Saturday, December 11, 2010


Well, St. Jude's was not the big comeback I was hoping for. I went out just a little under 7:30 pace and held on to that through mile 9. After that, it was a death march to the finish line. There was a head wind those last 4 miles and it got pretty tough out there. I ended up finishing in 1:41:07 which was 7:44 pace. The depressing part is that this was my marathon pace for Chicago in 2008. The good news is, I ran 9 very hard miles at sub 7:30 pace and then ran slower, but with the same (if not more) intensity so I got a really good workout. Even better, I seemed to have recovered quickly. The first run I did was a couple days after the race. It was 6 miles at 8:30ish pace and I think it really knocked all the nastiness out of my quads which were really, really sore. Since then, I've done 3 more 6 milers (2 of them at sub 8 pace) and a 10 miler at 8:06 pace. Apparently, this horrible race brought me to a whole new level!

Next week, I start an 8 week plan that will get me through the first two Grand Prix races of the season which are the Hour Track Run and the River Trail 15K. The Monday after the 15K I start my official Lincoln Marathon 12 week plan. Even though Memphis did not go well, I really do think good things are happening and I'm not sure that I didn't just have a bad day that was made worse by bad weather conditions. I was pretty sad about the whole thing but have decided to make the best of it.

Monday, November 22, 2010

St. Jude's Half Marathon

I'm running the St. Jude's Half Marathon in less than 2 weeks. Training has gone very well and I'm excited. It is looking like this could be a real PR. Not just a post pregnancy PR but an honest to goodness lifetime PR. I'm still not as fast as I was in 2008 but I never got around to running a half marathon when I was really speedy so my PR is actually from 2007 when I was still just getting started. I ran 46 miles last week with an incredible tempo run. Eight miles total with 6 of them at 7:18 pace. That was a big surprise for me. I knew I was getting better but I didn't think I could do that. I texted Brian about it while I was still at the parking lot by the trail head and his response was "Holy Crap!". I also ran a 15 miler. The pace wasn't great, 8:17, but that is quite a bit faster than I've been doing my long runs. I've done several 10 milers, a 12 miler and a 13 miler all around 8:24 pace. Baring catastrophe, which is always a possibility when you are talking about long distance running, this should be a great race for me. I'm hoping to use it to kick start my Grand Prix season which will begin in January and then move straight to a 12 week marathon plan starting the second week of February. I am actually more excited to marathon train than I am to run this half. I fancy myself a marathoner and I love the training. Once that begins, I will really feel like my old self.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


That is how many miles I ran this week. Not a huge amazing amount, but certainly a milestone. After Darwin was born, I had a hard time even getting up to 20. When I did, I'd feel terrible and over trained. A few weeks ago I hit 30 and I've been able to build ever since. The plan I'm on has me up to 46 in just a couple more weeks and then I'll run my half marathon the week after that. Even though I'm still no where near the shape I was in a couple of years ago, I might still be able to PR. For whatever reason, I never got around to running a half when I was in really good shape. My best time ever is a 1:40:20.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Darwin is One!

So it has been a thousand years since I last posted. One big reason was the move to the new house. We love living here and the house came together beautifully. I'm still waiting on some custom blinds I ordered (seriously, I may never get them and the headache they have been could be a whole post of its own...but it won't be) so I don't want to take pics yet as it isn't quite finished.

After taking a 5 week hiatus from running during the whole selling/buying/moving thing, I actually got back on track and things are going well. I had a great 10K XC race a couple of weeks ago and right now I'm training for a half marathon.

The real story of this post though is Darwin's birthday. That's right-my baby turned one. I can't believe I've been a parent for a year. I can't believe it has been like 20 months since I first learned I was pregnant. I can't believe a lot of things. The whole experience has been surreal. It's like my life was put on fast forward yet I didn't realize it while it was happening. Only when I look back do I see how fast it all went and how much time has passed.

The little guy is still the most laid back kid I know. He is walking all over the place and is a very jolly, laughing little guy. He loves the dogs (even though they aren't big fans of his), loves pushing his train around, loves playing with any kind of ball and he loves his Daddy. In fact, he calls pretty much everything "Dad" which is the only word he currently uses. He did have a few weeks where he said "Mom" and "Mom-mom" quite a bit but that seems to have passed. Sigh.... Anyway, it goes without saying that this has been one great year. To celebrate, we threw a big birthday bash. It was so much fun! Here are some pics of the day. Thanks to Ann Snelson Photography for these fabulous images.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Big News!

Ok, so selling the house went amazingly well. After cleaning, organizing and staging my butt off, the house went on the market Tuesday, June 29th. On Friday the 2nd of July, we got not 1, but 2 showings! I was so excited just to know that the house was getting some marketing and buyers actually wanted to come see it. The next morning I was tidying up and Brian called and asked if I had checked my email. Turns out, we had gotten an offer the night before. Even better, they offered ASKING PRICE! I could not believe it. We priced it at exactly what it appraises for so there was no way we could have gotten a better offer. Obviously, we accepted. The scary part was that the closing date would be August 2nd. That gave us less than a month to find and close on our new house. To make things even more complicated, our realtor had gone on vacation. We hit the internet and came up with some neighborhoods we wanted to check out. After driving out to see some of them, we fell in love with a great area that has beautiful views and rolling hills. We found the perfect place and were able to put in an offer even though our realtor was out of town. The builder came back with a very fair counter offer and we accepted! I am in love with the house. It is a new construction with beautiful site finished hardwood floors, granite counter tops, an amazing deck with a view of Pinnacle Mountain, etc... It has some really great rustic touches too like exposed beams in the vaulted ceiling. It is really the perfect house for us in the perfect neighborhood. We couldn't be more excited. Here's a pic of the house. The inside is way better. I would post some pics but the ones from the MLS listing really don't do it justice. I'll have to do an update blog once we get settled.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quick Update

No I'm not dead and I have not quit running, blogging or cooking. All have for sure been put on the back burner lately though. Right now we are readying our house for sale. We're hoping to put it on the market in less than a week. We decided to do this about a week ago after kicking the idea around for a few months before that. Anyway, I immediately went into hyper-manic-must do everything at once mode. For those of you that don't know me in real life (which is about 95% of you), that is just how I roll. When I decide on something, I make it happen right then. Well getting a house ready to sell is not an instantaneous task so you can imagine how frustrating it has been for me. The good news is, it is pretty much there. Just need to do a few finishing touches and we are good to go! I must say, the house looks great and I will be a little sad to go. Not that sad though so come put a bid on my house people! I am worried about the market and I hope we don't have to stay in sellers limbo for too long. I've decided to remain up beat and hope that my positive attitude draws buyers in. The sad news is that I haven't run a step since last Sunday. I've had too much to do and I just made the decision that it would have to wait. I guess something did have to give for once. Everything did kind of work out though as I have been sick for the last few days and wouldn't have been able to run anyway. I love how the universe works itself out sometimes.

So, before I'm off to clean more baseboards and organize one last closet, I'd like to say "Happy Fathers Day" to my husband Brian. Check out this cute picture collage that Darwin and I made!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Catching Up

So I haven't posted in forever. I have no excuse at all. For whatever reason, I just haven't gotten around to it. Let me start off with a fabulous recipe that I got from Gina at This one is ingenious!

Spinach Lasagna Rolls

* 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
* 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and completely drained
* 15 oz fat free ricotta cheese
* 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 egg
* salt and fresh pepper
* 32 oz tomato sauce
* 9 tbsp part skim mozzarella cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine spinach, ricotta, Parmesan, egg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Ladle about 1 cup sauce on the bottom of a 9 x 12 baking dish.

Place a piece of wax paper on the counter and lay out lasagna noodles. Make sure noodles are dry. Take 1/3 cup of ricotta mixture and spread evenly over noodle. Roll carefully and place seam side down onto the baking dish. Repeat with remaining noodles.

Ladle sauce over the noodles in the baking dish and top each one with 1 tbsp mozzarella cheese. Put foil over baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until cheese melts. Makes 9 rolls.

Each roll is 4 Weight Watchers Points. This recipe is perfect for me because it is quick, simple and it reheats well. When I make this we have leftovers the rest of the week. Awesome! Here's how it turned out in my kitchen.

Running has been going fairly well. When I first started running after Darwin was born, I struggled with lots of random pain in the hips and pelvis. That is finally gone. Yay! Now I have lots of little aches in my ankles and feet. This is normal for me. Anytime I am getting back into running shape I have to deal with this. This too shall pass, right? I've done a couple of 5Ks since I last posted. I'm running in the low 22 minute range right now. Not too bad but still slower than my PR of 19:42. I've been training consistently for the last few weeks and I'm happy with how it has been going. I think I'll be back up 60 miles per week in about 8 months. That is a long time from now but I want to do this right and get back without any injuries. Let me take this moment to say that I could not live without my BOB Revolution jogging stroller. It has totally lived up to all the hype! I'd still rather run solo but I need to run with Darwin a couple times a week and this has really made it easy. I can't believe how smooth this thing rides. He usually sleeps the entire time I'm running but is content to ride quietly when he is awake. Amazingly, it doesn't slow me down at all! I was looking at my running log the other day and my pace is pretty much the same with or without the stroller. Because it maneuvers so well, we've been able to use it as our everyday stroller as well so it was more than worth the cost. The only complaint I can make at all is that the handle doesn't adjust so it is a little low for Brian. He's 6'4" so he's pretty use to things not being tall enough for him. I have to say, it is the perfect height for me but at 5'5", I am pretty average.

And finally, Darwin. He is 7 months old already! Where has all the time gone? He isn't crawling yet but he is giving it his very best try. He loves rolling around everywhere and puts himself on his tummy whenever possible. Our latest adventure has been solids. He is not a fan at all. So far we've done avocado, banana, sweet potato, oatmeal and squash. He won't eat any of them. If the food manages to find its way into his mouth at all, it is met with the worst look you could imagine. It is like I have really hurt his feelings by trying to make him eat these things. It would be funny if he didn't look so sad. Here is a picture before his first attempt at solids. Oh how quickly that smile would disappear.

And here I am with Darwin on my first Mother's Day as a mom.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


So I did that 10K I blogged about a few weeks ago. It really didn't go all that well. My goal was to beat the time I ran the previous year when I was 12 weeks pregnant which was 47:05. Today I ran a 47:27 which is 7:39 minute per mile pace. It was rather disappointing. I went out way too fast-not a mistake I usually make. The problem is that I really have no idea what I am capable of running right now so I don't know what pace to shoot for. At least this race gave me an idea of where I am running wise.

The big debate for me now is how hard to train. Brian and I were discussing this the other day. We are both on the same page as far as a second child goes. Basically, as soon as we can, we're going to try again. That could be a while though as I am exclusively breastfeeding and not currently ovulating. So, do I train as hard as I can and try to get back to the speed I was pre-Darwin or do I just have a good time running, get pregnant with baby #2, take a few years off and come back as a good masters(40+) runner? Ultimately, being a fast runner in my 40s is the goal. This being considered, Brian and I came to the conclusion that perhaps taking it a little easier until after baby #2 is probably the best plan. Does this mean I won't be training hard? Not really. I'll still be upping my mileage and doing speed work and tempo runs. The only real big changes will be my mentality and my mileage. I'll try to be less intense. Also, I probably won't do a marathon between babies which was my original plan.

There were a few bright spots about today's race. I was 9th overall so it was good to be in the top 10 again. I was a lot faster per mile than I was at the Hour Track Run I did in January so at least I'm making progress. As always, it was fun to be out in the running community. Darwin was very smiley and giggly and everyone oohed and awed over him. Also, I won an embroidered blanket for getting second in my age group. Darwin has already claimed it for tummy time. All in all, it wasn't a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Week's Healthy Recipe

Ok, this one was one of those OMG! recipes. I just couldn't believe how delicious it was. I know I've said before that it is hard to think of soup or stew as a meal but this is another exception to that rule. This is the type of thing I would rave about if I got it at a restaurant. This little gem is courtesy of Gina at If you haven't visited her blog and tried her recipes, do it!

Garlic Shrimp in Coconut Milk, Tomatoes and Cilantro

* 1 1/4 lbs jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
* 1 red bell pepper, sliced thin
* 4 scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts separated
* 1/2 cup cilantro
* 4 cloves garlic, minced
* kosher salt
* 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
* 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
* 14 oz can light coconut milk (50% less fat)*
* 1/2 lime, squeezed

In a medium pot, heat oil on low. Add red peppers and sauté until soft (about 4 minutes). Add scallion whites, 1/4 cup cilantro, red pepper flakes and garlic. Cook 1 minute.

Add tomatoes, coconut milk and salt to taste, cover and simmer on low about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend together and to thicken the sauce.

Add shrimp and cook 5 minutes. Add lime juice.

To serve, divide equally among 4 bowls and top with scallions and cilantro.

This recipe has 5.5 weight watchers points per serving.

Here's how it turned out in my kitchen.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Counting Down

I am doing a race in 3 weeks. It is a 10K which is probably my weakest distance. I find it too short of a race to be able to relax but too long to keep my focus at a really fast pace. I've never been particularly happy with my 10K PR (42:11) and I know I will not be able to run anywhere near that fast by this race. I'm not sure exactly how fast I'll be able to run. I did a 6 mile run tonight with the middle 4 miles around 7:30 pace. Last year I ran 7:35s at this race but I was 12 weeks pregnant and was taking it easy. Sadly, this year I'd be lucky to run 7:35s and that would not be taking it easy-it would be quite a challenge. It is really hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that I'm slower now after having Darwin than I was while I was approaching the second trimester!

I guess my goal in this race will be to beat my time from last year which was a 47:05. My long term goal is to up my mileage and get faster. This race is just a short term goal to keep me from getting bored along the way.

Friday, March 12, 2010

This Week's Healthy Recipe

I use to hate fish. I mean really hate it. I wouldn't eat it at all. Not even fried. For some reason, I came to my senses and now I love it. Lucky for me too because it is super healthy and quick and easy to make. This recipe is easy and has a yummy sauce and light breading that make it a real treat. If you are a fish hater like I use to be, give this a try.

Pan Fried Tilapia with White Wine and Capers

1/4 cup white wine, dry
1/4 cup tomato, seeded and chopped
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp capers, drained
1 medium garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 pounds raw tilapia, four 6-oz pieces
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 spray cooking spray
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp light butter
2 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Combine first 6 ingredients, stirring well with a whisk; set aside.

Sprinkle fillets with salt and pepper. Dredge fillets lightly in flour, and coat both sides of fillets with cooking spray.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add fillets; cook 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium; turn fillets, and cook 3 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Remove from pan.

Add wine mixture to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter until melted. Spoon wine mixture over fillets; sprinkle with parsley. Serve with lemon wedges, if desired. Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fillet and 2 tablespoons sauce).

Here's how it turned out for me.

This is a weight watcher recipe and is 5 points per serving. I added a 1/2 cup of couscous for additional points. If you don't eat a lot of couscous, try it. You can make it in 5 minutes and it is a great side dish that comes in lots of great flavors. To make this recipe quick and easy, I made the sauce the night before.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

This Week's Healthy Recipe

A few weeks ago I discovered this great blog, Gina's WW Recipes. Since finding this awesome site, I've made several of her recipes and they've all turned out so yummy. This particular pasta dish was so good it tasted like it came from an Italian restaurant yet it was super easy to make.

Angel Hair with Shrimp and Tomato Sauce

* 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 tbsp olive oil
* 3 cloves garlic, chopped
* 1/4 cup white wine
* 14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
* 1/2 cup half and half
* oregano
* salt and fresh pepper
* 1 tsp lemon juice
* 1/4 cup chopped parsley
* 8 oz angel hair pasta (whole wheat, low carb or high fiber)

Boil water for pasta. Cook according to package instructions.

Meanwhile, season shrimp with salt and oregano. Cook shrimp and garlic in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, wine, salt and pepper and cook an additional minute. Add half and half and cook 1 more minute. Add lemon juice and parsley and serve over pasta. Divide equally in 4 plates. Each serving is 8 WW points.

To make this something I could throw together quickly on a weeknight, I peeled and deveined the shrimp and cooked the pasta on the weekend. This saved me lots of time. Here's the finish product. Delicious!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

This Week's Healthy Recipe

I don't usually think of soup as a meal but this one is really good and surprisingly filling. With the beef broth, Worcestershire sauce and Parmesan cheese, it tastes really hardy and delicious. This is another weight watchers recipe and has 6 points for a 1 and a half cup serving.

French Onion Soup

2 medium onion(s), thinly sliced
4 Tbsp dry sherry, or nonalcoholic wine
4 cup(s) fat-free beef broth
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 slice(s) French bread
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, such as Parmigiano-Reggiano

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In a large saucepan, combine onions and sherry; sauté until onions are tender, about 6 minutes.

Add broth and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast bread in oven until golden brown.

Place one piece of toast into each of four bowls. Divide soup among bowls and top each with 1/2 tablespoon of grated cheese. Yields about 1 1/2 cups per serving.

This is so quick and simple that there is no need for any make ahead steps. You could slice the onions ahead of time but I find that stinks up my kitchen. If you really want to save some time on your week night, make this on the weekend and serve it up any night of the week. Here's how it turned out in my kitchen.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Well Hello Old Friend

For me, running is like an old friend that I can always turn to. I get to think when I run and no matter what the situation, I always feel better after a run. Also, if it weren't for running, I would have never met my husband and Darwin would not exist. The thing I always loved about running was that it was fair. If I trained hard and was loyal to running, I was paid back with fast times. Anytime things weren't going so well, I could always figure out why. Maybe I hadn't trained enough or maybe I was pushing myself too much and I was over trained. Either way, running was usually predictable and I loved that.

When I got pregnant, it was hard for me to watch my old friend slip away. Even though I ran through all but the last 3 weeks of the pregnancy, things just weren't the same. This was the first time in my life that each run became harder than the one the day before and my times got slower, and slower and slower until I could hardly run at all. Sure, this was expected but I couldn't help but hate it even though I knew it was coming. I guess it is kind of like pregnancy weight gain. You know it will happen but it still hurts when you look in the mirror. I was able to get through these times by thinking about Darwin and how he was totally worth it. Also, I looked forward to running again after he was born. Boy was I shocked when running didn't go well after I delivered. This was never something I allowed myself to think about. I was going to run my entire pregnancy, give birth and get right back in there. My doctor cleared me to run 3 weeks post pregnancy. Even though I really didn't feel up to it, I forced myself to do it anyway. I mean the doc said it was ok, right? For about a month I kept at it but it felt like being pregnant all over again. Each run was harder than the one before and I certainly wasn't getting any faster. A 3 mile run would leave me feeling beat up and sore-like a 20 miler did back when I was marathon training. Finally, I came to my senses and took some additional time off. I had to reevaluate everything. I had plans to run a marathon when Darwin was a year old. For that to happen I basically needed to start training the second he was born. I realized that these type of goals were not realistic and were causing me stress. No new mom needs that. I took a step back and came up with a new goal. It was simply to enjoy running again. Sounds easy but that month of forcing myself through training runs was anything but enjoyable. I wasn't sure if this new, seemingly simple goal would happen. I took 3 weeks off and started running again on January 1st. I started with only a mile. It wasn't much but it felt good. Even though I was slow there was something familiar about it. It was pain free and I actually enjoyed myself. I've slowly added mileage since that day and I'm up to 20-25 miles per week. In the last couple of weeks, I've really noticed that I'm running faster and easier. Last night I put the shoes on that I wore in the Chicago marathon and went out for a tempo run. I was hoping to keep an 8:10 pace but ended up running more like 7:55 pace. Now I feel like I am definitely on my way back. I may never run the way I did before I became a mom, but that is ok. As long as my old friend running is in my life, I'm good with that.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

This Week's Healthy Recipe

Ok, so I haven't posted in a while. That doesn't mean that I haven't been cooking up some good healthy dinners. Brian and I directed a 15K last weekend and all my time went to that. As for this week, I guess I'll blame not posting on recovering from directing the 15K. Anyways, here's a great chicken dish I made a couple of weeks ago. This is another weight watchers recipe.

Orange Chinese Chicken

2 tsp dark sesame oil
2 tsp orange zest, strips
1 pound(s) uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, four 4-oz pieces
1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, or to taste
15 oz Sunfresh Mandarin Oranges In Light Syrup, or similar item
1/2 cup(s) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp orange zest, finely grated, or to taste
2 tsp cornstarch

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add zest strips and cook, stirring, until fragrant and slightly cooked, about 1 to 2 minutes. Meanwhile, season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. When zest is finished, increase heat to medium-high; add chicken to skillet and cook until golden, flipping once, about 2 minutes per side.

Drain oranges and reserve 1/4 cup liquid. Add oranges with reserved liquid to skillet and simmer 2 minutes. Whisk together broth, soy sauce, finely grated zest and cornstarch in a small bowl; add mixture to pan and simmer until sauce thickens and chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes more. Yields 1 piece of chicken and about 1/4 cup of sauce per serving.

Here's the finish product. This one was so quick and easy that I didn't need to do anything ahead of time. It was delicious! Enjoy! It has only 5 WW points per serving.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Feel Like a Runner Again

I hate speed work. There, I said it. I don't like tempo runs either. Both of these are some of the best things you can do to improve your running. I've done my share of both but I've hated every second. When I got pregnant I kept running but these intense workouts had to go. It just isn't safe to run like that when you are "with child". I have to admit that I was really glad to give them up-even if it was only temporary. Well, Darwin is 3.5 months old and I've been running well for a few weeks now. I've even done a race. I think my "no intense workouts" clause has expired.

With this in mind I set out to do my first set of post pregnancy intervals. I figured I'd start humbly. I could handle 6x400 meters right? Of course I could. So I ran an easy mile and went straight into the workout. I really wanted to get home to Darwin so instead of walking the recovery in between my quarters, I did a slow recovery run. The next thing I know, I'm on the last one. Were they hard? Yes! They sucked just like I remembered, but I did them. I even did them fairly fast-all of them were sub 7:30 pace. Slow by my old standards but smoking fast compared to any of the running I've done lately. Point is, I felt like a runner again and I liked it.

Friday, January 29, 2010

This Week's Healthy Recipe

And the cooking continues. This week I made lots of good things but this is my favorite. This is another weight watchers recipe.

Greek Shrimp with Orzo

12 oz uncooked orzo
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1 medium green pepper, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 c fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp crumbled feta

Cook orzo in salted water according to package directions without added fat; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, pepper and garlic; cook until soft, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and oregano; bring to a simmer. Add shrimp; cook until shrimp are bright pink and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

Spoon cooked orzo into shrimp mixture; stir to combine. Remove from heat and stir in basil. Spoon about 1 1/4 cups of orzo-shrimp mixture into a bowl and top with 1 teaspoon of feta. 7 weight watchers points per serving.

Here's how it turned out-pretty and yummy!

I found this one to be easy and tasty. Shrimp are simple to cook and also very fast. This one made plenty of leftovers so Brian and I were able to enjoy it again later in the week.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jumping Back In

Well, I did my first real post pregnancy race this weekend. I'm nowhere near top form but this is a unique race that Brian and I could both run (without needing a sitter) so I felt I should go for it. It was an hour track run. Basically, you run around a track for one hour and the person that goes the farthest wins. They run two separate heats. The first is for runners that plan to keep a slower than 7:30 minute/mile pace and the second is for those that plan to go faster. In the past, I've been in the fast heat but there is no way I could do 7:30 pace for an hour right now and logistically this allowed Brian and I to take turns watching Darwin while the other was running. (In the picture, I'm the first girl in white.)

I was a little nervous going to the race because I'm so much slower than I was before I got pregnant. Brian reminded me that it is great I'm running at all only 3 months after giving birth. He was right so I decided to just go out there and do my best. I was hoping to do 8:30s but I ended up being able to do 8:19 pace! I went 7.21 miles which is the longest run I've done since April 2009. My pace was fairly even as well so I was pretty happy. The only thing that sucked about the day was that several people came up to me and asked me why I ran so slow. WTF?!?! Maybe because I was pregnant and then gave birth. I wanted to punch a couple of them in the face. I can't believe that someone would think I would have a kid and then just start running the same times I did a year ago. Some of these people were just clueless and may actually think that is how it works. One lady has several kids of her own and is an L&D nurse. She should know better.

The big story of the day was Brian. He won the race in a very dramatic fashion. I love running but I admit it is not the most exciting spectator sport. This race was the exception to that rule. With a minute to go the race was so close than anyone in the top 5 could have taken it. In the end, Brian came from behind and won by 79 feet. The second and third place guys were only 6 feet apart! It was really fun to watch. Brian had a sacral stress fracture last summer and had to take 12 weeks off. His recovery and comeback were difficult so this win was a very big deal for him. Most of the time he is so far ahead of me in a race (even when I was in great shape) that I don't get to see him finish. Thanks to the format of the event I was able to see the whole thing and I loved it.

I'm not sure when my next race will be but until then I'll just keep training. I feel really good about my comeback and it feels great just to get out there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Organized Cooking

As a runner, it is important to me to eat somewhat healthy but it certainly isn't easy. As a kid, my mom and I were on the road every night. I lived in a really small town and I was a gymnast. We had to drive an hour each way for me to get to workouts that lasted 3 hours. We did this 5 days a week. My nightly dinners came from the drive thru and I developed some really unhealthy eating habits. Even to this day I love to eat fast food and my sweet tooth is ridiculous.

A few years ago I started cooking. Not much and nothing too difficult. I also didn't do it very often, but it was a start. Two years ago I became obsessed with Food Network. I'd watch it all day long but I rarely cooked anything. When Brian moved in he commented on how weird it was that I watched it all day yet never made anything. For whatever reason, this motivated me to get cooking-literally. Turns out, I'm not that bad and the tips I've learned from watching all that Food Network really gave me an edge.

When I found out I was pregnant I became determined to cook regularly. I wanted my child to grow up in a home where most of the dinners were homemade. Not because I'm trying to be June Cleaver or anything, but because I want him to like good food and not associate dinner with take out or drive thru. I work 4, 10 hour shifts a week, organize a year long running series and do some running of my own. I knew it would be difficult to find the time to make dinner on a regular basis so I came up with a plan. I cook 4 nights a week and I do all the prep work on the weekends. This next part is going to sound pretty anal and it is really but I cannot live without organization. Our menus are on a set schedule:

Wednesday-Pizza (takeout)
Thursday-Soup/Sandwich or Pasta

This really helps me narrow down my recipe searches. I am the least busy at work on Tuesdays so I search for my recipes on that day. Once I've found everything, I type up a quick shopping list and I'm ready for the next week. I find most of my recipes online with the majority coming from Weight Watchers. Once I have them all printed up I make notes on them about what can be done in advance. Any prep work like chopping, forming burgers, making sauces, etc... is done on Sunday and this makes cooking a snap each night. It is like everything is ready made. Also, Brian has decided to take over Thursday so I will eventually only be cooking 3 nights a week. Right now he still needs a little help and supervision but I think he'll be on his own soon. As for the weekends, we do some take out, some restaurant and some left overs.

Most of the time the recipes are good but not great but it seems like at least one or two a week are real standouts. I've decided to share the best recipe of each week with all of you including any make ahead tips and of course, a picture. A real picture too, not one I got online but an actual picture of the dish I made.

Last night I made Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms and it was great! I got this recipe from Weight Watchers.

Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms

2 tsp veg oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast (4, 4 oz pieces)
2 cups mushrooms, small and halved
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp dried thyme

Heat 1 tsp of the oil in a nonstick skillet.

In a medium sized bowl, mix 2 tbsp of vinegar, the mustard and garlic. Add chicken and turn to coat.

Transfer chicken and marinade to skillet. Saute chicken until cooked through-about 3 minutes on each side. Transfer chicken to a platter and keep warm.

Heat remaining tsp of oil in skillet. Saute mushrooms for 1 minute. Add broth, thyme and remaining tsp of vinegar. Cook, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are a deep brown color-about 2 minutes longer.

Serve chicken topped with mushrooms. 4 servings total with only 3 Weight Watcher points each.

I found this recipe to be very easy. The only thing I did ahead of time was wash and halve the mushrooms. Two things I couldn't live without on this one are a garlic press and a meat thermometer. I do not have the knife skills to mince a piece of garlic but a garlic press does it for me in an instant. Get one if you don't already have one. For me, I hate chicken, or any meat really, if it isn't perfectly done. It is really easy to overcook meat and no one wants to eat that. With a meat thermometer, you are never guessing. You know exactly when the chicken is done and done perfectly. I always cook poultry to 165 degrees and then take it off the heat immediately.

Here is a picture of the finish product.

I added a half cup of Uncle Ben's Ready Rice-Whole Grain Variety. I do not have time to cook sides so I use these all the time. They are ready in 90 seconds! Love that! This added 2 points to the meal.

For more color you could certainly add veggies. Trust me, this one tastes better than it looks.

Monday, January 18, 2010


This blog would not exist without Darwin so it seems only fitting that he have his very own post.

Darwin was born on 10/14/09 which just happened to be our one year wedding anniversary. I checked into the hospital at 6am and Pitocin was started. At 8:15 the doc broke my water and I started feeling contractions at 8:30. An hour later I was in hell and at 10:30 I finally got my epidural which was heaven! At noon they checked me and I was fully dilated! Once they got the room set up I started pushing and 25 minutes later, he arrived.

He was an easy baby from the very beginning. He took to breastfeeding easily and he slept 5 hours straight his first night in the hospital! He started sleeping 8 hours straight when he was 2 months old. He has been an absolute joy since the moment he arrived. Here's a few snapshots from his first 3 months.

Welcome to My World

Hello everyone! I'm Andi and yes, like many others, I have decided to enter the blogging world. I don't really know if what I have to say will appeal to many people or any people at all. I figure it will make for a great journal in the least!

About me:
Well, I think most people that know me would refer to me as a runner. I ran track in jr. high, high school and college and then dabbled in running and triathlons until 2003. At that point, I gave it all up and focused on school. I was in a very unhappy marriage which was made worse by struggling with severe male factor infertility. Our only hope was IVF but he was a full time student and although I was working full time as an audiologist, I was also in school part time finishing my doctorate. Family was going to have to wait until our financial situation turned around. So move forward 3 years and we still didn't have a family, he still hadn't finished school and there I was with 45 lbs to lose-the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I had finished my doctorate so I had no excuses now. I remembered how happy I had been when I was a runner and wanted to start again but at 5'5" and 170 lbs, it was too hard on my joints. I decided right then I was going to change my life. At the time I thought that meant lose weight and start running again. Little did I know that was only the tip of the iceberg.

I joined Weight Watchers and quickly lost enough weight to start running again. Once I did that, the weight came off even quicker. I joined the Little Rock Roadrunners Club and became a member of their competitive racing team. By the time the 2007 racing season started in January, I was down to my college racing weight! I started attending training runs with the club and became friends with the most wonderful group of people. At the same time, I got a huge raise at work for finishing my doctorate. I was now super healthy, very happy and had the money to go forward with IVF. Unfortunately my husband was no longer on board and we decided to divorce. It was actually a great thing. He still hadn't finished school. He had no idea where his life was going and I suddenly felt like I was in complete control of mine. That year, I trained harder than I ever had and was the third overall female in the state wide running series. In March, I met a guy, Brian, on a training run and we quickly became best friends. He coached me through my marathon training at the end of 2007 which lead to me qualifying for the Boston Marathon. Life was good. I headed into 2008 with more running goals than you could imagine. The season started off kinda slow. I wasn't running like I thought I could and when Boston rolled around in April, I ran much slower, 3 hours and 49 minutes, than I had hoped. When I got back to Arkansas I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon and started some serious training. Within a few months I was running times faster than I had ever imagined. I ran a 19:42 5k in August and I knew things were going to go well at Chicago. Brian and I decided to elope and felt that doing it right after the marathon would be the best timing ever. I ran Chicago on October 12th and finished in 3 hours and 22 minutes which beat my best marathon time by more than 17 minutes. Two days later Brian and I got married in beautiful Key West. Life was perfect.

When we returned home it was a very busy time. I had just accepted the position of Arkansas State Representative to the Road Runners Club of America. That meant that I would be in charge of the Grand Prix Series which is a state wide series of races lasting from January to November of every year. Thankfully, Brian had been deeply involved with the organization for many years so he was able to provide a lot of direction and some much needed help. While we were planning for the 2009 series I found out that I was pregnant. We were TTC but it had only been one cycle so it really did come as a shock-especially after my previous experience with infertility. We were both so happy. For a week I floated on a cloud and was so excited about our little secret. Only 6 days later I woke up and found that I was spotting. A few hours later I was full on bleeding and the happiest week of our lives came to a very sad ending. As bad as it was, I knew that miscarriage was quite common so I tried to be as upbeat as I could. I had gotten pregnant on the first cycle. This was a good sign. Also, the Grand Prix Series was starting and I didn't have time to dwell on it. In February, just days before the second race of the season, I found out that I was pregnant again. Other than a bleeding scare at 8 weeks, the pregnancy was uneventful. I was even able to run until I was 36 weeks!

On October 14th, 2009, our one year wedding anniversary, we welcomed our son, Darwin Beck into this world. Like most first time moms, I was shocked at how much my life changed. Getting a training run in is a real challenge now. We bought a treadmill and this helps a lot. When I went back to work 12 weeks after he was born things got even crazier. I always wonder how I'm going to get everything done between 10 hour shifts at work, spending time with Darwin, being a wife to Brian, organizing the Grand Prix and trying to get some training time for myself. I realize that by trying to make it all happen I may make myself crazy but I've always been an overachieving type A personality so I simply must try. I plan to use this blog to document my running comeback, Darwin's milestones and any pearls of wisdom that I find along the way.