Inside Tracker-Taking Charge of My Health

Excited to have a needle stuck in my vein and blood drawn?!  Of course, my mom and husband would have thought I was crazy to want to have my blood drawn.  I absolutely hated anything to do with needles growing up.  I guess that is why always avoided any procedures at the doctors office involving needles,  if it wasn’t absolutely necessary!

Well, with age comes wisdom and insight.  You grow up a bit and realize that some things are necessary in life to continue to do the things you love to do.  One of those things in life is running.  Running is something I want to be able to continue doing late into my life. as long as possible.  Running has taught me to be more attune with my body’s needs mentally and physically.  My desire to perform, as an athlete,  at my healthiest, strongest and most capable level is what lead me to seek more information and insight into my health.

Back in June of 2016, I decided to try out InsideTracker for the first time. I was so excited when ,Jonathan Levitt  a team member at Inside Tracker,  reached out to me!   With a discount, I was given the opportunity to have the Ultimate Blood Analysis Test, plus Inner Age  performed.  Inside Tracker is a company that will work with you to  “optimize your body’s performance through Sophisticated, science-based blood analytics.”  It did require that I get several vials of blood drawn!  Yikes!  I was nervous about the blood draw! The nurse technicians at Quest Diagnostic Lab in Annapolis, MD were awesome!  I never felt a thing!  Having my blood drawn and this test performed was one of the greatest things I have done for my health!  The results were available within a week!  You can read about my first round of results Here and Here

Changes in Training and Nutrition lead me to one of my most tough, but rewarding training seasons!  

Through the summer and fall, I made changes to my nutrition and training needs.  One of the great benefits of using Inside Tracker, is the instant results, feedback and recommendations that are specific to your blood work analysis! I felt stronger, healthier and mentally fit!  I knew that I was taking charge of my health and in the process optimizing my training and overall health!

Improvement from June to November!  As I finished up with a long training cycle, including four half marathons between July and mid November, I knew that I wanted to retest with Inside tracker to see which Bio Markers had improved and which ones still needed work. Six months after my first test, I retested again-using the Ultimate Blood Analysis Plan  I love the Inside Tracker website because you get reports, graphs and detailed analysis of your blood work!   

insidetracker1

Improvements were made and in big part, by following the nutrition recommendations and guidelines that are provided with the blood work results!  

insidetracker7

On the Inside Tracker website, you can customize and tailor your goals for nutrition and training.  I love that I can create goals and be alerted on a weekly, monthly basis.

insidetracker2
Choose Your Goals! 

Focusing on just a few key goals has helped me improve my health and performance.  The guess work that comes with trying to figure out what and how much of a supplement or food my body needs was no longer and issue!  With Inside Tracker, I am able zero in on exactly what my body needs!  My biggest goal is boosting my energy  by improving my glucose and ferritin levels. 

Choosing foods that help me reach my nutrition goals, as outlined in my Inside Tracker Results, will lead to a stronger, healthier body that can reach its full potential as a runner and bring better overall health!

Breakfast- each morning I start with a hearty bowl of steelcut oats, arugula and organic eggs-my favorite company and brand Pete and Gerry’s Eggs as well as the Carol’s Eggs Brand from New Hampshire!  My friend Sandra’s family owned company!

Supper- Two years ago, I began ordering Omega3 filled fish and seafood, online, from sizzlefish a company that offers superior quality fish delivered right to your door on dry ice!  This is a must try company!  I love having my freezer stocked with fish!  At supper, I also include Kamut-ancient grain to increase my iron levels.

Supplements- Since reviewing my blood work analysis results, I was able to pinpoint which supplements I truly need to add to my nutrition routine.  I will focus on taking a vitamin D supplement, along with berberine and plant sterols to improve my ferritin, iron and vitamin D levels. I customize and order vitamins from Vita Five

Updated Blood Work Results- Having these updated blood work results will allow me to focus on what my body needs in regards to training and nutrition.  I feel in control and proactive with my health, not only as a runner, but just a woman in her early forties just trying to maximize her overall health and wellness.  The results from Inside Tracker give me valuable information to use a part of my conversation about my health with my physician.  As I gear up for a new training cycle for early spring half marathons, I feel excited that I have taken charge of my health!  Digging deeper into my health through blood work analysis is so beneficial! 

What are you doing to optimize your health and performance?  Have you tried Blood Work Analysis testing with Inside Tracker? 

Chasing 13.1-Fall Races and Celebrating Autumn!

13.1 – Half marathon-Not just half of anything.  This is the distance that challenges me and pushes me to my limits.  This distance is a combination of speed and stamina over a period of 13.1 miles.  

Processed with Snapseed.
2016 Navy Air Force Half Marathon 

13.1 – Goals-  Since this past spring (2016), I have been building base mileage, increasing my weekend long runs and working on my mental stamina and speed for this distance.  Last fall of 2015, I ran my 7th half marathon-back in November (Annapolis Classic Half Marathon)  and prior to that, the Navy Air Force half marathon, last September.   Both half marathons were sub 2 hours.  Earlier this summer, I ran the Portland Maine Shipyard Half marathon-an early July race that was cool and cloudy-very hilly course (1:59xx)

Break Down -Navy Air Force Half (2015, 2016) September races

  • 1:55:31:31-  cool morning, low humidity
  • 1:58:18- warm morning, extremely humid

Break Down-Annapolis Classic Half Marathon (hilly course)  Early December and Late November Race (2013 and 2015)

  • 1:57 in early December of 2013-cold start
  • 1:56:46 in late November of 2015-chilly start

Looking back on my last several fall marathons- I see consistency, steady pace and overall strengths.  Looking back at my individual splits for these races, I see that I go out strong in the first 6-7 miles, then slowly my pace declines and I “sputter”.  I feel that I am still working on and training for that combination of sustained endurance and maintaining speed.

Training this past summer and early fall- I have been focused on “long runs” of 10+ miles every week.  Also, adding some tempo runs of 6-7 miles, along with breaking up my 3-4 mile runs with 400s and 800s for speed.

Two More Half Marathons for Fall 2016

I have two more half marathons on the schedule for this fall racing season.  A very hilly, new to me race in Vermont-Leaf Peeper Half Marathon which I am running as part of the Rise Run Retreat weekend, hosted/created by Sarah of RunFarGirl and Jessica of RunLadyLike !  Vermont is going to be another strong, tune up race!! Some good hills to work in that race!  Vermont Half is next weekend-October 2nd!!

Then, I have the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon in mid/late November.  This will be my “goal race”!!  This will be my third time running the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon!!  I feel ready to shave off 3 minutes-(aiming for 1:53xx)  Join me on November 19th in Annapolis for this awesome race!  1 dozen oysters and beer at the finish line!  CODE MAINEGIRL2RUNS16 for a discount at REGISTRATION  

cropped-banner-autumn-leaves
Image Credit: Found Here

Okay!!  Time to celebrate fall weather, autumn related activities and cooler, less humid weather!!  Fall is my absolute my favorite time of year!!  I love the 70 degree days and the 50 degree nights!!  I am a jeans and sweater kind-of-girl!!  Hoping for one more trip north, to Maine, before the end of October! I am looking forward to –

  • apple picking
  • bonfires
  • wine on the deck
  • wearing all my Ll Bean Sweaters!!
  • A/C off-windows open and fresh air in
  • Enjoying those gorgeous fall colors in the trees

And-this time next week, I will be spending time with some amazing women!!  SO excited to meet some fellow runners/bloggers in person, for the first time!!  I am attending Rise Run Retreat  in beautiful Waterbury, Vermont!  Even though I grew up in Maine, I have never been to Vermont!  This retreat is going to be the highlight of my fall season!  Running has brought me the incredible gift of –experiences, meeting other women, and creating lasting memories.  I am looking forward to a long weekend of running, laughter, sharing life stories and learning so much from this experience!!  The retreat is hosting some great guest speakers/companies that will be presenting on topics related to nutrition, recovery and overall wellness! The Sponsors at RiseRunRetreat are amazing companies/brands!!  A few months ago, I posted about my blood work analysis –Training, Nutrition and A Blood Test  and so I am really “pumped” to meet the faces behind Inside Tracker at this retreat!

 

So-there you have it!!  Happy Friday!  What’s on your fall race schedule?  What are you celebrating?  

Quick Update on Blood Work Results

So. . . I’m currently analyzing and reviewing my blood work results from InsideTracker!  So much valuable information about my health that will aid in stronger #running performance and overall health!
I love the InsideTracker website for analyzing my results, creating a nutrition and training plan and setting goals! Here is a quick glance of my 9 biomarkers out of 28 that are At Risk or Need Work! 

InsideTracker Dashboard
InsideTracker Website Dashboard

As this point in my summer training and racing phase, I’ll be making some nutritional changes based on dietary recommendations and reworking my weekly training workouts! InsideTracker provides a breakdown of nutritional and training recommendations based on biomarkers! My goal areas are for improving endurance, strength and recovery/injury prevention. 

This is just a snapshot of what I’m analyzing and focusing on right now. I want to take some time to also review and discuss these results with my family doctor. I feel so much more equipped to take on a more active role in discussing my health concerns and goals with my doctor, now that I have this information.

I will continue to update and share my nutrition, training and racing as I make changes! 

Do you get blood work done? After initial results, how often do you get follow up blood tests? 

Life Lately: Training,Nutrition and Races

image

    Where did April go?   It seems as if time is on speed warp!  Just trying to make the most the most of all the minutes in a day. week or even month!  

In my life, I have realized that not everything is always going to get an equal balance.  Lately, it’s been a shift in balance between Racing, training and nutrition.  I have been focusing on what’s working and just taking each day one-step/run at a time.  Sometimes, you just have to “Go with What is Working in the Moment” and see the positives!

Training- 

  • Building that base mileage back up after an early spring race.  I had a PR in a local, slightly hilly, 10k race back on April 9th- with a time of 50:32
  • The whole month of April I focused on running 4-5 days a week, short runs of 4-6 miles and then a long run of 10 miles.  
  • Mondays-Easy run of 4 miles with a friend
  • Tuesdays-6 easy miles
  • Wednesdays-6 mile tempo run
  • Thursdays-Easy 4 miles with a friend
  • Fridays or Saturdays- Long Run of 10 miles

So, . . . Why this is working!  On my “easy” days, I am running with a friend who is looking to increase her cardio and pace for a 5k.  This kind of forces me to run really easy and focus on encouraging her to meet her goals.  I am getting in my base mileage each week and building up my aerobic fitness, increase muscular endurance and increase oxygen capacity.  My longs runs sometimes happen on a Friday night right now, due to me Redhead’s track meets on Saturdays.  The month of April was all about building upon a base of mileage that was really already in place, just really making it a solid foundation.

Up Next-A few Tweaks and A Shift

  • Hilly repeats are on the horizon, just trying to figure out how to shift my training schedule- I want to incorporate more hill repeats to build speed and endurance, Awwe! The benefits of hill running!
  • Core and Strength Training- I have found an awesome fitness trainer that does sessions with a 1:2 ratio.  I love this because she helps me focus on my form with every exercise.  The focus is on core and strength using weights, medicine ball and weighted balls.
  • Extending my weekly long to 12 miles-getting ready for the Old Port Shipyard Half Marathon on July 9th

Nutrition- A Shift in Balance of Carbs, Healthy Fats, Veggies and Proteins 

Maybe it’s that fact that I am now 41,but I was feeling a bit a sluggish and just not energized.  I am currently in Laura’s Mommy Run Fast Runner Reset group.  The Focus is healthy, balanced eating ( Eating for metabolic efficiency)  and core/strength training.  I have seen improvements, in just a short amount of time, with a larger emphasis on vegetables and fish/plant-based protein in my daily “eats”!

  • Increase water intake
  • Daily vegetables and salad greens
  • Eggs, Fish and beans
  • Quinoa is my favorite “grain” right now!
  • Great time of year for tons of local produce!!
  • Supplement with a high quality protein powder -I am still experimenting with a variety of protein powder brands, but Vega Sport Performance has some great ingredients for performance and recovery!

Races- What’s Coming Up!

  • 5 weeks until this –Zooma Run Annapolis 10k  I love this annual, early June, Women’s Racing Event.  It is a fun-filled, weekend of great women, an awesome Friday night expo and gathering, along with a challenging course to run on Saturday June 4th!  The course is a bit hilly and early June in Annapolis, Maryland can be a bit warm and humid. There is still time to Register for this Fun Racing Event!!  {10k or 1/2 marathon}

So-5 weeks of new opportunities with training, nutrition and races on the horizon!

How are things with training, nutrition and races in your world?  Any tweaks and changes being made?  

 

 

Friday Five: Nutrition and Fueling Finds

West to East, Strawberries and Raspberries are in Season
West to East, Strawberries and Raspberries are in Season

Lately,  I have been more focused on nutrition and fueling to keep my body healthy and energized.  As my mileage increases and race season heats up, I find that I need to add in more foods and other products to aid in energy, hydration and recovery.  A few weeks ago, during a run, I felt tired and sluggish despite getting enough sleep.  I took a few days off and reevaluated my nutritional choices.  An increase in protein from fish and plant-based resources, along with supplements and proper hydration had me feeling 100% better and ready to tackle my weekly workouts.

I am linking up with Courtney, Cynthia and Mar for the Friday Five and the topic is food and drink.  I am sharing my current food and hydration options that keep my energized and hydrated!  Some products are “new to me”, while others are regular staples in my pantry!

Link Up with the Friday Five Bloggers
Link Up with the Friday Five Bloggers

 

  1. My favorite hydration mix!  Skratch Labs has this warming Apples and Cinnamon Flavor that is perfect for cold mornings and full of electrolytes!  I enjoy warming my body from the inside out on these chilly spring mornings!
  2. Energy Bits for Energy and Recovery  I started adding this product back into my weekly nutrition routine before and after speedy tempos and long runs.  I have a difference in my performance and muscle recovery.  The only downside is expense and suggested quantity.  It’s a really high quality product, so I am trying to work orders of this product back into my monthly budget.
  3. Organic Protein Powder  I have to admit, I do not love protein powders.  However, this is a “new to me” product.  SoTru Organic Fermented Whole Food protein powder in the Vanilla flavor is yummy!  There is no yucky aftertaste, in my opinion, and I love creating my own cold, creamy morning Frappuccinos with this protein powder-almond milk, frozen bananas, almond butter and cold brew coffee!
  4. Muesli Squares for Snacking  I am a snacker!  Throughout the day, if I don’t have a snack with quality ingredients that I are going to leave me satisfied, then I have a bad habit of reaching for those bags of salty chips!  These bars are filling, full of nutritional ingredients and fill me up!
  5. From West to East-Strawberries and Raspberries are in Season!  My absolute favorite fruit is in season right now from California and Florida.  I love strawberries and raspberries!!  So many nutritional benefits from strawberries!  Strawberries are my cool, sweet “go-to-snack” and raspberries are just as yummy!  So many recipes and ways to use these two yummy summer fruits!

 

What is your favorite summer fruit?  What are your favorite snacks to get you through the day?  

 

Link up with Cynthia Mar and Courtney for the FRIDAY FIVE! 

Recipe Ideas: Healthy and Nutritious! 

Healthy, Active and Fit at 40! 

As I entered my late thirties and now forties, being active and continuing to run is a lifestyle for me.  In order to maintain this lifestyle, I must take steps to get the proper nutrition. 

Being a mom, runner and teacher means that I must make healthy food choices! It’s important to choose food that will nourish and fuel my body for life’s daily demands! 

 

Food Choices Should Be Focused and Purposeful to Fuel Your Body
 

A Well Stocked Kitchen and Pantry Will Fuel Your Body:

Plant-Based Proteins:

  • Edamame -A Complete Protein- nutrition information found HERE
  • Green Peas-A Wealth of Heath Benefits- nutrition information found HERE
  • Black Beans- A Hearty and Filling Bean- nutrition information found HERE

Other Staples in the Kitchen and Pantry:

  • Organic Quinoa
  • Various Organic and Whole Grain Rice from my Favorite Brand Found HERE
  • Raw Almond Butter
  • Whole oats Granola
  • Avocados-healthy fats
  • Seasonal fruit

Stock up on essential, nutrient-rich proteins and carbs to build daily meals! TIP-Cooked rice, beans and quinoa freeze really well in freezer bags! 

 Breakfast:

Granola with fresh strawberries and almond milk
  

Breakfast:

Graham crackers smeared with raw almond butter and fresh sliced strawberries

Lunch or Dinner:  

Quinoa with cooked cubed sweet potato, steamed green peas and cooked black beans -drizzled with olive oil and sea salt

 

 Lunch or Dinner;

mashed avocado on toasted roll with roasted tomatoes and sea salt

Lunch or Dinner:

Previously cooked quinoa and black beans, sauteed with padron peppers-Think Fried Rice!

 

These are just a few ideas and variation of what I eat based on my kitchen and pantry staples! 

Do you have favorite kitchen and pantry staples? A favorite dish or recipe idea? 

Key Kitchen/Pantry Staples-Create Amazing Bowls and Meals

      

 

     My philosophy on healthy eating is all about having a well stocked fridge and pantry.  It’s all about focusing on local and seasonal ingredients to make meal planning easy and healthy! 

Pantry Must Haves:

  • Dried black beans
  • Dried black-eyed-peas
  • Dried Chick Peas {Garbanzo Beans}
  • Brown Basmatti rice
  • Quinoa
  • Robust, Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • Walnut Oil
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Cayenne pepper
  • Fresh garlic bulbs
  • Russet potatoes or a variety of fingerling potatoes
  • Lemon and Garlic Seasoning- bulk section at whole foods
  • Chimichurri seasoning-bulk section at Whole Foods

Fridge Staples:

  • Jarred Salsa
  • Fresh, local carrots
  • Local eggs
  • Local and Seasonal greens- kale, Swiss chard, spinach
  • Local tomatoes- best kept at room temperature on counter
  • Oranges and lemons

Freezer:

  • Flash Frozen, Sustainable, and Wild Caught Fish! From this Amazing Company –HERE
  • Frozen edamame 
  • Frozen green peas

Prep! Prep! Prep! 

  • Pre-soak, then cook various dried beans- store in 1 cup portions in quart size freezer bags
  • Cook 4 cups each of rice and quinoa, then store in 1 cup portions in quart size freezer bags
  • Peel, chop and cook 4-6 medium sweet potatoes and store 1/2 cup portions in quart size freezer bags
  • Rinse, peel and chop fresh carrots- store in containers
  • Store various, fresh and local greens in these containers- My Favorite Produce Containers found HERE

Easy Meals and Quick Bowls: 

So many variations on healthy bowls to create and mix and match!  

Sweet Potato, Kale, Swiss Chard , Black-eyed-Peas anc Brown Basmatti Rice Bowl
  

Quinoa, edamame, tomatoes and chopped garlic bowl
  
sauteed potatoes, green peas and chopped raw carrots on mixed lettuce with walnut oiland chopped garlic

    

scrambled eggs with brown rice, mixed greens, and sirracha sauce
  
quinoa with chick peas, sauteed garlic and shallots, spinach and orange zest
  
Sock-Eye Salmon with chimichurri seasoning over mixed greens and brown rice
   
chimichurri haddock with black beans, salsa and sour cream over brown rice
  
Sea Scallops Pan Seared in a lemon and garlic seasoning, served with mounds of avocado and brown rice
 

Any meal planning tips? How do you organize and prep to save time?

Be sure to check out the various fish packages from this company- HERE Omega 3s!! 

Organized Kitchen For Meal Planning and Weekly Recap

Wow!!  The first two weeks back to school and teaching 3rd grade flew by so quickly.  I barely had time to catch my breath!  These last two weeks back to school were a bit exhausting though, following the two week winter break.  I was reminded of how important it is to me, that I stay focused on healthy, whole foods and minimize my need to reach for processed junk! Healthy, whole foods give my more sustained energy for the long school days!

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early, to make my monthly trip to Annapolis for groceries from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  I live an hour and a half away from Annapolis and Washington, DC.  Once a month shopping keeps me on track and on budget.  I also enjoy the “me time” to wander around the markets and sample all the new and healthy food products!

Whole Foods Whole Living
Saturday at Whole Foods Market! I love all the healthy and unique food samples!

Weekly meal planning, sometimes requires a bit of maintenance.  So,  before I could really map out my week of meals, I cleaned and organized my fridge and freezer.

I love using labeled ziplock bags and glass jars with lids to store dried grains and cooked beans. I spent time on Saturday cooking and then dividing up chick peas and white beans into glass jars for the fridge and labeled ziplock bags for the freezer.  

Cleaning out and organizing helps me to see what I have in stock and make everything “easy to reach”! When whole, natural foods are within easy reach, your more likely to make good food choices! strong>

Fridge and Freezer Makeover
Organizing the fridge to maximize healthy choices!

I have an obsession with glass jars! I food prep and store ingredients in glass jars in my fridge for the week! Having an assortment of cooked beans, brown rice or quinoa and veggies makes it easy to toss together healthy meals! 

Glass Jars for my cooked brown rice, edamame, chick peas and cannellini beans
Glass Jars for my cooked brown rice, edamame, chick peas and cannellini beans

Weekly Meal Planning Link Up with Mommy Run Fast this week! Also, check out the wonderful blogs of Happy Fit Mamaand Jill Conyers!

  • Sunday- Chicken Enchilada Soup {Love This Easy Soup Starter Mix}
  • Monday-Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Smashed Cauliflower and Sauteed Mixed Baby Greens
  • Tuesday-Red Lentil and Black Bean Stew from Runner’s World Cook Book
  • Wednesday- Baked Potatoes with Broccoli
  • Thursday/Friday- Roast Beef Minestrone Soup {Another Easy Soup Starter Mix}

Last Week Workout Recap: Focusing on my goal of core fitness, strengthening my hips/glutes! 

Monday- Rest Day

Tuesday- Rest Day

Wednesday- Snow Day and Running {4.5 Miles}

Thursday- Hour long Core Fitness Session with Personal Trainer {Read About it HERE

Friday- Easy 3 mile Run

Saturday- Yoga and stretching, really focusing on improving my balance! The goal is improved foot stability and hip/glute strength leading to more efficient running!

What are you targeting in your fitness routine to become a stronger runner?  How do you organize and prep for weekly meal planning? 

Nutritious Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Healthy, Delicious Blueberry Muffins
Healthy, Delicious Blueberry Muffins

Recently, a friend of mine, that I teach with at school, mentioned wanting a healthy breakfast muffin!  We are both teachers, so breakfast has to be fast, healthy and filling!  Busy schedules require a healthy breakfast to keep the body fueled and energized!

This recipe is full of goodness for nourishing the body and getting the day off to a great start! There are three types of gluten free flour in this recipe!

Oat Flour- {Gluten free Whole Grain Oats}

Coconut Flour- {High in fiber and low in easy-to-digest carbs} 

Almond Meal Flour-{A huge boost of protein}

My favorite brand of flour is Bob’s Red Mill. I use all organic ingredients and locally sourced eggs!

Recipe: Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with large paper baking cups! 

Recipe Yeilds 12 muffins {These muffins are denser and don’t bake up fluffy like you would expect with traditional All-Purpose Flour}

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Oat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 cup of Almond Meal flour
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 tsp of baking powder

Wet/Liquid Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups of Almond Milk { Prefer Califia Farms}
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries! 

Directions: Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together. Combine the two mixtures into one large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  Gently fold in blueberries to the batter! I use an electric hand mixer. Scoop mixture into muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes! 

Enjoy- Kara {MaineGirl2Runs}