Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Gluten Free Cornbread

Tomorrow is officially the first day of Fall, which brings football, hot apple cider, cooler mornings, falling leaves, Halloween, chili and cornbread!

We had our first bowl of chili last night and my kids love when I make homemade cornbread. This recipe is easy and quick to whip up, plus it is absolutely delicious! It is even great for a snack the next day or pop it into school lunches for an extra treat.

I have been sticking to a wheat free, non inflammatory diet, while waiting for my foot to heal. The great news is that my foot is almost 100% healed! I am now running short, easy runs and still not suffering from any pain after the run is finished. The road is clear for me to begin slowly training again and I am super pumped about the future!

Alright, for now let's get to the good stuff! 







I love that this cornbread is loaded with great, healthy ingredients - real butter, honey (instead of white sugar), almond flour instead of white flour. The final product is light, fluffy and downright addicting. An entire pan is GONE in one evening... :)


Gluten Free Cornbread
By: Natrunsfar

Ingredients

1 Cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 Cup Almond Flour
1/4 cup honey
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup almond milk
1/3 Cup melted butter
1 Large egg 

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F, lightly prepare your baking pan (you can coat the bottom with olive oil or butter) and begin melting the butter.

In one medium bowl, combine cornmeal, almond flour, honey, baking powder and salt. 

In another medium bowl, combine melted butter, almond milk and egg.

Add milk mixture to flour mixture. Stir just until blended (do not overstir!) and pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 20 minutes, cool for 5 minutes and serve.






Enjoy and Happy Fall!!!

Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie

Friday, September 9, 2016

It's Friday + A Good Week Of Running!

Hey friends,
Happy Friday, Happy September!

Two of my kiddos started school this week and it truly hit me that they are really growing up. As we kissed our 4th grade son and 1st grade daughter on Tuesday morning and sent them on their way, I felt like my heart would burst open. They were just babes in my arms and now they are entrenched in elementary school making friends, plowing through homework and playing sports. I feel thankful that our "baby" is just three years old and her biggest mission is getting everyone to cook in her kitchen and play family. She begins a new year of preschool next week and I find myself holding onto her and yet happy that she loves school and her friends so much. Those chubby legs, sweet smell and tiny hands still have my heart and here it is: I am hands down crazy about my kids.






Running is finally going well again (fingers crossed) - I have been running slowly last week and this week. This week consisted of running one day and then cross training or resting the next day. Conservative is the name of the game - I am not taking any chances of irritating my foot again. I can't even begin to tell you how heavenly it is to wake up in the morning and walk across the room without pain. I walk around all day without pain and running has been completely pain free thus far.
My mind definitely wonders about my fall racing season - will anything come together? I am at peace with whatever God has planned for me.
I am estatic about flying to Vermont (one of my dream trips = Vermont in the Fall) in a few weeks to attend Rise.Run.Retreat. A long weekend with the most incredible women runners, in a beautiful setting with laughter, running and food - I cannot wait.
One of the highlights of the retreat is running the Leaf Peepers Half Marathon. At this point I have zero idea if I will be able to even jog 13 miles, so we'll have to see where these next couple of weeks take me and I'll keep you posted on the progress.






CIM was and is my goal marathon for the Fall. It is three months away or 13 weeks from Sunday. Again, I will have to play the wait and see game on this. So much to think about as the race is getting down to the last 500 entries and I haven't officially signed up yet - there was just too much uncertainty. I think if can get into a groove and my foot cooperates, I can train well in the coming weeks, but also I am just not the type of runner who can go into a marathon grossly undertrained. If I don't run CIM then that leaves me open marathon wise until Boston in April. I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be bummed if that was the case, but I have learned you just have to roll with the punches. I would have tons of time to get super fit and fast for Boston - I want to whittle away on a kick butt 5K and half marathon time. I focused a lot on the half last year and I am mentally ready for a big breakthrough on that distance but I haven't raced a 5K in a long time.
In the meantime, I have to say it's been cool to be on the sidelines and cheer for a lot of friends who are training and racing + absolutely killing it in their training. I had so many people supporting me last year on my journey and it's nice to give back that support. We all have our time to flourish and the path for each runner is unique and special.

Okay, wow - that was a mouthful!

Here are a few things that I am loving this week:






I loved this story and the movie looks amazing.


The 50 best running cities!! LA came in at #15 and San Francisco at #1!! Jerold is from the Bay and let me tell you - he is a Nor Cal boy through and through, so he raised his eyebrows and was super happy about this. #teamsanfrancisco


Don't forget I am giving away a Pro Massager from Myo Buddy!! Monday is the last day for entries!!

I am looking forward to a great weekend of running!!! I hope you guys get out and enjoy these last summer days of running and hanging out too.


Have a wonderful weekend.

What are you loving this week? I'd love to hear!!

What fall races are you training/planning for?


Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie








Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Myo Buddy Pro Massager Review and GIVEAWAY!


Note: I was sent a Myo Buddy Pro Massager to use in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.



Running and massage are  like peanut butter and jelly, a cobbler and his shoes, rainbows and a pot of gold. They just go so well together...

After a long run or race, nothing feels better than a massage to soothe our muscles and it is an important component to recovery as well.
Wouldn't it be nice to have the benefit of massage without leaving your house?







I have been searching for a way to benefit from a massage in between the times that I visit the massage therapist. My therapist has recommended that I come once a week - which can be expensive and hard to make time to take two hours away from home every week.

In July, I was introduced to the Myo Buddy Pro Massager and it appeared to be a solid product that I was curious to try. I don't feature a lot of products on my blog unless I am sure they are worth talking to you guys about and I am excited about this tool.


Check out my video review of the Myo Buddy Pro Massager!






Simple, easy to use and transport. I appreciate the three levels of pressure, based on how deep of a massage you would like. I have also used the Pro Massager BEFORE a run or workout to loosen my muscles or any cranky areas.  

The two different covers are super helpful, if you just need a light massage with your clothes on (white cover) or a deeper massage with lotion or oil (blue cover). I like the comfortable handle which makes it easy for self massage on a daily basis. Another great feature is the extra long 12 foot cord, which is great for plugging in and using it across the room.


One lucky reader will WIN the Myo Buddy Pro Massager!! Are you following me on Instagram? Click on over to my account and enter for your chance to win (worth $399.00!)!!

I'm also offering a $50.00 coupon code and free shipping.  Use NatRuns16 at checkout to get the discount.







As time goes on and I keep cranking away on running and fitness (I have rediscovered a love for swimming), the more tools I use to strengthen, exercise and recover. This has been added as one of my go to tools and I hope you get a chance to try it also.


How often do you get a massage?


Happiness Is Running Life!

xo,
Natalie
































Friday, August 26, 2016

Life Lately + How Much Do We Rely On Running For Happiness?

Unbelievable that it is the last Friday in August, right? My kiddos are out of school until after Labor Day, so we are enjoying every last drop of summer. 
I have had so much fun with them and we have created some really wonderful, unforgettable memories together. Then there are moments that I feel like my bag of tricks is empty, I don't have any more fun game ideas or wild excursions, and I'm ready to hunt down a 17 year girl and beg her to play with my kids.

Blogging this summer hasn't been as robust as I would love it to be. I start a post and then suddenly there is a little person that needs something NOW MOMMY. 
Nighttime rolls around and exhaustion sets in so deep that I can't imagine writing a coherent sentence.


After dinner serenity



I am also still dealing with the crazy plantar fasciitis. My doctor told me two months ago that it was an acute case. An injury that I needed to treat constantly and give it time. I didn't like hearing that in the least, but I knew that I had to listen - ha, my foot made me listen.
I canceled a September marathon, and settled in for what I thought would be a few weeks. Surely, it wouldn't last longer than that?
Three months later and here I am, still battling and there have been times that I think it got the best of me. There have been moments of sadness, moments of frustration, moments of (yes) tears.
Why am I going through another entire summer of injury? I think to myself.

I realize that God doesn't give me more than I can bear, but I kinda need a break here God. Although, who am I to dictate how much is too much?
Jerold and I were talking the other night, and thank goodness my husband doesn't mind me constantly talking about my foot or some aspect of not running. Anyway, I asked him "Do you think I base too much of my happiness around running?"
His answer? "You should blog about it, I think it'll make you feel better and maybe it'll help someone else."
I will clarify and say that my kids and husband make me immensely happy, it's just that running makes me happy in a different way.


Happiness times a million, but I miss running.



I do feel super blessed to have such amazing friends - people like my friend Tina, who I had a chance to talk to on the phone the other week. We have never met, and yet it was like we've known each other forever. She was so kind and incredibly helpful - I hung up feeling refreshed and ready to face anything.

And my sweet friend Jen, who graciously offered to fly to Sacramento and run the last 12 miles of CIM with me to help chase a PR. I just need to start training :)

And my coach, who is always there - planning and helping me achieve whatever I want to achieve.

I have another round of acupuncture tomorrow morning and my foot is feeling so much better this week.
Better after taking 4 weeks off completely, going on vacation (three National parks in the most stunning locations. Happy Birthday to the National Park Service! Separate post coming on our trip.) and running slowly. Four miles at first, five at the most - and then realizing that my foot was angry with me. Again.
We got back from our trip the first week in August, I tried more running and then decided to take additional time off. I even took a few days off from all exercise - just total rest. Swimming (and pool running) are becoming my go to workout for now and I am working on getting stronger in that area.

Saturday, Jerold and I had a fun date night! A party thrown by my friend Leslie (an amazing runner) and she knows how to throw a party. We had so much fun! Tons of food, a live band, followed by a DJ - say what? There is nothing like partying with a bunch of runners and triathletes - we were all talking about what we love, running.


Everyone had to dress in white!



Sunday was the men's marathon (Go Galen, Jared and Meb!) and as I woke up at 5 am, I realized that dancing, (yes dancing - even in my Birkenstocks!) made my foot so angry. Ugh...
So, the rest of this week was filled with cross training and rest. I am hoping to run on Monday and I am going to take it like a serious beginner - 2 minutes of running, 1 minute of rest and so on for two miles. IF that goes well, I will do the same on Tuesday. Fingers crossed.


I am not giving up yet on racing CIM the first weekend in December, so we'll see where the cards fall.

Boston registration is coming up in the next few weeks and that is always exciting! 

Happy weekend my friends and happy running (run some miles for me, will ya?)

Happiness Is Running Life.


Anything fun planned this weekend? Do tell!

How much does not running affect your mood?


xo,
Natalie




Monday, August 15, 2016

Brooks Ghost 9 Review

I have been a huge fan of Brooks running shoes for a long time. I have tried many different models of Brooks running shoes and settled into the Ghost 7 a couple of years ago. The shoes ended up becoming my best friend - long training runs on trails or pavement, speed sessions on the track, tempo runs on the road. I truly felt excited to lace up those babies and take them for a run. After knee surgery, they were literally my comeback shoe.

Then suddenly, just like that - they were gone. Poof. Discontinued. 
What? How can that be possible? I simply couldn't imagine running in another shoe. Right before the Boston Marathon this year, I bought a few pair to stock up (there was no way I would be switching shoes before Boston) and they lasted me for a good while.


This summer, I finally had to make a decision - what shoe would take me down the road this time?



Elevate your happy




I took a trip to a local running store (LA friends - Top to Top running store in Santa Monica is THE BEST! They love the sport of running and they will truly go out of their way to help you find the best shoe. You can also try a shoe for seven days, and if you don't like it, you can return it. That to me is priceless.)

I walked out that day with a shiny new pair of Ghost 9's in my hand, and I couldn't wait to give them a try.


Stats:

The Brooks Ghost 9 is a neutral shoe, has a 12 mm midsole drop, and weighs 9.1 ounces


Things I love about this shoe:

- Wide toe box. 
The toe box on the Ghost 9 is wider than the Ghost 7 and wider than any other running shoe I have ever experienced. It felt a bit strange at first, but I quickly got used to the extra room for my feet.
There is so much room for your toes to move and the mesh fiber is extremely breathable to keep your feet cool and happy.





- Excellent heel cushioning
The feeling is like running on a firm cloud. A nice amount of cushioning, but not squishy or too soft. My feet and legs feel protected in this shoe for long runs, yet I know I could run a fast tempo in this shoe.


- Midsole drop
I have come to realize that a higher heel to toe drop is a better choice for me. Especially as I am dealing with the tail end of Plantar Fasciitis, a shoe that puts less strain on my plantar and achilles is better for my foot. That said, it is very important to work on the strength and flexibility in your feet and legs.

Check out THIS article on finding your sweet spot. :)


If you need a neutral shoe with a higher heel to toe drop, I would highly recommend this shoe!

**I purchased this shoe and all opinions are my own.


What type of shoe do you like to run in?



Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie


















Friday, August 12, 2016

Tips For Eating Healthy On A Road Trip

Hey Friends,
Happy Friday and happy start to the weekend!

Are you totally immersed in the Olympics? There is so much to be excited about, all I want to do is curl up on the couch and be inspired by all of the athletes. Need a schedule of the track and field coverage? Go HERE and check it out.

For many people, August is still a huge summer month, (my kids don't go back to school until after Labor Day) with lots of long evenings and fun trips on the agenda.
Even if your kids are back to school, many families still take time for weekends away to enjoy short vacations and soak up the last rays of summer.

Going on a road trip doesn't have to mean stops at McDonald's or questionable road side food.
With a bit of easy planning, you can eat healthy on the road!







Our family took a road trip this summer to visit three National Parks (2016 is the 100th anniversary of the US National Parks!). We visited Bryce Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Zion Canyon National Park. It was our longest road trip ever with kids and we knew that healthy eating was extremely important. I was in the beginning of marathon training and wanted to have healthy choices available for fuel. Not to say our family doesn't have fun! We love ice cream and fun desserts, but for the most part we enjoy eating super healthy. The challenge for me was how to feed everyone well while we were on the road.


1.  Make A List Of Food Ideas The Week Before

I was feeling really busy with laundry and packing, so it was important that I had a list of what everyone wanted to eat. I felt like I was more organized for this trip that I am for regular grocery shopping!



2.  PLAN AND PREP

We were so blessed to have my Mom with us on our trip and I am always so grateful to have quality time with her. The two of us put our heads together and planned (we needed enough food for breakfast and lunch for the trip to our first stop in Utah)...


- A large cooler with ice

- Plenty of bottled water

- Tons of fresh fruit (to feed 6 people)

- Grilled chicken

- Roasted squash

- Roasted asparagus

- Hard boiled eggs

- Turkey bacon (look for the brands without nitrates)

- Kale salad (ready made from Whole Foods)

- Individual containers of yogurt

- Popcorn

- Snap Pea Crisps (Trader Joes)

- Dark Chocolate (healthier than milk chocolate)

- Plates, utensils, napkins, cups


The evening before we left, we grilled and cooked all of the food. It was easy, because everything would be good to eat whether it was hot or cold.

For example - for breakfast on the road we had hard boiled eggs, turkey bacon and fruit. We also brought yogurt. The kids loved eating on the road and everyone felt satisfied.


Lots of fresh fruit to snack on!



3. Keep It Fun!

The important thing was to have FUN. This was vacation after all and I wanted the kids to have a blast. I made sure they had treats like dark chocolate and chewing gum (they never have gum and they LOVED it).


4. Don't Sweat The Small Stuff

If you forget something, don't worry about it. There is bound to be a small market along the way, or wait until you are passing through a city to stop at Wal Mart or Target to pick up extra supplies.





Are you following me on Instagram? You can check out some of the highlights of our trip there.


So many people have asked me: "How was it embarking on a roadtrip with three kids?!"

My answer? It was WONDERFUL. The memories we made will truly last a lifetime. It was great to show our kids part of the United States by car instead of always flying on a plane.

Lastly, as an athlete and a Mom, it was great to model for my kids that you can make healthy eating choices, even on the road.


Have you ever taken a long roadtrip? Where did you go?

What do you like to snack on in the car?


Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie








Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Running and Safety

*** I had a completely different post lined up for today, but in light of recent events, I felt compelled to talk about this vital topic.


I remember like it was yesterday. On April 15th, 2013, I was holding my third baby - who was then two and half months old, and watching the Boston Marathon on TV. 
When they broadcast the news of the horrific events that hurt and killed runners, it really hit home for me. All I could think about was: "Not the running community. Please, make it stop."

Now it has happened again. Three young, beautiful, innocent women whose lives were suddenly taken while doing something they loved. 

Running.

Running is something that each of us love for so many reasons: therapy, exercise, the feeling of freedom as you lace up your shoes and hit the trail or road.
It becomes a habit, a joyful feeling and you certainly never think that you may not return home to your family.

This has hit the running community hard - can't you feel it? As a female runner, I geninuely felt scared yesterday. I feel scared today.
I won't let the fear stop me from doing what I love, but it does give me pause.


Am I taking the proper precautions when I am out on the road?








Here are 6 Tips we all need to follow to stay safe on the road:


1. Ditch the headphones. Just don't. Have. Them.
I know we talk about keeping one bud in your ear and one out, but honestly - that's not enough. Think about it. When a good song comes on and you are really immersed in it, you take away an extra sense you need to be aware of your surroundings. I only listen to music on the treadmill. Period.


2. Let someone know where you are running. There are apps (my husband uses Find my Friend) you can use to track your route, which is even better - because haven't we all changed our mind about which way to run?


3. This is important. Someone should know what your are WEARING when you leave for a run. Think about it - it'll make it easier for police to find you if they know what you are wearing (she had on a red shirt...).


4. Remember - early mornings can be just as unsafe as evening runs. A lot of times we talk about the danger of running in the evening, but early morning runs can be just as dangerous. 
It is usually still dark, there aren't a lot of people out and if you run every morning, it can be easy to track your pattern. Don't be a target.


5. Find a group to run with. 
I know this is hard for a lot of runners due to schedules, etc. 
I live near a lot of trails and the number one thing that I hear from other runners is DON'T run a trail alone. Another idea is to have a friend or family member bike with you on weekend long runs. My husband will bike with me when I start logging long runs during marathon training. Yes, it can be hard to arrange a baby sitter. Sometimes, he simply brings the kids and drives in the car to meet me at different points. Other times, we ask my Mom or a sitter to be with our kids. Safety comes first.
If those options don't work for you, at least bring your cell phone and practice #6...


6. Purchase Road ID AND bring a form of protection. A horn, pepper spray, or THIS new device.
I also think a self defense class is an excellent way to learn about protection.


For those of us on social media: Be careful what you post. As much as I love blogging about running and engaging with the running community, we all need to be safe. You never know who is tracking or watching you.
Don't post where you are running, never run the same routes at the same times and mix it up! Some days, I will drive someplace totally new to run. No one should be able to predict where you will be running.


An interesting way to think of it is equating running safety to hiking in bear country. There are signs everywhere telling hikers to run with groups of three or more people, carry bear spray and make a lot of noise.

Sounds a lot like what we should be doing as runners.






Let's all be safe out there, friends.


Happiness Is Running Life.

xo,
Natalie