Thursday, April 28, 2011

Run for the Paws 5K

At the beginning of April, I participated in Brother Wolf's fundraiser 5K, Run for the Paws.  I found this 5K online and decided to participate because it was relatively close to where I live and I would be able to complete one of my New Year's resolutions--to run in a 5K for an animal organization.  Brother Wolf is an animal rescue organization near Asheville, NC.  Their goal is to make the entire city of Asheville a no-kill zone for homeless animals in shelters.  I felt like this would be an excellent organization to run a 5K for!  

For about 4-6 weeks before the race, I was slowly working my way up to be able to run 3 miles without stopping.  When I found out that my work was offering a health and wellness class for $25 and that price included a temporary membership to the YMCA for the duration of the class, I decided that the YMCA would provide me with what I needed (a.k.a--the treadmill) to time myself and really practice.  So after I signed up for the class, I also signed up for the 5K.  I started with just running a mile and timing myself.  I spent a little bit of time trying to improve my time before moving on to 2 miles.  Because I had been already incorporating a lot of run/walking into my weekly workouts, it wasn't too difficult to increase my running distance.  Before I knew it, I was running 3 miles and was ready for the 5K.  My best time before the race was just under 29 minutes for 3.1 miles.  

(Here I am getting ready to start the race!)

(Here are all of the serious competitors getting started!)

(This was the group that I got started off with.  I really could have moved up closer than this because I spent the first two or three minutes of the race trying to weave in and out of people walking and running slower than me.)

(This picture was probably taken about 3 or 4 minutes into the race.)

 The next few shots are just some action shots taken along the way.  If you look closely, you can see a dog running in almost every picture!  You can tell this was a race for an animal organization!  It really was a lot of fun seeing so many dogs and dog friendly people.  There was also a dog wellness expo set up with the race.  There were a lot of local businesses providing information and giving out free samples of dog food, bones, etc.  I ended up bringing home some great treats for my dogs!

(Here I am getting ready to cross the finish line at 30 minutes and 30 seconds.  If I hadn't had to weave in and out of people getting started, I am pretty sure I could have been under 30 minutes!  I am pretty happy with my time considering the last time I ran a 5K, I weighed around 250 pounds and completed it in about 45 minutes.  Definitely an improvement!)

After the race, we went into downtown Asheville for the rest of the day.  We ate a Mellow Mushroom pizza where I had one slice (yes, I actually stopped at one slice) of vegan veggie pizza.  

Then we just spent some time walking around and enjoying the beautiful, sunny day in Asheville.  It was an amazing day to be outside!

I had already made my mind up before we went to Asheville that I was going to treat myself to some vegan ice cream at the Hop Ice Cream shop.  They mostly have dairy ice cream but they usually make 2 or 3 vegan flavors.  I think it's really cool because they make the vegan ice cream there at the store and they usually have different flavors that you might not find anywhere else.  The photo below is of blueberry lemon pound cake vegan ice cream.  It was amazing!  I always just have one scoop in a cone when I go and that's always just enough.  

I am so happy that I participated in the Run for the Paws event.  It was a great 5K to be a part of and I achieved one of my New Year's resolutions!  Yay!  I think I am going to look for another 5K or maybe even a 10K for another animal organization to compete in.  I found that having a goal that I was working towards with a time table helped me really stay focused.  It kept me motivated and moving forward because I knew where I needed to be by a certain date.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


(Having Dr. Neal Barnard sign my book-sorry about the poor quality picture from the uploaded from the phone)

April has been such a hectic month and it seems like my blog has taken the back burner.  So many things have happened that I want to blog about, I just haven't had enough time.  I ran a 5K in Asheville at the beginning of April and then walked a 1/2 marathon at the Outer Banks the following weekend.  Then I traveled to Dallas to visit my best friend and then to Oklahoma to visit my family.  Lots of stuff!

Last night, R and I went to a Charlotte Barnes and Noble to hear Dr. Neal Barnard speak.  He's an amazing vegan!  He has written so many books and has inspired me so much.  Here's a link to some of the amazing books he's written:

Dr. Neal Barnard's books

After his lecture, he did a Q&A and then a book signing.  We have two of his books so we brought both of them.  R had him sign the newest book and then I had him sign his cookbook that he published last year.  I couldn't even speak to him!  I was so starstruck!  He's such a hero of mine!  That's something I really need to work on.  :)

It was great getting to see him in person and hear him talk about healthy veganism.

I plan to get back to blogging more regularly very soon.  I hope to have pictures up of my 5K, the 1/2 marathon and other things.  Until then, have a great week!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

Once again, I was inspired by a Hungry Girl recipe.  This was one of those recipes that I not only had to veganize but I had to eliminate some of the processed ingredients from it.  (Original recipe I wasn’t sure about chocolate oatmeal.  I couldn’t decide in my brain if it sounded good or gross.  So, of course, I had to give it a try.  I decided that it’s delicious, but it’s more of a dessert for me than a breakfast food.  But this recipe is flexible.  It could be breakfast, dessert or a snack.  Also, there are a lot of things you could add to this recipe or leave out, depending on your taste.  This is how I made it:

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal

-1/2 cup (40 grams) oats (I use the Country Choice Organic Multigrain blend)
-1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk (If this is not available, you could also use regular or vanilla unsweetened almond milk and just add more cocoa powder)
-1/2-1 cup water (optional)
-1 TBSP cocoa powder
-2-3 packets Truvia, Stevia or Organic Zero sweetener
-2-4 TBSP peanut flour (mixed with a bit of water, sweetener, and salt)-or just use real peanut butter if you don’t mind the extra calories and fat
-1/2-1 banana
-sprinkle of cocoa powder on top

***I make the Hungry Girl style oatmeal where I add more liquid and cook it longer so the oatmeal gets bigger.  If you don’t like it this way or you don’t have the time, you can omit the additional water in the recipe and just don’t cook the oats as long. 

Pour the almond milk and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once it’s boiling, add the oats, cocoa powder and sweetener.  I usually let it cook for about 10-12 minutes-stirring occasionally.  Also, I usually lower the heat down if it seems like it’s boiling too rapidly. 

In the meantime, mix the peanut flour with a bit of water, sweetener and salt to taste.  I usually just add 1 TBSP of water at a time until I get the consistency of peanut butter.

Once the oats are finished cooking, transfer to a bowl and top with the peanut butter, a sliced up banana and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. 

Some other possible add-ins:
-Chocolate chips
-A bit of crunchy cereal on top
-Cook chia seeds into the oats for an added nutritional boost
-Real peanut butter instead of peanut flour (or another nut butter)

Friday, April 1, 2011

This Shirt Will Soon Be Mine!

I set a goal for myself-when I lost 90 pounds I would let myself order this shirt.  I know I am not going to be able to go to my normal Weight Watchers meeting on Monday, so I decided to weigh myself tonight.  174.8!!  That means I have lost over 90 pounds now on my weight loss journey!  Oh yeah, and I ordered the shirt in a medium--not an XL!  :)  I am so excited!!  I also can't wait to sport my new kale shirt now that kale is one of my very favorite foods that I used to hate!

I will have to start thinking about another small reward for 95 pounds lost and then a BIG reward for my 100 pounds milestone!  I am getting there!  What a great way to start the weekend!