Monthly Archives: November 2014

Zooma and Feetures

This past April I ran my first Zooma race!  You can read more about that here in case you missed it!  If you are not familiar with the Zooma race series, you are missing out!  I love that their mission is to inspire women to live healthy, happy, & active lives.  I simply love that.  You don’t have to be the fastest, or in the best shape, or look perfect!  They are all about helping women get active while having FUN!

When I picked up my swag bag in April I was impressed by what was inside!  Two items I really have enjoyed again and again the past few months were a running hat and a pair of Feetures socks!! Finding socks that work with my feet has never been an easy task.  I have tried many over the years, and it is nice to find a sock that works 🙂  Plus they were PINK!  How can you get better than that!

Since Feetures and Zooma teamed up together, they made this really cool video about 2 runners who ran the Cape Cod race this past year!
Check it out and let me know what you think 🙂

>>>>> Feetures Video!  <<<<<<

(I tried to add the actual video, but I am not a cool kid who was able to figure it out…Ha)

Have a happy and healthy day!
XO,
Esther
CRG

Foodie Friday: Comfort Foods!

Hello and happy happy Friday!!  I am linking up again with my girls: Farrah from Fairyburger, Montana from Pretty Lil Mudder, Emily from Whatever Floats Your Oats and Annmarie from the Fit Foodie Mama and Cassandra from Powered by BLING!!  Today’s theme is Comfort Foods!!

It has been a chilly week!  Much chillier than normal for this time of year in Houston!  Last year it was in the 80s and this past week it has been in the 30s and 40s.  Not as cold as some of my friends and family up north, but cold for here! With it being so chilly, I brought out some recipes that are wonderful on a cold night.  A new one that I have been experimenting with is a chicken pot pie!
I happened upon a gluten free crust a few weeks ago when I was at Whole Foods and decided to try it out!
Since I am allergic to onions and I am not a big fan of celery, I used a different mix of veggies than most pot pies!

Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients
2 boneless/skinless chicken breast
1 TBS coconut oil
1 red pepper chopped
3 large carrots chopped into coins
1 cup green beans
1.5 cups broccoli chopped
3 cups chicken broth
2 TBS butter
3 TBS flour
1/3 cup milk
Salt and pepper
1 pie crust (If you are brave, you can make from scratch!!)
1 pie crust top
Aluminum foil or a pie crust shield.

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 375*
2. Pour 1.5 cups chicken broth into a pan. Add the carrots, green beans and broccoli. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 min.
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3. Chop chicken into small cubes. Cook in a frying pan with coconut oil. Add the red pepper and cook till the chicken is no longer pink on the inside, about 10 minutes.IMG_3211
4. Strain the vegetables out of the broth and add to the chicken/red pepper mixture.
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5. Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the flour and wisk together. Slowly add the milk and wisk as the sauce thickens.
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6. Add the remaining chicken broth slowly as the sauce continues to thicken.
7. Add the chicken and veggie mixture to the sauce and let simmer for 5-10 min.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
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8. Pour mixture into the pie crust. (I used the extra as a little soup for another meal)IMG_3224
9. Slowly unroll the top crust. Place it gently on top of the pie. Trim off the edges. Pinch the top and bottom crust together. Make several small slits on the top crust. IMG_3225IMG_3226
10. Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil strips or a pie crust shield. IMG_3227
11. Place pie on a cookie sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30-40 min.
12. Take the foil or shield off and cook for 10 more min till the top is golden brown.

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Enjoy! 🙂

Take a moment and go see all the other amazing ladies recipes!!!

 

Feel free to add your fav comfort food recipe to the link up!

 

Elf for Health 2014

The last 2 years I participated in the Elf for Health holiday challenge put together by Lindsay at Lean Green Bean, and Elle from According to Elle!  They did a rock star job putting together amazing challenges, prizes, accountability groups on Facebook, and stellar encouragement.  I was wondering a few weeks ago if it was happening this year because Lindsay just had a baby!!!  I am so thrilled it is still happening! 🙂

They are changing things up a little this year where you can choose to be paired with another person, or you can choose to do it on your own!  Either way, hopefully this will be the best year yet!  Each elf can become part of the community on Facebook, and also use the #elf4health hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. 🙂 Pretty simple!

I had a BLAST last year, and I even got to meet one of my elves last April at the Cherry Blossom Race!! That was a sweet deal!

Here are the challenge details I pulled directly from Elle’s blog!

What is the Elf for Health Holiday Challenge?
This is a 4 week challenge that will run from the Monday November 24th – December 21, 2013. The challenges fall into 4 different categories: Food, Fitness, For You & For Others. There will be daily tasks, daily winners, prizes, weekly newsletters, and a Facebook group for support.

What’s the best part?
You can be assigned an elf to support and encourage you!
When you sign up, you will have the option to be assigned an elf buddy while committing to be their elf in return. Elves are reassigned halfway through the 4 week challenge.

Sounds like a great way to stay motivated and meet new people over the holidays doesn’t it? 
Since this challenge is internet based, anyone can participate… no matter where you’re located! All you need is access to the internet and an email address.

Elf Duties

So what does an Elf do?
As an Elf, you are expected to support your assigned buddy with their holiday health goals and the daily challenges. Elves & buddies will be reassigned after 2 weeks so that hopefully you get to meet 2 new people! You are only asked to email your buddy 2 times per week:

Monday: Send your buddy an email to help them with the challenges for that week. Ideas of things to include/attach: your own personal tips & tricks, inspiring words and/or images, a new, healthy recipe or workout to try.

Thursday – Saturday: Any time during these days, check in with your buddy! For example, ask them if they tried a new recipe, workout, or had fun with any certain challenges. Feel free to tell them how you did with your challenges, too!

Anything more than those 2 emails is up to you but feel free to go above and beyond this to show your support! Just a few ideas: send your buddy Tweets, shout outs on our Facebook Page, email a fun workout you liked or send a hand written recipe or note.

Important Dates

Friday, November 21st at 11:59pm EST: Round 1 sign up deadline
Sunday, November 23rd: Round 1 Elf assignments emailed
Monday, November 254h – Sunday, December 7th: Round 1
Sunday, December 7th: Round 2 Elf assignments emailed; Round 1 “Best Elf” winners chosen
Friday, December 5th at 11:59pm EST: Round 2 sign up deadline
Monday, December 8th – Sunday, December 21st: Round 2
Sunday, December 21st: Round 1 “Best Elf” & participant grand prize winners chosen
If you missed the initial sign up deadline, you can still participate on your own, and by signing up before December 5th for Round 2.

Not clear about something? Email Elle or Lindsay!

Prizes

We have some fabulous prizes from some of our favorite companies to give to the winners.

  • 2 prizes for “Best Elf”, one awarded at the end of each round
  • 1 grand prize for best participant awarded at the end of the challenge determined by participation, hashtagging and being an awesome Elf.

There will be a daily challenge winner chosen each day. Daily winners will be entered for a chance to win the grand prize!

Best elf prizes will given based on participation and nomination. If you love your elf, let us know so we can consider them for a Best Elf prize. Best Elf prizes will be awarded at the end of each round.

Prizes will be provided by our 2014 Challenge Sponsors:
elf4healthsponsorgraphic2014

Prize packs will include 3 months of meal planning from Cook Smarts, beautiful workout gear from Sweaty Betty, hemp seed protein powder from Manitoba Harvest, and more from Swanson Health, Love Grown Foods, Nuttzo, Cabot Cheese, and Sizzlefish.

Due to shipping costs, only USA residents are eligible to win prizes. But we’d still love to have you participate, even if you’re from somewhere else!

Challenge Calendar

Here’s a nice square image that you can save on the lock screen of your phone to remind you of the challenges!
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Sounds like fun right?  Well don’t hesitate, sign up here!

Let me know if you decide to join the elf fun!

XO,
Esther
-Chocolate Runner Girl-

Race Recaps #27, 28 & 29

Over the last 2 weeks I have participated in 3 races!  A 5k, a 10k and an 8k!

Time has been very precious lately, so here are quick recaps!

Veteran’s Day 5k
A little local race in my town.  It was an out and back course on a gorgeous morning!  I was feeling pretty good and went from doing a 3:1 interval to 7:1!  There were a few ladies who seemed about my pace in front of me and they were great motivation on the course!  Finished strong and felt good about the race and supporting our local vets!  So thankful for their service and all they have done fighting for our country!
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Veteran’s Day IRUN4 Virtual 10k
The next morning I met my Holiday Calorie Crush Challenge partner for a run! She was doing 12 miles and I was going to run my virtual IRUN4 Veteran’s day virtual race!  I signed up for a 10k, and this was a perfect distance for me at this point in my training.  I met up with Lauran and we had a great time chatting and running!  She is a rock star and finished her 12 miles after we parted ways!
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Starry Night 8.5k
A few weeks ago when I was finalizing my race schedule for the fall, I saw a race that made my heart say YES!  It was a race that benefited the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation!  I knew I had to do it, and so I signed on up!
The race itself was a 3 loop course with an 8.5k distance.  The reason it was 8.5k was that equals 28,000 steps, and there are currently 28,000 kids fighting right now.  That number is way to high!  It was an honor to run for such a great organization, and I am already looking forward to next year.
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The race was at a unique time and at first I was not sure why.  Once I was there things made more sense!
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3:30 was race time.  Once we all finished the race we had a post race meal.
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Then there was a little concert by Houston area native, Josh Worthington.  I guess he’s kinda a big deal and was the runner up on the Voice last season!
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After that they did an award ceremony then we light up the night!
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So I only have 4 more races in 2014 to finish out my goal!!!

Thanksgiving day 5 miler
Dec 1- 5k
Dec 7- 10 miler
Dec 21- Half marathon
And for good measure I signed up for the Run for Jess virtual Elf Race!

Do you have any 2014 goals you are finishing up in the next few weeks? Any races for Thanksgiving or in December?  Fill me in 🙂

XO,
Esther
-Chocolate Runner Girl-

Proud to Be Me…

So last week I got off track with the Proud To Be Me campaign!  I am getting back on track today, but I wanted to take some time to go back over the days I missed!  I have to be honest that some of these have been more challenging than others!

Nov. 11 – 1 unique quality about myself is that I ___________
I am determined!
Nov. 12 – Today I will focus on my (name a positive trait) ___________
I actually did focus on my kindness last week, just forgot to post about it!
Nov. 13 – 1 positive thing my body allows me to do is ________
RUN!
Nov. 14 – I love my (1 positive thing in your life) ________
Job!
Nov. 15 – I am a great friend because I __________
I am a good listener
Nov. 16 – My (body part) is/are perfect
Hair
Nov. 17 – I’m thankful for my _________
Muscles/strength

Have you been participating in the campaign?  What are some things you are embracing and loving about your body and life?  Fill me in!!!

XO,
Esther
-Chocolate Runner Girl-

A year ago…And why I am even more thankful this year!

Last November was one of the hardest months of my life!  I have been through challenging times, like most people have, but this one took me to a whole new place.
I am sitting here overwhelmed and in tears of how we made it through last year…
On Nov 6, 2013 the Hubs went in for some tests.  I really had NO idea what the results would be nor was I prepared to hear them.  When the doctor came and told me he needed immediate heart surgery I was shocked! Floods of different emotions crashed over me again and again.
After working some things out with the insurance company and some follow up tests, the surgery was scheduled for the following week.
{From Facebook- Nov 12, 2013- Overwhelmed doesn’t even begin to explain the past week….at first it was from news about Wayne’s need for surgery. It has shifted to being totally overwhelmed by God’s grace, everyone who is praying, who sent cards and all the phone calls and text messages. And tomorrow several friends and family are traveling to be with us.
I can not say thank you enough!!!!}

Nov 13 was the longest day of my life to date.  We headed to the hospital early in the morning.  The surgery was scheduled for noonish and the recovery rate was 5-7 days in the hospital, and then of course more recovery at home.  As we waited for him to get prepped for surgery we had many visitors.  I am forever grateful to the family that was able to come (the Hubs’ sister, and some cousins, plus a few of his frat brothers and my dear friend). They drove from other parts of Houston, Austin and Dallas!! I know they made sacrifices to be with us (me mostly) that day and I am so thankful!

The day ended up being a lot of waiting.  The surgery was pushed back a little while due to other surgeries going on.  I tried to stay distracted and chatted with the family and friends there.  In the waiting area there was a phone that would ring.  It was how the doctors and nurses communicated with those waiting.  Every time that phone rang my heart jumped.
I somehow managed to miss being in the waiting room when the calls came in for him.  I was in the restroom 2 times and out to lunch another time.

{Wayne is still in surgery. They were running behind with the schedule today so his procedure started late. So far we have heard that everything is going well!
Thank you all for your prayers!!!}

At the end of the day the surgeon finally came out and said everything went really well!  He said looked really good to them, but would probably look really scary to me.  After a bit I was finally able to go see him in ICU!  I will forever remember the smell of that floor in the hospital!
I went to his room and he was all hooked up to so many machines!  He looked really helpless and unsettled.  He kept trying to pull out some of the tubes and they had to secure his hands down.  The first nurse I was with did not seem very happy and it was tough seeing him treat my husband like that.

I called and talked to my pastor’s wife.  She was very encouraging and told me that he was not going to remember any of this.  She suggested I do what I could to get some good sleep.
I headed home after seeing there was nothing more I could do.  I wanted to stay, but I was of no use to anyone if I did not get some sleep!

A sweet sweet friend offered to come over and stay with me for a while.  She arrived a few min after I got home.  I opened the door to let her in and just started bawling!  It was what I needed.  Some food and a good hug!!

{Nov 14 am-I spoke with Wayne this morning. He is feeling much better already!!! Thank you again to everyone who has been praying, sending sweet cards and messages and for just being there for us!!! We are so blessed!!!

Less than 24 hours after open heart surgery and Wayne is up and walking around!! Every medical person who has stopped by today says he looks REALLY good!!
We are thankful and blessed!}

Over the following 2 weeks my life was pretty nutty.  Would go to work, then head to the hospital which was an hour away.   I would stay for a few hours and talk with the Hubs or help him with things, and then go back home.  A few times I stayed overnight, but I did not get any sleep those nights.  So many noises and people coming and going.
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After a few days in ICU he headed up to the recovery floor!  It was much quieter up there, but not all the nurses seemed to be very attentive.
On Nov 19 I got a call from a nurse saying he had to be taken back to ICU because he could not breathe.  She made it seem like not a big deal when we were on the phone.  I left work early and headed to the hospital!  Turns out he has some tummy issues going on that had caused fluid to build up in his stomach and it pressed against his lungs!  That was a scary 24 hours!  They were draining so much and it did not seem to help very much.  There was talk of another surgery and I was NOT happy about that.

{Nov 20, 2013- Wayne is still in ICU. The drained 9 liters of fluid and he’s feeling better and responding better as well. Still no updates on the tummy issues yet. Praying and believing they have resolved themselves and he won’t need any further surgeries.
Thank you all for praying!!!}
 
{Nov 21, 2013- Very thankful that Wayne’s tummy issues are being resolved!! He is able to eat and drink again and there is no need for any further surgery!!!!!!
Now we both just need SLEEP!!!}

{Nov 22, 2013- Wayne is continuing to improve! We are so thankful!!
Keep it up baby! I am ready to bust you out of this joint!}

{Nov 24, 2013- Thank you Jesus, Wayne is finally out of ICU!!! Hopefully home soon!}

{Nov 27, 2013 pm- Thrilled and thankful to be picking Wayne up from the hospital!!!!! Thank you to everyone who has been praying these past 3 weeks!!}
I was so thankful to get Wayne the eve before Thanksgiving day!  It was challenging, but we made it!!!

{Dec 14, 2013- Yesterday was 1 month since Wayne‘s surgery. It has been a very challenging month for both of us. As I pondered all the wonderful people who have been such a support to us through this all I am overwhelmed. My tears today are from a thankful heart overflowing with all the blessings and the beautiful expressions of love that have been poured out on us!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!}

I honestly can say that we DID make it through that month and this past year by God’s grace, and the love, care, and support of SO many friends and family members.   I can not say THANK YOU enough.  Prayers, cards, meals, errands, house cleaning, groceries, gift cards, flowers, hugs.  Just a few ways we were blessed last year!  I know I speak for Wayne and myself just a HUGE thank you!!!
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Five Things Friday: 5 cold weather running tips

Brrr, baby, it’s cold outside!  It is even cold in Houston today!  I woke up to 32 (but feels like 26) degrees!
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I know that might not seem THAT cold to some, but considering last year at this time it was in the 80s, and even last week it was in the 80s, it is CHILLY!
Today I am linking up with Courtney (Eat, Pray, Run DC), Cynthia at You Signed Up for What and Mar at Mar on the Run for
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1. Layer up– When I lived up north this was my go-to.  I followed these rules from Runner’s World when I had to run in the cold up north!

30 degrees: 2 tops, 1 bottom. Long-sleeve base layer and a vest keep your core warm. Tights (or shorts, for polar bears).
10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. A jacket over your base layer, and wind pants over the tights.
0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Windbrief for the fellas.
Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of mittens, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.
Minus 20 degrees: 3 tops, 3 bottoms, 2 extra pairs of mittens, 1 balaclava, sunglasses.

2. Wear socks that keep out the elements–  Here are some good options!
3. Invest in running tights–  Here are some options that Google found for me.  Haha
If you have any that you love, let me know!!
4. Running Buddy – Have someone to keep you company and to motivate you to get out there even if it is a little chilly!
5. Run Inside– And when it is really just too cold outside, run inside!  Ha, it might just be for me, but when it is too cold my lungs just can’t hack it.  I really don’t know how I used to run in the Chicago cold for so long!! Or travel to a place where it is warm!  That is my favorite way to avoid running in the cold!   🙂

FridayFiveLinkup
Stay warm my friends!

XO,
Esther
-Chocolate Runner Girl-