Sunday, October 5, 2014

Post Twin Cities 10 Mile Thoughts

Those of you who know me in real life know I'm big on hyperbole. I've referred to coffee beverages as "the best thing in the world" on several occasions. I am  being entirely serious, however, when I say that running is the best thing that has ever happened to me. This morning, I completed my very first Twin Cities 10 mile race. I had signed up in July, and was beyond tickled pink when I got a spot through their lottery process. At that point, I had been running loads of miles and saw no problem with the race distance. A lot happened since then! I have struggled with severe shin splints on and off for several years. They led to a stress fracture a while ago, so I always exercise caution when they show their ugly head. Therefore, I had not run more than 3 miles in about a month. Additionally, I have had a nasty cold for the past week. I woke up this morning and was honestly unsure of whether or not to proceed with the race. I decided that I would give it a try, with the understanding that I would stop if my body requested it. I started tentatively. The incredible atmosphere nudged me along. Loud music and equally loud fans, most carrying funny signs, provided great entertainment. Each mile felt a little bit better, and before I knew it, I passed the finish line. I was actually a bit incredulous! Mostly, I was just thankful for the healthy body that allowed me to finish this race even in non-ideal circumstances. Your relationship with your body changes so very much when you see it as an instrument instead of an ornament! I felt so very strong as I picked up my finishers' medal. Running is a gift, each and every day, and I have learned not to take it for granted. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cute and Cheap Workout Clothing

As someone who basically lives in athletic clothing, the promise of cute and cheap is often times too good to be true. More often than not, one must end up choosing one or the other.
 But fear not, dear readers. I have shopped around enough to have a complete list of what's up. Without further ado, here are the best sources for cute and cheap workout gear.

1. Fabletics
(See my previous post on the subject here)

This is kind of a new player in the game. Fabletics exists exclusively online. You can either purchase your items a la carte, or you can sign up for a monthly outfit delivery service. If you do choose the latter, your first complete outfit is only $25! The quality is far better than I expected, and I am mildly tempted to spend my entire paycheck on their site.

2. T.J. Maxx

I know that athletic clothing and T.J. Maxx don't seem to go hand and hand. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised. The selection is superb. I was there a few weeks ago and picked up a $60 tank top for $8! Their selection does vary pretty greatly, but if you hit it on a good day, you will be rewarded. As a side note, they just launched an online shopping site.

3. Target
Okay, Target may not scream quality in the clothing sphere. But listen a little closer, because this stuff is prime. A lot of their items could pass for much more expensive brands.

4. Old Navy

Look nowhere else for ridiculously comfortable clothing. This stuff rocks. Their leggings in particular are ridiculously thick and durable.

5. Nordstrom Rack

Though this store is rather intimidating in person, where else will you find name brands for a fraction of the store price? Additionally, you can shop online to avoid the craziness.

Now tell me, Latte Runners. What is your favorite cheap athletic clothing source?

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tuesday Test: Krave Bar Review

It's funny how well things have a way of working out! Case in point, as I sat here wondering what to write for my post this lovely afternoon, I got a package in the mail perfect for a Tuesday Test! The package contained a Krave Protein bar. I will admit, I was fairly skeptical to try one of these. After all, I am as loyal to Quest Bars as they come. All it took was promise of a little birthday cake to make me try it out. After all, Quest doesn't have a birthday cake flavor (hint, hint).

I can't say I was entirely pleased. The Krave Bar was softer, yes, but it was also far less sweet. Additionally, it tasted strongly of whey protein. On a financial note, a Quest Bar is about $2.40, while the Krave bar rang up at $3.99. While I like the creative flavors, Quest still reigns supreme in my book! Let me know what other products you would like to see tested!

Monday, April 14, 2014

PB2 Uses

Chocolate PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
Photo Courtesy of Bell Plantation
Today is a beautiful day, Latterunners. Not only is the weather gorgeous, but I finally discovered PB2. This stuff is legit. For those of you yet to be acquainted with this awesomeness, PB2 is a powdered peanut butter that is ridiculously low in calories and fat and ridiculously high in deliciousness. I have had a ton of fun playing around with this and wanted to share my favorite uses!

1. Mixed up and spread on apples/bananas
2. Spread between two little pretzels
3. Powdered and mixed with oatmeal
4. Dumped in a smoothie
5. Mushed up with a banana and spread between waffles
6. Make a healthy ice cream by blending it with a banana and freezing

What's your favorite use?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lauren Fleshman Interview

Hello, Latterunners! This is an extra-special post for all of my lovely readers.
As many of you know, running is a huge part of my life. One of my biggest role models in the sport is the ever fabulous Lauren Fleshman. She is an amazing professional runner who rocks everything from the 1500 to the marathon.
She was kind enough to participate in an interview for my blog!

Photo Courtesy of USATF
When did you realize that running was a viable career choice?
Senior year of college during track season,, when I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and I was healthy and running fast, that's when I finally felt running pro was a legit option. The sport is so up and down that the opportunity could have disappeared in an instant. I never counted on it. And the truth is, I still believe it's best to develop other skills and strengths while being a pro runner. At some point we all have to get "real jobs!"
What is the best part of being a professional runner?
Without a doubt it's traveling around the world learning from AWESOME people. I love talking to runners from Australia, England, Ireland, Kenya all about their training and life and how they grew up. It's better than anything I learned in high school or college.
What is the worst part?
Injuries. Putting all your heart and soul into something that depends on your physical health is risky. Injuries happen, and when they do you can feel like your world is falling apart. That's why it is so important to surround yourself with people who love you for way more than your running, and having friends who could care less about running. They can help you stay balanced and keep perspective.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I had a baby named Jude this year so I wake up early (I'm NOT a morning person), and have coffee and breakfast while hanging out with him. Then I go workout with my team from Oiselle called Little Wing, which is composed of 4 amazing women right out of college. Then more food, playing with Jude, and then working on writing articles for my blog and my column "The Fast Life" in Runner's World. I go into the office for Picky Bars to work on packaging design or new flavors, and then I run again or lift weights. Then I hang out with Jude and my husband Jesse who is a pro triathlete and we cook up some dinner and just hang out listening to music or talking about whatever. Then it's off to bed around 10, and if I don't get sucked into twitter and instagram for another hour, I fall asleep.
What advice to you have for young runners?
Keep a big picture perspective on your running career. We all want to be good right now, but the harder you try to make it all happen fast, the more likely you are to get hurt, sick, anemia, mono, freaked out, eating disorders, you name it. Just pick three things each year to get better at, no more, and over the course of years you just might become one of the best runners in the world if that's what you dream of. And if not, you'll have an amazing time in the process and make friendships you'll never forget and have experiences that set you up for a freaking amazing life. There will be ups and downs no matter what but it's like one of those graphs from math class, amongst all the points on the graph you can draw a line through them that represents the overall trend, and if you are patient and don't take short cuts and train smart, that overall line will go up and up and up. Last tip is to learn from the people who came before you.
I am so incredibly grateful that Lauren was able to help me with this project! If you are interested in learning more about this amazing athlete, check out her website!

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Patty's Day Green Smoothie!

Good morning, dear readers! I have a festive recipe for y'all this morning. As someone that is almost 75% Irish, St. Patrick's day has always been a pretty big deal. My mom always used to cook a traditional Irish dinner. Overnight, a "leprechaun" always happened to magically turn our milk green. I thought I would add my own little twist to the occasion. Without further ado, here is a green smoothie to help you celebrate!

1 cup unsweetened almond milk/ milk of your choice
1 banana, ripe
1 cup berries (your choice, but strawberries taste delish in this!)
At least a couple handfuls of spinach. You can choose how "green" you want to go with this>

Blend it all together and drink up! I will post a picture later today!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Injury Rant!

I apologize, I haven't been super faithful in maintaining my blog lately! Things have been fairly busy. But to be honest, that's not the reason for my absence. I posted a piece on running injuries  a few weeks ago. Lo and behold, guess who hurt their ankle? Foreshadowing, my friends.

I get "funky" (and not in the cool way) whenever I manage to hurt myself. I am mostly upset that I have to pull out of the half I registered for next weekend, but there are definitely many other downsides to a running injury. To name a few:

1. What the heck do I do with myself??????
I had been running about 35 miles a week, at about 9 minute miles. That is over 5 hours per week, not including warm-ups, cool-downs, stretching, etc. I now possess not the slightest idea what to do with myself. I have occupied my days with online shopping and binge-watching Netflix. Yay!

2. I can't sleep.
One of the main reasons I started running in the first place was to improve my sleep quality. Unless I physically tire myself out, I will stare at the ceiling for hours! 

3. Cross Training stinks.
I can tolerate being cooped up in a gym as a supplement to running. I am more than happy to elliptical/bike/swim if I know it will help with my running. Not having that carrot to dangle makes things a whole lot less appealing. 

4. I'm never hungry!
A really fun part of running is all of the extra food you need to sustain it. Now, I am at the point where I need to remind myself to eat, as I am not hungry whatsoever. 

Sorry for this huge rant! I'm sure those with running injuries can relate!