A Jump-Start To My Week

Happpppppy Monday, friends.  Gosh it was hard to get out of bed this morning.  After getting back from Chicago around 8:30 last night, I crashed into bed almost immediately.  Even with such an early bedtime, that 5AM alarm clock still felt rough.  Not to mention I had a feeling it was going to be humid.  Saturday’s run in Chicago left me feeling over the heat and humidity.  This morning, I figured, I’d give outside running one shot, but after looking up the forecast, the only words racing through my head were “NO.”

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See that dew point?  According to the Runner’s World chart for training in the heat, (made familiar to me by Mary over at Minutes Per Mile), I knew that there was absolutely no way I was going to run outside.  The minute I walked out my front door, my glasses fogged up–not a great sign.

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Today’s dew point was 76 F.  That, according to this chart, meant “extremely oppressive-skip it or dramatically alter goal.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but I wasn’t going to let the dew point or some minor exhaustion impact my ability to jump-start my week.  So, I came up with a plan B:  the gym.  I grabbed my gym bag, drove over, and hopped on the treadmill as quick as I could.  By 5:50AM, I had run 4 miles, my glasses didn’t steam up, and I was actually able to do it at a comfortable, yet fast pace, opposed to feeling like death and swimming in sweat.

The treadmill is NOT my favorite.  I much prefer views like I got to see Saturday in Chicago.  I don’t like to wear headphones while I run, and the scenery outside helps distract me.

img_0692-1 The views inside the gym are not that exciting.  However, instead of moping around the gym with a poor mental attitude, I loaded up an episode of House of Cards on Netflix (low-key obsessed) and powered through 35 minutes of running inside in the AC.

Getting a run in on Monday morning first thing helps me get in a positive frame of mind for the week.  It helps me get off on the right foot, with a good start and healthy attitude.  Not every plan is perfect, and sometimes, you have to be willing to understand the human body’s limits.  I know my body does not handle the heat well, so I altered my plan.  When the dew point is oppressively high, it’s better to run inside, or not run it all.  This morning, I’m glad I ran inside🙂

What is the hottest run you’ve ever been on?  What is your best tip for making treadmill running fun?

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Lakeshore 8 Miler

Popping in on a Saturday to share some photos from this morning’s 8 miler.  I’m in Chicago this weekend for the Coldplay concert and obviously had to get in my long run, so Lakeshore Drive it was!  It was oppressively hot, sticky and humid out but glad my friend Mary and I were up and at it. 

  
    
  
Found a triathlon!

    Halfway point at Navy Pier!

   
   
And when you’re the donut dietitian, post run donuts are a must.  Amazing.  We tried a variety–Orange poppy seed old fashion (not pictured) was my fav🙂 #DonutsEarned

 Whenever I’m traveling, even if it’s too a familiar place, I love exploring with a good run.  What is your favorite way to explore?

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Spartan Sprint

I think I promised you guys this review last week so apologies for the delay!  Last weekend, I participated in the Spartan Sprint.  Participation in this event was a last minute decision for our group, and one I’d consider making again.  For those unfamiliar, the Spartan race series involves grueling obstacles over the course of trail filled miles and crossing the finish line covered in mud is mandatory.  This type of event is one where consistent strength training in your weekly routine would help you be more prepared, but individuals of all shapes and sizes were up and at it on the course.  For the sprint distance, 4.8 miles were on the agenda and let me tell you, it was tough.  We faced steep up and downhills (it took place on a ski resort after all), lots of mud, 8 foot walls to climb over, monkey bars, and even a fire pit to jump over at the finish.  This was hands down one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  It took over 3 hours and just about every ounce of energy I had.  I’ll tell you one thing though, that post-race beer sure was refreshing.  Since it was way too muddy to carry a camera with me on the course, I will rely on the free, professional photos that the Spartan Series made available to event participants.  If you’re looking for a fun way to challenge yourself that isn’t running, a Spartan race is the way to do it.

Here’s the crew before we started. No mud!  That will change.   

Trudging through an over flooded creek.  Lots of super muddy “quick sand” like spots along the way for an added challenge!  

In between all of this, there were barbed wire fences we had to crawl in the mud to avoid, large walls to climb over, and even monkey bars to fall off of.  It’s safe to say I was stuck doing a lot of burpees.  For those unfamiliar, if you skip an obstacle or are unable to finish the obstacle, you are required to do 30 burpees.  Over 25 obstacles, I think I did 180 burpees.  Oof.

This was probably one of the worst.  Had fill this bucket up with what felt like a ton of rocks, and carry it up, then back down a steep ski slope.

 
Finally, the fire.  We wanted an epic, holding hands photo, as we jumped over the fire.  I ruined that.  I was terrified I wasn’t going to make it over and let go.  I think you can see the fear in my eyes.

 
It’s fine though, because everyone started cheering for me and I made it over.

 
Victory looks like mud.  Safe to say we all wanted to shower.

  
 
A few tips I’d suggest if you decide to do one of these bad boys:  do it with a group so you can help each other with the obstacles.  My team / random good people were crucial in my ability to make it over some of the walls we climbed.  I’d also suggest going in knowing your limits.  I love that I pushed myself to try things I’d never done before, but don’t force yourself to do things that you don’t think you can handle.  

I’m a Spartan now!  What’s the hardest rave you’ve ever done??

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Catching Up

You guys.  What a whirlwind of a past week or so.  I can’t believe it’s been 2 weeks since I last posted.  Instead of diving right in to some topics / recaps I have planned for you all, I thought that 2 weeks is a long time to be away.  So, let’s ease back in slowly and start by catching up.  Shall we?

  
July 4th weekend was crazy fun and crazy relaxing.  It was one of those weekends where I got off the couch a few times, but mostly just relaxed a lot.  The weekend started by catching up with a good friend at the brand new Nine Giant Brewery (good beer and great food).  We shared the spicy peppers and the fried pickles.  So good.  Other exciting eats from July 4th weekend include an old favorite, the Silverton Donut Shop!  It had been ages since I’d been, and I enjoyed every bite.  Not pictured:  the TO DIE FOR apple fritter I wolfed down in the car.  It was that good.  Tried a bite of the other donuts before going into a sugar coma and calling it quits.  Gosh do I love donuts.

 
July 4th I whipped up this super simple and tasty frittata (similar to this recipe), by cleaning out the veggie drawer in my fridge.  Cooked up broccoli, sweet potatoes and bacon in a pan and mixed in the eggs + cheddar and baked until finished.  Easy as pie!  Took the frittata over to my parents house and they had some patriotic berries waiting to serve on the side.  Perfect, light summer meal.  Non traditional for the 4th?  Sure.  But it certainly hit the spot.   

   
July 4th also involved running the Rocket Man 15K in Loveland, Ohio.  To be completely honest, I went into this one to just have extra motivation to run the 9.3 miles.  I wasn’t pushing it at PR pace and I certainly had no goal finish time in mind.  Plus, it was pouring rain (giving me major flashbacks to the Derby Festival Marathon) and the course was looped, so we ran 3 5k distance laps.  Oof.  Overall, glad I got up and at it on a rainy morning.

  
Last week was my third radio show with WRBI.  I did a segment on “Satisfying Your Summer Sweet Tooth.”  If you guys are interested, I can turn that same information into a blog post!

I think the most exciting thing I did over these last 2 weeks was the Indiana Spartan Sprint on Saturday.  It was touch, muddy, and included too many burpees.  I’ll have a full recap coming ‘atcha on Friday!  For now, here’s a before pic and a muddy pic of the group at the finish.

   
 Other notable eats from the last 2 weeks include:

This super tasty meal of BBQ baked panko chicken + salad + fries.

  
Snack night at Braxton with Queen City Running Club.  After 5 sweaty miles, an icy cold beer plus lots of snacking was in order.

   
 Pizza at Cork and Cap Hyde Park.  This was seriously amazing.

  
One of Anne’s banana pancakes topped with candied pecans, peanut butter, plain Greek yogurt, and strawberries.  Almost felt like dessert!  

Some amazing desk lunches at work–leftover pulled pork salad + potatoes and lemon cod + kale salad + tomatoes.  DELISH.

   
  

Tell me, what have you been up to recently? 

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WIAW – Recap Post

Hi Guys.  I think it was cold out last time I did one of these posts so I thought I’d share with you what I ate yesterday.  So, while today is definitely Thursday, we’ll still call it “What I Ate Wednesday,” because it’s actually what I ate on Wednesday🙂  Boy guys, Wednesday sure was A DAY.  Like one of those days that moved so quickly it makes your head spin but moved so slow you constantly found yourself checking what time it was.

Wednesday morning actually started out slow.  I woke up at 5:05am without an alarm and decided that instead of waiting until 6:15am to go to bootcamp, I’d just go to the gym and take it easy on the elliptical with some good ‘ole Netflix.  Currently switching between Grace and Frankie and House of Cards.  Who else watches?!  Because I went to the gym an hour earlier than normal, I actually had time to cook a breakfast I hadn’t had in what felt like decades…Anne’s Banana Pancake!  I never seem to have ground flax when I make it but I had garbanzo bean flour so I gave that a try and it was perfect.  I topped my pancake with fresh blueberries, my homemade whole milk yogurt, and peanut butter.  Hit. The. Spot.🙂  Enjoyed with black coffee!

  
By the time I arrived to work, it had been almost 3 hours since I had my pancake and I was craving something sweet.  I listened to my body, and treated myself to a donut.  No shame at all.  Enjoyed with the rest of my coffee.

  
Then I was off to a meeting that would end up being the longest meeting of my life.  2.5 hours later, my body was screaming, feed me!  It was lunch time.  I like to eat as many veggies at lunch as I can to fill up, and I love that the cafe at our hospital has these amazing veggie salads every day that employees can purchase for .91 cents.  Lately, I’ve been bouncing between the broccoli bacon salad or the kale salad.  Today was broccoli bacon day!  I paired the salad with some leftovers:  pulled pork (this recipe + BBQ sauce) + sweet potato + cabbage / spinach salad.  So good.

  
I’m a snacker and today was no different.  I got hungry multiple times throughout the afternoon.  First were these “banana cookies.”  Recipe included only 4 ingredients too!  Banana, nut butter, chocolate chips, and oats.  Definitely more granola-y than cookie like, but it still tasted good.

  
Next was a giant container of blueberries and cherries.  Who else loves summer fruit?

  
Still feeling hungry around 4, I had about 10 whole wheat crackers to tide me over.  I probably should have spread peanut butter on them… regrets🙂

  
Then, a once and a blue moon treat for me, a coke zero.  I gave up soda cold turkey a few  years ago and rarely crave it now.  I usually only want a few sips and that’s what went down here.  I put the rest in the fridge and might drink more later in the week.

  
Dinner was late because I work late on Wednesdays.  I had to drop off something at my parent’s house so in good fashion, I raided their fridge.  Veggie, chicken and feta wrap + chips.

   
 And because it’s impossible to end the day without chocolate, chocolate.  This dark chocolate and orange bar I bought recently.  Chocolate paired with a guilty pleasure of mine, Pretty Little Liars.  Anyone else watch?

  
So that was my day.  Ever have a day where you can’t seem to stop eating?  I eat when I’m hungry and I was hungry far often than normal

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Hyde Park Blast Recap + Other Adventures

You guys!  Saturday was my 6th Hyde Park Blast.  This fun, 4 mile race has a special place in my heart.  Back in June 2011, I decided I needed to get back into running.  I had always used my knees as an excuse but no more.  I decided that day if I could run this 4 mile race with no hiccups, I would sign up for my first half marathon.  The rest is history.  That hot, humid day in 2011 is mostly a blur, but I remember feeling accomplished when I crossed the finish line.  While it was hands down one of my slowest races of all time, I felt like crossing 13.1 off the theoretical bucket list was a realistic thing!  For your viewing pleasure, here’s a photo of me and my mom at the event in 2013 (my third blast).


Another thing I love about this race is that it’s become a really cool way for me to see how far my level of fitness has come through slowly but surely getting faster every summer.  I have a hard time believing that I was ever this slow, but online race results doesn’t lie!

2011- 44:07
2012- 42:46
2013- 38:30
2014- 35:40
2015- 42:15 (the chip time didn’t work during this one, so I’m not sure what my exact time was!)
2016- 32:31 (PR!)

  
So I guess spoiler alert already, I PR’d this weekend.  Although the super fun part about that PR is that my goal was really just to finish.  As of today, training for the Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis, IN has begun, and my goal for the blast was to finish.  My training plan had me scheduled to run 12 miles Saturday, which I wasn’t feeling, but knew I needed to get a few extra miles in, so I turned what could have been a 1 mile warm-up jog to the start line into a 3 mile adventure run from my apartment.

Love the smell of fresh donuts before 7am.


Free TVs anyone?


I felt like it would have been bad luck to run through the finish area prior to even running the race so I ran around it.

I found my running pals, Mary included and we were off to the start.  I’ve been a big proponent recently of running based off of feel, so I didn’t have any real goals for this race.  When the gun went off, I felt good so I started booking it.  Then, some of the hills started killing me.  I slowed back just a bit and caught up with Mary.  I used her pace as motivation to keep moving quick for the rest of the race.


Even though I run this race every year, and I live a mile a way from the start, I always forget just how brutal the hills feel when moving at a faster race pace.  Oof!  Here are  two photos of Mary and I trudging along.


 Take a look at that elevation map.  See what I mean!? 

 
Before we knew it, 4 miles were done.  PRs for me and Mary!  Awesome.  Our friend Katie placed in the top 50 women in a 3000 runner field and Todd beat his goal time.  Everyone crushed it.  Go team.


 The activity didn’t stop with the blast.  Next on the agenda was Yelp’s Kick Off to Summer event at 50 West Production Works for some free craft beer and a sand volleyball tournament.  My team placed second, and my friend Julie’s team won!


 The rest of the day was spent wandering around town, which led us back to Hyde Park to watch the Chariot Races and some of the cycling.  So fun!  My legs are definitely sore this morning.

Who else enjoyed the sunshine this weekend?

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Weekly Food + Fitness + Life in 9 Pictures

  1. Two Blue Apron Meals!  
    This Peruvian chicken recipe with green beans (+ extra spinach from my fridge for good measure.    
    An arepa party!
  2. Volunteering in the community–always wonderful when I can return to my old stomping ground, the Freestore Foodbank 
  3. Blood orange + key lime Yagoot topped with crunch topping (brown sugar + cashew + coconut).  So good, I have another yogurt date planned for tonight!  
  4. Satisfied a breakfast craving.  
  5. Feasted after run club at 50 West Production Works.  Nothing beats an out and back run on the bike trail followed by good food, great beer, and fun people.  Can’t wait to return for the Yelp Elite event tomorrow–I’ll definitely be trying out the sand volleyball :)  
  6. A Blue Ash bootcamp.  This one killed my hamstrings.  
  7. The most random breakfast:  dark chocolate almonds + cherries + grapes + an egg  

Best thing you saw, did or ate this week?  Tell me!

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Why Having a Workout Buddy is Almost as Important as Working Out

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Posing pre-marathon with two of my favorite workout buddies!

As a registered dietitian and fitness enthusiast, I frequently find my peers and patients asking me how I stay motivated and inspired to fit in physical activity.  The truth is, it’s always a challenge because some days, you just don’t feel like it.  Just because I am well educated on the reasons I should be working out, doesn’t mean it’s easy to push myself to work out every day.  Want to learn how I find accountability with my fitness routine?  Head over to my blogger friend Jess’s blog, Dietitian Jess, where I’ve shared a guest post on this very topic.

Happy rainy Thursday everyone… it’s almost Friday!

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Yelp’s Cincy Made and Taste of the NFL

So last week was probably the week I ate everything.  Seriously.  All the events centered around food seemed to take place all at one time.  I wanted to pop in and share some of the bites I tasted with you all.  But first, let’s remember balance.  Because last week I ate a lot of foods I don’t normally eat all the time.  But this week isn’t centered around food-focused events and I’m balancing out last weeks indulgences with lots of fresh, lighter fare in exchange for the pastries, donuts, and fried treats.

Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe


I was such a fan of this event.  This was a new to me coffee shop downtown and boy am I glad this event helped me discover it.  Yelp’s Cincy Made events are free to individuals with Yelp accounts and designed so you can get an inside look at all aspects of some really cool local businesses.  The space itself was really inviting but modern, and the exposed brick on the wall really added to the ambiance.


The coffee was amazing.  My espresso was bold and flavorful; not bitter but definitely strong.  The food here is the star of the show though.  It’s not just your average chocolate cookies and brownies at this coffee shop.  Pastry Chef Stephanie is formally trained and prior to joining team Urbana, she worked as a pastry chef in fine dining establishments.  This has led her to create some delicious and absolutely beautiful treats.  Let’s talk toast bar–probably one of the most unique things I tried at Urbana was the toast.  Stephanie comes up with different toast creations are they are as beautiful as they are tasty.  A close second to the toast for me was Stephanie’s chocolate lemon scone.  SO GOOD.

The Freestore Foodbank’s Taste of the NFL

 

Taste of the NFL is hands down my favorite volunteer event with the Freestore Foodbank (FSFB) every year.  Since I used to work at the FSFB, I always get invited to help with this high profile event.  The Cincinnati Bengals team up with local eateries for one giant fundraiser where attendees can get autographs from their favorite players and taste some of Cincinnati’s best dishes.  This year, per usual, was incredible.  Because I could spend days typing reviews of every single bite I tasted, I’ll share some highlights with you below.

Holtman’s 

Always a favorite of mine.  I’ve been obsessing over the simplicity of just a solid sprinkled donut recently.  Always hits the spot.

 Taste of Belgium
This fun play on chicken and waffles was the best thing I ate.  It was a deliciously dense waffle topped with pulled pork and mango chutney.

This short rib and bacon dish.  So good.
This bacon and pea dish wins the creativity award.  I have never tasted anything quite like it.
The Phoenix
I’ve never eaten anything catered by the Phoenix, but was super impressed with their lobster corn dog.  Nice and crisp outside and moist inside.

 Tom + Chee
You may know this local establishment from shark tank.  I know them for the grilled cheese donut.  It’s as heavenly as it sounds.

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5 Things Friday!

TGIF, Friends!  This week has been incredibly busy between deadlines at work, and evening commitments after work.  Some highlights for the week include Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe and volunteering (then indulging later) at my favorite Cincinnati fundraiser, Taste of the NFL.  I’ll have full recaps on both those events coming at ya next week but I thought I’d share 5 food and fitness tidbits from my week so you can get a glimpse of how I’ve managed to find balance amidst the chaos!

  1.  I made it two times to P/E class at the Blue Ash Recreation Center.  Every time I go, I realize how much I miss having the time to attend all 5 early AM classes.  Per usual, Andrew designed some killer workouts, and my hamstrings definitely felt it yesterday when I tried to run.   
  2. Taste of the NFL!  I love that I’m on the volunteer list for this event.  Not only do I get to support a great cause, but I get to taste some of Cincy’s best eats.  I think the last time I felt that full was Thanksgiving dinner.  Standouts for me were obviously the dishes that included donuts, but more to come on that next week :)   
  3. Yelp’s Cincy Made at Urbana Cafe was a winner in my book.  I love supporting local business, especially those with coffee, so learning the history behind the business and getting to taste some of their menu offerings was a real treat. 
  4. After a week of indulging, I was in major need of something green.  It’s rare that I crave kale–those who know me best know it’s not a favorite food of mine–but when I saw the kale salad in the cafe at work today, I knew it would hit the spot.  Paired this salad up with some hummus and wheat crackers.  Perfect satisfying, healthy lunch. 
  5. A patient told me yesterday, “God gave us taste buds for a reason.”  Couldn’t agree more.  Food is meant to be enjoyed and every now and then, we may have a week where we overindulge, but finding balance and getting back on track is the real key to staying on the healthy lifestyle wagon.

What are your taste buds planning to enjoy this weekend?  A new recipe?  A new restaurant?  A favorite food? 

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