Week 4 update

The last week has been crazy busy at our house. We definitely filled our dance card and didn’t think about taking a break!  Thankfully, I squeezed in 6 miles between bible study, major home depot trips, baby showers, and conference calls.

I was worried that I’d be really cold last weekend on my 35 degree run, but it felt invogoratingly good.  Today, it was raining and the wind was blowing so hard, I had to do my 3.5 miles on the “dread-mill.”  If anyone can find a way to make that machine more enjoyable, please let me know.  I’m pretty convinced I’d rather wear five layers and run outside all this New England winter than have to do much more than 30 minutes on the hamster wheel.

In any event, I haven’t been able to give much thought to the blog this week, so instead, I thought I’d share my favorite crock pot recipes that keep me sane on weeks like this.  These will keep me right on through the seven miles I will run this Saturday and the bathroom renovation we are doing with my dad.  I told you, we filled our schedule to the brim.

My favorite, sanity keeping crock pot recipes:

I’m a rebel on the below black bean soup recipe. You seriously cannot over-cook it, so I ignore the suggested time. Sometimes this bad boy goes for nine hours in the crock pot.

http://mywholefoodlife.com/2014/01/08/slow-cooker-black-bean-soup/

Tuscan white bean soup.  We toss in leftover grilled chicken or turkey if we have it.

http://www.afamilyfeast.com/slow-cooker-tuscan-white-bean-soup/

This lentil soup is so easy, and I toss in veggies I want to clean out of my fridge.  Last time, it was parsnips.

http://veganinthefreezer.com/slow-cooker-red-lentil-soup/

And lest you think I only feed my husband legumes:

Crock pot carnitas.  Sometimes these turn into tacos, sometimes burrito bowls, sometimes quesadillas.

http://www.eatliverun.com/crock-pot-beef-carnitas-tacos/

Chicken Cacciatore.  We let this one go on Sunday while we were at church. It makes enough that we had it for Sunday supper as well as tonight as a quick meal.

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/06/crock-pot-chicken-cacciatore.html

And the last one I’ll throw your way is chicken and rice soup.  This one takes a little extra prep, but it feels something like the comfort of grandma’s cooking on a cold night.

http://www.littlespicejar.com/creamy-chicken-wild-rice-soup-slow-cooker/

I’ll likely have other posts where I share the ways we’ve figured out how to squeeze another 20 minutes out of our days.  I imagine we’ll be employing those strategies more as my training runs get longer.  In the mean time, I can look forward to our scheduled relaxation weekend in a few weeks.  If you’ve never scheduled one of those, do it.  You need a season of rest every once in a while and the only way to get it in this crazy world is to mark it as untouchable on your calendar.

Until then, I’ll be huffing out another seven miles.

Happy trails,

Meredith

Week 3 Update

The past week of training has gone by so fast.

Last weekend, we went on our church retreat in a small town about 45 minutes from home.  Can I tell you, the leaves and good company could not have been more beautiful.  My five mile long run went by quickly with beautiful views, leaves crunching under my feet, and cheers along the way from our friends who know exactly why I’m running.

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One of the best parts about this weekend was that I got to hear from so many other people who have been and will continue to go on the same mission trip I’m raising money for.  I got to hear a deeper story behind a picture I had seen months ago as the last group returned from the 2015 trip to the D.R.

I distinctly remember the evening I was scrolling through Facebook only to overwhelmed by the video of a Dominican woman so incredibly happy that she had received her first real bed.  Previously she had been sleeping on a small pile of her own clothing on a dirt floor.  Let that sit with you for a minute…. a grown woman has never had a bed in which to sleep.  That video has been burned into my mind since seeing it. The utter joy exuding from this woman over the construction of a bed by some handy, burly guys was breathtaking.

While on the retreat this weekend, I happened to be leading a group discussion and brought up this video.  One of the men in my group happened to be a part of the team that built the bed for this woman.  He said that during their last trip, not only did she gain a bed, but they had built her a real house.  Previously she had been living in a pieced together “shack” (for lack of a better term).  Now she has solid block walls and a roof to keep out the weather.  He told me that she had taken the remnants of her old house and built little houses for her goats and chickens.  That’s right, she lived in suitable only for the construction of a goat or chicken pen. Despite all of this, the woman’s smile was ear to ear. How many times today did I frown at my lack of an extra cup of coffee, let alone other things?

I don’t really know why I’m sharing this story other than to say that it’s one of the many reasons I want to go to the Dominican to serve.  I don’t have delusions that I will be going to simply make the lives of the barrio residents better.  I know they’ll make mine better, too.

This is why I run. To be closer to the Dominican.  To love others.  To serve others.  To remember that joy is a spirit condition, not a possessions condition.  Joy is a choice.

This Saturday, I’ll be on my 6 mile training run.  6 miles closer to the D.R.    I’m actually really looking forward to my long run…except it’s supposed to be cold. Today I ran in 72 degree weather and Saturday I’ll be running in temps somewhere right above freezing.  Since last Saturday, I’ve also learned that I need to cover my ears below 50 degrees and that anything above 65 degrees in late October means you’ll be eating gnats the whole way.  Pray that I find the right balance of clothing and a lack of insect protein this Saturday. It will be my longest run to date.

Happy Wednesday,

Meredith

*As always, don’t forget to check out the donate link if you would like to contribute to my mission trip.

Race Day is Set! (week 2 updates)

We have a race!  Today I registered for the April Fools Half Marathon in East Haddam (and that’s no joke).  April 2nd of 2016, I’ll be 13.1 miles closer to my mission trip to the Dominican!

I chose this race for a few reasons:

  1. It’s close to home.  I want to be able to have hubby and any other local support from the D.R. Mission team to cheer me on either on the race day or as close to race day as possible.
  2. It’s outside.  I must admit, waiting until April 2nd seems like forever.  BUT, the only races I found nearby right after Christmas are on an indoor track.  I’m not sure about any of you guys, but the thought of running in a circle over 52 times sounded somewhere between watching paint dry and chinese water torture.
  3. It’s relatively small.  Not too many people know this, but large crowds stress me out pretty badly.  I passed on going up into the Eiffel Tower for this reason (to my husband’s disbelief).  I refuse the mall at Christmas time and the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.  I stand on the outskirts of the farmer’s market and wait for hubby to pick our produce.  So, as much as the “Rah Rah” notion of running a big race like the Rock N Roll in D.C. sounds good, I’m not sure I’m ready to run my first half with 25,000 runners and spectators.

As for this week, last Saturday’s “long” run was 4 miles.  They were the first miles of training that felt really, intensely, negative splits good.  This weekend, I’ll do 5 miles.  I’ve done 5 a handful of times before, so this won’t be new territory.  I’ll be on my church retreat this weekend, so it will be a test of discipline.   I know I’ll be there with so many others who plan on going on the same mission trip next year, so I’m pretty excited for a great, crisp, Autumn weekend to get to know each and every one of them more.  I know we’ll all bring great personalities and hearts of love to the Dominican.

As always, If you’d like to donate to my mission trip, click on the Donate page of my blog for secure donation links through YouCaring.  Otherwise, pray for great weather and open hearts this weekend, and I’d ask everyone to pray that April 2nd, 2016 has no snow, no rain, and no below freezing temperatures!

Happy weekend ahead to you all,

Meredith

How YouTube saved my training today

My Tuesdays are crazy. I have a conference call with Asia every Tuesday evening, so if I run late on anything during the day, sneaking in a workout on my training plan is hard.

I’ll post a bigger, better update later this week…but I have to share what I discovered today. Friends, there are 20 minute “Yoga for Runners” sessions on YouTube. Even better, if you have Apple TV, you can put these sessions on your big TV and skip trying to watch on your smart phone. That means that despite being home late, I got my scheduled cross training in while dinner was heating on the stove.

I might have discovered nothing new to anyone else, but if you need a quick way to stretch it out in your living room, give it a try.

10/7/15 week 1

I’ve heard that when you are on the right track, that is when you will face the most obstacles from the devil himself. I guess that explains this week. I’m not complaining; I hope struggle indicates that I’m doing exactly what I should be.

To recap, Sunday, I went for a run with hubby. He graciously agreed to kick off my training with me and was promptly stung by a bee mid run. His face is still a little swollen. I don’t think the poor guy will be running with me again for a while.

Monday, I excitedly printed out my first 12 weeks of training, plastered it in the fridge, and went on what amounted to the hardest fought three mile run I’ve ever had. The kind of hard that makes you wonder if 13.1 miles is going to feel like death. The training program is at least helping me push myself, though, because even through the toughness of those miles, I had the fastest three mile run to date.

Yesterday was the antithesis of training. I left for work at 6:30 in the morning and got home at 5:20, with just enough time to eat some dinner before dialing into back to back conference calls from 6 to 10. No running, stretching, or cross training in that schedule.

I’m trying to remind myself that a few bad days of training won’t ruin the goal I have. I’m praying that I don’t start feeling “behind” in my training and fund raising. Would anyone out there pray for encouraging thoughts for me this week?

Lastly, would everyone out there pray for a sweet friend of mine. She’s on a mission trip starting today. As I just start the journey of raising funds for my trip next year, I find it fitting to pray for her trip. She’s going to China to work with special needs children in orphanages. She’s an occupational therapist and an adoptive mother herself. She saw the faces in need of love and answered a call. Pray for her safe journey, and a peaceful and open heart. She’s leaving her the kids at home, so pray that she doesn’t worry over them too much. Pray that they have a wonderful and easy time with their dad as they get some good time together as well.

Thanks guys, I hope the rest of the week treats us all well. Let me know if you have any training tips, or runners words of encouragement. For now, I’m resting on Philippians 4:13.

If you would like to donate to my mission trip, click the “donate” button for a link to my YouCaring account.