A Look Back at 2014 Goals

I didn’t set out to run 14 races in 2014, but that’s what ended up happening! Along with all that running, I managed to get PRs in my 10K, 10 mile and half marathon. I also beat my 5 mile time at the Shamrock Shuffle 8K, so I like to think of that as a bonus PR since the distances are so close. That surpassed my first 2014 goal of 2 PRs!

Big Ten 10K - PR!
Big Ten 10K – PR!
Goldy's 10 mile - PR!
Goldy’s 10 mile – PR!
Lola's Half Marathon - PR!
Lola’s Half Marathon – PR!
Shamrock Shuffle selfie
Shamrock Shuffle 8K – PR!

Goal #2 was to make 1 new recipe each month. I didn’t make 1 per month, but I did manage to make several, like:

mashed cauliflower

spicy poblano and corn soup

feb soup

spicy roasted asparagus

broccoli slaw “pasta”

broccoli slaw1

low fat lemon crinkle cookies

watermelon cake

watermelon cake2

cauliflower soup

cannoli

cannoli1

I just got a Crock Pot for Christmas, so hoping to do a lot more cooking in 2015!

Goal #3 was to get more comfortable with change. I made some progress at getting outside my comfort zone and trying not to let change throw me. I definitely stepped up to a challenge–literally–by signing up for and completing the TC Loony Challenge this fall.

loony challenge medals

That accomplishment set me up for seriously looking at a big 2015 running goal (more on that soon). Change is inevitable in life, so I by no means expect to ever master this, but I can keep working on it!

How did you do on your 2014 goals?

Holiday Dinner Party – I Made Cannoli!

Life tip: Become friends with people who know how to cook. It makes for some fun dinner parties!

On Saturday night, some friends and I got together for a holiday dinner party. We had an Italian menu with some fabulous dishes.

italian dinner

Menu: Ceasar salad, ciabatta bread, chicken parmesean, stuffed shells, lemon spaghetti w/ shrimp, and bacon wrapped dates. Holy delicious!

I was in charge of dessert, and I really wanted to do something to go with our Italian theme. So, I made cannoli!

cannoli3

cannoli2

Well, I made the cannoli filling. I bought the shells, but that made for a super easy and festive dessert.

I found the recipe on Pinterest. It only needed a handful of ingredients.

ingredients

I started by combining the ricotta cheese and powdered sugar.

ricotta

Then I made whipped cream to fold into the mixture along with the vanilla and chocolate chips.

whipped cream

I let the mixture sit in the fridge til it was time to head out. I assembled the cannoli after dinner so that the shell would stay crispy. They turned out great! A nice sweet treat to cap off our Italian feast.

cannoli1

What are you making for upcoming holiday parties?

Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week 2014

This past week was Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week (Dec. 1-7). If you’re not familiar, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). They’re chronic inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract caused by an abnormal response by your body’s immune system. They affect 1.4 million Americans. Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract while ulcerative colitis only affects the colon (large intestine).

The Minnesota/Dakotas chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) had an array of activities going on last week to raise awareness about these diseases. As someone living with ulcerative colitis, I wanted to help raise awareness and support CCFA during the week.

I rocked my IBD Awareness bracelet each day.

ibd bracelet

On Tuesday night, the 35W bridge was lit up in blue and orange for IBD awareness week! I made sure stop by and take a picture while out running errands.

bridge

On Thursday night my sister and I headed to The Icehouse for a show benefiting Camp Oasis – CCFA’s summer camp for kids with Crohn’s and colitis. I had the opportunity to hear parents and kids talk about how awesome Camp Oasis is when I attended one of CCFA’s pediatric support groups to write a blog post for the chapter’s blog (it’ll be posted on there soon). It’s truly a place where kids living with Crohn’s and colitis can just be kids and be surrounded by people who totally understand what they’re going through because they live with these diseases too.

benefit3

There were three bands supplying the entertainment for the evening.

benefit 1 benefit 2

They also had a raffle and door prizes. My sister and I both won door prizes!

benefit 4

It was a great event and I had a chance to see some of the people I did Team Challenge with last fall.

Hopefully, in time, there won’t be a need for IBD Awareness Week because there will be cures for Crohn’s and Colitis. Until then, events and campaigns like these will help people understand these diseases and support research for better treatments.

Turkey Trot Race Recap

For the second year, I kicked off Thanksgiving by running a 5 mile Turkey Trot in my home town. I was really excited to do this race again, but I was not excited about the weather. It was about 20 degrees last year, and I would’ve given anything for it to be 20 this year!

I woke up and saw this on my phone:

Uff Da!
Uff Da!

So, my first task was figuring out what to wear. I knew layers were going to be important. I opted for two pairs of pants (tights and athletic pants), three shirts (long sleeve base layer, half zip pullover, zip up jacket), two pairs of socks, two pairs of knit gloves, and a hat.

My family was doing the 2 mile walk while I did the 5 mile run. Being able to park a couple blocks from the start meant we could stay warm in the car for a bit. At 7:50 a.m. we headed into the cold to head to our respective start lines. On my way, I ran into a couple people I went to high school with and chatted with them to pass the time before the race started. The race started right at 8 a.m. I didn’t even have my music and RunKeeper ready when we started moving!

I started out a little slow with the initial crowd and trying to get a feel for the road. It had snowed a little overnight and I wanted to watch out for any ice. The main road we started on was pretty clear though, so I was able to settle in to a nice pace. I knew I wouldn’t be running very fast, but hoped to be somewhere around 10:30 minute miles.

The first 2 miles went by pretty fast. Around this time, the course started to go on to side roads and paths that weren’t as clear as the main road, so I had to watch my footing. That slowed me down a tad, but I was able to keep running and stay at an okay pace. Miles 3 and 4 felt like they went by kind of slow, but then I only had 1 mile to go and was able to pick up my pace a little on the clearer main road to the finish line.

I finished in 53:13 (avg. 10:39/mile). With the snow and cold, I’m happy with that!

I met up with my family at the finish line and collected my “medal.” This is the best part of this race–each participant gets a personal pumpkin pie!

turkey trot 2

My layering strategy turned out to be the perfect amount of clothing. I never got overheated and wasn’t cold. The temperature was cold, but there was very little wind which helped a lot. This was the coldest race I’ve ever run, but it felt good to know I could select the right gear to comfortably make it through!

We all got cleaned up, watched some of the Macy’s parade, finished some food prep and then headed to my Aunt and Uncle’s. It was a great afternoon with family (and food) :).

The rest of the holiday weekend was spent decorating for Christmas, spending time with family and this cute pup…

cozy

…cheering for the Gophers against Wisconsin (even though they lost)…

Gophers

…and relaxing. It was a lovely weekend at home. Thankful for my wonderful family and friends!

Now, I’m turning my attention to my favorite time of the year and getting in the holiday spirit by decorating my apartment and listening to Christmas music. Tis the season!

Did you do a Turkey Trot? What’s the coldest race you’ve ever run?