Monthly Archives: March 2016

Food and Fitness Highlights + Simple, Tasty Dinner Idea

Happy Thursday everyone!!  In less than 24 hours, I’ll be getting on a plane to join Anne and the rest of the CabotFit team for a Cherry Blossom 10 Miler filled weekend in Washington, D.C.  I am so excited to head back to the nation’s capitol.  It’s been almost a year since I interned with Food Directions and I’ve missed D.C. every second I’ve been gone!  The weekend is going to be packed with all sorts of food and fitness adventures so I’ll be sure to report back next week. 

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Notable fitness adventures this week started out Sunday afternoon.  It was a nice day out, so I decided to join my mom and sister for a walk at Smale Riverfront Park.  The weather was amazing, as were the views of the river, and clearly dozens of other individuals had the same idea because the walking paths were packed!  It certainly felt good to shake out my legs after Saturday’s 20 miler.  I think the dogs had a great time too.

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Monday started out with a shakeout run.  My muscles were still pretty sore from Saturday so I really kept the pace slow to ease in to the run.  I tried to find a flat course and completed 4.75 easy miles.  After, I had a pretty intimate date with my foam roller.  Totally necessary and let me tell you it makes all the difference. Monday evening’s highlight was a spontaneous late dinner at a new to me local Korean restaurant Stone Bowl.  I tried Korean Bi Bim Bap for the first time because our server told us the stone bowls are what they are known for and it was quite tasty.  We were both hungry so we decided to share the seafood pancake appetizer which was unique and delicious as well.  My friend Maria’s ramen really looked amazing too!  The service was excellent here so I’ll definitely be back again.  Next time for the ramen!  It’s always fun to try different cuisines.

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Tuesday morning started out with a quick arms / shoulders workout in my apartment followed by some foam rolling.  After work, I met up with my training group for a 7 mile hill workout.  Ooof!!  It was a tough one but a good one with some nice variations in elevation.  7 miles, done!  At a pretty good pace too.

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For dinner, I threw together a super quick and fun weeknight meal.  I pan seared a piece of tilapia in some grill seasoning for a few minutes on each side.  While that cooked, I toasted up some whole wheat pita triangles in the oven to serve as my grain for the meal and threw together a quick slaw of carrots, cabbage and spinach.  From start to finish, I probably spent 15 minutes in the kitchen and ended up with a super tasty, colorful meal that really hit the spot after 7 miles!

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Wednesday morning was an early one, but started out in one of my favorite ways!  I hit up the Blue Ash Recreation Center for my favorite P/E class and the workout was a good one as always.  It’s always nice to mix it up and see some familiar faces in class.  I wasn’t planning on doing anything else Wednesday because I had to teach a nutrition class at dinner time, however when I got home, I had a lot of pent up energy from sitting all day and decided on whim to knock out 2-3 miles.  The weather was absolutely incredible and it was nice to stretch my legs before plopping down on the couch.

 
  
Tonight after work, the plan is to check out the weekly fun run my training group organizes.  They meet at Braxton every Thursday night and lately, I’ve been working during these meetups.  However, since I started my new job this week, I’m finally free.  Crossing my fingers the rain lets up for a good run later!  Nothing better than knocking out some miles and enjoying a refreshing, local beer after.  Hits the spot every time.

Coming at you next week, recaps from the race and D.C. adventures.  Stay tuned folks!  Is anyone else running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler?  Any advice or tips for the race?

 

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Easy Single Serve Microwave Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake

Does the title of this post intrigue you?  Well, good!  It should.  This recipe is the best combination of a dense, cinnamony (is that a word?) cinnamon roll, combined with the effortless nature of a mug cake.  And the best part?  I made it with pancake mix!

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So as I share this recipe with you all, I want to apologize in advanced for the poor photo quality.  Photography has always been a skill I want to improve on, but for now, you’re stuck with this.  Hope it still makes you hungry.   Continue reading

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The Power of Positivity [during physical activity]

It’s taken me a while to discover, but I think Saturday was when the idea hit home.  Positive thinking, or in my case, lack of negative thoughts, can have a major impact on how a workout goes.  Case and point:  my 20 mile long run.  Ask any of my running buddies, they’ll tell you I have the worst habit of of complaining the entire long run making comments like “This sucks,” “I’m not running another marathon again,” “F*** this hill,” and “I give up.”  While most of the time I’m being slightly sarcastic, there is a hint of truth and honesty coming out when I say these things.  I don’t usually say things that I don’t believe; I consider myself to be incredibly terrible at lying.

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Saturday 20 miles was on the agenda.  We received an email from our training coach suggesting we change our frame of mind during these runs.  My running buddy Mary and I bet at the start of the run that I should be positive the entire time.  A challenge for me, sure, but I was up for it.  20 miles is around 3 hours of running, which is a long time, seemingly longer if you are having a negative experience.  I started to think about the run in more manageable chunks; in addition to the sunshine and lack of my negative comments, I cannot emphasize how incredibly well this run went for me.

Our training run was set up along the Flying Pig Marathon course.  This helped to chunk up the run.  The first 3-4 miles flew by because I knew there’d be a water stop halfway up one of the most brutal elevation climbs of the run.  I knew the hydration would be refreshing and then realizing we were almost 25% through the run was a helpful thought.  I then started thinking about how our next water stop was by Owls Nest park, again, something that felt like a very short distance away in a neighborhood I am familiar with.  It was also helpful to tell myself the major hill climbs for the run would be over when we got to the next water stop.  I had some incredibly refreshing margarita shot blocks to eat for fuel and kept going.  This next chunk of the run was even easier to think positively about.  We ran through the neighborhood I live in, by many friends houses, and then the next water stop was around the block from my parents house.  The sun was completely out and the day felt great.  I had been taking it easy and still thinking positively.  I realized at this point we were over half way to 20.  I then started thinking about where the next water stop was–about a 5k away.  Obviously that felt manageable to think about that distance and we had a nice downhill to lead us there.  My pace got a little faster, I was feeling great!  Before I knew it, we were at the next water stop.  Seeing one of our training coaches passing out water, in addition to the realization we only had 3-4 miles until the final water stop motivated me to continue to increase my pace.  It was flat the rest of the way, and the views of the Ohio River only helped with the positive experience of the run.  We reached the final water stop at the Purple People Bridge and I realized we were a 5k away from 20 miles.  Amazing!  I picked up the pace a little bit more and powered my way to the finish.

Compartmentalizing this run into manageable bits and pieces, in addition to lack of negative comments are reasons I am sure this run went so flawlessly.  Most long runs don’t go well for me and I can’t pinpoint anything other than the power of positivity as the only difference.  I ate the same breakfast before, I fueled during the run the same way, and I wore the same clothes I always wear.  I replaced my negative comments with positive ones, like “We got this guys,” and “We’re killing it, almost there.”  Good conversation helps too.

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What I’ve realized is that the way you frame your mind before, during, and after a tough challenge, in my case it’s usually a long run or race, can really make all the difference in how the experience goes.  It’s something that I’ve taken a long time to notice and didn’t truly hit home until Saturday, but I’m glad that it has.  It are these types of realizations that are impacting the way I view yoga as well.  I used to say I hate it.  I haven’t grown to love it yet, but I can certainly appreciate it.  It’s a time that forces me to slow down and focus on stretching and forget everything else.  While I sometimes find myself getting bored during a yoga class, I am realizing what I might view as boredom could really just be a sign I need to take time to sit with my thoughts and be more mindful.  The day I decide I like or even love yoga, I’ll certainly tell you all about it.

I am looking forward to a great weekend in DC next week.  I’ve heard the cherry blossoms are already out and  I’ll be joining the FAnnetastic-Cabot Cherry Blossom Team with my running buddy Mary for a #CabotFit filled weekend.  I can’t wait to try these new positive thinking practices during the 10 mile race.  I plan to study to course map and am hoping to have quick legs and a great time.  It’ll be a good practice race in preparation for the Kentucky Derby Marathon April 3oth!

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What I Ate Wednesday (#WIAW) Recap

Hi friends.  It’s hard to believe that Thursday has hit us already.  The weeks seem to keep going faster and faster.  Another week almost down means I’m less than a week to starting my new job at Margaret Mary Health.  It’s exciting!  So yesterday on snapchat (@kaplanrm – give me a follow), I decided to share everything I ate.  I was pretty on it and didn’t leave out a thing.  Except water.  Which for me was miraculous that I remembered to drink quite a few glasses of it.  I’m going to try and keep up with sharing my meals and snacks on snapchat every Wednesday, but if you didn’t follow along, here’s the recap!

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6:00am – 7:00am:  Wake up.  Drink black coffee.

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7:00am – 8:00am:  Hit up the gym for a quick workout.  I had to be out the door for some appointments at 8:45.  I squeezed in a quick 15 minute warmup on the stairmaster before making up a circuit that I repeated for 15 minutes.  It involved 12 bosu pushups, 12 bosu situps, 12 bosu burpees, 12 bicep curls, 12 tricep dips, and 12 squat press.  Repeat till time is up.  Workout was quick but efficient.  I definitely got my sweat on.

8:30am:  Quickly shoved breakfast into my stomach.  I was running late so thank goodness I had left my oatmeal in the fridge overnight to soak up some of the milk and let the frozen berries defrost a bit.  I just had to pop it in the microwave and presto!  Breakfast was served.  The hard boiled eggs were a spur of the moment purchase from Trader Joes and they have been saving my life all week.

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11:00am:  Quick coffee stop.  I had to get blood drawn and it was traumatic, so I treated myself to a soy iced coffee.

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12:15pm:  Snack time.  These are becoming my new favorite.  (Sorry Kind bars).

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1:30pm:  My mom called me spur of the moment and asked me to meet her and my sister for lunch at my favorite, Sleepy Bee.  So happy I was free.  I’ve never ordered off the lunch menu (breakfast FTW!) but decided to try the turmeric chicken salad.  It was wonderful; it was loaded with flavor, light on the mayo and had tons of cilantro.  Served with a side of sweet potatoes.  Yum!

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4:00pm:  Snack time (again).  Like I mentioned in my last WIAW post, I tend to snack a lot over the day.  I didn’t want to over indulge because I had dinner plans with a friend later, so I enjoyed some leftover cilantro lime riced cauliflower from dinner the day before, topped with some guac.

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5:30pm:  Snack time (again).  I lied when I shared this on snapchat.  I made this recipe for banana bread and had to taste it.  I like this recipe a lot because it really isn’t very sweet, but it’s moist and hits the spot.  I used canola oil and subbed in some coconut flour.

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7:00pm:  My friend Becca and I had a cooking date.  We made one of my favorite things, taco stuffed sweet potatoes.  We did this version with chicken breast, and stuffed our potatoes with all the fixings (guac, black beans, tomatoes, cheddar cheese and taco seasoning).  HIT. THE. SPOT.

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9:30pm:  Craving a sweet treat.  Saw these at Kroger and decided I had to find out how they tasted.  Spoiler alert, delicious.  I only had a couple.  Treats like oreos are totally fine when eaten in moderation.  Just don’t eat the whole bag in one sitting.

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And just for fun, I thought I’d share this mornings breakfast with you all.  I enjoyed that banana bread I made.  Since it isn’t very sweet, I pumped it up with some awesome toppings and it hit the spot.  I microwaved some frozen berries and drizzled almond butter over the top and fancy banana bread was served.

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Have a great day everyone!

What was the best thing you ate this week?

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Heart Mini Half Marathon Race Recap

Hi guys.  I apologize for my absence from writing last week.  I broke my “1 post per week minimum” and felt really guilty about it.  I have good reason though!  I moved this past weekend and in addition to that, it was the 2016 Heart Mini this past weekend and I signed up to run the half marathon with Queen City Running Club!  This race is known among local Cincinnati runners for being brutal.  It’s essentially an out and back on a highway so it’s completely exposed to the elements and loaded with rolling hills.  There isn’t a single flat portion the entire race.  Not to mention that due to the starting line moving up a few blocks, the race organizers were forced to add back in the most brutal hill of all:  Torrence Parkway.  It’s pretty insane, so I included the elevation map of the course so you could feel my pain too!

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The race could have gone better, however, given the unexpected surprise that included Torrence, in addition to the insanely humid weather for March, I can’t complain about my time.  I finished in 2:04:45.  That makes for an average of 9:30 / mile.  This isn’t my fastest time but also one of my better times so I’ll take it!  When I realized the weather and the hills weren’t working for me I knew I wouldn’t PR, so coming in at under 2:05 was my goal.  Goal achieved!

As you can see from the screen shot above, I started out way too fast.  I was feeling awesome, my legs were nice and refreshed from a great yoga session the morning before and I was eager.  By the time I got to mile 6 and the infamous Torrence hill, my legs gave out on me and my miles went between 9 and 10 minutes each.  Note to self:  practice going out slow and finishing fast.  I’m going to work on that.  Gotta save some energy for the big hills.

So glad that I ran this with all my running buddies from Queen City Running Club.  I wore my club T-Shirt and met so many new running friends on the course.  Loved it!  I ran with some of my training buddies and with some new people as well.  Since I don’t wear headphones, all the conversations with different runners definitely kept me motivated.  Plus, I wasn’t tempted to break off at the 15K split because all my running buddies were encouraging me to power through.  Glad I did!

And for your viewing pleasure, here is a sweaty post race photo of me and my running buddy Mary.  I looked drenched because I was.  I wasn’t sure if it was going to pour or not (spotty weather forecast) and I wanted to be prepared.  I ran in a rain jacket and that was a mistake.  It was essentially a tent for my sweat and allowed for no insulation.  I would not recommend it for next time.

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Who else raced this weekend?  Next race on the agenda is the Credit Union Cherry Blossom  10 Mile Run in D.C. where my entry will be sponsored by Cabot Cheese via FAnnetastic Food.  Running and traveling are the best, so I can’t wait!  It’s so fun to get to go because I won a contest too.  It adds excitement to the mix.

What races do you guys have on your agendas?  Any recommendations for the best / most scenic fall half marathons?

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Simple Healthy Trick + Fitness Adventures

Hi guys!  Another week down and let me tell you, it’s been a busy one!  I’ve been working on the planning for my nutrition workshops with my running group, the Queen City Running Club, as well as some other writing opportunities and of course work.

Because of how busy I’ve been, grocery shopping hasn’t made it to the top of my priorities list.  No worries though!  I always keep a few frozen staples on hand–either leftovers or some healthy frozen dinners.  Now, I don’t find frozen dinners to be filling on their own, so I always like to think of creative ways to pump up the nutrition even if I am in a hurry.  Today for lunch, I made one of my favorite Trader Joe’s frozen meals:  the chicken tikka masala.  Its got large chunks of chicken breast served over basmati rice with a spicy, flavorful sauce.  Delish!  To pump up the nutrition, I microwaved the meal on top of a large pile of spinach.  It worked perfectly.  I got some extra volume from the veggies as well as the pumped up nutritional value from the spinach.  This lunch hit the spot!

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As far as fitness goes, just because it’s a busy week does not mean you have an excuse to skip physical activity.  Monday was an absolutely beautiful day outside so I got in a nice 4.5 mile run through a bunch of the nearby Cincinnati neighborhoods.  I even got to wear shorts which felt AMAZING.  I hate wearing tights to run.  Anyone else have the same problem?

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So glad I got a good run in Monday because Tuesday’s forecast called for rain.  I knew if I came home from work and it was raining, I wouldn’t have made it to my group run, so I did the smart thing and packed a gym bag.  This forced me to get my workout in.  I decided to hit up one of my favorite fitness classes at the Blue Ash Recreation Center after work, the circuit training!  I love how the instructors always play great music and design challenging workouts.  Tuesday we had to do “get-ups,” and for those unfamiliar, they are super difficult.  Before the class, I had time to use the indoor track and even squeezed in 2.5 miles.  Awesome.

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Wednesday morning I was up and at it to hit up some 6am crossfit with my work friend Mandy.  LOVE that she convinced me to do this with her.  It was a tough workout that included tons of burpees and wall balls for a fellow crossfiter’s 40th birthday.  Such a tough workout but felt good to get that one in.  Wednesday evening, I had a fun girls dinner with some of my coworkers at Bakersfield, one of my absolute favorites.  Glad I squeezed that workout in because we definitely treated ourselves to some margaritas, tortilla chips and tacos.  With my favorite donut joint right across the street, I obviously encouraged the group to stop in with me to grab a little after dinner treat.  Balance, obviously :).

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Thursday was yet another busy day, but thanks to running dates set with friends, I got a nice 5 miler in with Mary after work.  Thanks for waiting until 7 to run, Mary.  I appreciated the motivation :).

Today is a lower key day.  I had some work to take care of this morning and will head off to work in just a couple of minutes.  Since tomorrow is a long run day, I decided to make today a rest day to focus on getting stretched out and energized for my 16 miler tomorrow morning.  Plus, I’ll have to save some energy after that to move boxes into my new apartment!  It’s going to be a busy weekend but I’m prepared.

Who else is squeezing in a long run?  How far?

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