Archive for August, 2010

Let the countdown begin!

It is exactly 4 Weeks (25 days) until my very first 15K Race on Saturday, 25, 2010!  =)

Since the beginning of Summer I have been training for this race by following a 16-Week 15K Training Plan that I made using Runner’s World’s SMARTCOACH

I am officially down 12 weeks and about to start the final 4 weeks of the plan, man I can’t believe it has been 3 months already.  Felt like only yesterday I just started the plan at the beginning of June.  Man how time flies, as always it seems these days………..

This was by far the toughest training plan I have followed so far.  Not only did I have scheduled Long Runs at the end of every week, I also had Speed Work & Tempo Runs mid-week as well that kicked my butt just as equally as the longer runs did over the past 12 weeks. 

Please don’t be mistaken though, it was a tough plan but I loved ever minute of it and will continue to love it through my final 4 weeks.  Because not only have I become a faster runner I have run farther than I have ever run in my life!  =)

Check out some of my training run recaps below:

This weekend I am scheduled to run 11 Miles and then next week 12 Miles!  =O  Honestly, I am nervous about both these runs but I will achieve them even if I have to run at a snail’s pace (literally). 

Luckily, though that will be the last of my Long Runs, well extra long runs, as the last 2 weeks of my training will only call for my pre-race 15K (9.3 Mile) run and then the actual race 15K (9.3 Mile) run. 

After that I plan to take it easy on the longer runs for a bit…………..until I start training for my 1st 1/2 Marathon that is!  =O


Despite my time of the month cravings for anything that is considered Junk Food (icecream, cake, chocolate, chips, etc.) I have kept things in check for the most part as you can see below from my EATS on Monday.




In case you are wondering, the meat on the above dish is called Montreal Red Chicken and it is a recipe passed down from my Mom-In-Law that she has been making for years.  IT IS VERY GOOD!  Super easy to make, best the day after and heats wonderfully in the microwave or stove.  Try it out you will not be sorry.

Montreal Red Chicken


  • 6 pieces of chicken (dark meet), bone in but skin removed
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 3 gloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 2 tablesppons of hot sauce
  • 1/4 cup of cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of savory
  • 1 teaspoon of parsley


  1. Brown chicken on both sides in butter or oil in a fry pan.  Then place in a large casserole dish with a lid.
  2. Using the same fry pan, add the olive oil and saute the onion and garlice for a bit.
  3. Than add the remaining ingredients (ketchup, hot sauce, vinegar, sugar, salt, water, savory and parsley) and bring to slight boil.  ***Watch out for splatter***
  4. After a few minutes poor the “red” mixture over the chicken.
  5. Cover and cook at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Serve with white rice and your choice of vegetable, green beans and broccoli go great with this dish.
  • I usually add a little extra ketchup to make a little more sauce to cover all the chicken. 
  • Also, I don’t use all (just slightly below) the “vingar” called for in the recipe per my Mom-In-Law’s advisement. 


P.S.  I almost forgot………I ran 2 Easy Miles outside on Monday morning in about 22 minutes per my schedule.  This is now my 3rd week of getting up to run “outside” in the early a.m. and I am happy to report that I think I am finally starting to adjust to the change though I know it will be months before my body gets completely used to it and it becomes a habit.  For now though I am just happy that I actually get up and do it becuase in the past doing so always ended in FAILURE for me………..=)

I Took The Weekend Off!!!

Yes, I you heard correctly……..I took the weekend off! 


And, I also slept in on both mornings for a change until 9am, which is late for me as I am usually up at 7am or so. 

I also skipped my scheduled 5 Mile Run on Saturday!  =O 

Why did I do this you might ask???   

The answer is simple…..I WAS VERY TIRED!!!   

I think the past 3 months of race/toning training and 2 months of working on my new project at work finally caught up to me this weekend.  Because I was just so tired, falling asleep on the couch each night and then struggling to get out of bed the next morning


So when Saturday morning came and I was struggling to get out of bed my husband rolled over and said “why don’t you take the day off of running“.  It was like he was reading my mind.  

Later he also said “you have been going strong for a long time now, a day off won’t kill you“, which is exactly what I needed to hear and is exactly what I did…………I took the weekend off from running!  =) 

Fast forward to Monday morning and I am feeling great, very rested, thanks to my weekend off!  Plus, I also did not feel the least bit guilty about it.  Well ok I did slightly on Saturday morning but it went away fast because I knew I had not taken a weekend off in months (2 to be exact) and I obviously needed the rest!  ***Remember to listen to your body!*** 


So what did I do during “my weekend off” you might ask!?!?!  

The following: 

  • Ordered pizza on Friday night from Papa John’s per my daughter’s request.

My "veggie" slices!

  • Slept in both mornings with my hubby!
  • Ran a bunch of errands on Saturday.  Had lots of “returns & exchanges” to do, plus last-minute School Supplies to buy as well.
  • Had lunch with my Mom on Saturday afternoon.  We went to a local favorite called BJ’s.  I love their food, especially a soup & salad combo they have as a “lunch special”.

My cup of tomato basil soup!

My plate pilled high with my BBQ chicken salad!

  • Grilled out on Saturday night.  We had t-bone & porterhouse steaks that were on sale at Publix, plus grilled veggies and baked sweet potatoes.  Than we watched the UFC 119 premlims and I fall asleep on the couch.

On The Grill!

On my plate!

  • Went into work on Sunday afternoon from 12pm to 4pm to work on a report that is due first thing Monday.
  • Prepared food (lunches & a dinner) for the week upon my return home from the office.  Plus I did the rest of my laundry.
  • Made dinner, than ate it with the family.

My bowl!

  • Watched a t.v. movie with the hubby and went to bed before midnight.


4 Reasons To Sleep More


Why You Need More Sleep Tonight


Skimping on shut-eye has the potential to be deadly: “Chronic sleep debt raises your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity,” says Dr. Emsellem. Your immune system is compromised too, “so you’re more susceptible to catching every virus that comes along.”

Though your body shuts down, your brain buzzes with activity as you sleep. That’s when it sorts, processes, consolidates, and stores the masses of information you absorbed during the day. “Sleep is crucial for learning, cognition, memory, and performance,” says Dr. Epstein. In fact, a Harvard study showed that adults who got a good night’s sleep performed 44 percent better on a memory test 12 hours later, compared with those who stayed awake.

Recent research reveals “a very close relationship between insufficient sleep and the inability to lose or stabilize weight,” says Dr. Emsellem. A likely reason: Sleep debt interferes with the function of hormones that regulate how efficiently the body burns fat.

Harvard scientists have found that after trying a new motor task — playing a piano minuet, doing an aerobics routine — a good night’s rest solidifies what you’ve learned, making it easier and more automatic the next day. “Studies show that your brain replays the same sequences during the night,” explains Dr. Emsellem. “The next day, you just know the moves — it’s no longer a conscious act.”

Florida Sunrise


Now that is worth getting up at 6am and running to see isn’t it!?!?! 

When I first headed out it was still dark out.  So I didn’t see the sunrise until I got back home.  And, do you know what that means?  That Fall is coming!  =)  WOO HOO, I love Fall!  I always know the seasons are about to change when the sun rises later and sets earlier, guess that is common sense huh!?!  =O 

I do not like to run when it is dark out but seeing as all the high schoolers are out at the many bus stops along my running route and that I also run along a busy street I felt ok with it this week.  Plus, I did not have much choice as I couldn’t wait until it got light out to run as I would have been late for work.  

Man sometimes I feel like running is so hard to fit in my schedule but you got to fit it in!  Schedule it like you would schedule anything else (a doctors appointment, a meeting or what not) because if you treat it like an appointment you are less likely to miss it.  At least it works for me.  I love to schedule and plan things so that is what I do with everything in my life.  Of course I used to freak out when things would not go as planned or off schedule but over the years I have worked to not let that control me and I just adjust my schedule as needed when things throw me off course.  

Such is life, you can plan all you want but that doesn’t mean it life will go as planned! 

Stressing about it will not do any good, actually it will do harm (stress is linked to weight gain you know) so just adjust things as they occur and move forward, that is all you can do. 

Trust me you will be much happier if you do it this way, take it from someone who used to not do that and was always stressed and unhappy. 

Let’s talk about my Morning Run now!   

I ran 4 miles in all.  Took me approximately 48 minutes, which is a 12 minute mile pace.  I was supposed to run at a 11:30 minute pace but felt really tired and it took me a minute to get going.  In the end I finished at a much faster and more comfortable pace.  A pace that I feel I could continue to run and run at, don’t you love it when you find that!?!  It doesn’t happen all the time so when it does I love it.  Just wish I could have kept on running and didn’t have to go to work but I did.  =( 

The rest of my day was crazy busy.  Such is my life these days.  Not complaining by any means, just trying to adjust is all.  Something that can take time sometimes.  Hopefully, I will feel more in control of things before the Holiday’s hit and things get even more crazy.  Yes, I said it……..the HOLIDAY’S!  They are officially only a few months away.  Can you believe that???  I swear I feel like the summer just started and now it is almost over, man who was so fast.  Again, such is life, right! 

My EATS were normal and pretty boring all in all.  I wish I had the option to eat a better variety of food and dishes but that just isn’t realistic for me right now……both budget & time wise, so here is what I get to eat until that changes one day. 

Blueberry Instant Oatmeal w/Lots of Fresh Blueberries

Avocado Black Bean & Cherry Tomato Salad

Taco & Rice

So that about covers it!  BORING, I know!  But each dish is affordable, easy to make and tastes good……..right up my alley. 

Off to stare at the T.V. until my hubby gets home.  A girls got to take advantage of being alone with the t.v. and being able to watch whatever I want when it happens………have a good one everyone.


To 1998 when both my best friend Amy and myself turned 21 Years Old!!!  

Amy & Myself in 1998

Luckily, for both of us the 13+ years that has passed by since then has not changed us “TOO” much as you can see from the recent (2 weeks old) picture of us below!

Amy & I in 2010

What do you think, have we changed much???  

I see that are faces are much slimmer than back then and yes I also see some of those dreaded “age lines”, however other than that I think we have aged quite well!  =)  

Also, a few unseen changes I can see when comparing the pictures to each other is that we both are much more confident and happy with ourselves now than back in our early 20’s!   

Honestly, I can say that I love being in my 30’s!!!  Not only am I more confident and happy with myself I feel much more “secure” as well in all aspects of my life.  Back then I sort of felt LOST you know and it took years to truly find myself.  Now that I have I am just so much happier and content with life (MYSELF)! 

How do you feel about your age now, compared to your younger years!?!? 

Can’t wait to compare the pictures taken of us 10 years from now  to the ones above to see how we have changed again!  =) 

P.S.  I almost forgot, as you can see from the 1st picture when I was 21 I was about the same size that I am now but less tone and a bit thicker around my midsection/thigh/butt area as I was not hitting the gym or the pavement nowhere near as much as I do now.  However, I bring this up because I was basically the same weight, between 142-148 pounds, back then but yet I look smaller now at around the same weight.  Isn’t it amazing what “toning” and “running” can do to your body, even if you don’t lose weight on the scale you look smaller!  =) 


Back to PRESENT DAY!  And, what a hectic day (week, month, year) it has been……….=O  The last few weeks especially.  

If you follow my blog you know that I had to skip the gym all together last week and that I started running in the early a.m. before work just to fit it in as things have been that crazy busy these days.  

Welp (not sure if that is a word but I am going to use it) that continued into this week, however I do plan to hit the gym at least once this week……….tonight in fact for at least an hour to do abs and upper body (back, biceps, chest, shoulders & triceps) and on Tuesday I ran 3+ miles outside in the early a.m.  I might also run a few miles but not postive on that. 


Let’s see some of my recent EATS. 

Mind you I don’t have all of them as remember to take pictures with my present schedule is proving to be a bit difficult.  But I do have some to share luckily. 






I also have been enjoying Sugar-Free Lemon & Cherry Icees nightly after dinner!  =)

Have a great one everybody!

Categories: Flashback Tags: , ,

Yellow Dog Eats


Yellow Dog Eats

On Saturday, after my Double Digit run I met my BFF (Amy) for lunch at a local famous eatery called Yellow Dog Eats.  

We have eaten her several times over the years and LOVE IT!  In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that funds are a bit tight these days I would go every week for sure……….=)  Not only is the food amazing the atmosphere is as well!  

The eatery used to be a Country Store in Gotha, Florida.  When the owner and culinary chef, Fish Morgan, first saw the location he knew he wanted to make food in this place and he did just that.  And, 10 years later he is still serving up some of the best sandwiches & bbq around Central Florida!  

Check out the views upon entering:  

You order and pay for your food here!

You eat your food here!

You can also eat your food here "outside" on their patio!

They have an array of amazing sandwiches, salads and lots of bbq for you to choose from.  Check out their very unique menu below: 




Is your mouth watering yet!?!?!  I know mine does everytime I read his menu!  =) 

Amy and myself decided to split one of our favorites………Johnny Rocket which is a honey mesquite roasted turkey, raspberry melba, mild cherry ring peppers, local tomoatoes, smoked Gouda cheese, leaf lettuce on a multi-grain bread sandwhich that is served with chips and the yummiest coleslaw I have every eaten! 

Johnny Rocket

The entire combination comes together so perfectly and explodes in your mouthI eat it super slow so I can savor every bite! 

And, of course could not leave without having a piece of cake that a local baker makes for him daily.  We had the Hummingbird Cake, which is a cross between banana and carrot cake but I tasted the “carrot cake” portion mostly…….however instead of carrot pieces I got coconut pieces, YUM! 

Hummingbird Cake

 It was as good as it looks!  =)

I highly recommend visiting the Yellow Dog Eats if you are ever in the area.  I assure you will not be disappointed!


In OTHER NEWS………I had homemade whole wheat pizza with tons of veggies and meat for dinner that night just in case you were wondering!  =)


And, for breakfast on Sunday I had the below.


Than for dinner I made Chipotle Chicken Quesadilla with Avocado once again, that is twice in one month!


This time I used only 2 Chipotle Peppers instead of the 5 the recipe called for and it was much easier to eat, though it was still quite spicy!  Oh, and I forgot one of the main ingredients “avocado” but it was still really good without it.  Check out the prep pictures below for this dish:




In case you are wondering, I used “raw” skinless boneless chicken that I cut up instead of shredded pre-cooked chicken in mine as my husband doesn’t like “shredded meat”.  All you do is add it in while the mixture is cooking and it cooks along with it perfectly.



 I also add in green & red peppers for a little extra kick of veggies and “crunch”!



Try it out, you won’t be sorry!  =)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!  Yes, I know it is Tuesday now but I still wanted to say that………..I am a bit behind these days as you can tell I am sure.

Double D’s

No, I do not mean the Bra Size……….I mean Double-Digits Done, translated means I completed my 1st “double-digit” run today!  10 MILES!!!  =O

After last weekends 9 Mile Run I was not nervous for the 10 Mile Run I had ahead of me on Saturday morning, but that does not mean that I was 100% confident that I would complete it either.  However, I planned to give it my best shot of course. 

The night before I made sure to drink plenty of water so I would be plenty hydrated for the long run in the hot & humid Central Florida summer weather we are currently experiencing right now even early in the morning.  I find this KEY to performing well and making it through my longer runs, especially on hot days!

The next morning prior to departing for the Double D I hit up MapMyRun in order to see where I should run and to make sure I truly ran 10 miles as I didn’t want to short myself on this run like I did on my 7 Mile Run about a month ago.  Luckily, I found a perfect loop that was exactly 10 miles out and back from my house so I decided that was the one for me. 

Than I ate a granola bar with peanut butter and drank a glass of water while I got dressed and 30 minutes after waking I hit the road at 7:30a.m. exactly.

The first mile took about 11 minutes and was very easy-going.  Once I officially hit Mile 1 I took my first walking break for 1 minute.  It honestly felt a little strange to take one at this time as I have never done this so early in a run but I found that it helped me a lot, especially later in the run.  I than took my second walking break for another minute just after Mile 2 right as an up hill over pass hit, how convenient was that, huh!?!  Not, I planned it that way.  =)

A little information on Walking Breaks:

  • Once I was ready to achieve my 1st “double-digit” run I knew I would need to take plenty of walking breaks so that I would not hit the wall too early in my run and so I would also recover easier after my run
  • This “walking break” knowledge was made aware to me by Jeff Galloway and is called the “Galloway Method” or a/k/a Run-Walk-Run-Walk Method.
  • Basically, I planned to take a 1 to 2 minute walking break after every mile, but since I do not have a fancy dancy Garmin to tell me when I hit each mile and also could not remember “exactly” where I hit every mile from the map I made on MapMyRun I decided to just take a walking break every 15 minutes or so during my run, remembering to take my first one early as it is key!

Back to the run………Mile 3 was hit around the 50 minute mark and I continued to run on passed Mile 4, delaying my next walking break by about 5 or so minutes as I planned to take a break soon up the road when I hit a shopping center that was along my mapped route as I needed to visit the Little Girl’s Room and get a drink from the water fountain

Luckily, I was fortunate enough that my mapped run took me right past, not 1 but 2 shopping centers in which I could take a break at if need be.  And, that is exactly what was needed right soon after Mile 4 when natured called with a “vengeance”!  =O  So once the shopping center arrived I ran down to the store, quickly ran in did my business and walked out, getting back on the road about 5 minutes later. 

Now, mind you I would have never thought about doing this if it wasn’t for Caitlin @ Healthy Tipping Point mentioning doing the same on her longer runs.  What A Great Idea, Huh!?!?!  No need to worry if “nature calls” while you are out on a run if you have a few places you can run in and use the facilities easily and without hassle along the way.  Plus, for those (like me) that do not like to carry a big water bottle with them on the runs and don’t have a Camelback for their longer runs it is a great way to get hydrated too.

So…….5 minutes later I was back on the road, well “sidewalk” again and soon hit Mile 5 just up the road and about an hour into my run.  Right after that I started to head a very long hill that I went up slowly but surely and ended up not being too hard as it got higher gradually so it wasn’t very steep.

Once I reached the top I hit a long straight away that took me by several really nice neighborhoods and a few churches.  Mile 6 was passed during this time and right before Mile 7 I took my next walking break for 2 minutes just as I turned into a new road that had me heading back home………=)

After my walking break ended, about an hour & 40 minutes into my run right before 9am I hit the hotter part of the morning as the sun was out with full force so I slowed down significantly and it felt like it took me forever to hit Mile 8, but I finally did and took my next to last walking break due to the heat as I think I could have made it farther if it wasn’t for the it being so hot out.

2 minutes later I was running again and sort of “zoned out” at that poing and before I knew it I hit Mile 9 and took my last walking break on a slight up hill portion of my run.  About 1/2 way up the hill I started to run again and hit MILE 10 10 minutes later right before my house at exactly 2 hours and 15 minutes after I started! 

WOO HOO, I finally finished!  Not the fatest time, I was hoping for 2 hours, but given it was my 1st ever 10 Mile Run I think I did pretty good…….what do you think???

Upon completing my run I slowly walked the rest of the way home!  Stumpled with the key when I got to the door but luckily my hubby unlocked it and greeted me with a towel as I was dripping sweat.  Than I made my way to the fridge to get a BIG glass of “very cold” water and headed up stairs to take a long cold shower.  =) 

Can’t believe I did it, WOW!  If you told me a year ago I would have run for over 2 hours by this time next year I would not have believed you,  though I would have secretly hoped it was true……..=)

Later that day I met my BFF, Amy, for lunch at a famous local eatery by the name of Yellow Dog Eats and will post about it next so “Stay Tuned”!

Categories: Double D's Tags:

Harry Pottery Land

@ Universal Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida

My Daughter in front of the Universal World Globe @ Universal

On Wednesday, I took my daughter to Universal for the day using our season passes that my mother so graciously purchased for us at the beginning of the year!  =) 

First we hit the long line for Harry Potter Land a/k/a The Wizarding World of Harry Pottery…….. 

Harry Potter Line (Rear View)

My daughter in line for Harry Potter Land!

Harry Potter Line (Front View)

The projected wait time for the line to get in was approximately 30-45 minutes, however it moved along pretty quickly and took a little less then 30 minutes to reach the entrance to Hogsmeads Village


Along the way we saw many great views of Hogswarts Castle & Hogsmeads Village………. 

Hogswarts Castle

Hogswarts Castle2

Hogsmead Village

Hogsmead Village Entrance

Hogsmeads Village2

Hogsmead Village3

What views, huh!?!  It is so cool to see everything in person.  Feels like I am in the movies, aside from the oppressing heat that is.  =O
Upon walking through the entrance we were greated with tons more amazing views………

Hogswarts Castle (Inside View)

Hogswarts Castle (Up Close View)

We headed straight for Hogswarts Castle and the line for the Forbidden Journey ride.

The "long line" for the Forbidden Journey Ride!

While in line we went through the Herbology Class Room as seen in the above picture and came upon the Mandrake “Screeching” Plant behind cages.

Mandrake "Screeching" Plants

 Than we headed inside, finally!

Entrance into the "Forbidden Journey" ride!

The line went rather quickly from this point so I did not get to spend as much time in certain areas as I would have liked so I could have gotten some better photos, but I did get the ones below that were pretty cool.  It was like I was really in Hogswarts Castle.

Hall of Art

Dumbledore's Office

Sorting Hat

The ride was AMAZING!  Very realistic, like we were flying around the entire castle (in and out).  So realistic I started to get a little sick in fact as I usually don’t do good on these types of rides but I just had to see it. 

Next, we headed to a small rollercoaster ride next to the castle that featured more from the Harry Potter movies…..


Hagrits Cottage

 After the ride we headed towards Hogsmeads Village to hit the stores.

Hogsmead Village

Stores @ Hogsmead Village

Another Store @ Hogsmeads Village

Honeydukes @ Hogsmeads Village

My daughter outside of Honeydukes!

Chocolate Frogs @ Honeydukes

Pumpkin Juice @ Honeydukes

I would have tried the Pumpkin Juice as I love everything “pumpkin” but it was a bit pricey at $5.99 a bottle so didn’t as I got my daughter a bag of candy instead from Honeydukes.  It was extremely overprices at $8+, but very good and my daughter enjoyed it so that is what is important. 

Bag of Candy f/Honeydukes

After leaving Harry Potter Land we had lunch that we got at Publix before we got to Universal.  I got 1/2 a wholegrain turkey and cheese sub with mayo, lettuce, tomato & pickle………..YUM!  This sub is one of my favorites.  It is great to take to the beach or pool, something about eating it on hot days, it taste greats. 


We hit a few more “water” rides around Islands of Adventure, as it was HOT out there!  Than we got a huge lemon icee to share, to help us cool down.  It was as good as it looks!  And, I did not feel the least bit guilty having it as I WALKED A LOT in the hot sun all day so I knew I could indulge a bit.

Lemon Icee

 I also had a juicy peach while my daughter played at one of the many water play areas they have in the park.


We left around 4pm after spending approximately 6 hours in the park and having the “sunburns” to prove it.  That night I made a simple dinner, over loaded (literally) burritos.


It was a GREAT DAY all and all!  I was very happy to share the entire day with my daughter as these days have been so hectic that I feel I just do not get the “quality time” I should with her so it felt great to do that finally after a long and crazy busy summer.

Oh, and I highly recommend visiting Universal Orlando and The Wizarding World of Harry Pottery, you will not be disappointed I assure you!  =)

When the going gets TOUGH….

Training Schedule

…….the tough (ME) change the training schedule(s)!!!

Which, basically means that lately I have been so BUSY that I have had to tweak my training schedule(s) several times over the past month and yet again this week………..WEEK 11!  =O

As you can see on my Toning Training Plan & 16-Week 15K Training Plan pages that have been updated to reflect this.

My latest changes (this week) are:

  • Skipping Week 11 of my Toning Training Plan all together!  =(  Unfortunatelly, I just do not have the extra for it this week, way to much is going on at work and home!
  • Running in the morning (outside) before work this week, Week 11 of my 16-Week 15K Training PlanI just do not have the time to do it afterwork at all this week, so I will be arising an hour early a few days this week in order to hit the road.

So that above is exactly what I have done so far this week. 

First, I skipped “toning” on Monday and than ran outside before work on Tuesday.  I wanted to get up at 6:15a.m.  That did not happen.  Instead I got up at 6:40a.m. and finally headed out the door at 7:00a.m.  I already missed an 2 Mile “Easy Run” on Monday and I was scheduled to do a 4 Mile “Tempo Run” on Tuesday so that is exactly what I aimed to do that morning though it was difficult to keep a tempo pace outside for 4 miles but I came pretty close.  I finished in 43 minutes, which is a 10:45 minute per mile pace and I was supposed to do 10:40 so I was only 5 seconds off per mile.  Being I ran outside that was REALLY GOOD and made me very happy to be able to run so fast outside for so long, espically when it was very hot & muggy out as well.  =)

In fact, the run went so good and I enjoyed getting my run done early so much that I plan to continue doing this going forward!  This will also benefit me several other ways as well in my busy life right now, here are just a few of the POSTIVES to early morning running:

  • No more long visits to the gym after work twice a week!  I will still go once a week (or more if I like) to do Abs & Toning (weights), however that will only take around an hour to complete instead of 2 if I had to run as well.
  • More time with my family!  Due to the fact that I won’t be at the gym for 2+ hours (plus travel) each week and not getting hom until almost 8pm on those nights, which I know my husband will love as even though he is very supportive he does express how much he misses me on those nights.  Plus, I only get to see my daughter for like 30 minutes as well on those nights as she hits bed soon after I get home.
  • Running outside is better preparation for my upcoming race (and race season)!  Think about it, all races are “outside” so it is logical that outdoor running is the best preparation for that compared to indoor (treadmil) running.  It not only helps prepare me for pavement running it also prepares my body for the weather outside, which is much different then the nice air conditioned inside running.
  • I love the mornings!  Now, I did not always.  In fact, I my favorite time of day is “dusk”.  But, over the past few years I have really begun to enjoy mornings.  They are just beautiful and getting up early also helps you get a better start on your day as well.

However, one NEGATIVE other than having to get up earlier is feeling a bit more rushed in the a.m. to get everything done, myself & daughter ready and out the door so we can get to work and school on time.  This was made aware to me on Tuesday morning when I got up late and would have been late for work if I had not had a doctor’s appoitment that morning.  So this will have to be worked on and tweaked a bit, until I find a good morning groove.

 When do you run!?!?!  And, why!?!


My EATS were very clean early this week, so I am happy to share what I ate on Monday with you below…..


 Kashi Gold Brown Maple instant oatmeal with berries, banana, Fage plain yogurt and a dash of cinnamon, YUMMY!



Taco Bell Cantina chicken and steak tacos.  They were ok, for the $2+ I paid for them, but I won’t get them again so I think that speaks for itself.


 Red chicken, white rice and broccol with cheese………a old family recipe & favorite!



The New Superfoods:   

10 Inexpensive Foods That Will Help You Lose Weight 






Sunflower Seeds

The superstar: Flaxseeds

Packed with omega-3 fats and fiber, flaxseeds lower cholesterol, research finds.

The understudy: Sunflower seeds

The trail-mix staple is a worthy addition to salads and cereal. One ounce (about one-quarter cup) has three grams of fiber to help keep you full, plus almost half your daily requirement for antioxidant-boosting vitamin E. The crunchy kernels offer a dynamic duo to keep you going during workouts: iron (low levels can make you drag) and thiamine, a B vitamin that helps convert carbs and protein into energy. Thanks to magnesium, a mineral that eases muscle contractions, the seeds may help with cramps when you exercise or have PMS. Seek out unshelled seeds at the supermarket: “When snacking is labor-intensive, your brain has time to register when you’re full,” Grotto says.

Carrabba’s Italian Grill ~ FoodBuzz Tastemaker Event


I have been to Carrabba’s Italian Grill several times over the past few years and have never been disappointed.  In fact, it is my favorite Italian Restaurant these days.  As a Featured Published for, I received an invitation to attend a Tastemaker event at the Carrabba’s restaurant located at 5701 Vineland Road in Orlando, Florida from 12pm to 2pm this past Saturday, August 14th. 

This was SUPER EXCITING for me as it was my 1st official “blogger” event!  =) 

Angela Gutierrez, a managing partner/chef of Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Norris Wagner who coordinated the event Foodbuzz hosted the private party for us fellow local FoodBuzz Featured Publishers and Food Bloggers in which we were treated to a full presentation on how they prepare several of their signature dishes as well as giving us an amazing dinning experience

We were taken care of by two wonderful staff members named, Marissa and Joel, who were very welcoming and treated us like stars.  I have never had such an amazing dinning experience and am truly grateful to the entire Carrabba’s team as well as the Foodbuzz  for inviting me to such an amazing event. 


The event began with a warm welcoming and quick seating in front of their dinning room that featured a full view of their kitchen as you can see below.  

Local Bloggers w/Kitchen View

Angela Guiterrez than gave us a quick overview of Carrabba’s, which was founded in 1996 by Johnny Carrabba and his uncle, Damian Mandola.  Currently, Carrabba’s has over 200 restaurants in 33 states. 

Angela Gutierrez

Carrabba’s prides themselves in using the freshest ingredients in all their dishes.  They also have a huge selection of wines, Italian and American beers, sparkling water, soft drinks and iced tea.  

First, I ordered an unsweetened iced tea as I was extremely thirsty after my 9 Mile Run earlier that morning, however after I saw several others, including my best friend, Amy, who attended the event with me order a Raspberry Sangria I quickly followed suit. 

Unsweetened Iced Tea

Raspberry Sangria

While the above two were being delivered to our table, Angela and her amazing chefs served up an amazing “Antipasti” dish…..Calamari that was served with marinara sauce and a lemon wedge.  Now, I have to admit, I have NEVER tried Calamari as it just did not appeal to me, but after trying theirs I can honestly say that I like it and highly recommend it. 


Before I even finished nibbling on my Calamari the next dish was being presented to us.  This time a “Signature Pasta” dish named Tag Pic Pac which was Tagliarini in their Picchi Pacchiu sauce with crushed tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil

Tag Pic Pac

Tag Pic Pac w/Cheese

I loved this dish!  Very light and sweet.  Perfect vegetarian dish and great if you want some pasta but don’t want to fill too full after eating it. 


While, I was chowing down on the Tag Pic Pac…….the Carrabba’s chefs prepared Linguine Pescatore that contained shrimp, sea scallops, mussels and was prepared with tossed linguine in a spicy marinara sauce

Linguine Pescatore

Another, first for me as I had never had scallops.  I enjoyed them.  Also, I am not a big fan of mussels but they paired very well with the spicy marinara sauce and of course I loved the shrimp.  Everything went very well with the cheese on top as well, though I have heard fish & cheese is not supposed to go together I liked it. 

Our last “Signature Pasta” dish was Penne Franco in which Angela graciously provided us with an addition of grilled chicken that is of good quality and always shipped fresh, never frozen.  

Chef2 (Preparing Chicken)

Mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts and black olives with ricotta salata completed this dish. 

Penne Franco

The chicken was not only flavorful it was very fresh tasting, not rubbery like many pasta chicken dishes I have experienced in the past.  I loved the mushrooms but was not a big fan of the artichokes, which I like stemmed but not this way. 

To complete our amazing trio of dishes we were served three mini-desserts that were presented in the perfect size serving dish, square shot glasses. 


We had the pleasure of sampling Deconstructed Cannoli, Chocolate Pecan Mousse and Dessert Rosa.  The Dessert Rosa was my favorite!  As it was light and sweet, plus it contained fruit.  The other two were good but a bit to sweet and dense for my liking. 

Our server, Joel, posed with my favorite!  =) 

Our Server, Joel

I also snuck a quite shot of our other server, Marissa, while she was clearing off our table.  She was trying to hide from the cameras but I didn’t want to miss mentioning her as she was an excellent server.  

Our other server, Marissa

Of course I do not want to forget about mentioning all the fellow FoodBuzz Featured Publishers and food bloggers that shared this amazing event with us………….. 

Fellow Foodbuzz Featured Publishers & Food Bloggers @ Carrabba's Tastemaker Event

If you are interested in viewing any of the fellow FoodBuzz bloggers who attended the Carrabba’s Italian Grill and FoodBuzz Tastemaker event please check out their blogs below: 

And, let’s not forget the two amazing couples that my best friend and I shared a table with at the event……… 

Our Table @ Carrabba's Tastamaker Event

We had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know both Peter & Christey and Kathy & her husband during the event.  You can visit their amazing blogs at: 

Kathy has had her own food blog for over 4 years and coined the phrase “The Cheap Gourmet”.  I look forward to reading several of her past posts as well as enjoying the new ones to come. 

Peter & Christey are such a cute couple.  Peter is a French Chef and Christey is a Professional Photographer as you can see on their amazingly beautiful blog.  They have 4 kids of varying ages and try to keep food fun & healthy for all, I just love that.  =) 

And, I thought it was super cool how they had their own business cards for their blogs. 


The event was SO FUN that I did not want to leave but all good things must come to an end eventually so we eventually made our way to the exit and to our surprise we found a huge bag full of things for us………. 

Carrabba's Dinner Bag

Carrabba’s provided us each with a take-home bag that contained a full entrée of Penne with Fennel Sausage Pomodoro, Carrabba’s private label olive oil, and containers of fresh herbs and grated cheese. 

Penne with Fennel Sausage Pomodoro

This is a Carrabba’s secret sausage recipe that is mixed with caramelized onions and fennel, topped with fresh ricotta cheese

And, don’t forget the bread…….LOVE! 

Carrabba's Bread

And, Carrabba’s olive oil and seasonings to go with it. 

Carrabba's Olive Oil & Seaonings

PLUS, they gave us a Carrabba’s wooden bread serving board and olive oil dish!  Took me a little bit but I found the perfect place for both in my kitchen. 

Carrabba's Cutting Board & Olive Oil Dish

And, last but certainly NOT least let’s not forget my best friend, Amy, who attended the event with me!  We were fortunate enough to have the hostess take a few pictures of us before leaving………. 

Amy & I @ Carrabba's Tastemaker Event

Amy, has been my best friend since highschool!  We met in the 10th grade when we both were 16 years old and have been friends ever since.  Both of us love to talk and are huge foodies so I knew she would love this event.  I am saddened that she will be moving north in the near future, however I know she is heading for a new adventure and I wish her all the best.  At least I can take solce in the fact that our relationship is mainly via phone & internet as it is due to our crazy schedules so that will not change, plus she will be down visiting her family & other friends often so I know I will see her……..probably as much as I do now in fact!  =)  BUT, I WILL STILL MISS HER!  =(   

Thanks again to  Foodbuzz and Carrabba’s Italian Grill for inviting me to such an amazing event!  =)

9 Miles Achieved!

It took me a little less than 2 hours to complete and it was very tough at the end but I did it!  =)

My run started at 7:30a.m. in the morning, which was a little later than I would have liked to get out there but I went to bed at 1pm because my husband got home from work late so it was kind of hard to get up any earlier in light of that.

It was 78 degrees when I left, though it didn’t feel that hot when I left the house luckily.

The streets were nice and quite during Mile 1

However, once I hit Mile 2, I also hit the main street so it got a bit noisy but  I also hit my groove at that time so it didn’t bother me.  The next few miles (2 to 3) were really nice, until my first overpass hill arrived.  I couldn’t bare the thought of going up it so I decided to take my first “walking break” then for 2 minutes and ran down the other side. 

I hit Mile 3 a little down the street from the overpass and took my next “walking break” after Mile 4 for another 2 minutes.   After that I turned around and to head back.  This is when the run started to get tough for me.  =(

I made it to the overpass again and took my 3rd “walking break” up it for 2 minutes and the started running again when the decline came at around Mile 6.  It was hard after this point and was getting really hot outside as well with the blazing sun beating down on me in from the cloudless sky…….which I am sure is what made the run more difficult at this point. 

At Mile 7 I took another 2 minute “walking break”.  This was supposed to be my last one but it wasn’t.  I ended up taking another one at Mile 8 because I was SO TIRED and a slight incline hit that I could not bare to go up.  I walked 1/2 way up it and then ran the rest of the way home, very slowly and telling myself over and over again “not too much farther to go, you can do it“.  =O

FINALLY, I hit Mile 9 and walked the last few blocks home dripping in sweat (literally)!  I almost thought I wasn’t going to make at the, that I would have to stop and walk, but I made it luckily. 

I recovered by eating lots of pasta at Carrabba’s Tastemaker Event that I was invited to earlier in the week by Foodbuzz!  =)

I will have a full post with tons of pictures from the event soon, so “stay tuned”!