Recipes, running, training, Uncategorized

Weekend wrap up, fitness, and food in no particular order…

Last week was a tough week for me.  I’m not sure if it was the bitter temps, or the hubby traveling for the second week in a row but I admittedly found myself in tears more times than I care to admit.  My eldest daughter tried my patience, multiple times, and I found myself with my head in my hands choking back the sobs early Friday morning.  Could I DO this yet another week on my own?  And then at around 9:30 a.m. while I was at work I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket.  “I’m sorry for being grumpy this morning.”  Smiles…I immediately felt better.  It’s amazing what a simple acknowledgement to even unintentional hurts can do…so as the day went on, we planned a nice dinner out after school/work to celebrate another week of surviving Chiberia 2015.  J and S decided on our favorite Mexican place called Sergio’s.  If you are ever in the western suburbs of Chicagoland I highly recommend it.  It’s family owned and operated, has fresh ingredients, and SOOOO affordable.

Doesn't get much better than this...
Doesn’t get much better than this…

Today, as most non-working outside of the house Saturdays go, I had a full schedule.  I had planned on meeting up with my run club for coffee after my dreadmill run, but I slept through my alarm and started my day an hour and a half behind schedule.  The hubby arrived home late last night, but only for his Army drill weekend so I saw him all of 30 minutes.  But that extra glass of wine probably was NOT a good idea seeing the fact I had 6 miles on deck this morning.  I got up, ate my tablespoon of PB with chia seeds, texted Maria, and hopped on the ‘mill. I knew immediately this was going to be tough.  Barely half of a mile in, and I wanted to cry.  I cussed quietly, at myself, the ‘mill, and anyone who would listen.  And at 60 minutes, the ‘mill reset, and real tears formed in my eyes.  I wasn’t quite finished with my 6 miler, but thankfully I finished.  That is all I can say.  I did it.  It sucked.  And Mother Nature could bring on spring like temps ANY time now…please…

Week 1, long run, DONE.
Week 1, long run, DONE.

After my run it was time to EAT.  It’s been a while since I said 6 miles was a long run, but I was famished.  What did I eat? Check it out…

My go-to post long run meal.  Yup...bacon and eggs.
My go-to post long run meal. Yup…bacon and eggs.

And then it was time to shower, and tackle 3 hours of housework.  I turned up the tunes, scrubbed bathrooms, vacuumed floors, dusted, washed bedding, and mopped.  My house now looks and smells amazing! YAY!!  Then, it was time to shop for the week so the girls and I headed to Aldi to stock up on groceries.  I love this store sooooo much.  My basket was completely full of fresh produce, fish, chicken and healthy snacks for such a reasonable price. Winning!

So tonight for dinner I decided to make something simple after such a busy day.  I made a yummy gluten free pasta dish, that had my famous semi-homemade marinara sauce.

Here’s what you’ll need for the sauce:

1 package of turkey sausage links cut into bite size pieces

1 cup of diced pancetta

1 small white onion

3 cloves of garlic, minced

4 baby Portobello mushrooms, chopped

Crushed red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, kosher salt and pepper to taste

Here’s what to do:

In a wide sauce pan heat a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  Add in your onion, garlic, mushrooms and red pepper flakes and saute for 3-4 minutes.  Add the turkey sausage and pancetta and cook through for about 12 minutes.  Season with kosher salt, pepper, and Italian herbs to taste.  Once the sausage is cooked through, drain off the grease.  Also, wipe your pan out with paper towels removing the excess grease.  Add everything back into the pan, and pour in a jar of your favorite marinara sauce.  Taste for seasoning, adding in more S&P if needed.  Let simmer for about 25 minutes.  The longer, the better…

I served over gluten free rotini, and as always it was a hit with my family.

Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!
Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese!

Lessons learned this week:

1. Running is hard.  Running on the treadmill? Even harder.

2. Teen kiddos will test us more than nearly almost anything in life.  We won’t always pass, but there is always room for growth.

3. Knowing your passions in life, and participating in said passions is freeing…really.

4. Ask someone how THEIR day is, or what THEY are up to…it truly can make a difference.

5. It’s ok to cry. But don’t forget to wipe away those tears and move forward.

I am rounding out the week with 15 miles of running, 1 yoga work out, and strength training as well.


How was your week?  How do you deal with one sided conversations?  What are your favorite “easy meals?”

❤ Michelle


Three things, Thursday, training

What would Thursday be with out Three Things? TTT

Boring, right? Today’s three things are all in one way or another running related.

So here are my three things, in no particular order for the week.

1. I CAN DO THIS. No wait…I AM DOING THIS…I have started out week 1 of marathon #3 training quite well if I do say so myself.  I’ve worked out every day this week so far, and am feeling strong despite lack of sleep due to hubby travels again.  Is my endurance where I want it to be?  No way…but it’s week one, right?  3 shorter distance runs, 30 minutes of yoga, daily planks/pushups, with a 6 mile long run on deck for Saturday….I got this!!!  Positive thinking is in full force.  Step aside any negativity, please.

Pic credit:
Pic credit:

2. In regards to my last post about Treadmill tips, I enjoyed reading ALL of your ideas.  So today I decided to try watching the show “Chopped” on my Kindle and make the show into an interval session of sorts.  Yup…I can turn just about anything in to something that involves running, especially when I am in official training.  So it went a little like this.

My Kindle perfectly covered the screen of my treadmill!
My Kindle perfectly covered the screen of my treadmill!

While the four Chefs were introduced by Ted Allen I started slow, at about a 5.4 mph pace (keep in mind I kept the read out covered WITH my Kindle so these are only approximate speeds-in fact I am not concerned with speed this year, but that’s my next ‘thing’).  After he told the Chefs to open their baskets, I sped up just a little more-maybe to 5.8?…I held this pace while the Chefs cooked, until their two minute warning, where I sped up significantly running all out for those 2 minutes.  Once time was up for that round, I scaled the time back to my 5.4 mph-ish pace again and held that until the next round.   I repeated this sequence for all 3 courses and it worked GREAT.  I also had my friend Maria helping me out virtually, which I really can’t say enough about.  There’s just nothing better than supportive friends and family during training.

Yup.  No quitting here.
Yup. No quitting here.

3. Speed snobs.  There…I said it. I have always praised the running community and how welcomed I have felt since moving to this area almost 4 years ago.  But every now and then I catch myself succumbing to the speed snobs snide remarks or lack there of when I post a run on FB (for example).  I will never be a 7-8 minute miler, and am honestly happy with that fact.  In fact, I run for peace of mind, release of stress, AND because it’s a healthy exercise.  I have no need to go ‘balls to the walls’ for EVERY. SINGLE. RUN.  That is not peaceful for me.  There is no release in that type of running-for me.  But in the same breath, I applaud those who CAN run that fast and enjoy it at the same time.  I have never been one to judge another runner, or compare my pace or goals to anyone other than ME.  We aren’t all like that tho, are we?  So the slight sting I felt today was brushed off quickly and replaced with the other 99% of runners in my life, as well as family and friends.

Pic Credit:
Pic Credit:

Does positive talk come in to play during your training season? Have you ever made up your own “Interval training” program creatively with a TV show or music? How do you deal with the elitist type people who seem to put everyone else down?

Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!


❤ Michelle

goals, moving forward, running, strength, training

Quick Fox Valley Half marathon recap

My computer official died. So my recap will be short as I’m posting via my phone.
We made it to the start with an hour to spare. I was oddly not nervous and was met up by my awesome friends. Brian was quiet but I believe he was excited.



We started with the 9:30 group but quickly passed the group. Call it adrenaline. But we were cruising the first few miles. Seeing my family several times helped so much. But the hills at the 4 mile mark killed us. We slowed down and found a happy 9:24 pace.
We saw Andrea and her Do Epic Shit sign at the 5.5 mile mark and I knew we could run strong.
We continued on for several miles at a steady pace and I realized we were just short of a sub 2 half. Despite trying to push it my stomach had other plans and I had to slow it down. I felt my sport beans come up along with the Gatorade I shouldn't have drank and my heart sank a little.
Ten miles in I said, "If we push we can get a sub 2" but I knew it just wasn't in the cards for us. So we walked the last water stop as well as on the bridge leading to Mount St. Mary's park. Brian apologized and with tears in my eyes I said, "Don't you dare apologize. You're kicking butt." And as we came across the corner to the Illinois Street bridge where we saw the finish line, Brian grabbed my hand and choked back a sob. We ran in to the finish line hand in hand. He immediately embraced me and we cried.

We did this. Together. And I couldn’t be more proud. 2:05 was our official finish time.
And we did this. Together. Oh. I said that already.

And now. He’s got the bug. And I’m giddy all over again. 🙂

Friday, training

Five things, Friday


This week has been a little crazy.  I am working 6 days this week, which always puts me off course in trying to get everything done around the house.

So here are my “five things”…

1.  Taking the time to unplug more, has given me a lot more time to read, write, cook, and get stuff done around the house.  Today was my only day off, so I cleaned the garage, finished staining my deck, and repainted my fire pit.  Note to self, use the right color paint.  I accidentally bought WHITE heat resilient paint, so as soon as I started spraying I thought OH CRAP.  A second trip to the home depot saved the day.  It is now a pretty black.



2.  The hubby and I have stayed on point with our half marathon training.  We were both visibly tired tonight when get got home from work, and while we stood on our driveway I said, “I don’t want to run.”  This rarely happens.  But I just wasn’t feeling it.  It was humid, and getting ready to rain and I simply was feeling like a lazy thug.  We ran anyway, and finished at a decent pace of around 9:45.  We normally do our long runs at a 9:30 pace, but I needed to slow down, and heck, that’s ok sometimes too.


3.  I have truly been enjoying taking my youngest to dance class at the park district.  She really enjoys it, and although I am still having a hard time getting her to focus during class-I see how happy she is and that makes it all worth while.

I can't help but to sing this song on the way to her class, LOL
I can’t help but to sing this song on the way to her class, LOL


4.  Note to self: do NOT eat this for lunch on the day of a longer run.  Yeah…my stomach nearly killed me the entire 10k.

photo credit to JM
photo credit to Jersey Mikes

5.  I rarely wish days away, but I can tell you I am already dreading the next two days of work.  I am not doing my regular job as a Histology Lab supervisor, as a few of the lab supervisors have to rotate through weekends being in charge of the ENTIRE lab.  Yikes…I hate not knowing the answers to people’s questions…Is it Sunday afternoon yet?

Yup, this will be me.  Pray for minimal crisis control this weekend, PLEASE!  LOL
Yup, this will be me. Pray for minimal crisis control this weekend, PLEASE! LOL


What are you training for?  Do you ever have to step out of your comfort zone at work and do additional duties?  If so, how to you cope?


Have a great weekend, gang!

moving forward, running, strength, training

T-1 Week-Not feeling ready…

I haven’t posted all week. Ack…my goals of posting twice a week just didn’t happen this week, but I am allowing myself a touch of slack. Work has been crazy busy, and I am still trying to find my way. We are in our inspection window, and I am a bit terrified to say the least not knowing all the ins and outs of the lab. But all I can do is my best, right?

I didn’t feel ‘myself’ this past week, feeling extra bloated, tired and yucky to say the least. I still managed to run 3 times logging my last long run of 8.3 miles yesterday before my half marathon this coming Sunday. I woke up yesterday with the sun, so decided to get up and go to run club. Most of my run club friends are super speedy on Saturdays so I don’t feel guilty if I miss attending, because often times I end up running alone. A friend offered to run a slower pace of 10+ minutes miles with me, so I happily joined the group at 0645 hrs. for our group run. The first few miles are always tough, but I found myself able to settle in and able to run at a ‘chatty’ pace the next couple miles. Around mile 6 my ITB started to get pissy, so I stopped to stretch quick and kept going. This by far was not my strongest run, but I felt great to be out there running with friends. The added nearly 10 lbs of winter weight is NOT helping me at all, and I am having such a hard time shedding said pounds. Between 2 years of marathon training, weight gain, chiberia and eating like I am still training for a marathon (which I am NOT), I am finding myself in an unknown place. I have only been ‘overweight’ after having kids. I don’t know if it’s being over 40, loving food too much, or WHAT…but I am struggling.
I wanted to work out today, but have had a sick little one all weekend so my last two days were spent taking care of her vs. doing anything enjoyable sadly. It just goes to show all weekends can’t be great ones. My weekend was spent cleaning the house, cleaning up puke, and tending to an unexplainable fever…fun? No…but I pray my little one feels better soon.
My half marathon is one week from today, and for the first time in two years I am terrified of the distance. This isn’t my first rodeo, but I feel undertrained, overweight, and SO NOT READY.
Here’s praying the half marathon God’s are with me on Sunday…I’ll need all the help I can get.

goals, moving forward, running, strength, training

Three things Thursday on my birthday eve

Life is short.
All too often we get caught up in THINGS. But life isn’t about STUFF. It’s about moments, lives, love, family, friends, and moving forward. This week I was told I am losing my job in the spring due to cut backs in budget, healthcare, etc…I found myself heading in a downward spiral, and it terrified me. But instead of throwing in the towel, I maintained my work out schedule after coming home from work, preparing meals and keeping my crazy household maintained.

Life is good.
I have my health so far…and I have made it through almost 41 years without any major illness’s. At work today, I had to process a specimen on a very young (40’s) man that has stage 4 cancer. It never gets easier….23 years in the same field, and it. never. gets easier.

Life is meant for living.
People often ask why I continue to put the work and effort in to my Facebook page, when I am not making a profit from the efforts.
Because just today, I received two messages in regards to my efforts.
The first:

“Cheers to you my friend. I know this birthday will be filled with lots of emotions. What a great year, you’ve made so many new friends, Moved so many people with your page, food, photos….just remember that you do not have to be defined by what you ‘do’, be defined by what you ‘love’, and who loves YOU. May all your wishes come true.
The second:
I wanted you to know that you have a follower (keeping name private), she does your AB challenge with her daughter, she reads your posts every day and loves your page. Your page is awesome, she loves it. Just wanted you to know you have a strong reach…
Touching lives, inspiring others, MOVIN’ forward is such a joyous part of living to me…

Despite a rough week, my heart is full tonight. And I realize…Life…IS. What it IS, is up to YOU.

food, goals, moving forward, strength, training

Monday’s Movin’…who’s cookin?


Tonight’s dinner was off the cuff, and I was plainly just trying to be creative.  Was I completely successful?  I’d say no….but the dish turned out regardless; I simply missed the ‘wow’ factor.


4-6 pork chops, thick cut

3 oranges, to include the zest/juice

3 sprigs of fresh rosemary

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 gloves of garlic, minced

1 tablespoon of organic honey

1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard

Kosher salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (pinch), basil, and parsley

Mix the above ingredients together in a food processor, pulsing until completing incorporated.  Coat your chops, and let marinate for about 30 minutes to an hour.   Save about ½ cup of the mixture to drizzle over the chops for baking.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Seer your chops on high heat in a pan coated with extra virgin olive oil, both sides.  Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with remaining mixture, and finish baking in the oven at 375 for about 25-30 minutes. 


Serve with your favorite veggie; I choose zucchini and mushrooms tonight!  Quickly sautéed them in a pan and VOILA!  YUM!  Gogolowcarb!

Tonight’s work out was a great #TDF start…

Day 6 of the AB challenge done:
25 Sit ups
15 crunches
15 leg raises
25 second plank

Added with:
30 second wall sit x3
3 sets of bicep curls
3 sets of tricep extensions…

A great Monday, all around! #keepmovinforward