Thursday, March 1, 2012

Running: A Year Later

Wow, I can't believe it has been a year since I have written! I loved looking back through the archives and seeing how far my running has come.

The highlight of my running year in 2011? My first full marathon! Des Moines in 4:09:18. I was incredibly proud of my time considering I didn't actually sign up until about a month prior...

Another exciting highlight was my first relay race, Market to Market. A 78 mile run from Omaha to Lincoln. I was part of a team of 6 who all took turns running incredibly fast legs. I ran an average of 3 speedy 5ks right in a row!

I ran my second half marathon in my goal time under two hours: 1:54:28. I was elated, especially after a disappointing first half (Lincoln) in 2:01. In my defense, I was quite sick on the course.

I PR'd in my second 5k: 22:16. It was a fun, fast race. I also placed in 3 5ks this year!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where has Jess been?

I took a long break from the blog. A really long break! In the time I was gone I:

Got a great start on my AmeriCorps work. Grants have been written, projects have been piloted and goals are close to being accomplished! Next month is already the half way point!

Had a poem published in a literary journal and an editorial published in the Omaha World Herald.

As of next week I will have been married for two years. Crazy!

Ran 10 miles on Sunday. My PR for 3 miles is 26:30. I have gotten myself to under a 9 minute mile pace. Getting there!

Shifted my diet to a mainly whole food diet with fruit, veggies, whole grains. Have started regularly using flaxseed, protein, wheat bran, quinoa.

More to come soon! My 12k is next month and my half marathon is in 10 weeks!

Friday, January 21, 2011


And now for the post that will make me sound like a crazy cat lady. Which I may be. But my cats are so much more than just pets to me.

For starters, there is my Athena. Athena is so fantastic. She is a tabby, slightly overweight (She is just curvy, the "Beyonce" of cats) and very particular about who touches her and how. It is hilarious how Athena reflects my personality and Ghengis reflects Jason's. Some similarities between Athena and are are as such:

*It takes us both a long time to warm up to people.
* We don't like to be touched or approached by people we don't know.
* We don't make friends easily. :)
 * When we are hungry, the entire world will stop unless we get fed.

Now don't get me wrong, I like to think I am somewhat social. But I can count my good friends on one hand and am not the best in social situations where I don't know people.

Most of the time I prefer to stand back and watch what is going on. And make faces.

And Ghengis Khat.

If there is such a thing as a Cat Ham, this would be him. He is always all about being in your face and social social social. He loves to play and be pet by anyone and whomever is around. Even if it is a total stranger, he will rub against your leg until it chafes and bring you a toy like a dog to toss for him.

I have to admit, he is the best napping buddy on earth.

Jason is also very social. He loves to be around people and if he had his way, our house would be full all day every day of people. Ghengis would be thrilled. Athena and I would be hiding in my office eating. :)

She and I totally understand each other.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Eggplant Lasagna and Running

Good evening! The snow has been falling regularly here in Omaha. Some of it is pretty. Some of it sucks.

The sucky part of it is that I can't run outside. I just don't trust the sidewalks to not be icy and treacherous. But I am not getting a break at all from my running! Yesterday I ran 5 miles in 45:11 minutes. That is about a 9:02 minute mile pace. I feel pretty good about the time. I think my 12k will be very successful!

And now food!! I have been eating a lot of eggs lately for dinner. I don't know what it is about eggs, but they just work for both filling me up and tasting savory and delicious.

Over hard eggs with a piece of whole wheat toast with natural blackberry jam. Served with a side of steamed cauliflower and chickpeas. 

Over hard eggs with a whole wheat mini bagel with blackberry jam and steamed brussels sprouts with sea salt and olive oil.

The bottom photo is what I had tonight. I love brussels sprouts with eggs! The nutty, almost meaty taste of the foods work so well together. Great refill fuel from long runs and Bodypump!

I also made an eggplant lasagna last night.

Hell yes. That is melted ricotta and cheddar cheese on top of the mixture. It also had whole wheat lasagna noodles, diced tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, ricotta, basil and red pepper. Holy yum. I also sauteed brussels sprouts, red potato, onion, cauliflower and broccoli. I also threw some honey on top of the mixture while it was roasting.

And yes I did finish the entire pan of veggies. I have no control when it comes to these bad boys. :)

Off to a neighborhood association meeting tonight. I am speaking about the Neighborhood Scan program that my organization offers communities who need an extra boost bringing houses up to code. Wish me luck!  

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter Hiatus

Good afternoon all! It has been quite awhile since I have posted on my blog! The new year has kicked off with a bang and I think I am just in a whirlwind trying to catch up!

January is the time for new beginnings. New resolutions and new ideas. I've also jumped on the bandwagon of trying to form new habits and new projects to keep myself pushing towards my goals. Some of my ambitious goals for 2011 include:

* Leaving the country again before December 2011.
* Getting an article accepted in a major publication.
* Complete my Americorps year of service as successfully as possible.
* Run a 12K in April and a half marathon in May. If all goes well, I will shoot for a full marathon next year!
* Be halfway conversational in another language by December 2011.
* Read more!
* Breathe, enjoy the small things, chill out, and love my husband as best I can.

I've also decided to try budgeting my food shopping over the next year. I have decided to attempt to stick with a $35 dollar a week max for meals and snacks. Yesterday I went to the store and for exactly my budget, I purchased the following:

*1 eggplant
*1 jar marinara sauce
*Shredded cheddar cheese
*Smoked mozzarella cheese
*1 pound of apples
*1 pound of bananas
*1 dozen eggs
*1 pound (roughly) red potatoes
*Small tub sour cream
*Frozen cauliflower and broccoli
*8 Activia yogurts (So good!)
*Parmesan cheese
*Ricotta cheese
*Red pepper hummus
*Baby carrots

Not a bad trip! You may be wondering why all the cheese? Along with my new budget for the week, I have decided to make two meals that will last as leftovers for at least three or four days. I made a delicious Eggplant Lasagna from Women's Health Magazine last night. It was fabulous! I replaced the goat cheese with smoked mozzarella because it was so expensive! But the smoked flavor was excellent with the steamed eggplant. Plus the leftovers will feed me for at least six meals. Perfect!

I've also planned out at least two fruits a day for the next week, something that is so important to keep in a diet. I haven't decided on my second meal this week yet, but I think the Sweet Potato and Chickpea curry from the magazine may be next week's meal. I will post both recipes in the recipe section.

Turbo kickboxing tonight with Ellen! I couldn't be more excited. I ran the entire weekend and am eager for a change of pace. Yesterday's workout was fun as well. For Martin Luther King Day the Mayor's office staff and my husband volunteered at Together Inc., an organization that provides emergency services to populations in need within Omaha. Myself and four boys moved over a ton of food for distribution! Needless to say, my arms are super sore this morning! :)
More to come later! Have a great afternoon everyone!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowy Sunday

Today has been a lazy kind of day. PJ's and fuzzy socks. Hot cider and cookies.

Even the cats were all about taking it easy today.

Nevertheless! Again working out prevailed and I was able to make it to the gym before the snow really started to fall. Today was Cardio Sunday and I did speed intervals for 3.0 miles, along with 15 minutes on the elliptical. It felt great!

My stomach was rumbling, so I continued my post vacation detox with a delicious and flavorful lunch.

I love kale. I LOVE kale. It has a great flavor when sauteed, especially when topped with balsamic vinaigrette. I sauteed the kale in olive oil, and paired it with chickpeas. A can of chopped black olives caught my eye, and I combined everything on top of a small cup of whole wheat pasta.

Holy YUM! The combination was savory and healthy. I washed it down with a homemade fruit smoothie.

This concoction had one clementine, a handful of strawberries, two bananas, a scoop of peanut butter, ground flaxseed, strawberry greek yogurt and milk.

I also had to partake in some Sunday evening baking. After turning on "Love Actually," I was inspired to make some more of the tea biscuits I had made last month.

Of course I messed up my kitchen. And consumed half a bottle of wine. It makes the baking process so much better!!

I love these biscuits. For as simple as they are, they are packed with flavor, and relatively healthy. I also topped them with almonds and chocolate chips that toasted nicely in the stove.

Happy Sunday everyone! Here's to the packed week ahead!

Skiing Recap

Good Morning!

I love Sundays. Today's plan is a great breakfast (on egg over hard, one slice of whole wheat toast with natural blackberry spread, and a clementine!), picking up the house a bit, hit the gym, then my favorite thrift store for dollar Sunday, Trader Joe's and writing a freelance story for Shout Magazine. Last night was a lot of fun. I had a pretty intense workout in the morning, BodyPump and Zumba back to back. I don't know what happened, but after my workout I felt extremely weak and shaky, and as though I was going to pass out. Luckily I had brought a PowerBar Chocolate Harvest Grain bar with me. My gym was also handing out free samples of Whole Grain Cheerios. I scarfed both of those down so fast!

So skiing! Absolutely one of my favorite winter sports. Granted, I am not the best at it. As a matter of fact, I am extremely uncoordinated and look like an action figurine.

However, I love the way my body feels after 6+ hours of skiing! It was nice to get a workout outside of the gym for a few days.

We drove to Western Nebraska last Thursday from Omaha. Total time: roughly 6.5 hours. Jason's parents live in the Panhandle, so we were able to catch up on some sleep before heading to Denver the next day. We originally had planned on going to Terry Peak in South Dakota, but there was a blizzard moving in that changed our plans. Let's just say that the drive from Western Nebraska to Denver is usually 3-4 hours. It took us 7.5.

Once we got to Winter Park, we were finally able to relax with some friends in a condo for New Year's Eve.

There was outdoor hot tubbing in -20 degree weather.

Crazy tubing! We seriously went so fast that I screamed the whole way down.

Friday and Saturday we stayed in the condo in Winter Park. Sunday we decided to pack it up and head to Copper Mountain for three days of skiing and fun.

It was so much fun! Jason and I got to have some time to ourselves to ski, fall, laugh, drink a bit, eat terribly, and enjoy the fresh mountain air. It was beautiful and absolutely rejuvenating!

I decided to head back to Omaha on Wednesday night so I could make it to work for the last few days of the week.

As we were driving back from Copper Mountain, we of course had to stop at our favorite breakfast place in Denver, a place called Dozens.

It is a local, tiny, wonderful little cafe just down the street from the Art Museum. Jason had an omelet with all the fixins' and toast, and I had strawberry stuffed french toast with ham. Add some french press coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice and I was ready for the long drive home.

We stopped in Cheyenne, Wyoming on the way to take a peek at the downtown area, a place that, as my husband puts it, "time has forgotten." After finally making it to Nebraska, and driving through three states in one day, I made it back to Omaha around 11:00 at night, over 500 miles and 12 hours later. I love vacations!!