Thursday, July 31, 2014

I'm back....again?!

Hey friends, yes I know I disappeared again...I was super busy with work (boy have there been changes on that front!), life, and just general day to day disinterest. But I'm back and I have lots to tell! Since I last checked in I have started a new job, been to London for that new job, and wasted away the summer indoors on a treadmill.

Well, with my new job comes more structured hours, less expectations, and therefore more time to write! I hope to jump on a few times a week and share all of the recipes I have tried since my last post, all of my upcoming fitness ventures, and just daily thoughts that pop into my life as we head toward fall (finally!) here in North Florida! I hope you'll come along for the ride!

Question of the day: What is one reason you're looking forward to fall? 

Link of the day:

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Running Naked

No, not actually running naked but running with no watch, no iPod, no you do it?

I went to head out for my run the other day before the work day really got started and just as I was putting on my sneakers, my phone gave me the blue screen of death and shut off.  Great.  I tried to turn it back on by holding down the power button, nothing.  I pressed the power button lightly, nothing.  I knew I had to re-evaluate the situation and since I knew I had to get going so I could get to my work for the day, I left phone-less.

I left just after 8am the other day for my run and actually enjoyed it! Granted it was only about 3 miles long so only 25 or so minutes but I was able to enjoy the morning and not focus on running or on my music. I run through a downtown area and enjoyed watching everyone going to work or beginning to run their errands and was able to keep my focus on what was going on around me.  I didn't have my current pace or time playing in my ears every 5 minutes which meant I was able to forget for a time that I was even running.

I have been having problems with the GPS on my phone anyway so I haven't really been tracking my runs much as  every time I come home, my run tracker tells me I'm running a 6-7 minute mile (riiiiight!) so I've been following routes with which I am familiar and know almost exactly how far I'm running.

For the time being I didn't miss my music but I'm not sure I would be able to make that a regular occurrence since running the same routes time and again gets a bit boring, I know I'll need that to give me something to do!

Question of the Day: Do you run with music?  Do you like to run and just enjoy the scenery?
Link of the Day: FitFluential's March Miles Running Playlist

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Friday Fun!

Well, we made it to the weekend and boy am I glad we did!  It's been a long (but good!) week and I am ready for the weekend!

With that said, here are some new and fun things that have kept me going this week(yes I wrote this Friday but didn't post until today- please don't hold it against me for too long)!

Timed Exercise
I know I posted about this already a month back but I finally made it in this week (after I bought the Groupon, oh about 2 months ago!) and I am in love!  This is probably the one thing I have enjoyed the most about the end of this week! I went in for my first class Tuesday and it hurt so good!  We did about a 5 minute active stretch warmup after the trainer demonstrated all of the exercises we would be doing for the day (there were about 4 total) and then got to work!  Since it was my first day I was only able to go 10 of the 30 minutes allowed for the workout, just to ensure I wouldn't hurt myself and that I would in fact be able to come back in the next day....well believe it or not, I was actually extremely sore even after just that 15 (ok, I went 17) minutes!  Wowzers!  I of course had to go back the next day and after that 30 minute (well, the WOD only took me about 23 minutes that day) I had to take a day off!  I was THAT sore!  Finally able to walk again, I went back today for my third day and got through just about all 5 rounds! The instructors are SO motivating and friendly it really keeps you going the entire time- no matter how much you want to This group personal training exercise is only available in the Jacksonville area right now but hopefully it will spread because it's a darn good workout!

Good Running Weather!
It's that time of year where it's actually nice in Northeast Florida!  It's not cold like in the winter but it's not yet hot (though that will certainly be here soon!) either so I can get in pretty solid runs daily!  I took a lot of time off after the marathon at the end of February (wow, that was almost 5 weeks ago!) and now my body is rested and ready to go!  I have run just about every day this week with a "long" run today of 5 miles and have loved that I don't freeze for the first mile but it's not too hot or humid that I want to die after a mile :)  Of course the past few days' runs have been a different story and I'm just hoping my sore muscles don't give out (in other words- VERY slow runs!) but just happy to be back out and enjoying the beautiful weather!

Vanilla Oatmeal Protein Pancakes
Yeah, so this one is so good it got it's own post the other day but I just can't believe how much I love them!  I ran out of protein powder and syrup after yesterday's breakfast (wahhh!) so I had to do without today and my morning just didn't feel the same!  I remedied the situation at the grocery store today so tomorrow we should be back on track!

My New Cell Phone
I basically had the previous version of this phone for the past year and a half but the screen was wayyyy too small and the camera took all pictures with a sort of yellow hue.  Well I had the opportunity last week to upgrade and get a new phone so I took it!  I love the screen size on this new version (it's about a half inch wider and maybe a quarter of an inch longer than my previous phone) and it's great!  I do so much on my phone (yes, I'm internet and social media addicted) so I needed the bigger screen size!

Happy Weekend!!

Question of the Day: What products or events are you loving lately?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Protein Pancake Round 2

So this has pretty much become my new morning staple!  I have had some variation of this Vanilla protein pancake every day for the past week and a half and yes, I even threw in two once day last week and had a two ingredient (well, I added in a few more!) banana pancake for lunch...syrup included!  

I have read several bloggers' "protein pancake" recipes and really began to take an interest as my cravings for pancakes grew!  Pancakes and all of their calories and not so healthful qualities usually find their place on Saturday or Sunday mornings, plus it can be tough to find or create a recipe for single serving pancakes.  That's when I decided to try out some of these recipes, why not have a pancake on a Tuesday morning!

The first couple of recipes I tried just didn't work- I took them directly from other bloggers and they turned out just too 'eggy' and the texture, although not bad, wasn't "pancake quality" so I went back to the drawing board!  I ultimately came up with a recipe that not only has a very similar texture to pancakes but also has about 25 grams of protein (closer to 35 if you use two scoops of protein powder!) and is easy to make on a weekday morning and is of course, a single serving recipe!

Vanilla Protein Pancake:
(Serves 1)

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I use Tera's Whey)- you can use two if you want but I would add in an extra egg white or 2 Tbsp egg whites from a carton as it will be a bit dry with two scoops!
2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg whites from a carton
1/3 cup quick oats
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk

I dump everything in a bowl and whisk it together until everything is evenly combined.  I spray (with cooking spray though coconut oil on the pan would be a great change of pace!) about an 8 inch skillet and put the stove on medium heat.  Once it's warm but not hot I pour the batter in the pan and cover it!  Covering the pan allows the top of the pancake to cook while not burning the bottom as the pancake will be thick!  Let it cook just below medium heat for 4-5 minutes then flip.  I cover the pan once more and cook about another 4 minutes.  Although it doesn't look like much batter in the pan the pancake will really inflate while cooking.  I have found that I am pretty much full for about 3-4 hours after this breakfast!

I normally drench my pancake in sugar free syrup but have added toppings such as sliced almonds, grated unsweetened coconut, bananas, even cinnamon or cocoa powder!  I am about to run out of my syrup (tear) so until I go shopping again it looks like it will be PB2 for a topping tomorrow!  

Question of the Day: What alternative pancake recipes are your favorite?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm back (again and with two new smoothie recipes)!

Well things have been super crazy around here yet again (hopefully more to come on that later) which has shifted my focus from jumping on to write this little blog to other things like working and helping to run my house of animals!  I have realized over the past week that too many good things have been going on in my kitchen (and in my runs!) to stay away from the blog waves for too long so here I am! Over the next few days I will recap several new recipes I have cooked up (yes, pun intended) plus my last race of the season (remember, I live in Florida and it's about to get H-O-T!).  I also plan to be a spectator (for the first time!) at a 1/2 marathon this Sunday and want to blog about what it's like to be the spectator when I'm normally the runner!!

So lots of good things planned but bear with me as I find the time to get them all out here :)  And yes, there will be mouth watering pictures ahead as well!  For now, let's recap my first recent culinary success- smoothies!

I have always had a love for smoothies and reading so many other bloggers' recaps of their days, I see smoothies pop in there all the time! I always get a smoothie craving when I do but the problem is, smoothies don't fill me up- not in the least!  I always end up throwing them by the wayside in favor of something more filling, solid food!  Well, although my recent smoothies are certainly NOT a meal replacement (warning: they definitely don't fill you up!) I have found two great recipes that are both fairly low in calories and work perfectly as an after lunch sweet snack (or post-workout hit of protein!).

Strawberry- Vanilla Protein Smoothie
(serves 1)

1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (I've been using Tera's Whey)
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 medium banana (frozen or not- I don't freeze it but the smoothie will remain colder if you do!)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 1 tsp Guar Gum (I use Bob's Red Mill but Xanthum Gum would work as well if you have that instead)
Sort of Optional (but it makes them so great I went out and bought it!): whipped cream and cinnamon dusting

Stick it all (with the exception of the optional topping) in a blender and blend away!  I use the guar gum to give it stability and thickness.  In my opinion it makes the smoothie more filling and feel more like I'm having a meal which in turn works with the protein to (in my mind) fill me up longer!

Other optional toppings: sliced almonds, shredded coconut, peanut butter or PB2, chocolate chips!

Vanilla- Banana Protein Smoothie
(serves 1)
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder (Again, Tera's Whey is what I have been using- nutrition will differ depending on what brand you use)
1/2 medium banana (frozen or not- I don't freeze it but the smoothie will remain colder if you do!)
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 to 1 tsp Guar Gum (I use Bob's Red Mill but Xanthum Gum would work as well if you have that instead)
I haven't yet topped mine with whipped cream but I definitely recommend it!

Again, stick it all in a blender and blend away!  This would be great topped with some peanut/ almond butter or even crushed up nuts!

Next up: Protein Pancakes!

Question of the Day: What recipes have you tried lately?
                                    Have they worked or have you had to tweak them several times?  I have had
                                    several failures as well over the past few weeks but that only made me want to
                                    tweak them and make them work!

Link of the Day: Eating Well's Health Benefits of Juicing VS Smoothies- Why Smoothies Are the Winner!

I'd love to hear about any recent recipes you have made as I'm always looking for new breakfasts, lunches, and dinners!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Back in Running Jail

As I suspected after Friday's run my body just wasn't feeling 100% ready to get back into running post marathon last Sunday.  So I decided that after training so hard for 3-4 months I would let my body take some more rest and set a goal of one more week to begin again this Friday.
So here I am again back in running Jail...womp womp.  So far since the race I have taken 7 days off and I have 3 more to go and it's killing me! I made a promise to myself though that after the marathon ended I would focus much more on strength training.  I know marathon training needs to of course involve a decent amount of strength training to help your body carry itself the full 26.2 miles but during the last month of training I really let all of that go.  It was a combination of my gym closing and my running taking up so much of my time that it just seemed easier to keep up with the rest of my daily responsibilities by dropping that extra work.

So of course I can't take 2 weeks of complete rest days so I've been attending regular Pure Barre classes to get back into the habit of strength training.  I have to say that although I'm definitely not feeling myself without getting our there and lacing up my shoes daily I do love hittin' the barre and  getting in a great burn a few times a week!

I'm planning to head out the door Friday early afternoon to get in a good 'ol fashioned run but til then, to the barre!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite type of workout?  Do you lift weights?  Take a bike ride outdoors?  Participate in group exercise?

Link of the Day:'s 7 Ways Exercise Relieves Stress

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Relaxing Sunday Begins with Pancakes!

Sundays are meant to be lazy, relaxing days- right?!  Well, around here with so much going on we rarely have a relaxing Sunday as the day is normally used to continue getting done what we didn't during the week.  Well this Sunday was different, the plan was to shut down and just relax- and we did....well, sort of.

I'm a sucker for trying now things and for healthy recipes so about a week ago when I saw a Maple- Cinnamon Sweet Potato Pancake Recipe on one of my favorite blogs Carrots 'N' Cake I knew I had to put that on the list to try.  When Thursday came and I was making my grocery list I made sure to put a sweet potato down as I knew I had all of the other ingredients.  Well, they turned out just about amazing!  I tweaked a few things of course to make them fit my lifestyle.  The changes I made were using whole wheat flour instead of almond flour as I'm not gluten intolerant so I don't want to spend the big bucks on almond flour and adding in a scoop of vanilla protein powder (I've been using Tera's Whey recently and love it!) for some extra staying power!  The protein powder didn't change the taste of the pancakes at all so next time I plan to add two full scoops of powder for that extra 5g of protein per serving and then an extra Tbsp of maple syrup to keep the consistency the same.  For now, here is the recipe I used:
Serves 2 
1/2 c mashed sweet potato
1/3 c whole wheat flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender or mixer and mix until well combined.  Using a pre-heated skillet (to ensure fluffier pancakes) pour pancakes onto the pan with 1/4 c scoops making sure not to overcrowd the skillet.  Once the pancakes begin to bubble the cakes are ready to flip.  They only take about a minute once flipped until they'er finished so be sure to keep an eye on them! This recipe will make 4 pancakes.

I added some sliced almonds per original recipe suggestion and of course some more maple syrup as the pancakes themselves are not very sweet but that just means you're allowed to add more syrup, right?!  Next time I would most likely add some sliced bananas on top as well!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite Sunday morning of weekend breakfast?

Link of the day: More Yummy Pancake Recipes from FitSugar!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Back To The Barre!

Well I'm back, after 2 full rest days post marathon my muscles felt strong enough to get back to a minimal amount of exercise.  I'm still holding off on running until *hopefully* tomorrow but I knew that a low impact strength day was just what my body needed.  I posted about this a couple of months back but I have been attending Barre classes at the Pure Barre studio near my house and decided to stop by for a 12pm class yesterday afternoon.  I was a bit worried about the warm up part of class as it involves both front and side planks and I still have a pretty gnarly blister on one toe of my right foot but I took it slow when changing positions and ended up with no problems at all.  My leg muscles were full recovered by then and it ended up being a great class.

My focus now is to of course keep running as I do have the Gate River Run 15K coming up in just over 2 weeks, but to also begin a regular schedule of strength training.  As a runner, lifting is not my favorite part of gym time but I normally push through a minimal (very minimal) amount just to ensure I'll make it through the race without completely falling apart.  I keep saying that as I'm a runner with 2 full marathons under my belt I want to *look* like a runner as well and with barely any muscle tone, well I look like anything but!  I have the benefit (or curse!) of living in Florida and the warm weather will be rolling in soon enough so this is about the time of year when my running begins to die down anyway.  Since Gate River Run comes only 3 weeks after the marathon each year I don't need to do any extra running training so my daily and weekly running will amount to much less, leaving a lot more time for strength training!  I plan to make barre classes a twice weekly event and also plan to try out a new form of strength classes beginning Tuesday morning.

I bought a Groupon recently for one month unlimited at Timed Exercise and hope to begin next week!  Timed Exercise is a 45 minute class including a short warm up, 30 minute strength training session, then a short cool down as well.  As I am someone who is less than motivated to pick up a free weight or hop on a weight machine at the gym, I figure a new type of group exercise is just what I need to get the ball rolling!  Since the deal I bought is for a month of unlimited classes I plan to attend those 2-3 days per week as well to ensure a full 4-5 days of training.  I know that with my full work schedule I can work in about 3-4 mile runs on those days as well to keep my cardio training active and of course get in the running time that I love.  I'm sure that after the month is over I'll cut my strength training sessions down to about 3-4 per week so I can add in 2 "longer" runs (between 4 and 6 miles) per week with the shorter runs I do to warm up before a class but I want to start strong and then after the toning begins I can cut back, but only a little bit!

Question of the Day: What new exercises or classes have you tried lately?  Did you like it?

Link of the Day: Runner's World: How Best to Combine Strength Training and Running

Monday, February 24, 2014

26.2 With Donna Marathon Recap!

Yesterday was the 26.2 with Donna Marathon and it was a great race!  Just as I remember from last year, the route was full of volunteers and spectators ready to keep all of the runners motivated and moving!

The race started just after 7:30am yesterday morning and runners headed off in several different waves.  I started in the third wave as I am a starting line procrastinator and never make it to the starting line more than 5 minutes before the race is set to start.  By the time I was able to fit myself into the line up, I was only able to make it through about 1/3 of the runners which meant I was toward the back.  I ended up running over the starting line about 8 minutes after the cannon went off.  The weather for race day just about perfect!  Last year, the race started off at a freezing 34 degrees which meant that I couldn't feel my toes until about mile 4.  This year though, the temperature was about 56-57 degrees and cloudy.  There was a slight chill to the air which meant no humidity (Florida humidity can really kill a race!) so overall a pretty good start!  I had to spend most of the first couple of miles weaving through slower runners to finally find my way out of the pace and into my groove.

We ran through the neighborhoods of Ponte Vedra Beach and into Jax Beach and eventually on to the beach itself.  The beach is always a challenging 2.5 miles but this year there was no wind (like last year!) and with the clouds this part of the race definitely could have been worse!  We continued up North through Atlantic and Neptune Beaches and then back down South on the road next to the beach.  My phone, and my source of music, died at about mile 20.  That meant I had no idea of my pace and no music to motivate me for the last 6 miles of the run.  I kept pushing forward though and made it up the ramp to the highway which covers the last 3 miles of the race.  This last stretch is probably the most challenging part.  Because it's a bridge, the amount of spectators is very low and these three miles do have several ups and downs.  The first half of the last mile is uphill...after having run 25 miles an uphill run is not easy!  At the top of the bridge though, just as we were about to head down and off the ramp toward the finish line there is the "Bridge Brigade."  The "Bridge Brigade" is a large group of very loud and enthusiastic volunteers set up to make that last push happen.  Having now run this race twice I can easily say, this last 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile would not be possible without these volunteers.  After having run about 25.5 miles and the most recent stretch being uphill I think many of us are ready to shut down and begin walking.  I am proud to say that I used this motivation to keep going and made it across the finish line strong....well, sort of strong anyway.

I finished with a time of 3:47:13 which is 2 minutes and 20 seconds faster than last year (a finish time of 3:49:33)!  I placed 115th of 1014 full marathon completers as well.  I'm glad I started and then finished when I did as about 15 minutes after I passed the finish line it started to rain and about 30 minutes later the skies opened up!

Question of the Day: Have you ever run a marathon or half marathon?  What kept you going for that last push?

Link of the Day: Shape's Tips on How to Recover From Running a Marathon

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday Fun!

Welcome to round 2 of Friday Fun!  Here are some things that have kept me motivated this week!

26.2 With Donna Marathon Weekend

That was my husband and I last year after the marathon.  I loved (yeah right!) running 26.2 miles SO much that I just had to do it again one more time :)  I will be gearing up bright and early Sunday morning and am hoping for a great race!

My new chunky necklace from Target!

I bought this necklace from Target last weekend and have since worn it twice... I received 4 compliments today alone and was only out and about for 3 hours!   I am absolutely loving chunky necklaces right now and figured I'd buy one....well I guess I chose the right one (it looks much cuter on!)!


I am gearing up for my race Sunday and have been loading up on potassium this week so I've been eating about two bananas a day and since bananas are my absolute favorite fruit I have been a very happy girl lately!

Quest Bars!

Especially the Cookies & Cream flavor!! I have previously tried the Double Chocolate Chunk, Cookie Dough, and Chocolate Brownie flavors and although I have loved most of those that I've tried, the Cookies & Cream flavor definitely takes the cake!  I ordered a box of 12 bars about 2 weeks ago and have only 3 left!

Have a great weekend!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite protein or snack bar?

Link of the Day: The Benefits of Bananas for Running

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tips For Tapering

There comes a time when every runner must taper before a race- and that time is NOW for me! I'm right smack in the middle of tapering for my marathon this (eeeek!) Sunday and thought that since I'm oh so familiar with the tapering process, I'd write up a little post with some tips for tapering!

 *Most* runners will taper a couple to a few weeks before a long race like a full or half marathon.  Not all runners do, some run long distances right up to the moment of the race (if you run races often you'll need that time to continue training for an upcoming race) but most training plans and most trainers will suggest at least somewhat of a taper.

Why taper?  Tapering allows your body to rebuild and recover before the race.  We run our longer runs toward the end of our training plans since we have worked hard throughout to attain that level of fitness. After that 10 or 20 mile training run we have blisters, sore knees and shins, heel pain, etc. because we have put our body through it's paces and have run mileage we may never have run before (or at least not often!). It's your body's way of showing you it needs rest...tapering is how that happens!  You don't want to stop running all of a sudden or drop back too far too soon as that can shock your muscles and leave you unprepared for the race.  You want to let your muscles recover slowly while still maintaining the level of fitness required for your upcoming race!  Here is what Runner's World Magazine has to say about the tapering whys and hows before your race!

I've been tapering now for about 1.5 weeks for what will be a total of 2 weeks.  My training plan which this year is the Intermediate 1 plan from Hal Higdon suggests a 3 week taper at the end.  Well, no matter how excited I am in the fall (yes, I said excited) to start my training I always miscalculate and leave one week too few for my training which always ends up in cutting  a run or two out of the plan to modify it for myself.  I wanted to kick my race up a notch this year and am aiming for a PR (3:48:30 or under!) so I went with the plan that had 2 20 milers.  Well, to build up correctly I wanted to leave all of the build up runs in the plan and of course cutting out a drop back week would be deadly so I decided a two week taper would suit me just fine.  I ran my last 20 miler a week ago this past Sunday and stuck to 8 this past weekend.  I figured cutting out the 12 would be better than cutting out the 8 miler as 14 miles the week before a full would probably lead me to disaster on race day!  Since then, I have run 3 (well 3.1) miles on Tuesday and 4.40 miles yesterday.
When my husband realized I had a week of low mileage ahead and asked me to run with him for Wednesday's 4 miler I agreed.  We don't normally do too well running together as I tend to run a lot faster than he does (he only runs once a week and I, well I run a lot more than that!) and tend to have trouble staying behind with him.  I knew a slower (read slower but definitely not slow!) at about a 9 minute pace would be a good thing for my recovery and at this point, certainly wouldn't make me lose any of the fitness or abilities I have built up over the past few months!  Although it can be hard for a runner to stomach, I definitely suggest not only kicking the mileage of your runs back before a big race but also kicking back a bit on the speed, truly let your body recover.  I still ran Sunday's 8 miler at more of a "race pace" but took the opportunity to (well for Wednesday at least) to cut back my pace after that.

I will be planning a "shakeout" run this Saturday, nothing big but a slow (ok, who am I kidding after two rest days in a row I'm going to want to jet!), 2 mile run is in order to be sure that when I wake up bright and early Sunday morning to prep for the marathon my muscles are slightly warmer than if I had taken Saturday off and I can get into the swing of the run much more easily!

Question of the Day: How long do you taper before a big race?
Link of the Day: Runner's World 6 Cross-Training Activities To Try

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Fun!

Welcome to the first edition of "Friday Fun!"  As an avid reader of blogs (oh, that sounds like a job title- I want that one!) I read a lot of themed weekly posts such as "What to Wear Wednesday" or "Thursday Tidbits" and I love the idea of a fun, short, weekly post so here goes....the first edition of "Friday Fun!"

Sweaty Bands
As a (fairly) serious runner I am always looking for new headbands that are going to stay in place as I run.  It drives me CRAZY when I have pieces of hair flying in my face as I run and other than the ugly plastic headbands that cost 99 cents (and are SO uncomfortable) I haven't yet found anything that truly works!  I bought one yesterday and already love it!  The headband stayed put during my Pure Barre class and then today as well when I put it through it's paces during a 6 mile run!

Sunset Runs!

Do I even have to elaborate? Beautiful colors along the river as I'm trying to make it through the toughest part of my run...umm, yes please!

Kashi Hummus Crisps
I have seen these around for a few months now and have wanted to try them since I first saw them and finally picked up a bag today when I was at the grocery store and ate about half the bag before the groceries were unloaded (don't worry, it's only a 3.5 serving bag!) and they are a-mazing!  No need for dip, they have tons of flavor right on the chip!  I got the Sea Salt and Olive Oil flavor and surprisingly, although they tasted just like Olive Oil I loved them!

C9 Workout Clothing from Target!
I basically buy all of my running clothing (with the exception of shoes of course!) from Target and LOVE the C9 line!  I went last weekend to try and find something fun and new for my upcoming marathon and found a style I've loved in the past but never thought fit me.  Well, I decided to throw caution to the wind and try it on again and I loved it!  The shirt was so cute and would be perfect for the upcoming (way too soon!) summer in Florida!  I bought it in two colors: a rain cloud (Gray) and black.  I wore the gray shirt today and plan to wear the black with a cute (Target) pink running skirt!

I'll be back next week with more Friday Fun! Enjoy the (3 day!) weekend!

Question of the day: What new products, foods, or events are you loving lately?
Link of the day: In honor of Valentine's Day-

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

11 Days and Counting...

Yes, I know it's been a month since I last posted on this blog, bet you thought I disappeared didn't you?!  Marathon training can take up so much time and energy that in the last hour or two after work is finish and everything is done around the house- all I want to do is sit down and watch mindless t.v.!  But as the tapering begins I am trying to be more active in other areas as I'm running much less than I have been over the past two months!

We are officially 11 days away from the Donna Breast Cancer Marathon on February 23, 2014!  I am at that point in my training where I begin to ‘taper’ for the next week and a half.  I did a second 20 miler this past Sunday evening (I’m still loving the weekend sunset runs! I’m going to miss them when summer returns to Florida in a couple of months and I have to race out before 7am to get in a less humid run!).  It definitely did not go as well as my first 20 miler 2 weeks before but since the first was completed in 2:51:50 (an average pace of 8:35) I guess I can’t be too disappointed!  I was still able to finish this last training run in 2:56:22 for an average pace of 8:49 which certainly beats last year’s single 20 miler at a pace of 8:59 and a total time of 3:00:03!  10 seconds faster per mile- I’ll take it!

As any runner would be I’m of course hoping for a PR…my official finish time last year was 3:49:37 so anywhere between 3:35 and 3:48 would work for me!  That means I’m looking for an average pace of 8:40 to complete the race in 3:47.  

Although my long run times this go round would suggest I’m on track for a PR I’m nervous about the outcome as I think anyone would be!  I remember the way I felt as I crossed the finish line last year- a very heavy chest and I felt very short of breath.   I chalked it up to the fast pace at which I ran for so many miles…well if I’m looking for a PR this year that means running even faster.  I’m hoping that my extra 20 mile run and the overall faster pace I ran prepared my body to kick it up a notch without feeling any worse (or even as bad as I felt at the end of last year’s race!) however the feeling after this week’s 20 miler would suggest differently.  I felt *horrible* this past Sunday when I got home.  I stretched and grabbed a glass of water with my GU Electrolyte tabs and headed straight for the couch.  I felt super nauseous and completely drained; my left knee was also recovering from a weak moment at mile 18.  I sipped on my electrolyte filled water and ate some tortilla chips and after about an hour I felt ready to get up and jump in the shower.   It’s a bit funny to think about as after my first 20 miler two weeks ago I felt great!  I was talking with my husband throughout the run and when I got home I drank a smoothie while stretching by the fire!  Weird!

I’ve been trying to prepare in other ways as well as we hit that last stretch before the race….I’ve been focusing on cutting out as much alcohol and processed foods as I can with only two glasses of wine total this past weekend and a pretty healthy diet since Friday (with the exception of the insane amount of Thomas’ English Muffins banana bread and corn muffin flavor I ate!) to try and clear my system in order for it to run as efficiently as possible (yes, pun intended!).  I also gained a few pounds (ok, more than a few!) over the holidays (darn family visits and yummy treats!) and have been trying to lose a couple of those (slowly) while still remaining fueled for my level of exercise, hoping that a couple of pounds will also help me run just a tad faster in search of that PR. 

From here, it’s tapering down daily to let me body rest and recuperate for the long run ahead.  I have much shorter mid-week runs planned this week and next week I only have two “real” runs planned!  This Sunday’s “long” run will be a total of about 10 miles then it’s short runs Tuesday and Wednesday before rest days Thursday and Friday and a shakeout run of 2 miles Saturday so ensure my muscles don’t get too tight before Sunday’s race!  I’m trying to keep up my healthy and cleaner eating habits these next 11 days as well to ensure my system is clear and free of anything that might hold me back from the goal I’ve been working toward for about 3 months now!

Question of the Day: Do you have any special rituals or meals you do or prepare in the weeks leading up to a race?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

NatureBox: Healthy and Delicious Snacks Delivered to Your Door!

As a runner, healthy eater, and blogger I tend to follow several other blogs that interest me and for some time now I have been reading about NatureBox.  NatureBox is a snack box delivered directly to your door with healthy, yummy, nutritionist approved snacks!  I am all about healthy eating but still crave good tasting food so this seemed like the perfect fit!  I came across a link on Carrots 'N' Cake and since the link gave me 1/2 off my first box, I had to try it out!

I clicked the link and signed up!  I didn't do too much exploring as to whether or not I could choose my own snacks but since part of the fun was to experience and try something new I figured I'd take whatever came!  I chose the NatureBox Deluxe which comes with 5 snacks and since I was paying $10 for the box, it made each snack only $2!  Win!  I went with the smallest box since it would just be me eating them as my husband continues to fill his tortilla chip addiction.  NatureBox is great because you can pause your subscription at any time so for this month, I still had some snacks left over from my last box so after these 5 snacks came I knew I wouldn't need another shipment at the end of January so I paused it for a month and my next set of snacks won't ship out until February 22- plenty of time to savor the others!  

In my first box came:

All of these snacks were awesome!   I loved in even in the "Surprise Box" they sent me both savory and sweet snacks- a nice balance to cover every craving I might be having!!  I loved adding the granola and dried fruit to my morning yogurt and the pistachio clusters were a great quick and sweet bite when the mood struck!  The Roasted Kettle Kernels tasted *exactly* like honey roasted peanuts but were a bit too hard for me to crunch.  With that said, if you like corn nuts- you'll LOVE these roasted kernels (they come in BBQ flavor as well!)!  Although I loved the array of snacks I received, I figured I'd try something new for my second delivery!  I perused the NatureBox website and found 5 awesome snacks that I couldn't wait to try.  I wanted to go with the sweet and savory but I am trying to eat more proteins to help my snacks last a bit longer so I can focus on work without having to stop every hour to grab something to eat!  I chose:

Baked Sweet Potato Fries (which I basically inhaled within a couple of days!)
Flax Fortune Coins (I'm a HUGE fortune cookie fan and these tasted *exactly* like fortune cookies!)
Sunshine Chips (which were easily my favorite choice from the box)
Harvest Nut Mix (the attempt to get more protein)
Dark Cocoa Almonds (wait, maybe these were my favorite- they didn't last more than a day!)

Although I was pretty happy with the order I decided for my next shipment to swap out the Flax Fortune Coins for the Far East Rice Crackers which, being so low in calories, is pretty much a bag I can inhale in one sitting!  Each of the snacks has anywhere from 3-5 servings though since they're all so good (and healthy) it's hard to stop at one serving!  The ingredient list for these snacks is usually pretty short and nothing like "dimethylpolysiloxane"<-- say what?!!

Each snack is labeled as to whether it's gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, savory, sweet, spicy, low sodium, vegan, etc.!  You can even sort on their website by these different categories to make it that much easier to find snacks that meet your dietary guidelines!  

You can't beat the $10 first-time promotion (click here to try for $10 to start) which makes each snack only $2 and really, even the full price for the smallest box of $19.95 makes each snack only $4- a great price for healthy, nutritious, yummy snacks delivered directly to your door with no extra shipping or tax!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Saturday Morning 17 Miler

except in the summer in florida its toooooo hot to just go at anytime. morning or night. period. lol

Well I'm at that point in my training where those obnoxious numbers like 17, 18, and 20 show up ;)  This Saturday was 17 and man was it fun....right!  I headed out about 8:30 am, the forecast for the day was cloudy and cloudier so I wasn't in a rush to get out the door.  I don't have many friends locally who train for long races like these so I usually run, which I like, but it is nice to have company when you're running for 2.5 to 3 hours.  When training for my marathon last year my husband rode his bike along with me as it's a great way for him to get out of the house and get some exercise as well so he decided to pick that up again this year.  He wasn't quite ready when I was so while he was finishing his coffee and a morning snack I headed out the door to run a mile around the neighborhood to meet him at home so we could head out for the rest of the run.  I ran about 1.2 miles by the time I got home to pick him up and he was just about ready.  Since he was riding his bike I ran ahead and let him catch up.  

I ran my normal long run route which is about 8 miles so combined with the mile I had already run I turned around at about 9 miles.  I headed back the 8 miles and with an extra lap around our section of the neighborhood I was done!  17 miles even at an 8:38 pace!  
My run lasted 2:26:46.  I of course had to look up the stats of my 17 mile run from last year's training (I am hoping for a PR here!) and 2:28:02, and 8:42 pace- boom!  4 seconds faster per mile, a total of 0:1:16 faster total time, PR here I come!  
Last year of course being my first every 26.2 my goal was just to finish, nothing more.  Well once I realized that I was speeding along I decided to keep it going and finished in 3:49:33, an 8:46 total pace.  Now of course, being the runner that I am, I feel I need to aim for a PR which of course not aiming too high is a finish time of 3:48:00 to 3:48:50  can't have it be 3:49.... because when I shorten my time to just the hours and minutes and most people do when recapping race results in conversation it will seem like I got the same time.  So there it plans to the perfect second marathon.   

This weekend  I have 18 on the calendar and no bike riding buddy to help me along but alas, run 18 miles I will!  Last year's 18 mile run took me 2:38:03 with a pace of 8:46 so I guess I'll aim for an 8:40 to 8:44 pace to keep it faster than last year's run!

Question of the day: It's January 2014- what does your race calendar look like this year?