Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 1 of Conference

Earlier in the week, I went through the conference program and found at least one workshop for each time slot for the conference. After talking to Steve, I decided to attend "Print that Pops" at 9 am and  "Disc Golf" at 2 pm.

My morning workshop was supposed to last two hours. After speaking for 25 minutes on topics which were much more applicable to large park districts with their own marketing departments, the presenter said he was done was speaking and asked if we had any questions.  Really? Now, I truly work for a small park district. My park district is about as small as they come, but if they are going to pay for me to attend conference I am going to get my money's worth.  I quickly glanced at the conference program to find another session starting at 9:30 am. Fortunately, the Q&A portion lasted for another hour and was actually much more interesting than the presentation itself. My afternoon session of "Disc Golf" was very interesting and informative and definitely something to think about for the future. 

Friday night is the night my friends go out with Angie's park district. SO I was on my own for the night. Following my disc golf session, I came back to the room debating what to do for the evening. Did I want to go to dinner alone? Could I catch a show? Instead I remained laying on my bed watching a movie. We had gone to 11 City Diner for lunch where I had a cheeseburger and some Junior's Cheesecake. So, I definitely didn't feel hungry. 

I still had a full stomach from consuming all of those calories in the last 24 hours. I finally decided about to go for a run down Michigan Avenue. I was a little concerned about stopping at every block due to the stop lights, but decided running outside was a much better option than running on the dreadmill. Of course, with all of my gadgets & gizmos, it took me about the usual 30 minutes to get properly dressed and ready for running outdoors.  Grrrrr.

At Water Tower Place

I walked out on Michigan Avenue and started off with a nice easy walk for about 2 blocks. Before the cold had a chance to creep in, it was time to take off on a relaxing jog. Luckily, I found the stop lights on Michigan Avenue were timed to my pace. So for the first 4 or 5 blocks, I didn't have to stop once! Unfortunately, that came to an end when I hit Monroe. I ran one block east and then turned north on Columbus. As I ran along on Columbus, I started to feel a little uneasy with my road choice. I was running on a much less populated street and couldn't wait to find my way back to Michigan Avenue. I finally found my way back with no incident - and only seeing one person not in a car - and he was on a bike! Brrrrr!  

I continued down Michigan Avenue feeling like I was on top of the world. It was like I was on a running tour, but also....I like doing the unusual. I kept thinking to myself: I like being weird. It's Friday night and instead of sauntering down Michigan Avenue doing some shopping, here I was running down Michigan Avenue not spending money and burning off some calories! Awesome!

Water Tower

Because I didn't have my Garmin watch, I had no idea how far I had run. When I reached Oak Street, I crossed Michigan Avenue and started heading back toward the Hilton. I stopped at Water Tower Place and took a couple of really nice photos - at least I think! I had to crack up when I had texts from Camo-Man and my WORRIER friend (who I swear was separated at birth from my husband) asking what I did for dinner that night. I responded saying that I hadn't eaten yet, but that I was out on a run on Michigan Avenue. Camo-Man immediately responded "BE SAFE". As soon as I got back to my hotel, I sent Camo-Man a text saying I was back at the hotel safe and sound. I forgot to text the WORRIER. 

Mediterranean Veggie Salad
I jumped in the shower as soon as I got back to my room to warm up and I ordered room service. I knew going out to dinner was going to mean 1,000 more calories so I opted for the Mediterranean Veggie Salad...and a glass of chardonnay. About 9 pm that night, The WORRIER sent me a text asking if I was back from my run. I responded with a resounding YES and she told me how I gave her heart palpitations worrying about me because I was crazy enough to go for a run on Michigan Avenue. I just didn't mention my brief detour on Columbus Avenue. I knew she'd worried enough tonight. 

While finishing my salad, Steve & Angie called to say they were done with dinner and asked if I wanted to come to Howling at the Moon, a very fun & entertaining piano bar....unfortunately, I was a little too comfortable in my sweat pants. Combined with my lack of sleep the night before and half a glass of chardonnay, No Thanks! I was perfectly content to let Chicago party without me. Instead I purchased a new book on my Nook and quickly fell asleep!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Parks & Rec Conference

After a long, exhausting week and an incredible outpouring of support from around Central Illinois, I was ready to spend the weekend in Chicago at the IAPD/IPRA Soaring to New Heights Conference. Part of me felt guilty for being able to push this week's pain and anguish from my mind even if only for a couple of days. I attended Mike's visitation Wednesday night and could not believe the number of people who attended....and couldn't believe that the Honan family was able to endure through such a long, stressful event. They are always in my prayers. 

We car pooled to the IAPD/IPRA conference on Thursday morning arriving in time to get checked into our rooms and walk through the exhibit hall. We talked to the Baggos vendor as well as a vendor who sells backyard ice rinks. We talked to several of the Les Mills and SCW Fitness representatives as well as many, many more. It was different walking through the exhibit hall this year since we weren't actively looking for something in particular. 

After walking through the exhibit hall, we went to Kitty O'Shea's for a couple of drinks. We met up with a few vendor reps and discussed life in a small town which really made me think. 
My thinking pose
Saffron Tagliorini
After a while we finally decided to head down to the concierge desk and ask for recommendations for dinner. We had read about a restaurant at the Navy Pier called Riva. Seafood - oh I love it! I ordered the Saffron Tagliorini, which had a shrimp, clam, mussels, andouille, sweet & hot peppers in a cajun cream. The dish was absolutely delicious and lived up to my dreams. For dessert, I ordered a White Chocolate Creme Brulee. 

Angie & I on Navy Pier with
the Chicago skyline behind us
Following dinner - due to way to many calories being consumed - we decided to walk around Navy Pier and check out Snow Days Chicago. Fifteen teams of master sculptors had to submit a pencil sketch of their sculpture in order to be selected for this year's event. The sculptures were still in their beginning phases, but you could see the forms starting to take shape especially when you viewed the pencil sketches which were displayed in front of each sculpture. My phone completely died at dinner. So I wasn't able to take any pictures. Instead, Steve took these pictures - and they turned out grainy!
Snow Days Chicago
Finally, we decided it was time to head back to the hotel for the night to prepare for a long day of seminars on Friday. I had a long list of classes I wanted to attend and needed to be awake & alert for the first real day of conference. Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way since I had to wait for my cell phone to re-charge. I finally fell asleep after midnight only to wake up at 5 am. Why is it that you can never sleep the first night in a hotel? 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Hometown

I live in a small town in Central Illinois. A town where you are known by which church you attend.  A town where you can’t do anything without your neighbor knowing about it.  A town that bonds together in good times and in bad.
Tremont United Methodist Church

Camo-Man and I moved here in 1996. We thought we’d live here for a couple of years and move back to the town where he grew up, but it's hard to move away from a small town full of people who care about you.

Over the years, I’ve had many moments of pride in this town. I've watched the people of our community come out to celebrate the start of summer at our annual Turkey Festival. The entire community volunteers to help make this festival a successful event - without a beer tent. 

Perdue's Bar & Grill
We support our local businesses. Why buy somewhere else if you can find a way to support your neighbor in their passion? Take for example, Perdue's Bar & Grill, a fantastic local restaurant owned & operated by residents of Tremont. Why drive out of town when you have a fantastic place to dine with your family and visit with friends all at the same time?

I've watched our community pull together to support families who are struggling with chronic illnesses. We've raised money for St. Jude Children's Hospital. We've lost kids to Neuroblastoma and Wilms Tumor. We've supported families who are fighting melanoma.

On Saturday, our community faced another tragedy. While traveling to a girls basketball tournament, one of our school buses was struck by another vehicle about 30 miles from our nice, small town. Relief ran rampant through the community as word spread about the accident and the fact that injuries were minimal. The worst injuries were a broken wrist for the bus driver, "Safety Stu", and some dental work for the team coach. Some of the players were transported to the hospital as a safety precaution, but overall our community felt blessed to have escaped with our youth safe.

The vehicle which struck the school bus did not fair as well. Fatalities were reported immediately and prayers were sent up throughout Central Illinois for the families who had just lost loved ones.

And then....
in a strange twist of cruel, sadistic irony...
we discovered the identities of those in the truck..
only to discover they were actually from our small, little town. 

The driver, Mike Honan, a senior at Tremont High School, was driving in the opposite direction of the bus when he presumably hit a slick spot on the highway, clipped the back of a semi-truck which forced him to cross the median crashing into the school bus. Mike and another THS senior, Celine Estes, were both killed upon impact. Two additional passengers were hospitalized in critical condition including Celine's older sister, Brianna Estes. 

A current of shock jolted through our community. Two seniors were now dead. A recent graduate in critical condition. Words cannot express the sadness and despair felt by everyone who knew these young people.

THIS is the tragedy which lives in the deepest recesses of our minds, the place we hope never to recognize. The thought of losing a child leaves you speechless and numb, or worse yet filled with the suffocating pain which never leaves your mind or body. 

Proud to be a Tremont Turk
I live in a town where you don't have to suffer through your pain alone. The outpouring of love and support for these families who have lost their children has been tremendous. Words will never ease their pain. Actions can never fix their broken hearts. All we can do is wrap them in love with the open arms of a community which remembers the potential these kids offered to their classmates, teachers, employers, friends and families. 

I ask that you all hug your children a little tighter today. Tell them how much they are loved and then say a prayer for the recovery of Brianna Estes, the youth of Tremont, IL as they deal with the loss of their friends, and especially for the families of Mike Honan and Celine Estes. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

MMM: Banana Brownie Waffles

With one sick Princess and a day of no school thanks to the memory of Martin Luther King, I actually had a little time to spend in the kitchen. Due to an excess of bananas which had over ripened with time, I heard the call of the Meal Makeover Moms from within the depths of the "No Whine with Dinner" cookbook where I found a recipe for Banana Brownie Waffles. Needless to say any recipe with a fruit or vegetable listed in it did not excite my two youngest daughters. 

"Bananas? I'll pass" said Sunshine. 

Hollywood trying to hide
from the camera
I garnered the assistance of my oldest daughter, Hollywood, in the creation of Banana Brownie Waffles. Just as inexperienced as her mother, Hollywood made a mess of the kitchen while following the recipe - just as her mother would. We mixed together the liquids. We made the flour dust fly. A good time for us both as we bonded in the kitchen. 

Because she didn't have any schedule to follow on Monday, Hollywood was a little lax about finding her way to the shower. So when I pulled out the camera she hid behind her the hood of her dance team sweatshirt. The picture looks quite creepy when you see Camo-Man's hand trying to pluck the hood off of her head, but he wasn't quick enough. Hollywood prevailed and kept her head covered. 

Is it a bad sign that when I pulled out the Belgian waffle maker Hollywood said she didn't even know we had one? We used to make Belgian waffles all of the time, but like most things in the kitchen it all started to feel quite overwhelming and the pure joy of light fluffy Belgian waffles came to an end. 

The finished product!
When Sunshine came home from her all day Lord of the Rings viewing event with her friends, I asked her if she was going to try the waffles. She promptly said no she didn't like bananas.

And then a little lie escaped my lips.

"Oh well, when I read the recipe closer, the bananas were meant to be sliced up on top of the waffles. So you don't even have to have them." I said with a sly warning look at Hollywood.

On Tuesday morning, Sunshine tried the waffles and LOVED THEM! Later she told me she could see the bananas in the waffles and knew I had lied to her. I guess we need to have Hollywood work on her banana mashing skills. Sadly, Hollywood doesn't get ready in time to have a light tasty waffle for breakfast. At the age of 15, she takes FOREVER to get ready for school and she usually eats scrambled eggs in the car on the way. With Princess still feeling ill, I didn't push the waffles on her, but I tried them and gave them a huge thumbs up. I am not a huge chocolate fan and thought I wouldn't like them, but the chocolate taste was not overwhelming and I really enjoyed them. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

MMM: Peppermint Meringue Snowballs

Sunshine - ever so happy
to make meringues
One of the first recipes Sunshine picked out from "No Whine with Dinner" by the Meal Makeover Moms was Peppermint Meringue Snowballs. Meringues? Meringues? OK, really, could we not pick an easy recipe? 

It's not that the recipe was difficult. It all looked so deceptively simple. Whip together some eggs and sugar, add some peppermint sprinkles and whola! Beautiful cookies, delicious to the taste, melting in your mouth. 

Yah well, remember, I've never claimed to be Martha Stewart and I don't have her knowledge nor her culinary tools. While some people have mixers which cost $200-300, I have 2-3 hand mixers. And nothing more. Just a hint of what you will see....a hand mixer does not quite hold muster when making meringues. 

Stiff peaks were not to be had with our hand mixer.
The recipe called for us to whip the eggs into stiff peaks. Do you know how long that takes with a hand mixer? No, not me either. Sunshine & I took turns with the hand mixer whipping the eggs for 25 minutes, but stiff peaks? Not happening. Instead, we had to be satisfied with a thickening of the liquid. After wearing out our arms and the hand mixer, we decided the eggs were just not going to stiffen and decided to move on with the recipe. 

I've always thought that most meals taste better when somebody else does the cooking. I think Sunshine would have preferred to have me finish the meringues, but why should I let her miss out on all of the fun? Can't you see the enjoyment on her face as she scooped the meringue mix onto the cookie sheet? 

Oh no, really she did enjoy it. That's not a grimace. She's just 12 and doesn't know how to smile at the camera without looking goofy!

Remember how I said our eggs did not stiffen? Yah, well that explains why our cookies looked like pancakes. Meringues are supposed to be light, airy and tasty. Ours were tasty....but not exactly light and airy. 

The recipe was definitely easy and the results were quite tasty; however, I would definitely make sure to borrow Martha's $300 blender before trying to make meringues again. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Roller Coaster

My high school biology teacher used to say, 
"Life is a roller coaster of emotions." 

I couldn't agree with him more as I've gained much more maturity and perspective on life. AND Sometimes it's the small things in life - the small rise on the coaster - which can give us the most humor.

With three young daughters, I worry constantly about teaching them about the roller coaster of life, the peaks & the valleys....and sometimes you have to sit back with a glass of wine, kick your feet up and have a brief chuckle.

Notice the distance between the van
and the parking lines
Now that she's received her driver's permit, Hollywood is giving me more reason to worry and even more reason to laugh. Last night, Hollywood drove us to Hobby Lobby to get a plain white t-shirt for her to tie dye with the dance team. Just as we pulled into the parking lot, I received a text from Sunshine saying they were on the way home from her volleyball game. I knew we had to hurry, but this is ridiculous! I asked Hollywood to park and she steered into the middle of the empty parking lot, came to a stop and got out. I had to chuckle when I looked at the car and noticed her poor parking job. Not only was she skewed to the right side of the parking space, but she is also 5' away from the front line. Oh yes! We have much learning to do in order to become an efficient and responsible driver. 

On another note, the weekend brings a very important event to our household: the NFC Championship game between the Packers and the Bears. One cannot live in Wisconsin without becoming a Packer fan. Living in Illinois as a Packer fan can be very....entertaining to say the least. Our high school principal posted the following on Facebook:
Blue and orange day at work tomorrow! Go Bears!!! Packer fans, since they are not used to indoor plumbing, can stay in the parking lot.
So Camo-Man and Princess chose their wardrobe very carefully: 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

MMM: Chocolatey Pumpkin Bars

Hollywood tries the bars
Princess is not so sure.

As the weather started to change, the cravings for carbs started to ramp up. After looking through "No Whine with Dinner", I decided to make a recipe from the Snack Attack section, Chocolately Pumpkin Bars. I love a simple recipe and this is one I could whip together in no time. 

Unfortunately, Sunshine had to miss out on the recipe testing due to basketball practice, but Princess stood her ground even without her mischievous partner and picked it apart before tasting a corner of the bar. She suspiciously eyed the chocolate chips as if they were raisins which were going to revolt and attack from inside the bar.  

The Review: 2 thumbs up!
Camo-Man & Hollywood loved the bars as did I. I thought they were moist and tasty - and a little too handy to have around. Man, I've got to work on my self control! Just because you see it on the counter doesn't mean you have to eat it!
Princess just had to be difficult

Surprisingly, Princess gave it a mixed review with two thumbs kind of up. I think she liked them, but didn't want to fully admit it. Maybe I should hide the names from her until we get a full review...Pumpkin probably threw her off. Or maybe that was supposed to be her street look!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Think like a THIN Person

I used to think THIN people were naturally thin….until one day I decided to actually observe them and pay attention to their behaviors. Why are some of my friends thin while I feel like the frumpy, dumpy mommy?
  • ·         They split a meal when I order a full one for myself.
  • ·         They don’t include snacks such as potato chips.
  • ·         They don’t have to eat out of the candy bowl every time they walk by.
  • ·         It doesn’t happen naturally. It happens consciously.

I am the mom of three daughters – each with their own body types. My eldest daughter is bone rail thin. My middle daughter is not. My youngest daughter has an athletic build – skinny, but not tiny with a layer of muscle. What is the difference between each of my girls? Their approach to food & exercise.

My oldest daughter would choose to eat a bowl of fruit over cookies or chips any time of day. She rarely eats processed foods. She doesn’t think about food until she is HUNGRY.  She is tiny, skinny as can be, but she exercise is not really a part of her life.

Available on Amazon
My middle daughter loves sweets, baked goods, and bread.  If a bread basket is put on the table, you can watch her eyes drift to the basket again and again while she’s waiting to have the next piece. For some reason, you can almost see her thinking about food at all times. She exercises because she wants to be a part of school sports, but it’s not her natural inclination.

My youngest daughter eats like a toddler. She doesn’t eat a lot of meat and only a few fruits and no vegetables.  However, I can’t keep her still to save my life. She’s on the run at all times and wants to be the best at everything.

All of these factors lead me to “The Beck Diet Solution”.  The characteristics of How THIN people Think in Chapter 3 really hit home with me:

  1. THIN people can differentiate between hunger  & cravings
  2. Most THIN people feel hungry & occasionally notice cravings, but they don’t dwell on those feelings for long. Generally, they don’t think much about food at all.
  3. THIN people eat to the point where they are reasonably full.
  4. THIN people have a pretty good gauge on how much they eat.
  5. THIN people don’t comfort themselves with food.
  6. When THIN people gain weight, they just exercise more and watch what they eat for a few days. They have the confidence that the scale will go back down.
  7. THIN people don’t focus on the unfairness of eating smaller portions or making healthy choices. They accept those limitations without too much of a struggle.
  8. THIN people don’t D-I-E-T. They know it’s a lifestyle and have changed their mindset about food.

The first few steps:
Record the Advantages of Losing Weight
Pick a Reasonable Diet Lifestyle
Eat sitting Down – and not in front of a screen or with a book
Give Yourself Credit: Recognize your successes
Eat Slowly & Mindfully
Find a Diet Lifestyle Coach
Arrange Your Environment

Today my small group is reading Day 1 - Record the Advantages of Losing Weight. Why do you want to lose weight? Take those reasons, put them on a note card and read them several times a day. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

MMM: Greek Chicken & Chickpea Stew

Greek Chicken & Chickpea Stew
with a salad & Mediterranean salad
I haven't been really good about posting our reviews....heck, I haven' been really good about cooking from the "No Meal with Dinner". But with a sick kid and not being able to leave the couch, I thought it was time to play catch up.

Way back in December heck make that NOVEMBER, I made Greek Chicken & Chickpea Stew from the Meal Makeover Moms. I love the concept of crock pot meals. How simple can it be? Throw it all in a crock pot and cook for several hours, come home from work and WHOLA! Dinner is served! I was especially excited about this meal because I love Greek food and thought this would be a wonderful match to go with my Mediterranean Salad dressing.

Princess was less than
excited about trying the
HOWEVER, the reviews were less than promising. Camo-Man said it tasted like a typical chicken crock pot meal. Kind of bland and not a lot of flavor. Sadly, I had to agree. The meal fell flat in my mind. It was ok, but it didn't really satisfy any of my craving for flavorful, tasty food.

Sorry Meal Makeover Moms. I am going to push more flavor in my crock pot meals. That's what seems to satisfy my eaters more.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Training in Rhapsody

Because I couldn't make it to many of the group trainings last week, I decided to hop on my bike Sunday and make up for lost time. I put in Tudors (Season 1 this time) and set off. The training plan was 

Warmup - Ride 5 to 10 minutes at about 70%
Main Set - Ride 5 minutes @ 77% then ride 5 minutes @ 83%. Then repeat until you reach 40 minutes or a total of 4 at each level.
Cooldown - Ride 5 minutes progressively easier

Now because I tend to procrastinate, I didn't get to the basement in time to do the whole thing. I had to cut my main set short. I only get 2 intervals in instead of the full four because Hollywood had to go to a birthday party. 
Dolfin Uglies Rhapsody

While Princess & I were the only ones home, I spent some time scouting the internet for a new swim suit. When Sunshine swam competitively, we discovered Dolfin Uglies which are made of 91% polyester and last way longer than regular swim suits. When you are in the water 3-6 days a week having a long lasting suit is a requirement. I ordered the Dolfin Uglies Rhapsody suit from Swim Outlet. Ahhh! I can't wait to get my new suit in the mail. My old one is half eaten through by the chlorine and I have to double up on my suits so I don't scare the young lifeguards with their nice, tight, non-stretch-marked skin. 

Inspired by my new suit which was inching my way I went to the pool for some laps and completed 1300 yards. Here is my workout from Learn to Swim on Beginner Triathlete.

  • 2x100 warm up swim              :45 seconds rest between each 100
  • 4x100 (25 kick/25 Fist Drill/25 easy swim/25 fast swim) With :60 seconds rest after each 100
  • 4 x 100 pull + 50 swim             With :60 seconds rest after each 150
  • 100 cool down swim
All in all a good workout day. Princess is still running a fever and I think a visit to the doctor is necessary on Monday. :(

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spongebob, French Braids & a Treadmill Run

Starting Friday morning, my body hasn't moved much. It's pretty much been plunked on the couch cuddling with my little Princess who woke up Friday morning complaining of a headache, stomach ache and sore throat. I kept her home from school in the morning thinking maybe a little extra sleep might help, but by 9 am she was running a fever.

While it may sound slightly morbid, I do enjoy these sudden days off. I spent the morning getting caught up on laundry, cleaned off my kitchen counter and mopped my kitchen floor. By 11 am, I felt pretty good about my accomplishments sitting down at my computer to do some work from home while watching one of my favorite Christmas gifts, Season 3 of The Tudors. It's definitely not something I can watch with my children. (The S-E-X scenes seems to come out of nowhere.) Princess spent most of the day in my room watching Nick Jr & The Disney Channel - much more appropriate for my Princess. I was supposed to go swimming on Friday morning, but that was definitely out the window. I thought about heading downstairs to the trainer or treadmill, but with Sunshine's 1st volleyball game and Hollywood dancing at the high school boys basketball game, Camo-Man had to go support our other daughters for the evening. So instead, I snuggled on the couch with Princess into the late hours of the evening. I just didn't feel right leaving Princess alone upstairs for any length of time with a fever... and for good reason. I woke Princess up about 10 pm to give her a dose of Motrin before heading to bed....and up came dinner....all the through the house. As soon as it started, I picked Princess up with one arm, the other covering her mouth and pulled her through the living room to the kitchen and into the bathroom. We left a trail of  - well, you know - all throughout the house. Good night! That was enough for me.

Luckily, the upset stomache was just a one time thing. We spent Saturday pretty much repeating Friday....and boredom set in. I read all of my blogs. I sorted through email. I read everyone's Facebook statuses. We even worked on Princess' American Girl Scarf kit she received from Santa, but nothing could alleviate the boredom. I taught Princess how to braid hair and even tried my hand at French braiding. B-O-R-I-N-G!! Finally, Camo-Man came home from coaching Princess' basketball team in the tournament and I RAN down to the treadmill. I couldn't wait to get on the treadmill and have something TO DO!

I haven't run much in the last few months and this was only the 2nd time in 2011. I did a nice 5 minute walking warm-up and some light weight work to get my body nice and warm before running. I didn't want to have a sore hip when I was done so I made sure to take my time and make sure it was nice and warmed up. I set the treadmill on incline 1, speed 5.6 and started out with a nice easy mile. At mile two, I increased my speed to 5.8 and mile 3 went to 6. I could tell I haven't run much when I started to feel a dull ache behind my shoulder blade from the repetitive motion, but a little stretching eased the ache. After completing my three miles, I did 5 intervals setting the speed up to 8.0 for 30 seconds, jumped off and rested for 15 seconds, and the jogged for 15 seconds at 6 again before starting it all over again. Finally, I did my cool down for 5 minutes to complete a total of 3.9 miles. WHEW! It felt great to get up and move my body.

Sunday I'm hoping to get my swim in AND a trainer workout. It's going to be another busy day for our household, but I have the feeling that Princess and I may be plunked on the couch again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 RACES

I've been thinking, planning and altogether obsessing over my 2011 races. I don't know why. I guess I like to plan, but it's the follow through that presents an issue for me! I love to plan for the races and think about how much fun they are or possibly will be......until race day...when I become filled with dread and almost puke on the starting line!

I shouldn't say that. It's not 100% accurate. I only feel that way at triathlons. At foot races, I know I am slow and it's no big deal. I'm not there to win a spot on the Olympic team. I am there for my own personal journey toward physical fitness, but when it comes to triathlons....Some small part of me actually believes I could....


Yep, I think it. I worry about it. I don't BELIEVE it will happen, but that small part of my gray matter that actually considers it a possibility sends an adrenaline rush to the pit of my stomach and makes me want to hurl. Up come the pancakes!

Because I am some sort of masochistic attention monger, I actually said out loud to some invisible person out there, "I want to do a half Ironman distance this year and possibly a full in 2012." WHOOMP! There it is! No sooner had the words come tumbling out of my rather large mouth when some of my other T3 team members pounced!

(The following is an excerpt from our January T3 newsletter)....
A fun section for some gossip I’ve heard the following members commit to training for a new distance this year:.....
Carla Leber – ½ Ironman

Eeeekkk! Oh dear Lord in Heaven what have I done? No one was actually supposed to hear me - let alone pay attention to what I was saying! CRIMINETLY
So.....I guess I'm doing a 70.3 this year. Time to map out my game for the summer. Only problem is finding a half ironman distance late enough in the summer so I have time to build my confidence. A half ironman distance triathlon is a 1.2 mile swim (YES 1.2 MILES!), 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. Some of the guys from T3 are doing the Pigman Tri

PROS: Because it's not an Ironman Race, it doesn't cost over $200, but only $90 instead. It is in late August and the later the better. The race is in Pleasant Creek State Park just northwest of Cedar Falls, Iowa and who wouldn't want to go to Iowa in August? 

CONS: It's hilly. It's really hilly and I don't do well on hills. And let's face's August - 8/21/11 and bound to be 100 degrees!

So, I don't know. My commitment phobia is rising again. Here is what I do know. I am registered for the following races:

Races I'd like to do:

Other possibilities:
  • Pioneer Sprint Triathlon 4/17/11 - Awfully early in the year!
  • Sullivan Triathlon 5/1/11 - Chickened out last year! Will I do it this year?
  • I'd also like to run a marathon this year, but so far I'm not having much luck there either. I would love to do the Chicago Marathon, but sadly I am supposed to be in Cancun at that time. 
  • Canal Connection 10k 11/6/11 - Happy Anniversary, Honey!
  • Disney World Marathon Weekend 1/8/2012!!!
So these are my hopes and dreams for the next year or so. I'm full of life and ambition right now. We'll see what the next year has to offer. Of course, I need to achieve all of these goals before the world comes to an end in 2012 anyway, right? 

Friday, January 14, 2011

2010 Miles

Here is my mileage (and swim yardage - please don't think I swam 9,000 miles ~ I wish!)  recap for 2010. Not all that exciting, but you can definitely see the peaks and valleys in my training. I really don't know how I completed my first half marathon in Indianapolis with that low of mileage, but I think part of the problem was that I didn't successfully track my completed workouts until later in the year. On the other hand, if this is accurate, I can expect to finish the Indy Half Marathon in less than 2:12 this year! HAHAHA! That makes me want to get on the treadmill right now!

Yep, this is ME while I wait to start the Indy Mini 500
my first half marathon in FREEZING May weather
Now, I know I swam before June of 2010. I was registered for Sullivan last year when I decided   chickened out hours before the race because I didn't want to face the gale force winds, rain and sleet on my new Dolce bike. Speaking of which - Honestly, I probably didn't bike much before May last year because while I had a brand new shiny red bike, I did not have a trainer. (Last fall, however, I rectified that situation.)

Once August hit though, I started tracking my mileage...and again, that doesn't mean it was anything impressive. I ran and ran and ran in preparation for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, but once I finished that race, I took it easy again as I pushed into Body Flow training and strengthening my IT Band.

So, what does this tell me? That I am a horrible data keeper!!! But I will do better this year. I promise to keep accurate workout records and let you all know how I am doing.

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Giveaway

The tech guru himself, DC Rainmaker, is having a giveaway....for a Garmin Forerunner 310XT....and I want one. BAD. OK, ok, I have nothing to complain about. I have the 305, but Camo-Man got a 310 for his birthday from his mommy and by golly I want one, too! (Insert whining, stomping of foot and a bright red face). I'm not above throwing a temper tantrum when it comes to tech toys to help me make more sense of my running, cycling & swimming workouts!

So, here it is. Link up and check it out. Maybe you will win and I'll be envious of you, too!

DC Rainmaker: Garmin Forerunner 310XT Giveaway–January 2011!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MMM: Luau Chicken with Carrots & Pineapple

According to today's menu plan, we were supposed to have Luau Chicken with Carrots & Pineapple from the Meal Makeover Moms. Because Tuesday nights are just absolutely insane, this recipe seemed ideal for me since all I had to do was toss it all in the crock pot and let it cook while I was at work.

After work we had Sunshine's volleyball practice & parents meeting, Hollywood's dance performance at the basketball game,Diva Princess' tumbling as well as Camo-Man's church trustee meeting.....could we add one more thing? Oh yah...I cancelled my first group meeting on "Think like a THIN Person". Busy? Yah, we're busy, but we still need to eat.

When I came home from work, it was all I could do to put my crock pot meal int he fridge and head to our local, small town restaurant for fried food...and specifically NACHOS. I had a craving to munch! After battling back and forth for a while, we decided to stay home and eat the meal I had prepared. I knew it was not going to satisfy my craving.

For some reason, no matter what I do chicken crock pot meals never seem to cut it. The meat was bland. I couldn't even taste the pineapple which I absolutely LOVE! Our family seems to like flavorFUL foods and this recipe didn't cut it. Camo-Man didn't mind it. Sunshine & Diva put the smallest bite they could in their mouths with a wince.

So no big thumbs up here...sorry Meal Makeover Moms. This one is not a winner for us.

Monday, January 10, 2011

MMM: Turkey Tortilla Pie

Before cooking

Tonight for dinner we had the Meal Makeover Mom's Turkey Tortilla Pie from No Whine with Dinner. Oh yah! Simple and delicious. I loved it. I think for me and my family I might add a little more of the cumin and chilli powder and kick up the spice, but it was delicious and oh so simple to make!

Ground turkey with a few spices and cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Could it be any simpler? I think not. I can't say it was 5 thumbs up - cause let's face it. There is no satisfying Sunshine & Princess, but the three people in my home who actually eat enjoyed it quite a bit!

I didn't put it in the spring form. I just didn't feel like digging my pan out. I had a pie plate that I threw it all in and I still think it turned out wonderfully.

Give it a try.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Plan for the week

A quick update on my plan for the week:
Monday         Trainer Workout, Adult Volleyball             Turkey Tortilla Pie for dinner
Tuesday        5:15 am Body Flow, Swim                       Luau Chicken with pineapple & carrots
Wednesday    Run plan 17-2, 5:30 pm Body Flow           Sweet & Sour Meatballs
Thursday       8:15 am Body Flow, Trainer Workout        Vegetable soup
Friday           Swim                                                  What dinner? -volleyball & basketball games
Saturday       Run Plan 17-3                                      Dinner out for speech team
Sunday         Swim                                                  Turkey filets

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Goals & Motivation for 2011

I've put it off as long as I can, but it's time to put my 2011 Goals into writing. I've pondered what my strengths are and where my issues lie. As a result, I have 4 areas of my life almost like four legs of the table which I need to work on in 2011. 


  • SPIRITUAL HEALTH: Focus on my relationship with my Creator 

  • FAMILY HEALTH: Finances & Meal Planning

  • HOME HEALTH: Creating a harmonious, happy home for my entire family

  • In 2010, I completed 2 half-marathons, 2 15k races, 1 10k race, 2 sprint triathlons (and here), and 1 5k. So what is going to be my motivation to push myself in 2011? I spent last Saturday looking at some races to see what is out there. In the last few months, I've had a very small voice in the back of my head whispering, "Go for it. Start reaching for the holy grail." And then I hear the loud booming voice which shouts at me, "Are you insane?" I've made my tentative race schedule for 2011, but I have two major goals distances I'd like to achieve this year: a full marathon, and a half IM triathlon. I'm still looking for the right race, the right dates to match my schedule. As more race directors post their race dates, I'll keep you updated on my race choices. 

    The next leg I need to work on is my SPIRITUAL HEALTH. For some reason, I've felt very disconnected from my church over the last year. Well, actually for many reasons, none of which I'll go into here. While some of the reasons are outside of my control, there is definitely some part of this problem which comes from me and my lack of effort. A dear friend gave me a precious Christmas gift, "Babes with Beatitude: Devotions for Smart, Savvy Women of Faith", by Linda P. Kozar and Dannelle Woody. As soon as I opened the package, I thought to myself, "How did she know exactly what I needed in this exact moment?" My goal for SPIRITUAL HEALTH involves reading, studying and meditating several times each day on the daily devotional in my Babes with Beatitude.

    For my FAMILY HEALTH, I have two major goals: one in the area of personal finances & the other in the area of meal planning. On the personal finances front, my husband and I have finally gotten on the same page and have agreed to follow a budget. I have listened to Dave Ramsey on and off over the last few years and while Camo-Man may still be a little skeptical about some of the aspects of Dave's plan, we've agreed to follow a monthly budget to accomplish some of our financial goals. We'd both like to pay off our car loans so we can start preparing for the quickly approaching college tuition bills which will be coming our way. As for my never ending issue of meals and meal planning.....(grrrrr).....I am going to continue to work on my meal plans. I take somewhat of a macabre interest in planning my workouts on a monthly basis and modifying them each week as my schedule changes. I'm going to generate the same interest (either forced or genuine) in my meal planning as I do in my workouts. I will plan my meals on a monthly basis and then update them weekly as our family schedule changes. 

    Finally, for my HOME HEALTH: I know that I don't function well with clutter. You will never see me on HOARDERS. Now I am by no means perfect when it comes to getting rid of things in a timely manner, but I know if I have piles of junk lying around I feel more tension than I normally do. My goals for HOME HEALTH include keeping an organized, de-cluttered home for my family. I've decided to somewhat refer back to my Flylady days and break my home into Zones and keep it clean 15 minutes at a time. My Zones are a little different from the Flylady, but I think these will work for me.  
    • Zone 1: Master Bedroom
    • Zone 2: Bathrooms
    • Zone 3: Laundry Room & Den
    • Zone 4: 1 other room as needed
    I'm still flushing out some of the details, but I thought I'd share my work in progress. Here is to a healthy, financially sound, spiritually fit and harmonious 2011!!!!!