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    I'm Lauren and this is a blog dedicated to living life with a healthy balance. I love to run, strength train, bike and just be downright active. I'm a marathoner as of April 24, 2010 and am currently looking forward to qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

    I absolutely love to eat and enjoy great food but doing it all in moderation. You'll see healthy, organic foods on here frequently but you'll also run into things such as pizza and sweets. I believe you can have it all... just not all at once.

    I'm always learning and discovering new foods, recipes, workouts and ways to live a healthy lifestyle. Join me on my journey towards becoming my healthiest self.

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Vitamin D

It’s 12:30 and I’m happy to say that I am currently soaking in some much needed Vitamin D laying out on the rooftop of our loft.

Now I had to improvise since all my bathing suits are still in storage so I’ve got a sports bra on with the straps pulled down to avoid tan lines and Soffe workout shorts on. Hey. You gotta do what you gotta do. I’d rather get some color on my skin than none at all so I had to be creative!

Anyway… work called this morning and put me on call so I fell back asleep until 9 and it was wonderful!! I called at 9 to see if they needed me to come in at 11 and they said no and that I could have the rest of the day off. Woo hoo!! I’m all about it.

So I slowly woke up while I watched two quick 30 minute shows that were on our DVR and decided to go for a run. I ended up doing 4 miles and decided it was time for a little lunch and laying out since I didn’t eat breakfast. I was sure to put on the sunscreen. Safety first!

I fixed a lunch to take on the rooftop with me. Lots of water, a PB&J and a sliced pear.

Maybe a book and a magazine will be read too. 🙂

I mean, can the weather get any better today!?

It’s so perfect. The slight breeze makes this day of laying out perfectly pleasant. Not too hot, not too chilly or overcast. I plan on soaking as much sun in as I can!

I was thinking as I was running today, I have a very special person that will be in town one week from today to cheer me on for the marathon. I’m very privileged they are traveling to come support me!! I’m keeping it a secret until they arrive but can you guess who it may be!?

Alright, Pandora is calling my name to turn it on as I enjoy this day. I’m off to do some grocery shopping later and then biking to Community Group. Oops… that reminds me! We’re supposed to bring dessert tonight. Guess I’ll be whipping something up in the kitchen later too. It’ll be quite a productive day once it’s over. I love it!!

What are your plans for today and tonight?

Or better yet, how would you improvise a swimsuit if yours was in storage and you wanted to soak up some rays?

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Breakfast Done Right

Before I get to the title of this blog I need to catch you all up on last night.  We had a great time with our cousins.  We went to dinner right across the street from our hotel, The Capital Grille and had a great dinner.  I decided to order a variety so I could sample and taste all without going overboard or feeling pressure to eat it all.

We ordered their garden fresh salsa to start.

I ate two small plate fulls like what you see below.  I loved the chunkiness of the salsa with all the tomatoes and fresh veggies.

I then ordered the crab cakes for my entree and ate 1 1/4 of them and gave the rest to the hubs.

He ordered the tenderloin salad which was greens tossed with bleu cheese crumbles, ceasar dressing, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and topped with medium cooked beef tenderloin.  I stole several bites of the salad.

After dinner we headed up to the rooftop of the building next door and ate dessert.  I split it between my cousins, Beccy and Stephanie and it was a perfect portion.  It’s called the Tsinful Tsunami and it’s a decadent rich flourless chocolate cake with a side of ice cream and berries.

Us on the rooftop.  So glad I wore long sleeves and a pashmina.  I was quite chilly.

Love the bridge in the background.  Thanks Beccy for such a great picture!

We got back to the hotel last night and were asleep before we knew it!  We were whooped from traveling all day.  I got an amazing night’s rest and woke up at 6:45 to get dressed for my 10 mile run this morning.  I got all ready to go and the hubs sort of begged me to eat breakfast with him first before going on my run because he was afraid he’d miss out on the good stuff if we didn’t get to eat it until the last hour it was open.  I obliged because I’m sweet that way and we headed downstairs.

I am not disappointed I chose to eat a good breakfast before my run at all.  This was a dream hotel breakfast!  The way it should be!

We were seated at this cute table.

And they had the most awesome buffet.  I was so pleased with all the healthy choices.  They had a whole selection of yogurts, granola, fruit, coffee cakes, breads, heart healthy cereals, eggs, sausage, omelet station, pancakes, etc.

Here’s my plate of food.  Lots of fruit, a Yoplait light strawberry yogurt topped with granola, and a piece of whole wheat toast.

I ate 3/4 of my yogurt, all my pineapple, most of my cantaloupe, a couple of blueberries and one bite of the strawberries.  The strawberries had no flavor at all.  So weird because they are in season now!  I did eat all my toast though.  I need some carbs in my system before my run!

I snagged this individual container of Kashi cereal.

I’ve been wanting to try this flavor because they sell it in bulk at Sam’s so maybe I’ll like it and we can get it in bulk!  I didn’t eat it this morning because I didn’t want too much dairy (due to adding the milk, obviously) because of my run but I’ll gladly take it home and try it this week.

I absolutely am so satisfied and feel like I’ll be fueled up for my run in a little bit!  I am more excited because we’ll eat breakfast again tomorrow and I might be splurging a little more… say one… maybe some pancakes, eggs, sausage, biscuits?  Knowing me I’ll go light again but I love they had such a great breakfast!  It makes for a great start to the day!  Alright, I’m off to digest for a little longer and then hit the pavement running!  I can’t wait until we see Grandmother today and surprise her for her birthday!!  It’s going to be a great day!  I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again but keep checking back.  You never know.  Hope you all have a great Saturday.

P.S. Can you believe that at this time in 2 weeks I will be in the midst of completing my first marathon?!  I cannot!!

What’s your ideal hotel breakfast?  Decadent items that you would normally never treat yourself to at home or healthy conscious foods?

In Disbelief

Here I am at 8 o’clock at night icing my knees because I conquered 21 miles! I still can’t believe it. After my disappointing attempt at 19 miles a couple of weeks ago, I have to admit, I was quite nervous heading out for a whopping 21! I started out and was dressed in long black pants and a t-shirt with a light jacket thrown over it. I quickly became way too overheated and tied my jacket around my waist. Ah, then the heaviness of my iPhone became quite apparent. I called the hubs at 3.5 miles and was practically in tears. I just was so discouraged that I was only at 3.5 miles and already wanted to stop. Maybe my mind just wasn’t prepared to run the 21 miles. He immediately encouraged me and said that he knew I could do it. I ended up carrying my iPhone in my hand and felt like a whole new woman. Those tears that almost overflowed became my motivation. I knew I could do this and I wasn’t going to let my fear get the best of me.

I ran and ran and ran… and then look who joined me at 10.66 miles?! He’s pretty cute, isn’t he?

He got his bike all tuned up and decided to ride alongside me the rest of my 10.34 miles. It made all the difference in the world. I felt more motivated, I kept pushing myself and we ended up back at our loft at 12 miles and I shed my black pants and threw on some shorts and got rid of my jacket and stuck my iPhone in the bike bag the hubs was wearing. It helps, too, that he provided me with much H2O during the remaining mileage.

I grabbed a few grapes when we stopped in the loft.

And I might have popped a couple of these bad boys, Extra Strength Tylenol.

I knew I needed these because I could feel my hip flexors locking up on me and I am so glad I took these! I think it helped contribute to the ability to finish my run.

So we left the loft with 9 more miles to go and set out to run downtown, run across the bridge to Indiana and then back to the loft.

The first trip over the bridge wasn’t bad at all but the trip back over was brutal. It all of a sudden became super windy and I was fighting the wind hard but I made it! I hit mile 18 and my body was just so tired. I kept stopping and starting and talking out loud to myself that I could do it. I was so close to conquering this run!

So I pushed through and for my reward, the hubs and I walked up the street to try out this new Mexican restaurant, Sante Fe Mexican Grill and I dived in. I really am not too hungry right after my long runs so I ended up not eating as many chips as usual.

I did order a small white queso dip to treat myself. Usually I just stick with the salsa but I figured since I burned over 1800 calories, I deserved it. The hubs helped me out with eating it!

I ordered a single chicken soft corn taco for me.

The hubs ordered a chicken burrito and it was HUGE!!

I left completely satisfied and full feeling and don’t think I over indulged at all! I might be having some fruit later tonight or trail mix. We’ll see if the hunger strikes!

We walked home and boy was it difficult for me. After sitting for a few minutes, my body definitely felt the repercussions of my 21 mile run. But I knew it was best to tough it out and stretch out my muscles on the walk back home.

Upon arriving home, I jumped in the shower to wash all the nasty junk sweat away and then drew myself a super hot bath to relax. I am now icing my knees. A much needed activity.

Bad news though: I think I’m going to officially lose both of my second toenails. The one on each foot is already lifting off the nail bed and it’s not looking good. I guess that means I’m an official runner. 🙂 But it hurts and sucks!!

Oops… I meant to say my finishing time. I finished in 3:41. I averaged a 10:27 minute/mile pace the whole time! I’m slowly but surely getting faster and that makes me so excited. I’m actually too tired right now to type out all my splits but at least you know my average pace.

Oh… I know a lot of you probably watched it but the hubs and I watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution last night and it just makes me so sad what these kids are eating everyday! It’s just awful. And the school systems are so reluctant to a healthier diet because it all boils down to money. Isn’t it worth it to spend a little more money in their younger years so they don’t have to spend as much money when they’re older (or still young) in healthcare because they’re prematurely dying or being diagnosed with diseases because of their diet? It’s so frustrating!

I’m off to enjoy the rest of the evening and look forward to sleeping in tomorrow and resting my body!!! I guess being sent home early really did pay off! 😉

Did you watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? What’s your opinion?

or

What’s your favorite post-workout or post-run recovery meal? Mine is just whatever I’m craving at the time. Tonight it was Mexican but it changes! Maybe once I make a Green Monster I’ll crave those.

or (just one more)

If you’re a runner, have you ever lost any toenails? What did you do to make them look presentable, especially since summer is approaching! (And my beach vacay is 2 months away!)

Mentally Preparing

I hope this Saturday finds you well!  I woke up bright and early to head to work this morning.  I was so reluctant to climb out of my warm bed because I was sleeping super hard and had a sweet kitty baby cuddling with me. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Breakfast at work this morning consisted of a granola bar I  received in my race packet for my 10k last weekend.  A Cascadian Farm Organic granola bar.

I was impressed with their list of ingredients.

I didn’t know how I’d like the harness of the bar.  I’m used to chewy granola bars but I really loved this bar!  I’m definitely going to buy these at our next grocery trip.

They had great texture and a great flavor.  I’m definitely impressed.  Really excited that I have another sample pack left!  The pack comes with two bars and I ate one around 9 and the second around 10.

At 11:30, I was told that I was being sent home from work because I was in overtime. They hate to let you get those overtime hours in.  So here I am, at home and gearing up for an unexpected afternoon off with my 21 mile run.  I’m trying to mentally prepare since I didn’t expect to run it today so hopefully I’ll be good to go.

I ate the lunch I had packed for work today.  A simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a pear on the side.  I just love my new paper towels.  It makes me excited about summer being right around the corner!

I’m letting my digest a bit before I hit the pavement.  I’m glad that I am able to run today because it’s supposed to rain tomorrow.  I’m going to take full advantage of having sunshine today!  And hey, at least I carbo loaded last night without realizing it!  I should be all set.  I do have a few frustrations to run out and I feel like that always makes for my best runs when I have stress that needs to be dealt with.

Wish me luck!  Twenty one miles seems daunting but knowing that this is my last long, long run before the marathon, I think it’ll keep me going!  Can you believe 4 weeks from today I’ll be running my first marathon?!  I sure can’t!  Eeek!!  Getting excited!

I’ll be posting later tonight after I ice, take a bath and eat some dinner!!

What do you think you would do with the rest of the day if you were sent home early from work?!

Sprint It Out

I hit the arms, shoulders and abs hard last night after I blogged.  It felt awesome.  I do love me some strength training!  I’m hoping to get some good leg and ab strength training in tomorrow night.  But what I was most excited about that I was in bed at 9:30 and asleep at 10!!

I had a meeting this morning so I ended up not having to wake up until 6 so I truly ended up getting 8 hours of sleep.  Loved that feeling!  Here’s to hoping I’ll repeat it again tonight.

I was only going to work on the floor from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. but since my meeting got out earlier than 11, and I didn’t want to go home for an hour or two, I clocked in early and hit the floor running. We were packed to the max today so I’m thankful we at least had enough organization for me to be able to eat my meals!

First up: Another Granny Smith for breakfast.  It definitely wasn’t filling enough.  I wish I would’ve eaten it as a snack later instead.

Lunch couldn’t have come soon enough, obviously, since the lone apple wasn’t filling at all.  The rest of my tuna noodle casserole.  Oh so tasty.  No crescent roll this time!

An orange on the side.

One of my co-workers and I were talking yesterday since she’s doing the whole Weight Watchers thing and she was talking about all her points and what she eats for snacks and stuff like that.  I used to be obsessed with counting calories just last year and the year before that and last May, I completely stopped counting and I hope I never start again.  But kudos to people that don’t let a calorie count control them (or a points count) because it seriously almost ruined me.   That’s probably a story for a later blog.  We’ll see.  ANYWAY… she was talking about buying the Laughing Cow swiss cheese wedges and I told her I’d never tried it before and I’ve been meaning to buy some.  Guess who brought me a Laughing Cow wedge today?  Yes, she thought about me.  How sweet is that?

I couldn’t wait to have it as my afternoon snack!

With crackers.

The verdict?

I LOVED this cheese.  Laughing Cow, if you’re reading this, I will sample and review your products anytime.  Usually I’ve been a cheddar cheese only girl when it comes to eating straight cheese but I’m branching out so I’ll sample away!  😉

It held me over until dinner and I was super glad.  I went on my run tonight and ended up pushing it really hard.  I always feel like I need to push harder on my shorter run days and I don’t know why.  I’ll tell you this, there is nothing like pounding the pavement hard after a long day at work.  It takes all the stress, frustration, etc. out of the  day.  But I sprinted the last mile and ended up running my last mile in 7:03 minutes.  Whoop!!  I finished my whole 3 miles in 26:16 minutes.  Getting faster!

I came inside and was ready for some dinner.  I kept it light with a salad topped with shredded carrots, feta cheese, chopped onion and bell pepper and topped with a tad bit of Italian dressing.

I might have had 4 or 5 chips dunked in our homemade salsa.  🙂  The hubs had it sitting out and I couldn’t resist.

A few red grapes to calm down my tongue that felt like it was on fire after eating that hot salsa!!!

Alright bloggies and friends, I’m off to shower and climb in bed!!  Work day tomorrow and a pizza night tomorrow night!  Can’t wait to see how this wheat crust turns out that we bought a few weeks ago!!  I hope you all had a fantastic Tuesday!

What do you like to do to de-stress after a long day?

Rodes City 10k Race

Good morning ladies and gents’!  I am officially finished with my race!  I’m back home to relax and veg for the rest of the day!  I say veg but since I have so much energy right now I’ll probably find myself being pretty productive today.

Anyway…. I woke up like I promised myself at 5 a.m. and toasted a piece of whole wheat bread and topped it with a light spread of peanut butter and sliced banana.

I climbed back in bed and slept until 6:45.  I wouldn’t necessarily say I slept for that long after waking up and eating because I ended up lying there awake the majority of the time thinking about the race and prepping in my head.  Oh well.  I did get a few extra minutes of shut eye in there.

My friend, Glenna, met me at our loft and we headed downtown together to find a parking spot and warm up, stretch and get to the start line.

It was 45 degrees this morning so I wore my jacket there and forced myself to give it to Chad.  I knew I’d regret it if I kept it on.

Doing some stretching.

Glenna and I.

Doing some warm up jogging.

The START line.

One last one of Glenna and I before we start.

Chad got one right before we crossed the start line.  A little blurry but whatever.

He didn’t get any more pictures until the finish so I’ll tell you about the race itself.

Glenna and I started out strong but it was frustrating to try and weave through all the walkers on the course.  I think that slowed me down for the first couple of miles until I got into a good section of mostly runners.  I was shocked to see that I was running well under a 10 minute/mile pace  and got to mile 2 and looked over my shoulder and Glenna had fallen behind me a little bit so she waved to me to go ahead and keep going.  I felt bad but I kept running and ended up averaging a 9:33 minute/mile pace for the whole race.  I knew if I kept my pace that I could possibly finish in under an hour.  At mile 3 I started to feel some side splints on my right side but pushed through and before I knew it they were gone.

The minute I saw the finish line I knew I had to up my pace to make it in under an hour.  I pushed hard and as you can tell from this picture, I was looking at my Garmin right at the end to see if I was going to make it.

My Garmin said that I finished in 59:56 but my official race time came in at 59:57!  Still under 60 minutes!  YES!  I’m so excited.  Here’s my Garmin stats:

(I still haven’t figured out how to copy and paste from my Garmin training center page.  Help!!  Someone tell me how!)

Mile 1: 9:27 minute/mile

Mile 2: 9:57 minute/mile (Up a nice steady hill)

Mile 3: 9:38 minute/mile

Mile 4: 9:27 minute/mile

Mile 5: 9:27 minute/mile

Mile 6: 9:33 minute/mile

Remaining .28: 2:25 minutes (an 8:48 pace)

Glenna ended up finishing a little over 5 minutes after me.  Way to go Glenna!!

I ran into our friend, Dinah, after I found Chad.  Way to go Dinah!

After I finished!  So excited and on a complete runner’s high.

The hubs and I.  Pumped that he saw me start and finish.  Obsessed with him.

I found two more nursing friends of mine!  Sarah and Tracy.

I was so glad that I shed my jacket before I ran.  It ended up being nice and sunny and perfect temperature running weather!

Look at all the goodies I ended up bringing home.

I’m really excited about the Clif Z Bar for kids. I snagged a chocolate brownie one and will eat it as soon as Lent is over.  I’ve been wanting to try them and you can buy them in bulk at Sam’s so this saves me a couple dollars so I can try it for free to see if I love them. I also snagged 3 bananas (I inhaled two of them after the race.  I guess it’s a banana sort of day, huh?), Bear Naked Tropical Fruit Granola Bar, Panera Bread cinnamon bagel, an apple, powerade and two Dasani waters.  The other two granola bars, t-shirt, wheaties and water bottle came in my race bag.

Looks like I’m all set with snacks for a day or two.  Love it.

This is me right when I got back home.  Feeling super awesome.  I loved having my natural xanax back in my life again.

I have a sweet baby kitty boy curled up next to me on the couch.

My morning has obviously been super great and now it’s time for me to do some laundry, maybe clean a little bit and I’m sure I’ll be snacking quite a bit along the way.  I hear my stomach grumbling a little bit now as I type.

The hubs is at Disciple Now all day so I’ll have to figure out what I’m going to whip up for lunch and dinner.  Hmmm… what sounds good?!  Decisions, decisions.

Thank you all for the kind words, encouragement and sweet thoughts thrown my way.  I love living this journey with all of you to see.  You keep me motivated!!  I shall see you all later today!

Guac, Salsa, and Fajitas

What a day it has been.  As soon as I stepped onto the floor at work this morning I was told by the night shift manager “You might as well go ahead and put your roller skates on”. And boy was she right.  Today was different from yesterday in that it was an organized chaos.  We were completely full, busy and had patients waiting for rooms but we had enough staff today to be able to help each other out and pay proper attention to our patients.

I was glad to get breakfast in my belly this morning.  Puffed wheat cereal with a sliced banana.

Lunch was a little late for my usual routine today.  I ate after 1 pm and was pretty hungry.  I was glad to have leftover whole wheat tortellini (cheese filled) with marinara.

With a salad on the side.

All together.  Don’t you love my fancy tupperware?  I wish I could eat on my real plates everyday!  ;-(

Later on for a snack I had a pear.

And maybe I had a handful of Chex Mix too.  I’ve felt super snacky today and I feel like it’s from my weekend of eating mostly carbs.  I’ve got to get back on track because my body is feeling, shall we say, bloated?!  All that bread is making me expand!!

Anyway… I hit the ground running after work and did 3 hard, fast miles.  (Well, fast for me)  I enjoyed the 57 degree weather and it being light outside!!!  Here’s my stats:

Mile 1: 9:53

Mile 2: 9:11

Mile 3: 8:08

Total: 27:12 minutes

YEE HAW!!!

I was famished by the time I got finished with the run and was so excited for flank steak fajitas that were waiting on me!

First up: My whole wheat fajita packed with flank steak, spring mix, homemade salsa, sour cream, cheese and grilled onion.

Homemade guacamole?  Sure.  Note: Another shocker so prepare yourself.  This is only the second time I’ve ever had guacamole.  The first time was just a few weeks ago and I love it!!

Homemade salsa? Absolutely!

All rolled up with some tortilla chips on the side.  Obvi.

So so good!  I wanted another wrap but I decided to wait and see how I felt after a little while and of course, I was full.  But I did seem to have just enough room left in the tummy for some fruit.  One mandarin and red grapes while I am blogging.  I LOVE fruit!!!

Ok, so this night will be the beginning of trying to get back to bed and be asleep by 10 pm!  I’ve got to get moving so I can make it!!  I hope you all had a great Tuesday.  It sure felt like Monday to me… weird!

What do you do when you feel super snacky and know you need to get back on track?!