Thursday, September 22, 2016

What the Fartlek?! 21 Running Terms Explained

As you enter the wild world of running, you might find yourself attempting to translate training plans, surrounded by unusual (and possibly unnecessary) gear, all while confused by a whole new language! Coaches and friends may use lingo leaving you scratching your head while staying on the sidelines. Here’s a list of 21 running terms to help get you going on your running journey!
Aid Station: Points along the race course (more common in distances further than a 5k) where volunteers/staff hand out water, electrolyte drinks, snacks, etc. In extreme environments or in ultra distances, medical staff is there to measure weight, check for dehydration, and make sure the runner is physically able to continue the race.
Base Mileage: A runner’s average weekly miles ran.  
Bib: The number corresponding to each individual runner “bib number” so they can be identified, printed on a square piece of paper. 

Race Bib
BQ: “Boston Qualifier” A qualifying time standard that runners must meet to qualify for the famous Boston Marathon. Runners still must apply for a spot in the race or apply to run for a charity through the Boston Marathon Charity Program.
Cooldown: An easier exercise after an intense run/workout used to allow the heart rate to gradually go down.
Cross-training: When a runner does yoga, cycling, kayaking, strength training, etc to enhance their running. Cross-training improves cardio, flexibility, reduces the risk of injury, and strengthens muscles that may not be used while running.
DNF: “Did Not Finish” When a runner quits a race for whatever reason (injury, ill, improperly trained, etc) or did not complete the race before the designated cut-off time.
Fartlek: An unstructured workout focusing on speedwork that alternates faster running with easy-effort running. The runner chooses how long or short the faster distances are, changing it up and moving at an easier pace inbetween.
5k: Race distance of 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles.

Warming up for her first 5k...or 50m dash :)
10k: Race distance of 10 kilometers or 6.2 miles.
Half Marathon: Race distance of 13.1 miles.
Hill Repeats: A structured workout for runners to sprint up a hill, jog down to recover, and repeat multiple times.
Long Run: A weekly run (done 1-2 minutes slower than average pace) that helps build endurance, boosts aerobic abilities, utilizes fat for fuel, and allows runners to test out new fuel (gels, chews, drinks), clothing (socks, shoes, compression sleeves), and gear (hydration vests, running belts, earphones) before race day.
Marathon: A race distance of 26.2 miles.
Negative Splits: Running the second half of a run or race faster than the first half.
Pace: Typically the time it takes to run one mile. Different distances have different paces; example being a 5k pace would be much faster than a half marathon pace due to the shorter mileage.
PR: “Personal Record” either in time (fastest) or distance (furthest).
Splits: The time it takes to complete a certain distance in running. Typically splits are checked every mile, helping the runner track their pace or try to reach a certain goal. 

Taper week can be so difficult...I just want to RUN!
Tapering: Reducing the intensity and amount of exercise a few days to a couple weeks before a race to recover and have “fresh legs”.
Tempo Run: A comfortably hard, or faster-paced, run at your lactate-threshold which improves metabolic fitness.
Ultra: Any race distance longer than a marathon, also known as an ultramarathon. Races usually start at 50k (31 miles), 50 miles, 100k (62 miles), 100 miles, and beyond!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Green Goddess Smoothie

Do you ever try something new and think, "WHY HAVEN'T I DONE THIS BEFORE?!?" Come closer my friend, let me introduce you to this Green Goddess Smoothie...

Pin this for later!
I've been enjoying this smoothie so much that I may have prepped an entire week's worth of the same kind...don't judge. I find it extremely helpful to portion out smoothie ingredients (including greens) into individual freezer bags. Label what's inside and what needs to be added, whether it's almond milk, coconut water, hemp seeds, cinnamon, etc. In the mornings for breakfast or after hitting the gym, you can grab a bag from the freezer, pop it into the blender, and simply add liquid! It is also great when you find organic produce on sale so you can stock up without worrying about it going bad. Instead, divide it up and prep your smoothies!

This smoothie is high in dietary fiber which aids in digestion and helps you stay full for longer! It is  a great source of potassium, magnesium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and antioxidants. The mint leaves give it a crisp, refreshing taste which isn't normally expected with green smoothies. I personally used organic Chocolate Mint from our garden, but you can use whatever variety of mint you have available. Although many children immediately refuse any food or drink that is green, our toddler surprisingly loves this smoothie! Lately the trick seems to give her a 'special straw' and everything tastes better. Enjoy this smoothie, shine on, and feel like the goddess you truly are, ladies!

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Green Goddess Smoothie
A detoxing smoothie that will leave you feeling like a goddess!
  • 1 cup Kale
  • 1 cup Green Apple
  • 1/4 cup Celery
  • 10-15 Mint Leaves
  • 1.5 cups Coconut Water
Wash and cut produce. Make sure to remove kale ribs.Measure coconut water into blender. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.Enjoy!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 smoothie

Sunday, September 4, 2016

August Miles + The Running Dilemma

August was the first month that didn’t include any track practices, social runs, or races. I was able to go on one long run with a friend, but besides that, my running life had me prowling like a lone wolf. 

Week 1: 1-6: 25.85 miles
Week 2: 7-13: 20.49 miles
Week 3: 14-20: 27.07 miles
Week 4: 21-27: 44.42 miles (The most I’ve ran in a week!)
Week 5: 28-31: 20.58 miles
Total miles for August: 138.41! (The most I’ve ran in a month!)

Mama Lone Wolf

To run alone, or in a group...that is the question.

For me personally, solo running has always been preferable to social running. Maybe it’s because I’ve only had a little experience of running with others. The beginning of this year I joined a local running club and made some fellow running friends which has been the extent of my social running. Currently, I am doing some training with a friend for the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon. There are definitely pros and cons to both solo and group running. Whether I’m in a group or simply with another person, I find myself distracted and mentally scattered, which sometimes leads to a not-so-good run. If we’re talking, I may find myself out of breath the duration of the run. Sometimes I feel swift and comfortable following the other person’s (or group’s) pace, allowing them to take the lead, but then I may regret it while feeling exhausted trying to keep up. When I am with someone else, I either feel pressure to keep their pace or guilt for asking them to slow down a little bit. 

On the other hand, running with others can force me to push myself in ways that I never knew. I may reach a speed that I didn’t think was possible or learn a different training method that really works for me. Finishing a tough long run with a friend brings you both a sense of accomplishment and builds up confidence. At group track practices, the friendly competition helps me break through workouts that I wouldn’t feel like doing alone. People are supportive and cheer each other on, offering advice and sharing experience. 

Comfortable pace of a solo run.
Solo running allows me a much needed therapeutic and meditative time, obviously, by myself. As a stay-at-home mom, getting time to myself is necessary for my sanity and ability to be a happy mom! I go through mental processes, evaluations, spiritual journeys, and learn more about my identity with each run. I find myself lost “in the zone” so often that I’m nearly on autopilot. My body is in sync, my legs are strong, my breathing is natural, and I feel as if I could continue running forever. Keeping a strong pace, yet knowing when to ease up, is something that I’m only able to do while running alone. 

So which do you prefer, to run alone or in a group?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Vegan Lentil & Veggie Soup

In September, we officially welcome FALL! This year the autumn equinox lands on September 23rd. How do you plan on celebrating? The weather here in the Pacific Northwest has been cooling off with some cozy rainy days, which has my mind in comfort mode (or should I say my stomach?!) I personally can't think of a better meal than one that involves your crock pot! It's so easy to prep in the morning, throw everything in the slow cooker, then let it simmer away while you go about your business. Welcome yourself home with warm, comforting soup that tastes good and is good for you too!

This summer we've been getting a CSA box each week. If you know anything about me, then you know I LOVE veggies! The only time this becomes a problem is when there is an abundance of produce that needs to be eaten fast before it goes bad. I am a big fan of "no veggie left behind" so I decided to put together this delicious, detoxing soup! The fresh garlic cloves contain antioxidants and are proven to improve the immune system, just in time for the cold and flu season. Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and has also been shown to be a natural anti-depressant (If you are sensitive to spice or peppery taste, omit the turmeric). The lentils in this soup contain 18 grams of protein, power up! For busy moms, we want to make the most of our time while also feeding our family healthy, nutritious foods. This soup is a large enough batch to eat for dinner and freeze the extra for later!

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Vegan Lentil & Veggie Soup
A hearty, vegan soup made easily in the crock pot!
  • 2 quarts Veggie Broth
  • 1 14.5oz can Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 ears Corn on the Cob, cut
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 cup Lentils
  • 1 large Tomato, diced
  • 5 Fresh Garlic Cloves
  • 5 Carrots, sliced
  • 3 Ribs of Celery, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • Salt & Pepper
Cut, slice, and dice all of the produce.Throw everything in the crock pot.Cook on low for 6-8 hours.Enjoy now or freeze for later!
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8-10 servings

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

13 Running Quotes to Encourage You!

Felling less than enthusiastic about waking up early to run? Dreading the potential boredom of hitting the treadmill? When I find myself wanting some extra motivation, I tend to get that much needed boost through quotes and mantras. (If you're trying to become a more balanced runner, click over to read some helpful tips.) Here are 12 encouraging running quotes that will motivate you to simply get out the door, switch up your training plan, or even go on your very first run! You can do it!

“Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running.” –Julie Isphording

“Training is what you are doing while your opponent is sleeping in.” –Brian Owen

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” –Dean Karnazes

“Even when you have gone as far as you can, and everything hurts, and you are staring at the specter of self-doubt, you can find a bit more strength deep inside you, if you look closely enough.” –Hal Higdon

“If one could run without getting tired I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” –C.S. Lewis

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” –Albert Einstein

“I’ve learned that it’s what you do with the miles, rather than how many you’ve run.” –Rod DeHaven

“Remember, the feeling you get from a good run is far better than the feeling you get from sitting around wishing you were running.” –Sarah Condor

How to be a Balanced Runner

“Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is the one who endures that the final victory comes.” –Buddha

“Running is a road to self-awareness and reliance­­­—you can push yourself to extremes and learn the harsh reality of your physical and mental limitations or coast quietly down a solitary path watching the earth spin beneath your feet.” –Doris Brown Heritage

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.” –John Bingham

“Struggling and suffering are the essence of a life worth living. If you’re not pushing yourself beyond the comfort zone, if you’re not demanding more from yourself—expanding and learning as you go—you’re choosing a numb existence. You’re denying yourself an extraordinary trip.” –Dean Karnazes

“The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other…but to be with each other.” –Christopher McDougall

What are some of your favorite motivational quotes? Feel free to leave them in the comments or send me a message, I’d love to read your best quotes!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Breaking through the Wall

This morning my husband curiously asked, “So how’s your blog going?” My heart skipped with a little bit of guilt and a whole lot of frustration with my reply, “Well, I haven’t written in a while. I haven’t had much extra time. It hasn’t really been my priority…” I could go on and on and on. Finding yourself stuck in a rut is a natural phase for anybody, but as a mother, it’s a much easier trap to fall into. 

Are you ready to break through?
As moms, we regularly put others' wants and needs ahead of our own. Raising, feeding, teaching, and nurturing little ones is a major task! At times, life can be so busy and exhausting that when we do get time for ourselves, all we want to do is rest. We want to do nothing, because we are used to doing everything. Trust me, I am a full supporter of going to bed early or sneaking a nap in while your child naps. But check this out…why wouldn’t you do something that makes you happy? Why wouldn’t that be one of your priorities?

This month started out on a good note, I was actually following a half marathon training program, enjoying summer activities with little Eisley, having girlfriends over for dinner. The second week of August I walked in the door from my long Sunday morning 10.12 mile run, to my husband handing me our 2 year old daughter covered in puke. She was really sick for 4 days, so we stayed home and I became Nurse Momma. That weekend, we began viewing houses and starting the process to purchase our first home! So exciting, yet stressful! The next Sunday I heard a loud THUD followed by screaming during Eisley’s nap. She finally learned how to climb out of her crib onto our wood floors, so we converted her crib to a toddler bed with a mesh side rail attachment. I had no idea how long and draining the process would be to teach her to sleep in her convertible bed and STAY in bed. A few days she refused to nap at all. She has been going to bed 1-1.5hrs LATER that usual and waking up 1-2.5hrs EARLIER in the mornings! It’s taken me between 40min-2hrs just to get her down to sleep; methods including sitting next to her, laying on the bed, soothing music, extra bedtime routine, and closing the door then carrying her back to bed each time she ran and opened the door. This also happened to be the same time we started her swimming lessons, which so far have landed on the “no nap” days. Did I mention how exhausted I’ve been? How am I supposed to take care of my emotional/mental/spiritual health if I am completely drained? (Oh yeah, also while training for a half marathon!)

Today, I realized and accepted the fact that I have lost steam. I understand the fact that no, I cannot control all aspects of life. All I can do is adapt, learn, and go with the flow. The best part about recognizing my feeling of being lost is that now I can move forward with my life as a wife, mother, and runner. I am reorganizing my priorities and making it a point to channel my creative outlets on a daily basis, even if it’s only fifteen minutes. 

Recharging together with a stroller run along the bay!
I used to read regularly, and now my books wait unfinished.

I used to brew kombucha weekly, and now my SCOBYs grow thick in sweet tea turned to vinegar.

I used to write ideas/material/recipes in a notebook for my blog, and now my calendar says August is nearly over with only TWO blog posts!

I used to…NO MORE! I am! I create! I enjoy! I am breaking through the wall and hope that you can too. Join me in moving forward, making the most out of our lives as mothers, friends, wives, artists, athletes, women! Adventure awaits, my friends!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Honeywagon Runs Half Marathon

With my second half marathon coming up, it only seemed appropriate to look back and review my very first half, the Honeywagon Runs Half Marathon! Although honey sure sounds sweet (we LOVE to stock up on different local honey varieties), the term “honeywagon” literally means, well, let's just say it's stinky, like cow patties. The race was held on Saturday, April 9, 2016 in Everson, WA and was hosted by the Greater Bellingham Running Club. I was able to easily register online and since I’m a GBRC member, my registration was at no cost. That’s right, free! The half registration fee was $25 for non-members. In addition to the half marathon distance, there was also a 4 mile distance open to walkers and runners. The race started and ended at Nooksack Valley Middle School. That entire community is fairly rural and the extensive farmlands made for a peaceful backdrop during the race. 

After about a 30 minute drive, I showed up to the parking lot at 8:15am. It was early still and pretty chilly outside, but I read that it would be warmer and dressed for that type of weather. I wandered my way to the Activity Building to pick up my bib which had chip timing. It looked like a decent sized crowd that mainly looked like experienced and confident runners. I was feeling pretty nervous and chose to warm up on the football field (hello fellow introverts!) It always feels a little bit more comfortable if I’m away from other people to focus, get in my own zone, and mentally prepare for the event. At 8:55am I followed other people to the starting line. This was only the second time to ever use my new TomTom watch which actually showed pace, distance, time, etc compared to before when I would simply wing it!

Race course
At 9:00am the announcer shouted and we were off! I started mid-pack, but soon realized that maybe I should’ve started closer to the front. Our course was running along rural roads, opposite traffic. For a while I would awkwardly have to follow closely behind someone while waiting for the safe opportunity to pass them, without being hit by a car! About 2 miles in and I was settled into my groove. There was much less traffic and there weren’t very many runners around me, so I was really able to focus on my breathing, body, and form. I was confident and pretty strong for the first 4 miles, all under 8 minutes. Around mile 5 I came to my first long distance predicament…all alone with one other runner right next to you, moving at the same pace. What is the runner’s etiquette? Do you talk to each other? Do you focus on yourself and pretend the other person isn’t there? Well, I personally felt the urge to simply say, “hi” after running so long next to this person. They were very nice and also had a young daughter, so we were able to talk about our little ones for a couple of miles. Once we passed the aid station, I took off again on my own. 

















Miles 7-9 sped up a little to stay under 8 minutes, and then my dreaded knee started acting up! The last thing I wanted to do was injure myself or not be able to finish the race, so I slowed it down again for miles 10-12. This was just enough rest to get me feeling good again. There was only one runner within sight ahead of me that entire time, a lady that made running this distance look easy! She was a great motivation and pacer for me to follow along when I was beginning to get caught up in my head. We were approaching the aid station and an intersection that was downhill, a perfect opportunity to catch some speed! Well, as I started flying down I could hear, “Hey, aren’t you going to stop her?” So, I turned around and saw that the route was turning right, not going straight like I went! Now I had to backtrack while going uphill to get back on the route and catch up to my fellow lady runner. 

Running primarily alone for long distances is a perfect time for inward reflection and mindfulness of the world around you. The moments that doubt and fear surfaced, I returned to my mantra, “I am healthy. I am strong. I am motivated!” The beginning of mile 13 I was able to pass the female runner I had been trailing, she yelled, “You’ve got this! Kick it into gear!” At this point in the race, we were sharing the route with the 4 mile runners/walkers so I had to do a little more maneuvering through people. I finished mile 13 strong at the same exact speed as mile 1, 7:31/mi pace. Immediately crossing the finish line, I felt a rush of emotions! “Yeah, I did it! I just finished my first half marathon! That wasn’t as hard as I had expected. Did I really push myself, because I don’t feel quite exhausted? When is the next race? Where is the food?” My final time was 1:44:11, averaging a 7:57min/mi pace! I managed to place third in my age group, F19-29, with the first place in my age group finishing 1:32:02 with a 7:02min/mi pace! After grabbing some food and receiving my ribbon, I was ready to head home to our little family. The Honeywagon Runs is a race put on annually and the route is fairly flat, making it a wonderful half marathon to try for your first time! Fellow running mamas, whether you’re a beginner curious about running 13.1 miles or a seasoned runner looking to beat your half marathon PR, I recommend signing up and giving it a shot next year!