Wednesday, December 31, 2014

8 New Recipes That Are Keepers


At the beginning of 2014, I started a list of my favorite new recipes. It has been fun finding new recipes online. You just never know when one of them will be so good that it becomes a favorite. Only yesterday I made Raspberry Walnut Crumble Bars (photo) and it's a keeper!

7 More Favorites of 2014  

Pumpkin Spice Yogurt with Oat Crumb Topping - I liked this one especially for the topping.

Yogurt Peanut Butter Dip - Mix peanut butter and more into your yogurt.


Caramelized Banana Oat Muffins (Pinch of Yum)

We like eating chicken at my house and I found a number of good chicken recipes.

Roasted Chicken - Everyone needs a roasted chicken recipe.

Greek Marinated Chicken - Bake chicken in a yogurt sauce.

Chicken Souvlaki with Tzatziki Sauce and Greek Salad (Serious Eats)

Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce - Top your chicken with a delicious sauce.

I'm looking forward to finding some more great recipes in 2015. Happy Eating and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

17 Miles on Cookies & Gel



Today I ran 17 miles. It was 40 degrees F (4*C) and I was feeling uncertain about what to wear so I checked Runner's World What to Wear. It's helpful if you could use some dressing tips. I didn't go with the suggested pants and jacket, but I was comfortable in capris, a long-sleeved overshirt, short-sleeved shirt, gloves and a running hat.

I had a great run and felt good the whole time! I changed up my fuel today and ate a gel, a sugar cookie and a sweet potato cookie (with added raisins and walnuts).

I started out easy and picked up the pace as I ran. Sometimes it surprises me when I'm able to do that and I'm glad it happens.

Exercise Links 

I recently increased the number of times I do strength training/core/balance exercises each week. I got in 6 sessions just like I hoped I would. Here are three favorites from the week.

Sallie McRae's Leg Lift Video - For balance! I ran a rooty 50K trail race in November and I didn't fall!

Better Balance in 4 Minutes Using a Band - A new balance exercise I found.

Arkansas Runner Mom's Core WO - 101 push-ups, 3x (15 leg drops, 15 regular and 15 reverse crunches), plank. (It's hard, but it's short!)

Recent Runs (Miles):

6 (3.5 miles hills), 5, 8 (3 miles close to MP), 0, 17 (today) = 36 total miles

Photo: Desert flowers from our Big Bend Nat'l Park, TX, vacation.

Friday, December 26, 2014

From the 5K to the 100K on Roads & Trails Race Reports! 12/26

Merry Christmas!
Reading race recaps is a great way to prepare for what may happen in your own upcoming race! Enjoy!

Runs with Pugs blogger, Jenn, her husband and her young son ran the Gingerbread Man Dash 5K race! Of course, gingerbread cookies were provided for the finishers!

We Run Disney blogger, Christine, completed the Surf-n-Santa 5 Mile race (VA). Highlights of the race were Christmas lights and carolers!

50 State Canuck blogger, Jane, completed the San Antonio RnR Half Marathon (TX) in 1:39 and was congratulated by Meb at the finish line!

Running Around My Kitchen blogger, Beth, completed the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in 3:59 only 8 weeks after running the Chicago Marathon, which she also finished in 3:59!

Shining's Ultra Blog blogger, Sophie, completed the Hellgate 100K (62 mile) Race (VA) for the 9th time!

Photo: I went on a bike ride the day after my 15 mile run and worked off some Christmas candy!

Monday, December 22, 2014

3 Tips for a Long Run



1. Eat or Drink Something That You Like

Today I ran 15 miles. I used Island Boost. I like Island Boost's use of coconut water and fruit juice or cocoa. Today I had a passion fruit, blueberry-pomegranate and chocolate flavored Island Boost. I liked them all. If you don't like thick energy gels, I think you'd like Island Boost's thin juice-like consistency. I won my Island Boost in a giveaway at Running on E!

2. Listen to Something Interesting

If I have something I only listen to when I run, that's an extra incentive to keep running when the going gets tough. I finished A Train in Winter, a story of women in occupied France, while I ran this week.

3. Change the Pace

I finished my 15 mile run with a fast finish. Going faster at the end of a run gives me something to look forward to. Sometimes it's because I know that the faster I run the faster I'm done, but sometimes it's because I want to see if I still have the energy to push myself when I'm tired. You'll want to do that at the end of a race so it's good to try it out in training.

Running in the last 7 days (in miles): 

0, 6 (3 miles of hills), 3 (w/strides), 7 (2 miles at marathon pace), 0, 4, 15 = 35 miles

Monday, December 15, 2014

Between My 50K and My Marathon

Homemade Running Fuel
After running a 50K trail race 3 weeks ago, I didn't run for 11 days but I did exercise. I hiked and biked at the Grand Canyon and Big Bend National Park. Then I added in some running.

Two Weeks Post-50K: 2 days of running, longest run: 7, 12.5 miles total
Three Weeks Post-50K: 3 days of running, longest run: 10, 20 miles total
Four Weeks Post-50K: (What I Hope to Do) 5 days of running, longest run: 13 (Today!)

Today I brought a new running fuel with me: Homemade Maple Apricot Running Fuel (6 apricot halves, 2 Tb. maple syrup, salt, water), which is equivalent to 2 gels in calories and carbs. Filter out the bits of apricot and add extra water so that you don't have to stop for it. I liked the taste and it kept me going for a progression run where you gradually increase your speed.

Last week, I added in more days of strength-training/core/balance exercises than my usual 3 times a week. I thought I'd try doing them 6-7 times a week from now on.

Exercise Links for Runners 

Coach Jay: Myrtl Routine

10 Minute Mobility Routine (Competitor)

12 Exercises from Magill's Build Your Running Body Book 

Upcoming Races: There are less than 9 weeks until the Love. Run. Half Marathon on trails and less than 11 weeks until The Woodlands Marathon!

How about you? Have you decided to do anything new that will make you a better runner? Have you made your own sports drink before?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Your Race Recaps! 12/13


Here are 9 new race reports. There are first-timers, first-placers and PRs, too!

Half Marathons

Arkansas Runner Mom blogger, Tia, placed 3rd female overall with a time of 1:27 at the St. Jude Half Marathon (TN)!

Runs With Pugs blogger, Jen, got her PR at the Space Coast Half Marathon (FL) with a 2:38 finish!

Marathons

Dream Big Runner blogger, Christine, ran the VA Blue and Gray Half Marathon in 2:03, beating last year's time!

Glitter and Dust blogger, Kristin, completed the California International Marathon in 3:26!

Ultras

Adventures in Running blogger, Stephanie Howe, came in 2nd place at the North Face 50 Mile Endurance Challenge (CA) with a time of 7:28! She took in about 200 calories an hour using Clif products and Coke.

Running with Haynes blogger, Leah, won the TARC Fells 32 Mile Trail Race (MA) in 7:20!

See Sarah Run SF blogger, Sarah, completed her first 50 mile race in sub-10 hours at the North Face Endurance Challenge (CA)!

Single Tracked Mind blogger, Taylor, completed the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K (CA) in 7:22!

Yo Momma Runs blogger completed the Tranquility 50K (AL) in 6:02 and was the first female finisher!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Big Bend Nat'l Park Run & Hike!


Last stop: Big Bend National Park in Texas! It was our last stop of our vacation from Texas to the Grand Canyon, to California, to the Tucson, Arizona, area and back home. Our first hike was to the Balanced Rock and it was my favorite of all of our Big Bend hikes.  

Lifting Weights on Vacation!
Twelve days after running the 50K trail race, I went for my first post-race run and saw my first roadrunner. I did some hill work through a tunnel while looking out for mountain lions. I saw the sun rise over the mountains and ran to the Rio Grande River, which separates the U.S. and Mexico.

Hill Work: Tunnel Run (1800-2100' elevation)

The next day, I went for another run from our site at the Rio Grande RV Campground to the tunnel again. I ran with a walkie-talkie (no phone service) in case of emergency. While I was running, my husband asked me if I had heard the coyotes that he had heard from inside the RV. I did! I never saw them, but while we were driving we saw lots of deer and a javelina, too.

The View from the US to Mexico: Santa Elena Canyon at the Rio Grande River

There isn't much internet access in the park, but I was busy lifting boulders, hiking, running and driving anyway. It's a huge park and the maximum speed limit is only 45mph. That makes for some long drives!

What's the most frightening animal you've seen while running? I've seen gators, but snakes scare me more. I don't want to accidentally step on one and have it strike back. 

Where's your favorite place to vacation? Hard choice for me, but a couple of states that I like the best are Utah and Colorado.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Arizona: Catalina State Park

Riding in the Desert
After taking a vacation to the Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving, my husband and I drove our RV to California to visit family and then headed back home to Texas. On the way home, we stayed at Catalina State Park at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. Section B of the camp ground has large, clean restrooms with hot showers - important when there isn't reliable hot water in your RV - something we hope to fix soon!

The 50 Year Trail is Rocky

I ran a 50K trail race on Nov.22 so I took a short break from running, but I did ride my bike and hike only a few days after racing. We hiked the Romero Trail where we saw the ruins of an Indian village. Also, we biked on the 50 Year Trail where I fell a couple of times going downhill. At least I never landed in the cactus and I'd still be able to run in a few days like I had planned.

The Mountain View at the Catalina State Park Campground (Site B-12)

Traveling in our new RV was fun, but not without its little problems like a few cold showers and waiting for 5 hours to replace a broken tire valve. Those little things didn't make much of a difference in our fun adventure, though. Just look at those mountain views from our campsite where we roasted marshmallows after our bike ride!

Do you like the desert? I liked visiting the desert more than I thought I would - so much to see and weather that was nice enough for shorts in December.

What's your favorite camp food? New for me: I made a banana boat - a foil-wrapped banana topped with small marshmallows and chocolate chips and melted.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Airia One Running Shoe Review


Airia shoes emailed me and asked if I'd like to review their running shoes. Recently, my shoes arrived on my door step - all of the way from Sweden. Aria says that their shoes will make you run faster, which I was looking forward to testing.

Three major differences in the Airia One shoes from other running shoes that I've worn:
  1. The front of the shoe bends upward, which didn't seem to bother me.
  2. The toe box is too wide for my foot. 
  3. Under the ball of my foot, I feel an uncomfortable bump in the shoe sole. Unfortunately, this is the main reason that kept me from giving these shoes a thumbs up.
Three types of runners who might like to try Airia One shoes:
  1. Runners who like to try new types of shoes.
  2. One review that I found stated that these shoes might be good for runners with plantar fasciitis
  3. Runners who don't have an upcoming race and can take a risk on a new type of running shoe. I have a half marathon and a marathon that I'm training for now.
Questions: Have you tried any unique running shoes lately? Would you want to? Have you been given the chance to try a new product because you're a blogger, too?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Grand Canyon for Thanksgiving


The Grand Canyon had some great weather for Thanksgiving! My husband and I spent some time there last week enjoying time with family and seeing the canyon.


We rode our bikes on the hilly road that takes you to Hermit's Rest and along the canyon in the other direction towards Kaibab trail. I haven't run since the 50K race on November 22, about a week ago, but riding bikes has been a great way to get in some exercise.


We stayed in our RV at Trailer Village at the Grand Canyon. On Thanksgiving morning, I took an early morning walk and was surprised to see an elk standing on its hind legs to eat the leaves high up in a tree.


As for us, we ate at the century old El Tovar restaurant for lunch on the day before Thanksgiving, which I think is a great idea if you want the El Tovar experience complete with a Grand Canyon view for only about $11-15 a meal vs. $31 on Thanksgiving. You may need to ask for a window view like I did and arrive at just the right time, which we apparently did!

Driving the Jeep Out for Our Geode Hunt 
On Thanksgiving night, we boondocked near the Grand Canyon, which means we had no electric or water hook-ups. We were a little concerned that we were low on gas and that our heater would turn off so I kept waking up feeling very thankful on that Thanksgiving night for our heater. I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving like we did!


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