Another sneaky way to squeeze in vegetables!


A cold mashed sweet potato makes an excellent addition to a bowl of yogurt + raw oatmeal.


Mashed sweet potatoes aren’t time-consuming to prepare.  All I do is wash the potato, stab it with a fork, wrap it in a wet paper towel, and microwave it for 5 – 6 minutes.  To chill it quickly, peel the skin, cut into small squares, and pop in the freezer for 5 minutes.


My yogurt bowl contained:


  • 1 serving plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 small cold sweet potato, drizzled in maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup raw oatmeal
  • Pecans
  • 1 tablespoon flax


Carrie H’s Marathon


As you know, I love to share stories from readers of their accomplishments.  Carrie H is one of my favorite readers.  She recently ran her first marathon, and when she e-mailed me to recap her experience, I asked if I could share it with you.


(Side note: Doesn’t she look like Kath from


Prepare to be inspired!


On Sunday, I ran the Colorado Marathon, which was in Ft. Collins, CO, about 45 minutes from where I live in Wyoming. I finished in 4:32:55, a time I am very happy with! I won’t qualify for Boston or anything of course, but my "secret" goal that I really tried only to tell my husband was to come in at 4:30 (but would have been happy with anything under 5 hours!).


The marathon started (obviously) 26 miles out of Ft. Collins in a beautiful canyon along the Cache la Poudre River in the Rocky Mountains. No spectators were allowed until mile 17, since the rural canyon highway is so windy and was closed to traffic. It was great, though, because I love the solace of running alone, and tried to thoroughly enjoy the first 16 miles alone. I could hear the river flowing by, which for someone who has grown up and hiked and camped in the Rockies my whole life was very comforting. The views were literally breathtaking, and really made me feel like I was right at home during the marathon.


Of course, as Caitlin and many of you know firsthand, it wasn’t easy, and miles 21-24 were hellish.  I thought I might die … but there was NO WAY I was going to stop or walk, because I knew I’d never start again. I saw my family (one of my sisters, my two nieces, a brother-in-law, my parents, my husband and my golden retriever) at miles 17, 20 ,and at the finish, and having them cheer me on was wonderful!


I know I couldn’t have done this marathon, first, without my family and husband, but also if I hadn’t found healthy living blogs and Operation Beautiful


A few years ago, I was eating a bowl of cauliflower, broccoli, six Triscuits and a sliver of cheese for lunch every day, and hardly anything else, trying to limit my calories to under 1,000 or even under 700 on a "good" day per day. And I was going to the gym for listless workouts (cause I was hangry!) and throwing up from time to time. I was mean, cranky, and unable to focus on anything. I decided I had to get better right away or I was going to get waaaaay worse, and went to counseling … and started my journey to a healthy lifestyle that would sustain me and help me become the person I wanted to be.


When I found this group of female bloggers living their lives, exercising, staying healthy and EATING, I was inspired. I learned so much from you all, and from Operation Beautiful, I remembered that I am worthwhile, and one of the best ways to remember that is by encouraging other women to feel good about themselves. (Not that I am always perfect now, but I’m way better!) 


Because the marathon course was closed yesterday, all the runners had to take a 30 minute bus ride to the starting line at 4 a.m. yesterday morning in the dark. I, of course, was self-conscious to be alone and didn’t know where to sit with all the "hard-core" runners everywhere … so I sat near the front of the bus next to a woman named Beth. She said she had done several marathons and has a grown college-aged son. I told her I was running a marathon for the first time, and she was so encouraging. She said that she believes women are especially inclined to run, because of our propensity for endurance (hello, childbirth!). She said something like, "Women are strong. You can do this," which was so simple and direct, but made me feel like I could finish the marathon. She said she tries to view the marathon as the celebration of her training, and I had that thought in the back of my mind during the race. She even told me that she struggled with disordered eating as a teenager, and we talked a little about irrational pressures on women to look a certain way. (I think something about the bus ride in the dark made us willing to really share with each other!)


I know each woman’s journey is hers alone, and she has to find her own way to health and happiness, but it certainly helps when you don’t feel alone doing so!



  • Freya @ Brit Chick Runs May 11, 2010, 9:00 am

    What a lovely story!! Big congrats to her for doing the marathon, she’s an inspiration. Being alone is the worst feeling – I think having support is SO key to success anywhere. The motive has to come from ‘within’ or whatever, but support is key for the journey 🙂
    Good post!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet May 11, 2010, 9:00 am

    So inspiring. Not to mention that is an awesome time for a marathon!!

  • Jes (Self Motivation) May 11, 2010, 9:00 am

    What an inspiring story! Thank you both for sharing it!

  • Kristen May 11, 2010, 9:01 am

    Congratulations Carrie! What a great first marathon experience.

  • kalli@fitandfortysomething May 11, 2010, 9:08 am

    wow that is so great that she went from a kind of “disordered” eating to eating to run a marathon-good for her!

  • Chelsea May 11, 2010, 9:08 am

    So awesome!! Carrie, I hope you are so proud of yourself!!

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired May 11, 2010, 9:08 am

    Wow…what an inspiring story! Congrats Carrie on both the marathon and your healthy lifestyle. You rock!

  • Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches May 11, 2010, 9:08 am

    What a wonderful story! I can only hope my first marathon (another CO marathon…the Denver Marathon!) will be as amazing. Stories like this make me even more excited to get out there and do it even though a huge part of me is terrified of attempting such a loooong distance.

    Congratulations Carrie! We are never alone in this amazing journey called life!

  • Diana May 11, 2010, 9:09 am

    Awesome story! 🙂 Congrats Carrie!

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) May 11, 2010, 9:09 am

    Such a great story!!! I love posts like these, Caitlin! It really is such a great part of my day. And a HUGE CONGRATS on the marathon! I am going to attempt my first next year, and I would never think I could do it without the “support” of stories like this from people who are in the same place and who do it! You are so much stronger than you think! 🙂

  • Heather May 11, 2010, 9:11 am

    very inspiring! It makes me so sad to see women starve themselves. I have someone close to me who does this and it breaks my heart b/c she doesnt care what I ahve to say. I am so glad carrie got her life straightened out!

  • Katie @ Two Lives, One Lifestyle May 11, 2010, 9:12 am

    Congratulations Carrie H!! That had to be a beautiful marathon, and great finishing time- What a way to culminate your journey to health :). I’ve run part of that route (very small part of it, of course!) and it is so gorgeous.

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit May 11, 2010, 9:20 am

    Great story! One more healthy, happy woman! 🙂

  • Emmanuelle May 11, 2010, 9:22 am

    Great story, and very inspiring! I loved what the woman on the bus said, “women are strong. You can do this”, it should definitely be a mantra!

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow May 11, 2010, 9:24 am

    So inspiring Carrie! A truly wonderful story to hear…coming from a place where we do not give our body respect and nourishment all the way to an amazing accomplishment as a marathon! Well done darlin!

  • Britt @ Runnerbelle May 11, 2010, 9:24 am

    Congrats to Carrie!!!! Great job on your first marathon!!

    I know I’ve met some amazing runners on buses to the start of marathons too. Everyone has their own interesting story on how they got started and why they are there.

  • allison @ livingoneday May 11, 2010, 9:27 am

    thats because i treat sweet potatoes like DESSERT. yum! your blog always makes me tear up! whether it’s your own race recaps (your tri had me hooked!) or someone elses, they are beautiful!

  • Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly May 11, 2010, 9:27 am

    Thanks for sharing that is an wonderful and heartfealt story!

  • Wei-Wei May 11, 2010, 9:28 am

    What a beautiful story – and a beautiful person. I hope that I can recover just as well as she can and follow the same path! A marathon – wow! 😀 I’ve also found the same sort of consolation and inspiration in health blogs such as this one, and also OB! 🙂

    I love chilled sweet potatoes, by the way. They become so yummy and awesome in texture. 😀


  • Morgan @ Life After Bagels May 11, 2010, 9:28 am

    Women ARE strong . .. congrats Carrie 🙂

  • sarah May 11, 2010, 9:30 am

    Congratulations Carrie! What a great story and I love the woman she met that told her “Women are strong. You can do this”. It’s true, women are strong and that is such a great message to get out there.

  • Gavi May 11, 2010, 9:31 am

    What a fantastic story! Congratulations to Carrie, and thank you Caitlin for posting this wonderful, inspiring account. It’s so great to read!

  • Maureen May 11, 2010, 9:36 am

    Such an inspiring story! Congratulations Carrie!

  • Therese May 11, 2010, 9:38 am

    What a great story and her comments about these blogs inspiring and encouraging us to be healthier, better and stronger women is so true. It’s been one thing to bond with a group of women losing weight together but what’s helped me to remain healthy and continue losing weight is seeing blogs like yours where you’re already at a healthy weight and just seeing how actual healthy, fit, strong and admiring women live.

    Carrie’s story proves that you can change anything if you want to! Congrats Carrie!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman May 11, 2010, 9:38 am

    Way to go, Carrie! She was right, women are strong!

  • Stephanie May 11, 2010, 9:39 am

    Thanks so much for sharing this inspiring story. I want to run a marathon one day but I can’t even run a 5K yet without stopping and gasping for breath. Caitlin, your blog is always so inspiring. I’ve been reading for almost a year but this is my first time commenting. I semi-started my own healthy lifestyle blog but don’t have enough time to devote to it yet (I have 2 jobs and school).

    • caitlin May 11, 2010, 9:40 am

      thank you for reading and commenting 🙂 remember to do the best YOU can do at any given particular time. you’re doing great for someone with such a busy lifestyle!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance....after a 100+ Pound weight loss!!! May 11, 2010, 9:39 am

    I too grew up in the Rockies and have family in Fort Collins that I visit every year so I can tell you the views are amazing and she was right on about the it giving you a “comforting” feeling as it does the same for me EVERY time I visit, I miss it so!

    What a great story, thank you for sharing……….=)

  • Matt May 11, 2010, 9:42 am

    Another great way is sweet potato pancakes 😉

  • Run Sarah May 11, 2010, 9:44 am

    Great story and congrats to Carrie! Fun idea to add sweet potato to bfast, I need to try that!

  • shannon (the daily balance) May 11, 2010, 9:45 am

    love this post — Carrie, you are such an inspiration! CONGRATS!

  • Gwen May 11, 2010, 9:47 am

    Way to go Carrie! From finding inspiration to becoming one – congratulations! Thanks for sharing Caitlin 🙂

  • Jess May 11, 2010, 9:49 am

    Congrats Carrie! I LOVE Ft. Collins…I went to college there and if my company hadn’t of gone under I’d still be living there. Next year I really want to run that race. It’s an amazing course and it’s down hill the entire way. I hope Carrie is recovering from the race well.

  • Chris May 11, 2010, 9:52 am

    Such a great story to wake up to this morning. Carrie, you are an inspiration. Congratulations!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg May 11, 2010, 9:52 am

    This is such an inspiring story!! Thanks for sharing, Caitlin, and CONGRATS to Carrie!!!

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog May 11, 2010, 9:54 am

    Thanks for writing this Carrie! So inspirational. I can’t wait to run my first marathon! I’ve run 4 half marathons and am too busy with school right now to train for a mary but a friend of mine just moved to town who runs marathon and she said she would train with me. I can’t WAIT!

  • Mary May 11, 2010, 9:54 am

    What an awesome and inspiring race recap! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • Teacherwoman May 11, 2010, 9:56 am

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jolene ( May 11, 2010, 10:03 am

    Very inspiring!!! A big congrats to Carrie!!!!!

  • Lauren May 11, 2010, 10:05 am

    WOW!!! Such an amazing story! So inspiring! Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  • Camille May 11, 2010, 10:15 am

    What a wonderful story, Carrie, it really resonates with me.
    You are such a champ, thanks for sharing!

  • julie May 11, 2010, 10:16 am

    Carrie, what a great story!!! Thanks so much for sharing it. You’ve really inspired me this morning!!

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) May 11, 2010, 10:16 am

    that’s really interesting to add sweet potato, but it sounds amazing!

  • Julia @ May 11, 2010, 10:18 am

    Great post! Well done! You are right – we ARE all in it together. I am so glad to have found these blogs and to also be contributing in my own way. Carrie’s story really inspires me – I so hope I get a place in the London Marathon next year! What beautiful scenery though!!


  • Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter May 11, 2010, 10:23 am

    That’s a great story! It’s very inspiring. I see the pressure put on girls every single day in my studio and its so great to see people confront them.

  • emptynutjar May 11, 2010, 10:24 am

    wow – great story.

    yeah, yogurt can make a great topping for sweet potatoes (i dont have a microwave though, so its a slower process for me!)

  • Andrea @ Run, Eat, Date, Sleep May 11, 2010, 10:32 am

    Thank you for sharing Carrie’s story! Love it! What an inspiration! My dream is to run a marathon in CO simply because of its beauty.

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries May 11, 2010, 10:36 am

    Wow – that story made me tear up. How amazing. Running a marathon seems so unfathomable to me. I’m truly inspired by any woman that can do such a thing. Carrie, I hope you’re reading this 🙂 Good job, girlfriend!

  • Sarah @ cocoanutshakes May 11, 2010, 10:38 am

    Never thought of yogurt and sweet potatoes!! Sounds amazing!

    I’m running my first half marathon on Saturday (a SUPER hilly-stair-filled one) and reading Carrie’s personal experience totally shifted my thinking today from being petrified to being really excited. Can’t wait to have a story of my own =)

  • Amber K @ sparkpeople May 11, 2010, 10:43 am

    What an awesome story! (And yes I totally thought that was Kath until I read the story, lol!)

  • Amanda May 11, 2010, 10:47 am

    Congratulations Carrie!! What a wonderful story that really hits home – I struggled with anorexia and bulimia, and it has been SO helpful reading healthy living blogs. Seeing women who exercise because it makes them feel good, eating whole foods that they enjoy, and believing in themselves has helped me to overcome my issues and transform my life!! I’m training for my second half marathon now, and have been inspired to get really into cooking! My boyfriend also runs now (we just did a 10 mile race together) and loves my kitchen creativity!! 🙂

  • Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers May 11, 2010, 11:07 am

    What a fantastic recap and post! Congrats Carrie! Your story not only resonates but it’s inspirational.

    I love Beth’s line about viewing the “marathon as the celebration of her training”. What a great way to look at it and to take the pressure off of a specific time.

    Well done & thanks Caitlin for posting this.

  • Ali @ Redhead Reports May 11, 2010, 11:13 am

    Thanks for sharing Carrie’s story – such an inspiration.

    By the way, sweet potatoes for breakfast? Crazy! I bet it’s good though.

  • Emily: Inside/Outside May 11, 2010, 11:20 am

    Go Carrie!
    What an inspirational story. Women ARE strong! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • jenny (green food diaries) May 11, 2010, 11:23 am

    definitely can identify with eating 700-1000 a day and exercising like crazy. oh, dear me… thank goodness i found food blogs.

  • Steph-exercise physiologist and artist! May 11, 2010, 11:25 am

    AWESOME story!!! Thank you for sharing 🙂
    Go Carrie Go! you are an amazing woman.
    We ARE in it together!!!

    Caitlin, great idea on the sweet potatoes addition to your breakfast. I have never ever thought of putting SP in anything like that before but it sounds so good!

  • Orla May 11, 2010, 11:25 am

    that post has made me a little emotional! Congrats on a super time and an amazing achievement.
    I have to say though that I am not sure I would manage 17 solitary miles with no crowds. I am one that loves the noise. I have only recently started leaving my music behind me when I run but I think that I would stop still with no crowd.
    Congrats again on such a wonderful achievement Carrie.

  • Lisa @ Early Morning Run May 11, 2010, 11:27 am

    what a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing and congratulations to Carrie!

    Also, I love how you had sweet potato with yogurt. I recently flew to my parents for a long weekend and had a 6am flight. I had a sweet potato left to use so the night before I baked it, let it cool and then stuck it in the fridge overnight. I took it to the airport with me and ate it for breakfast (with the skin on) cold. I’m sure some people thought I was strange, but it was perfect! I’m definitely going to do it again! Sweet potatoes are amazing!

  • Helen May 11, 2010, 11:28 am

    What an inspiring story. It is so good to hear of women overcoming their problems and going on to complete these amazing things.

  • Claire May 11, 2010, 11:31 am

    I loved this! Carrie is such an inspiration for all of us. It is so hard to be alone and not taking care of ourselves. I am so happy she completed something like a marathon for herself and to realize that women are definitely strong! I am so inspired to run right now….

  • Lisa May 11, 2010, 11:43 am

    What a cool story!! I love the pictures too. What a scenic run.

  • Erin (Travel, Eat, Repeat) May 11, 2010, 11:45 am

    I do love sweet potatoes any time of day but not sure how I’d feel about them at breakfast… Guess you don’t know until you try!

  • AngelaOSG May 11, 2010, 11:56 am

    Wow I LOVE this story! Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate so much to it…esp. the calorie restriction. That used to be me. Gosh it is amazing how things can change. Way to go Carrie!

  • Sana May 11, 2010, 12:17 pm

    I can’t wait till I am healthy in all aspects of my life. Mentally, physically and emotionally. I feel like I am just starting my healthy living lifestyle I can’t wait to see where I go!

    Thanks for sharing this amazing story!

  • Johanna B May 11, 2010, 12:22 pm

    Caitlin, Thanks for sharing Carrie’s story.

    @Carrie H – If you read this I want to congratulate you on the progress you have made. You are most definitely a strong woman and you will be able to do anything you want in life. Thanks for sharing your story with Caitlin so she could share it with us.

  • jen trinque @ recipes for creativity May 11, 2010, 12:25 pm

    That was beautiful and gave me chills. Needed to hear it today.

  • Billy May 11, 2010, 12:42 pm

    Congrats to Carrie you girls sure are tough. Come to think of it, as a guy, almost all my favorite runners are women. Keep up the good work and thanks for the inspiration.

  • Sara May 11, 2010, 1:09 pm

    I recently started reading your blog and am really inspired by your healthy attitude towards food, exercise and life! I was just wondering if you had any tips for someone looking to start running outdoors as opposed to on a treadmill. I’ve never run outdoors before but have been going on the treadmill for years (among other physical acitivty of course), and now with the nice summer weather starting I really want to try something new!
    Thanks for any advice you can give 🙂

    • caitlin May 11, 2010, 2:03 pm

      I would recommend slowly transitioning because the surface types are different and you need to make the switch over time. I would prob do 1 mile indoor, 1 mile outside (or 2 indoors, 1 outside) several days a week. Running outside is fun but it will feel different and extra challenging… stick with it!

  • Annie May 11, 2010, 1:09 pm

    You rock Carrie! Your story is so inspiring. I love that the blog world has helped inspire you so much!


  • Suz May 11, 2010, 1:15 pm

    Carrie, your story is definitely inspiring! It’s amazing how the Internet connects us all. Congrats on your success!

  • Tracey @ TropicalHappiness May 11, 2010, 1:30 pm

    How inspirational!!!!!!!!! Carrie… CONGRATULATIONS! What an accomplishment! And Caitlin, thanks for sharing!

  • Larissa H May 11, 2010, 2:16 pm

    wow this is such a nice story, so inspirational 🙂

  • Cassie @ A Very Busy Mind May 11, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Wow. I saw so much of myself in Carrie’s story. Healthy living blogs helped pull me out of some very unhealthy practices, too (not to mention helped me develop some healthy ones). The power of this little community we’ve got going here is (I truly believe) very underestimated.

    Carrie, you are AWESOME. To go from where you were to running a marathon…SO inspirational. Get it, girl! 🙂

  • Carrie H May 11, 2010, 3:04 pm

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments and support. I always say to my little nieces (and will say this to my own daughters one day) that we girlies have to stick together! 🙂

  • ari May 11, 2010, 3:05 pm

    i love stories like that.
    my dream is to run a marathon one day, and since i’m moving to colorado in the fall, maybe i’ll run the colorado marathon and have a similar story to share 🙂

  • runnerforever May 11, 2010, 3:29 pm

    Congrats a bunch girl! It is so amazing how much the support of others can keep you going strong!

  • Heather ODonnell May 11, 2010, 3:32 pm

    What an amazing and inspiring story. I am training for my first marathon and recovering from my own harrowing bout of anorexia. Congrats.

  • John May 11, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing the story. I’m thinking about running a marathon next and these stories always help me think it’s possible. In one of the pics she does look like Kath.

  • Ashley May 11, 2010, 4:17 pm

    Congrats that is awesome!!

  • Melissa @ For the Love of Health May 11, 2010, 4:30 pm

    What a great post! I enjoyed reading it!

  • Lizzy May 11, 2010, 6:07 pm

    Great job on the marathon Carrie!! I was so happy to cheer you on at the finish. I almost cried when I saw you running to the finish line. Your big sister is so proud of you. I love you!!

    • Carrie H May 11, 2010, 11:09 pm

      Thanks so much for your support Lizzy!

  • lisa May 11, 2010, 6:44 pm

    I love adding sweet potatoes to meals. Just today I added cold, cooked sweet potato to my salad. And I’ve eaten them with breakfast too, either on toast or in oatmeal, but I like them heated up. Plus, I cook them in the oven; they’re never the same to me out of a microwave.

  • Amy May 11, 2010, 7:01 pm

    Awesome story and accomplishment Carrie! Also, I love your dog! Does he/she train with you?

    • Carrie H May 12, 2010, 11:45 am

      Thanks! I do run with my doggie. He is awesome and such great motivation — he’s always ready for a run and always has fun when we’re out. The farthest I’ve taken him is 17 miles, but I stopped taking him more than 12 after that. He seemed okay and like he enjoyed the 17 miles, and even seemed like he could do more, but I just feel unsure about taking him too far. We talked to the vet about it before we started doing more than eight together, and he said as long as I gradually build him up to longer distances he should be okay (just like people!). He’s itching to run again, though, since it’s been several days now since I’ve been recovering from my marathon!

  • Kath May 11, 2010, 8:33 pm

    We DO look alike!!!

    And I want that breakfast.

  • Erin May 11, 2010, 11:32 pm

    Way to go Carrie! 4:32 is an amazing marathon time, particularly because it was your first. Keep it up! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Natalie of (Nat Attacks a Balanced Life) May 12, 2010, 2:11 am

    Thank you so much Carrie and Caitlin!

    I am running my first half marathon in a few weeks. I feel like its celebration of my health, my training and to prove myself that I am strong, happy and healthy.

    Thank you to the healty living blog world an to all those who inspire me.

  • Therese May 25, 2010, 11:59 am

    Thank you for posting this! I have recovered from an eating disorder (about 4 years ago) and am still learning to balance healthy eating and exercise with moderation and a positive body image. It is a constant struggle to maintain a positive relationship with food and a good self-image, but posts like this help a lot! I have started running and hope to train for a half-marathon this year! congratulations, Carrie!

Previous post:

Next post:

Healthy Tipping Point