#MNBChallenge Week 2–Nourish

nourish your body

This week’s focus was nourishing your body. The challenges from Lorna Jane Active encouraged us to focus on what we put in our body. It was good to focus on my clean eating. Being that I was trapped in the house most of the week due to the winter snowstorm that blanketed the East coast, it was good to focus on what I ate so as not to fall into bad habits and overeat. Here’s my recap:

Monday – Meatless Monday ~ No pics but I had a wonderful dinner of stuffed shells and roasted Brussels sprouts that was to live for! Yummy!

Tuesday – Take Your Lunch to Work Day ~ I do this almost daily. My jar salad was awesome that day with tuna added for protein. I like to use nuts in my jar salads for both crunch and amped up protein factor.

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I made the salad in the salad dressing jar so I could use the last dregs of the dressing.  If you haven’t tried OPA yet, you should.  Their Greek yogurt dressings are so yummy and definitely nourishing.

Wednesday – Write it Down ~ I use My Fitness Pal to keep track of what I eat.  My focus lately is less on calories and more on making sure I balance my carbs, proteins, and healthy fats.  As such, I was excited to share my progress on Wednesday. I came in within my goals.

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Thursday – Smoothie Day! I love my smoothies and have one almost every day.

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My beet smoothie has fresh beets, carrots, banana, and coconut milk! It is so sweet and full of good vitamins and minerals.

Friday – Go Raw Friday! Valentine’s Day! ~ After attending my friend’s wedding ceremony, I came home to a wonderful dinner with my hubby and son. He made baked Swai fish topped with kiwi and his own version of vegetarian lo mein. I was in charge of dessert and decided that I would do fresh fruit and homemade fondue.

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How did you nourish your body this week? Do you have a go-to lunch or smoothie recipe? Are you ready to BELIEVE in Week 3?

September Races #10 & #11

After not racing all summer and focusing more on training and fitness as a part of my scale-free summer, I have run two races so far this month — NFL Back to Football 5K Run on September 4th and Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon on September 15th!  Running both of these races has definitely shown me that my speed is improving daily.

Race #10 – NFL Back to Football 5K Race – September 4, 2013

For those of you who don’t know, I am a crazy football mama and a member of the Ravens Nation!!!  This means that when I found out that there would be an NFL Back to Football Race which ended on the 50 yard line of M & T Stadium I knew I had to be there.  I was very excited when the Black Girls Run! Baltimore crew created a team for the race.  What’s better than running a race affiliated with football?  Running that race with 100+ of your running buddies!

The stadium is walking distance from my job so I was able to change at the office and walk down with plenty of time to hang out before the race.  It was like tailgating with a run thrown in.  Besides my BGR crew, I also ran into one of my twitter buddies – Meghan.

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This race was loads of fun! Even though I stopped a couple of times along the course to take pictures of the stadium, it was still a PR at 40:40!2013-09-04 19.49.00

Race #11 – Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon – September 15, 2013

I have been looking forward to this race all summer.  Although my speed work &  training plan is focused on the Baltimore Running Festival in October, I was hoping that I would be fast enough by this “flat & fast” race course to PR.  This was also my first girls’ weekend race ever.  I got up early Saturday morning to take the bus to Philadelphia.  I was staying with my sorority sister and fellow runner for the weekend.  When she picked me up, we headed straight for the Expo at the Convention Center.

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I managed to stay within budget.  I scored some really cool earphones from Auria which hang on the ear and allow you to still hear ambient sounds.  I will be trying them out over my next few runs and reporting back to you on them.

When we left the Expo, we got mani-pedis and then headed back to the house for naps and hydrating.  I finally was able to do the least amount of running around the day before a long race.  A perfect pre-race day.

The next morning we were up early of course and rode along with another sorority sister to the race start.  After a quick stop in the Starbucks bathroom, we headed to the starting line.  I was assigned to corral 22 but in order to not be too far behind each other we all started in corral 14.  It was the first time I ever moved up from an assigned corral and will probably be my last.  I was overwhelmed by the faster runners when we took off.

I ran for about the first quarter mile then started my timer to do my 1:1 ratio of running and walking.  My Map My Run app clocked my first mile at 10 minutes which is really fast for me so I started to slow down.  Halfway through the race, my music turned on by itself and the app had me 2 miles ahead of what the mile actually was.  It turns out I had sweated into my phone case – oops! Because I didn’t realize that the app was malfunctioning until later in the race, I took a few extra walk breaks in the beginning to slow my pace down.  However, it turns out my pace was right and the app was wrong.

Good – The course through Philadelphia was beautiful.  It really was as advertised – “flat and fast.” The RnR team had inspirational signs throughout the course. There were bands and music.  There were also cheer leaders along the course encouraging us which was really cool.

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Bad – Some of the water stops were out of water and breaking down by the time we got there.  From what I heard from my BGR sisters who were in corrals further back, it was even worse for them.  The music was not spaced out well.  There was a lot in the downtown area but very spread out on the Eakin Loop.  Kudos to the lone drummer on the far side of the loop!

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Although I didn’t PR, I am proud of my time – 3:08 as it is definitely faster than my time at the Frederick Half Marathon in May.  After the race, we headed to 7-11 for coffee and took the train back to the house.  After a shower and change, we were all smiles as we picked up a well deserved chicken cheesesteak for the bus ride back to Baltimore.

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Have you run any races lately?  Drop me a line in the comments about your most recent run or race experience.

PowerIce Review

I haven’t blogged much since the BWC.  I needed time to rest from racing in 9 races in 6 months both physically and mentally.  But I’m baaaaacccck!

So since this blog started, I have been hesitant to post full out reviews of products.  I have stopped following blogs in the past because they turned into mostly reviews with a little bit of content sprinkled in for good measure.  I definitely don’t want to become one of those.  However, I have been asked to review a few items over the past several months.  I have been trying the products and have finally decided to blog about them.  It’s my intent to catch up on this backlog of reviews by doing one a week for the next few weeks.

First up in the Shark Tank is PowerIce.  From the website:

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I was sent two boxes of PowerIce to try – Lime Kicker and Orange Blast.  Both flavors taste great; almost like frozen Gatorade except without the weird chemical aftertaste.  You can have one before, during or after your workout depending on what you are aiming to do.  Before is supposed to increase endurance, during cools core body temperature, and after for “lightning fast recovery.”  Most of the time I have used it before workouts.  If I could figure out how to keep it frozen in the middle of a run, I would have one during as this heat and humidity here on the East Coast has been no joke.

On the days when I had one before Bikram Yoga, I would eat it in the car on the way to the studio.  It reduced my core body temperature just enough for me to get centered and begin my practice.  It was harder to do so on days when it was hot outside if I didn’t have the PowerIce first.  They became part of my Bikram Yoga healthy trio – PowerIce before, Ice water during, and coconut water after.

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Before my afternoon runs when that heat and humidity had me melting before I started, I also had one before I started.  It also served as my snack booster as I don’t usually have dinner before them.  I don’t know if it increased my endurance but it helped to make the runs more bearable.  I have started back with speed work and training in preparation for this Fall’s half marathons.  I have a couple of these left which I am saving to try before my session on Thursday.  We’ll see if they make a difference then on timed repeats.

How do you keep cool and hydrated when exercising in the heat?  Have you tried PowerIce? Do you drink coconut water?

Baltimore Ten Miler = Lucky Race #7

Last weekend, I ran my seventh race on my quest to run 13 races in 2013.  I ran the Baltimore Ten Miler.  Last year, when I was beginning my journey as a runner, I volunteered at a water stop at this race.  I remember being in awe at the ability of the runners to do 10 miles.  It was one week before my first 5K and I couldn’t even fathom running much further than that.  Fast forward to this year and I’m running the race.

I picked up my packet from Sports Authority on Monday before the race.  It was both the closest location and the only day I could pick it up as I was travelling the last half of the week.  I ran into one of my BGR Sole Sistas, Trish at packet pickup.  We both started with BGR on the same day – June 2, 2012.

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After a great run with Twilight Tuesday and dancing at the Kings of the Mic concert, the rest of the week was spent tapering and being a PhDiva at a symposium.  The only problem with travelling was not being in complete control of what I ate on Thursday and Friday.  Friday evening, my family stopped at Don Pablo’s for Mexican on our way back to Baltimore.  Carb loading but not too much.  I couldn’t resist the sangria.  It meant drinking a lot more water that evening to try to insure not getting dehydrated.  I laid out my clothes and made sure to be in bed before 10pm.

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On Saturday, I woke before the alarm, had my chia breakfast bowl, and headed to Druid Hill Park in more than enough time to pose for pictures with BGR.  The thing I loved about this race was that it runs through my part of the city.  The route goes from Druid Hill Park to Lake Montebello and back winding past Johns Hopkins University and Greenmount Avenue.

Before Pics:

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Even though I had run this distance before many times and had even trained on the course, this was not my best race.  Every long run I had done this Spring had been in cooler temps.  So my body wasn’t fully acclimated to warm weather running.  Add to that the fact that miles 8 & 9 are HILLY! You will understand that it was a hard race.  When I ran the route in cooler temps the Saturday before I finished in 2:15 which put me on pace for a PR.  However, the heat and the hills combined led me to finish in almost the exact same time as the Cherry Blossom on April 7th.

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I’m happy that I finished and that my time wasn’t worse.  I still have a few more races left in this year to PR.  After the race, my BRFs and I celebrated with free beer and music at the after-race party.

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All in all, I had fun! And isn’t that the real reason why I run? Smile

Have you raced in warmer weather?  How do you tackle hill running?  Share your favorite thing about racing or running.

A Hysterrunner in San Francisco

The week after Memorial Day, I travelled to San Francisco for the Society for Prevention Research conference.  For those of you who may be new to my blog, in my non-running life I am a prevention scientist.  This is my fourth time attending this particular conference.  There is always a group fun run/walk on the Thursday hosted by the organizers which I’ve participated in each year.  But this year was different.  Last year, the conference was in Washington, DC.  I mostly walked the 3 mile loop from the hotel to the Mall and back.  This year, I am in much better shape as a hysterrunner.  So I did so much more than participate in the run/walk.

I arrived in San Francisco on Tuesday afternoon.  I checked in to the hotel and grabbed my yoga gear.  I had arranged to take a Muscle and Flow yoga class with my friend and Under Armour Women sponsored trainer Dr Shauna Harrison.

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The view from my hotel room!

I had been wanting to take this class with Shauna for a while.  When I realized that I would be in the Bay Area, I knew this would be my chance.  The train ride to get to Redwood City was uneventful.  The class was AWESOME!!!  It is not your average yoga class.  It is a fusion of different styles of yoga coupled with hip hop and R & B music.  If you are ever in the Bay Area, make it a point to get to this class. My only complaint was that about halfway through the class, jet lag hit me like a ton of bricks.  It got really hard to focus as my body started to shut down.  I had to spend a little time in half lotus pose resting to catch myself.  Other than that, I loved this class.  Shauna is going to be in the Baltimore area again at the end of this month.  I am going to try to get to the Hip Hop Cycle class that she’s teaching while she is here.  I was so tired when we left that I forgot to take a picture of us together.

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Above is the view from the train & a pic that Shauna tweeted about the #sweatpink laces I brought her.

Wednesday was spent completely involved in the conference.  I presented that day so there were no additional exercise breaks.  Thursday, however, more than made up for it.  I was able to get in TWO RUNS for the first time ever.  The first run was 3.39 miles from the hotel to Fisherman’s Wharf and back as a part of the fun run/walk.  I was able to explore the Embarcadero and even saw sea lions.

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The second run was possible thanks to a twitter connection.  Mizuno was hosting a Sunset Run in conjunction with Fleet Feet San Francisco.  There was a tweet about the Sunset Run which led to a series of tweets and DMs between me, Fleet Feet, and Seth and Jeff of Mizuno Running.  The Sunset Run was at Chrissy Field along the Bay near the Golden Gate Bridge.  The weather was perfect.  Every one there remarked that it is usually chilly and foggy when they host them.  I was glad that the weather held up.  The run was from 3-5 miles to the base of the bridge and back.  I was able to get 4.5 miles in total.  But, the best part about it is that I was able to try some cool new Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes.  They felt great to run in.  They gave me the support that I need as a moderate pronator but they were so much lighter than my Sauconys.  I felt like  I was cheating on Team Saucony but that Mezamashii feeling was great.

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I wish I didn’t have to give back the shoes.  I really want to know how they would feel on a long run.  I did get a really cool glass and washcloth to bring back East with me.

If anyone had told me last year that I would not only be completing the fun run while away at a conference but also that I’d be fitting in time to do yoga and running twice in one day, I would have said they were crazy.  Now look at me!

How do you fit in exercise when you travel?  What is your favorite way to sightsee?  Tell me about it in the comments.

Wordless Wednesday–Bikram Yoga Day

Bikram Yoga Prep

Do you do Bikram Yoga?  How do you prepare for an intense workout?  What do you use to top off your electrolytes?

My Medical Progress & Monthly Goals

I haven’t written official monthly goals in a few months.  But, it’s May, the month for mothers, especially mother runners Smile! So I ‘m writing them down.

I still have some twinges of pain in my incision from time to time, especially with extra exertion, like in a race.  In fact, after I was finished with the Iron Girl, it throbbed for a while to a beat which felt like my run pace.  I spoke to my Gynecologist at my follow-up appointment last week about this.  He said that I should expect to feel throbbing for up to a year.  He said it would be ok if I worked on abdominal work, though.  I had been trying it intermittently, with the exception of Bikram Yoga, because it hurts.  The night before my surgery I did 175 different types of crunches because I could.  Now I can barely do 10.  However, I have no adhesions and have healed well so I can focus on building back up my abs. Woohoo!

I had my follow-up general practitioner doctor appointment on Monday, the day after the Iron Girl.  I wore my medal to the appointment, of course.  My BP is down to 120/80!!! We were both very excited to see those numbers.  I still need to stay on the single medication for now but we will be reassessing in 4 months.  My task until then is to take my pressure before and after a few runs as well as to do a few test days without medication and take my pressure on each of them.  The research scientist in me is looking forward to collecting this data. LOL!!!

Now that I have a clean bill of health, here are my goals for this month.

Running – Frederick Half Marathon on May 5th ~ Race 6 of #13in2013 then to maintain my distance and do some speedwork to be prepared for the Baltimore Ten Miler in June.

Abdominal Work – I’ll be adding 15-30 minutes of ab exercises to our post-Twilight Tuesday runs starting in May.  Looking forward to working with my sole sisters of BGR on a common goal.

Bikram Yoga – Get in at least 3 sessions this month.  I love Bikram.  It helps me to be more flexible and I always feel centered after these sweat pink sessions Winking smile!

Strength Training – Help! I need to figure something out that is consistent.  This is my weakest link!  My goal this month is to figure out how to be strong.

Do you set fitness goals?  Have you dealt with coming back from illness?  Share your experiences in the comments.

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!