My New Unrecorded Personal Record

At the last minute I decided to run in a local 5k, the Jingle Bell run. It was something I had checked out before and was eager to take part in although I wasn’t sure that I would be able to participate due to my recent injury. I waited until the day before the race to make my decision. Once I remembered that the race benefited Arthritis, I knew I had to do it!

I was going to run no matter what, and on top of that, I wanted to set a new PR! It was my goal to achieve my best time ever, regardless of how much I was hurting. Isn’t that always easier said than done? It’s so easy to say, “no matter what, I am going to run my ass off!” But sometimes, it’s just not that easy.

We managed to make it downtown (Baltimore), find parking, and get into the building with ten minutes to spare. I jumped into the line for the restroom with hopes of getting through the quickly. I was wearing a borrowed watch that was set just five minutes fast. So when the clock said I had about three minutes until the race start time of nine, I was less concerned than I normally would have been.

Someone walked by and said we still had ten minutes, so I thought, “maybe they are starting the race a little bit later”. Still, I had the inkling to jump out of line and get to the starting line. I never had pushed my time this close before, but decided to take my chances. After all, I never heard an announcement made for the race start. Would I though? I was inside an arena and the race start was outside.

To get to the starting line, we had to exit through the loading ramp out of the back of the venue, and walk around to the front of the building. When I turned the corner to make my way around the side towards the starting line, I noticed there was no line.

I looked at my watch and it said that it was now ten after nine. Anotherwards, it was really five after. I began to run towards the “race starts here sign” and realized I could barely even see the last of the runners about a quarter of a mile ahead of me.

I was late!! I started late and to make mattters worse, this race was not a chip timed race, agh! For those that don’t know, many races provide chips which you thread through your shoelaces. They record your actual start time as you pass the starting line and do the same as you pass the finish line. Therefor calculating your “actual” running time.

This race had no chip, so my time would be a total of my finish time minus the actual race start time.

While my goal was to set a new PR, I was quickly discouraged by my late start. Once I realized how far behind I was, I took off running. I was pulling through the walkers and weaving in and out of the slower runners. It was strange to be passing so many people, and not something I was really used to.

My groin muscle started aching, so I tried to adjust accordingly. I wanted to set a record, but thought it was out of reach. No use in further injuring myself with an important half marathong coming up!

Most of the race I slowed my pace and speed up in intervals. Once I came up to my threee mile marker, I started to go full force, but in the end, slowed my pace back down.

Once I crossed the finish line, I was waiting to turn in my number when I overheard the person in front of me say, it’s 9:33, what?! No way, it’s only 9:33! I went over to my mom who was watching my son and when I told her I got off to a late start she said, “when I saw you come in, my phone said 9:33.” Okay, how was this even possible?

Normally, I would be upset by that time, but being as though I started late, I was shocked in a great way. According to the official times, I came in at 34:26. Officially, this is my worst time yet, but I know better. I started five minutes late and came in at 34:26, so my actual race time was 29:26, my best time yet and a new personal record!!!!

But me being me, I am still disappointed, it’s not official, so it doesn’t really count right? What if it was really nine after, not ten after and I misread the time? On another note, I started out last-very last, and came in 414th place of 878! That means I passed more than half the people in the race during my run. Wow!! I am super surprised and have to say, a little more happy with my final outcome.

I’m not going to fret over the race, I know what happend and have learned a valueable lesson. So to my next 5K I say, “bring it on”!

Until then, onto my half marathon training….

Happy Training!

Bondi Band Review and GIVEAWAY!!

Running, sweating, working out, what do all of these things have in common? They give my hair a frizzy “I just went rolling down the hill” kind of look. I’ve tried all kinds of head bands to keep my hair back and hold down those little frizzies. I’ve had to pin them down, and adjust them over and over. Even the stretchy kind with the rubber on the inside won’t stay in place.

While flipping through my running magazine, I saw an ad for Bondi Band headbands. They claimed no slip, no drip-just what I’ve been looking for. I contacted the company and they sent me a band to try out. Lucky for you, they sent an extra for my giveaway! But we’ll get to that later….. When I received my Bondi Band, I was still recovering from an injury and therefore NOT running. I couldn’t wait to get the chance to try out my new band. My first day back on the trail and I geared up! So far, just having the band on felt really good. No slipping, and the band is wide enough to go over my ears for those cold days or I can put it behind my ears.

"Find Your Happy Pace"

While I was running, I notice fellow runners, walkers, and bikers going in the opposing direction checking out my band. It definitely captures ones attention. The one I have reads “Find your happy pace”. I love, love, LOVE this saying!

Bondi Band has  a ton of style options to choose from. Not only do they carry headbands, but also hats, neck gators, children’s headbands, and even pet items!

Not only is the band comfy and great at battling fly aways, but it also really did help with keeping sweat from dripping down into my eyes. Their slogan of “No slip, no drip” is really accurate. That’s pretty rare these days……

Now to the fun part; Bondi Band has graciously donated a RUN band for my giveaway. How great is that? It’s a gray with the word RUN written across the front. I know ladies, you are thinking, “gray, so boring”. Sorry, but I wanted to go neutral here so the guys could participate too.

It’s easy to enter the giveaway. Choose any of the following and leave a comment. Bonus: complete more than one and post as a separate comment for additional entries. Winner will be randomly chosen.

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To view more of Bondi Bands products, check out their website here

Happy Head-Banding!

I’m Baaaack!

So after nine (long, long) weeks without running, I decided to get back into the game; or should I say onto the trail?

A short run down of what’s been going on: I went to a podiatrist four weeks in a row, received four cortisone injections, and just before my fifth appointment, was told that my insurance company has some issue that needs to be resolved, so I haven’t been back to the doctor since.

I had previously asked him when I could run again and he said when I am completely healed. The injections had helped significantly. The swelling went down after the first injection as well as the pain. Apparently he hit a nerve with the second injection because I was in pain for days, yowie!

Instructions were to ice every night for twenty minutes and NEVER go barefooted (I had to wear sneakers every day, everywhere!) I would wear them into the bathroom, take them off, leave them by the bathtub, shower, get out, put them on, take them off to get dressed, and put them back on; even with my pajamas on! You have to understand, I am a walk in the door, throw off my shoes, change into comfy clothes kind of person. The tedious task of wearing sneakers all of the time took a few days to adapt to. At this point I was willing to do anything, it had already been a month since my last run. I was a week a way from my first half-marathon and had to stop running because of the pain, I had pushed myself to far.

My biggest fear during this time was that I had developed arthritis in my foot. After all, that was my last diagnosis according to the symptoms in my hands. I still struggle to accept this diagnosis. The way my second toe had swelled was reminiscent of four years ago when my second finger turned into a sausage overnight and really has never been the same. I suddenly remembered all of the pain that I had endured and was fearful of reliving the experience; this time in my foot.

I had come such a long way in my health, how could this happen? The hope was that I had incurred a running injury rather than developed arthritis. After a few x-rays, the physician confirmed that my injury was from running and that there were no signs of arthritis in my bones. Woohoo!

Fast forward to current time: I took it upon myself to start running, I couldn’t take it any more. I needed to run! I jumped on a treadmill and ran two miles, easy as pie. I felt great and was so happy to get back into my groove. As I ran I started to notice something; I was striking the ground mid-foot! I was awesome, like my running style had transformed on it’s on during my down time. I was so excited, things could only get better from here on right?

Hmmm, it seems the lack of using my groin muscle over the last nine weeks had a negative effect on my progress. After a few recent runs, my previous groin injury has returned. I’ve been icing it and took about five days off from running and working out.

I jumped back onto the trail in hopes of a full recovery only to discover it still hadn’t healed. I didn’t care, I ran, I ran, and I ran for 5 miles. I was happy to know that I had the ability to run a 5 miler pretty easily after 3 months without my feet hitting the pavement.

Since my last run I’ve decided to rest; I’m hoping to run in a 5k in less than a week so we’ll see how the leg holds up.

Until then, for those of you fighting through a current injury, take it easy and take the time to heal. You’ll be happy you did!

Happy Healing!

Newton’s running law of motion

Recently I attended part one of a two part running clinic by Newton. The event provides information to runners on natural running style and the importance of proper form. The second part of the clinic allows the attendees to apply what they have learned from the lecture. Due to my injury, I did not attend the second day, but did learn a lot of useful information from the lecture that I would like to pass onto you.

If you haven’t heard of Newton, they are a shoe company that has developed a product based on, you guessed it, Isaac Newtons laws of motion. Not only do they make a great shoe, but this company also provides loads of information on the topic of running, offers coaching and coach certification, in addition to books, apparel, and other running accessories.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty here……first thing is first, proper form. When running, the hips should remain level with an upright body and forward lean (from the ankles, not the waist). The spine should be straight, sternum lifted, shoulders relaxed, chin slightly tucked, with a slight flex at the hip.

It is important that the feet land under the center of mass no matter what. When stepping out in front and striking the ground on the heel, it’s as if you are slamming the brakes on a car. Deceleration occurs, thus increasing the chance of injury.

Check out this graphic for a visual.

Landing with the heel causes greater impact with the toes and ball of the foot. The shoe raises the height of the heel causing impact to come in and push off from this causes injury. Hmmm, this sounds familiar to me. I admit, I’m a heel striker and right now I am in a bad way with an injury in the ball of my foot and swelling of my second toe. I haven’t run in over a month and this lecture was really starting to make sense to me.

Ground contact time-this is the amount of time your foot is in contact with the ground on each stride. Faster runners have a shorter contact time. Ground contact time decreases as pace increases. If you are wondering why this is important, here is the answer: when you are in contact with the ground, you are not moving forward. It is only when you are airborne that you are propelled forward. So, a foot that lands in front of the body’s center of gravity will ultimately increase ground time. Ahhhh, that’s why my time hasn’t been improving!

So how should we be landing? Well, as mentioned before, below our center of mass. By doing so, you should land on the mid-foot reducing shock and allowing the heel to land naturally. Once this happens, the elasticity of muscles engage naturally creating and storing energy. Now you are ready to lift back of the ground almost effortlessly. View images here.

Check out some information on how to improve your running.

View different natural running styles.

A couple of notes that I would like to address:

-I visited a podiatrist for my injuries and suggest fault on my behalf to due improper running style. I told him that I am a heel strikers and aware of the fact that I should be striking mid-foot. The doctors response? “That’s not accurate and doesn’t make a difference. You run how you run and don’t change a thing, you can’t change how you run.” AND, “don’t go buying those shoes with the toes, it’s just a fad.”

It was interesting to hear the doctors take on what I had suggested to him. He is after all a doctor, a foot doctor, he knows what he’s talking about right?

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen my fair share of doctors, especially over the past few years. During this time, I have learned that doctors don’t know everything and are sometimes just trying to figure things out just as much as we are. I’ve got to give credit to the doctor that fessed up and said, “I just don’t know, you are a mystery.” While this comment was a bit discerning, it was honest and I respect that.

Just because I now have my doubts about doctors opinions doesn’t mean that I will automatically discount what they have to say. I took his comments into consideration.

That being said, I’m almost certain that all of the professional runners which I follow and read up on have more knowledge in running than said doctor. Professional and mediocre runners alike often suggest the same running form-mid-foot strike!

If this is something you would like to try out, be patient. It takes time to adapt, a LOT of time. And new running form will come at ease with much practice. Remember-land, lever, lift!

Give it a go and if you get frustrated, feel free to keep in touch. I’ll be working on a new stride of my own!

Happy Running!

 

Treat Night-Candy Apples

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:

  • Sticks, yes sticks……have fun taking the kids outside and grabbing a few off the ground.
  • A bag of dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 6-8 apples (tip, go with a sweeter apple)
  • Toppings of your choice….some ideas include nuts, coconut, sprinkles, crumbled cookies or candies.
  • Parchment paper
  • double-boiler
Toppings we used: coconut, walnuts, pink sugar crystals, strawberry vegan marshmallows (melted)

Wash apples thoroughly and cut holes into the tops. Wedge sticks in…..sticks shouldn’t be to big that they don’t fit or too small so that they are unable to hold the apples on them. 
Melt chocolate chips in double-boilers.
Dip apples into the melted chocolate.
Cover in your favorite toppings.
Place apples on parchment paper and store in refrigerator for 45 minutes to an hour.
Enjoy!!

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!

Hmm…..I’m beginning to get some holiday gift ideas in mind……..

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.

 

Santa Fe Spaghetti Squash Casserole

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!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • cooking spray (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped
  • 1  14 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1  4 ounce can of chopped green chilies
  • 2/3 cups of corn, fresh or frozen
  • 1 packed cup of chopped spinach
  • 1-1/4 tsp of chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tsp salt

Crust
  • 1/2 cup corn meal
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tsp of  hot water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp of agave
Cut the squash in half, scoop out seeds, and place down on a baking pan with parchment paper. Cook at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until browning begins and squash has softened. Allow to cool and then use a fork to scrap the inside and create spaghetti.

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!

48-Hour Smoothie Cleanse

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.

Ingredients:

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 banana

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

 Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

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

Post workout

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.

Day 2 

Mixed Berry Smoothie

(see above)

Banana-Cocoa 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!

Happy Cleansing!

Please feel free to post any of your own recipes in the comment section!