Marathons and Apple-Spice Bread

Six days until the Salt Lake City Marathon! I’m so excited!! I’m heading there to run with my friend Carla – someone who is so similar to me that we could, SHOULD, be sisters. I’ve never done that before either. Run a marathon with a friend. I’ve always done them by myself. It’s exciting, and scary, to think about! This will be my 6th marathon and I’m finally going to have a “partner” the whole way AND we’re travelling to a beautiful city to run in a place neither of us have run before. Of course, coming from 32 feet above sea level to 4200 feet above sea level is going to present its own challenges. We’re hoping that the humidity and thick air we regularly encounter when running will help us adjust a little easier to the difference. We’ll see. We’re not trying to break records or set PRs in this race. Start to finish, that’s the plan. Enjoying the beauty of the city and the mountains together is a bonus.

Of course, the Boston Marathon is tomorrow. So, between prepping for my trip and thinking about Boston has me totally jazzed. I’m so excited for tomorrow and I’m not even going to be there! I’ll be watching live streaming video during the race – yes, I am THAT much of a run nerd that I watch MARATHONS on TV or my computer. It’s really going to be a great race! I’m so excited for the ladies competition. Shalane Flannigan and Kara Goucher are my two favorite runners and I can’t wait to watch them run tomorrow. *side note: my sailor and I went out to New Orleans to cheer on a friend running her first marathon and Shalane and Kara were both there to run the half-marathon. Because I wasn’t running it, I wasn’t all over the race website like I am when I’m actually running the race and I had NO IDEA that Kara was going to be at the expo. We went to check out the gear – I got some really awesome headbands! – and I discovered that Kara was going to be there for a Q&A session in like 10 minutes and HECK YES, I sat down and waited for her. So. EXCITING! She’s amazing. Afterwards, I hung around and waited and got to meet her! EEEEPPP!!!!


Anyway, one day, I would like to qualify for Boston. It’s going to take some work and I haven’t even broken the 4 hour mark yet but with CrossFit in my life and determination, I’m certain that I can achieve both of those goals. Maybe I’ll make one of them this fall at the Kansas City marathon. Yep, I’ve decided to do that one. I’ll be back to solo because Carla’s running Denver but that’s okay. She’s going to have a great time there and Kansas City is a bonus because that’s where my sailor’s family lives. So, it’s a two-fer! 🙂

Breakfast treat!

I decided that I needed to bake something this morning. I browsed my ample selection of cookbooks (seriously, I’m addicted) and found this recipe. I’m actually surprised I’ve never made it before! Apple-Spice Bread. How perfect is that?! It’s definitely Spring in northwest Florida – cool morning temperatures and thunderstorms in the area – and the thought of the cozy smell of baked apples and spices waking up my family was pretty darn enticing. So, there you have it. Delicious, lightly spiced, and healthy morning (or afternoon!) treat perfect with a cup of coffee or tea or even a tall glass of juice. Enjoy!


Apple-Spice Bread
Makes 1 loaf (20 slices)

1 cup shredded apple (about 1 medium)
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream (I used plain, nonfat greek yogurt)
2 egg whites or 1/4 cup cholesterol-free egg product (Egg Beaters)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.

2. Mix apple, sour cream (or yogurt), and egg whites in a large bowl. Stir in remaining flour and ingredients. Spread into pan. (Warning: batter will be very thick. This is okay! Also, this bread does not contain yeast. It will not rise.)

3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 5 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack before slicing.

Nutrition per slice:
Calories 45; Protein 1g; Carbohydrates 10g; Fat 0g; Sodium 120mg; Cholesterol 0mg


Here’s what my supervisor thinks about Greek yogurt:


Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese

So, I get up early every day. Well, except Sunday – I sleep in on Sundays. And by “sleep in,” I mean I sleep until 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. Hey, I get up at 3:45 Monday through Friday to either run or go to the gym! Sleeping until 6:30 feels like a luxury after all those early mornings!

Well, this morning, it was tough to roll out if bed well before the sun was going to make an appearance. But, I did because I was meeting a workout buddy at the gym. She was counting on me to show and I wasn’t going to be THAT GIRL who cancels at the last minute just because I was feeling lazy.  So, up I got and to the gym I went. Glad I did, too, because we had a helluva good workout. Here’s what we did:

Warm-up: alternated each set between these exercises – squats holding one 20# dumbbell between legs & high knees (just like it sounds) for 2 sets, 20 reps each.

Then, we moved onto the meat of the workout and did this:

10 reps X 5 sets of
* sumo squat high pull with 45# bar
* pushups
* box jumps
* dumbbell swings (30#)
* butterfly situps

And, on to the treadmill for some good, old-fashioned treading. Treading is where you move the treadmill belt with your body weight – the machine is not on. We did 45 seconds of treading, 15 seconds of rest for 15 rounds. Whew! What a workout! Then, we walked it out and stretched and called it done. Great morning!

Of course, after a workout like that, I’m pretty much starving all day. I always pack plenty of food but I look forward to going home and having dinner with the fam. Now, I don’t know about your neck of the woods, but mine has been rainy for the past three days and a cold front is moving in. What does that mean? Comfort food! So, when I saw this recipe for mac ‘n cheese that includes bacon, I knew it had to be made. Mac ‘n cheese – the ultimate in comfort food. Throw in some bacon and apples, and you’ve likely achieved the ultimate in comfort. Enjoy! 🙂

Apple-Bacon-Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese
Serves 4 (football players)

6 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 leeks, white and light green parts thinly sliced and cut crosswise, rinsed well and drained
3/4 lb elbow macaroni
4 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cups milk, at room temperature
8 oz sharp white cheddar, coarsely shredded (about 2 cups)
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Pour off all but 1 tbsp fat, add the apples and cook, stirring frequently, until browned and beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Place the leeks in a colander in the sink. In a pot of boiling, salted water, cook the pasta until al dente, 4 to 5 minutes; drain in the colander with the leeks to soften them.

3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, cook until smooth and thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add 1 1/2 cups cheese and a generous sprinkling of pepper; whisk until smooth.

4. In a bowl, add the pasta and leeks, the sauce, apples, and parsley; toss well. Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon. Add remaining bacon to the pasta; toss. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Divide pasta among 4 16-oz baking dishes, or one large dish, top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with reserved bacon and serve hot.