Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Artichoke, Spinach and Quinoa Wonderpot!

Today marks ONE week into my build strength and muscle mission! So far, I am LOVING it. I am still running 5 times a week, and cross training once a week (swim or elliptical). I am taking a temporary break from the Quick Strength for Runners program I have been repeating since May to consistently devote myself to PiYo and 21 Day Fix and drinking shakeology everyday. I'm loving the new workouts and am already seeing a difference. Drinking shakeology was further out of my comfort zone - I've never been a big smoothie or shake person (as I've always said, I prefer to eat my food) but Nate convinced me to give it a try (mostly because he wanted to try it I think). And it is seriously good! It's my new quick and easy breakfast and it is like having a milkshake for breakfast. I game to start my day with dessert any day!

One of my "whys" - Boston Marathon 2015 (and yes, my DVD player is broken to I'm 21 Day fixing on my laptop!)
To celebrate being one week in, I made one of our favorite new recipes I discovered this summer. The WONDERPOT (original recipe here!). The original recipe called for pasta, but I used quinoa instead. I also simplified a bit (no surprise there, but really this is SO easy you don't need to) and cut out a few ingredients. And OF COURSE I added garlic...pshh..who leaves out the garlic! My favorite part about this meal is that it only uses ONE pot. I'm all about less dishes in the sink!

1 box Frozen spinach (thaw before adding to pot)
1 can artichokes
1 cup quinoa
2 garlic cloves
Chicken or vegetable broth
Oregano or spice of choice

1. Cook quinoa in broth.
2. When quinoa has almost cooked, add in everything else. I don't drain the artichokes and use the liquid to finish cooking the quinoa.
3. Serve with grated cheese (this is a huge vice in our house...it goes on everything).
4. Enjoy and clean only ONE pot afterwards!

Only one pot to clean!

So good even dog wanted some. Too bad Nate wouldn't share!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Taco Spaghetti Squash

Ok, so if you are like me you LOVE casserole dinners, but hate how unhealthy they are. C'mon, butter, heavy cream...no thank you! So I am constantly finding casserole recipes and revamping them. Well..there's that and also the fact that no matter how hard I try to keep my grocery list up to date I always manage to forget something on my list and don't realize it until I'm halfway through prepping the meal! (Honestly, I don't even have children yet...I can only imagine where my brain will be when I do - props to all your awesome mommy's out there).

So tonight's recipe is brought to you by my forgetful grocery shopping brain and an attempt to clean up an unhealthy casserole dish! This one was definitely a keeper (although Nate the Great claims it would be even better with taco mix - one of the items I forgot). And another side note - I did choose to add a little crunch to the top of it. I had meant to get Rice Thins at the store (also forget) and sent Nate to get some on his way home from work. He returned with Wheat Thins, which we don't typically eat (very processed!)...but for tonight, it worked.

Taco Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cumin and Chili Powder (I used these instead of taco mix, but taco mix works too)
1 cup salsa
Green Pepper
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
Something that goes crunch on the top
1 cup chedder cheese (I may have cleaned up my diet, but I will not give up my cheese!)

1. Cut and clean out the spaghetti squash. I salt and pepper mine to taste before putting it in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.
2. When spaghetti squash is done, rake out the spaghetti and put in a casserole dish. Add black beans, salsa, green peppers, corn, and taco mix (or just cumin and chili powder) and mix. Top off with your choice of crunch and of course chedder cheese.
3. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

Nom nom nom very yummy!

I should add that the original recipe called for ground turkey, browned. Nate and I still are on a very limited meat kick, so we choose to forgo the meat, but it is certainly another option to modify this dish.

I need to learn how to take better food pictures, but trust me, this one was delicious!

On another food related note...tonight I made my first shakeology recipe! I have just been mixing with milk and ice in the blender, but tonight, I gave this a go.

1 scoop shakeology, ice, 1/2 banana, milk and a spoonful of peanut butter! Holy YUM this was good! This will be my go-to breakfast for the next few days until I decide to give another recipe a try. I am totally loving how this stuff 1) tastes 2) keeps me full 3) makes my tummy feel (I am very prone to bloating and general stomach ickiness and I swear this stuff has made a HUGE difference in that regard) 4) supports my workouts! I am a believer!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Maybe it was turning 30 last month. Maybe it was my amazing experience running the Chicago Marathon, getting a new personal record and having my strongest marathon yet. Maybe I'm just bored (probably, I have the attention span of a gnat). Maybe it was my experiences going to physical therapy and all the subsequent reading I did on strength training for runners. Maybe it was the fact that my last marathon cycle consisted of more strength work that I've ever done before. Most likely, it was a mix of all of these things, but finally...finally, it happened. That kick in the booty I've needed. Similar to that kick in the booty I had 26 months ago that first led my on this journey to clean up my junk food diet. My next step.

I am blessed to have amazing accountability with running. I have a great network of running peeps, races always on the horizon to keep me moving forward, awesome running clubs like Crow Athletics (CAW) and Maine Track Club, and some absolutely amazing roads to run in Maine! Running has become habit.

2015 Boston Marathon Acceptance - MAJOR accountability!

Strength training - not so much. No accountability. No one to strength train "with," no one to keep me going. No one to teach me tips and tricks like I've had with marathoning. Much like when I started my eat clean mission, I've been on a information journey since attending PT in May. I've pinned a gazillion strength training routines and moves (to the point where I entered a "do nothing" phase because I was so overwhelmed), I've asked people what they do for strength training, I've people watched like crazy at the gym (I swear, I'm not a creep, I'm just trying to figure stuff out!) and I've watched Nate the Great do Insanity, P90X3 and T25.

I've consistently done my PT work since May and in late July, when my moves started to not be so challenging anymore, Nate recommended that I try his DVD's. But I was a little bit intimidated, so he suggested I get PiYo. And I fell in LOVE. It was SO runner friendly, SO easy to do with marathon training. It was my jump start. A

nd then Chicago happened. I was convinced I was going to run a 3:45 - 3:50 marathon based on my running. Convinced! I had missed a long run, took 9 consecutive days off due to plantar's fasciitis, and was unable to to speed or tempo work for nearly 6 weeks due to it.

Legit, not believing what I'm seeing - is this thing broken today?
And then I managed a COMFORTABLE, key work, COMFORTABLE 3:32. In true geek Jamie fashion, I spent the next week pouring over my training logs trying to figure out how it happened. Strength was the difference. Consistent strength. It had to be!

So, now, I am on a mission. I have accountability for running, but now, I also have accountability for strength work! To keep accountable I have signed on as a Beachbody coach and will be running my first CHALLENGE group in a week! I have chosen 21 Day Fix as my program, but will be doing lots of PiYo as well! The best part, Nate is in on it too! We are shakeology-ing it up each morning (did I really just make that a verb?) and working it out in the afternoon (he is sticking with P90X3 for now). And we want YOU to join us! Come be a part of this challenge group and we will keep each other accountable and motivated! Contact me for more info!

It in For the Long Run TOGETHER!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Recipe #12 (yikes, I'm behind!): Squash Chips!

Despite my lack of posting, I HAVE been busy cooking and trying new recipes this summer! A new challenge this summer was to cook from our garden. (Huge thank you to my amazing summer who spent about two weeks in the blistering June-July sun redo-ing the dilapidated fence!).


Our garden provided us with fresh tomatoes, peppers, kale, cucumbers and yellow squash all summer. (My pumpkins and cauliflower were duds due to some rookie mistakes, but next year, it's on!).

Nom, nom, nom.    

I had never really eaten yellow squash before, so I pulled out a few recipes, but in the end, ended up just throwing them in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and covered them in breadcrumbs. I cooked them up for about 10 minutes until they were crispy and VOILA! A REALLY good side dish, or after dinner snack! And yes, this one even got the stamp of approval from Nate the picky eater. 

I have used this recipe with zuchinni before, but I definitely preferred using the yellow squash - it was a bit sweeter and they crisp up a bit more.

Ok, so this was kind of a cheat recipe for my New Year's Resolution - it was super quick and easy and not necessarily a meal. SO, be on the lookout for another newbie early next week - THE WONDERPOT!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I do still blog...really: A very long, semi-disjointed ramble about where I've been...

Really, I do. It's just been stuck in my head for umm...5 months and 2 weeks. Yikes, has it really been that long? I've reread my last post regarding getting ready for the Providence Marathon probably a thousand times this summer in preparation to write something about that (not so pleasant) experience, but each time I was unable to get the words out of my head and down in a coherent fashion. So instead of writing a big lengthy piece about it, filled with emotion and an in depth analysis of the inner turmoil surrounding the unfortunate turn of events that caused me not to run Providence, I'll just stick to the facts so we can move on.

1. I came down with a fierce stomach bug the Wednesday before the Providence Marathon and spent 12 hours in the bathroom, sick in all ways (won't go into more detail than that).
2. I was unable to eat until Saturday afternoon (no food, except for a donut D convinced me to eat on Friday, for 2.5 days).
3. I knew I shouldn't run, but I also knew I couldn't NOT run. So I did. And with 100 meters I knew I wasn't going to finish. But I kept running. And decided at mile 8 I had gotten in a good enough workout to call it quits as I had probably sweat out any remaining sickness at that point...but apparently there was no "aid station" until mile 15...which wasn't even an aid station but an ambulance that would only take me to the hospital.
4. So, in a "holy crap, I am so effed" moment, I hitch-hiked. Yep. Jumped in a car with total strangers. And they brought me back to the start/finish. At least I can know cross hitch-hiking off my bucket list.
5. I got my first DNF. I was ok for a few days, because I knew there was no way I was finishing that race without ending up in the hospital first. Then, I suddenly was not ok with it. I was angry. Not angry at the DNF. But angry that I had got sick. For Providence. AGAIN. (brief overview of that disaster here).
6. I decided Providence is indeed cursed and most likely will not be making a return trip.

Ok, the end.

But then, the best thing happened. A pain in the butt injury (literally) I'd been nursing all through Providence training became very real. I finally rested up after my "non-marathon," as I've come to call it, thinking this niggle would heal. But when it didn't, I went to see my good old friend Dr. Sedgwick (his response - "you again..it's only been 5 months this time"). After X-rays and poking and prodding he said that I most likely had hip bursitis along with some tendonitis and referred me to PT. PT was beyond awesome. Seriously, the best thing that ever happened to me. It was my wake up call. My PT was blunt and honest and I loved it. He told me I had some very weak glutes. We worked together for only about 3 weeks and I was religious with my home exercises, but the pain went away almost immediately, and I instantly caught the strength training bug.

So, since we've last chatted, I've completed this book TWICE through...

And then started PiYo. (More to come on this later).
I felt stronger and better than ever.  I had finally stuck with strength training for more than two weeks and was proud.

But just as my strength training started to take off, my running got sidetracked, yet again. I was struck down with Planter's fasciitis in late July and had to take about 9 days off. It took almost 6 weeks to heal, and although I was lucky to be able to run through most of it, I had to stop doing workouts, as speed bothered it, and was resigned to slow miles. I had also gotten some health related news in early July that threatened to put the kibosh on my marathon training (don't really want to get into this yet - maybe someday) and just really took the wind out of my sails for training in general.

One step forward, two steps back.

As Chicago approached, I was really at a loss for a goal, and decided just to run what I felt that day.

Race day happened, and I somehow had the race of my life. No wall hit. No need to walk. First marathon I've run in it's entirety. First marathon done on heart rate, and done way UNDER heart rate levels (ave 159 - 9 beats below lactate!).  Present the whole time. A PR (ok, it was only 9 seconds, but it was a hell of a lot easier than my last marathon at almost the same time!). And, a very unexpected, second Boston Qualifier.

I was lucky enough to have the company of Danielle for this race experience. She sums up the race much than I just did in her blog. What was so neat about it, was that Danielle had a similar experience to me at marathon 10 (cursed marathon number 10). A damn DNF.

After the marathon, she posted this on her facebook page...

I kept going back and rereading it in the days after the marathon. I'll be honest, after Providence, I really questioned if I wanted to run marathons anymore. ALL that training, ALL that hard work...for one, flipping day. And then, if you get a stomach bug, get a chest cold, aren't hydrated enough, there is a freak hurricane, ect...it is such a let down. But even though it is a let down...it not all for nothing. My DNF and subsequent injuries laid the groundwork for strength training I would have never done otherwise. I am a stronger runner, and person because of it. Mentally and physically.

I've been reflecting on the Providence non-marathon, and the Chicago AWESOME marathon all week, and I was reminded of this picture I've posted before in my blog.

Yea...I may have "failed" in Providence. But it was just fuel for the fire. Fall down 5 times, get up 6, or something like that. I'm back on the horse again, and now I'm on a mission...

 Stay tuned!