Getting Pretty Muddy

I tend to enter into competitive races most of the time. I truly have a difficult time running at a super easy pace, or just for fun. Running fast for me is fun. This past weekend, I was able to embrace that inner easy pace, as I got Pretty Muddy!

Meghann, Stephanie, Diana, and I all headed up to Dade City, about 45 minutes north of Tampa. We all had a mud run on our agenda for the day!

Full Disclosure: I was given a complimentary entry to the race in exchange for honest feedback about the inaugural Tampa event and my post race review. All opinions are solely my own, and no one elses.

This was the most branded race that I have ever ran before. The tents said pretty muddy, the caution tape to keep us on course said Pretty Muddy – it was all there! There were waves in 15 minute increments from 8am all the way until noon, and the group of us all decided to get going early for the 8:30 wave. So glad that we did!

The course was 5k in length and was littered with fun obstacles, some filled with mud, and some not. For example, within the first 200 yards, we came up on our first one – Bubbles! Give a bunch of girls some bubbles to run through, and you have an amazing time!

But what is a Pretty Muddy mud run without getting a little dirty, right? We were ensured that the mud was all “clean mud” – aka, it had no rocks or dangerous particles in it. It was all dirt and water, so falling, running, throwing and rolling in it was no issue. The best part of the run was that if you didn’t feel comfortable tackling an obstacle, you didn’t have to. You could walk right around it. None of us did this, of course, because we were all in!! The muddier, the better!

Oh, and as for all of these amazing photos??!! Meghann has an amazing waterproof camera that she brought to the race, and captured over 200 awesome photos! Thanks for letting me use them!! :)

I must say – I haven’t laughed this much in a long time. I am pretty sure that we all had a smile on our face the entire time! It was so much more fun than I had ever imagined! Most girls spend time together at the mall, getting their nails done, or sipping a glass of wine (which I definitely love as well!!) – but we spent the day getting Pretty Muddy!

And how did the original four of us turn out…

We got down and dirty!! And don’t worry – there was a designated place for us to hose off and then get changed afterwards. They definitely thought of everything!

Thank you so much to Pretty Muddy for giving us the opportunity to run this amazing race. I know they are significantly expanding across the country within the next year, so look out for them in your city! You don’t want to miss this Mud Run!!

Ever done a Mud Run? Would you want to in the future!?

 

Running Coaching

It’s already been a month since I finished the Chicago Marathon – how did that happen? I worked for 18 weeks prior to the race, building my base, watching my fluid intake and being very diligent to my training –  and now 4 weeks have passed.

So what am I up to now??

Well, for starters, I really buckled down on my studying for my NASM exam, and I passed it. Woo hoo! As for running, I have had a lot of people who knew what I was up to when I was training for Chicago ask me, “What’s next on your marathon schedule?” All I have come up with so far is this…

I have nothing planned in the near future. I am signed up for a few half marathons between now and February, but I am not wrapped up in any sort of training plan, and it feels SOOO GOOD! I run when I want to. I swim when I want to. I sit on my butt when I want to. It is an exhilarating feeling to know that I can do everything on my own schedule, and  not because I have a big goal to achieve. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely thrive off of having a dedicated training plan, but I also know when it is time to back off a bit. I knew after Chicago that I was going to need some time off, so I am taking it. I’m definitely still running of course – I love it and its a huge part of my life!

Luckily my running energy has been focused more on others lately than myself. A couple of weeks ago, I added a new page here on the blog. Run Coaching!

I’ve been coaching a few people for a while now, but have decided to FINALLY announce it here! I continually work so hard to reach all my running goals, and I really want to help others reach their goals too! I am working towards my RRCA Certification, and hope to have it by mid-next year. There are only a few courses offered in my region, so finding a time that works for my schedule has proven to be pretty tough. I feel very comfortable in my ability to coach others in their running endeavors without the certification, however I would like to have it for the future. Check out my coaching page for more detailed information on specific training plans and coaching options!

So running coaching, personal training… I’m quitting my job, right? No way! I love my full-time job way too much for that! Health and Wellness is a big part of my life and I want to take the steps now to make it a permanent fixture, and I think it compliments what I am doing now very well! I still have far too much to learn, and know with some hard work, I can juggle it all.

Let me know if you are looking for some guidance in your running. I would love to help!

NASM Tips and Tricks

I have received multiple emails and comments about my experience with NASM, so I figured I would go ahead and dedicate a post to answering them all for you!

1. Why did you choose NASM?

Like I mentioned when I announced I signed up for the exam, I chose NASM for the forward thinking. It is not the same type of strength training like it used to be. I think the different stages that NASM teaches trainers to use (Stabilization, Strength, & Power) is vital in making a safe and effective workout. The stress on the scientific background of teaching clients correct form while working out is a great part of NASM as well. I am very, very happy with my decision!

2. What did you buy when you signed up?

When I signed up for the course, I purchased the book, test, and online workspace, which is the PRO package. I didn’t want to commit to going to a live class, since I have such a hectic schedule, and knew that I could fit the studying in on my own. I also didn’t think the extras were necessary. I liked being able to access the text-book online, since you can search it by term, which really helped into the days leading up to the exam.

3. How long did you study for?

I signed up for the test back in mid-June, and I didn’t take the test until November 2nd. I definitely took more time than I needed. If I would have been more dedicated to the studying, I could have definitely taken the test in August/September. It simply came down to me knowing that I had until December to get it done, so I wasn’t in a rush. I read a chapter per week – sometimes 2 if they were short. I pretty much did this on the weekend, and would read sporadically during the week. What worked the best for me was as follows:

  • Read the Book
  • Do practice exercises online after each chapter
  • Make notecards for important key terms
  • Complete the practice exam at least 10 times
That was honestly all that I did. At the beginning, I was taking very diligent notes, but soon realized that I just did not need to be doing it. I was digesting the information really well, and didn’t even look at any of the notes that I took since I had my notecards. Just reading through the book and studying the diagrams and charts really helped me. I am a visual learner, so I knew this would be my best method to study.

4. What are the online study resources like?

In the online space, there are activities after each chapter, along with video explanations. I only watched the videos if I was confused on a movement or exercise. Otherwise, I thought it to be too repetitive. The activities were great because it helped to reinforce the information in a much more interactive way.

5. Any helpful tips and tricks?

Don’t think that any part of the text is too small. I remember thinking that some of the easier information was not important, I didn’t review it, and then it confused me on the exam. The biggest advice I can give you is to be sure to know the muscles that are shortened and lengthened when certain muscles compensate for others. It is so important. Also, pay attention to the practice test. Multiple practice questions showed up on the final test.

If you have any other questions, please let me know in the comments, or email me at foodfunrun [at] gmail [dot] com!

Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls

With last week being Halloween, I was able to make a fun treat for a party that I went to. It was such a hit at the party, that I went ahead and made it again over the weekend when I got together with my triathlon team. We wanted to hang out to do some non-athletic bonding, so we had a football game potluck, and had a blast. I brought a few little pieces of heaven – Peanut Butter Popcorn Balls!

I found the recipe online a few weeks ago for a variation of the treat, but I decided to put my own spin on it. Here is everything that you need:

6 cups of popcorn (popped)

1 cup of peanut butter M&M’s

1 large bag of big puff marshmallows

1 Tbsp of butter

Sprinkles for garnish

Non-stick spray

Directions: In a large sauce pan, melt the butter on very low heat. Pour in the bag of marshmallows, and stir frequently while they melt. Be careful not to burn them!

While the marshmallows are melting, pop the popcorn, place in a large bowl, and pour in the M&M’s.

Once the marshmallows are completely melted, let them cool for a couple of minutes and then pour over the top of the popcorn. To mold the balls, make sure your hands are well-greased with the cooking spray. This is very important! Be careful getting too much of the marshmallow mix on your hands, as it is still pretty hot at this point. Roll the popcorn and M&M’s into the size of a golf ball, and then coat with sprinkles for garnish.

If you want your popcorn balls to be less gooey, just add more popcorn to the mix. It is pretty darn simple! From start to finish, this recipe takes about 10 minutes. They are they perfect mix of salty and sweet, and are not a heavy, rich dessert. I am pretty sure these might become my staple party dessert. So simple, easy to store, and even easier to eat!

Do you like to have popcorn as a dessert to compliment salty and sweet, or are you just all sweet, all the time?!

Certified!

I made a small update to the blog this morning. It is pretty hard to notice it, unless you are really looking for it. Can you guess what it is…?

My disclaimer went from this:

To this:

See the difference?! Yep, I passed my NASM personal trainer exam!!

I have been studying for this for the past few months, and I am thrilled to have completed (and passed!) the exam. I will share with you all my thoughts on the program and why I chose NASM over other programs, but for now, I am going to throw these out and enjoy the rest of my Friday!

Have an amazing weekend!