Top Nutrition Tips For Runners

Running can also be addicting. This is especially true for those who run not only to stay fit but have chosen to as their profession. Professional runners understand the restrictions as well as the rewards that come as they stick to a general guideline while running in the heat. Running requires as much energy as you a runner can provide, but like a fuel that needs to be fired up, the human body needs water and other essential energy-giving foods to keep them going. Going around the loop with the best water bottle for running will be a great help to keep you not only fully hydrated but even topped with the essential electrolytes that you will need throughout your run.

Top Nutrition Tips For Runners

In this post, we will provide you with the nutritional guide that runners like you need to be on top of the running crowd. Make sure that you include these food combinations and take all necessary precaution that will keep you fully and properly hydrated as you go through your route, so you will end up feeling refreshed, energized, and revitalized. Instead of having to experience the pangs of dehydration and to suffer the consequence, the worse of which would be having to end your run long before you reach your intended destination.

Variety is what makes it more interesting. Add in a variety of whole foods in most of your diet as this is the healthiest way to go. Your body will benefit more from all natural sources than from processed foods. So, make it your choice to opt for natural foods over chemically enhanced and manufactured foods. You just don’t know what’s hiding in those cans. Certainly, if you cannot identify more than five ingredients on the label, you should not consider eating it. And, remember, variety is what makes nutrition interesting. Having more than enough of a good thing can have it’s side effects as well.

You need to top up regularly. It doesn’t really have to be 8 glasses of water per day. Consider that what your body needs will be different from what your friend’s physical makeup will require. Factors such as gender, age, the effort that you exert, even the clothes that you are wearing, as well as some environmental factors will influence how your body will need water. One interesting study conducted for a doctoral thesis at the Loughborough University defines some of these factors.

A good rule to consider is to drink at regular intervals. That means you will have to drink even when you are not thirsty. Remember, that thirst can also be an indicator of dehydration and that is the last thing that you will want to experience especially if you are in the middle of the road doing your regular training. You can also include fluids other than water such as soups, low-fat milk, soy beverages or unsweetened juices if you find it difficult sticking to just plain water.

Carbohydrates are a runner’s friend. Yes, you do need carbs. Munch complex carbohydrates that have a lower glycemic index. There is an assortment of carb diet that will surely work for you. You may want to try these grains: quinoa (higher in protein than any other grain), millet, kamut (makes good pasta), oats, brown rice, rye bread, and spelt (aka Dinkel).

Eat your protein. You’ll need protein every meal as this helps repair muscle tissues and to stabilize blood sugars. Nuts, seeds, and legumes will provide you with protein, fiber, and energy.

Consume fat that won’t make you fat. Omega 3 is where you’ll want to get this kind of fat. Get these from foods like fish, ground flax seed/flax oil, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and even walnuts. Having more of these healthy fats is good for arthritis, cholesterol, psoriasis (and other skin disorder), and immune response. Make sure that you limit your consumption of foods with saturated fats, however. Avoid food with trans fats completely (i.e. cakes, biscuits, doughnuts, cream-filled candies, microwave popcorn, and so on).

Chew up on fiber. Dietitians of Canada recommend 25 grams of fiber for women and 38 grams of fiber for men per day. If you are not yet used to this, make sure to include it in your diet slowly. Increase consumption gradually so that your body can adjust properly without bloating or cramping.

Eat to boost your immune system. You will need to stimulate your immune function as this will keep illnesses at bay. If you are in your best shape any time of the day, you can train better and your body will adjust properly sooner and without any constraints. Your diet should include foods that are rich in vitamins A, C and E like. Eat more dark green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, garlic, pomegranate, berries, orange, onions, red wine (in moderation), tea, citrus fruits, almonds, and turmeric.

These foods are known to have immune boosting properties. Remember that when you constantly engage in high-intensity activities, you use much oxygen every time. Consuming these foods will help protect your lungs. However, you will need to limit your consumption of refined wheat and sugar as they are said to weaken the immune system. Complete rest and proper hygiene are also things that you always need to provide for your body as these will help ensure that you will be up and about without any worries should you need to run in the heat.

Gels and chews may be yummy, but you don’t need to go crazy over them. If you are out for 2 hours or even more on the track to race or train, you will need gels as this help prevent fatigue and muscle tissue damage. It also helps replace electrolytes lost through sweat. Don’t overeat, however. Note that the number of gels that you need will depend on your body weight.

Take porion sizes. You need to be cautious of the portion sizes that you take. Remember you should not overeat or it will just defeat the purpose of the training or the race. You also need to make sure to keep your weight in check as this will help be more agile when on the field and make you healthier in the “long run”.

Consider recovery foods. Like the water that you need to drink at regular intervals, you will also need recovery foods at anticipated times. Timing is always crucial. Again, how much you will need will depend on factors already mentioned earlier.

You also need to remember that you have to be in top shape even before you run or engage in other endurance activities. Proper pacing is necessary as well so that you won’t have to catch your breath or feel exhausted when others are still having a great time in the field. You don’t have to measure up with others, but you have to be certain of what you can only extend.

Continue running and just have fun.

Molly vs Yoga

So I have really fallen for yoga.

I danced competitively as a kid, and gained a lot of flexibility through doing so. I loved the long lines my body could create. Stretching, whether in dance or later on through various sports, was oddly one of my favorite parts of practice. It actually feels good to me (<–this blows many minds) and I like to think of it as the calm before the storm (i.e. before a long run), or a relaxing way to end a hard workout session.

The reason I love yoga is that it incorporates stretching and strengthening through isometric holds, and it is a totally different type of workout; one that reminds me of dance. It’s a good way to mix up your normal workouts, especially if you tend to hone in on one type (i.e. me i.e. running)….

But something about the practice of yoga has bothered me since the beginning: the spiritual aspect. I am not Buddhist. And I know, you don’t have to be, to be a “yogi”, but I have found that many instructors throw in some sort of spiritual aspect to the class that leaves me a bit uncomfortable. I am still pretty new to yoga, and want to learn more, but this part of my journey with the exercise always makes me stop and think.

Now I know what you’re thinking: just ignore that part of the class. Get in the workout and don’t mind the Buddhist conversion 😉  However, I am a Christian, and I will only practice Christian principles, not any other religion.

 

I am the furthest from perfect and I don’t live out the Christian life 100% of the time. But I am 100% Christian. No room for other religions, sorry I’m not sorry!

I believe yoga makes me physically stronger and leaner, it makes me take a deep breath (literally) and remove myself from all the craziness that goes on with life. It gets me to focus on the now, and I find I am able to block out the millions of thoughts that run around in my head all day. I also think I’m kinda good at it, and hey, that helps 😉 … But I don’t believe it can end my suffering or reach nirvana or any of the sort… I believe you can only do things through Christ, not all by your own doing {Phil 4:13}

I use savansana (aka corpse pose, done at the end of the class) as a lil prayer sesh, instead of leaving my mind completely blank and open and vulnerable… I focus my mind on what I want to chat about with the Big Man instead. It’s relaxing, quiet, and kind of a perfect setting for that!

Some may consider a yoga class their home or their church, but I refer to it simply as a studio; one that makes my muscles feel relaxed, strengthens to the core, and leaves me with a positive attitude. Now who doesn’t need more of that in their life?

I want to get better and stronger at yoga, and I want to share that with you, too! (Be prepared for posts of me twisting myself all weird) Just wanted you to be clear on where I stand with the practice.

Namaste, (no I’m kidding, I’m kidding, just Sincerely or something),

Molly

Best Damn Race 10k: Jacksonville

First race of the new year: check!

Best Damn Race puts on some really fun races. You can read about my 5k experience in Orlando here. There are different locations of the race in FL throughout the year, and this year they introduced Jacksonville to the race. I am a frequent visitor of Jax, as my father in law lives there, as well as my best friend from college. So when I read that BDR was putting on a race there, I told my friend we were signing up!

Even though we both loved working out in college, neither of us were too into running at that time, so this was going to be our first race together. The race began at 7am and it was 39 degrees out. Not 93. 39. This is very, very cold for these Florida natives 🙂

 

It’s so tough to un-bundle and get out of your warm car to stand in the freezing cold at the start line! It was still very dark out, but the buzzing of runners surrounding us got us hyped up for the 6.2 miles that lay ahead.

 

Matching Brooks Ravennas!

There is a Maxwell House coffee plant along the beginning of this route and MAN did that coffee smell good. The scent in the air made me feel warm and cozy even though I was so cold and my legs so stiff. Cold weather=stiff running limbs. Just me?

Gotta love free race photos, thanks BDR!

We stuck together for the first ~1.5 miles. We parted ways after the first bridge. From there, the course went all through downtown Jax and offered some really great views. Having pretty scenery to look at, particularly in a new-to-me location, helps keep me distracted from the pain of pushing through a race.

Photo courtesy of Lauren 🙂

And then came another (different) bridge. Completely took it out of me! I was exhausted from there on out, which I believe was just before mile 5 if I remember correctly… my brain gets foggy during a race, sometimes 🙂 I had to push myself pretty hard to keep a decent pace to the end.

I shaved 7 whole seconds off my 10k Turkey Trot time, just making out a personal best. WOOP!

I was hoping to finish a whole minute faster than my previous PR, but I am still really happy with how I did. I seem to run well in the cold, so as much as it stinks in the beginning, I’m so thankful for it by the end! PS my friend did A-MAZING; it was her first 10k and she kind of killed it. We have more races scheduled to run together coming up and I simply cannot wait.

 

Tell me….

At what temps do you run best?

If there was a strong smell of coffee in the air during a race would you: a. smile because coffee is heaven. b. stop running and go get you some. or c. need to poop

all I’m saying is I’m glad I completed c before the race start.

Halloween Halfathon Recap

This past weekend I ran the Halloween Halfathon in Fort de Soto, FL, making this my second half marathon and first time EVER having a time goal.

The Day Before

Saturday my goal was to do nothing. Goal achieved. I laid around all day, took a nap, held some Downward Dogs (those are my fave) and made sure to stay off my feet for the majority of the day. It’s probably the laziest I’ve been in years and I love-hated it.

For my pre-race dinner, I chose Jimmy Johns! I got the Turkey Tom on their whole wheat bread, with a huge pickle on the side. Carbs, sodium, greatness.

I made sure to drink a lot of water throughout the day, too.

I read through all my weekly training recaps for this race that I’ve posted on here, to remind myself that I did work really hard, kept up with my plan, and regardless of the following day’s results, I should be proud of myself.

Finished off my killer playlist…

 

Laid out my race outfit, so that morning-of could move along quicker (& also for a typical runner blog pic) …

 

I got about 7 hours of sleep that night, not too bad for me, and I wasn’t up all night stressing about the race (like I sometimes am!)- so this was good!

Race Morning

5:05am alarm. Brutal. Went straight to the kitch where I had a few sips of coffee and a blueberry mini-bagel with peanut butter. I’m not a fan of eating before running, but since I was about 2 hours out from running AND it was a long-distance race, I knew it was the smarter thing to do.

5:20 Hubs wakes up and gets ready in 10 minutes, so we are both out the door by 5:30!

We parked at Fort De Soto park about 20 minutes before the start… I am usually at races long before this, however getting there close to game-time, I wasn’t as stressed just standing around like usual. So it was kind of a good thing to get out of the car, walk up to the start line, and get ready to run in a short bit.

 

THE RACE

The early start (7:05) allowed for coolness and darkness. Both of which I love. I did a few training runs in the dark (no headphones!) and it definitely keeps you more alert. But things are quieter and calmer it seems … okay, maybe not true for a race, though 🙂

 

The race course started with a 5k loop, followed by a 10 mile out-n-back route.

I had my usual pep talk with myself about not starting out too fast and I am proud to say: I did not start out too fast.YAY! Then again, I didn’t wear my Garmin so I’m not sure of my pace, however people were passing me hardcore right and left, so I knew I was playing slowsky. Right on, Molly.

Got to see Ryan after 3.1 since the quick loop ended at the start/finish.

Just chasing ambulances.

I thought, okay not bad at all…. But now I’ve got 10 miles ahead! I’m bad about that. Running can definitely be a mental game, and I knew I needed to think of it one mile at a time, instead of x amount left to do.

Around mile 4.5, I thought one of the runners nearby looked a bit familiar… I caught up, and sure enough it was one of my Clinical Instructors from when I was in school. We hadn’t seen each other in a few years, so we did about a 20 second catch-up before both admitting we don’t talk when we run … we’re not those kind of runners, especially in a race. I casually asked what pace she was trying to maintain (I noticed earlier she kept looking at her watch) and she wanted to run a sub 1:59. SWEET. I let her go ahead of me a bit and I tried to keep her in sight for the whole race.

Running through a state park, you never know what you might run into… like multiple troops of Boy Scouts. It was still pretty early morning but there were plenty of kids out all cheering and wanting high-5s.

Mile 6.5ish I ate my Gu. But Molly, you never mentioned training with Gu. You are correct, friend. I did what no runner should do at a race. Try something for the first time. I had tried Gu before a short run during my training but hadn’t tried eating while running. I got it all over myself. End of story.

I hit up nearly every aid station and alternated between water and Gatorade. Supposedly there was Vaseline at each station, and I was interested to see how they were dispersing it, but I never saw any!

At the turnaround, with 5 miles left to truck, I could feel myself getting a little tired. For the first time during the race, I wanted to take a quick lil walking break. But I didn’t!

I could still see my friend and I worked on getting a little closer to her and the people around her.

Mile 10 I am able to catch up with her, and stay with her for a bit before running ahead around mile 11.

I finally start to pass a few people (up to this point I only got passed 🙂 ) However, I can tell I am losing form. I can just feel my upper body slouching a bit and my legs aren’t lifting up as much. Hang in there, Molly.

I notice whenever I look down at the ground I feel a tad nauseous (oh hey Gu) so I keep telling my self to keep my head up.

We pass through the troops again, I consider joining.

Definitely losing form, definitely want to lay down in the grass. All I want is to stop and catch my breath and recover, but I just know that crazy sub-2 is doable and I am so close!

A guy that was running with my friend comes beside me and says good pace good pace, we’re almost there, before passing me by to the finish.

 

I see Ryan cheering and waving me on, I know I must be cutting it close for this dang sub-2.

 

 

I round a corner, Ryan runs to the finish line stop, I can barely make out the time clock but I know it starts with 1:58:xx so I know for sure I will hit my goal.

 

Is that not the ugliest face of exhaustion you’ve ever seen.

I am smiling, fighting back some tears, I can hear Ryan cheering, I can hear them call out my name as I cross the line, I grab my medal and find a nice patch of grass to basically pass out on.

 

 

I did it. Unofficial chip time: 1:58:25.

Post-Race

I know reading that recap makes you want to sign up for one asap, right?!! 😉 While it was so exhausting, especially those last 3 or 4 miles, it was so worth it. I gave my ALL throughout the race, and I know I couldn’t have finished one second faster if I tried. I am incredibly happy that what I thought was awfully slow training, ended up getting me to my goal. After I published my last post, something switched in my noggin’ and I thought you know if you stay positive and really push yourself, you may just get your goal.

Ryan was very happy for me, but probably happier I met my goal so he doesn’t have more of these 5am wake-up calls. 😉 As always, he did an excellent job taking photos and being a cheerleader (<– he’s going to kill me for writing that)

I am feeling really grateful for what my body allowed me to do, and that I worked hard toward achieving a physical goal. It didn’t come easy to me, I don’t believe I am a natural runner. So it feels good knowing I did something I didn’t think I could do.

A fine mixture of coke, chocolate milk, and beer. Tasty combo, if I do say so. Also, not sure why this picture is blue.

Weener weener chicken deener. Okay fine, just a winner in my book. And my mom’s. Thanks mom.

Next Days

Thankfully no knee pain! I am always worried about this, as my left knee has gone through 2 surgeries, and I really don’t want to irritate it (sometimes long distance running aggravates it). But nope! Just incredible soreness, which I sorta weirdly LOVE. Huge appetite going on, as if I am still logging miles. I have exercised exactly once since Sunday. I plan on running 4 or 5 miles at some point this weekend then after that…. We shall see! I want to run when I want and just for fun. For a little while at least… I’m sure the competitive bug will bite me soon enough. There are other aspects of my physical well-being that I want to focus on next, so I will see where that takes me!

Other Stuff I Want to Blab About

If you’re still reading, congrats, I owe you a coffee.

No Garmin… I am very happy I decided on this. During my training, I would glance at G, see a 9:30 pace or slower, get frustrated, and end up taking a walking break. Seriously. Childish, but yeah. When running gets frustrating, I have to re-evaluate some things.

Almost no race…Did you know I almost wussed out of this race?! I will be in Ohio this weekend and found a half mare 15 mins from where I am staying and I really considered running that one instead. My rationale: my last half I ran in 40 degree weather and it felt awesome. Here=HOT and slow. So I figured I would just run better in the one in Ohio. But I decided to stick out the one I already signed up for, and I am really glad I did.

Wearing new pants…along with giving Gu a go, I wore running tights that I had never worn before! 0 for 2! They were really comfy, however, and provided 2 pockets on either leg.. one for my iPod, the other for my Gu.

Following a plan…Having structure was key for me this go-around. Especially since I had a time goal I wanted to meet, it kept me focused on following a guide to get there. Not just winging it, which is my norm. There are plenty of plans out there for all different distances, so if you’re interested, just google away. I used Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon Novice 1.

Mindset…the mental game is a big part of running. Not only do you need to keep from psyching yourself out when it comes to numbers (pace per mile, how many miles to go, etc) but also I found you need to have the right mindset. The right attitude. I wish I could say I only think happy thoughts while running, but that’s not always true. I allow myself to become negative sometimes and I see how this directly affects my running. I think being aware of that helps, and re-focusing your mind towards something positive can really turn a run around. I struggled a lot with this during my training, but am happy to report that only positive thoughts were thunk during the race 😉 Except towards the end when I wanted to pass out and lay wherever for the rest of my life.

Tell me…

Why in the world is your “official time” the gun time … you would think that your individual chip time would be considered more accurate, therefore “official”. Am I right or am I right?

Do you have pep talks with yourself? Please say yes and make me feel half normal.

HOT Run 10k Recap

Like I mentioned in my training log this past week, I signed up last-minute for a 10k race that was held on a Thursday night. The Hot 101.5 radio station was in charge of putting on the race. I don’t think it went as smooth as it could have, but I still had a good time and got a run in 🙂

My dad met me there about an hour before the race start. I registered {this was my first time registering AT a race… I’m usually a planner with these things and sign up online WAY before the race} pinned my bib and got ready to run!

 

I am not an evening runner because I like running on an empty stomach, so I was hoping the light meals I ate that day wouldn’t give me any tummy troubles.

The race got started a little late, but we were able to watch the sun set, as this race was right near the beach! {not on the beach, thank goodness… we know how I feel about those 🙂 }

 

I wore my Garmin, and my goal was to stay within my half marathon goal-pace. Once the gun went off, I did my thing and started off too fast. I might as well stop including that in my race recaps, because it’s a given by now. Grr!

 

Soon enough, I slowed down and tried to maintain a pace below 9:30min/mile. If I want to reach my sub-2 goal for this upcoming half, I need a faster pace than 9:30, however my training has been a little rough. My goal was to maintain a pace, not fluctuate too much, and run my best.

The course was 4 big loops; the 5k-ers only completed 2 of the loops, while our poor souls watched them finish and kept running. It was pretty dark where we ran, so that made me nervous at times- didn’t want to lose my footing and get hurt.

A big plus was being able to see my dad at each loop! My photographers are the best. Their cheering skills aren’t too bad either 😉

I was not impressed with my time {4 mins slower than my 10k PR, whoops} but I at least maintained a doable pace, and felt like I had energy remaining at the end. A cool medal and cold beer, and we called it a night!

 

My Playlist (because the playlist is the most important part):

  • Flaws > Bastille
  • Move To The Ocean > Brick + Mortar
  • Glory and Glore > Lorde
  • Timber (feat Ke$ha) > Pitbull
  • The Fear > Lily Allen
  • You’re Not Alone > Marie Miller
  • A Light That Never Comes > Linkin Park
  • Titanium > Madilyn Bailey
  • DLZ > TV on the Radio
  • Wanna Get Hype > District 78
  • Swing Life Away > Rise Against
  • How It’s Done > District 78
  • Hurricane > Needtobreathe
  • Black Widow > Iggy Azalea

That Half Itch

Hey Molly, remember that time you achieved a life goal and trained for a half marathon even though you never thought you could do such a thing and before you knew it you were running it and before you knew it you had done it and when you crossed the finish line your eyes filled with tears because you were so incredibly happy and thankful but then you couldn’t move your bod properly for a solid 48 hours, cursing all encounters with stairs, and you swore to yourself and others that yeah I’ll just stick to smaller distances and never run a half ever again?

Hi, I’m Molly Rose and I tell lies and I’m running another half.

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

Here’s why:

I had no hardcore goals going in to my first half marathon. All I knew was that I wanted to FINISH. That in itself would be a huge accomplishment for me. My guesstimated finish time was around 2:10ish, allowing for 10 min miles which I figured I could maintain for a distance like that. However, I think all us humans have dream goals… ones that we are not sure we can accomplish and if we don’t that’s okay, but man if we DO achieve that, wouldn’t that be something…

My dream goal was to run sub-2 hours. Here’s the thing, I didn’t train for sub-2 so I didn’t expect to run sub-2. It’s just one of those things in the back of your mind that floats there like hey wouldn’t that be cool if.

But seriously this was my time: 2:00:3220140121_165654

Knowing that I was this close to getting my dream goal has been killing me softly since January 19, 2013. So yeah … I’ve got the itch to chase my goal-time and I’ve picked this coming October to go for it!

What I’m doing different:

I will be using an actual training guide. Sounds like a crazy idea to me, but the whole wing-it thing I tend to do with my plans doesn’t always end with success 😉 I am trying not to get toooo excited about a PR and sub-2 and whatnot, but right now I need something to shoot for, something to put my mind to, something to train for. And I love running so here I am! I realize even with a training program I may not reach my goal. And that is okay. For me it’s about discipline and giving all you got… actually working for a goal, not just hoping it happens by chance.

I have decided to use Hal Higdon’s Half Marathon training program. I’m pretty excited about it, and I get started in August, eeee!

halhigdontraininghalfI’m curious to see if I will actually follow this thing through to the end (in addition to my wing-it problem, I also have a finishing-a-project problem). But I hope I do and I will keep you updated! I plan to post my training at the end of weeks 4, 8, and 12, so let’s see how I do!

Tell me…

Did you use a training guide when you train for a race? Do you make up your own or follow someone else’s?

Share a current dream goal of yours… doesn’t have to be fitness related!

The Claw 5 Mile

So let me tell you something about trail races…. they humble you.

Over the past year I have really improved my times and this naturally makes me very happy. When running already makes me happy and then I see I am getting better at it … “happy happy happy”. 🙂

Trails are a lil different, however. I found at the last one I did (my first) that I liked the “being out in nature” aspect more than anything. The races are pretty small and you’re surrounded by others who are navigating crazy trails (squeezed) alongside you and it’s just a lot of fun.

But they are HARD. The challenging terrain makes it more B-A than a road race, in my opinion. I find my heart race scales much quicker than when I’m out on the road, and I feel it’s an overall better workout. But… I am a heck of a lot slower. I realized I can’t have a goal time in mind because you never know what obstacle you might find along the race …

Which brings me to the Xterra Claw 5 miler that I did in Lithia, FL.

Claw final

I signed up after falling in love at the Trout Creek trail race, and ran 6 miles a few days prior to make sure the endurance was there. (I’m telling you…after my half marathon, my mileage stays content around 3)

I convinced my SIL to sign up as well so we could both be crazy and enjoy the activity we love. Race morning, I had no anxiety or fears. Just ready to tackle another race and I was ready to own it! I felt like I was in enough shape to run really well (for me).

My race photographer -hubadubs- drove us to the state park after a minor detour because who doesn’t want to explore Lithia a little (aka we got lost) and SIL and I headed up to the start line.

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This course was the coolest and craziest. I clearly need to explore Florida more because I get so settled in the fact that all we have are beaches and flatness and wahh wahh how nice it would be for different scenery ….

We ran through grass as tall as my head, waded through two streams (the second one the water was up to our chest!), bobbed and weaved over and under branches, criss-crossed through tall skinny trees (where a coolness welcomed us! It exists in FL!), and politely helped each other up steep inclines (I had to use trees to pull me up out of some tough times).

The kind blonde lady was telling me to “run” to the right side where it’s not as deep and muddy… nuts! (Pic taken from actual race photog- pics were free, bonus!) 

Molly's Trail Race #4I asked the photog if it at least LOOKED like I was running. He said no.

Humbling moments: my heart rate was insane and reminded me I can always get in better shape, I took multiple walking breaks (a sin to me at road races), I threw down a Gatorade cup in frustration at a water stop when there was like a 5 year old picking up after everyone (a low moment), too many people passed me towards the end, and I totally blew up my ankle about 100 ft from the finish line. Go Molly!

Thankfully, I was still smiling as I crossed the finish line. It may not have been my “best race” but it was an experience like no other. And I had my husband there being the #1 supporter/fan that he is to document it all 🙂

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After 2 pastries (I seriously hate pastries but it sounded really good at the time?) and incorrectly guessing the largest fresh water lake in America with the SIL (we were hoping to win a prize), we headed home to RICE (rest-ice-compress-elevate!)

20140427_093801Me and my matching-shoes-SIL post-adventure through the woods. She did awesome!!

I thought this race was a lot of fun and well organized. I will say, they changed the start time a few days prior, and this caused confusion for a lot of people. Other than that no complaints … trails are where it’s at if you want to challenge yourself in the running department 🙂

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Exploring the woods: yay or nay?

Do you abuse parentheses? Because I noticed I do this a lot (and I don’t care!)

Trout Creek Trail Race

signed up for the Trout Creek Trail Race 5k completely blind. I had no idea what to expect from a trail run (I’ve hardly done any running on trails in the past), I knew my time would be slower but wasn’t sure by how much, I couldn’t tell you what “single track” and “double track” meant (this was mentioned on the race website), and I wondered if I’d break a leg (literally) tripping over a root. But hey, I wanted to run this race.

Some factors that made this race different for me:

1. I have never done a trail race before. Like mentioned above, this was totally new to me, and I was anxious to get my feet wet (perhaps literally?) into a new form of running.

2. No Garmin, no goals, no problem. I wanted to have fun. I didn’t want to know my pace and I didn’t want to set a time goal for myself. I wanted to pay attention to the path in front of me and the nature surrounding me.

3. I didn’t listen to music. No iPod folks, I’m just getting crazy over here! I wanted to focus in on my surroundings and enjoy my first trail run without rappers yelling at me through me earphones. Plus, if someone yelled “snake ahead” I’d like to be aware. Snakes, along with any animal you might find in the woods, terrify me.

4. This was my first back-to-back 5k. I ran a 5k road race the day before and I was silly enough to sign up for one the day after. What can I say? I’m addicted to the endorphins and it’s my me time.

So let’s chat about the race. The Trout Creek run is a part of the Xterra series. Trail races are not too common in my area (at least from what I can find) and when I saw a local race come up, I thought why not give this a go? Trail running is a lot different than road running, but the benefits of: less impact to your joints + being out in nature and away from the crowded streets appealed to me.

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I picked up my race packet a few days prior at a running store. When I walked in, I found a booth where all I saw were glow sticks and really loud girls. This can’t be it. I asked someone who worked there where the trail run booth was… she lead me to the side of the store where a man looking like he just stepped out of the woods welcomed me. I was handed bib #15 and knew this was going to be a small, but really fun, race 🙂

My husband and I headed out to the trail a little before 8, to get there in time for the 8:30am start time. There were a bunch of people at the top of a hill looking down, and I thought ohhh man… a hill is involved. Sure enough, the start of the race was running up a grassy hill before taking off down a path!

 

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There was both a 5k and 15k (I did the 5k), and they split at the top of the hill. I thought it was a really fun way to start a race and it wasn’t the mass chaos you would think it’d be.

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The handheld water bottle strikes again! And check out that guys’ calves!

After climbing up the hill, I took off at a pretty fast speed to get towards the front (remember, I didn’t have G so I wasn’t aware of my pace the entire time). Well…I was out of breath after about 5 mins of running. I think starting out by bolting up a hill then keeping a faster pace just about did me in!I stayed close with one lady and we ended up running the whole thing together, switching who was in front/behind thanks to the narrow trails (<– that’s a single track!).

Once we hit the woods, I was in heaven. I slowed my pace a tad so my lungs wouldn’t burst, and for the most part I was able to enjoy my scenery. There’s something about being surrounded by trees, and not stomping on concrete that makes me feel peaceful. I loved hearing the leaves crunch beneath my feet, not being able to see a road, winding around narrow trails wondering which way they were going to curve next. It was an adventure!

I will say, I rolled over both of my ankles at different points along the trail. I’ve injured both of them pretty bad in the past, and I swear they’re like invincible now. I’ve strengthened those bad boys up! Both “rolls” my runner friend asked if I was okay…to which I replied, yup! They can take anything! 🙂 Hey, at least I didn’t fall (I lied earlier…I did have a goal to not fall)

My dad surprised me and showed up to the race! He found a spot on the trail that the runners would be passing through and snapped some pics:

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IMG_0197Think I look a wee tired!?

That was so motivating and pushed me to continue running harder. I was so tired with probably just less than a mile to go. I felt like I had run much more than 3.1! One guy and one girl (I don’t like you) passed us towards the end, but I felt like I had given it my all.

It was a straight shot to the finish line and I heard Ryan yell “Go Molly!” I knew I had a guy right behind me and I didn’t want to let anyone else pass me, so I pushed hard to the end.

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I did it! First trail race and I LOVED it. Everything was sore the next day, but nothing hurt. Being on softer surfaces was much kinder to my knees. My time was much slower than my past couple 5k’s, but I expected it to be, and I honestly didn’t mind. I got something else out of the trails that made me just as happy as a PR would do 🙂

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What do you do for your “me time?”
Have you ever run a trail race?

30 Day Squat Challenge

So, you know how you spend hours at night in bed pinteresting? Scroll, like, scroll, laugh-out-loud-but-don’t-repin-because-too-inappropriate, scroll, repin, scroll, create-new-board-just-for-this-pin. Just me? OK.

Well I’m guilty of pinning to make me look like a good cook, a fashionista, a hardcore exerciser. I must say I’ve made some great recipes from Pinterest, and I’ve even made a PROJECT thanks to the crafty site.(shocker if you know me at all) But I rarely go to my “Endorphins” board and dothe workouts they offer.

I decided to discipline myself and do THIS  30 Day Squat Challenge found from PopSugar Fitness. I’ve seen a couple different versions of squat challenges, sit-up challenges, 30 day challenges, etc. but since I happen to love squats, I figured this would be the one for me.

I started August 20th and just finished today! I knew this wasn’t going to be a body-changing experience or that my butt would come out looking like a Kardashian, but I liked the fact that it would give me something to do every day. Even if it’s mostly a “rest day”, knowing that I did x amount of squats made me feel a little more accomplished.

In summary, this challenge includes 5 different kinds of squats, and it has you do a certain amount of each variety, a certain amount of times per day. I liked this particular one, because it wasn’t just a basic squat. It mixed it up with different styles of squats, which kept it a bit more interesting. On the last day, you do 200 squats.

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What’s funny is you smile JUST like this while doing each squat. I’m lying.

There are set rest days every 3 days, which was nice considering I would do something like 135, 75, 140 squats on consecutive days. A booty’s gotta rest!

Doing so many squats also encouraged me to stretch more. Stretching is honestly one of my favorite things to do that I ignore too often. I stretched at work, on my yoga mat, and with use of my foam roller.

I typically split up the sets throughout the day (which probably defeats the purpose but whatever). I’d try to do one set first thing in the morning, one during lunch break (or with a capable patient!) and the remaining sets at home at night. I liked splitting it up, and I think this kept me from being too sore the next day.

I am proud I stuck with this challenge, but I probably won’t be doing a squat for a very long time (I give it a month).

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Spin Bike

We’ve added a new addition to our humble abode:

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At our old apartment (our first “home” when we first got married) we actually purchased a bike trainer … this is a device that attaches to the back wheel of a normal bike and its basically the poor man’s version of a spin bike. This thing made SO much noise and I just didn’t enjoy it.

Since we are not members of a gym with fitness classes I have been without spin classes since 2011. This hurts.

I first discovered “spin class” during my sophomore year of college. Me and a friend would go to the 7a.m. class 2-3x/week. We were so hardcore! I continued attending these classes throughout the summers I stayed up there, and the normal school year as well. I love the feeling of getting a good sweat on and this workout guarantees it. I. Loved. It.

When I graduated and made my way back to Tampa, I joined an LA Fitness that had some really great spin instructors.  However, once we moved we decided to save dollars and not join a gym, when we had access to one in our complex. I have since been without, and have been convincing my hubby that we NEED to purchase one, so I can play at home!

We stopped at a Sports Authority one evening, because that’s sorta what we do for romantic date nights ;) and roamed around aimlessly (we’re good at that). As I was looking among the spin bikes, I saw one ON SALE. In Ryan’s world this means get it. We were joking about purchasing it and then next thing we knew we were hauling the darn thing back home.

This was a 3 hour romantic date night and probably one of the best. We were laughing at ourselves as we hauled it up to our place, took all the parts out of the box and we Ryan went to work putting together my latest toy.

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This is the bike we purchased.

We don’t have a very big place, so the bike was going to end up in the dining room. For all to see. I am okay with this, as I am not a neat freak like some people every girl on the planet seems to be ;)

The bike has been put in different areas & angles in our dining room, so it gets juuuust the right angle of the TV, air vent, and reachability for the candy drawer. Just call me Sheldon Cooper.  I’m a big re-arranger so let’s see how long it stays put now.

When we made this purchase, I made a promise to mount the thing at least 1 hour a week (total) to justify having it in the first place. We’ve had it approximately 5ish months now and I am happy to report I’ve kept to my promise about 85%. =) Hey, at least I am not using it to hang my clothes on.

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^Checking out how I feel on it. (felt great, but feet were bleeding ;)

Ryan adjusted it so it fits me perfectly (seat height and how far forward the seat is) and even bought a new pair of biking shorts. For anyone who has not taken a spin class before, be prepared to have a bruised booty for a few days if you’re not prepared for the proper shorts! It makes a world of difference.

So what do I do on the bike? There are times I just get on and go, without a real set workout in mind, but that rarely happens, and those seem to be the shortest workouts. I usually set a time goal before mounting that I’d like to meet. Whether it’s how much time do I have before I need to get ready for work or how long will dinner be in the oven or how long is my current TV guilty pleasure on for? Once I pick my time, then I pick my intensity.

I usually choose between 20-60 minutes to ride. When it’s 20-30 mins I typically turn on Pandora on our iPad and ride fast with less resistance. When I choose to ride 30-60 mins, I typically watch a show using the iPad. During commercial breaks (I have found these range in time from 30 sec to 2 mins) I will increase the resistance, then let it lighten up & spin fast during the actual show.

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And then there are times that I pedal against a really difficult resistance for as long as possible, then flush out my legs by riding with no resistance, repeat =)

Do you currently, or have you ever, taken a spin class?

Which do you prefer: riding a bike outdoors, or inside with some A.C.


for me its 50/50! I love being outside and getting fresh air, but it’s also nice to be in some A.C. and watch TV! ;)