Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Easiest Pickle Recipe

The only easier way to get yourself some pickles would be to open up a jar of store-bought pickles! This is a great way to get some extra use out of leftover pickle juice.

  1. When you've finished a jar of pickles, save the pickle juice in the jar.
  2. Slice a cucumber and place the slices in the pickle juice in the jar.
  3. Refrigerate. 
I followed steps 1-3 and opened the pickle jar two days later. My cucumber slices were ready to be eaten and tasted great. I plan to put cucumber slices in my pickle juice like this again the next time that I use all of the pickles in the pickle jar.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Goal: Pull-ups!

Stopping at the Pull-up Bar During a Run

I have some fitness goals that seem impossible like getting a BQ and my new goal: pull-ups.

After seeing a video of Kacy Catanzaro on America Ninja Warrior, I read that she does a lot of body weight exercises like pull-ups. I found our pull-up bar in the garage and put it up inside, but I couldn't even do one pull-up. So then I found some pull-up tips and started working on those.

There's a pull-up bar at the park where I run so sometimes I stop there during my run and work on the exercises that I hope will help me to complete some pull-ups someday.

7 Exercises that Prepare You for Pull-ups
dead rows, bicep curls, push-ups, dead hang, flexed arm hang, negative pull-up, hanging rows

Most Important Tip for Beginners
Don't do too much work on pull-ups on your first day. If you do, you might be crazy sore like I was for a few days!

One more helpful link:
Pull-up Progression Guide

Friday, July 25, 2014

Focus on Races

Today I've got 10 race reports to share and I'll focus on the Badwater race that began on Monday. I hope you find some new running blogs that will become favorites and be inspired to sign up for a challenging race.

The Race

The 2014 Badwater 135 mile ultramarathon race, which takes place in California, has 17,000 feet of elevation gain. I can't imagine ever running 135 miles, but it's fun to read about people who did.

Nikki Wynd, a 42 year old from Australia, shared what it took to train for the 2014 Badwater here. Nikki ran about 110 - 125 miles a week, didn't do any cross training and planned to use Tailwind for the race. She finished the race in 29:44 and was the 3rd female finisher.

Your Inspiring Race Reports!


Crazy Running Girl blogger ran the Stampede 5K (WI) with her young nephew. They finished in 26:18 and he was 2nd in his age group.

Running with the Girls blogger ran the Bond Brook Trail Race (ME). With all of the turns on this course, it would be easy to get lost, but she didn't. It was a course PR race for her with a time of 31:58.

5 Mile:

Robin ran the Angus Glen 5 Miler (ON, Canada) and finished first in her 40-49 age group with a time of 41:35. Robin walked away with a great race goodie bag and cash.


Anyone Can Run blogger completed the Too Hot to Handle 15K, which is a perfect name for a summer race in Texas, while representing Team Chocolate Milk in 1:21:06. She finished 6th in her age group.

Half Marathon:

Detroit Runner blogger ran the scenic, but muddy, Waugoshance Trail Half Marathon (WI) in about 2:16. Finishers were given cherry juice after the race.

Fitness Cheerleader blogger completed the North Face Endurance Challenge Trail Half Marathon (ON, Canada) in 3:03:45. Read her report for 7 trail racing tips.

Run to Munch blogger finished the Jamestown Half Marathon (RI) in 1:37:18 and earned a top place in her age group. One nice feature about the race is that runners receive free race photos.


Organic Runner Mom blogger ran the Bear Brook Trail Marathon (NH). She finished the 29+ mile race in 6:07.


Lauren on the Run blogger ran the Harding Hustle Trail 50K (CA), a race she never thought she'd run because it's a steep and hot race, in 9:27.

Zach Bitter ran the Psycho Psummer 50K (KS) in 3:51:31 and won it after a breakfast of bacon and eggs and using Vespa and soda as race fuel. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Caramelized Bananas in Muffins

I found a new recipe that's really good: Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins (Pinch of Yum). Caramelizing bananas make these banana muffins taste better than usual because it brings out the sweetness of the bananas.

To Caramelize Bananas 

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Slice bananas. 
  3. Put sliced bananas on a foil covered cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick spray and place in oven.
  4. Turn bananas over a couple of times while cooking. 
  5. When they are brown on both sides (maybe 20 minutes), remove from oven. 

Recipe Tips

I followed the Pinch of Yum recipe except for the section on caramelizing the bananas. I had to bake my bananas longer and hotter than the recipe suggested. Maybe my bananas were more ripe than they should have been and that might make a difference. The third time I made these I took them out before they were brown, but they were still good. Because some liquid was on the pan after baking a few minutes, I used a paper towel to dab it up.

More Ways to Use Caramelized Bananas

I've used caramelized bananas in other foods since finding this recipe, but because they are brown they look best in baked goods! I've put them on nut butter sandwiches, on top of yogurt, in a smoothie and I've topped my caramelized banana oat muffins with them like you would use butter on a muffin.

I've also seen recipes for roasting bananas with the peels on. I want to try that, too. Have you caramelized or roasted bananas and, if so, how did you use the bananas?

Monday, July 21, 2014

3 Things I Like

  1. I like wild animals, like that deer, who hold still long enough for me to pull my phone out of my pocket, to pull it out of the sweat-proof baggy, to find my camera on it, to sort of focus and finally, to take five pictures. 
  2. I liked this 2 1/2 minute video about Ed Whitlock, now over 80, who was the first man over 70 to run the marathon in less than 3 hours and runs a .37 mile circuit for hours daily. Now I feel like one of my favorite back and forth runs on a .7 mile park road is not really so short after all.
  3. I liked Saturday's low humidity here in SE Texas.That wasn't the case on Friday when I finally decided to quit running after 7 miles of what felt like running in a rainforest. But on Saturday, because the humidity was so low, I didn't just run the planned 4-5 miles. I ran 9 miles. That was a good way to finish my 36 mile week of running.

This Week's Workouts (7/14-20)
  • Saturday: 9 Mile Run, exercises like dead rows, bicep curls, push-ups, bench dips, heel raises
  • Sunday: Rest

Friday, July 18, 2014

Focus on Races

Today I'll focus on one race, the Mount Marathon Race, and 20 race reports that I found on the web this week. I hope this post motivates you to look for a fun race to run or to keep training for your next race.

Mount Marathon Race

The Mount Marathon Race is about 5K long and takes place every Independence Day in Seward, Alaska. Runners run up Mt. Marathon with a 3022 ft elevation gain and then they run back down. Holly Brooks was the 2014 female winner. Here's her recap.

You can get a feel for the difficulty of the course in this 30 minute video, which focuses on the women running the race. Here are the video highlights:
  • @5 and 7 minutes: watch the climb up
  • @17 minutes: watch the first finishers cross the finish line
  • @27 minutes: watch the climb down
Your Race Reports!

Sharing race reports is something that I have been doing on my other blog, iRaced, but now I'll share them here on Gotta Run Now instead. Read these race reports and be inspired!


Read Confessions of a Mother Runner's blog for the details on the Foam Fest 5K (DC) she ran. This obstacle race was called a Foam Fest, but it was 90% mud so she slid her way to a fun finish.

Fitness Cheerleader blogger ran the Canada 5K in 25:55. It was a hot day, but she still came in at 4th place for her age group.

Hungry Healthy Happy blogger ran in the Color Run (UK). Her race recap is the first one she's ever written, but there will be plenty more because she plans to run 40 races before she's 40.

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls blogger ran the See Jane Run 5K (WA) in 25 minutes and was 2nd place finisher in her age group and won a hat.

Out and About blogger ran the rainy Chinatown 5K (IL) in 31:11 and received a raffle prize, which made waiting in the rain worth it. New to me would be the soy milk that she found in her race goodie bag.


Run Karla Run blogger ran the Firecracker 8K (NY) in 44:19 and came away with a PR.

5 Miles:

Heather to 26.2 blogger ran the 'Merica Trail 5 Miler (IL) in 57:58, which was a 10 second PR. The mud made this one tough.

Maine Mom on the Run blogger completed the Bath Heritage Race (ME) in 41:40. She was hoping for an 8:30 average pace for the race and ran it in an average pace of 8:20/mile.


Run with Perseverance blogger completed the Suck it Up, Buttercup 10K (FL) and was served donuts at the finish line.


Apple Crumbles blogger ran the Boilermaker 15K road race (NY) in 1:12:30 (7:47/mi pace), earning her a PR. She was 5th out of 388 in her age group.

Two Little Runners blogger, Kristen, ran the Coronado Independence Day 15K (CA). Despite the heat, she earned herself a PR with a time of 1:05:28.

Half Marathon:

Half-Crazed Runner blogger came in 3rd in her age group in the Boise Half Marathon (ID) even though she missed a turn. With this finish, she's nearly halfway to her goal of finishing 50 half marathons.

Me and the Boys blogger started her race in a bit of a panic after finding that those on her shuttle bus should hurry to the start and skip a warm-up. Still, she ran the hilly Jamestown Half (RI) in 1:39:19.

My Dirt Road Anthem blogger ran the Missoula Half Marathon (MT) in 1:41:12. Women finishers received women's specific shirts. I wish they all did that. I wear shirts that fit me and the race receives free advertising that way.

Run Like a Bird blogger ran the Snoqualmie Valley Half Marathon (WA). Even though she had a lot of knee pain, she crossed the finish line and will be back next year for a do-over.

Running for Cannolis blogger ran the See Jane Run half marathon (WA) in 2:04. It was her 15th half marathon.


Running on E blogger ran the Troop Trot 39K (GA) and finished 4th overall out of 38 finishers. A Boy Scout saved the day by remembering to bring Cokes for the aid station.


Camille Herron ran the Missoula Marathon (MT) in 2:58:45. This was her 15th marathon win.

100 Miles:

Footprints on the Course blogger ran the Western States 100 Mile Race (CA) in about 27:40. He'll be tackling another 100 mile race in only a few weeks.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Blueberry French Toast Sandwich

It's National Blueberry Month! After yesterday's run, I made myself a breakfast that seemed more special than usual. The reason for that may have been the dusting of powdered sugar or the plate decorated with berries. The surprising part about this recipe was that it didn't take too much longer to make than any of my usual breakfasts.

Blueberry French Toast Sandwich Recipe

Makes 1 sandwich.

  1. Microwave 1/2 cup blueberries, 1 teaspoon corn starch, 1 teaspoon water and a sprinkle of sugar in a bowl for 30 seconds.
  2. In another bowl, mix an egg and 1 tablespoon milk. (I scrambled the leftover egg and milk and ate it on the side.)
  3. Prepare sandwich by cutting two slices of bread in half (wheat or white, I used each kind and liked both). 
  4. Spoon the fruit filling onto two bread halves and top with half slice of bread.
  5. Melt a small amount of butter in a pan.
  6. Place sandwiches in egg mixture and then into greased pan until brown on one side. Flip sandwiches over until brown on each side.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

My Blueberry French Toast Sandwich and the leftover egg on the side came to 285 calories, 53 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of protein. For some facts about healthy blueberries, visit Fooducate

For a variation on this one, you could try the Apple Pie Sandwich (Taste of Home). That recipe was the inspiration for mine. I wouldn't wait until National Apple Month to try it, though, because that's not until October!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mind Games & My Freebies

Mind games make it easier to run through a tough run. Lately, the humidity is what makes getting out for a run tough. When I start running, I look for things that are good like little breezes or the fact that it's not as warm as it could be.

Once I'm really feeling the humidity, I need to begin the numbers games. For instance, if I'm doing 5 loops, everything after the 3rd loop feels like I'm nearly done. Then I can start playing the food game when it's time to plan out how I'm going to refuel. The goal: nutritious and delicious.

Hopefully, the Klean Athlete Recovery drink that I was given at the recent local triathlon expo in The Woodlands (even though I didn't race) will fit into that healthy and tasty category. Also, I look forward to trying the Java Pro whey protein that showed up in my mailbox unexpectedly.

Other free items that I've received are items I requested online like the nicely scented Greek yogurt honey lotion and tea I requested through All You.

Update: I also find out about a lot of free offers because I follow Money Saving Mom on Twitter.

Recent Workouts
  • Sunday: Rest. 
Do you have any tips for getting free stuff in your mailbox?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

My Pepper Spray Test

Runners, Don't Do This!
During one of this week's runs, I tested out some new pepper spray to see how far it sprayed and how hard I needed to push the spray tab down. I noticed a drip on the can after that, but I hoped it was sweat.

After my wrist and my face where I must have wiped away my sweat started burning, I knew that I had pepper spray on my skin. Not good! You'd think that I'd know to be more careful because I've gotten pepper spray on myself once before when I was being chased by a dog.

I rinsed off at the water fountain and ran home to wash off with soap. I live beside the park so I didn't have far to go. Pretty soon, there was more burning in more places. Next time, I'll test it out at home and wear gloves!

Friday: 5.5 Mile Evening Run, Not as Humid
I ran in the evening for a change today. That made for a drier, but hotter, run. It was a nice break from the humidity.

Saturday: Arms and a Walk
In the morning, I worked out with the Upper Body with Dumbbells Video (C Tolle Run). In the evening, I went for a 45 minute walk with my husband and our Weimaraner.

Sunday: Abs & 5 Mile Run
I focused on my abs with the Uber Exercise Lower Abs Trifecta

Monday: 5.1 Mile Run/My Pepper Spray Day! 

Tuesday: 5 Mile Run (3 middle miles "fast") & Strength Training

I did the Medicine Ball Ab Attack & Hip Flexor Move from 3 Trail Running Exercises Post. Thanks to Raina for tweeting about the trail running exercise post.

Wednesday: 4.4 Mile Run & Strength Training
Runner specific exercises including: Strength Training Without the Gym (Runner's World video).

Thursday: 5 Mile Run & Strength Training
I wanted to do arm exercises today and Google Now brought up Arm Strengthening (Tina Muir) so I did that workout. Perfect timing!

This week I ran 30 miles and did 5 strength training sessions. My hip flexor, which had been bothering me, felt much better. I ran less and didn't bike at all this week so that it could heal. On the other hand, I did more strength training than usual. I hope it will make me a stronger runner.

I hope that each one of you have a safe and happy week! 

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Race Fueling Tips from a Winner

Today, it's easier than ever to learn new running tips from the very best runners. In this post, I'll share some tips that I found online from Stephanie Howe who won the Western States 100 Mile Race in California last weekend. Howe was the first female finisher and ran the race in 18:01:42. It was her first 100 mile race. You don't have to race 100 miles to find these tips helpful!

Fueling Tips For Racers

The night before a race, rice is good to eat because it digests easily.

A good pre-race meal is oatmeal and a banana. On the Western States race morning, Howe ate a pastry and rice. I've eaten rice the morning before a race, too. A pastry is a good idea if you can't stomach anything else because of race nerves.

Fuel well during a race. Fuel early, starting 30 minutes into the race and then every 20-30 minutes. Aim for 200-300 calories an hour. She mentioned using a flask full of gels with mixed flavors of Clif vanilla and strawberry gels. (She's sponsored by Clif Bar.) At aid tables, she might have Coke or chips. At Western States, she ate Clif bloks and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Eat well after a workout, too. About an hour after a race, Howe especially likes Mexican food with salty chips and salsa, just like I do. I'm never very hungry after a race and she isn't either. Howe, who is working on a PhD in Exercise Physiology, wrote a dissertation on this subject and says that the jarring in your stomach influences gut hormones and that suppresses your appetite. She suggests having a chocolate Clif shot recovery drink right after a hard workout. I can always drink something after a race, but I have to wait a little while before anything substantial sounds good to eat.

On a side note, when you're training, she suggests that you train with carbohydrates.

The tips I shared are ones that I found after visiting the following websites. Visit these links if you'd like to learn more.

Team Clif: Stephanie Howe (Clif Bar)
Stephanie Howe's Blog

I've run fifteen marathons and one 50K, but I can't picture myself running a 100 mile race. The longest I've ever run is 39.1 miles (you can read about it here) and that makes a 50 mile race seem like something I might like to try someday. What's the longest distance that you've considered racing?

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