I don't know where in the world I would be with out this mixer.
I added pretty much every mix-in I could find in the pantry
And various other candy lying around the house...
The best cookies are formed with a cookie scoop, and a glass of wine never hurts the process.
Tomorrow I am getting together with a good friend of mine for Christmas cookie making/decorating, general Christmas festivities and lots of wine. It's going to be amazing. Trying to maximize our time, I made the sugar cookie dough ahead of time last night so it's really to roll out and bake. White going through the cabinets to gather ingredients I noticed the abundance of baking supplies and knew I had to make a batch of something to bake up right then and there. Besides I had all this butter already softened!
So I threw together the Nestle Toll-house chocolate chip cookie recipe, and added:
- handful of chocolate chips
- 3/4 bag of butterscotch chips
- 1 cup (more possible I didn't measure) chopped pecans
- handful of Hersey kisses, chopped
Mix these up really good and then added a drizzle of espresso concentrate. Aka espresso powder mixed into a small amount of water to make a thick syrupy liquid.
I was pretty hesitant about how edible they would be, after all I was just throwing ingredients together. But based on the fact that Ralph ate about six of them I'd say they turned out just fine.
I am such a sucker for the holidays. I love everything about December, from the cheery music, to spending time with my family, and yes even braving the crowded malls in search for the perfect gift for each and everyone on my list. I'm a christmas-a-holic.
Now that we're living together, and you know, getting married and all, it probably makes sense to send out Christmas cards to our friends and family. It's not like we'd have to chase down addresses, we had the list from our invitations ready to go. I thought it would be cute to put a few pictures of us at our recent races and I whipped up this little beauty.
I know, we're cute. And we like running.
I hogged all the present wrapping this year... Ralph didn't seem to mind.
You can't wrap presents with out a cup of hot chocolate, whipped cream on top please!
And it doesn't start to feel like christmas until Ralph and I whip up a batch of red and green butter cookies. (apparently they are also called "spritz cookies")
If I hadn't given myself a lot of time to reflect before writing this post I would probably say this was a really disappointing year in terms of running. If I judged my running only by my times I would say that I was a complete failure. Luckily I judge myself by much more than that, it just took a while for me to see it.
After last Sunday's less than stellar race performance I was really let down by the fact that another year had gone by without a PR. I realize that you aren't going to PR at every race, and than in the grand scheme of things it shouldn't be (and in reality its not) the only thing I care about. So what else do I care about? What else can I measure my year by if not time?
To answer this question I would have to turn to my year recap from last year. Unfortunately it's not posted on my blog so you'll just have to take my word for it. Once I re-read it, and really looked at where I was last year and where I am now I realized a lot has changed and I really have accomplished a lot. One thing I tell Ralph a lot is "If you ever feel frustrated that you haven't gone far enough, look back at where you came from. You'll realized you're a lot farther along than you thought." Maybe I should start listening to my own advice...
A little bit of my 2010 recap email to my coach:
"When I started this year, my goal was to just get back into shape. I had taken some time off to focus on my relationship and realized it had made me very lazy. I was mostly afraid that if I didn't get motivated I would end up like the before pictures on those dramatic weight loss stories in women's fitness magazines. I also needed to tackle this new found problem with difficultly breathing when I ran. I set my sights on four half marathons through out the year, to give myself reason and motivation to keep running. It was by chance that I stumbled upon Team Challenge while looking for a summer race, and my goals evolved to tackling the ever scary marathon."
And a little bit of his answer back to me:
"But if I had to single out one thing, it is this: I really like the theme of 'making it all fit'. You have a lot going on in your life right now, and fitting in workouts can be a challenge. The lesson here is: don't expect your life to suddenly get less complicated any time soon. If anything, it will continue to get more complicated (but for all the right reasons!). Thus it's a never-ending challenge, and learning how to adapt on the fly is key here."
After I read this I had a little bit of a mini revelation. If I had to say what I was most proud of throughout the year it would be learning to balance everything in my life, between work, my relationship, and running/working out. And when I say learn, I do not mean "I mastered". I mean I worked at it and worked at it and continue to work at finding a way to fit it all in. Sometimes that means that means running one or zero days a week (those are the weeks I am usually REALLY cranky...) but I try to make up for that by eating really well and/or light. Sometimes it means I have to put myself first, leave work at five on the dot and head to the gym. Sometimes it means planning a date night with Ralph that isn't running or going to the gym.
The thing with life is things are constantly coming up, and no matter how much you plan you never know what's going to happen. The most important thing is keep working at it and never give up. So what if you have one bad day, or one bad week? If you let the bad times drag you down you will surely fail. But if you keep getting back up, if you keep pushing back, if you refuse to give in, than you will will always be succeeding.
So maybe this year was not as much of a failure as I had thought. After all I am now a certified coach, I spent an amazing season with Team Challenge meeting wonderful people. I got to help them achieve their own goals as well as spent some time learning about myself. I never gave up trying to fit in running. Sure I skipped out on a lot of workouts but even if I hadn't run in a week, I still kept at it. I still laced up my sneakers and kept on going.
The fact that I have been able to share and teach so much this year really makes me feel like I am doing something good. Sure I may not be out there training 50 miles a week, I may not be PR'ing left and right, but I am running smart, training right, and sharing as much with others as I can. More people around me are seeking out my advice, and it's only a matter of time before I am working with paid private clients.
You're going to have to wait until next month to see what my 2012 goals are!
How would you rate your 2011 running season? Did you have to deal with any set backs, was it full of achievements, a little bit of both?
So apparently I am NOT as self motivated as I would have people believe. I mean come on, I'm only human. And I am working on it. But I do not adapt well to change.
It would probably shock some people, to hear about my lazy tendencies. But really it all has to do with timing and routine.
What am I a toddler who missed their nap time?? (well not far from it actually)
I have a routine. and I like it. I eat the same things every day, at the same times, and if I say I am going to the gym at 5 I will go to the gym at 5. If I say I am running 3 miles I (will most often) run those 3 miles. If I say I will do 20 minutes of weights, then I will, but if its not in the plan, not much can get me to change.
Well yesterday I was TOTALLY thrown off my plan.
I ended up having lunch out with some co-workers, and instead of my healthy chicken, potato, veggie combo that I had planned I acted on impulse and had a burger, fries, and the MOST AMAZING chocolate peanut butter shake that left me disgustingly full well into 5pm. I don't like feeling full, most times I only eat enough to be satisfied.
Nothing kills my motivation like a full stomach.
I lolly-gagged through the rest of the work day, really looking forward to getting home and working out. Except Ralph wasn't home when I got home so I had to wait for him, and I didn't change into my workout clothes because I wanted him to see what a cute outfit I had picked out that morning (what? We work out so often after work I feel like all he ever sees me in is yoga pants and a t-shirt). The longer I sat with my feet up soaking up every glorious second of toddlers and tiaras with out being criticized, the more the motivation drained out of my body. By the time Ralph got home I was a bit of a cranky mess. For me, workouts must occur within a certain time frame after 5pm. Too late and I get hungry, or feel like it's too late, or you know, another one of the dozen excuses I could probably come up with.
I almost didn't go to the gym. But he was already changing into gym clothes and I knew I would feel REALLY lazy if he was at the gym and I was home. (although that could be another hour of un-interrupted trashy reality TV time). Plus he wasn't going to take no for an answer. I whined about not wanting to go, and he laughed at me, and then I laughed at me, and then I got up and went.
And ok, fine. I'm glad I went. I'm glad Ralph can see through my immature tendencies and force me to do things against my will.
But I swear, 98% of the time I really am self motivated. Just don't go screwing up my schedule...
Let's be honest folks, as much as I love running sometimes (...most times) I need an actual something to train for to motivate me to work out. Heading into the holidays I KNEW I would need to keep signing up for races to keep me in shape and not have to pass up any of my favorite christmas goodies. After my FAIL of a 5k race about a month ago, Ralph and I decided to sign up for a Reindeer Romp 5k for our December race. It was long enough after the half marathon that Ralph could race it if he wanted, and I felt like it was enough time to kick my butt into shape and get a better 5k time.
My good friend Katie had told us about the race, when she was asking for my advice about making THIS costume. The fact that she will wear something like this for a race is just one of the many reasons I love her. We ended up getting together last week and I helped her put it together (I love sewing a good lampshade costume!)
Pretty sweet right?
The race was at 3pm in the afternoon, which totally threw me off. Instead of staying in, eating pizza for dinner and getting to bed early like we usually would for a early morning race, we went out to dinner with Ralph's aunt and uncle and stayed up late watching TV. Instead of getting up before the sun, having coffee and toast and heading out to race, we slept in, and lounged around in the morning. I wasn't sure what to eat and when, and I wasn't getting psyched up as I usually get first thing in the morning. I almost forgot about eight different things on our way out the door, and I just plain didn't feel ready. Which was odd considering I had been training fairly well for the past few weeks, even fitting in long runs with Ralph on the weekends. We arrived at the race with plenty of time to warm up and I was finally starting to feel good, although VERY cold. Somehow we thought it would be a good idea to wear shorts. What, it's not always warm when the sun is out?? Oops...
Ralph and I pre-race. Yes we are major dorks and wore matching outfits.
As we stood with all the other runners behind the start line all I could think was "what have I got myself into?" I had headphones in to serve as a distraction and barely heard the gun go off. People started moving, and then we were racing. The course starts off with a little over a quarter mile down hill, which was probably not in my favor. I think it "helped" me get off to a fast start but before I even reached mile one my lungs hurt. The cold air makes my asthma act up almost just as bad as the humidity. I had never raced in such low temps and I was super unsure of how well the day would go. At least I kind of saw this coming. But it doesn't mean I was very happy about it. I was barely able to get a good breath and I had to make a decision. Do I keep pushing until I really can't breathe and risk needing to stop altogether? Or do I slow down, find Ralph and finish the race with him. I knew he was in a good place to PR, but I also knew how tough it would be for him since he wasn't used to running 5k's and feeling how hard he would really have to push to get there.
I didn't want to slow down. But I didn't want to have to drop out. I glanced back a few times to see if I could find Ralph with no luck and made the final call to stop and wait for him to run past me. I felt so stupid standing on the side of the road watching everyone run by. It couldn't have been longer than fifteen seconds but it felt like fifteen minutes watching everyone pass me wondering if they were thinking how pathetic I was for stopping before we had even ran a mile. I tried not to let it bother me, even though in reality no one probably even noticed I was there.
But when I saw Ralph, all the doubt fell away and I was just happy to be running with him. He, like me, had went out a little fast on the down hill and was now doubting his ability to keep pace. I couldn't push myself so I pushed him instead. When he said he didn't think he could do it, I told him he could. When he said he didn't think his legs had anything left I told him, of course they do. I told him put on your headphones, grit your teeth, hold on and keep pushing. The race finished up the same hill we had started down, and I watched him put himself in a zone and just power up that hill away from me. He cut more than a minute and a half off his old 5k PR. I am insanely proud, and I know he is too. Especially since his old PR was from before his knee injury and one thing that had been bugging him since getting back to running is wondering if he would ever get back to the speed he had before. Well he did. And then some.
Katie (in her AMAZING leg-lamp costume) and I post race.
It got REALLY cold really fast and I ended up putting on every article of clothing I had in my car.
I would be lying if I said I was happy with how I ran today. But I wouldn't be lying if I said I regretted running today. If I can't be happy with my own time, at least I can help someone else achieve a great time. Its been a really tough year for me running wise, but that is a whole new post in itself. Our races for 2011 are now over, and we're staring to plan a slew of 5K's for spring and some half marathons for fall. I guess I can't ask for a better race season, even if it wasn't my own. At least I get to wake up every day, and have the option of running.
Bonus: the running store that held packet pick up for the race
gave every participant a free pair of running socks.
Obvi Ralph needed neon yellow running socks.
Did you sign up for any holiday or winter races? How do you prepare for cold weather running?