Wednesday – Recipe day!

Today started at 4:30 am with coffee and math homework. How gross is that. This morning I was geared up to teach my 6am boot camp class so I needed to make my quiet time before anyone was awake count.
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I had fully planned on doing a “What I ate Wednesday” post but I’ll be honest…I have strengths and weaknesses and one of my weaknesses is taking pictures of food! In other words, it always tastes good, but looks like a pile of mush!

I have two recipes, both made over the weekend, that I used to meal prep for the week. One being a lentil Bolognese over spaghetti squash and another being a blueberry protein muffin.

I love making a homemade protein bar or muffin simply because I don’t add ANY sweeteners or fake CRAP. Even though most recipes call for some truvia or something sweet in the recipe, I don’t think the body was meant for artificial ingredients so I add some applesauce or super ripe bananas to get that hint of sweet.

While I had the spaghetti squash roasting, I simply mixed a few ingredients to make the muffins. The recipe made 12 and each muffin was roughly 114 calories. I’ve been packing these in my gym bag this week as a pre workout snack due to the fruit and whey protein that’s inside. (TIP: find an organic, cold pressed whey without artificial sugar)

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Blueberry kick butt muffin:
3 VERY ripe bananas
1/3 c coconut flour
2 egg whites
2 scoops of whey protein
1 small container of fresh blueberries
1 tsp salt
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 c of applesauce
1/3 c of either almond milk or regular milk

Mix all together and then fold in the blueberries. I baked these for about 30 minutes on 350, but the time always varies with ingredients like these so keep an eye on them!

Next I was on to the lentil sauce for my squash, it was all so easy to put together I actually doubled the recipe in order to have a ton for lunches this week. I boiled 2 cups of lentils in veggie broth until tender. At the same time you can start to cook 1 onion, 5 chopped carrots, a can of diced tomatoes, and 4 stalks of celery chopped as well in 2 tbsp of olive oil. When the lentils were cooked and ready, I added them with the broth to veggies and let the veggies cook in the broth as well after adding some salt and italian seasonings.
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Once the squash was golden brown, 60-90 minutes of cooking at 350, I simply topped some scooped out squash with my sauce and some parmesan. The best part was, I think Emma ate more than I did. Everyone loved it! I felt great knowing Ryan didn’t have to take a protein bar and frozen burrito to work!

SO back to today!
Meal 1 – 5am – 3 egg whites, 1/2 avocado scrambled together with some Applegate sausage on the side.
Meal 2 – 8:30am – 2 protein muffins from above.
Meal 3 – Noon – Veggie soup with navy beans (recipe to come next week!)
Meal 4 – 4pm – Protein smoothie with spinach, berries, and a scoop of full fat yogurt.
Meal 5 – 8pm – Salsa chicken (recipe to come!) with fajita veggies on the side.

Tomorrow’s nutrition goals: Make salads for the next few days! I can’t seem to ever fit in as many veggies as I should! Back to work with my little helper!
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The Dopey Challenge – 10k day!

The 5k seemed to come and go very quickly which left us most of the day to eat brunch at Kona Cafe (HIGHLY recommend the french press Kona coffee mmmm), we then spent the afternoon at Animal Kingdom. We made sure to leave about 4pm after a late lunch so we could get to bed by 8 for our 3am wake up call. That didn’t stop us from having some great pizza, meeting King Louie and Balou, and riding Expedition Everest a few times!

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We got on the bus the next morning around 3:30, another 3am wake up call, and I sat next to a really nice runner who had done a few Dopeys in the past. I told him my worries and he quickly set my mind at ease by saying “We’re all scared, but you just put one foot in front of the other.” He also made me feel confident because I was in the G corral so he said I would have plenty of time to finish.

That morning was rainy so we (fortunately) could sit in the massage tent that happened to be empty that day. TIP: Always keep the mylar blanket they hand out after each race. This was a LIFE SAVER the next morning while standing in the rain for an hour. It wasn’t necessarily cold, but it kept us from being wet and uncomfortable. My cousin, Hannah, and I sat, stretched, closed our eyes, and ate a snack until 5 when we went to go to our corral. The corrals were in the same spot and configuration as the day before so it was really easy to get into B corral and get started. The crowd wasn’t even phased by the rain, everyone was cheering and ready to go!

We ran about 2 miles before entering back into Epcot and finding Mulan in China!

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I just love Epcot in the dark with all the little lights twinkling. It’s just so magical. I especially loved being in my favorite pavilion, Germany while dreaming about the caramels we’d have after marathon day!
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We both didn’t have much more than a banana that morning thinking that we’d be done soon and breakfast would be right around the corner. Boy were we wrong! We should have brought something because when we smelt the croissants being baked in France, we were ready to pounce! The other good thing besides the smell when we got to the France pavilion was that I finally got to meet Remy the rat!
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I have to say the 10k course was my second favorite out of the 4 races that weekend. I’ve never been to the Boardwalk area of Epcot so that was a fun surprise. There were a ton of families out there cheering and giving out high fives. I love being able to run by the different Disney world hotels, in my head a make a wish list on places I want to stay in the future. I have to say, one of the benefits of running any Disney race is all the scenery to distract you in the wee hours of the morning!
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Soaking wet from either sweat or rain, we finished happily and were off to shower and take accidental naps. Oops, sorry to the family that wasn’t running that day! The hardest part of this race so far wasn’t the miles, it was the exhaustion! It’s hard being with people you want to hang out and do things with while trying to focus on a race. I think a lot of times people think that because the race is a Disney event that it’s not as challenging as a “normal” race. I have to say it’s quite the opposite. Local races don’t distract you from your normal routine where as a race-cation tempts you with junk food and late bedtimes!
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My daughter was….less than thrilled about her 100M dash. I figured that my girl who loves to jump and do burpees would totally sit and no nothing when it came time. Of course out of the 10 days we were there this was the one day it POURED. She did love splashing around in the puddles before we started so at least she wasn’t bothered by the rain!

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After we went back to Pop Century, showered and got dry (again), we made our way to Hollywood Studios to shake out any stiffness, have lunch at the Sci Fi Diner, and do some of the big rides. Fortunatley for us, the rain had stopped around noon so we got to enjoy a little sunshine.
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Enjoying turkey sandwiches at the Sci Fi Diner.
Enjoying turkey sandwiches at the Sci Fi Diner.
Such a cool atmosphere!
Such a cool atmosphere!

We ended the day with one of my most favorite things at Hollywood Studios, the Beauty and the Beast show!

Making our way back to the hotel, we wanted to have a quick dinner at the hotel and then be in our jammies by 7pm. We knew the hardest two days were coming up next so we had to get as much rest as possible. Even though I kept telling my body this, it was still very hard to sleep!

Running the Dopey Challenge – 5K day!

After a 14 hour day at Magic Kingdom, my 4am alarm came very quickly. Since the 5k doesn’t start until 6am, we actually got to “sleep in” the first day which was nice. The weather was a bit chilly so I’m glad I packed my Nike waffle zip up. We hoped on the bus about 4:20am which was perfect because the bus line at Pop Century wasn’t too crazy just yet. When we arrived, the Epcot parking lot was so full of smiles, music, flashing lights, and so much excitement. In fact, the DJ was blasting a (new to me) song called “Verge” by Owl City that I immediately downloaded and am obsessed with.

As we sat in our corral, I looked around and thought about how long I’ve wished to be right in that exact spot. The journey that took me to get here wasn’t easy and had me in tears after quite a few runs but that all didn’t matter now, I was actually running my dream race. After having Emma, it felt like my body would never go back to the way it was. Running often felt excruciating physically and mentally. I often looked to social media to my favorite runners to see how they were training and what they were doing. Looking to people who inspire you for the right reasons, can sometimes give you that little boost to get out the door. Over the last year and a half, I worked on my goal of losing 30 lbs from baby weight and as I left for my trip, I hit my goal. Not as quickly as I had “planned” but hey, that’s life sometimes.

My cousin and I sat down in the corral about 5am which was perfect because we ended up being towards the front and away from the crowds. Since we don’t live in the same state, it was nice to have an hour to sit and talk before we started. Our strategy for this race was to walk the 5k, run/walk the 10k and half and then for the full, just do our best!

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The race started and we spent the first mile behind the Epcot parking lots heading into World Showcase. Before this trip, I had planned on doing EVERY character stop but once I saw that the lines were quite a bit longer (think 3 times) than Disneyland, we took a pass. We were so exhausted this first day that we wanted to finish and go to bed!

Before the mile 1 marker, they did have Chip and Dale while “Rescue Rangers” was blasting, which of course made me a bit sentimental! All the 90’s kids I’m sure can appreciate that one! So taking it slow and steady for the rest of the way, we got to see Epcot with all of the lights on which was breath taking. I love all RunDisney 5k’s because they are so family orientated and just a fun, relaxed vibe.
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Passing the entrance of Epcot, we go our medals and jumped back on the buses to go home to change.
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My hip flexors were giving me some trouble so I was defiantly anxious to get home and ice them before heading out to brunch at the Kona Cafe – and boy oh boy was that worth every calorie! Tonga toast with a french press pot of Kona Coffee was the PERFECT way to spend our morning after the race.
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Next up: the 10k!

My running update and success story!

Most of you know I’m counting down the days to the biggest race of my life. Not only am I going to run a marathon but I’m going to run a marathon after running a 5K on Thursday, a 10k on Friday, a half marathon on Saturday and the grand finale is running 26.2 miles! 48.6 miles in just four days!

Over Labor Day weekend, I went back to Disneyland to run the Dumbo Double Dare as well as the 5k before. This was a total of 22.4 miles in three days and when I had registered I thought this would be a perfect practice for my upcoming road ahead.

As I completed all three races with a smile on my face, I kept thinking what a huge difference a year can make. The year prior, I was 25 pounds heavier, still breast feeding my baby girl, and even though I tried and tried as hard as I could, I was still so out of shape. As we came upon mile 13 of the half marathon, I knew my body was toast. I was limping all the way to the car fighting back tears as my abs felt like they had been cut in two, my hip flexors were screaming, and my knees were about to give out. Make no mistake, I trained! On top of that, I had a very healthy and active pregnancy. So imagine my disappointment when six months later I couldn’t do something that just before I had my baby, felt like it was a bit easy. When Ryan picked me up from the race I just let it all out from tears to curse words as I told him “I’m not doing dopey.” There’s no way the next day I could have survived a full marathon. My dream of earning those 6 medals was quickly fading away.

I cried in the shower as all of my joints stiffened up and I looked in the mirror and didn’t recognize who this person was anymore. I don’t give up easily and I was ready to throw in the running towel. A few days later as the pain faded and (just like child birth) the torture seemed “no so bad” I told myself to get out and keep running.

In that time I’ve completed 5 half marathons not counting my Dumbo Double Dare. It hasn’t been pain free or particularly fast, but I finished which is what’s most important. My first half which was 3 months after having Emma I finished in 3:30 and in July, about a year and some change later, I finished in 2:13. This certainly isn’t my “dream” time, I’d like to finish a half marathon in 2 hours, but it’s quite an improvement. I think I learned a lot about struggling through the pain and trying as hard as you can to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

So here we were, 5am on the start of the first race of three for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. My wonderful friend, Andrea, and I were set to do the 5k. We knew going in this was going to be the race we enjoyed. We planned on mostly walking, taking a lot of pictures, and just taking in all of the sights and people.
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We wanted to stop with some of the characters, but the line for Pinocchio was ridiculous. The castle was decked out for the 60th anniversary unnamed-9
Just like that we were done, ready to have breakfast and get some rest for our 10k the next day. This is exactly how I plan on doing the 5k during the Dopey challenge. I want to enjoy it since I’ve only been to Florida once so the more pictures the better. I’m hoping for a great full time, so I’ll give my legs a bit of a rest and save my energy for the last few days.
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Day two of waking before the sun is up and we were all ready to head to corral B to get started. My friends, Danielle and Lauren, met me there as we got ready to start. I really love the course for the 10k. Six miles is the perfect distance to cover both parks. Once you get started it’s a short hour before it’s over and you’re on your way. This time instead of walking, we would run until we wanted to take a picture, maybe every ten minutes or so. I guess you could say those were intervals but we were consistently out of breath.
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All of us spent the rest of the day resting at the hotel for the half marathon morning we were about to complete. I thought the running would be the hardest part but to be honest, it was waking up at 3am all three mornings. Especially since we didn’t want to miss anything at the parks so we stayed out a little longer than anticipated.
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But just like that, I woke up, changed, had a quick breakfast and was on my way.
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With picture stops, I finished about 2:30 which is a great improvement from last year. I think with the long lines for pictures this is a pretty good time.
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I’m still a bit 50/50 on how much I plan on stopping for the full. I might make my half marathon the one to stop and enjoy a bit more so I’m not running for hours and hours AND HOURS. Plus, I will have a beer waiting for my at the Germany pavilion in Epcot so there’s no need to waste time!

I’m looking forward to bringing my 6 medals home!
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Dumbo weekend was such a great motivator and confidence builder for me. I’m so proud that I kept pushing myself all year. I’m completely terrified of running a full but I only know that it will make it all more rewarding at the end. I keep trying to picture that finish line after 26.2 and how that’s going to make me feel. I only wish I could go back a year and give that sad runner a pat on the back and tell her to keep going! It’s always the set backs that make for a great come back!
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My summer goals (Self esteem, running, and clean eating)

Can you believe it’s summer already? Pretty soon we will be hanging Christmas lights! As the summer gets hotter and hotter it can only mean it’s time to train for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend. This year I’m going to be extra crazy and run the 5k, 10k, and half marathon all three days. I’m SO excited! Three short months after this race, I’m all set up to run 48.6 in Disneyworld for the Dopey Challenge!

Last year I was still nursing once or twice a night for my daughter, I had about 25lbs more than I have on me now, and my joints were still all out of whack from having a baby. I remember after every long run I would limp back from my car to my house and just be on the verge of tears every time I would try to push myself. It felt like my knees, back, and spirit would give out at any moment. I kept thinking to myself that there were so many other running moms out there and that I’m sure at one point or another they must have felt what I did, right?

There’s SO MUCH pressure on women to bounce right back. There’s no time in today’s world to heal and give yourself a gentle push back in to fitness. It’s a world of Instagram, Twitter, and gossip magazines pointing out that some woman 4 weeks post-partum has her six pack back. Great for that woman! I am proud of you! But what about every other mom? What about me? And on top of that, I’m a trainer! I don’t look like those Instagram goddesses! There’s no way I’m getting in a sports bra two months after to show the world that my obliques have come out to say “hi.” Look, I’m just trying to get a nap and could someone please throw some food in my mouth on my way to work?

Before I had Emma, I was pretty strict with what I ate. Nothing from a package, no dairy, cheat meals once every other week, and no alcohol. It worked for me, in fact it seemed pretty easy. After Emma was a much different story. I was running on close to no sleep, waking up for work at 5am, and carrying extra weight, I needed sugar! Give it to me! Give me my hit so I can just get through the day.

I was/am so hard on myself. I was embarrassed to meet a new client with a spare tire around my waist that the first second upon meeting I would say “I JUST HAD A BABY!” Like as if to say “DON’T WORRY, I CAN HELP YOU TONE UP I PROMISE! OH MY GOSH DON’T THINK I’M THE WORST TRAINER EVER! I SWEAR I PRACTICE WHAT I PREACH!”

What. an. idiot.

What would I say to the me if I were my own trainer? Would I look at me and think “wow, you look bad.” or would I say to that girl “you created life, you are a rockstar and who gives a shit what you look like right now? It’s all about moving forward” Easier said than done especially in my low moments, but it’s the truth. It’s all about moving forward.

So this summer on top of my running goals, my focus is on the next 10 pounds. It actually means quite a lot to me. Another 10lbs would help me run faster, it would mean I’m getting stronger and it would mean I’m 5lbs lighter than I was pre-pregnancy. With that I want to lift heavier, make more time for myself to dedicate to learning more and more about being the best trainer I can be and most of all, helping more people.

It’s going to be a long, hot, fun summer but stay tuned as I record my progress for weight loss and training for my next races! My meals are going to be a lot like this! Next post will be all about meal prep!

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Running in memory and keeping a positive road ahead

Today was the 35th anniversary of the Fair Oaks run in Sacramento, CA. My father in law had this marked on his calendar for him and I do together as the last short run before my Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend. Since, sadly, he passed away we all decided to go and do it in memory.

Even Emma came along for the ride!
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We took it easy just as something we could do together, nothing competitive. I’m so glad we all decided to do it.

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The best part – you won’t even believe it – Ryan wants to start doing some small races with me! I’m so excited! Maybe on some level, this gave Ryan a small part of his dad’s love for running. Wouldn’t that be amazing that if after all of this, Ryan picked up the running right where his dad left off.
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With my last short run over with, I have some packing to do and some last minute workouts. Since everyone is supposed to be tapering down on their workouts and running, I’m only running two small 3 miles runs on Tuesday and Thursday with a boot camp class in between. Now that the suitcases are pulled out, it’s time to pack away! Along with all of the regular things you need for Disneyland here are my running essentials and tips:

1. Wake up the day or two days prior around the time you will wake up on race day. Not only will this help you reset your clock a bit but by waking early and not napping, you will be SO tired come 8 pm and hopefully it will be easy for you to think happy thoughts and drift off to sleep. Since I have to train people very morning at 6am this week, it’s my goal to be in bed my 8pm. Race time starts at 5 am for the 5k on Friday, and 5:30 am for the 10K and half marathon on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re running the Pixie Dust challenge like me, you’ll be up for both the 10k and half marathon. On race day, I set my alarm for 3:30 am, and that usually gives me enough time to dress up, stretch, sip some coffee and eat half of my breakfast (I eat half around 4am and the other half on the walk over).

2. Pack food! I can not stress this enough – do not, I repeat do NOT eat anything new on race day before, during, or immediately after the race. I’m a bagel and peanut butter girl all the way. There’s no need for me to start with oatmeal randomly the day of my half marathon. I suggest you pack what you normally like or find a grocery store near your hotel the day before. With waking up earlier than normal, you’re body is a little thrown off so it’s best not to try anything new that will upset your stomach. My favorite things to bring with us to any RunDisney race weekend are: apples, bananas, organic chocolate milk (GREAT recovery drink when you get back to the hotel), sprouted grain bagels, natural peanut butter, dried fruit, and Quest protein bars. Obviously I won’t be eating all of that before the race, but if you’re racing multiple days, it’s a good idea to keep your diet healthy until the races are over. Even though I would love to be fueled by churros, it probably isn’t the best choice.

Just a spoonful of sugar helps the run go faster!
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the run go faster!

3. Fuel during your race. Luckily, if you forget yours, Clif supplies some energy gel between miles 8 and 9 just in case you run out. During the 10k, I usually don’t need anything but my phone for music and pictures. The course for the 10k is so lovely and fun, and it’s over so fast which leaves me no time to stop and eat. I will be doing all of that at the Storyteller’s Cafe right after!

4. “Forget the glass slipper, this princess wears running shoes!” For challenge weekends where you are running back to back days, I highly suggest bringing one pair of shoes for each day. I have two pairs in the exact same brand and style, just one for the 10K and one for the half. The reason is, if it rains and your shoes are soaking wet, they probably won’t have time to dry in just one day. I also notice that by changing shoes, the padding isn’t worn down from the day before.
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5. Costumes! This is the best part, right? This was such a fun thing for me to plan, I’m sure I will have a ton of photos of my outfits for the race recap but I’ll let you in on the secret now, for the 10K I am going to be Minnie Mouse and for the half I found the cutest Sleeping Beauty running skirt! I must stress the point that just like fuel, you should never test out new costumes the day of the race. One false move (or thousands of running strides later) you could end up chaffed and tangled! So maybe a few weeks before your race, take it out for a test drive. Run a few miles with that tutu. If you’re like me at the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend last year, you’ll find out your tutu needs a severe hair cut! You don’t want to be messing with that thing for 13.1 miles. I like to pack mine in separate ziploc bags as well. Everything from underwear to socks are all nicely folded in one bag so when 3:30am rolls around, it’s a no brainer as to where you put your leggings!

Don't you just love the peek of the castle behind us?
Don’t you just love the peek of the castle behind us?

6. Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat. This is probably pretty obvious since the race takes place in Southern California, but you’d be surprised how many times I forgot one of these things. A hat is a good option here because around mile 4, you might be sweating so much you have sunblock dripping in your eyes! I prefer the sunblock (forehead down), sunglasses, and hat option. Or who knows, you could even put a pair of Mickey ears up there to block the sun!

7. Emergen-C – In case of an emergency of course! I always bring a packet for myself and Ryan to have each morning with breakfast. Walking the parks all day and going to bed with too little of sleep always gets your immune system down so I try to be one step ahead.

Well friends, there you have it! My go to packing list for any RunDisney vacation. I know once Dopey rolls around, I might have a few things here and there to add, but for now, this is it! I’m so excited for this race and to bring home THREE new shiny medals!
Our first stop with the Monster's Inc gang!

Using the Jeff Galloway method for the Dopey Challenge

First off, I’m super annoyed it’s taken me over two weeks to write a new post. For those of you who haven’t read my previous blog post, my father in law passed away so I needed to take some time for me and my family to regroup.

A week ago I signed up through Acclaim Travel for the RunDisney Dopey Challenge along with my three cousins. The Dopey challenge is MY Olympics! I have been patiently waiting through a pregnancy and the first year of Emma’s life to finally be able to sign up. This race consists of a 5k, 10k, a half marathon and a full marathon – 48.6 miles in four days! Now I only have to wait another 254 days, but who’s counting?

One of my discoveries along this journey is the Jeff Galloway method of running. He’s the spokesperson for RunDisney and of course I have heard of him from time to time, but I never tried his run/walk/run philosophy. Honestly, I had too much pride to walk. I wanted to run the whole darn thing! While reading his marathon book, he had a list of signs you’re running too long without letting your body recover appropriately. This right away stuck out to me. Every time I run 10 + miles I’m useless to the world for the rest of the day. After a half marathon, I’m a Netflix and “become one with the couch” kinda girl. So after reading the first few chapters in his book, I thought trying it out couldn’t hurt.
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Ever since I had Emma, my right hip flexor has been really sensitive. Anytime I lift my knee hip level, take a step, or even put on pants I could feel how tight it felt. I’ve been stretching and foam rolling like I’m supposed to but something just didn’t feel right. This could mean a few things such as: tight or weakened hips, tight or weakened quads, and weak glutes. Oh man. And I thought my legs were my strong suit! I work with a lot of really talented and smart trainers at Fitness Rangers and asked a few of them on their advice. They gave me some great stretching ideas which I will post below.

So over the last few weeks I’ve been running anywhere from 3 to 10 miles by running 3 minutes and walking 30 seconds and you know what, I have no pain! My hip flexor hasn’t been bothering me like it was and best of all, I feel like I could run all day! I now see how this will help me so much over the Dopey Challenge weekend. Training will mostly consist of running days back to back to simulate a mini Dopey. Training doesn’t technically start until July but since I have another RunDisney challenge in May, I feel like training has already begun.

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This stretch (shown above) helps separate the joint a bit to really allow the muscle to stretch. This targets that hip flexor in a more intense way than without the band.

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Since my quads could also be an issue, here is a way to completely relax the leg (notice how his foot is under the ledge of the table) and get a really deep quad stretch.

Today was the Capital City Classic in Sacramento. My friend and I decided to do the 10 mile race in order to get in our last long run before the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend.
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Today was the day I put the Jeff Galloway method to the test. I told myself I wanted to run as fast as I could for 3 minutes and then speed walk for 30 seconds. My goal was to stay under a 9 minute mile during those three minutes at least until I got to the 10k mark. (I would LOVE to make it into the A corral for the Dopey Challenge) I’m happy to say that even with a bathroom break around mile 1, I made it to the 10K mark around 58 minutes! I couldn’t be happier! I was a little skeptical about having to walk thinking for sure it would slow me down but in reality, it made me run faster during the 3 minutes. I felt like I had more energy because of that quick break. I was able to get control of my breathing and focus for the next run.
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I’m SO excited to use this method as see how fast I can get my sprints. Now, the REAL challenge – seeing if I can do a full marathon with this! Stay tuned for more updates on using this method, I’m excited to see how it will help me especially when I get into the longer distances!

Crying over brownies

This has been the worst week of my life. I am confident when I say these words. I have suffered great loss before with my father passing away when I was 4, and then as an adult when I lost my great grandmother (someone who promised me never to die!). Yes those loses where terrible but nothing has compared to this week. My father in law passed away unexpectedly a few days ago. Seeing my husband suffer with this pain is something I wish I could take away. When I lost important people in my life, I could control my sadness. I could feel what I felt. I could cry, scream, go numb all at my own choice. Now, with Ryan grieving, all I can do is watch. And it’s horrible.

I don’t know how or why I’m writing this when I originally started to write about paleo brownies. Today I thought, it’s recipe day. I can do that no problem. So I set all of my fun little ingredients from coconut flour to 100% maple syrup. I preheated my oven and started firing up my kitchen aid. Thirty minutes later they were done…and they were…terrible. Awful! Grainy and gooey and just plain gross. That’s when I was crying into a pan of brownies. How had I managed to mess up something so simple? How did I not have control over an easy Pinterest recipe?

My whole week has been like this. I have tried to carry on and be strong especially since my daughter is 1, she is all smiles no matter what happens. It’s when I’m alone on a run and I get choked up at a song on my playlist or when I have a few tears while I’m taking a boot camp class. I joke that it’s because I hate burpees, but I’m pretty sure it’s obvious I’m having a bad day.

I don’t really know where this post is going or if it’s making any sense. It’s certainly NOT inspiring anyone to eat healthy or go do some push ups but it’s life I guess. Putting this out there is a way to tell myself that life will carry on, wounds will heal, there will be another recipe Sunday next week and I’m sure I won’t make nasty brownies anytime soon.

Today is Easter, the day of hope. I hope my family can go forward and heal. I hope that we can all somehow bond together and get stronger.

Coconut flour cinnamon protein pancakes

Late Friday night we got home from our family trip to Nashville. We had a great time hanging out, seeing the Nashville zoo, cooking, and sneaking in a few workouts here and there. My cousin Heather and I got to take a few spin classes at the local Y while everyone was still just waking up. I love that feeling when you’re on vacation and your workouts are taken care of before the day starts! My other cousin, Hannah, is also training for the Dopey challenge so we snuck in a quick 4 mile run…in the rain! I of course was a little thrown off by the rain but seeing as Dopey is in Florida, we might encounter some rain so the practice is always good!

According to my phone, my RunDisney countdown are as follows:
Tinkerbell half marathon weekend: 39 days
Disneyland half marathon weekend: 158 days
Walt Disney World marathon weekend: 281 days

I better get steppin!

Saturday morning rolled around and after a nice 8 mile run we headed off to Costco.
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We bought enough food to feed a small army so I could get everything made for Ryan and I for the week plus food to freeze. After the marathon of grocery shopping was over, here’s everything I got done:
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Here we have:
1. Sauteed cabbage with olive oil and garlic – I plan on using this in the mornings to scramble with eggs before I teach boot camp. Sometimes it’s hard to even keep my eyes open to make anything that early so having this ready will be a huge time saver.
2. Veggie soup – this one was pretty easy and you could even do it in the crock pot. This is what we had for dinner last night. It was super simple just veggie broth, garlic, onions, kale, carrots, celery, and broccoli, sometimes I add quinoa to Ryan’s to make it a bit more caloric this time though, added beans to Ryan’s portion so he could get some extra protein.
3. Ground turkey with sauteed onions and peppers – this will just be used as either a burrito bowl (add avocado) for lunch or on top of a taco salad with salsa.
4. Paleo lasagna – tonight’s dinner. Pretty easy, just sub the pasta for squash and use about 1/4 of the normal amount of cheese. Ryan’s has regular pasta so I added spinach and white beans to his as well.

Last night since I already had the cooking bug, I tested out some coconut flour pancakes. These were SUPER easy. We tried them fresh and then I also made two that I saved in the fridge to have for breakfast. Since coconut flour is so dense, I recommend eating them fresh. You can drizzle on a tiny bit of 100% maple syrup if you miss the sweetness but I would suggest heating frozen berries in the microwave and pouring that on top.

(Thanks Ryan for taste testing on camera at 11pm! haha)

If you need to, you can always add a little bit more almond milk. The great thing about almond and coconut flour is that the carb count is very low while the protein, fiber, and fat is higher than wheat flour. The saturated fat found in coconut is great for the thyroid, skin, and immune system. You get a lot more nutrients by using coconut flour, like manganese, without adding unnecessary sugars and dead calories. 2 TBSP which is what I used here is about 70 calories.
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Coconut flour cinnamon protein pancakes (Makes 1 pancake)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch sea salt
1/2 tsp raw organic sugar
1 scoop grassfed organic whey protein
1 whole egg
2 TBSP coconut flour
1 TBSP almond flour
2 TBSP almond milk
A few dashes of cinnamon

The calorie count was around 245 for one pancake. This all depends on how much of the sugar you add (you could try stevia), or if you sub the whole egg for an egg white. Since one will be my whole serving, I will stick to the whole egg for now.

The texture will be a bit denser than a normal pancake, but I really felt it had a good flavor, and the best part was that it was Ryan approved! I really liked using the different flours than I have in the past. I didn’t feel heavy after eating it like I normally do. The benefits of using coconut or almond greatly outweigh using wheat. Coming up next week, coconut flour brownies!

Shamrockn’ Half Marathon and mom abs!

This past Sunday my friend, Veronica, and I ran the Shamrockn’ Half Marathon! We had finished this race before in 2013 and it was just as fun as the first time. This time, however, we were clad in our green to show just how festive we felt! Well, festive yes…just maybe not as awake haha!
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This is probably one of my favorite courses for a half marathon. You start and end at Raley Field, running over the Sacramento bridge and on to the streets of downtown.
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Here we are running past the Blue Diamond almond factory at Mile 4. This crazy crowd mixed with the cliff block we just ate certainly pepped us up for the bike trail miles we were about to endure.

We had a good run overall. There are a lot of good visual changes throughout the race which I love. Let’s face it, there’s nothing WORSE than feeling bored for 13 miles.
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It sounds bad, but I was really excited for this race to be over because that meant I was one race closer to Tinkerbell. I know I probably won’t PR with all of the picture stops along the way, but I have a really good feeling about that race weekend! Here’s my medal taking it’s new home as I wait to fill the rest of the hooks!
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A week or so ago my good friend, Winnie, asked me what she can do for her abs after her C-section 3 months ago. She’s already below her pre-baby weight (what a rockstar) but she’s not feeling as toned as she’d like. Here are some examples of some exercises you can literally do anywhere, anytime. There are three levels shown. If you have to start at level 1, that’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

I remember 6 weeks after I had Emma when I took my first pilates class. My abs felt like mashed potatoes! Seriously! Like kneading dough. I know it’s hard to tell other women “don’t worry about it” but honestly, if you take a balloon and inflate it for close to a year, do you think it won’t be a little stretched out once you let the air out? Give yourself some time to heal. Don’t be discouraged, just think about the miracle that your body created and slowly jump back in to your routine.

Be sure to talk to your doctor before returning to your workout routine after baby. Have your doctor check you for Diastasis Recti or “split abs” because if you do have this, your ab routine might need some tweaking. This simply just means that the ab muscles have thinned or separated a bit more and this actually occurs in about a third of pregnant women.

Level 1:
Boat pose – 45 seconds
Bicycles – try to do 30-50 reps
Jackknives with a leg bridge – 20 each side
Cobras – 20 reps – 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvOx6WZDJJU

Level 2:
Plank: 45 – 60 seconds
Yoga abs – 15 reps each side
Rotating T’s – 45 – 60 seconds
Swimmers – 50 -60 seconds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QW84VCQLcU

Level 3:
Plank twists – 45 – 60 seconds
Side plank hip dips – 20 – 30 reps each side
Russian twists – 60 seconds
Shoulder taps – 25 each side

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfaXTL14gY

When it comes to the midsection, remember that abs are made in the kitchen! Yes a strong core is essential to preventing injury and getting stronger, but if you want some killer definition ay attention to your nutrition! I hope these exercises help any other mamas out there. I hope you know that you are amazing, your body after baby is beautiful, and most importantly you are inspirational! Don’t give up!