Saturday, April 6, 2013

Running Happy Headband Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to do a headband review by a company called Running Happy - it is a company owned by two moms who make these headbands that don't slip! I have a really difficult time finding headbands I am happy with, they always seem to either slip or be so tight that I get a headache. I have tried thick, thin, some with rubber on the inside of them, you name it I have tried it! Needless to say I was a little skeptical when I received this head band, what would make it different from the rest? Well there is one thing that makes it extremely different, it is something I have seen no other company do, a small hair pin is built in underneath of the ribbon. You can't see it or even feel it when it's on your head but it is there and it is helping to hold the headband in place! When I first saw the hair pin when I got the head band in the mail I was a little concerned that it would be irritating, but it wasn't at all. The hair pin is in the center of the ribbon so it sits right on the top of your head, it also helps hold those fly aways in place on your runs as well! I would highly suggest this product to anyone looking for a comfortable headband that stays in place, whether you're running, doing yoga, or what-have-you!

I've never reviewed anything before and I am thankful that Running Happy was nice enough to send me a product to review for them and help get their product known.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Half Marathon Training & The Double Standard

Well I need to apologize for my lack of posts, but I have been extremely busy recently. I have a day off today and wanted to make sure to share this huge accomplishment with you. I have finished my half marathon training schedule! I should have finished a few weeks ago but I had gotten sick and had a flare up of achilles tendonitis from moving that made me push a few of my runs off. What I have found in my training is that listening to your body is the best thing you can do. It's the moments where you try and over push (not just your average pushing through a workout) yourself that you end up more seriously injured and out for weeks. Anyway, yesterday was the last long run on my training plan and it was a scheduled 13 but I decided to add the extra .1 just for good riddance. At the end of the run it was one of those moments where you have to stop and realize what just happened. Everything you've been working for the past few months has actually taken place. I've ran a half marathon. It is a fantastic feeling. My first scheduled half marathon isn't actually until May 18th, so I am going to spend some time today seeing if there is anything local and sooner I can do. I really was not confident that I could be ready in time for a race sooner than that.

Today, I would also like to address a topic that I have started calling "The Double Standard". I've noticed it quite a bit in society and though I am sure it has been addressed elsewhere I wanted to say something as well. In today's world it is unacceptable to tell someone that they are fat or need to lose weight, it is even considered bullying (and I agree - it isn't appropriate to say things of that nature and it can easily be turned into bullying), but for some reason it seems that people find it acceptable to call someone skinny or tell them not to lose weight. What people making comments like that don't realize is that it really is the same thing. Whether you are making comments to someone about being fat or skinny, neither is an appropriate topic (especially in a public situation). Now, I am not saying that it is never appropriate. If someone is coming to you as a friend or loved one in private, concerned about health that is one thing, it is also different when a clinician is addressing it with someone as a patient. Also different is if you're trying to complement someone you know has been trying to lose weight, just make sure you phrase it as a complement, and not an underhanded one.

I am sorry if the end of this post has turned into a rant, I just want people to remember that you wouldn't tell someone they need to lose weight in everyday conversation, so it is important not to have a double standard and be okay with commenting on a person's thin physique either. I've been seeing a lot of people be hurt by comments like this recently, and no one deserves to feel bad about their bodies. Everyone is unique and should love themselves just as they are. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This weekend was a very busy but fun weekend! Spent a lot of time studying for an upcoming end of rotation exam and some time with my in-laws for my mother-in-law's birthday! Despite all the go-go-go I made sure to still make time to eat right and exercise, it wasn't easy though!

After trying my first Body Flow class this week, I decided I wanted to get a DVD that I could randomly do to get a new workout fix when I didn't have the ability to make it to a new class. So I purchased the instant download for Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30 DVD. It is based on her 3-2-1 method. 3 strength moves, 2 cardio moves, and 1 minute of abs. There are 3 circuits of 3-2-1. There is a workout for each week and you never do the same move each week. It is a lot of fun! They are under 30 minutes (with warm up and cool down) and you definitely get your sweat on! I highly recommend it if you are looking for something new to do!

This Friday I also completed my second race for 13 in 2013! It was a virtual 5k for Runs For Cookies birthday! I didn't PR but I still made a good time and then finished the remaining .9 miles for my half marathon training. Of course, since the race was for Runs For Cookies, I made a batch of cookies that evening and then on Saturday I took the leftovers to my in-laws. They were a hit! Now, I've never actually had a peanut butter cookie since I have been allergic since I was 9 months old, but from what my husband and his family told me these were pretty spot on!

Ingredients: I used 2C gluten free all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1C Sunbutter sunflower seed butter (or any nutbutter I am sure), 1C agave nectar, 1/2C coconut oil,  and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

First you preheat the oven to 350, and mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Then slowly mix in the dry to the wet. Roll into a small ball, and place on baking sheet. Use a fork to push down on the ball and create the pattern seen in the picture. Then bake for 15 minutes and let cool. I did not cover them until the next day because I was afraid they would get too moist, this gave me a crunch outer shell and a crumbly center. Everyone said "these taste like peanut butter cookies" and that made me happy! I will definitely be making these again, they were so simple and delicious, and of course a great source of protein!

Today between studying I did my "long" run - I was saddened by the fact that it was a cut back milage weekend, but actually ended up thankful. I started out and was really stiff - it didn't take me too long to remember I never stretched!! So 2 miles in to today's 6 miler I stopped and stretched. It seemed to be a tad too late but the run still ended up enjoyable despite the minor stiffness. Lesson learned, always..ALWAYS remember to stretch! I did a nice long stretch afterwards and felt much better. This week will be interesting because my week day mileage is being upped and so is my Saturday mileage. It will also be my first 9 miler on Sunday...wew! I will be ready for this half marathon!! I am determined to be!

Lastly, my end of rotation exam in on 2/8 so if my posts don't happen or are shorter until after that I apologize, but I will be back with lots of things to say afterwards I promise!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Body Flow Class Recap

This will be a short post recapping my first Body Flow class at my gym today. My gym just relocated to a larger location and they are now offering some classes throughout each week. Unfortunately they are all during my rotation, so when I found out I would be off today I could not have been more excited to be able to go to the class!

First I did a little research - what is Body Flow? Body flow is supposed to be a combination of yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi. It helps build flexibility and tone and strengthen your muscles while also being peaceful and benefiting your mental wellbeing. Who doesn't want all of these things wrapped into one hour class?

Because it's a new course at my gym there was only three students and the instructor; I am kind of glad there was because it lead to a more personalized feel to the class. I was able to talk about why I had decided to try the class and even talk to the instructor about maybe doing a weekend class every once in a while so I could continue coming.

The class started out with very basic breathing and yoga, in order to stretch out our bodies...and it is a good thing we stretched because what came next was intense! We did some variations of plank and by the second rep my whole body was shaking a bit, which surprised me because I can hold plank for over two minutes now, but these variations really made sure you worked other parts of your body. Next we moved on to the most intense stability ball workout I have ever experienced! I swear I found muscles in my legs and abs that I never knew I had! The instruction really helps walk your through the breathing which is actually a huge part of toning while working out. Lastly, we finished with some more yoga and lengthening stretches, I can assure you I will be sore tomorrow!

If you haven't tried a Body Flow class I highly recommend it, especially if you are a runner. I could really feel how much my quads and hamstrings were being strengthened which is important for every runner!

Happy Wednesday! Look for Recipes at the end of the week!

Questions of the day:
1. Have you tried a body flow class? Did you enjoy it?
2. If you're a runner what is your favorite supplemental workout?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Meeting goals, eating food, inspiration & fun!

I have been extremely busy the past week or so but have been thinking about all to encompass in this blog post, making mental notes each day.

The time constraints I experienced this week taught me a lot. After having about three weeks off from rotations it seemed so easy to fit running and working out into my schedule. I've been doing this for over a year now but the break definitely jaded my view on time management. I would get up and make sure to fit in a Tone It Up routine each morning no matter what, I was able to easily fit my four mile run in on Tuesday too. When it came time for Thursday's four miler though, time won the race. By the time I had gotten out of work it was going on 7:30 and it had been dark for nearly two hours, I had my running clothes with me and decided I would get my run in at the gym instead of outside (note: I despise running on treadmills, but I despise the late night runs even more). I am a member at a 24/7 gym and so I knew it would be open for me to get me run in. Boy was I wrong. My gym had been advertising it's relocation to a bigger facility for a few months but never really announced when the move would take place, well apparently on one of the few evenings I run there, they were moving and closed. I came home irritated, and decided okay I'll try running at night, I have the reflective gear anyway (I run when it's getting dark, but not in the dark if that makes sense, so the reflective gear still comes in handy). .38 miles in I realized the street lights in my neighborhood did not give off nearly enough light for me to be able to see, thus despite people being able to see me, I couldn't even see my own two feet. I turned around and walked back home. I felt defeated, though only for a moment.

This situation made me realize that being a good runner isn't always about following your training schedule to a "T", it also includes being adaptable. Moving my run to the next day and accepting that my training wasn't nearly as ruined as I thought it was at first is part of what shapes me into a better runner.

On Tuesday I PR-ed my four mile time...and then I did even better on Saturday when preparing for today's seven miler. I was ecstatic. It's these little moments that remind me that I am progressing with each and every run. It was an absolutely wonderful feeling. What I've been loving even more is how much better I have gotten at pacing. I used to be awful at pacing myself. I would start out way to fast and end sluggish and exhausted. Now my splits show me progressively getting faster as my run goes on. So many things I never thought I would accomplish are happening. Who else is meeting their goals recently? Are you surprised by being able to do these things?

Today's run was the longest run I have done yet. Never have I ran more than 6.2 miles. Training for this half marathon makes every week feel like a huge accomplishment. Adding to the total weekly miles, adding to the long run distance just feels incredible. I could not have asked for better weather today either! Just under 60 degrees during my run, it was a warm one for January in Maryland that's for sure! A little overcast with peaks of the sun, it was fabulous! To make this run even better, the people who realized how long I had been out running were waving and even giving me thumbs up as I ran by! It was such an energy booster throughout the run and I really appreciate that! I ate some raisins to keep me going at around 45 minutes and was surprised how easy it was to eat and maintain my pace. Last week it definitely was not that easy, haha. This was my ninth run with my Garmin and I love it, it keeps me on track with my pace and is a lot easier to glance at than my phone keeping me safer while I'm running on the road. Now the only problem I am having with it is calorie calculation, there is no way that I only burnt 97 calories running 7 miles hah. When I upload what I ran through my Garmin to RunKeeper the calories burned is fixed, but it is still rather annoying that it isn't being accurately done the entire time. I contacted the company via Facebook to see if I am doing anything wrong, and will be calling their support line tomorrow when they reopen. The funny part is that the calories burned was accurate the first few runs then slowly decreased. I hope they can easily tell me how to fix this! Let me know if you readers have any ideas!

Now for the food, oh man was it a good week for food! Here we have tofu in a mole poblano sauce with a spicy cilantro rice salad. This came from the Vegan Fire & Spice cookbook, and was phenomenal. Mole poblano is a spicy chocolate sauce that paired with the cilantro rice salad beautifully. We aren't big on tofu, but we do like to use it in recipes on occasion for something different.

Ingredients: 4 chiles - steamed and seeded, 2 tbsp rasins, 1 tbsp canola oil, 1 yellow onion - chopped, 1 garlic clove - chopped, 2 tomatoes - chopped, 1/3C tortilla chips, 1 tbsp white wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp coriander, 1/8 tsp cloves, 1C veggie broth, 1oz unsweetened chocolate, salt to taste.

Soak the chiles and raisins in bowl with boiling water for 1 hr until soft. Heat oil in skillet and add the onion, garlic and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Process chile mixture and 1C of the soaking liquid in blender until smooth. Add the onion mixture, tomatoes, tortilla chips, vinegar and spices and blend well. This should yield a thick mixture. Move mixture into a pan and add the broth and chopped chocolate and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring for roughly 30-40 minutes. Should be thick but pourable. Add more broth if too thick. While this is cooking you can press the tofu and grill once the sauce is complete.

The rice salad: 3C cold cooked long grain brown rice, 1/2C chopped red onion, 1/2C chopped celery, 2Tbsp mint, 1Tbsp ginger, 1Tbsp toasted sesame seeds, 1Tbsp minced parsley, 2 oranges in bite sized pieces, 2Tbsp lemon juice, 1/2tsp hot red pepper flakes, 1/4C olive oil, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, 6C a green of your choosing.

Combine rie, onion, celery, mint, ginger, sesame seeds, parsley, and orange segments - set aside. In another bowl combine the lemon juice, oil, spices, and bled well with a whisk/fork. Pour the dressing over the rice mixture and toss until well mixed. Lay green of your choosing on plate and put mixture on top.

This is a long and time consuming recipe - we always try to have a fun more complex one at least once a week - this was a good one to do!

Next we enjoyed a Forks Over Knives recipe for a breakfast portobello florentine, we had it for dinner instead it and was delightful, grilled portobello mushroom over grilled spinach with a cauliflower cream sauce. The flavors paired together flawlessly. This is definitely one we will be holding onto as a favorite. Sorry the picture isn't that pretty, I may have started eating before I remembered to photograph it haha.

Ingredients: 1 portobello mushroom per person, 2C cauliflower florets, 1/2C veggie broth, 2Tbsp lemon juice, 1/8Tsp cayenne pepper, 1lb fresh spinach, salt and pepper to taste.

Come the cauliflower, veggie broth, lemon juice and cayenne pepper in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the cauliflower is tender, about 8-10 minute. Puree the mixture with a blender or food processor until creamy then return to the pain to keep warm. Add the spinach to a large pot with 1/4C water. Cook covered over medium heat until the spinach wilts. Drain and season with salt and pepper. Grill the portobello mushroom (we use our George Foreman) and place on plates divide the spinach amongst the mushroom sand spoon the sauce over the spinach, serve hot.

Now, I have never been a big fried food person. Growing up with multiple food allergies cuts a lot of that out, but when I do want something of that nature I go straight for some sweet potatoes! I don't fry them but I slice and bake them in the oven with a little bit of oil and salt and pepper for 25 minutes at 350 degrees, then I pair them with some good 'ol fashioned ketchup usually. Sometimes I will throw together a sweet chille sauce of sorts and that is always a nice added kick.

All you need is 1 small to medium sweet potato, Japanese sweet potatoes work well and deliciously and whatever healthy oil you have around the house and some salt and pepper. Quick, easy, and works as a great comfort food!

The last recipe from this past week I want to share is my first attempt at homemade cereal bars. In the photo I paired it with a banana for a nice, healthy dessert.

What you'll need: 1 3/4C oats, 2C sunbutter (or any nut butter if you're not allergic), 2 Tbsp flax meal, 6 Tbsp water, 1/4C a dried fruit of your choosing, 1/4C agave, and 2C flour (I used quinoa flour). Mix the flax meal with hot water to great a gel, mix all the dry ingredients together followed be mixing all of the wet ingredients together then slowly pour the wet into the dry until you have a thick dough-like mixture. Fill into a baking pan and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. This time, I used steel cut oats for a crunchier bar, but will probably try regular oats for a softer bar next time. Those measurements are approximate, play around with it! I yielded 12 bars for around 200 calories each and a ton of protein!

Have you tried any recipes this past week that you have just loved? Please share them in the comments section! Or leave a link to your blog post with the recipe!

Lastly, I wanted to share some extra fun things I noted this week. One is a quote from Runner's World Magazine that I absolutely loved and the second is a shirt my husband's aunt sent me for my birthday that I thought some of you other runners out there may enjoy. You can find it at - they have more than just running ones too! Check them out! They are a lot of fun and great for gifting!

Questions from today's post recap:
1. Who else is meeting their goals recently?
2. Are you surprised by being able to do these things?
3. Have you tried any recipes this past week that you have just loved?

Leave your answers below in a comment or a link to a blog post that explains your answers!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Short Post: A New Day!

First off, I am so honored and excited to say that I am officially a Girls Gone Sporty Ambassador. I can't wait to use this to help other people over come the obstacles of their every day life. I hope my story can inspire people and give them hope. 

Second, today I started my 6th rotation, meaning in only 7 short months I will officially have my masters degree. This still feels unreal to me and I am so excited for my future.

On January 1, 2013 I participated in my first virtual run, the Resolution Run 5k, part of the 5th by the 5th virtual run series. It was so much fun and really made me challenge myself, I was able to run my fastest 5k yet! 26 minutes! I was a little shocked! Since I have been training for my first half marathon I have been keeping my runs at a slower pace to build milage, I definitely did not think I'd be able to run so fast! It was great motivation and a great way to start out the new year!

Sorry that this is only a short post, it has been a busy day! Watch out for a post on the new Forks Over Knives recipes we've tried this week! They have been fabulous.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Brief NYE Post!

Well, in just a few short hours it will no longer be the year of 2012, and what an amazing year it has been. I have "survived" the didactic portion of my program, and only have seven more months of the clinical portion. I have celebrated my one year wedding anniversary, and dropped fifteen pounds in total - ten of which I gained on my honeymoon. I have gained confidence and love for myself unlike I ever had before. I have adapted a vegan diet (with the exception of very, very occasional seafood) which has rid me of symptoms of illness I had been experiencing for years. I moved back to Maryland after spending five years in Scranton finishing my didactic education. I am sure there is more that I can't think of right now. To summarize, 2012 has been incredible.

One other big accomplishment of 2012 is the fact that I have become a runner. Something I never thought would happen, you can read more about that in my "about me" section.

My goals for 2013 are to continue building my confidence and love for myself, to continue to grow as a couple with my husband, and to continue to surround myself with wonderful people who bring me up, not down. I will be running my first half marathon, and my only goal there is to complete it, haha. I will be graduating from the clinical portion of my program and taking my boards, which leads me to the goal of passing my boards, haha. We will be purchasing a house around May, if not sooner, depending on what life has in-store. I have also signed up for 13 in 2013, so I will be completing 13 races this year! Wow! I am excited to meet all these goals and challenges.

What are your goals for the new year?