Monthly Archives: January 2015

A Little Bit Of Everything This Week

A busy, hectic week! Monday was MLK Jr. Holiday, so that meant a four day week. However, that four day week felt like forever.

Let me share my week in review!

Monday Day Running and a Hike through My Backyard

Love Nature! Running and Hiking!

Loved hiking after my 5 mile run Monday! Nature reminds us to close our eyes and breathe deeply!

Nature:

  • The joy of playing outside,
  • exploring nature at any age,
  • fresh, natural exercise
  • opportunities,
  • adventure,
  • Nature reminds us to keep an open mind!

Then, the work week started! Tons of coffee and hot lemon water kept me going each morning! 

Starting my day with hot lemon water warms my body and the lemon gets me energized!  Southern Maryland winters are really just cold and rainy, but I enjoy hot beverages each morning on the way to work!

My favorite coffee and almond milk creamer!

My favorite coffee and almond milk creamer!

Middle School Science Homework and Running

The middle of the week consisted of an evening devoted to science homework with my redhead! She is currently in 8th grade!  The homework topic was – “How does the potential and kinetic energy (mechanical energy) change to thermal energy in a Roller Coaster Ride?”  The science homework led my thoughts to running and wondering how runners use potential energy during sprinting and long distance running!  I’m not an expert scientist, but googling, the potential energy of runners did lead to some interesting articles and graphics!  Interesting, scientific thoughts on running found HERE

Running Stride and Kinetic/Potential Energy

Running Stride and Kinetic/Potential Energy

Running and Teaching-Interwoven

As a runner, I always find myself comparing life to running.  Running creates life lessons.  Running teaches us faith, determination, perseverance and pure grit! I feel that running helps me to be a better teacher in the classroom.  In class, I’m teaching my students to stay focused and engaged.  On the road, running, I’m apply those same goals of focus and engagement!

Core Strength Workout at the Gym

Core Strength Workout at the Gym

Despite a busy week of homework and lesson planning, I did make time for the gym!  Focusing on more core fitness workouts! My personal trainer session two weeks ago was very informative! I’m continuing to work on building strength in my hips, glutes and lower legs!

Thursday:

2 mile treadmill run

  • 2 sets of 20 kettle bell squats
  • 2 sets of 15 Bosu ball – hand to elbow planks
  • 2 sets of squats with 12 pound workout ball
  • 2 sets of 15 leg presses on machine with 20 pound weights

Currently Reading and What’s By My Bedside:

Bedside Essentials!

Bedside Essentials!

I am currently reading, Quick Strength for Runners by Jeff Horowitz.  It is a great, informative book with lots of photos geared towards understanding the muscles of the body and how they relate to running.  The book also has tons of photos related to numerous strength training workouts! The book is broken into sections on Standing and Weighted Exercises, as well as, Floor Exercises. Thanks to Sue, who blogs over at This Mama Runs For Cupcakes, for the book suggestion on her website!

The current issue of, Running Times, magazine has a great article on building your connective tissue to run stronger and avoid injury!  Love the page, in this magazine, on using resistance band routines for training connective tissue! 

Running Injury Free in 2015

Running Injury Free in 2015

Topical Ointments for Muscles and Tendons:

  • Willow Balm -Natures Topical Aspirin
    Features white willow bark and helichrysum as active ingredients
  • Power Flex Pain Relief Cream {muscle and joint pain, arthritis, tendonitis, sprains, strains and backache}

I love ordering the above items, off of AMAZON!

What are you currently reading related to running?  Do you use topical pain relief creams for muscle and tendon soreness?  Does the science behind running interest you ?

Organized Kitchen For Meal Planning and Weekly Recap

Wow!!  The first two weeks back to school and teaching 3rd grade flew by so quickly.  I barely had time to catch my breath!  These last two weeks back to school were a bit exhausting though, following the two week winter break.  I was reminded of how important it is to me, that I stay focused on healthy, whole foods and minimize my need to reach for processed junk! Healthy, whole foods give my more sustained energy for the long school days!

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early, to make my monthly trip to Annapolis for groceries from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.  I live an hour and a half away from Annapolis and Washington, DC.  Once a month shopping keeps me on track and on budget.  I also enjoy the “me time” to wander around the markets and sample all the new and healthy food products!

Whole Foods Whole Living

Saturday at Whole Foods Market! I love all the healthy and unique food samples!

Weekly meal planning, sometimes requires a bit of maintenance.  So,  before I could really map out my week of meals, I cleaned and organized my fridge and freezer.

I love using labeled ziplock bags and glass jars with lids to store dried grains and cooked beans. I spent time on Saturday cooking and then dividing up chick peas and white beans into glass jars for the fridge and labeled ziplock bags for the freezer.  

Cleaning out and organizing helps me to see what I have in stock and make everything “easy to reach”! When whole, natural foods are within easy reach, your more likely to make good food choices! strong>

Fridge and Freezer Makeover

Organizing the fridge to maximize healthy choices!

I have an obsession with glass jars! I food prep and store ingredients in glass jars in my fridge for the week! Having an assortment of cooked beans, brown rice or quinoa and veggies makes it easy to toss together healthy meals! 

Glass Jars for my cooked brown rice, edamame, chick peas and cannellini beans

Glass Jars for my cooked brown rice, edamame, chick peas and cannellini beans

Weekly Meal Planning Link Up with Mommy Run Fast this week! Also, check out the wonderful blogs of Happy Fit Mamaand Jill Conyers!

  • Sunday- Chicken Enchilada Soup {Love This Easy Soup Starter Mix}
  • Monday-Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie with Smashed Cauliflower and Sauteed Mixed Baby Greens
  • Tuesday-Red Lentil and Black Bean Stew from Runner’s World Cook Book
  • Wednesday- Baked Potatoes with Broccoli
  • Thursday/Friday- Roast Beef Minestrone Soup {Another Easy Soup Starter Mix}

Last Week Workout Recap: Focusing on my goal of core fitness, strengthening my hips/glutes! 

Monday- Rest Day

Tuesday- Rest Day

Wednesday- Snow Day and Running {4.5 Miles}

Thursday- Hour long Core Fitness Session with Personal Trainer {Read About it HERE

Friday- Easy 3 mile Run

Saturday- Yoga and stretching, really focusing on improving my balance! The goal is improved foot stability and hip/glute strength leading to more efficient running!

What are you targeting in your fitness routine to become a stronger runner?  How do you organize and prep for weekly meal planning? 

Nutritious Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

Healthy, Delicious Blueberry Muffins

Healthy, Delicious Blueberry Muffins

Recently, a friend of mine, that I teach with at school, mentioned wanting a healthy breakfast muffin!  We are both teachers, so breakfast has to be fast, healthy and filling!  Busy schedules require a healthy breakfast to keep the body fueled and energized!

This recipe is full of goodness for nourishing the body and getting the day off to a great start! There are three types of gluten free flour in this recipe!

Oat Flour- {Gluten free Whole Grain Oats}

Coconut Flour- {High in fiber and low in easy-to-digest carbs} 

Almond Meal Flour-{A huge boost of protein}

My favorite brand of flour is Bob’s Red Mill. I use all organic ingredients and locally sourced eggs!

Recipe: Preheat Oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tin with large paper baking cups! 

Recipe Yeilds 12 muffins {These muffins are denser and don’t bake up fluffy like you would expect with traditional All-Purpose Flour}

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Oat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Coconut Flour
  • 1 cup of Almond Meal flour
  • 1 tsp of sea salt
  • 2 tsp of baking powder

Wet/Liquid Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups of Almond Milk { Prefer Califia Farms}
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons canola oil

1 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries! 

Directions: Mix all dry ingredients together. Mix all wet ingredients together. Combine the two mixtures into one large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined.  Gently fold in blueberries to the batter! I use an electric hand mixer. Scoop mixture into muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes! 

Enjoy- Kara {MaineGirl2Runs}

Winter Running: My Favorite Layers and Gear

Last Wednesday, southern Maryland temperatures were hovering around 28 degrees. Schools were closed due to icy conditions and an inch or two of snow in the ground.

So, . . . what’s a teacher doing on a snow day? Running of course! I happily pulled on my new winter running gear! 4.5 beautiful miles and I was toasty warm!

2015/01/img_2736.jpg

Winter Running is my favorite season! I love the cold temperatures and snowy backdrops! Wearing the right layers and material can make winter running really enjoyable!

Favorite Winter Running Gear

Favorite Winter Running Gear

Having the layers to keep me warm and comfortable keeps me Motivated to Run during the Cold Winter Months! 

  • Blue Under Armour Cold Gear Long Sleeve
  • Lucy Active Wear “Run Your Heart Out” Long Sleeve
  • Lucy Active WearWinter Warrior Tight
  • Balega Wool Crew Socks or Swift Wick Wool Crew Socks
  • {The SwiftWick Pursuit Two socks are compression and made with merino wool}
  • Lucy Active Wear Gloves
  • Under Armour Purple Beanie

I purchase moisture wicking layers that have a mix of material conducive to keeping in the warmth during cold winter runs.  A base layer with merino wool is ideal! Look for a mix of synthetic material, including polyester and Lycra. Cotton material will not wick away moisture and keep you warm.

**Stand By Winter Running Layers for When It’s Really Cold**

  • Lululemon long sleeve “Run For Gold” 
  • Brooks Purple Thermal Zip Up Hoodie
  • Lululemon Black Wide Hooded Jacket
Brooks Purple Thermal Hoodie and Lululemon Zip Up Jacket

Brooks Purple Thermal Hoodie and Lululemon Zip Up Jacket

How Do You Layer and Keep Warm During Winter Running Season? What keeps you motivated to run outside during cold winter months? 

My First Time Experience with a Personal Trainer

Okay! So for years, I’ve never considered myself a girl that goes to the gym. Every now and then, I’ll sign up for a Body Flow or Spin class, but I never go to the gym to do any type of circuit training. I never even knew which equipment to use and how to use it! I felt so cliche signing up for a gym membership in the first week of January. The lure of unlimited spin classes, body flow and pilates pulled me in to sign up!

So, the new gym membership gave me two free personal trainer sessions! I had no expectations, other then learning a few new workouts to add to my core and strength training routine. My biggest goal going into the 2015 running and racing season is to improve the strength and balance in my core. These steps will lead to more efficient running and strengthen my core to prevent injuries!

The personal trainer at my local gym was very easy and encouraging! She spent an hour going through seven workout routines with me! I worked up a sweat!

image

Bosu Ball

Bosu Ball

The Hour Long Session Included- 3 Sets of 15-20 Reps of Each:

  • Squat to Overhead Press with 12LB Ball
  • Kettle Bell Swing with Squat
  • Pop Squats- Arms Straight Back as You Expolde Up
  • Bosu Ball Planks- Elbow to Hands
  • Red Band-Crossed Over, Two Steps to Each Side
  • Machine: Cable Squat with 17.5 pounds
  • Machine: Leg Press 30 Lbs

 

12 Lb ball and Kettle Bell

12 Lb ball and Kettle Bell

 

The hour long session was very beneficial.  I walked away with a solid set of “new-to-me” exercises to use as part of my core strengthening routine, at home or at the gym! The personal trainer also recommended Tabata workouts, which are 4 minutes-20 seconds hard with a 10 second break.  Along with Frog Jump Squats and the Pop Up Squats, Tabata workouts may improve sprinting during running. I’m excited to continue this workout routine 2x a week! 

Have you ever used a personal trainer? Did you learn anything new? Was it beneficial? 

 

Meal Planning and Healthy Choices: Throw Back Thursday

Wow!  A year ago this month and this is how I was meal planning!  Sharing this post  again, because this is exactly how I am still “Meal Planning” and Grocery Shopping, one year later!  The emphasis is on organization and healthy choices to create a healthy lifestyle.

Originally Posted On January 5th, 2014!

Almost eight years ago, I began to take a closer look at the contents of my kitchen.  I became more aware of packaging and labels on everything I was purchasing for my fridge and pantry.  Reading labels allowed me to really think about each ingredient and hidden junk that is in so much food.  I became more critically aware of lists of ingredients that went on for two paragraphs.  Reading labels also led me to researching and understanding the companies behind the labels and brands.  These realizations started me down the path that I’m still continuing today.  I shop carefully, once a month, at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s.  I also piece in other items from my locally owned health food market.  

     Being able to grocery shop once a month requires a little planning, organization and time for prepping ingredients.  The work I put in once a month is worth it!  I’m a mother to one twelve year old daughter( my redhead), a runner, 3rd grade teacher, and wife.  Setting aside one weekend a month to shop saves me from shopping too often and relying on fast food.  I love having fresh, healthy and natural choices ready at a moment’s notice.

    It’s important to shop with well made reusable and insulated bags.  I drive an hour and a half to Annapolis to do most of my shopping.  The bags are packed with bagged ice or freezer packs from Whole Foods.  It’s much easier to shop for perishables in the winter months.  During the summer months I buy nothing frozen.  I carefully pack everything and put the A/C on high!!

Each month I restock my fridge with staples:

– lemons

– pink lady apples

– StonyField Farm or Organic Valley Whole Milk

– Califia Farms Almond milk

– Local eggs or Organic Valley Eggs

-blocks of organic cheddar

– Organic White Bread

– Bagels

Produce is key to healthy meals and snacks:

** I love the packaged produce from Trader Joe’s.  I buy natural and organic produce and when possible I buy locally.  The packaged produce is usually pre washed and chopped.  It does help with my busy “mom/wife duties” and teaching schedule.**

I also love Earthbound packaged produce.

Currently Stocked Fresh Produce: 

– baby spinach

-Kale ( Trader Joe’s Organic)

-Fennel bulbs

– Whole fresh carrots

-Fresh cut cremini mushrooms

– Fresh head of cauliflower

– tons of shallots

– large amounts of garlic bulbs

***On the counter -4 bunches of bananas***

– organic celery hearts

– seedless cucumbers

Frozen Produce: Multiple Packages

– Broccoli florets

– corn

-edamame

– sliced artichokes (Trader Joe’s)!!

-frozen fruit- blueberries ( picked over the summer in Maine), pineapple chunks, cherries

Also, in the freezer:

– Bell and Evans Organic Bonless Skinless Chicken Thighs (numerous packages)

– Boston Butt Pork Shoulder

– Nitrate and preservative free Bacon

– ground Turkey

-Bell and Evans Whole Chickens

Pantry Staples:

– Jars of Organic Tomato Basil and Puttanesca Sauce

– dried chick peas

-dried black beans

– various dried organic pasta

-Trader Joe’s albacore tuna in olive oil

– green and black pitted olives

– packages of almonds and peanuts

– jars of Trader Joe’s Artichoke pesto and Salsa

– Bottles of Cold Pressed Olive oil and Grape Seed oil

– Organic Brown rice

     This post highlights the items in my “well stocked” kitchen.  With these items on hand I’m always able to create healthy breakfasts, lunches, snacks and dinners.  

I spend time on Sundays preparing and packaging food for the week. I usually roast most of my fresh veggies with sea salt and olive oil on a baking sheet.  This allows me to have them ready for any dish! I buy my beans in bulk, then soak and cook them to place in containers or freezer bags.

 I am fortunate to have a Vitamix Pro 750.  I makes tons of homemade hummus, nut butters and blended juices/smoothies.

Important Tips:

– shop for all dry and non perishable items first

– Add in produce and refrigerated items

– finally, meat and frozen items

-Be sure to pack all “like” food together- it helps things to stay cold/frozen on the way home.

-Packing this way also makes it easier getting groceries inside the house and unpacked.

Last month I created a monthly menu.  It helped me to plan meals and it was great for letting my daughter and husband know “what’s for dinner?”!!

So. . . How does everyone else shop for groceries? Do you enjoy grocery shopping?  Any tips or advice to share?  What does meal planning and preparation look like at your house? This weekend I will share an update on what I am currently doing to make healthy choices!

Favorite Fitness Apps and Workouts

Busy schedules, location and general lack of resources sometimes have me searching for iPhone or android apps, as well as, online workouts.  I love to find quick, easy to follow workouts that I can do anywhere and anytime! Living so far from major metropolitan areas or well established towns really limits the level and choices of gyms and workout studios, including pilates and barre.

Southern Maryland

Southern Maryland: An Hour and Half away from Washington, DC and Annapolis, Maryland.

My favorite apps and workouts focus on core strengthing, balance and High Interval Intensity Workouts.  The following online workouts and apps require minimal equipment and I feel that these workouts are perfect for tight schedules and squeezing Fitness workouts in during travel too!

2 Pound Weights, Fitness Ball, Yoga Mat, and Thera Band

  2 Pound Weights, Fitness Ball, Yoga Mat, and Thera Band

My Quick 20 Minute Core Blitz

My Quick 20 Minute Core Blitz

Apps for Android or iPhone and Online Websites

    • Great 7 Minute Workout found here that Gives You 12 Exercises to be Performed in 7 Minutes (I love to do two or three cycles to give myself and 14 to 21 minute workout!  HIGH INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING
    • A great workout for working my Abdominal Muscles and Improving Core Strength can be found here
    •  Great Pilates Fitness App found here
    • Weekly trips to a yoga studio are tough, but I really enjoy this Yoga App found here

So, these are a few of my current favorites! Do you have any online Fitness websites or Apps to share?