Race Schedule

Sunday, February 27, 2011

One Week

Last Monday, I made a big change.  I did not blog about it, because I honestly had no idea what would happen.

One week ago, I went Gluten Free.

It has been suggested that eliminating (or severely restricting) gluten might relieve some symptoms of a minor medical condition I have.  I do not want to mention what this is or what sort of symptoms I have because I am not a medical doctor nor am I a nutritionist, and I don't want anyone to take this as advice in any way, shape or form.  I am just a casual blogger and runner trying to keep herself healthy - I'm not looking to be an example or offer medical advice.

So I went for it.  For one week now, I have been gluten free. And around the middle of the week, I started to feel a difference.

There have been challenges, especially with making my lunches.  I know there are gluten free restaurant options but I am trying very hard not to resort to that, opting instead to prepare my own fresh meals.  I hit one small bump on Tuesday and I'll be sure to share that story later (in retrospect, its actually funny).

I have essentially eliminated all processed foods from my diet.  And I like it!  I like that I can look at my meals and identify every ingredient.  I like that I've been cooking more this week (yes, using that silly crockpot).  And I like that my meals are more satisfying.

I don't feel restricted, to be honest.  I told myself this first week I wasn't going to stress about calorie counts, but to be honest, I haven't needed to.  I've actually lost a rather shocking amount of weight this week - most of which was probably just water weight, but still nice to not see the scale go up.

When I first made my decision, I commented to a friend that while I hoped it worked so I could physically feel better, I kind of didn't want it to because it seemed like such a chore.  This was a daunting task at the start.  But I'm feeling good about it now, I feel confident in my decision and while I do have a bit more work involved in meal planning now, I feel its totally worth the effort.

Have you ever made a big change to the way you eat?  Did it stick?  Why did or didn't it?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Meatless Meals

I just finished putting together dinner for my family.  There's a big pot of Tortilla Soup on the stove and the house smells really good.  Tonight, my family is going meatless (they don't know this yet, shhh!!!)

I want to say that I am not a vegetarian, vegan or even close.  I like meat.  I eat meat.  But I do not think you need to eat meat at every meal, every day.  I firmly believe that meat in moderation can be a part of a balanced diet.

I know I have a couple readers who have previously commented they do not eat meat.  I think this is a valid dietary decision as well.

Lately, I've seen a few too many documentaries and television shows about food.  I don't feel compelled to eliminate meat from my diet but I do feel I need to be more responsible in my consumption.

My family is not always very appreciative when I prepare meatless meals, they feel they are not healthy or incomplete.  I've provided vegetables, protein and even some carbs in tonight's meal, so I don't feel this is true.  Yes, I cook some things that are not healthy when requested (usually for a birthday or holiday).  On a day to day basis though, I try to provide my family with healthy, well balanced meals (that taste good) because I love them all and I want them to be healthy and live for a long time.  So tonight, I'll probably have some complaints about dinner.  I'll probably be a little grumpy about that.  But everyone in this house is an adult so they'll eat the meal that was provided - and I'll feel good knowing that tonight everyone ate a healthy dinner.

What's your take on meat?  Have you seen Food Inc. or perhaps Oprah's recent show about food?  Did either impact your views on what you put in your body?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lesson Learned

I do a lot of cooking in a slow cooker.  I cook the majority of my family's meals but I'm almost never home from work before 6:30 - and I don't usually want to cook then.  So my solution is to throw everything in a slow cooker and let it simmer away while I'm out earning my living.

Mondays are almost always slow cooker days, the day is a bit more bearable when you stop and think that while you're working, your dinner is cooking itself and will be waiting when you get home.  Usually on Sunday afternoon or evening I do whatever prep is involved with my meal.  All I want to have left in the morning is to dump every into the pot and turn it on while I'm drinking my coffee.

Yesterday (Sunday) I was lazy.  Its extremely rare for me to have a Sunday with no family obligations or massive piles of laundry - or, well, anything.  I had nothing on the calendar this Sunday.  So I did what I wanted to do:  I finished my grocery shopping and I sat around reading food blogs.  All.  Day.  Long.

I started a new nutrition plan today and I had a lot of recipes to look up and research to do still.  So my Sunday afternoon slipped away. And so did Sunday night.  Then I did the one thing that for some reason usually makes me feel accountable - I tweeted I was going to get up and work on Monday's dinner.  Well Tweeps - I didn't follow through.   I fell asleep in my bed watching an episode of Gilmore Girls instead.

This morning, I had work to do.  I had breakfast to make.  I had lunch to make.  I had dinner to make.  Three meals all before work?  It all started pretty innocuously.  I poured my coffee, got breakfast started and then turned my attention to dinner.

It still wasn't too bad at this point.  Yes, it was cutting into my GMA watching, but there's consequences for being lazy, right?  I had picked an easy enough recipe, I had to cut up some veggies but really scrubbing potatoes and carrots was the most strenuous thing I had to do.  I was feeling darn proud of myself.  Until I started on the liquid portion of my dinner.  This is a stew like recipe (I'll share later) and it only has a little liquid - stock and white wine.

There is always wine open in this house.  We drink wine with dinner pretty much every night.  But today, when I needed just a half cup of wine, I couldn't find any open.  I kept digging through the fridge sure I'd find a half empty bottle of wine.  I did not.  So at 7a.m. on a Monday morning I had to open a bottle of wine.  As I was standing over the wine rack in my fuzzy slippers while my father questioned if I was drinking before work, I realized this all could have been avoided if I'd just quit procrastinating the night before.  Ah, hindsight.

Lesson Learned.  Procrastination: 1; Becca: 0

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spaghetti Squash

I'm way overdue for a recipe on here.  My stomach hasn't been feeling great this week though, so I don't really have anything clever to say about this recipe or food in general.  I usually grill up some chicken for my dad when I make this because he likes meat...but super low cal recipe, its basically just a big pile o' veggies.  

Oh, and please be super careful hacking into the squash, its tricky.

Spaghetti Squash with Feta

1 Spaghetti Squash
1 Medium Onion
4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Zucchini, Sliced
1 Summer Squash, Sliced
4 oz. Feta crumbles

Halve Spaghetti Squash, remove pulp and seeds, and bake, face down on a cookie sheet for 45 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Sweat onions in a saute pan with a bit of olive oil (if you have the time, go crazy and cook them down until they caramelize, its a nice addition) add garlic, zucchini and summer squash, cook until tender.
Remove cooked squash from oven (you will be able to easily puncture the rind with a knife or fork when its fully cooked).  Pull a fork through the cooked squash and scoop out.  Toss with cooked zucchini and summer squash, then add feta and toss again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


There is something you probably don't know about me:  I'm a musical theater geek.

Even after I abandoned my music performance major for the more 'practical' political science major,  I never truly lost my love for music or theater and I continued looking for ways to feed my need to perform after I finish school.  That's where this story starts, but this story isn't truly about me.  This story is about my friend, James.

Two years ago Courtney found an ad somewhere for auditions for Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat.  Joseph is an old favorite of mine and I couldn't pass up the opportunity.  During my dance audition I met a man named James.

I would be cast as Naphtali's Wife and James would be the star of the show - He would be our Joseph.  Rehearsals started in May and when I walked into the first rehearsal, James was the first person to greet me.  We quickly became friends and I learned James was a runner.

Like most shows, our cast quickly became a tight knit family and James was at the center of it all.

That was the summer I had to go back into a cast because my foot fracture hadn't healed.  It was a blow to me as a runner but also threatened my role in the show. That summer, James would become my support, not just physically - he was an athlete and I was grateful for his strength when I often found myself unable to get around - but also emotionally.  It was the emotional support I desperately needed.

James was optimistic, cheerful and caring.  His empathy and patience showed in the way he helped me around.  James had a big heart and he loved to make people laugh but he also was a wonderful listener and he was always willing to help anyone in anyway he could.  James kept me smiling that summer, assured me I would be running again soon and on the rare occasion our packed rehearsal schedule allowed him to squeeze in a race, he came back telling me I'd be doing that race with him next year. James gave me hope that summer.  But for James, there would not be a 2010 race season.

After the show I didn't see James as often.  He worked at the Apple Store and I'd stop in once and a while to say hello and we'd see each other at other local theater events but we didn't see each other every single day anymore.

In early September I went to the Apple Store with my brother and James was there but was training a large group of employees.  I was in hurry, he was busy, we only exchanged a wave before I left the store.  I have not seen James since that day.

On September 19th, 2009, James went for a run. That day, in the parking lot of a strip mall in his neighborhood, James was hit by a car.  He went through the car's windshield and suffered a traumatic brain injury.

James' condition has improved since the accident, however, he has never fully regained consciousness.

Like all of James' friends, I hope one day we will truly get him back.  But we also remember the things we learned from James, we remember his strength and compassion, how his smile lighted up a room and how magnificent he was on stage that summer.  We remember how he always put others before himself and how he encouraged us when we went through hard times.

I think about James a lot now when I run.  He gets me through the tough workouts.  Right now, James can't run.  But I can run again, just like he told me I would and now, when things get hard and the miles seem too long and my legs don't want to hold me up anymore, I draw on the strength James gave me.

One day, I hope to get the news that James has finally returned to us.  One day, I hope James will be there with us to run the Miles for James 5K with us.  One day, I hope we will run those races we talked about.  But now, I run for James because I know he would do the same for me.

If you would like to learn more about James Javier or the Miles for James foundation, you can go HERE.

You can also follow these links to see video of James as Joseph:

Joseph's Coat

Close Every Door to Me

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I've got a problem.

A couple weeks ago I pulled the Lincoln Presidential Half Marathon from my schedule because it just didn't seem like it was happening.  I had no travel plans, another race 4 weeks later, and worst of all, a baby shower was going to interfere.  The baby shower got moved but I just decided I would let this one go.  In the spirit of a true Cubs fan I decided I could wait 'til next year.  

I don't think I can wait 'til next year, though.  I've put off quite a few races this year because of costs, lack of travel time and scheduling conflicts.  Some of those were tough choices for me but for some reason, Lincoln is not letting go of me.  I thought I had settled down and moved on but I was asked about it at yesterday's Bad Girls group run and I can NOT get it out of my head.  

I'm fixated and I really don't want to wake up on April 2nd and regret that I'm not in Springfield.   I'm not putting Lincoln back on my schedule today.  And I'm not registering today.  But I'm not ruling it out.  

I don't understand it at all but I feel like I need this race.  Lincoln isn't a big, popular race.  Its not flashy, there's no on course entertainment, no fancy perks, there's more or less no race swag and no expo. But its 13.1 miles of historic Springfield sites and I think the simplicity is what's drawing me in.  I'm a history nerd.  I geek out so hard on this stuff, this race is my dream race.

I need advice, people.  Have you ever had a race eat at you like this?  What did you do about it?


Yeah, I'm running.  Thanks to Jenn, Lincoln is going to happen.  She jumped on an innocent tweet and short story long, she'll be meeting Courtney and I in Springfield to run Lincoln!  Massive props to Jenn for giving me the shove I needed.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Banana Blizzard Muffins

I woke up to this today:

The snow was still coming down and no one could go anywhere and even if we could nothing was open . . . so I decided to defeat the snow day by making these:

    Don't they look tasty?  I promise they totally were.  And wait for it, kids: 77 calories per muffin!

    Banana Blizzard Muffins: 

    3 very ripe bananas 
    1/2 cup Honey 
    2 eggs 
    2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce 
    2 cups Whole Wheat Flour 
    3 teaspoons Baking Powder 
    1 teaspoon Baking Soda 
    1 teaspoon Salt 
    2 tablespoons Water

    Preheat Oven to 375 and line or grease 24 muffin cups. Mash bananas and add honey, eggs and apple sauce. Mix in 2 tablespoons of water. Sift together dry ingredients and stir until combined.
    Spoon into prepared muffin cups and bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

    I hope everyone who was in the path of the storm is warm and safe!  It took a long time time and three adults to do it but we pretty well got the house dug out.  Now we just need a plow to come and take care of the street - its been over 24 hours and if one doesn't come by morning, I'll have no choice but to take another snow day!

    What do you do when you have a snow day? (Feel free to fill in whatever crippling weather event happens in your climate if necessary)