Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Creative People

I used to be creative. NO, really, I did. I used to make all sorts of crafts. I used to cross stitch. I used to scrapbook. I used to SELL scrapbooking supplies. My scrapping room hasn't seen hide nor hair of me since last April. It makes me sad and yet I'm very happy with my priorities right now: my health and my family.

Laptop Lunch box available on
However, on rare moments, the sadness won't go away....and one of them is right now. I read a Bento box blog called "Another Lunch". She makes me feel sad and quite inadequate. I could only wish to be this creative....or have that much time to be that creative....or to have the desire to spend that much time in the kitchen preparing the creative food.

Once upon a time, I would have come up with these fantastic ideas...or maybe a slightly less extravagant version. Instead, I will have to enjoy reading about someone else's explorations in the kitchen and copy when I can.  

The Art of Bi-Lateral Breathing

For the last six years, I watched my daughters compete on recreation and competitive swim teams. I can remember sitting in the stands wondering why she wasn't going faster. Why is she taking so many breaths? Oh the thoughts that ran through my head. 

As a part of my off season training, I've vowed to work on BLB, or Bi-Lateral Breathing. As a part of my BLB training, I'm going back to the basics and following Sara McLarty's Learning How to Swim workouts. Today I completed Workout 3 of Week 1 while focusing on BLB. 

Workout #3  800 Total
  • 100 warm up swim                  :60 seconds rest
  • 4x75 (25 kick/50 swim)           With :45 seconds rest between each 75
  • 4x75 pull                                  With :30 seconds rest between each 75
  • 100 cool down swim
By the end of the workout, I think I gained five pounds due to the amount of water I inhaled. Breath left, stroke, stroke, breath right, choke, choke. 

According to an article on TriFuel, the most common fault is to under roll on your non-breathing side. 
This under-rolling can lead to less power as you don’t finish your swim stroke as strongly as you could if you were on your breathing side. Bi-lateral breathing helps you smooth out the stroke, keeps you balanced, and in some cases lets you swim in a straighter line. 
Swim a straight line? I always veer to the left. Could it be because I breath on the left and my left side stroke is stronger? Definitely!

Key points to take note of: Roll to the right, finish your stroke and the result will be to swim in a straight(er) line. 

So as frustrating as it may be I will continue to work on BLB. Over time, I know it will get easier and my body won't have to purge five pounds of water weight after each swim.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Be Flexible!

The key to any plan is to BE FLEXIBLE! Life always seems to throw in a curve ball. So you must be ready to make the adjustment and move forward. Yesterday I planned on playing two matches of volleyball and getting a start on my swim workouts from Beginner Triathlete.


For some reason, volleyball was running behind and I didn't get done playing until 6:40 and the pool closes at 7 pm. Grrrr. Could I have gotten a quick swim in? Yah, but picture a sweaty body trying to wrangle itself into a swimming suit. Not a pretty picture. So, I had to be satisfied with the two hours of volleyball and save the swimming for Monday. 

I started my Monday morning off with a nice hearty breakfast of 1/3 cup of scrambled eggs & oatmeal followed by Body Flow- a yoga, Tai Chi, pilates class from Les Mills. Monday night I ran up to the fitness center and did some upper body strength training and then Camo-Man and I went for a swim. We did the first workout from Sara McLarty's Learning how to Swim article on Beginner Triathlete. For some reason, a simple 100 yard warm-up was killing me tonight. (Could it be because my arms were brought to the point of exhaustion thanks to the upper body strength training? Could it be because my erector spinae were fatigued due to the number of back bends I did today?)

Yes to all of the above, but I've really been focusing on bilateral breathing and I think that is why the swim seemed so difficult. The first 50 yards felt natural - until I discovered I was not taking in enough oxygen on my right side! I guess that is why we are in off season for swimming. It's time to work on the technique and hopefully improve my swim time. 

Tonight's swim workout:(You wouldn't believe how quickly 30 seconds goes by)

Workout #1  600 total
  • 100 warm up swim                  :60 seconds rest
  • 6 x 25 (2 kick, 2 pull, 2 swim)  with :30 seconds rest between each 25
  • 100 swim                                 :60 seconds rest
  • 6 x 25 (2 kick, 2 pull, 2 swim)  with :30 seconds rest between each 25
  • 100 cool down swim
I'm home from my workout and enjoying my glass of wine. We'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully, the day will start right with a normal blood sugar and then we can march forward from there....but as always I'll be ready to shift gears and accept what the day may bring. 

Training Plans

Now that I've finished my Wine & Dine Half Marathon I'm moving into off season mode and need to create some new goals for myself. Off season is a great time to work on technique and build speed for triathletes as well as including some strength training. Here's my plan for all three parts of the triathlon.

As for running, I still have a few races I'm considering doing this fall, but the distances will be shorter and I've decided it's time to work on my speed.

Here are a few of the fall races I'm considering:
Canal Connection 10k on 11/7/10

The boy scouts might doing a 5k in my small little town on 11/20

My niece wants to do the Stuff ‘N Puff 5k on 11/27/10

Camo-Man wants to do the Jingle Bell 5k in Peoria 12/4/10

I will probably end up doing them all if possible. As I've said a million times, it's not about going out to win the race. It's about having a deadline and knowing I have to be prepared for race day. These races will definitely help to make sure I'm working on my running up until the very midst of the hectic holiday season. 

Yesterday I ran 4 miles at an average pace of 9:36/mile. My goal by the end of the year is to get my pace:
1st - below 9:30/mile
2nd - to 9/mile

I'm going to check out some interval workouts to increase my speed over the next few months instead of working on the longer distance runs. 

Last night while trolling through Beginner Triathlete, I found an article series by Sara McLarty on Learning how to Swim. Now since I've been doing triathlons for two years, one would think that I already know how to swim; however, because I am cheap and have never taken a swim lesson or hired a swim coach, I still have lots of doubts on my technique. Since we are heading into the off season for triathlons, I thought following this plan would be a good idea for Camo-Man and I as we focus on our swim. The plan starts off relatively easy and the drills make sense to me. No big words which I don't understand! Tonight will be the first night I put the swimming plan into place. 

As for cycling, Tremont Triathlon Team will be offering a group winter cycling program using indoor trainers which will begin November 1st and run for 17 weeks all the way through the end of March. I'm really excited about this program because I know I have lots of room for improvement on the bike. Since you start riding a bike at about age 5, one would think it would be an easy task to master; however, when it comes to triathlon and the difference that even a few seconds can make, a little know how and experience goes a long way. 

I'm still tweeking my schedule and trying to figure out how I'm going to fit it all in. The good thing is that I have lots of options to do this on my own if I can't make it to the group training. I'll be mapping out my workouts for October and November soon and posting them here for everyone to see. I hope you come along with me and make this winter a very ACTIVE winter so you can be the healthiest version of you yet. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: October 19th

With a few moments to spare, I'm trying plan my menus for the week. It may be called Menu Plan Monday, but I'm getting it done on Sunday! My goal for the week is use primarily what I have on hand to create meals for my family. Payday is Friday and we need to stretch those grocery dollars until then! We also have a busy week with basketball games for Sunshine on top of my kids' other activities and trying to get my workouts in.

Monday night is a low key night for us. Not too much going on so I'm going to take advantage of it and actually cook dinner that night. Tuesday & Thursday we have basketball games. So those nights will be crock pot nights. Wednesday I plan on pulling out a meal from the freezer thanks to 30 Day Gourmet. Friday will probably be leftover night because Sunshine has a late basketball practice and then she'll head straight off to the dodgeball tournament. Saturday we have three different cookouts to attend. So we'll have to take a dish to share to some or all of those. Sunday we'll have a nice family lunch after church before I head off to play volleyball and swim for the evening.

So here it is: My menu plan for the week of October 19th
Monday:       Almond-Crusted Tilapia with Crunchy Quinoa w/Almonds and Apricots
Tuesday:       Crockpot Enchiladas from 30 Day Gourmet
Wednesday:  Cashew Chicken from 30 Day Gourmet
Thursday:      Crockpot Sweet & Sour Chicken w/mango from 30 Day Gourmet
Friday:          Leftovers - Waste not Want Not!
Saturday:      Mom's Taco Salad & My World Famous Chex Mix (actually from Pampered Chef)
Sunday:        Salmon Burgers with Mediterranean Salad

That's the plan. Now I've got to stick to it!

Chocolate Latte

I was curious today after talking to a few friends about making a smoothie with high protein. Being diabetic, I obviously can't go crazy on all of the carbs. I found this recipe on Men's Health from the Abs Diet for Chocolate Latte:

The Chocolate Latte (Powerfoods: 4)
1/2 cup 1% chocolate milk
1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 banana
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon finely ground coffee
2 teaspoons chocolate whey protein powder
6 ice cubes
Makes 2 8-ounce servings
Per serving: 171 calories, 10 g protein, 20 g carbohydrates, 6 g fat (2 g saturated), 2 g fiber, 116 mg sodium

It sounded delicious: banana, chocolate and a splash of coffee?? Why not try it? Of course, I had to modify the recipe since I didn't have any bananas. I even searched the deep recesses of my freezer to see if I had a frozen one back there that I had forgotten about, but couldn't find one. So, no bananas. Strike 1. No whey protein powder either. Strike 2. 

But being in an inventive mood, I decided to make my own substitutions. I'm not sure the culinary experts of the world would agree with my choices (Remember that I am no Julie or Julia or even a Liz & Janice), but I had to make due with what I have in my pantry. So, here is my version of the Abs Diet Chocolate Latte.

1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Oiko's Plain  yogurt
5 dried apricot
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 sleeve of plain instant oatmeal
1 tablespoon of wheat germ

Makes 2 8-ounce servings

I tried it without the apricots and oatmeal at first, but naturally it was a little runny. The apricots and oatmeal definitely thickened it. The smoothie was surprisingly quite good. I didn't even taste the apricots really. I was afraid it would be an odd mix of peanut butter & apricots. Next time, I will definitely make sure I have bananas on hand because what could be better than peanut butter, chocolate and bananas? Honestly, probably nothing!

I wanted to take a picture, but honestly it doesn't quite look appealing. Honestly, it reminds me of something from when my little princesses where still in diapers. I was worried the smoothie would leave me still feeling like I need to eat something, but to be quite honest my belly is full and satisfied and now it's time to get ready for church. 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Julie/Julia: No WHINE with Dinner

I ordered my copy of "No WHINE with Dinner" today from the Meal Makeover Moms. I've been waiting at least two months to order this recipe book.

Why? Have I mentioned two of my little lovies, Sunshine & Diva Princess, who stick their noses up at every meal I put in front of them? Sunshine won't eat anything which may be referred to as "healthy". She likes grilled meats and carbs. That's about it. Diva Princess, who can eat like her oldest sister, Hollywood, under the best of circumstances, has recently followed in Sunshine's footsteps; however, she's decided now that she "doesn't like meat" and only wants to eat carbs. Grrrrr. 

So why would I once again put myself through the torture of cooking meals which could possibly remain uneaten? Because I am a mom who believes in eating healthy, every day  meals. I will not force my kids to eat outlandish-out-of-the-norm foods, such as: portabella burgers, eggplant lasagna or Adzuki Bean Tacos. When my three little princesses grow up and want to explore their options, I will be more than happy to help them try some of the exotic foods out there, but I have enough trouble trying to get three kids to eat chicken let alone offering foods which would cause a temper tantrum even before we set the dinner table.

As a result, I am taking Liz & Janice up on their offer of "No Whine with Dinner". I'm going to try the great experiment of testing each of their recipes in our home. Each child will be given a grading sheet where they can provide feedback to my husband and I on each recipe. Every week each child will pick one new recipe for our family try to try. Hopefully, by having them do the picking, they will feel a degree of ownership in the recipes and want to give them a fair shake AND we will create a repertoire of recipes which I can make again and again. 

Have I mentioned that I love the movie Julie & Julia? Think about it! First off, Julie Powell sets a goal (you know I love goals!) to attempt all 542 recipes from Julia Child's "Masting the Art of French Cooking" in a one year time span. 542 brand spanking new recipes in one year and these weren't EASY recipes by any means. 

Now not only do I lack the culinary skills of Julia Child, but I don't even have the desire of Julie Powell to master skills such as boning a duck, steaming a live lobster or fixing boeuf bourguignon. I am a modern wife & mom of three with very little time who lacks virtually any cooking skills other than the desire to provide my family with healthy meals served on a platter of family memories created at the family dinner table.  

Combine my desire for healthy meals with too much whining at our dinner table recently and you'll see why I've decided to embark on my own Julie Julia project with the Meal Makeover Moms new cookbook, "No Whine with Dinner".  We'll make three new recipes a week, a total of 150 recipes, so the entire project should take 50 weeks. The project will start as soon as the cookbook is in my grubby little hands which should be before November 1st. 

I'll keep you posted the moment it arrives and what the first recipe picks will be!

Bon app├ętit!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

BOOK: Every Woman's Guide to Cycling

Anyone have this book? I need to readit & put the principles to work.
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Time for Soup

It's fall and that means it's time to break out the soup recipes. My favorite over the past has been Weight Watchers Core 0 pt Vegetable Soup. I've actually purchased the ingredients and I'm ready to make a batch today. The next recipe to try just might be Taco Soup Recipe from Sparkpeople.Mmmm, soup, it warms the heart and soothes the soul.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Wine & Dine Certificate

My Wine & Dine Certificate - Simply Magical just like all things Disney! I love that place and I'm ready to go back again....soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Searching for inspiration

With the Wine & Dine Half-Marathon now over, I have become a sloth. A piece of s@*t, lazy bum. It's partially my fault, partially work's fault, partially Camo-Man's fault and partially....ah, I'm just lazy.

I'm a goal oriented girl. I truly am. I like to have a deadline and work towards it. Now that my last race is complete for the fall, I'm becoming lazy and rather sloth-like. Not a person I really like. So, I am searching for inspiration.

My niece, Tiff, sister of Awesome Cheryl, has been inspired by Cheryl & I and our adventures in running. She's been working at it for a few weeks and now feels ready to sign up for some late fall races. BRING IT ON! So, of course, I've spent the evening looking at fall races, events and even some training plans. I love a plan! Have I mentioned that lately?

One of the programs we are developing at the park district is a winter cycling program. Participants can bring their bikes and trainers to the park district building and participate in winter rides every Monday, Wednesday & Friday for an hour each night for 17 weeks. 17 weeks! I plan on participating in that. I know I won't be able to attend every night, but even if I can't I can still follow the training plan on my own in my garage. BTW - have you heard how loud those trainers are? Now I understand why people do these in the garage. It's a better sound barrier. All I can say after this training program is that my cycling portion of the triathlon will be smoking next year! Certain people better be looking for me on the I pass them!

Dolphin Touch
On another note, I received an early birthday present from my in-laws. My mother-in-law purchased a Dolphin Touch for me! Can you say excitement???? The Dolphin Touch is basically an mp3 player for swimming. Normally, my dear, sweet MIL gets me something really useful like a purse. I often wonder "Does she really know my interests at all?" I know she is thinking she's doing something nice for me because I won't spend the money on those kinds of things, but really....a purse? Naw, that's not me. Luckily, the timing was perfect when I mentioned that I wanted a Dolphin Touch to Camo-Man. He was looking at them while working on my MIL's computer and she snagged the idea. Awesomeness! Now I have a new toy to learn how to work! I guess I have to be nice to the outlaws for a while. Bummer.

So I'm working on my training plan. I need to focus on my eating. I've become the pantry vacuum from 3-5 pm every afternoon this week. Sooo bad. Time to stop and get re-focused. Time to establish some new goals and get working on them. Time to really start counting calories. Grrrr.

Today's workout was a short one since Camo-Man is still out of town. I had 40 minutes at the fitness center. I warmed up and then did 8 speed intervals running for 30 seconds at incline 1, speed 8.0, resting 15 seconds in between. Then I moved on to squat press, bench press, dead lifts with clean & press and worked on my back bend. It was kind of depressing when Diva Princess laughed at me trying to push up in the back bend. She didn't really want to hear "When I was a kid, I could do this!" Heck, I'm her mom. I'm just old.

Stay tuned for a workout plan coming soon!

Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa Recipe - ACE Healthy Recipes - American Council on Exercise

The picture on this link was enough to make my mouth start watering. This looked yummy and delicious. Grilled Chicken & Polenta with Nectarine-Blackberry Salsa Recipe

Sunday, October 10, 2010

MMM: Almond Crusted Tilapia

I'm on a kick right now of finding healthy recipes. Notice I said finding them because actually going to the store, buying the ingredients and cooking them is the difficult part. I can plan, plan, plan, but it's the implementation which gets lost. Once I get past this small block of time where I can actually sit down and look at healthy recipes, it's very difficult to find MORE time to prepare a grocery list, shop and cook these incredibly good tasting recipes. OR - which this irks me off more than anything - I find the time to shop, but then I don't have time to cook during the week and I end up with rotting produce.....wasted money, wasted food AND wasted time. I hate to waste! I guess that's part of growing up with a Depression-Era father. Waste not. Want not.

Anyway, here is another recipe which I would love to give a try sometime. Maybe one of these fall weekends I'll have the time to prepare a grocery list, shop and cook all in one weekend. I might find the time come.....January?

Anyway, here is the recipe for Almond Crusted Tilapia from Meal Makeover Moms.

Stop the FAT talk!

How many of us have been in this situation? We sit around with our friends and make fun of our bodies in order to hide the way we really feel about the gift that God has given us. It's time to stop the fat talk. It's time to recognize that we need to lift ourselves up instead of knocking ourselves down. Let's stop comparing ourselves to one another, or worse comparing ourselves to the models and actresses we see on TV and in movies and really be thankful that we are healthy and happy and living our life to the fullest NOW, in this moment. Not when we lose the weight. Not when we get rid of our belly fat. NOW.

You are beautiful. Don't be afraid to admit it!

Soup Recipe

I found another soup recipe I'm going to try as soon as the weather actually starts to feel like FALL and stays there! This recipe is from In Good Taste and it's Spicy Sausage, White Bean & Spinach Soup. Now let's face it. Camo-Man, Hollywood & I will love this recipe. Diva Princess and Sunshine will dig out the sausage and eat it, but I can't live my life trying to satisfy them. Maybe some day they'll come over to my side and realize healthy eating is soo much better and more tasteful!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wine & Dine Review

I haven't had time to sit down and put my thoughts together since I got home Monday night, celebrated Princess' birthday Tuesday, and packed Wednesday for Chicago for the Club Industry Conference. Here's a review from Team AllEars Running Blog which I would agree with 100%.

My SAD Medal Hanger

My current medal hanger...quite sad

Allied Running Medal hanger giveaway

Check it out! RUN FASTER MOMMY! is providing another awesome giveaway to help you organized all that bling you receive from your races.

Bibfolio Giveaway

If you are interested a FREE bibfolio, check out RUN FASTER MOMMY! blog for all of the details.

What to do with all those race bibs?

I don't know about you, but I have a drawer full of race bibs. I don't know what to do with them and don't want to throw them away. They show the steps of my journey. I can't just toss out the memories, but what should I do with all of them? Well, I found a blog entry today which explained what RUN FASTER MOMMY! did with all of hers. Check it out. I don't think I'm quite ready to buy one, but definitely thought it was interesting.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The F&W festival has begun! My MIL Jan, Aunt Deanna. Me & Awesome Cheryl!

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