Every Friday night is treat night at my house. I let my son stay up a little later this night and we make special treats to enjoy. It’s a great way to spend time together as a family and create lasting memories. It is also important not to deprive ourselves of the occasional sweet treat. This way we can indulge a little without getting off track from maintaining a healthy diet.
This past Friday we made our own candy apples. This is a quick and simple treat to create. Be inventive and have fun!
What you will need:
I enjoyed eating the apples right off the sticks. It was like eating the apple right off of a tree!
Cutting the apples into wedges, makes it easier to eat for the little ones!
Just a note: as you can see, we used granny smith apples but after trying this, I recommend using a sweeter apple. While the tart blends well with the sweet, the high acidity of the apple combined with the toppings (i.e.-the walnuts) can unpleasant on your tongue.
Wrap and refrigerate.
I found this recipe on the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen website and couldn’t wait to make it. It looked amazing and tasted amazing too!
Set the oven to 350 degrees. Spray pan and sautee onion, garlic, and peppers until tender. Add beans, chili, corn, spinach, chili powder and stir until heated throughout.
Remove from heat and add spaghetti squash, lime juice, and salt. Pour into an oiled casserole dish.
In a bowl, mix together crust ingredients. Pour on top of squash mix and sprinkle with chili powder. Cook for 25 minutes or until browning.
Now for what happened with my meal…..
I used milk instead of water for the crust. I misunderstood the recipe where it says 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of hot water. I thought that the author of the recipe had left out an ingredient after the half cup and didn’t realize she was saying 1/2 cup of water AND 1 tbsp of water. So instead, I just used 1/2 cup almond milk.
I also misread the salt amount for the casserole mix and thought it said tablespoon, yikes! Since I thought that was a bit much, I put in less than that, but still more than a tsp. Needless to say, I found the dish to be a bit salty. Ironically, the feed back given on the website where I found the recipe was mostly in regards to lack of taste.
Instead of 2 tbsp of lime juice, I used about a quarter of a lime.
All in all, it turned out well…..it was a little too salty for me, but I know better for next time. We added some salsa on top to really give it that Santa Fe feel…..
I think this recipe would make for great lettuce wraps minus the crust. I’ll give it a go one day and post about it.
Until then, give this dish a go……Happy Casserole-ing!
For the past few weeks I have been in a slump. I’ve been struggling with personal issues and have a running injury on top of it. Unfortunately, I let these situations affect my health and haven’t been taking care of myself as I should be.
My workouts have felt weak and my eating habits started heading in the wrong direction. Most recently, I have felt the major physical repercussions of my actions in the form of weight gain and joint pain.
The pain increased so much in the past few days that I felt a detox necessary to remedy my problems.
I woke up early morning and made the decision to go on a liquid detox.
Here is a run down of what I consumed throughout the day:
Mixed Berry Smoothie
This is a smoothie I make on almost a daily basis. I go to the gym in the early a.m, get in a good workout, and when I come home this is my breakfast. Prior to my workout, I drink a hydration mix. Currently, I use Ultima. It is so important to make sure you are well hydrated before and during your workouts, so try to incorporate that into your routine.
About a half bag of organic frozen mixed berries
roughly one cup of water (depends on consistency preference)
2-3 bananas, more makes more servings
a few ice cubes
protein powder of your choice (I used Vega Berry flavor-2 scoops)
Blend all ingredients together, adding the protein powder in once smooth.
Raw Green Smoothie
3-4 leaves of Kale
1 cup strawberries (I used frozen)
2 cups of water
1 tablespoon of flax seeds
1 tablespoon hemp seeds (I didn’t have any, so my recipe is without)
Blend ingredients together and enjoy.
Recipe is from Squidoo.com
2 bananas peeled
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
1 cup of dairy-free milk (I used almond)
1 serving of protein powder (optional-I use protein powder in my smoothies after a workout and since I already had one earlier, I didn’t add the protein to this one).
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
Blend on high until creamy
Earlier this morning, I rode the stationary bike at the gym for an hour and it wasn’t easy. My legs were achy and I had to drop my level down one from my normal speed.
In the evening I returned to the gym for a second time. This was my second day in a row going to the gym twice each day, so I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to hold up. I ride the bike for an hour every time I hit the gym. It’s the only way I feel like I am making up for my loss in cardio training during my down time from running.
This evening it seemed effortless and I was biking at my normal level. Half way through the ride, I increased my level, then again at 45 minutes, and again at 55 minutes. I felt great! Full of energy and full of joy-the kind of joy I feel when I run. I haven’t had this feeling since the my last run about 5 weeks ago. I was thrilled, and I know that my detox made all the difference.
Foods play such an important role in how we feel, emotionally and physically.
Vega Chocolate Protein Shake
I purchased this mix in individual servings so that I can throw into my gym bag. If I have somewhere to be after a workout, I take this with me along with my vega sports shaker. All you have to do is pour the mix into your shaker post work out, shake it up, and devour it’s yummy-ness!
In between my liquid meals, I drank herbal teas as a way to keep my tummy happy along with my taste buds. I drank 2-3 cups through-out the day.
The day went so well, I woke up the next more and decided to persevere. My 24-hour liquid detox was about to turn into a 48-hour cleanse. I wondered if I could do it. The longest liquid detox I have done has been for 24-hours.
Mixed Berry Smoothie
3 frozen bananas
(note:slice bananas ahead of time and freeze)
1 tablespoon cocoa
1 tablespoon almond butter (or nut butter of your choosing)
1 cup of dairy-free milk (I use almond)
2 dates (this adds just the hint of sweetness you’ll love)
Blend until smooth
Apple Pie Smoothie
1 cup cold filtered water
1/2 apple peeled
1/2 frozen banana
a chunk of medium-firm tofu (less than 1/4 block)
a handful of leafy greens
cinnamon-a few shakes will do
1/2 tablespoon of honey or agave
a squeeze of lemon
a sprinkle of nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
Blend all ingredients
recipe found on livingintherealworld.net
Back to the gym and another post workout chocolate protein shake by Vega.
I have been making an effort to partake in a smoothie/juice detox for one day each week. It’s a great way to clean out my system and shed a few pounds at the same time. My weight 48 hours ago was 139 and at the end of my cleanse I dropped down to 135.
If you asked me a year ago what my goal weight was, I would have said 135! And while I am happy to have now reached that goal, I have since aimed towards a new one. I am now shooting for 130, and perhaps even 128! Right now, the goal is 130……one step at a time is the best way to get to where you are going!
My ultimate goal is to have a body that is toned and fat-free. I want to be able to look in the mirror and like what I see. Perhaps then, the weight itself won’t really make much of a difference.
If you haven’t tried a juice cleanse before, give it a go. And remember, I’m not a doctor, so you should check with yours first!
Please feel free to post any of your own recipes in the comment section!
If you’re a runner than you’ve already heard of energy gels. If you have no idea what I am talking about, let me fill you in. Energy gels are created as a way to give long distance runners the fuel they need to keep going. Our body burns energy through a combination of protein, carbs, and fats. Gels are just complex carbs. Normally, food would provide the much needed energy, but when the going gets rough who wants to attempt chewing up an energy bar while running?
Gels are a smooth way to absorb the energy without the crunch factor. They are easier to digest than solids, and are able to provide more needed calories per ounce than the average sports drink.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “A gel? that doesn’t sound to appetizing”. Even though they are titles “gels”, their consistency is more like pudding. Sounding better to you?
If you’re vegan, these gels are hard to find in a cruelty-free version-until now. I recently discovered Chocolate #9, and I’ve gotta say, “OH-MY-YUM!” Now, I haven’t tried any other gels before, simply due to their ingredients. However, Chocolate #9 is not only vegan, but natural too. Made with Organic Agave and breakfast cocoa processed with alkali. Yay for organic!
Here are some key points that make Chocolate #9 unique:
Recently I completed a 24-hour juice cleanse. Lately I’ve had some pain in the ball of my left foot, so much so that I don’t bear my weight on it when I walk. I’ve also been experiencing some pain and inflammation in my other joints. I know that my health issues are diet related and although switching to a vegan lifestyle has helped drastically, I still haven’t pin pointed the actual cause of my symptoms.
I was due to run a half marathon this weekend, but my doctor suggested that I have an x-ray of my foot. She worries I could have a stress fracture which would cause me to be out of running for 6 weeks! While the thought of not running for that long concerns me, I almost rather the pain be a running related injury as opposed to arthritis related.
With all the pain I have been enduring recently, I decided it was time for a cleanse and a juice detox is a great one for ridding the body of toxins.
Here is the menu of my 24 hour detox:
Mixed Berry Smoothie
Carrot Cake Snack-A-Roo (from the Cool Smoothies Book)
You will need greens of your choice. In these photos I used baby spinach, but I also like the baby spinach/spring green mix as well. I put a few handfuls into my bowl.
Add guacamole. You can make your own but I prefer Wholly Guacamole. They have 100 calorie snack packs available which provides the perfect portion. I use this in lieu of salad dressing which can add hidden calories and fat that people are often unaware of.
I also use about a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato pesto.
I always add this firm tofu which comes in many flavors and has already been pressed. Sliced in cubes, it makes a perfect addition to any salad. My preferred flavor is the Smoked, but they were out last time so I bought the Italian. I top off my salad with Sunflower seeds. Other options include pumpkin seeds or almonds. These seeds provide vitamin E, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits.
Lastly, I add a Salad Booster by Living Intentions. The flavor I use is called Vegan Cheesy. It is raw, sprouted, gluten-free, and considered a super food. It contains spirulina, chlorella, & sea veggies, among other healthy ingredients. If you haven’t heard of spirulina or chlorella, check out their health benefits here.
You can also use many of these ingredients to make a yummy sandwich!
Next up is something new I’ve been working with, spaghetti squash. With the fall season upon us, now is a great time to experiment with the season vegetables. I am working on incorporating more raw foods into my diet (although this recipe isn’t raw).
I want to go healthier than I have been. I started substituting spaghetti squash for pasta and have two very simple recipes here for you to try.
The squash can be cooked two ways. The first is as a whole. Poke some holes into the squash with a fork and put it in the oven on a baking pan. It will take much longer to cook this way but is a bit easier than the other option. That is to cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. If you haven’t done this before, then you will soon learn that it takes a bit of muscle to cut through that bad boy. Make sure to scoop the seeds out, otherwise it could take longer to cook.
Brush a little olive oil on the insides of both halves an place upside down on the baking sheet. Cook at 375 for 30 minutes. It if finished when the skin is soft enough to push a fork through.
You can add some vegan sausage or vegan “chicken” as well.
Here I have added the vegan chicken
Try out these simple recipes and get creative. Add a few ingredients of your own. Feel free to leave ideas in the comment section below!
Once again, I have let far too much time go by since my last entry. It’s been weeks since I have completed my 10K training and I decided to skip running the 10K race and jump right into 1/2 marathon training. I did run the distance of a 10K, which is 6.2 miles and then started my 1/2 marathon training-13.1 miles. I picked up on week 6 of training which is the week that follows a 6 mile run.
When it was time to run a 10K in my half marathon training (at the end of week 9), I decided to run a 5K instead. The date- September 11th, 2011-the ten year anniversary of 9/11. I thought running this race would be a great way to honor this day and all of the people affected by 9/11.
The race started in front of Baltimore Police headquarters, wrapped around the Baltimore Inner Harbor, past Federal Hill, throughout the streets of Baltimore, and ended on the top of Federal Hill-which is–a hill. There were a few hills on this course and I expected there to be. I tried to slow my pace a bit in an effort to reserve energy for the big climb I knew was to come at the end of my run. Since I have been training for a half marathon, I have slowed my pace to about 11:30 minute miles in order to run comfortably and complete the longer distances. It is recommened to slow your pace by about a minute when running longer distances.
I was running well, much better than my last race and had hope to break a new PR(personal record) this time. My best run time has been 30:13, if I could just shave off 14 seconds. I so badly wanted to get in under 3o minutes and have done so on the treadmill already. I was hopping this would be the race to set my new record. I didn’t push as hard as I could have, I wanted to finish the race comfortably-after all, I have run twice as far as this during my half marathon training.
It was an inspiring race that started with the national anthem, and a tribute to the men and women that serve our country, not only in the military, but the police and fire departments as well. It was an honor to run alongside the individuals that have commited to protecting the citizens of the United States. It was truely a site to see as I ran by two firefighters in full gear, head to toe. They were running in over 80 degree weather and carrying a flag too! Talk about motivation! If anyone had any self doubt during this race, all they needed to do was take a look at the firemen running and the moment of doubt would quickly pass.
I finished at 31:21, much to my disappointment. This was my worst time yet. I have since learned that because I am training for my half, that it is natural for my running to slow down a bit. That gives me a little relief. Oh well, I ran for a good cause and enjoyed it. About ten minutes after I finished, I saw the three firemen in full gear coming across the finish line together with their flags. The crowd cheered and clapped for them as they made it up the last hill, it was an emotional moment to take part in.
All in all, I really enjoyed this race and will partake in this event again next year. They even give you a free beer after you finish! How is that for a perk?
Now I am in the middle of week eleven in my half marathon training. A few days ago I ran 9 miles on a trail called the NCR trail. This is a 41 mile trail running from Maryland to Pennsylvania. For those that are local (and even if you aren’t) check it out! I absolutely loved the trail and my run. I ran nine miles non stop in beautiful weather! It was so nice, I barely broke a sweat. I felt so accomplished after this run that within the past few days I have made the decision to start marathon training once I run my half! I’m so excited, I can’t believe I didn’t start running ten years ago.
Currently I am searching through races to find my next challenge. More updates to follow.
Until next time, happy running!
I had been long overdue for a vacation and although I previously lived in Florida for a duration of about three years, I never managed to make it to the Southern parts of the sunshine state.
My mom and I have birthdays just six days apart, and this year instead of exchanging gifts, we decided to take a trip. Since it was my 30th, we wanted to do something special, and with all of the great deals you can find online these days, we managed to find a trip to Miami for a great price! If you aren’t a member of Living Social, what are you waiting for? Join their mailing list and receive great deals via email!
We stayed at Sunny Isle Beach, just minutes away from Miami beach and South Beach. Our trip was amazing and we found plenty of vegan food to enjoy.
The first restaurant we visited was Sublime. I found this place when voting for VegNews Magazines Veggie Awards. I was voting a week before my trip and under the “best vegan restaurants” I saw Sublime in the Miami area and knew I had to check it out!
This place was amazing! A beautiful restaurant, with great food and a wonderful atmosphere. Just past the entrance is a serene waterfall flowing from large windows of the restaurant. The theme of “green” is noticeable throughout the place, and the feeling of clean fresh food comes to mind instantly.
My mother was just as excited as I was to see such an elaborate menu of vegan options. We started a meal with an appetizer called “Frito Misto”, fresh cauliflower in a crispy coating covered with a sweet chili sauce and sesame seeds.
Next up was our entrees. I orderd a mushroom stuffed ravioli which really was just divine, and mom ordered the “Dynamite Sushi”. Mom has never been a fan of sushi, so this was a big step for her. The entree was made with veganaise (vegan mayo), zucchini, capers, cream cheese, red onion, and cucumber.
I have a sweet tooth like nobody’s business, so of course I couldn’t resist dessert. In fact, I have a habit of trying the dessert from every new vegan restaurant I encounter. Since mom doesn’t like chocolate, we decided to go with something neutral that we could share (I still have to watch my girlish figure!). We decided on the coconut cake. A white cake with coconut cream and almond tuile, loved this!!
We both ordered salads this time, but they weren’t just any salads. I ordered the Heart of Palm-mixed greens, avocado fan, cucmbers, costa rican heart of palm, plum tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.
Mom ordered the Tropical Fruit Salad, watercress, mango, papaya, pineapple, and a passion fruit vinaigrette. Origionally this salad comes with goat cheese, so she just ordered it without.
The salads were great and this was a cozy place tucked into what appeared to be a renovated older home. A must see for veg-friendly folks AND their carnivore friends!
After our lunch at Bagatelle, we took a tour on a glass bottom boat and upon our return, we found our tummys rumbling. We traveled the streets of Key West in hopes of finding some great vegan food and we found just what we were looking for, Amigos! A mexican restaurant with a great latin vibe and a much healthier way to fulfill your taco cravings than taco bell!
We both ordered vegan tacos, which had an amazing mix of veggies. We also shared a basket of chips and guacamole. I noticed this sign on the wall and was more than happy to have seen it….
The next day we ventured onto a hop-on-top bus tour. I’ve always wanted to jump on one of these buses and I am so happy to have had the chance to.
We were able to tour Miami beach, South Beach, downtown Miami, Little Havana, and Coral Gables (my favorite). During the tour, visitors are able to hop off at any of the stops in each area offering plenty of options for food!
We stepped off the bus at Coral Gables and it was well worth the stop. A beautiful town, adorned with unique trees providing more twist and turns than a roller coaster.
The beauty of this town is what motivated us to get off the bus and we were so glad we did, we were in for a treat! In search of a place for some vegan eats, we popped into a few places before finding Seasons 52, an exquisite restaurant along Coral Gable’s “Miracle Mile“. We stopped in to take a peek at their menu and found out their bartender is vegan so we decided to have a chat with him. He recommended a local place with great food, so we said we would have a drink at Season’s 52 and then go check out the food at the cafe he suggested. After about fifteen minutes of banter with Dan (the bartender) and a very well made drink, we made the decision to order our food there. After all, we only had two hours before the next bus arrived. Bus schedule aside, we just loved talking to Dan and could have stayed there all day chatting with him.
The restaurant had a vegan menu, which I always love to see, check it out!
I ordered the Farmer’s Market Vegetable Plate made with seasonal vegetables, grilled ponzu-glazed tofu, and cranberry-almond tabbouleh.
This meal was my favorite of the trip. It was fresh, light, and made me feel vigorous.
Mom ordered the Ponzu-glazed tofu with a side of roasted baby carrots and penne pasta.
We even had room for dessert, and what else would you expect after such a fresh meal?
We finished just in time to catch the next bus and headed back to South Beach where we made a pit stop for pina coladas. Just a tip…..south beach pina coladas-not so good. I’m not even sure of the name of the place we stopped at. We had a half hour before the bus left and thought we could drink one of these bad boys in that time, but it didn’t happen. An hour later and we finally realized we could get out drinks to go! So we grabbed them and ran to our bus just as it was taking off. Luckily got them to stop and let us on AND it was the last running bus that day!
Our next stop was on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Ave. Our waitress at Sublime recommended that we stop by Books and Books, a book store that had a vegan menu. We made this a must on our list of places to go. The cafe was really nice and the book store was just my style (I’m a book store junkie). We placed our entree orders and not long after did the waitress come out with an appetizer. Wait, we didn’t order this. It was a blackbean hummus with bagel crackers. When we asked about it the waitress informed us that it came on the house. I liked this place already.
I ordered the Grilled Tofu Fajita wrap made with carmelized onions, roasted red peppers and avocado salsa in a whole wheat wrap served with roasted corn salad and sweet mustard.
Mom ordered the Tropical Arroz con Frijoles-a blend of long-grain brown and wild rice cooked with coconut, served with Cuban black bean soup and topped off with fresh avocado.
Later that evening we stopped by Nexxt, also located on Lincoln Ave. We ordered chips and guacamole and mixed drinks. The guac was really bland and I made a salad using the lettuce and salsa that came with it. The drinks were terrible and since the seating was outside, people were able to smoke. Everyone around us was smoking and I was literally eating the smoke as I ate my food. It was awful, do NOT go to Nexxt!
Our last day of vacation we made sure to make time to stop by another recommendation from our waitress at Sublime. Green Wave Cafe located in Plantation, Fl is an all vegan, all raw cafe. This time we went straight for the desserts since they were highly recommended!
We also purchased two large batches of their raw onion bread which they will ship if you are interested. Check out Green Waves menu.
They also offer classes, contact them for more info.
If you know of any other restaurants in the area please comment and if you are going to the Miami area check some of these places out. Feel free to ask me any questions!
I’m from Baltimore, I’m a Ravens fan. Please keep negative comments to yourself. With that said, woohoo!! Vegan running back Ricky Williams has just signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens.
Known for his dreadlocks, Williams started in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints later joining the Miami Dolphins. Forced into early retirement for failing a drug test, Williams later stepped back onto the field and has scored 72 touchdowns.
Recently presented with the opportunity to join the Detroit Lions, Williams took up the offer to join the Baltimore Ravens. Having yet had a chance to make it to a Super Bowl, Williams states,
“The opportunity in Detroit opened up, and it would have been a chance for me to play a lot and be able to contribute a lot, but Baltimore is an established organization with a lot of vets, and … I thought I would fit in well in this situation and be able to enjoy myself and possibly win a Super Bowl.”
Read more: Sports Illustrated
Williams says he has moved past his rebellious days and has presented a more conservative look having shaved off his dreads.
I have a feeling the veggies fueling number 38 will make him a fast player. Let’s go Ravens and like Williams said, get to the Super Bowl!
photo credit-Sports Illustrated
If you haven’t been to Border’s lately, then head on over. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that they are going out of business. Right now their sale ranges from 25-50% off. Most books are 25% off, blue rays are 50%! The already on sale section at the front of the store is an additionally 25% off! I was lucky enough to find one of these deeply discounted books laying randomly on a shelf in another section. It’s called “Cool Smoothies” and it was on sale for $3.99 + 25% off= $2.99, woohoo!!
I already tried out one of the smoothie recipes titled Peanut Butter-Banana Dana and it is very delicious. I don’t have a photo, but here is the recipe:
1 cup low-fat or soy milk, I used Almond
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup of peanut butter, I winged it here and probably used more than the recipe called for, but YUM!
Add 1/2 to 1 cup of ice cubes and blend until smooth.
A bonus? Each page of this book offers little tidbits of knowledge. Here is the info for this recipe…..
“Americans eat more than 700 million pounds of peanut butter per year. It takes about 850 peanuts to make an 18-ounce jar of peanut butter.”
I also made a watermelon frosty today. Check it out……
I got this recipe from the Healthy Happy Life blog, she has tons of great recipes on there!
2 1/4 cups frozen watermelon cubes
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 large lemon, squeezed , or use 2 limes-I used lemon juice
Blend and serve with watermelon slices as a garnish. You can spice it up by adding two shots of tequila, or vodka.
Week six of my eight week 10K training finished with a bang. I had to run 5 miles and was pretty nervous about it. Earlier this week I ran two miles with much trouble. After running 4.5 miles successfully last week, I figured “2 miles? Piece of cake”. Well that wasn’t so. I struggled to get through it, but did it anyway. A few days later, I completed a three-mile run and again faced some challenges. What on earth was going on? Because of the trouble I had with my short runs, when my long run came up I didn’t know what to expect.
I decided to change things up a bit to make sure a successful run with minimal struggle. Instead of running the majority of my distance at a 5.8 as I usually would, I ran at a 5.6. I decided to take my speed down a bit and keep a comfortable pace. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Normally I watch my distance throughout the run, but this time I decided to keep my eye on the clock. Last week I ran 4.5 miles in 44 minutes so I figured it would take me about 50 minutes to run 5 miles. I covered the screen of the treadmill with my towel and keep my eye on the clock on the wall. I had a plan to look at the clock every five minutes and give myself a boost with a count down.
It was exactly 3:00 when I started. At 3:05, I looked at the clock and said to myself “just 45 minutes to go”. Five minutes later, I looked at the clock again, and again five minutes later. This seemed to workout great for me. It took my mind off of my distance, which I never worried about. Usually, I would think “One mile down, three to go”. When I am thinking about how far I still have to go, it seems like it can take forever. When I think of how far I’ve come (i.e.-20minutes down, just a half hour left), time seem to fly by. I maintained a steady pace and didn’t get winded one bit!
I told myself that at my half way point, I would take a drink and stop for 10 seconds to do so. Once I reached 2.5 miles, I didn’t feel the need to stop or drink, it was going so well! I just kept running and felt amazing. I reached just past 4 miles and raised my speed to 6.0, ounces I reached 4.5 miles, I increased my speed again to 7.5. I finally started to get winded, but that was okay, I was almost done!
I am amazed that I finished a 5 mile run (52 minutes total) and did so without stopping, getting winded, or encountering any pain. I have just two weeks left in my 10K training! I am actually going to run a 10K!!
The idea of running a half marathon is no longer so far-fetched to me. After all, a 10K is just half of a half marathon!
If you are having trouble with your runs, keep track of what you are eating. Find what time of day works best for your runs, and try to switch things up a bit. When you are running longer distances (especially for the first time), don’t worry about time, just pace yourself and finish! Even if you have to walk, FINISH!!!!
So, what’s the 411 since my last post? Well, I read the blog of a woman who also participated in the Baltimore Women’s Classic (my last 5K) and found myself motivated. See, for me, this was my second race and for her, the first. She finished with a time of about 45 minutes and I had finished my first a bit after 30 minutes. In no way am I comparing myself to this woman, I don’t even know her. She wrote about her new interest in running and that she had signed up to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) What?! I’ve just been looking for my next 5K and here is this stranger who has run one race and already signed up for a half marathon. I pondered on this for a while. I checked out the race she was going to-the Disney Princess half marathon. I looked at the website and the blog of a woman who had already done this race more than once. Hmmm, could I do this? It’s not for another seven months, I wonder if I could train in time and be ready for this race. They also have a 5K and a kids fun run. My mom could do the 5K and my son the fun run. And to top things off, we stay and go to Disney World the following week. I sat on the idea for about two weeks and really thought hard about it.
I had gone into the gym one evening (I usually go in the a.m.) and hopped on the treadmill. My intention was to run 3 miles. I decided to follow a half marathon training program that I receive via email, just to kind of see if I could do it or where I really stand running wise. I had gone out the night before and had a few drinks, I ate badly that day, and my body was just worn down. Since changing my lifestyle, any time I have a few drinks or eat foods of poor nutritional value, my body notices right away and sends me signals all over the place telling me not to do that again! It’s so strange, I used to eat junk day in and out without a thought of what was going in my mouth, and never noticed any effect it had on my body.
A few minutes into the run, I felt exhausted. I decided to keep going until I hit my first mile and I did, plus more. I started walking, drank some water, and shuffled through my ipod until I found the music that gets me motivated. After a few minutes, I picked up my run again and made the decision to run no matter what, straight through my three miles. Now I had “motivational music” in my ears, and was ready to go. I felt a renewed sense of energy and was on the move. I ran and ran, I increased my speed and before I knew it, I hit my three-mile marker. I wasn’t ready to stop though, my legs were on the go and I increased my speed to 7.5 which is less than a 9 minute mile. I had started out with a pace of about 5.7-over a 10 minute mile. I ran at 7.5 for another mile and stopped around 4.1 miles. I have never run this far or this fast before!
I asked a fellow runner what he thought of my interest in the half marathon. He told me about the first 5K and has helped me out along the way with questions and encouragement. He seems to think that it’s not far-fetched, and since I ran my first 4-miler, he thinks I am ready for a 10K (6.2 miles) in the near future. He told me I could jump right into week four of training, so I did. I am on week 5 now and had to run another 4 miles. Again, I struggled a bit. But unlike the past, I’m not going to over do it on my training, or feel bad about myself if I need to stop for a few minutes. I will just keep on going. My intention is to finish the half marathon and not go for time, but to just complete the race. If I need to walk, I will. In the meantime, I will run a variety of 5Ks and get a few 10Ks under my belt.
Here is the link he gave me for training.
For those of you just starting on your running journey, here are a few things I have learned along the way…..
Find some music that really gets you going. Something that will push you when you think you can’t go any further, music that picks you up when your down and makes you feel strong. For me, it’s Lady Gaga. Her music has great rhythm to it, it’s fast and makes you want to go fast. The lyrics are amazing and make a woman feel empowered. Some of my favs are Judas, Born this Way, Alejandro and Americano is by far the best!! At the end she says “Don’t ya try to catch me, don’t ya try to catch me, no, no, no” It really makes my feet want to fly off the ground. If you haven’t heard it, check it out. Her music may not be for you, but definitely find some that is! Then put all the songs together in one spot on your iPod and have it ready for your run. You don’t want to be fumbling around trying to find it and lose your groove.
ALWAY stretch before and after, especially your legs. There are a ton of different stretches here. I learned the hard way how important stretching is, so please be good to your body and don’t injure yourself!
Push yourself, but cut yourself some slack, what?! Don’t give up on yourself too easily, you can do it! Believe in yourself and push through it. Pain is temporary. I’m talking about “oh, I have a cramp” pain, not a serious injury or pulled muscle. Speaking of cramps, if you get a side cramp, it’s because you are going to fast. Slow it down a notch and it should go away, you can pick up the pace later if you want. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to stop or your time isn’t what you wanted it to be, just finish! And be proud of your accomplishments!
Eat well!!! Nourish and hydrate your body. A car can’t run without gas, can it? Give your body the fuel it needs.
Burning calories from cardio is great, but get in some strength training as well. You’ve got to keep those muscles strong if you are going to be burning so much energy and running long distances!
I would love to hear some feedback on how your runs are going! Wish me luck on my next long run….4.5 miles!