Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

ING Half Marathon

I did it! I ran my first half marathon, ING. I was so proud of myself. There was a point, 7.5 miles in, that I thought there was no way I was going to finish, but I kept at it and managed to finish within my goal time of 2:30. I, quite honestly, had thoughts about just sitting on the sidelines waiting for the shuttle to drive me to the finish line and was cursing myself for signing up for four more half marathons this year. At mile 9 is when I started to regain my confidence and feel better. My mentality completely changed at mile 10, with 3.1 miles left: "this is a 5K, you can do it!"

The race was well executed and there was plenty of water and gatorade along the way. The course was beautiful. Never in my wild dreams did I think I would run down McArthur Causeway, Ocean Drive, and through downtown Miami. My biggest complaint is that I didn't know where the official start and finish lines where. I started tracking my run where I thought the start line was and I ran until the finish line and I clocked in almost 13.5 miles. It felt so good to cross that finish line and take my medal. So good, in fact, that all I could think about at that point was "when's the next race?" I hit the wall at 7.5 miles, I climbed over it, and trotted my happy self to the finish line.

Good old Garmin

Interestingly enough, I read that your wall is usually the longest run you have done in the previous 2-3 weeks. My last longest run before the race was 7.5 miles and it was supposed to be 10. Next time I know to make sure to (a) not do an obstacle run the day before your long run or (b) do the long run before an obstacle run. Either way, running the half marathon was such a great experience. There were so many runners and the festival they had after was full of lots of free drinks and food. Oh, and the expo before the race! It was a runner's paradise. We spent the whole day at the expo and Cati was still upset when we had to leave.

@ Expo

Our matching shirts

After stretching for a good 30 minutes I made my way home. Alex and the girls didn't make it out to the race so I was eager to get to my cheering squad. Cati was wearing her orange ING shirt and couldn't keep her hands off the medal. One of the best things about this race was the surprise of my aunt driving down from Orlando. This woman is made of some great stuff.

With my cheerleader

Lady loves

Next up, Disney's Princess February 24. I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

Fitness Updates

It's race week! I am so excited and nervous about my first half marathon. When I first decided to run the ING half marathon it seemed so far away. I wondered if I would be able to keep up with the training and if I would even be able to run 13.1 miles. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that a five mile run is a short run. Now I know I can physically and mentally do a 13.1 run. Now I think a five mile run is a short run and a three mile run a joy run. The best part of all my running is seeing how it trickles down; Cati now loves to run and she gets upset when I go running without her. One day she even told me she had a race to go to and that she ran faster than me. This is what it's all about: running is something I do for me, but it is also something I am doing so my girls will grow up thinking of exercising as fun and a part of our everyday lives.

Since I began officially training in October, I have logged close to 170 miles. I have seen my mile go from a 12+ minute mile to a 9-minute mile. I owe it all to the awesomeness of the Miami Galloway running group. My goal for this weekend is simply to finish the race. I'll be happy with whatever time because it means I finished, but I would be lying if I said I didn't have a time in mind. From here on out until Sunday, I'll be carb loading, doing lots of stretching, and hydrating more than I did when I was pregnant.

But, before this weekend there was the Superhero Scramble. Superhero Scramble is a mud run/obstacle race. It was 5.7 miles plus 20 obstacles of good fun. I was so nervous because I was doing the event by myself but I met two great women who let me run and do all the obstacles with them. I was very close to not going because one of the obstacles terrified me (a wall climb does not fit well with someone with little upper body strength) but my great friend gave me a good talking to and I decided not to let fear get in the way of doing something fun. And the race was so much fun! I jumped into a lake, climbed rope, climbed walls, crawled through mud, and, of course, the wall that almost scared me out of the race. I had help with the wall but the point is that I did it. Everyone was so helpful and the camaraderie amazed me. The best part about the race really was seeing Alex and the girls waiting for me by the wall, cheering me on. As soon as Cati saw me she started yelling "go, Mami go!" There's no better motivation to reach the finish line than giving a big muddy kiss to your biggest cheerleader.

Here are pictures from Superhero Scramble:

Taking the Leap of Faith

Jumping over fire

Big slide

Getting muddy

With my girl

I can't say enough about how much fun this run was. I'm doing another one in next weekend (Foam Fest) and I can't wait. I think everyone should try an event like this. It's a great workout and you didn't even feel like you've been moving for as long as you have.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

Herb-Parmesan Chicken

Herb-Parmesan Chicken
It has been so long since I last posted a recipe. School started two weeks ago and I am really struggling with balancing things and scheduling myself. Things feel a little overwhelming right now but I'm sure once I get into a steady groove, I will feel a little more in control. This chicken dish is the perfect dish for feeling out of control: it is a steady and consistent dish that will never let you down. I make this chicken at least twice a month because it is quick and easy and because it happens to be one of Cati's favorite chicken dishes. You really can't go wrong with this one.

Herb-Parmesan Chicken
Source: Progresso

2 Tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup Progresso Italian panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 skinless chicken breasts (pounded to 1/2-inch thickness)
2 Tbsp oil or melted butter

Place flour, egg, and bread crumbs on separate plates. Stir Parmesan cheese into bread crumbs.

Coat chicken with flour, dip in egg, then coat well with bread crumb mixture,

In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook chicken 8-10 minutes, turning once, until thickest part of chicken is 165 degrees F and coating is golden brown.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

Elina: Eleven Months

Dear Elina,

Happy 11 months sweet girl. For the first time in the past three years I feel at a loss for words. You are growing up, there’s no doubt about that and soon you will be a toddler. The closer you get to that special milestone of your first birthday, the more and more I find myself reflecting on your whole life. Because of this, it is hard for me to remember what you did this past month that made your eleventh month of life so special.  Was it the cruising, the standing unassisted for longer periods of time, the clapping, the waving? Those are all great accomplishments, but in the grand scheme of things and in consideration of all the changes you have brought and the love you have filled us with, it all seems so tiny. All these developments seem like tiny descriptors for someone so grand.

Perhaps, it’s just me being emotional or dramatic because your growth leaves a more bittersweet feeling in my heart. With your sister we knew there would be another baby and the opportunity to relive the whole baby stage, but with you there is a definitive end to each stage: no other baby will come after you. All these experiences have been lived through and they will be the last ones. There won’t be another pregnancy. There won’t be another baby. Your firsts will be the last firsts. I won’t see another child of mine roll over for the first time and the triumph on that child’s face or hear another child of mine utter “mama” for the first time. Have I done my best to remember all these moments? Have I cherished this experience of you as a baby enough? When the memories begin to lose their focus, will I have regrets?

The irony in all this is that I look at you and I still see a baby. I see the difference of two years between you and your sister and you are more baby than you are toddler. You still look like a baby. You still need and rely on me. There is still so much you cannot do. I know this will all change. Time will continue to pass and you will continue to grow. Slowly, the babyness will creep out of you and one day, you will look and act like a toddler. I will love you then more than I love you now, but I will still look at you and wonder why time has been so cruel so as to play this trick on me of living with you everyday and being blind to the subtleties of your growth.

So 11 months. What did you do this month? You grew. What made this month special? That smile on your face, those arms clinging to me in an embrace, the kisses that came when asked for, the sound of “mama” escaping your mouth, all these little things that are meant to remind me that, even though you will not be a baby forever, the things you will be able to do are worth letting go of baby-you.

Love always,


Friday, January 4, 2013

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

Running Updates

Note: I'm going to take a break from posting about the girls for a bit and instead I'm going to try to get to blogging more about food and fitness events I'm participating in. 

December was a busy month for fitness. Running has become my new passion and I love more than anything being able to say "I'm a runner." I've been running consistently since August and it already feels like something I have been doing all along. I have three half marathons lined up for this year (ING, Disney's Princess, and Miami Beach), a few 5Ks, and a few mud runs/obstacle races. Let's just say I'm hooked on this whole being fit business.

Last month, I participated in two 5Ks. The first one was in Austin: Color Me Rad 5K. What made this event really special was that I did it with my sister and this was her fitness event (I'm trying to infect everyone with the fitness bug!). Because she had her baby two months ago at the time, we went at her pace and ended up finishing the 5K in 45 minutes. To be honest, the slower pace was awesome because it meant more color!!! I was colored from head to toe and felt like a walking rainbow. I really liked this run because I got more color, it was laid back (no long lines to wait in), and the swag bag was awesome (pink glasses and a super soft cotton v-neck tee). Did I mention all the color? The best part really was doing this run with my sister. I've missed her so much since she moved to Austin and it was great to bring her into something that I'm currently passionate about.

The second run I did was The Jingle 5k in the Bradenton/Sarasota area. The funny story with this race is that I didn't tell Alex that I was participating in it until the day before the race. Alex had an interview in the Tampa area and we had planned for me to go with him and then for us to go to Orlando for the weekend without the kids. Around the time we decided I would go with him to Tampa, Active Advantage was giving away an entry to the race and it just so happened the race was on the same day we were in Tampa. The best part was that it was a night race (I love night races). The bad part was that the run was a good 45 minutes in the opposite direction of Orlando. Thus, I didn't tell Alex about the run until the day before because I knew he wouldn't be too happy about having to drive extra after a long day of interviewing. Alex must in some way be used to my craziness because he went along with it, thanked me for not signing him up too, and waited for me at the finish line despite the cold temperatures. This was my bet 5K yet: I completed it in 30 minutes flat. Go me!

Last month I also ran my first unofficial half-marathon. More than actually physically doing it, I wanted to mentally do it; to wrap my mind around running that far and for that long. I did the run by myself with my favorite musicians singing in my ears and it felt great. The first hour of running is always the hardest for me, but after that I feel like I could keep running for days. After I stopped running, however, I felt like my legs were going to give out on me. The next day I felt better and I was up and running again two days later.

My next fitness event in The Superhero Scramble next weekend and I am nervous. I have never done an obstacle race and I am starting to worry I haven't done enough to prepare for it. In particular, I'm afraid of having to climb a wall with the little upper body strength I have. Oh well. I just hope I won't have to do too many spins or burpees!