Alert!

27 Mar

To all of my loving, adoring, and dedicated followers…anyone? After a long hiatus, I have decided to change the name of this blog, hence changing the website it can be found at. I can’t imagine this affects anyone but me, but if you’ve been checking me out, now check me out here: fuelthelongrun.wordpress.com

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns, and this blog is a place for me to wrap my head around this crazy journey we’re all on. Hope to see you there!

Chicken Dinner Winner and Happy Friday!

6 Sep

Isn’t it funny how a shortened week can still draaaaag along? I swear the last four days have seemed never-ending, but we did it people! Friday has arrived! Due to recent automobile difficulties (read: Blair’s car dying in the middle of the street), I have been utilizing the metro more to get to and from work. Luckily the weather noticed this change in circumstance and toned down the heat a little this week. (Obviously on my account, the weather and I are very close) But this morning I was graciously picked up by a colleague at 6am sharp. As I took a step outside, I was hit with some very crisp, maybe even cold morning air. It felt amazing! I closed my eyes, took in a deep breath of autumn (I know I’m jumping the gun a little, but I don’t care!), and could practically taste the hot chocolate that I will be living on all season.
Blair and I have been trying to get better at using the ingredients in our cupboards mixed with fresh ingredients in order to maintain a better budget. This week’s favorite recipe: Roast chicken breast with spiced tomato and chickpeas. I went to epicurious.com to find the recipe, and boy is it a keeper! We already had the chicken breasts, chickpeas, and tomatoes so we were off to a great start. I had all the spices on hand, and instead of plain Greek yogurt (which TJ’s was out of), I used light sour cream from my fridge. The first time I made it, I didn’t have cilantro, but I sprinkled some dried oregano on top so I still tasted some herby goodness in there.

Not too shabby, right?

Not too shabby, right?

The chicken breasts we had were enormous, so I ate half and Blair took the other
half with him for lunch the next day. We’re kinda getting the hang of this
eating on a budget thing!

2chkn

Mine on the left, his on the right! Can you see the really great lighting I was working with….(Must. learn. how. to. use. camera)

It was also a snap to make.

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Beans, Tomatoes and Paprika (adapted from epicurious.com)

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, pressed ( I just chopped them and squished them a little with the flat side of the knife to get their juices flowing)
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika (I didn’t have smoked, and I’m not always wild about a smoky flavor, so I used regular!)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or Greek yogurt (or sour cream in my case)
  • 4 chicken breast halves with bones (no bones for me!)
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas),  drained
  • 1 12-ounce container cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided (I’m sure Parsley would work too, and I used oregano the first time!)

Preheat oven to 450. Mix the spices with the olive oil in a large bowl, give a good whisking. Add a couple of teaspoons of the mixture to the Greek yogurt, mix, put aside in fridge. Put the chicken on rimmed baking sheet. I put foil on the sheet first, and it made clean-up a breeze! Spoon 2 tablespoons of the spicy oil over the chicken and get them nice and coated. Add salt and pepper to the chicken. Put the garbanzo beans and tomatoes in the bowl with the spicy oil and get them totally coated. Add bean and tomato mixture to the chicken on the sheet. Pop it in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on chicken breast size. If you hear little bursts coming from your oven, those are just the tomatoes, and trust me, there is nothing better than a roasted tomato bursting out of its skin! (It doesn’t make a mess, either) When the chicken comes out, hit it with some cilantro if you’ve got it, and serve it with the spicy yogurt. Delicious, satisfying, healthy, and easy clean-up. Definitely staying in the dinner rotation.

I took an unfortunately long break from running this week, four days. However, four days used to be the norm for me in between runs which explained why I only got in 1-2 runs per week, and then I would take week –long breaks every now and then. Yesterday was one of those turning points, where 4 days could have turned into five or seven, and I would continue my pattern of off-and-on running. I am happy to say, I changed my habit yesterday. I really didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but not only did I force myself out, I ended up running 4 miles instead of my usual 3. They weren’t the fastest, but my average pace was still faster than it was 6 months ago.  I feel really great about getting out there and not letting myself get totally off track, and I can’t wait for another great run today after work!

This weekend is one of those blessed times when we don’t have any plans. I have a little to-do list, but mostly I just want to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having (I haven’t checked the forecast, so if it’s supposed to rain, don’t tell me!), and be active. The top item on my to-do list is getting in some hours with my weight management book; I need to make a schedule to keep myself on track so I can take the exam in October. I also want to clean the apartment so I can get ready for fall decorations, which leads to another priority of the weekend: Scour pinterest and choose some cheap DIY projects for fall!

 

What are your favorite fall decorations? Do you buy or make yourself?

 

 

Retail Motivation… and some exciting news!

28 Aug

Happy Wednesday! “Hump Day” may be cliché, but every week when it rolls around, I really do feel like it’s a hump I need to get over, and I feel so much better once I do. Last night I left work thinking about my finances and budget (always a delightful conversation in my head), and I had a really good talk with myself about spending money… or not spending money I guess. Since my run was out of the way, I insisted that Blair and I eat dinner the moment I got home. This was easy to accomplish since “dinner” was leftover roast chicken and a tomato salad I whipped up in about five seconds (it was devoured too quickly to snap a picture). After dinner, Blair headed to the gym and I had planned on doing some reading catching up on The Newsroom, but I felt inspired to do a little arm workout. I discovered that home arm workouts are probably not for me. My dumbbells are just a little too light, so I did a million (read:25) reps before I fatigued and moved on to the next set. I either need to hit the gym for my arms or invest in some heavier dumbbells. It’s also hard to stay focused on working out when the fate of the ACN staff is at stake!

When Blair got back, he innocently asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I should have sniffed him out right then and there, he rarely just wants to go for a walk; he’s a run or nothing kinda guy unless there’s ice cream at the end. Fifteen minutes later, we’re outside of Pacers, where he “needs” to get new running shoes. Harmless enough, right? Wong. There is nothing more intoxicating and tempting than a store full of beautiful running apparel and shoes, especially if you’re in desperate need of running apparel and shoes. I’ll spare you the details and cut to the chase: Pacers has great sales! I failed my budgetary mission of not spending any money, BUT I got TWO pairs of normally expensive running shorts for 50 bucks! (Plus Runner’s World magazine, but I needed it,  back off). Here’s my rationalization: I always tell myself that I’m not allowed to buy workout clothes unless I prove to myself that I’m going to be consistent in my workouts… which I never am. But the last few weeks I’ve really been committed and unless I plan on doing laundry every 4 days, which I do not, I need shorts.

Fun little polka dots? Of COURSE I'm going to run fast in these

Fun little polka dots? Of COURSE I’m going to run fast in these

I’m happy to report that I did not splurge on the $30 tank top that was calling my name, and I was rewarded for my patience. Because I am a Pacers club member, Blair’s and my purchases qualified me for $20 OFF on my next purchase… hellooooo mint green tank top! I’ve decided that I have to do a better job cleaning up my eating/fueling before I’m allowed to get the tank. Long story short, I had a dose of retail therapy AND retail motivation last night!

I have some exciting news: I purchased and received in the mail my course book to become certified in Adult Weight Management. It will be a long, tedious process but when I’m finished and take the exam, I’ll have some more credentials that will hopefully help me in my pursuit of a wellness career. As I go through the book, I may just share some of the tips I pick up, I’m so excited to learn and pass it on! I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to dust off my highlighters and index cards, I love that stuff! I can’t wait to get over this Wednesday hump and begin the downward slide to a long weekend. :)

I’m a runner. There, I said it!

26 Aug
With weather like this, a board room with windows is just a torture device.

With weather like this, a board room with windows is just a torture device.

 

This week we say our final goodbyes to August… and I can honestly say I’m not that sad about it. August has been a blast, but with this semi-autumnal weather we’ve been having, I can’t help but be psyched about the idea of bonfires, sweaters, hearty beers, and best of all… no more running in 85-but-it-feels-like-105-degree weather.

This weekend I found out something really cool and unexpected: I’m getting faster. I decided to track the time and distance of my runs last week with my iPhone (sorry shared data plan!), and Friday I ran my fastest 5k yet (that I know of)… until this morning. Despite my less-than-stellar eating patterns lately, I’ve actually been consistently running 3 miles 3-4 times per week. Without noticing it, I’m getting faster and my runs are feeling better all the time. Now, my past experiences have taught me that the moment I decide to track my running/eating/lifting progress, I immediately stop whatever good behavior I was planning to document; it’s a self-sabotage mechanism. I’m determined to break free from that. I’m by no means a “fast” runner, but for the first time in the 3 years I’ve been trying, I finally feel like a runner. Every person determines for themselves what that title signifies, if anything, and for me it’s always been something I wanted to feel. And now I do, hooray! As soon as I get paid Friday, the first thing I’m going to do is sign up for the Clarendon Day 5k through Pacers. I want to get an official time, and the race is on a speedy route that is mostly down hill, so I should be able to really push it.

Starting with a speedy run in gorgeous weather is a great way to get through a Monday, even with a dentist appointment shortly after. If I can survive all that, how bad can the work day be, right? Right??

 

What does being a “runner” mean to you?

The Way, Way Back

8 Aug
Funny, sad, amazing cast, check check and check!

Funny, sad, amazing cast, check check and check!

Tuesday night I did something I haven’t done all summer: went to a movie. In the last couple of weeks I’ve made some new friends and I have finally found a girl friend who loves the movies. We share a bond in that we are both dating guys who have to be dragged to the theater, so from now on we’re leaving them at home and hitting up the movies on our own. When we made our Tuesday night plans my friend kept hyping up the Courthouse theater (5 minutes from where we live), and how amazing the leather seats were. I can’t lie, the way she talked about it, I never thought it could live up to the description. I was so very wrong. We get into the theater and everyone basically gets their own La-Z-Boy chair, they even recline! My friend was an AMC rewards member, and due for a reward so we were stocked with snacks and drinks; it was pretty much the best movie theater experience I’ve ever had. If they ever start selling wine there I’ll probably never go anywhere else on weekends. Now that I’ve talked the theater to death, on to the movie. I haven’t seen any other movies this summer, but I have to imagine this is one of the best. Check out the cast and you won’t be surprised that I feel this way, it was pretty much a can’t-lose. Steve Carell is perfect and not over the top as the main character’s mom’s jerk of a boyfriend, and Allison Janney just about steals the show as the crazy drunken neighbor. Without giving anything away, the film is about a 14ish-year old kid, who is quiet with low self-esteem and has to go to a beach house for the summer with his mom, her boyfriend, and the boyfriend’s daughter. I would say it’s a typical coming of age story, but it doesn’t feel cliché as you’re watching it. I laughed out loud more times than I could count, but there were very sad parts too, and moments that were almost too awkward to bear. Since I’m not a movie critic, I can throw out the term “indie”, because it did feel very indie-esque. It’s not a movie everyone needs to rush out to watch, but when it comes out on demand, it is definitely a must-see. It also made me think about adolescence and the difficulty of growing up. As a young adult, I tend to glorify childhood and my early teens as this time when nothing was difficult since I didn’t have to pay bills or work. It’s easy to forget that just because the troubles and responsibilities were different, it doesn’t mean that things weren’t hard. Kids are mean, and you don’t have any worldly knowledge or even a clue how to navigate life. I still wouldn’t mind going back in time every now and then, but this movie helped me appreciate where I am in my life now.   Having a night out with a new friend is always fun, and I feel like I’m starting to have a little social circle down here; it’s a great feeling.

Not everybody feels this way, but for some reason, after I get out of a movie, I always have a brighter outlook on life, and a new resolve to do things better. I tried to carry that through to Wednesday and I actually managed to cross a few things off my to-do list, hooray! I have not tried my tomato gelatte yet, but Blair may just have to be my guinea pig next week when I test it out, stay tuned!

What is your must-see movie before the end of the summer?

A Brief Moment of Calm

6 Aug

Today has gotten off to a very positive start. Despite almost rolling over and forgetting about it, I actually dragged myself out of bed for a 3 mile run. This morning was one of those cozy, gray mornings when you know it’s about to storm any minute. Weather like that is usually a recipe for disaster when it comes to my morning workout, but I just told myself it wasn’t an option today.  I am happy to report that I was rewarded for my efforts. I hadn’t run in over a week, so I was hoping to just get out there and loosen up my legs. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I felt great. I’ve been gauging my runs lately just by how I feel. Today I felt comfortable in my stride and my breathing, and I did a pretty good job of pacing myself for hills, etc. At the end I sprinted for the last minute and it felt amazing!

After my run, I hustled into work to find that a certain event that had been causing me a ton of stress at work was finally over so I could take a deep breath.  I ate some breakfast (cucumber slices with Laughing Cow Cheese, Cheerios, and a side of breakfast potatoes… I swear running gives me pregnancy-style cravings of weird combinations), and perused my favorite blogs. Right now my top 4 are: Fannetasticfood.com, runnergirleats.com, kellyrunsforfood.com, and of course, smittenkitchen.com. As I hit Smitten Kitchen, I saw an absolutely beautiful tomato galette. Usually when I see that word I turn and run because it looks too advanced, but I’m trying to be more fearless in my life lately. And let’s be honest, what is more ballsy than attempting a finicky pastry product?

Yikes! I will not be intimidated, I will not be intimidated, I will not....

Yikes! I will not be intimidated, I will not be intimidated, I will not….

Luckily, Blair is out of town this week so if it’s a major flop, I can pretend it never happened… until I blog about it.

Given how positively I have started my day, I really want to keep the ball rolling, and that means tackling my mile-long to-do list. Making lists is one of my favorite things to do, but I’ve been struggling with crossing anything off of them recently. It’s like if one part of my life is going really well, or really poorly, I forget about everything else. I always thought I was a good multi-tasker because I can clean my room and talk on the phone at the same time, but by the looks of my to-do list (and the state of my room for that matter), I may have some work to do in that department. Lucky for me, my best college friend is coming to visit this weekend so I have some extra motivation to at least do the cleaning part of my list. And with Blair gone, who’s to say I can’t have a 90′s dance party while I’m doing it??

 

How do you tackle your to-do list each week?

Adventure Tour Recap

11 Jul

What a crazy 4 weeks! When I last posted, I could never have imagined the kinds of adventures I’d be having over the course of the month. Bonnaroo was incredible; from the music to the new friendships, it was more than I ever could have dreamed, complete with an RV break down on the side of the road! Ok, that part wasn’t spectacular, but definitely something I’ll never forget.

RVcrew

We had a great crew, and even though we were all strangers to at least one person at the start, we ended as a family.

Moments before we broke down on the highway; ignorance is bliss!

Moments before we broke down on the highway; ignorance is bliss!

 

Next on the adventure itinerary was camping at Assateague Island with the wild horses… and boy were they wild! There were signs everywhere warning us about getting bitten. Before we got there, John and Erica (the other couple we were camping with) got a ticket because a horse got into their bag, took out a bag of chips, opened the bag of chips, and ate them! They were fined 50 bucks (John and Erica, not the horses), so Erica kept saying it was the most expensive bag of chips she’s ever had.

Wild horses, innocent enough looking, but biters and chip-thieves at heart!

Wild horses, innocent enough looking, but biters and chip-thieves at heart!

 

Our campsite was right next to an enormous bachelor party (lucky us!) with at least three campsites booked. At first we were not happy about it, but they ended up being really fun, laid back guys. It was definitely more of a 30′s bachelor party than a 20′s bachelor party, marked by most of the dudes being married and you could tell they were just looking forward to a guys’ camping trip. A few of them had an interesting beach hobby… shark fishing! In case I had any plans of going in the water (which I didn’t), the hopes were dashed when I learned there was a shark breeding area a few miles north. I have to say, it was really fascinating to watch the process of catching sharks. Someone had to kayak out with the bait and line in the boat, go as far out as they dared, drop the bait, and high-tail it out of there. Oh, and did I mention this is done from dusk, through the night? No thank you!

Yikes! I was happy to see that they release the sharks. I still struggle with feeling like the whole thing is a little cruel..

Yikes! I was happy to see that they release the sharks. I still struggle with feeling like the whole thing is a little cruel..

 

Next up: Beach vacation. The pictures from this are on my digital camera (great birthday present!) that I have yet to hook up to our computer. But the beach was wonderful, aside from the first three days of rain. I think all would agree, that it didn’t go exactly as we all expected but it was still amazing to see my family as always. I’ve decided I really want to become more knowledgeable about photography, and start using the features of my new camera. Some day I want to get a big fancy one, and I want to be able to take beautiful pictures, and I think my Canon Powershot is a great place to start. I’ll add that to my list of August Resolutions, along with getting a new job :)

The final stop of the June/July Adventure Tour starts tomorrow as Blair and I travel to Pittsburgh for my friend-since-1st-grade’s wedding, and then Delaware the next day for Blair’s college friend’s wedding. From there on out, no more plans, whew! Our bank accounts will officially be empty and I am looking forward to a month of no plans! As I begin this day of work, that is looking like it will cause me to have a bottle of wine for dinner, I want to do my best to stay positive, and kick out all of the negativity that usually creeps up on me all day. Good luck to me!

What have been your favorite summer adventures so far?

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