IT’S TAPER TIME!!

…..yes, yes it is!  My long-runs are done and now I can go back to focusing on Crossfit and not have to worry about tiring my legs for the long run.  Deep down, that is what I am thinking but I know that this is the time where I need to be the most careful.  I have put in the effort, I have conquered the 20 21 miler and now it is the time where I need to give my body the proper care that it needs and the chance to recover so that come July 26th, I am ready to race strong..and smart!

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Someone please pinch me!  I am still on cloud nine… I just can’t believe I did this and I can’t believe how enjoyable it was.  I ran the first 12 miles alone on the roads and at mile 12, I entered a reservoir to do the final 8 with my mom and a member of my running team.  My running partner was just starting her run  so she was ready to get moving..and by ready to get moving, I mean she certainly set a strong pace.  There were moments where I wasn’t sure I would be able to hold the pace but I did!

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..pretty much!

She was such a great running partner and it was so nice to have someone to distract me from the miles.  Once I start running with someone, my ear buds get tucked away into my bra and I no longer can hear my lovely Nike App girl telling me my miles and my splits.  It is definitely a nice to break away from concentrating on the miles but eventually I get curious.  A couple of times I asked my mom and my running buddy what mile they were on and then calculated what mine would then be.  I must make myself look real good when I ask what mile I am on in the midst of one of the most important training runs 😉  We finished the run at my running partner’s car a little past 2o miles.  I was going to have her drive me home but I knew I had a little more left in the tank and being so close to home, I decided to finish this awesome run strong and ran home! I actually arrived at my driveway at mile 20.87. No way was I going to end there! I turned around, ran the end of my street and back just so I could hear that Nike lady say those two beautiful numbers..2-1 miles!!! She has never sounded so beautiful 😉

I had a solid 45 minutes to relax and get my stomach back to feeling OK before heading to a day full of 4th of July parties.  I tried to hydrate as much as possible prior to leaving so I wouldn’t feel dehydrated and nauseous later.  Lets just say, BBQ food, chips and lots of sitting and talking is NOT proper race recovery.  By the end of the night, my legs were screaming in pain and everything felt swollen.  I even experienced some mid-conversation hip flexor cramps…nothing like gasping for air and grabbing your hip while someone is telling some important story…

I felt a little better on Sunday morning but my right knee was in a bit of pain.  I learned from an injury last year that knee pain is often a result of tight hips, hamstrings, or quads which then tugs on the knee.  Yoga was definitely in my Sunday morning game plan along with this bowl of blended berries.

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There is nothing I needed more after a 21 miler followed by lots of 4th of July junk food than a good stretch at yoga and detoxifying fruit bowl.

During yoga, it was clear that my right knee pain was due to an extremely tight right hip.  Any position that stretched the hip flexors is where I experienced the most pain but thankfully those were the positions that loosened them up and I walked out of Yoga with a much better feeling in my knee.

Lets talk food because since being on summer vacation, I have had time to whip up some pretty delicious dinners around here..but clearly still not enough time to post more blog posts! oops.

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If you are craving pasta but do not want all the gluten or carbs…this is definitely the way to go.  I think it even tastes better than pasta!  1 serving is 1/4 of the fairly large batch and has 20 grams of carbs and 25 grams of proteins.  We are also a fan of the Black bean pasta.  We made a homemade tomato sauce with onions, mushroom and basil with some shrimp.

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It made another appearance later in the week with chicken and brussels sprouts.  This time no sauce, just sprinkled swiss cheese and nutritional yeast.  I am telling you, this pasta is the way to go.  It is so delicious just plain or you can jazz it up with various marinara sauces or avocado sauces.

Last Wednesday I came home from a farm stand with LOTS of Parsley and the last time I did that, it sat in my fridge and rotted.  This time around I knew I had to use it ASAP so the first thing that came to mind was GUACAMOLE.  I used Running on Veggies guacamole recipe that uses a cup of mashed peas.  It is perfect.  You double the volume with less that fat and more vegetables and you can’t even taste the peas.

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Guacamole is not a main course, though it should be!…so I decided to pair the guacamole with some homemade Fajitas using crockpot shredded chicken.

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Easiest meal right here!  Just chicken, salsa, bone broth, carrots, onions and parsley..set the crockpot for a few hours and boom..delicious shredded chicken.

I am currently finishing up this blog post with a nice coffee in my hand overlooking Cayuga Lake in Ithaca.  It is not time to fish a bit and then hit some wineries.  I planned on getting in a nice run around the lake today but my legs are recovering from yesterday morning’s Crossfit WOD…

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This was definitely one of those workouts where you are just fighting to hang on.  The humidity certainly didn’t help..I think I am still trying to catch my breath 24 hours later.  Despite the pain and exhaustion, after 26 minutes of work, I made the Crossfit Board for fastest time!  My 12 mile run around Ithaca will be postponed until tomorrow so I can tackle the hills with rested legs 🙂

Impressive Omelettes and an Inspiring New Book

It’s amazing how a long weekend can be so relaxing AND cause the following week to fly by. Mondays need to be a holiday more often…

I never ended up posting this epic crock pot creation from Monday night so before I forget, here it is…

imageFirst time ever cooking with plantains and after this meal, it certainly won’t be my last.  Though this Indian inspired Paleo dinner was delicious, I think it would be better if it was cooked stove top rather than in the crock pot.  I placed a layer of onions on the bottom, then 3 chicken breasts, poured the sauce (mixture of 1/2 cup coconut milk, curry powder, garlic, ground ginger and cumin) over the chicken and then topped with 2 sliced plantains.  The coconut milk and curry mixture tasted amazing before going into the crock pot so I have a feeling the moisture from the slow cooker caused the sauce to lose some flavor.  I will try it stove top and report back because this has potential to be a phenomenal dinner.

I am happy to report that I was able to get through a 6 mile speed workout yesterday, but I am not happy to report what I did to motivate myself for this run. Despite my new and wonderful treadmill that my awesome parents gave to me me for my birthday….I paid to go to my old gym just because I needed some extra motivation to get the speed work done. I needed that gym vibe to tackle this workout…don’t worry mom, I won’t do it again! However, it did allow me to add in some box jumps and rows after my run so we can pretend I went to the gym for the rowing machine 😉

I am also happy to report that my morning omelette have been getting pretty darn impressive.  I may only use 3 egg whites and 1 egg but after the variety of veggies I throw in, it can get pretty big…

imageI don’t know if I’m being creative or it’s just too early to think about the flavor combinations…regardless, it was delicious.  Here we have some mushrooms, onions, celery, butternut squash and baked plantains

I will wrap this post up with a couple of pages from the new book I am reading.  The book is called Power Speed Endurance by Brian Mackenzie and Glen Cordova.  This book immediately had me hooked when it started off about a runner that used to think the only way to improve his marathon time was by logging more miles…well with many injuries later, he tried a different approach to training and found significant improvement.  His change of training was in the direction of Crossfit 🙂

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Essentially, Crossfit builds athletes to not only be strong but to be powerful, agile, coordinated, fast and flexible.  I can truly say the combination of all these physical skills has greatly improved my running and has allowed to me improve my times without spending hours running and feeling the need to log high mileage. With the ability to mix up my training and do a variety of things whether it be crossfit, yoga or hitting the road for a nice run, I am never bored with my training. I can honestly say I am usually always excited to get my workouts in.  This excitement is key to making the best out of each minute of training.

Another Snow Day and Some Paleo Creations

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This is normally the case but not today.  We had another Snow Day.  Now that I am all caught up with my work, this snow day was not as exciting.  A snow day every once in a while is great but back to back starts to become annoying.  Especially when there wasn’t really any snow…

The good news is, I was able to get my pre paleo challenge benchmark WOD done at 7am rather than 5:30pm when the box is packed.  I am already excited to do it again in 6 weeks after the challenge is complete to see some growth…hopefully!

Another benefit to this snow day was a morning full of baking paleo creations!  The key to eating healthy and clean without feeling deprived or insane is creating meals and snacks that are just as tasty and delicious without all the unnecessary crap.  It may take some extra time and money to get the ingredients but the way your body reacts when it is fueled with quality food is well worth it.   I give myself a cheat meal every week to reward myself but sometimes it just reminds me why I don’t eat like that on a regular basis.  After eating out, I always feel bloated, and sometimes shakey and hot from the sugar and carbs.

Lets get back to these paleo creations I was talking about because they are way too great to not show.  But first, let me just address some business I had to take care of last night before the paleo challenge began…

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Yup, it was necessary to get rid of all non-paleo temptations.  So after I polished off the Ezekiel bread with a chicken sandwich with sautéed onion and mushroom, I had to move on to finishing off the last of my arctic zero.

Now onto the things that replace these processed foods.  After this morning’s WOD, I had to get some food in me before I started the baking marathon.  I opted for a nice little stack of banana pancakes with some pure maple syrup. (Blended 1 banana, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp coconut flour, cinnamon and a pinch of baking soda)

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Next was some homemade Paleo Ketchup because if you know me, you KNOW that I can’t go without ketchup.  I found a pretty simple recipe that just called for tomato paste, water, apple cider vinegar, mustard powder, pepper, Himalayan pink salt, cinnamon, ground cloves and a splash of maple syrup.

Now let’s get to the fun stuff… Paleo Chocolate Chip Coconut Cookies made with almond flour, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla bean extract, paleo chocolate chips, cacao nibs, and unsweetened coconut flakes.   Can’t wait to try one after dinner, the smell is killer!

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Speaking of dinner…

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Yup.  No words necessary.  

And the best part of all…it took about 5 minutes to prep.  2/3 cup of low sodium chicken broth, a layer of chopped sweet onion, 3 chicken breasts, chopped apple, a variety of spices and a drizzle of honey.

It is safe to say that the paled challenge is off to a great start!  I am excited to take part in this challenge for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I don’t know how to turn down a challege..ha ha.

Second, I still have some thoughts lingering from my “want to be super lean” stage where I obsessed about food and the amount of sugar and carbs.  I used to think an apple was a bad snack because it had sugar and carbs.  I was obsessed with eating every 2-3 hours because I thought that was what I HAD to do to gain muscle.  I have come a long way from that part of my life and that mindset.  Thankfully. First and foremost, I don’t obsess.  Food is not something that should be a stressor. Second, I eat when I am hungry, not based on a time and I feed that hunger with foods that are wholesome and nutrient dense.  However, every once in a while I have those little moments where I over think about the carbs or suagr content in something as healthy as a banana or oatmeal.  This paleo challenge is helping me rid all those thoughts.  With many foods now eliminated, I can’t opt for those low-calorie choices simply because they are low-calorie.  I HAVE to opt for fruit, nuts, avocados, meats, honey..I can’t over analyze the carbs, fats, and sugar.  That being said, it is certainly important to be aware and mindful…MODERATION IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT.  

Well I apologize if all the food pictures and the little personal rant was not very exciting.  Maybe this will help you crack a smile!

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….or maybe I just found it funny because I am 100% guilty of this!

A Few Paleo Trial Runs

Happy Friday!  I thought this day would never come!

…and it almost was almost my last.  I don’t think the schools in the area expected the snow to come down as hard as it did because there were few delays despite the terrible conditions.  My little Honda Civic (yup, I still have that little thing because my new CRV had to be ordered..grrrr.) was sliding all over the road.  I have never been more relieved to get to school.

Before I embraced the snowy conditions, I did a Paleo breakfast trial run.  I start Monday so I wanted to prepare myself for new breakfast options and how long prep will take.  Majority of paleo the breakfast recipes that I see floating around Instagram and Paleo Cookbooks are vegetable omelette, frittata, avocado egg cups, and BACON….all of which are delicious, but I am more of sweet breakfast person rather than savory. SO, I gave my paleo breakfast a sweet twist.

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This right here, was perfect.  Paleo. check. Easy. check. Sweet. check.  I microwaved a small sweet potato for a few minutes, cut it up and sautéed the chunks with some onions while I whisked 2 eggs and 2 egg whites.  Poured the egg whites over the sweet potatoes and onions, added some cinnamon, some coconut flakes, some goji berries and scrambled it all togehter.  It reminded me of a Thanksgivingish savory and sweet breakfast.

I guess you could say I also did a Paleo lunch trial run but really it is just a sign that we are really lacking in the grocery department…

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It was a simply a lazy mix of everything I could find in the fridge.  Chopped up romaine, tuna, avocado and Goji berries for some crunch.  I may not have a Paleo salad dressing recipe created yet, however, I WILL be working on a Homemade Ketchup. That is one condiment, I CAN’T go without.  With some #paleoketchup searches on Instagram and a few google searches, I have found a solid selection of recipes that sound good and the process does not sound like an overwhelming science experiment.  I am all about quick, simple and delicious.  Especially when you go through ketchup as fast as I do.

It may have been a snowy ‘White Out’ over here but ProCompression was not on the same page.

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They are all about the ‘Blackout’ which is fine by me because I could use a new pair of black compression socks and a 30% discount.

Since I have already mentioned my breakfast and lunch for the day, I guess I should just finish off with dinner because it was another wonderful Crock pot creation.  Curry chicken with a side of Garlic Cauliflower Mash (recipe from nomnompaleo.com).  I just can’t seem to get enough of Indian food and Indian inspired meals these days.

Hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Friday! Time to relax and catch up on T.V and sleep! 🙂

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Oh Man.  This vacation was wonderful.. fast… but wonderful.

But just like the title says, all great things must come to an end.

I think I also said that line after we polished off our wonderful plate(s) of Indian and then again after my final spoonful of froyo last night…what can I say, it is a great phrase.

While I am on the Froyo topic, it was a sad day yesterday.  Our favorite Froyo place that we go to every Saturday night went out of business on Friday.  Another sad moment was when we found out that they were giving out free Froyo on Friday and we missed it.  Actually that is probably for the better.  Free froyo is code for a massive bowl and massive stomach ache.

And because I promise I don’t eat Froyo and Indian every day…I will move on to today’s post Power Yoga breakfast. Oatmeal cooked stove top with Maca powder and almond milk and topped with pumpkin seeds, frozen berries, goji berries and shredded coconut flakes.

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Power Yoga was rough today.  I just did not feel fluid, flexible and focused.  I am not sure if it was a result of all the overindulgence over vacation/holidays or because of the “Cindy” WOD yesterday.  A whopping 140 push ups, 70 pull-ups, and 210 squats will not make any activity the following day easy.

As for the overindulgence, the nightly glass of wine with dinner will come to an end as soon as vacation is over.  And that is not until tomorrow 😉 so tonight’s first crock pot chicken meal will certainly be accompanied by some Apothic Red.

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This is also much-needed after sitting at Barnes and Noble for 6 hours doing work that has been procrastinated over vacation.  And the Fajita Crockpot chicken was much-needed after two meals that looked like this…

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They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away. What about two apples?  Because this is pretty much what my day looked like (TWICE) since my oatmeal.

I need to elaborate more on this Fajita Crock pot Chicken because it was amazing, easy, AND the first time I used a crock pot.  It was a big day for me.  

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Before I left to conquer my pile of work, I quickly chopped up 1 yellow pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 red onion, cilantro and 3 gloves of garlic.  I poured 1 cup of Salsa in the crock pot (look at the labels on the salsas in your grocery story and find the one with the least amount of salt..I use Green Mountain), placed 3 chicken breasts on top of the salsa, added the veggies, and added a variety of fajita seasonings.  (Chili power, onion powder, cumin, turmeric, red pepper flakes, Himalayan pink salt, black pepper) Then you just cover, set the crock pot to Slow Cook on low for 6-8 hours and take on your day!

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Let me tell yah…it was fabulous not having to come home and cook dinner after a long day! Oh, and it was delicious. On top of a bed of brown rice..perfection.

As much as I love blogging, I want to embrace every last minute of this vacation so it is time to wrap this all up!  Have a great Sunday!

Christmas Craziness

Holy Moly.  I can’t believe my last post was Christmas Eve, 5 days ago!

I am pretty sure today was the first day I actually knew what day of the week it was since then.  The holidays were absolutely wonderful but man, I am excited to get back to a normal schedule.  I am still on Christmas break for another week so I guess MY schedule is not normal but I am OK with that.  I can feel routine simply by having other people’s schedule being back to normal.  SO, I thank all of you who are at work because it makes me feel routined 😉

My workouts may have been the only thing that remained normal this past week.  I think I depended on my crossfit WODS and my Hot Yoga sessions to keep me sane..and to work off those holiday indulgences…

Christmas morning looked a little something like this…

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The best thing about running is it is always Open, you don’t have to worry about those limited holiday hours.  My 6am Christmas morning run was especially open, the roads were dead….thank goodness because my outfit was ridiculous.  A winter hat to keep my hair dry from the sprinkling rain, a tank top because it was somewhat warm, and spandex pants.  Yup. I think I was sending a sign to Santa to bring me new workout clothes 😉

Despite the perfect running weather, the run was not all that great. It was the first time running after I decided to take a week off for my tibia tendon pain. It felt fine for the first couple of miles but that did not last long.  After mile 2, it went downhill fast. Mile 5 was a fight against my body and my emotions. It was one of those runs where you are fighting to hit your mile goal even though you know that it is not worth it. But of course, I can type the logical thing to do but in the heat of the moment I wanted the miles. So, although I completed 6 miles before Christmas brunch, I knew that it would be the last run for some time.

On a brighter note, Christmas brunch with my boyfriend’s family was absolutely wonderful.  Eggs, bacon, toast, and a delicious fruit platter.  After breakfast and presents we headed over to my parents house for more presents.

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Speaking of presents, check out this bad boy! A Ninja crock pot from my boyfriend’s parents.  We can’t wait to try this out! I have never really used one but have heard so many great things about them and have come across some really simple and delicious recipes using crock pots.  The idea of being able to start dinner in the morning and have it ready by the time I get home from Crossfit sounds pretty awesome.

How adorable is my mom!  She sewed my boyfriend a stocking that looks just like each of the family member’s stocking so he can “feel included”.

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After some family fun, we were in dire need for a Christmas afternoon, food-induced nap before we were back at it for another family dinner.

One of the many desserts consumed at dinner just happened to be the revealing of the sex of my boyfriend’s sister’s baby!

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IT IS A GIRL!..and a delicious cupcake.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were just filled with morning workouts/yoga, healthy meals throughout the day, lots of naps, and evening celebrations.  Last night I heard the line, “my waist is expanding like the national debt”…well said, ha ha.  I think many of us can relate to this…me included.

Although I am on vacation and allowed to sleep until late in the day, I decided to go to 7am Crossfit this morning.  I didn’t particularly enjoy waking up at 6:15 but I also did not want to have to wait to workout until the next class at 5:30 and it gives me the possibility to go for a walk or bike ride later in the day. YUP, a bike ride! The weather has been oddly warm, I was able to take my bike out for an afternoon ride on Friday!  One ride and my butt was sore..goes to show how biking activates so many different muscles.

However, that is NOT how this afternoon is being spent.  After a WOD that consisted of 100 overhead squats this morning and the realization that I haven’t taken a rest day since last Monday, I think it is time to rest up a bit.  No doubling up today.

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Just one workout and one delicious bowl of oatmeal for me today!

Oh and one large Americano of course….

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