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a difficult task


"Our challenges may be new.  The instruments with which we meet them may be new.  But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old.  These things are true.  They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.  What is demanded then is a return to these truths.  What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task."

- President Barack Obama, Inaugural Speech, 01.20.2009

What an inspiring day for Americans and for the world.  I am so in awe of our new President and so excited by the hope that was palpable in the air today.  The above quote was my favorite segment of President Obama's beautiful speech.  It really got me thinking about hard work, courage, difficult tasks and giving our all to achieve them.  It made me think of this amazing community that I am part of, and the goals we set for ourselves and tackle each and every day.  Not only have I witnessed fellow bloggers pursue and achieve personal health and fitness goals, I've seen them take those personal goals and turn them into quests to contribute to the greater good.  From HangryPants' December Food Drive to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, to Kath's Thanksgiving Challenge to benefit Heifer International,  to Meghann's recent commitment to raise $3900 for Team in Training.  We can all make a difference in the world in our own small ways, by taking on our own difficult tasks and giving our all to achieve them.   The character of this blogging community is strong and good, and I am so proud to be a part of it.

My own personal fitness goal has been proving itself to be very difficult for me lately.  I haven't learned to love running yet, or at least I haven't learned to love running in the extreme cold we've been experiencing.  But I keep getting out on the road, and I keep logging my miles.  I admit, a good part of the reason I am still training is because I started this blog, told you all that I would run this race, and now I feel committed.  Thank you for keeping me accountable.  If it wasn't for you I probably would have quit last week, when the cold did keep me inside and forced me to take a week off from training.  But I got back out there on Saturday, and I got back out there tonight.  It was cold, I was close to miserable, but I logged 3-1/4 miles because I was thinking about President Obama's speech, about the difficult task that was going to be so satisfying to my spirit when I cross the finish line of the 10-Miler on April 4th.  And I was thinking about you all, and how supportive you've been, and how happy you'll be for me when I report about finishing my race.  And I also thought about the great comments I've received from many of you, telling me that you feel the same way that I do about running, and that reading my story has inspired you to train for a race.  Those comments humble me and make me realize that maybe I'm contributing a little something to the greater good as well.  So I'll keep running, keep training, and will complete this difficult task.  And hopefully, somewhere along the way, I'll learn to love running as well.

Thanks for reading my ramblings!  :)  On to food...

Breakfast:  apple + dried cherry oats.  I decided to switch it up a bit, add a little variety to my breakfast and my blog.  But I have to say, I missed my mashed banana and my nut butter...  I also ate the rest of the apple that didn't fit in my bowl.


This bowl contained:

  • 1 cup water, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1/4 tsp vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon

  • 2 heaping tbsp of unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup of dried cherries

  • 1 tsp ground flax seeds

  • 1/4 of an apple, chopped

  • 1 tbsp slivered almonds

Its been awhile since I've posted specific directions for my morning oats and I had a couple of inquiries about it yesterday, so here's a bit more of an explanation.

I use old-fashioned rolled oats, and cook them on the stovetop.  They only take about 10 minutes total, so I put them on while I'm making coffee and lunch, then sit down to eat them while downloading pictures to my computer.

  1. Bring 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt to a boil on the stovetop.

  2. Add 1/2 cup of rolled oats and stir.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, turn off heat but leave oats on burner.  This is when I typically add my mashed banana (highly makes the texture perfectly creamy and sweetens without adding any sugar).  I also add a 1/4 tsp of vanilla and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

  4. Once the banana, cinnamon and vanilla are mixed in I remove the oats from the heat, pour into my bowl and add the toppings.

I've never tried making them ahead of time, but I think that would work better with steel cut oats.  Anybody have any thoughts / suggestions on making oatmeal in a larger batch for the whole week?


The hubb and I joined some friends and co-workers for lunch today to watch inauguration festivities.  There was a huge pan of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and baked beans, and it was all oh. so. good.  I was a bad healthy foodie at lunchtime.  :)

Lunch:  two fried chicken drumsticks, some delectable baked beans and mashed potatoes.  And, of course, there were cookies.  I split one with my hubb.  :)


Dinner:  a large [much needed] salad and some Amy's Veggie Lentil soup.  After my frigid run, I just wanted something warm, satisfying and low-effort.  :)


And another 1/2 a cookie...


And now I think I'm off to a hot bath with my book.  I may finally finish it!  Its been wonderful, but my book list is a mile long and I'm ready to move on to the next read.  Good night!