Weekly Recap

Well, I feel like a complete hypocrite as I¬†post last week’s workouts. Cold weather hit KC big time (below 20 degrees!) and I was a wimp to get outside in the mornings. I instead favored classes at Fusion Fitness, and ended the week with the Longview Half Marathon. I got out this morning in 17 degrees (real feel 0 degrees) and was perfectly warm in enough layers – goes to show it’s really never too cold for a run! I rewarded myself with a piping hot mocha to start my Monday off right ūüėČ

Monday: 6 mile run (last warm morning!)

Tuesday: Fusion Mix in the a.m. & Spintense after work

Wednesday: Bikini Bootcamp 

Thursday: Hustle & Glow in the a.m. & Up Side Spin after work

Friday: Sweat Lab

Saturday: Longview Half Marathon 13.1 miles (recap below!)

Sunday: OFF! My legs were screaming at me when I woke up. Spent 30 lovely (painful!) minutes with the foam roller.

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Longview Half Marathon Recap

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Half marathon #7 and a PR in the books!

Congrats to Kansas City Running Company on a great new race at Longview Lake. Despite the 20 degree, snowy weather, this race was well organized and great crowd/volunteer support. It was a fun run to end the year and could not be more happy with my 17 minute personal record time of 1:49. My previous PR was a 2:07 from the 2012 KC Half Marathon.

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I don’t think I’ve ever had a race photo capture me smiling before…this must have been early on in the race…

One cool component of the race was the “King & Queen of the Hill Challenge.” At mile 2, there was a big hill (almost a mile long) that had chip timing from the bottom of the hill up to the top. The top 15 men and women to run up the hill were deemed Kings and Queens, and received a special plaque at the awards ceremony. I ended up coming in as the 31st women – no medal for me, but much faster than I expected!

Huge high after this race. Really never thought I could come close to this time. I celebrated with a date night with my long distance boyfriend who arrived in town later that afternoon. We dined at PotPie in Westport – highly recommend!!

Saucony Ride 7 Review

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Preface note: Last shorts run of the year, I fear. ūüė¶ #snowiscoming

Happy Monday!

Two weeks before the KC Marathon, I purchased my newest pair of training shoes with the idea I would wear them for the race. Usually, runners replace their shoes before a race so they have an extra spring to their step vs. worn out shoes. I’m a long-time Brooks Adrenaline GTS wearer, but for some reason I had the urge to switch things up and try a Saucony model. When the marathon arrived, I was worried I wasn’t quite adjusted to the shoes – they felt stiff and my stride was off a bit when I wore them. I instead ran in my go-to trainers – although worn down to the fullest – to prevent any sort of strange pain or injury.

Well, now a month after the marathon in these new shoes, I can officially say my initial worries are gone – I LOVE them!

Saucony Ride 7 Review

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Cushioning: plush & responsive bounce

Support: this is one of Saucony’s neutral shoes, with slight pronation control

Weight: 8.5 oz. (size 8.5)

Width: as someone with narrow feet, this shoe runs a little narrow but offers a roomy toe box and grips the heel nicely

Fit: true to size (I wear a 7.5 in everyday shoes, and 8.5 in running shoes. 8.5 worked perfect for me in these with my usual inserts)

Thoughts: I’ve never trained in such a lightweight shoe, but these are super comfortable and feel like a support shoe despite the plush cushioning. After about 30 miles of breaking these in, they fit me like a glove. I feel my strides are softer and quicker in these – two things I’m really starting to appreciate as I am beginning to incorporate speed training. I never thought I’d switch to the Saucony brand, but I don’t see me leaving these in a long time!

KC runners — hit up KC Running Company to snag a pair!

Weekly Recap + Cinnamon Caramel Corn Recipe

This week was good to me! Lots of workouts in to get ready for the Longview Half Marathon next weekend. I enjoyed the last few warmer mornings left of the year, and felt good mixing in a variety of cross training. My arms are sore baby sore! I balanced my mileage and sweat sessions with a heavy dose of homemade caramel corn (easy & delicious! recipe below) and sour cream banana bread (not so successful, need to try again…) plus spending way too much money¬†at Target :/ c’est la vie. I mean, I NEEDED the new make-up bag¬†and 100th sports bra, right?

Monday: 6 miles easy

Tuesday: 6 miles hard @ 8:45 min/mile + spinTENse @ Fusion Fly

Wednesday: 4 miles – interval run (9/8:30/8/7:30) + spinTENse @ Fusion Fly

Thursday: Hustle & Glow @ Fusion Fitness + 4 miles

Friday: Sweat Lab @ Fusion Fitness

Saturday: Runner’s Edge group run in Independence ¬†– 12 miles with a new (speedier) pace group! <– summary of this run = strong winds and hills¬†are no fun

Sunday: Sweat Lab @ Fusion Fitness

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I also went to the movies to see Nightcrawler¬†this weekend. Whoa. Creep city! Jake Gyllenhaal did an amazing job…making us hate his character! I walked out of the theater never wanted to punch someone harder. Good movie though, I’d recommend seeing it!

Cinnamon Caramel Corn

(adapted from Runner’s Kitchen)

2 tbs coconut oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

3 tbs butter

1 tbs salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

1 tsp baking soda

1 tbs cinnamon (or other spice/flavor of your choosing)

Heat the oil over medium-high in a large pot, add the popcorn kernels and cover with a lid.

Allow kernels to pop (about 3-4 minutes) while occasionally shaking the pot and moving it around on the burner.

Once kernels are done popping, dump them into a bowl that is sprayed lightly with cooking spray, remove any un-popped kernels.

Combine sugar, butter, salt, vanilla and water in a medium saucepan, cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. DO NOT STIR! The caramel is done when it is starting to thicken.

While caramel is cooking, combine baking soda and cinnamon in a small bowl and coat a spatula with cooking spray.

When caramel is finished cooking, remove from heat, and stir in baking soda/cinnamon mixture. Pour the caramel sauce over the popcorn and use the spatula to make sure every kernel is coated.

Spread caramel corn on a baking sheet and allow to cool for about 15 minutes ‚Äď break it up into small pieces while it‚Äôs cooling. Should stay fresh up to two weeks in an air-tight container.

Enjoy!

10 Reasons Why I Love Running in the Cold + A Recipe

When the weather starts to turn cold for the Fall/Winter, I tend to hit the snooze button more mornings than I like, and skip out on outdoor runs. It’s dark, cold and really – who wants to be outside in sub-30 degree temperatures at 5 am? But, since I absolutely loathe the dreadmill, I accept the reality and try to focus on what I love about morning running in the cold:

1. It’s really not that cold¬†– I’m awful at the running attire game. I always overdress, and one mile into a run I start shredding layers like crazy. Remember, if it says it’s 35 degrees outside – add 10 degrees – and that’s how you should dress. It really only takes a few minutes to lose the first shiver when you walk outside.

2. Scenery РThere is something really beautiful about running along trails piled high with leaves, or slowly jogging in a light snowstorm. While you have to be careful with the weather elements, I actually prefer this scenery over the warmer months.

3. Less stressful РI like to take advantage of the off-season and not take mileage too seriously. Knocking an 8 miler down to 4? No problem!

4. Less crowded РMore runners hibernating in the gym = clearer trails and streets. Hooray!

5. Sunrises¬†– If you haven’t witnessed a winter sunrise, try to fit one in this year. Added to the crisp air, it’s perfection.

6. Hot showers – No explanation needed. They feel amazing.

7. Hot coffee¬†– Tastes so much better after a cold run. Plus you don’t feel as guilty with adding pumps of holiday sweetness! (homemade peppermint mochas are my go-to drink!)

8. Awake РNo half-open eyes staring at the laptop screen at work.

9. Better health? I’m convinced getting fresh air in your system helps ward off the commond cold, flu, etc. that floats around the office.

10. That badass feeling – Knowing your in the minority that got a workout in – outside – during the holiday season is a good feeling. ūüėČ

And, why not add a Pimento Cheese Dip recipe to this post?

Healthy Pimento Cheese Dip

1/2 cup greek yogurt

1 tsp cayenne

1 tsp yellow mustard

1 small squirt sriracha sauce (adjust to your liking)

1 cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of choice)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 pimentos, finely chopped

salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Combine all, and voila! Serve with crackers, tortilla chips, or warm pretzels!

Salt Water

‚ÄúThe cure for anything is salt water ‚Äď sweat, tears, or the sea.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Isak Dinesen

I came across this quote this morning, and although it is a little cliche, I think it holds true. No matter how stressed out, down or lonely I sometimes feel, a good sweaty workout, cry or look out across a wide body of water tends to make me feel so much better. I only wish I lived closer to water that’s not creepishly murky like the good ol’ Missouri River. :/

It’s been a stressful past few months – from marathon training, to a busy work schedule, and financial worries – but things are starting to balance out. My long distance boyfriend is coming in town in 9 days, and I get to be with him for a full two weeks. He’s in the military, so our limited time together is really valuable. We’ll be in KC for one week, and then traveling to Seattle for a week to visit his brother. I can’t wait.

Back to that good sweaty workout I mentioned above, i’ve really been getting into spin classes this week. I thought I would give a quick review my current spin gym, Fusion Fly, for anyone interested in trying it out for the first time.

Fusion Fly

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Let me first say, I used to hate spin classes. I always thought they dragged on forever, and the instructors were either boring or way too intense. I just never felt comfortable “in the saddle” so to speak. Fusion Fitness is a local chain (with three locations in Kansas City) that offers a variety of intense exercise classes, ranging from cardio, to bootcamp and barre. I’ve been incorporating these classes into my cross-training schedule for the past year, and LOVE the improvements¬†they have made on my upper body, core and mental strength. I walk out of every class drenched in sweat, and immediately feel the benefits of the workout.

I recently snatched up a discount to try their spin classes, and am so glad I did! These classes changed my mind about indoor spinning. Similar to their other excercise classes, each spin class is different, and focuses on different areas of the body. Below are the classes, with details pulled from their website:

spinTENse

Divided into 10 minute increments, this class will burn fat and work your arms and core to the max. This class will rotate through spinning, arm toning, and ab strengthening 10 minutes at a time — totaling one hour of sweaty fun.

Thin Spin

Get the best of both worlds with a half spin, half old-school Fusion class to work your cardio and elongate and strengthen your muscles. A challenging, 30 minute spin session will keep your heart rate up and build endurance, then we’ll tone and burn out muscle groups Fusion-style for 30 minutes — the perfect balance for your Dream Body.

The Up Side

This hour class has it all! Starting with a 40 minute ride you will burn hundreds of calories and tone your legs and buns while working through sprints, climbs and jumps on the bike. Your upper body will thank you for the 20 minute burnout of arms and abs after your ride. Plan to walk out of this class feeling proud of your hard-core full body workout.

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(photo curtesy of http://www.fusionfitness.com)

My favorite classes so far have been spinTENse and The Up Side, each incorporating a good amount of upper body and core workouts mixed in with the spin. I encourage you try these if you are trying to find a spin class that is energetic, welcoming and fun! Plus Рmajor calorie burns Рwith an average 500-600 calories burned in one 60 Рmin. class!

Weekly Recap: 10/27 – 11/2

Monday: Spin class at Fusion Fly + Girls on the Run practice easy 2 mile run

Tuesday: 6 miles @ half marathon pace + spin class at Fusion Fly

Wednesday: 6 miles easy

Thursday: 4 miles @ 5K pace + spin class at Fusion Fly

Friday: 4 miles easy

Saturday: Fusion Mix class

Sunday: 10 miles easy @ KCRC Groupie Run

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Mileage total: 30

Notes: Slowly picking-up mileage and speed after my marathon. Felt good to be outside enjoying these last few warmer mornings before KC winter weather heads our way. Lesson learned: should probably only do one-two spin classes a week, my bottom was quite sore by the end of the week!

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My next race will be the Longview Half Marathon in two weeks. I’ve never broken two hours, so my goal will be to stick with this pace group for the first 10 miles, and see if I can push negative splits at the end.

Happy Monday!

Happy Halloween + Nutty Coconut Oil Granola

Happy belated Halloween!

Thanks to my friend, Katie, I celebrated this spooky holiday with festive treats (maybe one or ten¬†too many) and a keg of pumpkin beer. I didn’t have a costume on hand, so I was the lame party guest who showed up as a “fitness instructor.” Really, I just wanted an excuse to wear sweat pants to a party ūüėČ

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(I brought greek yogurt pimento cheese dip – recipe to come – and pb chocolate krispy balls)

Woke up this morning feeling less than stellar¬†(go figure), and decided to sleep in a little longer than usual. I¬†made it¬†to a late morning Fusion Mix class to get a good sweat¬†and stopped by Trader Joe’s on my way home to pick-up groceries (a few at TJ’s usually turns into two bags of food I didn’t need, but I’m not complaining).

When I got home, I decided to take a stab at baking homemade granola for the first time. This recipe is super simple and can be easily modified with other flavors/add-ins. It’s also more on the salty-sweet side – my favorite!

Nutty Coconut Granola Recipe

3 cups oats

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning

2 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups nuts (I used 2 cups of salted fancy nuts from Costco Kirkland brand)

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 340. Mix oats through nuts together in a large bowl. Melt coconut oil, honey and vanilla together in a small saucepan. Once melted, pour mixture into bowl and evenly mix the liquid with the oats. Spread evenly on a large baking pan and bake for 22 minutes (mixing every 5 minutes so oats/nuts do no burn). Let cool and store in an air tight container. Should be good for 3-4 weeks.

2014 Kansas City Marathon Recap

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I’m still on a major runner’s high from my third marathon and first time running the KC Marathon course!

Let’s start from the beginning:

I woke up at my usual pre-race time of 4:30 a.m. I immediately threw on my race clothes and made a small bowl of oatmeal with a generous spoonful of peanut butter and half a banana. Once that settled, it was about 5:30 a.m. and I hitched a ride with my mom to the start line. The race starts in downtown KC, at the Crown Center shopping center. Arriving an hour before the race, we had plenty of time to park, and¬†meet-up with the Runner’s Edge smart pacing team. My mom was pacing the half marathon, so I decided to hang out with the team before heading to the start.

At 6:50 a.m. I hopped into the corral, along with 11,000 others (only about 3,000 doing the full). Spur of the moment I decided to join the 4:30 pace group with the mission to keep them in sight. This was my first time really running with a goal time. I finished my first marathon in 2011 (Chicago) in 5:07 and my second in 2013 (Twin Cities) in 5:26. Although I noticed my pace picking up quite a bit this training season, I really had no idea what my time would be this year. Theme of the race started here: trust your gut.

I stuck with the 4:30 pace group through mile 6. When I realized I my legs felt really good Рrelaxed, comfortable РI decided to push it a little more and moved ahead of the pace group. Once the sun came out, the weather was perfect Р50 & sunny Рand the roads started to thin out a bit, allowing longer strides and room to zone out.

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Miles 6 – 13, although hilly, went by really quickly. I settled into a 9:45 min pace and enjoyed running the streets of my favorite Kansas City neighborhoods.

Miles 13 – 20 were flatter, mostly through streets I trained on so I always knew what was coming up next. Slowed down to a 10 min pace, with a slight pain in my hips starting around mile 18 (ugh!).

The last 6.2 miles were hard. I wanted to walk but knew my pace was on target to finish under 4:30, so I pushed it as hard as I could. These were also the lonlieness miles, with only a handful of marathoners around me. I really appreciated the energy from the aid stations!

Finish: 4:23!

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I still can’t believe I shaved 45 min. off my PR!! I am really proud of my training, and everything came into place at the right time. So glad I signed-up for this race, and for trusting my instinct to challenge myself to stay with¬†the 4:30 pace group at the beginning. Can’t wait to run this race¬†again!

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(Negative splits!?!)

Post-race festivities included an ice bath, chocolate milk, and a celebratory burger + beer + frozen custard dinner ūüôā

Go big or go home applies to the whole day right?

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marathon training: three weeks to go!

Peak week has come and gone, and the home stretch to the 2014 KC Marathon is finally here!

When I signed-up for the marathon in May, I was only about 30% confident that i’d actually have a successful training season. In the back of my head I kept saying “I could always drop down to the half…”

Alas, I’ve kept up with the mileage — and even more surprisingly — i’ve really enjoyed training for the race. I’ve introduced strength training and speed work, and have remained stress & injury free. I feel more ready for the marathon than I have for any race in the past, and I can’t wait to see what I can do Saturday, Oct. 18!

This Week’s¬†Recap

  • Monday – Barre Intensity Fusion Class
  • Tuesday – Fusion Mix Class
  • Wednesday – OFF
  • Thursday – 6 Mile Run
  • Friday – Sweat Lab Fusion Class
  • Saturday – 20 Mile Run
  • Sunday – 10 Mile Run + Yoga Class

Total: 36 miles

Fuel: Handfuls of these!

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