What I Ate Today -Day before Long Run

I thought it would be fun to do another “what I ate today” post. Tomorrow is my long run, 16 miles, so here is what I am eating the day before to prepare!

7:00 am Breakfast

Oatmeal with a spoonful of PB

 9:45 am Post 7 miler run 

Iced coffee with Vital Proteins collagen protein


11:30 am Lunch 

Mexican Bowl – using mostly leftovers



Rice, pinto beans, Brussel sprouts, tomatoes, pumpkin seeds, lettuce, dressing (olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and Dijon mustard)

2:00 pm Snack 

while running errands

 

4:00 pm After-School snack 

 

7:00 pm Dinner 

(Left-overs)Tomato sauce with Bison and noodles topped with a little ricotta 

I love making big batches of food for leftovers during the week! What do you typically eat the day/night before a long run? 

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Race Day Prep – 10 things to make race day exciting and successful

To compete – Latin – “to come together, to strive alongside another”

Race day can be so exciting yet it can cause so much anxiety and distress. It’s a day we all train for and talk about for week’s or months, but when it actually arrives we can have thoughts and feelings that are not so pleasant. The question of “why did I sign up for this race”  often arises. I tend to set race day expectations for myself, but as race day approaches I often start feeling self doubt about meeting those goals.  I’ve tried to set a routine leading up to race day to help calm those negative feelings, and also add back the excitement that racing should bring. I like to remind myself of the actual meaning of competition.  Race day is not about battling it out against everyone else on the course. Rather, it is a day that I get to go out and run with others, not against them. When I line up to race with my competitors, by giving their best effort, they will in turn bring out the best in me. When I give my best I will bring out the best in others. Competition is a positive thing not a negative, but I have to remind myself of this every once in awhile!

#1 Watch motivating videos / Listen to Podcasts / Read 

I often do all of these things almost every single day, however in the days leading up to a race I feel like I really load myself up on motivating material. Listening to podcasts, specifically one on a topic related to race day or a race recap I find very inspiring. I can almost envision myself in their shoes running that race or I try and gather helpful tips. I love watching YouTube videos or documentaries on running. The list of books on running and motivation is endless. I try to read a chapter a day or at least a few pages each night before bed.

#2 Pick your mantra

Having a race day mantra written on my arm or stuck in my mind is a helpful mental tool for when the race gets tough. This is a phrase I repeat over and over again in my head when it’s time to really dig deep. My last race I used the mantra “Champions never give up”. Such a simple sentence that had such a big impact. There were moments in the race when my legs felt so weak I thought I might fall right to the ground. But repeating this mantra gave me something to focus on other than my weak legs, and it helped me to keep pushing. Find a mantra that means something to you, and then use it in your next race to get you to that finish line.

#3 Be Lazy

In the final days before a race I try to be as lazy as possible. I want to really WANT to run on race day. I want to have that built up energy. No hard supplemental workouts, especially ones that will make my legs sore, and I try and leave a lot of the extra strenuous house cleaning duties for after the race! It’s hard as a runner to lay around , and not be productive but having the confidence to know that the work has been done is important.

#4 Paint my nails

I keep my nails unpainted for the most part between races, it’s just easier, saves me time and money. But I love to paint them the day before my race, not only is it calming and something to focus on other than running, but for some reason it adds an extra excitement to race day to have fun painted nails. Sounds pretty silly but it’s a routine I’ve started to really enjoy.

#5 Visualize your race day

The power of visualization is great. I spend some time leading up to a race visualizing my self running the course, and crossing the finish line strong, smiling, and a winner.  Will I actually win the race, no, but I will be a winner in my mind by having a strong race and meeting my personal goals.  I also visualize what I will do (take a gel, etc) at what points in the race. Having a positive image of yourself on race day, and in the race will help translate to a better race day.

#6 Run the course

If possible I always try to run the course or a portion of the course before the race. Mentally it helps me so much if I can picture the actual course in my mind, and I know what to expect thru out the race. In all my races I have done much better in terms of results when I’ve actually ran the course beforehand.

#7 Pick out your race outfit

This is such an exciting part of getting ready for race day. I like to pick out my outfit a day or two in advance. I lay it all out, maybe try it on one last time. It should be something I’ve worn before so no surprises. I also lay out all my race day essentials, shoes, socks, sports bra,  Nuun, gels, bib. When everything is laid out and ready it will make race morning much less stressful. Choose an outfit that makes you feel good, that you know you’re comfortable wearing, and you will feel even more confident race morning.

#8 Make-up

Race morning feels almost like getting ready for a day job. It’s proven you are more productive if you dress up rather than wear casual clothes to work. So race morning, I like to put on just a touch of make up – 5 mins tops. This is just an extension to having a good race outfit that makes you feel good and confident.

#9 Breakfast

I like to cut back on caffeine a few days before race day – we all know from my previous blog post that cutting it out for good is a no go for me. However a small cutback still helps me to really look forward to it on race day. I also have a breakfast that I eat on race morning but not too often any other days of the week. English muffin with PB and banana. This is almost like a treat for me, so it makes race morning extra exciting!! BTW- I know this meal works ok for me during a race. I would not recommend trying a new food routine on race morning.

#10 Remember why

When the race day nerves start to creep up and the self doubt comes on, I sit back and think about why I signed up for the race. I look back thru my training log and remind myself how far I’ve come. I set a few goals for the race, and most importantly remind myself that I am running my own race. I need to stay focused on myself, and what I am there to accomplish, and not get pulled into anyone else’s race/pace. This will help to ensure I have the best possible race I can have.

I hope everyone has a great racing season! Do you have any race day prep ideas that you would like share? Please leave a comment!!

Ten For Texas – 10 miler race recap

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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!?!?!?!

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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