Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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FAB Foods: current go-to recipes

We had a pretty low-key actual night of our anniversary. I had come down with a cold so we stayed in and I made dinner, we had some champagne and watched the end of Zero Dark Thirty. Romantic.

Speaking of making dinner, I feel like all we’ve been doing lately is going out to eat, so I’m making an effort to really get back into meal planning. So I thought I’d share some of my current go-to recipes with you!

Chicken Gyro Sliders: these are the cutest things. The “buns” are Trader Joe’s mini pitas and the homemade tzatziki sauce makes these sooooo good.

Chicken Pad Thai: I love Lee’s recipe for pad thai. I’ve tried tons of other pad thai recipes but this one is not only delicious, but it can totally be thrown together quickly. It’s also versatile. I’ll made it with tofu, scrambled egg, shrimp — you name it.

Goat Cheese, Carmelized Onion and Spinach Quesadilla: goat cheese makes anything better. Plus, the hubby LOVES these. Using extra spinach and whole wheat tortillas makes this almost guilt-free.

Pulled Pork Taquitos (with Chipotle Ranch dipping sauce): These are sinfully delicious and I have to remind myself that “moderation is key” when I make these. The pork is SO juicy and you want to put that Chipotle Ranch dipping sauce on everything. Plus, I love that it’s a crock pot recipe!

Tilapia Tacos: Again — I love the homemade sauces! This is greek yogurt based and is SO good. And normally, I’m scared to cook fish, but this recipe makes it easy.

BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad: I got my husband to request salad with this one! This is a great summertime recipe, making the sweet corn and chicken on the grill, but you could totally make it in the winter on the stove top, too.

Do you have any recipes that I should add to my rotation?


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FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 10/7 – 10/20

Guess what’s back?! I’m resurrecting the weekly workouts posts, although these past two weeks have been boring — yet again. But I ran for the first time since the marathon (more on that below) and am signed up for some spin classes over the next few weeks! Hoping to get back to a yoga class soon as well.

Saturday 10/12: 19.26 mile bike ride in 1:38:54

My husband had to drag me out on this ride. I was worried about leaving the house (this was the morning after our break-in) and my stomach was all wonky. And to be honest, I was kind of miserable the entire ride. My quads were tired, but luckily so were my hubby’s, so we took it slow. It was also cold and damp out and the sun wouldn’t decide if it was going to stay out and then my sunglasses started hurting my head. And on top of it all, my stomach continued to act up the entire way. But, once we were home, I was glad we went. Plus, it’s nice to bike with the hubs since we don’t run well together ūüôā

Sunday 10/13: 1.59 mile walk in 33:51

Just a nice walk with the hubs and the dog to fulfill my GymPact pact.

Saturday 10/19: Short run with Andrea

Saturday afternoon (after a failed attempt at running with Andrea — screw you, Mother Nature) the hubs and I went to see Gravity in IMAX 3D. We’re normally the small theater kind-of-people, but we braved the mall on a busy Saturday afternoon and splurged in celebration of our anniversary to see Gravity on the really big screen. Overall, I was a fan. I won’t get into it too much (there were quite a few “yeah right” moments) but I really tried to just enjoy the movie — and I really did. After the movie, we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Ngon Bistro, and had a fantastic meal.

I love bun!

I love bun!

Sunday: 2 miles in 19:02

Well, my first post-marathon run wasn’t fun — or pleasant. It wasn’t awful either. My random thoughts about this run:

  1. My legs felt heavy
  2. My foot hurt
  3. My hip hurt
  4. My knee hurt
  5. I was tired

OK so I use the word “hurt” loosely. (Hopefully) nothing will ever compare to how I felt for the last few miles of the marathon, so really how I felt during this run was just a minor inconvenience. But things definitely didn’t feel good — but maybe I was just feeling the effects of not running for two weeks.

After that run, I felt like I needed some retail therapy so I headed to the MOA with Mandy to do a little rainy day shopping.

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photographer fail.

Spent the rest of the day doing a little work and relaxing while watching football.

Random lesson learned recently: my husband makes amazing mojitos. And thus I’ve been drinking them quite often. This should probably stop happening soon….

Have you seen Gravity?

Have you ever seen a movie in one of those fancy theaters with the comfy chairs and the alcohol and the reserved seating? What’d you think?


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Leading the pack

Ha! They just posted a few more photos from the marathon and I’m thinking of buying this one because it looks like I’m leading a pack (and beating all of those boys)!

It totally looks like I'm beating all of those boys!

OK – so I see another women in the photo. But still…

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments on my last post. I was feeling a bit too mentally exhausted to reply to them, but I really appreciate the support!

It’s been a busy, busy week. On Sunday, we booked our Boston trip! I can’t wait and it feels so good to have the trip booked — one more thing to cross off the list. Who else is going to be in Boston for the marathon in 2014?

This week, I also attended the MIMA Summit, a big marketing and technology conference, for work. The highlights were definitely getting to see Nate Silver speak. (I’m a huge nerd and find the kind of stuff he does interesting.) And the opening keynote from¬†Sarah Lacy¬†was pretty awesome.

I have big plans to run later today — the first run since the marathon! Just planning to run a few miles today to test out the hip. I’m sad to say that I can still feel that something isn’t right, but I’m going to give it a shot!

Next week looks a bit more low key and I’m excited because the hubs and I will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary!

Question: does anyone have a good training plan for a 5K? Or good workouts to do if you’re trying to improve your 5K time?


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Just a little setback…

Our house got broken into this weekend.

It was Friday night, the hubs and I had just finished eating dinner and I was already in my Oiselle sweats and was looking forward to an evening in. Then we remembered that we had to run an errand in St. Paul. We kicked around the idea of going Saturday morning, but eventually decided just to run out quick and get it over with. We packed up the dog and got into the car. As we walked up to our front gate when we returned (no longer than 40 minutes later) we noticed it was unlatched. I commented that I thought I had closed it on our way out, but didn’t think too much of it. Then, as we walked up our walkway to the front door, we noticed that the back gate was also open and the screen from our south side window was on the ground. Instincts kicked in and I grabbed my dog and headed back out to the street, away from the house. J called 911 and waited by the open window, in case whoever had broken in was still in the house. My heart was pounding and I tried calling my neighbor but he wasn’t home. Then, literally four minutes later, I heard sirens. The sirens got louder as they approached, but then they stopped and the cops pulled up to our house, lights off. I let them know that the guy standing by the house was my husband (not someone they should shoot) and they drew their Glocks and some major-powered flashlights and started sweeping the house.

Once we knew the house was clear, we spent the next ten or so minutes answering questions for the cops and identifying what was missing — Playstation 3 (with Grand Theft Auto V inside of it, sad face), my MacBook, my Droid Razr HD and our Wii. While answering these questions, we were also frantically looking for our cat, Sam. We finally found her, hiding in the basement, but were so worried that something had happened to her. The cops noticed that there were some visible fingerprints on our two TVs that whoever broke in had (very obviously) tried to take. But just as the cops were radioing for the crime lab to come, they got called away for a shooting that had just taken place — just a little over a mile away. (PS – our neighborhood is actually much safer than I’m making it seem.)

I don’t think I slept that night (but on the positive side, I got to see the end of the ¬†Cardinals/Dodgers 13-inning game) and we spent the rest of the weekend installing window locks and alarms and reading the “Security for Dummies” book that our realtor gave us when we moved into our house.¬†It’s a total “you-never-think-it’s-going-to-happen-to-you” kind of thing. It’s also the type of thing that puts life into perspective: J and I had been crabby with each other earlier in the evening, but whatever stupid, petty thing we argued about didn’t matter anymore.

I was texting with a friend about what had happened and I ended the conversation by saying that this was “just a little setback.”¬†And you know what? I believe that.¬†I keep thinking about just how lucky we were — things could have been so much worse.¬†When I put something on FB about this, it was alarming (and so sad) how many other people have been through similar situations. We, or our pets, could have been hurt. We could have been home (which would have def upped the tramuatizing factor). They could have taken everything. They could have done damage to our property — and so on.

With that said, I’m still incredibly freaked out and a little on edge, even a few days later. I can’t help but keep thinking about how they were likely watching our house, how they have probably seen my photos on my computer, how they were in our home, how they could still be watching our house. And then you start thinking about the “what ifs” and what you could/should have been doing differently. But I’m trying not to dwell on that stuff.

Anyways,  I hope you all had a good weekend. Did you see my goals for this fall/winter? I want to hear your goals! Or in keeping with the theme of this post, any tips for home security?


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Setting some goals

Soooooo now that the marathon is over, what’s next? I’ve decided to set some goals to keep me motivated over the next few months:

Run 20 races in 2013

As part of my #13in2013 challenge, I’m up to 17 races for the year and would love to make it 20 total by the time we ring in the New Year. Next up? The Girls on the Run Twin Cities 5K.

Set some new PRs

No marathons for me in 2014, so I’m planning to shift my focus to improving my 5K time and build up to a spring half marathon. Although, a recent email from a friend may have shifted my plans to running a half as soon as February ūüôā

Quality cross training 

No more excuses. Since I’m not running for hours on end every week anymore, I am planning to make cross training a priority to get strong and keep myself healthy. I’m planning to focus on weight training, swimming, spinning and yoga.

Get certified

My personal training certification test is a little over a month away. To be perfectly honest, I haven’t been able to devote as much time to studying as I should be…but I’m buckling down over the next month and will go into the test as prepared as I can!

What are your fall/winter goals?


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Race recap: 2013 Twin Cities Marathon

Race morning was pretty typical: alarm at 5:30, breakfast cookie and coffee. My father-in-law drove J, KK and I to the start where we met up with John and Stef. I dropped my bag with the GOTR SoleMates folks and headed outside.

It was somewhere around 48 degrees at race time and really, very pleasant! I ended up wearing my Oiselle singlet, arm warmers and Stride Shorts. I also decided on sunglasses but later wished I would’ve worn a hat.

Me and the hubs!

Me and the hubs!

My training buddy!

My training buddy!

We said goodbye to Stef and then John, the hubs, KK and I lined up in Corral 2. After the wheelers and first wave of runners took off, it was our turn!

Miles 1-3 8:50, 9:19, 9:23

The first mile weaves through downtown Minneapolis (yeah, Garmins hate that) and once you’re out of downtown you head up your first hill by the Walker Art Center/Sculpture Garden.

Our little group stuck together and maintained about a 9:15 pace for the first couple of miles. I could feel something in my hip (and my foot, surprisingly) but felt great. The weather was perfect and the crowds were energetic. We kept a pretty steady pace as we headed towards the lakes.

Miles 4-8 9:04, 9:09, 8:51, 9:06, 8:54
These miles take you around parts of Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. The paths narrow and it gets a bit crowded through here but we maintained a pretty decent pace. Was still feeling strong and stuck with the rest of the group.

Miles 9-11 8:59, 8:57, 8:51
We saw John’s wife and our friend Mike right before mile 10. Then, at mile 10 I spotted….my face!

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And Jen, Mandy, Tony, Ashley and Andrea! I was quite warm by then (sun was out) so I left my arm warmers with them.

By this point, I started feeling the familiar feeling in my hip that I felt during my last long runs, so I knew it was realistic just to focus on just trying to maintain my pace or increase it gradually, so our little group broke up and I was on my own.

Miles 12-15 9:07, 9:04, 9:15, 8:59 (crossed the halfway mark under 2 hours — still on track for a possible 4 hour marathon)
I’m happy to say that during this stretch, I was possibly the strongest I’ve ever been, mentally, during a race. My hip pain was traveling down to my knee and upper calf and I considered a DNF, many, many times. So I was starting to really hurt, my foot was rubbing in my shoe and I wasn’t even at the halfway mark yet. But I focused on maintaining my pace and on just making it to the next landmark. I focused on getting to the 13.1 mark, then Minnehaha Falls, then 36th and the Parkway (where I knew my father-in-law would be) and then Franklin Ave. In my mind, I just wanted to make it to mile 20 and then would re-focus on finishing the race.

Miles 16-18 9:22, 9:27, 10:35
These miles were very familiar to me since I¬†run them so often. And I truly believe that I was only able to keep my pace through here because of that. But the thick crowds and seeing Kristin, Kelly, my father-in-law and Alyssa during this stretch also helped. Because now I was starting to break — both mentally and physically.

Miles 19-21 10:30, 10:21, 10:17
I finally broke down and adjusted my shoe to try and stop the rubbing. I also started walking through the water stops and doing leg swings to loosen up my hip. I spent this stretch running to the next mile marker, walking a bit and repeating. The rain was also really coming down at this point. My sunglasses were blurry because of the rain so I put them on top of my head but then the rain was getting in my eyes — super frustrating. But then¬†I saw Ashley and Andrea and was so relieved! I got a GU from them and my knee band that I had given Andrea ahead of time.

Another awesome sign!

Another awesome sign!

Miles 22-23 10:48, 11:00
At mile 22 I saw some more familiar faces and then started to head up Summit Avenue. I felt a slight sense of relief to be on the homestretch but knew that it wasn’t going to be pleasant, considering the shape I was in. More walk/running but the distance I was able to run before my hip would totally tighten up was getting shorter.

Miles 24-finish 10:36, 11:55, 11:46
Seeing Tracy at mile 24 (OK, I didn’t realize it was Tracy at the time) gave me a boost to run just a little further! I ran up the little incline to the top of the hill and the Capitol (and the finish line) was finally in my sights. It was pretty amazing how completely opposite I felt this year compared to last. Last year, I fed off of the crowds, dug deep and sprinted to the finish. This year, it was all I could do not to walk across the finish line. But¬†I crossed the finish line just feeling relieved to be done — and then my left leg started to lock up and then when¬†I saw KK and the hubs waiting for me, I lost it. All of the emotions — the pain, the disappointment, and even still a sense of accomplishment — came over me and I had a good cry.

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You can’t tell how much pain I’m in here.

We waited to see John finish and a few minutes later all of a sudden I felt short of breath and like I was going to pass out. I muttered something to J along the lines of “I think I have to go to the medical tent now” and stumbled over to the tent. I ended up knowing the guy that was helping people into the tent (went to college with him and hadn’t seen him in years!) and told him I was really dizzy. He helped me into the tent and I was taken to a station where I laid down with my legs elevated and they promptly slapped a blood pressure cuff and finger pulse thingy on me. ¬†I started shivering uncontrollably and lost feeling in my fingers. On top of everything, my hip had totally tightened up. But they kept the warm blankets coming and alternated between feeding me broth and water and eventually I was able to sit up without feeling dizzy. I took a few shaky laps around the tent, sipped on some more broth, and had my vitals taken one more time before they finally let me go. I met up with the hubs and my father-in-law and we headed home.

The rest of the day we laid around and then hobbled over to BDP to get some burgers and beer.

Still felt sick so couldn't finish my beer :(

Still felt sick so couldn’t finish my beer ūüė¶

Final official time: 4:20:15 (Garmin said 4:18) — a PR of 29 minutes!

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So there you have it! I’m thrilled with a new PR but obviously disappointed that I wasn’t able to go into this race totally healthy. I’m looking forward to taking some time off and setting some new (shorter distance) race goals. Although I won’t be signing up for one in 2014, I’m pretty sure another marathon will be in my future!


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Here we go!

Earlier today, the hubs and I headed to the TCM Expo with KK and Corry and picked up our race packets. If you don’t already know, I absolutely LOVE race expos and the Twin Cities one doesen’t disappoint. However, I didn’t feel like there wasn’t anything TOO exciting this year, but I did get this super cute necklace:

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Oh, and I had to talk myself out of buying a really expensive/cute zip-up with the TCM logo on it.

Since we got home from the expo we’ve been relaxing and are planning on stroganoff (my traditional pre-race meal)¬†for dinner. I started laying out my gear for tomorrow and read this oldie, but goodie blog post¬†(a breakdown of the TCM course, mile by mile) and then will probably try and get to bed early.

Game plan for tomorrow is to be up by 5:30, arrive to the start by 7:15 a.m., drop my bag with the Girls on the Run SoleMates and then meet up with the 4:00 pace group. (Still going to try my best for sub-4 hours, but not feeling overly optimistic about it.)

Here’s what I’ll be wearing:

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Still deciding between Stride shorts or Rogas….

If you want to track me tomorrow, you can sign up using this link.

What should be my post-marathon meal? I’m thinking Mexican food…

Side note:¬†This week my athlete profile went up on the Oiselle website! I can’t wait to get my photo switched out to one of me in my racing kit.