Ten For Texas – 10 miler race recap

10 for texas

My second official Texas race is on the books. I had been looking forward to this race for a few months. Quite a few local runners had mentioned how they really liked it, and that it was a great course. I was feeling pretty excited to test my fitness because I hadn’t raced a distance longer than a 5k since my last marathon earlier this year in Feb. This was also going to be my first 10 mile distance race, and I was excited to see how this distance would feel.

The week leading up to race I was getting really excited, but the weather here in Texas is still very warm and humid so I was nervous, and having a lot of self doubt that I would be able to push myself in these types of conditions.  I have been struggling to hit paces in some of my workouts because of the weather so the self doubt was really doing a number on my mental game.

My diet stayed the same during the week of the race, but I did up my water intake, especially Wed, Thurs and Fri of the week. I wanted to make sure I was really hydrated since it was going to be humid race morning. I did try one new thing —- The coffee taper— have you heard of this? I first heard about it listening to a podcast with Neely Gracey.   This is where you eliminate coffee (all caffeine) 4-5 days before race day, and then when you have coffee or caffeine race morning your body will be super responsive to it. Well, I knew I could not do 4-5 days. I figured 2.5 days would be a good try for me. So Wed morning I  had a really small cup of coffee and then I didn’t have any caffeine after that…..well let’s just say by Thurs afternoon I had the biggest raging headache of my life. I ended up having to take an ibuprofen that night to go to bed, and I rarely ever take ibuprofen! Friday morning I woke up and ended up having a cup of coffee with my breakfast. Who am I kidding, I am not a pro athlete! Sometimes I like to pretend I am! HAHA but there is no money on the line come race day so life is too short for me not to enjoy my cup of coffee!

Friday – Day before Race

Breakfast :  English muffin with PB / coffee

Lunch :  Salad with Quinoa patty

Snack : Cocoa Almonds / Cashews

Dinner : Chicken enchiladas and a ton of chips and salsa

Epsom salt bath

Saturday – Race Day

5:30 am – Wake up time – Dressed and made an English muffin with PB and 1/2 a banana and coffee. Stomach was a bunch of nerves but managed to eat most of the breakfast.

6:30 am – Drive to the race with the family – Drank some of my NUUN with caffeine on the way.

7:00 am – Warm up run – Found an HEB (grocery store) on my warm up route and took a quick restroom pit stop.

7:20 am – Start line – Had a gel about 5 mins before the start.

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7:30 am Race Start!! I was actually feeling pretty calm!

Mile 1-3 (7:22, 7:17, 7:26)

The first mile I felt was going to be so slow! I had gotten blocked in behind people at a few places, and that really slowed me down, however I think it was a good thing. It prevented me from going out way too fast in the beginning. The only time I checked my watch during the race was after the first mile. I really wanted to trust my body and run by feel.  The next two miles I was still feeling really relaxed, almost too easy, and I was worried I might be running too slow, but I kept telling myself there is still a lot of race to go and not to get too excited and speed up yet.

Mile 4-6 (7:23, 7:21,7:19)

I was still feeling really good during these miles. I remember thinking this feels a lot easier right now than some of my training runs I have done. I wondered if I wasn’t pushing enough, but I told myself I was going to wait until mile 5 to start kicking it up a notch. I also took a gel at mile 5! 

Mile 7-9 (7:12, 7:21, 7:16)

My goal for this race was to finish strong. I didn’t want to go out too fast and not have anything left for the last few miles. I was able to start picking up the pace a little bit around mile 5 and even more at mile 6. Mile 7 was one of my best miles, but then mile 8 I hit a wall. My legs turned to jello and I started to worry. I was thinking about how there were still a few more miles and I felt like I wasn’t going to make it. I kept repeating my mantra “champions never give up”. I also dialed in on the next female ahead and just concentrated on closing the gap. Suddenly my legs came back. Mile 9 I had a second wind.

The final Mile (7:11)

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That second wind was short lived! This was a good mile but it was not easy. I started to see spots and all I could do was pray I would make it to the finish. There was only one female I could see ahead and I worked on catching her for the last few miles.  Just focusing on her really helped me to get to that finish line.

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I have to say I really love Texas race events. They are well organized, fun, and a great social scene with lots of food and entertainment afterwards. One of my prize winning’s was an entry into next years race! Cannot wait to run this event again.

Do you have a favorite race that you love to run year after year? Would you try the coffee taper!?!?!?!

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Recipe Wednesday ~ Energy Balls

It seems energy balls have become all the rage. You can even buy pre-packaged ones at the grocery store now. I have tried a few of the pre-made balls, and honestly they just don’t taste as good as the homemade ones. It’s definitely worth the 10 mins it takes to whip these guys up.  Here is my favorite recipe I think you will like just as much as I do!

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1 cup Natural Peanut Butter or Nut butter of your choice (I prefer Laura Scudder’s creamy)

2/3 cup honey

2 tsp Vanilla extract

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats ( I love Bob Red Mill)

2 cups unsweetened coconut (I prefer the big flakes rather than shredded – they give an added crunch to the balls) Coconut Flakes I Use

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Mix peanut butter, honey, & vanilla until smooth. Add in oats & coconut. Lastly, add in chocolate chips. Roll into balls (an ice-cream scoop works well) – I like to vary the size I make so I have a few different size portions to choose from when I need a snack) Place on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm. I store mine in a container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Have you tried energy balls? I would love to know what ingredients are your favorite!

 

 

The Daily Stretch

The Tools 

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Yoga Mat / Foam Roller / Hand Held Roller / Resistance Band 

These are the tools I use each day after my run. A yoga mat is essential for me to do exercises and foam rolling on hard wood floors. I also like having a mat to take with me in the car in case I want to do my stretching outside, a towel works great too!! The Trigger Point foam roller is my favorite because it’s small size. It is perfect for traveling because it is hallow on the inside you can put items in it which saves space. I use the foam roller primarily for my IT bands, this is an area I’ve had trouble with in the past. I also roll out my hamstrings, glutes and calves. I also love the handheld roller by Trigger Point, I can take it with me in the car, or use it while sitting on the couch or in bed!! I can really dig into knots and smaller areas with this roller. I use it on my quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and shins.  Resistance bands work well to stretch out my hamstrings, and I use the bands for other cross training exercises.

The Routine 

When I first started working with my running coach he sent me the Mrytl Routine, and suggested I do it after each run. I have been doing this series of exercises after each of my runs for over a year now. Click the link below to watch the exercises performed.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=85B1dfmgxrg

Mrytl Routine:

  • Clam Shells x 10 each leg
  • Leg Raises (neutral x 4, toe in x 4, toe out x 4)  each leg
  • Donkey Kicks x 10 each leg
  • Donkey Whips x 5 each leg
  • Fire Hydrant x 10 each leg
  • Knee Circles forward x10 backward x 10 each leg

Standing Exercises (Mrytl)

  • Hurdle leg forward x10 backward x10 each leg
  • lateral leg swing x10 each leg
  • Linear straight leg swing x 10 each leg
  • Linear bent leg swing x 10 each leg

Additional exercises I do each day: 

{I often do other exercises such as squats, lunges, etc but not on a daily basis}

  • Push-ups 60-70 total in sets of 15 or 20
  • Butterfly crunches 50 total
  • Butterfly sit ups 20 total
  • Plank

I keep my routine consistent which makes it quick and easy. It’s so easy to skip out on stretching, foam rolling and strength exercises, but I’ve found these are just as important as running. Sometimes I have to get creative to fit everything into the day. I’ll do my push ups or a few squats while the shower is heating up. Sometimes I’ll foam roll during the commercials of a tv show, or I’ll take my hand held roller in the car and use it while waiting in the after school pick up line.

Have you heard of the mrtyl routine?  What is your post-run stretching routing?

 

 

 

What I Ate Today

Thursday Sept. 7th 

7:00 A.M. {Breakfast} Cereal 

 

I know, I know, I said I stopped eating cereal in my previous blog. Well, this is one of my favorites, and I purchased it on an impulse last week. I love it drizzled with a little honey, topped with berries and almond milk.

10:00 A.M. {Post-Run Protein Smoothie}

 

I got home from my 9 mile run and the dog was waiting for his morning walk. So I quickly made this smoothie and took it with me on our walk.

12:00 P.M. {Lunch}  Salad

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  • Farro
  • Lettuce of choice – I used a spring mix blend
  • Red Onion
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Feta Cheese
  • Drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice. sprinkled sea salt and pepper on top

2:00 P.M. {Snack} – Iced coffee & protein bar

 

4:30 P.M. {Pre-Dinner Snack} 

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1/4 of an apple my son was having as an after school snack, 1/2 banana left over from breakfast, and 1 TBSP PB sprinkled with chia seeds.

6:15 P.M. {Dinner} Trader Joe’s Superfood Pilaf

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This was the first time making this pilaf. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to enhance it to make a meal, but I ended up adding a can of black beans. I topped it with a few pumpkin seeds, feta cheese, and tortilla chips on the side. I was going for a Mexican inspired dish, but it was a blend of greek-mexican I guess. It was good but I would think of a different way to serve it next time.

8:00 P.M. {Bedtime Snack} Sonic

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I am generally not an ice-cream person, and it took all my will power not to order mozzarella sticks, but I did have a few bites of my son’s brownie and cookie dough blaster from Sonic. Not going to lie it was pretty darn good!

Hope you had an amazing day! If you like these types of posts let me know. I would like to continue doing them on a weekly or bi-monthly basis if they are interesting….

Life Happens and it’s name is Harvey

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I have lived in the Houston area 55 days. It has been an adjustment moving from Arizona where I had lived for about 14 years. Anyone who has moved knows it is more work than you think it’s going to be. Selling a house, packing, moving, unpacking, and trying to settle into a new area. Getting my son registered for a new school was quite stressful, and then his much anticipated first day of school came. I was so ready for school to start after the long summer. I wanted to get us back into a routine! All the plans I had of how I was going to spend my time exploring our new town. I was going to get my running routine back, take a yoga class, and maybe even get my hair done! The school year was off and running – for 3 whole days, and then Harvey hit.

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Yes all those wonderful plans I had made were crushed, but that is nothing compared to how devastating the rain and flooding has been on Houston. It wasn’t that actual landfall of the hurricane that was so devastating to Houston, but the rainfall that has lasted for days from the storm. Homes have been destroyed, and streets have been flooded. Both airports have been closed. Even if you wanted to leave the city it is impossible to get out. Stores have been closed, and unable to restock supplies. We have been camped out in our home for 5 days now, and at times I have had a pity party and gotten frustrated at the situation. Then I remind myself that I am one of the lucky ones. I am so fortunate to be sitting in dry clothes and a dry home. People have been forced from their home in the pouring rain, leaving behind all their belongings. It is hard to see any positive in a historical event like this, however the way the communities have come together and supported each other has been profound. IMG_5244

The dark days make the bright ones even brighter. There will be a rainbow after this storm. I’m looking forward to brighter days ahead, but for now I will have faith and patience in the situation and do what I can to support Houston.

Ways you can support those severely impacted by the Hurricane :

Local Fleet Feet running stores are accepting donations of gently-used or new shoes, and also new socks.

More info on Fleet Feet Donations

Monetary donations are the quickest way to support relief efforts. Here is a link to the American Red Cross donation page for more information on supporting Harvey victims.

American Red Cross

In the days and weeks ahead more supplies will be needed, and I’m sure more local communities will collect items to send to Houston so keep an eye out for donation collections in your areas!

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Small Changes for a Big Impact

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I like to continuously work on improving my mind, body and health. Drastic changes are often hard to stick to but little changes can easily become a habit and have a big impact over time. Here are 5 small changes I’ve incorporated into my life.

Push -ups everyday 

Outside of running, I don’t really have a set routine of strength exercises that I do regularly. I try my best to foam roll and stretch, especially right after my run. I also may do a few lunges for warm – up pre-run. However, about a month ago I started doing push-ups everyday. I used to do push-ups here and there when I felt like it, and they were usually always done on my knees. I really hate push-ups so I was unmotivated to do them. They are hard and they hurt, but it’s often the things that we don’t like to do that we probably need to be doing. So I told myself I was going to start doing 3 sets of 10 every single day and gradually work up. I have not progressed to 4 sets of 20 push-ups ALL on my toes. I will keep increasing until I get to 100 total push-ups a day, and I may not stop at that. I can tell I am stronger in my core, arms and back, but more importantly setting aside a few minutes a day to accomplish this goal has made me feel better not only physically but mentally.

Switched out Cereal for Oatmeal 

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I love cereal. Frosted Shredded Wheat is my jam.  I also love Lucky Charms, Life, Cheerios, Cocoa Crispies, oh and the Annie’s Brand of Frosted Flakes are amazing…I love cereal in general. The problem is I can’t eat just one bowl of cereal. I always knew oatmeal was a healthier option, and I should give it try. But there was just one problem, I do not like oatmeal. It’s not so bad in the winter month’s but in the summer it does not appeal to me! However, I knew this was a simple change I could make that would have a big impact on my diet. I stumbled on a brand that I actually do not mind (Better Oats 100 Calorie packets). I miss cereal but I like the way my body feels from the oatmeal. I try to eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast 4x a week, and then give myself another option the other days. My other go to breakfast meal is a slice of toast with PB and half a banana.

Saying no to Seconds (& 3rd’s) at Dinner

Dinner is probably my favorite meal of the day. I used to think it had to be the biggest as well. Who wants to stop at one bowl of pasta? However, overeating at dinner was a huge problem for me. Second helpings and even thirds were not uncommon, and neither was going to bed stuffed and waking up full. Once I made the decision to stop at one serving, I  started to feel tons better. I left the dinner table just satisfied, which is not always easy, but at least I wasn’t bloated, uncomfortable and lazy for the rest of the night. Now I wake up hungry which is a good thing!

Becoming a Minimalist

I am a planner by nature due to my Type A personality. I like to meal plan and have a rough plan of what I want to accomplish during the week. That doesn’t mean I’m always efficient in the way I do things, and I can get caught up in daily activities that waste a lot of time.  Quite a few months ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Minimalists. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already watched it. It really got me thinking about small changes I could make in my life. Since then I have slowing been transitioning into a more minimalistic lifestyle by eliminating so many unnecessary “things” that are essentially just distractions from what I really care about. By doing this I can spend more time focusing on things I really love and care about! One area I have started minimizing is my wardrobe. I spend less time fussing over what to wear now that my options are narrowed down and organized. The less options the easier the decision! Hard to believe but true.

No Alcohol 

Yeah that’s right, I stopped drinking alcohol. Gasp! And I’m not committing to never having a drink again, but for now I am content without drinking. I’m not suggesting you should quit drinking. I just feel better by eliminating it. I used to drink a glass of wine on most nights, and maybe a few drinks on the weekend. I never felt sick but I didn’t feel amazing either. Life should be fun and enjoyable, and there should be something to look forward to each day. If a glass of wine each night is your treat than that is perfect. My treat is an iced-coffee. I have one almost every afternoon. You can’t eliminate all joy from life so find what really makes you happy and gives you the most satisfaction and enjoy it!

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I’d love to hear what changes you have made in your life that have had a positive impact?

What I Ate Today

Tuesday August 15th, 2017

7:30 A.M. {Morning cup of Joe} with splash of coconut milk

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8:15 A.M. {Breakfast}  Oatmeal

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10:00 A.M. {Pre-Dog Walk & Park with Kiddo} 1 slice of toast w/ PB & 1/8 banana

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The entire banana was bad, this was all I could salvage, usually I would eat half a banana.

11:15 A.M. {Post-Walk / Park} Protein blueberry muffin & Iced-Coffee with Coconut Milk

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I was starving when we got home from the park! I’ve been making these muffins once a month with very ripe bananas. I use the muffin recipe on the Kodiak Cakes box of waffle mix. I substitute out butter and use coconut oil instead. I also use honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and I add in blueberries.

12:15 P.M.  {Snack}  Cottage Cheese 

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Normally I would wait and have lunch around 1 p.m, but I had an appointment today, and then some errands to run. I was already feeling a little hungry and knew by 2-3pm I would be HANGRY if I didn’t eat a snack now.

2:45 P.M. {Lunch} Salad topped with Veggie Burger 

Later lunch than usual, but still my usual go-to salad for lunch. Lettuce blend topped with carrots, beets, avocado, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, raw pumpkin seeds, and a veggie burger. Salad dressing is homemade from the Eat Fast Run Slow Cookbook.

5:30 P.M. {Pre-Track Tuesday Snack} 

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Let’s not pretend, I may have eaten half the box. I also had protein bar. My go to bar before workouts is Health Warrior Chia Bars, and my favorite flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter. FYI you can use discount code chasing_prs30 for 30% off all products on the Health Warrior Website

9:00 P.M. {Post-Track} Protein Shake

 

Today’s schedule made the time’s I ate at a little off, but I still ate the same food that I typically eat every single day! I keep my diet simple, and like to keep my food options to a minimum. Spending less time worrying about what I’m going to eat and more time focusing on other things. The food I do eat is food I love and actually crave. If I start to feel bored or stop liking the taste of something I bring something new into my routine. By keeping it simple my body knows what to expect. There are no surprises, and I have less stomach issues and discomfort! I love to eat smaller portions more times thru out the day.

Do you follow a routine for meals or do you mix up what you eat each day? What are your favorite snacks, and meals? I love knew ideas!!!