Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Tasty Tuesday : Run Fast Eat Slow

I absolutely love trying out new cookbooks.  I'm always looking for new recipes to try out, so cracking open a new book full of delicious recipes and trying as many out as I possibly can is one of my favorite things.  I was especially excited to see that one of my favorite athletes and Olympic marathon Shalane Flanagan recently came out with her own book called Run Fast, Eat Slow which she co-authored with nutritionist (and runner) Elyse Kopecky.  These recipes promised to be clean, delicious, and perfect for runners.

In order to really test out the book, I decided to try out one recipe from each chapter.  There were so many good recipes to try out, and a lot of them were either vegetarian or could easily be adapted to a vegan diet.  At the beginning of each recipe, there is a short note by the author, as well as what kind of workout the recipe is best suited for.  I'll be sharing the recipes that I tried out, along with some thoughts and overall grade. I hope you enjoy!

Can't Beet Me Smoothie

Ease of Recipe- It doesn't get much easier than throwing a bunch of stuff into a blender!  I buy beets that are already peeled and roasted from Trader Joe's which makes this really simple.  I would imagine it would be harder if you had to do that all by yourself! 5/5

Taste- This was delicious!  It went down really easy, and you couldn't taste an overwhelming amount of anything.  All of the ingredients seemed to mix together really well, so you were left with a satisfying smoothie. 4.5/5

Cost- The only ingredient I had to buy for this was the beets.  I had everything else on hand.  The only other ingredient I could see people needing to buy is the coconut water.  All together, this smoothie probably costs a few dollars in ingredients, but you can re-use the ingredients in the future.  4/5

Would Make Again- I've already made this smoothie multiple times!  I'll try it again with protein powder and play around with other ingredients in the future, but I love the base of this smoothie.  5/5

Overall- I really liked this smoothie.  I had it after a hard workout and it filled me up and was really refreshing.  I've made it multiple times already!  I also like how the recipe makes enough for two servings, so I can make one and enjoy it today and tomorrow.  18.5/20

Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookie

Ease of Recipe- There were quite a few steps in this recipe, and it took a long time to make.  You have to start by roasting sweet potatoes, then make almond meal (or just buy it if you want to spend more money) and oatmeal flour, mix everything and form into patties, and bake.  It wasn't a difficult recipe by any means, but it was time consuming! 3/5

Taste- Oh my gosh..these were amazing.  I was skeptical about having sweet potatoes in cookies, but these were delicious.  They come out really soft and are just sweet enough without being too sweet.  LOVE!  5/5

Cost- I'm not sure what the overall price of this recipe is, but it would not be cheap to make.  Luckily I had a lot of the ingredients on hand, but if I had to buy everything it would add up.  3/5

Would Make Again- Definitely!  I actually used these as pre-long run fuel and they worked great.  These are really filling but easy on the stomach.  5/5

Overall- Delicious, but time consuming.  I would make these on a Sunday when I'm meal prepping for the week.  The end product is definitely worth it though!  16/20


Fartlek Chili

Ease of Recipe- I love chili because you can just throw everything in a pot, let it sit for a while, and it comes out tasting delicious.  This was no different!  I actually made this while I was doing my daily yoga, and it was great to have dinner ready when I was done.  5/5

Taste- This is a great, basic chili.  Nothing about this stands out in my mind compared to other chilis that I've made in the past, but it was good.  I like that there's a vegetarian option (adding tempeh).  I did notice that it didn't have enough seasoning on its own, so I had to add in more spices.  2.5/5

Cost- Everything in this recipe is really simple and cheap- beans, tomatoes, broth and onions are all inexpensive.  The only thing I had to buy was tempeh, which is only a few dollars.  The recipe also made a ton of leftovers, so it was a cheap way to eat for the week.  5/5

Would Make Again- Sure!  Like I said, nothing about this stood out, so pretty much any chili that I make in the future would have this same basic recipe.  2.5/5

Overall- A good, basic chili with nothing to write home about.  I like how filling this was, but it didn't blow my socks off.  I enjoyed it in a stuffed sweet potato, topped with Tofutti sour cream, guacamole and nutritional yeast to give even more flavor and make a filling meal. 15/20

Can't Beet Me Hummus

Ease of Recipe- Hummus is really simple to make- just throw everything into a blender or food process and blend away.  5/5

Taste- To tell the truth, my hummus never tastes very good.  I'm not sure if I use bad recipes or just screw up, but they usually turn out to be bland and have a sandy texture.  Not the case with this recipe- it was amazing!  The beets add a rich flavor (and a pretty color), and the texture is perfectly smooth.  I'll definitely use this recipe as a base in the future, and just switch up the "star ingredient".  Dan is the hummus connoisseur in our family and eats a tub pretty much daily, and even he agreed that this was just as good as the ones from Trader Joe's, which is our golden standard. 5/5

Cost- Honestly, I picked this recipe because I had everything on hand (thanks to buying beets for the smoothie).  The other specialty ingredient in this recipe is tahini, which can be expensive.  3.5/5

Would Make Again- Definitely!  I also have chickpeas on hand (I get them dried and always stock up when I'm getting low) and have a ton of tahini, so I'll be making this again and again and tweaking the ingredients.  So much cheaper than store-bought!  5/5

Overall- Delicious, easy and simple.  Great snack to have on hand!  18.5/20

Spicy Black Beans

(no picture because black beans look kind of gross!)

Ease of Recipe- Really simple.  All of the ingredients go in a pot together and sit for a few hours.  That's all!  The only thing to keep in mind is that the dried beans have to soak overnight.  Sometimes I forget to do this, and the recipe won't turn out properly if you forget to soak.  4.5/5

Taste- These taste find on their own, but I feel like you need to add them to something else.  There are so many uses for cooked black beans though, so it was a great food to have on hand.  3/5

Cost- Dried beans are one of the cheapest ingredients out there, and I had everything on hand to cook this.  It also makes a TON of food, so the cost per serving has got to be pennies!  5/5

Would Make Again- Maybe.  I'm still experimenting with how to use these.  They do make a great addition to dishes, and it's great to have them prepped at the beginning of the week.  They're really simple to make, but I need to experiment with freezing them to really get a lot of use out of them!  I think I'll get tired of them by the time I finish.  3/5

Overall- As Shalane says in the intro to this recipe- there are endless uses for a pot of well-seasoned black beans.  I've already used them in a breakfast hash, on top of a baked potato, and I plan on using them in black bean soup and in a vegan crunch wrap supreme.  15.5/20

Oregon Berry Crumble

Ease of Recipe- As far as desserts go, this was really simple.  Just mix up your berries with lemon juice and tapioca starch, then mix the crumble, add it on top and bake it.  So simple!  5/5

Taste- I really liked this.  The tapioca starch helped to "gel" the juices from the berries, so it had a great texture.  It wasn't overly sweet at all, but had the natural sugars from the berries adding just enough sweetness to make it taste indulgent.  5/5

Cost- Berries can be expensive depending on when you buy them, and the recipe also calls for tapioca starch.  This can be hard to find and expensive, but luckily I had a bag on hand.  It's a great way to thicken up recipes, so I love to use it!  2/5

Would Make Again- Yes.  It's a simple dessert to throw together.  I think it would be great trying out different fruits and experimenting with the crumble topping as well!  5/5

Overall- Great dessert with less guilt.  I would even eat this for breakfast!  17/20

Winter Lovers Root Salad 

and Creamy Dressing

Ease of Recipe- Roasting vegetables is really easy and something that I do all the time.  That's really the only cooking you do for this recipe- otherwise you just toss everything in a bowl.  While the veggies were roasting I also made the creamy dressing to go with the salad, and that was as easy as shaking up ingredients in a Mason jar.  4.5/5

Taste- This was so good!  I was actually surprised at how much I liked this.  I thought it would just be a simple recipe, but roasting the veggies and serving it with the dressing (which was out-of-this-world good) took it up a notch.  I'm really impressed!  5/5

Cost- You can customize this recipe depending on what's on sale.  I used sweet and regular potatoes, carrots and parsnips, as well as (you guessed it) more beets!  4.5/5

Would Make Again- Yes.  For a vegan, I surprisingly don't eat much salad, but this one I will definitely make again.  I'll also be making the dressing again and again..it's sooooooo good  5/5

Overall- Delicious, quick, and easy.  It's just a salad, but the flavor is incredible.  19/20

As you can tell, I really loved every recipe that I tried in the book.  I was surprised at how filling each recipe was, and they seemed perfect for a runner that is experiencing RUNGER (aka wanting to eat ALL THE FOOD during training).  I borrowed this book from the library, but I already find myself wanting to go back and try the same recipes over again and test out other ones.  I'll be picking this up and would recommend it to runners and non runners alike!

What kinds of cookbooks do you like?
How you you find new recipes to try out?
How often do you try a new recipe?  I usually try a new recipe at least three times a week, sometimes even more!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Week 8

Week eight is already over, and my body was very happy that it was a cutdown week.  In this plan, that means that the mileage is lower, but the intensity is higher.  Not only did I have a tough hill workout, but I also had two runs with paced miles in the middle (one was my long run!).  I'm going to be incorporating more paced miles into my runs to get me more comfortable with my race goal, and also grow my confidence that I can hold the pace for 26.2 miles.

This week I also started a new core circuit!  I was following the workout in the Oiselle half marathon plan, but I was ready to kick it up a notch.  Dan found a tough 10 minute workout on Youtube, and we've been doing it together a few times a week.  I'm also still doing my daily yoga practice (today is day 30, so I'll have to find something new to do after the 31 videos are over!).  It's been so great for helping me recover and get stronger, so I think it's really making a difference in my training.

This was another great week for me, so I'm excited to tell you all about it:


3 miles / 10:00 pace
I felt pretty sluggish on this run, which wasn't surprising to me after a high mileage week!  I kept this run really slow and struggled it out for three miles.  I didn't even want to do one step more.


Rest Day!


6.25 miles / 9:18 pace

I had a hill workout planned, so I went to North Park with Dan after work to get it done.  He ran 1 1/2 miles with me to warm up, then I did 6 repeats up Ridge Road, a very steep hill in the park.  Each repeat that I did was 1:00 long and ended up being about .15 miles.  I jogged back down after each rep, so I never stopped moving!  After the repeats were done, I ran the three miles back to my car.  The entire route is pretty hilly, so this was no easy run!

On our way home, Dan randomly asked if I felt like Taco Bell and in that moment nothing could have made me happier!  We never stop for fast food, but as soon as he said that I was craving something not so healthy.  I ended up getting a crunch wrap supreme fresco style with beans instead of beef (btw- TB is GREAT about customizing their food, so it's a vegetarian dream!) as well as a Baja Blast.  This is the only place that I can find Baja Blast, so I always get one when we go there.  It tasted AMAZING!


4 miles / 9:00 pace

I expected to feel awful on this run after a tough hill workout, but I surprisingly felt great.  My legs didn't feel heavy or tight at all, and I kept a great pace on this run.  The only challenge was the wind- I was running into it the entire time and it was blowing like crazy.


6 miles / 8:51 pace

This tempo workout was 1 mile warmup, 4 miles at marathon race pace, and 1 mile cool down.  I did this one after work around North Park, and the weather was perfect.  It was snowing a little earlier in the day, so I pushed my run back and was happy about my decision.  Right away my legs felt terrific and loose, which was a great sign.  My goal for the tempo portion was to hit 8:45, but each split ended up feeling really good so I went with it.  I ended up clocking in at 8:32, 8:30, 8:28, 8:21, so I was happy to see my pace getting increasingly faster and I kept feeling better and better!


Rest Day!

I rearranged my schedule to have an off day on Saturday, because I went to the Wine on the Three Rivers Festival!  The event was at the Convention Center, and a bunch of local wineries came to let us sample their wines, ciders and meads.  I went with Dan and my mom, and we tried out so many different kinds!  With our ticket, we also got into the Outdoor Expo, where we looked at boats, kayaks, camping equipment, and other outdoor fun stuff.  We ended up buying new bamboo pillows (we were way overdue for new pillows and these feel AMAZING) as well as four bottles of wine.  

Afterwards, we went to Franktuary where I got a vegan hotdog and kale miso salad.  It was my first time there and it was amazing!  They have lots of vegan options and the food was delicious.  I also hear that they have a great happy hour, so I will definitely be back.  For any locals- this is located right by the Dunkin Donuts in Market Square.  There's also a location in Lawrenceville and a food truck.


8 miles / 8:43 pace

Not going to lie- I ended up waking up at 3:30 in the morning to watch the Federer/Nadal final in the Australian Open!  It was such a good match and worth it, but I was a little worried I would be tired and it would affect my long run.  Luckily, I actually felt great from the first step and felt like I tapped into a different gear on this run.  My goal was to run 8 miles total, with 5 of them being at marathon race pace.  I ended up averaging my goal marathon pace (8:45) for the entire run, with my paced miles coming in at 8:32, 8:34, 8:27, 8:28, and 8:18.  This was definitely one of those magical runs where I felt like I could have run forever, but I forced myself to follow my plan and not over do it.  

Have you been to a wine festival before?
Favorite Taco Bell item?
What do you crave after a run?  For some reason I always want a Diet Coke after a long run...I never get one but I'm always craving it.

linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin and also with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC

Friday, January 27, 2017

Top Five Friday #82

It's the weekend!  To kick it off, I'm here to talk about some of my favorites this week.  Here we go!

Play! By Sephora

Ouai Treatment Mask
I'm a little disappointed that this sample is so tiny, because I could only try it out twice.  I'm not sure if it really made a difference in my hair, but I did seem to have good hair days after using this.  It's currently sold out on Sephora's website, so who knows if I'll end up trying more!

Finally...a skincare product that I love and isn't $$$.  This is an exfoliating cleanser that you just smear on your face (no messy hands to deal with..score!).  The first time I tried this, I rinsed it off immediately, and the second time I left it on for about 8 minutes.  My face felt soft and looked great after rinsing it off both times, so I'm thinking of buying this in the future.

Youth to the People Cream
I've been using this as a moisturizer after I shower at the gym (I love this bag because I get so many minis to put in my gym bag!) and it's fine.  I don't see anything special about it but I like it!

Amore Pacific Color Control Cushion Compact
Unfortunately this didn't match my skin at all, and I don't wear foundation anyway.

Clinique Almost Lipstick
I actually have this same lipstick in a mini that I got as a gift with purchase years ago.  I like the shade, because it's a pretty berry color that's buildable and comfortable.  I'm happy to have a backup but a little bummer to get a product that I already own!

 Cooking/Baking IG Videos

This is probably one of my most random favorites ever, but I'm completely obsessed with watching cooking and baking videos on instagram.  I'm not sure what it is about them, but they're completely addicting and so satisfying to watch.  Some of my favorites are cookie decorating, cake baking, and food hacks.  If you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the top videos under #cookies on Instagram, or the accounts by Yolanda Gampp and Vegan Videos 

Avocado Bagels 

For the past few weeks, I've been eating tons of avocado bagels at work!  I guess this is a sister or cousin to the popular avocado toast, but I think I like this even better.  After runs, I always seem to crave carbs and fat, so this is what I'm reaching for.  It's easy to take to work, because I just grab a bagel and an avocado at home, then cut it open and spread half an avocado on each half of the bagel once I'm at work.  It's so delicious and easy, but keeps me satisfied until lunch!

Working on My Form

I've been trying to make small changes to my form in order to be more efficient and get faster, and have been learning a lot about cadence.  Right now, my normal cadence is around 164 steps per minute, and my goal is to get closer to 180.  There are a lot of tips on how to get there, and I found this article really helpful.  I also saw some advice on reddit, where someone suggested using a metronome on runs to hit a goal or use the cadence capability in Spotify.  

Friday Funny

On Wednesday night/Thursday in Australia, Venus Williams won her semi final match at the Australian Open.  Her reaction was priceless and she seemed just like a giddy girl!  I can't wait to watch the finals match between Venus and Serena..it's definitely going to be one for the ages.

linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Thinking Out Loud : Crafts, Tennis, Floating

I honestly can't believe it's Thursday already!  Where has the week gone?  Some weeks seem to dribble by in the slowest way possible, while other whoosh by in a blink.  I have a lot of thoughts to share today, so it's a perfect time to join the other bloggers and Think Out Loud.

Australian Open

If you're not a tennis fan, you can skip on to the next section because I need to talk about this crazy tournament!  I've been following tennis for the past few years, and I can honestly say that this has been the most surprising and insane Grand Slams (or tournament in general) that I've ever followed.  Not only did the men's #1 and #2 seeds fall early on in the tournament (to unseeded players none the less!), but the women's side has been unpredictable as always.  I love having a good underdog story, and on the women's draw we've had that with CoCo Vandeweghe and the incredibly resilient Mirjana Lucic Baroni.  To give you some perspective, Mirjana last won a match at the Australian Open in 1998, and is now in the semi-finals!  (I wrote this before her match against Serena, so her dream is either still alive or her amazing story ended against the GOAT.) edit- CoCo and Mirjana both lost, which means it's a Williams sisters final!!!

In the men's draw, it's so exciting to see Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal back in good form and competing at the top level.  When I started watching, they were both starting to go through injuries and people started to talk about retirement.  I'm hoping for a Fedal final and really don't know who I would cheer for if they both make it! (edit- Roger won...so VAMOS RAFA!)  Every match that I've followed has been so exciting and filled with so much suspense, so I'm really excited for the rest of the year in tennis!

Cross Stitching

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I want to start being more creative this year, and this month I'm kicking that off by getting back into cross stitching!  I've done a few projects in the past, and it's one of my favorite crafts to do.  I love how relaxing and mind-numbing it is (I could lose 2+ hours working on a design), and the finished product usually turns out beautifully.  There are so many "contemporary cross stitch" designs available now, so I'm excited to get started!

Reading Lately

I've been trying to read more books this month, and here are the ones that I've recently finished:

Talking As Fast As I Can - All Gilmore Girl fans need to read this.  Lauren Graham is a great author whose writing style matches her personality perfectly.  After finishing this book (in about 2 evenings) I started to watch Parenthood just to get more Lauren in my life.  10/10

Meb for Mortals - A lot of runners recommend this book, so I was excited to read it.  I'm a huge Meb fan (and sad to see he's retiring this year) and enjoyed hearing his advice.  Most of the stuff in the book wasn't earth shattering to me, but it was still nice to get a perspective on how he approaches training and racing.  7/10

Ubik - This book is part of my 30x30 quest to read books off of Time's 100 Best Novels list.  I don't read much sci-fi, so this book was definitely out of my comfort zone.  I liked the concept and story line a lot, but the writing style was hard to understand and really get into.  6/10

I'm in the middle of Today Will Be Different, which is so, so good!  I'll give my final thoughts after I finish it, but I'm plowing through it right now


This is something that I need opinions about- Floating in sensory deprivation tanks.  If you haven't heard of it, you basically lie in a tank that's filled with Epsom salts and warm water.  The tank is sound proof and completely closed off, and you just float for an hour or hour and a half.  This is supposed to be great for recovery (especially if you combine it with a massage) but the idea of being shut off from the world kind of freaks me out.  On the other hand, I like to try new experiences and getting over fears, so I'm thinking of giving this a try!  Dan really wants to try it, so I might just give it a shot and hope I don't panic once the door shuts.  If anyone has tried floating or has opinions about it, please let me know!

edit- on my run last night I listened to the YHL Podcast and they talked about floating!  If you want to hear about someone's experience trying it out check out this episode.

World Marathon Challenge

Every year, there is an official World Marathon Challenge that takes runners to all seven continents to run seven marathons in seven days.  This year's challenge started on Monday with a race in Antarctica, then went to South America and North America.  I've been following the challenge this year, mostly because Ryan Hall is participating (if you haven't heard of him- look up some of his amazing stats!).  He recently retired from professional racing after dealing with exhaustion and injuries, but decided to take up the challenge to raise money for charity.  He's been sharing his experience in real time on Instagram, and it's been interesting to follow along.

Besides Ryan, there's also a runner who is attempting to break the record for fastest total race time and has broken three hours is all three races so far, as well as a woman who is running an extra few miles every day to complete a 50k on each continent.  It's been amazing and inspiring to follow these stories, and I'm cheering for them all to complete the challenge!

What are you thinking about?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tasty Tuesday : Running Fuel

Happy Tuesday everyone!  It's been a while since I shared a Tasty Tuesday post, but I have a good one planned for today.  Since this is my first marathon I'm training for while vegan, I get a lot of questions about what I eat for fuel.  I thought it would be helpful to share what's been working for me- before, during and after a run.  I'm always looking for new ideas to try out, so be sure to let me know what fuel you use!

Before Running

Roasted Sweet Potatoes - This is running fuel that I discovered works really well for me when I did my Whole 30 last year!  I like making a ton of roasted sweet potatoes and eating them throughout the week before a run.  They're great on their own, or I add some sauteed kale or spinach and vegan sausage.  For a sweeter option, I'll add almond butter and granola!

Baked Oatmeal - Making a big pan of baked oatmeal is another time saving meal that I make.  On Sundays, I'll cook a batch of oatmeal (I use this as a base recipe and change up the ingredients), then grab a piece each morning.  The oatmeal is a great kick start to my day!

Apple Sauce Packets - I'm pretty sure these are marketed towards kids, but I love apple sauce packets.  They're easy to grab when I'm in a rush in the morning, and give me just a little something in my stomach before I run.  I'll have one of these if I have an easy run planned in the morning.

Bananas - Not only are bananas cheap, but they're also easy to digest before a run!  Most days I'll grab a banana on my way out, but if I have more time I'll add some almond butter and cinnamon for a sweet treat.

During Running

Dates - This is another type of fuel that I discovered during my Whole 30!  Every gel out there has sugar added, so having fruits or vegetables were my only option.  I found out that cutting up dates into small pieces and having a piece every few miles during a long run really worked well!  They're easy to eat, and digest well when I have a small amount.

Apple Sauce Packets - I'm seriously obsessed with these things..I love having a little sweetness during a run and these hit the spot!  They're really liquidy too, which makes them easy to "drink" on the run.

Dried Mango - Mango is my favorite food, so getting to have some during a run is a treat to me.  These give me a little shot of energy and sugar when I need it, and they just taste delicious!

Nuun - I've been drinking Nuun for years during training!  I love how fizzy and delicious the flavors are, and they don't upset my stomach like other sports drinks do.  It does the trick, and doesn't give me cramps.

After Running

Smoothies - I usually can't eat anything right after running, so all of my post-run fuel is liquid.  One way to get in calories quickly is by making a smoothie.  I like to pack it with hydrating ingredients like coconut water, anti inflammatory ingredients like beets, and protein like chia seeds!

Plant Based Protein Powder - I don't really have protein powder much after runs, but I might stock up since my runs are getting longer and longer.  If anyone has a plant based protein powder that they like, please let me know in the comments!  I need suggestions :)

Tart Cherry Juice - There have been studies done about tart cherries and its ability to reduce inflammation and joint pain.  I don't know if it's a placebo effect, but this stuff is magical!  It's kind of expensive and hard to find, so I don't have it all the time, but it's really great after a run.  It helps me recover really quickly, and it tastes really good!  Sometimes I'll even throw this in my smoothie as well.

What are some of your favorite things to have as fuel?
Do you eat before running?  
Coffee before runs- yay or nay?  I like to have a shot of espresso!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Week 7

What a week!  I had a ton of firsts in my seventh week of marathon training- first group run, first long run without music/podcast, first run in a new pair of shoes, first evening speed workout, and first 30+ mile week.  I had some great workouts and I'm excited to share them!  Here we go:


2.5 miles / 9:07 pace
After work, Dan wanted to go for a run so I joined him for some easy miles.  He's starting to get too fast for me to run with him on my easy days!  My legs were a bit sore from my long run but the short miles helped to stretch them out.


6 miles / 8:21 pace
I was planning on taking this as a rest day, but after checking the weather and seeing a 60 degree, clear day on Tuesday and a 40 degree, rainy day on Wednesday I switched it up.  I headed to North Park after work, and it got dark really fast!  I didn't have a headlamp with me (stupid mistake) so I used my cell phone as a flashlight.  It made the workout a bit harder, but I still got it done.

After warming up for a mile, I did one mile at a 7:30 pace, jogged for a few minutes, then ran a 15:00 tempo at an 8:10 pace.  Jogged for a few more minutes, then ran as hard as I could for 1/2 mile and cooled down for a mile.  It was a tough workout, especially in the dark and with hills thrown in, but I was happy to get through it!


Rest Day!
Much needed rest day!  I did my yoga and core workout in the evening.


4.5 miles / 9:27 pace
I went for an easy run around town before work and tested out a new pair of shoes!  Brooks just released a new version of the Pure Flows, which are my favorite shoes.  So far I'm liking them, but I'll share more thoughts after I've run with them more.


Rest Day!


14 miles / 9:19 pace
For my long run, I joined the Pro Bike and Run group for 14 miles.  This group meets every week to train for the Pittsburgh Marathon, and I kept meaning to join them but would make excuses and skip it to run alone.  Finally, I told Jessie (who always joins them) that I would go this week so that I couldn't get out of it, and actually made it!  It was an absolute perfect day for a run, and I was definitely over dressed (tights, long sleeve and a vest!).  Good thing that I use long runs as dress rehearsals for race day :)

I went with the 9:30 pace group for a great run around the city- going through Oakland, South Side, and Station Square.  There were some hills thrown in there and some time on the Pittsburgh Marathon course, but I felt great the entire time.  I split off from the main group at around 8 miles to run with another women, and we ended up finishing the run with sub 9:00 miles!  It was my longest run in almost a year, and I felt strong and excited to keep training.  I'll definitely be back to join this group!


3.5 miles / 9:07 pace
It was another perfect day outside, and I decided to hit the trails for this run.  Dan and I went to Oakland so that he could stop by the library and I ran at Schenley Park.  I used to live in that area so that's where the majority of my runs were!  It was great to be back there.  I felt really sluggish and tired for the first half mile, then my muscles loosened up and my pace picked up.  I didn't keep an eye on my pace, so I was pleasantly surprised to see such a quick pace when I took it easy.

linking up with Holly from HoHo Runs and Tricia from MissSippiPiddlin and also with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Marathon Training Gear

Hi everyone!  Now that I'm in the thick of marathon training (you can follow my weekly training logs here or read my first 1/4 recap here) I wanted to talk about some of the gear that I've been using.  Since the weather's been so awful with the majority of my runs being in temperatures below freezing, I've been sticking to a lot of the same pieces for most of my runs.  These are all tried, tested, and pass every test!  Here's what I'm loving:


Lululemon Run for Cold Pullover 
(no longer available, but jacket and vest still available in same line)
I got this as a splurge last year, and have definitely gotten my money's worth so far!  This is definitely the warmest piece that I own and has gotten me through some really rough, cold weather.

I've gotten base layers from Columbia's outlet for the past few years and wear them for all of the coldest runs.  I like how warm they are, but they're also breathable and don't trap in sweat.  I wear these under my pullover, with vests, or by themselves.  They're amazing!

I recently got this shirt and I'm already in love.  It has the weight and feel of a thin sweater and is SO cozy.  I kind of want to get it in every color and wear it every day.  Sooooo soft!  I have a few things from Saucony and they've always been high quality and great for running.


Lululemon Toasty Tech Tights 
(old model, similar pair at Athleta)
These were the first pants that I got from Lulu and I wear them constantly!  They have a really soft, fleecy lining that keeps me warm, and have lots of pockets to store keys and gels.  I absolutely love these!  I have a similar pair that I linked from Athleta as well, but nothing compares to the Lulus.  If they release them again I'll be picking up a backup pair for sure.

Pretty much all of my capris are from Target, and they're my favorite.  I prefer wearing capris over shorts when it's warmer out, so anything above 40 degrees and I'm wearing these.  I also like to wear these when I'm running at the gym or doing yoga.


These were my first non-Brooks shoes in a really long time and I really like them!  I picked these up for cheap on Amazon since they're an older model, but they're still great.  I wear these for longer runs and find them to be comfortable and supportive enough without being too heavy.  I usually wear neutral shoes and would recommend trying these out!

For any shorter runs or speed workouts I wear my Launch 3's from Brooks.  I got these when I wasn't able to find the older Pure Flows (because the 5's were AWFUL), and found these to be pretty similar.  They aren't as cushioned as my favorite Pure Flows, but are really lightweight and comfortable.  I'm always finding these discounted online and in stores, so if you want to try out a cheap, reliable pair of shoes check these out.


If you're looking for a great pair of wireless headphones for running- get these.  Not only are they reasonably priced at less than $100, but they stay in my ears no matter how fast I'm running or how sweaty I get.  They also have a great battery life and the sound quality is really good.  I really like these and would recommend them!

I got this watch a few years ago, and it still works great!  There are great running features and programs on the watch (as well as the ability to use it indoors and on a treadmill), and also works for swimming and biking.  Compared to other smart/fitness watches this is an absolute steal and I absolutely love it.

What are some of your favorite brands?
What shoes are you wearing now?

linking up with Amanda

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Week 6

Hi everyone!  Another week has come and gone and it was a really good one.  With the exception of one run (which I'll get into below and how I'll fix this going forward) I felt really good and I'm proud of my paces.  It's been really fun to see how much I'm growing this training cycle just by putting in hard work and staying consistent.  

Here's a look at my week in workouts.  I'm still doing daily yoga and a core workout twice a week!


Rest Day
I don't normally take Mondays off, but my legs were tired and it was FREEZING out in the morning.   In the evening I did my core workout and yoga video as usual.


4.25 miles / 9:24 pace

Snowy runs are the best..just look at that beautiful view!  I brought my YakTrax to work and ran along the river while it was snowing pretty hard.  It felt great out and this was a really good run!


6 miles / 8:22 pace

It was a really warm morning, so all of the snow from yesterday melted into an icy mess.  I decided to run on a different section of the river trail than usual (for locals- I went on the Jail Trail) which is flat and perfect for speed work.  Today's workout was 1 mile at 8:10, 1 mile at 7:50, rest and repeat.  My legs felt really heavy and tired, and slipping around on the ice didn't really help, but I somehow made it through this workout.

I had a realization during this run that I need to switch speed work to the afternoon.  I've been having bad workouts when I do it before work because I just don't feel ready to "go" when it's still dark out and I'm half asleep!  I had my best workout when I went in the afternoon, so now that it's staying light out later I'll just do these after work (or during lunch time) and see if that makes a difference.


2.5 miles / 9:41 pace
Dan wanted to run, so I went for an easy run with him.  I normally take this day off, but it felt really good to get out for a few miles.  To top it off, it was warm and lightly raining which is my favorite running weather.


3 miles / 9:39 pace
Another easy run with Dan.  We went a little further and he was feeling good, so we picked up the pace a bit.  


Rest Day

I stayed out pretty late (for me..party animal!) on Friday night with some friends, so I was happy to switch my long run to Sunday.  Dan and I spent the morning making our first bath of beer which took about 3 hours.  It was really fun and we celebrated with a bottle of Yuengling afterwards.  A little later, I met up with Jessie for some food and drinks!  Luckily I got home earlier than Friday night so I could get a good night of sleep.


12 miles / 9:06 pace

I headed out to North Park for my long run and it was a perfect day!  The weather was mild without much wind or sun.  I listened to some tennis podcasts to get ready for the Australian Open and really enjoyed the run.  I kept my pace easy and steady for the first lap (5 miles) then picked it up steadily for the second lap.  For the final two miles I picked up the pace to half marathon goal at 8:00 and it felt really good!

Anyone else following the Australian Open?
What do you like to listen to during long runs?
Who else is doing Yoga Revolution?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Top Five Friday #81

Happy Weekend!  This is going to be a long weekend for me thanks to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, and it's coming at a good time.  I can feel myself coming down with something, so I'm planning on getting a lot of rest this weekend!  I have some fun stuff to share today for Top Five Friday, so let's get to it.

2017 Podcasts

I'm a huge podcast addict and have been listening to them for the past few years on my runs.  There are so many new podcasts coming out this year, and I'm so excited!  I found a list of upcoming shows here, and just by the descriptions I'm ready to add these to my list.  30 for 30, the Serial spinoff, 36 Hours!?  I can't wait!!


If you're into sports, it's a really exciting time of year.  The national championship game was insane and super exciting (watch the highlights here), professional football is in playoffs (GO STEELERS), hockey and basketball are in full swing, and the first Grand Slam (Australia) is starting.  I love all of the excitement going on right now!

Scunci Hair Bands

To switch gears entirely, I wanted to share a life changing hair band that I recently got!  I always had a problem with pony tail holders slipping out of my hair and irritating me when I was running.  Nothing is worse than feeling your hair falling out and having to slow down to put it up again.  If you have this problem too, you need to get these hair bands!  They're rubbery, which makes them stay in place in your hair.  They're really comfortable too, so it doesn't yank my hair out (just be careful and take out each loop individually.)  I picked these up at Target, but you can also get them on Amazon.


I haven't shared the products that I've used up in a while, so here are some mini reviews!
Life Proof Perfect Hair Day Shampoo and Dry Shampoo - I got these two products, along with a conditioner, during Nordstrom's Annual sale.  I really liked both of them, particularly the dry shampoo.  It's definitely the best that I've ever tried and made my hair look amazing!  I just wish it wasn't so expensive!

Caress Body Wash - My favorite body wash!  It has such an amazing scent that lingers all day.

Secret Outlast Deodorant - This is the best deodorant that I've ever tried.  I've repurchased it over and over again!  It lasts all day on me, even if I work out, and has the best scent.  Plus, it never burns after I shave which is a major plus.

Zest Fruitboost Scrub - I love trying out body scrubs, but was really disapointed with this one.  It's not a thick scrub at all so it didn't seem to exfoliate my skin at all.  Plus, it was a pretty small container so it didn't last long and didn't even have a good smell!

Christophe Robin Hair Mask - I got this mask in a Play! by Sephora box and really liked it.  It made my hair so soft and healthy looking.  I wasn't a fan of the scent, and it's incredibly expensive, so I won't repurchase.  I'll stick with my $5 Aussie Hair Mask!

Olly Restful Sleep Gummies - These are seriously amazing.  I don't go to sleep without taking one of these now and I have the best sleep ever!  If you suffer from night terrors, sleep walking, or insomnia I think it's worth it to give these a try.

Clump Crusher and Falsies Mascara - My two favorite drugstore mascaras.  These are both so amazing and beat out any others that I have!  

New Songs

Here are some of the new songs that I've added to my running playlist:

Polarize - Twenty One Pilots

No Lie - Sean Paul

Bad Things - Machine Gun Kelly

Shape of You - Ed Sheeran

Party Monster - The Weeknd

What are your plans this weekend?
Who else has a long weekend?  Plans?
Who do you think will win the Superbowl?  the answer we're looking for are the Steelers
linking up with ErikaHeather, and Friday Five

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Quarter Point Check In

Hi everyone!  I can't believe it, but I'm already 1/4 of the way done with marathon training.  I mentioned before that I was planning on doing a 20 week training program, and I just finished week 5.  Today I'll be talking about how training is going, what's worked and what hasn't, and what will change going forward.

A Look Back

I've been following Kara Goucher's Half Marathon Plan, which I really like.  So far, I've modified the long runs to be longer (started with 7.25 and I'm up to 10), and added an extra rest day each week (the plan calls for 1-2, and I've been doing 2-3 depending on how I feel.)  Here's a look at my training so far at a glance:

This week I officially switched over to a Marathon Training Plan (using this one from Women's Running).  The transition has been easy since the mileage is really similar.  I'm continuing with the speed workouts in Kara's plan because I really like the variety.

So far, my best workout has been the Ice Cream Sandwich.  This was supposed to be a really challenging workout, and I was happy to crush it!  I felt strong and focused the entire run.  The next week I had my worst workout (and the only one that I had to cut short so far)- the Pace Checker.  I was only able to make it through half of the reps and did not feel good at all during this workout!

What's Working

I've changed up a lot of things when I started this plan.  I honestly feel like a new runner and like I'm ready to take on the world!  Here are a few things that I've changed in my running routine (and life) that have been helping me:
  • Morning runs.  I always used to be an evening runner, but switched to morning running a few months ago.  It's always dark by the time I'm home now, so I know that if I didn't get my run in before work I would most likely skip or shorten every workout.  Getting my run done before work has been a game changer for me!
  • Daily yoga.  This has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the day!  It's so relaxing to end a long, hard day with some soothing yoga.  This is definitely helping my mind, body, and spirit!
  • Becoming a student of running.  I just finished Meb for Mortals, and one piece of advice that Meb gives is being a student of the sport.  This means learning as much as you can, absorbing information, and taking a general interest in the sport.  Lately I've been feeling like running has been on my mind 24/7, and it's definitely helped me get faster and stay motivated.  I'm listening to podcasts, reading books, following inspiring runners on social media, and learning as much as I possibly can.  If anyone has podcast/book/movie suggestions please let me know!

What's Not Working

At this point I'm really happy with my training.  I haven't had to miss any key workouts, and only cut back one speed session so far.  Other than that, I'm really proud of my paces and how I'm feeling.  My only complaint is something that I have no control over, and that's the weather.  I've lived in Pittsburgh my whole life and have been running here for almost 3/4 of my life, so I've learned to just suck it up.

But, it would be boring if I pretended that training is perfect, so here are some things that I want to work on in the next part of training:
  • Better fueling.  Most of the time on my long runs, I feel really hungry.  I need to work on eating a bigger breakfast and finding food that will sit well in my stomach.
  • Staying hydrated.  I have to admit that I haven't been very good about drinking water lately!  I've been trying to work on drinking more at work, so now I'll make it a goal to drink 50 oz a day.
  • Slower easy runs.  Mileage is increasing, so I want to slow down my easy runs.  I'm usually pretty good about keeping these nice and easy, but I can be way too competitive with myself and try to have a good pace.  I might need to start running without a watch on these runs to make sure I take them super easy!


What's Next

I'm scheduled for my first race of the year on Saturday- the Chilly Cheeks Challenge. To be honest, I'm not sure if I'm going to end up running this race. I haven't signed up yet, and the weather is predicting ice in the morning.  I'll keep watching the weather, but it's not really worth it to me to pay to run a race that could potentially injure me, or get in an accident on the way there!

Other than that, I'm going to be picking up the mileage for the next few weeks.  I considered the first quarter of training my build-up phase, and now I'm in the hard work phase.  Things are going to start to hurt and long runs are going to start getting long (my week 9 long run is going to be 16 miles!).  I feel like this part is going to be the toughest mentally for me, but if I can push through it I know I'll make it!

What races do you have coming up?
Have you made any big changes in your training lately?
Morning or evening runner?
linking up with Annmarie, Nicole, Michelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Gettysburg Marathon Training : Week 5

It was back to the real world this week!  I started back to work after a great holiday off, and just like I feared, it affected my running.  Going from sleeping in and running whenever I felt like it to getting up at 5:30 and running before work was not fun!  The weather also took a turn for the freezing, so half of my runs I stayed inside.  It wasn't the best week ever, but it's thankfully over.  I'm also 1/4 of the way done with training, and my "real" marathon training starts this week!

Now let's get into the weekly recap, starting with an overview:


3.13 miles / 30:00 / 9:35 pace
Happy New Year!  This was my final day off work, so I went to North Park with Dan and Selma.  I ran while they walked on the trails, then went to the dog park.  I wanted to do a run by time instead of mileage, which is why I didn't end on a whole mile!

I also continued on my Yoga Revolution this week, and did yoga every evening.  Each video was about 30 minutes long.


Rest day!
It was my first day back at work, so I decided to be nice to myself and take a day off running.  It was a long, tiring day, but I still did my core workout and yoga video in the evening.


3 miles / 26:10 / 8:43 pace
I'm not going to sugar-coat this one...this workout sucked.  I was actually looking forward to this workout from the first time I looked at the training plan- 8x800 at half marathon pace.  I've been crushing my speed workouts and hit my half marathon pace for 2 mile repeats last week, so this should be easy..right?  WRONG!

I did this run on the treadmill since it was icy and cold out, and during my half mile warmup I already started to sweat.  I hit my first two repeats with no problems, then by the third one I started to feel REALLY hot and dizzy.  I'm not sure what happened, because I was drinking water the entire time.  I made it through one more repeat, then decided to stop.  I was feeling like I would fly off the treadmill at any point, so I just jogged a half mile to cool down and left.  Definitely not a good workout, but I know one bad session won't ruin my training.


Rest Day!
Took my normal day off running, and spent the evening with core and yoga.


4 miles / 38:20 / 9:35 pace
I was planning on running outside until I saw that it was in the single digits with a real feel of below zero!  I kept it on the treadmill and felt fantastic.  


9 miles / 1:21:20 / 9:02 pace
It was another cold day, but I had to do this run outside!  I don't have a treadmill at home or a gym by my house, so I had to suck it up.  I won't lie and say that it got better as I ran, because I was still freezing when I finished!  My phone and watch also kept glitching and shutting off, so I was happy to finish this run.  Overall, I felt pretty good though and just wanted the run to be over.


4 miles / 37:20 / 9:20 pace
Just a nice easy run around the neighborhood during halftime of the Steelers game.  It was another cold day, and I took it easy.  Nothing exciting to say about this one!

What do you do after a bad workout?
Did anyone else struggle this week?
What races do you have coming up?