Dec 15

Time to VOTE! My favorite place to run photo contest…

Okay – it’s time to vote! Thank you to everyone who submitted a photo. I loved hearing the descriptions and what makes you feel strongly about the location you chose. Voting is simple – descriptions are above the photos with a check box. Choose your favorite and scroll to the bottom and click “vote”. You may enlarge photos for a better view by clicking on it directly.

I will keep voting open until Wednesday and the winner will be contacted Thursday with your coupon code for your FREE registration for either the Dick’s Sporting Goods Marathon or UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon.

You may only vote once so get all your friends to visit and vote for you. :)

Good luck

 

Dec 09

Giveaway!! FREE Pittsburgh Marathon or Half Marathon Registration!

logo_slider I am so excited to offer a FREE registration to either the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon or the UPMC Health Plan Half Marathon! Pittsburgh is my home course and I can’t tell you enough how much I love this marathon. I have a couple to compare it to and I have to say Pittsburgh really pulls together a top notch event. You don’t have to take my word for it, Runner’s World ranked it one of the best “newer” marathons in 2014. Read more about that HERE. It’s the course where I claimed my marathon PR and where I’ll shoot for my BQ this coming spring. Visit the Pittsburgh Marathon website for additional race information.

I decided I wanted to do something a little bit fun and get to know my readers a little better by finding out (and seeing) where they love to run. Yep, a photo contest. Here are the instructions and the “loose” rules:

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Submit a photo of your favorite place to run. (It doesn’t have to be Pittsburgh, but fun if it is) It can be somewhere you run all the time or somewhere amazing you’ve run just once. Please include a 1-2 sentence explanation of why you love the spot. Please be brief! You can submit either by:

  • Posting your picture on Instagram and tagging me in your description. (@thisrunnersfuel) along with the hash-tag #GameonPGH (best way – hint, hint)
  • Posting your photo to my Facebook page with your description along with the hash-tag #GameonPGH
  • Or simply email me the photo with description to thisrunnersfuel@gmail.com
  • Share, Share, Share this post!

 

LOOSE RULES

1. You (or many) can be in the picture but it isn’t necessary.

2. Feel free to be creative (photoblend and pic stitch photos welcome)

3. If you’re in the picture please be sure that your clothing is appropriate (meaning ALL ON) You’d be surprised!

4. Please no inappropriate profanity of any kind in your description :)

 

You can submit your photos until Sunday, December 14th and I will post the photos for readers to vote on early next week. Yes, the readers vote! I can’t wait to see the submissions! So fun!

If you have questions, please feel free to email me. (thisrunnersfuel@gmail.com)

Let The Games Begin!

 

Dec 08

Monday Motivation

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Dec 07

Weekly Recap – Running is my first Love

I don’t know why, but it seems like once December hits, time moves faster. Probably because we’re all trying to beat this big deadline at the end of the month. For the record, I haven’t started shopping yet. No doubt, another reason the month seems to be flying by. I did however find the time to work out this week and try an new sport. :)

I’m still taking the runs light during the week, but after last Sunday’s five mile run outside, I was more comfortable running both Tuesday and Thursday at just under a 9:00 minute pace. I also kept to the treadmill both weekdays to give my knee a break from the asphalt pounding. Thursday, I also mixed in a little upper body work with the weights and some jump rope. Jumping rope is a great way to strengthen your feet and ankles which helps once ski season is underway.

IMG_1939.JPGSaturday morning it was back to Yoga Flow for another Levels 1&2 class led by Holly. I just love that hour and a half. This past year, once I went to the 5-day-a-week training plan that involved both weekend days, I dropped yoga in lieu of my pace runs. This January when training starts, my intention is to keep my yoga “practice” but shift it to the 6:00am class on Fridays. We’ll see how that works out. At any rate, here’s a shot of me holding crow.

IMG_2017.JPGToday was a big day for me. Since the knee (ITBS) has been feeling better, I decided it was time to turn it up a notch and start working a little harder, get a longer run in, and start building my fitness for marathon training which is set to start in January. I was actually nervous this morning to run 10 miles. After all those miles I ran this summer and the distances I tackled, I was nervous and had no idea what to expect. It was the first time I ran anything longer than 5 miles in about a month. Well, I didn’t set my expectations high and decided to just see how I felt. I thought I would run closer to a 9:20-9:30 pace, but ended with a 9:11 pace overall. I was really happy with the way I felt and loved being out at North Park again. I don’t think I was there, running since before Columbus! A long time! The sun was shinning brightly, but I decided NOT to run in my big “buggy glasses” LOL

IMG_2024.JPGIMG_2038.JPGSoooo, this evening is where the new sport comes in. I’ve been invited many times to try Paddle, but tonight I actually gave it a shot. I knew NOTHING about paddle so kudos to me for being brave and putting myself out there right? Anyway, it’s kind like tennis, except you play with a solid paddle thing instead of a strung racket. The court is smaller and you can play off the screens that surround the court. Sounds like a cross between tennis and racket ball right? It kind of is. I liked it and didn’t totally suck for my first time (at least not as bad as I thought I would) So, it’s another thing I’ll try to fit into my schedule with the running, yoga, skiing and on again, off again golf. :)

Me and my paddle :)

Me and my paddle :)

At the end of the day, my first true love is running and will continue to be my main focus. But I love trying new things and the opportunity to be outside more during the winter months. Always remember we’re never too old to try something new. :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

 

Dec 02

Recipe of the Week: Vegan Mac N Cheese

IMG_1779.JPGWhen I was in college Kraft Mac-n-Cheese was a dietary staple. I absolutely still love it today but I’m a little more cautious about pouring that florescent orange/yellow powder over my pasta. Just sayin. Real cheese over pasta is great, but loaded with saturated fat.

I was browsing through some of my old VegNews magazines and came across this vegan mac-n-cheese recipe. I couldn’t believe I had never tried it. It was incredibly easy and quick to put together. Nutritional Yeast is the ingredient that gives this dish the “cheesy” flavor and as a bonus, has many nutritional benefits. One serving, 2 tablespoons, provides the following:

  • 9g of protein (complete protein), providing all 9 amino acids
  • High in Potassium
  • Fortified Nutritional yeast is a great source of vitamin B12
  • Good source of dietary fiber

I typically buy nutritional yeast in bulk at a health food store, but I believe Bob’s Mills sells is packaged as well. Bonus, it’s pretty cheap.

This is a great way to carb load the night before a long run or as a recovery lunch after.

Ingredients:

  • 5 Cups water divided
  • 3/4 Cups nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 Cup pine nuts
  • 2 Teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 Teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos (Soy Sauce can be use as a substitute)
  • 2 cups uncooked pasta
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 3/4 Cup breadcrumbs IMG_1781.JPG

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Use 4 cups of water to cook the pasta and leave one cup aside
  • While the water is boiling/pasta is cooking, in a blender add nutritional yeast, pine nuts, and all spices and blend until smooth. Add remaining one cup of water and Bragg Liquid Aminos.
  • Heat oil in a large pan, add flour and stir until completely smooth and all lumps are removed. Pour “cheesy” mixture from blender into the pan stirring until thoroughly combined, then remove from heat.
  • Add cooked pasta to the cheesy sauce in the pan. Transfer to an oven safe dish, top with breadcrumbs and bake for 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

Dec 01

Monday Motivation

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Nov 30

Weekly Recap – and yes, I ran outside!

If you’re just tuning in, things on the running side have been kind of slow, actually non-existent compared to the previous couple of months. ITBS is something I’ve dealt with before so to say I was being cautious is an understatement. If HAVE to be ready to start training for the Pittsburgh Marathon in January, no exceptions. Despite the fact that I couldn’t run (much), I still had plenty of activity this past week. I hardly doubt it was enough to cover the amount of food and wine I consumed over the long weekend though. ;) Wednesday I took off to prepare for Thanksgiving the next day but was still up by 6:00am. I decided to head to the gym, did some strength training and got on an elliptical for a little over 21 minutes. I would really love to know how they calculate the miles covered on those things because it says that I went a little over 6 miles. Really? I’m not particularly fond of the elliptical, but I need to do something if I can’t run (much), so it fills in nicely.

IMG_1808.JPGI really wanted to run the Turkey Trot this year, but wasn’t in any condition to race. I still managed to get to the gym before I had to start cooking and again, started on the elliptical. I was on there for about 15 minutes and couldn’t take it anymore. I hopped on the treadmill and decided to run 2 miles, which turned into 3. It was the farthest I had run in over a week and was pleased that I didn’t end up in pain.

IMG_1829.JPGThanksgiving dinner turned out perfectly and I think I already mentioned that I wasn’t shy about eating and drinking my fill. :)

IMG_1900.JPGFriday morning was another early morning. Rich and I took a drive up to Seven Springs for the opening day of skiing. I was anxious to try out my new Blizzard Black Pearl rockers and they didn’t disappoint. I was a little rusty the first few times down the hill, but quickly picked up where I left off last February. We didn’t ski for very long since there weren’t that many lifts open, but it was enough to get started for the year. Hoping for more snow!

IMG_1901.JPGSaturday, Madison decided she wanted to join me at hot yoga (Yoga Flow) down in Shadyside. She tried it a few years ago and wasn’t that keen on it, mostly because of the heat…hmmm. She did good though, for someone who’s only tried it twice. She also talked me into lunch afterwards at Mercurio’s which was delicious!

IMG_1881.JPGFinally, we come to today. Today was the first time I ran outside in a while. I make it sound like it’s been months. It’s been 2 weeks, I guess, which is a long time for me. I was a little nervous. Even though I was on the treadmill Thursday morning and felt okay, running outside is a little rougher on the joints and muscles, so I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. I decided to pick a route with no hills and settled on running 5 miles. The first two miles I felt so out of shape. I can’t believe how quickly the fitness level drops. Mile one was slow at 9:24 but the pace dropped each mile and I finished mile 5 at an 8:46. I ran pain free which was a great feeling.

IMG_1898.JPGI still have some tenderness when I touch the knee in spots, but for the most part, I felt good. By no means would I say I’m completely “back”, but I’m feeling hopeful that I am headed in the right direction.
I’ll continue to keep the miles low this week, stay off the hills for now, and plan on making an appointment for a sports massage to release some of the tension in the legs.

It was a busy holiday weekend, but I feel like I made the most of it, kept busy and will sleep good tonight :)

Back to work tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend.

Nov 24

Monday Motivation

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Nov 19

Now That I Can’t Run….

Lonely Running Shoes

Lonely Running Shoes

Well it seems that my body is fighting me every step of the way with my post season(s) running. I worked hard last winter into the spring, spring through the summer and then into the fall. Lots of miles for sure. After the Indiana Marathon I knew that I had some nagging overuse issues. I don’t want to necessarily call them injuries, because with a little bit of rest I’ll be fine. I tested the waters and it seems that a little more rest is required.

UGH!

Like most avid runners, taking time off can be challenging. It has been TWO days and just thinking ahead to a week or two of rest seems like a very long time. I was looking forward to enjoying some fun runs with friends who are typically too fast for me to hang with. Since none of us are worried about pace right now, we can run together. I have to be smart though and think long term. I want to be completely healthy and ready to go in January when training for Pittsburgh starts.

I’ve determined that there may be a small, tiny chance that I’m suffering from a running addiction. Life just feels different when you aren’t running regularly or at least planing your next run. Did I mention it’s only been a day? LOL. :)

Now that I’m not running:

  • I go to the gym and can’t really get my bearings. I can lift, and I know it’s doing good, but the cardio thing just doesn’t feel right unless I’m on the treadmill or taking it outside for a few miles. I don’t get the feeling that I worked that hard. Eliptical – hate. Star climber – not sure it’s any better than running on the hamstrings or IT band. Bike – yawn. Hey, I’m just being honest. I would consider swimming, but I don’t have access to a pool. Boo.
  • I obsess about every calorie I put in my mouth. In a high mileage week, I could burn 4,000 calories. That’s a lot of food. Abruptly stopping that means altering the diet a little bit to accommodate the decrease in activity. I guess I have to cut my typical 1000 almond a day habit down to 500. Agony. Here’s the thing, now that I feel like I shouldn’t eat those high calorie foods, they seem 100X more appealing to me.
  • I feel like I am gaining weight by the hour. We are our own worst critics and I swear I am not as toned as I was a month ago. :( I know it’s hard to keep that intensity level all year round, but it really does wonders for keeping the pound off the thighs.

Squidward_thighs

I don’t want to make it all sound bad. I COULD see this as an opportunity to do some of the things I’ve been missing.

Hot yoga for example. I think I’ve forgotten everything I learned when I was a regular, but I feel like a good stretch in a 100+ degree room may do me some good. Once I started running Saturday AND Sunday, yoga was something I sacrificed. I have my class all lined up for this Saturday, but I dabbled with a few poses this morning and man, did they feel good.

IMG_1744.JPGClean my house. Now there’s an idea. Yes, my home has been a little neglected. It isn’t my favorite activity, but it sure makes me feel good to live in a sparkly clean house. :)

Cook more. I generally cook more during the fall and winter months anyway, but actually making time to try and post new recipes is something I miss.

I’m not sure how long this will last, but I’m smarter than I was a few years ago and respect the body when it talks to me. I can face the fact that I’ll lose a little fitness. But when I get back to a full schedule it should come back in no time.

Wish me luck to not lose my mind!

Question: Have you ever had to take a significant amount of time off from running? How did you handle it?

Nov 17

Monday Motivation

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