Friday, July 19, 2019

Fast Friday

It's been a while since I did a Fast Friday, summer is having me less structured on schedules and trying to play as much as possible. But here are some of the things we've been up to lately.

Last weekend we took our camper out for an overnighter.  We went to Yuba Lake for the night.

We got there when the weather was perfect and the kids got right in the water.

We spent the whole afternoon and evening in the water.

We had dinner and then went over to the sandy part of the lake. We didn't get to camp there because it was pretty crowded.

After a really windy night, it was too windy to swim the next day but still warm enough to play on the beach. So we went back over and played in the sand after breakfast.

We worked on several different sandcastles that V kept knocking down.

And this was the final product.

This week the kids have been doing a lot of playing. The girl's best friends are moving soon so we are getting as much playtime in as we possibly can.

I got a couple of runs this week. I'm taking this break seriously! But I'll be back to a regular workout schedule very soon.

V got his workout in, though, with my workout band.

On Wednesday it was my grandma's birthday. She's gone now and we miss her so much, but to remember her and celebrate her birthday my cousins and I got to go to dinner at a place that she always took us.

What did you do this week?

How often do you take a break from your running schedule?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Why Runners Should Walk

Yesterday I had an interval run with full recovery breaks in between.  A full recovery break means that instead of jogging in between intervals, like an active recovery, you're walking in between your intervals to bring your heart rate back down and make sure you're recovered enough to do your next interval.

Taking short breaks or active recovery helps us help teach our nervous systems to adjust to running faster, and help us learn to maintain good form even when we are tired. They are fantastic to do as you get a little closer to a 5k race.  I'll be doing more of those soon.

But for now, I'm taking things a little easier with the full recovery breaks. Walking in between my intervals helps my body rest well for the next interval. While I'm giving my body that kind of recovery, it means intervals are faster and more intense. That doesn't always mean that these are sprints. These intervals could be tempo pace but longer, or short sprints at full speed.

Whenever I have a run/walk on my running schedule I have to remind myself not to run during the walk parts.  My mind automatically thinks that when I'm walking it means I'm not working hard unless I'm injured. But when these kinds of workouts come up, walking and giving myself the full recovery is necessary.

On top of all of that, walking whether it is in between intervals or going for a walk instead of a run is good for us.  Walking helps our bodies relax and flush out the lactic acid. It can loosen your tight muscles up. And while it might not seem like it, walking can help boost our endurance and strengthen our muscles because we are using them in a slightly different way than we usually do.

Walking also helps us notice things like our stride and our form. 

And with everything else, going on a nice walk helps lift our mood and open our minds, much like running does. Walking can boost our cognitive function and boost creativity. It also gives us a boost of energy and helps with all the running things I've already talked about. So why not go for a walk every now and then?

When was the last time you took a good walk?

Do you do more active recovery or more full recovery?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Why You Should Go to the Race Expo

I want to talk about race expos today.  Before my last race, I never spent much time at an expo, and honestly, most of my races didn't have full expos. Most packet pickups were just that for me and when a race expo was part of it I didn't think much about going. But this race expo changed my mind and now I want to go to every race expo I can, here's why:

Packet Pick up is part of the race expo anyway so you might as well stick around for a little while and let the atmosphere pump you up. There will be other people racing or people who are helping with the race and all of them will be just as excited about race day as you. It's like hanging out with all the endorphins that you get when you run times a thousand.

A lot of times when you go to an expo, they have free samples or products for the racers. Last time I got a free exercise band, 3 kids shirts, and lots of samples of protein bars, plus the stuff you get in your packet. Someone was also giving away nice water bottles and towels.

They have fun activities for kids. Or at least this one did. And if I can kill a few hours of the day with all three kids having fun, I will do it! They had lots of fun things for the kids like decorating cheer cards, temporary tattoos, free shirts and snow cones which my kids had a few each.

It's a chance to see a little bit of the course.  A lot of the race expos are at the starting line or finish line of the course. So you'll get to see how they are setting things up to make it easier for race day.

You don't have to go and spend the whole day at the race expo, you can definitely get your fill with an hour or so there, but the next time your race has a pre-race expo, GO! Enjoy the atmosphere, the excitement, and the free stuff to get you ready for race day.

Do you enjoy race expos?

What is the best thing you've gotten for free from a race expo?

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Add Protein to Your Diet with These Foods

One thing that people always wonder is what I eat to make sure I'm getting enough protein.  To be honest, I didn't always think much about the nutrition part of all of this, but the last several years I've been doing better at it.  I don't eat organic, I don't worry about calories, I don't read many nutrition labels (except to see how much fiber or protein are in what I'm eating). But I do have my favorite things to eat after a workout to make sure I'm refueling right.

I was able to give Built Bar a try this week when they sent me a box to review. I gave them a try on Instagram and I will keep trying them and telling you about them too! They are awesome for both protein and fiber, which you don't find all that often. It was a huge plus for me because chocolate can cause some irregularity problems and I always watch how much fiber I'm eating. They taste great and have a good texture. They certainly fulfill the chocolate cravings and, as promised, it helped with not only protein but energy.  They have a ton of flavors to try and I'm excited to see which one is my favorite. You can give them a try by going HERE (affiliate link) and you'll get 10% off your first order!

I've always liked yogurt, which is great for protein, but I tried these Oikos Greek Yogurts by Dannon recently and I love them! They are thick and creamy, have 15 grams of protein and they taste so good and are sweetened with stevia.  I love how this is the perfect mid-day snack or add on to breakfast. It satisfies and keeps you full longer. Yogurt is also amazing for digestive health.

When it comes to protein powders, I'm not a big fan. I don't like the taste of them and I'm pretty picky about what I get. So when it comes to drinking my protein, I stick with Carnation Instant Breakfast and add some PBfit, which is just powdered peanut butter, to it. I love that it's natural and less sugar added. Plus it tastes good. PB fit is also fantastic for more than just protein shakes. You can add it to anything with peanut butter in it, and you can make peanut butter with it by adding some water to it.

Another quick snack to add a little protein that I like would be apples and peanut butter. I have to admit that it never even occurred to me to put peanut butter on apples until I saw Trevon eat it.  But, like the yogurt option, this is a great snack to get me to the next meal or something to add to breakfast or lunch to add more protein.

I've talked before about my favorite granola.  I've been making my own granola for a few years now and it is so good, inexpensive and very filling. You can find the recipe HERE. I eat mine on top of yogurt with lots of fresh fruit on top. It's one of my favorite breakfasts. I'm out of granola right now so I think it's time to make another batch!

Of course one of my favorite protein filled foods is chicken. We eat chicken often. Grilled, baked, roasted...I really don't have a favorite way to eat it. There are great ways to grill chicken and we always have it a few times a week for dinner.  When we have leftovers, I cut it up and put it on top of a salad for lunches, or make sandwiches out of them. Sometimes I warm it up with a bunch of veggies on the side.

Eggs are a big family favorite here. My kids like scrambled best, but I like them in just about any form.  It's easy and quick and they are a great option to add a little more protein to your diet. Have you ever added a hard fried egg on a hamburger or grilled cheese? If not, do it, it will change you!

There are a lot of options for protein out there. It doesn't really matter how you get your protein, although there are better options than others. It's always better to get your nutrients from your food than from supplements, but there's nothing wrong with supplements to help you get what you need. 

What is your favorite way to get enough protein?

If you were to try a built bar, which flavor sounds the best to you?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Feeling Like a Beginner Again

Lately, I have been feeling like a beginner again with my running. I think this tends to happen now and then after races during that in-between period.  I'm not training for my next race quite yet, but I'm still running to keep my endurance up.  I have been getting this feeling a lot lately with running. I'm not a marathon runner, I don't even have a super fast 5k (something I'm working on) and even though I've been doing this for 2/3 of my life, I still feel like a beginner at it. Usually, this thought or feeling makes me a little self-conscious or inadequate in (especially as I blog about running and other things that I still feel like a beginner at--motherhood). 

It's not that I'm not seeing improvements right now or that I'm discouraged about how my running is going because I'm not, it's going pretty well. I'm healthy and running what I want to run at the moment. Some days I just wonder how I've been doing this for so long when I am still learning so much about my self and my running. But feeling like a beginner again isn't a bad thing. When you're a beginner at something, you're moldable and ready for change. 

Having a beginner mindset means that you're willing to accept the mistakes you make and learn from them instead of blaming it on something that you don't have control over. Like the weather or the time of day or the location etc. Making mistakes is a part of the journey and if we didn't make them, we would never grow. When you're new at running (or at anything else) you have the tendency to say "I had a bad race. Next time I'm going to prepare differently... Next time I'll learn from this and come back better."

Being a beginner means you are willing to take someone else's word for it once in a while or look for new avenues to try. Sometimes you get stuck in a routine that may not really be working for you but you don't know what else to do. Or you can't figure out why you're not improving or what you could be doing better. When we have the mindset that we know everything because we've been doing something for so long, we close the door to improvement for ourselves because we aren't willing to take someone else's advice or try something new.  When you're new at something, you're usually looking for a way to learn more and to improve in your new hobby.  

Being a beginner runner means you're more humble and open to all the different options for training. 
While I'm not a new runner, I embrace the times that I feel like I'm a beginner because I like the mindset as a newer runner. It helps keep you humble and it helps you be more flexible in your running abilities. Being a beginner may not last forever, but sometimes the feeling of being a beginner--the mindset of a beginner, is better than someone who feels like they have learned everything there is to know about something. It's that humbling moment of a hard run, a slow (for you) race, someone who has a faster time running with you, those things that keep us grounded and help us remember that there's always room for learning and improvement. 

What is something you've been doing a while but still feel like a beginner at?

What makes you feel like a newbie again?

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Catching Up

We've been getting as much out of our summer as we can around here and that means sometimes I don't have time for blogging. But let's catch up.

My best friend from growing up came into town a few weeks ago and we got to spend some time together. I can honestly say she's the one girl friend that I've had (that isn't related to me) that I can spend years apart and when we are together again it's like we've never been apart.

We had a fun Fourth! Since our normal traditions weren't happening, we improvised. We had breakfast in our backyard on our new table.

We went on a small hike to see the Follow the Flag flag that they hang in one of the nearby canyons.

To get an idea of how big it is, they have this start that is the same size as the stars on this flag.

It was so fun and beautiful to see.

We played by a nearby river for a minute.

Then we went to my parent's house to swim but the pool wouldn't open. Sometimes the tarp gets stuck so we ran through the sprinklers instead.

We ended the night by watching fireworks at my sister's house on the trampoline. It cooled of a ton and was in the 60s! Definitely not fourth of July weather, but we still had fun.

We've gone swimming, and to splash pads.

I've started running a little more since the race. I've really been working on intuitive running before I get back to training for my next race.

There has been a lot of relaxing and a lot of swimming going on. We are hoping to get some camping in soon!

What is your favorite thing to do in the summer?

How did you celebrate your Independence Day? 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Intuitive Running

As you've noticed by now, my posts this summer are going to be kind of sporadic. But, I will be on Instagram more regularly, and I'll be posting my new posts on Facebook. So if you want to make sure not to miss one, follow me there!

Intuitive eating is something that has been growing in popularity lately, not that I believe that intuitive eating is a new idea. I think it's just getting more attention lately. Intuitive eating is all about learning to listen to your body's cues. Eat when you're hungry, eat what you are craving.  That's not to say that you should eat cookies and cake all day long. It's more about really learning your body's language and knowing what it's telling you. It takes practice, but I really think it's a great way to make sure you're eating healthy. You can do more research on intuitive eating if that is something that appeals to you because this post is not on intuitive eating, it's on intuitive running.

When I'm not training for a specific race, I still run and work out I just don't follow a plan. While I love following a training plan, there are a lot of things that I love about what I'm calling intuitive running.

Like intuitive eating, intuitive running is all about listening to your body's cues and giving it what it wants/needs.  During a training plan, I follow it as exact as I can and do each run whether I feel like running that specific run or not. (If I feel my body telling me to take an extra rest day, an injury coming, or a burnout, then I do take that extra rest day but I follow the plan as closely as possible). We have to follow training plans closely to get better at running. There is nothing wrong with that. But, when I'm not following a training plan I get to ask my body what it wants and do it.

If I'm feeling extra tired, I haven't slept well, I'm feeling worn out or like I might be coming down with something, I sleep in instead of getting up to run. I will switch my workout of a nice walk around our neighborhood or for some foam rolling and stretching, or maybe I'll just take a complete rest day and sleep in.

I can feel when I need a good long, slow run because I need those most when I start feeling stressed out or overwhelmed. When I need some good time to process something and to have some good thinking time, I go out for my long run and I come home with a clear mind and ready to come up with solutions to what may be bothering me.

When I start craving some progress in my running, I do some speed work.  I've said before that when I'm doing speed work there's not a lot of thought process going on. The only thing I have energy to think about is hitting my next interval pace and getting through that interval until my next recovery interval. So speed workouts aren't much of a good "therapy run" but I do always feel like I am making progress when I see that my intervals are getting faster.

When I feel like a good challenge is what I'm needing, the tempo run is what I go for. Tempo runs are always a challenge for me, but it's always one of my favorite kinds of runs. Tempo runs help me feel strong and help me see improvement when I'm craving progress. They are also a great way to get an idea of where you're at physically.

Intuitive running is a great idea if you're feeling in a running rut. I'm not talking about a burnout that takes a week or two to get out of. I'm talking about you feeling like not running at all after a nice break. I'm talking about when you start feeling like running isn't fun for you anymore. Take a few weeks to pay attention to what your body is telling you and your love for running will come back!

Intuitive running can help you know what things you need to work on. When you do intuitive running, there's a really good chance you're doing things that you're comfortable with and avoiding things that get you out of your comfort zone. But identifying those things are important because we grow when we are uncomfortable.

Intuitive running is also a really good way to make sure you don't get injured. When you're feeling those nagging aches or like something is off, it's a good idea to do some intuitive running by listening if your body is saying that it needs a break. And by doing intuitive running every now and then, we start to learn our body's cues for when it needs some time off or when it is ready to start pushing a little more.

There's a lot of great things about learning to listen to your body and what it needs!

When was the last time you ran without a training plan?

What is your favorite kind of run?

Thursday, June 27, 2019

10 Things I Love About Summer

Summer, I've said it over and over, but summer is my favorite! And this year it has felt like it's taken forever for summer to really show up! Now that summer is here, I have the itch to do everything summer all the time!  Today felt like a good day to share my 10 most favorite things about summer with you!

1. Relaxed schedules. I don't think I have to elaborate much on that. It's a pretty common answer for summer time. Not having to feel rushed to the bus in the morning, not having to get a sack lunch ready for school, letting the kids sleep in or stay up a little later at's all so heavenly to me.

2.  The weather. I know, it's hot, and in our area, it gets pretty darn hot. But I enjoy the heat so much more than the cold. No one has fun being cold, even if you're a winter person you're having fun when you're bundled up and warm. The feeling of not having to bundle up just to take out the trash, or for anything else, makes me really happy. 

3. My garden area. I used to hate yard work, but the older I get the more I like having a pretty yard, with a functional garden. Plus I love teaching my kids about gardening!

4. Having my kids home. I'm one of those moms who cries when it's back to school time, and not happy tears. I mean, I love my kids having a schedule and making friends and learning and all of those things, but I really love having my kids home and being able to do fun things with them. I don't love my house being a reck, but I do love it when they have friends over and hearing them play and have fun.

5. Summer runs. Yes, again I know it's hot, but I love doing evening runs and morning runs in the summer. I love waking up and having the sun already starting to come up. I love watching the sunset in the evening while I run. And, I love that I don't have to layer to run.

6. Swimming. I'm not much of a swimmer. I love being by the pool and watching my kids swim but since being a mom, it's just not quite as appealing to get all the way in the water with 10+ kids  (we swim with cousins) splashing around you. But I do love watching my kids swim, and to be honest, when I do get in I never regret it!

7. Summer food. Bbqs, ice cream, fresh really can't get better.

8. Being outside. Being stuck inside is miserable. I love that in the summer we can enjoy being outside whether it's in the back yard or in the mountains. I love being able to enjoy the fresh air and the sun because it really recharges me and makes me feel happier.

9. Camping! It's definitely one of my favorite things ever. There's something about getting to a campsite and setting up camp that just makes me feel so happy.  It's like when you're a kid and playing house except for its real life!  Figuring out how to cook food, keep things clean, and exploring is just part of summer that I love.

10. All of these things can be wrapped up and labeled "making memories" because that's what it really comes down to. Some of my favorite life memories were made in the summertime. Times I spent with family and friends doing things that we love.  I love that nothing has changed about making summer memories now that I'm a mom. I love watching my kids love summer too!

What is your favorite thing about summer?

What is your favorite season and why?

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

That Now What Feeling and What's Next

After you have trained for a race of any distance, you have worked hard to meet your goals, and then you run the race and you feel all the emotions and excitement and you push yourself and you do your best! And then it's over, and sometimes whether you've met your goal or not, you get this feeling of "now what?"

This feeling is why I always love having a race planned. This is the feeling that makes me feel empty or lost in my training. What am I working for now?  And a lot of times, this feeling is why I immediately look for another race to sign up and train for. Its post-race depression and while I'm pretty sure this isn't a medically diagnosable thing, it feels real and I'm not alone in that feeling.

And now because of this, I am working on coming up with new goals. There's always another race, I'm eyeing a half marathon later this summer, but in reality, it probably won't happen.  I know there's a 5k that I want to run in the fall time, but it doesn't take me a long time to prepare for that, so I start getting that "what now" feeling.

Sometimes when I'm looking for smaller goals to make, I look at my bigger goals and how I can break them down to work out what goals I can work on in the meantime. Most of mine have to do with getting PRs in all sorts of races. But while I'm waiting to race again, I can start working more on speed workouts and adding them in my training more than I would normally while not having a specific race coming up. This is a good time to also look at things to improve like running form which requires a lot of practice as well as strength training.

I think that until I decide exactly what my next race move will be, I'm going to be working on speed. A PR is hanging around in the future, it's just a matter of time and work for me to catch it. Specifically a 5k PR. I've always wanted a sub 20 minute 5k, so I think that will be my biggest goal for now.

Do you ever have post-race depression?

What is your current goal?

How do you decide what your next goal will be?

Monday, June 24, 2019

AF Run Against Cancer Recap

Let's start with the race expo.  This has probably been the best packet pick up I've ever been to. I honestly can't say that I've been to a real expo until now, and I loved it.

The AF Run Against Cancer is so well put together. Everything is very organized and thought out. 

We got to packet pick up, the line moved fast, the instructions were easy. They had enough swag for everyone. 

My niece came with us, she's never done any kind of packet pick up experience yet, but I think she and my kids were all impressed with this one. They had so many things for the kids to do. Starting with making cheer cards. They each ended up making 2.

My favorites were M's that she spelled "go mom!" all by her self, J's that said "just believe in yourself and you can do it!" (she also made one that said "run fast so you can win! and don't give up") and my niece wrote one that said: "we are counting on you" which put a little pressure on me haha ;). V scribbled and said it was a track.

To finish with the kids, they all got free t-shirts and snow cones! 

The swag for this race is pretty great. 

The night before my eye started itching so I took some allergy medicine and washed my face. Then I noticed my eye was also swollen.  So I texted my brother who is a doctor and he said to take some more allergy meds and let him know. Well by morning it was swollen even more haha.  I'll spare you a picture of that.

My alarm didn't go off and I slept in a little, which has literally never happened to me on race day before. 

But we got to the starting line on time and made sure we had everything ready before we headed to the start.

We didn't have to wait very long at the starting line which was nice because it was kind of chilly.

The course was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  Looking at the elevation graph it looked, to me, that the first half would be slightly uphill and the last part would be down. I was wrong haha. This has nothing to do with the race directors or anything, it does have everything to do with my perspective of the graph.  It was a pretty challenging course with about 3/4 of it uphill. 

It took me a while to warm up and my eye that was swollen drained consistently for around 2-3 miles. It drained enough that it looked like I was crying. Sorry, that's probably gross haha. The good news is that once I was done, my eye was back to normal. It was super weird.

When I hit that last mile and a half or so of downhill though, I felt awesome and like I was flying. If the whole race felt that fast I'd be super happy about it.

I finished in 52:08 which is not what I was hoping for but that's why we keep running and racing and trying. The more we practice the better we get.  

I ran this race with 2 of my cousins (my other cousin ran the half and rocked it).  

We had french toast for celebratory breakfast.

And of course creamies.

My favorite thing about this race was that I was running it with some of my favorite people in my life. I think if I do this race next year, I'll be doing the half instead of the 10k. 

What is your favorite part of a race?

Do you study a race course well or just wait for race day?