Friday, February 28, 2014

Fitness Friday: Florida Favorites


Well, maybe. I've spent the week in Florida, but today we are headed back to the frozen land. Boo!

It's been a great week of active resting, so today I'm sharing some of my Florida favorite fitness moments.

1. Taking walks in shorts and flip flops - I've missed the warmth and the green.

2. Open swim and lounging by the pool - it felt so good to relax in the sun.

3. Laps at the fitness center - this was a great little workout.

4. 5K on the trail - it felt good to lace up my Mizunos.

What was your favorite fitness moment this week?

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Inaugural Newport Night Run

If you read this blog then you already know that I love Newport, but what I love even more is running in Newport. I've already told you about the time I ran across the beautiful bridge and the other time I ran along the mansions. This time I ran through the streets in the dark.

It might be crazy to register for February races in New England, but there are some great ones out there. The Newport Night Run was no exception...crazy February weather and a great race.

The day started with a two hour freezing rain delay in New Hampshire that turned into afternoon thunderstorms on the drive down to Newport. We received an email before 6 o'clock that the race was delayed 30 minutes to allow the bad weather to clear. We picked up our bibs and spent the extra time at Easton's Beach taking some fun photos.

It was an out and back course that started at Easton's Beach, headed up Memorial Boulevard, down America's Cup to the Long Wharf turn around. Even with the wacky weather more than 500 runners joined together at the starting line.

The course was not completely closed to traffic, so we waited in the parking lot before being escorted across Memorial as ONE BIG group to line up at the start. It was easy to stay warm in the middle of the pack and the upbeat music playing made it easy to keep our bodies moving while we waited. I was impressed with the event coordinators ability to keep things fairly organized considering the rain, wind, and darkness.

I've run in downtown Newport many times, but always on warm sunny mornings. Running past the familiar landmarks in the dark with all the Winter Fest lights twinkling was something special. It was fun to look up and see Kilwins, our favorite ice cream shop, the Red Parrot, a choice spot for a good meal, and The Wave, a popular place to rendezvous.

The other fun part was seeing the line of hundreds of runners and walkers with glow necklaces and bracelets light up the streets from start to finish. On the way to the finish line we even got some cheers from the cars caught up in the little bit of traffic.

After the race, we enjoyed a few minutes of the crashing waves illuminated by someone in a parked car. Running some new races is on my 2014 bucket list and this is one I can see doing again in the future.

Have you ever run a night race?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Training Truths: Paper Plates, Crooked Knee Caps and KT Tape!!

Yesterday I ran half marathon #11. More on that in my recap post later. Getting to the starting line was questionable when my knee turned cranky just two weeks out following a 10 mile training run. Last week was another week of trying to balance getting ready for the race while taking care of myself.

Monday - First day of slider step backs to work on strengthening and controlling my quad muscles. These exercises were recommended by a PT for runners suffering from chondromalacia and are better than squats because there is little to no pressure on the knee cap. I don't have gliders, but found that a paper plate works just fine.

Tuesday - Another snow day spent waiting for the snow. Normally I would have jumped at the chance for a morning run, but since I was saving my knee for the fun run on Friday and the half on Sunday, I took myself for a nice long walk followed up with some more slider step backs. 

Wednesday - During my monthly maintenance visit to the chiropractor, I mentioned my crunchy knee problems. Intrigued by my story, he checked it out and announced that my knee cap was literally crooked! So while I have been working on keeping my knee cap IN alignment, it was actually OUT of alignment and STUCK there! Ugh.

Thursday - After my unexpected "knee cap adjustment" I was feeling SO MUCH BETTER. Playing it safe, I kept to my strengthening routine and fought the urge to go for an afternoon run in the balmy 40+ degree weather.

Friday - After a delayed start due to freezing rain and a wild Winter Carnival assembly at school, mrC picked up my youngest stepdaughter and I and we headed to Newport for the Newport Night Run. The athletic trainer at school taped up my knee with KT Tape so I could give it a try during this fun 5K. It felt stable and there was no pain during or after the race.

Saturday - After getting home from a gorgeous sunny day spent walking around Newport, I did my slider step backs and iced my knee for the big half marathon on Sunday.

Sunday - Met up with my step daughter to run the Half at the Hamptons. It was far more challenging than the first time I ran it, but we went in with a plan and made it to the finish with no knee cap issues! (I ended up wearing mrC's knee brace because the KT Tape pretty much unravelled before Sunday morning)

Now, it's time to take a break to let the crooked knee recover. Fortunately it's February vacation and I'm heading to Florida to visit my dad and stepmom, so my recovery week will be spent in the swimming pool! See you when I get back to NH!

Do you take time off after a big race? 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Move Nourish BELIEVE Challenge

The final week of the Lorna Jane Move Nourish Believe Challenge was about believing in yourself and being happy. Staying optimistic while dealing with my cranky knee during the final weeks of half marathon training admittedly has been difficult, so this final challenge week was just what I needed.

Monday - When I spotted my favorite flowers at the grocery, I had to spoil myself. It's hard not to smile with these lovelies in the room!

Tuesday - A "snow blitz" descended on New England leaving behind about 12+ inches. While mrC was taking care of the driveway, I took 5 mindful minutes to just enjoy the peacefulness of the falling snow and forget about the snow day we'll be making up in June.

Wednesday - There are a lot of places I'd rather be at any given time: Cincinnati, Florida, Newport. But, give me a pair of healthy legs and some running shoes and I can make any place my HAPPY PLACE!

Thursday - There are some truly amazing people in my life. On Thankful Thursday I was feeling very grateful for my family, my friends, and the running community for all the kindness they show to me every single day.

Friday - I talk about mrC in my blog posts all the time and I hope it is evident that he does SO MUCH for me. Not much could top the time he helped me finish a half marathon when I was injured, but it's the unfailing daily support and encouragement he shows that makes him deserving of this SHOUT OUT!

This week reminded me to take some time to appreciate all the inspiration I have in my life. To remember that with all the encouragement I get from the amazing people around me, I can do anything I set my MIND to.

How have you been INSPIRED this week?

Monday, February 17, 2014

Training Truths: My Knee is Crunchy??

After reading through all the very helpful comments last week (thank you!), I learned that I am probably suffering from a form of runner's knee or I'm just getting old! So, it was a week of resting and icing the creaky old knee, but I didn't skip working out altogether. My workouts were focused on strength or light cardio that didn't require a lot of knee bending. By the end of the week things were looking up.

Monday - I used my Gymboss interval timer to do my favorite ab workout and then some burpee intervals  430/1000

Tuesday - Another round of the ab workout and burpee intervals 484/1000

Wednesday - More burpee intervals although my knee started to not like these either  538/1000

Thursday - Spent the snow day icing my knee off and on. I did some (awkward) burpees and a short resistance band workout designed to build glute strength. All I heard was crunch, crunch! 580/1000

Friday - Every time I straightened my knee, it would crunch - painfully. So after school I spoke to the athletic trainer to get some advice: can I work my way through this or do I need to see a doctor? She thinks I'm possibly suffering from chondromalacia or arthritis: I have had two knee surgeries. She recommended icing, wearing a knee brace/getting taped, and continuing to train if it didn't hurt. At home I found this sport's medicine video online that describes the causes of chondromalacia and some treatment exercises.

Saturday - After deciding that one more day of TLC for my knee wouldn't hurt, I switched my workout gear from running shoes to a shovel and helped mrC shovel snow leftover from the plow guy.

Sunday - My only run of the week and my first run in the hand-me-down knee brace from mrC was a pain free 30 minutes. I haven't worn a knee brace since my last knee surgery over 20 years ago, but if it helps I'll do it.

This week, I will stick to the TLC approach as I get ready to run half marathon #11 on Sunday with my oldest step daughter.

Which do you prefer, wearing a brace or getting taped?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Move NOURISH Believe Challenge

Week 2 of the Lorna Jane Blogger Challenge focused on nourishing our bodies. Making healthy food choices is one of my 2014 goals and this week reinforced that I am on the right track because it was EASY to complete (most of) the daily challenges.

Monday - It was Veggie Day and for lunch I had some Cheesy Quinoa Veggie Burger. Normally I would have made this recipe with hamburg, but I recently decided to reduce my red meat consumption to help lower my LDL number.

Tuesday - I take my lunch to work everyday for several reasons: I like my own food, I only have 30 minutes and the school cafe is on the other side of the building, and I'm a picky eater (never mind being GF!).

Wednesday - I used to keep a food journal of every calorie I ate and burned in a little notebook. Once I hit my goal weight I stopped writing everything down. WIAW's challenge was easier because I didn't have to look up the calorie information.

Thursday - For #ThirstyThursday it was Smoothie Day. Another easy challenge because I make a smoothie everyday during the week. I love the single serve option on my Ninja!

Friday - I don't eat a lot of raw foods and know very little about the diet. Most of what I do eat raw is fruit and that is mostly in the summer. I've made some post-workout snacks, but I don't know if they hold up to the raw food diet concept or not. So for Go Raw Friday I ate what was available.

At the end of NOURISH week with Lorna Jane, I realize that I should try to eat more fruit in it's raw state all year long. In a blender and in the summer is good, but not good enough.

What did you learn about your diet this week?

Fitness Friday: The Love Club

To celebrate the day of LOVE, here's a glimpse of what I've added to my list of loves lately.

Saucony Bullet Vegans - I've always wanted a pair of "cool" casual shoes. You know, the casual shoes that look good no matter what you are wearing. I spotted these Saucony Bullet Vegan's in the Athleta catalog and knew they were exactly what I was looking for. They're great with leggings, jeans, and fitness wear. I can wear them as an everyday shoe and during my indoor workouts. Score!

Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie V2 - mrC gave this to me for my birthday and even though I haven't taken it for a run yet, I love how comfy it is. It's definitely a great lightweight coverup to wear to and from SurfSet class.

Apera Yoga Tote - Apera sent me this gorgeous bag in Pearl and it is amazing! It has multiple storage for all my running gear and worked perfectly for SurfSet class. With all the room that it offers, it is not too big either.

Take a look at why I'll be taking my Apera bag as my carry-on the next time I travel!

This book: Running Like a Girl: Notes on Learning to Run - Author Alexandra Heminsley writes candidly about the process of becoming a runner. For those of us who have been running for awhile, it takes us down memory lane and brings back a renewed appreciation for the sport we love. For new runners, Heminsley tells the truth about the struggle, pain, and glory in going from "I can't run" to "I ran myself happy."

RunSaveRun - This is a new website where runners can find hundreds of coupons and discounts on all running related items. You can search for coupons by store, category, or race. Some favorites you'll probably recognize include Road Runner Sports,, and ZOOMA.

What's warming your heart today?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

WIAW: Cheesy Quinoa "Sunshine" Burger

One of my 2014 goals is to make healthy food choices and the nice people over at Sunshine Burgers sent me some samples to help me with my endeavor. Sunshine Burgers are the epitome of healthy made without most allergen ingredients including gluten, soy, dairy, and peanuts. They also have an abundance of flavor choices.

This post is sponsored by Sunshine Burgers. I was sent samples of Sunshine Burgers to review. 

I've always liked veggie burgers, but the brand that I used to eat is not gluten-free so I haven't had any in awhile. That's why I was so excited to try Sunshine Burgers. Besides being gluten-free, Sunshine Burgers are vegan, non-GMO, and certified USDA organic. 

You can find recipes on the Sunshine Burgers website, but I decided to try something other than a sandwich and do my own little spin on cheeseburger macaroni. 

For my recipe I chose Garden Herb because it is advertised as having a mild flavor perfect for use beyond the bun. It has 5 ingredients: cooked brown rice, ground sunflower kernels, carrots, herbs, and sea salt.

After cooking the quinoa and letting the Garden Herb veggie patties thaw, I mixed all the ingredients together.

The result is most definitely DELICIOUS! 

Sunshine Burgers are sold generally in the organic market, but can now also be found in major grocery chains. You can check here for locations near you.

Sunshine Burgers are a healthy source of protein, perfect for a post-workout meal, and will continue to be on my shopping list. 

Today I'm also linking up with Jenn for What I Ate Wednesday!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Training Truths: Tight IT Band and a Cranky Knee

My IT band has been tight after my last couple of long runs. After spending some time in my compression gear, it was still cranky and so was my knee.

So last week while I gave my legs a little break from running, I kept myself busy with my February challenges. My #mnbchallenge work kept me extra busy during the week, but I also kept the #30DayRagnarChallenge streak going by using #SweatADay exercises to work toward the #FFBURPEE goal of 1000.

Monday - 35 burpees 210/1000

Tuesday - 35 more burpees 245/1000

Wednesday - Ran 4 progression miles on the treadmill during the snowstorm.  I started off nice and slow ending with a comfortable 9ish pace. Even with the warmup and a good 20 minute post-run stretch the ITB/knee were not happy. Fortunately I did the 35 daily burpees earlier 280/1000

Thursday - Planks and 35 burpees 315/1000

Friday - Some of my favorite squats x25 each and 35 burpees 350/1000

Saturday - Spent the morning at SurfSet class with mrC. My knee was still feeling a little cranky during certain exercises (mostly squats), so I treated myself to a post workout smoothie and an ice pack. 35 burpees 385/1000

Sunday - Since running is not supposed to hurt, I decided to listen to my body and cancelled the long run. Instead I focused on core work...anything that would not aggravate my knee.

How do you feel about taking a break?

Friday, February 7, 2014

MOVE Nourish Believe Challenge

Today marked the end of the first of three weeks that I will be participating in the Lorna Jane Move Nourish Believe Blogger Challenge. It was created to keep people motivated beyond January when new year goals tend to start to fade away.

This week was all about MOVING the body and although I wasn't lacing up my running shoes as much as I'd like, I did move my body everyday!

Monday - This was the first day of the challenge and although I didn't run, I shared a previous post-run pic to show my favorite way to sweat.

Tuesday - After taking an extra rest day from running, I tried the YogaWorks Ultimate Post Run sequence to change up my stretching routine and discovered a great IT band stretch. There's a lot of work to do on that one!

Wednesday -  Planked with Lorna Jane as a pre-run warmup and realized that it had been a long time since I last did some other than at SurfSet class.

Thursday - Decided to run through my plank routine again with my workout buddy.  He is my buddy, but also the only one home at the time!

Friday - For Fave Friday I shared my 5 favorite squat moves and completed 25 of each.

How are you sticking to your 2014 goals?