Big News!!

Hi friends! I have big exciting news. Well, perhaps it is only big and exciting in my world, but I’m going to share it with you, and I hope you think it’s exciting too!

But first, I want to talk about my awesome speed sesh with Ashley this morning! I am trying to be a legit runner, and stick to my training plan, which means today was my first official training speed session. I mean, I definitely made up some of my own in the past with no idea what I was doing or why I was choosing certain distances, just in the hopes of getting faster. They were killer and I think they worked pretty well, but there is something about seeing it on the plan and the determination to reach that goal that really excites me!

All 3 of my previous speed work outs (maybe there were only 2? who knows…) were done at 800 meter intervals. This training plan uses exclusively 1600s (1 mile). I have a small confession. In the past, if I didn’t feel like I could make it, I wouldn’t just slow down like an honest non cheating runner, I would stop, pause my garmin, catch my breath for a second (or 10), then be on my merry way. It was easy to let myself give up, and I felt like I was cheating…and honestly, I kinda was. I am determined for no more cheating!

Today the plan called for 4 miles including a 1 mile warm up, 2x1600s @ 8:45 with an 800 recovery jog in between, and a cool down. The first interval was challenging, but I knew the entire time that I could do it. I never felt like I was going to die or anything, which I take as a good sign. I finished the first 1600 in 8:42. Not bad, self. Not bad at all. Towards the end of our recovery jog, Ashley asked if I needed to stop before the next interval and I proudly denied the possibility of stopping and said my 800 of jogging should be plenty of rest, and if I have to slow down, and I don’t meet my goal, that is my problem, but I’m not allowed to stop. See friends, I have turned over a new leaf!

The second interval was challenging, but I never felt like I needed to stop. It just felt hard, but running is supposed to be hard, and that’s why I like it! I finished the second interval in 8:37, and after the cool down, I completed 4 miles in 38:24. Not too shabby. The whole run felt challenging, but great! Tomorrow is a rest day, and then Friday it says 8 miles at a snail’s pace. Or at least, it might as well. ;) After the run, I got lots of twitchy needling done. Today was a little rough. The more your muscles twitch and grab onto the needle, the more painful it is, and today Gabe got all excited talking about how I was “getting so many good twitches” while I was fighting the urge to yell obscenities because the pain was a little ridiculous. But you know what? If it works as well as it did last week, NEEDLE AWAY GABE!!!!! For real.

Okay, so that news….

Drum roll please………..


source


source


source

Excuse me, but I don’t believe you actually made a drum roll sound, can you please play along?

I’m sorry, I’m 5.

This is me when I was actually a child. Now I just act like one.

 

*** I SIGNED UP FOR A FULL MARATHON!! ***

That’s it? We had to drum roll for that? I’m never reading this blog again!

It’s okay friends, I’m not very observant, so even if you only pretend to be excited, I will never know the difference ;)

But wait…there’s more! It’s not just any marathon. Let me explain. While Kara and I were training for PF Chang’s, I started musing about the day I would complete a full marathon. I remember saying to her that when we did our first full, we should go somewhere special, and make a big celebratory vacation out of it! Well I was training for my first half, while lots of awesome running bloggers were training for and running the New York City Marathon. I remember thinking “How amazing!!! I want to do that!!” I declared to Kara that this would be our marathon. Well, remember that I am a new runner, and I didn’t know about the lottery system or anything like that. Once I discovered that not just anyone could sign up, I cried because my dreams were crushed, I moved on to other options. I had all, but decided on San Diego, when I heard terrible things about the race, and resigned myself to the fact that PF Chang’s in Phoenix next January would be my race. Which, don’t get me wrong, would still be awesome, but I remember so clearly dreaming about New York.

Well, Monday I went to get my hurrrr did (yes, that is how I say it), and Allison mentioned that Chances for Children had spots open for NYC. I couldn’t even believe it.

Chances for Children is committed to improving quality of life by supporting programs that provide access to sports, physical education, and character education for youth. We provide fitness training, nutritional programs and educational services to students at schools throughout Arizona. Chances for Children was founded on the belief that in life everyone deserves the chance for opportunity. Research shows that diet and exercise promote a balanced well-being, resulting in positive life achievements.”
source

The opportunity to raise money for a foundation that provides health and fitness opportunities for kids?!?! And the opportunity to run the NYC Marathon?!?!?! It kind of seemed like fate. Within 24 hours, I filled out a form and secured my spot. Lots more to come about the foundation, my plans for how to raise the money (it’s a $5,000 commitment that I hope to not just meet, but exceed), and my training.

Being a part of this program, I get a personalized training plan as well as coaching which is absolutely amazing. I also am thrilled about the idea of working with a team, being a part of something bigger, and running for more than myself. I get to run to help all of those kids struggling with health and self esteem like I did when I was their age. I have the opportunity to open doors for these kids, and possibly help them from struggling with weight, health and self esteem until their mid 20’s like I did. I could help someone like me, and make their life better. And isn’t that what it’s all about? As someone who works with kids every day, and knows all too well the challenges of being an overweight child, I cannot think of a more relevant organization to accomplish this life long dream with. I haven’t been this excited about something in a very long time, and I can’t wait to share this journey with all of you!

The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival

resized_DSC01728

Saturday evening after the race, Jason, Nacho and I met up with Bethany to head over to The Great American BBQ and Beer Festival in downtown Chandler. It was a beautiful day to be spending outside! I love this time of year in Phoenix.

This place was packed with BBQ stands, and local beers. Perfection. Nacho thought we were at the Renaissance Festival and bought a turkey leg.

Umm, good choice Nacho! This thing was delicious! We all picked at his food while waiting in the bbq line.

After we got food and drinks (I had some super yummy bbq sandwich, which is totally something I would never order, but I was glad I did!), we went to the lawn by where the bands were playing.

Nacho & Me. We match.

We were waiting for Bethany and Jason to get more beer, so we played Scrabble on his iphone and took a ridiculous amount of pictures.

We still match. In case you forgot.

Fiiiinnnaaalllllyyy, our friends returned!

I have a confession to make that may surprise you. Back in the day, I used to think I was “punk rock”. I had piercings (eyebrow, labret AKA below the lip, and nose), I hated bands that were “sell outs” like Blink 182–I loved them, then they got popular and I talked a lot of crap about how they sold out and now I only liked their old music. I was special. Anyway, Bethany and I used to actually go to punk shows together–like in the mosh pit! My fav bands were Greenday (even though they sold out–my aol email was ARiLuVsGrEeNDaY….oy!!) and Less Than Jake, and Bethany’s favorite band was Face to Face. I still have some of that old music on my ipod, and honestly, I do still enjoy a lot of it, but definitely don’t get into the punk rock culture these days, unless being punk rock means being ready for bed by 9pm, and sipping a beer off to the side lines of a concert. Let me tell you folks, I am one exciting lady.

Anyway, the entire reason we decided to go to this event was because Face to Face was playing.

One time Bethany and I had even driven to Northern California (about 14 hours straight) to go to a Face to Face show. Well, I don’t know how long we sat around in the stupid grassy area listening to crappy bands before we realized we were in the wrong place and had missed most of their concert thinking we were waiting for them to come on! Total bummer. We set out to the other side of the festival, and Bethany started full on running to make it there. It’s funny, she’s generally so reserved, but every once in a while she gets super excited about things, and this was one of those times.

We didn’t get over there until near the end of their set, but we still got to hear a few songs, and it was really fun! I enjoyed seeing them more than I expected, and Bethany really had a blast!

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my best friend. I love her. We couldn’t be more opposite, but she cracks me up and we get each other. Like Meredith and Christina (yes, I LOVE Grey’s Anatomy and you can judge me all you want).

This was one of the funnest evenings I’ve had in a long time. It was really great to spend some time with some of my favorite people, and get out to do something fun and different! The event was a little pricey ($10 to just get in, then $5 drink tickets, and approx $8-$10 a plate for food–doesn’t seem like much, but adds up quickly), but it was well worth it, in my opinion. I would definitely go back next year!

South Mountain Classic 5K Race Recap

photo

All in all, I still feel pretty torn about feeling good and blech about this race. Jason and Nacho got to South Mountain early and had plenty of time to kill waiting for the race to begin. As it got closer to the start time, I did a quick and easy jog around the area to try to get my legs warmed up. This race was super small with no bells and whistles. When it was time to begin, some man just yelled at us to come up to the start, then the horn went off and we began. The very beginning started with a slight down hill, so I took off pretty quick at first, but almost right away my legs were not feeling super fresh. Hey, who would have thought basically taking a month off from long runs and speed training, then running 10 miles and doing a race the next morning would leave you with heavy legs? The human body really is shocking.

My goal was to run the first mile at around a 9 min pace, mile #2 around 8:45 and mile #3 with whatever I had left. Well, that slight downhill was really short lived and before I knew it, we were heading uphill up until the turn around. I will say this, that it was kind of like what I imagine Whiskey Row will be like, so I feel like it was good from a training standpoint.

Mile 1– 9:07
Mile 2– 9:01

Not what I was hoping for, but I hoped I could make up for it with the last mile being mostly downhill. I got to mile 3 and felt like I still might have a chance at a PR. I had kicked it into gear, and although I wanted to stop about a trillion times, I didn’t walk (with the exception of like 2 seconds to not choke on my water). No way in hell after making it through an entire half marathon with no walking breaks, I was taking one at a 5K. Even though my lungs were burning and I kind of wanted to die.

Mile 3– 8:37

I was doing the math in my head and I knew if I kept it up, it wouldn’t be a huge PR, but it would still be a PR. Well then I got to 3.1 and I still could barely even see the finish line. I almost completely just gave up and walked. I was exhausted, it was already feeling hot out (the high yesterday was 91!!!!), my legs felt tired, and I felt super lame knowing I wasn’t going to beat my time. I struggled through and finished in 28:05.

Okay, so here’s what’s annoying….My 5K PR is 27:56 which is an average pace of 8:59. Well, according to my garmin, my average pace for this race was 8:52. I know I should just be excited that my pace was faster and not focus on the difference in course length and it not officially being a pr and blah blah blah, but the thing is, I’ve really been enjoying my “I just started running 6 months ago and I PR in every race I do!!” that’s been going on. There are not a ton of fun things about being a new runner. Everything is hard. You feel like a turtle compared to others. You have to spend money on running clothes, and you don’t understand any of the terms that the fancy runners use! But lots of PRs is the fun part, in addition to the new challenges you get to face on almost every run.

So, yes, I am a tad disappointed. However, I’m not a total moron, and I get the fact that I ran faster than before, and I think that’s awesome. This was also the first time that other runners have come up to me after a race and mention that they thought I did well!! A couple of people that I was near on the course, came up to me after and said that they had seen me and I was doing awesome! YAY!!! I also got some extra push from Nacho who was back and forth with me during most of the first half. Unfortunately, he tried to speed up to pass me near the end, and hurt his knee :( After I saw Nacho finish, I jogged back to find Jason and run with him to the finish line. I knew with the hills and the heat, he might need some motivation towards the end. I found him pretty quickly and ran with him until just before the finish line. He finished with an average pace of 10:53 which is amazing!!! I’m ridiculously proud of him!

After the race we went to The Farm at South Mountain for some breakfast.

In the middle of one of the biggest cities in the US, we have this beautiful green and rural farm with lots of restaurants and beautiful outside dining.

I discovered the editing options on iphoto--fun!!!

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast outside, then walked around. It was almost like a farmers’ market with several independent local businesses set up with stands, and tons of interesting items for sale!

There was a man and this was in his green house. It was humid inside there and he had lots of cacti for sale. It was cool, but I liked the bread man better. Obviously.

Look Nicole!!! Baby saguaro???

And we got to see real chickens!!!

Hello chickens. I hope the eggs I ate came from you. That would be sweet. Sorry, I know that's like I ate your children, or something. I hope you don't mind...

Rooster!!!

I absolutely loved eating and walking around at The Farm. In  addition to their breakfast restaurant, there is also a bakery, and a super romantic looking dinner restaurant that I would love to try as well.

The New Plan

IMAG0658

Today is a wonderful day in running land!

Tape, body glide, compression socks, stick, water, ready to go! Oh and rain boots that have been sitting under the coffee table since the last time it rained. Yes, I do live in Phoenix.

I returned to long running with Kara.

Pre run breakfast. Toast, pb, banana, iced coffee. You know, the same thing you see on every other running blog.

We had a fabulous 10 mile run. We also discovered that it’s apparently summer already here in P-H-X and we’re going to have to start running earlier. You know, by May our runs will start at 3am. We finished in 1:45:51 for an average pace of 10:35.

Long run times are tricky. I’m trying to get used to the whole easy pace thing, but my paces were all over the place. I used to just run as hard as I could keep up for the amount of miles I had scheduled, but now I have to actually figure out what different paces feel like in my body. It’s also hard to look at a 10:35 pace and think “Great job! Right on target.” But, I actually hooked myself up with a real legit training plan from Smart Coach. I put in my Lost Dutchman time, and the date of RnR Seattle (Laaaauuuuurrreeellll…it’s calling to us!!!) in the hopes that it will work out and I’ll be able to run it, chose the hardest plan (naturally) and got a really manageable looking plan with an end race of *gulp* 1:56. I’m modifying it a little bit. It has 4 running days per week, and I’m changing it to 3 because my body likes that better, and I’m gonna switch some of the days around, but otherwise, I’m really gonna try to stick to it.

Smart Coach - Intelligent Training Plans, Just For You

Here’s your individualized training program:

Current race time: 2:05:00 for a Half Marathon.
Distance training goal: Half Marathon
Initial weekly distance: 16 – 21 Miles
Training intensity level: Very Hard
Long run day: Friday
Plan start date: Monday, 3/19/2012
Race date: Saturday, 6/23/2012
Training plan length: 14 weeks

Print Adjust my plan

For more explanation of a workout, click the title of the workout.
Week
Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
1
MAR 19
MAR 20
MAR 21
MAR 22
MAR 23
MAR 24
MAR 25
12 Mi

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:54

Dist: 8 Mi
@10:54

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:54

2
MAR 26
MAR 27
MAR 28
MAR 29
MAR 30
MAR 31
APR 1
16 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi, inc
Warm; 2×1600 in 8:45
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:53

Dist: 8 Mi
@10:53

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:53

3
APR 2
APR 3
APR 4
APR 5
APR 6
APR 7
APR 8
18 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi, inc
Warm; 3 Mi @ 9:13; Cool

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:49

Dist: 9 Mi
@10:49

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:49

4
APR 9
APR 10
APR 11
APR 12
APR 13
APR 14
APR 15
20 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi, inc
Warm; 3 Mi @ 9:09; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:45

Dist: 10 Mi
@10:45

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:45

5
APR 16
APR 17
APR 18
APR 19
APR 20
APR 21
APR 22
17 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:41

6
APR 23
APR 24
APR 25
APR 26
APR 27
APR 28
APR 29
22 Mi

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:35
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 11 Mi
@10:41

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:41

7
APR 30
MAY 1
MAY 2
MAY 3
MAY 4
MAY 5
MAY 6
23 Mi

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 9:07; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:37

Dist: 11 Mi
@10:37

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:37

8
MAY 7
MAY 8
MAY 9
MAY 10
MAY 11
MAY 12
MAY 13
25 Mi

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:33

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 9:03; Cool

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:33

Dist: 12 Mi
@10:33

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:33

9
MAY 14
MAY 15
MAY 16
MAY 17
MAY 18
MAY 19
MAY 20
27 Mi

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:30

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:25
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:30

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:30

Dist: 2 Mi
@10:30

10
MAY 21
MAY 22
MAY 23
MAY 24
MAY 25
MAY 26
MAY 27
22 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

11
MAY 28
MAY 29
MAY 30
MAY 31
JUN 1
JUN 2
JUN 3
29 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 8:56; Cool

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:26

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:26

12
JUN 4
JUN 5
JUN 6
JUN 7
JUN 8
JUN 9
JUN 10
31 Mi

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:22

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 4 Mi @ 8:53; Cool

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:22

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:22

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:22

13
JUN 11
JUN 12
JUN 13
JUN 14
JUN 15
JUN 16
JUN 17
33 Mi

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:19

Dist: 6 Mi, inc
Warm; 3×1600 in 8:15
w/800 jogs; Cool

Dist: 5 Mi
@10:19

Dist: 13 Mi
@10:19

Dist: 4 Mi
@10:19

14
JUN 18
JUN 19
JUN 20
JUN 21
JUN 22
JUN 23
JUN 24
23 Mi

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:16

Dist: 3 Mi
@10:16

Dist: 4 Mi, inc
Warm; 2×1600 in 8:12
w/800 jogs; Cool

13.1 Mi @8:51
Time: 1:55:58

Well, obviously I already failed at sticking to it this week, but I didn’t make it until the middle of the week…excuses, excuses. I ran too far and not at the correct pace today. Sorry Smart Coach. Just wait for next week when I amaze you with perfectly on target 1600s!

Easy run day will be Mondays with Jason, speed work/tempos will be Wednesdays, and spin will be Tues/Sunday. The rest will be whatever Saturdays will be whatever I want, and maybe sometimes I will strength train like I should ;)

I’m ridiculously excited about having a real live plan to follow with specific speedwork, pace goals, and accountability. In fact, I feel like it’s a little ridiculous that up until now I thought I was smart enough to create my own. To be fair, I didn’t really know about Smart Coach, and it is magical. All you have to do is go to Runner’s World, create an account, go to the Smart Coach and put in your info! Super easy and free. You all know I like free things ;)

Has anyone else used Smart Coach? Like training plans? Like to create your own?

Lisa & Sam’s Wedding Reception

lisa-samreception-2012-008-M

Remember my super awesome speedy friend Lisa that I registered for The Lost Dutchman as her wedding gift? Well her wedding was very small. So small in fact that no one was invited. Lisa and Sam were engaged and before they knew it, they were driving to the courthouse to elope! Super romantic. Lisa’s mom wanted to throw them a reception so that we could all celebrate their happiness, and on March 17th, Steve and I attended Lisa and Sam’s wedding reception.

I’ve known Lisa a long time. Since my sohpmore year of high school. I’ve seen her with a lot of different guys, and let me tell you, not a single one of them compares to Sam. He is so kind, and warm, and creates the perfect calm to her big and bubbly personality. Obviously we’re nothing alike. It was truly amazing getting to celebrate such a happy moment in her life, and just seeing my friend absolutely glowing. I also got to see a few ladies from high school that I hadn’t seen in what feels like an eternity!

Margaret, Lisa & Me. The three of us were pretty much inseparable junior year, but I haven't seen Maragret in entirely too long.

It was also great to see Lisa’s mom. I’ve always really liked her, and look how great she looks!

Ummm, Sandy, you look fabulous. I need your skin care regiment ASAP.

Sam’s parents were super nice! They came around and introduced themselves to everyone, and when I introduced myself they knew right away that I was the one that ran with Lisa, and they congratulated me on our time! So sweet! Look at this happy mama and her son!

Lisa and Sam seemed to be having a blast. Sometimes I feel like weddings get so stressful that the couple isn’t able to really enjoy themselves, so it was nice to see them having fun!

Also, can we talk about how freaking incredible Lisa looks?! Her hair, her dress…she just looked absolutely stunning. After some toasts, they did some special dances–father daughter, mother son, and then look at these two on the dance floor! Prepare for a montage that borders on creepy.

They just look so great together!

Their dancing pictures were my favorite, so I couldn’t choose and ended up posting about 100. Sorry about that…

They look so happy! I was totally an emotional hot mess trying really hard not to cry. People don’t generally cry at receptions. I was just so happy for them. And I’m a sap.

My favorite.

Runner up.

I even got on the dance floor for a little bit. Usually I have to be pretty tipsy for that to happen….

....because I look like this.

Steve and I had a great time! I’m so glad that it worked out on the weekend he was in town!

And my beautiful friend, I could not be more happy for you, and I don’t think you could have chosen a more perfect partner.

I love love!

Needles & Goiters

See that bruise? Okay, so it's not as big and scary as I was expecting. I don't bruise very easily, but yesterday it was bleeding and that was kind of scary. Who knew needles could produce blood?

And the award for best post title ever goes to….!

Not ME?!?!

You must be joking. Everyone wants to read a post about goiters. And since that is clearly the most exciting part of this post, let’s save that for last and start with needles. Yesterday, I returned to physical therapy for some more Trigger Point Dry Needling. As I mentioned on Tuesday, I have not been feeling great lately. I was beginning to lose hope about these super painful treatments, but I figured I started it and should stick it out. Yesterday was super fun because on my right calf, then hit a blood vessel.

See that bruise? Okay, so it's not as big and scary as I was expecting. I don't bruise very easily, but yesterday it was bleeding and that was kind of scary. Who knew needles could produce blood?

And on my left calf, hit some nerve that sent a tingling sensation in my foot and a burning sensation down my leg. Don’t be scared mom! I asked lots of questions and even though they’ve never done this before they said it’s totally normal ;) I spent most of the afternoon walking like a freak with super tight calves which is always the case immediately after. But then I went to rehearsal, and for the first time in over a month I COULD DANCE WITH MY STUDENTS!!!! I don’t know if you realize how ridiculously difficult it is to teach choreography when you are having trouble with just walking around, but it is hard and painful and not fun. I didn’t even realize just how limited I have been until all of the sudden, I was able to actually move and it wasn’t hurting, and I felt happier and better physically than I have in over a month.

Then, this morning I got up and walked to the bathroom without stumbling!!! I’m always tentative and nervous to start moving in the morning because that’s when the pain is the worst, but this morning, I felt only slight stiffness AND I RAN YESTERDAY! And not just la la la look at the ducks and my snail pace run. I did a tempo run at my new half marathon goal pace (9 min/mi). The run was nothing too spectacular speed wise. I met my goal, and that was cool, but lately every single time I run, and often even if I don’t, the next day I feel absolutely awful. Yesterday I ran and danced and loved life and today I love life even more because I can walk, skip, jump and pick flowers while gazing at rays of sunshine :D

Okay, now let’s talk about weird things like goiters. About 2 weeks ago, I went through a little bit of the crazies. I was dealing with crappy insurance changes, mistakes that were minor in the long run, but felt major at the time, and a stupid endocrinologist who I’ve always hated, but due to lack of communication, almost changed my prescription TWICE without having seen me in 3 months. If you have thyroid issues, you know just how crappy it feels when your dosage is wrong, so this obviously caused a ton of anxiety, and a few days of feeling like an emo teenager because I handle changes and lack of control about as well as those people on The Biggest Loser who spend hours crying in the gym because they have to train with a different trainer for the week.

Enough was enough, and I sought out a new specialist, and had an appointment within 2 weeks! I waited to get into Dr Brard’s office when I was diagnosed for 6 months. Ummm, listen Dr B, you suck and I wish I would have known that when I signed up for your stupid 6 month waiting list. So today I had my first appointment with a new endo that came pretty highly recommended. There aren’t very many of them in Phoenix and almost all of them come with super negative reviews. People are picky about their thyroids, and I don’t blame them.

I feel like this office was love at first site. The guy behind the desk was nice and friendly and didn’t mess anything up! Then the nurse laughed at my stupid jokes and didn’t seem annoyed by the fact that I refused to shut up or let her get a word in edge wise. Then the nice little assistant endo man asked a LOT more questions than I had ever been asked before, and noticed things that are associated with thyroid and still bothering me even with medication. Like the fact that my hands and feet are always freezing. Like as I type this, I wish I had mittens on. Then he asked if I had any stretch marks and I said “only from when I was fat” which prompted several more questions about my weight loss. He was nice. I liked him.

While I waited for the main doctor to come in, I started looking around the office, and they have all of these funny pictures.

Agreed.

He has a sense of humor! This place is just racking up the points in my book! Then the doctor came in and before he said anything, congratulated me on my weight loss. I guess his friend filled him in. It’s been so long now that I’ve been around the same weight, that I sometimes forget that I did something kind of cool, and lots of people would like to lose 75 lbs and never do. He seemed so impressed that I “get it” and mentioned that he sees people all the time that just never do. Thanks doc!

Then he felt around in my neck–let me tell you, this is the least fun thing (well that and all the blood drawing) about going to the thyroid doctor! I do not appreciate people touching my neck, and it always feels like I’m choking, but I mean that’s where the thyroid is, so whatev. Then he tells me “Yes, you have a goiter. It’s small, but firm.” To which I responded “LIKE THAT OLD WOMAN ON SEINFELD?!?!!??!

I can’t for the life of me figure out how to get the actual video on this post so you should click on this and watch it!

He knew what I was talking about which scored him more points, but I guess it’s very common with thyroid disease.

“Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a more common cause of goiter formation in the US. This is a autoimmune condition in which there is destruction of the thyroid gland by one’s own immune system. As the gland becomes more damaged, it is less able to make adequate supplies of thyroid hormone. The pituitary gland senses a low thyroid hormone level and secretes more TSH to stimulate the thyroid. This stimulation causes the thyroid to grow, which may produce a goiter.”
Source

Anyway, I guess the goiter is no big deal, and my meds should keep it from getting any bigger. They better, because my so sensitive best friend Jason made sure to let me know that if it got like the woman on Sein, that he wouldn’t be able to be seen with me anymore. Thanks Jas. So glad our friendship is based on such meaningful deep qualities ;) I guess if it keeps growing I’ll just have to call Elaine, and ask her to do some volunteer work hanging out with me…

That’s all for now. Got new blood work today, and have to get more on Monday, but really I’m just thankful to have a doctor who seems like he gets it and is not a jerk face!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Marshmallow Buttermilk Cupcakes

IMG_2340

I have a confession. I really enjoy cooking for people on specific diets, especially baking. I love the challenge of having to create something differently, or giving someone something they can’t have all the time. My first experience with gluten free baking was a huge hit! My step dad even said they were the best cupcakes I’d ever made. Those were made with my lovely friend Carolyn in mind, but once I told my mom about them, she mentioned to me that she’s been trying to eat gluten-free as well. She hasn’t been diagnosed with any intolerance, but has found in overall improvement in how she feels since she made the switch, so when I went to create a recipe for Hank and Charlie’s birthdays, I wanted to make something she could eat too.

Marshmallows are pretty much Charlie’s favorite thing on Earth, so I created these babies, and oh my goodness. The fresh blueberries burst in your mouth, and the gooey marshmallows almost melt into the batter while baking. They were absolutely delicious. You know your special diet baking is good when everyone who doesn’t have to eat that way loves it too. All of the boys were super into them, and I think if I hadn’t told people they were gf and healthyish, no one really would have known.

Gluten-Free Blueberry Marshmallow Buttermilk Cupcakes

yield 24 cupcakes

  • 1 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1 cup Splenda (yes, some people are very opposed to Splenda–you can easily use Stevia, or more real sugar, but I just feel better cutting some of those sugar calories)
  • 1 cup egg substitute
  • 2 1/2 cups brown rice flour mix (see below)
  • dash salt
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 oz organic fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows (if you care about this sort of thing, you can find Kosher marshmallows @ Whole Foods!)

Brown rice flour mix:

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
  • 2/3 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners and lightly spray with nonstick spray.
  2. Beat sugar, Splenda, and egg substitute at medium speed for approx 1 min. Add in all remaining ingredients, except blueberries and marshmallows, and beat at medium speed for 1 min.
  3. Gently, fold in blueberries and marshmallows
  4. Evenly divide the batter between your 24 lined cups. Each one should be about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake for 18-20 min, until top springs back when you press lightly on the middle, or toothpick inserted in center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Cool completely on wire rack, then frost with Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting.

Marshmallow Cream Cheese Frosting

yield enough for approx 4 dozen cupcakes

  • 8 oz fat free cream cheese, softened
  • 1 jar marshmallow cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Beat marshmallow cream and cream cheese together until well combined.
  2. Slowly beat in powdered sugar, then beat in vanilla.
  3. Chill for at least 1 hour, then frost and enjoy!

**Note: This frosting came out somewhere more between a glaze and a frosting. It’s not firm enough to make pretty shapes on your cupcakes, but a small spread on top definitely makes them more delicious, and it’s really all you need!**

I Think I May Have a Problem

Untitled 2

Hi, my name is Ari and I have a running problem. That’s step 1, right?

Okay, let me tell you a little bit about how today went down. I woke up, got out of bed and was immediately in pain. Stumbling, struggling to walk across the room kind of pain. It was super fun, let me tell you. Both of my achilles were on fire, and the outside of my right knee that had been hurting, then gone mostly away, was back with a vengeance. I started to really think about at what point running was still worth it, and at what point it started being harmful to my body rather than helpful. I seriously contemplated taking a break. A real one. Not like that time I didn’t run for a week and called it a break.

Then I went to the gym for spin class, missed the last sign up spot by one minute, said some 4 letter words, and set out on a 15 mile bike ride outside. It was lovely. The only thing that would have made it better is if Linda and the woman that always yells during class had come with me. I love that woman that yells. She cracks me up. By the end of my ride, I was feeling a little better. First thing in the morning is always the worst. Once I get moving and stretched out a little, the pain is still there, but manageable.

I started to think about what constitutes an injury. I can run. It hurts, and it’s not easy right now, but I am not in enough pain that I can’t do it. And to be honest, it’s always hurt. It just used to hurt slightly less, and while my knee pain is fairly new, it’s not like it’s bad enough to make anything impossible. This may be ridiculously bad logic, but it’s my logic, so instead of taking a break, I decided to say F you to my injuries and sign up for 4 races.

You can judge me. You can think I’m crazy, or stupid, but I refuse to let some pain tell me I can’t do what I want to be doing. Have you ever tried to tell me I can’t do something? It’s the fastest way to get me to do it. In fact, if Steve were to tell me he didn’t think I could clean the house, he would all the sudden find himself living with an obsessive neat freak. Please don’t try that. I really hate cleaning!

Anyway, here is my calendar for the next couple of months

March 24: South Mountain Classic 5K
    Impulse decision when I realized I hadn’t run a March race, and I’d really like a shiny new 5K PR. But I haven’t been running fast at all lately, so we’ll see how that goes.

April 14: Firefly Run 5K
I’d been planning on registering for this, but just hadn’t yet. You wear pretty lights! How fun! Plus I will be running this with my best friend! It will be her first 5K and I plan on running the whole thing by her side.

April 21: Pat’s Run
Again, I’d been planning on this one, and even though I am super annoyed by their registration process (Ummm, listen Pat Tillman Foundation, I am NOT a jogger), all my real life running friends and blog running friends are doing it, and I give in to peer pressure ;)

May 5: Whiskey Row Half Marathon
Let’s talk about Whiskey Row. Specifically the elevation.

Yeah, that’s over a 1,500 ft difference in elevation, and the entire first half goes straight up. I honestly am not 100% sure I can even finish this course, but I feel like I am ready for a challenge. I am ready to be training for something again. The last month has been pretty lack luster in the training department, and I miss feeling awesome and strong after long runs, and excited after speed sessions. This is what I’m doing, and my body is just going to have to keep up. Got it body? Okay, good.

And last, but not least, I have my eye on a half marathon PR race.

That would be RnR Seattle. I’ll be in the north west at that time anyhow, and if I can make it happen, I would absolutely love to do this race! I have my heart set on a sub 2:00 half in 2012, and I am pretty sure it’s not going to happen at Whiskey Row…let’s be honest. I know I could find a goal race in the fall, but I also don’t want to wait until then. This isn’t a flat course (and it has an awful looking uphill finish–I mean seriously?!?!), but I actually don’t mind a little rolling hill variety, and I really love Seattle. Fingers crossed that life works out, and I’m able to do it!

What’s on your race calendar?

Nutella Cheesecake Brownie Bars

i-qPZZ2PB-M

Did you know there are actually people out there who have not tried NUTELLA?!?! That is a shame people. A big, huge, fat shame. Let’s change that by mixing it with cream cheese, sugar, and brownies. Then proceeding to eat the remaining Nutella straight from the jar. Sound like a good plan?

These cheesecake brownie bars are based very closely off my Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownie Bars, but super chocolatey, and the hazelnut flavor in the Nutella is especially delicious. I gave most of them away (Happy belated birthday KT!!), but the ones in my house didn’t last long ;)

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies Bars

yield approx 30

For the brownie layer:

  • 1 box No Pudge brownie mix or TJ’s Reduced Guilt brownie mix
  • 1 6oz container Yoplait Light fat free red velvet yogurt

For the cheesecake layer:

  • 8oz fat free cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 box fat free, sugar free chocolate pudding mix
  • 1/3 cup raw cane sugar
  • 1/3 cup Splenda
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9×13 baking pan well with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine brownie mix and yogurt. Spread in a thin layer to coat the bottom of your baking pan.
  3. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, Greek yogurt, pudding mix, sugar, Splenda, and Nutella. Add almond milk, and extracts. Beat until smooth and creamy.
  4. Spread cheesecake mixture evenly over brownie mixture.
  5. Bake for 80-90 minutes until cheesecake layer is set in the center. Yes, that is quite a long time. You may want to pour yourself a glass of wine and catch up on bad reality tv.
  6. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes, then transfer to refrigerator to cool completely.

Our First Wedding Anniversary

i-6Q4LCTS-Ti

I have to admit, having celebrated 7 date-a-versaries before we finally tied the knot, I was not super excited about the idea of starting over at 1. In fact, I asked Steve on several occasions if we could just keep going. As of January, we’ve technically been together for 8 years, so couldn’t this be anniversary 8.1? Well, I surprised myself and ended up totally little girl giddy about celebrating our first anniversary. Turns out it’s kind of fun to start over :)

Steve was able to make a short trip home for the weekend, so that we could celebrate together. We began Sunday morning by heading over to Inside the Bungalow, where we got married. When not being used for weddings, it’s actually a super cute coffee shop. Unfortunately they were closed, so we moved on right away. We went to Cartel to get coffee because so many of our friends have been raving about it.

Any place with foam designs wins my heart.

And they don't mess around with their cappuccinos!

The coffee was great, but the atmosphere wasn’t really my thing. Too much snobby hipster, if that makes sense.

Before we knew it, it was time for work (Yes, I worked on my anniversary…on a Sunday. Sometimes my life is not ideal). Steve drove up to Scottsdale with me, then spent some time with his mom while I was in rehearsal. Once I was finished, we shopped around some furniture store lusting after all sorts of things we would love to buy, then headed to White Chocolate Grill for dinner. That’s where he proposed almost 2 years ago :) We didn’t even bring the camera in, just enjoyed being there together. It was perfect.

After dinner, we came home for the moment we’d been waiting for–the cake!!! Did you know it’s tradition to freeze the top tier of your wedding cake and eat it on your first anniversary??

Is it also tradition to remove the flowers first? Because opening up a box and seeing dead flowers definitely did not enhance my appetite.

I’d actually never heard of this until we were in the planning stage, but I thought it sounded interesting, so that thing has been sitting in our freezer for a year.

We cut out a huge slice from the middle to sample.

  

"What does year old cake taste like?"

"Who cares?!?! I LOVE CAKE!!!! I will take sugar and carbs of any age please."

The result? Not great. Not terrible. The cake part tasted better than the frosting, but it definitely did not taste….fresh. I was surprised at how soft and fluffy the cake still was, but we definitely did not finish our piece, or what was left.

Steve is all present-ed out until Christmas (this past Christmas, his macro lens counted as Christmas and birthday, and I got him the balance on his bike after his 3 year old gift card to get his bike as his early anniversary present), so all I had to do was get him a card, but he surprised me with an amazing gift!

This isn’t just a photo album.

Yes, you are allowed to make fun of our ridiculously dorky nick names for each other. It's okay. I can take it.

We both really loved the movie Up, and when we were in Disneyland, I got him the grape soda pin, and now he got my an adventure book. It starts with a couple pictures from the wedding, and one from Boston with the note that this is just the beginning of our journey. Yeah, I cried. I love him. And I love this gift enough to post this picture even though I’m pretty embarrassed to admit to everyone on the internet that in real life I call him Loey and he calls me Loette. We’re special.

Unfortunately, before we knew it, it was time for me to take him to the airport :( He’ll be back for good in two weeks though, so we’re more than half way through! Hooray!! I’m just really glad we still got to spend our anniversary together. Regardless of how busy or rushed the weekend felt, it was still pretty amazing, and we have many more down the line to look forward to.

Did you/would you eat your wedding cake a year later??

 

Mac Visits: Day 3, Hiking Camelback

IMG_0740

When I decided to take Mac on a hike, I immediately consulted my amazing friend and hiking expert, Diana.  Girl has done pretty much every hike in existence, and she gave me lots of great suggestions! Ultimately, I ended up choosing Camelback. It’s probably the most famous, it’s really pretty, and the one time I did it before, it totally kicked my butt.

This morning, we got an early start and begin our hike on the Echo Canyon Summit Trail.

"YAY, hiking!!!"

I’ve actually only been hiking a couple of times. It’s not something I would want to do solo, but I really enjoy it with friends, and we have tons of trails here in Arizona.

Summit Trail is well known for the beautiful views, as well as the challenging climb. There was lots of all fours action, and on the way down, I even chose to slide on my butt a time or two.

Mac was super popular on this hike! All the guys kept commenting on his Kentucky shirt.

We took lots of breaks to take pictures and enjoy the views.

Sipping from my camelback on Camelback.

 

Yeah, we climbed those.

 

"RAAAHHHH!!!!! I climbed a mountain!!!!"

 

That's me, and my butt. Climbing rocks.

The Summit Trail is also known for the panoramic view once you make it to the top. You overlook the entire city, and it is really beautiful. Being on the top of a mountain is a pretty freaking sweet feeling. I love looking down and seeing what I’ve accomplished!

Check us out! We are tough!

You know what I do not prefer? Going down the mountain. Seriously, I would rather go up twice than up and down.

The hike ended up taking us a little over two hours, which is a little slow, but fine by me. We certainly weren’t our for time. I only brought little Garmi around to keep track of mileage.

We promptly returned to my house (after stopping for coffee, obviously) for some Maple Bacon Buttermilk Pancakes and eggs which were devoured long before I even thought about taking any pictures. We were hungry!

Tonight we have big plans that include Barrio Cafe and margaritas! Have a great Friday everyone!