Shake that Rump...

...what? It's for colon cancer awareness!

Yep, that's right. Jamie and I recently ran our first official race, the Rumpshaker 5K. We previously ran the Ketchup Run 5K at Earthfare in Montgomery, Al.  However, the Ketchup Run didn't require registration or announce official results; so, the Rumpshaker was our first REAL one.

It was ALOT of fun.  My sister, Janelle, was awesome enough to come down and spend Friday night so she could babysit K for us on Saturday.  After the hectic "Where-in-the-world-is-the-ipod?" debacle which ended unsuccessfully Friday night, Saturday morning got a slower start than we had hoped as we ran back and forth from the car for forgotten items (like headphones).  Nevertheless, we were out the door before 7am for our 8am start time.  We ran by McDonald's and started the day right (did I just say that???) with fruit and yogurt parfait/fruit and oatmeal.  We then met up with our good friends, the Johnsons, and carpooled it on up to Sloss Furnace in downtown Birmingham.

After parking the car, debating whether to bring jackets, and witnessing an older gentleman with his shorts on backwards, we shuffled on over to the start line.  We then  preceded to wait in the abnormally long port-a-john line with just minutes to spare till start time. I was absolutely amazed at the  amount of people present for this race.  We found out later that there was around 2600 people!
I was also amazed at the annoying, live hard rock playing a 7:45 in the morning.

So, after patronizing the port-a-lets, we got in line somewhere in the middle of 2600 people and wondered how this was going to work. It turns out that it worked out just fine thanks to these handy-dandy little shoe sensors.  I'm pretty sure that they are RFID tags.  Anyway, they are linked to your individual race-bib number and record each runner's start time when they cross the start line.  So, even though we didn't cross the start line until 5 minutes after the green light, we were able to get our official time.

Wickedly enough, the first thing on the route was a steep hill over an over-pass. This was made even worse by the fact that everyone was still really bunched up at this point.  But, once you got over it (literally or figuratively) it was smooth sailing.  I actually really enjoyed running through downtown.

Jamie and I did not stay together for this one, but I am super proud of her for RUNNING the entire thing! Although she sells herself short, you would never guess from watching her run that she has only been doing it for a month or so!

My advice to people running big 5K's like this one would be to start near the back because it is much more encouraging to pass all the slower people than to start at the front and be passed by all the faster people!

After the race was over, they had the assembly area set up with all sorts of awesome stuff.  Not the least of which was a 20 foot inflatable colon complete with polyps!

Anthony and I fighting colon cancer.

They also had all sorts of food booths set up, including one from MELTING POT! So, after foraging for about an hour and maxing out our SWAG quota,

we hit the road and headed on over to Dunkin' Donuts where Jamie and I were introduced to blueberry flavored coffee (??)!! Don't knock it 'till you've tried it.

All in all, I'd say it was a pretty awesome day complete with people running with fake butts on the outside of their shorts, copious amounts of bowel & backside jokes, and tons of good laughs!  And no one made fun of me for being the dork who ran in the official race t-shirt. I guess its kind of like wearing a band's t-shirt to that band's concert. Faux Pas galore.

On a more serious note, this cause was very close to our hearts because my father, Rev. John C. Policastro, is a colon cancer survivor. He has been cancer free for 4 years now and we are SO proud of him.  We ran this race in his honor.

On April 2nd, I am running the Amphibious Warrior Mud Run put on by Auburn University's Naval ROTC.  The proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project which is a FANTASTIC organization that was a huge blessing to me when I had my hernia repair during OIF 07-09. If you are any where near Auburn, COME OUT AND RUN!


I am really excited about this post!  I think it's going to keep me motivated.

Now, to explain the title of this post, I have 2 plans, that take 20 minutes a day, for 30 days.  I officially started my plans on Sunday, March 27, so today is actually Day 3.

Those 2 plans are -
1.  30 Day Shred

For those who have not heard of it, this video contains three workouts: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3.  You of course start with Level 1 and move on to the next level when you feel that you're ready.  My plan is to spend 10 days on each level.

Each workout is 20 minutes long.  After a 1 minute warm-up, each workout has three “circuits.” Each circuit has three minutes of strength training, two minutes of cardio, then one minute of classic abwork.  Then - no rest - you’ll immediately start a new circuit.

So far, we've done the work out on Sunday and Monday (I'm waiting for JP to get home to do today's workout) and I'm feeling really good.  Sunday I was tired and on Monday my muscles were pretty tight, but I can definitely tell it's working some muscles that haven't been worked in a while.

In addition to this work-out, I'll also continue with running.  Thanks to Dusty over at All Things G&D, I now have a pretty nifty mileage tracker (located over to the right, beside "Blogs I Love").

Side note of accomplishments - 
~ We recently participated in our second (but first official) 5K.  I ran the whole thing and shortened my time by 5 minutes.
~ I've lost 10 pounds!

2. 30 Day Cleaning Schedule

Kelly over at View Along the Way led me to this next plan with this post which linked me over to where she found it at Apartment Therapy.  (Did you follow all of that?)  So far, it's reasonably easy stuff, with just a little bit to do each day.  Since we're on Day 3 today, I'll go ahead and give you Day 1 and Day 2 so we'll be caught up.

Day 1 - Surface clean living room and kitchen (pick up stray items, dust, sweep, vacuum)
Day 2 - Clean bathrooms (toilets, showers, floors, walls, mirrors)
Day 3 - Surface clean bedrooms (put away toys, clothes, dust)

In addition to each day's task I also:
~ want to maintain what I've done so far and 
~ make our bed every day

And that's it!  I'll get a gadget posted somewhere on the blog soon with each day's assignment posted in case anyone else wants to follow the cleaning plan.  I'll also list them all in order under the "Our Projects" tab for anyone who starts following it a little late.

Ring Around the Chicken Salad

**Courtesy of Mrs. Anna Johnson

~1 rotisserie chicken (we've gotten the original kind from Walmart and the BBQ kind from Publix)
~2-3 tbsp of mayo (we also like to use 4 tbsp. of plain Greek yogurt* - more details at bottom)
~a squirt of spicy brown mustard
~1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
~1/4 c. Craisins
~1/4 c. crushed pecans or walnuts
~salt and pepper to taste
~1/2 tsp. garlic powder
~2 cans of crescent rolls (we get the Great Value original kind, not the buttered kind)

1.  Preheat your oven to whatever the crescent roll can says.
2.  While that's preheating, peel the top skin off of the chicken and shred ALL the white meat up.
3.  Stir in the mayo/Greek yogurt.
4.  Then I just squirt a little squiggly line of mustard over it and mix it up again.
5.  Then add the cheese, craisins, and nuts.
6.  Then mix in the salt, pepper, and garlic powder. 

After you've mixed all the ingredients, spray a cookie sheet with Pam.  If you use a cooking stone you don't have to spray it. Take one can of crescent rolls and lay them out in a circle with the wide ends on the inside and the pointy end pointing out. It will look like a sunshine. 

Then take the other can, and lay those pointing inside, with the wide ends touching the meeting points of the other wide ends.  (Have I confused you yet?  Clicking the picture should show you a larger picture.) I just go in order and keep laying them on top of each other. 

Then spread your chicken salad around the ring where the wide ends are touching. 

Then you're just going to criss cross the crescent rolls over the chicken salad, alternating inside/outside/inside/outside, etc.  

You may have to tuck the dough to the side so it doesn't stick out, like this:

After you've gone all the way around, your ring should look something like this.

Then just bake it however long the crescent roll pack says, usually around 11 minutes.  Enjoy!

*JP and I have started using plain Greek yogurt instead of mayo and sour cream.  
In this recipe, 2-3 tbsp. of lite mayo would contain around 135 calories.  However the 4 tbsp. of Greek yogurt only contain 32 calories.  Food for thought :)

Working on a New Weigh of Life!

I haven't met many people who love to diet.  But I know finding things that make dieting a little more enjoyable really helps.  These are the things that have helped me...

1. Tasty breakfast food - 
    I used to never eat breakfast.  You always hear, "Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!"  But why???  So I read up on some interesting facts about just how important it is.  

Shape magazine says:
~ "More than 80 percent of people who lose weight and keep it off eat breakfast every or nearly every day." said 
~  "Eating breakfast reduces your hunger later in the day, making it easier to avoid overeating...In fact, skipping breakfast actually increases your risk of obesity.  Eating breakfast gets you on track to make healthy choices all day. People who eat breakfast regularly tend to eat a healthier diet.... When you skip breakfast, you're more likely to skip fruits and vegetables the rest of the day too.  Eating breakfast gives you energy, increasing your physical activity during the day.  Skipping breakfast is associated with decreased physical activity."

   So these are my two go-to breakfasts:

2. Scunci No-Slip Grip headbands

    Not many people (men offense guys) know this but about 3 months after a woman has a baby, alot of her hair falls out.  And I mean alot.  Over the next few months, all those empty hair follicles begin growing new hair at the same time.  Then all of the sudden, we have thousands of tiny little hairs that are about 1 or 2 inches long, and they just love to tickle our face and neck.  Personally, this drives me crazy, especially when I'm running or working out.  So when I saw these babies, I knew I just had to try them.  As my second "treat" (that I talked about here) we bought a package and I love them!!  Not only do they work, there are 8 different colors, one to match every tank top and t-shirt I own!  Sometimes when I'm feeling sassy, I even mix-n-match and wear two!

3. Easy snacks
    Snacking between meals is also important (keeps metabolism pumping and prevents overeating at meal times), but it's easy to forget, since it's not an actual meal.  These two bars are quick, easy, and oh so delicious.

4, Our Biggest Loser Scale
    That's right.  We're suckers for a name brand.  So when our old scale was consistently off by 7-10 pounds, we decided to ditch it and upgrade.  This scale displays your body fat percentage, body water percentage, muscle mass, and bone mass.  Oh, and your weight.

Alright, just like last time, any suggestions/recommendations are more than welcome!  I'm always looking for new healthy, tasty meals or snacks.  Oh and running songs...I need new running songs so send them my way!

Side note of accomplishments - 
~ We participated in our first 5K!  I ran the first mile without stopping and then walked/ran intervals to finish.  
~ I've lost 8 pounds! Woohoo!

Olive Garden Stuffed Mushrooms

**Courtesy of CopyKat

~8 – 12 Fresh Mushrooms (we used 2 large portobello mushrooms)
~1 (6 oz.) Can Clams (drained and finely minced) (save 1/4 cup of clam juice for stuffing)
~1 Green Onions (chopped finely, about 1 Tbsp.)
~1 Egg (beaten)
~1/2 tsp. Minced Garlic
~1/8 tsp. Garlic Salt
~1/2 C. Italian Style Bread Crumbs
~1tsp. Oregano Leaves
~1 Tbsp. Melted Butter (cool)
~2 Tbsp. Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese
~1 Tbsp. Finely Grated Romano Cheese
~2 Tbsp. Finely Grated Mozzarella Cheese ( for stuffing )
~1/4 C. Finely Grated Mozzarella Cheese (for garnish)
~1/4 C. Melted Butter

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Wash and remove stems from mushrooms, pat dry. Save stems for another recipe. 
3.  In mixing bowl place clams, onions, garlic salt, minced garlic, soft butter and oregano. Mix through and blend well. Add Italian bread crumbs, egg, clam juice and blend. Stir cheeses in clam stuffing and mix well.
4.  Place clam mixture inside mushroom cavity and slightly mound clam mixture. You should be able to stuff between 8 – 12 mushrooms depending on the size of mushrooms.
5.  Place mushrooms in slightly oiled baking dish. Pour melted butter over mushrooms. Cover and place in a preheated oven for about 35 – 40 minutes. Remove cover and sprinkle freshly grated mozzarella cheese on top and pop back in oven just so the cheese melts slightly, garnish with freshly diced parsley.