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We run to get to another place.

“That’s what we writers do. We write to get to another place.”

-Delia Ephron

I listen to NPR in the car. Now, most people listen to NPR to get their news… I, on the other hand, mostly listen to NPR for the smart quiz shows, pop culture commentary, and stories about this american life. (I say mostly because I do, in fact, listen to the news as well.)

Most recently I was listening to the newest episode of “Ask Me Another,” a quiz show with puzzles and word games, and their VIP (Very Important Puzzler) was Delia Ephron. The host was asking her about writing her most recent book, in which she writes about the period of her life in which her sister, Nora, died. She was asked if that was difficult to do. I loved her answer.

Delia responded that yes, it was hard, but she was so lost after her sister had died that she had to write about it. Because that’s what writers do- they write to get to another place. For her, and for many other writers, this meant moving to a place in which she could process and heal. This resonated a lot with me. I find that I am most motivated to write when I need to process something. When I need to work through an issue, an emotion, a state of mind/life, or an idea to the very end. It’s just something I do, and it’s why I feel accomplished after writing a blog post or short story or essay. I worked it out, and now I’m in a different place than I was when I began.

This is true with running as well, which is probably why this blog is tied really closely to my running. When I decided to undertake the goal of running 365 miles last year, one of the first and best ways I knew to tackle that goal would be to write about it along the way. Because that’s what writers do.

That’s also what runners do. In both a physical and metaphorical sense, runners run to get to another place. I run for many reasons, but the end goal is typically the same– I’m in a new place at the end, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. There have been many days where I have battled my way out the door, but once I return 30-40 minutes later, I am a new person. Or, at least, a better version of myself.

Running and writing take me to new places, both within myself and within my world, and I think I understand why my success at both is often tied together. I get ideas for writing when I run. I run to get myself to a better place to write. I was writing a lot more when I was first learning to run, because I had more time to think, more time to breathe, more energy to get it done. I was going new places, becoming a better version of myself along the way. And the best way to process this journey? To write about it.

As I sit here in the never-ending-and-coldest-winter-ever, I am inspired to go new places. I have goals this year for both my running and my writing, and I hope to be able to work on both at the same time– and I seem to be built for doing just that.

So here’s to new journeys. To going to another place.

End of 2013 Progress Report / Plans for 2014.

My last post was in July. I have been incredibly busy since then trying to figure out being a full-time working mama. It has been difficult and has left little room for things like blogging on my own blog and reading for pleasure and grocery shopping on Tuesday mornings (I sorely miss being able to do that last thing!).

So here’s a quick recap of how I finished out the last quarter of the year:

August

I ran the Electric Run (which I’m sad I didn’t get to blog about– if you’re curious, let me know. I don’t think I’ll be doing that race again.)

Ran a total of 22 miles.

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September

Started a running Growth Group with my friend Katie. This forced me to run on Tuesdays, which is the only days I ran in September as the start of school is really, really taxing.

Ran a total of 8 miles. (Hooray for those Tuesdays!)

October

Continued with the Growth Group. Got used to running in the dark! Katie’s got a nifty head lamp thing and knows how to make a lantern out of a water jug.

Ran a total of 8 miles.

November

Ran my first 10k! It was the Veteran’s Day 10k which benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. It was cold, it was WINDY, and I walked a lot more than I would’ve liked. But I finished!

Ran a total of 12 miles.

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December

Did not run one mile in December. Not one. Too cold and too busy.

My goal for the year 2013 was to run 365 miles. I ended up running about 180- slightly under half of my goal. Do I consider this a failure? Abso-freakin-lutely not. My goal, really, was to run more. I wanted to set a measurable goal that would give me a reason to tie up my pink shoelaces and get out there.

At that, I was successful. I also ran my first 10k, which was not in the original plan.

SO, for 2014, here are my more measurable running goals: I want to run two 10k races and at least three 5k races. (one Spring, one Summer, one Fall). Once my friend (and unofficial personal running coach) Katie pops out baby #2, we’ll plan my first half marathon as well.

I’m already signed up for the Color Run again this year, so that takes care of my Spring 5k, but I’m open to doing MORE than my goal this year.

{I have to make up for my slack from 2013 some way!}

Here’s to continuing the drive to be a #FitMom in 2014.

Sneaky Zucchini – Part 2: Brownies & Cheesy Rice

For Part 2 of Sneaky Zucchini Week, I thought I’d share two other recipes that I love involving sneaking some zucchini.

 

I won’t be giving a step-by-step for either of these, since they are not from my family recipe book. I found these two recipes on Pinterest, and their original sources give pretty thorough step-by-step instructions. I’m not interested in reinventing the wheel, here. Not my style.

 

First Up: Zucchini Brownies

 

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The first time I made these, I did so for the purpose of being sneaky. I saw a pin on Pinterest for this recipe from The Yummy Life, and I couldn’t believe that you could put zucchini in brownies without noticing. So I put it to a test. I signed up to bring the dessert one night for our bi-weekly Sunday Night Dinner that we do with friends, and I made these zucchini brownies. They had pretty rave reviews and repins on Pinterest, so I figured, why not?

 

I even made the homemade chocolate frosting to put on top.

 

I showed up to Sunday Night Dinner and didn’t say a word until almost everyone had tried one. No one said anything about them tasting funny, although, they could’ve just been trying to be polite. When I told everyone, I got a general, “Oh. Really?” reaction from everyone. I was pleased.

 

The verdict: delicious. You should try both recipes. The homemade chocolate frosting is so easy– why would you ever buy that store brand stuff with all the additives?

Next: Cheesy Zucchini Rice

 

 

The picture from the pin for this recipe from Buns in My Oven immediately got my attention. It just looked so yummy. I saw this recipe shortly after my success with the zucchini brownies, and was delighted to sneak some veggies into another dish. This makes a fantastic side dish. I’ve made it to go alongside steaks, chicken, pork chops, fish… and every time, it works!

 

The verdict: yummy. BUT I still haven’t figured out how to make this dish using brown rice. Husband and I prefer brown rice to white… and so far, every time I’ve tried to make this recipe with brown rice, it has turned out crunchy and the rice doesn’t absorb as much of the liquid. I think I just need to alter some cook times or something… when I’ve figured it out, I’ll let you know. In any case, I recommend it! Even when it was crunchy, the flavors were still good.

 

So there you have it– two more Sneaky Zucchini recipes that are Katie-approved. I am an authority on these things, of course. {Not really.} Next week, it’s back to blogging about running. Until then… I’d love to know if you have any recipes using zucchini. I’m always looking for more ways to add vegetables to our menu. Let me know!

Also: make sure and check out The Yummy Life and Buns in My Oven. Both sites have tons of delicious-looking recipes, many of which do not include zucchini. 😉

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Progress Update: March

March was a lot better than January and February for running. I could thank myself for making me accountable to the interwebs via starting this blog, but who wants to read about me patting myself on the back?

 

{Pat. Pat.}

 

In any case, I ran much more regularly in March than I had in the two previous months. I made trips to my mom’s to use the treadmill during Skip’s naptimes. I ran twice during my quick long-weekend trip to Florida. It might have had something to do with restarting the Couch-to-5k program {ok, it had a lot to do with that. Here’s some pats for my friends’  backs who are doing that with me}. It might have also  had something to do with training because I needed to run a 5k at the end of the month. (The review of which I’ll post either later this week or next week.)

 

The weather still sucked, so I ran most of the month on the treadmill. Running outside those two times in Florida was heavenly– and reminded me that I need to live somewhere where that is a reality year round. The end of March warmed up a bit, and I was able to run outside once before running the 5k, which was also outdoors. 40 degrees is not balmy, but it’s tolerable.

 

We really lucked out with the location of our new condo. There is a really nice little trail just across the street from our complex. It’s perfect to have something like that right out of our front door. The local high school girls’ track team was out there running when I went the first time. It was motivating to not look like a fool in front of teenage girls. Because we all know how judgmental teenage girls can be.

 

Still: running outside for the first time all winter was a little tough. My body had to re-acclimate. It was tough, and I was expecting the 5k just two days later to be just as tough, but surprisingly, it wasn’t bad at all. I guess I was able to acclimate pretty quickly. Good news!

 

I’m grateful that the weather is finally warming up. I’m crossing my fingers it doesn’t drop a foot of snow on us in the middle of April. {It could happen. This is Wisconsin, after all.}

I’m also pretty pleased with my mileage this month. This month I ran 21 miles. It’s not exactly on target, but it’s better than the two previous months. I’m only 10 miles behind for the month.  I’m hoping to focus on getting ahead over the warmer months so that I can have some leeway in the fall when it starts getting cold again.

 

{I don’t want to think about that right now, though.}

 

Stay tuned!

 

 

2013 Miles Goal: 365

Miles Run So Far: 44.25

Miles to Go: 320.75

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So I started a running blog…

I’m a girl with a goal.

My name is Katie and there are two things I want to do more of: running and writing. I set a running goal for myself for this year, and at some point, it just seemed right for me to also write about it. I wish I could explain it better than that, but at this point, I can’t. I just feel compelled to start a running blog, and really, let’s be honest, there aren’t enough blogs out there.

{That was sarcasm.}

I’m also kind of struggling with my running goal for this year, so I’m hoping starting a running blog will help with some of that.

I’m Not A Runner… Yet
I have been running for almost two years, and I still wouldn’t consider myself a “runner.” Runners are those people who know what they’re talking about when they talk about running, think it’s “cute” that I’ve run a few 5ks, and belong to communities of other runners– whether it be a Run Club or online Runners’ Gossip Clique… I don’t really know, because I’m not a runner.

Maybe I’m a running enthusiast, or at the very least, I’m a “novice,” but I won’t call myself a “runner” yet, because if I were to do so now, I’d feel like a big, fat poser.

How I Got Started
Growing up, I didn’t enjoy running. When we ran “the mile” in gym class, I walked and was usually one of the last few to finish. I’d sprint maybe 10 feet every lap or so, but that was torture. I played soccer in High School but preferred defense because it required less running. When they’d put me in mid-field (which requires the most running), I’d be gasping for breath nearly two minutes into being put in the game, and I’d usually ask for a sub within ten minutes and collapse on the bench like I had severe asthma or something.

Yeah, I hated running.

I’d always admired runners, though. It seemed like such easy exercise! You don’t have to pay for a gym membership. You just… run. Even though I hated running and wasn’t very “good” at it, I kind of wanted to be a runner anyway.

I was never motivated to start, though, until I was almost ten months pregnant.
There I was: two weeks overdue, up 65 pounds, living in Hawaii (where people are ACTIVE: surfing, paddleboarding, running, walking, biking, hiking, etc. at all hours of the day), and I was swollen to the size of a blimp. I hated looking at myself in the mirror. I couldn’t remember the last time I had felt pretty. There was a moment when I was looking at my ankles (or, rather, the fat lump where my ankles were supposed to be) and suddenly I was bound and determined to do something about it. Motivation kind of slapped me in the face.
I had heard about the couch-to-5k program, which sounded exactly like me, because after all, I had been spending quite a lot of time on the couch eating chocolate-covered macadamia nuts in the last month or so of pregnancy. I figured if anything was going to work for me, this program would.

I wasn’t able to start the program immediately after giving birth (my son had some pretty serious health issues) but in order to motivate myself, I signed up for a 5k in August. At the time it was April, and I figured that I’d be able to complete the nine week Couch to 5k program in between that time. I just barely finished the program before my very first 5k, but I ran the entire thing in about 38 minutes… and I mean it, I ran! I couldn’t believe it.

Couch to 5k
I highly recommend the Couch to 5k for anyone who was like me: terrible with endurance and never ran for more than 30 seconds before. That’s where I started. The first week, you don’t run more than 60 second stretches at a time, and this was absolute torture… but eventually, I was running for three minutes at a time, and then five minutes, and then eight… until I was running for a full half hour! It probably helped that I began my running gig in Hawaii. There’s nothing better than an evening run in a tropical climate, with mountain views and fellow runners out and about. I’ll share more about running in Hawaii on this blog, I promise.

Completing the Couch to 5k program and running an actual 5k was probably the very first time in my life that I had set a fitness goal and actually kept it. I finally found something that I wouldn’t give up on. I have always aimed to be more active and live a healthier lifestyle, but rarely have I taken actual, concrete steps to doing so. I was so motivated to lose the baby weight that I actually did it, and once you meet such a big goal, you just want to keep doing it!

Which Brings me to Now
My goal now is to be a healthy and fit mama. I’ve learned that the best motivation is to have no excuses– which is why I’ve made attainable goals. First: to run 365 miles this year. I was inspired by my friend Kevin, who set a similar goal last year (500 miles, though!) and made it with weeks to spare! {See his story briefly told here.} My motivator to run those 365 miles is to run a few 5ks throughout the year– this will keep me running in between, for training purposes, and to have some fun experiences throughout the year, because running a 5k is a LOT of fun!
Second: my goal is to eat healthier. I’ve been learning a lot about how my body digests food, my tastes have been growing as I’ve tried different things, and above all, I’ve noticed how much more energy I have when I eat healthier, how much better I feel about myself, and really, I want to teach my son healthy habits from a young age.

So this blog will be my space for keeping accountable to my goals and updating on my progress, as well as posting our successes and failures with eating healthy (maybe share some recipes we love!) and to share whatever else is relevant to this place in my life. I am a writer, so it just makes sense to write about all of this. It’s almost a necessity to have a blog to accompany my goals.

I hope you’ll stay tuned.

Mango Days 5k . 2012

Mango Days 5k . 2012

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