Friday, December 5, 2014

Future Spartan

So, I've taken an unintentional hiatus from blogging. It was nice but I miss it!

I've been working on finding some more balance in life. I am working full-time this year for the first time in years. I'm also working in a field that can be challenging and also experience a high burnout rate among employees. I absolutely love my job and don't want burnout to happen. So I have been working on taking care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Earlier this year I set a goal of completing the SoCal Spartan Sprint. It was scheduled to take place a few months ago, but was canceled due to the extreme heat wave we were having. It has since been rescheduled for January. My training hasn't been what I've wanted. In part due to my trying to find balance and in part due to an on and off sinus infection mixed with CRAZY seasonal allergies.

Either way, I will be giving this thing my all. I may not run the whole thing, in fact I probably won't as running is not easy for me. I may not complete every obstacle, but I will damn sure try my hardest. For me it's all about the challenge and personal improvement. I am not in competition with anyone but myself!

So what does the Spartan Spring entail? It's 4 miles, 15+ obstacles, lot's of mud, and rugged mountains. Some of the obstacles include rope climbing, jumping over fire, spear throwing, carrying heavy things (weights, bricks, rocks, tires, etc), climbing over walls and more. So yeah, it's definitely going to be a challenge but that's part of the fun!

Wish me luck and some some 'strength' vibes my way. Have a great weekend everyone!

Stay CF Strong!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

If At First You Don't Succeed...

try AGAIN!
And try again, we will.

On June 29 we set out to summit Half Dome in Yosemite Park via the Mist Trail. We arrived at Yosemite the night before after a twelve and a half hour drive. It should have taken us six hours. Unbeknownst to us, there was a fatal bridge collapse on the freeway in LA that morning. We were stuck in traffic for HOURS!

By the time we reached Yosemite we were tired and hungry. I was also having some major joint pain and mild stomach upset. We decided to spring for a night in a lodge and a hot meal in hopes that we would get a good few hours rest and I would feel better by the time we hit the trails.

We only got a few hours rest, but it was good rest, before we were up again to drive an hour into Yosemite and hit the trail. We were on the trail by 0400. This was my first time hiking in the dark (though we did have head lamps) and I was nervous at first, but it didn't take long for my nerves to settle. My joints were still pretty sore and swollen but I was determined to get as far as we could without overdoing it.

My favorite part of the whole hike was when the sun started rising. We only came across a few other hikers on the trail at this hour. It was quiet except for the roar of the waterfalls. To slowly see more and more of our surroundings as the sun got higher and higher was just...well, it was beyond words. Absolutely amazing. We were in awe the whole time.

The way up the falls was a whole hell of a lot of stairs and rocks. A LOT. We had to take quite a few breaks so my lungs could catch up and acclimate to the altitude change, but we kept a pretty good pace. The longer we kept going the more I began to wonder if I was actually going to make it to the top. My joints were in quite a bit of pain, but I was enjoying myself despite the pain.

About two and half miles or so from the base of Half Dome we sat down to snack and I really started to wonder if I could do this. I'm not much of a crier (at least not compared to when I was a kid) but the tears started rolling. Lot's of them. I was so damn frustrated with my body. I knew that I could have made it to the base of Half Dome, but there was no way I could pull myself safely up the cables, the joints in my fingers were ridiculously swollen and where most of the pain was. After about 20 minutes of talking with L I decided it would be best to head back down.

It was the best decision I could have made for myself. The way down, at least going back down the falls, was much more difficult than going up! About the last mile out I injured my IT band on my left knee. It was horrible! I would take a few steps and then have to rest, the pain was insane. And this is coming from someone with a high pain tolerance.

I was pretty bummed that I didn't make it to the top. I beat myself up for it for a little bit, but my husband being the great man he is reminded me that I made the best decision for myself, and that I made it further than most others.

We spent 10 hours on the trail and I loved every minute of it. Even when my joints were throbbing and my lungs needed a break. I love hiking and being outdoors. It's where I feel most alive.

Next year we are going to attempt Half Dome again, and this time, I will get to the top!

I also have set another goal and it's a pretty damn big one. In a year or two my goal is to hike the John Muir Trail. 200+ miles, starting in Yosemite and ending at M. Whitney. This of course will require lot's of training and planning and will take a few weeks. What can I say? I'm just a small woman with BIG goals and dreams! And ain't nothin' gonna stop me!
The stairs up the falls seemed to be never ending!

Don't fall!

Words can not explain. We were in awe the whole time.
You have to see and experience for yourself.

My best friend. My rock. My adventure partner.
My biggest supporter and motivator.
My love.
I couldn't have asked for a better person to spend my forever with.

I prefer rivers and lakes to the ocean, pine trees to palm trees, hiking trails to beach trails.

Our first view of Half Dome.
Next year, it's mine.

We found a friend!

Doing what I love.

Out here is where I feel most at home. Where I feel most alive.
Where I feel most like myself. Where I feel most at peace.
I was born to wander, born to explore.

Little beggar. 

No words.

Take me back! Yosemite will forever have a piece of my heart! 

Friday, June 13, 2014

16 Days Until Half Dome!

15 days until we are in the Jeep headed to Yosemite National Park. 16 days until we are hiking Half Dome.

16 days...that's it?!

She's a beaut! 

Time sure does fly! I wish we had been training more up to this point. But life got insane for a bit. However, even though I wish we had been training more, I am still very confident I can tackle Half Dome! We have two weeks and in that time I'll be kicking up the weight training and cardio. We've also got 2-3 smaller hikes we are hoping to fit in our very new and very busy schedules.

We are ready for this and we couldn't be more excited! I am slightly nervous about the actual dome part. Not so much going up the dome, but the coming back down part!

We will only be up in Yosemite for three days total. The day we get there, the day of the hike, and the day we leave. We both wish we could spend more time up there but L is starting a new job and he starts school this coming Monday. I'm also just a month into my new job and don't want to take too much time off too soon. We are going to make the best of it though!

We will also be using this hike as a training hike for a 20 mile hike we are doing in September for a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I am so stoked about this fundraiser. We will be able to raise funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis while kicking some major CF ass doing one of my very favorite things, hiking!

A couple of other training hikes we hope to make happen are Mt. Baldy next month with the CFF Xtreme Hike team and the August training hike is still TBD.

Click here to learn more about the Xtreme Hike we are doing for the CFF. I'll be sure to blog about all of our hikes and post lots of pictures! I also plan on blogging more regularly now that things have settled down a bit.

Hope everyone is doing well and still kicking ass!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Paleo Plantain Nachos

I don't know about you, but I love nachos. The thing is, I've only had tortilla chips twice since 'going paleo' and both times they didn't agree with me.

Anyways, yesterday I wanted nachos. So I made some. Paleo style, of course!

Disclaimer: For any Paleo Police reading this, if you wanna get technical you can call these Primal Plantain Nachos since they do have a bit of cheese. Or you can just get over it!

This is more of a guideline than an actual recipe.

You will need:
~Homemade or store bought plantain chips. If store bought check what kind of oil they are cooked in!
~Meat of your choice. I used kalua pig from Nom Nom Paleo. You can use ground meat (bison, turkey, beef, chicken), shredded meat (pork, chicken, turkey), steak, you get the idea.
~Grass fed cheddar cheese
~Toppings of your choice. I used guacamole, mango salsa, green onion, and jalepenos.

Feel free to get creative and use whatever meat and toppings you choose! And if you wanna keep it strict paleo omit the cheese.

What to do:
Spread some plantain chips on a plate, top with meat, add a little bit of cheese. Microwave (or bake on a baking sheet in oven) until cheese is melted.

Top with salsa, guac, and your toppings.

Now devour. One of my new favorites! They were super delicious and quick to make.

Sunday WOD: Medusa's Challenge

Started my Sunday off with Medusa's Challenge! Killer workout. Worked up a great sweat and was just the challenge I needed today.

It was also a great way to clear my head and get rid of some stress I've been dealing with.

So how did I do?

Well, I alternated jogging and walking during the 15 minute run/walk/jog. Running is difficult for me. I hate it so I tend to avoid it. But with a mud run and the Spartan Sprint coming up, I can't just ignore that part of my training. Running is difficult for my lungs right now, but I know if I stick with it, it will get easier over time.

As for the push-ups, I did them on my knees. Still working on being able to to a full push-up and the Reebok Spartan 30 Push-Ups for 30 Days Challenge is definitely helping!

Pull-ups are also still a challenge for me. I can't do even one unassisted pull-up. But that just motivates me to try harder. Every time I am in the gym I do pull-ups on the assisted pull-up machine. I also just recently ordered a pull-up bar for the house and pull-up assist bands, both of which should be here next week.

I am determined to reach my goal of being able to do full push-ups and unassisted pull-ups. I know with hard work it's only a matter of time!

Now it's time to clean up, go grocery shopping, and meal prep for the week!

How are you challenging yourself today? Have a kick ass week everyone!

P.S. I'll be posting a paleo plantain nacho recipe later tonight!

Find the Medusa's Challenge by following the link below:

Medusa's Challenge « Workout of the Day

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Homemade Almond Milk

I used to down a gallon of 2% milk every two least.

I stopped drinking dairy milk probably a year ago. And in the past six months the only dairy I have had is grass fed butter. In the past two weeks I have also treated myself to some amazingly delicious grass fed ice cream. Shhh...

So what now?

I make my own almond milk! And it's super easy. I am not a fan of store bought almond milk because there are always unnecessary ingredients.

So here is how I make my almond milk:

You will need:
-2 cups of raw almonds
-about 8 cups filtered water

Optional ingredients:
-pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean
-pure organic maple syrup


Soak the almonds in four cups of water overnight.

Give them a good rinse after they are done soaking. Now, at this point you can peel the almonds, which is really easy after they've been soaking, but this is completely optional. Don't wanna peel them? Then don't! I prefer to peel them if I'm not being lazy. I find if they've soaked long enough you can pinch an almond in between your fingers and they pop right out of the skin. 

Now blend the almonds with the reading four cups of filtered water. I use a Nutribullet so I do this in two batches. Make sure you blend them up really well. 

Next strain the mixture in a nut milk bag (I got mine off Amazon) and squeeze out all the extra moisture. A fine mesh sieve and cheesecloth might work too, but maybe not as well. At this point you can add a lil splash of vanilla and/or maple syrup to sweeten your milk. I usually don't sweeten mine as I use it mostly for smoothies. 

Store in the refrigerator for 5-7 days in a sealed jar. 

As for the leftover almond pulp...don't toss it! You can use it to make almond flour. Set your oven at the lowest temperature. Spread the pulp on a pan lined with parchment paper. You can leave the oven cracked open to help reduce moisture. It will take a few hours at least, probably longer. Once it's completely dry give it a whirl in a food processor and store it in an airtight jar. 

You can also just store the pulp, without dehydrating it, in the fridge for a few days and add it to smoothies. Or just toss if you're lazy! 

Next I'll be sharing my favorite breakfast smoothie with you all! 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Bake

Spaghetti squash is a favorite in our household. Tonight I decided to get creative and try something a little different.

This recipe is paleo friendly (I'll get into this paleo business in a future post) and pretty dang easy. It also makes a ton of food, which means leftovers for lunch. Score!

Disclaimer: I'm not really one for following directions when cooking. I don't look at it as a science and a lot of times I don't measure things in tablespoons, teaspoons, cups etc. So I apologize in advance if you are someone who likes exact measurements. I encourage you to go with the flow!

You've been warned...this is not your typical recipe with exact measurement and directions!

You'll need:
~1 medium to large spaghetti squash, cooked and shredded -don't know how? Google it!
~1 pound ground turkey, cooked
~About 1 tbsp of ghee -or fat of your choice
~4 BIG, I mean BIG, handfuls of spinach-it may seem like a lot but spinach always seems to cook down to nothing
~4 cloves of garlic minced
~1 28 oz can San Marzano diced tomatoes
~Flavor God garlic lover's seasoning - or any sort of garlic seasoning, but Flavor God is best!
~Dried oregano
~Sea salt and black pepper

Optional goodies:
~Shredded parmasan cheese
~Red pepper flakes

Now what?
Heat the ole oven to 375* F

Place the cooked and shredded spaghetti squash in a large bowl with the cooked ground turkey. Set aside.
In a pan over medium heat, heat up about a tablespoon of ghee (or fat of your choice), add in the garlic and saute for about two minutes. Add in the spinach and a splash or two of water. Stir until the spinach has wilted. If you feel like it's cooked down to hardly anything (which always seems to be the case) feel free to add more spinach! Once it's cooked toss into the bowl with the squash and turkey. Add in the can of tomatoes. Season to taste with the garlic lover's seasoning, oregano, salt, pepper, and the red pepper flakes if you choose to use them. L (my husband) can't handle anything spicy, so I added red pepper flakes to my own serving after I dished it up. Now stir it all up and make sure you mix it well. Spray a pan with coconut oil spray, or whatever you choose. I actually had to use two pans because it was so much food. I used one 9x9 inch glass pan and a heart shaped pan. Pour the delicious squash mixture into the pan (or pans) and spread it evenly. Pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes. If you choose to use cheese, sprinkle it on top after the 20 minutes and stick it back in until cheese is melted. Let it cool a bit before serving...or dig right in if your starving like I was. Just don't burn yourself! Enjoy!

 Simple and delicious!