Monthly Archives: November 2015

Running Those Dark, Quiet Miles

  
 Those dark, quiet miles. Morning or night, we’ve all run those miles at some point. Whether the sun has set or hasn’t yet risen. The lights on our reflective vest flashing, the blaring light of the headlamp wrapped securely around our heads and learning to adjust our sight to the darkness. We’ve all run those dark, quiet miles. Those are the miles that bring us more attune with ourselves, no music, just our quiet breaths amidst the sounds of early morning or late evening. { It’s much harder to see the paces on my Garmin watch at night and I don’t try to fiddle with the watch light.} Instead, I just focus on effort and mileage. Those quiet, dark miles that push us to focus on each step, lest we stumble in the darkness, our eyes keen to approaching car lights. 

 

    Wrapped in the darkness, questioning our insane desire to run well past sunset or way too early in the morning. It’s those dark, quiet miles that let us focus and reflect on our purpose for running. An appreciation for the rising sunlight or silvery light of the moon. Every dark mile leads to a goal we have set for ourselves. Lack of sunlight does not fade our desire and commitment to run the miles needed to accomplish big things. At the end of those dark, quiet miles is our light, the light of goals achieved. 

My favorite reflective running gear- Petzl Headlamp and Xinglet Flash Led Vest

Are you a morning or night runner? What’s your favorite reflective gear? 

Nutrient Packed Autumn Soups

Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year.  The vibrant colors of the changing leaves and crisp cool air pair perfectly with running and my favorite autumn recipes.  As the air turns chilly at night, I crave warm and comforting soups.

I love creating healthy, hearty and filling soups.  The ingredients that go into my soups have to be full of flavor, but also packed with powerful nutrients and plant-based proteins.  The food I eat has to keep my body fueled and energized for my role as mother, runner and first grade elementary teacher.

Below are two soups that I recently prepared at home. The soups are full of nutrient rich produce and plant -based protein!  The ingredients also freeze well, so large batches can be made and then put into quart size freezer bags! If the soup last more than a day!

Hearty Red Lentil and Mushroom with Chickpeas

Hearty Red Lentil Mushroom and Chickpea Soup

 Ingredients:

1 cup of Red Lentils-

3 large raw carrots-chopped

1 small yellow onion chopped

3 garlic cloves peeled and chopped

1/2 cup Shitake Mushrooms roughly chopped

2-3 tablespoons olive oil for sauteing

1 can of cherry tomatoes-Pomodorini-cherry tomatoes

1 can of Chickpeas drained-16 ounces or roughly 1 1/2 cups

Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning to Taste

Directions:

  1. Simmer the red lentils in a pot with two cups water and cook until just tender-set aside
  2. In a large heavy saute pan,  on medium heat-saute the chopped garlic and yellow onion until tender in the olive oil
  3. add the chopped carrots and saute
  4. then add the chopped shitake mushrooms
  5. Next add the canned and drained chickpeas
  6. Season mixture with Trader Joe’s Everyday Seasoning
  7.  add the canned cherry tomatoes with liquid-12 or 14 ounce can
  8. Add the red lentils with liquid
  9. Cook on simmering heat until all ingredients are tender and cherry tomatoes have split open

Roasted Squash Soup with Crispy Broiled Mushrooms and Arugula 

Roasted Squash Soup with Crispy Broiled Mushrooms and Arugula 

 

This next soup is super rich and creamy.  The flavor comes from roasting all the vegetables!

Ingredients:

1 medium sized butternut squash split in half and seeds removed

1 medium sized delicata squash-cut in half, seeds removed and sliced with skin on

2 tart apples (Mcintosh or Pink Lady), cored and quartered, but not peeled!

3 medium sized carrots-sliced in half, not peeled!

1 half of a yellow onion-peeled

2 garlic cloves-roast these in the skin, do not peel ahead of time

1 vegetable boullion cube

1 1/2 cups of water

Trader Joe’s Seasoning to taste

Directions:

  1. Roast the butternut squash by itself on a baking sheet at 400 degrees until fork tender-take out of oven and place on a plate to cool, then scoop out roasted flesh
  2. on a baking sheet-bake all other ingredients at 400 degrees-drizzle with olive oil and sea salt
  3. You may take the garlic and onion out if it cooks quicker than the other ingredients
  4. Place all roasted ingredients, including the flesh from the roasted butternut squash, except for   1/3 of the roasted veggies to add after I puree to create a chunky soup, into a food processor -or   Vitamix-high powered blending machine I love the soup cycle on my Vitamix Pro 750 series
  5. add the 1 1/2 cups of water and the vegetable boullion cube
  6. Crispy button mushrooms-sliced and drizzled with olive oil and placed under a broiler along with some arugula or kale to create a crispy topping
  7. Sprinkle Hemp Seeds – I love Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seeds –Hemp seed is 33% protein; Hemp seed is 35% essential fatty acid (Omega 3, 6, 9 and GLA); Contains all 9 essential amino acids  

 

Fall is a great time to use fresh produce for creating healthy, delicious and comforting soups!

Do you have a favorite fall soup?  

Check out Live Free and Run for a giveaway – Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts –

 

Women’s Health: Surviving My First Mammogram 

  On Wednesday, I sat in the medical building waiting room, with a pink cloth robe open in the front, I felt vulnerable and scared. I nervously experienced the uncomfortable, yet necessary mammogram. I’d put off the mammogram, even though I’d turned 40 this past April.   During the last month, I noticed some lumps that seemed different.  Since I was a teenager I’ve had fibrocystic breasts, lumpy, fluid filled cysts that come and go.  I was a bit nervous, but knew that I could no longer put off getting things checked.   Following the standard mammogram, I also had 3D and ultrasound imaging. My results were discussed with me during and after the ultrasound. Grateful to report that I have no evidence of cancer, just harmless, fluid filled cysts.

        My grateful and thankful feeling of relief wasn’t just for me, but for my own mother and daughter. Thankful that my own mother won’t have to worry for me, also thankful that I’m healthy for my daughter. 
     Grateful for the advancements in technology, the doctors, nurses and medical staff that exist to diagnose and treat cancer patients. Forever thankful for being blessed with a healthy future. Even though I do not need care and treatment at a Medical Treatment Cancer Centerthere are so many women that do. 
     As I toe the line of RACES in the future that support care and treatment of cancer patients and their families, I will remember that vulnerable feeling of sitting in a “front tied” pink robe. Through running I can make a difference by supporting cancer research and finding a cure for all cancers. I’m so grateful to be able to run healthy. Miles will be run for those that can’t-near and far.  

  
     Lastly, I will make a commitment to myself. This experience was a ‘wake-up call’!  Keep doctor’s appointments, continue to eat a natural and organic diet and make time for “me”. Running isn’t just about races, it makes me feel good inside and out. For me, running is the thread woven into a healthy and fit lifestyle. 

What is your healthy commitment to yourself?  Do you find it hard to make time for your own health and fitness? 

Running All the Miles

     Wow!  It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog!  Life happens,  well actually it’s called being a mom to a teen and teaching a new grade after 17 years!!  I’ve been running, teaching and tackling motherhood with a teen!  

      I’ve taught 10 years in 4th grade, 2 years in 5th grade and the last 5 years were in 3rd grade!  This year I was asked by my principal to move down to 1st grade! So much more prep and planning for little 1st graders who take longer like to carefully cut and paste everything! My little 1st graders are keeping me busy. Some days, I feel like I’ve already run my miles by just trying to stay one step ahead of energetic first graders! 

  
     

Mom of a Runner! 

     This fall has also found me on the other side of the start and finish line of racing!  I’ve been spectating my 14 year old daughter’s cross country races!  Most weeks there was a cross country meet on Wednesdays and Saturdays! My heart has swelled with pride as I’ve watched my daughter become a stronger and more confident runner.  It was just 3 years ago, that my Redhead could barely run a mile! Seeing my Redhead own her miles and tackle tough courses has been so rewarding! 

9th grade and first high school cross country season! Now onto indoor track!

Fall Racing Update!!   Read my original schedule Here!

  1. Ragnar Relays DC was an Amazing and Fun-Filled Adventure! Despite the cold, rainy and windy conditions, it was a weekened filled with running and great women!   I conquered my fear of running down dark, rural roads in western Maryland!  Ragnar Relays is definitely a team effort!   A weekend of running through all hours of the night, very little sleep and making new connections!  Much thanks to Lisa for being an Amazing team captain!     

    “Together We Ran 200 Miles”

     
  2. The Navy Airforce Half Marathon DC-This was one of those races that I needed! I was at a point in my running career where I felt like a sub 2 hour 13.1 miles was eluding me.  My last two half marathons o ER the year hadn’t been stellar.  I was beginning to become discouraged with running a strong half marathon.  This race was exactly what I needed to put me back into consistent higher mileage long runs! The course was flat and fast! For me, the temps were cool and cloudy! This was also my first ever DC road race!  

    Very happy with my sub 2-hour time of 1:55:31!

        

    Running has brought thus amazing lady and friend into my life!! Colleen-LiveFreeandRun, and me at the start of the Navy Airforce Half!

     
  3. DC Run10 Feed 10 Lower Potomac Ten Miler Runner’s World magazine called this “Maryland’s fastest and most beautiful ten-miler!  This is one of the most local races for my area!  It is organized and hosted by the Chesapeake Bay Run Club! Two years ago I ran 1:28:xx on this course. I decided to stick close to home on Sunday, October 11th and run this race again! Up to this point, I had already run Ragnar Relays DC and The Navy Airforce Half.  My mileage, strength, endurance and speed were strong! The whole time I was running, I really felt like my Garmin GPS watch was broken! The miles were flying by- I ended with a 10 mile PR and first place in my age group!   

And now onto November and wrapping up my fall races! 

     Currently, I’m hitting weekly mileage in the 28-30 mile range! My short runs are now 6 milers during the week! On the weekends I’ve been hitting ten milers! I’ve been pushing the pace at the longer distances and seeking out all the hills! 

  

Up Next! 

  • Annapolis Classic Half Marathon on November 21st

How’s everyone’s fall racing been going? Any PRs?  What are you loving most about fall running and racing?