Three Friends

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Lemon Crepes with What?? Recipe Time!

Lemon Crepes with Lemongrass-Lemon Cream Cheese Filling and NingXia Red Drizzle

A friend of mine created this amazing-looking recipe and shared it on her Essentially Pampered FaceBook Page today. You really should check it out for more Yummy, oil-infused recipes! She plans to set up a blog soon too, but until she does, FaceBook is where it's at!

Enjoy! (I'm drooling here!)

Sunday, February 15, 2015

DIY Quick Guide: Tinctures, Infusions, Decoctions, and Ointments

While I use essential oils for most of our family's health needs, being Crunchy means being open to using all kinds of natural methothods to keep our bodies strong and in the most balanced states. The Crunchy Skeptic bought me a book for Christmas called The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies. As I have finally cracked it open and begun to read, I'm learning all kinds of new and fun things! So today I'll share with you about the differences between - and how to make - four types of home remedies: Tinctures, Decoctions, Infusions and Ointments. 

It is important to try to learn about natural healing methods before you need them, because the ingredients are not always readily available, and the method might sometimes need more than an hour or two to make up. Unlike being able to keep a pill-form in the cabinet, these are the sorts of things we need to plan ahead to use. Slick and Spinster Beth can tell you that this is generally not my forte, but I am learning to plan ahead a bit more. As our family has seen with essential oils, natural healing methods can work as quickly as the stuff that is currently in the cabinet of many homes but sometimes a natural method is better at working with the body to give the body leeway to heal itself, vs. doing the healing on behalf of the body. To that end, these methods can take a bit more time, but you'll be stronger on the other side of the journey.

Monday, February 9, 2015

NingXia Red - A Supplement Every BODY Could Benefit From

I have a pretty Crunchy Life. There are degrees of crunchy and holistic, and my latest forays into the Crunchy world involve the supplement side of Young Living Essential Oils.I've been using Essential Oils for about 3 years now, and have stayed away from the supplements because I just don't. do. vitamins. But in 2014, the Crunchy Skeptic (AKA: my husband), was training for his first full marathon - the Air Force Marathon. Now, as you've seen with other posts done by me, I am not the runner of our trio. I leave all that to Slick and Spinster Beth, but the Crunchy Skeptic is on board with it. He needed something that wasn't chock full of all of the chemicals to train for the long endurance runs that a marathon requires. He tried several energy drinks on the market and found they all either tasted awful, were full of sugar and additives, or just didn't work for his needs.  So he asked me to see if there was something that Young Living might have to help. Enter NingXia Red and NingXia Nitro.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Beating Breathing Trouble and Pain - Naturally!

I haven't written on here as often as Spinster Beth and Slick because I don't always do the same things they do - but that is the point of the blog, right? I don't run, but watching my husband, and Slick and Spinster Beth, I am inspired to try ... someday. My kids would probably enjoy the effort (sadly, they wouldn't even need bikes to keep up with me.) But I am writing today about Essential Oils because for now that is what I use most for better health. 

back in January at work 

I have to share a story about a friend of mine who has been struggling with her health for several months. TLDR: She had trouble breathing, a couple of infections that were not getting better, an open leg wound that would not heal, was mentally and emotionally compromised by all the prescription drugs they had her on, and miserable. Read the end paragraphs for the changes that occurred after moving to holistic methods and Essential Oils.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Iron Girl Half Marathon 27 April 2014

Iron Girl Half Marathon, Columbia, MD April 2014
Picture by kind stranger

I did it! 2:31:22. 11:34 pace, which is rather shocking. I expected to come in around 2:46.

It was awesome. I am so glad I did it! Even in the last few miles, when I was struggling, I didn't regret signing up. It was so exciting, and exhausting. I'm still amazed I did it. I went from couch potato to half-marathoner! If someone had told me three years ago I'd run a half-marathon before I was 45, I would never have believed it.

Now, I feel like I can say "I'm a runner!" Not just "I run."

I'm a runner!

Nice Stats! 

The event started an hour late because some cones along the route were misplaced and the Howard County Police were concerned, either that runners would get off course or that runners would get hit by cars. At 0700, I positioned myself in the corral with the 11:30 pace group, and waited. Long story short, at 0730 we were told to go ahead and leave the corral and hit the portalets again. It was about 45 degrees ... imagine 978 shivering, mostly-scantily-clad women huddling together in a starting gate! Everyone was tensed up against the cold, so we all moved around and warmed up again, grumbling and grousing. At 0755 they herded us back into the gates and we were off at 0800. This time, I moved in with the 12:00 pace group, and I'm glad I did!

Pace at the top -- I am really happy with how even my pace was through almost 2 hours of running. The elevation is in green. That uphill just before 7.5 was ferocious! 

I normally run solo, but for 13 miles, I didn't want to run alone for fear I'd get too absorbed into every little ache or pain (or fall prey to negative thoughts). The two ladies leading the 12:00 pace group kept us at a pace closer to 11:15-11:30. It was very hilly, and we went up the hills at a faster pace, and caught our breath on the downhill side for the first half of the run (trust me, that's a little easier; sustained downhill running is very jarring). I had such a good time running with the pace group. It made it so much more fun, and the miles just flew by!

Not a 12:00 minute mile in the bunch! By mile 10, I was on my own. Mile 11 was bad. 

At the halfway point, one of the pacers said something about refueling even if we didn't think we needed to. To my detriment, I did not. I had four honey packets (swiped from Starbucks), a box of raisins, and some almonds with me, but I didn't want to eat anything. At mile 9, my legs suddenly started hurting (depleted glycogen stores?) and I started struggling. I started sucking down honey packets, but I was having to regain lost ground and I spent a bit of miles 10 and 11 walking. I was only able to stay with the pace group through mile 9, which made me kind of sad, but now I know--refuel halfway through, even if I don't want to.

There weren't many spectators along the main part of the route, except for the water stations every 2 miles. But around mile 11, close to the mall and the finish line, there were more spectators cheering us on, and it made it easier to find enough energy to keep going. The spectators were pretty smart -- "Only one more hill to go!" Those hills were terrible! The second half was mostly uphill.

I was so happy to see that finish line. I was really, really tired. It had gotten to the point where it didn't matter if I was running uphill or downhill, I was just exhausted. I was so surprised to come in at 2:31. I really didn't think I'd manage that pace. When I stopped for the tag guy to take my timing chip off, I thought I was going to fall over. What hurt the worst, immediately, was the boot camp callouses on the outside of my big toes (if you've ever worn Navy boondockers, you'll understand those callouses). I took my shoes off and walked around in my toe socks for a while, and wore sandals to work Monday. Aside from the toes, my I-Bands hurt, but today, 2 1/2 days later, it's subsiding. I might even run a bit Friday.

I honestly could not have asked for better weather. 45 - 50 degrees, humidity around 50%, beautiful sunshine, and a cool breeze. Awesome.

Here I am at the Iron Girl 5k last year.

 To my left is a half-marathoner. Both years I ran that 5k, I was in awe of the women who ran the half; to me, that was like running to the moon. In this photo, I wasn't thinking that I would be running a half on the following year. But every time I saw a pink 13.1 sticker on a car, I wanted to earn one too. It just seemed impossible. Me? Run a half? I could barely manage a 5-miler!

But I'm not this person anymore .... 

Sept 2010

I'm this person now! 

Navy-Air Force 5-Mile, D.C., Sept 2013

I am looking at the Navy-Air Force Half Marathon next. Runs through DC and past all the big memorials. September 2014! I'm so excited! Who wants to sign up with me? 

Thanks so much to everyone who supported me through the last few years. Running is a very selfish thing, and I imagine it gets tiresome listening to me babble on all the time about I-Bands, pace, complaining about the humidity, how hungry I am all the time ... thanks particularly to "Slick" from this blog, who bears the brunt of all my runbabble! 

Tillie, me, Slick after a rough morning climbing the walls in 2012

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Big Day is Nearly Here!

It's nearly time for my first half marathon!

So exciting! It's the 27th, at 0700. So just a few days away ... so what important pre-race matters am I pondering?

Hydration? Nope, there are 7 water stations. No need for a water belt!

Food? Got my Starbucks-purloined honey packets and raisins ready to go!

Weather? Supposed to be just under 50 degrees at the start, and might climb to 60. No problems there!

Parking? Parking is a cinch, right next to the finish/start at The Columbia Mall! (Which is home to the newest Athleta store, which I am doing my part to support).

No, I am pondering the most important thing of all ...

What to wear?!

The pink skirt has had a race outing already, the Navy-Air Force 5-miler/Half Marathon in DC last year. The "Woman of Steel" skirt has seen a Halloween 5k. The blue-gray is new and has only been worn for a practice run.

And what about the shirt? It has to match!

In all seriousness, I'm getting jittery about the run, and I am simultaneously enjoying the anticipation and wishing it were Sunday morning already. The one thing I'm not wishing is that it were already over, which I think means I'm really looking forward to it and not dreading it much, even though I've only managed to get up to 10.5 miles in my training (and that involved walk/run intervals). I don't have a time in mind (although I am hoping to come in at or under 2:45), and I am only competing with myself, and against the much-larger and terribly-out-of-shape person I was 3 years and 62 pounds ago. I don't ever want to see her again!

Last September, doing the 5-mile part of the Navy-AF 5 Miler/Half Marathon...maybe I'll do the Half this year? Who can say! 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Halfway to the Half

 Seven more weeks till the Irongirl Half Marathon ... am I going to be ready? It's getting down to the get-serious point.

Ducks in a shallow puddle ... is this a metaphor for my training?

I was doing great till a few weeks ago, then I hit a slump.

 Train Tracks to Nowhere

 My doc strongly advised me to bring my added-sugar consumption down to normal (which is 24g a day for women) as opposed to the 80 or so I was consuming through granola bars, super-sweet yogurts, protein bars, etc. Have you ever looked at your sugar intake? It's pretty much in everything. You have to make a special effort to exclude it from your diet. I don't mean the naturally occurring sugars in fruits and dairy products. I am referring to added sugars. Nutrition labels don't differentiate between the two, so you have to look in the ingredients and find all the different words for "sugar." I don't eat pre-prepared meals, so that helped. I just had to go through my snacks and weed out the sugar.

Once I got the sugar intake under control, it was certainly worth it. I stopped feeling shaky/hungry all the time, and I lost 5 lbs very quickly. I feel much better now ... but when I cut back on the added sugars, I inadvertently cut back on carbs, as well. That made it really hard to train. I think I'm on the right track now, but I lost a few weeks in training. I was supposed to be at 10 miles by now, but I only managed 9 yesterday. To be fair, it was really windy :-). 

So despite that little setback, I feel as if I'm on the train again. 

Ignore the trees. This train is goin' somewhere!

Although I'm 2 weeks behind, I did accomplish most of yesterday's run without having to walk much. I did have to stop three times to get rocks out of my shoes, and twice to blow my nose (I just cannot manage the snot-rocket, no matter how hard I try). And of course, I stopped to take pictures. 

Here's my pit stop. Charming, isn't it? There's a lot of construction on base, which means a lot of port-a-potties.

I have no qualms about using a port-a-potty (Or, in this case, "Bobby's Potties.") This one comes with a nice little table I can use to set my stuff on while I avail myself of the facilities. 

My overshirt (which I put back on two minutes later because the wind was so cold) and my water belt.

So, how did I change my diet? I gave up all sports gels/gummies and replaced them with honey packets and raisins. It is highly advisable to stop running to consume a honey packet. I'll spare you the details, but it is hard to run and maintain steady breathing while coughing and choking.

Instead of peanut-butter granola bars, which I love :-( , I switched to packets of mixed nuts. No more protein bars, either -- between just those two items, I was slightly exceeding my daily sugar intake. After a run or a workout, I eat a banana and some nuts. My snacks are cheerios in soy or almond milk (dairy milk upsets my stomach), boiled eggs, and string cheese. The carbs are still difficult -- I still need more. I'm working on it!

The biggest challenge was my coffee/tea habit. I love sweet, light coffee and tea. But the sweet/light part had to go. I bought some Truvia and put just the barest sprinkle in black coffee. I don't want to rely on artificial sweeteners, but Truvia is from Stevia, I think, so it's natural. And I use just a wee bit. It's all worth it, because it's making me healthier. Sugar is not necessarily evil, but we sure do abuse it.

Seven weeks to go. I'm nervous, but the last 2 years have taught me something. On race day, everything is different. Race-day nerves don't stand a chance against the energy and excitement of the runners and spectators and music! It's just magic.

Told you it was windy!