Friday, November 30, 2012

13 in 2013 Challenge

Are you looking ahead to 2013 and race planning? I love this time, the excitement and anticipation of what's ahead. Why not make it your goal to run 13 in 2013? My challenge is 13 halfs in 2013! Who's with me? Or maybe 5Ks, 10Ks, Trail Races or even more extreme 26.2.

I am excited to host the 13 in 2013 challenge with Jill at Fitness, Health & Happiness This year Jill ran 12 halfs in 2012, way to go Jill!

  1. Run 13 races of your distance in 2013 to complete the challenge, this includes both "real" and virtual races. 
  2. The number of participants is not limited
  3. Prizes throughout the year Hint: Some great running gear from our favorite brands
  4. To help out JIll and I will be hosting 4 virtual races throughout the year. 
  5. Share your plans and accomplishments with other challengers through the 13 in 2013 Facebook Group
  6. Share with Instagram and Twitter using #13in2013.

How to Join:

  1. Sign up Here by December 31st at midnight [EST] and update as races are completed Extended through January 6th midnight [EST]
  2. Join the 13 in 2013 Facebook Group for support and sharing
  3. Grab the button showing your chosen distance and post to your blog
Question contact me Here or post questions below.

Who's in? What distance will you aim for? What are your concerns?

Can't wait to start the challenge and support fellow runners!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Bring it on

"Challenges are what make life interesting. Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful." ~ Joshua J. Marine

This is the time of year students dread, while the rest of the world soaks up the holiday spirit we sit cramming in final papers and exams and counting down the days until we can shut off our brains. Now add into that be a teacher as well and there are not only my own finals but the one's I need to grade as well.

Imagine our house this time of year with 2 grad students and now me also teaching and on top of it studying for NASM. So in the next 3 weeks I will be completing 2 final papers by next Friday, taking (and hopefully passing) NASM and then writing and grading numerous final exams and final projects. Yikes, I can do this! I will have survived my first semester teaching and another semester of my doctoral program (only 1 more and a thesis to go which still needs a topic!).

I started studying for NASM in the summer and planned to take it then but life got in the way, now I am coming to my deadline and need to get back to studying. This is actually what I am most nervous about! Any advice from those who have taken it?

Some days my mantra is "just survive" and other days I am aiming for greatness. It is amazing how our bodies respond to stress; lack of sleep at times, shutting down, aches and heart palpitations. As an athlete we are very intuned to our bodies and can easily feel these things. Time for some stress relief and looking forward to vacation. Luckily we have some nicer weather coming so I can get out a long run again to clear my mind. What is your method to relieve stress?

Hopefully after Matt is done with his last final paper on Monday we can begin to make our house ready for Christmas, tree and all. We did manage to get family pictures taken last weekend.

So far the only preview I have seen and I love it, can't wait to see the rest. Aleah does such a great job!

Day 5 gluten free and so far only one mess up and one big fit requiring me to search out GF graham crackers. I forget that she may not understand why we have taken away some of her typical snacks.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Feeling Helpless

Over the past 2 years we have been dealing with multiple GI issues with O, being someone who has food intolerances and also has dealt with the GI pain and issues similar to what I assume she is experiencing I feel awful as she is suffering.  I am writing this to express my frustration and in hopes that maybe there is another parent who has experienced a similar situation and can shed some light and offer advice. Those who don't want details of GI function and parenting be warned and step away now!

This all started shortly after birth when I was breastfeeding and O had many issues with foods I ate, after cutting out numerous things she improved somewhat but has always been slow to gain. As she began eating more she ate great but for a long time will eat and then lay on the couch complaining of pain and further back just cry :( She makes way too many bathroom trips daily, often barely making it in time. This can be 6+ times a day or even more, upwards of 15+ about a year ago. Her poor belly is huge and firm, f she was older pretty sure she'd look pregnant!

You can only imagine how difficult this made potty training! There are times when I know it is nearly impossible for her to make it to the bathroom. I worry about pre-school next year or now when I leave her at the gym childcare, what will happen?

It is awful watching your child in pain, We have spent numerous visits to GI doctors, undergone multiple blood and stool tests and all with only a few labs slightly elevated but without an answer. We left the doctor a few weeks ago, again with no real answer. I keep getting told she is developing fine so it is okay. The final push came on the way home from that appointment, a little voice from the backseat saying "need to go back to doctor, tummy still hurt. Why didn't doctor make it better?" Now if that doesn't make a mom feel helpless.

So after failed attempts at dairy free eating and no doctor answers I made the decision to do a gluten free trial. I remember how tough this was on me understanding why I had to avoid certain foods I can only imagine what she is thinking when I deny her the graham cracker she really wants. We are now on Day 2 and plenty stocked up on gluten free options. Although I am in need to pita chips, one of her favorites. Let's hope this gives us an answer.

Any great gluten free snack options that I have missed? Luckily for her I have been eating this way for awhile and have pretty good hang of it. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Menu Planning 11/25 & Weekly Goals

We are about to enter a strange week with Matt home since my parents are on vacation we are splitting the week home so I thought I'd try a new thing this week and make a list along with looking at workout goals. Here's what is ahead for us this week, plenty of food with leftovers for the work week and a new Pad Thai recipe now that I have the missing ingredient. 

Today is also Day 1 of the big Gluten Free experiment with O so lots of planning ahead. Let's hope this works! 

Black Bean Soup
Pad Thai (I finally have the tamarind paste!)
Pre-run Sandwich and fruit x 2
Dinner Out
Roasted Cauliflower & Red Curry Squash

Sunday: Short run & elliptical 
Monday: Weights
Tuesday: AM spin/ PM run
Wednesday: Weights & easy run
Thursday: AM Pilates/ PM run
Friday: AM Weights/ PM Spin
Saturday: Long run

I am taking part in a couple holiday challenges and need to focus starting today on my eating, next up giving up diet soda again. After many years of no soda I gave in to extreme fatigue and have been back to drinking a few cans a week.

Looking ahead to 2013 and taking advantage of Black Friday weekend race discounts, some local races are offering 1/2 price entries or free races when you register for others in the series, nice! This will help me reach my goal of 13 halfs in 2013. What is your 2013 goal? Are you in for 13 in 2013, details on the way...

Saturday, November 24, 2012


No Black Friday craziness for me, thanks to my laptop I finished shopping in my pajamas with coffee in hand! This was only the start f cyber deals, wait until Monday! Just a couple more gifts to buy and I am done without dealing with crowds.
My only pet peeve on online shopping is how things will "disappear" from your shopping cart. I think this is odd, but I get it. I kind of feel like I am at a store and someone comes by and takes my cart!

What great deals have you heard about? Any you plan to take part in?

What about this one? An extra 15% off at VitaCost. Today through Monday Night! 
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With, you don't have to choose between stores that sell products you don't really want at super-low prices, and stores that sell the better health and wellness products you want at crazy-high prices. We offer over 2,000 of the top, most-trusted natural brands, diet foods and healthy living essentials-the very best nutritional supplements, whole foods and sports nutrition-at discount prices, up to 50% off. And we'll deliver them right to your door for FREE if your order totals $49 or more. Otherwise, shipping is just a small, flat-rate fee of $4.99, no matter how big the box.

Check out Vitacost and take advantage of this extra discount. Check back here for a giveaway coming.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Day 5K

We have run this "race" many times, through name and sponsor changes, course changes and nasty weather. This year I went into it with hopes of a PR considering the perfect weather, but I failed to think about the massive amounts of people who would decide to run now that it wouldn't be too cold.

I'm not sure the exact numbers but there had to be well over 5000 people, many who had no clue how to line up for a race. I lost track of the extreme numbers of walkers, kids, strollers and dogs I passed after it took almost 10 minutes to cross the start line! I spent much of my time weaving and trying not to trip over dog leashes or people stopping in mid course. I pleased to hit Mile 1 with a 7:40, still 1 minute over where I hoped but I figured much slower given the conditions. I finally found a guy to follow who making a path through the course and was able to hold that pace with a little trail running through the downtown parks. I didn't care since it was November 22nd and I was running in shorts! Thanks to crazy weather it was 55F.

All done running!
I hit the 3 Mile mark and turned around to meet Matt and finished with him before heading in to watch O run in the kid's track race. Not only do they have a kid's track race but also activities inside while the parents run the 5K, she was able to wear herself out doing flips all morning in the bouncy house and then running her lap around the track with a huge smile on her face! My runner  :-)

Now that 2012 is nearing the end are you thinking about plans for next year? I know I am and as I mentioned before am making it my goal for 13 halfs in 2013. I’ve teamed up with Jill at Fitness, Health & Happiness to bring you Thirteen in 2013. As you plan your goals for 2013 think about, “what do I want to do 13 times next year.” Details coming soon!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hug a Runner Day

Did you know that today is Hug a Runner Day? Neither did I, guess there is a day for everything. I can't say I am much of a hugger but I love the concept. Did you know there is even a training page for this? Yes check on the G.O.H.A.R.D plan on Run The Edge.

Let's all take today to think about those who have inspired us to run and push harder and take some time to reflect on how runner has changed our lives. Yes we often compete against others when we run, but aren't those the same people who push us to run harder and faster and overcome the obstacle holding them back. At my 10 Mile race a few weeks ago, despite the race not going my way when I finished another woman approached me and thanked me for pushing her the last few miles. I passed her about Mile 8 and she made it her goal to not let me get too far ahead. I know we have all done the same, appreciate others who we train with and race with and the family and friends who support us along the way.

Who inspires you? How has running made your life better?

Now go grab a friend and celebrate with a run

Monday, November 19, 2012

Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

 I am not a fan of typical Thanksgiving foods and could actually do without it all except the pumpkin pie. I am always looking for new, healthy dishes that everyone will love on Thanksgiving, who says it needs to be the day filled with unhealthy eating and over indulgence? Check out these recipes for healthier options. Thanks to everyone who shared and Pinterest for a few others.

Corn Pie from Rebecca @ Ezra Pound Cake: Vegan and gluten free

Green Bean Casserole from Susan @ Fat Free Vegan Kitchen: Vegan, fresh and healthy

Mashed Cauliflower from Denise @ Run DMT

Mashed Potato Cauliflower Casserole from Amanda @ PATd, White Dog & a blog

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes from Presley @ Run Pretty

Cranberry Sweet Potato Quinoa from Caroline @ Journey to Wellness

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Hazelnuts from Chef Cloe @ NY Times Vegan Thanksgiving

Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions from Closet Cooking: I love squash and the combination sounds wonderful.

Stuffing (I will be making a version of one of these)
Cornbread & Chorizo Stuffing from Epicurious: With a few changes it could easily be vegatarian friendly.

Cornbread/ Sausage Stuffing from Kelsey @ Fueling Strong. This recipe would be easy to adapt to vegetarian and gluten free

Yam Cornbread Stuffing from The Healthy Cooking Blog

Cheesecake with Fresh Cranberry Sauce from Easy Eats: We just got cranberries from our CSA and this would be the perfect way to use them.

Pecan Pie Bites from Amy @ DAMY Health: Gluten free, vegan and refined sugar free

Pumpkin Muffins from Abby @ Back at Square Zero: I love pumpkin and these sound so easy and can be made gluten free.

Pumpkin Pie Quinoa from Veggie Converter: Can you get any better than this? A little sweet, but no refined sugar and healthy. This would be great for breakfast or dessert.

Tofu Pumpkin Pie from Laura @ Mommy Run Fast: Love a healthy pumpkin pie!

My Pumpkin Pie Gluten free, sugar free and wonderful! Last year this ended up being my Thanksgiving dinner!

What food are you most looking forward to on Thanksgiving? Any good recipes to share?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Winter Running Tips

Winter is almost here and the time of year many runners, including me, would love to avoid. The daylight hours are short, weather is colder and running surfaces often less then wonderful. So what can we do to make running this time of year better and even fun? As someone who hated Winter running for many years and has grown to tolerate and even enjoy it some days this is my list of tips...

  • Dress for 10-20 degrees warmer: Yes, you will start out colder but will quickly warm up and don't want to overheat which will lead to more sweating. If you are warm when you start it might be a clue to remove a layer.
  • Dress in layers: A base layer to wick away the sweat and then a wind/water proof layer on top. Colder days may even require a midlayer to keep you warm enough. Don't forget the mittens, hat/headband and even face mask on coldest days. 
  • Stay hydrated: Just because it isn't doesn't mean you don't need fluids. Start with warm/water to help decrease freezing and place bottles upside down in your belt or keep under jacket.
  • Duct tape your shoes: This will prevent water/snow and wind from getting through the mesh of the running shoe and keep feet dry. I have also found good luck with compression socks for helping to keep feet warmer, layer another sock over these for extra warmth.
  •  Put Vaseline on your face: Your face is often the only exposed skin and Vaseline can protect fromt he wind and sleetly snow.
  • Take longer to warm up: Your muscles will be colder and tighter so increase your warm up time or even do an easy warm up inside first.
  • Pay attention to the running surface: I am not a fan of YakTrax since it changes gait so I choose to run in only my normal running shoes. Be aware of the surface, pay attention to ice, snow packs and slow down when needed to keep footing. It is not fun falling on the ice! Shorten your stride on these surfaces to keep better footing.
  • Start out slow and know your limits: Just like adapting to hot Summer running, the colder weather takes adapting too and the first few runs will be tougher so stick with it and enjoy the running. At the same time don't push too far and know what you body won't tolerate; have a back up plan, change the schedule or hit the treadmill.
  • Run later in the day: I still prefer morning runs but will push these back 1-2 hours to have warmer weather and more light.
  • Look forward to the hot coffee afterwards: There is nothing better then getting home from a long Winter run and sitting in front of the fire with a hot coffee.
winter running is easier than hot, humid summer running

What are your Winter running tips to stay warm? 

There is nothing better than that first run in fresh white snow to make the rest of Winter running worth it.

Linking up for Fitness Friday Check out other fitness focused blogs

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Setting healthy goals

About goals

This is the time of year we start to look back and reflect on the past year and analyze how things went, what we would do different and how to improve in the future. I am starting to plan for 2013 and deciding on races and goals. At the same time I am coaching a new group for a New Year's Day 5K , many ebginers who are asking how to set goals for the race and beyond.

Set goals that are concrete: thing like workout 1 hour 3 days a week, run a 20 minute 5K, Run 30 miles this week. Avoid things that you can measure: get healthy, start working out. You can start with this but then decide the steps to reach this and make this your goal.

Build on previous experience: Set goals based on past race times, workouts, etc. Look at your current situation and adapt the goals.

Make the goals realistc yet somethng to strive for: I will never run a 2:30 marathon (as much as I would love to!) but with the right training could run a 3:15 so this is my realistic goal. If you know 6 days a week running will never happen based on your life don't make that your goal it iwill only lead to dissapointment.

Set goals for yourself and not others: Do what you want, you will work harder and be happier achieving things you aim for them what others set for you.

Set a plan to meet your goals: And think about this...
What are your goals now and for the long term? How are you working to reach them? How do you deal with set backs?

Who's interested in a 13 in 2013 challenge? Challenge yourself to run 13 races or better yet 13 x 13.1 miles in 2013.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pushing through tough times

Ever have those days when you fight with yourself to workout? The urge to sleep or eat or anything else is much stronger than the desire to workout. Yesterday everything was working against me: a little girl who is now on day 8 of waking up at 4am, the first of three long/early days for me, a headache and feeling tired and cold/snowy weather.

I failed the first fight and actually drove to the gym on my way home from work, realized a nap sounded better and turned around and left. I got home to find out that someone had a different idea, just as I laid down on the couch a certain nonsleeping little girl decided to wake up from nap 1 hour earlier then I expected. Seriously when will she sleep again? I feel like I am back to having a newborn who didn't sleep ever, no I am not exagerating! We were lucky if we got 1 hour at a time.
I am happy to say that things finally fell into place and I won round 2! After I lost the nap, I decided to eat, why not eat when you are tired and not really hungry! Hubby texted me to say he would be home early, so I rethought dinner got my gym clothes together and convinced myself an easy workout was going to happen. Even better I managed my full strength workout with some treadmill speedwork in between sets. Don't you love these days?!

The answer was a few minutes to reset, maybe a snack and then a second chance to get myself moving! How do you convince yourself to workout on these days?

I am working on a Thanksgiving recipe post, send me you favorite healthy recipes to

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Menu Planning 11/11

My 2 days a week working from home are often filled with cooking (and working out) and much of the work is saved for evening. This week we roasted pie pumpkins which made granola and bread and pie later. The seeds are all roasted and this time I only managed to burn a couple seeds!

Here's what is ahead for us this week, plenty of food with leftovers for the work week and hopefully a new Pad Thai recipe once I pick up a missing ingredient.

Soup, grilled sandwich
Leftover veggie pizza
Veggie White Bean Pasta Bake
GF toast with almond butter (pre-run)
Pasta Bake
Salad with black beans, peppers
Curry Squash
Pad Thai
?? Dinner out or Soup

Thanks to Laura and Jill who are hosting a weekly menu planning link up every Sunday.

Polenta Enchilada Bake
1 onion diced
2 gloves garlic minced
1 poblano pepper diced (can use any pepper)
2 tsp cumin
1 cup frozen corn
1 can black beans
1 pkg soy chorizo (Trader Joe’s) could use regular chorizo
1 can tomato sauce
1 roll polenta (or make your own)
1-2 cups shredded cheese
Saute onion, pepper and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add corn, beans, chorizo, cumin and tomato sauce and simmer until heated through 10-15 min. (I get polenta cut and pan ready and then start making. Spray pan and pour a little tomato sauce in bottom to coat. Layer polenta, chorizo mix, cheese and repeat 1-2 times ending with cheese. Bake 350F 20 min. Top with guacamole and serve