Saturday, December 8, 2012

5 things I'm Loving...

1.  Keeping track of the food I eat is a pain for me.  I know it helps me to manage my weight, but finding the calories for every little item all day used to be tedious until I started using My Fitness Pal.  I have the app on my phone and it is so easy to use.  The food database is gigantic and I have been able to find all the food I eat quickly including what I eat out at restaurants.  My favorite feature is the bar code scanner which automatically adds that item to my food diary.  I like this so much better than tracking with Weight Watchers.

2. Fun Theory has the best ideas to change behavior for the better.  You may have seen the clip of the staircase they make into a keyboard to encourage people to take the stairs instead of the escalator.  (If not, that video is there too.) Here is a new one I just came across- The World's Deepest Bin.

Source: via Jane on Pinterest

3. I struggle with finding the right gift for my family and friends to the point that I put it off to the very last minute. This list of 25 items under $25 for the fitness lovers helped me out.  I really liked the bike basket, but it appears other did too - It is sold out. Check it out, maybe you'll find a good idea for someone on your list (or yourself).

4.I plan to get in some reading over the holiday and  found this great list of hard to put down books.  I have read quite a few, but found some to add to my Books to Read list on Goodreads.  I love getting book recommendations and this site is great for that. (If you want to see my book lists, be my friend on Goodreads. My user name is kelleywf)

5.  I just made this Cranberry Orange bread again and have been reminded of how much I like it.  I couldn't stop eating it.  The orange glaze puts it over the top! It's a great way to use up any extra cranberries you have hanging out in your freezer too.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Turkey Day Run with the Family

For the second year is a row my family spent Thanksgiving in the Charleston, SC area which included running the Thanksgiving Day 5K again as well!  We loved the race last year and this one was just as fun.

My brother and his family, my sister, my children and me

Held in downtown, historic Charleston, this race has a scenic course and a great after party at Marion Square which includes fresh Krispy Kreme doughnuts, a beer garden, live music, Mr. Pig from Piggly Wiggly and  Mr. Turkey.  We enjoyed all of these amenities!

 Mr. Turkey
Every year the race gets larger - 6,000 runners for this one.  Even though it is a run for everyone, they do have timing chips and prizes for the fastest.  The majority of the field is casual runners with dogs and strollers - very family oriented.

The results are posted right away and they give you cool information like this:

We had walkers, some, more serious runners and a few run/walkers in our group.  It is so much fun, that no one wanted to miss it even if running isn't their thing. My daughter Cate even ran a PR!  I ran/walked this one with my other two children.

Me and my children 
The race starts and ends at Marion Square and takes you down to The Battery (waterfront).  It was a cold sunny morning, but we warmed up once we got moving.
The Battery

We saw these two in full costume including platform boots- Who knew they were runners? 

The only time the race felt crowded, was at the after party, but people didn't stay long (I guess they had food to cook or something).  They served my favorite beer (or the athletic beer as my sister says) Michelob Ultra.  Most of us gobbled up a doughnut either before or after the race except for my sister-in-law who didn't get one because the person in line in front of her got the LAST one.  I guess that has to happen to someone, but what a bummer!
My sister and brother and me
I am voting that we return to Charleston next year too and make this run a regular event!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

5 Good Things

1. 30 Day Photo Challenge This photo-a-day event challenges you to slow down and look at your world in a different way.  Whether you're an expert or beginner, you can sharpen your photography skills and experiment with all the cool features of Instagram.  Let your creativity bloom!

2. Gooey butter cake is my go to recipe for a quick, sweet treat  and now you can make them into cute cupcakes too!  How awesome is that?

My version

3. Love free ebooks? Then FreeBooksy on Facebook is for you!  Like them to see what ebooks are free daily. A variety of titles are offered for a limited time, and I have found some great reads.

4.  I have never been a big fan of yogurt, although I know its good for me, until recently when I came across a new brand. It is super creamy and very much like a dessert.  I first found Noosa at Whole Foods, but I now get it at Target for a more wallet friendly price.  Strawberry Rhubarb is my favorite with Raspberry coming in second.

5. Finally, after 2 months, our new house that is being built looks like a house!  After not seeing much progress until now, this was a sight for sore eyes.  We may actually have a new house in the near future. (Fingers crossed)!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My visit to the Sprinkles Cupcakes ATM

While in Chicago for the marathon, I couldn't miss an opportunity to get some scrumptious cupcakes from the downtown Sprinkles shop.  (In fact, I ate cupcakes twice during my 3 day stay)

Yes, they were as good as I remembered, but they had an extra treat at the shop that I had to experience - the Cupcake ATM.  That's correct, a machine that dispenses freshly baked and boxed individual cupcakes 24 hours a day!!  What could be better than that?  I don't know.

For those of you who can't imagine how it works, here's a video of my experience. It starts with a cupcake song...

Here's what came out.

It's probably good I don't have one nearby, it could get out of control, but I wish I did anyway.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Voluncheering at the Chicago Marathon

We got the awesome Nike jacket & hat for volunteering!
This is how our day started the morning of the Chicago Marathon (10/7/12). Up and out by 4:30am to check in for our volunteering duties at Aid Station #7 in Old Town - Mile 10.5 along the route.

 Others would wake up to find their car not where they left it the night before.  The tow trucks were busy clearing the streets for the runners and there were lots of cars to move! I guess they didn't see  the zillion signs telling them not to park there.

We were assigned to the first table of the station and had to prepare four stacked layers of Gatorade.

Gatorade table crew

By the time we finished, the sun had risen, but not the temperature.  It was a chilly day!

 We anxiously awaited the elite runners.  Fifty minutes after the start they were hitting mile 10.5. They were right behind the pace truck!

None of them grabbed any Gatorade, but our station was a long one and they may have grabbed something later down the line. 


Once the runners started to pass, they did not stop!  I think 40,000 in all, but there was one runner in particular we were there to support - my daughter Cate
This was her first marathon and she was looking strong when she passed our station!

Being the first table in the station, our drinks were first to go, so within an hour of the first runner, we had given them all out. We had front row spots to see all the action of the race and it was a great experience! The time flew by and before we knew it, our shift was over.

We traveled to Chicago to spend the weekend with Cate and cheer her on during the race. Volunteering was a last minute decision, but it made the day even better.   Everyone we worked with was so nice, (most of them runners) and they do this year after year.  This most likely will be a one time event for us, since we don't live in Chicago, but I would recommend it to anyone nearby.

Elvis entertaining the runners along the route

We consulted the map to see where we could catch up with her again and headed to mile 21 and Chinatown, a part of Chicago I have never been to.  We got there well ahead of her, but found a great spot on the sidewalk to watch the runners and wait for her to pass.

While waiting, this piece of bacon ran by and then in the distance we saw her!  She looked great, running strong and steady not even looking tired!

We gave her encouragement to keep it up for the last 5 miles and hopped back on the train to head to the finish line.

Cate crossed the finish with a PR and a sense of satisfaction.  I am so proud of her!! This was quite a moment to see my daughter accomplish such a feat after all the hard work and training she put into it!
That same day, she even considered the thought of running another!

Our day at the marathon was long and cold and fabulous!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My Own Little Terror in the Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Glow in the dark medal!
Saturday I ran Disney World's Tower of Terror 10 Miler.  The race started at 10pm, but like all of Disney races, you have to get there hours earlier because so many people participate.  Although the race began and ended in Disney's Hollywood Studios we had to park at the Wild World of Sports Complex and take a bus to and from the race.  We got there just before the masses and had an easy time getting in.
Our view of Tower of Terror as we approached the park
We spent the next 2+ hours in a parking lot to wait it out until the start.  I did a lot of people watching and saw some creative costumes. We showed our spirit by wearing orange and black.

About 30 minutes before the start I drank a 5-hour Energy that I had picked up at a race expo.  Never having tried one before, I didn't know what to expect, but I thought a little extra energy sounded like a good idea, especially for a late night race.  Dessert Man and I were going to share one, but it only promised moderate energy if you drank half.  Who only wants moderate energy? So I went for the whole thing.

I felt really good at the start of the race despite the heat and humidity. The temperature was in the mid 80s.  We had a good spot in Corral A, close to the start line.
The starting line
The first few miles were crowded, but it thinned out in mile 2.  We were moving at a decent pace, but it felt okay.  I was psyched for a good run!   The course was very dark and we were running on paved roads.  I grabbed a sip of gatorade at the second aid station and things were fine. About 2 miles later, at the next station my stomach felt full, but I knew I needed to stay hydrated, so I drank a few sips of water.  I felt a little slushy in my gut after this and that developed into a side stitch.  I figured after a few miles things would settle down.  I even ate a Stinger chew at mile 4, not wanting to run out of fuel later in the run.

At mile 4.75 we turned off the road and onto a gravel trail that took us to the fields at Wide World of Sports.  Here, we ran among the playing fields, around the bases in the baseball stadium and around the running track.  In all the races I have done at Disney, this was my first time running this part and it was a great change of scenery!
Big Bad Wolf 
From there, things went downhill!  This is when I experienced my own bit of terror. It became harder and harder to keep up my pace and that side cramp would not go away.  I thought I should drink more water, but my stomach said no.  I began to extend my walk time through the water stations, trying to catch my breath.
Zombie Grave Diggers and what appears to be Zombie runners
We cut back on our pace and I took  all the photo breaks I could. I somehow trudged through to the end. Once across the finish line, I just wanted to sit down.  My head was spinning and I felt queasy. The chute was long, and the walk to bag check pick up even longer.  I finally plopped down on the sidewalk and was sure I would feel better if I could just sit awhile.  Again I tried to drink, but didn't think it would stay down, so I gave that up.

Tower of Terror
I have never felt like this after running and was sure it would pass, but as I began to feel worse, I knew I needed to go home.  After making our way to the buses and driving back home, it was 1:30am.  I felt like crap, but thankfully I threw up and that helped my stomach feel better.  I showered and fell into bed grateful to be clean and able to sleep.

It was a horrible experience feeling that ill in a public place. I probably should have gone to the medical tent as Dessert Man suggested, but I didn't think they could do anything for me. I am not sure if I was dehydrated or overheated or a combination of the two, but I am sure I should not have had that 5-hour energy!  That was my first and last time taking one!

Box of finish line snacks
My big plans to drink a beer and ride the Rock N Roller Coaster never came to be that night.  

T shirt and bib
I woke up Sunday feeling groggy with a headache, but after eating and drinking something I felt much better.  This race wasn't my finest moment, but it was all self inflicted. 
My performance has me questioning my ability to run the Goofy. I may be changing my approach to the race because I never want to feel that way again!

Here are the details of the race:
10 miles
Temperature at end of race(midnight) 77 steamy degrees
1195 calories burned

Mile 1: 9:52
Mile 2: 9:26
Mile 3: 9:46
Mile 4: 9:46
Mile 5: 10:48
Mile 6: 11:18
Mile 7: 10:46
Mile 8: 11:55
Mile 9: 13:49
Mile 10: 10:37
Finish Time: 1:48:38

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Basil Salt

All summer long I have had fresh basil to eat thanks to the hearty basil plant on my back patio.  It has garnished pizzas and pasta, contributed to many batches of pesto and partnered with fresh tomato and mozzarella to make a flavorful summer.

To keep that basil flavor going long all winter long I mixed up a batch of basil flavored salt.  It was quick and easy using only two ingredients - salt and basil.

 Using my Cuisinart mini prep food processor, I  added 1/2 cup kosher salt and 1/2 cup packed basil leaves and pulsed until crushed.

Then spread the mixture on a baking sheet and baked it at 225 degrees until dry, about 30 minutes, tossing halfway through.

 Let it cool and then pulse again to make a fine powder.  

I stored my salt in a recycled herb jar  to keep it fresh and handy.

So far I have used it on fresh tomatoes, avocados and in tomato pie.  It has just the right blend of salt and basil and has turned me onto flavored salts.

Basil Salt
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup packed basil leaves

Pulse basil and salt in a food processor then spread on a baking sheet. Bake at 225 degrees until dry, about 30 minutes. Stir salt about halfway through.
Let salt cool and pulse again to make a fine powder.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Preparing for Tower of Terror

Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 miler  will be here in 1 week on September 29, 2012!

This is a new race for me and a re-styled format from what it used to be years ago.  The race begins at 10pm and includes a Disney Villains Bash in Disney Hollywood Studies until 4am!  I got a chance to experience a park after closing during the Expedition Everest run last year - very fun! I am most looking forward to riding the Rockin Roller Coaster without having to wait in a long line!

I should be prepared for this distance because my long runs have grown to 13 miles.  (I am currently training for the Goofy in January. That's when you run the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday).   During the week I am doing 3 runs of 30-45 min.  Not that much running considering the distance I am training for. The hardest part will be starting that late at night.  I am a morning runner and don't usually stay up too late at night.  I'm not sure what kind of race I'll run, I'll just have to see how I feel at race time. I will never turn  down a PR, but because I am training for distance, I haven't been too speedy lately.

The only other challenge will be deciding what to wear.  I can only hope the temperatures cool off a little by then, but I won't make my final decision until closer to the day.

Disney knows how to put on a race and a party so I am looking forward to a fun time!