Pumpkin Oat Bread

With Hurricane Isaac out in the Gulf yesterday, Tampa was definitely in the clear in regards to weather. However, it was a very windy day! I decided sleeping in was the way to go, so my run followed last night. With my hamstring and hip acting up a bit, I decided to take it easy and stretch out my legs a bit with a pace run. With that crazy wind, my pace run turned into a very challenging run for the first half! I was working incredibly hard just to hold the 8 minute pace that I was looking for.

Lucky for me, the head wind I had in the beginning was bound to turn into a tail wind on the way back! I turned around at mile 3, put in the same effort, and was hitting 40 seconds a mile faster! Running against the wind exerted as much energy as a tempo run! No wonder it was so hard! I was able to get the entire pace run done with very minimal pain in my hamstring and hip, which is a whole lot more than I have been able to say for the past 4-6 weeks. I still do not plan to push myself hard until I see significant improvements, but it was great to feel even a little bit like myself again. 38 days and counting until race day!!

Pumpkin Oat Bread

Over the weekend, I had some time to play around in the kitchen a bit. It is something that I rarely make the time to do, so I am excited to share a recipe that I made with all of you!

With fall right around the corner, I decided to pick up some pumpkin and make a yummy breakfast treat! Since it has oats in it, in place of some flour, it is a more dense version of your everyday bread. There is a more hearty feel to it, but it is still nice and moist, like pumpkin should be! Here is everything you need for it!

            •  1/3 cup Greek yogurt
            • 1/2 cup sugar
            • 2 tsp vanilla extract
            • 2 eggs
            • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
            • 3/4 cup flour
            • 1 tsp baking power
            • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
            • 1/2 tsp baking soda
            • 1/2 tsp salt
            • 1 cup canned pumpkin

Grease a loaf pan well, and preheat the oven to 350. Take the first 2 ingredients and blend together until combined. Add eggs and continue to beat well.  Then, take all other dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture, about a cup at a time. Add pumpkin, and beat well, until all is mixed together.

Pour bread batter into a 9x5x3 pan, and put in the oven for 45-50 minutes, checking when it gets closer to the end.

The loaf is finished when you can insert a toothpick, knife, etc. in the middle, and it comes out clean. Don’t expect this bread to rise like other breads, since there is not a lot of flour. It is a much more dense bread, but in a very good way :)

I topped mine with vanilla Greek yogurt, bananas, and cinnamon. Feel free to top yours with whatever you prefer, or just eat it the way it is. It’s great either way!

 

How many times have you run into the wind, and then had a great tail wind on the way back? Or maybe the opposite – tail wind at first and then head wind on the way back? Do you make pumpkin bread – any good recipes?

 

20 Mile Long Accomplishments

There was a lot going on this weekend in Tampa! We have a bit of a convention going on here this week…

Tampa is hosting the RNC this year, and it happens to be pretty close to where I live. There are police, national guard, and secret service all over the place. It is pretty crazy seeing uniformed men and women with huge guns walking around the streets. And then of course, there is also a storm out in the Gulf of Mexico, Isaac, that is churning things up a bit…

Luckily, it looks like we dodged another storm this time around. I was worried it was going to make our weekend crazy wet and rainy, but it actually pulled some of the moisture out of the air and cooled it off a bit here. I spend a pretty good amount of my weekend doing fun stuff around Tampa. Saturday I went to yoga at Lululemon…

And went to a food truck rally with Steph on Saturday afternoon!

I was even able to talk Meghann and Courtney into running with me a bit on Sunday for my long run. I had 20 miles that I had to get done, no matter what. I know that I needed the support of my friends to actually get it done. Luckily, I have some pretty amazing friends that are here to support me with my training. I went ahead and ran 10 miles, and then came back home to pick up both Courtney and Meghann. Courtney stayed with me for the remaining 10 miles, and Meghann pushed it through 6 miles with us. Thanks you so so much for running with me girls! I seriously could not have finished this run without both of you!

Sunday afternoon I was on Twitter, and was just going back and forth with a few people. Dori and I were chatting, and she said something that really stuck with me…

That part about the accomplishment starting over each time that you train – it couldn’t be more true! I am currently training for my 7th marathon, but each and every time I do a 20 mile training run, I feel unstoppable. 20 miles is a long, long way to run (especially in the summer)!  And each and every marathon training program is still just as hard (or even more difficult) than the one before. I don’t get better from one marathon training long run in one program to the next. Each one is very challenging, and they really only get easier in the same program. For me, each time I train it is like starting from scratch. I take enough time off after each race, that I have to build my base back up, and then start again. The biggest difference is that I feel mentally tougher, which definitely helps in the marathon setting. Running is such a mental sport, so any help with that I can get is always welcomed with open arms! Thanks for bringing that up Dori!

How was your weekend? Do anything fun? Did Isaac ruin your running plans? Do you feel like the accomplishments start over each training program?

 

Rock Your Bottom Circuit Workout

With all of the rain and thunderstorms that we have had in Tampa lately, I haven’t been in the pool in over a week! Not only does the thunder deter us, but when it is raining so hard and the lifeguards can’t see the bottom of the pool, we get the boot too. I have been using the swim workouts as more of my strength training lately, but without swim practice for the last 7 days, I headed to the gym. I really wanted to challenge myself rather than just going through the motions. My first idea was to do my Jello Leg Workout, but I decided to get a little more creative with a new circuit workout!

The biggest aspect to focus on during this workout is correct form. The first set is not super challenging, but by the time you get to the 3rd set, your body is pretty tired. This tired feeling is when form is pretty easy to slack on, which means it is very easy to get hurt. If you are not sure how to do any of the exercises above, just look them up on YouTube from a certified trainer.

This workout seriously kicked my butt! I had to really push myself to start finish the 4th set, and I was huffing and puffing the whole way through. If you are looking for more of a beginner workout, just shorten it to 2 sets instead of four, and then work your way up to it. With 4 sets, the workout rounds out to about 45 minutes (this includes the warmup). My goal is to see if after doing this workout a few times, that I can get to 5 sets. Lofty goals I have!

Post workout

I was pretty surprised how sore I was the day after this workout. My hamstrings were on fire, and I could really feel my lower abs. It is amazing to me how truly difficult the mountain climbers are! I used to do them when I was in elementary school – I vividly remember them being part of our stretch/warmup before we started our play time – but I never remember them being so rough!

What do you think of circuit workouts? Love them or hate them? If you try this out, let me know your thoughts! Any modifications you would make?

My Take-aways from Healthy Living Summit 2012

This past weekend was really one of the best experiences that I have had in a long time. I could write a full long recap, but by now, I’m sure you have seen your fair share of what happened.

Here are a few awesome recaps by other lovely ladies that I think sum up the conference beautifully, so that you don’t have to read another recap at this point in the game.

Heather’s Cocktail Party Highlights

Ashley’s Day 1 Recap 

Meghann’s Session Overview

Meghann’s Fun Run and Exploring Recap

What I do want to share with you are the things that I got out of traveling to Boston for the weekend. Here are my take-aways from Healthy Living Summit 2012!

Don’t worry if it is your first conference

  • I’m pretty sure the most common thing that I heard from attendees was that they were nervous – it was their first conference, and they were not sure what to expect. No big deal – it was everyone’s first conference at some point in time. Take it in stride and just go with it.

Loved getting to know Heather and Amanda!

(Photo courtesy of Heather)

(Photo courtesy of Anne)

Step out of your comfort zone

  • Coming in to a room of people who you have never met before is daunting, scary, downright uncomfortable sometimes. Acknowledge that, and then do it anyway! The best part of conferences is that people signed up for it because they are interested in the topics that it surrounds. You have an instant talking point! If you came with a group of friends, be sure to reach out to others while you are there. Networking is one of the biggest benefits of a conference, so get out there and do it. I loved getting to know both Heather and Amanda over the weekend. They are such fun people!

Bring your business cards everywhere!

  • There were a few times that I accidentally left my business cards in my rooms, and I kicked myself for it later. You never know when you might want to give one out to someone, which is tends to be almost every conversation that you have! It is easy to think that you will be able to remember the catchy blog names of people who you meet, but it is just impossible. Put a stack in every bag, pair of pants, or pair of shoes that you are using! You will not be sorry ;)

Ask questions

  • The biggest benefit of being at a conference with like-minded people is that everyone wants to learn and take away key points at the conference. If you have a question during a session (or even just a conversation), ASK! There is going to be no one that thinks it is a dumb question or that will not answer it.

Come early and stay late

  • The conference is based on the sessions – without a doubt. However, if you are able to come a day or two before the fun starts, and then leave late the day after, I highly recommend it. The days before Healthy Living Summit provide “mini mingles”, which are really just opportunities for people to get together before all the action starts. They are smaller groups in a much more relaxed setting. They are located in great spots around the host city, which gives you a chance to really discover the place you are visiting a bit more. Staying late after the conference is over is also beneficial, as you can spend some more time with some of the people who you met over the weekend, and see some of the sites!

Take notes

  • The speakers really put a lot into their presentations, but they are not always readily available to post online after the conference. Take notes so that you have the key takeaways from each session. I personally preferred to tweet my way through each session. Now I have all of the notes from each session all online, and I can access it whenever I need it! If you want to see an example of what I am talking about, check out my Twitter feed, and you can see all of my notes! Be sure to jot down all of the speaker’s Twitter handles too – you can ask them questions that may come to you post conference.

Bring an extra duffel bag  - or just a big suitcase

  • If you are flying in, you are going to be taking gobs of goodies back home with you. The swag bags are out of control, and you are going to want to bring it all home, so plan on having that extra room available!

Do not use a flash when taking pictures!

  • This just so happened to be my favorite session from the weekend.  Gretchen is an amazing photographer, and has inspired me to actually learn how to use my DSLR. I have been using it for months, but sadly, I always shoot on automatic. She stressed throughout her presentation that if you learn how to correctly use your camera, you will not even need the flash. The light should be adjusted correctly to simply let enough light into the lens. I am determined to get this down.

Healthy Living Summit was everything and more that I thought it would be! Amazing job Meghann on all of the planning, and major kudos to Heather and Julie for the execution. The 3 of you all did an amazing job!! I can’t wait to go again next year!

What were your major take-aways from #HLS12?!

Keeping Fit at #HLS12

My goodness, this weekend was one that I’ll be talking about for a while. Healthy Living Summit 2012 was an amazing event – it was well executed, everyone was incredibly engaged, and it was just plain fun to be surrounded by like-minded people in the health and fitness world.

I’ll have a lot more to say about my entire experience on my Wednesday post, but for now, I’ll just show you the fun fitness opportunities that were offered at the summit! First off, none of the fun would have been possible if not for the amazing planning of my roomie!!

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Way to go Meghann! You hit it out of the park!!

I was able to get my long run done on Friday along the beautiful Charles River. Our hotel was located in Cambridge, right across the river from Boston, and was in the perfect spot for exercising! There was a path that ran parallel to the river for miles, so it was like running on my normal Bayshore route, but with even more beautiful views and top-notch weather. Meghann joined me for the first bit, and we were able to get in a mini tour of the city. We hit up Boston Common, stopped by Cheers, and just got a quick taste of Boston. The weather was so pleasant, and I was thrilled to be running for the 2nd time last week in crisp temperatures!!

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After registration and breakfast on Saturday morning, the schedule called for a cross-fit introductory workout that was part of HLS. We were all psyched to get moving a bit before a jam-packed day of sessions! The hotel had an event tent that we were able to use for a lot of activities for the conference, so the group exercise was led in there – it was perfect for a workout. A few local cross fit boxes came to teach us all what to do, and they did an awesome job of pumping everyone up. Our WOD was pretty simple, 7 squats followed by 15 jumps, for 5 minutes straight. It wasn’t super challenging, but was a great way for everyone to get a taste if crossfit that hadn’t tried it yet – not to mention the coaches were not to shabby to look at either ;)

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There were also a big group of runners that did their long run Saturday morning before the conference. I knew that I was going to be helping the planning team with anything they needed, hence the reason I did my long run the day before. Plus, the extra sleep before a busy conference day was quite the treat!

Sunday morning we had a fun run with the entire HLS crew – at least those people interested in a run. It was an easy 3 miles, filled with chatting and laughter the whole time.

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I was so excited to meet so many new ladies, and was able to chat a bit with Ashley too! We talked about our upcoming marathons, and how we are prepping for them. She and Meghann are great friends, so I was happy to see how awesome she is!

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There were a few other workouts spread throughout the weekend – bootcamps and training sessions – but I knew that I didn’t want to over exert myself with too much. I was there for the sessions and to meet some amazing women!!

Like I said, much more to come on Wednesday – my flight didn’t land until after midnight last night, and I want to make sure I give the conference all the attention it deserves! Have an awesome Monday!

Have you ever been to a blogging industry conference? Did they provide group workouts? Which workout would you have been interested in?