3,821 Miles

This has been one of the happiest years of my life.  I’ve said it a million times…I am not an exceptional runner, but I run for the joy of it.  My friends truly made this a joyful year.  Thank you!

My 2014 goals were:

1.  To log my miles for the first time ever…with a goal of 2,014 mile.
2.  Run more races than ever with the Fleet Feet Race Team with a goal of getting more comfortable with road      marathons.
3.  Become a pacer for the Fleet Feet Country Music Marathon Training Program
4.  Start a blog.

Here’s how it played out…

January

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February

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Race: The Seaside Half Marathon

March

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April

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Race: Country Music Half Marathon Pacer

May

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Race: Achilles International 5 Mile

June

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Race: The Franklin Half Marathon

The Moon Pie 10 Mile

Jackal Trail Marathon

July.  I hit my 2014 goal and celebrated accordingly!

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Race: Brentwood Firecracker 5k…my first 5k!

August

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Race: Cumberland Plateau Stage Race

September: I started JenChoosesJoy!

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Race: Franklin Classic 10k and 5k

And…I became an RRCA Coach!

October

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Race: Chicago Marathon

November

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Race: The Flying Monkey Marathon

Boulevard Bolt Thanksgiving 5 Miler

December

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Race: St. Jude Memphis Marathon

I am really proud of that total: 3, 821!  I followed a bunch of Mark Hadley’s training plans and he got me through a lot of races!

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2015 Run Goals

1. I was fortunate to make the Fleet Feet Racing Team again…woo hoo!
2. I’m going to pace a training group for the Fleet Feet Country Music Marathon 4 hour group.
3. Run and write for the Rock ‘N’ Blog Team.
4. I’m going to log my miles again, but I’m hesitant to set a goal.  I want to listen to my body and see where it leads.  4,000 miles would be great, but that depends on how I’m feeling.

Blog Goals:

1. Continue to grow JenChoosesJoy by posting 6 times a week.
2. Move to a self-hosted site with ads.
3. Make #choosejoy shirts to raise money for St. Jude.  🙂

2015 Races:

1. Pistol Ultra…although as I type this, I have a tight Achilles and I’m on the fence about racing 😦
2. Boston Marathon
3. Seattle Half or Full
4. Franklin Classic 10k
5. New York Marathon
6. Flying Monkey Marathon
7. Boulevard Bolt
8. St. Jude Memphis Half or Full

And, because I like to aim high…

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I hope you ALL have a very Happy New Year!!!

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What was your 2015 running highlight?  Mine was a surprising 2nd overall female finish at the Flying Monkey Marathon!

What was your best lesson learned?  I don’t need to race 3 marathons and 1 ultra within 3 months.  I’m exhausted!

How did you ring in the New Year?  Pizza and champagne with my husband at home…perfection:)

CHOBANI Blueberry Coffee Cake

This coffee cake would be the perfect New Year’s breakfast! It’s made with blueberries, Chobani Greek Yogurt, and has two layers of streusel. The middle streusel melts inside the cake making a gooey cinnamon layer…yum! The top adds the perfect sweet crunch.

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Let’s bake!

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Start by whisking together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

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In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest.

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With a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar mixture.

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Mix in the eggs; one at a time.

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Add the plain greek yogurt and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined.

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Slowly add in the dry ingredients and beat until combined.

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Sprinkle your blueberries with 1 Tablespoon on flour and toss to coat.  This keeps the blueberries from sinking to the bottom of your cake.  Then, gently fold them into your cake batter.

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Streusel: In a medium bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

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Work the butter into the mixture with your fingers or a fork.

Now, you’re ready to assemble your cake.

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Add half of your cake batter to the greased 8-inch banking pan.  Sprinkle with half of the streusel filling.

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Spoon the remaining batter over the filling.

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Top with the remaining streusel and bake for 40-45 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  I just love the crunchy cinnamon topping!

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Enjoy!

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Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I used Chobani)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour to coat the blueberries

Streusel Filling and Topping:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 stick unsalted butter

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set dry ingredients aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine granulated sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant. Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar mixture until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beat until smooth. Beat in the Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.

4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.  In a small bowl, sprinkle your blueberries with 1 Tablespoon of flour and toss to coat.  Gently fold in the fresh blueberries.

5. To make the streusel topping and filling, place the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a medium bowl and stir well with a wooden spoon. Work the butter into the mixture with your fingertips until evenly distributed.

6. Pour half of the coffee cake batter into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle with half of the streusel topping/filling. Spoon the remaining batter over the filling, spreading gently. Sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

7. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40-45 minutes. Cool to room temperature and serve.

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#choosejoy

CHOBANI reached out to me and asked if I’d come up with a recipe for their #MadeWithChobani project.

Champagne is Always the Answer

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I love all things champagne, sparkling wine, prosecco….you get the picture.  Bubbles are good and the New Year is a perfect time to pop a cork.  Although, I can’t really think of a bad time.

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In our house, we actually have a pizza and champs tradition!

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How NOT to open a bottle of champagne…

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And, now a short how-to video on how to properly pop a bottle…

I love a Bubbly Bar!  Here are a few ideas for your next party…

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Fun facts:

1.  1, 750 ml bottle fills 6 flutes.  Estimate 3 glasses per guest when buying champagne.

2.  In a 750ml bottle of Champagne there are 49 million bubbles… approximately.

3.  Champagne has three times more gas than beer.

4.  There is about 90 pounds per square inch of pressure in a bottle of Champagne. That’s more than triple the pressure in an automobile tire.

5.  Champagne and death – anyhow the comforting fact is that you are more likely to be killed by a flying Champagne cork than to be killed by a poisonous spider.

6.  A somewhat surprising fact perhaps, but marketing surveys have shown that concert-goers of hip-hop concerts, rap and R & B gigs, are 94% more likely to drink Champagne than the average person.

7.  In the movie adaptations James Bond drinks Champagne more than any other beverage (nearly 40 glasses and counting).

8.   The longest recorded flight of a Champagne cork is over 177 feet

9.  Champagne is only produced from the French region of Champagne. It is believed that this wine was invented by the Benedictine monk, Dom Perignon. He allowed the carbon dioxide to form inside the bottle, giving rise to bubbles.

10.  If it’s not from the Champagne region of France, it’s called sparkling wine…not champagne.  And that’s ok…I love it, too!

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Bubbles are so much fun…

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I hate when this happens…

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Like a boyscout, you should ALWAYS be prepared.

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Cheers to a very Happy New Year!

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Will you be popping a bottle for your New Year’s celebration?

Do you actually stay up until midnight?

Will you be participating in a resolution run?

#choosejoy

Watercolor Weekend

It has been a gorgeous weekend in Watercolor!

Saturday:

Sunrise from our balcony…

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And running around Western Lake…

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I logged 9 miles and then we hit the gym for some weights.

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Big salad for lunch and a side of fries, because it’s vacation!

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Italian for dinner at Borago, because it’s not too soon to start carb loading for next weekends race, right?!

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This was the yummiest mushroom ravioli!

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Sunday:

Sunday’s high temp: 75 degrees!!!

We headed over to the Watersound to see our favorite dunes.

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17.5 miles, but a couple of those were strolling on the beach:)

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I loved the morning fog.

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Visited the Watercolor Farmer’s Market.

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We had lunch at the beach club grill where I found a brussels sprouts and butternut squash salad…so good!

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After lunch, we hopped on our bikes to tool around:)

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A pre-dinner pic:)

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One of the best parts about staying at the Watercolor Inn….nightly cookies with your turndown service!!!

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What’s your favorite dish at an Italian restaurant?

When do you start carb loading for a big race?

What’s your favorite beach?

#choosejoy

Mostly Silent Saturday

13 miles.  Started in the dark and finished in the sunshine!

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Ended at the beach…

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And met the hubs at Another Broken Egg for breakfast!

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Took some time to enjoy our balcony:)

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View from our table at lunch.  This doesn’t suck.

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Sugar Shak ice cream at the beach is mandatory.

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And, a pic before dinner:)

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What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?  Today, I had cake batter!

Vacation running…yay or nay?  Obviously, I love running on vaca.

Have you gone back to work or do you have some time off?

#choosejoy

Taper Time and Beach Bound

Monday:

8 miles and some TRX in the gym

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I finished making Rocky Road fudge to deliver to friends.

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Tuesday:

Track with friends.  My post-it prep got a little complicated!

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And we had breakfast afterwards 🙂

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Wednesday:

11 miles.  It was dark and rainy, but it was warm enough to run IN SHORTS!

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Luckily I brought some dry clothes and met my sweet husband for a crepe breakfast afterwards.

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I had Christmas Eve dinner with my Grandparents, Pop, and cousins 🙂

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Thursday: Christmas Day…beach bound!!

We usually take a little vacation during the Christmas holiday.  This was the first time we actually travelled on Christmas Day.  Guess what?  Nothing is open.

But then, there was a Christmas miracle!  We found an open Starbucks in the middle of Alabama!!!

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We made it to Watercolor…my happy place:)

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Of course I wore my I Run 30A shirt.

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The Great Southern Cafe has my favorite vegetable plate ever, so it was the perfect Christmas dinner.

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And lastly, a Christmas sunset.

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Did you have to travel on Christmas day?  Where did you eat?  We found an IHOP and Starbucks.

What was the highlight of your Christmas?  Breathing in the salt air with my husband.

What’s your favorite vegetable?  Broccoli