Thursday, August 9, 2018

Flying Pig Ambassador Program

I know I haven't posted in quite some time and frankly I've missed it. When I completed The Flying Pig Marathon in the spring I was injured and hadn't had my best day. I don't think I was in the right mindset in general. My husband said he thought it would be good if I got back to blogging because it seemed like something I really enjoyed and that it gave me a way to help other people become inspired or encouraged. Being able to do that makes me feel fulfilled, but not only that, I in turn become inspired and encouraged by other people. I think it's an important piece of my "health journey." I recently learned that I was chosen to be a Flying Pig ambassador and it seemed like a great time to give my blog some love. My husband is a video editor and very concerned with graphics. He says my blog needs a major facelift, so if you are like him, please know that a facelift will come eventually when I am able to research more and better understand the world of design for blogs. If anybody has any tips, feel free to send them my way.

So many people have asked me what the ambassador program will mean for me. I don't feel like it will mean the same thing for every person, but for me it means I will be sharing my journey more and with that I hope to allow people to feel more confident in their abilities to complete things they may have not deemed possible for themselves. I'd love to get more friends and family participating in healthy activities, and especially joining me on Pig weekend. We are very fortunate in Cincinnati to have such a rich running community and culture. The Flying Pig is a weekend where we can all come together, no matter our ability levels. That's part of the reason I love it so much!

Meanwhile on the blog, I'll be sharing stories, recipes I've tried, and workouts or groups I'm leading.

Anybody want to make a commitment to try something new? I'll have some discount codes for all Pig Events. What's on your radar? Anything you'd like to see from me on the blog?

It feels so good to be reenergized!
Lauren

This is a photo from my time in Northern Maine chasing an inspiring man, Harvey Lewis, on the Appalachian Trail. It was a great adventure. 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Training is Hard, but I am Tough

Saturday was honestly one of my favorite routes that we do. It's hilarious to say this because I wrote a blog post once about wanting to throw up on this exact route. For all you Piggers out there, it's Gilbert Hill up to Eden Park. This route even continued onto Madison road and was oddly like the Pig course. It was 9.5 miles in total, but we actually got the downhill of Gilbert, which you don't get blessed with in the full marathon. It's pretty awesome to look at a route and not dread it, but appreciate that I can do it, and also to be able to appreciate the view from the top. The Eden Park overlook is beautiful at all times, but it's more beautiful when you're not struggling to breathe and telling yourself you just might die. Our program has been revamped this training season and it is not easy. Tuesday was one of the hardest workouts we have ever done in my opinion, but I forced myself to keep going and didn't fall back. It's moments like Tuesday and Saturday (even though difficult) that have shown me how far I've really come. I struggle at times telling myself that I haven't made enough progress or getting disappointed about really not making the scale move, but when I can keep up and when I can feel good, I am reminded that at one time running a mile was nearly impossible. It really is every woman's goal to lose weight. I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to cut another 20 pounds off, but in reality it's important to appreciate daily accomplishments that show you are stronger and can endure more than you could yesterday. We should put as much weight on these accomplishments as we do on the scale going down, if not more.
By the way, my group is awesome!


Anyways, I have made some good recipes lately that I want to share because people seemed to be excited about those.

Shrimp Creole: I posted about this a couple weeks ago, but I had never tried it before. Actually T.J. and I have never even cooked with shrimp before, but this was a good first effort. Let me tell you-it's delicious! T.J. and I both loved it. Why not make it tomorrow for Mardi Gras?!?! It would be perfect. By the way for all you weight watchers, the recipe says it's only 1 smart point (I'm not sure if this is the new system or not) without the rice.


My friend Luke had an Olympics gathering to show off his new home. T.J. and I pitched in by making Korean food. T.J. made Bulgolgi (a thin sliced marinated beef) and I made spicy chicken. This stuff will make your nose RUN, but it is delicious. People have asked me for the recipe. It's from a friend, so I'll type it out. I'd have to ask T.J. for the bulgolgi recipe he used, but there are several online and it's pretty easy. Make this and watch the Olympics for a fun night!

1.5 pounds chicken
4 cloves minced garlic
1 chopped jalepeno
sliced carrots, thin
white mushrooms
Sauce
1/3 cup Gochujang (it's a paste, you can get it near the other asian sauces at Kroger)
2 T hot pepper flakes
2 T brown sugar
1 T soy sauce
1 T seasame Oil
Stir fry ingredients until chicken is cooked and veggies are soft
After sauce ingredients have been mixed, pour over stir fry and cook for one more minute
Serve over rice

We are going out of town later this week, so I'm trying to make easy recipes that do not require a lot of dishes.

Baked Potato Soup is on the menu tonight. She sneaks in cauliflower as a filler, but do not worry, it still tastes as hearty as other loaded potato soups I have tried.

It's been hard to resist sweets lately and I'm still working on that. Fat Tuesday donuts, candies from valentine's parties, and homemade sugar cookies are some things I've been failing at resisting. Sugar is most definitely an addiction, but I'm working on it.

Enjoy your week!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Products I'm Really Into Right Now

I had a lot of people tell me that they were excited about me blogging about my recipes, and wanted to see more of that....and more are on the way. I am trying a couple new recipes this week so I want to see how they turn out before I post the recipes. See! This blog is even inspiring me to try some new things, so you might as well to. Anyways, I thought for today I could post just a few products I am currently obsessing over.

I tend to get really into certain brands or products and then I want ALL of them. So here's some of my "flavors of the month."

First up, this is going to be the most "basic bitch" thing you've ever heard, but I have become obsessed with Lululemon. I know! I know! It pains me so. I always thought. You've got to be kidding me. Those things are overrated. Why would you spend that much on leggings? The actual leggings that T.J. bought me for Christmas were made for running and they are awesome. I tend to just wear them 24/7, just ask my friends, but they are super comfy and have a lot of pockets. They don't slide down or ride up. Here's the best part, they will hem your leggings for free (great for shorties like me.) Oh wait, that's actually not the best part, they have a lifetime guarantee! I was concerned about a pair I bought on the sale rack because they had a string hanging from the seam. She said "Oh, just bring them in, we'll reseam them for life." If they have a hole, they will replace them. That's pretty awesome and makes the price a little easier to swallow. Since the pair I got for Christmas, I've bought 2 additional pair. Worth it!
Shop Here!


Next, Goodr sunglasses. These babies are fun and they stay put while you are doing outdoor activities. They are polarized so you can actually see out of them. Plus, they are only $25. I only wish I could be using them more, but it's been so dreary and gets dark so early that I haven't actually run with them yet. Either way, it's very strange for my husband to get jealous of sunglasses that I have that are branded as "running sunglasses" but he wants to order a pair for himself to take to the beach. I might even buy another more neutral pair.
Shop Here!
I got these Aftershokz headphones in October before I ran the Long Beach Half Marathon. I had my eyes on them after doing a demo at a running store. Since I'm an REI member, they send me a  gift card towards the end of the year based on what I've spent. It's actually a good deal if you buy a lot of outdoor gear. This covered over half of them (they were $99, but I've seen them on sale for $75.) I realized I liked them as soon as I put them on. They do not go in your ears, but on the outside and use bone vibration to help you hear the music. This is great for safety as well. I knew I loved them at the Long Beach Half. They stayed in place the entire time and I didn't have to adjust them once. I just used them on my 10 miler and was able to listen to music as I talked with others in my group. The battery life on them is great. The charge even lasts if you haven't touched them in awhile. I couldn't find a photo of me in them, but the link has a great video to show you how they fit.
Shop Here

Finally, someone in our group discovered this running late that's really affordable and they do a good job at not only making you visible, but help to make the pathway visible as well. I bought this because of 2 things. First, I almost hit some people with my car who were out running in the dark in the morning. They were not on the sidewalk and they were wearing no lights or reflective gear. Second, I didn't have a light for a snowy pub run we were doing one night. I got separated between 2 groups. Thankfully, someone had let me borrow their hand light, which made me feel a lot safer. I would have been extremely nervous if I hadn't of had that. Anyways, the only problem with this is that it can be a bit weird looking if you are larger chested like me, but I still use it because it's serving it's purpose to keep me safe, which is more important than a weird looking boob.
Shop Here!



I'm wearing the light here

As far as training goes, it's been going really well. I feel like I have a lot of energy still and my body is carrying me pretty easily right now. I hope this continues. I'm worried about becoming more fatigued and worn down mentally as the season gets more difficult, which is typically what happens to me. My group is great and it's nice to have people who support you and talk to you when you are out there for hours. I'm really looking forward to my runs with them and watching them all succeed.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What's on the Menu

So, I posted that I was going to share some recipes for the week with you here today. I always meal plan and grocery shop on Sundays, usually as early as possible in hopes to avoid the huge crowds. I'm 100% not a nutritionist or dietitian. I don't create any recipes. I try to find recipes in cookbooks or online that are healthy, yet still flavorful. I'm not a person who enjoys eating plain baked chicken with broccoli. We enjoy a lot of ethnic food and I love using spices other than salt and pepper. I try to be strict during the week, but it doesn't always work. Sometimes I snag a Reese cup or end up eating pizza rolls for dinner. So, I am by no means perfect, but even the small changes have made a big difference in my life.

When I got home today, I made  Broccoli Quinoa salad with lemon dressing for lunches. The flavor of this salad is great, however, I didn't feel like it made enough for 4 servings if it's your main dish.I would definitely make it again though and maybe double the recipe. I left the tarragon out, because it's a spice I don't personally like, and it was fine without it.

I also had old bananas that I wanted to get rid of so I made Blueberry Banana Bread. I didn't have applesauce, so I use coconut oil instead. The bread turned out good, however I think the blueberries are a bit overpowering so next time I would use less of them. For some reason, we never finish a hand of bananas so I end up trying healthy banana breads all the time. I would say this is one of my favorites so far.

On the menu this week for dinner:

Monday: Sweet and Spicy Salmon with Mixed Veggies: This is a recipe from a cookbook in our home. I prefer to use cookbooks because I think they are easier to look at while you are cooking. I guess I'm old school. Anyways, it incorporates salmon with shiitake mushrooms and red peppers in a sauce that is made with sriracha and soy. We eat a lot of Asian inspired dishes.

Tuesday: One Pot Southwest Pasta: This stuff is delicious and vegan. Tuesdays are my workout runs, so I like to eat some extra carbs and try to do something with pasta or rice. We've had this before and both really enjoyed it. It makes excellent leftovers for lunch as well. Also one pot=EASY

Wednesday: Crock Pot Balsamic Pork: My husband is more of a meat and veggies kind of guy and his favorite recipes are not casseroles or one pot meals like mine. We already had a pork loin in the fridge, so I thought it might be a good week to use this up. The flavor is really nice and the pork is super tender after cooking in the crock pot all day long. We will be making Brussels sprouts to go alongside the pork.

Thursday: Shrimp A La Criolla: Again, this is from a recipe book at our house. We've never tried this before, but I'm just beginning to like shrimp. My taste buds have completely changed-I used to hate shrimp! The stew incorporates tomatoes, red pepper, and olives. I'm not sure how it will turn out because I've never made anything even remotely like this before, but I'll keep you updated. The "stew" cooks in the crockpot, with the shrimp being added later so it won't burn.

I am willing to share recipes from my cookbooks individually if anybody wants them, I just didn't want to post photos to respect the chefs who created them.

I think the number 1 myth I feel like people believe is that cooking healthy is expensive. My bill was under $100 today. Fresh vegetables and fruits really aren't terrible and Kroger has them on sale a lot. I only try and buy what I need for the recipe so I don't waste the rest. We've gotten a good supply of spices built up and after you buy them once, they can least for a year. You may have to push yourself into something new for some of these recipes, or find a new ingredient that you've never used before, but since we started doing that we feel a lot better about eating at home because our food actually tastes good! We have struggled with going out to eat in the past too much, and we still do on the weekends, but everything's a work in progress! Also, I said "I" a lot but the truth is we take turns making dinner, which also helps with eating at home since I don't particularly like cooking.

Happy eats!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

One Week of Doing the Runs I'm Supposed To

I'll be the first to admit that I rarely have stuck to the training schedule in the past. I've never felt bad about that but I figured maybe that could contribute to some of my times not being exactly where I've wanted them to be or me feeling fatigued on some of the runs. I'm not a person who likes to do the same exercise over and over again so that was another problem for me. I feel like running can get boring and I like to mix it up. I never want to get burnt out on training, especially this early into my running career. I don't wake up with my legs twitching to run like some people do, but this week I stuck to the recommended schedule of running.

Let's rewind one week. Saturday I missed the run because I was in Frankfort for a meeting with teachers across the state of Kentucky. It's something I have a passion for, but I was bummed to miss the run with my group. I had to make it up on Sunday, alone, which is always much worse because it's not so much fun to talk to myself. However, I finished and felt good about completing it.

Monday was a recommended 3 miles. After having a giant Italian dinner on Sunday (thanks friends) I needed this run and since 3 miles is a shorter distance, I even got to do a strength workout afterwards. Tuesday was my birthday and I really wanted to skip so that I could go out with my husband, but I decided to stay dedicated and I went to run fartleks (I hate any workout that involves sprinting) but I actually felt great. It must have been because I was powered by a chocolate cake my friend brought me at lunch. That was 6 miles and I bet people that know me can't believe I didn't bitch the whole time about sprinting. Sprinting uphill most of the time, if I might add. Wednesday and Thursday I did morning strength workouts and then the schedule says to do a recovery run. I hit up the gym with T.J. and did 4 miles on the treadmill, remembering how much I flipping hate the treadmill. Friday I chose to do strength in the morning, which brings us right to today which was an 8 mile, long slow distance workout. I workout a lot and adding in the required runs I felt like would just exhaust me, but today actually went really well. I am enjoying my 4:30 group so far and getting to know them better. It was a pretty flat route, but sometimes those take the most mental stamina.


I was glad I stuck to my "required running" for training this week, but since it was my birthday my diet was VERY lacking. Wow wouldn't it be cool if I could have a week of good eating and following the training schedule? I might like gain some awesome super power I didn't even know I had. I'm not a nutritionist by any means, but tomorrow I'll post my meal plan and give you some ideas of what I'll be (hopefully) eating this week. I hope I can stay dedicated and consistent this week.



I hope everyone has an awesome weekend! Get out an enjoy the 50 degree temps in January!

PS My husband bought me a fancy new apple watch for my birthday. I am still figuring out how to use it, but so far I'm really enjoying the push it gives me for the high level exercise goals, the music controls while I'm on on a run, and checking the weather with a push of a button while I'm getting ready for a run. I'll try and share more as time goes on!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Here We Go Again

I really wanted to get back to blogging in 2018 but sometimes I feel like I've already said everything there is to say. Honestly though, there were a lot of things that I could have written about last season, but ended up not doing and I now regret. I dealt with my first injury, and completed a half marathon with said injury. I also had a sinus infection. It was mentally and physically one of my toughest races and I know a lot of people could have related to that struggle.

Blogging is something I enjoy and I'm really hoping to get back into it for this running season. I always start the year with a vision board and one of my visions is to keep up with this blog again.

Our first group run was January 9th. I missed this run because we had tickets to a UK game in Lexington that night. I did not regret missing the run because I had such a blast, but unfortunately our Saturday run was cancelled also, due to snowy conditions and icy conditions. We had a makeup run on Sunday but it wasn't quite the same as our whole group wasn't there.

With the Indianapolis Monumental being the last time I had really run, I have to admit I'd been in a funk of not running. I wanted to allow time for the sprained ankle to heal completely so I did no exercise for about a week (made me absolutely crazy) then started doing other exercises that didn't incorporate heavy running or jumping. I have to be honest that I grew accustomed to really enjoying other things and I didn't miss running. This was weird to me because when I first thought about having to not run, it made me miserable. How would I stay sane? What would I do? This was my healthy addiction and love! But I got comfortable. Other exercises became a new routine for me and running a short 3 miles when the weather was pretty became just an add on when I felt like it. I didn't feel super motivated to start this season and Tuesday was the day that changed that for me.

This Tuesday we had gotten about 4-6 inches of snow over the weekend and Monday during the day. When I stepped outside I realized just how cold it was, 10 degrees with a feel of 3 degrees. Of course all I could think was "I don't feel like doing this." and "This is stupid." Once I got with my training group my feelings quickly changed. I caught up with friends I hadn't seen in awhile. It was good to see them again. I went out with my new pace group (4:30-YIKES!) on plenty of packed snow, in the dark, in freezing temperatures and guess what? I didn't suck. I felt....good...? I think it's partly scary to get back into something because you think that you've lost so much, but your body is smart and it can do amazing things. I didn't feel like a person who hadn't been running for 2 months, I felt like a runner and a strong runner at that. I was confident again and felt ready to train for 26.2 miles. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the accountability and fellowship of being with a group is extremely important for me.



I've got many goals for the year, as I hope all of you do, and The Flying Pig is just the start. I'd also like to complete my first Tough Mudder. Beyond exercise, I've been working to eat 2 vegetarian dinners each week and many more vegetarian lunches. I've already cooked tofu and tempeh pretty successfully, which was fun. T.J. and I are doing ethnic dinners on Sundays. So far udon noodles (Thai) and spatzele (German) have turned out great! I always have goals of multiple vacations and saving money, yes I know, these work against each other. I'm trying to read more novels as well.

As you approach the year it's not too late to set goals. If you get into the routine of doing something specific, it becomes second nature and isn't really something you dread. I don't dread 5:30 AM workouts anymore because I do them regularly. However, I was dreading getting back to running because I was so used to not doing it. Activity or inactivity both provide a level of comfort once you get used to them.

Consistency is my word this year and there's sooooo many goals I have that fall under that. I might fall short, but I'd like to achieve as close to 100 visions as I can!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Blood of the Dragon

So since starting this blog, I feel like I had often had to defend women, especially women in athletics in some way. For example, around the Olympics I wrote the post about how women were being covered in the media. I have also blogged about a man who laughed at me when I told him I was trying to purchase BCAA's at GNC. I have blogged about being yelled at from men out of car windows as I was running. I've heard everything from "Run faster you fat, fluffy bitch" to "Look at your boobs bounce!" Yes, I wish I was kidding. I have blogged about a woman I follow Run, Selfie, Repeat being told she should care more about losing weight and stop using it as a crutch in an email from a stranger.

Now, a coach from my team has been called out for an outfit she wore to complete a half marathon.

The picture above is Laurah Lukin who actually won second place in this half marathon. After these comments were deleted, the man continued to comment on other pictures, then posted about the situation on his Facebook saying that just because women were offended didn't mean they were right. Please read Laurah's blog here to learn about here reaction. 

I don't want to spend time hating on this guy, because he is frankly not worth the time. 

The thing is, it's easy to tell each other to ignore it. It's easy to tell our fellow women to let the comments roll off their back. However, the truth is that these comments hurt and put us on edge. When men yell at me from their cars, I start doubting myself in my own head. It's hard to focus on running because I am instead focusing on myself and how I am being perceived. I also get nervous and find myself looking over my shoulder to make sure the car has left. The problem is not with women, the problem is with how our society views women.  This is why I will continue to post blogs like this. This is why I will continue to be a Girls on the Run Coach, which works to teach girls self esteem and confidence. This is why I will continue to post photos of myself after a long run or a hard workout. 

The other news about our society, that just so happens to be good, is that women seem to be stronger than ever. I know so many amazing women that are out there every day kicking ass and continuing to push themselves every day. These women are strong and beautiful. The job of changing the conversation is in our hands. The job of ending sexism is in our hands. 

If you are a woman who kicks ass, continue to put yourself out there no matter who tries to stand in your way. Focus on your inner strength and outer strength. Focus on all you have done to get where you are now.
You are strong.
Hold that thought close to you knowing that nobody can take it away. 
You are strong. 

“I am the blood of the dragon. I must be strong. I must have fire in my eyes when I face them.” 
― George R.R. MartinA Storm of Swords