Trail Etiquette Turned Deadly

Hi guys! How’s it going today? It’s supposed to be a whopping 80 degrees today here in Illinois, so I’m one happy Illinoisan. And it’s Friday to boot 😉

A couple months ago, I was on my usual long run, on my usual trail, in the zone and finishing up that last mile – as usual. I was a little early in reaching my end point, so I decided to keep going half way, turn around, and then make it to the end point to make a nice even, rounded mile (OCD much?)


As I got to my “turning point,” I abruptly stopped, turned around on the trail, and made my way back to the finish. However, with headphones in ears, donning a this-is-my-trail attitude, I nearly got clipped by a bike going who knows how fast. The cyclist was pissed at me, and he had every right to be. (I said sorry and yelled it like three more times.)




I was pretty shaken up the rest of that day, but haven’t really thought much about it since. Until today. Today I read an article about a runner who was on her typical run, probably running on her usual trail, jamming out to her tunes, who did the exact same thing I did, but had a much less fortunate outcome. The runner was hit by the cyclist and later died in the hospital from critical head injuries. The cyclist was injured as well.

So instead of a delicious dinner, or a new breakfast recipe, or kick butt strength training workout to try, I have today a PSA for runners or – or anyone who uses the trail, really:

Watch out for others when you’re on the trail or exercising outdoors. Turn down the volume to your iPod so you can hear cyclists verbal warnings and other passersby.

I know I’ll always look and make sure no one is behind me before I turn around on the trail now (probably to the point of being paranoid, now!) Scary stuff, man.


Hope you all enjoy your Friday! I have a busy one filled with errands, but then tonight I’m going to a local winery! It should be a good time. But I have to bake something to bring, and I’m not sure what. Maybe a pumpkin dessert?


Have you ever had any close calls involving collisions – either with cyclists, other runners, cars, etc – while exercising?

And this one’s a little more light-hearted:

There have been TONS of pumpkin desserts floating around the blogland as of late. What was the most memorable one of the week that you saw?


Fueled on Bailey’s

It finally feels like Christmas at the RAN household. I woke up in a fabulous mood yesterday because the husband and I had big plans to transform our everyday casa in to a winter wonderland!

But first, I headed to the gym to get my workout in. I made it to a Saturday morning yoga class which I loved! It was in the upstairs room of my gym, which is very nice for a yoga class – mirrors, wood floors, space heaters (which I parked my mat right next to,) and big open windows. It was a wonderful class, and Christy, the instructor did a wonderful job. I’ll be going to more of her classes for sure. I planned on doing cardio afterwards, but after 10 minutes on the elliptical, I was just too excited to start decorating!

Fa La La La La

First we needed our decorating fuel:


Coffee + Baileys = holidays. Enough said.


I enjoyed a nice, big mug. Thoroughly 😉

Then Shane started on getting out the Christmas tree:



While Niko hid behind my feet:


She’s such a scaredy cat dog :-p

Per tradition, we put on the first “New home” ornament together:


And then went on all the other ornaments. Each year, the husband and I get each other a secret ornament for the tree, and our first year of having a tree, he got me this gem of an ornament:


Cracks me up every time 😀



And we put up everything while listening blasting Christmas music, obviously. 😉

Substitute This!

We worked up quite an appetite, and Shane asked me to make him a turkey sandwich with mayo and cheese. However, it’d been a loooong time since I’ve used mayo, and when I opened the jar, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m notorious for starting to make something according to a recipe, only to realize mid-way through that I don’t have one of the ingredients. Well, obviously  I can’t just give up and quit trying. So the only solution is to substitute something else for that missing ingredient! Through all of my many, many times of this happening, I’ve had some recipes turn out phenomenally, and some not so much, but it has taught me one thing: how to be creative and use substitutes – ya gotta work with what you’ve got!

Like using laughing cow cheese wedges as a mock-mayo spread:


IMG_2361IMG_2362IMG_2363And having your husband eat the entire thing thinking there was mayo on his sandwich. I had yet another Hugh Jass salad. I didn’t have to substitute annnnything but hummus for more hummus 😀

Or like wanting a bowl of cookie dough ice cream, and only having vanilla in the fridge. Why not make some cookie dough balls (or just snake one from the fridge if they’re like crack to you, as they are me, and you must have them on hand at all times,) toss in the ‘nilla ice cream:


crumble, mix, and you’ve got cookie dough ice cream! Sometimes you just have to work with what you have on hand, I tell ya.

And although we are now decorated for Christmas, and that it’s only three days shy of December, I was very surprised when I took the recycling out to find that wearing a short sleeved t-shirt because I didn’t feel like grabbing a coat wasn’t a stupid mistake! It was almost 60º outside! I immediately called my friend, Heidi, and suggested we take our BFF doggies out for a walk on the trail.

IMG_2376 Immediately after I snapped this picture, Niko totally did a snarl-face at BFF, Alfi. Bully.


IMG_2377 IMG_2378 And about 10 seconds after this picture, I turned around to find Niko covered in burrs. Poor thing. She had them on all four paws and even behind her ear in a matter of seconds! Picking them out one by one took about 10 minutes, but after a bit, she was burr-free.

IMG_2379 We walked about a mile and a half down, and then headed the same distance back.


It was a very nice, brisk, walk and I’m glad we were able to make it out!

It was dark by the time I drove back to the house, and Shane and I were ready to Wii it out. Hrm. That sounds weird. We decided to play some Wii. There 🙂

Snacks:IMG_2381 Rhubarb whine I’d forgotten about:

IMG_2382 We played Cookin’ Mama for a good hour:

IMG_2383 IMG_2384

Until eventually we got hungry ourselves, and I transformed the game into a reality and became the Cookin’ Mama.

His and Hers Deconstructed Lasagna

There were a few things that inspired me to make this dish.

        A) after shopping at Target on Friday, it looked like the Black Friday crowds had deconstructed the store

        B) While having a Top Chef marathon the other day, I saw an episode involving deconstructed dishes and it looked super cool

        C) There was conveniently a recipe for it in Clean Eating mag this month

I took the recipe from CE, and adapted it into his and hers dishes. Mine had some Morning Star ground crumbles, and his, beef, obviously.


Some rigatoni, spinach, ricotta cheese, and some other deliciousness later:


Notice the Christmas Coasters? Eh? Eh?? 🙂 This meal was amazing! There was definitely enough for leftovers, which is fine, because I have to go to a friend’s Pampered Chef party tonight and Shane will be on his own for dinner. The combination of the cheese plus the veggies – especially the eggplant almost knocked my head off.

Well my friends, the last day of the weekend is here. Le sigh. Even though I was sick the better part of it, staying home from work one and a half days made it seem even longer! The majority of the afternoon today will be spent on studying for my ACE exam, and preparing myself by getting a few little things out of the way work-wise. But first, it’s off to meet a friend at the gym, and inevitably Starbuckies!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Sunday, and has recovered from all the Thanksgiving festivities by now! I really enjoyed reading all about your delicious meals and fun time with family 😀

Nothin’ a New Running Trail and Shorts Can’t Cure

Ahh I had the bad-day-blues today. I had mentioned in my morning post that I didn’t sleep well at all last night, I didn’t get in my morning run like I planned. Well, all was not lost, because after work, I decided to run on a trail I’d never run on before, and it was AWESOME!!

(No, I didn’t take a camera with me, but I took my phone, because I’d be likely to get lost somewhere new. Yes, even on a trail, hahaha)

The first 2 miles were down this lovely trail, and it was alllll shade, baby! Once I got to ISU campus, construction had blocked off the rest of the trail, and I knew I didn’t want to go too much farther before I headed back, so I just wound around the campus and found the trail at a different spot.

It was a lovely, shade-filled, trip down memory lane of a run! I ran past my old apartments, the library, and my old jon at the Daily Vidette. So fun! I’m definitely going to run this route again sometime 😀

Sideways Stats:

(seriously, Blogger?! Please start uploading my pictures in right-side-up)

I ran about 4 miles in a little over 36 minutes, which is pretty darn fast for me. I can attribute this partly because of the awesome weather and the shade. Oh, and another great part, is there were SO many people on the trail! Whether they were running, biking, roller blading, walking their dogs, skateboarding or whatever, it was nice to not be by myself like I am a lot when I run.

Before my run I had half of a mango, and had the other half when I got back to the home front:

Ok, maybe I went a little nutso on it before my run and ate a little more than half 😉

I guess you could say I’m glad I missed my morning run! Because it would have been on the dreadmill at the gym…ugh.

Ok, so rewind back to this morning. I made a Green Monster with a frozen banana, a half c. strawberries, a handful of spinach, a carrot, and some almond milk. It had a case of the ugly.

Oh, and it’s not in a clear glass on accident. I had to pick one of my friends up on my way to work to take her there, too, and I have a feeling she’d be grossed out by the color. Whatev, it was yummy.

Work kinda sucked, but oh well. I had some Natures Path cereal for breakfast, and had a yogurt around 11:

LOVE this flava!

Lunch was just an almond butter and banana sandwhich, and I forgot to take a picture anyway. It was delightful though, I won’t lie.

Since I knew I’d be running after work, I had one of these puppies around 3:30 to fuel it up:

YUM! Oh, and I got my madre hooked on Lara Bars too, now 😀 She says the Apple Pie flavor is good? I’ve never had that one yet.

And this was another snack throughout the day:

Yikes, I think I may have done it on the nuts/nut butters! What? That’s not possible? Oh, ok good 😀

So all in all, my day took a turn for the better, courtesy to awesome new running shorts and route. It’s funny how something so unexpected and small can make a terrible Tuesday a terrific one!

Did anything turn your day around today? Good or bad?