Friday, August 31, 2012

{Guest Post} August Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

This is a post from Krista King, the person I sent my Foodie Pen Pal package to this month. I hope that she enjoyed everything as much as her post makes me think she did! 

Hi everyone! My name is Krista and this was my first time ever
participating in Foodie Pen Pals. I was lucky enough to be matched
with Rebecca and she made my first experience with FPP a great one.
Since I do not currently have a blog, Rebecca was nice enough to lend
me your ears to talk about the awesome package she sent me this month!

In my email to Rebecca I mentioned that I tried to eat healthy, but
also love to try new foods and cook. My FPP package did a great job of
meeting every guideline and I was really pleased with every item! Once
I ripped into the box and popped all of the little packing pillows
(please tell me I'm not the only one who enjoys doing that ha) I found
a collection of goodies including:

Local Tennessee Honey
Jar of Mild Chow Chow Relish
Strawberry Shot Blocks
Fruit Leather
Chocolate Coconut Larabar
Snap Pea Crisps

My favorite item has been the local Tennessee honey. I am a honey
lover and often include it in my cooking and baking, so this was right
up my alley! I have already used it to make some cherry almond granola
and love adding it to my morning coffee. I also loved that Rebecca
included shot blocks, since I often use them to fuel my long runs and
hikes. The Larabar was out of this world and reminded me a lot of an
Almond Joy. I had never tried that flavor before, but I think it is a
new favorite!

The snap pea crisps and chow chow relish were also new items to me. I really enjoyed the crunchy pea crisps and even spotted them in my
local grocery store! The chow chow relish is surprisingly sweet and so
far I have been eating it straight out of the jar, but maybe I'll get
more creative with it eventually.

Rebecca also included a recipe for a versatile fruit crisp that I
can't wait to try!! I think it would work really well with apples or
pears..yum! However, since I live in Texas and it is currently hot
enough to melt just about anyone's face off, I will probably be
waiting until the temps drop a little before I make any warm desserts.
Hurry up fall!

I could not be happier with my first experience with Foodie Pen Pals.
Thanks Rebecca for putting such a great package together and for
letting me share on your blog!

Krista, Thank you for sending me your post for your reveal! I'm so thrilled to have been able to be your first FPP! It can only go uphill from here! Rebecca

August Foodie Pen Pals Reveal

The Lean Green Bean

This month I got a great package. I was paired with Lorraine Santiago over at Just One Cupcake. She sent me a great package from Miami, FL! I lived in Florida for several years and never made it down to Miami. But, I feel like I've got a little bit of Miami in my house now, so that kind of makes up for it.

Lorraine sent me the BEST ever initial questionnaire! She asked me all sorts of questions about myself. I'm sure that some of my answers took her a little bit by surprise, but it didn't hinder her ability to send me a great package. I might have to steal some of her questions for my future FPPs.

Alright, on to the good stuff, I know this is really what you want to see.

This is everything that was in my package. A great postcard of the Miami harbor/skyline with a nice note about everything that was in the box. She sent me breakfast on the go, True North clusters, some stuff similar to Nutella (she said it is like Nutella with a kick!), Cracker Jacks (who doesn't love cracker jacks?), Cuban coffee or espresso, Guava Bites (which, as you can tell, have already been broken into...), and, probably the thing I'm most worried about, Snyder's Chocolate Covered Pretzels (can you really just eat one?).

I've tried True North nut clusters before, but not this flavor, so I'm excited to try them. I've never had the Emerald Breakfast on the Go before so that'll be a good snack for me. I just had a root canal and haven't been able to eat anything too crunchy so I'm going to have to wait a bit before I can break into these packages. They'll more than likely get stuck in my desk drawer in my office so that I can eat them during the week while I'm toiling away at work. 

Please tell me that you love these two items featured in this pictures as much as I do. I'm sure by now you all know that popcorn is my absolute favorite food in the whole entire world. I'm pretty much a purist though when I buy and/or make it for myself. So when someone sends me some that's a little bit different, I get really excited. Besides, they still put prizes in the boxes and I get about as excited as a 5 year old on Christmas morning when I open them (I know, I'm not quite right...). Also - Hershey's chocolate covered pretzels? Can I die now? I don't buy these things because I just can't stop eating them. It's sad really. A 30 year old woman with zero self control when pretzels are concerned. They were a little melted because of our TN heat, but that just means that instead of one pretzel at a time, it's probably going to be like 8. Sigh How will I ever survive?!

Guava bites. Lorraine said that they are a staple in her house. They are yummy. It was the only soft food in the package (besides the Nutkao and coffee) and I had to try it. It's like a fig newton, only filled with guava. I've never had guava. It's so freakin' good.

David was most excited about these. We haven't gotten into them yet, but he LOVES Nutella. He loves to dip marshmallows in Nutella. I'm going to have to make him a Nutkao and marshmallow treat later today, I think. Also - this espresso is from a local restaurant. Not sure if you can read the package or not, but it says Miami's Famous Cuban Espresso. David is a coffee freak. He loves the stuff. I like it too, don't get me wrong, but that man, he loves his coffee. Almost as much as he loves hazlenut cream on marshmallows and chocolate chip cookies.

Thank you so much for an absolutely wonderful package, Lorraine! I can't wait to try everything in here. You did a great job despite my wacky answers to your questions!

I sent my package to Krista. She doesn't have a blog, but she was mentioning that she wanted to do a guest post. Have a great month everyone. And, if you are interested, here's a little information about FPP:

-On the 5th of every month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal! 
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you are to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month. 
-Foodie Penplas is open to US & Canadian residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We've determined things might get too slow and backed up if we're trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. 
If you’re interested in participating for June, please CLICK HERE to fill out the participation form and read the terms and conditions. 
You must submit your information by September 4th as pairings will be emailed on September 5th!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Weight Loss Struggles and Questions

So I've been struggling with losing weight. I've gotten my runs in (not this week because of having a root canal and suffering from that pain) and I've tried to do more cardio on my off days. I'm not really losing any weight though. And, actually, I haven't even been doing that much cross-training... But, I'm losing inches, which is all fine and good. I'm wearing new sizes that I haven't worn in years. I'm happy about that. Incredibly happy, actually.

But I'm starting to realize that I really need to fix my diet. I'm thinking of joining Weight Watchers (WW), but David is against me spending any money on weight loss techniques as it seems like I've tried it all and spent a ton of money along the way. But, I follow this woman on Twitter @CurvyFitGirl and on my Google Reader and she's lost 115 pounds. One hundred and FIFTEEN pounds. Now, I don't necessarily want to lose that much weight. I'm shooting for another 40 pounds which would put me at a total of 80.

When I write it out like that it doesn't seem like it's so bad, but I feel like I've completely stagnated at this point. I'm tired of being in this number range. I don't want to see this number any more. It would be really nice to drop another 10 pounds. That's all I'm looking for at this point - 10 pounds.

Back on track here to WW. I'm trying to figure out if I should do it, first of all. Second of all, I need to figure out if the online program would be better for me or if I should do the in person meetings. I've never done the meetings in person before. I've done the online program before. I don't think that that is enough accountability for me.

I've got a couple reasons that I want to lose this weight. First, I want to be healthy. For me, mainly, but for my husband as well. Second, we want to have a family and the doctor says that it'll be easier for me to get pregnant if I lose extra weight. Third, this girl I know is getting married next year and I'm the only plus size lady in her bridal party. Now, if I'm pregnant that's one thing, but if I'm just fat, that's an entirely different thing. She's known me for years and I've always been, well, big (is that even the right word?), so I'm sure that she didn't figure that I'd ruin her wedding pictures, but I'm not so certain that I won't.

So, I guess what I'm wondering is if you (the big global you, Internet) think I should do Weight Watchers or if there is something else that you've found that works better that isn't crazy expensive. This has to fit in my budget. And my budget is limited. We've got a joint checking acct and we each have individual accounts as well. I'll use the money that's in my individual account for this, um, adventure so that I'm not using joint funds for it.

The online version of Weight Watchers, with their current special is $65 for the first 3 months and then $18.95 for each additional month. The standard meeting plan is $30 for the first week (unless they are running a special) and then $12 for each week after that. That makes it $66 for the first month plus $48 each month after that. That's so expensive. But I might be like my mom where if I'm paying for it it'll hold me more accountable. I really just need the tools.

It's so much easier to write about how hard a run is compared to how difficult it is to lose weight. 

So tell me - have you used the Weight Watchers program before and if you have, did it work for you? If you haven't done WW, what have you tried that worked?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Subaru and GU (Subagu?)

Instead of posting about another training run I thought I'd post about some other things that go on around the house.

It does involve a few more tears, but I swear this time it's not from me running. It is exercise related, though. Now - I know that people cry at Hallmark commercials, but do people cry at car commercials? No? You mean I'm the only one? Hmm, interesting.

Well, in that case... Just kidding!

Yesterday as I was sitting in the chair after that momentous 9 miler I had the tele on when this Subaru commercial comes on with dude cheering his lady on! She was on a bike and it looked like she was doing a road race. Rock on, right?! Her man was totally cheering her on.

Here, watch for yourself:

Did you cry? No? Hmm. Guess it was just me and The Fumbling Mom. Oh well. Anyway. The reason this made me cry is because this is what David does for me. He doesn't drive around in a Subaru and hold up big signs that tell me how much I rock, but he does encourage me. He makes me feel like I can do whatever I want. When I was saying in this post about people in cars judging me, he corrected me and said, "no, they aren't judging you. They are wishing they were able to do what you are doing." Or something like that.

Now, if David were to have something like this prepared for my half marathon that is just 33 days away I would love him more than I already do (hint, hint!!). Also - Subaru is also sponsoring the Lady's Speed Stick Women's Half Marathon that I'm running. So - I thought that it was appropriate that I cried. It also may have made it more emotional than it really is. But I digress.

The other thing that I wanted to post about is Gu Brew. Chocolate Gu Brew to be precise. 30 Something Mother Runner posted about Gu Brew a few weeks ago. She was giving some away to the first 6 commenters on the post. I was lucky #1 and got a few packets of Gu Brew. It took me a couple weeks to try it because I'm always hesitant to try things like this.

Well - I've had it twice now. Once last week after my 8-miler and yesterday. Last week I mixed it with water and yesterday I mixed it with milk. Both times it was very tasty. I think that I'll stick with the water though because it seemed to mix up better. It was thicker with the milk of course, but I had to chew a few chunks of powder and that was just not the most appetizing thing. Can I please just say, that it was exactly like drinking chocolate milk - even when mixed with water. 

I'm so happy that I won this because I will continue to use this as a recovery beverage. I look forward to it at the end of my run. I don't have to think about what I'm going to have for calories immediately. All I need to do is rip open the package, take the top off my water bottle, pour contents of packet in bottle, and shake vigorously. YUM!

Thanks Jessica!

Tell me - do you cry at silly commercials? And, what's your favorite recovery item?

Training is still hard...

Yesterday morning was my first nine mile run. I'm not going to lie. It was a bitch. But, it's done. I think that it was so bad because my legs really started to seize up on me. When I finally sat down at the end of it my legs were screaming at me.

David had to work yesterday so he couldn't roll me out (we use a rolling pin instead of a stick), but when he got home, that's the first thing he did; whether he wanted to or not! So - 9 miles, right. It was a 4.66 mile loop so we ran it twice. The first time we ran together. When I say together I mean David ran in front of me and at a much slower pace than what he normally runs. It was an hour to the end of the first loop. I felt like crap for some reason. It was a slow run. I was trying to pace myself for 9 miles. But it was still awful.

Since D needed to get to work I told him that he could run the second loop on his own and that I'd be fine. He took off. I yelled after him, "have a nice day at work, I love you." He turned around and gave me a kiss. Before he turned around, though, I started to cry. What's with all this moisture trying to escape my eyes on these runs? It's ridiculous. Anyway, I think that I was a little scared about running another 4.66 miles on my own. I don't ever run on my own. Actually, that's not true. The first time was just last Tuesday in Memphis. Anyway - this is turning into a big ramble. But I swear, I have a point.

I may have walked a bit more than I probably should have, but I was listening to my body. I continued on and completed my loop. David finished in 47 minutes. My total time was 2:13. I wanted to be done by 2:00, but it seems like there is no way I can ever finish in the time that I want. It's always a little over 10 minutes slower/longer. I imagine I'm faster than I really am. Which leads me to post this picture (even though I don't think that I look *this* bad!):
I think that really the most important thing is that I got the run in. I didn't die. And while I know that I didn't look like the lady in the top picture, or the chubby kid in the bottom picture, I did have my booty outside running. Being passed by a bunch of people in cars going to church, or the grocery store, or work. And even if they passed me when I was walking and were thinking, "look at that big girl out there... she can't even run the hill." or, "damn." (Yeah, just damn.) The whole point really about all of this is that I did this. Half of it I did on my own. I got out there, moved my legs, and put 9 miles down. It still shocks me. Who the hell is this person? I'll tell you who she is.

She's a runner. She's an athlete. And, she's about to be a half-marathoner. She may not feel like it all the time, but I'll tell you what, she is. Whether she wants to be or not!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Training is Hard

My half marathon training is going well. Yesterday David and I did a 5-mile run. Was it the best run I've ever had? No. Was it better than not doing anything at all? Yes, of course. What stands out most about that training run is that I cried more on that run than I have on any other training run.

Why did I cry? Well, I'll tell you why. We recently upped our interval training from running for 4 minutes and walking 2 minutes, to running for 4 minutes and only walking for 1 minute. We did that run on Tuesday morning last week for 45 minutes. That's 9 intervals in case you can't do math that fast (I can't do math that fast). I survived that run. We had a friend along with us and she did a lot of talking to keep me distracted, so that was good. Thursday we didn't run because we didn't want to get up and my knee hurt. When we left for the run on Sunday it was about 7:45. We had a good start. When we were about 2 to 2.5 miles into the run I just stopped. I couldn't do it anymore. My knee hurt (not the same one as Thursday morning, either), I got a really weird shin muscle cramp that was just odd feeling. It sucked.

I cried. A silent, except for sniffling, cry. The tears came and they would not leave. I couldn't stop them, no matter how much I tried. And I did try. I don't even remember all the things that were flying around in my head. But I have a feeling it looked something like this:

The only thing that I said to David during this whole time was, "I just don't think I can do this." He responded with a very appropriate, "BAH" or something like that. Thinking about it now, nearly 40 hours later, that's what it sounds like in my head. I think that he actually told me that the overall race thing I can do. Which I know. But at that moment, I didn't think that I could lift my legs up and start running again. I knew that I couldn't do another 4x1 yesterday. So I didn't. I didn't run anymore 4x1s.

But, I did run again. And I ran the rest of the time (well, not solid, but you know, I didn't quit). I may have switched back to my regular 4x2 interval, but the most important thing that I did for myself was not quitting when I was down. I felt like a rock star! I overcame my most serious mental block to date. I didn't do it alone, either. Had I been alone I may have just curled up on the ground in the fetal position and cried until David got concerned enough to come look for me. That man has done more for me than he probably realizes. My friend Kari has too. She gets up at the ass crack of dawn to come run with us when she doesn't have to be at work at 6:45.

But anyway, I'm getting a little off course. When I did my first interval of running after the tears started I was just going to run a little bit. There must be something about the pounding, though, because I kept running, for 4 minutes, and nearly all those thoughts were gone. It felt good. It was liberating. It was like I was saying screw you to those negative thoughts. I walked for 2 minutes after that. And then I ran again. And then, I ran again, and again, and again.

When we got finished, I thought to myself, "We should have done 6 miles." Had I not had my breakdown we would have finished 5 miles in under an hour. That's amazingly incredible to me. I know that there are a lot of people out there that can run 5 miles in under an hour, but to get this beast of a body to move that far in that amount of time is absolutely amazing!

Tomorrow morning is another session of 4x1s for 45 minutes. I'm sure that I'll survive it. Why? Because I'm the little engine that could, that's why!

Tell me: what's the hardest thing you've overcome in your training, or in anything for that matter?