Archive | June, 2014

Case of the Mondays + An Awesome Weekend

24 Jun

Yesterday, I had one of “those days”.

You know that kinda day. The day when you actually consider crawling in your bed and crying….or maybe you just go right ahead and do it (no comment).

Well that was my life yesterday from 6:30am to 10:30pm.

And I still can’t really figure out why. Maybe it was sleepiness, or maybe it is because my foot is randomly hurting and I had to take a few days off running. Whatever it was, it needed to stop. And luckily when I woke up this AM, my case of the Mondays was over (poor baby, right???).

We had such an awesome weekend. Our dear friends Adam and Amber got married, and we were busy with wedding fun all weekend. The rehearsal and wedding were both absolutely gorgeous. It was also located at one of our favorite places in KC – Westside Local. Ramsey and I had our first date there 2 years ago last week, and it was fun to reminisce a bit.

Celebrating 2 years together!

Celebrating 2 years together!

With some of girls and the lovely bride!

With some of girls and the lovely bride!

My favorite part of the wedding was the ceremony. Adam and Amber’s Dads officiated the ceremony and married them!! It was so special and something I have never seen. Talk about not leaving a dry eye in the house!

So sweet!

So sweet!

Lauren and I were twinsies.

Lauren and I were twinsies.

LOVED Amber's dress!!!

LOVED Amber’s dress!!!

Another major perk of the weekend was spending time with my sister in law Sarah! She was visiting from NYC for a wedding and stayed with us a couple nights. I love it when Sarah comes to visit because we just get to hang out and be girlfriends. I lucked out with such an awesome sister in law.

Pool time with Sarah.

Pool time with Sarah.

We also tried the new Champagne bar in KC - Ca va. So good!!

We also tried the new Champagne bar in KC – Ca va. So good!!

Sunday night we had a little World Cup party and cheered the US to a big…TIE!!! UGH that was a heartbreaker. All eyes on the Thursday game though – USA!

Ramsey and I also ventured on a bike ride!! And I didn't wreck the thing.

Ramsey and I also ventured on a bike ride!! And I didn’t wreck the thing.

Do you ever have “those days” where you are out of it and don’t know why? How do you handle it (if you can’t go for a run..ha!)?

Hope your weekend was as fun as mine was!!

xo,

Ali

 

My Journey to Cleaner Eating

21 Jun

Over the last 6 months I have been making a conscious effort to eat well and think about what I am putting in my body. Basically, I’ve been trying to “get clean”.

It all started in January when I decided to do a 28 day detox program created by Arbonne. I love Arbonne products, and trusted the program. I had some work to do in regards to my eating habits and was excited to see what improvements I saw with my body and my health.

I love good food. And I could easily eat out every meal. I love to try new things and enjoy different foods. While this has been a great way to compile a list of ‘Best Food in Kansas City’, it has not been good for my body. I started to think about how often I had been getting sick, and how often I felt tired and sluggish. While lack of sleep could play a role, I didn’t think it was the main culprit.

Cutting back on all the pizza was a little hard!

Cutting back on all the pizza was a little hard!

My 28 day cleanse lasted about 21 days. And I cheated on the weekends. I mean, I have to live my life and if my friends invite me to happy hour I refuse to sit there and drink water and not eat. So making it through the week days “clean” seemed like a great goal for me. It also seemed like a great way for me to focus on what I was putting into my body and how it made me feel.

Yes, month one of the new “cleaner-eating-Ali” was a bit rough. I was cranky and just wanted my sweets and restaurant food. But each day seemed to get better than the one before. And I was noticing that while mentally I was a little bitchy, physically I felt awesome. And the stomach aches I often had subsided. I knew my mind would catch up to my body. And it did.

Before I make my food decisions now, I run through a list of questions in my head.

Do I really need to eat this? Usually, the answer is no. I used to snack ALL day. Now, I plan my snacks and bring them to work with me. Instead of eating pretzels, granola bars, or candy, I stick with a yogurt, nuts or a homemade energy bar or bite. And instead of drinking high calorie coffee drinks as an afternoon boost, I have tea or put some fruit in my water.

I make a breakfast item every week now as my pre-workout snack.

I make a breakfast item every week now as my pre-workout snack.

Obsessed with energy bites!!

Obsessed with energy bites!!

Can I make it healthier? When cooking a recipe, I always look at the ingredient list to see what I can sub. Sometimes the results are good, others are not so great. But at least I tried. I also apply this to every day when I make my lunch. I used to put things on my sandwiches without even thinking about it. Now I use only ingredients that are beneficial to me and providing some sort of healthy benefit.

Instead of ground beef, I use ground turkey. This was an awesome Turkey Meatball recipe from my Runner's World cookbook.

Instead of ground beef, I use ground turkey. This was an awesome Turkey Meatball recipe from my Runner’s World cookbook.

How will I feel after? Is eating this ____ (insert donut, cookie, etc) going to make me feel good afterwards (mentally and physically)? Is it really worth it? Sometimes, the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. And sometimes it takes the greatest willpower on earth not to shove the bag of doritos my husband brings home into my mouth.

Never knew how much I loved stuffed peppers until the detox!

Never knew how much I loved stuffed peppers until the detox!

I do feel that the smarter-eating-Ali is a much healthier Ali. I am absolutely not a “clean eater” by the standards of some people, but I do believe I am much better than the average person. I have seen improvements in my body physically, and also mentally. I don’t know about weight loss, since I try not to use weight as a measurement, but my clothes still fit and I am feeling happier about my body. I have also been warding off illnesses and feeling more energized during the day.

I practice "Eat This, Not That" a lot at home. Ramsey always wants the pasta, so I am able to make myself a low carb version on lettuce.

I practice “Eat This, Not That” a lot at home. Ramsey always wants the pasta, so I am able to make myself a low carb version on lettuce.

Sure, I still have PLENTY of cheat meals. But I have far less of them than I did before. And to me, that is a victory (progress, not perfection). I am sure a lot of people would cringe with some of the junk I still put into my body. I’m not perfect.

I do not believe in depriving yourself, but I do believe in making smart decisions about what you’re putting in your body. If there is a day where my co workers bring cupcakes for a birthday, naturally I will eat one. Or two (ughhhhh). But then I go back to the clean eating ways and it all seems to even out.

I will never turn this down. I will just try not to eat the entire box of them :)

I will never turn this down. I will just try not to eat the entire box of them 🙂

 

How do you balance your eating? Do you have any tips for someone who wants to make “cleaner and smarter” eating a part of their life?

Xo,
Ali

Race Recap: Hospital Hill Half Marathon

18 Jun

I have said it many times, and it still remains true. The Hospital Hill Half Marathon in Kansas City is one of my favorite races.

A couple weeks ago, I ran this race for the 3rd year in a row. I had no idea what my time would be, but I really wanted to push it and see what my body could do. A goal of breaking 1:40 was in my mind, and I thought it could be attainable. I also had a running buddy with me that had the same goal, and for a me a buddy always helps.

The morning started off a bit of a disaster. It was thunderstorming like crazy and the rain was coming down hard. I can run in rain, but knew if the storming did not stop, we wouldn’t get to run the race at all. The idea of not running made me sad. One because I love this race, and two because I paid for the thing!

We ended up having a 45 minute delay, where Stacy, Ramsey and I sat in a nearby hotel and chatted. It was actually a great time and I loved catching up with Stacy. The rain delay ended up paying off.

Waiting it out in a dry cleaning bag.

Waiting it out in a dry cleaning bag.

My husband in a trash bag.

My husband in a trash bag.

After waiting it out through the rain delay, we finally lined up to start. I met my friend Nicole at the 1:40 pace group and we were off!

The first few miles flew by. There are some huge hills those miles, but we really just chatted the whole way and kept our minds off of them. Around mile 3, the rain picked up, which also picked up our pace a bit.

As Nicole and I hit more hills, we continued to run really steady and strong. At first I was worried we were running too fast, but after a few miles we were both comfortable with the pace.

Nicole and I a few miles in.

Nicole and I a few miles in.

Not raining too hard here.

Not raining too hard here.

The thing that makes Hospital Hill such a great race is that for every insane up hill you have, you get a rockin’ downhill too. There is no better course for downhills in the KC area. And since this is a half marathon, the downhills don’t tear up my legs like they did in Boston.

Around mile 9, Nicole and I started to part ways. I realized I was still feeling really good and decided that I would stretch my legs and see what I could do. As I approached mile 10, I prepared myself for the mile long climb ahead. This hill SUCKS, but it is also a huge confidence booster. Many people are not prepared for it, and they have to stop and walk. I am used to running big hills, so I was able to maintain pace and make it up the hills.

Passing so many people definitely helps. Especially when everyone you pass is a man 🙂 Side note – I don’t know how many men I ran past started sprinting when they saw me next to them….don’t worry though, it only took a few more steps to pass them for good. Girl power.

3698136_race_0.24167319829980527.display

Pouring!!

3745728_race_0.26571346102517746.display

Enjoying the amazing downhill.

When I hit mile 12, I knew I only had one steep hill left, then the most amazing downhill finish you will ever find. I gave myself quite the pep talk running up the last hill. And when I reached the top, I cruised to the finish.

3671408_race_0.8535893191379419.display

Finish time: 1:37:30(ish)

I forgot to pull my splits from my watch, so I don’t have them anymore 😦 But I had an awesome negative-split race.

I was in shock when I saw my finish time. I know I can run a fast half marathon, but was not expecting to run that fast given my training and how my body felt. Having such a great race was a huge confidence boost for me, especially after struggling through the end of Boston so much. I felt like my speed was back. And also got excited to see what I can do with my half marathon time come fall.

Despite the rain, mostly every one else I knew running also had a fantastic race. Ramsey PR’ed!!!!! And my other friends all met their goals.

All in all, it was a great morning on the hills of KC! And I can’t wait to run for the 4th year in a row in 2015!!

Did you run Hospital Hill? Or do you have a race like this that people think you are CRAZY for loving so much?

A few more pics from the day..

So proud of Ramsey!!!!!

So proud of Ramsey!!!!!

Kathleen and Nicole.

Kathleen and Nicole.

With our cheerleader Diana!!!

With our cheerleader Diana!!!

Boom.

Boom.

Recipe: Favorite Guacamole

9 Jun

I love guac. A lot. I used to hate it, but now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Over the past few months, I have perfected my guacamole recipe, and it is ready to share.

This recipe is totally clean and can be used at every meal. For breakfast I throw it on eggs, lunch I put it on sandwiches and salads, and dinner I will put it on anything that can be used as a vehicle to get the stuff in my mouth. Like I said, I love guac.

  • 3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (I like red onion)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or 1tsp of cilantro you get in the spice aisle)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Mash the avocados with a potato masher. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Enjoy in all the ways mentioned above, or throw it on some whole grain tortilla chips. These are my fav.

IMG_4680IMG_4681

Enjoy!!

How do you make your guac? Any tips for my recipe?

xo,

Ali

What’s Next?!?

6 Jun

Since Boston, I have been thinking a lot about what’s next for me.

As everyone that knows me could attest – I love to run! So obviously running would is still a major part of my life. But how much running in my life is still TBD.

For the last couple years, I have been dealing with some hip/butt pain. The longer it is has gone on, the more it has affected other parts of my body. My hamstring has been hurting, and recently my foot has been hurting. It is crazy how everything is connected. After Boston, I decided it was time to do something about it. So I bit the bullet and went to therapy.

Therapy sucks. A lot. But it is making a difference. Each week, I feel stronger and less pain. The biggest obstacle for me is actually doing the exercises they give me. As I crawl in bed every night I remember, “crap! I didn’t do those dumb exercises”. So I pull my body back out of bed and get to work. My therapist told me I can still run and workout – which is awesome! But I need to be careful and not run as much or as hard.

I love that little electronic thing. Might have to go on my Christmas list!!!

I love that little electronic thing. Might have to go on my Christmas list!!!

Roll and drink. Roll and drink. You get the picture.

Roll and drink. Roll and drink. You get the picture.

Another big thing I have been dealing with is my asthma. It has always been there, but the last year it just seems to get worse. When I was talking to my Dr. about the issue I realized that in NYC I used my inhaler 4 times…at 4 hits each time. TOO MUCH. Then in Boston I added up that I used the darn thing 6 times…4 hits each time. WAY TOO MUCH. I hate admitting that asthma is a problem. But I recently realized that I must treat it like an injury. And if I don’t take care of it, it will also never get better. My Dr. put me back on every day meds for it, and it forcing me to take my inhaler every day, and every time I run, to see how much it makes a difference. I hate the idea of this, but like PT – it is something that needs to be done.

When I started thinking about my fall marathon, I realized after looking at a calendar I would have to start training in a month. I just didn’t feel like a month was enough time for me to heal my body, get stronger, and get healthier.

I decided that an early fall marathon would be out of the picture this year, and instead I will run a half. The half I will be racing is the KC Half Marathon. And I will finally be running as a Girls on the Run Soulmate! I am so excited for this adventure and to raise money for a cause I believe in so much. I also love the KC half, and couldn’t imagine not running it. Depending on how I feel this summer, I might try to break my 1:34 PR (finally!!).

As for a Fall full marathon…right now it is looking like a December race. As soon as my friends pull the trigger on the St. Judes Memphis marathon, I am in too! A race in December allows me to hold off on hard training until late summer, and really take care of my body.

This summer, I still plan to run 20-30 miles a week. But I will mainly be focusing on strengthening my body and getting healthy. I need this booty pain to subside and the breathing crap to heal. And the only way for that to happen is for me to focus on my therapy and my health. I will be doing tons of stretching and strength this summer, and a little cross training too! I will also follow Doctor’s orders and take all the medicine she tells me to…whether I like it or not.

Biking will be part of my cross training! Thanks for the awesome book Runners World!

Biking will be part of my cross training! Thanks for the awesome book Runners World!

I am excited to see how these things will impact my running performance and where my marathon time could possibly go if I decide the December race is for me!

Like I said – I will still run. And my next race is tomorrow at Hospital Hill – my other favorite KC race!! I will be running for fun, but still hope to push it a bit. After Hospital Hill my running schedule is pretty darn free. Which makes me happy…because I know it’s what’s best.

Are you prepping for any races this summer or fall? Have you dealt with an injury before that forced you to tone down the training?

Xo,
Ali

%d bloggers like this: