Sunday, February 27, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

I am SO THANKFUL I have a hubby that is okay with cutting meat out and/or trying new things as long as our meals are not "out of the box" (that he's not so keen on, LOL!). I'm trying to focus the kids (Chris and I too) on our daily food pyramid. I love to cook and try new things each week so it's "sunshine meatloaf" for this week! :o)

I think it's SUPER DUPER important to train the kids to have a good palate, to ENJOY eating and trying different foods. Thankfully they do for the most part.

So here we go....this is what's for dinner this week!

Monday: Breakfast for Dinner
Tuesday: Sunshine Meatloaf, edamame, wild rice
Wednesday: Chicken Mango Kabobs, quinoa
Thursday: Black Beans, rice, plantains, fresh fruit
Friday: Pasta Fagioli, homemade bread
Saturday: Veggie Spread with Hummus, pita bread, fresh fruit
Sunday: Stuffed Shells, salad

Thursday, February 24, 2011

*Official* Race Report

LOL! Well, here it goes, my very first MARATHON RACE REPORT!! I've been reflecting SO MUCH this past week about the beast I was up against, and surprise it wasn't the "marathon", it was ME! :o)

This race was a HUGE milestone in my life, one I will never forget for sure. I was able to create a very very very special memory with my best friend and realize just what I am made of!

I was unusually calm Sunday morning. I felt cool, confident and unafraid. Pulled out of the driveway at 4:45, dark, breezy and cool outside, Chris drove Erika and I to the race following friends of ours, one ultra runner and two other first time Marathoners. We were all able to meet up with our running buddies that were doing the half and I just can't express how awesome it has been having the support and sense of community that this group of runners provides. Exceptional Women, for sure.
So we all gathered by the Porta Potties excited that they were NOT full, had a few laughs, took some pics, checked, and double checked to make sure we had everything before Gear Check. I stepped aside for a moment, put my jacket back on (it was chilly) , ate my banana and just took in my surroundings. Here I was checking out the beautiful Capital Building ready to actually run a MARATHON! Chris wrapped his arms around me and told me he knew he didn't have to tell me to not give up since he knew that wouldn't happen, but to enjoy it and how proud he was of me. I adore that man!

Erika and I committed to run the race together. I needed her previous race experience and her ability to pull me back to assure that I wouldn't burn out, and she needed my strong will, optimism and BIG mouth. :o) It was VERY exciting for me.

The weather was not optimal, in fact it was reported to be the hottest Austin Marathon in race history (you know I got that fact from Erika, LOL), my rib flared up on Friday so badly I could not breathe but thankfully the steroid shot my doctor gave to me Saturday morning helped A TON!! No pain. I felt good. No knee pain, no issues. This was going to be a great race!

Aaaaannnnndddd we were off! Water stops about every mile, we skipped the first two and settled in around mile three to what our strategy would be. Walk through the water stops, enjoy the break and then back at it again. Took our first gel at 40 minutes and that's when I decided I would pray for a friend of our family who is going through some health issues at each 5 mile marker since that would be easy for me to remember to do.

Right after I hit the 5 mile point I realized, YEP I DID IT AGAIN!!! I was FREAKING PEEING MY PANTS AGAIN!!!! WTH is my problem?!?!?!!? I kept feeling a drip drip and asking Erika to look behind to see if she saw anything and she said no, but as the miles went on and when we took our first pee break around 7 or 8ish mile over in the bushes (yeah the porta potties we were straight up bold and did what needed to be done, LOL) I realized my shorts were soaked, just lovely....whatever I *DID* take 3 actual pee breaks but still managed to be soaked and smell like urine, it was great. (insert a sarcastic tone and sigh please)

I settled into my run, relaxed and just chatted away trying not to be too embarassed when Erika was screaming to people that it was my first marathon, LOL! To be honest one of my highlights was BART YASSO from Runner's World hearing her say that and giving me two guns and a "YEAH"....TOTALLY COMPLETELY AWESOME! I was PUMPED!!! We were screaming OMG and laughing out was GREATNESS!

I found myself zoning out at times, looking at what the other people were wearing, smiling at the crowd cheering us on, and then we got into the double digits....this was awesome! THIS is when I usually feel good. I don't remember too much about the hills, yes they were there, but I LOVE the hills so I didn't really focus on them, did what I had to do to get up one and used the downhill to recover and settle back in again. I felt strong. Really strong.
As we climbed up in the mileage, our bodies started to ache and our conversations got a little shorter with more time in between them. It was Erika's IT band and my knees. We stretched at water stations best we could and kept moving forward. Knee pain was nothing new to me so I tried not to focus on it, but trust me IT HURT. The humidity was starting to get to us and I for the first time got to experience that "sloshing" in the stomach I've heard everyone talk about. Thankfully Erika gave me some salt pills and they worked!!!! It was getting rough around 17.5 and we started to count down the mileage until we saw Kimmers!!! The chicky who I started my running journey with committed to come on out and join in to keep us going at the 20 mile mark. Having her do that AND seeing different friends along the race made a HUGE difference to me. It was great!!!!! She came in between the 19 and 20 mile mark and I just wanted to cry I was so happy.She was fresh and ready to go. :o) It renewed my spirit and mind. This was good. I suddenly realized that it was already 21 miles and I hadn't hit a "wall" that I've heard so much talk about but it was TOUGH. I felt myself wince at times when my foot landed on the asphalt. Kim asked at mile 22 why my knees were wobbling and I realized just how bad they were hurting but tuned it right out. Tears were streaming down my face without me realizing I was crying. Then as strange as it sounds, when it occured to me I was crying I began to sob a little. I kept fighting my mind telling myself to knock it off. "Pain is weakness leaving the body. Keep going." I kept looking down at my LiveSTRONG bracelet and am so thankful that the word STRONG was in bold as I repeated to myself over and over...."You ARE strong. You ARE strong." .... "You are NOT a Quitter, you are a Finisher". I was just too close to focus on that pain. I continued saying those same things over and over, shaking my head back and forth trying to get rid of those tears and NOT allow myself to breakdown. I was successful. No breakdown.

Sammi snapped this pic between 23 and 24 miles!
Those last few miles were tough. My body hurt. I was hot. I couldn't drink any more of the Gatorade at those last few stops, it was nauseating. But then as we approached that final hill I was recharged, I was READY TO BE A FINISHER!!!!

We turned the corner to see our girls in their purple shirts running out to meet us and run us in. It was absolutely PERFECT!! This was not only a huge moment for me but a moment that will hopefully have an impact on Adrianna as she grows. I told Erika this was it, let's finish this baby strong and go! (after all the girls were running faster than us and were getting too far ahead, LOL!) Passing by all our friends that either stayed after their half marathon or came all the way out just to cheer us on, we were there....we were at the finish line with our girls and heard the announcer say "Here comes Gina and Erika, Marathon Moms" . . . it was pure joy!!! We grabbed each others hands and crossed together getting the exact same time! That sweaty stinky hug was one of the happiest moments of my life!

The race was an absolute SUCCESS!
Total Time: 5 hours, 33 minutes and 9 seconds I will cherish FOREVER!

I am SO BLESSED with so much LOVE and SUPPORT!!

How I was transformed by this race is an entire separate blog post! :o)
Stay tuned.....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Tomorrow is the BIG day!!!

Getting ready for one of my biggest achievements yet! I never thought I would EVER be "athletic" and it's been quite a journey I will say! I am REALLY going to run 26.2 miles tomorrow.....REALLY!!! WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW !!!!!!! I've TRAINED for this and am doing it!!!!

I'm so excited and VERY GLAD I went with the yellow shorts to go with the whole Livestrong Theme....this is going to be AWESOME!!!

The training has been tough. My husband is more than patient and is truly my biggest fan (couldn't do it without him!) My babies refer to me as a "runner" all the time and say they want to run when they get bigger. My friends are so supportive and help with accountability a ton. My sister teases me but loves and supports me too of course!

This new season of my life is just simply AMAZING!!!

My marriage (10 years going strong!)
My 3 beautiful babies
My family
My spiritual growth
My community of "healthy and goal minded friends"

A new word to add to the many that describe me: ATHLETIC

All of this and so much more....I feel on track and everything just FEELS good, as it all should be.

I am SO READY to take on the Austin Marathon with a big old smile and heart full of determination and joy!

CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Empanadas, spanish rice, plantains
Tuesday: Roasted Chicken with Balsamic Bell Peppers, potatoes, broccoli
Wednesday: Pasta Ceci
Thursday: Pita Pockets...stuff your own!
Friday: Date Night!
Saturday: Artichoke Spinach Lasagna
Sunday: Taco Soup

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Super Hero? Me? What?

"Running reminds me that there is more to me than what is readily apparent much of the time. I don't always need to see it, but oh how I need to know it's there. Like having an alter ego,
or a super-cool super-hero identity."

~Kristin Armstrong, Author and runner

I opened my Gmail this morning to this quote from Runner's World and it just HIT ME! This is the reason I run! Deep down, I've never felt like I was worth much of anything. Not growing up. Not during my teens. Not during my young adulthood. And even as a 35 year old mother of 3, living a WONDERFUL life with healthy children and a loving, supportive husband, I still have my moments of self doubt, self worth. It's my weakness, my thorn.

As I am sitting here thinking about weakness, I remember reading somewhere in the Bible about Paul and his thorn but really couldn't remember it. Thankfully Google saved me, as always! LOL I found this and all sorts of things are just clicking in my head right now so this post will probably be ALL OVER THE PLACE! After all, I am a verbal processor. :o)

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

So now back to the original quote that got me thinking this morning.... running is hard. Training is harder. Having the confidence that I will complete a race and do it well is the HARDEST. Getting out there and completing a run, even if it is only a 3 miler is challenging for me. Scheduling it in, making it part of my lifestyle, the actual "running", achy knees and all, is hard. It's MUCH easier to do nothing at all. It's MUCH easier to talk about the things you want to do, results you want to see, things you *wish* you were doing. Taking action on the other hand really is THE CHALLENGE.

I've never felt like I was "good enough", "strong enough", but running (well post run, LOL) makes me feel those things. It's hard. Not many people can do it. Not many people want to do it. Only 1% of people run marathons and there is a reason for that! I sure as hell never thought I would RUN A 5K, never mind a MARATHON! But I am!!! I really really am!!!! And why? Well, I want to SHUT THOSE voices up in my head that have told me my entire life that I couldn't really do that. I'm not like that other person doing it. Sure, they can , but me? I can't. I will have such a deep satisfaction proving those voices wrong on Sunday. Each time I get out there and succeed, it makes those voices just a little bit fainter.

I can certainly give into my weakness, and stay in a place "believing" that this thorn, my heartache, my past, my insecurities, will keep me from being "special", unique, one of a kind, strong, worthy. Or I can challenge myself. Get out there and PROVE not to everyone else, but to MYSELF that I CAN do it. I AM strong. I AM more than I believe I am.

Call it an alter ego.
Call it my super hero identity.

Whatever it is, it comes out in my running and especially during a race and I LOVE THE WAY IT MAKES ME FEEL!!! :o)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: VDay Breakfast for Dinner! Heart Pancakes, Heart shaped sausage, home fries, fruit
Tuesday: Turkey Meatloaf, Cauliflower Mashers, veg
Wednesday: Grilled Cheese, Homemade fries, broccoli
Thursday: Chicken Stir Fry over Rice
Friday: Pasta Pesto Bake Spinach Salad
Saturday: Carb Load PreRace Dinner!
Sunday: Order Pizza! (AUSTIN MARATHON!!!)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

8 Beautiful Years....

My BEAUTIFUL 8 year old baby girl!!!

Where does the time go??!!
It seemed like she was JUST born!

I've been trying to get blogging but just have NOT had the time to this week and that's okay. What I did have time for was an amazing birthday party on Saturday that Adrianna simply LOVED along with her special birthday breakfast (thanks Erika for the plate we will cherish forever and for all our birthdays!), mommy, daddy and Sofia eating lunch at school with her, cupcakes at school, her special birthday dinner and an Ice Cream Sundae bar for her birthday dessert! It was all just perfect! (pics to come!)

This birthday was a very important one for me. My whole world seemed to come tumbling down when I was her age since that's when my parents split up and although I don't remember much from my childhood I "do" remember how deeply I felt during her age. It's so important, not only on birthdays of course, but it's so important to make our babies feel like they are SO SPECIAL, SO IMPORTANT, SO LOVED. I live for my family. I will do everything and anything I can for them to love, support, encourage and CELEBRATE them!

Sure, I sometimes go overboard with the parties but until one of them tells me "Enough is enough Mom, I don't like this stuff" I will continue on. Adrianna for one LOVES parties, planning them, fascilitating them, EVERYTHING....ahhh she's my little mini me in so many ways!!! :o)

This entire past week we've celbrated our sweet little Adrianna!
My first born child.

The gentle, patient and EASY baby that helped me figure out how to be a "Mommy". My precious little angel that ALWAYS slept with me, between Chris and I, holding on to my ear lobe and later on searching in her sleep with her tiny little hand for a "cold spot" on our body to touch (and STILL DOES!).

She is smart.
She is sensitive.
She is loving.
She is caring.
She is a natural "Mommy".
She is considerate.
She is responsible.
She is imaginative.
She is always concerned for others.

She has loved dressing up since she was first able to.

She LOVES sweets.

She is a pasta and bread girl for sure.

She loves to laugh.
I love to hear her laugh.
It's contagious.
It's unique.

I treasure our quiet conversations, just her and I.

I love to dream with her.

I adore her.

I will fight for her.
I will protect her.
I will nurture her.
I will ALWAYS make her feel like she is THE BEST!

Thank you God for giving me my sweet Adrianna. She is the first of 3 very special gifts I absolutely treasure!!

I truly am blessed.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday

Trying 3 new recipes this week! Very excited! Have a great week!!

Monday: Beef Tips over Rice, Yellow Squash
Tuesday: Popcorn Chicken & Curly Fries (Bday Girl's Request!LOL)
Wednesday: Easy Chicken Parm over spaghetti
Thursday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup
Friday: Turkey Picadillo with Fried Plantains
Saturday: Light Chicken Divan (I LOVE the Paula Dean version, thanks to my friend Carrie, but am trying this one to lower the calories! LOL)
Sunday: Turkey Chili, cornbread