That Time I Ran Ragnar Northwest Passage

Last weekend I traveled to the great Northwest to run 196 miles with 11 awesome old and new friends.  I had some really hard runs but felt very satisfied with how I performed.  I brought along my Skoras and my ninja sword and thoroughly enjoyed running in misty weather.  Here are the highlights from our adventure!

That Time We Unleashed Our Ninja Skillz at the Start Line

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That Time the Girls Were Photo Bombed by One of Our Own

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That Time We Encouraged Random People with a Smack on the Behind

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That Time We Took All the Selfies

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That Time We Recreated Things That Happened at Previous Ragnars

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That Time Ian Got All the Sleep

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That Time I Tried to Draw on All the Faces

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That Time We All Jumped

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That Time We All Wanted to be Like Robert

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The Original

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That Time We Ran 196 Miles in 30 Hours

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Hitting the Road

Tonight, I embark on a journey. I know that as I travel this journey, some parts will be smooth and others will be rocky. Some parts of it will fly by, and other parts will slow to a crawl. It will have its ups and downs. And at the end of the journey…I will never want to get in my car again.

That’s right. This isn’t a figurative journey. It’s an actual road trip. A six day road trip from Massachusetts to North Carolina, and back, with my husband and our two kids. (If you just got visions of National Lampoon’s Vacation in your head, I promise, you are not alone). My husband and I lived in NC when our daughter was born, but we moved home to Massachusetts when she was two and a half, and we haven’t been back since.

You guys, I’m scared. We’ve never done a vacation like this before and I’m really hoping we don’t all want to kill each other halfway down the Eastern seaboard.

Our typical summer vacation includes a three hour drive to North Conway, NH, where upon arrival, we unload into the family summer house, a condo with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a FULL KITCHEN. This is approximately four times the driving hours, hotel rooms and a whole lot of eating out.

Which brings me to the oh-so-important part of this post. How the HELL am I not going to gain 47,000 pounds????

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’m kind of control freaky. Wipe that shocked look of your faces. Part of having issues with disordered eating, for me, means that I really crave control when it comes to food. I don’t even have to be ‘on program’ to want this control. I pretty much always want it. But especially when I’m trying to stick to an eating program, which I am. And even if I had control over where we were going to be eating, and had a kitchen to prep my own food, my standard vacation mode means eating everything in sight, finding the stuff out of sight, and eating that too.

And as if that weren’t enough, we’re going back to the place where I got fat. I gained over 100 pounds in the almost five years we lived in NC. There was a time when I could tell you the exact location of every fast food restaurant in the Fayetteville area.

BUT…

I’m a different person now, and I need to remember that. This trip is about the experience of taking my daughter to her birthplace, not a six day excursion to Krispy Kreme. I can make health(ier) choices even under less than ideal circumstances. I’ve made sure every hotel we’re staying at has both a gym, and a pool, so I can still get exercise in. I’m packing up a bag of portable road snacks so that I won’t get over-hungry and thus, more prone to bad choices. I’ve got the WW app on my phone, so no matter where we wind up eating, I can check the points and plan accordingly. I’m as prepared as I can be in this scenario. And if I decide to say the hell with it and eat whatever I want, points be damned, for six days? That’s okay, too. (Being totally real, I can see this happening).

My Weight Watchers leader said something last night that hit home, and was relevant to this. She said that when you feel like you’re slipping, you should ask yourself “Is this worth it?” Sometimes, you will find that the answer is no.  And sometimes, the answer will be ‘yes’, so you eat it and move on with your life. So, that’s what I’m going to try and do.

For the record? Sonic? So worth it.

How do you stay on track on vacation? Suggestions for healthy road snacks? Give Bec your tips! 

A Look on the Bright Side

Hi, runner friends. It’s been a while. I’m still here. Still nursing my tendonitis. Currently, I’m allowed to walk or do the elliptical for 20 minutes a day. So that’s…something.

A friend recently complimented me on how gracefully I was handling this whole thing. (Seven weeks in a walking boot with no exercise allowed. Several more weeks with limited exercise. No running at all.) Her comment told me three things- one, I have wonderful friends. Two, I don’t like to complain to people, which is exactly why I’ve been on a break from blogging. And three, I really am a positive person. I like exclamation points. I see my glass of chardonnay as half-full. I like to look for the good in everything.

On that note, here are some things that don’t suck about being unable to run:

1. My kids don’t have to spend their summer vacation mornings at the gym or in a jogging stroller. 9am playdate? Sure, we’d love to! And we don’t have to deal with the gym kid germs, either. Bonus!

2. I can sleep in on the weekends. Sort of. My kids are early risers, which means I have to do my long runs even earlier. Without the run, I’m getting a little extra sleep. 6:30am is better than 5am, right?

3. I don’t have to run in this crazy heat. My last outdoor run here was in mid-April. Since then, it’s gotten hot. Hotter. Wicked humidity. Even at 6am. It messes with one’s pace and hydration, and honestly, I’m glad to be missing out on it.

4. My house is so clean! I realized how desperate I was to fill the void of running when I began to dust and vacuum three times a week. There is no such thing as a cleaner’s high but having counters and floors this clean is a decent substitute.

5. I am buying shoes that aren’t running sneakers! Okay, this is a stretch, because well, I buy them anyway, but I’m wearing them more often than I do when I’m running four times a week. (Please don’t tell my podiatrist.) My birks are super comfortable (I choose to believe they give the same support as a sneaker. Ahem.), and my vintage-style Brooks are super cute, even with a skirt. There may not be endorphins from vacuuming, but the same can’t be said for shoe-shopping, am I right?

How have you coped with an injury? Favorite summer activity? We’ve been swimming and eating sweets- twistee treat, mini cupcakes at the local bakery, italian ice. YUM.

5 Reasons to do the Jog ‘n Hog

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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!

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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

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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!

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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:

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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 :)