Why I Will Continue to Chase Down a Boston Dream while Running into the Next Decade
Now I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I started running over a decade ago with hopes of losing weight. I didn’t know many runners at the time, but the ones from television and magazines all looked healthy and happy. So I started running and despite the fact that it hurt like hell and it took me about an hour to go a few miles, I kept with it. With each finish line, I started to learn to love the mental strength I gained through racing. I also started to love my own body more than ever, and tried to completely eliminate the negative self talk and body shaming.
Over the course of a few years, I wasn’t just setting goals to just finish races. I found myself setting goals to run sub two hour half marathons, and then sub 1:45 halfs, and am now about 10 seconds over a sub four hour marathon….with the goal of chasing down a 3:45 in this year’s Chicago marathon and then eventually, a 3:30-3:35 locally at the Philly marathon later this fall. But as I work on my speed, I have also battled numerous injuries over the past 18 months, forcing me to trade my speed work for strength workouts and countless hours of physical therapy. And although I will continue to chase my BQ (and I know my day is coming), I am also forced to make a tougher decision to slow down my paced runs and also cut back on my racing schedule. Running into the next decade is important for me not just physically, but even more so mentally and spiritually.
And since development is the Wednesday Word over at Deb Runs today, I am thrilled to link up with Deb (it’s been way too long) and share why I will continue to chase down a Boston dream while I age, while running into the next decade. I am also linking this post up with Susie at Suzlyfe, Rachel of Running on Happy, Debbie of Coach Debbie Runs, and Lora of Crazy Running Girl for the Running Coaches Corner.
Many athletes consider running a lifetime sport. Think about it… you can start running as early as preschool and keep going through grade school into middle and high school as long as you can put one foot in front of the other. Whether you decide to run competitively at the collegiate level or run as your stress relief throughout your schooling, you grow, mature, set PRs (whether in a race setting or with yourself), and continue to maintain your health and fitness goals.
But there comes a time when the PR chase grows difficult, and that’s exactly where my run journey has taken me over the past 18 months. Warm-ups, cool-downs, and mandatory rest days from running have been the ONLY way I have been able to train. Gone are the days I can jump out of bed, lace up my sneaks, and hit a 7:30 pace without warming up or cooling down. I run more these days using my mind as my guide and not my ego. Some days I feel great and may add in some speed work and other days I seem to pay for going too fast while icing my knee or limping though wicked PF flare ups at work.
Aging. It’s oh so humbling as a runner to not be able to easily hit the same paces I was running in college.
And sometimes the media makes it tough NOT to compare my race schedule to another mid 30 something year old’s race schedule who seems to defy all aspects of aging and runs 60 plus miles per week and BQ’s at every marathon. After all, Meb Keflezighi’s PR win at Boston came only weeks before his 39th birthday, and many runners continue to improve during their late 30s.
So why do many runners start to get injured MORE as they age?
I can only speak in terms of my own training, but my warmups and recovery times needed to be doubled, or even tripled after a hard tempo run or track session. Realizing that injuries can be more frequent and take longer to heal was also another eye opener for me during my last training cycle this past fall. Extra recovery time needs to be built in, no matter what type of endurance race you are training for. You may wind up doing more cross-training, and that’s ok. And women, in particular, need to be aware of the risk of declining bone mass. I have added 2-3 mandatory lifting session per week into my marathon training cycle this summer to keep up bone density in the upper body and spine.
For me, running into the next decade also means cutting back on my race schedule. No more ultras 2 weeks post marathons. No more half marathons before a big marathon. More strength training. More yoga. More stretching. Ugh, and physical therapy to keep strengthening and rehabbing prior knee and foot injuries…fun fun!
And I am writing this to stay accountable, because I am not yet FULLY on board with my “new” modified race schedule for next year. But as I continue to battle back from injury, I find a small glimmer of hope, that a BQ is on the horizon. I feel it. I have been dreaming about it. It’s close.
Until then, I will continue to try to “embrace” cutting back on my race schedule. More to come on that topic!
These baked avocado & veggie egg rolls are the perfect addition for a party appetizer, or as a main course on a busy weeknight. These egg rolls are healthier version from regular egg rolls because they are baked and not fried. You can pretty much add any ingredient you want to these to fit your lifestyle and dietary restrictions. I made two versions this past weekend: Avocado & Veggie.
Dice and mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Add seasoning (salt, pepper, garlic & lime juice).
Place an egg roll wrapper on the counter with one corner pointing you. Add a spoonful of avocado mix to the egg roll. Fold in the two side corners and roll like a burrito. Add egg wash (beaten egg) on the edges to seal.
Place rolled eggs rolls on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper
Bake for about 20-30 minutes or until egg rolls are golden brown and crisp.
Note: Use the right kind of wrapper. I usually opt for the 8 x 8 inch version (20 x 20 cm) around. If you purchase your wrappers at an authentic Asian market, they usually come in about 25 wraps per package. These wrappers are light, paper-thin and they still turn out crunchy even when baking.
You can do same steps for veggie or your own “meatier” version. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce, buffalo sauce, salsa, guacamole, or even some Greek Yogurt!
These healthy egg muffins take hardly any effort to make, taste amazing, and can be stored and reheated all week long. What more could you wish for in a recipe?
I originally made these (healthy) egg muffins for breakfast, but they are quickly becoming one of my favorite snacks during the week. I used to always make a batch of hard-boiled eggs on the weekends for my meal prep for the week, but now I find myself packing up a few of these egg muffins instead. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy my hard-boiled eggs, but the addition of fresh veggies just takes the flavor to a whole new level.
Egg muffins are also great if you are hosting brunch for a group of friends or family. They even taste great reheated, so you can make them the day before if you want to save time in the morning.
“Why would I want to eat a ‘healthy’ brownie when I could be eating a REAL gooey chocolatey brownie instead?” (My hubby told me the same thing this morning).
But what if the REAL gooey chocolate brownie is actually the healthy brownie?
No, not in a fantasy world where calories don’t count. These vegan black bean brownies are actually healthy brownies that DO NOT taste healthy, and I can say that with assurance, as they’ve been tested on three tough test testers— one picky preschooler, one picky and fiesty toddler, and one picky hubby. For the ultimate test, I am taking a batch of these vegan black bean brownies into work tomorrow (without revealing the “healthy” secret). I am also planning on making these vegan black bean brownies for my daughter’s preschool Valentine’s Day tea party in a few weeks. Be sure to stay tuned to my Instagram handle to see how it turns out.
And now onto the recipe…. I promise these vegan black bean brownies will not disappoint– and will not taste like cardboard, like some of the black bean brownie recipes I have sampled in the past.
My preschooler was asking for seconds (I doubt she realized there were black beans in her brownies). Do you have a healthy treat that you trick your kids into eating? I would love to hear all about it in the comments below!
It’s the holiday season here on the East coast, the days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting chillier! As we transition into winter, this is my favorite season to unwind and take a break from running and training as intensely. With so much focus going into training for big races this past fall, it’s refreshing to have some downtime. That being said, it’s hard for us Type A runners to sit still for very long. After eight years spent training and racing at a fairly intense level, I’ve found that that organizing your running off-season is just as important as the in-season training.
Well- this is a loaded question and tends to be a common question for most distance runners. And the quick answer is that each runners’ off-season will vary on how much mileage is being logged, the number of races in the season, and the intensity of the training. The timing of my off-season depends on the timing of my last race of the year. I usually try to run the Philadelphia Marathon each year, which tends to fall on the Sunday before Thanksgiving most years. So my off-season usually begins in late November-early December. This year, my off-season officially started the week after Thanksgiving and looks something similar to this below:
2 Weeks of Complete Rest
Not a ton of running. No real cardio. I usually go on brisk walks, do yoga, and some strength training at home or in the gym. Although this year – I ran 10 miles for our Thanksgiving turkey trot on Thanksgiving Day, which was 4 days post-marathon. While that 10 miler was not the best idea for my hip flexors, feet, and hamstrings, I did feel pretty refreshed after 2 weeks post-marathon with minimal running.
6 Weeks of Unstructured Runs
I enjoy some light running and doing some structured cardio with weights during the next 6 weeks or so after a big race, but the workouts are lighter, easier, and completely unplanned/unstructured. Easy runs are at a 10 or more average pace and I typically run without my garmin or watch these weeks. There is no purpose or goal of the workouts – I go out when I want and I stop when I want. The purpose of this phase is to just keep my body moving and fitness level stable.
During this time I aim for about 4-5 hours of activity a week (about 30% of my normal training volume). It’s during this time that I’ll also plan out my races for next year. I look over my racing schedule from the precious year to analyze what worked and what did not work.
8 Weeks of Prep
The goal of my Prep is to get back into the swing of my runs. I get back on the road and on the trails with my runs and try to just have fun. These are the weeks where I aim to have a bit more structure to my run and strength workouts. I’ll start to throw in some speed work here and there.
I also add in some cross-training (spinning, yoga, circuit training) to help me aim for 6-8 hours a week of activity (about 50% of my normal training volume) without getting focused on marathon based workouts too early.
Full on spring marathon training starts towards the end of January for me!
Organizing Running Off-Season
Regardless of when your last significant race was, you can follow a similar schedule. If your last big race was a big distance event, such as a marathon or ultra, hopefully you took 2 – 3 weeks to just relax and chill. As you jump into your unstructured runs and prep time, ask yourself these questions:
What races do I want to compete in for 2017?
When do I want to accomplish these races?
What do I need to do in my training to get there?
Take the answers to these questions and work backward to help build out your training plan. Spending time this last month of 2016 will not only help you reach your goals, it’ll more than likely help you stay motivated and focused during the winter months! Happy training!
A month ago I decided I needed to take a break from blogging regularly. I started this blog as a creative outlet for me to share my running story and paleo recipes, as well as help others to find the balance between their health, careers, and their families. About a month ago, I did a series of guest posts and speaking events about marathon over-training. As I drove home from a local speaking event in NYC, it hit me that I was overwhelmed, stressed, sleep deprived, and missing my sweet little family. And while my public speaking career was taking off, I wasn’t feeling entirely fulfilled. Needless to say, this got me to thinking about my life and assessing my current priorities. What I probably should say is I found myself in tears on the shoulder of the NJ turnpike on a Sunday afternoon. I was sad that I was missing precious time with my girls. I was sad because I felt like a hypocrite for being overwhelmed and NOT doing a great job at balancing it all. I was sad because I knew I needed to make a hard decision about what mattered most at this point in my career. For me, the start of figuring things out was to eliminate added stress in my life. So I decided to take a break from blogging twice a week and have decided to post when I have something valuable to say or show you guys. And speaking of valuable info, who is ready for a healthy, paleo recipe? We made these gluten free pumpkin scones yesterday for breakfast and they were a hit in our house!
I was so pumped about this recipe that I wanted to share! We were at Starbucks 2 days ago while out Black Friday shopping and my girls spilt a pumpkin scone. This scone looked soooo yummy, and I am not normally a scone person! I knew I had to try to make a gluten free version later that night, and my gluten free version was actually pretty easy to prep. So here’s my paleo and gluten free version of these babies — Starbucks copycat vegan, gluten-free and paleo pumpkin scones that your whole family can enjoy–Did I mention your house will smell AMAZING too? Well, it will. So, what are you waiting for?
1. Place coconut oil and coconut butter in a baking dish or glass container and place in a toaster (or microwave) for a few minutes to warm up the oil and butter and let them melt a bit.
2. Pour the coconut oil, coconut butter, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, hot water, vanilla, and spices into a large mixing bowl and blend all the ingredients together into a smooth mixture using a high power blender or a Vitamix (you can also mix by hand or put this mixture through a food processor and then pour into a mixing bowl).
3. Cut out a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover a cookie sheet. Place it on a cutting board and set aside.
4. Add coconut flour and tapioca starch to the liquid mixture in the mixing bowl and mix using a wooden spoon to combine the liquid ingredients with the dry. You may want to use your hands to thoroughly knead the dough and then lump it into a large ball.
5. Place the dough ball onto parchment paper on the cutting board. Flatten it with your hands into a 1″ tall disc. Fix up and round off all the edges with your hands so that the disc looks nice and rounded everywhere. Using a knife cut the disc into 8 triangles (I first cut mine into 4 parts forming a cross, and then cut each triangle in half). Do not separate the scones just yet. Place the entire cutting board into the fridge and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 350F. Once the scones have chilled, remove from the fridge and transfer the parchment paper along with the scones onto a cookie sheet. Carefully separate and spread the scones apart on the cookie sheet on top of the parchment. Bake scones for approximately 22-26 minutes (watch the edges and remove from oven when they begin to brown up). Then, cool the tray on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
7. In the meantime prepare the glaze by placing all glaze ingredients in your blender and blend on high until smooth. I used my Vitamix for this and recommend it for smoothest results (or another high power blender). Once the scones are cooled a little, use a spoon to spread this glaze over each scone, but RESERVE about a third of the mixture for the next step (just leave it in the blender).
8. Add pumpkin spice drizzle ingredients to the blender. Blend on high to create a smooth mixture. Transfer into a piping bag and then drizzle over the glaze on the scones. Serve warm with a hot cup of coffee, or enjoy these chilled (or reheated in the toaster) for an incredible breakfast treat!
With the Philly marathon less than a week away, my carb cravings are still going strong. Last week I made Gluten-free Banana Bread and that really hit the spot. Confession– I may have eaten the entire loaf myself. Ok, maybe I shared just a bit with the girls, but I tried to sort of hide this scrumptious loaf in the pantry, so the girls wouldn’t eat the entire thing. I know, I am selfish mom, but I have a soft spot for banana bread!
This week I decided to try to whip up lemon poppy seed muffins for the girls. I was able to pick up most of the ingredients this past weekend at a local farmer’s marker, including 3 fresh lemons–score!
If you are not a huge lemon fan- these muffins may not be your style. There is fresh lemon juice, along with lemon zest in the muffin batter. The muffins also get drizzled with a sweet lemon glaze. So there is a TON of lemon flavor in these muffins.
These paleo Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins are a sure way to start your week off on the right foot! They certainly made my week! I had one with my lunch and may even snag one for dessert later on….if there are any left!
Lemon lovers will fall in love with these paleo Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins! They are great for breakfast, brunch, or dessert!
yield: 18 MUFFINS
prep time: 10 MINUTES
cook time: 20 MINUTES
total time: 30 MINUTES
For the Muffins:
2/3 cup coconut sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
For the Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1. For the Muffins: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 18 molds in 2 regular-sized muffin pans or fit the molds with paper muffin cups. We used a mix of yellow and Olaf Frozen muffin liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix the sugar and the lemon zest together. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, mix together Greek yogurt, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended.
3. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir to blend. Don’t overmix. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from its mold. Cool the muffins completely on the rack before icing them.
5. To Make the Icing: Mix together the confectioners’ sugar and about 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a small bowl. Stir with a small whisk or spoon, then add enough additional lemon juice, to get an icing that is thin enough to drizzle from the tip of the spoon. Drizzle glaze over the muffins with the spoon.
If you have little ones at home, this is a great recipe to have your little ones help with. My girls really enjoyed drizzling the icing on top of the muffins, once cooled.
Serve and Enjoy!
What is one of your favorite healthiest breakfast foods to prep ahead of time for busy mornings? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Disclaimer: I received Legend Compression Performance Socks as part of being a Legend Compression Ambassador. I received product for this sponsored post but all opinions are my own.
Have you ever worn compression socks while marathon training? Do you run in them, or use compression mostly for recovery?
I have several pairs of compression socks because I find that they prevent my legs from throbbing and getting swollen during my longer marathon training runs. And after a tough sprint workout at the track, there’s nothing better than slipping on a pair of compression socks under my dress pants to allow my legs to feel great all day long while at work.
That’s why I was thrilled when Legend Compression Wear provided the opportunity to try their Legend Compression Performance Socks, in aqua blue. Keep scrolling to hear about why I use compression socks while marathon training, and my own experience wearing these socks. You will also be able to score a pair of compression socks for 15% off–wow! And I hear they also make great stocking stuffers for all the runners in your family this holiday season.
The Benefits of Wearing Compression Socks While Marathon Training
Using compression has so many great benefits for distance runners both on the roads and the trails including:
Helping to protect your legs. Compression socks and sleeves will protect your legs from small scratches, abrasions, tree branches, and other trail hazards. They will also help protect your legs from harsh elements like sun, rain, sleet, and snow on the roads. Plus if you happen to take a spill on the road, at least your legs are protected!
Helping to reduce limit leg swelling while running. Compression socks restrict all the tiny blood vessels in your legs to prevent blood from pooling and thus, your legs from swelling. As a former ICU nurse, I swore by compression stockings to prevent my legs from swelling after a 12 hour shift. That same concept applies to running. Compression socks prevent lactic acid buildup, leg discomfort, and swelling for distance runners who are on their feet for an extended period of time.
Looking fab! As a marathon runner, when I feel confident and look great in my running gear, I usually perform at my best. For me, I love wearing compression stocking with a cute running skirt. I tested out my super cool aqua Legend Compression Wear Socks during a recent long run with our local Moms Run this Town Running group. My legs still had enough kick to leap for joy in these super cute and function socks, even after 10 miles!
Legend Compression Wear
Legend Compression has a wide range of compression products available, and not just for athletes but for everyday use. The Performance Socks work great for runners, triathletes, cyclists, and all those Crossfit athletes out there! All products are manufactured in the United States.
Cool Features and Benefits:
Increased oxygen levels and blood circulation
Compression Performance socks for all sports
Greater power output
Faster Muscle Warm Up Pre-exercise
Reduction of lactic acid
Improve muscle support and injury prevention
Achilles and arch support
Open ventilation and breathable design for comfort
I’ve been wearing the Legend Compression Performance Socks for about 4 weeks now and I am a big fan. They’re easy to put on because they are a bit thicker than other compression socks, making them really comfortable. I have been wearing them on my long runs and loving how my legs are feeling after some grueling marathon training runs. I have also been slipping my compression socks on under my dress pants at work to aid in recovery and have noticed that I have not been getting leg cramps as frequently mid-day…bonus! I also plan to wear my aqua blues during the Philly marathon, which is just 2 weeks away!
Get 15% Off Legend Compression Wear!
Legend Compression Performance Socks are both functional and comfortable, and have done a great job of preventing my legs from getting sore – extremely important right now as I’m training for the Philly marathon! If you are a distance runner, or think you could benefit from some consistent compression during or after your workouts, then I would highly recommend giving these socks a try!
Five bananas. Coconut flour. Zero gluten. We are keeping it simple today with gluten free banana bread. Yes please.
You may remember the recipes for my banana berry bread or my banana snack bars. Those snack bars are my go-to snack in a pinch, and my kids love the banana berry bread. But since I had some overly-ripe bananas to use this past weekend, I decided to take it back to basics with this gluten free banana bread.
The ingredients for this healthy, but hearty bread begin with five overripe bananas. Then come essentials you likely already have on hand, such as eggs (or chia/flax eggs), apple sauce, and coconut oil. To sweeten things up a bit more I mixed up some local honey, maple syrup, and vanilla protein powder for a variance of flavor and texture.
To make this recipe gluten free, I used coconut flour. And of course, if you’re not gluten free just sub whole wheat pastry or all purpose flour.
35-40 minutes in the oven and this gluten free banana bread is ready for the taking.
My kids could hardly wait to slice into this bread, but patience is key here. You need to wait a good hour before cutting into this gluten free banana bread, or else it will crumble and fall apart.
This bread is:
Just sweet enough
Loaded with banana flavor
A great carb re-load after a long run
I hope you love this gluten free banana bread just as much as much kiddos do! Enjoy!
GLUTEN FREE BANANA BREAD
A simple, healthy, and hearty, gluten free banana bread recipe.
Author: Lauren Boldizar
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
5 medium ripe bananas (~2.5 cups)
1 teaspoon Vanilla protein powder I used Vanilla Shakeology)
Happy November friends! How is it November already– I am still tweaking my routine with back to school mode, and now the holidays are rights around the corner! I was in the mood for a coffee date with my girlfriends, so I am linking up with Deb from Confessions of a Mother Runner and Coco from Running with Perseverance for the November Ultimate Coffee Date Link up. Since we can’t all have coffee together in real life, these posts are a great way to catch up with your virtual blogging friends. So grab your favorite cup of coffee or tea and join in for a coffee date. If we were having coffee, I would tell you…
If we were having coffee, I would tell you...this is marathon month!! T minus 14 days until the Philadelphia marathon and I am loving my run taper. The old me used to get bent out of shape that I was running less during marathon tapers. I thought I was losing an edge over those that trained hard up until the day before a big race. Then I got injured from over-training. The new me is grateful to own every mile and celebrate the little wins.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you…It’s Thanksgiving month, and it’s one of my favorite holidays. When I was a kid, my grandmother would make the entire family dress up like pilgrims and Indians. It was a fun tradition, and one that I wish I passed on to my kids…I guess it’s never too late, right? We were dabbling with hosting Thanksgiving at our house this year, but the jury is still out on that one!
If we were having coffee, I would tell you…how our Moms Run this Town running group has really made marathon training more tolerable these past few months. Plus, I love seeing the ladies in our group hit their run goals. It’s so nice having that extra accountability of showing up for 6:15 AM long runs on Saturday mornings. I do love being done with 18 mile long runs by 9 AM, but I also am looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday mornings after the Philly marathon.
If we were having coffee, I would thank you for stopping by. What or who are you grateful for this week or month? We celebrate the little wins with our gratitude project each and every Friday on Instagram. Be sure to tag me with your gratitude list! Happy Weekend!