia and Lymphoma fundraising campaign!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review time: Whey Protein + Best Running Headphones

Thanks a lot for everyone's sweet comments about my new marathon goal! I will be posting more info soon about my fund raising efforts for the Marine Corps Marathon through Team in Training, but if you're feeling generous today, please check out my fund raising page. I have to raise at least $3,500 by August 23rd so any little bit will help :) Thank you!

Yesterday I went out for another 4 mile run. I thought about going biking, but I knew I probably wouldn't be able to run Wednesday and Thursday so I laced up and headed out. My goal for yesterday's short run was to run consistent miles in the pace range of 9:00 and 9:30. So here are my splits:
  1. 9:21
  2. 9:10
  3. 9:11
  4. 8:30
Totals: 4.01 miles in 36:18, avg pace 9:03. Yesterday's run of the same distance was in 37:13 with an avg pace 9:13. Sweet! Right on track. Now to continue this pace for more than 4 miles...

On another front...REVIEW TIME!

First off, how about some Better Whey of Life yogurt?

I was contacted a few weeks ago to review this stuff, and I was excited because I have been wanting to try it for a while, but they don't carry it in South Carolina yet. So they shipped me three flavors to try, the Acai Mixed Berry, French Vanilla and Plain.

The flavored yogurts both have a whopping 15 g protein, while the plain packs in 17 grams. They are all-natural and are the first whey protein-enhanced, nonfat yogurts on the market.
Other good things about this product:
  • 30% less sugar than the leading yogurt
  • 3g Prebiotic Fiber
  • Made with nonfat milk with no added growth hormones
  • Excellent source of Calcium
  • Contains Probiotics for healthy digestion
My verdict: I tried the Acai Mixed Berry first, and I attempted to eat it plain. But I couldn't even finish it because it was so extremely tart tasting. I should have added some cereal or granola or fruit, but I wasn't really feeling that flavor. Next I tried the French Vanilla, this time I mixed it with some Cheerios and it was pretty good. Paired with a Green Monster it kept me full until well past 1 PM that day. (Which is rare for me.) Yesterday I had the plain yogurt, which I mixed with honey and Cheerios. This was the best combo I thought. I love plain yogurts with mix ins so this one would definitely be my favorite. Plus, the plain has less sugar than the flavored kinds and 2g more protein. This one again, kept me full all morning!

All in all I would say that for a nonfat yogurt, these are pretty good! If you are looking for a product that will keep you full and taste pretty similar to regular yogurts, then you should try these out. I know I struggle to get enough protein in my diet so I welcomed adding these to my morning routine. They are in general though, a bit more tart than normal yogurts due to the lower amount of sugar and the whey additions, so if you try these expecting a Dannon Light 'N Fit taste, you're not going to get it!

Thanks Kasey for sending me these to try! When are they going to be available in my neck of the woods?? :)

Check out their website to see if Better Whey of Life is available in your state!

...and now for my Phillips In-Ear Headphones. These babies are seriously my favorite headphones for running. And believe me, I have tried out many different kinds and am really, really picky!

I should have worn a different color shirt so you could actually see the cord, but these headphones have two different lengths. Here, I have it shortened and the cord just reaches down to wear my iPod is. (Please excuse the cheesy pics.)

I usually clip it to the top of my sports bra for easier access, and it's nice to have the option of a shorter cord so it isn't all in the way, like I did here:

But if you want a longer cord, you can add on the extender.

What I like most about these headphones, is that they have three different sized ear buds to change out, depending on, well your ear size. Regardless of how they look in this pic, I have really small ears and most in-ear headphones are too big and keep slipping out during a run or either irritate my ears. But with these, I can choose the size of the ear buds to fit me perfectly (medium).

They also have a longer cord for the right ear bud, which works out nicely if you wrap the right one around the back of your neck, and secure the ipod on your left side.

These headphones are comfortable too, and they also have great sound quality! Much louder and richer than my iPod earbuds.

And they come in a cute little case so you can keep the extra extension and ear buds.

I bought these at Target, and they usually run about $30. But I could only find them online here at Best Buy for $34.99. They come in red or black.

(Whew! That was a long post! Thanks for sticking around :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why I Run

I don't just run for myself and for my fitness. I don't just run to meet and exceed personal goals. I don't just run because I like it or because I want to.

I run because not only does it make me feel great about myself, but hopefully, it also inspires those around me to do something good for themselves.

Since I posted yesterday about adding the Raleigh City of Oaks 1/2 Marathon to my fall schedule, I have been reeling 'em in to run with me!

My good friend Alesha (who claims she will never do a full marathon but has conceeded to possibly trying for a 1/2) printed out her training schedule yesterday and is going to train for the Raleigh 1/2 with Meredith and me. Woo hoo!

Then I thought about my aunt, who sent me this after completing the marathon:
Great job finishing the race. We are all proud of you. I must admit I was inspired - but not enough to put my knees through that - maybe a shorter race next spring??????
So I sent her an email yesterday, slyly suggesting the Raleigh 1/2 (since she lives there) and this is what I got back:
Scared - but I would like to try. I will know very early in the training if my knees can handle. When you have a chance give me some ideas about how I start.
Then yesterday when I was gchatting with my 71- years young Nana (the one yelling at the cops here) she told me that this past weekend she "ran a little." When I asked her why she said, "maybe you inspired me." I could not have been more proud of her! I actually stopped what I was doing at work to hand write her a little note to pop in the mail to tell her so.

I've been kind of down on myself since the race for not making it to the finish line under 4:30 like I was hoping to. But it's moments like these that make me proud of myself for finishing the race period!

So I ran it in 5 freaking hours and walked too much in the final miles. So what? I accomplished something not too many people can accomplish, and if I can inspire my aunt (who is not a runner) to get out there in training to run 13.1 miles, if I can inspire a 71-year old woman who lives in the hilliest part of Virginia to get outside and run up and down her long and winding driveway, I more than accomplished my own goal.

Next goal? To get my mom in on the fun too! She's been going to the gym lately (she hasn't worked out in years, but still looks great) and told me that she would like to train for a 5k with me. Maybe I can convince her to train for the 1/2 instead? :)

A little inspiration can go a long way :)
"The body does not want you to do this. As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong. You always go too far for your body. You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet. It is the will to succeed."
- Jacqueline Gareau, 1980 Boston Marathon champ
I ran a quick 4 miles last night in 37:13. I accidentally had my Garmin on bike mode so it didn't record my splits, but I know my last two miles were in the 8s. I felt pretty strong.

One thing that I didn't like about my marathon training (or did like at the time but now I sort of regret) was that I wasn't focused on time at all. I was okay with running as slow as possible just as long as I got the miles in. Well that worked for my first marathon, but this time I am attacking this monster with SPEED!

My run last night was tough for me, but I was constantly aware of my pace and I made sure that I sped it up each mile--which is something I never do. This is part of my new strategy...more speedwork, more hills, fasterfitterstronger!

I'm also going to be doing ab work MWF so I started the week off yesterday with one 60-sec plank, and then two more 60-sec side planks. I should have done more but I was rushing to start dinner!
Also, I am faxing in my TNT registration today for the Marine Corps Marathon! Hot and muggy Charleston summer training here I come!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Beaches + Post-Marathon Training Goals

I hope you all had a fab Mother's Day! I didn't see my mom yesterday, but I will be seeing her next weekend and I saw her last weekend. Isn't she cute?

Well, I'm getting a cold I think (sore throat, coughing a lot). I tried to go to sleep early last night so I could start off this week by exercising in the mornings before work, but I ended up tossing and turning all night and I didn't wake up until almost seven this morning! I guess I'm destined to run after work.

But yesterday was a pretty good Sunday. Unfortunately I did not run my 8 miles like I said I was hoping to, but that's the beauty of not being on a training plan :) Instead I lazed around a bit and then headed to the beach! (I was still really sore from my 12 mile bike ride on Saturday, and weird thing, my left hand was partially numb Saturday-Sunday and still kind of today! I guess I'm not used to road biking yet...)

I headed out to Folly Beach on my own, and found a new little walk way down onto the beach...

I spent a few hours out there sunning, reading my new Women's Health and studying (a small bit). The water was cool and it was just perfect. I decided to pack up and head out around 2 PM.

And as soon as I turned out of Folly Beach and headed back towards downtown, this is what I saw:

Where had that crap come from?? It was bright, sunny, blue skies at the beach! Not more than about 5 miles later, the sky opened up.

I guess I left at just the right time :) When I got home, I found this package waiting for me in the office! (I seriously love packages)

Inside was my Better Whey of Life yogurt samples I was sent to review! Unfortunately, they weren't cold once I unpacked them...but being the brave girl I am, I decided to stick them in the fridge and try them out anyways. (What I do for you guys...) I have tried 2 of the 3 and I'm feeling okay so far! Full review to come tomorrow so stay tuned :)

So anyways, back to running! I am pumped about this week because I am officially going to be back into training mode.

I think I have decided to do the Marine Corps Marathon in October through the Charleston Team in Training. I haven't officially accepted yet because I have been weighing my options, but all in all, I think it would be fun to train with a team, it would be a great way to meet new people, and most importantly it would raise money for a good cause.

The only thing I am worried about is the $$ commitment. I can handle running a crap load of miles, but raising almost $4,000? That scares me big time. Anybody have any thoughts on this? Advice for me?

I have also added a 1/2 marathon to my fall schedule, the Raleigh City of Oaks Half on November 1st. This would be right after my marathon, so perfect timing! I am really excited about this one because I will be running it with my girl Meredith! (Who has been sucked into the blog world, woo hoo! Go check out three dogs and a dream :)

So there ya have it.

I'm still working on my training schedule, so more about that later on as well. Other than the yogurt review, I promise I am going to review my headphones this week too! (I need more hours in the day...) Happy Monday y'all!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Moms Day!

I Love You Mom!

Charleston, 2009

Cooper River Bridge Run, 2009

Carolina Beach, 2008

Carolina Beach, 2008

Country Music 1/2 Marathon, 2008

Keith Urban/Carrie Underwood Concert, 2008

Eric, mom and I, 2007

UNC graduation with dad, 2007

Graduation dinner, 2007

21st birthday trip to Nashville, 2006

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Perfect Saturday

I have had a fantastic Saturday so far! (And I may or may not be drunk blogging right now.)

It started off with a bike ride through downtown Charleston and over our only hill in town, the Ravenel Bridge. I rode for a total of 12.6 miles and I definitely have a new found respect for cyclists. Obviously it's not that difficult on flat surfaces, but over hills are quite the challenge--even for someone who just ran a marathon!

I am considering doing a sprint (or even possibly an Olympic length) triathlon this summer/fall so part of my post-marathon plan has been to dust off the ole road bike. Regardless of whether I end up doing a tri, my post-marathon goals in general are to be more well rounded athletically, work different muscles, and do more cross-training to firm up my body and lose a few pounds.

This morning when I started out I was feeling great! Then when I started up the bridge I knew it was going to be tough for a non-cyclist like myself. I made it up the first hill and stopped at the top for some water which was a mistake. I almost threw up my breakfast. Going down hill was fun though...but then I had to make my way back over. I got passed by some super-speedy cyclists who offered me some, "Stick with it! You can do it!" I felt super lame, but at the same time, I think it helped me push it up to the top.

After my ride, Matt and I headed to Lowe's to pick up the herbs for my balcony herb garden!

It was a hard decision, and I almost bought another planter so I could have 6 total herbs, but I decided to be thrifty and stick with 3. I got rosemary, sweet basil and cilantro. Last summer I had basil, oregano and sage and I am super pumped about the cilantro this year! Did you guys know that coriander seeds grow into cilantro? You probably do but when I found that out last summer I was pretty shocked/surprised.

I also bought a pot to plant my marathon plant in that Meredith brought me after finishing my race! It's African Violets (I think) and I can't wait to see how big it grows!

Matt and I tag teamed dinner and he grilled up some BBQ chicken and balsamic eggplant, while I oven baked some sweet potato and regular potato wedges and steamed some asparagus.

Delish! We've been jamming out to some tunes and sipping on bourbon and coke so it's been a good/relaxing evening. We're about to head over to our across the street/on the water bar for a few drinks!

Hope you guys are having a fantastic Saturday!

My first run back yesterday turned out pretty well! I did about 5.5 miles over the bridge and back after work. It was really hot and I was dehydrated, but other than that it went well. It felt good to be running again.

I'm gonna head out in the morning for 8 miles (hopefully) so I will let y'all know how that goes!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Recipe Friday? Pesto Chicken with Spaghetti Squash & Snow Peas

Pesto Chicken with Spaghetti Squash and Snow Peas

  • 1 spagehtti squash, cooked and shredded
  • 1 small bag of frozen snowpeas, steamed (I did it in the microwave to save time)
  • 4 chicken cutlets, diced and marinated in about 3 T pesto sauce for about 2 hours
  • 1 extra heaping spoonful of pesto sauce to mix in with the spaghetti squash
  • Some chopped walnuts for crunch
Basically I cooked the squash for about 45 minutes to an hour at 400 (make sure you either cut it in half, or poke holes in co-worker stuck one in the oven whole and it exploded in her oven and blew the door open). Then I sauteed the chicken after it had marinated, and cooked the snowpeas.

After the squash was done I mixed in a bit of the pesto sauce with it (was almost too greasy since the sauce was not homemade) and topped it with the snowpeas and chicken. I also added some walnuts on the top for crunch. (I didn't use all of the squash, only enough for me and Matt. There is usually leftovers when we make one of these.) The chicken was definitely the best part!! It was so flavorful, and so easy to make.

Matt said the squash was a little bland but I didn't mind it. Next time though, I would probably mix the squash with some tomato sauce of some sort or either just some diced tomatoes to cut down on the grease factor. Either way though, it was a quick and pretty healthy dinner.

I also thought I would show the differences between the green smoothies that I have become so quickly addicted to.

Spinach vs. Kale Green Smoothies



Both of these smoothies were made with about the same amount of ingredients:
  • 3+ cups of greens (whatever I could fit into the blender)
  • 4-6 ice cubes
  • <1 cup Plain Soy Milk Light
  • 1 banana (actually I only used a 1/2 in this morning's spinach smoothie because I used a ton of spinach and didn't know if it would all fit)
  • 1 spoonful of PB (left that out with this morning's spinach one b/c I have RAN OUT)
  • (Sometimes I add ground flax seeds for an extra boost of healthy Omega-3 fats)
All in all, I would say that if you're new to drinking these Green Monsters (as Angela would call them) I would start off with a spinach one because the spinach blends much easier into a liquidy drink, and it's hard to even taste it. If you will notice, it get pretty frothy at the top. These tend to take on the flavor of the banana and the milk more so than the spinach.

When you use kale, it is more detectable since it is a more sturdy green in general. I tend to like them both, and only used spinach this morning because I was out of my organic kale that I bought earlier in the week. Kale smoothies are more gritty? I would say. Not in a bad way, but the green doesn't blend as smooth as the spinach does.

Benefits of kale: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese. Benefits of spinach: This food is low in Saturated Fat, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Niacin and Zinc, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Copper and Manganese.

{Sorry for the weird pics, but I have started making these babies at work. Yes, everyone here thinks I'm crazy. Yes, they give me weird looks. But the blender here is sooo much better than my food processor at home!}

Check out my Barney Butter review if you haven't already, and stay tuned for more product & food reviews to come soon!

My first run post-marathon will come tonight and I promise I will get back to running related rambles after that. I think I'm just going to go out on a easy 4.5 miler to get back into the game. I'm also planning a bridge bike ride tomorrow morning and possibly an 8 miler on Sunday. So pumped for the weekend! Going to beach it up!

Barney Butter Review + Simple Life Update

Woo hoo! It's Friday!! Sorry I have been kind of lacking in posts this week, but I haven't been running so I haven't really been in the mood to post about my "not running." It's not that I'm still sore from the marathon (I think I would have been fine running on Tuesday) I've just been kind of lazy! The days that I could have run, I've been busy with meetings or going out to dinner for our 3 year anniversary. (Yeah, yeah I could run in the mornings. I know, I'm working on this, ok?)

Also, thank you guys for all of the well wishes for our three years, we had a great dinner downtown...more to come on that later :)

I actually have a ton of non-running things to post about, and I am especially excited about some product/food reviews coming up!

I'm going to start off my round of reviews with the Barney Butter samples that I got in the mail last week. I know that a lot of you (if you read food/running blogs) already know about Barney Butter and may already have your opinions, but until last week, I had not tried this popular all-natural, peanut-free almond butter that has swept the blog world.

Barney Butter was created by Jennifer Barney who started making this on her own, one jar at a time at her home in California. She wanted a nut butter that would be more nutritious for her kids than peanut butter, and was unsatisfied with the other almond butters on the market. Eventually she gained such notoriety in her home town that her friends were begging her to start selling the product. So in 2006 she launched her business and it's been all good since then!

What makes Barney Butter so unique? Jennifer says:
Taste, texture and locally produced as well as the convenience of no-stir. No oil to stir back in and no need to refrigerate makes it easy to spread and keep in your cupboard (or office desk). Barney Butter is made exclusively from roasted California almonds harvested from nearby orchards. It has an amazing fresh roasted flavor you don't get from other almond butters.
Barney Butter ingredients: Almonds, Evaporated Cane Juice, Palm Fruit Oil, Sea Salt.

What's great about Barney Butter:

Barney Butter is Peanut Free and made in an Almond Only Facility! Our new dedicated facility guarantees that Barney Butter is truly free of peanut particles and contaminants. Perfect for peanut free environments like schools and airplanes!

Barney Butter is part of a high protein diet and may actually lower cholesterol. (The American Heart Association recommends eating one ounce of almonds (that’s just one serving of Barney Butter) a day to reduce coronary heart disease.)

100% Natural
No Trans Fats
No Hydrogenated Oils
Less Saturated Fat than Peanut Butter
High in Magnesium and Vitamin E

Per serving you get:
More protein than an egg
As much calcium as 1/4 cup of milk
14% daily fiber
8% daily iron

My opinion:

Although I only sampled the creamy Barney Butter (I am more of a chunky nut butter fan) I wasn't head-over-heels for the taste of it. I personally don't like nut butters with oils and sugars added to them, so I was skeptical about this from the get go. It was a bit too creamy and artificial tasting for me and I don't think I would buy a jar of it for $7.99. I did like the roasted almond taste though, and may have an entirely different opinion if I had tried the chunky version.

I tried it first on 1/2 a bagel and then I had the other sample yesterday with a cut up apple.

Although it wasn't my fave, if you like Jif style peanut butters, then this would be perfect for you! I do think that this would be great for picky kids who love creamy Jif PB & J sandwiches, I don't think they would know the difference! Plus you would feel good knowing you were giving your kids an all-natural and wholesome product.

If you want to try it out for yourself, you can see if Barney Butter is available in your state here or you can order online through their website. I would love to hear what you guys think about it!

I have some other cool reviews coming up (including my Phillips in-ear headphones that I wore in my marathon) so stay tuned!

I am also still trying to figure out what races are next on my plate. I went to the Team in Training information meeting last night and got some great info about the program. I am still weighing my options so I will be back with more soon on that topic!

The Simple Life Challenge has been going well! I have been making all of my meals at home, only went out to dinner once (which couldn't be avoided, definitely not going to cook on our three year anniversary!), have been washing out PB jars and plastic storage & sandwich bags in order to be more green, and even walked to my meeting last night vs. driving!

We are planning on buying some locks for our bikes this weekend so we can start riding them to the store/farmer's market, etc. I'm also going to be starting my balcony herb garden this weekend and may have a few more green ideas up my sleeves to bump up my points...

Today is our first day to turn in our points, so I'll let you know how I came out this week later on. Hope everyone has a fabulous Friday and is fully rested if you raced last weekend!