Sunday, December 4, 2016

My First 10K!

Three and a half years ago, I ran my very first 5K. On Thanksgiving, I ran my first 10K!

I ran it with my honey and a friend. My primary goal, like most of my runs, was to finish without passing out or throwing up. I also wanted to finish it at an 11-minute mile pace.

My honey was thrilled before the race. Obviously.
Not only did I fulfill those three goals, my official time was 1:04:25! Well under a 10:30 minute mile pace!
My FitBit app was a little more generous. I trust the official time.
It was a nice, mostly flat course and a good mix of street and trail. There were lots of volunteers who smiled, cheered, kept the route clear of cars, and provided high fives. While it was pretty cold out (40º F), I think it was a bit warmer than last year when we did the 5K. I was finally nice and warmed up by 1.5 miles or so in. Also about 2 miles in, I had to do my first bit of walking, because of a side stitch. (Boo!) Happy that it passed quickly and the only other time I did some walking was at the second water stop... and just so I could drink water before picking up my speed again. The 5K and 10K folks all started off together, and at a certain point, we diverged. I felt a great deal of pride veering off towards the 10K part for the first time. I have worked hard for this and I'm glad that I challenged myself to go beyond my 5K comfort zone. Overall, I really enjoyed the run and felt great afterward. I certainly intend to continue this turkey day tradition.

After the 10K, I enjoyed stuffing my face at our family friends' house. YUM.
When I first started running 5Ks a few people commented, "pretty soon you'll be running half marathons!" I told them to slow their roll. I told them to let me get some 5Ks under my belt. Now that I've got a dozen 5Ks and one 10K checked off my list, I finally see a half marathon on the horizon.

I am registered to run my second 10K in February... and my first half marathon in May! I mapped out my training on the calendar, and realized that I can do accelerated versions of the Couch-to-5K and 5K-to-10K training apps and then work my way through a half marathon app. (I liked Active's apps for 5K/10K, so I opted for their app.)

Stay tuned for more on my running and racing adventures!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Favorite Whole30 Breakfast (Recipe)

Over a month since completing our first round of Whole30, we have carried forward a lot of the concepts. One is eating a good, protein-rich breakfast.

During the work week, I typically eat a couple hard boiled eggs and a piece of fruit. I prep a big batch of hard boiled eggs on Sunday, which gets me through the week. On the weekends, I sometimes "splurge" and cook up a sausage and egg dish. The great part is, it takes all of 10 minutes to make. Tops. Especially easy and tasty after a long run.

The ingredients and directions below are for one person. Just scale it up if you're cooking for more than one.

Favorite Whole30 Breakfast: Sausage, Fried Eggs, & Fresh Tomato

Serves: 1

  • 1 Trader Joe's garlic and herb chicken sausage, sliced (or other compliant sausage)
  • 1-2 eggs, cracked into a small bowl
  • 1 teaspoon ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 small tomato or piece of fruit of your choice, sliced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • French's yellow mustard (or other compliant mustard of your choice)
  • Cholula hot sauce (or other compliant hot sauce of your choice)
  1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown, a few minutes. 
  2. Drop heat to medium-low and push the sausage to one side of the pan. Add ghee to the now empty side. Carefully pour in the egg(s), tilting the pan slightly for a few seconds to keep it away from the sausage. Season egg with black pepper. Let egg cook over the heat for a minute, until bottom is set. 
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and cover. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, until the whites are set and the yellow is still runny. (Let it sit longer, if you like your yellows more firm.) 
  4. Carefully slide the sausage and eggs to a plate and add the tomato/fruit. Sprinkle tomato with salt and top sausage and eggs with mustard and hot sauce, if desired. 
  5. Enjoy! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Whole 30 Recap & Results!

I did it! I finished my first Whole30! Overall, I feel great and I'm proud that I stuck with it. I thought I would do a quick recap and share some of my results, as well as a few tips in case you are reading this because you are considering doing a Whole30 yourself. 

A quick disclaimer that everything here is my own opinion, I paid for all the products with my own cash money, and I am not receiving any sort of compensation. I'm mentioning specific products because they helped me to be successful, and to me that's worth sharing. 

Now that that's out of the way, a recap... 

Why I Did It: Three and half years ago, I was the unhealthiest I'd ever been (and be). I started following fitness-focused people on Instagram, people who openly shared their health journey, successes and challenges, and I was inspired to make positive changes in my own life. I started a Couch-to-5K app. We started eating more lean meats and veggies and fruit and less processed foods. Within a few months, I lost ~40 pounds. While I have been successful in maintaining my weight loss, I started to feel ready for another challenge. I started hearing friends and colleagues talk about Whole30 and I started following more Whole30 peeps on Instagram. Thirty days of clean eating? Sounds good to me! I like planning and rules, so Whole30 seemed like a great fit for me. I mentioned it to my honey and he said he would do it with me. I looked at the calendar and noticed that starting on August 22 would allow us the full 30 days, plus 10 days for structured reintroduction, before our friends' engagement party on October 1. Decision made. 

Let the Planning Begin: I purchased (and read) It Starts With Food and Whole30, as well as America's Test Kitchen's Paleo Perfected. I started mentioning it to family, friends, and colleagues. I started to gather compliant recipe ideas. The weekend before we started, I mapped out our meals for the following week and prepped food, including making homemade chicken broth and veggie broth. 

Tip #1: Plan... to an extent.

I found that a week at a time worked best for us. I would map out the recipes, go grocery shopping, and prep. That left little room for excuses, while still allowing us to change things up week to week. I should note that this was how we started. It worked just fine until our fridge broke. Yes, OUR FRIDGE BROKE A WEEK INTO OUR WHOLE30. Ugh. Luckily, my parents were able to lend us a small fridge, although this still meant that we had to plan (and prep) for just a few days at a time, because of the lack of space. We did that for two weeks. TWO weeks! Nearly half of our Whole30... The good news is that we made it work and we didn't let it ruin our Whole30. Oh, and our fridge is functioning again! 

Tip #2: Double the recipe.

When we found a recipe we loved, and one that is just as delicious as leftovers, we made a big batch and portioned it out for additional, easy meals. Such as Melissa Joulwan's (Well Fed) The Best Chicken You Will Eat. Ever. It really is the best chicken ever and was perfect alongside a simple Greek-inspired salad of tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, and artichoke hearts. 

Containers are Chefland. Got them on Amazon.
Tip #3: Recruit a Friend... or Family Member... or Colleague. Anyone.

I was stoked that my honey was up for joining me on the Whole30 adventure and that definitely helped keep me accountable. A colleague at work also decided to do it and I cannot begin to express how appreciative I became of her and our nearly daily check-ins about how I was feeling, new recipes, and overall cheerleading.

On Day 31, I got to my desk to find my copy of It Starts with Food, along with a Chomp stickRX Bar, and the sweetest thank you note. 

Even if you cannot find a buddy who will do the Whole30 with you, at least recruit some supporters. It's important to have support. 

Results: One of the rules of Whole30 is that you are not allowed to weigh-in. This was probably one of the biggest behavior changes for me. I liked the shift from a focus on the number on the scale, to how I was actually feeling. Within a few days, I was feeling much less bloated. Within two weeks, my clothes all started fitting better/looser. While I knew I had lost weight, I was still shocked to discover that I lost 10 pounds. Here's a before and after...

While I'm happy that those 10 pounds are gone, what matters most is that I feel better. I have more energy and don't experience a mid-afternoon slump. My sleep has improved. I'm still well on my way to meet my next goal of running my first 10K on Thanksgiving morning. 

Now what? During the last few days of Whole30, my honey and I started to talk more about what we would carry forward. While I have no intention of doing a Whole365, we do have control over the food in our home and our home will remain Whole30-ish. 

Oh, and the first thing we introduced was wine. Cheers! Tonight, we reintroduce cheese. Mmm... cheese. 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Whole 30: 10 days down, 20 to go...

Wow. I can't believe we're a third of the way through our first Whole 30! At this point I feel like I've settled into it.

Overall, I feel great -- I'm sleeping well and not feeling an afternoon slump. I haven't had any major cravings. I haven't consumed anything non-compliant... not even close.

A colleague is also doing a Whole30 and we've been checking in most mornings. We had a good laugh when we realized that we both recently had dreams about accidentally eating something non-compliant. Hers was bread and other baked goods. Mine was oatmeal. I think she wins, right? Who dreams about eating oatmeal?! I don't even eat oatmeal all that regularly.

As far as food prep, we do about the same as we did before. Here is a snapshot of what our Whole30 meals look like...

Breakfast: I typically eat a couple hard boiled eggs and fruit for breakfast, so this was probably the easiest food transition. While I could continue with my typical breakfast, I thought this was a great opportunity to try something new. On Sunday, I made the Leek and Prosciutto Frittata recipe from the America's Test Kitchen cookbook, Paleo Perfected. Many of the recipes are not Whole30 compliant (honey, paleo "baked goods," etc.), this was is fine as is. Super fast to make and tastes just as good leftover. Throw in a side of fresh berries and I've been good to go until lunch.

Leek & Prosciutto Frittata + Bluberries & Strawberries

 This has generally been leftovers from Meal 3 the prior day. My favorite taco salad recipe is compliant, once you omit the tortilla chips and cheese. I barely missed them.

Taco Salad

Dinner: Our third meals of the day have varied. One from last week was beef burgers with avocado mayo and caramelized onions, and sautéed cremini and maitake mushrooms, accompanied by a giant, veggie-filled salad.

Burger w/ avocado mayo & onions, mushrooms, & salad.

And yes, leftovers from this Meal 3 were Meal 2 the following day.

We've definitely enjoyed some quite delicious meals during our Whole30. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Whole30: 1 day down, 29 to go...

I'm back. 

After a lengthy blog hiatus. 


So, why now?

I'm back to share about my decision to do a Whole30 and bring my honey along for the ride.

We've had friends do it. I follow a bunch of people on Instagram who have done it. I was intrigued. A nutrition reset of sorts sounded good. 
So I looked into it. I read the books. 

Not familiar with Whole30*? Here are the basic guidelines, from the website: "Eat meat, seafood, eggs, tons of vegetables, some fruit, and plenty of good fats from fruits, oils, nuts and seeds."

The focus is real food. It is straightforward and there is no wiggle room. I like structure and rules, so it works well with my style. 

Now day one is almost in the books. Here's what we ate today:

Meal 1: Bacon, potatoes, bell pepper, and onion hash. (I found compliant bacon at our local Safeway!)
Meal 2: Chicken salad (avocado mayo, lemon juice, green onion, celery), cucumber, bell pepper, and grapes.
Meal 3: Pulled pork carnitas (Whole30 recipe), roasted sweet potatoes, cabbage slaw, and avocado.

How I'm feeling right now... Just fine. I was super tired today late morning. However, I'm not sure I can attribute that to Whole30. Because 1) I got up at 5 am to run 4 miles before my 9-hour work day and 2) I was sitting in a meeting with a lot of talking. Could be those things. Probably.

29 days to go...

*Want to read more about Whole30? Go here

Monday, May 18, 2015

Recipe: Stuffed Jalapeños

I made up a new stuffed jalapeños recipe for a dinner party on Saturday night and a family friend told me I HAD to post it on my blog...or at least e-mail it to her. I figured that the amount of time was roughly the same, so here you go!

I apologize for not having a photo of the actual stuffed jalapeños but I didn't get a photo before they were all consumed. Whoops.

Stuffed Jalapenos
Makes: 24
Calories: ~90/each

  • 12 fresh jalapenos, sliced in half lengthwise, seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 lb bacon
  • 1 8-ounce block of light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup light mayo
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chiles, drained
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs 


Bake the bacon...yes, bake it!
  1. Line a large baking sheet with foil and arrange the bacon in a single layer. 
  2. Place in oven (NOT preheated), set to 400º F. 
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, maybe a bit more, until the bacon is browned and crispy. 
  4. Carefully remove bacon from baking sheet onto a paper towel lined plate. 

While the bacon is baking, prep the filling!
  1. Combine the cream cheese, mayo, chopped green chiles and shredded parmesan in a medium bowl. 
  2. Crumble the cooked bacon and gently fold into the cream cheese mixture.

Stuff the jalapeños and bake them!
  1. Reduce oven temperature to 350º F. 
  2. Divide the filling among the jalapeño halves and line up in a single layer on another baking sheet or dish. 
  3. Bake for 25 minutes at 350º F. Sprinkle baked jalapenos with bread crumbs and broil for ~5 minutes, until browned. 
  4. Let the jalapeños cool for a few minutes before serving. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Recipe: Chicken & Leek Pasta

I've got a new recipe to share! Even with full-time work and grad school, I have tried to keep up with meal planning and home cooking. (Luckily, my honey is a great cook and has been helping on the cooking end.) This is important for our physical AND mental health. 

A few weeks back, we received some lovely leeks in our produce box. I promptly decided to play Iron Chef in our kitchen and came up with this pasta dish! 

Butter + Leeks = mmm...
Some sauce stuff.

Chicken & Leek Pasta
Serves: 4

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 3 small leeks, cut in half lengthwise & then white and light green parts cut into thin half moon slices
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 1/2 cup half-n-half
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan, plus more for topping
  • 8 oz pasta, such as fusilli or penne 
  • Salt and pepper

  1. Bring pasta water to boil. Add pasta and a bit of salt and cook al dente, according to package directions. 
  2. While pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add leeks. Cook leeks, stirring often, until they have softened and are starting to brown, 5-7 minutes. 
  3. Add white wine and cook until liquid has evaporated. 
  4. Add the chopped chicken, lemon juice and zest, and capers. Cook for a minute to heat through. 
  5. Stir in half-n-half and parmesan. Cook for another minute or two, until the sauce is bubbly and delicious. Season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour in the sauce and give it a good stir. Dish up, top with a little more shredded parmesan, and enjoy immediately.