Marathon Plans and Vegetable Chicken Soup

Ah, Wednesday, how you tease me being the middle of the work week.  Yet, I’m still trying to get back in the swing of things from my mini-vacay with the hubs.  You gotta love extended weekends, right?  So this weekend we went a couple hours north to visit some family.  I got in a lovely 7 mile run and then Jody and went on a leisurely bike ride.  It was so pretty!

One of the gorgeous views from my run.

Since I’m still on the no sugar detox I was pretty nervous about leaving the security of my pantry; however, it turned out to be fine.   It was definitely an inconvenience but I stuck to my guns.  Saturday night we went out to swanky restaurant and there was so many yummy things on the menu that I wanted but I settled for chicken and vegetables.  Safe.  Not much processed crap goes into chicken and vegetables.


Before coming home we made a detour to my favorite duck pond.  I’m such a big kid at heart and love feeding the ducks/geese. It’s the little things in life that make me the happiest.

Duckzilla likes to eat clean. He says gimme more organic, whole wheat croutons now before I peck your toes off!

After the weekend fun ended I still had all of Monday to piddle around be completely productive.  It turned out to be a really rainy and fairly cold day which meant a trip to the gym to get my miles in.  After that I met my running girls for lunch at Newks so we could discuss our Rock-n-Roll marathon training plan.  This week started week 2 of training.

I printed my Marine Corps Marathon training plan which was geared to for a 4:30 finish.  My goal for Rock-n-Roll New Orleans is 4:30 or better so my running girls and I tweaked the plan just a bit.  It focuses more on speed and building up strength to get me to the starting line injury free.

I’m excited about running RnR New Orleans (NOLA) again.  I ran the 1/2 marathon last year and suffered quite a bit of marathon envy watching all the marathoners continue on as I headed towards the finish line.  Did I mention that last year RnR NOLA was my very first 1/2 marathon?

It’s crazy to me that in the period of a year I will have run 5 half marathons, 2 full marathons and countless other races.  1 1/2 years ago I was still nursing my ‘I can’t do that because I injured my knee’ mentality and letting it dictate my life.  I’m so glad I threw I can’t out of the window.  Never under estimate what you can do when you kick the ‘I can’t’ mentality.   So now less then a year later, I’m planning my second marathon and this time I will not have marathon envy, I will enjoy marathon glory! (Side note…I’m not telling you to ignore an injury.  Listen to your Dr., let yourself heal, and then keep going.  Don’t stop what you love out of fear of re-injury.)

And now the part of the post that you’ve all been patiently waiting for….the recipe. I mentioned earlier that Monday was a terribly dreary day which means one thing to me….SOUP!  I went to my pantry and fridge to see what I had to work with – looked like a chicken soup sort of day.  So I visited my favorite clean eating recipe site, The Gracious Pantry, and found a recipe that worked with what I had; I was only missing a few ingredients.

After tweaking the original recipe just a bit, this is the hearty deliciousness that happened: Clean Vegetable Chicken Soup (it would also taste great if you used beef instead of chicken).  This recipe makes a large amount so if your crockpot is on the smaller side, I’d cut the ingredients in 1/2.  I wouldn’t want you crying over spilled, err, broth.

Nothing says fall like eating soup out of a leaf shaped bowl. YUM!

Clean Vegetable Chicken Soup


  • 1.5lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, thawed
  • 12oz frozen sweet corn
  • 12oz frozen sweet peas
  • 1 15oz can black beans, undrained
  • 1 15oz can kidney beans, undrained
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 large potato, peeled and diced
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 15oz tomato sauce
  • 3.5 cups organic chicken broth


Place all ingredients (in the same order they are listed) into a large crockpot, set on low and run away! Ha, just kidding. Don’t run away, you still have to come back and eat it.  Instead of running away, cook on low 4-6 hours or until the chicken falls easily apart.

When making this soup, pay attention to the labels on your produce, especially the canned and frozen vegetables.  You want to get organic and make sure that there isn’t any sugar hiding out.

Don’t forget today’s the last day to enter my Vega Energizing Smoothie giveaway!

Question:  What’s your favorite type of cold day comfort food?

Kick the “I Can’t”

This wasn’t the post I intended on writing, but apparently I needed to write it since it’s what came out of my fingers/brain.  I’m totally overwhelmed with things going on this week and needed to remind myself that I can get things accomplished.  I had a terrible run last night and between work (we have a huge event Saturday), marathon training, and just life in general, I think I might be bald by Monday.  I’m pretty sure my face can’t pull off the Britney Spears look.

Something I hear come out of my mouth way more than I care to admit (especially weeks like this when there’s not enough hours in the day) is “I can’t…”  I can’t do this, I can’t do that, blah blah blah… I have so many things that I want to do but have never done because “I can’t”.  After Sunday’s long run, I had the realization that unless I have some physical impairment, which thankfully I don’t, I should be able to do anything I put my mind to.  I may not be great at it, but who cares?

One of my favorite quotes of all time!

If you would have asked me a year ago if I would ever be able to run 20+ miles, I would have looked at you like you were crazy and then I would have spit out something like this: “Oh, I can’t do that because I injured my knee a while back”.  Oh boy, have I used that excuse WAY to much. Well luckily I came to my senses sometime over the past year and something amazing happened.  I was able to do something I “couldn’t” do.  Yippee! (Side note – I’m certainly not telling you to ignore an injury; just don’t use it as a crutch like I did.)

But I really started wondering.  Just how many times have I cheated myself out of something amazing because I told myself I couldn’t do it? Honestly, I have the type of personality that if I don’t do something well the first time or don’t see instant results, I chock it up as lost.  Call it fear of failure.  I sometimes get so scared of failing that I convince myself I can’t do ‘x-y-z’.  Seriously? With that type of mentality, it’s amazing that I’m not living in a plastic bubble, quivering at the sight of my own shadow.

I am happy to say that I’ve noticed the older I get the less I worry about failing and the less I hear “I can’t” come out of my mouth.  I’m pretty happy with myself and I actually tend to embrace my imperfections and have fun with life.  If I can’t keep up with the big dogs, I can at least entertain them, right?!  Maybe by the time I get into my 30s I’ll have life figured out.  Probably not.

So why am I sharing this? In hopes that you realize you can be amazing.  There isn’t anything you can’t achieve with the proper amount of work.  I have some goals in my sights for 2013 (like a triathlon) that I’m going to have to set aside the “I cant”s in order to accomplish.  So we’ll see if I can stay true to myself and kick the “I can’t”s out of my life.  As far as the rest of my chaotic weekend goes, if do lose all my hair, I’ll make sure to post some pictures!

Question:  Have you ever told yourself you can’t do something only to surprise yourself later on when you did it?

Clean Eating & How I Got Started

I’ve always been a health conscious person but at the same time I’ve always been the type to eat whatever I wanted without consequences.  Or so I thought. Between working full time and going to school full time, I had become waaaaay too comfortable with pulling up to the miracle window in the middle of the night that produced greasy bags of hot food.

In the Spring of 2011 I noticed that I had gained some weight, had little to no energy, and was feeling sick to my stomach most days. I had been eating terribly without regard to nutrition content.  This was also during one of my least active periods of my life.  I needed a change. I had an inkling that at least part of my feeling bad was due to my food choices so I made the decision to go cold turkey on the fast food. This produced some results; I started to feel a bit better but not 100%.

April 2011 (Before ditching the processed foods)

A few months later I decided to make the drastic decision to detox my body from sugar for 30 days. I hadn’t heard of clean eating yet so I fully intended on introducing sugar back into my life after the detox was over.  For 30 days I abstained from all forms of sugar – both artificial and natural.  (Yes, it killed me to give up fruit for that long but it was during this time that I had my “Ah-ha” moment. I felt fabulous! I had started back running during this period as well.

After realizing how great it felt to be without sugar I knew that I couldn’t bring it back into my life. I started researching different healthy living lifestyles and stumbled upon Tosca Reno’s clean eating books. I fell in love with the philosophy behind eating whole, unadulterated foods and instantly jumped on the clean eating bandwagon.

Even though I say I ‘instantly jumped on the bandwagon’, please don’t take that as me saying it was easy.  This was one of the hardest life changes to make (and also to sustain).

It’s been over a year since I made the complete switch to clean eating and I still feel great! I have more energy than I ever have and I can tell my body is super happy with me. Now don’t get me wrong, I indulge myself every once in a while (did you see the pizza I ate after Saturday’s 18 mile run??) but those times really are a treat. Instead of mindlessly putting food into my mouth, I really get to savor my choices and enjoy the food for what it is. Also, I had no idea how great food could taste until I ditched the processed stuff.

In the past year, I have become an avid nutrition label reader and have virtually an encyclopaedic knowledge of food / nutrition facts swimming around in my head.  (Seriously, it’s annoying.  Just ask my husband.)  I have also grown to question some of our country’s practices in regard to food, food growing and food labeling but that’s another post entirely.

Now, I have to admit that I get a bit irritated when people find out how I eat and assume that I’m on a diet. “But you’re skinny, you don’t need to eat vegetables” or “You need to eat some real food” are two sentences that I hear way too often. I get frustrated that people have the misconception that fruits and veggies should be for those who are “dieting”. Clean eating is a total lifestyle change; it’s not a fly-by-night crash diet. Yes, it can help you lose weight, but it’s about so much more then weight loss – it’s about gaining your life back!

August 2012 (after eating clean for a year).

If you’re looking for a lifestyle change, I whole heartedly recommend clean eating but make sure to talk to your doctor first.  Check out my {The Basics} page for more information on what clean eating is all about.

Question:  Have you ever made a hard lifestyle change? What were the results?

Just “Du” It

This past weekend I was able to check another goal off of my {Before I Procreate} list.  Yay!  #9: Race in a duathlon.  This weekend was Jackson County’s Bicentennial Duathlon in Ocean Springs and I knew I just had to take advantage.

My running buddy Lorena signed up, too, which made this race even better!

It was an “easy” duathlon made up of a 2 mile run, 2 mile kayak, and finished with another 2 mile run. 6 miles total.  Easy, right? HA! Wow, did I underestimate this duathlon.

This is me ignorantly thinking that kayaking 2 miles would be a breeze. HA!

The race didn’t get started until 8:15 and the weather was a balmy 86* with 99% humidity.  Suicide weather for a runner whose not acclimated.

Ready. Set. GO!
Bonus points if you can spot Lorena and me. (It’s pretty easy…)

Pretty soon we were off on our first two miles.  This part was effortless and before I knew it I was at the staging area pushing my kayak into the ocean.  At this point I was pretty pleased with myself.  I had maintained a great pace on the 2 mile run and now I only needed to kayak two miles.

We looked like a little line of ants.

About 5 minutes into the kayaking portion, I knew I was in trouble.  It had been almost a year since I last kayaked and I apparently thought I was much better than I actually am.  I struggled with the current to keep the kayak straight and I really started to feel the heat.  I may or may not have considered swamping my kayak just to cool down…. I shouted some words of encouragement to others kayaking and I was comforted by the fact that I wasn’t the only runner struggling.

I’m about 500 yards from the shore in this shot. YAY!

Finally, after almost 40 minutes I could see solid ground.  Yes! As I pulled my kayak up onto the beach I realized just how soggy I was.  I seriously felt like I had peed my pants – obviously, I was wet from the ocean; not because of incontinence – and my shoes felt like they weighed a ton.  I didn’t care.  I was so ready to get my legs moving again.  I took off and hit my running groove and coasted back to the finish line.  A volunteer was handing out cups of Gatorade and I believe I proclaimed my undying love for him; I think I may have been a bit delirious.

It took me 1:17:00 but I had finished my first duathlon (8:45 pace on the run  portion and 42 minute kayak).  I was so happy to finish and actually ended up taking 3rd in my age group.  I really want to venture into the world of triathlons so this was kind of like getting my feet wet.  I’m a big fan of baby steps.  Rome wasn’t built in a day. Also, I need to hit the gym big time to increase my upper body strength.

My pretty trophy.

What’s something you’ve been wanting to accomplish in life? Tell me in the comment section; I loving hearing people’s goals!

National Running Day

Happy National Running Day! You mean there’s a day specifically for running? Yep. If tortilla’s can have a national day, running can, too! How am I going to celebrate it? A few of us plan to do an easy 6 mile sunset run tonight across the Ocean Springs bridge and along the beach.  It’s really a gorgeous run, come join me!!

The lovely Ocean Springs Bridge where there’s almost always an amazing sunset.

I may have been guilty of sending one or two of these notes before…

New to running or not a runner but want to bet?? No worries, today is the PERFECT day to begin your relationship with running! So how exactly does one initiate a relationship with running? Thankfully, it’s a lot less complicated then when you were trying to date in high school. You don’t have to send your bestie to see if running “likes” you, there’s no awkward exchanging of phone numbers and waiting for running to call, and best of all there’s no dad sitting on the front porch waiting for you to get home from your date with running! But here’s the hard part: You have to make the first move! Scary? Yes. Worth it? Totally! Plus, running will never reject you!  It’s like a double win.

Now, we all have to start somewhere and the best place is from your current fitness level. This could be walking a block or slow jogging a mile. Just get out there and put one foot in front of the other. Yes, it’s going to be hard at first but the best things in life rarely come easily. When you’re tempted to give up, take a step back and realize what a huge accomplishment you achieved just by getting out there in the first place. One of my favorite quotes is, “Whether you run a 6 minute mile or 14 minute mile, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch.” Help Competitor keep up with all the miles ran today by logging your miles on their website.

Whatever your reason, just run!

So once again, happy National Running Day!! Now get going!