July 8, 2013 marked the official start of my Dublin half marathon training; at which point in time I could barely run a mile without stopping. After a 12 week training program, a lot of motivation from my running group, and loads of support from my friends, I was able to run a mile, easily. I certainly wasn’t fast, at an average 12 minute mile for the half and the best average I had on any training run (a short one!) was probably around 10:45.

Having been a gymnast and a sprinter, I never thought distance running was something I could physically do – at least not continuously for 13.1 miles. Now, I still haven’t continuously run 13.1 miles, but I’ve proven to myself time and time again that I CAN be a distance runner, because a mile is a mile, no matter how fast or slow.

And now, here we are a little over a year later, and I’ve surprised myself yet again! Now, not only am I a distance runner, I’m a distance runner who’s knocked crazy time off her runs – proving to myself that anything is possible with a little dedication and a lot of practice.

7 MilesYou know what? I can run a mile. I can run 7 miles in just over an hour. (My watch was being dumb and had issues finding satellites, so add approx 3.5 minutes and another .38 miles because I actually did just over 7 total that day)

This run was on a rather warm & sunny summer day in Dublin. I started from my office in Ballsbridge and ran down Merrion road to Booterstown Park. It was a simply gorgeous day and the Irish Sea happened to be in my favour!

Booterstown looking towards Dun LagohaireThere is nothing more motivating than running along the sea, with a little breeze at your back and the sun shining down on your face. It’s exceptional, and so very motivating.

At one point along the journey I realised how happy I was; how much energy I had; how amazing I felt. And that was around the five-mile mark! Who knew a year ago, when I started my journey that I wouldn’t hate myself after 5 miles; that I could still have energy and motivation to keep going, even on one of the hottest days of the year in the mid-day sun, sans water bottle!

This was about the same time I was headed back towards my office on the Sandymount Strand, when the random fog started rolling in. It was almost like it was raining it was so thick. And the wind was blowing something fierce and you could feel the sea and the salt in your hair and it was even more motivating! (The photo really doesn’t do it justice, but just ahead of me in the picture you can’t see ANYTHING. It really just looks like a cloudy day here….) 

Fog on the Sandymount Strand
 When I sat out on this run, my goal was actually only five miles. I ended up taking a wrong turn and making a rough 1.5 mile loop and ended the day just over 7 miles. And with the views that day, this is about as close to Seventh Heaven as you can possibly get! Keep on running friends. Runners’ High is a real and honest thing and I hope each and every one of you know what I’m talking about at some point in your life (be it after 1 mile or 15!).

Until next time: XOXO – K

**Sidebar: I’m not sure I deserve such amazing followers I just sat down in front of the computer to write for the first time in what I’m now realising has been almost 45 days. YIKES. And you are STILL reading my blog? Please, high-five yourselves right now. And do it again, just one more time. You are amazing. (No excuses, because the why’s are a topic for another day!)**

The old saying goes, “if it tastes good, it must be bad for you”. (Or some variation of said saying, anyway).

This saying no doubt referred to sweets and savory foods, loaded with sugars, refined who-knows-what, & sodium. Does it really have to be so?!

You don’t have to sacrifice taste for health, you just don’t. And here are a few ways I’ve managed to bring together healthy & delicious:

Lemon pepper salmon fillet with a side of potato & broccoli mash & asparagus

Lemon pepper salmon fillet with a side of potato & broccoli mash & asparagus

 

Here’s a REALLY simple meal that only takes about 30 minutes to prepare and serve (yes, I really mean 30 minutes from fridge to table!) and is perfect for on-the-go. busy weeknights as it is packed with Omega-3′s & loaded with veggie goodness.

Recipe:

2 Salmon Fillets
2 lemons, squeezed
Fresh black pepper
Fresh green beans
Garlic, minced
Small amount of a good quality olive oil
Baby new potatoes, chopped into quarters
Fresh broccoli, washed & stems removed

For the Salmon: Marinate in lemon juice for about 10 minutes, sprinkle with fresh pepper to taste, and pop into the oven (200C) for 10 minutes or until the salmon easily flakes with a fork.

For the Mash: Boil the potatoes & broccoli until tender & mash. (If you need to add liquid for fluffiness, try water or unsweetened almond milk); Season to taste with black pepper

For the Green Beans: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a sautee pan and sautee beans about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

 

Scrambled eggs with spinach & baby greens with a basil creme fraiche

Scrambled eggs with spinach & baby greens with a basil creme fraiche

 

I honestly wish I could take credit for preparing this, but, I was actually at 37 Dawson for brunch and they made this amazing concoction. I’m still attempting to replicate the sauce at home, but it’s really simple to scramble some eggs and serve over spinach!

 

Italian Chicken with a side of potato & broccoli mash & green beans

Italian Chicken with a side of potato & broccoli mash & green beans

Here’s another REALLY simple meal. Again, depending on how you like your asparagus, you can have this meal on the table in about 30 minutes. Protein, healthy carbs, and veggie yumminess.

 Recipe:

2 Jamie Oliver, Italian Style chicken breasts
A handful of cherry tomatoes
Fresh asparagus
Garlic, minced
Small amount of a good quality olive oil
Baby new potatoes, chopped into quarters
Fresh broccoli, washed & stems removed

For the Chicken: Jamie Oliver makes a MEAN chicken and it is easy to snag from the stores here in Ireland. All you need to do is buy the package, pop in a few extra cherry tomatoes, and bake according to the tin’s instructions. (approx. 15 mins @ 200C). The chicken is all natural, with fresh tomato sauce and a few italian seasonings. EASY.

For the Mash: Boil the potatoes & broccoli until tender & mash. (If you need to add liquid for fluffiness, try water or unsweetened almond milk); Season to taste with black pepper

For the Asparagus: Drizzle a small amount of oil in a sautee pan and sautee about 10 minutes until crisp-tender. Toss in garlic and cook another minute until fragrant.

BOOM!  As the mythbusters team would say, this myth is BUSTED. Hungry Yet?

And if you are interested, I’ve recently joined a new revolution in the healthy movement, called the Healthy Living Rules, that should help me focus on healthy options no matter where I am in the world with a few easy, and absolutely 100% simple guidelines and a whole community of support.

Bring on the healthy!

XOXO – K

In the workplace, we’re required to set goals; from goals that align with the company’s business plan to goals that ultimately drive our career paths. All too often though, people forget that setting personal goals is just as important, because if you aren’t working towards something are you really working at all? I suppose most people would say their New Year’s resolutions are their goals, and if there are people out there that actually keep their resolutions, props to them!

I’ve spent the last six months compiling a list of the goals I have in mind for the next year of my life — those short term goals that I can just check off the list as I go along. Some of these will seem simple enough on the face, but others, not so much. A few of them are likely a bit vague on the surface, which is something a goal is not supposed to be, but vague or not, they are still my goals.

And so, join me on my journey over the next year, and help me succeed!

 30 Things I Want to Accomplish in My 30th Year

Run a marathon

Climb a mountain

Run a timed 5K race under 30 minutes

Take a baking/decorating course

Visit an Eastern European country

Read more books

Run a timed 10K race under 57 minutes

Take a photography course

Begin selling cupcakes

Take a cooking course

Attend a fashion week

Try a new, exotic food

Send more “just because” mail

Run a timed half marathon under 2 and a half hours

Travel more

Join a running club

Cycle 100K in a single day

Raise $1,000 for charity

Run a profitable business

Take a sewing course

Get 100 new blog followers

Keep in touch with friends more

✅ Learn to play tag rugby

Set aside at least $500/month to savings

Get five new Juice Plus customers

Keep a food diary for 30 straight days

Write an A-Z series blog post

Conquer a fear

Start a date night jar and use it frequently

In a year, I hope to look back on all the things I’ve accomplished in my 30th year and wonder why I hadn’t set goals like this before! Maybe I’ll start a trend! (Of course, I did get the idea from my friend Amy, so I can’t say the credit is mine at all….Thanks Amy!)

Do you set personal, yearly goals? Do you mark them off the list as you complete them?

Until next week (when thirty is just a thing of the past!), XOXO – K

And so, here it is. THE actual day. I’M THIRTY! I’m sure by the time this post goes live I’ll have loads of messages wishing me a happy birthday. (And I’m already thanking you a day before!)

Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate where you are going, without appreciating and embracing the past. And so, what could be more fitting on my birthday than a stroll down memory lane? I promise you, these aren’t all good memories, but we would never know good without bad, and so I embrace it all.

Thirty Memorable Moments of the Past Thirty Years

  1. Having my house toilet papered with 72 rolls of paper
  2. My first New Year’s Eve flour fight with Natalie
  3. My first kiss
  4. The day I moved from Arkansas to Tennessee for college
  5. My wedding day
  6. The first (and only) time I got pulled over (yes, it ended with a citation and no, i did not cry)
  7. My 21st birthday
  8. The day one of my best friends passed away
  9. The day I closed on my house
  10. Getting shot at with two different guns on the interstate in Arkansas
  11. The day I moved to Dublin
  12. The time I went white water rafting with my dad and my good friend Anna.
  13. Seeing Wicked on Broadway for the first time
  14. The night I decided to give it up to a boy
  15. Dancing at Carousel on an empty dance floor during $5 beer bust with Lisa on random Wednesday nights
  16. My first (devastating) heartbreak
  17. Passing notes in class written in code (using the Greek alphabet) so no one could read them if they were confiscated
  18. Getting rear ended on the interstate on my way to Florida
  19. Winning a brand new smart phone at the Dublin Fashion Festival kick-off
  20. Passing the CPA exam
  21. The morning a tree came through the roof in a tornado when I was a small child
  22. My sister’s wedding day disaster
  23. Opening the Christmas gift from my mother that contained an authentic, vintage Chanel handbag
  24. The entire day I spent at a cove in Spain fishing for lunch and hanging on the beach with friends
  25. The day I got my driver’s permit and drove my mom home from the testing centre
  26. Stuffed animal fights in the hallway with my sister & baby-sitter
  27. Playing ghosts in the graveyard with all of the neighbours on summer nights
  28. The UT/AR football game that went into 6 overtimes my freshman year of college
  29. The first time I held my niece
  30. Being stranded in New York during Hurricane Sandy

There are so many more moments that are worthy of the list, and I’m sorry there are no photos today. Sometimes though, the best things in life are best remembered in our heads, right?

Here’s to thirty and fabulous! XOXO – K

Yesterday we touched on thirty of the places I’ve already been – and before thirty. What about the next thirty years though? I definitely don’t want to stop traveling! (Does the title of the post make anyone else start singing the Tim McGraw song? You’re welcome.)

So, we better start with a list of places to mark off as time goes on. Some big, some small, but all will be phenomenal.

Thirty Places to Visit After Thirty

Vienna, Austria

ViennaDubrovnik, Croatia
Petra, Jordan
Bora Bora
St. Petersburg, Russia

St. PetersburgBerlin, Germany
Stockholm, Sweden
Porto, Portugal
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de JaneiroBahamas
Grand Cayman Island
Prague, Czech Republic
Madrid, Spain

MadridGrand Canyon
Belfast, Ireland
Birmingham, England
Bratislava, Slovakia

bratislavaIstanbul, Turkey
Copenhagen, Denmark
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Riga, Latvia

RigaBruges, Belgium
Johannesburg, South Africa
Havana, Cuba
San Juan, Puerto Rico

San JuanLake Tahoe, Nevada
Quebec, Canada
Sydney, Australia
Cairo, Egypt

CairoHong Kong, China

Where would you go? Suggestions are always welcome as this is just an excerpt of a fast-growing list! Dream big, right?

XOXO – K