Weekly Workouts and Meal Planning

  
After traveling home to vacation in Maine for half the summer, I’m finally home now to prepare for “back-to-school”! This week I return to teaching and my daughter starts her freshmen year of high school! I’m linking up with Laura from Mommy Run Fastand Jill from Fitness Health and Happiness. It will be good to get back into a weekly meal planning routine! 

Summary of Weekly Workouts:

Monday-3 mile easy run 

Tuesday-Strength and core workout from Quick Strength for RunnersFloor Exercises

Wednesday- 18 miles of hills and intervals on the bike at spin class

Thursday- Sunrise run of 2 miles before Teacher Writing Workshop and 4.5 miles after dinner.

Friday-Off/ Walk around mall and Whole Foods- back to school shopping with my Redhead! 

Saturday- 6 mile run with a friend

Meal Planning Ideas for the Week:

Breakfasts-

  • Scrambled eggs with toast
  • Warm oatmeal with honey and Vanilla Almond Milk
  • Blueberry pancakes-made a big batch ahead of time
  • Banana, vanilla, almond butter protein smoothies

Lunches-

Snacks-

Dinners- 

  • Sunday- dinner out! 
  • Monday-BLTs on Whole Grain Bread {Vegetarian for me- Cucumber, Tomato and arugula or spinach} and fresh corn on the cob
  • Tuesday- Fish or chicken with salsa and black beans
  • Wednesday and Thursday-Pasta marinara with or without ground turkey
  • Friday-Chicken/fish with brown rice, edamame and sweet potatoes

Checkout the Meal Planning link up every Sunday with Laura from Mommy Run Fast and Jill from Fitness Health and Happiness

What’s on your meal plan this week? 

Five Things About Being a Runner

  
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Happy Friday! Today I’m linking up with the DC Trifecta Ladies! Mar from Mar on the Run, Cynthia from You Signed Up for What, and Courtney from Eat Pray and Run DC for five running tips! 

Twenty something years ago, I was a young and carefree high school runner.  I ran without a watch or phone.  Cotton sweatshirts and mix-matched jogging pants were the staple pieces in my running wardrobe! I can’t even remember the brand or model shoe I wore during high school cross country or track!

Fast forward-Today! There are a few things I know now about being a runner. 

  1. Running Specialty Stores- These stores are helpful for runners wanting to get fitted for a certain brand and model of running shoe.  The staff at these running specialty stores are runners themselves and knowledgeable about various brands and models of running shoes. A running specialty store is helpful when choosing and getting fitted for the running shoe that works for you! 
  2. What to Wear: Running Apparel: So many options now when it comes to choosing fitness apparel that will keep you comfortable while running! I like to purchase a few key pieces of clothing each year, that will keep me running through each season! Running and fitness apparel is made with a moisture wicking material that helps keep sweat away from your skin!
  • A few pairs of running shorts
  • Tanks and short sleeve tops for warmer weather
  • A few long sleeve tops for fall and winter running
  • A good fitting running bra
  • Socks!! Socks that fit well and prevent blisters from forming

3.  Logging the Miles- Keep mileage low and your pace easy if you are just starting out as a runner. The general rule is to increase your total weekly mileage by 10%. Be comfortable with your pace so your able to run at a conversation pace. Listen to your body and don’t push through any uncomfortable tenderness or tightness. Don’t do too much at once. Add in new stresses every few weeks. Focus on building a good foundation of easy mileage before jumping into speed workouts! 

4.  Find a Running Group! A local running group can be a huge support system for a runner! I found my local running group to be very encouraging during training seasons. Running with a group once or twice a week gives a runner motivation and support! I also like running with a group when I’m trying out new routes or running trails. Running with a group in unfamilar territory increases a runner’s safety! 

5. Nourish and Fuel: As a teenager, my cross country and high school track workouts were fueled by pizza, Ben & Jerry’s and TJ Cinnamon Buns! Now, I focus on fueling my body with the right balance of carbs, healthy fats, tons of veggies and protein. 

  • Hydrate daily-keeps muscles happy! 
  • Eat well balanced meals and snacks-energy!
  • Focus on fueling your body as you log the miles, give your body what it needs to perform. 

  

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Enjoy the running journey and believe in yourself! 

What tips or advice have you learned about running over the years? 

Thinking Out Loud: Back to School Week! 

  
Wow! Where has summer break gone?! So much going through my mind right now and so much to do! This is the perfect day to just let my thoughts flow! I am linking up with Amanda from Running With Spoons!  

Next Wednesday, I head back to “teacher duties” and so this week has been all about mentally and physically preparing the house-organizing the office, kitchen and my closet! I’m a bit nervous because after 17 years of teaching 3rd, 4th or 5th grade, I’ll be teaching 1st grade! 

  

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What I will Miss About Summer:

  1. Not having a set schedule! Staying up late, watching random movies and old favorites- AGAIN and AGAIN! I love the book and movie-Fried Green Tomatoes! 
  2. Being able to run and workout whenever I want
  3. Trips to Maine!
  4. Being able to hydrate and use the bathroom Whenever I Want:)

Coffee on the front steps after morning runs! Being able to linger a bit longer after mid morning, weekday runs! 

  • Still deciding if I’ll be running in the evenings, after school, or becoming a . . . MORNING RUNNER! I’m still working on that “morning runner” motivation thing! Two runners, that are really motivating morning runners are, Colleen-Live Free and Run and Sarah-Run Far Girl

As I return to teaching next week, I’ll be stocking up on these refreshing natural sodas!

  

  • I found these natural sodas at my local health food store! I love the natural and unique combination of flavors! 

Of course “back-to-school” does mean shopping right?! 

  • I love to mix, match and pair casual clothes with fitness apparel!
  • My teaching wardrobe pretty much consists of fitness apparel! 

  

  • I love my three athletic dresses from NUU-MUU, the dresses pair well with capris from Lucy Activewear or Athleta! 

This is such a -last minute post- I was actually at a teaching workshop for writing this morning! The workshop had me up at sunrise, so I decided to fit in a quick run before packing lunch and gathering my writing assignments! 

Maybe I will become a morning runner! A few early morning miles actually happened this morning! 

Seen on my quick run this morning! This pinkish gray sky is Amazing!
 

Big news in the Running and Charity World- Zelle-Women’s Running Joins Charity Miles App 

  • I love using the Charity Miles App to Give Back to various organizations through running! 
  • You can join the Zelle Team on the App!

A quote from today’s Writing Workshop article- a fitting end to my day! Taking a moment to stop and reflect on blogging, motherhood, and teaching! The following piece of text really resonated with me.

“. . . recognize the incredible significance of everyday happenings.” – Janice Hartwick Dressel

Do you have a favorite quote?

Do you use the Miles for Charity App?

What will you miss most about summer? 

Six “Go-To” Core and Strength Exercises¬†

  

  

I wish I knew ten years ago, what I know now about the importance of core and strength fitness for runners.  In my teens, twenties and even thirties, I just concentrated on getting the miles run! Of course, being sidelined from running due to injuries over the last year has increased my awareness and need for core fitness and strength training! Now, even though I am not injured, I make these exercises a priority 2-3 times a week! 

  • Core and strength exercises are important for building balance and strength in your muscles.
  • Running performance and efficiency improve when muscles are activated in multiple ways.

Six Key Execises:  These are my “go-to” exercises for anywhere and anytime! 

  1. Kettle Bell Swings- I complete one set of ten with my right arm and then my left arm. This exercise really works the muscles in your shoulders to build upper body strength! Watch this Video Here for proper movements.
Photo Source: www.workoutlabs.com

2. Burpees- This is a great full body exercise that engages all the muscles and    raises your heart rate.   I complete three sets of ten for a total of thirty burpees! 

Watch this Video Here for proper form

 

3. Jack Knife Crunches-  Hello abs! This exercise aims to engage and work the lower abdominal muscles, along with the lower back muscles. Three sets of ten with 20 second rest in between is what works for me! Here is a Video to watch for proper form and a few variations! 

 

Photo Source: www.workoutlabs.com
 
4. Squats- Love or Hate’m this exercise really targets all the muscles from the waist down! I break up squats into five sets of ten! Squats build up the quads, hamstrings and calve muscles. 

  

 
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5. Side Clam Shells with Resistance Band-  This exercise is great for targeting and engaging the glute muscles. As runners, it is important to strengthen and stabilize the hip muscles. Strong hips and glutes help to support all the other muscles that are used in running. Watch this Video Here for proper form and technique. 

6. Push-Ups- This exercise targets and engages muscles in the upper arms and shoulders. The abdominal and glute muscles can also be targeted and engaged as well! The diagram below is a great visual! 

  

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  • Back in the spring, when I was working with my PT, I was reminded of how important it is to condition and strengthen the core muscles! 
  • These are six of my favorite core exercises because they don’t require much equipment or space! 

How often do you incorporate core and strength exercises into your weekly fitness and running schedule? 

Natural Skin Care: My Favorite Company

 What I put on my face and body is just as important as what I put in my body. Choosing skincare products that are good for you and the environment matter greatly to me. I carefully read and consider the ingredients on the label and information on the company behind the brand! 

Over the last five years, I’ve bought and tested out many skincare products, specifically for my face. Due to hormonal shifts in my late thirties, I was experiencing cystic acne breakouts. I spent tons of money on products and facials! 

Skincare for the Face: A product I love-

 For the last year, I have been using Caudalie Facial Products.  

  • Skincare collections geared toward anti aging and congested skin
  • All natural ingredients- no chemicals
  • The products leave my skin feeling smooth and refreshed
  • Love the Instant Foaming Cleanser- cleanesing without overdrying! 
  • Lightweight and oil free SPF20 moisturizer
  • A variety of skincare products to mix and match for the needs of my skin! 

 CAUDALIE is a Company that is Good for You and  the Environment:

  • All natural ingredients, no artificial preservatives
  • A company that gives back to the environment

From the website:
 

https://us.caudalie.com
 

Do you have a favorite natural skincare product? 

Beach2Beacon Race Recap

  
Beach2Beacon 10k Race

Each year, this race never ceases to amaze and motivate me with its stunning views, gorgeous, yet challenging course and awesome community support along the course! 

The Story Behind the Race:

Eighteen years ago, Joan Benoit Samuelson -Olympic marathon winning runner, had a vision and a dream to create a race for all levels of runners in her quaint and picturesque hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  For the last eighteen years, Beach2Beacon has drawn nearly 6,500 runners from around the world to tackle the hilly course that hugs the coastline of coastal southern Maine. Beach2Beacon gives back to a different community organization each year! 

My Fourth Year Running Beach2Beacon:

Every year the registration for this race opens to the world during the second week of March. Mark your calendar and set your timer! Registration for this race closes in a mere 4 minutes and 3 seconds! I have been lucky enough to get into this race four years in a row! {note-the 2012 Dry Fit Nike Shirt is missing from the pic- my daughter borrowed it} 

 

Each year runners recieve a beautifully designed Nike Dry Fit Commerative T-Shirt!
 

Prior to Race Day: Packet Pick Up 

My friend and fellow runner, Colleen-LiveFreeAndRun came up to Maine from Boston by train on Thursday. That afternoon we drove over to Cape Elizabeth High School to pick up our race bibs and car magnets! The Expo hosts local Maine businesses and running related companies, including Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running Company 

Colleen and I browsed the vendors and then waited on line for some yummy pasta from the Terra Cotta Pasta Company! This company creates and sells delicious pasta and sauces at their stores in Maine and New Hampshire!

Packet-Pick up is held at Cape Elizabeth High School on Thursday and Friday afternoon! 

Packet-Pick Up Selfie with the 2015 B2B car magnet!

The Beautifully Painted Start Line:

The day before the race, Colleen and I drove down route 77 in Cape Elizabeth, to take pics of the start line! Each year dedicated volunteers repaint the start line and line the race course route with mile markers! 

   
   


Race Day Morning: Saturday Morning August 1, 2015

Beach2Beacon has an 8:10am start time! I always feel like I’m waiting forever for the race to start!  On race morning runners parked at several satellite locations and ride the shuttle buses over to the start line on route 77.  Beach2Beacon is a point-to-point course.  The shuttle buses are well organized and its a smooth trip to the start line area.  

  • Plenty of porta potties at the start line area, however the revere some long lines
  • Tables were available for bag gear check-runners pick up their stuff after the race at buses waiting in the park at Portland Headlight
  • Coffee, water, oranges and bananas were available to runners prior to the start of the race

Pre-Race Selfies on the Shuttle Bus and at the Start Area:

   

 
Lisa from Lisa Runs For Cupcakes and I have run this race together for three years in a row! We became friends three years ago when we met at a Zooma Run Annapolis race. Thank you to Lisa’s husband for taking the picture! 

 

3rd Annual PreRace Photo with Lisa!
 
Racing Goals and Weather:

  • Fourth year running this course-familiarity with the hills
  • The weather has varied the last four years-warm,  cold, cool but humid, and this year 70 degrees and bright sunshine! 
  • My best 10k time on this course is 51:59* from 2013! It was a pretty cool morning back in August of 2013
  • Fourth time for the PR?! 
  • Goal- Negative split to the end! 

 

Photo Source 

Mile Splits:

{ I was too focused on my running, so opted not to take pics along the course this year}

  1. 8:44
  2. 8:39
  3. 8:39
  4. 8:27
  5. 8:16
  6. 8:34

Final time: 52:54 average pace 8:29

  • The hot sun and last hilly incline got the best of me. Looking ahead, I need more hill repeats, strides and weekly spin classes to build up my cardiovascular fitness.
  • Awesome community support along the course! Tons of cheering and motivating signs
  • The Cape Elizabeth community really shows their love and support for this race! 

 

Fre Race Photos from TD Beach2Beacon and GameFace Media
 

Gorgeous Finish Line:

This lighthouse takes my breath away every time! I grew up in Maine and had field trips to this lighthouse! 

  

The Finish Area:

  • Runners walk up the hill from the finish line to get water bottles
  • An assortment of bagels, cheese sticks, yogurt, fresh blueberries and Cliff Bars were available for runners! 

 

Post Race Photo with Gorgeous Views of Casco Bay
  
  

 
In the photo above, taken by Lisa’s husband, we were all pretty hot and sweaty! Colleen and I caught up with Lisa and our friend, Mar from Mar on the Run!

  
Colleen and I decided to cool off in the ocean water! There are picnic tables, walking trails and of course this lovely beach area at Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth, Maine 

Being a native of Maine, I’m pretty partial to this race! I’m hoping to register again for August 2016. 

Have you run Beach2Beacon? Is this a “Bucket List” race for you? 






5 Benefits of Joining a Women’s Running Group

  

Sure, there are many days and weeks where I’m running solo.  It’s not always easy to coordinate schedules with other runners.  There are those runs where you just want to be alone, clear your mind and run. Running is one of those sports that can teeter on the fence of solo or group oriented.  However, I’ve come to appreciate opportunities to run with other women! Becoming an active member of a local women’s running group or club can have many positive benefits! 

  1. Motivation- Being part of a group can foster inspiration! It can be very rewarding to encourage others and be part of a network of support! 
  2. Accountability- Some days the weather isn’t quite right or I’m lacking the desire to get out the door for a run! Being a regular member of a running group can get you out the door on those days you would have skipped a run! Being part of a women’s running group can be supportive when in the midst of training for upcoming races! 
  3. New Ideas- Let’s be honest! Women love to chat! Women’s group runs are a great opportunity to share ideas and tips! I’ve learned so much while out running with other women! So many topics on motherhood, health and fitness have been discussed before, during and after group runs! It’s also a fun way to get involved with community running events! 
  4. Safety in Numbers- Honestly, some roads and trails are better to run on with a group! I’m lucky to live in a large neighborhood with many culdesacs, but only one entrance into the development. Venturing out onto main roads and trails is safer with a group. Running buddies can be another way for women runners to stay safe on the roads and trails.
  5. Build Friendships- Being an active member of a women’s run club or group can lead to lasting friendships.  The love of running, similar interests in health and fitness, can lead to developing strong and supportive friendships! 

 

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Links to finding a women’s running club or group in your area! 

  1. ANOTHER MOTHER RUNNER
  2. MOMS RUN THIS TOWN

I’ve recently joined my local, MRTT chapter! 

Are you an active member of a local women’s running group or club? What is one thing you enjoy about women’s running groups or clubs? 


All Natural and Organic at Target

All opinions in this post are completely my own. This is not a sponsored post by Target or any brands pictured or mentioned.  
Target Partnering with Brands “Making a Difference”

For the last nine years, I have been shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes.  These two stores are known for their huge selections of all natural and organic products.  I’m passionate about food and other products that are all natural, certified organic and have environmentally friendly and sustainable practices. However, both of these stores are nearly an hour and a half away from my home in southern Maryland. So, I recently began to take notice when Target began expanding their line of all natural and organic brands! Lucky for me-the nearest Target store is only 15 minutes away! 

  • Below, I’ve highlighted brands and items from Target’s expanded line of natural and organic products! Many of these products end up in my basket!

Environmentally Friendly, Certified Organic, Gluten Free, and Brands that Give Back-These are just a sampling of the brands that Target has expanded! 

Household Cleaning Products

  

Frozen Meal Brands:

  

Meat and Dairy:

Healthy and Organic Snacks:

  

The all natural and organic snack selections at Target are cost friendly, healthy choices for packing Back-to-School Lunches! Several of the following companies have been “Making a Difference” around the World!

  

  

  

  

All Natural Health and Beauty Products:

Target has become a bigger presence in the all natural and organic market! 

Do you shop any of the above brands at Target? What are your thoughts and opinions on Target’s natural and organic selections? 


      Run for the Hill of It: 5 Mile Trail Run

      Last Saturday, July 25th, I had an opportunity to drive into the Philadelphia, PA area to meet up with another runner/blogger, Hollie! Hollie blogs over at FueledbyLolz. We had been trying a few times over the last few years to meet up in the area! The opportunity finally came through with a fun, but challenging 5 mile trail race! 

        
      Saturday Morning: 

      • I drove 35 minutes into the Philadelphia area, from my parents’ house in south Jersey! 
      • The 5 mile trail run had an 8:30am start, but I was registering that morning. 
      • I parked at Chestnut Hill College and then jogged over to the registration table near the start of the 5 mile run! 

        
      Run for the Hill of It : Proceeds Benefit Abused Children

      • The race was small, but well organized! 
      • A total of 243 runners raced that day! {Plenty of running room on the course}
      • Easy registration and bib pick up that morning.
      • Tables with tents for water and porta potties located near by! 
      • Hollie and I ran an easy 2.5 mile warm-up before the race! {I am usually not that great about warming up!}

        

      Race Expectations:

      • I actually had never raced a 5 mile run! 
      • The hills on this {out and back} course were challenging
      • The trails through Wissahickon Trails at Fairmount Park were lined with trees. There was plenty of shade along most of the 5 mile run!
      • I forgot my Garmin watch that morning, so I ran with my run keeper! 
      • The trails were beautiful and I just focused on maintaining a steady pace and running all the hilly inclines! 

         

      The Trail Run:

      • The first mile of the race was a bit fast and downhill
      • Miles 2-5 were a series of rolling to moderate hills
      • I remember 1 or 2 water stops along the course
      • The trails were wide and there was always plenty of space for all runners

      Elevation Chart from RunKeeper:

        

       

      RunKeeper Mile Splits:

         

       

      Race Results were Emailed that Day!

        

      Overall, I had a really great experience running this 5 mile trail race! If I’m in the Philly area again, around this time next year, I’d definitely run this race again! 

      Two really neat links for exploring and mapping out trails can be found HERE and HERE An App is also available for download! 

      What are your thoughts and experiences with trail races?