5 Reasons to do the Jog ‘n Hog

toppings

When preparing for a race, one doesn’t usually make sure she’s armed with sprinkles, Magic Shell and whipped cream. But this is no ordinary race…

It’s the Jog ‘n Hog!

2014shirts

If you know anything about me, you know that ice cream is my weakness. Or some might consider it my strength! Let’s go with strength.

When I first heard about the Jog ‘n Hog last year, I knew I needed to participate. For the record, I realize how crazy the idea is and on any normal day, I’d say running and eating do not mix.

However, on National Ice Cream day all bets are off.

The Jog ‘n Hog is in its third year and I plan to return again and again (I’m only sad that I didn’t know about it from its inception). What’s so great about the Jog ‘n Hog? Let me count the ways!

1. Uncle Dave’s Homemade Ice Cream

halfhogger

Let’s not get it twisted, first and foremost, I do it all for the ice cream.

Which would you be, a half hogger or a full hogger? After last year’s race I talked a big game and said that I would go for the quart (full) versus the pint (half) in 2014. However, when I went to register, I couldn’t pull the trigger.

digin

Pints all around!

It might be a good thing I didn’t because I (still) couldn’t finish the pint. I definitely ate more than I did last year though so I bested myself and I consider that a win.

Christina finished her ice cream last year AND this year. She's thinking full next year!

Christina finished her ice cream last year AND this year. She’s thinking full next year!

2. Friends (who are just as crazy as you are)

It’s always fun to see who is down for a little jogging and hogging. This year the cast of characters was smaller than last year but mighty!

jognhog1

Meet Christina, Linda and Maureen. Christina is Victoria’s high school friend, Linda is a college friend and Maureen is a blogger/twitter pal. Perfect example of world’s colliding, in the best way!

Of course, I’ll be there again next year so you already have a built-in friend. You’re welcome!

linedup

As you might imagine, most people who are in attendance are there for the fun and novelty that this race has to offer. You make friends as you go!

3. The Brothers Smith

Andrew and Brian Smith are the geniuses behind the Jog ‘n Hog (they also host a Pepperoni Ball event in Erie, Pa. earlier in the year) and are, in a word, awesome.

smithbros

They put on a good event and also know the power of social media. Through the year they’re interacting on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Jog ‘n Hog has a family feel, from the bib and shirt pick up to the volunteers cheering on the course. Who doesn’t like family?

4. The Price

A pint of Uncle Dave’s Ice Cream runs for $5. If you register the first day of registration (St. Patrick’s day), it’s $22. What? That’s practically free! Well, okay, no… it’s not. But the way I rationalize it is this:

$22 for registration – $5 for a pint of ice cream = $17
$17 for 1.6 miles out and 1.6 miles back = $5.30 per mile

runningjognhog

Uh. I don’t even know. Whatever. It’s cheap. And it’s good, clean fun. Plus, the running nearly negates the ice cream. (Shhhh, let me live in my dreamland.) Additionally, your bib gets your 20% off at the farm store and the store has great produce, great candy, and WINE.

5. The Pig, Yo

Meet this year’s pace pig.

pacepigHe was out there cheering for the runners as we headed toward the ice cream. The “goal” of this race is to beat the pig during the second half of the race.

We are going to star in a new musical called The Pig and I.

We are going to star in a new musical called The Pig and I.

The Pig beat me for the second year in a row however, I ate ice cream and from what I understand, he did not. Therefore, I think that I won by default!

I was just chatting with my husband over dinner and we were thinking of the next step for the Jog ‘n Hog. Why not take the Pace Pig to the next level with not one, not two but THREE pigs: Brick, Sticks and Straw? The Brick pig could be the fastest pace pig, Sticks at a medium pace and Straw pig could keep a slower but challenging pace. Hey Smith Bros, I’ll be your Straw pig! Dude says they could hand out stickers that say, for example, “I huffed and puffed and beat the ‘Stick’ pig.”  (Note:  Alcohol may have been a factor).

Another challenge for future events? Grab a paver near the start line and run!

pavers

Maureen is totally up for the challenge!

So let’s recap. Fun, ice cream, family, nearly free, pigs, friends, me. Who will I see next year? Have you ever participated in a zany race like this before?

P.S. Sprinkles make a great noise while running. I might ditch my music and run with sprinkles all the time.

P.P.S. I’m not kidding.

Recipe Box: Watermelon sangria

Earlier this month my mama-in-law introduced me to a light, tasty adult summer drink – watermelon sangria!

sangria

We made this adult beverage at a family party and it was quite the hit. We’re a family of foodies, so know high standards were met, folks!

So since it’s my sister’s birthday today – and she loves all sorts of sangria – I thought I’d share this gift with everyone! And Happy Birthday Sissy!

Without further adieu, here’s what you’ll need to create my new favorite drink of champions:

- 12-14 cups of cubed watermelon, divided

-  1 (750ML) bottle of dry white wine

- 1 cup vodka

- 1/2 cup triple sec

- 1/2 cup simple syrup (sugar and water mixture)

- 1 medium lime, chopped and quartered

- 2 oranges, cut into thin sliced

- 1 cup (or so) of fresh blueberries

Got everything together? Great. Now start with the watermelon. I’d seriously chopped up 3 within the 24 hour span before making this so I was verging on expert, I like to think.

1. Place 9 cups of watermelon cubes in a blender; blend on high until very smooth. It’s incredibly wise not to do it all at once, but in parts, say 3 cups at a time. Otherwise your blender might get overwhelmed and quit.

2. Strain juice through a mesh strainer into a large pitcher. We used a huge thermos instead of a pitcher. We also used a spoon to help push the blended watermelon through the strainer.

3. Pour the wine, vodka, triple sec and simple syrup into the pitcher. Stir to combine. We used generous amounts of the alcohol.

4. Mix the remaining 3 cups of watermelon cubes (I made them really small), the lime and orange sections and blueberries into the sangria. Stir.

5. Chill for 4 hours before serving. I skipped this last step and just added ice. You could go crazy and do both.

Drink and enjoy! You will soon become the hit of the party.

What’s your go-to summer drink? Do you ever add fruit to your adult beverage?

Guest post: Meal prep anyone?

Hi everyone! *waves*

My name is Tyra, and I’m here to talk about meal prepping! It’s something that I’ve done now for a few months regularly and it has changed my life by saving me time, money and keeping me on track with my nutrition goals.

Every Sunday, (or sometimes Monday, depending on how our weekend went) I spend 1-3 hours preparing all of our lunches and often the main parts of our dinner for the week. Each prepared meal lasts the work week in the fridge.

When I’m done with my meal prep for the week, I take a picture of it all laid out and post to my Instagram and Facebook accounts. This has created a buzz amongst my friends, which is fun but really what I love to see are the questions, and then people doing it themselves and posting their own pictures as well. People don’t believe me at first when I tell them how easy it really is, but once they do it themselves, they see the truth!

Here are a few examples of what my weeks look like:

  June 15 2014 June 8 2014

050414 meal prep 030914 mealprep

Here are the main items / ingredients I use for food prepping:

1. Containers

  • I use Glad Ware containers but you can use whatever you have.  I have regular sized containers and half cup containers for smaller items.

2. Food Scale, measuring cups and measuring spoons

3. Protein

  • Ground turkey (I get 99% or 93%)
  • Chicken breast or chicken breast tenderloin (I just get the frozen bags)
  • Cod, tilapia or salmon
  • Adelle’s Chicken Sausages
  • Egg Whites

4. Pasta (for race weeks!)

5. Veggies

  • Canned tomatoes (or fresh)
  • Asparagus
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli

 6. Complex Carb

  • Quinoa
  • Brown rice
  • Black beans
  • Sweet potatoes (or red potatoes)

7. Seasoning

  • Mrs. Dash Seasoning and Taco Seasoning (low sodium if possible) or make own taco seasoning, sea salt
  • Pico de Gallo (either make or buy it) and/or jar salsa or Franks Hot Sauce, Sriracha, etc.)

 8. Misc

  • EVOO, Coconut Oil and cooking spray

Now that you’ve got all of your ingredients, here’s what I do, in the order I do it:

Grab your containers and place them out on a table so you can easily place ingredients into the containers.

1. Rice/Quinoa: Grab a rice cooker. Measure out the quinoa/rice and water. (1 part dry and 2 parts water) Get that cooking in the rice cooker. (You can mix them or make them separately, or prepare one or the other – it’s up to you!)

2. Sweet Potatoes: Wash and boil till they’re soft. I have also sliced like coins and baked so they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Or, if you want to start these in the morning and walk away, wrap them in foil and cook on high for a few hours (or low if you’ll be leaving for the day).

3. Protein:

  • Ground turkey: prepare like taco meat on the stove. Play around with the seasoning.
  • Steak: I use my George Foreman Grill or our BBQ.  I pretty much sear each side leaving the middle very pink as it will cook more when you reheat.
  • Adelle’s sausages:  Easiest of them all! Place it in the container out of the fridge, or cut up first to make things really easy at lunch time.
  • Fish: I bake in the oven.
  • Chicken: bake on a cookie sheet in the oven according to package directions.
  • Egg Whites (for breakfast) I use a mini loaf pan. It makes 8 mini loaves.  Spray the pan with cooking spray, add 6 T egg whites (I use the carton egg whites) and some chopped spinach, or whatever veggies you like in an omelet, and bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes. They take 30 seconds to reheat in the microwave in the morning!

4. Pasta: (If you are doing pasta for the week) Boil as you normally would.

5. Veggies:

  • Green beans: open can and drain.
  • Asparagus: steam for a minute. You want these to be really crisp because they will cook more when you reheat.
  • Broccoli: same as asparagus. Undercook, as it will cook more when you reheat.

6. Black Beans: Open can, drain and rinse

7. Pasta: Boil as normally would.

Measure and weigh each item out and place into your containers with tight lids.

With regards to how much to put in, I start with 1 serving of each item but you can adjust by adding the amount you need for your nutrition goals. If you need more protein and less carbs, go heavier on the chicken or turkey and less on the quinoa and rice. It’s up to you. :)

Here’s an example of the nutrition on one of the meals I make:

  • 3-4 oz of meat.  (100 – 150 calories, 0 carb, 1 fat, 24 protein, 125 sodium)
  • 100 grams sweet potato (100 calories, 21 carb, 0 fat, 2 protein, 36 sodium)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa/rice mixture (150 calories, 22 carb, 0 fat, 3 protein, 5 sodium)
  • 1/2 cup green beans or several spears of asparagus (25 calories, 4 carb, 0 fat, 2 protein, 13 sodium)
  • Seasoning:  (sea salt or Mrs. Dash’s, or Frank’s hot sauce, Sriracha or Pico de Gallo)

Per serving: (approximate)

  • Calories: 375
  • Carbs: 49
  • Fat: 2
  • Protein: 31
  • Sodium: 480

Play around with the measurements for your nutrition goals!

Some things to keep in mind:

  • The meals that keep “fresh” the longest are the ground turkey meals.
  • The chicken meals last well too, even better if you were to prepare the chicken in the crock pot and add a little juice to the meals
  • Beef – while I really enjoy this one, I’ve learned to prepare on the “rare” side, as when you re-heat, it will cook more.
  • Fish – When I prepare this, I try to use this in the first few days.  I am sure it will last longer, no air gets into your containers but I don’t like to take chances!
  • Don’t be afraid of seasoning! You can make ground turkey for the entire week and it will taste different every meal if you add pico, or add Mrs. Dash’s or whatever sauce / seasoning sounds good to you!

So there you have it. It still might look a little daunting but I encourage you to try it for a month to see that it really is easier than it looks.  And when you do, please reach out to me and show me yours! I love new ideas!

Happy Meal Prepping!

You can keep up with Tyra’s weekly meal prep via her Instagram page and see more past posts on her WordPress Blog as well.

How’s It Going, Bec?

Well, since you asked…

I’ve been meaning to post a status update of sorts for a while. You know, the skinny (or not so skinny) on how things have been since I rejoined Weight Watchers, if the foot is healed, how the gradual walking to C25K to eventual half marathon running training plan is working out, how I’m enjoying the beautiful summer weather.

But every time I sat down to write said progress update post, it wound up reading a bit like this.

I’m still fat*. 

My foot hurts. 

That half is so far away, I’ve got plenty of time. 

Oh, I’m slightly less fat**! Oh wait, nevermind, I’m the same amount of fat again. 

Why is Massachusetts hotter than the face of the sun? 

Does anyone remember why I wanted to run a half marathon again? I forget. 

God, I’m fat***. I wish I had a cookie. 

I’ll never run again. Stupid foot, I loathe you. 

Oh, cookies! I love cookies! 

Walk? In this humidity? ARE YOU INSANE? 

You know what is awesome in the humidity? ICE CREAM. WITH COOKIES. 

So, while all very true things that I have said, out loud, over the past few months, they don’t exactly make for scintillating blog post reading. But at the end of the day, that has been the state of this particular union.

I don’t want to write one of those posts where I swear to you, and to me, and to everyone in the universe that THIS TIME is the time, that starting now, everything will change. You say those things too often, and I do, they start to sound cheap and hollow. I have, however, starting to realize some things about myself, so I figured I’d share those. with you.

I avoid things that are uncomfortable. Confrontation, weigh-ins I know won’t be in my favor, exercise (especially in the heat), any type of food restriction. 

I am a complete creature of habit. I don’t fear change, but I find the action of changing uncomfortable, so… see above. 

I am a sheep (baaaaa, Jess). I started running because all of my friends were running. I’m not even sure I like running. (There was a time when I was pretty sure I loved running, even though I agree with Jess that is is boring as all get out). A huge part of the reason I want to run a half marathon is because all my friends have. I don’t think that is the best reason, and I don’t think it’s enough to get me across the finish line. 

I kind of like being fat****. Okay, no. I don’t like being fat. But I understand being fat. It is what I know. I have functioned this was for years. Anything that strays from this is change, and thus uncomfortable, and thus… see above. 

I really like cookies.

So, it turns out this is one of those rambly posts that sort of goes nowhere. But I think those are okay sometimes? I don’t know, I’ve had a lot on my mind and it feels good to unload some of it.

If you’re curious, the actual status update is that I’m down 1.6 pounds since rejoining Weight Watchers (at week two, there was another 1 at the front of that number), the foot is better but not completely, walking happens when it happens, and I loathe the humidity more than I can talk about.

*Don’t freak out, it’s just a word.

** Seriously, I’m not being all self loathing over here. Just a word, not a weapon.

***Fat. I’m fat. I’m talking about myself, so that pretty much makes it okay to say ‘fat’. But if you want to call me fat, that’s fine too.

****Fatty fatty fat fat :)

 

Straight to the Core

I’m about to start my third session of Body Back.  After 16 weeks, I’ve lost 15-17 lbs (because it varies day to day) including 6 inches off my waist.  The two pictures below are from weeks 8 and 16.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am very very pleased with this progress.  But I’m having one little issue: my frutt, also known as, the front butt.  You see, there’s this extra skin that has accumulated around my lower abdominals, the result of creating two big babies.  Well, when I wear pants, it tends to look a little like a behind.  Hence the term, front butt.  Please note below:

On the plus side, my booty is looking fab!

On the plus side, my booty is looking fab!

See how the distance from my hip in the front is the same as in the back???  No matter what I do, it seems to never disappear.  I’m sure some of you ladies with babies know what I’m talking about.  I’m not going to pretend I haven’t considered surgery.  I really don’t want to go that route; it’s dangerous and painful and expensive and not to mention a little vain (because I’m so incredibly humble and modest, ha!).  But I’d really like to hope there’s some natural way to shrink my gut.  Why does it matter?  Well, it doesn’t look too cute and all my pants fit weird.  And I feel like I’ve been working really really hard.  I have a vision for myself and it includes (one day in the far future) a bikini or a slinky dress.  It does not include front butt.

My Body Back instructor asked us to take on a 30 day challenge this month and I chose this one from shrinkingjeans.net.  Thank you pinterest!

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I’m not giving up on a natural solution.  I definitely know how far I still have to go until I even find my abs under all these stretch marks and loose skin.  But I know I’m headed in the right direction.

Have you lost your front butt?  Is it possible to do it without surgery?  Please share in the comments!

 

Good bye, sweet girl

One month ago, my husband and I unexpectedly lost our 13-year-old cat to cancer.

mishkaOne of my fave pics of our girl, taken in 2010 by the talented Jen Rynda

Her departure was sudden, swift and left a huge hole in our lives.

Sure, we have another cat, one who came to live with us earlier this year. And we love her, but she’s not our old cat, let’s call her Murr.

For the first two weeks, anytime a friend or relative offered condolences or a hug, I dissolved into tears. My face was constantly tear-stained and the skin under my eyes became so raw it peeled. Every one meant well as they offered love and support. To all of you, THANK YOU. I cannot begin to tell you how much your kind words and support and notes meant to my husband and me.

Murr was with me through two jobs, two cities. We were single girls together in Ithaca, NY and were homebodies together in Rochester, NY.

oldMLittle Murr, circa 2003, explores our old apartment.

I met our Ithacat in the newsroom of my last paper, The Ithaca Journal, where I spent three years as a suburban reporter. Each week, the local SPCA brought in a pet to be photographed and featured in the paper. I regularly squealed when I saw the animals. We fell in love straight away. By the time her photo ran in the paper, she was already exploring my then-apartment.

She lived with me well before I started dating my now-husband. (and she instantly preferred him to me once he entered the picture. Humph.)  He taught her to drink straight from the faucet and trained her to let him wear her as a “coonskin cat hat” on his head.

She was an incredible mouse-hunter, even dumped a bloody carcass on my chest while I slept one night. She purred proudly nearby until I discovered her “gift.”

She was tiny, sweet, silly, and beautiful. And she knew it.

mishCat kisses

We constantly told incredibly lame cat jokes and penned silly cat songs about our girl. Her name morphed into our pet name for one another. And trust me, that got confusing!

As Murr grew older, she became far more interested in snuggling. She slept with me every night and snuggled with us both every chance she got, particularly in the winter months, as she grew chilly.

She also loved to sleep on my hubs as he napped or worked.

jmThese two were peas in a pod

In her last months, Murr had started pooping outside the litter box around the house. We thought she was mad about the new furbaby and that the landmines were payback.

Nope.

Turned out she was sick. Really sick.

One month ago, she threw up repeatedly around the house. She was extra snuggly. She had grown smaller. She was clearly weak.  She had just started coming downstairs again (she had banished herself to our second floor months earlier when the new cat came to live with us).

M3Watching a bug on the ceiling in her last few days

We called the vet. Hubs took her in on June 13, after I went to work.

She never came home.

Hubs called me, his voice wavering, and told me the news. I spoke with the vet, who explained the prognosis. She was in a lot of pain and had only weeks left. We made the excruciating decision to put her to sleep.

My brave husband was with her in her final minutes and said she went peacefully. I bawled in the bathroom at work. Later, we bawled together at home and told stories about her.

New cat snuggled up to me that night, she knew I needed extra love.

I wanted to write this sooner, but couldn’t do it. I miss her. A lot.  I’m crying as I type and I repeatedly remind myself that she’s no longer suffering, and in a better place.

She loved us as much as we loved her. And she will always be with us.

Good bye, sweet girl.

 M1My parting shot the day she died

Have you lost a cherished furbaby? Please share a memory of your pet with me.

Run DMZzzzzzzzz

Now that I’m back in the swing of things and training full speed for the Disneyland Half Marathon – which, by the way, is a mere 49 days away – I have had what some people (namely, me) would call an epiphany.

Running is hellllllllla boring.

I know some people love it. In fact, I’m sure some of you reading this are, like, “aca-scuse me? Running is awesome. It’s great!”

No.

I’ve never been super gung-ho about running, to be honest. I started doing it because all my friends were and I’m a total sheep (I’ve talked about this before, I’m sure). This is just how my personality works: if other people are into something, I push past them in line and yell, “I WANT IT. I WANT IT. WHAT IS IT?” That’s why I have a closet full of things with the tags still on them. It’s why I have a bathroom closet overflowing with various makeup goodies. And it’s why I started running.

At first I’d just run a mile or two and call it good. I was only training for 5ks, so I didn’t have to worry about those longer distances. And that was boring enough, you know? I’d be running in my ‘hood or at Crissy Field, checking my Garmin every two minutes to see when I could stop. But now that I’m starting to run longer distances – the 5 miles I ran last weekend is the longest I’ve run at one time – I’m just…BORED. SO BORED.

I have tried various techniques to distract myself, including music, TV, story plotting, and bribery (i.e., get to five miles and you can go get yourself a latte, superstar). None of these things really work, sad to say.

Mister Jess and I were talking about this the other day when we were at the gym together, and he said that running is 90% mental. I’ve heard that before and now I know it’s completely true. My body is fully capable of clocking those miles. It’s my mind that’s my enemy: the can we stop yet, can we stop yet, can we stop yet, are we there yet mantra is constant and distracting. I’m continually trying to find ways to shut it up or tune it out.

The good news (I think) is that when it’s time for me to run the Disneyland Half Marathon, I’ll be with Meridith and Cam. I’m sure they’ll be the ultimate distraction while we’re running 13.1 miles (HOW WILL I DO THIS?!).

In the meantime, as always, I’m looking for advice. How do you keep the running boredom at bay? Is it as impossible, or am I just approaching it the wrong way? Talk to me in the comments!