Protein Pancake Recipe

It’s been a while since my last recipe post – probably because training took over my life and I was seriously neglecting the kitchen! But now that things have settled down and I’ve got some extra time on my hands, last night I finally tried out a recipe I’ve been flirting with for months: Protein Pancakes. And it was a mild success! I say “mild” because they weren’t pancakes as much as they were… super-thin, super-soft cookies?… but they were delicious either way and I can’t wait to perfect them!

pancakesProtein Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • splashes of water to get the desired consistency
  • sugar-free syrup (optional)

*This recipe makes two servings, so cut in half if you’re just cooking for one.

Directions:

Heat up a non-stick skillet and coat with butter.

In a mixing bowl, combine the powder, eggs, and a splash of water to start the batter. Keep stirring gently to break up any lumps and thin it out. I had to add one or two more splashes of water (I’m sorry I didn’t measure it!) to get the batter pliable enough to pour, but it was easy enough to eyeball and see when it was right.

Note: Not all protein powders are created equal! I used Adaptogen Science Tasty Whey in Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor, because I stinking love it. It doesn’t give you that nasty protein powder aftertaste – it really tastes like a milkshake! But depending on what brand you prefer you might need less or more of everything. Keep an eye on it ๐Ÿ™‚

Once the skillet is ready, pour the batter in small circles about an inch apart from each other. Let them sit about 2-3 minutes and watch for bubbles to form on the sides. Once the bubbles pop and *no longer close up on their own*, flip your cakes and cook for another minute or so on the other side, then set aside. This recipe makes 4 medium sized pancakes, so once the first two are done you’ll have to do this again with the remaining batter.

After you’re done cooking all of the batter like that, your pancakes are ready!

Another Note: Keep in mind, this was my first attempt at protein powder pancakes – and it shows. They were delicious, don’t get me wrong! But they were denser than normal pancakes and needed something else… although I’m not sure what! I’ve heard of people adding oats and/or mashed banana to the batter, and I’ll definitely try that next. But this is where I turn to you guys for help: What do you use in your protein pancakes? Please share your recipes with me! Let’s spread the love and crowdsource the perfect protein pancake recipe ๐Ÿ™‚

Kicking Off Spring in a Healthy Way

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you had a great weekend – I know I did! It was my first weekend without “having to” train, and I lived it up by doing what I wanted and when, and I loved every minute. It started on Thursday afternoon when I followed up my 3×3@3ย workout with 40 minutes of cardio hell on the Arc trainer and 40 minutes of Runners Love Yoga‘s new Hip routine.

IMG_4737It’s a great 14 dayย Instagramย programย where they post a pose a day that focuses on opening up those tight runners’ hips. I started on Monday and in just 6 days, boyย do I feel a difference! Hell – in my run yesterday I was easily able to start right up and fly from the start. I felt loose as a rubber band!

IMG_4741

I’m looking forward to seeing where the rest of this program will take me! By the time I got home Thursday night my head started to throb with a migraine – I get one once a month (ladies, you know what I’m talking about) and I ended up having to take off of work on Friday to stay in aย dark room and sleep it off. I finally started feeling better after dinner so we went to Shop Rite to restock the kitchen with healthy staples and cook-ahead meal supplies. Once we were done with that, I listened to my body – and my body was screaming “Bedtime at 10pm please!”

I woke up 11ย hours later on Saturday, 100% better and ready to run as far as I damn well pleased! It was a gorgeous, sunny morning, andย I decided to layer up my Skirt Sports Marathon Girl skirt with a pair of my favorite capris (because this booty + that skirt = a running peep show) and created the perfect spring running combo. PS: they’re having a major Sale on clearance stuff overย at Skirt Sports, so go check it out! And if you find any full priced-items you like, be sure to use my discount code SSJRH20ย for 20% off (code only applies to full-priced items, not on sale stuff).

IMG_4829

I set out towards the park and just went by feel – and I feltย great!ย The first mile clicked by without me even realizing it, at 10:43 pace, and I ran like I was light as a feather. If only I moved this well a week ago for my race! Ah, such is life.

IMG_4802

It was an absolutely gorgeous day down the park, the breeze was light and the sun was shining, and that runners high was in full effect. After a miserable winter like the one we had, I’m truly treating every nice day as a gift and taking full advantage of it by getting outdoors and being active!

IMG_4816

I breezed through the park and back towards home around mile 3.7, and coasted through the next few blocks for 4.05 and walked a nice cool down the rest of the way home.

IMG_4820

The rest of the day was spent helping my mom & dad move furniture and bringing a new mattress set from the store up to their 2nd floor (another workout entirely!), and then we had an awesome seafood dinner at The Barge in Perth Amboy. Highly recommended!

Sunday morning I had a date with my dad to head down to the flea market in Collingwood for some good old-fashioned daddy/daughter treasure hunting!

IMG_4857

We had a blast! My dad has always been super supportive of everything I do, including running, and we spent the whole time wandering the flea market aisles talking about training and sneakers and life and music and everything in between. I even found some awesome treasures too: a shelf-sitting mermaid (who looks like she’s doing a sit-up when you lay her on a flat surface!) and a copy of Circus magazine with my favorite band on the cover: The Smashing Pumpkins! I remember buying two copies of this when it came out in 1996 – one to read and the other to cut up and hang all over my bedroom walls. Today I got to take a trip down memory lane with the same issue for just 50 cents!!

IMG_4854

After that I came home for a nice lunch with hubby, and then we headed out to the park again to take advantage of this still-gorgeous weather! But this time instead of running, I brought out my trusty bike for the first time since last summer!

At first it was cold, but after a mile or so, I warmed up and fell right into the groove again while Mike walked a few laps. The park was packed with people enjoying the weather, so I had to stop a few times to get around large groups (and let’s face it, Iย hadย to stop and take pictures of the scenery!), but it was a great ride.

IMG_4873

I was just about to call it at 5 miles, but I couldn’t help it and powered through for another 1.2 to make it an even 10k.

IMG_4875

I had to laugh when I saw my final stats: my 6:49/mile pace is half the speed I ran last week’s race at, and itย stillย wouldn’t be fast enough to keep up with the amazing athletes that led the Boston Marathon. I was cranking as hard as I could. To imagine running that fast? It’s simply unbelievable how speedy those folks are!

IMG_4878

When we got home I started working on dinner (and lunches for the next few days too): Ground turkey, stewed tomatoes, onion and chopped broccoli stir fry over quinoa!

IMG_4887

I even roasted up some chickpeas for snacking in the coming week too. The result of all that cooking meant that the whole house smelled delicious when we woke up today!

And that was it for me! How was your weekend? Did you get outside to enjoy the nice weather? Did you race? Tell me all about it, I want to know!

IMG_4740

Time to Rebuild

So I finished my last half marathon of the spring racing season! Hooray!

anigif_enhanced-27326-1413999458-5

Now that the celebratory peanut butter pie has been eaten, the Tiger Balm has soaked in, and the muscles have recovered, the inevitable question that follows the end of every race is now on my mind: What’s Next?

Well, if I’m being honest with myself – and honest with you, dear reader – I don’t know! I mean sure, I know I’m going to race again eventually, but right now I have zero races lined up in the calendar. Even for next fall.

I briefly considered the Jersey Girl Triathlon this August, but I haven’t pulled the trigger on that yet. I’ve only incorporated swimming into my cross-training plan about a half dozen times so far, and after 25 minutes and about 200 yards I’m physically unable to walk myself from the locker room to the car without my legs shaking and giving out on me. Just the thought of having to add biking and running after a workout like that makes me weak in the knees. I’d have to do some serious training to prepare for an event like that. And I just Googled “beginner triathlon training plan” and the first result that came up is a 93-page PDF. NINETY-THREE PAGES, YOU GUYS. Can anyone point me in the direction of a training plan that isn’t like a book of stereo instructions?

giphy

OK so maybe I need to set my sights a little lower. I’m sure I’ll do some local 5K’s that I’ve always done, and I’m searching the local running club calendars for 10K’s as well. I certainly don’t want to lose the running endurance that I’ve built up these past few months, and having some slightly shorter than half distance races on the horizon could keep me moving. Do any of my local Jersey peeps have recommendations on 10K’s in the next month or two?

Lastly, I’m searching for a new fall Half Marathon to call my own. I could easily sign up once again for the Atlantic City Half Marathon and see if the third time is the charm – after all, it’s where I set my current half PR! But the fall race season is so rich and exciting, that I wonder if I’m limiting myself by just setting my sights on that one bigger race when there are so many other great events going on in September and October. Does anyone in my area have any local half plans or dream races you’d like to do in the fall?

One thing I AM sure of, however, is that I’m going to be focusing very heavily on rebuilding my strength up with weights and cross training. After the little spurts I could fit in while training for my races these past few months, I felt an immense improvement in the running workouts that followed. But just like everything else, life gets in the way and excuses get made and the time I could spend working out was spent on getting mileage in, not strengthening everything else. As a result, I notice the weakness creeping in, even with little tasks like carrying the grocery bags into the house.

funny-gif-weight-liftingNo more!

Today I kicked off this new rebuilding phase by doing something called “3 Times 3 At 3”. It’s entirely made up and in no way scientific, but it’s random and fun and sounds just easy enough to stick with for a while. Here’s how it works: at 3PM every day, I go down to my office gym and do three sets of three exercises for :45 each, with :15 of rest between them. Sounds easy, right? Well. 10 minutes of push-ups, side crunches, and squats later, I’m kind of dying.

reconstruction

Alright, I’m not dying – I’m fine, I just have a fun case of jelly arms from the absolute and complete lack of work I’ve done on my upper body in the last month or so. My abs and legs feel great and strong and ready for more, which is great.

But the whole thing was just what I needed to jump back into a post-race fitness routine and beat the “What do I do now Blues”! Now I’m nice and warmed up for the cardio I’ve still got planned after I get done with work, and I’m excited to build it up into 4 Times 4 or more. Cheers to rebuilding and growing stronger with each passing day!

Race Recap: Asbury Park Half Marathon

This recap starts the Wednesday before race day, when my poor husband came down with a killer stomach bug. 24 hours later he was still sick and I was running out of germ-free places to sleep, so I made myself a nest on the floor in the back bedroom and got a miserable few hours of sleep on Thursday night, which left me groggy with a pounding headache on Friday. So I took a half day and sought refuge and a nap at my mom’s house.

Later that afternoon I went home for a few hours to take care of hubby and cleaned the house from top to bottom, did 4 loads of laundry and bedding, finalized my race day gear and ate my usual night-before sushi, before packing up a bag and – at the urging of my still-sick hubby – going back to my parents’ house to get the rest I needed to be in top running form on Saturday morning.

IMG_4541Flat Jess was ready!

But the damage must have already been done, because after 8 hours sandwiched between my parents’ over-affectionate cat and some lopsided pillows, I woke up Saturday with an upset stomach and lead-filled legs, feeling no better than the day before. Nevertheless, I drove back home for my pre-race breakfast/coffee/clothing routine and found the weather to be nearly perfect, bordering onย hot: full sun, with a high of almost 80!

IMG_4549I wasn’t convinced, and still created an attractive garbage bag ensemble to wear at the start if it was chilly by the water:

IMG_4667Spoiler Alert: it was NOT necessary.

Because Mike was still so sick, this was also going to be my first solo half, which was kind of weird. I wasn’t worried though – I’d made the trip by myself countless times before so it felt just like any other training run. So after singing along to some music on the ride down (a fun benefit of driving alone), I arrived a little later than anticipated and made a beeline to meet up with some fellow Skirt Sports Ambassadors – what up, Kim & Darlene!

IMG_4578Shortly after that, I needed a bathroom, stat. I chalked it up to pre-race nerves, but in hindsight I realize that nearly missing the starting gun because I was in the bathroom for so long probably should have been my first sign that something was up. I just barely made it to my spot before the national anthem finished and the gun went off, and as soon as I crossed the starting line I could tell I was off my game.

IMG_4553IMG_4598

Almost immediately my right calf/ankle started to burn and cramp slightly like it did last fall, and my legs were super heavy. I focused on keeping my form in check and told myself to just enjoy the scenery and ride it out. We coasted down Cookman Ave. past the hipster brunch joints and people hanging out of their windows cheering us on and at Mile 1, we turned back to head down Ocean Ave for Mile 2, then rallied on through Mile 3 to cross the lake and make our way into Deal. The pain in my right calf was getting angrier, the sun was getting much warmer than anticipated, and worst of all: my stomach started to gurgle again. Urgently.

IMG_4589

So I sucked it up (literally, sorry), and powered through the next few miles, watching the speedier folks pass us going back towards Asbury. I was grateful that I had decided to carry a little water bottle (after last year’s water fiasco, I learned my damn lesson) and sipped every mile or so. At Mile 4.5 I took some gummy bears because I was feeling depleted already, probably from the stomach issues I’d experienced that morning. I just felt… hollow. My form was a mess, too: my shoulders were hunched, my back was sore, and trying to hold myself upright took more effort than I had energy. On top of all that, my entire body was rigid from – for lack of a better term – holding my stomach together. It was bad.

After a nice long walk through the water stop/turnaround in Deal at mile 6ish, I was feeling mildly better so I spent the next mile slowly picking off people that I’d been clustered with at the back of the pack. But even with this little burst of energy, I only managed to bring my average mile time down to around 12:50 by mile 7. I was aiming for that average pace the whole time and knew that I wouldn’t be able to maintain it feeling like I did. That was when I realized that a PR might not be in the cards.

IMG_4591

Back onto the boards we went, where I chatted with a fellow runner – after a well-meaning race volunteer cheered us on with “They saved the best for last, you guys!”, we laughed because she probably didn’t mean that to be as negative as it came out! Then I got another little burst of energy as I ran through the crowds and passed the finish line – I forgot that my name was on my bib, and hearing people yell “Go Jessica!” was really encouraging, even if they were total strangers!

Now get ready for storytime, because something especially entertaining happened at this point in the race:

In college, I had this one professor that all the girls liked. A wavy-haired, poetry-spouting, regulation hottie. Let’s call him Professor Smith. He and I had a great student/professor relationship, and I credit him with my love of creative writing – he was truly a great mentor. We went our separate ways when I graduated in 2005 and that was that.

Jump Cut to Mile 8.5 of this God-forsaken race, where I’m sweating and cramping, in desperate need of a bathroom, when who do I see on the sidelines cheering and clapping with a big smile on his face? None other than Mr. Wavy-Haired-Poetry-Spouting Professor Smith himself, looking absolutely no different from the last day I laid eyes on him at graduation 10 years ago. I thought I was hallucinating. Before I could even stop them, the words came tumbling out of my mouth, loud and clear as a bell: “PROFESSOR SMITH?!” I think I even did one of those big-eyed cartoon double-takes.

To his credit, this guy took one look at me, broke into a huge smile, and started running alongside me. “Hey there!” he shouted as we ran. I didn’t even know how to process what was happening. I blurted out, “There is absolutely no way you remember me, I was 100 lbs heavier, you taught me in 2001!” I held my hand out to kind of wave him off, thinking “Why did I say your name? I am at my absolute worst right now, just nod and wave and let me die in peace!” – but instead of taking the wave as a goodbye, he grabbed my hand as he ran and said “I remember your face but I can’t think of your name!”

I’m sure this is his standard response – I was one student among hundreds, if not thousands. Because when I said my name, he broke into a grin, “YES! Bey Hall, right?!” And that’s when I died a little inside: Not Bey. Our classes were in Wilson. But when you’re dying of dysentery at mile 9 and your hot ex-college professor is holding your hand and running with you, you just go with it. “YES!” I shouted, finishing the sentence in my head with “anything that will get you to stop running with me right now!”

Satisfied, he nodded and I peeled away from him, waving him off with a thumbs up as he shouted, “I knew it! You’ve got this, have a great run!” Finally I was free to process what had just happened. I went about another quarter of a mile before laughing in absolute disbelief that something so utterly random could happen, and took it as a sign – even if it wasn’t going to be my best race, it’d be a memorable one!

That brings us back to the boards in Bradley Beach at mile 9-ish. While I was feeling extremely ill, these boards had one benefit: this was my turf, yo! I had logged countless miles on these boards in the past month and knew where to expect every turn, every change in the boards, and most importantly… every bathroom! I gratefully cruised into the first one I found at mile 9.5, and had slight relief. But as it tends to be when you’re sick, the relief was short-lived, and less than a half mile later I was cramping and stopped again at Mile 10.

This is where the wheels really fell off the wagon. Once I stepped out of potty break #2, I took a Gu and made the turnaround at mile 10-ish for the final 2.5 back to the finish, where I passed a particularly gnarly sewer. The smell caused my already queasy stomach to turn, and I lost all of the gummy bears, water, and Gu I had in my system in a bush near the sidewalk. Yuck.

It was a badge of honor, I thought, to get sick during a race – I thought it was something that only super hardcore folks experienced. But I guess when you’ve got a touch of the stomach flu, anything goes. Either way, after I rinsed my mouth out, mile 11 was pretty solid until another wave of nausea hit me around 12. I didn’t get full-onย sickย though, so I trudged through the final mile, ran through the shade of the casino building and into the finisher’s chute. The people that stuck around were super supportive and gave me the final boost I needed, clapping and yelling my name as I ran it in. My cousin Heather had even volunteered and snapped some pics of me as I neared the finish – I may have flipped her the bird in a few of them, but she did manage to get this one:

IMG_4590This is one relieved runner.

I glanced up at the time and saw 2:58 and change – good. As long as I was under 3 I’d call it a win, even though the race was anything but successful. I was just grateful for it to be over! Once I crossed the finish line a volunteer handed me my medal and I wandered over to the first bench I found, where I melted into the wood. Heather found me there a few minutes later, and we took a selfie (of course):

IMG_4559…and a ladybug came to chill with us on the bench for a while, too:

IMG_4568

(just like last year, when a ladybug landed on me after the race!)

She kept me company when I picked up my shirt at the Expo in Convention Hall, sat with me a little longer while I waited to see if I’d need the bathroom again before my drive home, and soon we called it a day.

All in all, it wasn’t the race I was hoping for – I’m bummed that I didn’t get the PR I was planning on, especially with the solid training runs I had these past few weeks – but sometimes life happens. You get sick. You don’t rest or fuel properly. You make mistakes. But it’s OK. That’s why running is so great: there’s always a next time, right?

I remember in that last mile being SO GLAD the race was almost over and that I had no more races planned at all. I told myself I’d be happy never to pin on another bib again. But do you want to know what I did all on my lunch break today? Browsed the local running club calendars for my next race ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_4579

Weight Loss & Running Fearless

When I signed on to be a Skirt Sports Ambassador, I was thrilled – they’re all about encouraging women to move and embrace their bodies, no matter their size, age, or ability. Their message of fearlessness and acceptance is one that I wholeheartedly stand behind. Too often the snark and body-shaming in the periphery of the fitness community willย  and spread those negative vibes. And as an Ambassador for their brand, I’m so lucky to be another voice for positive change. Given my own journey through the past 10+ years, I’m especially honored to help spread the message of being yourself and going after your fitness goals without fear.

When I first started running, I took it up as I started losing weight back in 2004, and had to start slowly – I weighed more than 270+ lbs and I couldn’t go more than a quarter mile before quitting.

before1I was uncomfortable in my own skin and frankly, felt trapped. I was just about to turn 21, I was in college and building an awesome new path in life for myself, but I didn’t feel “skinny enough” to do the things that other people around me were doing. Dating, going out to clubs and bars – I didn’t want to put myself out there because I was afraid of what others would think of me. I took every whisper, every look, every dating rejection as a result of my weight and my appearance, so I put up a wall.

Every day I would put on a show of over-confidence to mask the self-loathing going on under the surface, and each night I would retreat back into my own world, lock the door, and dream of the real me. I saw myself a hundred pounds lighter, living my dream life: successfully managing a full professional and personal schedule all with the confidence I knew I had inside.

Finally, a few days before my 21st birthday in July, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a crushing blow; my mother is my whole world. After breaking down in the hallway of our house when she said the words, my immediate reaction (later that day) was to go down to the park to run myself into oblivion. I had never run more than a mile before that day, but I needed to numb the pain and couldn’t think of anything else to do. So I ran. And I didn’t care about what anyone thought of me that day.

When I look back on it, I realize it was a desperate need to do something – anything – to take care of myself. The C-word has a way of putting all of your life choices into perspective, even if it’s not you but your immediate family. I now technically had “a family history” of cancer. And the only weapon I had against that was taking better care of myself. So after burning myself out in the park that day doing I don’t even remember how many miles (I lost count after 5), I started to pay closer attention to my choices: what I ate, how I moved, how I spent my free time. And wouldn’t you know it: by eating sensibly and moving more, I lost between 30-40 lbs in that first 6 months.

There’s a lot more to my fitness story after that – I went on to lose a total of more than 100 lbs in the next 5 years, AND my mother beat cancer and has been officially cancer-free since 2005! – but the point of it is this: you can’t live your life in fear. Fear of becoming sick, fear of losing your loved ones, fear of what others will think of you – none of it helps you, unless it motivates you to do something.

I spent most of my teen and adult life hiding from what I could become, and once I conquered that fear and did something about it, I finally found the courage I needed to change. I became an athlete; a runner; I became the me I always knew I was!

IMG_4183 (2)How about you: what’s holding you back from your dream? What do you plan to do to conquer it? Share in the comments and let’s lift each other up!

Playing Catch Up

OK, first: I am SO sorry it’s been so long since my last post! We’ve got a big product launch going on at my day job, and my new role is heavily involved in almost every aspect of the marketing launch, so I’ve had to log lots of extra night and weekend hours trying to get things ready in the past two weeks, meaning this blog had to suffer! The good news is that we launch today and I can finally breathe now. And to make up for it, I’ve got a fun, picture-filled post for you today!

Let’s rewind to almost 2 weeks ago, when I hit my peak mileage in preparation for the Asbury Park Half Marathon. My weekly runs were going well, and the spring weather made things even better – I was finally able to run outside after work again!

IMG_3921

These solid weekday runs had me feeling pretty good leading up to my long run of 10 miles that Easter Sunday. I decided to run for the first time with the Jersey Shore Running Club down in Ocean Grove, and I was super stoked! I joined a month ago to connect with local runners and to take advantage of their long boardwalk runs on Sunday mornings, and since Easter was going to be a full day, their start time of 6:45AM worked well. The only catch was the 5AM wakeup call I’d have to make. Ugh.

Of course, Saturday night I was hit with a bad case of insomnia and stress-dreams. Why? I have no idea! But I ended up only getting a solid 3 hours of restless sleep at best, and dragged my ass down the Parkway before the sun came up for the sorriest 10 miles I’ve ever run.

IMG_3977But oh, that sunrise!

While the run itself stunk, everything besides the actual running was beautiful and positive! The JSRC people were the most welcoming, friendly group of runners I’ve met in a long time. I quickly bonded with Hazem, who kept me company for the entire 10 miles! He’s in the bright green, I’m in yellow ๐Ÿ™‚

IMG_3995

Bless that man for sticking with me, too – thanks to the total lack of rest the night before, I was achy and exhausted from mile 3. We started off at sunrise going south from Ocean Grove, and after a mile or two of sticking together, little groups broke away from the pack and either dropped back (me & Hazem) or took off (everyone else). Once we were on our own, we chatted about work, life, running – the usual. Through Bradley Beach, Belmar, Spring Lake, and back we went, slogging along and taking turns going silent as you do on long runs.

Seeing as how I’d never even met this guy before, I kept telling him that he didn’t have to wait for me – because I was dogging it. It’s like I was made of lead. And as much as I now like running with others, I truly hate feeling like I’m slowing them down. It makes me feel worse and starts the negative thinking spiral. But even though I told him at every water and bathroom stop to keep going without me, he said no and stayed with me until the last half mile when he picked it up and finished, then even waited for me too! Thanks for the company, friend – you made a miserable run totally bearable!

And I also want to issue a public apology for loudly serenading you with some off-key Taylor Swift when she came on my headphones at around mile 6. The long run mania will make you do some crazy things, and I’m sorry you had to witness me Shaking it Off like that.

IMG_3980Another one of the sweet Asbury Park message shells, spotted perfectly on this Easter Sunday Runday!

Final tally: 10 miles in 2:08, Average Pace 12:50/mile. BLAH. Because I performed so poorly, I took the experience as a learning opportunity, and focused on resting and strength/cross training, which helped boost my confidence and made for some solid mileage on Tuesday and Thursday. I think it was the new Skirt Sports gear I tried out on the treadmill!

IMG_4067What up, Lioness Skirt! Want one of your own? Use code SSJRH20 to get 20% off your order!

Come the weekend, I was ready to run and do other running-related things. Namely, pick up my Asbury Park Half Marathon bib!

IMG_4112sounds like a lucky number, yeah?

I decided to go down to the shore one last time before the race to get my feet acclimated to those boards even more. Last year I explicitly remember cursing my thin socks at mile 8 because that boardwalk is HARD. My legs felt fine in the days after the race, but my poor feet were blistered from the beating. So this training cycle I purposely did most of my long runs on the race course to familiarize myself (and my feet) with the work it was going to take on.

Also, about 80% of my race-day anxiety involves the unfamiliar aspects: how will I get there, where will I park, what does the course look like, etc. By driving myself down to the race course and running it every weekend for the entire month before, all of those unknowns were now simple facts that I don’t feel anxious about anymore. I think I’m going to try to adopt this plan-ahead process for all races going forward!

IMG_4138

I got to Asbury at around 8:30 – the sun was shining, the air was getting warmer by the minute, and I was feeling unstoppable. I set out in the same way I would on race day – back and forth on the boards in Asbury, then straight through the casino building south to Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach, over the Belmar Bridge, and down the boardwalk until I hit about 4 miles, and back for my 7.ย  I couldn’t have asked for a better day to run: the boards were packed with other runners, bikers, walkers, and generally nice people that were just as thrilled about the weather as I was!

IMG_4125Just breathe it in!

I was determined not to let my previous week’s long run cloud my mood, so I didn’t look at my pace until I turned around – and was so happy to see that I was averaging almost a FULL MINUTE FASTER per mile than last week!

IMG_4127

That’s one happy (and overdressed) runner right there.

I was jamming out to some new tunes (thank you, Kendrick Lamar) and turned into a full-out whack job by the 10K mark, singing along to my music and even run-dancing a bit. I’m sure the locals appreciated that. But who cares?! I crushed those 7 miles in 1:26 at an average pace of 12:04 per mile – holy crap!

IMG_4131

I know better than to expect a SUPER awesome performance like that again this weekend, but who knows? It was definitely the perfect confidence-boosting run I’ve needed this training cycle. I didn’t know what to expect going into the “two-halfs-in-one-month” plan that I basically created on the fly. But 4 days from go time my knees are feeling great, my legs are feeling strong, my confidence is high, and I’m nowhere near as burnt out as I have been before other races. I feel more like a border collie, with tons of energy and excitement about getting to that boardwalk starting line and showing myself how strong I’ve become!

How about you? How has your training been going? Are you loving the spring race season? Tell me everything!

My Favorite Interval Training Workout

Now that I’m feeling confident in my running, I’ve starting incorporating more strength training into my weekly plans to improve my overall fitness. I’ve mentioned these strength workouts a few times here, and since some of you have expressed interest in them, today I’m going to share my favorite HIIT workout with you!

This is a combination of a workout I found in a magazine and a “tune up” workout a fitness instructor friend of mine created. It’s a quick, 6 set routine that I need virtually no equipment for – just a chair and a pair of dumbbells of my choice. It can be done almost anywhere and hits almost every area of the body (arms, back, legs & abs) and depending on what level I want to tackle, I can fit this into just 20 minutes!

HIIT Workout

Just Starting Out: Do each move for :30, rest for :30 between sets. Perform sets 1-6 twice.

Feeling Strong: Do each move for 45, rest for :15 between sets. Perform sets 1-6 three times.

Superman Strength: Do each move for :60, rest for :10 between sets. Perform sets 1-6 a total of 4 – 5 times

Set 1: Chair Squats & Decline Push-Ups

Chair Squats: Squat as close to the chair as possible without sitting, then return to standing position.

Decline Push-Ups: Get into plank position with feet up on the seat of the chair, then perform a pushup.

Set 2: Bent Chest Flies, Chair Step Ups (one set = both legs)

Bent Chest Flies: Sit on chair and bend over at waist with a dumbbell in each hand (I use 7.5 lbs). Without moving the torso, engage the core and lift arms straight out to the side and back down.

Chair Step Ups: Using one leg, step up on seat of chair and stand, then step back down and return both feet to floor. Repeat with other leg.

Set 3: Triceps Dips, Split (Bulgarian) Lunge (one set = both legs)

Triceps dips: Sit on the chair and hold the seat, then slide off while still holding the seat and dip up and down off the chair, focusing on the muscles at the back of the arms.

Split Lunge: Stand facing away from the chair and rest the top of one foot on the seat. Lunge, and repeat.

Set 4:ย  Seated Leg Lifts, Hip Bridge

Seated Leg Lifts: Sit on chair and hold onto the sides of the seat. Lift legs up in a crunch position and lean back, then alternate between tucking legs up to chest and straightening them.

Hip Bridge: Lay down on the ground with knees bent and feet on floor. Lift hips up slowly, hold for a few seconds, and release.

Set 5: Incline Push-Up, Calf Raises

Incline Push-Up: Face the chair and grab the seat with both hands, extend legs and lower hips for a straight back, then perform a pushup.

Calf Raises: Stand on a slight ledge (or just stand), and raise onto tip-toes, then back down.

Set 6: Straight Arm Planks, Burpees

Straight Arm Planks: Get in the same position as the decline pushups in the first set, but hold in a plank for the time allotted.

Burpees: Chances are you know how to do a burpee. But if you don’t, just watch this – and accept my hearty apology for introducing you to this move from hell.

For a super full body workout, you can also add a 15 Minute Cardio Boost after this workout too:

  • Warm up 3 minutes
  • Sprint 1 Minute
  • Run 2 minutes
  • Sprint 1 Minute
  • Run 2 minutes
  • Sprint 1 Minute
  • Run 2 minutes
  • Cool Down 3 Minutes

I’ll admit that doing both workouts one after the other will be tough at first, but it’s ultra fat burning and when I was doing this 3x a week I saw big results!

Keep in mind that I’m in no way a professional. I’m not a registered personal trainer or physical therapist, and I take no responsibility for pulled muscles, injuries or sprained anythings. Keep in mind: this is just a workout that I like to do, and I’m sharing it for entertainment purposes only. Always check with your doctor before beginning a new fitness or nutrition program. I just really enjoy this workout and wanted to share it with you guys!

Let me know how you enjoy it – now I’m off to go do this myself! ๐Ÿ™‚