Kitchen Favorites {Pomegranate Greek Yogurt}

Everyone, thank you for the good wishes on my recovery.  I am feeling actually pretty good and the foot is not hurting too bad.  It helps that I have been very diligent about not being on my foot, I'm getting some rest and I have good meds.  But I tell you what, sitting around the house make me crave junk food like you have no idea.  However I've been really good about sticking to healthier food, especially my favorite breakfast (which I also eat for snack).  It is perfectly simple, delicious and requires almost no preparation which is especially important to me right now.  I am also of the belief that weekends are for simplicity, and it does not get more simple than this:
I always keep tubs of plain yogurt in my refrigerator because it is such a versatile ingredient to have handy.  I am not big on fruit yogurts but when I have a taste for fruity I love combining plain yogurt with pomegranate seeds.  But the magic touch is Stonewall Kitchen's Cinnamon Apple Syrup.  All it takes is 1 tbsp. and you have a beautiful layer of sweetness.  Give it a try!  It's delicious and a great way to control a sweet tooth.

"Paging Dr. Davis"... The Road to Recovery

My phone rang Tuesday morning at 7:45 AM and it was my podiatrist to ask me if instead of waiting until October 10th to get my surgery done, I wanted to move it up to Thursday (yesterday) because he had an opening on his schedule.  My answer? Heck yeah!  The sooner I am done with this neuroma, the better and the sooner I can begin to recover and get back to running... hopefully pain free.   I have a love/hate relationship with running,  But the minute I cannot do it, I remember why I love doing it.  It is very much like like this picture! Ha!

So on Tuesday I had my pre-op and it is always fun explaining to the anesthesiologist that general anesthesia makes me sick.  Actually my previous surgery, the anesthesia made me so sick that the need to throw up is what woke me up from my anesthesia.  It was gross and painful too considering it was thyroid surgery and I had stitches from one side of my throat to the other.   But I did not let that make me nervous.  Instead I channeled that by doing the one thing that always calms me down: I went for what will be my last run for weeks, maybe months.  And the crazy thing is that it felt great. 

My surgery was scheduled for 11:00 AM but I could not sleep the whole night.  Just too keyed up.  Thankfully one of my friends is on a trip to Hawaii and he kept texting me jokes at insanely crazy hours (my time) but I just could not sleep.  On Thursday I was ready to roll.  I ended up waiting for hours to go into the OR.  Once anesthesia was given, it took effect in about 4  I was asleep but a little aware of what was going on.  And at one point I actually felt a little pain during the surgery but the older gentleman handling the anesthesia was awesome monitoring the pain and he kept touching my head to let me know he was there...and he was super funny too. :-)  The actual surgery was not too long and then my friend Melissa took me home.  And I am so glad she stayed with me.  She is an Army nurse and kept checking up on me through the night because I was pretty nauseous. 

At home I also had nurse Jack.  My pup...I don't know if dogs know but he kept coming to the couch where I was and he would lean his head on my stomach and lick my hand then would sit by me.  And if I moved he would open one of his eyes like saying "You ok? What's up?".  Oh, it is possible to fall even more in love with your dog than you already are!
So, now that the surgery is over, here is hoping for a safe and quick recovery.  I am determined to be positive even though I'll be going crazy for 14 days of convalescent leave.  At least I can now spend quality time studying without having to worry about work.  So I'll be positive and instead I'll say "Yeepee! Let's get better!". 
But before I go I need to thank someone who actually gave me some great advise when my first podiatrist told me that basically running was over for me.  You all know Jill from Fitness Friday (if you don't check out her blog Fitness, Health and Happiness).  When I first talked about my diagnosis and was in freak out mode because my podiatrist basically said: "you should not be running" and "you are not built for that, she was so kind to share her experience with Morton's Neuroma and recommended I get a second opinion because she has been through the same ordeal and she is still like a running machine.  When it was time for surgery, she left me a message telling me how that was the best thing she ever did.  So I got a second opinion and indeed he was very confident that after recovery, he does not see why I should not try again to run a marathon (he is a runner too).  But he was very stern about making sure that I recover completely and give my foot time to heal before I think about something like.  His words were "you know how we runners can be" and smiled.  So thank you Jill!  I love that through blogging you can connect with people  that have been through the same as you have.  So make experiences and advise.
 Have an awesome weekend! 

When Respect for Life Is Lost: In Memory of #PuppyDoe

I renamed this blog a few weeks ago because right now the focus for me is living a good life.  Not just being fit and in shape, but also ensuring that all aspects of my life contribute to a life that is thriving and makes me happy.  And one thing makes me very happy in my life: my dogs.  And I am mentioning this because this story caught my attention and broke my heart, as a human being but especially as a dog owner.  


The month of September is right around the corner and to me this month is all about transitions especially the change in seasons.  I am a Fall season girl; other seasons are nice but nothing beats a beautiful Fall crisp morning with the fog barely lifting of the ground with peeks of fiery leaves in between.  Oh yes, 'tis the season indeed.  And every fall I have a list of things that I most look forward to.  These is a compilation of all the things that to me just say 'Welcome Fall'.

Welcome Fall!!! {Pumpkin Spice Protein Muffins}

My favorite thing about Fall is ALL THINGS PUMPKIN.  I am not even going to try and lie about that.  To me the official start of this season is the day Starbucks starts selling their Pumpkin Spice Latter.  Come on... we all know that, as much as we know that the official start of the Christmas season is when the Macy's Parade Santa appears!  But back to the pumpkins...

Tomorrow is the official start of the Fall season and thank the Lord that the temperatures correspond with the season.  It is beautifully cool outside but not too much and I am enjoying writing my paper outside.  Plus the pups are loving their walks even more.  But when I combine cooler temps with studying I am sure to get a sweet tooth... never fails.  A few years ago I came across a recipe for a "healthy" protein muffin that was seriously lacking in flavor.  Since then I have been working on perfecting it as a basic pumpkin protein muffin recipe.  I've had some fails but I think I am happy with where this is now.  I love with chocolate chips but because I don't have any I decided to try them with what I had: cacao nibs, and loved the final product!

RECIPE: Pumpkin Spice Protein Muffins


1 cup of pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup of vanilla protein (I recommend using whey.  Tried with brown rice protein but did not have a good consistency)
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (this makes a difference-- apple pie spice + cinnamon also works)
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 tbsp cacao nibs

Directions: Combine everything is a bowl + 2 tbsp nibs.  Pour on a greased muffins tin and sprinkle the batter with the remaining nibs.  Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.  

These muffins are so moist and delicious!  Now, to me these are best when they are cooled than straight out of the oven, as with anything containing protein in my opinion.  I noticed when I tried them hot there was a light aftertaste, probably from the cornstarch but it disappeared when they cooled down.  When you try them you will notice the notes of pumpkin followed by the crunch and contrast of the spices and the nibs.  It truly is a great way to taste the flavors of the season without consuming gazzillion calories.  And because they are portable, I can take them with me on my walks or to work as a snack.  A win-win situation and the perfect way to kick off my Fall season baking!  

How are you celebrating the first day of fall?

So Thankful: With the Bad Comes the Good!

Hello Friends!  Today I woke up feeling motivated or as we call it in the Army very "Hooah!"  Not sure why but woke up happy and excited...probably because I got a good night sleep.  So, what am I thankful for?


Well, its happening: foot surgery.  If you remember THIS POST, I mentioned that I was diagnosed with Morton's Neuroma back in May.  My podiatrist tried nerve blocker injections which were so much fun...mmm...NOT!  Read all about that awesome experience HERE!  It will make you pray you never have to get them.

So after three rounds of injections and no relief in sight unless I stopped running and stayed away from flat shoes, the podiatrist recommended a nerve decompression surgery which is less invasive and it has an 80% success rate (I'll take that).  The other options were more nerve blocking injections, a more invasive surgery that snips the tendon (but eventually develops scar tissue thus defeating the purpose) and the last option was injections of dessicated alcohol...which again, sounds not painful at all.  Ya!  I hate surgery but I cannot tell you how happy I am that relief is in sight.  This is about the one thing that is keeping me from running.  I did want to thank him for not doing this earlier in May, in time for me to recover and run the Twin Cities Marathon on 6 OCT as was the plan (BEING SO SARCASTIC).  I actually got the official confirmation and participant guide a few days ago and felt a sinking feeling in my stomach. :(  I tried my best to train hard but was not successful due to this blasted foot.  And at the risk of sounding crass I want to yell to the Mornton's neuroma  at the top of my lung "Oh, it's on biatch!  You are going down!".  Hopefully, you are feeling less aggressive than me :D


I love my job in the Army and love being a Soldier.  Today I received a message from my career manager that my promotion board for Lieutenant Colonel is in January.  Yes, Lieutenant Colonel.  When did that happen?  I remember being a young lieutenant raising hell in Germany :-)  But I am so excited yet nervous because the Army is cutting back and promotions are harder.  Still I won't let that damper my enthusiasm.


 Nothing inspires (nor distracts me more than a dramatic sunset, and this one did the trick a few evenings ago after a stormy day.  I like to believe this is God telling us He loves us!


Sunflowers! Sunflowers!  Sunflowers! One of the perks of living in Kansas are the sunflowers which are quickly becoming my favorite flower. The one at the bottom was plucked from this field.  and I won't tell if you don't!



I am so thankful to have my pups.  I adopted Jack (on left) this past August and he has brought so much joy and laughs into my life.  And he has brought out the happiness and playfulness on my other dog, Rummer.  They are Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers and are both adorable and smart...if I say so myself! :D

This list is not inclusive because I am so thankful for so many things!   Life is too short to do otherwise!  Plus being thankful is a great way towards thriving in your life and living THE GOOD LIFE!

Pretty Please: Skin Care for the Active Girl

Oh, there is nothing like going to the gym and getting your sweat on.  I do not perspire at the gym-- I full on sweat those pounds away and that is just the way I like it.  But that constant sweat at the gym can cause havoc on your skin... and I'm not talking just your face.  Today I want to share with you my secrets for keeping my skin from breakouts due to exercising and sweating.  

Wash That Face.  Expediency is the key here.  The faster you can remove the dirt, sweat and oils from your skin, the better.  Look I understand that between the gym and home (unless you shower at the gym, which I personally hate so I made the extra trip home), oils and dirt can clog your pores which equals breakouts.  So, these Burt's Bees Facial Cleanser Wipes (No.1) are always present in my gym bag (and I have one pouch in my Jeep too).  I use the sensitive skin ever since I had a demodex allergy back in April and it is soothing and smell so nice. Because no rinsing is required, they make the perfect on the go skin cleanser not only for your face.  I especially love them when I am working back and my skin touches the machine pads.  And believe me, they clean really good. 

Once I get home I still need the feeling of water on my face so I wash my face with Philosophy's Purity face wash (No. 3).  A delicate face wash especially good after exercising outdoors when the skin needs a bit more pampering.

Mosturize!  I like to follow this with my favorite mosturizers: Hope in a Jar (No. 2) for the face and Hope in a Tube (No. 4) for eyes/lips both from Philosophy.  Ok, this is not an ad for the Philosophy brand but it is the one I have found works best for me.  I first tried Philosophy after my last deployment in 2009.  After being in the 130F degrees desert my skin was... well, I don't even know what it was.  Words like sand paper, harsh, super dry come to mind.  My mom, the uber QVC fan, told me about this line and after a few weeks I saw significant improvement.  But what I like the most is that they are not harsh; actually they are quite gentle on the skin.   And of all their products "Hope in a Jar" is my favorite.  This mosturizer is amazing, and if you need a bit more than Hope, they have a stronger version called "When Hope is Not Enough" (Ha!  I love the name of their products!).  I put some of this mosturizer on my face and it is instant radiance.

Take a Shower ASAP.   My new favorite bath and body line is Victoria's Secret Perfect Body (No. 6). The products smell SO you are at a spa.  Love the coconut oil shower emulsion (which is not greasy), the almond oil lotion and the sea salt scrub which leaves me feeling like I've been to the spa after a workout.

Time to Change Your Sponge!  Yes, many of you like the loofa but that loofe may contain tons of bacteria from sitting in your shower, really undoing all the cleaning you've been doing on your skin.  I personally like the fluffy sponge thingies that I can thrown in the washer (No. 7).  And for heaven's sake, let whatever you use aerate to dry and prevent mold.  

Make It Pretty. After the gym I hate putting on makeup but hate it even more to look like I am dead, and Garnier's BB Cream (No. 5) gives me that umpf my skin need.  This is the one product I cannot live without these days.  This skin perfector combines intense hydration with tinted pigments, SFC and mosturizers like Vitamin C.  Talk about a multi-tasking product! And I love how it makes my skin look. 

And there you have it!  My tips and favorite tips for taking care of your skin while living an active life.  Take care of your skin because it is the only one we have.  But above enjoy the natural beauty God gave you.  You are beautiful no matter what, but also take care of the one body you have!

What about you?  Any favorite skin care tips or products?

Cheat Day Yummies: Flatbread with Pears, Arugula & Goat Cheese + Menu Planning

I originally posted this on my other blog a few months back but it is the perfect recipe for transition month that September is.  With the coming of fall, the light of the sun has started changing; it is softer and luminous.  As the temperatures cool down from the scorching days of summer we are all consumed with an urgency to open doors letting the breeze waft inside.  We make more plans fall and the approaching holiday season.  We get comfy in our chairs with our favorite books or go for a run on a crisp early morning.  They all encompass the great autumn imagery that we have come to love.   There are high expectations when the fall season rolls around because it is unlike any of the other seasons.  There is something magical about it.

One of my favorite aspects of fall is the arrival of the different produce, some which we foodies have eagerly waited for the whole year to get our hands on in order to let our palates dictate which combinations of flavors work better.  Tomato and basil.  Garlic, thyme and olive oil.  All perfect for the summer.  Peppery arugula and balsamic vinegar.  Lovely greens and the creamy flavor of a soft yolk.  These are all mouthwatering  flavors that my palate knows and appreciates especially in the fall.   Once in a while, I come across a recipe that completely arouses my taste curiosity because it makes you wonder how these flavors will go together.  And this is how I came to try this delicious recipe for Flatbread with Pears, Arugula and Goat Cheese created by the wonderfully talented Sara Forte for her cookbook The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods.  So first, let's talk about the recipe.

I have to admit that when I read some of the ingredients in the recipe, I was a little skeptic.  Does ground mustard really goes with pears?  Maybe not but when you combine it with other ingredients and you bite into it, you will experience what my niece (a 10-yrs. old foodie in the making) calls an “OMG moment”.   Not one flavor stands alone, instead they all work together to create a dish that is simple and that will keep your palate guessing—in a really good way.

As you bite into it, you will get the crunch from the flatbread suddenly give way to creamy melted goat cheese.  Then the toppings will come into play; the slightly acidic ground mustard actually makes the pears taste sweeter, and the peppery arugula and the tangy goat cheese just brings it all together for a truly delicate explosion of flavors in your mouth that will have you sighing at first bite. 

I could give you the recipe, but instead I’ve linked to Sara’s website, because it deserves to be browsed if you’ve never been to it.  The recipes are vegetarian but are so brilliant that even carnivores like me will be amazed that vegetarian can be so delicious. 

Now, let's talk about how I incorporate this in my diet.  As the post title mentions, this is what I call a "cheat day yummy" meaning it would be something I would eat on the day when my diet is more relaxed.  Which is normally Friday.  Believe it or not, it is easier for me to eat healthy on weekends than during the weekdays.  So what does my weekly menu looks like right now?  In a day this is what I consume:

Meal 1: 
1 cup of coffee
1/2 cup oats with cinnamon or apple pie spices
1 whole eggs + 3 egg whites (scrambled...I don't get tired of them because I love eggs.  You can add 1 tbsp salsa to make it different)
1 banana


12 oz. Green smoothie

Meal 2: 
3/4 cup yogurt (non-fat) with 1/2 cup berries

Meal 3:
1 chicken breast (grilled)
1 cup brown rice (or quinoa)
1 serving of veggies (love frozen mixed veggies)

Post/Pre Workout:
Protein shake ( this I divide into 1 scoop each pre and post workout, depending on when I go to the gym).

Meal 4:
Grilled Steak salad.  Right now this is my go to salad.  Since I started lifting heavier, my body is just asking me for steak.  And I am loving it!

Meal 4:
low-fat cottage cheese with raspberries + 1tsp acacia honey

This is around 1855 calories a day and the best thing is that is keeps me full.  This past two weeks meal planning was key and I am super excited for the week ahead with lots of workouts and more delicious meals!

Farmgirl BloghopHeart + HomeMelt In Your Mouth MondayMake It Yourself MondayMonday Homestead Barn,  The Home Acres Hop and Rurality Blog Hop. What's for Dinner?

My Favorite Links This Week

Every so often I come across some great links on other blogs or via Twitter and Facebook, and I decided to start sharing them with you in case you have not come across them!  They are worth the read! Here are these weeks best links:

The Pig of The Fish World by GiGi Eats.  In a world that is constantly urging us to eat clean and healthy, I was nauseously surprised at how unclean this popular fish is, especially because many nutritionist tell us is good for us!  Say what?!?!

Oiselle debuts at NOLCHA Fashion Week.  The popular fitness brand {which I love} debuted their Spring 2014 collection on the RUNway.  If you are not familiar with Nolcha Fashion Week, it is a fashion show that runs parallel to NY Fashion Week. Nolcha is all about giving up-and-coming designers a stage to show off their collections and I was thrilled to see fitness wear.  ** Of note, check out those abs on runner Lauren Fleshman who had a baby only a few months ago!  By the way, if you have not read her blog post about her going into labor-- YOU HAVE TO!  Its hilarious but very endearing!

Why Being a "Weight Loss Blogger" Sucks {Sometimes} by Skinny Meg. Meg is one of those bloggers who keeps it real about her weight loss and in this honest post, she talks about how other readers judge her and make snarky remarks when she is being honest about her exercises or what she is.  Basically she is being judged for being...well, a human.  Come on ladies!  Why do we do this to ourselves.  Let's empower and uplift each other because the alternative is just a damn shame!

.  What happens when a mom shares her art sketch pad with her daughter?  You will be amazed at their joint creation.  I love this post so much!

Pearl Izumi Apologizes for Ad with Dead Dog.  So Peal Izumi's new ad has drawn outraged via social media forcing the company to cancel the ad and write an .  Check it out.  What do you think?

Pin It Party Link-Up.  Looking for awesome fitness and nutrition posts?  Then join Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean for her new weekly link-up.  The link-up is a round up of 5 blog posts you’ve written that you would like to see on Pinterest.  Go HERE for more details.

New Favorite Twitter Peeps:

. Two sisters battling Hashimoto Hypothyroidism making a difference by bringing together fellow sufferers to show they're not alone. Web Series/Fitness Tips.

 .  Oh my gosh, I am totally obsessed with the reality show Breaking Pointe, which follows the lives of Utah's Ballet West.  This season they are performing Cinderella and it is amazing!

For My Hypothyroid Readers
And there you have it folks!  I hope you get a chance to check some of these links this weekends!  Bt before I go, let me share sometime a member of the running club posted.  I hope the language does not offend you but it is too funny because that is how hot it's been here!

I am from Puerto Rico and THIS is too hot for me!  It is just brutal.  I cringe to think of my water bill when I receive it because of watering the grass.  Yikes!  See you next week!

Moving 9/11 Tribute: Giving the Gift of What We Love

Today is 9/11 and as always, it is a very emotional day for me.  To this day I remember everything about that day: where I was, what I was wearing, all the mixed emotions.  It is really hard for me to post on 9/11 about that day because that moment in time had repercussions that affected my life years later.  That day I lost a mentor at the Pentagon, I came to realize what being in the military really was, and had to come face-to-face with the fact that as someone who came into the Army during peace-time-- now I was getting ready to experience what being a Soldier in wartime was.  Many deployments later I can say that I am blessed to have never been injured in a deployment yet I have friends, my boyfriend and my brother -- all in the military who have encountered some sort of danger or injury because of these wars...which were triggered by the events on 9/11.  

This year, I had the opportunity of remembering this day in a different way.  As you may know I moved from Fort Bragg, NC to Fort Leavenworth, KS (not the jail!).  It has been a different experience because I do not have my family nor friends here.  Last month I attended a cooking class and met a few Army wives, some which are former Army Soldiers, and they invited me to their running group.  They have been so awesome!  Through them I found out about an event on post, Moving 9/11 Tribute, and decided to join them.  This tribute consisted of military members and their families continuously running--relay style-- on 9/11 from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.  How awesome is that?  And did I mentioned that today was around 98F? 


The tribute was organized by , a group striving to deliver consistent, local opportunities for veterans and the community to connect through physical and social activity.  The group is in the beginning stages but they are doing great if you ask me.  It was my first time participating in one of their events and I was struck by the energy, dedication and the motivation of this group. 

I got to participate in the last hour and it was such an amazing experience!  Yes, it was hot.  Yes, it was hilly.  And yes, it was emotional  But you know what?

And that motivated me beyond belief.  Never underestimate the power that healing through physical activity has for a person or a community.  Just ask the founder of Wear Blue: Run to Remember.  She founded this organization to run in memory of her husband and those in his unit while serving in Afghanistan.  What started as a group of Army wives getting together to work together through the grieving process, is now a national movement dedicated to remembering those fallen Soldiers through running.  On your next big race look for the sea of blue shirts.  That is probably them!  

So, I wore my Wear Blue shirt and ran proudly for all those who died on 9/11 but especially in memory of Lieutenant General Timothy Maude, who was the Army's top Personnel Management officer and the highest ranking loss on 9/11.  I met him when I was a young lieutenant stationed in Germany, in a job that was way above my rank... and head.  But during a visit he took the time to sit with me and mentor me and I will never forget that because as a rule of thumb generals just don't do that.  It was an experience that shaped me into the army officer I am today and it is why when I heard of his death I was heartbroken.  He was one of the good ones and will forever be missed.  And I am getting choked up writing about it. 

So as I ran what went through my head? 

No. 1  I am still pissed at the terrorists... 12 years later.  And I don't think that will ever go away.  BUT...

No. 2 I live in the best country in the world even with the current situation.  At one point I started belting  the song "God Bless the USA" by Lee Greenwood and then I realized: dang it's hot!

No. 3  I am part of best fighting force in the world-- bar none.  And I would not change my life for anything.

No. 4 I am thankful that God spared my brother (I can't show his pic because of his job) and my boyfriend from death in war, because they more than I have had to dealt with the repercussions of that day.  And I know they love their job!

No. 5  I am so thankful that I survived 3 deployments!  Yes, I am glad I am alive! 

If you couldn't tell, I am the super tall one! :D  We ran the last leg of the day and it was amazing, because we did just as the sun was going down.
So on a day when tragedy occurred I chose to think mostly of joy and be thankful.  I can let this day bring me down, but instead I offer a prayer and run for them: the countless people who never got to say goodbye to their loved, the ones that never saw it coming, the heroes who would not surrender to the terrorist and by their actions saved many others, and those who have died as a consequence of the wars.  May they rest in peace and look over us!

Sharing with Fitness Friday


Workout of the Week: The Best Butt Workout

Hello ladies!  Well I am midway on my training week and my nutrition and weight training are excellent.  I am actually pretty excited because, well I'm feeling excited about working out again! You have no idea {well you probably do} how great it is to go to the gym and exercise because you enjoy it, so instead of being a drag it is like a reward for surviving the day and kind of sticking it to that voice that tells you "you can't do it".

When it comes to the workout I am following, I need to explain that I have a four-day body split for my workout, with Fridays being the day when I workout glutes for a second time.  Yes, the bum, the butt, the glutes.  Whatever you call it, I workout that area twice a week because 1) I'm Puerto Rican and that area can get out of control pretty fast and 2) when I start losing weight, the first to go is my glutes.  Seriously, they disappear which is not a good thing because, come on ladies, y'all know we like a nice toned booty.  So I have been doing this awesome workout by my inspiration fitness model Amanda Latona.  She rocks and believe it or not in the figure competition world she is know for... you guess it!  Her booty!  So, what is Amanda's workout?  Check it out!

photos courtesy of
I don't have pics of myself because, well it's just me!  :D  But let me tell you, this workout will make your booty feel like its on fire and you will feel the burn, peeps!  Every time I do it I am sore.  One thing I didn't mention above is that I wait 45 seconds between sets, but if you need up to 1 minute go right ahead. 
Now all references to booty aside and how nice we want it to look, I personally like to have strong glutes for running.  And if you are a runner, you can tell really fast whether or not you have weak or strong glutes.  Unlike other body areas where you may get shin splits or the lovely plantar fasciitis, the glute is surrounded by other muscles so if you have a weak bum, you may not feel it in the glutes but it will manifest somewhere else like the dreaded IT band or hip bones.  and we all know how much fun that can be... NOT!  So to my fellow runners, if glute workouts are not part of regime, consider incorporating some of these exercise.  Hope you all have an awesome day!  Sharing with Workout Wednesday at Skinny Meg and Curing #Notivation @ Mal Smiles.

A Fitting Name Change

So you are probably wondering what the heck is going on?  Am I not in Asphalt & Trails?  Well, yes you are in what USED to be a blog titled with that name {kind of like the artist formerly known as Prince}.  You see while that was a kick butt name, it really does not reflect who I am right now when it comes to my fitness.  Let's be honest, that name was for the chick who ran long distances but that is not who I am right now.  Yes, I still run but now fitness is more about achieving a balance in my life, and like my tag line says: finding my pace and thriving.  Because in the end that is what we want.  To thrive as athletes and as humans.  And I am right there with you.  I want to thrive because when I do, I am happy and when I am happy I have a good life.  So, make sure you change the name in your bookmarks (if you follow me) because I am not sure if it changes automatically.  :)
So, here is to life, finding the right balance and pace...and thriving. 

On Sugars, Cleaning My Diet and Setting Goals

The first weekend of September is here and wow!  What a scorcher.  Here is good ol' Leavenworth, Kansas this weekend has been brutal, today being the hottest it has been in a while at 102F.  That is just not right {says the girl who was born and raised in Puerto Rico}.  But seriously, the week before was stunning with temps in the low 70s.  Now that is my kind of weather, not this..  oh yes, I did notice my passenger seat belt light came on this week. 

If it wasn't bad enough that it was blistering, this is the week I chose to start the diet cleanup.  On Tuesday I started my no-sugar challenge to myself, and let me tell you: I AM ADDICTED TO SUGAR.  I realized that this week when the headaches would not go away.  Aside from the mandatory tbsp. of creamer in my coffee I was really good about sticking with the no sugars, and while the "withdrawal headaches" suck I feel so much better today-- even though I have that lingering feeling of a headache but not quite.  You may be wondering why the no-sugar challenge.  Well, while I am doing because my motivation is back and I feel like a slacker, I have an ulterior motive. 

Last week my normal gym partner and I were discussing how great it is to feel a little bit like my old self especially the running.  But how I felt that in these two months I'd let myself go in the physique department.  After making him promise me that he would not laugh, I showed him this picture and told him that this is my fitness goal.  I want to work hard and come at least close to resembling this physique by my birthday which is at the end of January.

This is Amanda Latona, my fitness girl crush! Ha!  I know that sounds weird...but I don't mean it in THAT way.  I just really love the symmetry of her physique and how even though she is fit and muscled, she looks feminine.  So, once the gym partner saw the pic, I thought he would laugh but he didn't.  Instead he said "Well, its going to be a lot of hard work but you can do it.  Actually here is a little added motivation.  If you do get at least close, I will send you on an all-expenses paid vacation in the Caribbean".  As you can imagine I was like "WHAT???" LOL  but I took him up on that.  Hello! That's a great motivator for me.  And yes, it may make me sound shallow and yes, it makes me think of this cartoon:

But here is the deal: I am a very visual person.  I have to see the final goal to get motivated and work hard towards it.  If feel a need to challenge myself and I have been thinking a lot about this for a while.  So first thing next week I have an appointment with my new endocrinologist to make sure all my thyroid levels are good to go because that it going to be the variant: how my body will handle the thyroid hormones meds once I kick up the training.  So wish me luck! 

Going back to cleaning the diet is very important in this process and this weekend I cleaned up my refrigerator of stuff that has been sitting there {yeah, there were a few science experiments} but part of my lack of motivation manifested itself as not being hungry which was soooo counterproductive.  But the refrigerator got clean and I stocked up in produce because guess what piece of appliance I have that  am using for the first time in 2 years?  A juicer!  Yes, I used it for the first time to get beets juice, which I used in the most delicious smoothie, The Purple Haze.   

This smoothie is delicious and totally curbed my sugar cravings: beets juice + 1 cup of water + 1 cup blueberries + 1 banana + 1 cup papaya + ice.  This was so delicious and perfect for the hot weather.  The best part?  It makes two servings so I got to sip on it through the day.  The other recipe I made was from this month's Muscle & Fitness Hers Magazine and it is for Coconut-Lime Chicken Bites & Zucchini Fries (all is baked though) and oh my goodness!  So good.  Now if I can only come up with a clean version of the Chick Fil-A Polynesian sauce I would be set!

This recipe was super delicious and all clean.  By the way, the zucchini fries are not burned, that is just the combo of spices that go into them, which makes them so tasty.  Here is the recipe:
Coconut Lime Chicken Bites (Muscle & Fitness Hers)
2 large egg whites
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
6 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 4oz chicken breasts 
Cut chicken up in to 1 inch pieces.  Preheat oven to 375.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and coat with non-stick spray.  In a small bowl mix the egg whites with the lime juice.  Put the coconut in another small bowl.  Dredge the chicken in the egg mixture then coat in coconut and place pieces on the baking sheet.  Bake for 25-30 minutes turning often.
Baked Zucchini Fries (Muscle & Fitness Hers)
1 medium zucchini
garlic powder
cayenne pepper
black pepper

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Slice the ends off the zucchini then cut longways into small strips (like shoestring french fries).  Sprinkle the zucchini fries with the garlic powder, cayenne and black peppers and bake for 25-30 minutes turning frequently. 
Again, both recipes make for a super tasty lunch or dinner.  And actually they make for a clean appetizer for your next football game gathering.  So, as you can see, a very productive week and weekend.  Here is to next week and getting one step closer to my goal!

Pray: For When We Need Spiritual Fitness

Through these four months I have learned that God has a plan for everything.  I am a person who loved God and I try to live a life that will make him proud.  And that includes trusting Him that no matter what I go through, it will only make me stronger and in the end I will have more endurance to deal with life.  So as I prepare for the weekend, I love the image that the quote above brings to mind.  I am His and He never leaves me alone when I am going through the valleys and crisis in my life.  Like a good gardener He tends to my needs prunning away what is not beneficial for me or there mending the hurts in my life.  And in this context anything seems possible. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Run / Eat: What I Ate Wednesday & Workout Wednesday

Well my friends, after months and months of being in a funk and feeling blah, this Labor Day weekend I started feeling a little bit like my old self and my body just finally said enough. Saturday morning I woke up with a need to run.  That is the best way to describe it.  And because of the 4 day weekend everyone seemed to be gone which made for a very quiet and relaxing run, with this gorgeous view of the rising sun.

After much thought I decided to stick to 5K and maybe a 10K until I get my super motivation back.  I really just need to "fall back in love" with running.  I am following a 5K plan just to keep me on track and I love it. I signed up for the Color Run in Lawrence, KS in September and really looking forward to it because I have heard how much fun.  Here are some of the other races.  

  • 9/15/2013: The Color Run 
  • 10/5/2013: Haven's Wooded Trail 5K
  • 11/9/2013: Ultramax KC15K/7K

I also have been hitting the gym with more consistency and so glad I am.  I am going to be honest.  I really like Crossfit but I feel most at home at the normal gym.  And I went back to basics with the program that has been successful for me.  This is the same program that last year helped me lose 25 lbs. in about three months.  Jamie's approach to this program is very structured which is what my lazy self needs right now.

Here is a breakdown of Week 1:
Day 1: Chest & Triceps
Day 2: Back & Biceps
Day 3: Legs & Calves
Day 4: Shoulders & Abs
Day 5-7: Rest (I personally like one of these days to be active rest)
During this phase Jamie does not do any cardio but I have to.  It's the only way my hypothyroid self can lose weight.  

One of the areas that I really struggled over these past four months is my eating habits.  If I ever had any doubts there are now gone: I am an emotional eater.  And with everything going on, I over indulged and I have been working on cleaning my diet.  But I have to warn you, this being the first week of September I indulged in my favorite fall season treat: Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.  It was so good.  

This week my eats were pretty varied.  I experimented with some cod dishes like the cod stew (top left corner) which will be perfect for the winter months.  When I get a sweet tooth my new snack is bananas and papaya drizzled with some acacia honey. So delicious and my sweet tooth loves it.  And finally my clean version of fish burritos packed with spinach tomatoes and tilapia cooked in southwestern spices and sriracha.  Spicy and delicious... and so hit the spot! 

But without a doubt my best achievement this week  -- albeit not too healthy was my first bread making undertaking.  I still cannot believe I made challah bread (which is a Jewish soft bread) from scratch and that the braiding came out pretty decent.  Plus the flavor was delicious!

Yes, my progress is slowly but I am making progress and not sitting on my butt like I was the past few months.  I also have some awesome friends who are motivating me {and sending me loving hate text messages to get to the} and it is always awesome to have that support.  So, here is looking to a week or progress and motivation!  Linking with Workout Wednesday @ Skinny Meg and What I Ate Wednesday at Peas & Crayons, Recipe Friday, and Fitness Friday.