19 goals for 2019

Happy New Year friends! 🎉I hope 2019 is off to an amazing start for all of you! 🙂 I’ve seen a few people share their 2019 goals over the last few days and I love reading other peoples goals (is that weird?! 😂), so I thought I would share mine as well. 😛

I’ve seen a lot of people pick 19 goals for 2019 (#19for2019), so I decided to do the same. The #19for2019 is from Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast, I believe. I do not listen to the podcast, but I have heard good things, so maybe I will start! Anyway, the point of 19 goals in 2019 is to pick several smaller, more manageable goals and/or changes to implement over this year and to periodically check-in with yourself. Last year, I had 15 goals and tried to check-in with my goals each season, so I will strive for the same this year.

My goals are a combination of running, marriage, hobby, and life goals. It helps with accountability to have specific goals and to pick when you will check-in with them. I aim to check-in with my goals in March, June, October, and the end of December 2019! So let’s run into 2019, with speed, determination, and enthusiasm toward our goals 😉

19 goals for 2019:

1. Read (or listen) to 24 books

2. Read (or listen) to a book for at least 10 minutes/ day 

3. Write 2 new blog posts/ month 

4. Maintain my paper/pen running log (I use the Believe Training Journal) for the entire year 

5. Go to bed earlier (ideally before midnight, but this will be tough with night class)

6. Crochet or knit at least 1x/week 

7. Try 3 new workouts this year

8. Strength train 2x/week (at least 20 minute sessions)

9. Yoga 1x/week (at least a 20 minute session) 

10. Glute strength/hip strength/pre-hab exercises 3x/week

11. Foam rolling/ Roll Recovery before OR after every run for 5 minutes 

12.Run 2,019 kilometers this year (1,254.5 miles)

13. Embrace cross training 1x/week to help prevent future injuries 

14. Run a race (any distance) in a state that is not Illinois

15. Sub 1:30 half marathon 

16. Sub 3:10 marathon 

17. Focus on saving-double our savings account

18. Cook 1 new meal/ month with my husband

19. Try 5 new veg-friendly restaurants 

What are your goals for 2019? Did you also make a #19for2019 list?! Let me know here or on Instagram, so I can cheer you on! 🙂


Running into 2018: goals and dreams for the new year: spring check-in

Hello friends! Happy Easter (if you celebrate)! I hope you all had a fun and relaxing Sunday. Mine was busy because of work, but now I’m happy for some time to relax. 🙂

For those of you who don’t know, my temporary teaching job ended last week, so I acted quickly and snagged two part time jobs. Both of the jobs are at places I adore and are perfect for this somewhat “limbo” phase of my life. I’m still figuring out what my next steps are, but I have a really good idea what they will be and will share when the time is right…


In the meantime, I thought the 1st day of April was the perfect time to check-in with my 2018 goals. This is mainly a way to hold myself accountable, so feel free to skip this post if this sort of thing bores you 😛 If not, I appreciate your support by reading and commenting! I’d love to know if you set goals for 2018 and have accomplished some of them, so feel free to share with me too!

Black Bean Queen’s fifteen 2018 goals check-in #1:

1. A minimum of 5 minutes of stretching/foam rolling after EVERY RUN

9 times out of 10 I have accomplished this goal since January! So that feels good. 🙂 Just knowing that I shared this goal publicly with all of you made me think twice when I wanted to slack on stretching and rolling 🙂 Plus I am recovering from my runs well so far…but we shall see once I start ramping up the miles 😱

2. Strength training a minimum of 2x/ week (particularly glute/hip exercises)

Not doing well with this goal…I’m at once a week when it’s a good week. When I was teaching I barely had enough time to fit in my runs, let alone my strength workouts, but this isn’t optional for me or I will get hurt. 😦 Strength training at least twice week, focusing on hip strength, is my top goal moving forward. 

3. Yoga 1x/ week (a class or YouTube video)

Also not doing great with this goal for the same reason as #2…BUT now that I am done teaching and working two PT jobs that do not require outside work (i.e. lesson planning, grading, etc) I will be able to better fit in the “extras” that enhance running training. Yoga will be my second top goal moving forward. However, I have done yoga twice in the last week for what it’s worth.🤷🏼‍♀️

4. Finish my first marathon in October (my ultimate goal is 3:30 or faster so I can Boston Qualify)

Not accomplished yet 😉

5. PR in the 5k and the half marathon by increasing my mileage (SLOWLY) and adding in more track/speed workouts (5k goal is sub 18 minutes & half marathon goal is 1:25)

Same as above. I’ve only done one 5k in 2018 and no half marathons yet. My first half marathon is the Illinois half marathon in less than a month!

6. Run my first 10k race

Same as above. My first 10k will be on June 3rd at Run for the Zoo

7. Run a trail race of any distance

Not accomplished yet 😉

8. Hire a coach in the spring/summer to help me with Chicago marathon training

Accomplished sooner than expected. A few weeks ago, I won two months of coaching with Heather Szuba of McKirdy Trained and it could not have come at a better time! I’m at a new phase in my life where I can prioritize my training a bit better than when I was teaching. I can already tell this is going to be huge for my running and so far I love working with Heather. I can’t wait to see where working with her takes me! 🙂 

10. Join a running group or racing team

Not accomplished yet 😉 Since one of my new jobs is at a running store, I think it is time for me to finally do more group runs or join a team. Stay tuned…😜

11. Read 24 books (2 books/month)

Not accomplished yet 😉 Sadly, I’ve only read one book in 2018 so far 😦 On the bright side I am an extremely fast reader, so I am confident I can still accomplish this goal!

12. Connect with more liked minded people by growing Black Bean Queen to 1,000 subscribers. I also want to grow my social media presence on Instagram and Twitter to at least 1,000 followers and my Facebook and Pinterest to at least 500 followers.

Partly accomplished! 🙂 Last I checked this blog has over 1,060 subscribers, so it has grown a bit in the last few months. My Instagram is also over 1,000 followers, but I am not at my Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest goals yet. I’m concerned less about actual numbers and more about connecting to even more awesome runners, fitness enthusiasts, plant based eaters, etc. 

13. Be kinder to and less critical of myself by reflecting on the positives in my life at least 1x/week

Working on this! One of the best things I did to help me with this goal was buy 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal. I love starting a new week with one of the lists. Thanks to Connie of Constantly for the recommendation! 🙂

14. Take my vitamin everyday

I was really good about this in January and February, but fell off the wagon during March. It’s a new week and month, so time to be better about taking my vitamin again! 😛 

15. Cook a new vegetarian/vegan recipe with my husband 1x/month

Working on this goal! We got in a bit of a rut cooking the same old favorites the last few months..BUT we just bought the Run Fast, Eat Slow cookbook and I flagged some of the vegetarian/vegan recipes to make over the next few weeks. Plus, I still need to make a bunch of the recipes from Oh She Glows Everyday, which we bought a year ago. So ideas are not the problem 😛 One way that has helped us in the past has been by turning it into a date night to make a new recipe. I highly recommend this tactic for any couples out there who keep making the same things or go out to eat for many meals. 

Are YOU accomplishing your 2018 goals, running related or not? I’d love for you to share, so we can support each other! 🙂

Running into 2018: goals and dreams for the new year

Happy New Year friends!🎉 I hope you all had an amazing night…whether that involved drinking and dancing until dawn or snuggling up on the couch with loved ones and wine or a warm beverage.🥂 I fell into the latter category, but no complaints there! 😛

2017 was definitely a rough year for me, but it had some awesome moments too, especially my wedding!💍I reflected briefly on my run yesterday, so I am not going to reflect here. Rather, I want to leave 2017 behind and run straight into 2018 with a fresh perspective and clean slate.

running into the sunset

Who’s with me?!🙋🏼

I strongly believe that you should set goals year round and not wait until a holiday to start working toward them…BUT, with that being said, New Year’s Day is a perfect time to sit down, write out your new or ongoing goals, and come up with an action plan for accomplishing them!

So where to begin?!

Well, people do not meet their goals without a system of accountability or a way to track their progress toward their goals. Another reason that people do not meet their goals is because they make ones that are TOO ambitious for the given time frame. Although, I do not think that is necessarily a bad thing to set SOME lofty goals. I think it’s good to dream big, but to also have some smaller more attainable goals. 🙂 I have a good mix of both for 2018 and some of them have been a goals of mine for a while, as indicated on my goals page!

BRRRR negative wind chill run.jpg

To hold myself accountable this year, I am going to do a minimum of 4 check-ins on the blog. I will check-in during the spring (March), summer (June), fall (October), and winter (December) and more times if needed. Some of the goals below are specific to certain events in my life (i.e. my first marathon in October), so I will only check in with them when it makes sense. So, without further ado, here are my 2018 goals! 🤗

Black Bean Queen’s fifteen 2018 goals💃

1. A minimum of 5 minutes of stretching/foam rolling after EVERY RUN

2. Strength training a minimum of 2x/ week (particularly glute/hip exercises)

3. Yoga 1x/ week (a class or YouTube video)

4. Finish my first marathon in October (my ultimate goal is 3:30 or faster so I can Boston Qualify)

5. PR in the 5k and the half marathon by increasing my mileage (SLOWLY) and adding in more track/speed workouts (5k goal is sub 18 minutes & half marathon goal is 1:25)

6. Run my first 10k race

7. Run a trail race of any distance

8. Hire a coach in the spring/summer to help me with Chicago marathon training

10. Join a running group or racing team

11. Read 24 books (2 books/month)

12. Connect with more liked minded people by growing Black Bean Queen to 1,000 subscribers. I also want to grow my social media presence on Instagram and Twitter to at least 1,000 followers and my Facebook and Pinterest to at least 500 followers.

13. Be kinder to and less critical of myself by reflecting on the positives in my life at least 1x/week

14. Take my vitamin everyday

15. Cook a new vegetarian/vegan recipe with my husband 1x/month

What are YOUR top 2018 goals, running related or not? I’d love for you to share, so we can support each other! 🙂



Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Good afternoon and happy Sunday friends! I hope all of you had lovely weeks filled with fun, time in the sunshine, and some exercise.  I know I did!  Exercise-wise this week was a bit of roller coaster. It started out rough with a crappy four mile run, then a good run, then an okay run, then a wonderful bike ride, and finally best run I’ve had post injury. I think I am being too hard on myself with my runs. I was injured for 5 months, have only been allowed to run/walk or run for a month, and I just finished Physical Therapy a week ago, so of course I am going to be slow and feel out of shape. Sometimes, during a run, I forgot those things and wonder why 7:50 min/mile feels so hard, why my form feels off, and why four miles feels so far. I need to remember that patience and going slow (in terms of pace, miles per week, and number of runs per week) is important to prevent an injury relapse or a different injury.

Getting back into shape is going to take time and preventing an IT band injury relapse is going to  take dedication to my post- physical therapy strength exercises and to a slow return to running. I am up for this challenge! I need to remember that I am LUCKY to be running now. In March I would have given ANYTHING to be where I am today. I may not get back into shape, run my usual pace, find my running rhythm, or be able to race for a while. But I know I will eventually. I always do. Running is not always about the destination, sometimes it’s about the journey. I need to embrace my own  journey of getting back into shape and to be proud of how far I’ve come. 🙂 I will be back to my old, running self in no time if I am patient and grateful.

Weekly Workouts #2: July 20th-July 26th, 2015

Monday July 20th: Rest day.

Tuesday July 21st: Warm up: clams, band walks (side steps and forward), and 5 minutes walking. 4 mile run at 8:04 min/ mile. It was a hot day and my legs felt heavy and I felt lethargic. Not a good run. 😦 Cool down: walking, stretches with the stretch out strap, foam rolling, and 3X30 sec planks (front, right side, and left side).

Wednesday July 22nd: Warm up: same as Tuesday. 3 mile run at 8:14 min/mile. Felt pretty good on this evening run after work, even though it was slow. :/ Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and 2X 1 min front planks.

Thursday July 23rd: Rest day.

Friday July 24th: Warm up: The usual PT exercises plus walking. 3 mile run at 7:56 min/mile. Even though it was very hot and humid on this run I felt pretty good! Cool down: Walking, stretches, and foam rolling.

Saturday July 25th: 16 mile bike ride. I paced my boyfriend on the bike and carried water for him on his long run.  This was hands down my favorite workout of the week! It was a beautiful day and got to see some parts of the Lakeshore Trail I had not seen before. I of snapped a few pictures of my lovely views (see below). I am inspired by my boyfriend’s dedication as he trains for the Chicago Marathon this fall. He is also fast, but probably doesn’t want me to brag here. 😉 I am one proud girlfriend and am glad we both love to run and stay active together! 🙂


Sunday July 26th (today): Warm up: the usual. 3 mile run at 7:37 min/mile. I am finally running a bit faster and feeling closer to my old self. 🙂 This was a good run and it felt effortless! Cool down: walking, stretches, foam rolling, and planks (3×1 min. front planks and 3x 30 sec. right and left side planks)

Totals: 13 miles running + 16 miles biking

I hope all of you have a wonderful Sunday! I am looking forward to some time to relax and read before the work week starts again tomorrow.

What books are you currently reading this summer and recommend? I just finished Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty and I highly recommend it! I loved it because it was unpredictable! Today, I  just started Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and hope it’s as interesting as Dark Places. I can tell it will be a quick read though, so I’d love some recommendations!

Wonderful Wednesday: a Lakeshore bike path workout, the beach, and homemade granola

Hi there! Today has been a wonderful Wednesday. The weather was (and still is) absolutely beautiful here in Chicago-not cold or hot and mostly sunny! It’s been a full day because we woke up early and in the wise words of my boyfriend this was because we needed to “get up and attack the day”!

We started the day off right by getting up early to drink some coffee, eat breakfast, and study (well make granola in my case because I don’t have studying to do for my class today), 😛 Then, it was time to workout! I biked with my boyfriend while he ran. I’m still trying to ease back into running because of my IT band injury so I’ll try a short run again tomorrow.


(What a perfect view during our workout today. I could get used to it! Smile)


(We worked out on the beautiful Lakeshore bike path. There were tons and tons of people out there today and no shortage of amazing views.)

Then, after our workout it was time for lunch. We used the homemade granola I made earlier as a topping for peanut butter sandwiches. I love eating granola on peanut butter sandwiches for extra crunch. I’ll share the recipe for the granola below!


After lunch my boyfriend and I went to the beach to get some sun and reading time in. It was a little chilly when the clouds came out, but otherwise a perfect day to lay out!



(There was no shortage of bird friends at the beach either. 😛 )

All in all, its been a great day so far.  It hasn’t even been a week, but I already love it here!

As promised the granola recipe I made earlier is below. It is inspired by the recipe Awesome Granola by Liz Applegate in the Runner’s World Cookbook (page 20). I made some substitutions, though: flax seed instead of wheat germ, cashews and sunflower seeds instead of almonds, and I doubled the amount of raisins. Here’s a link to the original recipe: http://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition-runners/better-bowl?page=single. This recipe is healthier than store bought because it only uses a small amount of oil and sweeter and it can be made vegan by substituting the honey for maple syrup or another sweetener.

Homemade cashew and raisin granola


3 cups old fashioned oats

1/8 cup flax seed

1/4 cup cashews

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup canola oil

1/3 cup honey

2/3 cup raisins

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a medium glass baking dish

2.  On the stovetop, in a saucepan, combine the honey and oil and heat over medium heat until bubbles start to form.


3. Combine the old fashioned oats, flax seed, cashews, sunflower seeds, and cinnamon in a different bowl.


4. Pour the honey and oil mixture into the oat mixture bowl and mix until combined.

5. Spread the mixture evenly into a glass baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until the granola turns a color brown color. Make sure to stir the granola every ten minutes.


6. Remove the granola from the oven and stir in the 2/3 cup of raisins. Let the granola cool completely before storing in a Tupperware.


This granola is tasty and I like it almost as much as homemade peanut butter granola! My favorite ways to eat granola are in oatmeal, on peanut butter sandwiches, and in Greek yogurt.

Have a wonderful rest of your Wednesday everyone! Smile

What is your favorite granola flavor and way to eat it?

My IT band story & how I stay positive during a running injury

Good morning everyone! As I sit here enjoying a delicious bowl of homemade apple, nut, and dried fruit oatmeal with almond milk I cannot help, but feel a little sad about not being able to run. Right now I am home and we live near a beautiful bike path.  Today started out as a warm, sunny day and I’m sure many people are outside running, walking, or biking. I cannot help, but feel a little jealous of the runners.  At least the apartment I am moving to next week is also located near a beautiful bike path since I will not be able to run on the one here  for a while:/ .


My IT band syndrome story: 

I ran my first half marathon two weekends ago and around mile ten of the race I felt the familiar tightness and pain on the outside of my right knee. I knew my IT band was hurting, but I made myself finish the race and I just promised myself would stretch really well. I took a week off after the half and used the foam roller and did yoga-I was sure I’d be okay. I decided to go for a short three mile run and was excited when I felt no pain…until mile 2. IT band syndrome has a KNACK for striking in the middle of the run rather than the beginning. I should have known better…This is my third case of IT band syndrome.

I had my first case on my left side during my freshmen year of college right before the track season. For that case I went to a PT, learned some rehabilitation exercises, and spent most of the season in the pool swimming and aqua jogging. I took me until the summer to fully heal and I kept up with the rehabilitation exercises during the summer which is probably the best choice I could have made. I did not really think twice about IT band syndrome again until I got another case on my right side in the middle of my junior year indoor track season. To heal, I spent a lot of time cross training and performing those rehabilitation exercises I learned my freshmen year. That was a little over a year ago and now I have yet another case. In all cases, I probably increased my mileage too fast and did not foam roll or stretch enough, but for the last two cases I know that my main mistake was not keeping up with my rehabilitation exercises. I clearly have tight hips and glutes and it appears that my right side of my body is somewhat weaker than my left, so if I kept up with the exercises that would have helped strengthen my right side and I may have not gotten hurt yet again. Well, at least I have experience with IT band syndrome so I know what I need to do to get better this time around.

The top 4 ways I stay positive during a running injury:

1. Be proactive. This could mean something different for you, but for myself this means that I should do my rehabilitation exercises year round-at least once a week when I’m not hurt and more often when I am. The exercises I perform are different TheraBand exercises such as side shuffle and a few other body weight exercises such one legged bridges. The routine I do only takes 10-15 minutes, but I still dread it. This also means lots of foam rolling, stretching, and yoga. My favorite yoga moves for IT band relief are pigeon pose and runner’s lunge.

2. Find an alternate form of exercise. When a runner can’t run they tend to get antsy and I’m no different. The way you exercise will depend on your injury. For IT band syndrome, I find that the first week or so I have to stick to swimming or aqua jogging, but as I start to heal I find that the elliptical and bike do not aggravate my IT band. You may even discover you like other workouts besides running Smile with tongue out (what a shocker, right?). Last summer when I was hurt I learned that I actually kind of like yoga (it’s not just runner torture!).

3. Try something new. During an injury is a perfect time to try something new or go on a fun trip because you can afford a few days off from exercising. You may also find that without running and training you have extra time so this would be a great time to try a new hobby! For myself, I decided to try something new and start this blog!

4. Read running magazines, books, or blogs during your injury. While this can make you a little sad or jealous I find that overall for myself reading about other runners pumps me up for my return back to running! Who knows, you may even stumble upon a story of a runner suffering from the same injury you are and you can see what that did to get better or stay positive.

I hope I can continue to stay positive during this injury and if any of you have an injury that is keeping you from running or performing your favorite workout, I feel your pain! Sad smile

Well, today is looking like a somewhat lazy Sunday. I don’t know about you, but I look forward to some time to read for fun. Smile I recently finished Orange is the New Black on Netflix with my boyfriend, so I decided to start the book that inspired the series! Have a great Sunday everyone!