Blogger On The Run

I rarely post on Thursdays, unless something fun is going on that I want to share with all of you!

Women’s Running Magazine reached out to me, and I am featured on their blog this morning as their Blogger on the Run!

 

Head over to their blog to check out the full post! Feel free to leave a comment on their site, and you will be entered to win a free year subscription of the magazine! How cool is that!?

Thanks so much to Women’s Running Magazine for featuring me today! I feel lucky to be highlighted along with so many other amazing female athletes!

 

Recipe RoundUp: Healthy Bridal Shower Eats

After Meghann’s Bridal Shower over the weekend, I have been asked by a few people about what we served in regards to the food. Look no further – here is everything that we served at the party!!

I was browsing on Pinterest a few weeks ago for ideas, and I found this amazing recipe for Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites. I altered the recipe a little bit, based on what I had on hand in my house. I added an extra egg, substituted parmesan cheese for mozzarella, left out the onions, and used a full size cupcake pan rather than a mini one. I would have stuck to the full recipe, but I overlooked it a bit while shopping. Woops! It still turned out amazing! This recipe was definitely a crowd pleaser. I think it might just become my staple party appetizer – it was that good!

Next up, I made a vegan salad, packed with lots of goodies. The great part about this recipe, is that you can throw just about any veggie in, and it will work. I used what I had in the fridge and just packed it in the salad.

Photo from Diana

I knew I wanted a sweet dish as well, but not too dessert like, so I checked out Driscoll’s website! I was sent a few coupons for Driscoll’s berries, so why not check out their tried and true ways to use what they know best! I picked the Raspberry Ricotta Dip, and just made 2 small adjustments. Instead of using only raspberries, I also put in some strawberries. I also bought a loaf of french bread, dusted it with cinnamon sugar butter (very lightly), and stuck it in the oven for a few minutes to toast. I then placed the dip on top of the bread, which made a tasty treat! Next time I might pair it with fruit to dip or even cinnamon graham crackers.

Photo from Diana

My favorite part of this recipe is that I have been able to repurpose it a couple of times now. I put it on a bagel earlier this week as a healthy cream cheese option, and then put a scoop in my overnight oats. It is a very diverse recipe!

The last food option I had was another vegan dish – quinoa fruit salad. We had a few vegetarians and one vegan that attended the shower, and it is very important to me that everyone had something that they were able to eat, hence all of the meatless options. Plus, everyone that came to the shower is willing to try new things, so I knew this would be a good group to test these dishes on.

For the fruit salad, I omitted the nuts just in case there were any allergies I wasn’t aware of, and then I added raspberries instead of mangos and peaches. Once again, it is what I had on hand, and a good cost saver :)

The adorable pumpkin cupcakes were made by Stephanie, and she did such a great job! She found the recipe on the Brown Eyed Baker, and made them super cute for the snowflake theme! The creme cheese icing was without a doubt the highlight of the dessert. It was so creamy and delicious!

Photo from Steph

Now of course, you have to save the best for last! What did we put in those adorable mason jar glasses???

Some very very tasty sangria! Out of the girls that came to the shower, I think 6 of them asked for the sangria recipe. It was not too sweet or overpowering, and truly tasted homemade. Here’s my secret – it wasn’t! I was also sent 1 bottle of Eppa Sangria to try earlier in the week, and I thought it was fantastic. Rather than wasting time (and money) making my own, I went ahead and picked up 2 more bottles from Publix, put them in the fridge, and then just added fruit to soak the morning of the bridal shower.

A few quick details about the sangria: “Eppa Sangria is a smooth, rich and fruit-forward wine made in northern California. The palate-pleasing wine is created by blending select varietals, including organically grown Mendocino Cabernet and Syrah. The Cabernet provides the structure and depth while the Syrah brings fruit flavors to the party. The grapes are then blended with a unique combination of organic superfruit juices including pomegranates and blueberries as well as Mediterranean blood oranges, acai berries and natural citrus essences.”

If you throw a shower for someone, do you stick to pretty diverse menu options? Are there any great recipes that you have made that work well for groups?

I was provided with coupons for Driscoll’s berries, and 1 bottle of Eppa Sangria from the Baddish Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and are not influenced by the agency.  I was not asked to use the food for the party – I chose to do so because I knew my friends would love it too. ;)

Rainy Day Running

My scenery over the weekend for my long run was less than stellar…

I ended up having to run inside, due to a very unwelcome storm in Tampa. I am all down for rainy day running, but unfortunately the rain was accompanied with a pretty good dose of lightning. To the treadmill it was!

I decided to complete my long on Sunday since Friday night plans ran a bit later than expected, and I had plans all day Saturday. I didn’t mind the shift since I had 12 miles, instead of the standard 20 miles I’ve been closer to lately.While I was at the gym, I learned something new about treadmills (at least the one that I ran on) – they reset after 60 minutes. As I was running and in the middle of the movie I was watching – Hairspray if you wanted to know ;) – the belt just started slowing down.

It completely threw me off until I realized what had happened. Although I am still not a fan of running inside, I really like how I felt after! I wasn’t so hot that I felt like I was going to sweat by brains out, and I wasn’t tired from the heat either. I was a little bit sweaty from running, but nothing too crazy. I am thinking that next time I train for a race in the dead of summer, I might use some more treadmill runs to my advantage. The recovery is no one near as long – I just have to be ok with being bored. It might even help with mental toughness too! I’m willing to give it a shot!

I was even able to sleep in until 8am since I had to run indoors, and it didn’t matter what time I got to running. That is a big win in my book! I was exhausted from the fun I had on Saturday! I hosted a surprise bridal shower for Meghann, and it was an absolute blast! I was up at 7:30 am to start prepping, and was going non-stop until everyone left around 6:30pm. It was worth every minute of work for this face…

First off, I am such a huge fan of surprises! I realized that this year alone, I have been in on the planning of 3 surprises already, and couldn’t wait to catch an amazing friend off guard! Meghann had no clue of what we were up to. She was told by her fiance that they were going on a surprise getaway weekend, but he was in on the planning the whole time. There were 10 amazing women all gathered at my house to celebrate Meghann and her upcoming nuptials. We ate, drank, laughed, and enjoyed the company of each other. I feel so blessed to have so many great people to share these special times with! Thanks for the help with the party everyone. We really got Meghann good! Check out her recap to see her thoughts and enjoy a few pictures to get a peek into our fun day!

Check out the recipe for my favorite bridal shower dish!

The activity that we played was a simple one – we got into groups of 3, and cut out pictures/words from magazines to predict Meghann’s future. It is a great, low key thing to keep everyone engaged, and still talking at the same time. And it gives the Bride-To-Be a special takeaway from her special day. There was a whole lot of exercise, food, and baby related photos on her posters.Oh, and some sexual innuendoes for Derek – I highly recommend it :)

What an amazing day with some fabulous ladies. Thank you for all helping to make this a great day for Meghann! And a huge shout out to Derek, Meghann’s fiance! He was the integral part of the surprise, and pulled it off flawlessly!

Have you ever thrown a surprise party? What about the treadmill – love it or leave it? Do you feel less lethargic after running inside vs. outside?

The Mental Challenge in Exercise

How many times have you been in knee deep in a workout, and all you want to do is throw in the towel? You are breathing crazy hard, your legs and arms are exhausted, but you still have a few repeats left.

What do you do?

Do you give into that feeling of fatigue? Your body just can not make it any longer. Or do you push it that extra step, the extra lap, or that extra repeat? Sure, your body wants to stop. It’s hard, and your muscles recognize that.

At swim practice on Wednesday night, my teammates and I were directly faced with this challenge. We tackled the following:

We started the sets of 100′s at a very easy interval. We were instructed to finish what we could. If we made the interval, no matter how much rest we had in front of us, we kept going. Simple enough.

We were all chatting in between sets, and ended up having about a minute of rest each time. Each time we went into a new set of 100′s, we got less and less of a break, hence the progression. Once we got below the 2 minute mark, everyone really started to feel the workout. I was hitting 1:31′s almost every 100, so my goal was to make it through the sets of 1:40. Once I got to that set, I ended up having about 8-9 seconds rest. I was at the quitting point. I was gasping for air each time I stopped at the wall, and all I wanted to do was take a break with my other teammates that had already not made the next interval.

Rather than listening to my body, I kept going. I did another 100, then kept going again. I made it through each 100 even though I so badly wanted to stop. And the best part – I didn’t even drown. It is amazing how much further we are able to push our bodies than we think possible. I believe that this mindset is where the experience of being coached for so many years comes from. Having someone coach you and tell you that you can do it – tackle the workout – well you actually start to believe it after a while. There were so many times when I ran cross-country at UCF that I thought I was going to die after a workout. And guess what, I didn’t die. I just kept getting better.

Believe in yourself and you will be shocked at how far (and hard) you can push your body towards your goals. Seriously, just give it a try. Tell yourself you can do it, and you might just surprise yourself ;)

Enough swim talk – now it’s time for food!!

Cherry Chocolate Bread

I made this last week at the same time that I made the Pumpkin Oat Bread. I figured I would try them both out, and then see which one I liked better, and then would feature it here. As luck would have it, I liked them both, so voila! Another yummy bread recipe :)

What you will need:

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 & 3/4 cup flour

1 tsp baking power

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups of fresh, whole cherries

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

To start, preheat your oven to 350. Then, pit all of the cherries. It takes a few extra minutes, but this is obviously a vital step to the recipe. I did it over the sink, as it does have the tendency to get a little bit messy.

After pitting the cherries, put them back in the original measuring cup, and smash them. I used a large wire wisk. Make sure that you squish them pretty well, as the juice from the cherries is a welcome addition.

Before:

After:

After smashing the cherries. set them to the side. Get out your blender, and add the first two ingredients. Blend until combined. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, and continue to beat well.  Then, take all other dry ingredients and add to the egg mixture, about a cup at a time. Slowly start adding the cherries and chocolate chips, until everything is smoothly mixed together.

Pour the batter in a standard loaf pan (after spraying with non-stick spray), and put it in the oven for 45 minutes.

Don’t worry – it will look a little bit funny! The cherries give it a bit of a purple/blue hue for sure! The loaf is done when you can insert a toothpick or knife through the center and it comes out clean.

I went ahead and topped it with Vanilla Greek yogurt (just like the pumpkin bread), and it turned out great. It was an amazing breakfast, and it wasn’t too sweet since I used semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the milk chocolate.

Yum!!

Do you have the ability to push yourself past the point that you think you can complete? Have you ever tried it and succeeded (or failed)? What about the chocolate cherry bread – love or hate cherries in food?

Upcoming Races and Running Zooma!

With the unofficial kick off to fall comes so many great things:

Pumpkin Madness - Did you hear the PSL is back!?

Football Season 

Fun colors

and the best part…. Fall Racing Season! We don’t have too many summer races in Florida because it is just far too hot to endure any kind of speedy mileage. However, come fall, lots of races start popping up! The only race that I am directly focused on right now is Chicago – which is now only 31 days away! After I run Chicago (and recover from Chicago!), I plan to get in a few half marathons before the year is over. Races I have coming up this fall are:

Women’s Running Half Marathon

Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot

OUC Half Marathon

I know there are more races that will pop up around the holidays, but for now, I am definitely committed to these three! I have done them all in the past and have been very impressed by each one! Then once the new year comes around, I have quite a few half marathons lined up, and one in particular that I am extremely excited about….

I was asked by Zooma to be an ambassador for their newest race – Zooma Florida! (Full Disclosure: I am not being paid for the event, but I did receive a complimentary race entry.) The race is being hosted at the Ritz Carlton on Amelia Island, and I can not wait! I have never actually been to Amelia Island, so this sounds like the perfect opportunity to explore – running 13.1 miles seems like quite the tour! I tend to stick to local (ish) races that I have done time, and time again, but this will be a new course for me (and everyone else). I am really looking forward to participating in the weekend’s events. They have quite a few fun things on tap for all of the runners!

Besides, a race in Florida in January – the temperatures should be perfect! Maybe even a little bit cold for the duration of the race. I’ll just put those vibes out there now ;) Look out on other runners’ blogs for the Zooma badge! I have one that signifies that I am an ambassador (check it out on my sidebar!), and they have ones for everyone participating as well! This makes it even easier to connect with other participants!

What does your fall racing schedule look like? Any goal races out there?! Are you running Zooma too!?