To Grow You Must Struggle

“Strength and growth can come only from continuous effort and struggle.”

I came across this quote and could not agree with it more.  Struggling stinks and it hurts but it is the key to being a better version of your present self.  I usually think of struggle as those workouts that just take everything out of you and you need to fight extra hard to finish it out..and you’re usually throwing in curse words.  But right now, the struggle isn’t a workout, it is accepting the unknown future of Boston 2 Big Sur and placing my continuous effort elsewhere; the struggle is not having a plan; the struggle is mental.

 I spent the first half of January having the biggest pity party and being a grumpy persona and version of myself that I really don’t like..and I am sure those around me don’t particularly enjoy it either. That has finally changed –  I am embracing the lack of schedule and having fun with all the things I can do and all the strength I can gain from this setback. Spin class..sure why not!!! Swimming..sure this could be fun! I have freedom to try a bunch of new cross training activities in addition to crossfit (granted they don’t irritate the hip).

I am not a typical runner in the sense that I do so much more than run. My passion is spread out across Crossfit, running and yoga.  This can be exceptionally hard when marathon training and trying to balance everything but it is tremendously helpful when I have running setbacks or lulls.   When I am training for a marathon, I yearn to get back to Crossfit and lift heavy. I get so frustrated having to scale workouts so that my running isn’t affected.  I always say, “As soon as this marathon is done, I am focusing JUST on Crossfit and I am going to see how strong I can get!”…but then I finish a marathon and that marathon high has me leaping to my laptop and signing up for another.  And the cycle continues… begins, Crossfit is scaled and the words “after this marathon..” come out knowing darn well that my post marathon high will most likely prevail.  Well, here I am, for the time being I can only do crossfit and cross training so why not capitalize on this opportunity to finally focus on all my Crossfit weaknesses.  But of course, the psyche has a tendency to fixate on all the things the body can’t do.  You always want what you can’t have.  Well I am taking what I can have and running going with it. I’ve been getting in the pool and loving the random workouts I have been doing.  I have been embracing every Crossfit workout and giving it 110%.  I have improved my form on different movements.  I have come to peace with what may or may not happen in the Spring and just reminding myself that comebacks can be pretty darn sweet and almost worth the setback.

Let’s flashback to 2014.  

I focused more on counting macros, losing weight, body building, HIIT cardio workouts and did little running.  I sometimes like to pretend this stage of my life never happened but sometimes I am glad it did.  It serves as a constant reminder of  how you can be so blind to how out of control you are being.  So maybe my abs look pretty nice in this picture, my quality of life was the opposite  I stressed out about food, workouts and the reflection in the mirror.  Spending time out was less about the people around me and more about how my abs would look after.  ANYWAY…despite little running I managed a 1:29 half marathon at the Disney Princess Marathon. (Feb. 2014)

imageI got increasingly focused on running and decided that maybe I wanted to do a summer marathon.  I signed up for the 2014 San Francisco Marathon in July but did not get far into training before I was hit with a knee injury.  I pushed off going to the doctors which was not wise because I found out from PT that it was just a result of tight quads and within 2 visits I was able to hit the roads pain free….but had only 2 weeks until the marathon! haha..

San Fran Finish

At the expo I made a last minute decision to drop the half.  Part of me wanted to see what I was capable of but pushed my ego aside and realized that a first marathon is very special and I did not want it to be a crawl across the finish line.  It was the best decision because I had so much fun running those San Fran hills and was pretty darn sore after 13.1! Around this time, my boyfriend urged me to start crossfit so I embarked on my running and crossfit journey in the summer of 2014.  I had a phenomenal fall….I was loving crossfit and clocked some crazy half marathon times…and some nice checks! 1:26, 1:27 and 1:29 in a span of 45 days.

Hartford Half Marathon 1:26
Newburyport Half Marathon – 1:27
Monson Memorial Half Marathon – 1:29
I took a bit of a break from running due to a mild injury and spent the rest of 2014 and the start of 2015 focusing on Crossfit. My mom and I had the Disney Princess Challenge in February so I did my best to incorporate as much running as I could while treating my injury. It all worked out and I made it to Disney injury free and had such a fun Winter competing in my first Crossfit (in-house) Open.  The warmer weather and watching the Boston Marathon got me back on the running grind and I decided to try again with this whole marathon business.  I registered for the 2015 San Franciso marathon.  This time I walked into the expo with no doubts and a solid training base.


This Picture. This Day. This Race – THAT SMILE.  It was the best 26.2 I have ever run. I can honestly say that my first marathon was the best race of my life.  I have never felt more proud of myself. 2014 wasn’t my time and I am glad I didn’t force it.  I waited it out. Embraced the half marathon distance a little longer and came back when it was my time.

Maybe 2017 Boston 2 Big Sur isn’t my time. Maybe I have to wait it out.  But I can do big things in the meantime…and when it is my time…it will be fricken awesome.

So maybe I had an Instagram story of me in my MRI gown…whatever. Let’s not focus on that. Let’s focus on the fact that the last two Crossfit workouts that I did were repeats of previous workouts to see my growth and where I am at. On Thursday I did one from 2 months ago and today I did one from when I took part in the 2015 Crossfit Open (scaled). I crushed my previous time/reps in both.  Each time I get in the pool, I am swimming longer, doing more sprints and getting acclimated with the sport.  I am seeing growth but most importantly, I am having fun.  I can’t always say those words when I am marathon training.

On the food and health front….I am obsessed with 3 things at the moment.  Vital Proteins, Kombucha and Bonafide Bone Broth.

Every morning before 6am crossfit, I blend up a scoop of Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, a teaspoon of ghee, almond milk and coffee.


It is foamy, delicious and gives me the perfect amount of nutrients and fuel to hold me over.  After crossfit is mayhem – I am getting ready for work in 5 minutes and only have time to inhale a banana and some hard boiled eggs/egg whites.


If I do have time to actually have sold breakfast after crossfit…aka Saturday. I have been boiling up almond milk and blending it with cacao powder and Vital Proteins (I choose the collagen with Whey for post workout).  Tastes like hot chocolate and goes perfect with a rice cake with almond butter and chopped banana!

Kombucha….I actually love it and find it thirst quenching even though some will disagree entirely.  Last night I had a wild Friday night and stopped into Whole Foods.  It got even more wild when I passed a sample booth that had Kombucha…alcoholic Kombucha. He gave me two samples and then I got carded when I bought my two bottle…I told you it was wild night! ūüėČ  If you are not a fan of regular Kombucha, there is something extra delicious about the alcoholic ones and surprisingly the sugar is only 4g for the entire bottle so the better taste isn’t coming from added sugars.


Lastly, bone broth has been happening frequently around here.  It is another drink that is interesting and the taste may turn some people away but I like the savory component to it and will usually drink it with a vegetable stir fry to add some protein to my meal.  I also like to add turmeric and pepper for added benefits.  My favorite brand is Bonafide Bone Broth which can be found in the frozen section of Whole Foods.

Well that just about sums everything up! I am happy to be happy again and out of my little injury rut!…don’t forget…

“Often times it is the deepest pain which empowers you to grow into your highest self”


…..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!


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!


..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 ūüėȬ† 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 ūüėČ

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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 ūüôā

Summer Vacation is Finally Here…for a few hours

Tuesday at noon was my official start to summer! WooHooo!…but of course, Wednesday at 8am was my official start of a summer statistics class. ¬†It only meets 5 times over the course of the summer so I can’t complain…especially because 1.) I get bored so easily over the summer and 2.) I LOVE STATISTICS

image..and 3.) I love the juice bar at UMass and my brand new colorful pens and notebook ūüôā

Before I get into all this summer vacation talk and the things I have planned aside from number crunching, I have to start off by saying I AM ONLY ONE HARD TRAINING RUN AWAY FROM BEING MARATHON READY! ¬†I conquered the 18 miler last¬†Saturday…by myself! image I am not going to lie, I was freaking out Friday evening because I couldn’t recruit anyone to run that final few/6 miles with¬†me. ¬†I really/obsessively¬†questioned whether I could tackle the run by myself. ¬†My boyfriend mapped out a new route that was the perfect distance, 12 miles through surrounding neighborhoods and then the final 6 miles in a beautiful and FLAT reservoir less than a mile from our house…also serves as a good meeting place if I had someone to run with. ¬†I tried not to talk about my nerves¬†and uncertainty too much because I know that non-runners are not a huge fan of listening to anything involving running let alone running a crazy 18 miles. ¬†We drove the route the night before to make sure I had my roads correct, I put out water at mile¬†9 miles and was all set to conquer the run…unfortunately alone. ¬†I woke up early Saturday morning to ensure that would I beat the heat. ¬†Boy was I nervous. ¬†I don’t know what it is about long runs that makes me anxious. ¬†My theory is that ‘the long run’¬†is not just a¬†normal run. ¬†You (or maybe it’s just me!) have to mentally prepare for it. I have to pump myself up for it. ¬†It is not one of those runs where you just get out there and just crank out a few miles. ¬†You have to train your mind to not focus on the time, not focus on how many miles left, not focus on pace and to solely focus on taking in the world around you. ¬†I think my nerves kick in because so much effort goes into preparing for the long run..the mental aspect, the water placement, the GU, the weather…and then there’s the thought of ‘after ALL this preparation, what if I can’t do it or my legs just feel terrible’. ¬†There are days when I am rested yet my legs still feel horrible and then there are other days where I already worked out and yet my legs feel great. ¬†It seems like I can never control how my legs are going to feel and that uncontrollable piece is scary especially when your about to conquer lots of miles. ¬†I guess when you put so much effort into preparing for something, it’s natural to be nervous. ¬†Nervous that the plan that is prepped and set in place could potentially fall through. ¬†And the craziest part of all, is most of the time, it all works out..yet I still always get those nerves. ¬†And even if it happened to not be my day for a long run, there are plenty of other days to try again! Thankfully last Saturday was my day and I had a great run at a¬†solid¬†pace ūüôā

My legs were surprisingly not too sore on Sunday so I was able to get in a good yoga session and Crossfit workout. ¬†As for Monday, I wasn’t sore but certainly not ready to take on the 100 burpees that they had on the agenda.¬†No thank you!¬†¬†I did a nice evening shake out run and a bike ride instead. By Thursday, my legs were definitely ready to rest up and thankfully my Compex muscle stimulation came in the mail just when I needed it the most! image I did not hesitate to use it! I hooked it right up to my hamstrings and let it do its thing! It certainly worked its magic because my legs felt great for Saturday’s (yesterday’s) 15 miler! image It is crazy that ‘scaling back’ this week means a 15 mile run. ¬†A month ago 15 miles would have been my longest run in history and now it doesn’t seem so long. ¬†It could of been because¬†my wonderful¬†mom jumped in and ran¬†the last 5 miles with me to take my mind off that last leg!

I had to get to afternoon party but I certainly did not skip on a post-long run ice bath in my neighbors pool, a nice oatmeal cereal with fruit and nuts, and a quick stim session. image image

Next up…the 20 miler. ¬†Nothing like kicking off the 4th of July with a light run ūüėČ

Before I end this post, I have to show you all another accomplishment that went down this week…


¬†I successfully managed to create homemade spring rolls! ¬†I used Brown Rice paper (soaked in warm water) and filled them¬†with sliced cucumbers, carrots, romaine lettuce, avocado, kelp noodles, shrimp and a drizzle of homemade peanut sauce. ¬†I could use a bit more work on my rolling skills but all in all, they came out great…and half the price of what I would pay at a sushi restaurant.

ONE MORE THING…my Timehop app reminded me that exactly 3 years ago I ran my first half marathon!


Wow. It is crazy to think¬†about how much has changed/happened over these past 3 years. ¬†I have grown in so many ways. ¬†In those 3 years, I ran 14 more half marathons, earned¬†my Masters Degree, started my teaching career, ¬†started Crossfit and am now training/3 weeks away from my first marathon…oh and met an incredibly amazing person that puts a smile on my face everyday ūüôā

Stepping up my Recovery Game

Happy Friday..and only 1 1/2 days until Summer vacation!

If it weren’t for those unnecessary Snow Days, I would be done by now!


Not much has been going on this week, just working on finishing up the school year strong!

Another large task is learning how to recover from Sunday long runs, while still strength training during the week yet also staying rested for the next long run.¬†It is TOUGH. ¬† I thought taking Monday off would be enough time to recover from Sunday’s 16.5 miler but my legs were still feeling pretty tight on Tuesday. ¬†However, it didn’t stop me from waking up early for 6am Crossfit. ¬†Who can pass up a 5:30 sunrise like this…

imageAfter Tuesday and Wednesday morning crossfit, my body was definitely in the need of¬†a good stretch so tried a new Yoga class Wednesday evening. ¬†This¬†class – Yin Yoga¬†–¬†focuses less on the muscles and more on reaching the tendons and joints. ¬†To do this, you¬†hold¬†less intense positions for a longer period of time. ¬†The goal is to have no pain while in the position and just allow the body to naturally release itself with time. (5 minutes per position) ¬†My instructor talked about how most of the poses revolve¬†around loosening up the lower back because the practice emphasizes the role that one’s back has on controlling the rest of the body. ¬†Aside from the class being from 7:30-9 –¬†way past my bedtime – it was a great class! Most of the moves can be done while laying on the floor watching tv so I have a feeling this 7:30 class will turn into my own class on the floor of my living room at a more reasonable time. ¬†ūüėČ

Since my long run probably shouldn’t be my only run for the week, I figured I would¬†pass up Thursday morning crossfit and run instead. ¬†I set out for only 6 miles but there is something about those delirious morning miles that always makes me want more..maybe I am just trying to procrastinate going to work.


The good thing¬†–¬†I got in a nice semi-long run, the bad thing – I had about 30 minutes to get ready and eat breakfast. That being said my breakfast was a classy, ‘throw-everything-in-your-Greek yogurt’ that had to be devoured on the go!

imageBut don’t worry, I made up for it at night with a delicious vegetable omelette topped with some melted Swiss Cheese and nutritional yeast.

imageSince I ran 7 miles in the morning, I planned on just relaxing after work… but let’s be honest, that plan never actually happens. ¬†I had an itch to workout after a long day of work so I took on afternoon crossfit as well.


Don’ t be fooled, I did NOT do the prescribed¬†125 pounds. ¬†My tired legs stuck with a challenging but manageable 85 pounds. It is safe to say that today is rest day because my legs are ready to recover¬†and prepare for another challenging long run tomorrow!

Speaking of recovery..I finally made a purchase I have been thinking about for a LONG time.


AN ELECTRIC MUSCLE STIMULATOR!! ¬†I always used this¬†to help with muscle recovery when I was a college athlete. It always helped with increasing blood flow and flushing out lactic acid. ¬†The price for this is pretty high but when I came across the code for a HUGE discount, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. ¬†Using this stimulator to loosen up my lower back and piriformis¬†will make it so I don’t have to get frequent massages¬†so maybe it will all even out ūüėČ right?!

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Longest Run to Date and a Racecation Planned

Ironic that my last post was about setting PRs and the¬†frustration I have been experiencing with not having set a running PR in quite some time…then BOOM, without any expectations, I set a running PR. ¬†No, no, not some outrageous race time but my LONGEST RUN EVER!!!

Owe it to my new Brooks Launch running shoes..

Like I said in my last post, I have been focusing most of my time on Crossfit and have only been¬†getting in super short runs later in the day if I have time. ¬†Two weekends ago,¬†I had a 14 miler planned but not a single bone in my body wanted to do it. ¬†I don’t necessarily get excited¬†for long runs but I don’t usually dread them like I was dreading that 14 miler. ¬†Instead of forcing something that I just didn’t want to do, I ended up skipping my long run and doing yoga at my Crossfit box followed by a Sunday WOD and some extra lifting. ¬†It was exactly¬†what I wanted to do. ¬†My body needed a good stretch and I was in the mood to lift and workout with people. ¬†Being my first week of marathon training, (yup, MARATHON IS BOOKED. ¬†Will explain later!), I felt a little guilty about¬†bailing out on a¬†long run this early into training but sometimes you just need to let yourself break away from the plan a bit and do what you want rather than what you feel you should¬†do.

This past Sunday, I knew I had to stick to my schedule and I felt ready to take on the long run, especially because the weather was perfect.  With almost 2 weeks of little running since my last half marathon, I had no idea what to expect.  I set a goal of 10, a reach goal of 12 and if some miracle happened, then the intended 14 that I missed last week.

imageAh yes, I still smile when I see those numbers. ¬†How did I do that??¬† But seriously…I wish I knew what made this run so perfect. ¬†My legs felt fresh despite 5 straight days of working out before going into this run, my mind was relaxed and everything¬†just felt great. I just kept tacking on more miles because my body and legs were willing to take it and not fighting against me for once!¬† Once I knew I was going to hit my reach goal of 12, I went a little further for 13 and though I could feel myself starting to weaken, I was way too close to that miracle so I slowed my pace down a bit and just remained controlled. ¬†I reminded myself that a mile is just¬† my¬†quick warm up around the block before Open Gym crossfit. ¬†I can handle that! ¬†And sure enough, I did ūüôā ¬†This was so¬†needed. ¬†I needed this running boost to remind myself that I can do this! ¬†When I look at my training plan, those high mileage runs scare me, but I just need to take it one mile at a time. ¬†I also need to remind myself that not every run¬†is a good run and sometimes your legs just want to give up after mile 1. ¬†Don’t force it. ¬†If the run isn’t there, then save it. ¬†Wait for the moment when it is. ¬†It may not be¬†part of the plan, but the plan will work itself out if it’s meant to happen.

Speaking of this whole marathon training thing that I keep mentioning…


I am making¬†my way back to San Francisco this summer ūüôā I received this¬†same¬†confirmation email a year ago but only made it to the Half-marathon finish.

San Francisco Half-Marathon 2014

Lets see how it all plays out for Round 2. ¬†I am excited..nervous…scared…but also relaxed. ¬†I know that the trip will be amazing regardless of what happens. ¬†If I don’t feel marathon ready then I will just switch to the half marathon and enjoy everything that race has to offer…THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE. ¬†And even if NO running happens, I can¬†enjoy a wonderful vacation with a great friend in a beautiful city.

Running wasn’t the only huge accomplishment this weekend but because I haven’t had many of those in a while¬†I will boast about that the¬†most ūüėČ On Saturday, I finally¬†reached the highest double unders amount for my Crossfit box! ¬†This has been a goal I have been trying to reach for weeks now and I am so happy it finally happened!¬†102 consecutive Double Unders!¬†

Funny story about reaching 102. On Friday I decided to try and¬†set a new personal best seeing as I had been at 83 for a couple of weeks and Double Unders were¬†in Friday’s¬†WOD.

imageI made it up to 99! A new personal best (as of Friday)¬†and a tie for first place at my box. ¬†I walk in on Saturday and saw¬†I had been¬†bumped to 2nd because a phenomenal double underer (definitely not a word..) in the later class ended up hitting the whole 100! She is actually the person I learned double unders from. ¬†I starred at her form and just tried to mimic it…a little creepy but true..and helpful! ¬†Since I was still on cloud nine from my 99, I did not expect to have to tackle this challenge again but being only 1 away,¬†it had to be done. ¬†I didn’t get it on my first try but my legs were willing to jump 102 more times ūüôā¬†¬†I suspect this will lead to a little Double Under competition ūüėČ but what better way to stay motivated and continue to better my¬†previous score!

Lets get to the good stuff and talk food…


Friday nights always call for burgers and a sad attempt (fail) at grilling artichokes. ¬†When it comes to burger night, things get a little territorial so thankfully we had¬†some chives to make sure our burgers are not mixed up ūüėČ I am a huge fan of the Trader Joe’s grass-fed 90% lean beef, mix in some onions and Flavor God spices and top it off with melted shredded Swiss cheese. Instead of buns I use one slice of¬†toasted Ezekiel bread and just leave the top open and load on grilled onions, mushrooms and avocado!


This is has been a recent post-workout favorite! ¬†If you are a chocolate lover like me, this is right up your alley. ¬†I mixed my Vega-Sport Chocolate Protein powder with just enough Almond Milk to make a gooey fudge. ¬†Chop up some fruit…apples, strawberries and bananas are my top choices...and just dip/SLATHER them in chocolate.


Lastly, after a cold and rainy 3-day field trip to Cape Cod last week, the only thing I wanted for dinner was grilled,¬†HOT, food! ¬†That is exactly what went down…Salmon, broccoli, brussel sprouts, chopped sweet potato fries. ¬†Just what I needed after 3 days of cold food!

I hope everyone has a great rest of the week!  I will be road tripping it with my team tonight for a USATF 5k race in New Hampshire.

Wish us luck! ūüôā

Key to Balancing a Crazy Schedule

Hi All!

I can’t even begin to tell you how terrible I feel about not posting this past month. ¬†Who knows if anyone actually cares/noticed about my recent blogging absence but if there are people out there that like to read my posts (besides my wonderful mom!) then¬†thank you¬†and I am sorry! ¬†With April vacation over with and some much-needed down time, I am back to work with a bit more energy and hopefully some extra time to blog.

Life has been crazy busy but crazy fun! ¬†I have finally found a great balance between my teaching, my coaching and my crossfit/running! ¬†The first couple of weeks with coaching were¬†rough. I tried to put a smile on and not complain but exhaustion and my hectic schedule was getting¬†the best of me. ¬†I don’t know about any of you, but working out after a long day is just¬†not my thing. ¬†It is hard to have a great workout when you¬†just don’t want to be there.¬† I have said it before and I will say it again, just because I love running and Crossfit, does not mean I enjoy doing it ALL the time. ¬†It is so important to find a balance and¬†a time where you never dread what you are doing. ¬†That being said, I have found MY time. ¬†I am much more of a morning person than an evening person. ¬†I like to have dinner done, dishes done and be on couch with my favorite person…and animals by 8 pm.

imageI get the demon eyes if I don’t give them some quality cuddle time ūüėČ

My Crossfit gym has a 6am class but I always thought it would never be possible to do a 6am class and¬†make it to work by 7:30/7:45. ¬†Well my friends, anything is possible if you don’t really care about how smelly you are ūüėȬ†Just kidding..kind of.¬†The 6:30 pm class was just¬†not¬†working out well after long days so I decided to give the 6am a shot despite the time crunch.

Prior to my first 6am class, I had everything packed up for the day and in my car the night before – breakfast, lunch, after-school snack, work clothes, coaching clothes, makeup, toothbrush…everything! ¬†I must have checked that bag over and over again. ¬†I knew that if I forgot ONE thing, there was no cushion in my schedule to pick it up at home. ¬†I guess you can say I didn’t sleep that much the night before.¬†But once that alarm went off, it was go time! ¬†I went to 6am, had a great workout, rushed into the bathroom, washed my face, changed my clothes (maybe still a bit sweaty but a little sweat on work clothes never hurt anyone), put on a little mascara on because everyone knows mascara is the difference between ‘I just rolled out of bed’ and ‘I am ready to be seen in public’…and within 15 min I was out of the gym and off to work. ¬†I even had some time to eat my packed breakfast before¬†the students arrived!


I guess you could say it was a success and has been a success ever since. ¬†I am so glad I took the risk and tried it out because it has made my busy days/evenings much less stressful. ¬†It is so nice to know my workout is done and I can focus on work and coaching for the rest of the day. ¬†And if I¬†do have energy at the end of the day/it doesn’t feel like an obligation, then I can get in a nice little run with the pups as well.

Speaking of running, I haven’t done¬†too much of that. ¬†I jumped into a local¬†10k a couple of weeks ago and ended up placing 4th overall. ¬†There were not that many people in the race so I can’t brag too much and my time was certainly not brag worthy, but a race is a race. ¬†After the race, I took some time to reflect on why my past few races since Disney have been an exhausting and unenjoyable struggle. ¬†I realized that I just don’t have the mileage behind me right now to expect great outcomes. ¬†It seems like an obvious observation as I type it, but with my personality and passion for competition, I tend to jump into things even when I am not ready yet still wonder why it didn’t go in my favor. ¬†Lately I have been focusing on Crossfit during¬†the week and get in a long run on Sundays. ¬†I guess I keep thinking that my Sunday long runs are enough to power me through all these races. ¬†Not so much.

Oh well. At the moment, I am just concentrating on balancing everything.  If I can get in a great workout to start my day, get through the work day with enthusiasm and motivate my players through practices and games in the evening, then that is a success.

Despite my lack of mid-week running, my Sunday long runs have been wonderful. ¬†I did a great¬†10 miler on Easter…


And I may have refueled with a piece..or two of¬†the Reester Bunny that I found in my car from a special someone ūüôā The only thing better than a Reese Cup is a giant Reester Bunny!


This past weekend I had exactly 1 hour to get in a run before I had to start getting ready for a baby shower..


and of course my lack of punctuality wins again. ¬†It was such a great run, I did not want to stop. ¬†I squeezed in an extra mile and decided that straightening my hair was not that important ūüėČ ¬†And thankfully I had a little help with the wrapping ¬†while I was gone…


Yup. That’s duct tape because I didn’t buy enough wrapping paper….classy.

Lets talk food.  My smoothie bowls that were in my last post continue to make constant appearances.


I heard about adding frozen cauliflower but never tried that idea until recently. ¬†It is brilliant. ¬†You can’t taste it, it adds volume and thickness¬†and¬†you get an extra serving of vegetables on top of the tons of spinach already blended in.

Another common occurrence at night are homemade quesadillas.


Ground turkey or crock pot chicken make for great fillings.  Add a little shredded Swiss cheese, guacamole, mushrooms, onions into a sprouted grain tortilla, throw it in the oven for a few minutes and you have a delicious Mexican inspired meal with half the calories and fat in minutes!

I had this wonderful fruit and nut bowl before one of my workouts.


It was so simple yet so perfect!…and so is the happy little¬†Corgi in the background.

Feels great to be back on here and I hope that I don’t have another month break after this post! ¬†Also, congratulations to everyone who ran the Boston Marathon. ¬†I had my eyes clued to my iPad for a solid 2 1/2 hours. ¬†I can’t explain to people what makes watching people run for 2 1/2 hours enjoyable but I love it. ¬†It is so inspiring and straight-up jaw-dropping to see these runners move so fast for so long. ¬†I truly admire every individual that has ever run a marathon. ¬†The commitment, the training, and the mental strength you need in order to complete a marathon is beyond impressive. ¬†I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon last year but an injury held me back from the full and stuck me with the half. ¬†I would love to go back to San Francisco this summer and tackle the marathon like I had planned a year ago. ¬†We will see what happens ūüôā but right now I am not making a game plan – it seems whenever I make a game plan that is when things go wrong. ¬†This time around I am just going to run when I can, slowly increase my long run mileage, maybe recruit someone to run with and see where it takes me!

Hello from Disney!

Hello from Disney..and more specifically, the “Pirate Room”


Yup. ¬†We thought paying a little extra would land us an ‘upgraded’ room, but we should have known that here at Disney, an upgrade means more animated. ¬†So here we are..just two adults hanging out in pirate beds ūüėČ

And I mean that literally…we have been napping and watching T.V for the past 2 hours and will probably call it bedtime as soon as I am done here. ¬†The pouring rain and the early morning flight put a bit of a damper on our plan to hit Epcot tonight.

However, the rain did hold up so we could get a short run in around the resort.

imageI forgot how awesome it is to run in just one layer and without worrying about frost bite taking over my toes and fingers.  I have been wanting to run in the warm weather for so long so I will not complain about the heat..but I will say that this long-sleeve was not the smartest decision.

imageThe high winds convinced me that it was chilly… and¬†I am not sure why¬†the¬†‘YOU ARE IN FLORIDA’¬† logic didn’t kick in.

Before I sail away in my pirate ship for a good night’s sleep before an early morning rise for Crossfit, I must talk about some great finds at Trader Joe’s that made packing meals for this trip ¬†extremely easy.

imageIf you have ever been to Disney, you are well aware that, although there are some amazing restaurant options, they are not always healthy or cheap.¬† Last year I individually sealed and froze 16 meals and ate them despite how soggy and gross they were. ¬†This year I made it MUCH easier on myself and my sanity.¬† Instead of packing individual meals, I just picked up a variety of nuts, greens, fruits and protein to have on hand to avoid eating out every day. ¬† A carton of liquid egg whites, a bag of oats, some cacao nibs and goji berries is less than $25 and will give me a fulfilling and hearty breakfast everyday. ¬†That’s a little better than a $20 one-time breakfast buffet…

4 more days until the Disney Princess Challenge calls for a #TBTuesday

imageTime to rest up. Goodnight ūüôā

Life is Testing my Blog Words…

Funny how I ended last night’s post with the words “sometimes things shake up your schedule and you just have to roll with” and then when my schedule was shaken up this morning, I did not handle it as well as I wrote it. ¬†Yup, that must be ‘reality’ checking in on me and making sure I am practicing what I preach. ¬†I can’t say I initially “rolled with it” seeing as I was pretty annoyed that I rolled¬†out of bed at 5:15 despite my two-hour school delay to make it to 6am crossfit…only to find that they don’t have 6am crossfit on Tuesday mornings. I was pretty annoyed and wasn’t sure if I should just drive to a gym to¬†workout seeing as I already had coffee and a little breakfast in me. ¬†But I was not going to pay another $10 just to put my banana and coffee to use so I went home, took a little power nap and then suited up for a short run outside. ¬†A mile into my run I had to head back home to grab my face mask because 4 degree weather can really sting the face. I really should¬†start checking things before I start… like the schedule and temperature


So, did I roll with the scheduling issue this morning. Kinda. ¬†I managed to get in a nice morning run and I still managed to make it to crossfit this evening to WOD it up so everything worked out. But was rolling with it easier said than done – yup. ¬†I had to remind myself that it was just a small mixup and I will simply have to adjust my schedule later in the day…and accept¬†that the extra hour of sleep I lost is really not important.

So despite a rough start, everything worked itself out and I still managed to whip up a pretty delicious breakfast.

imageSautéed spinach, mushrooms, onions, and butternut squash in coconut oil and topped with a fried egg.

All that being said, I will say it again..sometimes things shake up your schedule and you just have to roll with it. (lets hope I didn’t jinx myself for tomorrow too..)

Hope everyone had a great Tuesday! Hump Day Tomorrow! ūüôā

A Running Buddy, A New Car, and Some Self-Love

Happy Saturday!

¬†I usually don’t write on Saturdays because I am too busy embracing the day..or just relaxing on the couch after morning crossfit. ¬†But since I had some work to do at Barnes and Noble, I guess I will also jump on here and say Hi!

Last post was Tuesday morning in the midst/ending of the snow storm and I wasn’t sure what was happening aside from lounging on the couch due to the driving ban. ¬†Luckily, the fur friend, that also served as my grammar police last post, gave me the motivation to get outside and do some running.

imageHurry up Mom, stop taking pictures!” ¬†This was AFTER¬†we started¬†out on¬†what I thought, was going to be a nice little snowy walk. He was not on my level. ¬†He started running like the tenacious Corgi he is, so being the wonderful mom that I am, I ran with him. ¬†Doesn’t he know that¬†heavy snow boats and a long winter jacket is not the most comfortable running outfit. ¬†After one lap around the block, I got on his level – changed my shoes, ditched the jacket and we set out¬†for another mile. ¬†We were also on the same level when we got inside..crash on the couch.

I was very surprised by how great and tough it was to run in the beautiful snow so after a little afternoon nap, I ditched the fur friend or he ditched my idea, laced up and set out for a longer run.

imageIt was by no means long, but it was tough!  The slushy snow  really makes you work for each step.  And even with thick gloves, my hands were starting to go numb on me.

On Wednesday, I took the 2-hour school delay as an opportunity to hang with the 6am crossfit crew. ¬†And by hang, I literally mean hang…on the bar for lots¬†of Toes to Bars.

image  image

Despite its toughness, we still managed to pull ourselves together for a few smiles in honor of Haider’s birthday! Such a great group of people.

It was also nice to get my workout done early because I had something special waiting for me in the afternoon that had to be taken care of..


YUP! It finally came in! I may not like what it did to my bank account but I love everything else about it.

The excitement of this car transpired into the kitchen because I whipped up an amazing dinner.


Instead of boring marinara sauce that is often loaded with salt and sugar, I decided to make my own sauce creation.  2 cans of no salt diced tomatoes with chopped mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and basil.  It was amazing and has been poured over just about everything on my plate for the last 3 days. I poured it over my ground turkey and I even used it as a salad dressing to jazz up my boring chopped head of romaine lettuce.

The other night I saw this on Instagram and I just had to repost.  I gave a pretty long speech on what these words mean to me on my Instagram but I am going to speak more to it now.

imageWhen I read that, I immediately thought of myself and my transformation over the last year. ¬†This time last year, I was planning on competing in a fitness competition. ¬†I have always been into working out and keeping my body healthy being a college athlete and a runner, but once I started prepping for the competition it hit a level that was not mentally healthy. ¬†Everything I ate was tracked. ¬†I had to eat every 2.5 hours on the dot. ¬†I had to do morning cardio at 4 am. I had to lift after work. ¬†¬†I convinced myself I was dedicated, but all I really was was obsessive. ¬†My time at the gym was based on burning calories not on training to be a better runner, not trainging to¬†be a stronger athlete, simply training to be LEAN.¬†I was moody, hungry, tired, and just always anxious. ¬†“And then something happens.” For me it was someone.¬†I met someone who understood the lifestyle but also knew¬†what this lifestyle can mentally do to someone, especially after the fitness show is over. ¬†It took some time to break my old habits but it was the best thing I could have done for my body and my mind. Sometimes I even have to laugh at my past because I am currently stronger, healthier, and overall HAPPIER than I¬†ever was by just living life with wonderful people and working out to push myself as an athlete and a runner,¬†not to be lean. ¬†Do¬†I still watch¬†what I eat? Yes. ¬†Do I still care about how my body looks? Yes. ¬†It is certainly important to be conscious of your health and nutrition. ¬†But I am also willing to let loose, go out for a nice burger, have a class of wine at night, lay on the couch instead of going for a run…and do it without any hesitation or guilt. ¬†I have learned to simply love my body because it is who I am. ¬†My body is strong,¬†it is healthy, it has given me power and strength through times when my mind was ready to give up. ¬†I don’t need my abs popping and I certainly do not need a judge at a fitness competition¬†to tell me I am fit. ¬†I know who I am. ¬†And I know that even when I come home from date nights with the biggest belly filled with froyo and burgers, my body is still beautiful.¬†

imageI remember when that special someone sent this to me. It could not be more true. Just be YOU.

imageAnd now we say, good bye! Have a great a Saturday night!

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 ūüėČ

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 ūüôā



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.