Moving to DC I expected 30 degrees winters not 8. I am not prepared for this at all. After my experience with the weather this morning, I’ve decided that while my ancestors may have originated in Russia, we’re now officially removed.

Weather like this impacts training. It’s no revelation or secret. But it still sucks. Question now is whether to do a yoga DVD when I get home or cross train on an exercise bike… options (yoga DVD is the current frontrunner).

Oh the Weather outside is Weather - FSM

Oh the Weather outside is Weather – FSM

Here’s my question! If you run in weather like this, how do you do it? What do you wear? Are you from Alaska?



Turkey Chili

Easy, quick, & delicious chili recipe to warm you up on cold days!

I love chili but I’m not a big fan of red meat. So I googled Turkey Chili and found a great looking recipe at Whole Foods. Their Touchdown Turkey Chili looked like a great jumping off point for my chili. I kept the recipe almost the same and made a few small changes.


Ingredients. I have no idea why this is fuzzy…. and yes our tree is still up.

2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium  sweet  onion, diced
3 large or 5 small cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb ground turkey – 93% – 7% Fat ratio
1 (28-ounce) can chopped/diced tomatoes, with their liquid
1 can of light beer (I prefer Coors Light)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili pepper (or more to taste)
dash of salt
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 can red kidney beans, strained
1 can sweet yellow and white corn, strained
1 can black been, strained
some grated cheese of your liking

Use large pot. Place over medium heat, add olive oil, diced onions & garlic. Heat for 10 min. Stirring occasionally till you sweat the onions & they appear almost translucent.


If I could take better food pics, you could probably see this better.

Add defrosted ground turkey meat. Use spatula or fork to pull apart. Cook completely until slightly browned.

Cook Up the ground turkey and mix thoroughly

Cook off as much of this liquid as possible

Mix in tomatoes, beer, cumin, chili peppers flakes, chili powder, dash of salt & pepper.

It's soupy but it will reduce

Simmer for 30 minutes on medium to low heat. Let the flavors develop.

Add in the kidney beans, corn, & black beans. Salt & Pepper to taste.

So much more colorful now

Continue to cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes.

Let cool! Enjoy! I like mine with cornbread, chips or rice. (We had rice with this!)


Getting Faster

Many of you know about my goal is to become faster. Runner’s World must know too! Or oh wait I’m not alone in my need for speed. They posted an article to their Facebook account yesterday that really hit home for me. They discussed 2 training techniques to add to your workouts that could help you pick up the pace.

1. Train Up
2. Train Down

When you Train Up you exercise with someone out of your comfort zone, allowing them to motivate your performance. For me, this is my friend Justine. She pushes me but, doesn’t desert me. Our hill workout we did a few weeks ago killed my thighs, in a good way.

Training Down has been more difficult for me to figure out. This is when you workout with someone a tad below your fitness level, to allow time to rest and recover. I can usually adjust my workouts to accommodate more recovery, probably due to my previous injuries. But I would probably enjoy this time more, if I exercised with a friend or family member.

I”m pretty sure I look more like Robin than I like.                                              source

Full Article from Runner’s World can be found here
When do you Train Up and Train Down?

Look like a Natural at the Gym

So I noticed something at the gym last night… more people! With resolutions come the increased crowds at the gym. Lots of people complain, but I personally think this is a great thing. More people exercising is fantastic, except when they have no idea what they’re doing.

Rock it out!

Here’s my simple list on how to assimilate with your fellow gym goers seamlessly:

  • Use the wipes. No really. People notice if you don’t. And it’s totally gross. I know you want to get in your cardio then do some weights. Just remember a quick wipe goes a long way.
  • Get to class 5-10 minutes early. Make sure you get a prime spot. It gives you a few minutes to talk to the teacher and let them know you’re new. They’ll give you a few pointers and you can avoid the awkward, “Whose new today?” moment.
  • Don’t take selfies on the machines. Please I beg you.
  • Share. Really share the machines and equipment. If someone is waiting for your machine, stick to a 30 minute  maximum.
  • A thank you goes a long way. If someone holds a door or helps you out, thank them. I never forget when someone is polite to me.
  • Bring water or whatever hydration you like. This is more for your sanity. Unless you are at fancy pants gym, you will not want to use that water fountain.
  • If you are really going to push yourself, like an intense workout, bring a towel with you. Your neighbors will appreciate it when you don’t sweat all over them.
  • If you are changing or showering bring a lock and shower shoes. Truth!
  • If you are curious, ask someone. Most everyone will be happy to help or at least point you in the right direction.

Follow this advice and you will blend in before you know it! In truth, most of us are confused by a lot of whats going on too…

This man is my new hero. I want to be him when I grow up.             source

Do you have any gym pet peeves? Any newbie gym advice?

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I’ve heard a lot of talk about resolutions and let me be the first to clarify… Resolutions are not wishes. Resolutions are something that can be achieved through thought, hard-work, and perseverance. I’ve always found resolutions to be a great opportunity to commit to something and see it through. Last year, I decided to run a marathon and become a Half Fanatic. (check and check) 2014 has some new challenges.

Get Faster

You heard it here. I would like finish to finish a half in sub 2:30 again… my PR is 2:27.

Race Goals in 2014
5K – sub 30min
10K – sub 65min
1/2 Marathon – sub 2:30
Full Marathon – sub 5:30

Zooooom! (BTW… fav movie ever!)                                                                                                                            source

Run 14 Races in 2014

These can be anywhere from a 5K – Marathon. I saw many people do 13 in 2013 and that’s amazing. I’d like to join the club. So far I’m doing 7. If you have any suggestions on new races let me know!

Be More Consistent with My Training

You only get out what you put in. I need to make training more of a priority. I’d also like to add new elements to training to make it more enjoyable.

Try Newer More Exotic Recipes

I’d like to go outside my comfortable zone and cook up newer more exciting recipes. Thai is one of my favorite foods (Pad-See-Ew!!). I’d love to learn how to cook outside the box.

okay… not that kind of exotic. (geez!)                                                                                                                   source 

Be a Kinder to Myself

I need to learn how to be nicer to myself. Be less critical of my appearance, race goals, and occasional kitchen disasters! Rome wasn’t built in a day and good things take time. (Was that cliché enough?)

Learn a New Skill

Want to stay sharp? Learn a skill or so I’ve been told. Well there’s a guitar sitting in my closet that been there 10 years. My parents assumed since I was slightly musical, that I should play the guitar. People say you’re never too old to learn, so I’m going to put that to the test. I will attempt to learn to play the guitar… keyword attempt.

Run 500 Miles

That’s right, I’d like to run a total of 500 miles in 2014. This seems like a realistic goal when I look at my training schedule if I include all races too.

Try Harder

Try harder at being a better friend, wife, sister, daughter, niece, co-worker, running partner, baker, chef, shower singer, card player, or anything else that one could think of. I want to try harder and put myself into everything I do, including my relationships with people.

I got this.. well maybe? All except the guitar, that could fall apart fast.                              source

What are your resolutions or goals for 2014?

2013 in Review

2013 has flown by…It’s almost 2014 and I’m going to look back on the success and set backs from this year. This was also a huge year for me, in general. I moved, got a new job, finished my very first marathon, and got married!

I accomplished more races than I ever thought possible. Here’s some back story you may need. In late August of 2012, I hurt my knee. I was running hills (bridges…) in Miami and something popped. I was suppose to run the Baltimore Marathon in 2012… well that wasn’t going to happen. After some physical therapy, a brace, lots of ice, and more reality TV than I care to mention,  I got cleared to run the Miami 1/2 Marathon in January 2013. Well I got hooked…. again.

I forgot how amazing it feels when you finish a race. That sense of accomplishment is second-to-none.

Yay! Another One Bites the Dust

After the Baltimore Half Marathon.

This year in races:
Miami Half Marathon, Miami FL, January 2013
Disney Princess Half Marathon, Disney World FL, February 2013
Run For Your Lives – Zombie 5K, Hialeah FL, April 2013
ROC Race – DC, August 2013
Shape Diva Dash, Frederick MD, September 2013
Baltimore Half Marathon Baltimore MD, October 2013
Seaside Heights Half Marathon Seaside Heights NJ, October 2013
Race for the Park 10K, Washington DC,  November 2013
OBX Marathon, Kitty Hawk NC, November 2013

You’ll notice a gap between March 2013 and August 2013. Well, Michael and I got married on March 9th, 2013 in Turks and Caicos. We were fortunate enough to have 50 people fly out to join us!

Yes at a destination wedding we had a wedding party!

Yes at a destination wedding we had a wedding party!

We then took a 2 week honeymoon in Italy. (AMAZING!)

Why yes, we are in the Coliseum

Why yes, we are in the Coliseum

It didn’t stop there, in the following months I got a new job. We moved to Arlington, VA & Michael graduated with a MBA.

This was a hectic year, with lots of exciting events! The one thing that suffered was my training. I was able to complete many of these races, but I didn’t race them.

Which is a great starting point to discuss my 2014 goals. Get Faster! But I’ll talk more about that in another post.

2013 was a good year! Can’t wait for 2014!

2013 has been an amazing year! What goals did you accomplish that you are most proud of? Or what happened in 2013 that made it a great year for you?

Egg Nog French Toast Bake

Finished Product.

Finished Product.

This is a great relatively easy dish that is prepared the night before. So all the prep is done beforehand and you just put it in the oven.
I made 2 dishes of this. So I’ve downsized the recipe so it’s smaller.


5 eggs
2 cups of egg nog (I like the horizon 2% egg nog)
2 tsp vanilla
5 cups of torn or cubed bread (I used cinnamon bread and challah mixed)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 granny smith apple diced
1/2 cup of sugar
1 tbsp of cinnamon
bit of butter

Cube and tear bread a day or two before so it stales a bit.

Dice 1 granny smith apple. (you can do more if you want to go heavy on the apples) After dicing, stir in 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon.

Yummy Yummy cinnamon sugar apples!

Yummy Yummy cinnamon sugar apples!

Spray the pan or butter the pan. For this I buttered the pan. Create a layer of torn bread pieces and apples.

Layer 1. Repeat as needed.

Layer 1. Repeat as needed.

Layer the cubes and apples until your dish of choice is full. Mix together eggs, egg nog, vanilla, nutmeg and dash of cinnamon. Whisk together ingredients and pour over bread cubes in dish. You can mix it up a bit to distribute the liquid. You want it saturated but not overly wet. If you find it not spread evenly remove some bread or if you have too much liquid, add more cubes.

Refrigerate mixture overnight.

Refrigerate mixture overnight.

Refrigerate in a covered dish overnight. Use lid, tin foil, or plastic wrap.

When you wake in the morning. Pre-heat oven to 350. Sprinkle a little brown sugar on top create a crunchy topping. The key is to cook until no longer moist. It will take 35-50 minutes depending on the thickness of your dish. If you use a more shallow dish it will take closer to 35 minutes.

Before cooking.

Before cooking.


Finished Product. Enjoy!

Finished Product. Enjoy!

Let Cool. Enjoy. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve with maple syrup.


Sugar Cookies!

My speciality is sugar cookies! So here is my super secret amazing recipe for you!

Yum! Tips and Tricks from my now not-so-secret sugar cookie recipe!

Yum! Tips and Tricks from my now not-so-secret sugar cookie recipe!

Now these are not the healthiest, but they are delicious!

Ingredients... not the cat

Ingredients… not the cat


10 tbsp of softened butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
2 cups of sifted flour
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 egg white
1 egg with yolk
dash of cinnamon


Do not preheat oven. The dough will be refrigerated overnight or at least 8 hrs.

Cream butter and sugar together in a mixer. Let the mixture get fluffy then add eggs & vanilla.

Mix the wet ingredients together

Mix the wet ingredients together

Combine dry ingredients in separate medium-sized bowl. Sift flour and combine with salt, and baking powder. Mix.

sift. baby. sift.

sift. baby. sift.

Mix wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Keeping the mixer on slow. Add your “secret” dash of cinnamon.

Combine dry ingredients

Combine dry ingredients

Make sure mixture is completely blended. Once complete, put in covered container &  refrigerate at least 8 hours. I use my 4 cup-sized kitchen aid prep bowl. You can pre-make the dough and refrigerate anywhere from 8hrs to 7 days. I love to pre-make these cookies before company comes over and just roll out the dough before guests arrive.

Alright so the dough is ready to be rolled out! Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. Let dough sit on the counter for 15 or so minutes to let it rest and get closer to room temperature. Mix a 50/50 combo of confectioners sugar and flour to roll the dough. Powder the counter, powder the roller and powder your lump of dough. Make sure all the items stay powdered, so nothing becomes sticky.

IMG_3053 IMG_3054

I use a wine glass to cut my cookies. You can see it in the above photo. It’s easy and a consistent size. Around holidays I’ll use cookie cutters too. It’s fun. Dip your cutters in your flour/powdered sugar mix and continue to roll out and cut. Your dough should be under 1/2 inch thick.

Ready for the oven!

Ready for the oven!

Put a small dollop of white granular sugar on top or add sugar crystals in special colors to jazz it up.

Bake for 8 minutes. Take out let cool and Enjoy!





IMG_3059Cookie. Up close!

I fear the snow will swallow me up.

I don’t know about you but I often lose some of my motivation to run outside during the Holidays. It’s so cold outside, those Hallmark movies are on, oh it’s now sleeting, and my cat wants to play…. yeah. That’s where I’ve been recently. After moving from Miami, I forgot how cold it can get. No really. I did. I guess I was glorifying how easy it was to train when it wasn’t 90 degrees outside.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the snow, from inside in a dry, warm location. I promise to become better about running in all the elements. But until that day…. I love my gym membership and yoga DVDs!

Me in the Snow

What are your tips for running outside in the winter? Especially in the ice and snow?

That’s right I completed my very first marathon in November! It’s kind of daunting achieving a goal that was on your lifetime bucket list. Of all the posts I’ve written thus far, this required the most thought. Running a marathon is a surreal experience. I was pushed to the brink of my mental and physical endurance… and I can’t wait to do another.

Let’s start at the beginning. The very first half marathon I ran was in November 2008. I ran the OBX half marathon. It was exhilarating and I was sore for a week. I felt so accomplished, like I could do anything.


Finished! November 2008 – The race that started it all! 

When the time came to choose a marathon, I leaped at the chance to run in the Outer Banks again. After all, the first race was such a positive experience. I convinced my friend Christine to run and my husband Michael too. It was definitely a busy weekend. Michael was doing the 8K & Marathon challenge and Christine decided to do the Half Marathon & 8K challenge. (no challenge for me… running a marathon was more than enough)

Beautiful drive. Somewhere around the Chesapeake bay maybe?

Beautiful drive. Somewhere around the Chesapeake bay maybe?

Since Michael and Christine were doing the challenge we needed to arrive on Friday for packet pick-up. Driving down the east coast was gorgeous in the fall. Beautiful drive. I think it took like 4.5 or 5 hrs. I don’t really remember. I was a nervous wreck and a semi-permanent resident of LaLa Land.

I guess you could say I zoned out.

Here’s the scary part of the weekend. I was not ready. Like not ready. No really. The most I had run was 15 miles to prep. But I could crush those 15 miles. I had spent so much time preparing for halves, that I neglected to finish my full training program. I thought since I was going easy on my other races, that I could compensate by pushing myself more on the marathon… well it kind of worked. But we’ll revisit this later in the recap.

We arrived at the expo on Friday in the late afternoon. It was smooth sailing. We parked in a nearby neighborhood, because the community center has less than 30 parking spots. That’s my guess. Packet pick up was fine. There were a few small local running stores and that was pretty much it. Not too thrilling.

Our hotel was about a mile from the half start and 13 miles from the full start. This was great all weekend, except on race day afternoon. After finishing the marathon, driving the entire 26.2 miles in reverse sucked.

Help me Obi-Wan... you might actually be my only hope

Help me Obi-Wan… you might actually be my only hope

We had dinner that night at Kill Devil Grill. If you are ever in the area, eat there. It was amazing. No really, amazing! After that we called it a night, so Christine & Michael could prep and I could stare at them while I panicked some more. Later in the evening, Rudy arrived (Christine’s boyfriend & my friend from childhood). We all woke up bright and early the next morning, to get Michael and Christine to the start. Rudy and I would be taking pictures and cheering. Sometimes its nice to be on the sideline.

Michael in motion

Michael in motion – he’s in orange.

Christine kicking 8K booty!

Christine kicking 8K booty!

Later that afternoon, we headed back to the expo. I needed GU and throw away gloves. After I picked these up I grabbed a new fuel pocket for my hydration belt. I was concerned that my current utility belt didn’t have enough space for all my marathon needs, a phone, extra glide, wipes, safety pins, extra gu, blocks and a few other items. Yeah… I ran with all of that. Too much. Btw I call it a utility belt like Batman, because that’s how I roll.

For those of you who didn’t know the Outer Banks is home to Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers took their first flight. We were not going to miss this. Rudy and Christine are a science-y couple so we checked out the whole place.

I just like taking photos.

I just like taking photos.

I'm not sure what my hair is doing or why I'm hiding behind Michael.

I’m not sure what my hair is doing or why I’m hiding behind Michael.

Alright let’s get to the main event. Sunday. Marathon Day. (Oh Dear)

Michael and I drove to an elementary school by the start parked, walked across the street and promptly found the restrooms. There were 2 corrals. A & B. Michael was A… and naturally I was B. I was experiencing the calm before the storm at this point. I knew there was no backing out. Remember my training. And hope my perseverance can take me the rest of the way.

It starts. The excitement is everywhere. I throw my gloves on the side of the road and begin to find my rhythm. I had decided to try to stay at the 14min area. So a very slow jog. This would help me not get winded and finish. My only real goal was to finish. 1 mile, 2 mile, 3 mile. I’m with the pack. That’s when I look at my GPS again. 32 minutes. That can’t be right…

So I check out my current pace. I’m teetering between 10-10:30 min mile. And I feel fantastic. Like amazing! I can keep doing this. I continued this was till mile 10. At this rate I was just a touch slower than pace for my half marathon PR.

Obligatory Wright Brothers photo during the race

Obligatory Wright Brothers photo during the race

This is how I respond if you text me mid marathon.

This is how I respond if you text me mid-marathon. Oh yeah… all good?

Then came the trail. Oh the trail… 3 miles of hilly trails between miles 10-13. I did not run any trails, at all, none. I figured it wouldn’t be so bad, just a bit of dirt. “Just a bit of dirt,” were almost my last words. Those 3 miles took me almost an hour. It was all downhill from there. Not physically regarding terrain, but physically regarding me as a human.

Look at all that dirt. Yes, it's pretty but oh my ankles

Look at all that dirt. Yes, it’s pretty but oh my ankles

After mile 13, I knew I had to just keep going. I was much slower now. I was racing the clock now. I just kept plugging away and rocking out to my music. The course support was amazing and all the volunteers so uplifting. Their continued cheering and positive attitude were one of the few things that kept me from throwing in the towel.

The rest of the race was me telling myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving. Don’t stop. You can finish. Left, Right, Left, Right. Beer is at the finish.

Just Keep Moving!

Then came the bridge.. Oh the bridge. At mile 23 a steep 825 ft tall bridge pops up out of nowhere. (I think that’s the height, I’ll double-check). I could barely move up the bridge. There was a head wind and I was chafing under my bra strap so badly I was bleeding. (yep, that left a scar). At this point my movements were glacial. All I wanted was an ice-cold bucket of water to pour over my head.

I won’t drag it out any more. The race was great. Very local. Beautiful scenic course. I would recommend. I finished in 6:24. Glacial.  But I finished. I crossed something off my bucket list. And I’m doing another one. Marine Corps Marathon 2014, I’m coming for you and I’m training for this race specifically. (and I’m shooting for 5 hrs…) So much training… here we go!

Officially a Marathoner!

Officially a Marathoner!

Happy day! From Left to right: Michael, Me!, Rudy, & Christine

Happy day! From Left to right: Michael, Me!, Rudy, & Christine