Sunday, December 23, 2012

Beginners Cooking: Tilapia and Quinoa

I started on a journey a couple weeks ago.  I have decided to teach myself to cook.  I have zero cooking skills and have been intimidated by that hot appliance called a range for some time.  So far I have made tilapia, salmon, scallops, and seared tuna steaks.  Its coming pretty easy.  I do have to concentrate and wait for the wine sips at mealtime, but oh well.  I am learning something.  Tonight I made this recipe from the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart.

I am really trying to make only healthy food, even though I'm deeply routed in the south.  My grandmother was a great cook and fried pretty much everything.  Even her girdles once she was done wearing them.  Just kidding.

This meal was great.  And even better served with Beringer Chardonnay.

Happy Eating!

...and running.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon

Crossing the finish line at Historic Half Marathon, Fredericksburg, VA 2012

On Sunday May 20, 2012 I ran my first half marathon.  And I ran it with 6000 other people. 

It was sunny and the temperature was perfect.  The first eight miles went by easy-peasy and then the fatigue (aka "the beast") set in.  Afterwards, my health-nut gym friends would ask me, "How did you push through it?"  I just did.  I cannot explain it.  I was unhealthy for so long and I was finally doing things right and I just knew I could do it.  I guess I just "embraced the beast".  If you've read Born To Run by Christopher McDougall (if you haven't, go get it today), you remember Ann Trason and Scott Jurek talk about "the beast" and how you have to welcome it and embrace it, to overcome it.  Its completely true.  I just said "hi fatigue, kiss my ass".  I did.  I was going to finish this race.

This course had many many many hills and most of them we were running UP, not DOWN.  It was challenging to say the least, but I tackled each hill small, large and extra large and accomplished it.  I finished all 13.1 miles and beat my goal and that is more than I could have asked for.

I would only do two things differently.  First, I would train more.  I don't think I personally, could not have over trained for this race.  Secondly, I would have paid better attention to nutrition, mainly fueling up correctly pre- and post- race.   I was severely dehydrated when I crossed the finish line (although you can't tell by my picture*).  My lower calves were cramped up as well as my fascia, which had my toes curling under as early as mile 11.  But I busted right through it, and would totally do it again. 

Most importantly, I crossed a half marathon off my bucket list/new years resolutions.  My full marathon is next and will be in March 2013.  I am on my way, folks!

Happy Running!


* By God I was going to get a good picture out of this race from MarathonFoto so I HAD to put my game-face on every time I saw one of their photogs!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why I Love My Gays...

The answer is really very simple.  Because they are who they are.  And I don't mean because they are gay.  I love them for different reasons, because they are all very different people who happen to be gay or lesbian...

I met CA in middle school.  She was the very first friend I made after I moved to a new town.  We were inseparable.  We tried out for cheer leading together (she made it, I didn't) and never stopped being friends even though I fell in with the "geek crowd" while she was wildly popular.  To this day we support each other within prayer groups, text message conversations, and have shared a few tragedies.  She is witty, and beautiful and has every item on the list to be voted "most popular" even 15 years out of high school!

I met LHJ twenty years ago.  She is the type of person who always has a smile plastered on her face.  You won't find it surprising, she was a cheerleader.  She is always happy and positive and the best part is, her bright and sunny disposition is always so infectious.  You can not spend more than five minutes with her without feeling like you had been wrapped up tight in happiness and light.  She is twenty years older now, but still has that wonderfully optimistic attitude that makes anyone around her feel lucky to know her.

I met CCJ eight years ago through my wedding planning.  He is so creative and talented.  He is the sweetest Southern Gentleman I have ever met.  He has the manners of an old Christian Grandma and a heart bigger than our country.  He genuinely loves people and being around people.  He is extremely supportive of his close friends and family and has a sense of humor that could put Tracy Morgan to shame.  I am honored to know him because he is loving and respectful and just as dignified as Jackie O'Nassis.

I met KS at a job several years ago.  And we hit it off immediately.  We fought like siblings and were just as close some days.  He was amazing to be around.  He had a way of making you feel like the only person in the room because he listened intently and respected everything you were saying.  He was an old southern boy with impeccable morals.  And he wasn't afraid to tell his friends when they were doing something completely stupid.  He had integrity.

No, I don't love these people because they are gay/lesbian.  I love them because they are people.  I love them because they are my friends.  I love them.  And they love me and I am lucky as hell to have friends like these.  I love them because they are People.  People who hurt, laugh, smile, fail. succeed, and LOVE.  They love their partners.  They love their children.  And in America, the land of the free, they cannot legally get married in their home state.  What a shame.  I am lucky to know all of these people; but I ashamed most days because while I am sitting here sharing a glass of wine with my husband, who I can make medical decisions for, enjoy benefits with and legally co-parent a child, my friends cannot.  What a shame.

Did you know interracial marriage was illegal as late as the 1960's?  How completely stupid does that seem now??

Get with it people.

The Gay/Lesbian Loving Runner/Writer/Mommy/Wife

P.S. Tim, Rob, Bryan, Kevin, Kerri, and all my other friends, I didnt leave you out!  I just need to go to bed and thought I got my point across just fine!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bring it home...

Why can't we bring the beach home with us?  We'll start with the most important...

We'll hire a dumptruck for the sand someday...


Outer Beauty

Every single time I return home from Hilton Head Island, I have so many ideas for my yard.  I want to go straight to the local nursery and drop a boatload of money.  But we are streamlining our spending in order to retire soon, so that isn't going to happen.

However, I did buy some pretty affordable annuals for shade and sun at our local chain hardware store to pretty up the yard a bit.  My husband and I, with our little helper, set out to make a nice atmosphere on our deck, patio and yard.  We even spruced up the front porch!  And I finally planted my herb garden, which Im hoping will thrive.  It is still a little chilly here today.

We love spring and summer and usually spend most of our time outside.  We needed some color!  I do mostly container gardening since I have a black thumb.  Hope you enjoy!  Cant wait for my Asian Lillies to bloom!

Happy May!


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Vacation Week

I was in Hilton Head Island with my sweet family this past week. We made some great memories with our three wonderful boys.

I did however manage to get some miles in and some serious bootcamp work.  The bootcamp work happened on the beach and it was exhilarating.  I had some workout partners and a very cute little lifeguard as company so it was fabulous.

I did eat my weight in crab legs and imbibe in some tasty libations all week so I will be getting right back to my training (and more) on Monday.  Since I have been following this semi-Vegan diet my body has been running like a fine tuned machine.  One night, I ingested fried chicken, mac and cheese and buttered biscuits for dinner; my body shut down and suffered.  It was really straining itself to digest that meal and I felt awful.  However, I'm back to my healthy lifestyle.

Hope you all had a great week.  I'll resume my weekly posts about my training and body results next weekend.  I didn't find it fair to post anything after that lavish vacation....

Happy Running!


Monday, April 16, 2012

VBR Photography Part Two.

Marry Gold

Neon Fungus

Blazing Adirondack

VBR Photography

Im trying to get used to my big girl camera.  I am by no means a photographer, but I love taking pictures of everything.  I am reading a ton of books on techniques and thought I would just take some shots in my yard.  These are from the past year.  I also experimented with some good ole Picasa!  Enjoy.

Happy Running, and photographing.

My Little Running Man...

I think he is following in my footsteps.  At least I hope he will love running as much as I do.  He has the build for it.  And he seems to love it while he is three.  Only time will tell...

But looking at these pictures...I think I am raising the next Scott Jurek.  He fell twice.  And picked himself up and kept going.  What a champion!

Happy Running!


35 Things...

I am almost a week into 35 years old.  I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite things.  Here are 35 things you may, or may not, know about me.

1) My favorite food is a Cuban Sandwich.  I could tear them up for breakfast, lunch and dinner
2) I take Fish Oil supplements regularly.
3) I love Willie Nelson.
4) I can't garden.  I try really hard, but it just never works out how I want it to.
5) My favorite flower is the hybrid tea rose (in yellow), but I don't have any.  They take a lot of time and experience.
6) I hate birds.  Any kind of bird freaks me out.
7) I love colorful tunics.  In any color and year round.
8) I'm scared of the ocean.
9) I've had the same best friend since 7th grade.  And we have managed to stay in touch regularly.
10) I can't start my day off without at least 2 cups of coffee.
11) I love music. 
12) I wish I played the piano.
13) I love my backyard.
14) I love a good hammock.
15) I read 3-5 books at a time and usually finish each one within a week.
16) I love to window shop thrift stores and antique shops
17) Mint is my favorite herb.
18) I love a good mint julep.
19) I love to run.
20) I love riding my bike (while pulling my son in the trailer) to the store for M&M's.
21) I love a good ole fashioned Coke Classic with my Cuban Sandwich
22) I love boiled peanuts.
23) I hate when people leave their buggies (or shopping carts, for y'all unSoutherners) in the parking lot.
24) I like to be early.
25) I love waking up before anyone else in my house and sharing quiet moments with my dog Kudzu (sorry, Annie)
26) I love fresh flower arrangements in my house.  They smell divine.
27) Christmas is my favorite holiday.
28) I still miss my Grandma terribly, and have a hard time with that most days.
29) I love to bake, but I am terrible at it.
30) I am very sensitive and any tragedy affects me deeply.  Even when I don't show it.
31) Avocado wrapped in prosciutto is a great snack.
32) I love having sisters and being as close as I am with them.
33) I love my husband.
34) I love my son.
35) I love God.

Have a great week, y'all!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Running and Weight Loss Experiment, Week One

I've decided to try an experiment.  I have body image issues, like most women.  I have come along way in the weight loss department.  If you don't believe me, I'll show you.  This is a picture of me at my heaviest.  198 pounds.  Almost 200 pounds.  Pre-diabetic belly and all...

Looking back, this picture disgusts me.  I don't like anything about the person in that picture.  It is a painful reminder of how fat, depressed, negative and physically and mentally unhealthy I was. When I brought my son home from the hospital, things changed. I decided to forgive myself for every bad decision I ever made.  I decided I would make a fresh start and be happy.  After all, those fertility treatments and dark nights screaming for a baby, any baby, were definitely behind me.  If you are experiencing infertility, you know what I mean.  With every friend's or family member's pregnancy comes overwhelming anger and sadness.  But that is not the point of this post.

I started running in September 2010 and instantly fell in love.  I had many obstacles to overcome.  One being the damage I did to my lungs from smoking.  Secondly, I had to learn how to eat like a healthy person and give up my nightly bottle of wine.  Yes, I said bottle.  Remember how I just told you I was sad, angry and depressed?  I was self medicating.

I have been running now for a solid 19 months now.  A half marathon is just a few weeks away.  I will be scheduling a full marathon and two 50k's in the next 8 months.  This is all training for my Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim run that I hope to cross of my Bucket List in 2013.  I started thinking, how much weight would I shed if I stuck to this partly Vegan diet and all these weekly miles?

Well, let's find out together.  I already put that fat picture out there, so these two won't hurt as much.  This is Week One.  Today (April 15th, 2012).  A full frontal and a side view of yours truly.  I'll try and keep up this series on Sunday.  I have no idea what I weigh in pounds.  I do not own a scale.  My cycling instructor and sometimes run trainer Julie, told me to "throw that scale out the window".  Which is exactly what I did.  Well, I put it in the trash anyways.  I pay attention to the way my body feels, how my clothes fit and that is exactly what every other woman should do.  It doesn't hurt to measure your inches either, but I am lazy and that means more work.  So getting to the pictures:

Let's just see what all this hardcore run training will do to this 35 year old body, shall we?  I'll keep you updated weekly, so please check back.  For the record, only a few, very few, people read this blog so it was easy to post embarrassing pictures of myself.  Unless you share it, then I'm embarrassed.

Happy Running!


Edited to Add:

Just a little fun I had....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Healthy Dinner: Quinoa

I am trying to eat a certain diet, so that I might improve my running.  This means going Vegan, but that AIN'T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN.  I am making some compromises.  This is what I am having for dinner tonight:

Black Beans
Salt and Pepper

Wrapping it all up in a Boston premium lettuce leaf!  I think it is better served chilled!

You can also add tofu if you want.

I cannot and WILL NOT give up cheese.  So veganism doesn't work for me, but it is a great diet for long distance runners.

Happy Running!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Turning 35!

I look forward to my birthdays.  Not for reasons you might think.  It isn't what gift I can buy myself with the gift cards I'll get.  I look forward to my birthdays every year so I can reflect on what I've learned, my experiences, my relationships with others and my walk with God.  I like to take some good quality quiet time in the morning on my birthday and really think about the things I could have done differently and the goals I would like to set for myself, personally.

This year alone, I have met some really incredible and inspiring people.  You can read about a couple of them here.  Others include women in my community who inspired me to start a non profit.  You can read more about that here.  I stuck to my New Year's resolution of casting a wider net and forging lasting relationships with meaningful people.  I could not be more excited about the friends I've made in 2012. 

I found a church that is satisfying my spiritual needs in so many ways.  It has been a struggle for me for two reasons.  I have always felt totally disconnected from my home church, which I was a member of until my early twenties.  I couldn't give you any specific reason.  I just never felt a fulfilling relationship with anyone there, not even God.  It is a great church, but it just didn't satisfy me.  Secondly, since my Grandma Edna passed, it was just too hard to attend any church.  If there was one thing I could put my finger on that made her so special to me, its this: she spent my entire life worrying and fussing over my salvation.  It was special to me that she loved me so much.  Most of my memories of her are in the backyard at her home, or in the church.  Any time I would listen to a choir sing, go to Sunday school, or here any sermon, my heart would just hurt so badly, because I missed her so much.  Oh, I still tear up at church, especially at Easter, because it was her favorite.  But it is getting easier.  And the congregation at my new church would just come over and hug me if they saw me crying.  Which is AWESOME!  Most importantly, I feel closer to God than any other time in my life.  I actually want to glorify him.  I want to spread His amazing love to everyone.  I want to serve Him in any capacity.  I want to lead my life with Christ in it, and I want my son to have me as an example of faith, like I did with my Grandmother.

However, within this last year, there have been some mistakes.  I've snuck in a few bad habits I successfully gave up in the past.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, I smoked a few cigarettes.  My husband totally busted me, which was exactly what I needed.  If you truly know me, you KNOW I hate to disappoint people.  Especially those I love and care about.  I am working hard again to overcome that habit, and I am headed for success.

I want to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle and stay active.  I want to continue my walk in complete faith in Jesus Christ.  I want to continue to serve my community in any way I am able.  I have set some goals for my 36th year and they include (but are not limited to) registering for and running more races: 1/2 marathon, marathon and the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim run.  I've started my non profit and will diligently work to get a charitable status through the government.  I am joining more than one group at my church to also serve.  I am also committing myself to instill in my son a want to serve his community humbly, when he is old enough.  And to serve his God.

Hope you all are having a happy Spring!  And a belated Happy Easter to you all!

Happy Running!


Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Cycle: Inspiration to Goals to Success...

Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon National Park

I have experienced some pretty inspiring moments this week. 

First, I followed my Internet news as usual and came across the story of Micah True.  If you don't know who he is, I suggest you read the book Born To Run.  I'm reading it now.  I have never been so engrossed in a book before.  It is inspiring, amazing, breathtaking, and all right from living room.   I am learning a ton about running and the running community, especially the Ultras.  The Taramurara are now an obsession.   And I am learning many things from Micah True's legacy as well.

The husband and I went to Dallas for our annual conference.  On our third day in downtown, we were ushered into one of the hotel ballrooms to watch, on the local news' traffic camera, a twister ripping through the city.  It was scary to say the least.  But I was inspired at how powerful, and simultaneously beautiful nature can be.  No one was killed and few were hurt during that storm outbreak, so praise God.

Last, but certainly not least, I finally caught a flight out of Dallas and met a wonderful woman.  Her name was Harriet.  She was very friendly and quiet, and in her seventies.  Now get ready for this.  She was on her way to Springer Mountain.  Yes, that Springer Mountain The Southern Terminus to the Appalachian Trail.  And she was hiking the entire thing over the next 30 days.  Alone.

That takes some balls.  And she had them.  I suddenly wanted them, too.

So.  I came home, continued reading my book and came up with a plan.  I am a very goal oriented person.  I like to compete against myself.  I do not like to leave projects unfinished.  So with the help of three of my trainer friends (hopefully they say "yes"), I will run rim to rim of the Grand Canyon.  I want to do it in three years.  Its about a 42-48 mile run through the canyon.  I am crazy.  But I am totally looking forward to it. 

Thank you Micah True and Harriet, and most of all, God, for being the inspiration I needed to kick my running up a notch.  I hope I can do it.

Happy Running!


RIP Micah True.  You've left an incredible legacy...