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Dropping The Runner Label

For a good chunk of my life I was a runner.  That’s how I classified myself and for a while, how others classified me.  I was a distance runner who ate half marathons for breakfast.  I lost weight and got back in shape by running.  There’s a lot of people that I met through running and they know me as a runner.  It was a huge part of my life for a long time.

Moving to Colorado has come with a lot of changes, all of them personal and all of them for the better.  I can see that now, hindsight and all of that. For a while though, I was a little lost.

Running has been a constant struggle since the move.  When we first arrived, I was coming off an injury and still had a solid foundation but no distance.  Elevation is not my friend when it comes to running.  Running became something I hated instead of loved.  I could never catch my breath, my legs constantly cramped up, and I could never get past a damn mile without wanting to crash on the ground.

As a “runner” and being used to distance like it was nothing, this was a confusing and frustrating time.

I’m a runner! I have to be able to run!  Everyone who knows me as a runner is expecting me to run.  

Those were just a few of the thoughts that ran through my head constantly.  I would beat myself up over the fact that I wasn’t getting the hang of running here.  Everyone told me to just keep plugging away at it and eventually things would work out.

Except that is exactly what I was doing.  For two years.  It’s been two years and I still can’t run even a mile without a lot of issues.  This was stressing me out.  Naturally I gained weight which made things even more stressful.  I’m not “me”.  I don’t feel like me and I certainly don’t look like me.  Being in a new city, meeting new people all while not really feeling like me because I didn’t have running to turn to, yeah, I was completely lost.

Priscilla, my hybrid bike

Then a bike showed up in my life.  The town we live in is amazingly bike friendly.  It’s pretty easy to bike from one place to the next and ever since we moved here, Scott and I have been wanting to get bikes.

We finally made the plunge and our bikes arrived earlier this month. We each purchased hybrid bikes, nothing fancy, a pretty basic bike.  I hadn’t been on a bike since middle school so I was a little nervous at first.  Of course you never forget how to ride a bike but maneuvering one and managing turns and hills does take some practice!

I’ll be fully honest, the number one reason we bought bikes was to start biking to breweries and bars instead of driving.  Priorities and all. My thoughts on biking didn’t extend any further than that.

I never considered biking as serious exercise before. When I was running, I thought that was superior.  Oh sure, cyclists can go long distances but runners have to do it on their own, not with the help of a bike.  I know, I know, that’s ridiculously elitist sounding.

The first time we headed out on our bikes, we went to a brewery and then we biked around downtown for a bit.

That first bike ride kicked my ass and made me seriously rethink my stance on cycling as exercise.  That’s all it took for me to fall in love with biking.

It also made me realize that I don’t have to be a runner any more.  I don’t have to live by that label. As simple as that sounds, it was a hard realization for me to come to.

Biking has given me freedom and validation that I’ve been looking for for two years.  Freedom in breaking free from the runner label, validation in that, yes I actually can do serious cardio at elevation.  This is kind of a big deal and very much a WHOA moment for me.

So for now I’m ditching the runner label.  Maybe I’ll try running again at some point but currently my focus is on biking.  This is where life has taken me and I’m happy here.

 

PS: I’ll share more in another post about exactly why I love biking and why it fits my lifestyle right now.

 

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Review: The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz

We love tacos in this house.  On the whole we probably eat tacos at least once a week.  It’s easy to quickly cook up some ground meat, season, and serve in a shell or wrap.  Putting a pork shoulder in the slow cooker and we’ve got pulled pork tacos for days.  Plus you get to load up your taco anyway you please with a variety of condiments.

Tacos fall into the crowd pleaser category, almost everyone loves taco night!

Sometimes we can fall into a rut with tacos, having the same style frequently.  I was happy to accept The Taco Revolution by Brandon Schultz for review.  This cookbook is jam packed with some pretty creative taco ideas like the Zuccini Pesto Taco and the Korean Taco, just to name a couple.

Along with recipes this taco cookbook also offers up a list of what kitchen items you’ll need in order to prepare all of these recipes, spice mix recipes, and how to make your own taco shells and tortillas.  Plus a section devoted to making sauces and salsas at home.

It’s pretty much an all-in-one book full of taco inspiration!

Barbecue Pork Taco

I went with the Barbecue Pork Taco because I had some pork already out that needed to be used and some barbecue sauce ready to go.

Barbecue Pork Taco

© Brandon Schultz, reprinted with persmission from Skyhorse Publishing

Makes 6-8 tacos

  • 1TBSP Butter
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 2 pounds pork, cut into 7 or 8 large chunks
  • 2 cans vegetable broth (14.5oz each)
  • 1 1/2 C barbecue sauce
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 2C lettuce, torn into large pieces
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1TBSP sour cream per taco
  • Tortillas
  1. Melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add onion and saute until tender, about 6-7 minutes. Add pork and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 1 hour.

  2. Shred pork into large pieces using two forks to pull meat apart.  Cover and cook 10 more minutes.  Pull meat apart into smaller shreds, cover, and cook 10 more minutes.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl, mix pork, barbecue sauce, and pepper.

  4. Loosely cover a tortilla with torn lettuce.  Top with pork, tomato, and sour cream.

I used hard taco shells instead of soft and the tacos turned out great. I used a homemade sauce but you can use your favorite barbecue sauce.

This cookbook is full of creative recipes for tacos and I bet you would find inspiration on how to repurpose weeknight leftovers into tacos.

Thanks to Skyhorse Publishing for sending this book my way!

Disclaimer: I was sent this cookbook for review.  I was not compensated for this post and my statements are my own.

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Beer, Pizza, and Choices

Avery Barrel Aged Beers

Sunday was a funday for Scott and I, we took a day trip down to Boulder for some beer and food.  Having a dog with severe separation anxiety means that we don’t get to travel or do a whole lot.  Our compromise in this situation is to have someone come and sit with the dogs for the day while we get a blissful few hours to ourselves.

Yes, we have to get a sitter for our dogs.

When we do get to go out, we make the most of it.  One of our favorite breweries was having a bottle release that day so we decided to make a day of it in Boulder.

We arrived at Avery early and I was sipping on some barrel aged Czar before noon.  I have no problem with this situation.

After Avery we visited another brewery and then it was off to find some dinner.

Backcountry Pizza

We aren’t that fond of the pizza options in Fort Collins so we decided to get some good pizza while in Boulder.  Backcountry pizza offers up tasty budget friendly pies along with a pretty great taplist.

I nommed on some supreme pizza and sipped on a Wooky Jack.

And yes this is still a blog all about eating well and living well.

But it’s also a blog about embracing life and not being a afraid to live it.

Do I feel like I (GASP!), indulged?  No.  I’m not a big fan of using words that implies someone should feel guilty or regret their eating choices.  I hate that as a society we have to label food choices as something “clean” or something “indulgent”.

I’m not having any of that nonsense.  Just eat the damn food.

Eating shouldn’t be difficult or a challenge. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t think mindfully about what we choose to eat.

My philosophy is eat whatever you want, just make it the best that you can get.  Meaning, if you want a burger spend that money on a nice grassfed burger instead of something that comes out of a drive-thru window.

It’s always all about choices and our goal should be to make the best choice that we can make and not whether we feel like being “good” or “indulging”.

Sunday was like my perfect day, great beer and good cheesy pizza. Amen.

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Tweaking The Streak

We are smack in the middle of the third week of the #30DayStreak!  At the point where we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!  If you’ve been following along on my instagram then you know that there are some days where I’m doing something other than running.  At the beginning of this challenge my goal was to run for the 30 days.

While doing this challenge I’ve realized that running and I need to breakup for a while.  Currently I do not enjoy running.  I dread it.  Without this challenge, I think that I would have kept plugging along trying to run and then bitching about it.

Instead of doing that, I’m focusing on things that I do enjoy and that I want to do.

Avery and Penny on a hike

Like taking hikes with my dogs.  We take our longest walk on Tuesday mornings because that’s when we meet up with our walking group.  It’s a 2 – 3 mile hike (depending on the heat) and it’s awesome.  Fantastic views and very peaceful.  The rest of the week we take smaller hikes 1 – 1.5 miles.  I would rather hike with the dogs instead of just walking around our neighborhood.  Hikes are calming and very relaxing.  The dogs and I enjoy hikes way more than neighborhood strolls.

Poudre Trail

I recently purchased a bike and have fallen in love with biking.  I cannot wait to get on my bike and go for a ride.  I’m pretty sure this is going to replace running for me, at least for the time being.  Biking deserves its own post so I will be sharing my thoughts on biking and my transition next week.

For the remainder of the streak, my focus is no longer on running.  Now my goal is to get outside as much as possible and to move my body mindfully everyday.  Whether it’s a hike with my dogs or a bike ride, I want to be out embracing the day.

How has the streak been going for you?

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Dog Gone Good Cuisine by Gayle Pruitt

Penny and Avery hikingI’m really picky about what food and treats my dogs get.  I read all ingredient lists on treats with the same scrutiny as if I was going to be eating it. There’s no kibble in this house, my dogs get real foods to eat.  I’ve been doing this for years.  Avery and Penny are my second and third dogs that I’ve successfully switched over to a real foods diet.

In total, I’ve been feeding dogs this way for over 10 years.  I geek out over dog nutrition and I’ll gladly talk with you about it and offer advice if you ask.  Not only am I a believer in eating real foods for myself but it also applies to my dogs.

So when I was approached to review the Dog Gone Good Cuisine cookbook by Gayle Pruitt, I jumped at the chance.  I don’t home-cook for my dogs much, they are on a more raw based diet.  However, I’m always learning and reading about dog nutrition and viewed this book as a resource.

If you’re new to a real foods diet for dogs and are thinking of making the switch, this would be a great book to help ease you down that path.  It offers a lot of homemade dishes that you can feed your dog and that you can also eat.

This cookbook also provides information about what foods and spices are OK for dogs, along with what kitchen equipment you will be using.  It prepares you for cooking for your dog without making this seem like an overwhelming or difficult task (because it isn’t).

Another thing that won me over about this cookbook is that all the dogs pictured are rescue dogs.  All my dogs are rescue dogs so I have soft spot when it comes to providing second chances to our canine companions.

I decided to go with a veggie recipe from the cookbook for my two punks.

Tarragon Carrots

Carrots and Zucchini with Tarragon
Reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Press
© Gayle Pruitt

  • 1TBSP Butter or Coconut Oil
  • 3 Medium Carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced into thin carrot sticks
  • 2 Zucchini, washed and cut into 1/4 inch thick sticks
  • 1tsp Dried Tarragon

Melt the butter or coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and cook for about 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and cook for 1 minute.  Remove the vegetables from the skillet, sprinkle with tarragon, and serve.

I didn’t have any zucchini but I had these great baby carrots that I picked up at the local farmer’s market.  They worked great for this recipe. Avery and Penny both love carrots and this was definitely a winner for them!

If you’re thinking about cooking for your dogs or are at least interested in learning more, check out this cookbook!  Plus you’ll get to see some great pictures of rescue dogs!

 

Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this cookbook for review.  All opinions are my own.