AH…it’s so nice to be able to put up recipes and just blog about anything and everything. I’m really, really, REALLY trying to make this one of my priorities these days. I never realized how much I missed doing product reviews, typing up recipes, or just laying out my thoughts/feelings/emotions….for you guys!
So, it seems that Wednesday is turning into a Smoothie-For-Breakfast kind of day. Which is awesome. And, that being said, I attempt to make these as nutritious as I can…which means I’m incorporating both vegetables and fruit. Working off the base of the smoothie I made last week, I upped the game a little today and made a brand new smoothie concoction.
Below, find the recipe for the Blue(berry)-Green Protein Smoothie.
**FOR THE RECORD: I am using PlantFusion protein powder for these smoothies**
Recipe: Blue(berry)-Green Protein Smoothie (Gluten Free; Dairy Free)
2 cup spinach, fresh
1 package vegan protein powder (I used Plant Fusion Chocolate-Raspberry Flavor)
Place avocado, spinach, protein powder and milk in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the vanilla, powdered peanut butter, blueberries, and ice, and blend until thick. This is where having a good blender comes in and I love my Vitamix! Pour into glass or bowl and top with preferred toppings.
For the record, I topped mine off with 18 Rabbits Chocolate Banana Jr Granola Cereal (which I picked up at Kroger) and 1 tablespoon of NuttZo Organic Chocolate Power Fuel (which I got at Whole Foods, but is also available on Amazon). I also tossed more blueberries on top because they are freshly picked, local, and delicious. And why not? More antioxidants!
This basically tasted like a sweet tart, but with less of the tart so it wasn’t overwhelming. And I do highly recommend the toppings…especially if you make it into a smoothie bowl, like I do. I froze the bowl overnight to keep it chill on the way to the office.
Do you have a favorite fruit to throw into a smoothie? Tell me about it!!
I know, I have been horrible about these weekly posts about good, shiny things with rainbows and sprinkles and all that lot.
But the truth is…
…I’ve been busy.
Like…very busy. On the road, racing, cooking, baking, seeing friends, living life…
That sort of busy. The kind of busy when I get home on Sunday from finishing up any and/or all grocery shopping and errands that were ignored Friday night and Saturday due to time constraints or whatnot…and I really don’t want to do anything except sit and veg, foam roll, and watch Game of Thrones.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But…I do like my little roundups of what has been going on…so here’s one for this week. I’ll try to be a bit more consistent…
So, what have I been doing? Well…where to start?
1. Back-To-Back Weekend Half Marathons
Me running toward the finish line of the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon (in the rain, but still smiling) – Louisville, KY
Okay…I know, when coming back from a year off of injury, the last thing I should be doing is racing back-to-back long distances, right?! Well…technically…not in my case. My PT and I have discussed the importance of mileage as I attempt to build myself back up to a marathon distances. I already transferred my bib for the spring one that I signed up for, and have made someone a very happy racer to have that bib and chance to be part of a marathon I have been dying to turn. That being said, my training continues and last weekend, I was scheduled for a 16 miler…and this past weekend 13 miles. It just so happened that last weekend was the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & Mini Marathon race. I signed up because my friend, Deana, encouraged me to do so. With 16 miles on the docket, I got up and ran 3 ahead of the race and then completed the last 13.1 miles in the rain…with lots of people and a medal at the end. A couple of months ago, I signed up for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon up in Indianapolis. I ran this one back in 2012, and this year, Meb Keflezighi was not only sending off every wave of the race, but he was running from the back of the pack to the front. HOW COOL!! So, I signed up and went up to Indy this past Friday night to race on Saturday morning in the humidity. That being said, I had my first completely pain-free race and came within 1:06 of matching my PR time for a half. I never did get to meet Meb though. He started just after I finished…and I beat his time. Something tells me that he wasn’t here to all-out run this one, though, LOL! So, I’d say my return to running has been smart, slow, and steady. It’s been fun having races on the schedule again. I am not running any races this year for time or for PRs…just for fun. And that’s making a big difference in how I approach going into them. But it is nice to see that my fitness and strength haven’t gone to hell in the forced year off.
2. Captain America: Civil War
I am totally #TeamIronMan. My roommate is totally #TeamCap. So, we have our own little Civil War as it is. That being said, today we went to the movie theater and saw Captain America: Civil War and it was everything I expected and more. I hate seeing a divided Avengers…but I love where they took this movie. I loved how everything played out and how they are setting up for future films on the way. If you haven’t seen it yet…GO. Do not hesitate. Do not pass GO or collect $200. (Monopoly reference there, LOL!) Buy a movie ticket (I know they are expensive…but OMG…WORTH IT) and sit your butt down in a movie theater seat with popcorn and a drink and just…ENJOY IT!
3. The AlterG Treadmill
Welcome to the spaceship!! That’s what AlterG tweeted back to me after I blogged about my experience running on an AlterG Treadmill. First of all, this is forever happening. Seriously, I am going to pay for package minutes to run on this thing because it is going to mean I can train like I need to and take all the pounding off my body and come out of it faster, stronger, and injury free. It’s totally worth it. After getting to take a spin, as it were, and test it out…I can see why so many elite runners make use of the AlterG when recovering from hard races and/or from injury. This machine has forever changed my way of training and recovering. I am very fortunate that my physical therapist office has one to use. Seriously…life changing. Regular treadmills tear me up. This one…I could fly…so fast…and when I was finished…nothing even twinged at me. LIFE CHANGING!
I posted week or so ago about the Spring Sale going on with NuttZo. I’m a #NuttZoAmbassador and decided I would take advantage of said sale. If you missed out, I even offered my ambassador code for a 20% discount. Stay tuned, as I am certain more sales will be headed this way. That being said…I purchased the big jar of the Chocolate Power Fuel and then one of each of their available varieties: Original Peanut (Smooth), Original Peanut (Crunchy), Chocolate Original Peanut (Smooth), Chocolate Original Peanut (Crunchy), Power Fuel (Smooth), and (my personal favorite) Power Fuel (Crunchy). If you are unfamiliar with NuttZo…you’re missing out. Nuttzo is a medley of seven organic nuts and seeds…all combined to make a healthy, omega-rich, organic nut butter. I love being a product ambassador for this amazing nut butter. It’s pricey…but it’s worth it. Take a chance and try it out! You can find it in local stores or find buy it in their online store. #NuttZoFanatic #NuttZoLove #EatNuttZo
5. Re-reading the Harry Potter Books
I blame the upcoming release of a movie, the new book coming out, and the fact that the best time I had in Universal Studios a few weeks back was at both Harry Potter Worlds. All of that has spawned me to revisit the entire book series. In fact, I just wrapped up the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and will be starting Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this week. SO looking forward to it. This re-read was a long time coming. Been meaning to do this for awhile.
6. The new Goo Goo Dolls album, “Boxes”
I have been a fan of the Goo Goo Dolls since…well…forever. No joke. I was with them in their punk music days, and then stuck with them when they went mainstream rock. I love their music. And, somehow, they sneaked an album out on me. Seriously. But after my race on Saturday, I went and picked it up. This album is AMAZING. I have listened to it all the way through at least 4 times this weekend. If you haven’t heard it yet…listen to it…purchase it…enjoy it. Nice to have some new material from them.
7. Repaying an Act of Kindness
So, just before the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini Marathon…like…Thursday morning (the race was Saturday), my Garmin 620…died. It refused to charge, hold a charge, or turn on. I was not a happy runner. I posted about it on Facebook and had a lot of beautiful souls offer to let me borrow their watches for the race. But, one of the race ambassadors, and a lady I came to know and count as a friend during the whole Norton Training Program for the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon & Mini Marathon, Melissa, offered just to give me one. It was a no-frills watch. In fact, it was the original Garmin I had before I got the 620, so I even knew how to work it. She didn’t ask for me to pay for it, she just said she’d give it to me. So, in order to repay her, I do what I do best…I made her Lemon Blossoms, picked up a soft pretzel from Annie May’s Sweet Cafe, and delivered them to her that Wednesday around lunch. It was nice to talk for a moment about our upcoming plans, and she and I are going to take a run together soon. I love having someone join me on my morning runs. We’ll have a good time. This woman has a big heart and a beautiful soul. I am so happy I got to know her.
8. The Return of Sweet ‘N Savory Food Truck
So…a month or so ago, I went online to find out when Sweet ‘N Savory would be returning to Louisville to serve up their amazing gluten-free crepes. I know they had mentioned they had their first event planned for April, so I wanted to be in on it. But, what I found instead was a message that the owners were pursuing their first love…training horses, and would not be returning. I was happy for them, that they were making a good living and doing what they love…but selfishly, I was sad because their crepes and their gelato were like none other. Well, this weekend while I was on the road, I saw messages about them being in Louisville and serving. Turns out, they are under new ownership. The new owner is Brandon Lutsch, who is very familiar with the importance of gluten-free foods as his wife is a Celiac. I am going to go and introduce myself once they have their May calendar up. I hope to become as good friends with them as I was with the original owners, Richard and Ashley! I can’t wait to get my hands on a crepe!! I’ve been crazing!!
And that’s a wrap for these past few weeks. Logging off for some decaf coffee and some Game of Thrones.
Have you eaten anything fun, new, and exciting? Do you have a favorite food truck? Have you ever done or been a recipient of a random act of kindness?
Anyone else out there have to contend with stupid strong winds this week? I swear, it was strong winds all week. You know…those types of winds that, when you head out for a run, you are running into the wind…and when you turn around to come back…you are still running into the wind.
That being said, the cold temperatures have really wreaked havoc on my body. At least, I hope it’s the cold weather…hard to say when spring weather has all but disappeared…despite being mid-April-ish! UGH!
But that being said, there has been some amazing stuff going on this week for me too. Sometimes it might seem mundane, but, you know…simple things make me happy, and there is nothing wrong with that.
1. My new favorite piece of kitchen gear
This…is a cutting board. This is a cutting board made by my super speedy, awesome, super-talented friend and running buddy, Dennis!! How amazing is this?! I love it. I tried it out all this week, and it seriously makes me happy just to chop up my vegetables and fruits and tofu…and whatever else needed a happy bit of chopping.
Dennis, you’re super talented and I thank you so much for this gift. Seriously, my favorite thing in the kitchen.
2. Game of Thrones
Okay, so, I don’t have cable. Nor do I have anything Apple that I could get HBO Go or whatever it was so I could watch Game of Thrones Season 5 while it was airing. This meant, I was dodging spoilers (and still am whenever an actor from the show starts trending). But, I purchased the Blu-Rays the other day, and have dived headlong into the season. I’ve gotten through half of the season so far and am eager to wrap it up. And then I need to figure out how to watch Season 6 as it airs…if possible. Shhh…no spoilers!
3. Cupcake of the Week
I have never been a cupcake person, but lately, Annie May’s Sweet Cafe, has been putting out a new weekly special…CUPCAKE OF THE WEEK! And they always just sound so amazing. I think I’ve only missed out on 2 of the weeks (once because I got a cookie, and the other because they were sold out). But it has been my favorite thing to check out when I go in for Soft Pretzel Wednesday. It’s usually the dessert I split with my roomie that night. A nice mid-week treat for sure. Anyway, some of the standouts have been the “Unicorn Cupcake,” the “Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake” and the “Hot Fudge Sunday Cupcake.” I missed the Cookie Dough one so maybe they’ll bring that one back sometime. All allergen-free…and all have been totally yummy!!
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Are you aware that the new Star Wars came out on Blu-Ray and DVD this week? I got the special edition at Walmart…because it had BB-8 on the cover. Dammit, I’m such a BB-8 fangirl. Regardless, I LOVED this movie. And I love the new characters. And I really love BB-8. So, yeah, I braved Walmart and bought the Blu-Ray this past week. I hear my Sphero BB-8 droid will react to the movie if I have him turned on and watching it when I am. So, yeah…that’s happening.
5. PB&J Breakfast Bowls
Want to know what my latest obsession is? Parfait bowls. Now, I’m not new to breakfast parfaits, but this is a brand new, and SUPER good way to eat them. And I have the Chobani Cafe in SoHo, NYC, to thank for it. I eat this every morning after the gym. And this coming week, with me heading out of town, this is breakfast all week. Super easy to make:
1 cup yogurt (vegan, Greek, etc.)
1/4 cup grapes, sliced
2 tablespoons natural grape jelly
2 tablespoons peanut butter (I use NuttZo!!) #NuttZoAmbassador #NuttZoFanatic #NuttZoLove #NuttZo
1 tablespoon peanuts
Place yogurt in a bowl. Scatter grapes over yogurt. Place the grape jelly in the center. Place the peanut butter around the edge of the bowl. Top off with nuts. Enjoy!
I have done variations on this, using orange marmalade and either Smudge, Nutella, or the NuttZo chocolate versions. Also strawberry with the chocolate Smudge, Nutella, or NuttZo is also delicious. Want a healthy but delicious breakfast? Make this. You’ll thank me for it!
6. I HAVE A ROAD BIKE!!
It finally happened. After years of talking about it. And over a year of trying to get one for myself, but always having medical bills (hello, MRIs) to cover instead…the perfect bike finally came into my life. Someone was selling their road bike that they hardly rode for a really good price. Way less than what the bike was originally purchased for. It had been sitting in her storage room. It came with all the gadgets and gizmos. And it is BB-8 colors, so it was truly meant to be. I’m taking it to get fitted properly for me so I don’t do any hip damage or get injured…and then…I’m road ready. FINALLY!! I love this bike. And, yes, I did name it BB-8.
How was your week? Has the wind in your area been crazy-strong and gusty too? What fun and exciting things do you have coming up? Buy anything fun this week?
1. I love eating healthy
2. I love sweets (especially chocolate)
What we have here, my friends, is a constant battle of sheer willpower. But, the fact of the matter is…sometimes you just have to find a way to treat yourself. Naturally, I stick to my necessary gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian lifestyle…however, this doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy some of the finer things in life.
That being said, 2016 is a year of change for me. I’m trying to improve myself, my body, my soul, my mindset…I’m trying to reach both long-term and short-term goals. And part of that is definitely making certain tweaks to the diet.
I’m not saying I am cutting out sweets and desserts entirely. That’s inhuman. But, I am cutting back on them. And once the current ones in the pantry are moved out…they aren’t coming back in. I buy gluten-free…so I’m too cheap to just toss the stuff away.
That being said, I’m always game for trying new ways to make an indulgence healthier. And awhile back, the amazing Lottie Bildirici, better known in the social media world as “Running on Veggies” posted about the treat she made for Kara Goucher (yes…THE Kara Goucher) when she was coming to NYC to run the NYC Marathon. Kara chose blondies as her treat and Bildirici got to work researching and coming up with a recipe that would not only seem like a treat, but be made with real ingredients, nothing processed, and be healthy. When the recipe posted, I was beyond intrigued. Granted, my foray into baking using beans as a base resulted in brownies that tasted like black beans, so I did have my reservations going into this…but I decided to give it a try.
Blondies made without flour…and by using garbanzo beans (chickpeas) and dates as the sweetener. Well…there was only one way to find out how this would turn out. I hoped for the best, since Kara Goucher was a fan…but…hey…some things you have to try yourself.
So this was what I put into my food processor this past Sunday afternoon:
Everything but the dairy-free dark chocolate chips, that is. Any nut butter (or nut-free butter) will work, but I’m a huge fan, and an ambassador, for NuttZo…and it really is the best stuff on the market. Find it. Trust me…it’s worth the price!
After giving everything a whirl in the food processor, I was left with a light and fluffy fatter. I folded in the chocolate chips, sprayed down some muffin tins and began to evenly distribute the batter into 24 muffin tins.
After baking for around 40 minutes, I removed the pans from the oven and let everything sit, untouched for over an hour. At that point, I moved everything to a sheet pan (carefully) and then into the freezer. But not without trying one.
First of all, they don’t taste bean-y…and they don’t taste like dates either. They actually taste like a decadent little dessert or muffin. Especially when warmed up in the microwave for about 30 seconds or longer. Although, I love them frozen too…but I’m weird like that. These are an amazing treat and one that I don’t feel bad about eating because…it was made from real food.
I know a lot of people look down on those who enjoy a treat every now and again…but the fact of the matter is…we’ve got it all wrong. Not all calories are created equal. Just like now not all carbohydrates and fats are either. That’s the being said, I am a firm believer in counting nutrition, not calories. And that’s what making something like this is all about.
And trust me…they are SO good.
If you want to give them a try…you can get the recipe here! They are easy to make, and delicious. Trust me…you’ll want to keep these on hand! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack or dessert…these are truly a delicious and healthy treat.
Eat real food. These treats are more like a healthy choice than an indulgence. And what’s not to love about that?!
Product: Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread – $5.99+
It has taken me way too long to review this product, for sure. Which is strange, because I am very enthusiastic and happy with the Sprouted For Life Gluten Free breads from Food For Life. In case you’re new to this blog, I have previously reviewed the other three varieties of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads: Original 3 Seed, Almond, and Flax.
I was fortunate enough to be sent one loaf of each of the Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads from Food For Life. These loaves come in Original 3 Seed, Almond, Cinnamon Raisin, and Flax.
But I think I was saving the Cinnamon Raisin version…because cinnamon raisin bread (or anything) has always been one of my greatest flavor loves in life. I was very fortunate to have a loaf of each of Food For Life’s Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Breads to try. I flew through the other three…but the Cinnamon Raisin version has waited a very long time for its turn to shine.
That being said, I am doing a lot of baking and cooking these days (okay…that’s not unusual for me…but I’m trying to create amazing foods with fresh, healthier ingredients). And I had a thought about a bread pudding that would incorporate some of my favorite things in life: cinnamon raisin bread, peanut butter, banana, and coconut.
How could this be a bad thing?
And, thankfully, I had saved the loaf of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I pulled it out of the freezer this past weekend and allowed it to come down to room temperature (and thaw beautifully) before getting to work in my kitchen. I pulled 12 slices of bread and cut them up into large cubes. This bread is absolutely perfect for a bread pudding recipe as it is not a soft bread. This bread is sturdy, and when eaten on its own, I prefer it toasted. Although, I nipped a few of the cubes of bread, just to get a taste for it as I knew I’d be blogging on it.
Guess what? Even not toasted, the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread is just layers of flavor. Not only is each slice loaded with plump, juicy, organic raisins, but it has this nutty flavor to it as well. It’s amazing. I couldn’t wait to taste it toasted and in my recipe I was working on.
After combining it with the other ingredients of the bread pudding, which also includes NuttZo Original Crunch 7 Nut and Seed Butter, a ripe banana, unsweetened coconut flakes, unsweetened cashew milk, Earth Balance, and 4 large eggs. All of this went into my (vintage) Pyrex bowl, and I gave it a good toss and tucked it into the liquid, allowing the bread to really absorb the liquid for about 5 minutes. Then…I loaded it into a baking pan and popped it into the oven. I then proceeded to clean up my apartment, stopping briefly to really admire and fully absorb the fantastic smell that was coming from my oven. Nutty and sweet…it smelled like heaven. I am assuming, of course, that heaven smells like a bakery…and peanut butter. And if so…I’m okay with that.
Once the bread pudding was set, I removed it from the oven, and barely allowed it to cool at all before cutting a small piece to give it a try.
OH…YEAH!! While the flavor profile mostly goes to the peanut butter and coconut, the bread is the main vehicle of any bread pudding…and the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread was ideal…no…it was perfect…absolutely perfect, for this recipe. The bread toasted up gorgeously, developing a richer, nuttier flavor to it after being toasted. The raisins remained plump and sweet. The edges of the bread…crispy…sweet…savory…and amazing. The flavor of this bread meshed SO well with the other ingredients. I fell in love with this cinnamon raisin bread…and that means it has to be good, due to my affinity for cinnamon raisin products. Just…YUM!!
Let’s discuss the ingredients that go into the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread, shall we? This particular type of bread is made from organic sprouted quinoa (red and/or white), filtered water, organic arrowroot, organic potato starch, organic raisins, organic sprouted millet, organic tapioca, organic applesauce, fresh yeast, organic safflower oil, organic cactus, organic sprouted chia seeds, organic agave, organic vanilla organic cinnamon, sea salt, vegetable gum (xanthan, cellulose), and organic psyllium. Made with sprouted chia, sprouted quinoa, and sprouted millet, this bread is a trio of health. Not only is it made with sprouted grains (which are SO good for you!), it is also vegan, gluten-free, and high in fiber. It is so rare for a gluten free bread to be high in fiber. This is a welcome addition to my freezer.
Now let’s take a look at the nutritional information, because, honestly, in this day and age, it’s important to pay attention to those labels. A serving of the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread is 1 slice of bread (43 grams). This serving will dish up 110 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 95 mg sodium, 22 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 5 grams sugars, 1 gram protein. When I was first introduced to this bread, the high calories on only one slice of bread really freaked me out. But, a good reminder is that not all calories are created equal and there is nothing fake…no colors, preservatives, or fillers…going into this bread. It’s all healthy, all good, all nutritious. It’s a great choice of bread for those of you who are (like me) really trying to eat clean.
Has this product sparked your interest? I really encourage you to give it a try. And…if you’re feeling saucy…you can always give the recipe for my bread pudding a go.
12 slices Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread
2 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan butter, melted
1/2 cup organic unsweetened coconut flakes
1 large ripe banana, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
4 large eggs
2 cups unsweetened cashew milk
1 cup NuttZo Crunchy Original 7 Nut & Seed Butter
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Prepare an 9×13 inch pan with nonstick baking spray.
Cut the cinnamon raisin bread into cubes and place in a large bowl.
Drizzle melted butter over bread.
Add shredded coconut, banana slices, eggs, cashew milk and peanut butter; gently toss to combine and lightly push down until bread is covered and soaks up the liquid.
Once liquid is absorbed, pour into the baking dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top springs back when tapped.
Serve warm with a drizzle of blueberry (or maple…or any flavor) syrup, or additional peanut butter.
I absolutely adore how amazing this bread is, not just in this recipe, but on its own as well. Depth of flavor is delicious. And it baked up so well in the recipe, I couldn’t imagine making this again without using the Food For Life Sprouted For Life Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread. I have a few extra slices left…so I can’t wait to toast them up next week, once I polish off this amazing bread pudding.
Sadly, I have 8 more days left in Bootsie. It should have come off tomorrow, but my orthopedic doctor was on emergency medical eave until next week, when he’s on a condensed schedule. So…the big day is October 21…and I might have been counting down since that appointment was made. I’d much rather have it off tomorrow…but this just gives it a little more healing time, so as much as I want to kick and scream and be rid of this cumbersome beast that’s been Velcro-ed to my leg since September 1…I’ll behave…for now.
And, of course, getting rid of Bootsie does not mean that I can immediately jump back into training. This fracture was actually pretty big. 2.6 centimeters. YIKES!! So, it will mean easing back into things. As much as I just want to hit the road again, I know I can’t. Well, I can, but gradually. Slow and steady…
Don’t get me wrong, while a downer and a burden, I haven’t let Bootsie slow me down too much. I still go to the gym. I weight train (even though I hate it) and I’ve found a sit-down elliptical that allows me to get my much-needed sweat-fest on and work my running muscles without my body weight being applied. I love and hate that freakin’ machine. But…I feel so good when I get off it. Like…I’ve accomplished something. And…I even hit the pool. A LOT.
So…aside from my already blogged about trip to Hawaii just three days after being booted up with Bootsie…a few other things have gone on…some good…some depressing…but all of it helping to shape me to be a better, well-rounded individual, athlete, and the like.
Upon my return from Hawaii, I unpacked and dragged out another suitcase in order to prepare for the big event I was looking forward to the most in September…my best friend from high school’s big day – her wedding!! I was her maid of honor, and while I was not there to do a lot of the maid of honor duties…I was assured that I did more than enough from halfway across the country. I was leaving for my old stomping grounds and hometown of Horseheads, New York on September 23…
…but before that…I had my own event to endure. And by endure, I mean it…because I had, for over a year, planned out exactly what would happen on my birthday when I turned 35…and moved up in an age division. The plan was to run the Air Force Marathon…because it’s my favorite distance, the race is not too far away, and what better way to celebrate moving up in an age division than to run a marathon, right? When the hip labrum tore, I thought to drop down to the half marathon. And when the fracture happened…it all went to hell anyway. Needless to say, I was beyond upset that my plans were all going awry on my big day. I didn’t even want to celebrate, and I LOVE my birthday. I mean…it falls on International Talk Like A Pirate Day (September 19th…so you don’t have to Google that!). What’s not to love? But I just felt unexcited about it after all my planning fell through and I was out the race fee anyway. Happy Birthday, right?
But then my roommate (Cathy) and my downstairs friend/neighbor (Michelle) conspired to give me a surprise party. The guests were Cathy’s family and my neighbors downstairs…and it was perfect. I was so surprised. There was a princess theme (I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again…I am a princess!)…and Michelle even created a Skeletor (from He-Man) to go along with my She-Ra obsession…and the design I unknowingly had on my gluten-free cookie cake (compliments of Annie May’s Sweet Cafe). The cake…was amazing. The wine was good. The decorations were all over the living room and it was awesome! And the company was just what my broken heart and body needed. The laughter was unstoppable. I even got a big shopping trip to Jungle Jim’s International Market where I stocked up on all the crazy gluten-free things I haven’t seen anywhere else. Still trying to find the Rudi’s Gluten Free Texas Toast. It still eludes me. I thought if anywhere would have it, it would be Jungle Jim’s.
So…I turned 35.
And then I went back to my roots…back home…to see my friend Jen Wright get married. My flight left here around 3 pm and took me to Chicago O’Hare. Once there, I went over to Garrett Popcorn and picked up some yummy treats for the way. I ate one of the bags for dinner…haha. Well, it was a good thing I had some comfort food on hand because we were put on a ground halt due to there being too many planes in Detroit, which was my next stop and had a very tight connection. I was starting to panic a little and was contemplating getting off and finding another route…when the ground halt was lifted and we were able to take off. This still took awhile and in the short flight from Chicago to Detroit, I was on the Delta app tracking my connecting flight. As we were beginning our descent into Detroit, it was boarding. I didn’t think I was going to make it.
It was a near thing. I was trying to move as fast as possible through a crowded airport for 20 gates. Technically 10…as they are on both sides. Thank God I was in the same terminal. This would have been easier if there hadn’t been a big shopping center in the middle of the gates of this terminal. AH! I manage to weave through there and as I’m nearing the gates, from down the way at my very empty gate I hear a small voice shouting my name. I wave my hands. “THAT’S ME!” She told me to hurry because she couldn’t hold the plane any longer. AH! So I hobbled over and then they couldn’t get my ticket to scan. She told me to just get on the flight. I asked what seat I had (it hadn’t been assigned yet) and she told me to find an empty one. Okay…so I hobble down the jetway to the plane, the door being closed behind me. I get on the plane and my carry on luggage is stored with the flight attendants…and I am put in an exit row on the aisle. Blessed leg room. I agree to help out in case of an emergency and we were off. Whew. Close one for sure! But I was on a plane and bound for the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport…at last.
Jen was there when we landed and we hugged the instant we saw each other. The next few days were going to be a mad whirlwind of things that needed to be done for the wedding…and then the wedding itself. It all got done, albeit it, not always as efficiently as we hoped. She had a newborn baby boy as well, so that does take some planning around, especially when it comes to feedings and naps and the like. But…we managed. We got our nails done, helped set up the garage for the rehearsal dinner and even decorated. We got the last few things on the shopping list crossed off. We had ice cream and Frosty’s…because we were reliving our childhood together, HAHA! And we got our hair done and then…the big day arrived. And I was there with her through it all…getting her in the dress…the ceremony…the reception. I wanted the day to be perfect for her…and it sounds like it was. I might have made a lot of people cry with my speech. Everyone complimented me on it…so there is that. And…Bootsie didn’t make me miss a step as I danced the night away on the dance floor. Major thanks to Nils for being the best dance partner ever! It was a beautiful wedding and a great day. So many new memories. Cathy had driven up with my dress and wedding essentials, so I drove back home instead of flying. Long trip…and we got home straight-up at midnight. Go figure. Back to work the next morning.
With October now here, I had a few events I had been looking forward to also get knocked off the calendar due to stupid Bootsie. The first was the Kentucky History Half Marathon. It was the inaugural run of Frankfort, Kentucky’s very first half marathon. I really wanted to be a part of it because I really love my Frankfort runners. But…it wasn’t happening. The race director, however, was kind enough to let me transfer my bib to someone who could run it…free of charge. I immediately thought of my friend Kelsie, who loves the half marathon distance. She is an amazing runner and an even more amazing friend, one who I met through this very blog. The day I told her about my ankle…was pretty much the day I asked if she wanted to run the half marathon…(back in September, people…I’m not that cruel!)…and she called and said that was not a conversation to be had over text. How many friends do that anymore? She’s one in a million…and she took my bib and ran for me. She even had the announcer say that as she crossed the finish line. You can read about that in her blog here.
That very night, I went over to Slugger Field for the last home match of the night for the inaugural year of Louisville having it’s very own professional soccer team. In the USL Eastern Conference, Louisville City FC hosted the Charleston Battery in the USL Playoff Semifinals. It went into double overtime…but my favorite player, Matthew Fondy, scored twice, giving us the 2-0 lead…and the win that night. Hell of a match. We went up to Rochester, New York to play the Rochester Rhinos for the USL Eastern Conference finals…and lost 0-1, ending our season. Which sucks…but I couldn’t be prouder of the team. And the fan support has been amazing for this soccer team. Makes me proud to fly the purple and gold of Louisville City FC.
I pause briefly here to say…sometimes ugly medals make missing a race worthwhile. Another one gone by and me still locked into a boot. UGH. Yeah…this year has been rough.
BUT…instead of racing, I got to spend Saturday afternoon with my parents who were visiting Lexington, Kentucky, for a work function of my dad’s. So…that was fun. I walked around this big trade show. Got to catch up with my parental units. And it was a good day. We did a little bit of shopping after the show closed and went and got dinner at my favorite Italian trattoria, which has a huge gluten-free menu. I always get the Pasta Arrabiata though. LOL! It’s spicy good! I hated to say goodbye to my parents, but they had the drive back to Birmingham to make and I needed to get back up to Louisville.
And this week…just as crazy. Saturday I have a couple of events I’m hitting up…one of which involves hitting up the Fleur de Flea in Louisville with my neighbor, Michelle (YAY!). I love flea markets…and on top of that…my favorite gluten-free crepe food truck, Sweet ‘N Savory, will be dishing up some deliciousness. That, my friends, makes me happy. They are nearing the end of their season which will leave me crepeless until April. The other big thing is the amazing Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Iroquois Park in Louisville that night with Amanda!! So excited. We did this event last year and had a blast. How people do all of that with a pumpkin is beyond me!! It’s awesome. So, if you live in the Louisville area, make a point to go while it’s there. TOTALLY worth it.
And Sunday…I have my first official appointment with my swimming coach I hired. Why hire a swimming coach? Well, it occurred to me that, despite having spent the better part of this year in the pool due to various injuries…my swimming is not improving. It all comes down to technique and I have 5 sessions with him, which he says he can easily fix the issue. He’s a 2 time Olympian in swimming too. Which…is really kind of cool. I’m a bit nervous though, as our first session is going to be a double…2 hours in the pool. Whew. I’ll be one tuckered out little mermaid for sure. But, I really do think this will help in the long run, as I intend to keep swimming as part of my cross training. Might as well get all the kinks worked out so I can perform more efficiently.
On top of that, yesterday I found out that I was selected to be a NuttZo Ambassador! Oh yeah!! If there is one thing I love more than cookies and sweets…it’s peanut butter. And NuttZo is more than peanut butter. It is, quite honestly, the next big thing in nut butter. NuttZo is a gourmet 7 nut + seed butter, which the creators have deemed “the healthiest, most unique superbutter on the planet.” And it’s true. NuttZo is quite unique in their own way, offering up three flavors, in both crunchy and smooth, all of which contain 7 nuts + seeds in each blend. It was love at first taste for me, and my jar didn’t last long. My nut-butter loving self has never tasted anything else quite like this. To say I’m in love is an understatement. But, I am quite proud to be an athlete ambassador of this amazing product. If you haven’t tried it yet…DO SO! I first discovered it shining down from the very top shelf of the Louisville Whole Foods…the upside down jar with the right-side-up label. You can’t miss it. You can also order online…and I highly encourage this!
And in two weeks, my mom and dad are coming up to visit and we’re going to venture up to Indianapolis together for the Gluten Free Food Allergy Expo. As my mom and I are both Celiacs…this is an exciting venture. I’m pretty excited about it because my parents haven’t actually come to visit me since Thanksgiving 2010. So, it’s long overdue. I’m taking them to a city they’ve never been to. And my mom and I can share all the knowledge we gain from this event. I went last year and LOVED it. Spent way too much money, but used every single item I bought. I will also be out of the boot by then, so that’s a huge plus!
And…from there I just work hard at full recovery and getting back into running…this time minus the injuries. I know my hip will never heal, but I was just getting used to it when the fracture happened. So…back to square one. Literally. I’ve done SO little running this year it is beyond depressing. That being said, I’m going to focus a lot more on the half marathon distance and…as far as marathons go…I’ll focus more on quality rather than quantity.
As you can see, since being booted I’ve done anything but just sit around and feel sorry for myself. That’s not to say I don’t have my fair share of meltdowns. Usually on what was to be a race day. The biggest one being the night before my birthday. Thankfully, I have a lot of great people in my life who help me get through even some of the rougher days.
So…eight more days to freedom…and we roll from there.