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