Monday, September 25, 2017

10 Weeks Till CIM + 62.58 miles

I have to admit, September is not my favorite month of the year. Really don't want to be a Debbie Downer about the ninth month of the year, but right about mid August, I start to feel a little anxious. I'll have flashbacks of the summer, the time we still have left and the sort of dread of Labor Day. The start of school is a bit stressful - getting back on a rigid school routine, a little bit of mourning that the kids are getting older, absolute chaos of tons of school meetings and an overload of information. Pumpkin ads that I'm not ready for, Halloween costumes that seem too early to begin thinking about (it's not) and just rush, rush, rush. Somehow, when October rolls around - things seem to slow down a bit and everyone takes a deep breath that we are solidly immersed in Fall.
All this to say that I'm smiling with relief and joy that this is the last Monday in September...





CIM is 10 weeks away and the journey thus far has been really enjoyable. I'm loving all of the running and the sense of accomplishment that comes with each workout. Of course I love the easy runs too, I just zone out and enjoy the sunshine and the pure joy of moving my legs. Lots of stretching - every day is a dynamic warm up before the beginning of a run and taking the time post run to gently stretch and foam roll. My body thanks me every time...





Last week I had a solid block of training and I feel my body absorbing the miles without protest. I really notice when I don't drink enough water during the day - I feel sore and a bit irritable. I woke up on Saturday feeling really beat up and cranky - not enough water on Friday was the issue. Lesson learned... Goal this week: tons of water.


Monday September 18th - 4 easy miles. Again, this is always a recovery from the Sunday long run and an optional rest day. A nice and easy run feels good.

Tuesday September 19th - 7 miles. 

Wednesday September 20th - 2 mile warm up, 5 mile wave tempo, 2 mile cool down. Have you ever done a "wave tempo"? It's pretty fun - this one consisted of a change in pace each half mile. 6:55-7:05 pace for a half mile, then 6:23-6:35 for the next half mile and so on for five miles. I was happy that I kept it in the lower range - 6:55 and 6:25. It's interesting because at the end of the workout, 6:55 actually feels "easy". Five miles in 33.21

Thursday September 21st - 7 miles

Friday September 22nd - 10 oceanfront miles with 8 x :30 second pick ups.
This workout has become a regular staple in the marathon training and it feels good to put the speed into my sluggish legs. All pick ups were in the 5:40/5:45 pace range. #progress







Friday also marked the first day of Autumn! My latest article for Women's Running Magazine talks all about the joys of running in the Fall. You can read it HERE.






Saturday September 23rd - 7  miles. I love weekend miles. Another birthday party drop off and I was off to the beach to get in some miles and run back just in time to pick up Josh. Joyful multitasking.


Sunday September 24th - 18 miles. 18 miles is no joke - the mileage is starting to creep up and I'm focused on what to do on race day. I ran short of GU on this run and paid for it the last 5K. Ugh - that was tough and I felt like walking, but kept pushing myself with the 'ole, you only have 2.9 miles left... ;0
7:34 pace on this run and again, progress. I just have to take it one day at a time and treat my body nicely = lots of Monday recovery.

Post 18 miles!


Total miles: 62.58


I wish you guys a great week of running. 

If you believe it, you can achieve it. Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie


















Friday, September 22, 2017

Running Pro Tip + It's Not Always Easy

When we look at pictures of people running, many times it looks so easy and fun. Look at me - I'm running! Wow, isn't this field that I'm running effortlessly through breathtaking? How about this killer trail I'm about to climb - aren't I such a bad ass? Or how about this path right on the ocean that I am running on, with the wind whipping through my hair - isn't life ah-mazing?




I'm here to tell you - that is definitely not the whole story. As much as I truly love running, there are days when it's hard to push myself out the door. Sometimes I even successfully get my shoes on (the socks aren't always matching... oh and my running watch strap BROKE today), stumble out the door with my unwashed hair and circles under my eyes and yet still have the feeling that I'd rather be finished. What? I made it out the door and I want to stop before I've even begun?


Seriously?


I think about the one million tasks I have to accomplish, the sleep I lost when Megan got up in the middle of the night with a bad dream or the fact that I'd rather sit on my butt and have a cup of tea. 
For many runners, the first mile can be tough - your body isn't quite warmed up and you might feel a little awkward. New runners - don't give up! I promise you, the first mile (or two, or heck even three - let's keep it real) is tough for all of us, you just gotta plow through. The sweet spot is there waiting for you and even on the days that it doesn't come, you can still enjoy the sunshine...


Yeah, I was enjoying the sunshine alright. More like HEAT and are we done yet? #onemoremile


My pro tip for you - If you have five miles to run and the excitement isn't there - simply start moving your feet, one foot in front of the other...that's it. Bam - suddenly you only have 4.9 miles left to run. Mentally, there is something about only running 4.9 miles that seems doable. When your watch beeps to tell you that you've run one mile, normally you would think - I've got 4 more miles to go, right?
Nope, in your world right now - you have 3.9 miles left to go. Yep, that's all and then you're completely done. Keep tricking your mind until your body decides to cooperate.

How do you feel after five miles? If you're happy you did it, awesome! If you still feel crappy... don't worry, there's always tomorrow :)




Happy Weekend!

Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Stages Of Marathon Training + I Went To School In My Pajamas

Marathon training is such a strange thing. We love running so much that we willingly hit the road or trails every day, sweat profusely, add to our laundry load, increase our grocery list, and go through tons of shoes to get ready to run twenty six point two miles. It sounds crazy when you read it in print, am I right?






A typical marathon training schedule can be pretty long - typically from 12-18 weeks and that's a long time to be running toward a goal. I think in order to survive the chaos, you have to break it up in stages:

STAGE ONE:

Stage one usually goes like this: you've decided to run a marathon. Wow, this is such big deal - yay, you're such a crazy person STUD! It takes a lot of careful thought and consideration into choosing the right race. Will it be close to home, or are you going to travel?  Traveling is always fun and my son Josh has come up with a cool way for you to choose your next race...




Even if you don't go to a state capitol this is a fun way to see the US laid out and spark some travel ideas!

Will you coach yourself, select an online plan or hire a coach? Let me veer onto the coach subject for a moment: I highly recommend investing in a running coach for three reasons:

1. You don't have to overthink your training. When you hire a coach, they take on the job of carefully planning and crafting your training and races along the way to the goal race.
Make sure to do plenty of research on a short list of qualified and experienced coaches and set up time for a conversation (come with questions). You want to make the right choice as your coach becomes a part of your tribe.

2. It keeps you accountable. A coach will have you record your prescribed workouts in a daily log of some sort. It's really inspiring to look back over training after many months and see how far you've progressed. Plus, coaches aren't free - so you are commiting and investing into yourself and your training.

3. Someone with whom you can discuss your short + long term goals and plan accordingly. Bonus - you know they'll never get tired of talking to you about running!

Stage Two:

This second stage of training is all about consistency and patience. Log the miles, perform the hard workouts, get the long run done, do all the little things to stay healthy. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
At this stage, the race seems like forever away, and real life has to happen as well. Laundry to be done, food shopping and meal planning, going to work, and all the life stuff. Remind yourself every once in while that there is an end result coming. Oh, and don't forget to have a lot of fun along the way - you're doing this for fun, remember?

Running Is My Recess


Stage Three:

The taper is here, and it's almost time to race - but not so fast. Keep getting that critcial sleep and taper doesn't equal lazy. Keep on top of the workouts and cheer about the slightly reduced mileage and intensity.

Stage Four:

It's showtime! Time to celebrate all the hard work and have fun -you've earned it.

I'm solidly in stage two these days. Run, repeat, run, repeat - I love the predictibility of this. I have to confess... I hit snooze this morning, somehow the alarm didn't ring again and the next thing I knew, it was late. Not morning ruined late, but definitely - we've got to hustle our butts this morning without missing a beat. Yep, I threw a sweater over my pajamas and walked my daughter into preschool this morning. Someday, the kids and I are going to have a belly laugh over their crazy, marathon loving Mom.


Crazy mother runner trying to take a self timed running photo.


At least some of my zen rubs off on her. #yogagirl


Do awesome things.

xo,
Natalie

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Brooks Ghost 10 Review

Note: Brooks Running sent me a pair of the new Ghost 10 shoes to try, yet all opinions are my own.


Runners search, test and try many running shoes, looking for the perfect one. There is so much to consider in a good running shoe depending on your needs and preferences. Weight, cushioning, a wide shoe versus a narrow one, arch support and the list goes on and on.
The Brooks Ghost 10 is an excellent running shoe. A well designed shoe made for the occasional runner all the way to the professionals and runners in between - you cannot go wrong in this plush ride.

The Ghost 10 protects, supports and carries me through hundreds and hundreds (and hundreds!) of miles of marathon training.


One detail that I immediately loved about this shoe when I first tried it on was the wide toe box. There is plenty of room for your feet and toes to feel relaxed and comfortable during a run. Runners' feet tend to swell after running for an extended period of time and the Ghost 10 takes care of that bar none. 
Another great feature is the air mesh upper, also right at the forefront which offers plenty of ventilation and that keeps your feet cool and dry.

Check out the wide toe box and the laces are thick and sturdy. 


Let's talk about the midsole cushioning for a bit. The Ghost 10 has BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning that responds to each runner's stride and step individually. The shoe actually feels like you are walking on a cloud, yet it has firm support and it can definitely handle high mileage. 

These shoes are made for running...


The bottom of the Ghost 10 has what's called a Plush Transition Zone which helps guide your foot smoothly from heel to toe.





Plenty of room and comfort in the heel. As someone who suffered from a horrible case of Plantar Fasciitis, a 12 mm heel drop is the sweet spot.



Here are a few important specs:

Midsole drop: 12 mm

Weight 8.80

Arch: Medium, high


I have logged 165 miles so far on this shoe on various terrain: road, trail, hard packed sand and treadmill. The Ghost 10 has served me tremendously well during this marathon training cycle so far. I love running easy in this shoe and it is light enough to give me turbo charge on the important speed sessions during the week. The longest training run so far has been 17 miles and my body feels so supported during all those miles.


Run Happy!



If you need a neutral shoe with a plush ride, I would highly recommend giving the Ghost 10 a try. Many running stores will let you take it for a test spin - so go for it!

Run Happy. Dream Big.

xo,
Natalie




Tuesday, September 19, 2017

11.5 Weeks Till CIM + Running A Marathon Is So Much More Than Running

I went on a super easy 4 mile run yesterday at the beach and I thought about how much runners put into this sport. It's so much more than running... in fact, it's all about the little things that I do after the running is finished. It really feels like the actual running is 10-15% and everything else is 85-90% - especially during marathon training. A short list of the things that marathoners do to prepare and take care of their bodies:

1. Stretching before the run (note: dynamic stretching is better to warm up your body than static stretching)
2. Drinking ALL the water (I aim for 100 ounces per day)
3. Eating healthy, nutrient dense food - with a good mix of protein and carbs.



Today's lunch! Kale, steak, eggs cheddar cheese tacos. You can read more about my love for food during training HERE.


4. Taking supplements to give your body an added boost (I am currently taking: iron, vitamin D, multi vitamin, vitamin C, probiotic)
5.Stretching after the run
6. Strength training (a few times a week - critical to keeping your body strong and preventing injury - this includes CORE and GLUTE work).
7. SLEEP
9. Ice baths
10. Epsom salt baths
11. Stretching, rolling, taking good care of your feet
12. Massage
13. Foam Rolling
14. Yoga
15. Dialing into your mental game and staying positive
16. Wearing compression socks
17. Tart cherry juice is great to combat inflammation. Also, ginger and turmeric.
I always have a bottle of tart cherry juice in my fridge.
18. If you have PT exercises - performing those during the week. If you haven't been to a physical therapist, it's a great idea to consult with one. The therapist can give you exercises based on your weaknesses that will help to prevent injury.



Foam rolling hurts so good.



I went on a beach walk with my sweet friend Joanna yesterday. I ran an easy four miles, she went to Cross Fit and then we met up at the beach. I love connecting with women that inspire me. Joanna has FIVE kids, yes five. She is beautiful inside and out, an amazing cook, dynamic public speaker and she makes it all look so easy. We talked about that NO, it's not easy, but you set priorities and enjoy the ride. Joanna asked me about what do I to keep my body healthy and ready to run - when I listed a few of the things, her response was "Whoa. That's a lot." 
Yes, it is, but as runners we love it and if you love it then it doesn't seem like work.




11.5 weeks till CIM and training is cruising right along. Here is what last week's workouts looked like:


Monday September 11th - 4 easy miles (a welcomed easy run after 17 miles the day before)

Tuesday September 12th - 7 miles. I had a great night's sleep and felt ready to tear up the road on this run. Alas, it was an easy run - so kept it nice and easy (8:56 pace). Nothing to prove on these runs, get the miles in and rest the body.

Wednesday September 13th - 10.25 miles. 2 mile w/up, 5 x 1 mile repeats: 6:27, 6:22, 6:23, 6:19, 6:16 (.25 jog after each set), 2 mile cool down. I did these repeats on flat, boardwalk at the beach. I get in plenty of hills during the week and I just wanted to focus on speed today.
Really happy with this workout. Seeing some strength on these and a great confidence booster. Boom! Still plenty of time to improve.

Thursday September 14th - 7 easy miles. Recovery, rest and get ready to run long on Sunday

Friday September 15th - 10.3 miles which included 8 x :30 second pick ups. All of the pick up paces were between 5:40-5:55 except two in the beginning which were 6:30/6:40 range. An improvement from last week when there were only two pick ups in the 5 something range.

September 16th - 7 miles. 

September 17th - 14 mile "shorter" long run. First four miles easy at 7:55 pace, then six miles at 6:59 pace, last four miles at 7:40 pace.
Total pace for 14 miles = 7:23
This workout was done on the treadmill. We had so much going on for Sunday and I opted to sleep in a little bit before church. Then off to church, followed by back to school picnic (a big deal at our school and so much fun!), then off to visit my family friends and visit with them after a tough week of loss. Sooo, then only time was on the treadmill, and I'm okay with that. Family first always and at the end of the day I did the work with a good effort.

Total Miles: 59.55


Have a great week!

xo,
Natalie

Monday, September 18, 2017

Turning Your Weaknesses Into Strengths, Saying No To Boston + 59.55 Miles

I had every intention of adding on the extra .45 miles to round up to 60 miles this week - the type A side of myself making a grand appearance. When I realized what the weekly mileage was, it was the end of the week and I knew it would have to happen on Sunday's long run. The best intentions and plans don't always happen and I was ready to finish yesterday's long run right at 14 miles - I had nothing left for the .45 and I'm okay with that.




It was a good week of running and a poor week of everything else. We lost a dear family friend and it turned our world upside down. I love that I can turn to running for so many reasons: joy, goals, and grief.




"Athletes who hope to improve must recognize their strengths and weaknesses. Then they must work at turning their weaknesses into strengths" (excerpt from the book Mind Gym).





Have you assessed what your weaknesses are as a runner? It's interesting to think about. When I run a marathon, my weakness comes at the end of the race when it really hurts the most. If I see my pace slowing down over the course of a mile, I find myself getting discouaged and sometimes slowing down even more without realizing it, because I think the mind convinces the body to stop working hard. Instead of rallying and pushing against the pain and discomfort, I tend to give into it, and then a little bit of defeat happens. You end up talking yourself out of finishing the race really strong because you didn't get want you wanted, which is the emotional yet wrong approach. During the Boston Marathon in April, I felt big gains in my mental game. Even though I knew that I wasn't going to run some awesome PR, I still pushed myself to finish strong and make every second count. Remember, every single second counts in a race - keep reminding yourself of that during the crazy hard parts.


I have decided not to run the Boston Marathon in 2018. I know I made the decision the moment I crossed the finish line this year. I love the race and all that it stands for so much, but I've gone two years in a row and that's enough for now. There are so many other races I want to run and my family is ready to go somewhere else for Spring break. Boston will always be there and I plan to go back again someday, just not in 2018.


I hope you guys are having a great Monday!


Have you ever run the Boston Marathon?

Did you register for the Boston Marathon in 2018?

What are your mental weaknesses in a race?


xo,
Natalie

Friday, September 15, 2017

Strength Training in 30 Minutes + 7 miles

I had a good seven mile run on Thursday. Easy and a good recovery from Wednesday's mile repeats (x 5!). My body felt a little creaky today, so I ran super comfortable and relaxed. I think because it's almost the weekend, I felt like dancing post run. You can never take yourself too seriously with this running/training thing - you gotta have a lot of fun along the way.






Strength training session following the run happened as well, and I only had 30 minutes to dedicate, so here's what that looked like:

Push ups (3 sets of 15 reps)

Donkey kicks (2 sets of 20)

Mountain climbers (2 sets of 20)

Dynamic plank (2 sets of 20)

Straight arm lat pull down (2 sets of 20)

Bicycle crunches (2 sets of 60)

Leg press (2 sets of 20)

Lat pull down for back muscles (3 sets of 15)

Single leg bridge with pelvic thrust (2 sets of 20)

Cable trunk rotation (2 sets of 15)

One arm row with 15 lb. free weight (2 sets of 15)


A good routine to try for your next strength session!


I'm reading this book again...






Fine tuning the nutrition and making sure I get every component of what I need for all the work I'm asking my body to do each week.
I love the examples in the back of the book that give a sample of what various professionals eat on a daily basis.

It's Friday! Have a great one friends.


Anyone racing this weekend?

Have you read Racing Weight?

How often do you strength train?


Kick ass. Be awesome.

xo,
Natalie

Thursday, September 14, 2017

12.5 Weeks Till CIM + I'm Back

I realized that I unintentionally took the majority of summer off from the blog. Something had to give and this little space took the hit. Our summer was a lot of fun, but definitely the ball was in my court at all times in the parenting realm. Jerold has been buried in work all summer with the start of his new fiscal year, and for the first time probably ever, we really didn't see him a whole lot. That left me, playing super Mom - I hope successfully most of the time - and the balls never really stopped juggling after school ended. The kids had a blast with fun camps, friends and tons of free time. I loved having days of endless sunshine and the biggest decisions were going on a hike, hitting the beach or relaxing at the pool. Glamorous it was not, as I was always on, always watching over little ones, always entertaining. I keep the thought in the back of my mind that the days crawl and the years fly by. I catch myself when I begin to groan inside, thinking desperately about needing a week completely alone on an island. I think how lucky I am to be their Mom and wow - thanks God for letting me have the chance.






Somehow I threw in quite a bit of running in there, which always adds an element of... I don't know - enjoyment, yet work at the same time. Never a chore, but a constant plan of making the time for it, plus adding in all the things for it (how much water did I have today? I'm tired, but gotta make time for strength). I knew after Boston, that I wanted a crack at a race that had more odds of going in my favor - West Coast time zone, cool to cold weather and a favorable course. Hello, CIM. Summer was a building block of base and nothing too crazy... I took a week off after Boston and then an unexpected week off in July after our trip to New Orleans. The ball juggling and then a nasty case of strep throat put me crawling to bed for over a week and running took a back seat.






Now here we are, approaching mid September, twelve and a half weeks left before the marathon and the running is coming along. There is still so much time left of training, and I'm just taking things in a chill approach - one run at a time, easy on the easy runs, sleep, strength and not sweating the small stuff.






The kiddos are back in school, this week and last have been insane - cause even though they are back, for some reason my life seems slammed. Getting all three out the door early, delivering each of them safely, checking in with teachers, soothing tears of adjustment (Elle is in a new school and she goes from being the happiest little girl when I pick her up, to literally screaming on the floor in the kitchen 10 minutes after arriving home. Just screaming about everything all at once. I know we'll get through it and of course I question every decision - you want it all to be perfect, which we know is impossible). 






Running has been steadily at 50 - 60+ miles a week and my body has been good with that. It'll be interesting to see how it all rolls out over the fall and if I'll be ready to absorb more miles. I'm ready for whatever my body will be happy with - I'm feeling positive about this cycle and can I dare say that this race will finally be a breakthrough? Ah, I will not jump the gun - just do the work, be patient and wait.

Here's what last week looked like:

September 4th - 4 easy miles (Mondays are an optional day off and I have felt like running easy and shaking my legs out from the Sunday long run, so I usually run on Monday)

September 5th - 7 miles

September 6th - 2 mile w/up, 5 mile tempo in 33:47 (6:45 pace), 2 mile cool down = 9 miles 

September 7th - 7 miles (got out on the trails today which I love)



Crushing on the sweet gifts from Brooks Running to kick off marathon training - the new Ghost 10 shoe and the Fine Form running bra. Full reviews coming soon. LOVE.


September 8th - 10 miles with 8 x:30 second pick ups (paces from 6:30-5:45. It was pretty sweet to see a few 5 something paces in there. Progress!)

September 9th - 7 miles

September 10th - 17 miles at 7:41 pace

Total miles = 61


I'll keep plugging along and see where this journey takes me. Life is a winding road - take chances. 

Kick ass.






What are you training for this fall?

How do you feel about your training thus far?



xo,
Natalie



Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shoreline Half Marathon Race Recap

This was my second race of the summer and I'm happy to have another under my belt. I think it's good to get beat up a bit and realize that when the fast times and PRs come, you will be truly thankful for them and never take that success for granted.

I got my butt handed to me in this race. If you followed along on my Instagram or over at Women's Running Insta, you got an overview of the day. I mean you guys, my times just got slower and slower and at one point I literally was struggling to breathe. We read and talk about "never give up!" "keep pushing", "fight for it!" and in those hard, hard miles I couldn't seem to muster any of that. I just wanted to stop on the side of the road, have a cold one (anything) and just rest. It was hard to accept my feelings as I always have something left in the reserve tank. Even in those hard Boston miles, I still felt strong, I never thought about stopping and I kept pushing. 




The plan for the morning was for Jerold and I to go to the race solo. My Mom was happy to hang out with the kids and we were planning to leave by 4:15 am and be back before noon. Yeah, things went a little different than the plan! Josh decided that he really (really) wanted to come with us - please, please can I come. I didn't want to say no to him, so okay, Josh can come with us. Well, when I rolled out of bed before 4 am, Megan was at my bedside saying she want to come as well. Please Mommy, please can I come, it's not fair - you can't take Josh and leave me. In those moments I knew the plan was going to go out the window a bit - it's hard for Jerold to get around on his bike with two kids on their bikes and I was hoping he would be there for various points in the race including start and finish. At first I sat both kids down (Elle was in total dreamland and never woke up) and said maybe its better if Mommy and Daddy go to the race and come straight back before noon. Well, yeah - they were pretty darn stubborn and there were some tears, so I'm like - gosh if they really want to come to a race and see me run, then why the heck not?


I promise they were happy - they were just super hot and sun in their eyes at this point! :)


Well, by the time we actually got on the road, it was well after 5 am and I had a sinking feeling in my heart that I was going to be SO rushed to make it to the start on time. We arrived at 6:30 am (7 am start) and I bolted out of the car and started my warm up. Half mile done (was supposed to be a mile) and dynamic stretching completed while I waited to get my bib. Got the bib, had to GO badly to the restroom, the line was huge and the announcer was saying that they would start the half marathon at 7 AM sharp - not a minute later. Crap. The time was about 6:47 am. A nice lady points me in the direction of an uncrowded restroom and I take off running toward it. A short line, I was in and out and then jogged back to the starting line just was they were about to start the gun. I felt a little flushed and a tiny bit like I need five more minutes (!),  Jerold was asking me about a picture and I couldn't focus on any of it. I also realized that I forgot to put the GU (I like to take one at around mile 7 or 8 in a half) in my back pocket. OOPS.
At 7 am sharp we were off and running.


Mile 1: 6:59 (Crap. Started faster than coach wanted. This mile was supposed to be between 7:10 and 7:20)

Mile 2: 7:00 (This is the mile pace that I supposed to run the whole race. The instructions were to keep running one 7 minute mile after another - and I knew I was in shape to do it.)

Mile 3: 7:04

Mile 4: 6:57

Mile 5: 7:10

Mile 6: 7:15 (I felt the humidity a lot at this point. The sun was ablaze and no shade)

Mile 7: 7:19

Mile 8: 7:28 (humm, this is NOT 7 minute pace, but there is still time to recover)

Mile 9: 7:44 (whoa. I knew I was in real trouble here) - I was thinking about the forgotten GU and maybe that would have given me a boost?!

Mile 10: 7:51 (what?)

Mile 11: 8:25 (This was the mile I debated on stopping. I was jogging and felt so, so bad during this mile. It was so humid and hot and I was by myself at this point)

Mile 12: 7:33 (decided I had to find a second gear in this race and salvage whatever I had left)

Mile 13: 7:20 (finish as strong as you can)

Final Time - 1:36:45 (7:24 pace)




A full three minutes slower than what my half marathon times have been this year and I had a whole range of emotions going on. 

The good stuff:  I won the race for the women. There was a woman running with me and we stayed together for the first few miles and then I went ahead. She caught up and went ahead and we were volleying back and forth for a bit. Then I went ahead until I had a breakdown at mile 9/10 and then she caught up and went went ahead. There was a point where I had to decide what to do - was I going to lose this race on top of the disaster of my pacing/splits? Nope. I knew I had to try. I passed her at the end of 11 and decided to give it whatever I had left. There's that feeling when you pass someone in the last miles of a race and they don't immediately respond - you know you can tough it out, so put the hammer down and don't look back. Try it in your next race!


Inspiring to run with these women!


Here's the thing: it was a tough day out there for everyone. Even on the way back when I saw the front guys - they looked hot and tired too. 
Also, not every race is going to be an amazing PR or even the time you desire - but you still put in the effort and that is huge.

I loved hugging the woman afterwards and saying kind words to each other - community!

More good stuff: this time last year I was injured and not running or racing at all!!

Everyone has bad races - we all do. I think the important thing is to pick yourself up and learn from the experience.

Let's talk about the logistics of the Shoreline Half Marathon (In Ventura, CA - about 60 miles north of LA) for a moment:

I thought it was a very well run race! A good amount of bathrooms (Porta potties and regular), water and Gatorade at many mile points, on time start (to beat the heat as much as possible), great volunteers, good swag (medal for all finishers, t-shirt, small bag and water bottle + age group medal award and I got a sweet black bag with many compartments for winning the race!). They had to move the race from the beach location to 8 miles inland (near Ojai, CA - a beautiful mountain town) which made the heat more intense without an ocean breeze. The course was great (run along the Ventura/Ojai bike path) and it finished at Foster Park, a really pretty location.






As far as the heat and humidity training - I need work on this! I have to learn to run stronger in the heat.

SO - I'm off to New Orleans tomorrow to put it to the test (and have fun of course!). I'll be posting all over the place and updating here on running in extreme heat/humidity, so be sure and follow along on my trip to NOLA!


How do you deal with bad races? Do you race again pretty quickly, or take more time for reflection (and training)?

How do you deal with racing in heat and humidity?

Have you ever been to New Orleans (this is my first trip there!)?



xo,
Natalie

Friday, July 7, 2017

Mixed Baby Greens With Mint Lime Yogurt Dressing

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield Yogurt and Taylor Farms. 
All opinions are my own.


Every time I make a huge salad for dinner (and throw in whatever veggies we have in the fridge) I find myself doing yet another happy dance that my kids actually LIKE salad and will eat it with joy. YESSS! Total win in the Mom department. Salads are such an easy, healthy, go to for dinners and especially during summer when no one really wants to turn on the oven if there is any way to avoid it.
I've made everything from huge salads topped with chunks of wild salmon, salad with fruit, veggies and grilled chicken, grilled swordfish - you name it, we have probably done some variation of it. When Stonyfield asked me to make a salad dressing with their yogurt along with mixed greens from Taylor Farms, I couldn't have been more excited. Running is my first love, but cooking is definietly a close second! My family loves to eat and I like knowing exactly what goes into our food - so needless to say, our kitchen is always buzzing.




When I started brainstorming on a dressing, I knew I wanted it to be tangy, light and refreshing. It had to be kid friendly and easy to make. One herb that I can't get enough of (and I knew would be part of this recipe) is mint. We use mint in our lemonade, many other summer drinks and I love the smell of fresh mint in the summer. 
On to lime - lime has that special tangy quality that gives everything a bit of a different taste than lemon and that sounded interesting to me. Mini oranges are the secret ingredient in this dressing! The orange flavor added another layer of citrus and I couldn't wait to put everything together and give it a try.





The result was so delicious! You never know with recipes how long it can take to get everything right, but this is so tasty - I hope you'll give it a try on your next summer salad.





Mint Lime Yogurt Dressing
By: NatRunsFar

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Fresh Mint Leaves
1/2 half Lime (juice only)
1/2 cup Stonyfield Whole Milk Organic Yogurt
1 mini orange (peeled and sectioned)
1/4 teaspoon lime zest


Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth - about 1 minute.

Serve immediately or refrigerate.


Salad:

Taylor Farms Organic Baby Spring Mix
1 avocado chopped
3 Fresh strawberries sliced




Voila! Whether you need a quick lunch option or want to use this an a starter for your next summer dinner party - this is sure to get your taste buds popping.

What type of salad dressing do you like? (I normally use olive oil and balsamic vinegar, so this was a really fun change!)

What is your favorite summer salad?

Enjoy and happy summer!

xo,
Natalie