“Sometimes the stars don’t line up”

I heard the title of this post a lot this past weekend.

Last weekend was the Bayshore Marathon.  It was supposed to be my second marathon.  After 18 weeks of training, trading in nights out with friends (for early morning runs), and other “sacrifices”, I did not finish my marathon.  Instead, I stopped after reaching 13.1 miles.

I made sure to “eat right” during the days preceding the race.  I tried to maintain my usual diet, while slowly increasing my daily carb intake.  Unfortunately, sometimes our systems just decide to be goofy anyways.  That’s what happened to me.  (Don’t worry, I won’t share every detail in my story)

Long story short, I became sick the night before the race.  I slept for maybe two hours- combined.  It was terrible.  I woke up at 4:30AM to start getting ready for the race.  I like to wake up early on race days (or long run days) so that I can eat as early as possible.  The last thing you’d want on a race day is a crampy stomach because you waited too long to eat.  Except on this Saturday, I knew I would have a crampy stomach throughout the race.

After debating internally, and with my mom, I decided to run.  My thoughts:
If I run one mile, cool
If I run three miles, awesome
If I run five miles, that’s great
If I run 13.1 miles, that’s awesome
If I run the whole thing, that’s unbelievable and amazing.
(I know, I know my thoughts aren’t ingenious.  But it was 4:30AM and I didn’t sleep- okay?! give this girl a break! 🙂 )

So I started.  The course was beautiful.  I was surrounded by beautiful homes, trees, and (of course) the bay.

around the five mile mark

The bay is a little hard to see in this picture, because it blended in with the beautiful blue-gray-lavender sky.  Looking at the bay, listening to John Mayer, and looking for my family and boyfriend helped make this run a lot more enjoyable.  It wasn’t quite “fun”, but it was definitely a challenge I will always remember.  And although I didn’t finish, I am still proud of myself for making it 13.1 miles.  Will my time ever show up in the record books?  Nope.  I didn’t PR.  And according to the Bayshore online results, I never even ran the race.  But I know I ran.  And at the time, I knew I needed to run.  I couldn’t stand the idea of giving up completely, so I didn’t.  I ran.  And ran.  And ran.  And then I listened to my body and stopped.  Could I have finished?  Yes.  Would I have hurt my body?  This one I’ll never know for sure.  But my body was telling me to stop, so I knew I needed to listen.

As much as runners like to plan, sometimes the unforeseeable happens.  Sometimes, the stars don’t line up.  Maybe we won’t be able to run the race at all.  Or maybe we’ll start, and not finish.  But either way we learn.  We learn to listen to our hearts and our bodies.  We learn to be thankful we can even run at all.  And then we spend all day looking up future races.

running with my heart


Four Days Till M-Day

Hey there!

I cannot believe I will run my 2nd marathon in 4 days!  Whaa?!  Glad it’s finally here, but training definitely went a lot faster for the second marathon than it did with my first.  As I mentioned in my last post, tapering kind of throws me off.  I’ve been looking for things to do and have been pretty productive throughout the past couple days.  I have successfully unpacked all of my clothing (I just moved back home after graduating).  I also donated too-many-items-to-count to Goodwill.  It feels good having less stuff in my closet!  It also feels good knowing my stuff will hopefully be enjoyed by someone else- whether they actually like it, or it’s for some kind of joke.  Like a 90’s/00’s party.

these shoes were all the rage in 7th grade. so much so that my friend Liz had a matching pair.

Now that we’ve gotten that embarrassing picture out of the way…

I’ve had a lot of fun besides the excitement that comes along with reorganizing my closet 😉 – I’ve hung out with friends, spent time with the fam, and also have done some arts & crafts.  Hellooo why can’t every day have designated arts and crafts time?  I think I’ll need to incorporate that into my usual schedule.  But really, making t-shirts for my family and boyfriend was just too much fun.  Is it pathetic that I made the shirts for them to support…me in the marathon?  Or is it just me being prepared to find them in the crowd?  Uhhh… don’t answer that.  In my defense, it was nearly impossible for me to find them during the Chicago Marathon.  The Bayshore Marathon crowd will be approximately a million times smaller, but there’s no harm in being overly prepared, right?  Plus, they’re so cute…they’ll probably want to wear them all the time.  Especially my brother.  He’ll refuse to wear it for sure love it.

Here’s a sneak peek (it was taken on my phone, so it’s not the best quality)…I’ll put up another one after they’re finished:

paintin’ t-shirts = perfect afternoon

I’d love to keep working on them tonight, but gotta let those puppies dry!  Tonight will be filled with looking up carbo-loading tips and post-marathon recovery tricks!

Questions for you:
How do you carbo-load? Do you usually start 3 days before the marathon?  What are your favorite ways/recipes to get in those carbs?

Hope you have a great night!

Cravin’ (Chocolate) Chips

Sometimes you just need chocolate.

how you doin’?

Today was one of those days.   I really wanted a huge, crispy cookie from a bakery.  But what I didn’t want was the car drive to pick one up.  Or the bajillion grams of fat that come with it.  I’m not one to give up completely though… if I want a chocolate chip cookie, I’ll make it happen.

I checked out one of my favorite dessert blogs, Chocolate Covered Katie.  She has a lot of “single lady” (individual)-sized recipes, and other smaller portioned recipes.  Her recipes are also healthy and vegan.  Although I’m not vegan, the idea of baking a few healthy cookies (rather than dozens and dozens) is perfect.  Who has time to bake 48 cookies?  Psh.

I used Katie’s “Not Guilty” Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, but modified it a little.  I left out the oil, picked a different amount of chocolate chips, and added a little extra milk.

Cakey Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup wheat flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TB and 1 tsp chocolate chips
2 TB brown sugar (I didn’t pack it)
2 TB sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract – yummmm
3 TB skim milk plus 1 tsp skim milk (add more if necessary)

Preheat the oven to 375.  Mix flour, salt, baking soda, brown sugar, and white sugar in medium-sized bowl.  Add chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and skim milk to the dry ingredients.  Stir until incorporated.  Bake for 6-7 minutes.  (Note: she said they’ll still cook once they’re out of the oven…mine took a while until the center didn’t have a slightly dough-y interior.  If you can wait about an hour after they’re out, they should be fully cooked.  If not, well…they’re a little doughy…but there’s no eggs, so it’s not really a concern 😉 ).  Made 11 small(ish) cookies.

chocolate chips ❤

Baking (and eating) cookies was the perfect end to my day.  After an hour long bike ride in hot, humid weather this morning,  I think these cookies were deserved. 🙂  Can’t believe the marathon is in FIVE days!  I also can’t believe I’m hardly running this week.  I know the tapering process is necessary blahblahblah and I survived my first marathon following this same schedule, but it’s still kinda crazy to me!  Oh well, I guess that means more time to bake? 😉

Question for you:
What do you do while tapering? 

I usually try to get out of the house and do something productive.  Whether it’s planning for an upcoming vacation, looking for a new book to read, or catching up with friends, I need to do something.  The idea of sitting around and doing nothing (when I’m used to days filled with running) is just too boring.

Egg Salad-less Sandwich

Hey there!

Hope your weekend is off to a great start!  My day began with the usual breakfast: toast with pb & bananas.  This is pretty much my standard pre-run breakfast.

Unfortunately my run today was “only” 8 miles because I’m tapering.  Since I’ve only been running for two years, it still strange for me to think that 8 miles isn’t a very hard run.  What’s even crazier?  The fact that today’s run is less than 1/3 of the distance of my run next Saturday.

One week ’til the Bayshore Marathon! 🙂

Anywaysssss, after my run (and chocolate milk) I decided to make my first “egg salad sandwich”.  Please note I’ve never had an egg salad sandwich before.  I’ve had my mom’s ham salad and her chicken salad before, but never egg salad or tuna salad.  Although I’ve been curious to try egg salad, the idea of all of they mayo grossed me out.  I’m definitely not a big mayo girl.  So I decided to do what every person would do- make their own copycat without any type of recipe, and without ever having the “real” thing.  Oh wait, that’s not normal?  Woops.

Well, this may or many not taste similar, but I can say it tastes delicious.

Egg Salad-less Sandwich

1 Egg White
1 Egg with yolk
3 Gherkin Pickles
Dash Onion Powder
Dash Ground Mustard
Dash Black Pepper
Sandwich Thins

Directions: Scramble egg white, egg white with yolk, and seasonings in pan.  After it’s nearly cooked, add chopped gherkin pickles to the mix.  Once eggs are fully cooked, put eggs (& pickles) onto sandwich thins.  Then put eggs + sandwich thin into pan until sandwich thins get slightly crispy.

I made mine with sour gherkins (not really a fan) so next time I will definitely use my favorite sweet gherkins.  However, I absolutely loved the ground mustard in the eggs!  It added an unexpected flavor that I enjoyed in every bite.  I will probably incorporate ground mustard into my eggs on a regular basis.  Let me know what you think! 🙂

After my egg salad-less sandwich, I had Chobani Raspberry Greek Yogurt and some pretzels.

Best Enjoyed Poolside

Time to take a break from recipes, and give a yogurt review:

First of all, I’m in love with Chobani Greek Yogurt.  Are they paying me to say this?  No (I wish).  But seriously, it’s so good.  My favorite flavor is Pomegranate.  I love how it’s non-fat and has delicious pieces of pomegranate at the bottom.  Raspberry and Strawberry are other ones I enjoy, and Vanilla is pretty good too.  One I don’t love: Blood Orange.  I had blood orange froyo from a neighborhood place and thought Chobani’s would be a huge hit….but no.  It tasted like orange medicine (gross).

The fact that I love Chobani so much threw me, because I’ve never been a big fan of yogurt.  I also hate the taste of plain Greek yogurt (including Chobani’s plain yogurt).  But, I’ve always been a sucker for sweets… so maybe that’s why I love the fruity yogurt flavors?  Or maybe it’s because of the nutrition facts..

One package (like I had earlier) has 140 calories, no fat, 23 carbs, and 14 grams of protein.  Helloooo!  Lots of carbs = prime for me while I’m carbo loading.  My leg muscles are also a big fan of the protein content after long runs.  Basically, it’s perfect.

And now that I’ve written a small love story about Chobani, I think it’s time for me to go to bed.  And probably dream about yogurt.  ❤

I’m officially a real person!

Remember that one time when I didn’t write on here in forever?  Oh yeah, me too.  Things are finally settling down after a crazy week!

This past week has been extremely busy with packing up my apartment, GRADUATING!, and unpacking everythinggg.  It’s still strange for me to believe that I am no longer a student.  Goodbye books, helloooo office in the city.


Me after my last final (and realizing I’m done with school!)

After my last final on Tuesday, I spent the rest of the week packing, cleaning the apartment, and running.  Oh, and meeting up with my toga-wearingfriends.  It was great meeting up with my close friends – I’m going to miss seeing everyone!  In between all of these things, I also decorated my graduation cap:

running = ❤

Throughout this week, I ate very well.  Hanging out with friends, Joe and his family, and my family, meant lots and lots of going out to eat.  As much as I love going out though, I also love to cook and make my own meals.  Here is one meal I made during my last week as a college senior: my salmon salad.

i’m craving this so bad. if only i was still at school 😉

Salmon Salad
4 ounces salmon
1 Cup Chopped Romaine Lettuce
8 Cherry Tomatoes
1 TB Nordstrom’s Champagne Dressing

Cut salmon into small bite size pieces.  Add tomatoes and chopped lettuce.  Drizzle dressing over and ENJOY! 🙂  I wasn’t sure how the champagne dressing would mix with the salmon, but I absolutely loved it.  I enjoyed breadsticks on the side (from a nearby dorm cafeteria) for some carbs.

So delicious.

After writing this post, I am definitely craving salmon.  This recipe will definitely be re-created sometime this week.

Off to go do my run – only 6 miles today because I’m officially tapering!


21 Miler: Complete!

Hey there!

I have officially completed my hardest week of marathon training!  Yesterday was my 20 mile run, and…well… it was rough to say the least.  I started off running in 70-degree weather with 100% humidity.  I was feeling warm and strong, but Joe’s knees were acting up, so we decided to head back and I’d finish up on the treadmill.  Once on the treadmill, I realized I hadn’t been drinking enough.  Apparently trying to conserve water because it’s hot out isn’t a good idea?  I guess drinking water is necessary?  Ugh.  So the remaining 14 miles on the treadmill were painful, but I got through it!  I decided to go over 20 miles because of my start-and-stop (of moving indoors).  In total, I went about 21.34 miles.  Although it wasn’t my prettiest run, I was glad to have been able to finish it.  I feel slightly unprepared for the upcoming marathon because I don’t know how fast/slow I can run it, but I’m hoping come race day my body will know what to do.

Thankfully my body feels pretty good today.  I’m not too sore and considering I ran a little over 21 miles… I’ll consider that a success 🙂

After my run, I ate about a million things like always to re-fuel my body after a long run.  Immediately after my run, I had chocolate milk and a peanut butter Cliff Bar.  I’ve learned from other runners that it’s important to re-fuel quickly after a run.  They’ve said that chocolate milk is the “perfect” re-fueling choice.  Apparently, it has the best combination of protein and carbs.  Considering it has a bunch of both listed on the nutrition facts, and that my friends are pretty experienced, I’ll accept that.  I’ll also accept it because, well, it tastes so good 🙂

Later on, I ate a Subway Turkey Sandwich filled with veggies.  This was the best after having carbo-loaded the past few days and limiting my veggie intake.  I’m a veggie-aholic, so trying to cut down on fiber was hard.  I was so glad to finally get veggies in my life again (yes, “finally”, because 3 days really is that hard for me).

Usually after runs, I like to relax by watching some tv and laying out on the couch.  Of course I did that yesterday but I also wanted to do some baking.  I decided to make PB Finger’s Peanut Butter Energy Bites.  I made these a few weeks ago and loved them.  As did all of my friends, who keep asking me to bake them some more.  This time I decided to change the recipe slightly, and still received rave reviews.  Hopefully you enjoy them as well!

PB Energy Bites (adapted slightly from PB Finger’s recipe)
2 Cups Natural Peanut Butter
1 Cup Wheat Germ
2 Eggs
2/3 Cup Sugar
about 10 teaspoons mini chocolate chips (should have 1/4 tsp mini chocolate chips per cookie)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all of the ingredients together (dough will be thick and very different from traditional chocolate chip cookie dough).

See what I mean? Super thick

Roll tablespoon-sized balls of cookie dough and place mini chocolate chips on top.

Uncooked PB Energy Bites

Place onto greased cookie sheet.  Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until bottom is slightly golden/browned.  Made approximately 43 cookies.  Share and enjoy!

Note: the original recipe contained 1 cup peanut butter, 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 egg, and 1/2 cup sugar to make approx 15 cookies.  I doubled this recipe so that I could share it, but I cut down on some sugar to make it slightly healthier.  I also added the chocolate chips for some fun and extra flavor 🙂

more cookies = more to share?

…maybe not

After baking, I enjoyed a delicious salmon dinner.  I purchased the salmon from a nearby restaurant and baked my own sweet potato fries.  I enjoyed this with my tomato-mozz creation 🙂  Ignore the broccoli…I managed to burn it during the steaming process.  Stupid broccoli.

salmon is my favorite

I ended the night with a double date with Joe, Antho, and Marta.  We saw The Avengers and it was great!  Such a fun night.  I also may have had some cereal, Goldfish, and another PB cookie before bed.  After the long run, I’m anything but sorry.  Food = fuel.

Questions for you:
– Do you ever do your runs half inside/half outside?
– How do you keep yourself motivated after having to pause a run?

My answers:
– Yes! Never really on purpose, but it happens.
– I keep myself motivated by thinking about everything I will eat after my run (which is everything).  I also like to distract myself by watching TV if I’m running inside.  Yesterday, I watched the Food Network for a bit and then Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Hope your next run goes well and has less starts-and-stops than mine!

Carb-y Comfort Food

Hey there!

I don’t know about you, but my go-to carb meal is always pasta.  Always.  Even though I’m Italian (and should be okay with eating pasta 24/7), I get tired of having it several days in a row sometimes.  This week was jam-packed with projects, tests, and all of that other end-of-they-year-stuff.  How do I de-stress?  As I mentioned yesterday, eating is mandatory- so we might as well make it a study break.  🙂

Wednesdays are my long mid-week run, so Tuesday’s dinner needed to be filled with carbs.   Because I was also going through a crazy-busy week, I  needed to have a dinner that was filled with comfort foods.  I had pulled pork in the fridge and, because I’ve loved pulled pork & BBQ ever since I can remember, it seemed like the perfect choice.

So Tuesday was pulled pork night.  I turned it into pulled pork sliders, served with a side of roasted sweet potatoes and an asparagus salad.

my kind of comfort food

This dinner was perfect for a busy night- it involved hardly any work.  Here’s what I did:

Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Pulled pork (as much or as little as you want for a sandwich)
Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce
Brownberry Sandwich Thin

The pulled pork was already cooked and came from Q-BBQ in LaGrange, IL.  I love this place and highly recommend that everyone in the area check it out!  Unfortunately, it’s too far for me to go to while I’m at school (3+ hour drive with no car = impossible) buttttt buying it and freezing it definitely makes enjoying this a possibility 🙂 Because it was already cooked (and fully thawed)  I only had to heat it up in the Sweet Baby Ray’s for a few minutes.  Put that on a toasted Sandwich thin and… you’re good to go 🙂

smoky + saucy

Sweet Potatoes
1 Cup Diced Sweet Potatoes
2 TB of olive oil
Salt, Pepper (to taste)

Heat oven to 375.  Put diced sweet potatoes, salt, pepper and olive oil in a ziplock bag and seal.  Shake until sweet potatoes are evenly covered in oil and seasonings.  Take sweet potatoes out of the bag (hang on to the bag- don’t throw it away yet!) and place sweet potatoes on cookie sheet.  Bake for around 25 minutes, or until slightly brown.

sweet + salty

Asparagus Salad– definitely the highlight of my night!
1 Cup Chopped Asparagus (about 1 inch pieces)
1 tsp olive oil
1/8 cup dried cranberries
1 Mozz Cheese Stick
1/8 lemon

Heat oven to 375.  Put chopped asparagus and olive oil into ziplock bag (use same one the sweet potatoes were in!- take advantage of that leftover olive oil in there 🙂 ).  Shake until asparagus is well coated in olive oil.  Bake for about 5 minutes, or until a fork can easily enter the asparagus.  While this cools slightly, slice mozz cheese stick into small slices (about 1/2 cm thick).  Add cheese stick slices and cranberries to asparagus.  Squeeze juice from 1/8 of a lemon over salad.  Enjoy!

asparagus + craisins = ❤

Hopefully my comfort dinner helps give you ideas for your next carb-night…or whenever you’re  craving  tasty, comforting (and quick!) food.

Gotta go run!  Later ‘gators 🙂


After the past few extremely busy days, I am so thankful and excited to finally sit down and relax for a little while.  Today was my last day of sitting through classes- ever!  Finals are next week, so school isn’t completely over for me, but I will be no longer attending classes on a regular basis!  Woohoo!  First plan of the day?  (Well, really, the second activity of the day after this…) NAPPING 🙂 woo!  Life is good.

Although the past few days have been really busy, I have made myself dinner every night.  I mean, we have to eat…might as well make this “obligation” a tasty treat and a relaxing break from studying!

On Sunday night, I attempted to make a pesto chicken & potato recipe, scaled down to one serving.  Unfortunately there were no pictures taken of the final product because… it was eaten too fast!   (Sorry I’m not sorry)  This recipe was modified from a Simply Potatoes recipe that my family has used for years.  Because I generally cook for one, I did not use the Simply Potatoes container (as it would be too much food for one person) or the suggested amount of chicken.  Instead, I used the following:

1 Perdue Perfect Portion Chicken Breast
1 Cup Uncooked, Diced Potatoes
2 TB Pesto
Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder (as desired)

Heat oven to 400F.  Spray 13×9 inch glass dish with Pam Cooking Spray.  In a small bowl, mix the pesto with the potatoes until well-coated.  Place pesto-potatoes in glass dish (making sure that none are on top of each other).  Sprinkle salt, pepper, and garlic powder on chicken breast. Place chicken breast on top of potatoes.  Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes until chicken juices run clear.  Until then, enjoy the aroma 🙂 and prepare a small side salad if desired.

This recipe was so good and reminded me of the delicious dinners I have with my family.  Because of this small cooking success, my desire to cook and create an entirely new recipe was sparked.  The next night, I made cal-za-dillas for dinner.  Cal-za-dilla?  Whaaa? Let me explain… 🙂

Sometimes I like to use common ingredients to make uncommon meals.  For example, when I eat at the dining hall I like to create unique meals.  Instead of eating the “sandwich of the day” they suggest, I make a “remix” and put my own spin on the foods they are serving.  Monday night proved to be a remix night because I used ingredients from the dining hall and from my apartment to create a delicious and different meal.  I was craving a calzone but didn’t want the associated grease.  A quesadilla also sounded good, but I generally get tired of the repetitive taste after about 5 bites.  I mean, c’mon, I like cheese and all but straight cheese and a tortilla is boringggg.  To change up this boring flavor, I imagined a meal with red sauce and vegetables added in.  Thus, the cal-za-dilla was born.
“Cal”: calzone
“za”: pizza (inspired by my meatball pizza recipe)
“dilla”: quesadilla


Hello, delicious.

Yeah, you’re right.  It was huge, delicious, and basically out-of-control.  And yes, that is only half of the cal-za-dilla.  Ready for a big meal?  Or, want to make one for someone who is?  Here’s the recipe:

1/4 diced green pepper
1/4 cup shredded mozz
1/2 mozz cheese stick
1/8 diced uncooked potato (uncooked leftovers from the night before, shh!)
1 cooked meatball (I used Anne Burrell’s recipe)
3/4 Cup Rao’s Arrabiata sauce (you can use whatever red sauce you like- but I like the spice in this one!)
1 Spinach Wrap

Heat oven to 375.  While pre-heating, place 1/2 of the shredded cheese and diced green peppers on one side of the wrap.

mmm cheese

Chop the meatball into small slices, and place on top of wrap.  Add potatoes and Rao’s arrabiata sauce.  Peel the (1/2) cheese stick into small slices (your junior high self is totally loving this, don’t lie).  Place cheese stick slices around outside of wrap, and sprinkle rest of shredded mozz on top of sauce, like this:

*stomach growls*

Fold the wrap in half, and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes (or until the wrap is as crunchy and warm as you would like).  Remember, the meatball is cooked so there is no raw meat involved in this dish.  You just need to bake it until it is as warm as your heart desires.

I tried putting yogurt butter on the outside of the wrap so that it would get a nice calzone crunch… and it didn’t really do anything.  If you decide to go this “crunchy” route and find something that truly gives it that extra-something, let me know what you did!  Even without the golden brown color, however, it still was a little crunchy (because the tortilla is so thin and cooked up quickly) and satisfied my overall cravings.

I mean, look at the stuffings in this guy…how could you not be satisfied?

Cal-za-dilla’s guts

Wondering how to pronounce this?  Well, it’s like kale-zah-dill-ah.  I know, I know, that’s not how you pronounce “dilla” in quesadilla.  But c’mon, I created this monster…and I watched Napoleon Dynamite too many times in high school. 😉