A healthier generation: My wish for baby Lee

I haven’t officially announced it here, but if you’ve followed along to my Facebook page lately, you know that I’m pregnant and we’re expecting our first child early October!

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I’m currently 17 weeks and I’m excited to be regaining the energy that was literally sucked from my body. I couldn’t wait to go home from work and crawl in bed in February and March and now I’m back to a normal sleep schedule and more workouts. Yay!

I can’t help but think about that little baby growing in my tummy every moment of every day. I even dream about him/her when I’m fast asleep.

Today’s youth are not expected to outlive their parents. Heart disease plays a big part in this, as the number one killer of Americans. I work for the American Heart Association, but more than that, I’m passionate about creating a healthier community and generation.

The work we have to do is more than I can do alone and I’m asking for your help.

I expect more for my child and know you do too. Please consider giving a gift in honor or memory of someone you know, or in honor of our our future generations. To donate to my personal Heart Walk page, please visit this link.


DeEtta’s Taco Soup

I recently saw that someone posted a Weight Watchers taco recipe. I didn’t love everything in it, so when I went to the store tonight I just grabbed a whole bunch of stuff for my own version of the recipe. It was AMAZING.

My husband recommended I use beef next time, but I used ground turkey breast to keep it a 0 point soup. AND he ate two bowls, so I don’t think he really minded.

And because it was 0 SmartPoints, I added some tortilla chips on top and a tablespoon of sour cream. Delish!

This is going to make a great lunch to take to work this week!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


DeEtta’s Taco Soup Recipe: 
1 can Rotel
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar salsa
1 package of dry ranch seasoning
1 package taco seasoning
1 lb 99% fat free ground turkey (cooked)
1 medium onion (sauteed)
1 green pepper (sauteed)
Pepper and cayenne to taste
Optional: 2 cups spicy V8 juice (included in SmartPoints)

Don’t drain the cans, just dump. Mix together in pot and simmer 20 minutes. You can also prepare this in a crockpot!

Serving: 1 cup, 0 SmartPoints
Serves: 16

Optional toppings: tortilla chips, non-fat Greek yogurt/ sour cream, avocado 

2018 Goals

It’s that time of year again… When you’ve over indulged and are ready to get back on the band wagon with a list of New Year’s resolutions…. To lose weight, be more productive and take time for yourself…. sound familiar?

I’m right there with you. Here are some of my goals for 2018 (I like goals over resolutions):

  1. Incorporate yoga in addition to my running workouts. I’m shooting for 1-2 times a week and I started by signing up last week. I’m so looking forward to going back this week to work on stretching, strength and clearing my mind. The next two months of work are hectic at my job and I recognize that I need to carve out time for myself and let the stress of the day melt away before going home to spend time with my husband. After I’m bored comfortable with yoga, I plan to incorporate more weights and strength training.
  2. Say “no” more. For a hot second, I thought I was Super-Woman and took on more than I could handle at work and in my personal life. Saying “no” or “no, thank you” is going to be a focus when it doesn’t fit within my passion, my goals, or my timeframe. “Saying yes to happiness sometimes means saying no to those you are trying to please.”
  3. Run a half marathon this year. I don’t know if I’ll ever run another marathon. After last year’s attempt, I’m not ready to try again just yet. My heart and mind weren’t in it and then I ended up injured following my 18-mile training run. I have started a half marathon training plan that kind of fell apart over the holidays and being sick. I’m focused on picking it back up and completing at least one half marathon this year. I’m actually going to shoot for two in the spring (Liberty Half and Running With The Cows) but if I only get one in, I’ll be pleased.
  4. Grow the Ottawa Running Club. Fliers, Facebook ads and Letters to the Editor are the ways I plan to continue marketing the Ottawa Running Club. The group has grown sparse with the cold weather but I have no doubt numbers will be back up when the weather turns nice.
  5. Read listen to five audio books. My commute to and from work feels more productive when I’m listening to a book. I’m currently listening to Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown on my phone through Audible. It’s a nice distraction when I’m running, too. Though, all I’ve been listening to lately is “The Greatest Showman” soundtrack! So good!
  6. Lose 30 lbs. Yep, I said it. I have been wanting it, but not bad enough to do the work. I’m getting my mind right to accomplish it. I don’t expect it to happen tomorrow but little by little, I’m hoping to reach my goal.

So, there it is. I put them out in the universe. So tell me, did you make New Year’s resolutions? Did you write them down and create a plan? Share yours in the comments!

Getting my mind right

I’m aboard the struggle bus and I’m desperately trying to get off!
We’ve passed my stop! GET ME OFF OF HERE!

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Every run is a struggle. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s 3 miles or 12, inside or out, morning or evening… my legs are heavy, my breathing labored and my heart feels like it’s in a thousand little pieces. I used to love running. I used to look forward to it. I used to run at a much faster pace without feeling like I was going to drop dead. Didn’t I? Those memories seem so distant that I don’t remember.

I went into this training cycle thinking that I would have to let go of past marathon experiences, past paces and times, and focus on the present. Focus on finishing.

Even that seems nearly impossible after this weekend’s terrible 12-miler. I cried at mile 4 and thought, “How will I ever complete another marathon?”

In addition to the running, I’m struggling with keeping my eating in check and losing weight. All of these things go hand-in-hand.

I’ve started incorporating more weight training into my schedule, in hopes that it would make me a stronger runner, tone up a bit and keep me injury free for Grandma’s Marathon in June. I am not totally sure what all I should be doing and have relied on Pinterest workouts  to get me through. This week, however, I had my first workout with a trainer. It was a test run. I officially start next week. I’m hoping that she can help me accomplish my goals and help me be more accountable. She’s a marathon runner too, so she gets me.

All of this comes down to my own mindset. Why am I such a Negative Nancy lately? Or Defeated DeEtta?

Today that changes. I’ve been following the T-Rex Runner’s blog and she’s been killing her races after coming back from injury. She’s also been focusing on the mindset piece and finding her mantra during each race. I’ve started listening to running podcasts on the way home just to get myself motivated to put my shoes on and get outside. The podcasts are working and I’m going to try out a new mantra on tonight’s run outside (because it’s beautiful)!

Stay tuned. My bus stop is near. Changes are coming.



How I lost 3 lbs at the Iowa State Fair

As many of you already know, the Iowa State Fair is MY FAVORITE event of the year. In my 28 years of living, I have never missed the fair. As I kid, I had 4-H projects selected to be displayed at state fair and showed rabbits there. In high school, I served on the 4-H State Council and volunteered several days. In college, I interned two summers for the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation where I organized 500+ volunteers for the duration of the fair and was charged with stocking several merchandise booths.

Fairfield & Rosetta!

Fairfield & Rosetta!

As an adult, I always take vacation time to go back and volunteer for the Blue Ribbon Foundation and see many people that I only see once a year.

My mom was selected as "Iowan of the Day" for being an awesome lady who serves the community.

My mom was selected as “Iowan of the Day” for being an awesome lady who serves the community.

For some, the Iowa State Fair is about the corn dogs, funnel cakes, cheese curds, bacon wrapped ribs, and fried Oreos, but for me, it’s so much more than that. I tried to stay on track with my food while I spent four days at the Iowa State Fair, following a work trip to Chicago for three days. I made a few slip-ups and didn’t run much while I was away (AND missed a long run!) so you can imagine my surprise when I stepped on the scale this morning to find I had lost 3.4 lbs, even AFTER eating at Texas Roadhouse last night!

So, how did I do it? Well, I’ve spent today reflecting on how exactly I managed to do it and have the following things to thank:

Chicken Kabob

Chicken Kabob

Healthy choices
Despite what you may think, there are actually a lot of healthy options available at the ISF and they aren’t hard to find. I enjoyed the following items:

Chicken Kabobs at Beattie’s Watermelon Patch
Fresh cut watermelon at Beattie’s

Seriously, the BEST watermelon

Seriously, the BEST watermelon

Turkey Tenderloin and Pulled Turkey (hold the bun) at Iowa Turkey Federation booth
Taco Tater at Cattleman’s Beef Quarters
Pork loin at Iowa Pork booth
Salad with black beans, salsa and veggies at The Salad Bowl
Fruit Kabob at The Salad Bowl

Fruit kabob!

Fruit kabob!

(**All Simply Filling!)

If there’s something you REALLY want to have that you might not get the rest of the year, go for it! For me, there wasn’t anything that I felt I was missing out on so I pretty much stuck to the wonderful healthy options. The great thing is that you’re not “stuck” at a restaurant where you have to order something. There are so many options (most of them on a stick) and you don’t have to sit down anywhere. Therefore, while some members of the group can go to one place, you can take a few extra steps and get something you want, and still enjoy one another’s company.

I started each day with a good breakfast. Each morning I either had non-fat Greek yogurt or hard boiled eggs on a stick. These kept me fueled and feeling satisfied until lunchtime. We worked at the Iowa Egg Council booth a couple mornings where we served FREE eggs on a stick, which meant breakfast was easy!

Egg on a stick!

Egg on a stick!

Stayed busy
I go to the ISF to be with my family, see the sights, and to volunteer. The busier I stay, the less time I focus on food. When I’m bored, I eat more. I know that about myself, so I need to do a better job at avoiding boredom while I’m at home. I have PLENTY of things to be doing! I focused on the sights, sounds and the people- the true reasons I enjoy the fair.

Listened to my body
I took the time to evaluate whether or not I was hungry. If I ate when I saw others eat, I would have been eating the whole day, alongside everyone else.  Was I hungry? What will fulfill my hunger? Am I hungry enough to eat an apple or am I just in the mood to snack?

Walked, a lot
I didn’t get my runs in but I was on my feet most of the day. I clocked anywhere from 4 to 8 miles a day. AND I participated in the Fairgrounds 5K! It was super fun to run through the campgrounds and fairgrounds on a beautiful morning with other fair-goers. Loved it! My feet hurt each night and never felt fully recovered by morning.

Had supporters
I had a great support system. My family knows I try to eat healthy and did a fabulous job in making it easy for me. My mom had yogurt, apples, grapes and diet green tea waiting for me. One day, she even packed me a sandwich thin so I could lose the bun on my pulled turkey sandwich and substitute it for a sandwich thin. My mom, dad and brother also let me have a bite or small portion of their foods so I was still able to enjoy rhubarb/strawberry crisp, chocolate chip cookies, guinea grinder, grater tater, and fresh salt-water taffy. AND of course I still had a couple beers with friends.


Last year, I gained 5 lbs during one weekend at the fair and I was determined to do better than that. While there’s always things I could do better, I feel really good about my progress.

What’s the one food you HAVE to have at a fair?

Race Recap: Kansas Half Marathon 2014

Remember that one time that I thought I was going to poop my pants for 9 miles of a race? Oh yeah, you don’t know that story yet.

That’s exactly what happened today.

—This is your chance to stop reading. You’re about to learn more about me than you’d probably like.—-

I didn’t feel well last night but woke up at 5 am feeling ok-ish. Since I didn’t feel well the night before, I didn’t fuel and hydrate like a normally would. Usually, I prefer a steak and potato with lots of water the night before a race. Regardless, It got ready and headed for Lawrence, KS to run the Kansas Half Marathon. This was my first half marathon race 2 years ago.

As I stood at the start line, I decided to stand near the 1:50 pacer. I had every intention to stick with him for as long as I could. My PR is 1:52 so I figured I could hang for a while.

At mile 2 I knew something was very wrong. My stomach was twisting and turning and I began looking for the closest porta-potty. Only, there wasn’t one. (!!!) I quickly realized that this wasn’t going to be my day and 1:50 turned into a pipe dream as I watched the pacers get further and further away.

Along came the 1:55 pacers at mile 6. Ugh. Was I really going that slow? Yes. Yes I was. I was hoping to not see them until the very end of the race. My stomach began to cramp worse and worse and at one point I decided that maybe I could get a ride back to my car. BUT, I wanted that medal!

I was on the verge of tears at mile 8. I just needed to use a porta-potty! I had to stop and walk a couple times.

Around mile 11, I heard angels singing and a light shining down on a single porta-potty at an intersection. Double bonus- I didn’t have to wait to use it.

Once I was back on the course, I thought for sure I’d be able to pick up the pace and get back with the 1:55 group. Nope. I still felt sick and I knew that I was going to struggle all the way to the finish line.

I can’t tell you much about the race because I was so focused on how miserable I felt. In the last mile the 2-hour pacers were running along side me. I ran my first half marathon in 2:03 so the goal at this point was to finish before that. No time for walking!

I wasn’t just running to get to the finish like usual… I was running to get to another porta-potty! (I warned you about this post.) I have never been so excited to see that 12-mile marker sign!


I finished in 1:59. My second worse time, ever. BUT I have a lovely medal for finishing and I needed the miles as a part of my St. Jude’s Marathon training, so I guess it all worked out.


I’m not terribly sore since I ddin’t push my pace today but my feet are certainly feeling it. I’m scheduling a chiro appt for tomorrow to get re-aligned.

Most of the runners complained about the cooler temps and strong gusts of wind. While the wind was some-what bothersome, I had bigger issues on my hands that I was more concerned about.

Things I learned from this race:

–Listen to your body. I should have known I wasn’t well enough to go out and run 13 miles.

–Fuel correctly. When you don’t eat the right foods, you can’t expect your body to perform at optimum levels.

–Sometimes it’s okay “just to finish.” It’s been a long time since finishing was the goal instead of a specific time or PR. Today, I felt great that I finished. It took a lot of inner strength to keep going.

After a shower and a nap, I was feeling much better.

Have a disaster race experience you’d like to share to make me feel better? Leave it in the comments!

The long run that wasn’t meant to be

My alarm sounded at 4:30 this morning. I turned it off. Again, it went off at 4:45 AM… which meant it was time to get ready for my 23-miler in preparation for the Chicago Marathon. I crawled out of bed and went thorough my Saturday morning routine. Bathroom, wash face, brush teeth, change into the clothes I laid out the night before, deodorant, Body Glide, fix the rats nest (my hair) and grab a yogurt with fruit. It’s nearly the same routine every Saturday during training season.

This morning did feel a little different though. Besides starting in the dark, I was sore all over from my Thursday night at the gym. RIPPED and yoga gave me more of a workout than I realized at the time. Arms, chest, quads, and glutes were all on fire!

Mentally, I had prepared and was ready to rock. At 7 miles I began to feel pain in my foot. Plantar WON’T GO AWAY. At 10 miles it was very painful and at 11 miles, it was apparent that 23 miles wasn’t in my future. I began overcompensating and started to feel the pain in my hip from the awkward run/limp thing I was doing just to get by.

At 12 miles I was back home and got a pep talk from my running partner. It sucks! Logically, I knew it was time to quit instead of force injury upon myself but I wanted that last long run more than you know. For some reason, training this go around has seemed difficult and I just wanted to kill this 23-miler. Ugh.

The good news is that really, the rest of my training has been on track and I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow. I have complete confidence that with Carrie’s help and  a little rest, I’ll be ready for race day. I am, however, second guessing my sub 4-hour marathon goal. I want it- BAD. I may have to incorporate some additional speed work after Chicago and shoot for sub-4 in Memphis this December, instead.

Why does it feel like I HAVE to PR? Why can’t I just go to Chicago, have a heck of a time with my bestie, and be PROUD for finishing another marathon?! Anymore, it doesn’t seem like finishing is enough. I need to work on my mindset. That’s the real goal for the next three weeks leading up to Chicago.

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe with you… (ok, honestly, it’s been a while since I cooked something other than popcorn for dinner). So I thought I’d do just that. I knew I’d be at the gym late on Thursday and it’s never fun to have to find something at 8:30 PM so I decided to break out my CrockPot. I threw these items (below) in along with some seasonings and BINGO- dinner.




A close up of some of the items I used.


I put this “salsa chicken” as I like to call it over rice on Thursday, ate it plain on Friday and will have it on a salad probably tomorrow. For those of you that follow Weight Watchers- all of these items are Simply Filling!


Yummy in my tummy: salsa chicken on brown rice

Yummy in my tummy: salsa chicken on brown rice