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A Half Marathon Recap.

I did it!!!

It's amazing to see how far I have come in such a short period of time.  This time last year, I was struggling to run 3 miles still, let alone fathom running 13.1.  It's pretty incredible.  
I had a rough go of it the last few weeks, with an IT band injury.  I knew I was prepared for the race--I had done all my long runs and I strength training, but I was still nervous.  I hadn't run more that three miles for over three weeks in an effort to heal my legs. Friday night, I was a hot mess (let's be honest...when am I not a hot mess??).  I was scared out of my mind, I felt like I was developing a cold, etc.  Then I got a wonderful package from Erin, who sent me a good luck note and a little gift (headband pictured above).  It seriously made my day.  And when I say that, it means that I sat on my bed and cried, overwhelmed by how blessed I am.  I have the GREATEST friends. :)

Saturday morning rolled around, and I was feeling much better.  I sprung out of bed (literally) and 4:15 a.m. pumped and ready to go.  Typically breakfast of banana and toast w/ peanut butter, and I felt unstoppable.  We got on a bus, which drove us up the canyon to Tibble Fork Reservoir.  The race started promptly at 6:00 a.m. and after a quick dash to the porta-potty, we were off!

(Follow me on instagram @sammidodson!)

The course was just gorgeous.  I would do this race all over again in a heartbeat.  After running 8 miles down the canyon, the rest of the course was on the Highland Trails and through golf courses.  Only the last 2 miles were really on the road.  There were aide stations every couple of miles, and I grabbed a cup of water at each one.  I also ate a couple shot bloks at miles 5 and 10 (thanks to Erin!).

I started experiencing hip pain around mile 3.  Thankfully, it just felt tight throughout most of the race, although that was probably the result of the copious amounts of ibuprofen I took before we left.  The last 2 miles were incredibly painful, but at the same time, I was sooo pumped because I knew I was going to finish.  As I reached the final stretch, I saw my mom (who is super speedy and finished way before me) and she ran almost to the end with me.  What an amazing feeling to cross that finish line--I was exhausted, mentally and physically, and in quite a bit of pain, but at the same time I was just so thrilled.  Seriously guys, I ran a HALF MARATHON!! And I just loved it.  

I am so blessed to have been able to run.  After my injury, I was scared because I love running and I didn't want to have that taken away from me.  I have done a lot of research and will be taking a little time off to recover and improve my running form, but don't worry.  I already have multiple races planned for the fall.  What can I say? I'm hooked.   Yipee!  


Let's Try Again

It's time to bring back the blog.

I walked away for a while, trying to figure out who I am and how to make my life work, for lack of a better term.  I'm not going to lie, the last few months have been incredibly difficult for me.  I struggled.  I didn't know who I wanted to become anymore, and the things I wanted seemed out of my reach--scholastically, physically, and mentally.

I'm in a much better place.  I'm healthier.  I've got a little more figured out.  I am excited for what my future holds.

When I started this blog, it didn't truly represent who I am.  I thought I could become some wonderful blogger, who could share delicious, healthy recipes accompanied by pristine photographs regularly.  I was meant to be a star in Bloggerdom.  That was unrealistic.  I am a college student, for crying out loud!  That's why I have changed the name from Cookin' College Girl to Simply Sammi.  Because I want this to be a place where I can be real.  Where I can share with you whatever I want to share, and not feel pigeonholed.

Here we go.



Lately, I have been a hot mess.  I have been absolutely terrified of this upcoming semester.  I have now officially (well, technically I still haven't done so on my records) decided to become a Computer Science major, and I feel soooo out of my element.  I don't know what's going to happen.  I don't know if I'm going to be good at programming, or even like it.  Seriously, I during Christmas break I woke up almost every night from nightmares about not getting a program to work or that my hands are shaking so badly I can't type (both of which have happened...).  In the last couple days, I have had nervous breakdowns where my heart starts racing and I can't breathe.  Last night it all culminated in a frantic, sobbing call to my dad to "talk me off the ledge".

I had to step back and realize that I have enough time to get everything done.  And I don't have to know everything right now--that's the point of going to school!  I'm smart and I work hard.  It's going to be o.k.

Today I went for a run.  About a mile in, I got crazy cramps and I thought I was going to have to turn around.  I was debating what I was going to do, and I decided that I was tired of being a baby.  It was time to push myself instead of not trusting that I can do hard things.  So I did. I pushed through the pain and rain out a decently fast 4.5 miles.

A few weeks ago I was reading a blog where the blogger was talking about why she runs.  Some days, I run to get/stay in shape.  Some days, I run because I have to or because I want to.  Some days, I run because it feels good.  Today, I ran to remind myself that I can overcome any challenge put in my way.

I'm still a hot mess.  But I'm going to be o.k.  I have a wonderful family and great friends who support me, I have faith that the Lord will support and sustain me, and I have confidence that I can do hard things.


Food for Thought (and your belly!)

Hey y'all.  So life has been a little crazy since the two trips--I'm trying to catch up in all of my classes and make sure I'm prepared for finals. Not to mention keeping up with ward activities and other parties. Oh and trying to get in enough sleep. And working out! Whew! The other day I was talking to a professor, who mentioned that the unofficial university policy is that for every one hour you spend in class, you should be spending two hours outside of class studying/doing homework. I know this is what is supposed to happen, but I always find that rule excessive. So, being the math head I am, decided to crunch some numbers and figure out just what it would take to get everything done.

For five days out of the week I factored in...

40 hours of sleep (8 per day)
15 classroom hours
30 homework hours
20 hours of work
5 hours of exercising
3 hours of travel time (getting to and from campus, etc)

total: 113 hours.

total hours in 5 days: 120 hours.

yeah, that leaves us with 1.4 hours of free time a day...and when I say free time, I mean time to cook, clean, get ready from school, take care of ward calling responsibilities, etc. And then try and squeeze and episode of Alias in there. It's crazy! But hey, I only have 7 days left and then I get a glorious break. :)

Speaking of which, the other day in fast and testimony meeting, someone was talking about how grateful she was for friends who really probe past the "how are you doing?" "I'm good." answers. I didn't really pay much attention to her after that (I know, I'm pathetic) but lately I've been thinking about "I'm good". I say it every time someone asks me how I'm doing. But really, I'm always "doing good". No matter what went wrong or how difficult my day is, when I reflect back on it I always seem to remember the positive things that happened. Yesterday I spent five hours studying linear algebra. It was exhausting. But everything is starting to click. I have to work extra hours this week, but at least I'm making more money than usual. I'm working my tail off right now, but then I get a break. My favorite break of the year because all I get to do is be with my family and celebrate my Savior's birth. Yes, life is good.

I am so blessed. 

Now who wants a recipe?

Rustic Vegetable Soup
I made this soup the other day, and totally fell in love. Its easily one of my favorite recipes of the semester!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup kale, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1-2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • salt
  • pepper
1. In a large pot, heat olive oil. While it is heating, chop your vegetables (don't forget to rinse the kale!). Toss in onion and saute until softened. Salt and pepper heavily.

2. While onion is cooking, microwave potatoes for 1-2 minutes to soften. Toss potatoes and carrots into the pot. Saute for another 3-5 minutes.

3. Pour in chicken broth. I make my own chicken broth using bouillon cubes, and to make it more flavorful I use a 2:3 ratio cups of water to bouillon cubes. Bring soup to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, then add in green beans (I like to use fresh).

4. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then add in kale, one can of diced tomatoes, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until potatoes are soft and kale is cooked down. Season to taste.
Servings: 6
Calories: 162
Protein: 7.5g

P.S.--I'm sorry this post is so long!


I'm Back!

I'm back! Did you miss me? I missed this. But a break from the blog was definitely needed. Between New York and Florida, I have been totally crammed for time to get everything done. In the process, blogging fell by the wayside. But I'm back, and I'm here to stay! I'm going to make a few changes over the next couple weeks to make it easier for me to keep up with everything.  This means only one recipe a week, and only 1-2 posts per week.  Originally, I wanted to do more. I wanted to post like a professional blogger--multiple times a week. But guess what?? I'm not a professional blogger (shocker.).  Those people are awesome and I admire them, but blogging is also their job. School is my job right now, and I need to focus...especially if I want to get a decent grade in Linear Algebra (don't ask).

So get excited, because awesomeness is going to be coming your way! In the meantime, I think a sneak peek is in order...

And just because he is so gosh darn cute...


New York: Food Adventures

I'm sure there are a thousand things I could tell you about my trip this weekend, but I'll try and break it down into multiple posts so you don't want to murder me after reading the longest post in the history of blogging.

So lets start with the best part--food!

I wasn't terribly stressed out about eating on the trip. I knew there would be "cheat" times, and I knew that it would be difficult to eat clean on vacation. But I was okay with that. The great thing is, New York is full of diverse restaurants, bakeries, and cafes, which provides plenty of options to find something that I was comfortable eating. Here's a recap of some of my favorite things:

1. In New York, there are delis everywhere! And the funny thing is, the sandwiches, pizza, and paninis are already made. Once you order, they grab the sandwich and throw it on the grill to heat it back up. I had a delicious eggplant parmesan panini the first night, and it didn't taste reheated at all. The pita bread was still chewy and soft, and not soggy. The eggplant with fresh basil and tomato sauce were really fantastic as well. I have not had too much success making eggplant parmesan, but I think I'm going to have to try again!
 2. We found this fantastic little place called Au Bon Pain by accident, and it was fantastic! Their pastries and cookies are really what drew us in, but they also had a great soup and sandwich bar. The best part? Everything was labeled with the amount of calories. Love it! I tried their pumpkin soup and pumpkin muffin (yes, I'm addicted) but by far the best treat there was the cranberry almond macaroons. Nice and "coconutty"--and once, we even got them while the chocolate was still hot and melty. Yum!
 3. One night we went to a gorgeous place called Eataly. It was established by the great Mario Batalli as a place where Americans can go and experience Italy. There were fish, pasta, and pizza restaurants, as well as multiple Italian food markets. There was a vegetable section, which had the most fantastic veggies (I'm pretty sure I was in heaven!), many of which I had never seen before! There were white eggplants, purple baby artichokes, pink beans, and gorgeous herbs. I wanted to buy everything and take it home with me, but I have a feeling they wouldn't have survived the plane.
4. I love Greek food. There is nothing I don't love, from hummus to falafels to lamb gyros. All of it is delicious and makes my tummy very happy! Besides picking up some awesome gyros from a street cart, we also went to a nicer Greek restaurant called Daphni.  I shared the Greek salad and lamb kabobs with Mom, and both were delicious. 
5. My favorite restaurant was probably Yum Yum Thai food. Which of course, I was too busy inhaling my food to get a decent picture. But believe me when I say that it was awesome. I had veggie and tofu in a ginger sauce with brown rice, with a spicy shrimp soup as a starter. I loved the ginger sauce, and I finally fulfilled my week long craving for tofu! Yes, I crave tofu. I know I'm weird. Anyways, Thai is definitely one of my favorite cuisines, and Yum Yum's didn't disappoint.

Coming up next...the Broadway Experience!


Freakin' Out

Hey y'all! So I'm leaving for New York in less than 24 hours. And I'm about to pee my pants. Part of me is really excited about this adventure. I'm going to one of the most fascinating cities in the United States--I'll see all the sights, travel like a New Yorker in the subway, eat way too many calories, and see some fantastic plays.

But I am also running a 9.5 mile obstacle course, and I can't think of anything more terrifying right now. I keep telling myself I'm prepared. I mean, I have run 7, 8, 9, and 10-milers to prepare. I have lifted, sprinted, and squatted to get into my peak physical condition. But what if I can't do it? What if I die on the side of the road? What if I give up (gasp!)? I'm doubting myself mentally right now.

Anyways, thanks for listening me be a baby. I can do this, because I can do hard things. nbd. ;)

See you in the Big Apple!