Beans, beans…

October 11, 2010 at 9:34 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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…the magical fruit the more you eat the more you….

Okay, that’s enough of that. ūüėČ

Training Calls for: Rest

Miles Run So Far: 264.2

Days Left: 6

Bonjour, blog babes!

My new routine means I go to class MTuThF from 9-10 and then head on over to work at 11 (yes, I start my work day at 11 — be jealous ūüėČ ¬†I also don’t get out until 7, so in turn, I’ll be jealous of all you 9-5ers). ¬†In the hour in between, I chill in the campus library, use their WiFi and write my posts.

Dear Library,

Get your act together.  Sketchy WiFi for two days straight was un-cool.

Dear Bethany,

Get YOUR act together.  Forgetting your camera was equally un-cool.

But I’m back now and I am ready to reveal just what I was cooking up in the cocina Tuesday night. ¬†Ready for it?

Black beans?

Brownies?

Black Bean Brownies!!!

Yep. ¬†After eating one of these babies at the 30-mile meal, I finally got the courage to try the recipe myself. ¬†I have a hard time wrapping my mind around a dessert made from an ingredient I’m used to seeing in soups, salsas and nachos, but I am nothing if not willing.

It’s all in the name of a potentially good dessert. ūüėČ

I found this recipe online and realized I had everything I needed to make it.  It was like the universe was telling me I needed to strap on my apron and get to work.

Here’s my other motivation for trying this recipe…

A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease and has been restricted to a gluten-free lifestyle. ¬†Another family member of mine is already eliminating gluten from her life for dietary and health reasons as well. ¬†It kills me that 99.9999% of baked goodies and enjoyables include FLOUR.

What the heck?

So when I see a recipe that’s gluten-free, I think to myself, “I need to try that for them.” ¬†Since I am NOT gluten intolerant and I know exactly what a treat with gluten tastes like, I figure I can be the¬†discerning¬†palate for these two and taste test these recipes until we find one that will revolutionize the G-free world.

Oh, yes.  I bear that cross proudly ;).

This might have been the easiest recipe I’ve made in a while. ¬†Dump almost all ingredients in a food processor and whirl.

Add chocolate chips sprinkled on top (or you could use chopped walnuts).

Bake.

Enjoy.

So here’s my review of the flour-free freakishly good black bean brownies: ¬†um, pretty close. ¬†Most gluten-free products taste similiar (but not close enough) to the real thing.

These are a darn good imposter. ¬†Sam declared he likes them BETTER than actual brownies. ¬†The texture is kind of odd when you pull them straight out of the oven (really fluffy — think long-lost gluten-free cousin to the Pillsbury dough boy), but when they’ve cooled, they’re chewy and kind of fudgy like a good brownie should be.

The instant coffee the recipe calls for gives the brownies a hearty base flavor — though it isn’t overpowering. ¬†It doesn’t taste like mocha, it tastes like chocolate. ¬†I think the chocolate chips on the top are imperative because they give you a little nugget of chocolate amid an otherwise tastebud confusing treat.

I’m not sure how much healthier they are compared to regular brownies (since you still use sugar, oil and eggs), but they’re made from REAL ingredients, so I give them my stamp of approval!

In other news…

Did you notice we’re just 6 days away from the marathon? ¬†OH. MY. GOSH. ¬†I am a little bit freaking out and mostly just excited. ¬†My 8-mile run on Saturday was so-so. ¬†I think I was bored? ¬†Strange, I know, but running these shorter distances (um, 8 miles is shorter? who am I??) is kind of like old hat. ¬†I think 20 miles went so well because I was engaged in the challenge.

Let’s just hope I feel that same way on M-Day. ¬†Pardon me while I go grab a paper back and start hyperventilating.

Sam, on the other hand, is battling a serious IT band injury. ¬†It hurt him so badly I had to run ahead and get the car to pick him up. ¬†I can’t believe this has happened to him with just a week to go, but I’m trying to maintain a positive attitude and grab my pom poms to be his cheerleader. ¬†We’re in this together, no matter what. ¬†Even if I drag him across the finish line. ¬†Even if I drive all over God’s green earth to find another marathon for him to run. ¬†Even if I put him on my shoulders and carry him the whole way.

Got that, Sam? ¬†It can all turn back around just as quickly as it went south. ūüôā

Leave Sam a little comment love and encouragement, okay?

A Teachable Ten

July 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Training Calls for: 10 miles

Miles Run So Far: 86 miles

Days Left: 86

Well, hello there!  Good to see you again ;).

We traveled far and wide (really just across the state) to spend this weekend with Sam’s family. ¬†His sister just took the MCAT and we are ALL celebrating the fact that part of her journey towards the M.D. is OVAH! ¬†The amount of effort that goes into becoming a doctor makes running a marathon look like something you could do at the drop of a hat. ¬†Serious determination and dedication, friends. ¬†Fortunately, my sister-in-law is made of tough stuff!

The only meal worth blogging about from yesterday was dinner:

We each made our own shish kabobs (or in Sam and my dad-in-law’s case man-kabobs) and enjoyed them alongside wild rice, mixed berries and a great tossed salad. ¬†I love shish kabobs because A) everyone can format them they way they want B) you get a power pack of veggies C) you can still enjoy your meat without over doing it. ¬†Next time you’re grilling, consider shishing your kabob ;).

Since I knew we had 10 miles staring us down the next morning, I practiced some hydration responsibility and only had one small glass of wine and a ridiculous amount of water.

The alarm went off way too early this morning (well…not that early, but does anyone ever feel like it goes off at just the right time?). ¬†Heading downstairs to eat a light breakfast, I heard thunder in the distance. Boo.

I munched on a well-rounded breakfast of a toasted sandwich thin with PB and leftover mixed berries while waiting out the rain.  The storm passed relatively quickly and we were off!  My dad-in-law gave us a pretty good route that would cover 10 miles without forcing us to loop around or re-track our steps.

While running the first 5 miles, I came up with several blog post titles for this post:

Soybeans to the Left, Corn to the Right

Hills, Hills, Hills

Maybe You Shouldn’t Try to Run Me Over, Truck

Thank Goodness for Shade

And on and on and on. ¬†It was a toughie, that’s for sure. ¬†We don’t often run many hills, though it is something Sam and I both know we need to work out. ¬†I feel like this run might have covered us for a while ;). ¬†It was good, though, that we challenged ourselves and kept a pretty good pace while trucking it up and down all those inclines.

It did feel a little defeating, though.  After 5 miles, I started to feel really low.  I would look up and see another hill and just feel like I was never going to make it through 5 more miles.  We ended up walking quite a bit for the remainder of the run and finished up, pretty exhausted.

I decided after a bout of negativity (mile 7.5) and a slew of defeatism (mile 8.25) that I needed to turn this whole attitude and run around.

We sat for a while on the front porch, stretching and cooling down.

Check out those sweat marks we left behind ;).

As we chatted, Sam and I decided to list some victories from the run.  These include:

ūüôā Running 10 miles for only the third time. ¬†Ever. ¬†Go us.

(That’s my best Zoolander face)

ūüôā Taking on a smorgasboard of hills and doing really well with our pacing.

ūüôā My IT band felt great and I know the strategy I’m taking with stretching and yogAHHH will help me complete training, injury-free.

ūüôā We used a new water bottle system (the kind that slips on your hand) and this really helped. ¬†(So did my dad-in-law driving to meet us at the halfway point with more water bottles — Thanks, Dad!)

We also talked about where we could learn from this run and how we’ll implement this from now on.

ūüôā Working on pacing — starting slower, increasing speed for a stronger finish.

ūüôā Running earlier in the day. ¬†We wrapped up at about 11:30 and it was really hot and really humid.

ūüôā Tackling more hills.

ūüôā Stretching — Sam said he didn’t feel he had stretched as much as he needed for this bad boy of a run.

Here’s the point: when you have a run that leaves you less than pleased, when you feel like it’s a miracle you slogged through it, you need to learn from it.

This run was a very teachable ten for me.

I was nervous to run this morning because I was here in W-town (Sam’s parents’ hometown) when we ran that last 10 mile training run for half marathon training. ¬†We all remember how stellar that was *sarcasm*. ¬†I felt so much trepidation between my IT band and the memory of a crummy run that I was pretty psyched out about this. ¬†It wasn’t a good run, but I’m going to learn from it. ¬†I’m going to have to run 10 miles again, and more than 10 miles again. ¬†And again.

I can’t move forward if I’m not armed with a plan. ¬†Negativity and defeatism doesn’t move you forward, it stalls you out and freezes you in place. ¬†A plan and a positive attitude will help push you even when you aren’t sure if you can make it.

So I’m working on it. ¬†Boy, am I working on it.

I ate a recovery breakfast of oatmeal (made with water and milk), a spoonful of PB, and a banana.

I had lovely company.

Zora.  Puppy <3.

We ran some errands and I snacked on a Clif Bar (Dear Clif Bars, Please find LaraBars and make bar babies) and drank a Vitamin Water Zero for some electrolyte replacement. ¬†It was necessary, even if it wasn’t all that natural. ¬†*sad face*

I picked the least un-natural I could find.  I was shocked that the second ingredient in one of the Powerades was high fructose corn syrup.  What?!

It’s time for a little relaxation and family time…and more celebrating. ¬†I love my sister-in-law and am so proud of her for all her hard work. ¬†She’s been studying for almost a year for this test. ¬†Now that it’s behind her, she’s on her way to being Dr. Sister-in-law. ¬†Even though it won’t be her specialty, I’m totally going to call her in the middle of the night when our kids are running fevers, instead of our GP. ¬†ūüôā ¬†She’s been forewarned, it’s cool.

How do you handle a crummy run or a less than stellar workout?

Half Marathon Wrap Up :)

April 12, 2010 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments
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Where to even start?  How about the beginning?

PACKET PICKUP….NERVES, ANYONE?

Saturday afternoon, my dad and sister (Lisa) arrived at our house and after a little visiting, we were off to pick up race packets.

Questions were asked about chip timing…

T-shirts were admired…

Nerves set in. ūüėČ

There was an option to pay $10 a plate for a spaghetti dinner the local elementary school was hosting, but my mom’s homemade sauce preeeeeetty much kicks anything else’s rear end, so we ended up chowing down at home.

Mmm.  My plate had a MASSIVE helping of whole wheat spaghetti, all natural homemade sauce, two homemade meatballs, garlic bread, salad with EVOO and balsamic vinegar and a healthy serving of green beans.  Carb loading in its finest!  There was a big chocolate chip cookie for dessert, but it went unpictured.

After dinner, it got eerily quiet. ¬†Sam, Lisa and I were working on our race playlists, my mom tackled a Sudoku and Dad ended up reading on the floor. ¬†Everyone was in bed earrrrrrly. ¬†Funny, because the race didn’t start until 9am — so it wasn’t like we had a super early wake up time. ¬†Must have just been the nerves crashing.

RACE MORNING

I was up and at ’em at 6:30 and was sure to eat breakfast and drink coffee first thing so it would be nice and settled by the time I ran. ¬†Brekkie wasn’t anything fancy: a mini whole wheat bagel with PB, banana and coffee with half and half.

Post-breakfast, there was a lot of scrambling and second-guessing. ¬†What to wear? ¬†How to layer? ¬†What are you wearing? ¬†Well, I’m wearing this… It was a little tricky because it was only in the mid-30’s when we were getting ready, but was supposed to warm up to the mid-60’s when we would be wrapping up the race. ¬†That’s quite a spread in temperature, wouldn’t you say?

I ended up dressing minimally in my moisture wicking shirt and running shorts. ¬†I layered with an Under Armour sweatshirt pre-race and gave it to my mom right before we took off. ¬†There was pre-race stretching when we got to the site (about 35 minutes early! haha) and some pics…

I gave my mom a hug and almost started to cry. ¬†I couldn’t believe this was actually happening. ¬†I looked at Sam to tell him “thank you for helping me get here” but the words came out crooked. ¬†He just hugged me and told me to kick some ass. ¬†We lined up at the intersection where the race began and chatted a little. ¬†Out of nowhere, the ROTC fired the canon and for a split second, everyone was looking at each other like, “what was that? ¬†DO WE GO? ¬†We go NOW???”

And we were off :).  No going back now.

THE HALF MARATHON

It was a fairly crowded start, so my pace was very leisurely. ¬†This worked out in my favor because A) I tend to rush the beginning of a run and lose my steam later and B) I needed a few minutes to process this goal was actually underway. ¬†It was surreal. ¬†I chose not to run with my iPhone or use my RunKeeperPro to keep track of my pace or distance. ¬†Why do this after all those training runs with these tools? ¬†I did it because I did NOT want to spend 13.1 miles worrying. ¬†This race was not about winning, it was about finishing it. ¬†I knew I had little chance of “winning” anything — except the prize of finishing. ¬†I wanted to just run.

Miles 1-3 were a nice easy pace. ¬†At one point, I wanted to adjust my headphones, so I pulled them out of my ears and went from upbeat, Motown music to the soft, shuffling sound of hundreds of running shoes on the pavement. ¬†It was the most chilling sound — like I could hear whispers of everyone’s thoughts, everyone’s goals. ¬†So spooky and so cool. ¬†I pushed my earbuds back in and got back in the groove, but that moment of sound stuck with me. ¬†My mantra for the first 3 miles was “there is no going back, there is no turning around, there is only forward motion.”

I passed by some friends at mile 3 and gave them a wave.  It was so nice to see familiar faces.

At mile 4.5, I saw even more familiar faces — my mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law and his girlfriend were right on the side of the bike path. ¬†Their cheers were music to my ears — if you are a race spectator, never ever underestimate your worth. ¬†Whether you have a runner in the race or you’re just there by happenstance, your clapping or smiling or well placed “way to go” can mean the difference between a ragged breath or a triumphant exhale. ¬†My mantra became, “they believe in you and so you must believe in yourself.”


Just before I made it to the turnaround point (6.45 miles), I saw Sam pass me in the other direction. ¬†We tagged hands and it was another big boost of energy. ¬†I’m always telling Sam he should go ahead of me, not let me slow him down — I’m so glad he was making good time and looked like he was in good spirits.

I turned around at 1:07:15 and started hoofing it back towards my in-laws. ¬†I saw Lisa on the other side and tried to yell out “you’re almost there!” as we tagged hands. ¬†People must have been annoyed with my desire to reach out and tag my family members — but I didn’t care ;). ¬†At my in-laws, more cheers and one funny “just keep drafting!” from my brother-in-law (I had been stuck behind another woman for most of that leg) and I started to wonder where my dad was.

I hadn’t seen him.

Oh my gosh, was he hurt?  What was going on?

I stole a glance behind me to try and get around the woman in front of me and realized my dad was only about 3 feet behind me. ¬†He told me later he had bascially been following me the whole time. ūüôā

I was feeling good and strong until mile 9, when my IT band started to ache. ¬†It was a dull pain at first, but it got so much stronger, I made the decision to walk at mile 9. ¬†It wasn’t easy — I felt a little failure at stopping to walk, but I had to make my mantra, “make the smart decision, finish the race strong“. ¬†From there on out, I finished up the race, with my dad by my side, walking about a tenth of a mile and running the remaining nine-tenths for miles 10 to 12. ¬†My IT band got worse and worse and my positive attitude and exhilaration started to crash, but everything happens for a reason and I know there was a reason my father was running by my side. ¬†Make the smart decision, finish the race strong. I needed him to help me — even though I kept telling him to go ahead. ¬†He looked at me and said, “I’m okay here — but do you want me to leave you?”

No.

Make the smart decision, finish the race strong.

After mile marker 12, I told myself there was no way I was finishing this race walking. ¬†Walking time was over — running time was starting. ¬†Ignore the pain and just get the job done. ¬†Shortly after this decision, I saw Sam’s grandparents sitting in their car near the side of the race route — I waved¬†vigorously¬†to them, saw his grandpa wave back and then thought, “wow, that took a lot more out of me than I thought!” ¬†I was really getting exahusted.

The race finished at the university’s track and field and we had to run one and half laps before crossing the finish line…I was just starting to feel like I was never going to get there when I saw my mom, camera poised and ready for a picture. ¬†Then I saw Sam’s family. ¬†Then I saw my friend Amanda, yelling at me from the sideline. ¬†I had my dad at by my side — well, behind me. ¬†He said he would drop back to I could get a good finish line picture. ūüôā ¬†He knows where the priorities lie.

I was going to do this.  It was going to happen.

I crossed the finish line 2 hours, 22 minutes and 45 seconds after I started off.  I became a runner and a half marathoner.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed I didn’t run it faster and that I was totally happy with having to walk — but today, I choose to think of it like this:

I RAN for 2 hours and 22 minutes. ¬†That’s a heck of a long time. ¬†I was in it to finish it, not to prove any time or pace to anyone else. ¬†When I crossed that finish line, I lapped my old self from August, who could only run a quarter mile before stopping, more than 52 times.

I’m proud of myself and my family and so grateful I had such awesome support along the way.

POST RACE PARTY!

After some post-race pics…

and a show-off display of strength from Sam ;)…

it was time to brunch it up!

Can you tell the cinnamon rolls say “13.1”? ¬†Haha, I’m a goober.

I wasn’t feeling 100% post race, I was pretty dehydrated, needed to eat and my IT band was refusing to bend anymore, but after food, some visiting and a nap, I was feeling much much better.

Good enough to start plotting for my next race and challenge ;). ¬†But that’s a topic for another post.

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