Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A First

Hi. My name is Cecilia. I'm 31 years old, and I've never made brownies from scratch. No. Seriously. Being the huge baked goods lover that I am, I'm certain you are all quite astonished.

I've always loved to cook. Baking, however, is not up my alley. It takes too much time, precision and patience. I'm much too lazy for that. I want brownies, and I want them yesterday.The big kids stayed an extra day with their dad which made D and me both super sad and bored so we decided to make brownies. Obviously. D was pumped because he's a brownie addict.

I settled on this recipe. I reduced the sugar by a quarter of a cup and used light margarine instead of shortening. I also omitted the vanilla because we were out, and I am lazy. I reduced the cooking time by two minutes.

 D cracking exploding the eggs.

Cleaning up is tasty.

The finished product.

He looks like he's in pain.

Ummmmmm. Baking from scratch really isn't that hard. I was pretty surprised at how simple it was. Don't be getting any crazy ideas. I won't be baking up a storm any time soon. I can't be trusted with baked goods. I'll eat them all until I'm sick. 

Verdict: Everyone loved the brownies except for me. I prefer a chewy brownie. These were very cakey and in my head, over baked. My initial idea is to reduce the baking time by a few more minutes. I am sure the substitution of margarine for shortening had an effect on the chewiness as well. If a second attempt results in a similar product, I'll use oil or shortening instead of the margarine. 

Monday, June 17, 2013


****This is a post that I started a couple months ago and forgot about. I think it's an important topic and decided to finish it up and share it even though it had been some time.****

I'm a control freak. There. I said it. I'm sure Mr. 'man Clan will smile if he sees this admission. I'm a control freak, and I despise spontaneity. I'm a by the book kind of girl. I make a plan. I set the plan into action. I do not deviate from the plan. If something should interfere with said plan? I have a panic attack. I usually adjust and move along accordingly, but not without some added, I'll be it usually unnecessary worry.

I'm  in the process of trying to shed a few extra pounds. How much? I honestly do not know. I couldn't even tell you how much I weigh right now. I use My Fitness Pal routinely to log my food. I'll talk about this in another post. Part of my logging process is to plan the heck out of the food I eat. Deviating from the plan usually ends up guessed it: a panic attack. I found myself freaking out Monday evening.

Monday night was a fundraiser event for T's baseball team at a local fast food establishment. I LOVE this business's burgers and custard. I was faced with a dilemma of sorts. I had three options: eat a sensible dinner and have custard, eat the burger and fries, or eat the burger and custard. I hadn't had a cheat meal in a over a week. I had plenty of calories after exercise for the burger and custard. Yet, I still found myself obsessing over what to do. Naturally, I turned to social media. I posed the question "Do you eat back the calories you burn from exercising?"

In my screwed up little head, I was having a difficult time allowing myself to eat back the calories. I wasn't even going to go over, but I still felt incredibly guilty. I know how silly this is, but I'm still healing. I'll always be recovering. I was offered very good advice from friends and family. One tiny line from my aunt struck a chord with me and brought tears to my eyes. "Don't let the food control you." Talk about a holy shit I'm slipping back into bad habits moment.

After letting that sink in, my nerves began to calm. I have been letting the food control me. Yes. It is ok to watch what I eat. It is ok to be mindful of eating foods that will give me good energy and make me feel good.  It's normal. What isn't normal is obsessing over it to the point of tears. It's not healthy to punish myself by not having food because I think I'm undeserving or have failed at something. There's a healthy balance in there. I'm still learning, sorting it all out.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Now What?

The race is over. Now what? With nothing to train for currently, what reasons do I have to run?

I took 8 days off to see if the time away would help my abdominal muscle. It certainly feels better, but is not 100%. My first run back felt fantastic. I missed the burn. The sweat. The time in my head to sort stuff out. It's starting to get warm  down right hot and nasty in this portion of the USA adding an extra element of suck to my runs. I've always had a really hard time running in the high temps, but that's for another post.

My main motivation for running lately has been food. What can I say? I like to eat. I lowered my calorie goal after the race. I have a goal weight in mind, and I'm determined to hit it. If I want to eat more, I have to get up and move. It's as simple as that. It's nice to have that extra room even if I don't use it.

Mr. 'man Clan and I are planning another race. I mentioned in the last post we have our sights on a half marathon! In my head, I'm one step closer to talking him into running a full 26.2. I'll be visiting a surgeon to see what exactly is going on with my abs. As soon as I get clearance, I'll be signing us up for the MO' Cowbell Half Marathon. I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to run a half marathon with my husband every step of the way.

Do you have any races you are looking forward to? What motivates you to work out?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It's Gettin' Hot......

......out there!!!

Weather in Missouri often takes crazy, dramatic swings. We can have thunderstorms one day and snowstorms the next. I'm not even kidding. This week is no exception when it comes to the temperatures. The high temps are projected to rise nearly 20 degrees. So, yes, that would be temperatures approaching 100. So. Much. Ew. This time of year reminds me of what a sissy I am when it comes to the summer weather and how the high heat basically turns me into a little bitch on my runs. There are some things you can  do to better protect yourself while exercising in the fires of Hell.

First thing's first. No one, not a single soul is immune to high temperatures. You can love the heat and humidity all you want, but it's still going to be a run killer and mood zapper. I'm just being honest. The higher temps mean an elevated heart rate when exercising and an elevated body temperature. Sounds like a recipe for heatstroke. I'm really selling this running in the heat business, aren't I? Sure, you could play it safe and do all your summer runs on the treadmill. What's the fun in that?? I think it's important to do some runs in the heat to prepare yourself for races. You never know what elements you are going to face on any given race day. I have the same mindset about heat as I do about hills. Yes. They suck, but I need to embrace the suck. Learn how to adapt and conquer that shit. Run smart, and you'll come out just fine. Well, you'll be a sweaty mess, but we secretly love that, don't we?

Take your time.
Your body can take up to two weeks to adapt to the warmer temperatures, so slow down. Don't worry about your pace. Focus on effort. Believe me. That little three miler is a whole lot different at 70 degrees than at 90. This includes reducing your mileage and even taking breaks if necessary. Exercise is important but so is living.

Avoid the times the sun is at it's highest point.
10-3, good buddy. If you can, try to squeeze your runs in the morning or evening. If this is just not possible, then run for cover. Try to run in spots that have more shade. Trails are great because your off the pavement which absorbs the heat also.

Proper equipment.
Wear light, loose fitting clothing. Now probably isn't the time to be wearing your long sleeves and capris. I'm the hot, sweaty runner wearing shorts when it's 40 degrees and tank tops when it's 55 degrees. Sunglasses, hat or visor are good options for protecting your eyes. I personally love, love, love my visor because it also keeps the sweat out of my eyes. Don't forget to protect your skin!! Get a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB. One that's resistant to sweat is probably a good idea also. Keep in mind that any prolonged sweating will require you to reapply sunscreen. I really love the line of lotions from Mission Athletecare. They are super light, go on very smooth and most importantly, do not have a scent.

Stay hydrated.
Seems obvious, right? It's important to hydrate before, during and after your run.. Yes. Before. Drink that water like your life depends on it. I try to avoid sodas and caffeine also. You're getting ready to head out on a little three miler. You don't need any water. Sheesh. You ran a half marathon on two sips of water. You'll be fine. WRONG. Take the water. It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. I like to freeze a bottle of water and carry that with me on my run. It melts very quickly and it's nice to have the cold water to sip. Warm water doesn't quench my thirst. I end up drinking too much. If you are going to be doing continuous activity for 45 minutes or more, it may be a good idea to add in some sodium/electrolyte supplements. I typically like Gatorade, and I usually dilute it quite a bit. I find it very sweet causing me to be thirsty. In turn, I take in more water than I actually need and end up feeling sick.

Running in the heat can be a foreboding task. As long as you know what to expect and prepare yourself for what's ahead, you'll be just fine. Sweaty, but fine.

What are some tips you have for keeping cool?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

HHR Recap

Oh, you know. Just writing a race  recap over a week after the race..... Better late than never, yes?

Thanks to a crapped out micro sd card, I omly have but a couple of photos from the weekend. Waaaaaaah. You may be rejoicing though, because I decided to only recap the race instead of the entire weekend. I bet your super sad. You'll never know what was at the expo or what I had for dinner or the awesome snack we found. :)

This was my third year running the half marathon at Hospital Hill. If you're a runner in Missouri, you MUST run this race. I love it. Yes. There are hills, but as long as you include some hills in your training, you will be A OK.

This is my view of the start line from my corral. I've never been this close to a start line. Talk about anxiety and sudden self doubt.

My biggest fear going into a race that I'm wanting to PR is always weather. It's the only element I cannot control. I was so relieved we had beautiful temps at the start of the race. No 80 degrees at start time like two years ago. Thank goodness!!

I made the decision to run with a pace team. I wanted to have any assistance I could to get me to my sub 2 goal time. A good choice since two miles in my morale was already low. My music stopped playing. I had trouble with playlist buffering and thought I would fix any issues by downloading it directly to my phone instead of playing from the "cloud." Ha. No such luck. Immediately after the music stopped, a bug flew in my eye. I can't even make this stuff up. Fine. No biggie. I'll just plug along with a bug in my eyeball and no music. No. Not gonna happen. I needed something to pick me up asap.  I pulled my phone out of my little pouch and got the music going again. I'm so stubborn. I didn't even stop to do this. I just kept running. I contemplated putting my phone back in my pouch, but said screw it. I carried it the rest of the way.

I've been dealing with a muscle issue in my abdomen. The doc said while it wasn't a hernia, it still would be a good idea to get it checked out. What I heard was "Take it a bit easier on your training runs and go balls to the wall on race day." That's what I did. I hurt a lot for a good portion of the race, but not bad enough to DNF. The pain was getting worse on the final hill. I slowed down for maybe three steps. A high five from Elvis got me moving again. I'd come too far to walk now. Good thing Elvis and the pace crew were there to move me along.

Coming up on the finish line for Hospital Hill is such an incredible feeling. You can't quite see the line yet, but you can hear the announcer and the people cheering. If that doesn't get your legs moving, nothing will. I really turned it up at that point. It didn't hurt that in my head I was racing the girl next to me. We had been leap frogging the last couple of miles, and, well, I couldn't let her beat me. The other awesome thing about the finish line at HHR? It's downhill. I knew it was going to be a close call to get under two hours, but I kept on booking it. I hear my hubby yell and cheer for me, and I know that nothing is going to stop me now. The high I felt at that exact moment was incredible. There was no pain. It was just me and the road.

1:59:07. By the skin of my teeth. While I was hoping I could do it around 1:57, I still hit my ultimate goal. Oh, and I beat the girl I was racing.

We finished!!

Still can't believe Mr. 'man Clan went from basically couch to 10k in less than seven weeks. You know what? We are already planning our next race. A HALF!!!!!!

This year was the 40th anniversary of the Hospital Hill run. Medals from the previous two half races joined with this one to make a cool little puzzle. A good friend of mine, who we saw with her adorable daughter after the race, introduced me to the race. I'm sure glad she did. This is some nice bling to have. 

Here are my times for HHR:
2011 2:27:51
2012 2:10:13
2013 1:59:07

When I first ran this race, I remember telling myself that going sub two on the course would never happen for me. I'd never be fit enough, fast enough, strong enough. Lucky for me, I'm stubborn and like to prove myself wrong.