Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ragnar Training and Life Recently

The last several weeks Brad and I have been amping up our running in preparation for Ragnar Relay - Florida Keys. Ragnar has been on my bucket list as long as I've been blog stalking runners in the Tampa Bay area; which is how I came up with the idea for us to run our first marathon. Although I can't convince Brad to run another marathon, I did convince him to run Ragnar! This year we are one of a few rookies on the "40 and under" team. Our running group has another team going, the "masters team" who are all 40, older and can kick my running butt!

Next Thursday we'll be loading up our two 15-passenger vans in Brandon and headed toward Miami. Beginning on Friday morning, our vans will relay-run (is that even a phrase?) from Miami to Key West - 196.2 miles! We have a total of 12 teammates and we'll each run 3 legs. I'm runner #10 and I'll only be running  a total of 13.2 miles. All the veterans are telling us that the catch is trying to "recover" in a van, eat/hydrate and be ready to run again when its your turn. So, we've been running two-a-days on Saturday and Sunday to help simulate running on tired legs with little sleep/recovery in between.



You are probably reading all of this and thinking, "Why in the world would you sign up for a race like that?" or maybe, "Why in the world do you even run!" And it's because its fun! First off, the running group we belong to (Brandon Running Association) is the most diverse, fun and supportive group I have ever belonged to. Plus, our members run, jog, shuffle, walk; it doesn't matter - we move, together. Second off, races are the reason why I run. Races are SO MUCH FUN! #iheartfinishlines

As far as the work, life and my domestic wife roles go - I haven't been doing many domestic wife duties (I mean, I barely "cook" as it is). Last week I spent 5 days in New York for work. Besides working tons of hours, I experienced 3 new things: 

  1. I rode the train from Long Island to New York City (I'm pretty sure this is much nicer than the subway).
  2. I saw a Broadway show! & walked around Times Square.
  3. I saw "flurries" fall from the cold, cold sky (Before this, I had never seen snow fall).

I have a few projects on the back burner to begin once I have sat for my CAPM (Certified Associate in Project Management) test. My traveling is done for a while and I'm back to preparing to take my exam in mid-February. I'll share a few projects I have on my list:


  1. Sew a slip-cover for my ugly, oversized office chair
  2. Cook a complex meal, successfully
Okay, I know I said a few... but you have to start somewhere right?!


XO,
Stephanie



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Roasted Broccoli & Some Other Randomness

The last few days I've been attending an online prep course to prepare me to take the Certified Associate of Project Management (CAPM) certification exam that I have tentatively scheduled for mid-February. I've also had to squeeze in some work-work in the evening so that my email inbox isn't backed up to 400+ unread messages by Thursday when I return. I have been meaning to get certified for the last 16 months since I graduated college in May 2013! But regardless, you know that I'll give out any excuse to avoid completing many domestic activities around the house - I will 100% admit it out loud, so there you have it!

Even if I was busy doing other career-oriented things, we still need to eat - like every, single, day. Thats really unfortunately for those of us who don't thoroughly enjoy cooking 24/7 (even though I thoroughly enjoy eating 24/7... ha). But last night, Brad cooked some skinless chicken breasts on our Traeger smoker. Do you see how quickly my efforts at domestication are side-tracked by other things going on in life? And how quickly Brad jumps in to save the day? He does an excellent job feeding our family of 2 (+ 3 pets; he even cooks our dogs food every week!). Getting side-tracked is primarily one of the reasons why I have committed attempted to commit to this blog and now you know why this "domestic lifestyle" of mine is only part-time ;) That sounds like a good new years resolution for 2015 - do more things in the home.



Back to the chicken... when its cooked on the smoker, it's the most DELICIOUS, juicy and mouthwatering chicken you've ever had. If you've never heard of a smoker (like me 3 months ago), it cooks smokes meat very slowly (wait, can "smoke" be used as a synonym to cook?) and some how keeps all of the juices and natural flavors of the meat. I don't really understand how it works, but that thing pops-out delicious tasting meat.

PLUS, it reheats in the microwave perfectlyWe do a little bit of "food prep" in our house (or maybe we just cook more than we can eat in one sitting so that we have tons of leftovers). We do this primarily because:

a) Brad and I don't mind AT ALL eating leftovers (some people are picky about this)
b) We make a commitment to pack lunch every-single-day (this saves us TONS of $$! & we are pretty frugal)
c) Brad and I don't have the time or energy to cook everyday; we usually start our weekdays around 4am 

To pair with the chicken, I cooked a box of Zataran's Black Beans & Rice (yum!) and I made some roasted broccoli in the oven. Thank you Natalina for introducing me to Zataran's, this cook-from-the-box stuff is right up my alley! And it's got great flavor. Plus, I had a pretty big bag of broccoli from Sam's sitting in the fridge that needed to be cooked. So, I looked up a recipe by Alton Brown - he never disappoints! 

Okay, so I was hungry!
Don't judge the portion size :)
I've never made roasted broccoli before but this was easy-peasy, even rookie Chef Stephanita could have made this :) Here it is:

Ingredients

1 pound broccoli, rinsed and trimmed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or sharp Cheddar



Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.


Cut the broccoli florets into bite size pieces. Cut the stalk into 1/8-inch thick, round slices. Place the broccoli into a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, kosher salt and pepper and set aside.



Spread the panko into a 13 by 9-inch metal cake pan and place into the oven for 2 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove the panko from the oven and add to the bowl with the broccoli mixture. Toss to combine. Return the mixture to the cake pan, place in the oven and roast just until the broccoli is tender, 8 to 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.



Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007


P.S. I ran 12 miles in the last two days. 7 miles yesterday at 6AM (9:22 pace) and 5 miles this morning at 5:20AM (8:46 pace). I may not cook everyday, but I'm definitely keeping up with my running... unless its 35 degrees outside. But that skip-my-run confession will have to wait for another day.

xo
Stephanie

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

2014 Recap On Life and Running

In 2014, I ran 951 miles! That equalled 161 hours and 35 minutes. Almost 7 days! This is a little lower than 2013 where I ran 1,008 miles. But 2014 was a big year. A LOT happened. Here is a recap:

January - no races, just running. I ran a whopping 27. Brad changed jobs from working the weekend shift to Monday-Friday (that was simply amazing) & we spent some time painting the top half of our kitchen cabinets. I was also wedding planning! We planned to be hosting our wedding reception at Grandma's house.
The oak color up top was being painted
the espresso color down below.
February - I ran 105 miles, maybe thats the reason why I lost a toe nail by the end of the month! In the beginning of the month, we ran The Best Damn Race in Safety Harbor Brad PR'd at 2:01 and I finished at 2:05. This was a great race and an awesome t-shirt! We also ran the Gasparilla Michelob Ultra Challenge together (mostly together) - 31 miles in 2 days. I am never doing that again. I turned 26 and ate cake at 5am and I also attended my first work conference about Healthcare and IT in Orlando for 1 week (HIMMS 2014). I am pretty sure we ate a lot of Publix subs this month because I don't recall the kitchen being used.
HIMSS 2014

Gasparilla challenge (pre-toenail)

March - I ran 17 miles this month. Surprisingly, this month was more stressful and crazy than the previous. My sister threw me a bachelorette party, I was wrapping up my volunteer efforts in the BeTheMatch 5k walk/run in Tampa and I had a melt down over wedding planning. So, we decided to get married on Saturday, March 22nd; 6 weeks before our actual wedding day. It turned out amazing and it was one of the best days of my life! Oh yeah, and I chopped 7 inches off of my hair.
Downtown Orlando with lady friends
BeTheMatch 5k
My best friend and I on our wedding day <3
April - I ran 60 miles! Woot Woot! 
My biffle Katie hosted my bridal shower, Brad and I did some skeet shooting in St. Pete and I was selected in the lottery for the CHICAGO MARATHON! I had decided that I wanted to run another marathon (Brad decided that he was not going to run another marathon) and I was SO FREAKING EXCITED that I was picked for the lottery. I think I jumped up and down for weeks with excitement that we were going to Chicago! That changed quickly in the summer training months.

Chicago Marathon confirmation
Short hair. Don't care.

May - 40 miles ran this month - wooomp, wooomp, wooooomp!
We finally had our wedding reception at Grandma's house; our decorations and setup turned out exactly how I envisioned it. Then, we went on our 2,000 mile honeymoon road-trip through Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina - 8 days of pure bliss! When we returned, we finished up our cabinet painting!

Cake cutting at our reception









June - 122 miles ran! This was the start of marathon training for Chicago and I was ready to get down to business. This may have been the most miles I ever ran in one calendar month (to date) & we were back at it with our running group! I also took a girls weekend trip with my sister-in-law and some girlfriends, super fun! And Brad put up our new pergola on our back porch!
Florida Country Superfest in Jacksonville

July - 131 miles run! I was still going strong with early-marathon training and loving it. I was also loving all of the carbs that I was eating! I was literally saying "thats gotta be on the training diet" to almost everything in sight :) Plus, we finallyyyyyy got our countertops installed! Shortly after, Brad put up the backsplash himself and did an amazing job <3












August - I ran 101 miles. I remember having some calf pain early on in the month and feeling like my marathon training was about to be derailed. I was supposed to be increasing mileage and I was actually decreasing and slowing down. Somewhere around mid-August I got back on the plan and was seeing a lot of improvement and pain-free running! Our family welcomed its newest cousin a few weeks early and I visited with my Uncle and his wife in South Florida.
I fell in love with babies when I met Khalessi <3
September - I ran 129 miles! I also ran my last long run with Nicole, 21 miles at 9:55 pace. I felt like I was on fire and my training was going to pay off in Chicago!

We vacationed to Utah where Brad ran in the X-terra Nationals Half Marathon and we celebrated his 33rd birthday. We spent a week between Park City (north of Salt Lake) and Moab (4 hours south). It was amazing trip with beautiful, natural scenery! Brad is now convinced that he wants to live there but I don't think I could handle the winter snow or living across the country from our parents.
October - Hello Chicago! I ran 78 miles this month (including my race and my lack of running post-race). As always, I was extremely nervous going into the race I felt like I could puke. Brad cheered and supported me through my 3 days of craziness.

We did some shopping, we stood on the observation deck at the John Hancock tower, ran to the famous bean and ate more food than I could remember. It was a jam packed 2 days prior to race day. On race day, I ran my heart out and hit my goal by finishing in 4:30:33. The race was everything I dreamed about and my heart was full.

Post-marathon smile :)
November - I ran 65 miles this month, apparently I spent a lot of time recovering :) We took a weekend to get away to St. Augustine with our pups where Brad and I ran a 10k and got to spend some quality time with his aunts & uncles. We both placed in our age groups (small races are great, haha). We did some bar and restaurant hopping through downtown St. Augustine and listened to some live music. It was so much fun.  I also got the idea from Mom Ganey to start this blog!! So RunningTowardDomestication was born <3
December - I ran 62 miles, started a book club with my sister and learned how to poach an egg (amongst other things I cooked in the kitchen). We ran Best Damn Race in Cape Coral where I PR'd! 2:01 baby! Our running club put on one-dang-good holiday party where I won the PR award, thats the biggest bling of the year! ;)



Best Wishes && Happy New Year!
I hope your 2014 was as spectacular as mine! I can't wait to see what 2015 will bring :)

xo
Stephanie