Feature Friday- What I Ate In A Day

Happy FRIYAY! I hope you have something fun planned this weekend! I've got 2 x 8 mile runs on my schedule and am teaching skiing both Saturday & Sunday, so most of my weekend is already planned, but hopefully I'll get to fit in something fun one of those days. I wanted to share with you what I eat on a typical training day because nutrition is important! I've never been one to count calories, but I try to eat smaller meals (especially when training for a big race) every 2-3 hours and never limit myself to no sugary items or alcohol (but I'm not too into that stuff most of the time anyways). 

This is what I ate on Wednesday when I had a double workout (9 miles w/ 6 tempo miles in the AM & a Pilates Jumpboard Reformer class at my lunch break). I like to do my strength training days on my hard workout days to really fatigue my legs and keep my easy run days as a great recovery day. If I'm not working out hard (less than 70 minutes), I typically will only eat a banana before running in the morning (with my coffee & an 8 oz glass of water).

**I also consumed 4 * 32 ounces of water (plus maybe a little extra- not including my Nuun tablet & Natural Calm cup of hot water**

Before AM work-out: Coffee with a bit of Hazelnut Creamer/ Collagen Peptides (I LOVE this stuff) & Toast/Honey Almond Butter/ Half of a Banana & Caffeine-infused Active Nuun Mango Orange Tablet (I do this before my hard workout days)

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After AM work-out: Starbucks Bacon, Cheddar, & Egg Sandwich & Beet/Spinach/Blackberry/Plain Greek Yogurt/Quarter of a Banana/ Cinnamon/ Vanilla Whey Protein Powder (I made a big batch of smoothies and then split them up throughout the whole week)

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AM Snack Before Pilates Reformer: Run Fast Eat Slow Sweet Potato Breakfast Cookies (I made these a few weeks ago and froze the ones I didn't eat right away) & Banana

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Lunch: Chicken Sandwich (Canned Ground Chicken/ Light Mayo/ Sprouted Bread), Baby Carrots, Spinach w/ Balsamic Vinaigrette, & Almond Sea Salt Crackers PLUS a cute little beggar

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PM Snack After Lunch: Luna Greek Yogurt Protein Berry Bar

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Dinner: Brinner! Totally not pretty, but it was pretty tasty! 2 Eggs, Ketchup, 2 pieces of toast (butter/ 4 berry no-sugar-added jam), and 2 pieces of Bueler's Breakfast Sausage & Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon Hot Water

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After-Dinner Snack: Chocolate Cashew Milk!

Feature Friday- Pre Long Run Nutrition

HAPPY FRIYAY! Finally! This week was equally long and short. Don't tell that's not possible, because it most definitely IS. I wanted to share a few of my favorite pre- long run (or race day) nutrition products with you today. I mainly stick with all natural products before my longer runs (but have a pretty strong stomach and have definitely eaten some crazy things before shorter runs...sandwiches, eggs, waffles, ice cream..you get the picture) that has a mixture of carbs/protein/sugar. I typically also have atleast a half of banana (if not a whole one) about an hour before my run and try to eat 1.5-2 hours before heading out for the race/long run. 

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  • Nuun Active Electrolytes with Energy (caffeine)
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Do you have any favorites for pre-race or long run fueling? 

Any special tactics you have for eating before a big race (1, 2, or 3 hours beforehand)?

Favorite fuels that work well when you travel to a race or do you find them once you get there?

Weekend Activities

Does anyone else ever feel like the weekend went by so fast that it actually didn't happen? We were relaxing on the couch Sunday night after a crazy weekend and I felt like it was still Friday night and we had 2 full days to fill with so many great activities (boy oh boy was I WRONG!). 

Friday I started off with an 8 mile run on the treadmill binge-watching Gilmore Girls (definitely a #guiltypleasure of mine) and then had a serious craving for a bagel and cranberry juice. Luckily we have ONE bagel shop in all of Steamboat that could cure me of my hangriness. 

The rest of the day went by relatively smoothly and we got out early (wohoo) so the weekend was here! We had leftovers (so glamorous, I know) and got some chores done (hellooo endless amounts of laundry- does it ever stop? and cleaning out the car). 

Saturday we originally planned to go for a hike, but the weather showed a pretty good chance of storms so we put that on the backburner. I had 8 miles to do, so I headed into town and did a little over a mile before my Power Barre class at Steamboat Pilates Studio and then did the remaining 6.85 miles afterwards! Talk about a seriously long work-out session. The class was really challenging and I knew that I would need to push through the rest of my miles (luckily I just had an easy pace scheduled so I could take it as slow as I needed and just get the miles under my belt). It didn't go as bad as expected and I met up with Alex & Stella afterwards to go check out the Farmers Market! We both got Falafels for lunch and shared a lemonade. 

The rest of the day was spent doing some grocery shopping and cooking! I made the mustard-glazed chicken thighs from Practical Paleo and twice-baked stuffed jalepeno sweet potatoes (find the recipe on my Recipe Pinterest page!). Both things were seriously SO good.

 Photo was taken before they went in for their second bake!

Photo was taken before they went in for their second bake!

I also made some homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies (those were gone by Sunday night), Superhero Muffins from Run Fast Eat Slow (for breakfasts this week), and roasted some beets for smoothies!

On Sunday (rest day), we finished up chores in the morning (lots and lots of cleaning!) and then headed out for a short hike with a few friends. I can't believe I didn't take any photos the entire time! So unlike me, I know.. Just take my word for it- the view of the lake below was beautiful! 

I did some meal-prepping for the week ahead and for dinner and made up this lovely salad for lunches for the week and dinner Sunday night with Salmon. Super easy and it had: Spinach, Arugula, Onions, Strawberries, Sesame Seeds, Feta, Broccoli, Thyme, Salt, Pepper, and basil. 

We headed out Sunday afternoon to the lake! We live less than 2 miles away from it and this was our first time being out on the lake. We just got a kayak so we wanted to test it out and rented a paddleboard (since the kayak was a one-person). I ofcourse ended up falling in the water on the paddleboard after getting a bit toooo cocky in my abilities and trying some warrior 2 yoga poses... I held it for a good minute and while waiting for Alex to retrieve the camera, fell in. It was pretty funny though and luckily the water wasn't TOO chilly.

That was our weekend full of chores, activities, and a little bit of rest! I'm excited to get back to a week of training and another long run on the schedule this coming weekend. 

How was your weekend?

Thoughts on splitting up a run between a work-out class?

Ever tried yoga on a paddleboard or paddleboarding?

 

Hanson's Marathon Method Week 1 Rundown

I have been totally MIA lately the past few days, so you must be wondering (or maybe you're not, that's cool too....) WHERE HAVE I BEEN? Well my friends, I've been busy RUNNING and sleeping and working and trying to fit in stretching and core work and cross training and eating healthy etc. phew. This training plan is definitely intense, but also really exciting! 

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Sorry the breakdown is a little blurry- still working on processing it into an image! 

So for those who don't know here is a short breakdown of how Hanson's Marathon Method is different from those other training plans out there:

  • It's longest run is 16 miles (vs most others are 20 miles)
  • It's plan is based on scientific research that mimics how your body feels in those brutal last 10 miles of a marathon (dead, exhausted, burnt, etc.)
  • There are no real 'cut-back' weeks (vs most others have a cut-back week after a build-up of 1 to 3 week peak weeks)
  • The taper is shorter than others- it starts ~1.5 weeks out from the race, but rather than take away mileage, speedwork, and tempos, it keeps the mileage roughly the same but takes out the other two (vs others that begin tapering ~2-3 weeks out from a race and takes out almost all speedwork, cuts back mileage, and takes out tempo/long runs)
  • It has you run 6 days a week and rather than putting all the 'big' miles on one day, it scatters them over two days (making your legs/body more tired = AKA mimicking those very tired legs in the 2nd half a marathon)

There is a whole book dedicated to teaching you about their marathon and breaking all these items down further (and adding in more benefits to the training plan)- there's also a half marathon training plan/ book as well (you can find both books here). 

I was really intrigued by this plan because I typically ALWAYS feel super exhausted when I hit mile marker ~16-18 and begin to crash big time from then on in a marathon. I'm not too worried that I won't be hitting the infamous 20 milers for this training cycle because I know I can do them (having previously done 4 marathons in the past helps boost my confidence). The peak week mileage is ~61 miles which is beyond higher than anything I've ever done in the past (I've peaked ~39 miles during my last marathon training cycle); I'm actually pretty excited to be hitting this high mileage! I know that taking the easy runs SUPER slow and easy (see my paces on the above chart AKA almost feeling like a jog to me now) will be a huge key into keeping myself healthy and not burnt-out. 

I also really REALLY like that there is no dedicated 'long run day'- I really would put SO much pressure on myself for those long run days that they became much more like a 'chore' rather than something I enjoy doing. Having the ability to switch-around the days to work with my schedule/how I'm feeling is really convenient and melts away that pressure. 

One thing that I am already finding challenging (a week and a half into the training plan) is fitting in strength training/foam rolling/stretching. Running more (and at a slower pace) takes way more time! I've cut back on my strength training to shorter, simpler routines (rather than 30 minute full-body strength sessions, I've been doing 15 minute sessions focusing less on legs and more on abs/arms). I figure that my legs are already getting stronger with all the running (I am still doing squats) and am going to try to fit in a 20 minute at-home yoga session at least twice a week to remain flexible/ utilize those meditation techniques to visualize my race!

So, there's a quick rundown of Hanson's Marathon Method and my thoughts behind it now let's discuss how I came to "picking" a time goal for the Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon.

After reading through the book, it became pretty apparent to me that I should choose a goal a little outside of my comfort zone (this training plan is renowned for shaving off A LOT of time off your previous PR for the marathon). I kept going back and forth between a 3:50, 3:55, or 4:00 marathon goal- I felt like Goldy Locks and trying to find the time that was 'just right'. 

I wanted to push and really challenge myself. I knew this training plan was already a challenge (weekly mileage-wise), so any time goal that I set my sight on would be the cherry on top. 

Hanson's has various tables that breakdown your various speedwork, long run, tempo, and easy run paces so that is what I used as a general guideline to basing my time goal on. I also like to have the time goal that maybe it too far out of reach (although I'd be beyond THRILLED to achieve it), I'd also be beyond excited to even come close to it (which is why before I decided to train for a sub-4 hour marathon even though my previous marathon PR was 4:14- I got 4:03 in my race). 

SO with all these factors coming into play, I decided that I will set my sights on the 3:50 marathon time and adjust if needed. So if I start not being able to hit any of my paces in my workouts, I'm going to take that as a sign and re-assess and look at maybe a 3:55 time goal instead. I'm not hell-bent on getting that sub 3:50 time goal now (I will want to someday), but I know that no matter where I end up at the end of this training cycle and race, I'll be closer to achieving that ever-elusive BQ. 

If you're going to dream, why not dream really really REALLY big, right?

So, here's the rundown during week 1 training:

Monday: training didn't officially start until Wednesday, so I opted for a short 4 mile easy run at 9:59 min/mi pace

Tuesday: No training yet, but wanted to get some speed back into my legs so I went to the Steamboat Pilates Studio and did their CoreRunning class. I did mainly 200 and 400's totaling 6.5 miles. I also went to their CoreBarre class in the morning before running.

Wednesday: MARATHON #5 TRAINING BEGAN! 6 easy miles at 10:03 min/mi pace

Thursday: 6 easy miles at 9:58 min/mi pace

Friday: 6 easy miles at 10:08 min/mi pace on the treadmill to really slow myself down and recover

Saturday: REST DAY. I had a skater competing in Vail, so I drove down there at 6 in the morning and then we ended up camping Saturday night with friends (SO tired at the end of the day!)

Sunday: 8 easy miles at 10:44 min/mi. We didn't end up getting back home from camping until after 11am, so that meant a super hot and slower run out on the trails around the lake. I didn't hit my paces exactly, but knew with the trails and the heat, that 9 seconds off really wasn't too bad. 

Overall, I'm still getting used to the super slow easy runs (my previous slow runs were 9:30-9:50 min/mi pace), but I know that you really can never go 'too slow' on your easy days so I just need to take advantage of the active recovery! 

I am also determined to work in a bit more strength work and foam rolling at night since I'm already pretty time-constricted in the mornings with the longer runs. I totaled 36.5 miles last week and that's the highest mileage week I've had since May! 

Sunshine Goods:

  • Easy miles feel really easy
  • Focusing on heart rate and recovery time following easy runs
  • Hungry for anything and everything almost all the time. RUNGRY is an appropriate description here

Gloomy Goods:

  • Time is never enough 
  • Difficult fitting in foam rolling/stretching/strength training

Figuring out this whole blogging thing & 6 mile days

6 mile days seem to be the theme of the next two weeks of marathon training for me. 

I'm really determined to work on making my easy days really 'easy' so I can hit my paces on my harder workouts when they come along. SO that may mean paces over 10:00 min/mi and I'm slowly accepting that. It takes longer than what I could do which is a bummer, but I think it's an integral part to keeping myself injury free and not burning out through the training cycle. 

I'm not really sure how accurate the Forerunner's heart rate monitor and recovery time predictions are. Anyone have a good experience with either of these two functions? I've been keeping watch on my breathing (easy) during my easy runs and still get this same recovery time notification when I'm done. It's a little frustrating, but I think I'll just stick to working on keeping an eye on my breathing and always take it down a notch slower to make sure I'm recovering well. 

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I also recently uploaded the link to my pinterest page (link is at the bottom of the page/homepage) and have put up a lot of fun things that I've either made or will be interested in doing/making, so make sure to check it out! I have a skater competing at the Vail Figure Skating Competition this morning, so I fit in my run Friday (6 miles), took today off, and will do my other run on the schedule on Sunday (8 miles). We don't have many other plans this weekend, except hoping to get out paddle boarding on the lake either this afternoon or tomorrow (depending on whichever day has better weather). I also know that I want to bake a lot (is it just me or is anyone else already getting excited for the Fall baking and running season?!)- including the Nutella Stuffed Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (you can find them here). 

This week is also the first week of Marathon #5 training! I'm planning to post a weekly review of the Hanson's Marathon Method and do a more in-depth review of my marathon plan in the next few days so stay posted! I've love to hear if you've ever followed Hanson's training plan before and your experience. 

I also ordered this Running Vest from Ultimate Direction and can't wait to test it out when I start hitting more trails to do my runs on! It got awesome reviews and I'm excited to go explore more hiking trails with my running shoes. 

Also I wanted to say THANK YOU to all who are currently reading and following along on my blog. I'm still in the process of figuring it all out and the direction in which I want to take my posts. I'm really inspired by both Miles To The Trials and The Running Wife's blogs and how they approach posts (something of substance posts), but also still love The Hungry Runner Girl's everyday posts; so, bear with me while I still figure out the best fit for my lifestyle and the perfect fit for Just Keep Running! I'd love to hear your thoughts if there's something you really want to see in a running/fitness blog or a different perspective that you'd enjoy. 

I've definitely been struggling with getting up early to get my runs in this week, but it's been pretty nice to have the option to fit them in later as well. I managed to get my run in early Thursday morning and was greeted to this beautiful view in the valley. Does anyone else feel like a beautiful sunrise brings about so much possibility and opportunity? I instantly feel empowered when I'm able to witness the fog lifting off the mountains and sun awakening the valley below. 

Any good suggestions on blog topics or thoughts on posting everyday or would you rather see a once a week SoS (something of substance) post?

Running in the morning, afternoon, or night during the summer? 

Plans for the weekend? 

Hello Fresh Review

Here it is! We tried Hello Fresh last week (since it was the perfect addition to our empty fridge and lack of energy to go grocery shopping) and it was amazing. We've already ordered to try it again this week. All of the ingredients we got were super fresh, the recipes were simple and easy to follow, and there were items that we had previously never tried before. 

The first night we made the Creamy Dill Chicken with Green Beans and Roasted Potatoes. The entire recipe took about 30 minutes (including prep) and was super delicious/ easy.

I really loved how each ingredients came in separate paper bags and they gave you a little extra of some of the ingreidents (incase you wanted to add more/ some got misplaced). 

The dill inside was really fresh and when it was made into the sauce, it was SO delicious and gave the chicken just the right hint of creamy dill.

The recipe directions also included re-using the same pan, which I was also a huge fan of. I think it's really important to gather the least amount of dishes as possible! 

They also include 'hall of fame' recipes (this one was), which I really like because it gives you something to look forward to each week! Who doesn't love getting home and seeing a package on their front doorstep?!

Alex cleaned his plate (which I always take as a good sign). The next recipe we decided to try was the Chipote-Glazed Pork Chops with Broccoli and Mashed Potatoes. 

I've never been a huge fan of Pork Chops (we used to have them a lot when I was growing up), but figured I would give this recipe a try. They were REALLY easy to make and the entire cooking process (including prep took less than 35 minutes). 

The pork chops turned out really well and I ate the entire thing (Alex did too...). The meat was really high quality and you could tell the veggies/ingredients that they sent were too. 

Highly recommend giving Hello Fresh a try- leave a comment if you're interested and I'll send you a coupon to get $30 off your first order! 

Ever tried Hello Fresh before?

What's your thoughts on having meals like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh delivered to you?

Road Trip Recap Part 3- Vermont

We left NH and headed off to Vermont to spend the next few days with Alex's parents. After visiting with them for a bit, we headed to Massachusetts to spend the night with Alex's brother and sister-in-law!

It was about a 2.5 hour drive to VT from Maine and then about a 2 hour drive to MA. We spent the night eating a fantastic barbecue dinner with chicken and corn-on-the-cob and playing some yard games! We left their house the next morning around 10 to get back to Vermont to spend time with Alex's parents. 

First stop back in Vermont- THE VERMONT COUNTRY STORE! This was my first time visiting and this store is amazing- everything you have ever thought New England was/is wrapped up in one place. 

They had a food truck outside and we had one of the most fantastic burgers ever. After shopping around (they also have a ton of free food samples inside, so I definitely recommend coming hungry) for a bit, we couldn't resist getting a black raspberry ice cream to share!

They were also having a tent sale when we arrived (I think it is still going on through the month of July) and I scored a beautifully knit Woolrich sweater for less than $20! 

We also couldn't resist not getting a kissing photo in the Kissing Bridge!

His parents live in a small southern Vermont town called Springfield, which is REALLY cute and you should definitely go visit! We went to the Hartness House for dinner that night (they were having live music- we made a reservation) and Alex & I split their Cheddar Cheese Potatoes & Fig Balsamic Pizza! The pizza was to.die.for. 

On Friday, we headed out bright and early to go for a hike up Mt. Ascutney. We drove up most of the mountain and it was a 1.5 mile hike up to the fire tower, where you had a fantastic 360 degree view of all the surrounding mountains (even Mt. Washington)!

We made the hike a full loop by taking the Hang glider trail on the way back (which is totally tree covered and we could never see how any hang-glider could get through the thick forest). It was definitely a pretty rugged hike (hello Vermont rocks), but totally worth it!

After we got back, I headed out for a run when I saw a short window of opportunity (everyone wanted to shower/get ready for lunch) and did a quick 30 minutes! It's so much fun to explore a new area (as long as it is safe) outside. I managed to sneak a peek of this horse eating the grass through the open window.

The run was definitely super hilly!

3.25 miles to round out our last day in Vermont! The last part of my run was downhill and I felt super badass to sprint past this 10 or 11 year old trying to run and keep up with his friends. 

We left the next morning around 7 to head on our way to Canada!

How I Balance My Nutrition When Not Training For a Race

When I'm training for a race, I really pay attention to my nutrition, but I also enjoy the treats sometimes. Currently, I've just started to build up my base mileage again and maintain slow runs (or tried to) to continue my recovery. My mileage base this week may peak out at 20 miles and that's a big IF (especially since we're traveling the second half of this week) and I'm ok with that. 

So what kind of nutrition do I follow when I'm not running 35+ mileage weeks?

It's still a lot of healthy prepared meals, but I decrease my carbohydrate intake quite a bit. I'll still try to refuel after my runs with some protein/carb mix (I'm not so great at this a lot of time, but determined to improve) and eat lighter meals than when I was training.

Lighter meals for me look like: more leafy green salads, less rice/bread/ pasta, more veggies, yogurt with fruit and almond butter (sans granola), bananas/ apples, almonds (rather than crackers/ granola bars), and smaller portioned meals.

I also really enjoy this time when not training to treat myself! I'll still have ice cream/chocolate when training, but when not training I may indulge with a larger portion of ice cream or 3 mini peanut butter cups rather than 2! It's all about balance and moderation in my opinion!

I got up at 4:45 yesterday morning to get my work-out and run in before work/ leaving for our trip that afternoon. I surprised myself when I launched out of bed and was on the road running by 5:15! I was also treated to an incredible sunrise!

Just an easy 3 for me, but it certainly was still challenging! We live at the top of a pretty steep 3/4 mile hill (or rather, at the BASE of a ski mountain) and the way back up seriously kicks my butt. I'm determined to sprint up the entire thing when my next marathon rolls around!

After my run, I followed it up for a quick 15 minute strength training session. I'm slowly trying to maintain what strength I had before the marathon and build on-top of it! 3 rounds of arms with 8 Ib dumbbells and 2 rounds of side planks (held for 35 seconds each side). 

I'm SO excited to run back in my old stomping grounds in Maine- where I first truly started to love running! 

How do you balance nutrition when not training for a race?

Favorite treats to have during a training cycle? 

Favorite treats to have when not in a training cycle?

How I went from focusing on the entire run to just one mile at a time

I truly believe that if you only see a run as the total numbers of miles you have to run, it'll seem daunting and intimidating. I think this is my biggest advice to those just starting to run or going from training for a half marathon to a full marathon. Take one mile at a time, very similar to taking it one step at a time.

I also really like this strategy when running a race. Just focus on the mile that you're in, you can't change the past, and thinking about the future will only help you go so far. Stay in the moment and enjoy it! 

I also definitely think this can be applied to anything in life. If you worry about the things/items that may come about the next day, you may never sleep. I've heard a lot of people say that it's good to be nervous/stressed about a race or big interview the next day because that means you care, which I agree to a certain extent, but worrying doesn't get you very far- it certainly won't provide a fantastic race day for you or get you the job. 

SO, worry less and enjoy the ride. As we're finishing up packing and getting ready to head onto the road tomorrow back to New England, I feel like I've needed to remind myself to stay in the moment every ten minutes. It is pretty stressful trying to get everything done before vacation! But, you know what? So what if not everything gets done or something gets forgotten? It really isn't the end of the world and definitely isn't worth the immense stress that we put on our bodies. **I need to try to remember this when those difficult workouts come on my training schedule again**

Onto my day recap! Tuesday was spent doing the usual work (I attempted to get up at 5 to run before work, but getting up early has been really HARD lately) and went for my 3.6 (supposed to be 4 originally) mile run in-between the end of work and before coaching. 

It was in the mid-80s out and super warm. My garmin said that I had 61 hours of recovery time afterwards, I guess that's what I get for 1. trying to fit in a certain amount of mileage in a short period of time 2. going faster than my post-marathon body was ready for 3. running in the HEAT with no water bottle with me

I also came across this sign on a section of my run:

I've seen moose in this area before, but no luck today! Probably for the best, since the trail was pretty busy!

After work, I grabbed us a pizza for dinner and a few snacks for the road trip before heading home. We finally finished up packing (at least I THINK so) and are ready to hit the road tomorrow evening!

It's always a bit of bummer to know how quickly vacations go by and I know this one is no exception, but just take it one day (or mile) at a time! 

I had this Siggi's Yogurt before my run for a snack and it was super delicious! Siggi's really is the best yogurt out there- I'm convinced.

That's all for me today and maybe by the time you're reading this we'll be out of Colorado and on our way headed back East! 

Favorite way to visualize a run?

Favorite snack pre-run?

Favorite way to make sure everything gets done before a vacation?

Life Unstructured

Finally it is Friday! This week was really long/ also kinda felt like it flew by (if that makes any sense at all)?? I did my first TRX Strength training class at Steamboat Pilates studio and it was HARD! It also reminded me that I definitely still ran a marathon last week since I was still kinda sore in my legs. My arms are pretty sore from it too, which is awesome because I have always wanted nothing more than super strong/toned arms! Someday maybe...

I caught a ride in to town yesterday with Alex and brought my bike! Oh how I've missed being able to bike commute to work- it's so peaceful and lovely (especially when the weather is nice out).  

I made this amazing salad for lunch with sunshine raspberries (got them at Trader Joes- I've never even seen raspberries this color before!), candied pecans, and baby spinach. It was delicious, but I was hungry for something else and followed it up with siggi's mixed berry & acai yogurt. 

Rewind to breakfast this morning, where I made this deconstructed smoothie bowl with raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, almond butter, siggi's yogurt, cinnamon, honey, and chia seeds. IT WAS AMAZING! 

I'm kinda really loving the non-structured feel of this week. Don't get me wrong I really love training plans and schedules, but sometimes it's nice to take a step back and do whatever feels good in the moment. Want to go to a work-out class, then go! Feel like taking the dog for a long walk by the river rather than going to the gym, totally fine! 

It's refreshing and a little crazy (for me) to just do whatever I want! I don't have to work 50 hours a week right now between 3 different jobs and can sleep-in if I want rather than only having one time where I need to get my sweat on. 

I'm definitely missing running right now, but know my body and mind need at least a week off from it before picking it back up again. Running 26.2 miles is no joke and should be taken seriously. 

Probably lying low this weekend, packing, getting my manicure/pedicure (treat to myself after the race), enjoying the beautiful sunshine, farmers market, hiking one day, and possibly renting a SUP to go on the lake one day- typical Steamboat things! Happy (almost) weekend!

Enjoy a training plan or live life unstructured?

Do you jump right into another training plan after finishing one or take some time to reboot?

Any fun plans for the weekend?!

Ever Try Blue Apron? & New Training Plan!

We are one day closer to FRIYAY! Have you ever tried Blue Apron before? I was pretty skeptical to try it, since I really love making my meals from scratch, picking out recipes, shopping for the ingredients, and making my own creations, but since we're going on vacation next week and I'm still in the post-marathon lazy-phase, I figured it would be a good chance to try it out and leave us with less leftovers/fresh produce in the fridge to throw out! I also got my first 3 meals free from Hungry Runner Girls' post, so that was a pretty good deciding factor ;)

It was pretty exciting to come home and see the box sitting on our doorstep! I really love shopping for food, but also really love the ease of having meals already planned out for us. Plus, who doesn't love coming home to a package?!?

All three meals (we got the 3 meal, 2-person plan, normally $39.95) came together and they came with the recipe sheets like the one above. I really love that all the food is hormone free, farm-fresh seasonal products, and the sheets are really detailed! I chose to cook up the crispy chicken tenders with fresh zucchini, and roasted potatoes! 

The entire meal prep, oven preheat, cooking, and reading the directions took about an hour (the recipe card said that prep should take 15 minutes and cooking should take 20-25 minutes), I took my time to let the oven preheat and also read over the recipe a few times, so I think that's why it took me a bit longer. The recipe was pretty detailed, so it's a good thing I read over it a few times!

The meal even came with an aioli dipping sauce for the tenders and potatoes and a chimichurri seasoning to coat the zucchini with! I liked this part of the meal because it gave me a few more ideas to create new sauces for veggies and switch things up a bit. The meal turned out really delicious and fresh!

We have two more meals to cook and I currently have another week of scheduled meals to try after our vacation (easier than planning it out when we return). I'm not sure if I would do Blue Apron all the time since I really do love recipe planning and shopping for organic local produce, but could see myself doing this once and a while to switch it up! Overall, the price wasn't too much considering that everything is measured out for you and it's three meals for two people (serving sizes are really generous).

If I lived alone this would be really inexpensive as I would utilize the leftovers for both dinners/lunches for the entire week and would just need to worry about breakfast/snacks! Keeping my meals healthy and fresh!

Still no running for me, but I did make it to the gym yesterday! 20 minutes on the elliptical and 10 minutes on the stationary bike. Barely broke a sweat, but felt SO good to move my legs again!

I also ordered the Hanson's Marathon Method book and can't wait to dive into it this weekend and begin planning for Rock 'n Roll Las Vegas Marathon in November! 

Just finished my book about the Appalachian Trail, so I needed to order a new one for our vacation next week (since hopefully we'll get to spend a day at the Ocean)! I heard super good things about this one and cannot wait to start it.

Ever tried a service like Blue Apron?

Do you like to meal plan and prep or would rather just utilize a service to have your meals all set for you?

Training cycles- do you always use the same one or try different ones? Do you have a favorite go-to training plan?

Currently reading?

Tapering.

I always block how terrible the last few days of tapering for a marathon really are. I think I get so caught up in the excitement of the expo, the race, traveling, sightseeing, etc. that they become so miniscule compared to the race and finish itself; BUT DON'T LET THAT FOOL YOU! The taper-crazies are real and they suck. 

 Accurate.

Accurate.

I'm cranky for no reason at all (well besides the fact that I'm not running very much and I'm *twitchy bitchy* to want to run). I'm really hungry all the time. I honestly feel like I could chow down on a steak dinner for LUNCH, but these feelings will just make my post-race meal that much better. Weird parts of my body just ache and 3 miles seems like it took forever to finish. Did I mention that I'm cranky and hungry? Ugh. 2 more days!

I slept in again yesterday morning and opted to do my run later in the day. So, I runched instead. What is runching? Running on your lunch break! I don't get to do this very often, so when I'm able to enjoy the bright sunshine and see other runners out it's truly something special. 

Did an easy 3 miles followed by some foam rolling/ stretching/ 30 second plank/ 2 x 10 dips. I wanted to do a few light strength exercises to help keep my body feeling strong going into the race, but definitely didn't want to do my usual full-body 30 minute strength session. I figured a few dips and plank were a good compromise.

I still am not feeling super nervous about the race, but mainly excited! I've basically got my race-day strategy done, but don't want to set it in stone (since you never know exactly how you will feel the day of the race). It looks like the high could get up into the mid-90s! Luckily the race starts at 6AM and I should be done by 10ish, although I definitely remember the race being super hot in the sun by the time I finished last year! Already prepping myself for the hot sun and the rolling hills in miles 12-17!

The first 12 miles are super downhill, so I don't have a time specific in mind (ultimately under 9:00 min/mi would be great), but will go by feel (not straining myself and keeping in touch with my form and easy breathing more than anything else). In the rolling hills miles 12-17, I ideally just want to push through them and know that this will be my slowest section. I know I have a few mantras that I'd like to repeat to myself during this time. 

If I stay right around goal pace (9:10ish min/mi), I'll be happy. The next section, miles 17-22 are pretty flat and fast (with some shade), so I'll try to stay at goal pace or slightly below (depending on how I feel). From miles 22-26, it is another steep downhill so I'll try to utilize this to power through near 9:00 min/mi or slightly faster if I can muster it. There is no shade in this section, so it'll be tough. But you're already feeling exhausted in a marathon after somewhere between miles 18+, so just propelling yourself forwards is all you can really do (and knowing that the faster you go, the quicker you'll be done).

Miles 18+ is where I have always struggled, so I am going to try to change my music at this point (possibly put in an uplifting podcast or music) to get my mind off the pain since it's inevitable anyways. 

I've been super focused on my nutrition this entire week and will focus on it even more today and tomorrow! More light meals, less fiber-rich foods, more iron-rich foods, and light carb meals & electrolytes/water throughout the day. 

Had this as my lunch yesterday (Spicy Sausage and Beans Minestrone Soup):

I'll also continue to have light snacks throughout the day like this one!

The race has a few pacers (one at 3:55 and one at 4:00). I kind of want to try to stick with the 3:55 and see how long I can hold onto it with them. I've never stuck with a pace group (since time-goals are still pretty new to me), so I guess I'll leave that up to the morning of! It would be kind of nice not to worry about my watch time so much, but that's also how I trained....hmmm.. decisions! decisions!

Still have plenty of time to decide and will be working on my race day playlist tonight and tomorrow!

Have any good race day songs?

Pace groups? yay or nay?

How do you deal with tapering? Do you love it or not a fan?

Track Tuesday & 5 DAYS

Started off the morning (my last early morning run until the Marathon) with an interval workout on the Track!

My training schedule called for 2 miles warm-up (10:00min/mi pace) then 6 x 400s at 1:56 pace (actual: 1:46, 1:52, 1:51, 1:52, 1:50, 1:47) with 200 recovery in-between sets then 1 mile cool-down. I felt so strong and definitely wanted to keep going, but I will save my legs for the race on Sunday! 5.25 miles total. 

I recovered tonight by putting my legs up the wall. I'm trying to do this and a foot stretch to help with any plantar facistis that I have at least once a day leading up to Sunday's race. Anyone else a fan of putting their feet up the wall? I normally try for just 5 minutes, but honestly love it so much that I've been like that for up to 15 minutes!

Also saw another gorgeous sunrise on my drive into town this morning. It's amazing what you can see when you're up and out of the house early!

We made Run Fast Eat Slow's Sweet Potato Salmon Cakes tonight and the Avocado Cream on the side. I didn't have any limes or jalapenos, so I subbed for some lemon juice and red pepper flakes--> IT WAS AMAZING! Highly recommend this recipe from their book if you haven't tried it already. It was pretty easy once I popped the sweet potato in my Instant Pot for about 20 minutes (this one was pretty large and took 10 minutes longer than most do). Prep and cook-time were ~25-30 minutes. 

Tomorrow's another rest day (all the rest days are ROUGH- I have way too much energy at night and need to fill them with some new projects)! I already scheduled a mani/pedi to treat myself after the race, so I know that will help push me towards that finish line! I haven't really started to feel too nervous yet and am mainly just excited for race day (I'm sure the nerves will come...). Happy Tuesday!

When do you like to do your speed work? Tuesdays? Wednesdays? Do you do it more than 1 time per week?

Favorite running recipe? 

Favorite way to rest & recover at the end of a long day?

Importance of SLEEP & all the food

Hi Friends! I hope everyone had a great weekend. It was two beautiful, sunny, cloudless days here and I did.not.want.it.to.end. On Sunday, we went into town to do some sightseeing and visit a few of the shops. The Steamboat Marathon was still going on and I felt both sad (this was the first year that I haven't done it since I moved to town) and excited (the energy was contagious and got me pretty pumped for my race next weekend)! It definitely is a small-town race (I did the marathon one year and half-marathon the next two years) and gets to be pretty hot with not a lot of shade along the course, but the scenery is fantastic. HIGHLY recommend if you're looking for an early-June race next year! 

We visited a few of the local springs in town (the one above is Steamboat Spring)- we have a total of 7 natural hot springs in the center of town (only one you can actually go soak in). Unfortunately, the riverfest that we planned on going to wasn't happening, but we made the best of it and walked the town then headed to lunch before relaxing back home! One of Alexs' close friends also had his parent visiting (him & his friend grew up together) from Maine, so we took them all out to eat at the Ore House--> a MUST visit if you are ever remotely close to Steamboat. They have a sunset happy hour menu (5-6pm) and all entrees are typically ~$2 off regular price. I had the green chile chicken and off-course filled up on their all you can eat salad bar and dinner rolls (they have a cinnamon roll flavored one and it's amazing). 

On our drive home, Alex's dad had us stop to get a picture of the pelicans that we have at the lake by our home. They're always there every morning and the gray swan (alittle to the right of the pelican group) is also in this photo! 

Who knew that there were pelicans in Colorado?! This ended our weekend and it was so great. 

I bought some rustic sourdough bread this week and had to have some for my breakfast this morning! Half had a smashed avocado, red pepper flakes, and a egg and the other half had butter & raspberry jam with a side of oj :) Is it just me or does anyone else get even more hungry when they're tapering?? I think it's because our metabolism is still really high from all the miles we've put it through and is trying to play catch-up. Definitely not complaining and I'm trying to eat as much healthy light food that I can!

Met Alex & his dad for one final meal together before he left and of course we had to go to CREEKSIDE! I was torn between breakfast or lunch (they serve both all-day), but wanted to try something new so I got the falafel salad and it was so amazing! After about two hours, I was hungry again so had some fresh watermelon that we got this weekend.

Watermelon- definitely one of my favorite summertime treats. I also managed to squeeze in a short run before lunch (on my lunch break from work) and a few strength moves (did some dips on the assisted pull-up machine and calf raises on the side of a stair). I don't like to completely cut-out strength training the week of my marathon, but do stay away from any leg exercises and focus on just a few core/upper-body exercises to keep myself feeling fresh and strong, but not over-worked. I'll do one more day of a few strength training moves on Wednesday or Thursday, then that will be all before race day on Sunday! I've already started to pack a few things for my race and create a list. Tonight I'll work on  my playlist and packing some food/ more clothes. The more I plan ahead and pre-pack, I've found the less-likely I am to either 1. forget something or 2. stress about the race. I will probably finalize my race-day plan on Wednesday, so I can start visualizing it and feeling confident leading up to the race. We will leave Saturday late-morning for Denver (about 3 hour drive) to allow enough time to go to the expo, do a short shake-out run, drive along a portion of the course, check-in to our hotel, and get some dinner!

Anyone race this weekend? How'd you do?

Any big races scheduled this Summer?

What are some necessary things you do the week of a race?