Friday, June 28, 2013

I Say No To Gatorade

I tend to stay away from Gatorade as hydration due to some not so pleasant ingredients and crazy food dyes.

I decided to make my own fuel!  I bought some Coconut Water (Goya) in the Hispanic section of my grocery.  This brand does have some added sugar unlike others, but for a long run, the sugar will help fuel you (just like in Gatorade or a gel).  But you can always use other brands that don't have sugar listed as an ingredient such as Zico or Vita CoCo.

I emptied the can into a large bottle, added two tablespoons of chia seeds, and a splash of grapefruit juice (but you could use any flavor that floats your boat!)

I put the combo into the fridge and let it sit for 30 mins.  You could always prepare the night before a long run.

The chia seeds expand and gel up.  They are no longer crunchy and go down smooth.  It is said that the gelatinous nature of the chia seed helps your body hold hydration.  Scott Jurek, ultra marathoner, loves them.

Supposedly, the Aztecs, Mayans and Incans use chia as a staple of their diet and as an energy food. Chia means “strength” in the Mayan language, and they were known as the “Indian Running Food” because runners and warriors would use them for sustenance  while running long distances or during battle (source).

You could drink before you go!  I haven't tried it in my hand held water bottle far just coconut water.  The valve is so small on my water bottle, but I'm going to test it out!  

Happy Running!  Stay hydrated my friends!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why High Heels are Derailing My Running

I used to live in high heels.  Being only five feet tall, most of my college days and professional life (before having my daughter) was spent in heels three inches or higher DAILY.  I gave tours of campus as an admissions rep in college wearing them.  Every night on the town would involve very high heels that I wouldn't take off even when hurting because I didn't want to be short and my pant length was too long for flats.

Unknowingly, I did TERRIBLE damage to my feet!  I thought foot pain in high heels was normal and just the price you pay for fashion.  Don't all ladies feet hurt at the end of a night out?   I now suffer from something called Morton's Neuroma.  Basically spending so much time with my toes squished together and weight on the balls of feet caused the nerves in my feet to be damaged and thicken.  The nerves in our feet are normal at 1-2 mm wide, an ultrasound of my feet revealed mine are 10mm wide!  

I didn't really notice it affecting me until I started training for my second half marathon.  It started innocently enough, my toes would go numb on long runs or I would feel like my socks were bunching in my shoe and I'd stop to fix it because it was annoying.  Because of this I probably tried five different brands of socks.  Nothing changed.  

Things got worse as my mileage increased.  As I trained for my full marathon.  The annoying feelings changed to pain.  I remember running a ten mile race half way through marathon training and at mile 8, feeling like I had bee stings on the balls of my feet.  My pace slowed considerably those final two miles.  I started doing my own research and found Morton's Neuroma.  Through a recommendation from my running club for a good sports podiatrist I found Dr. Lee Firestone.  He qualified for the Boston Marathon so I knew he'd get the fact that I wasn't going to take stop running as an answer ;-). 

In January, he confirmed it was indeed Morton's Neuroma and that it is much more common in women due to the high heel issue and damage they cause :-(. We did two shots in each foot of cortisone in attempt to atrophy, or kill, the nerves in my feet.  We also put makeshift orthotics in my shoes to lessen the pressure on the toes and balls of my feet.  He also showed me how to tie my shoes to lessen the pressure:
The orthotics gave me terrible blistering so I stopped wearing them.  The pain lessened, but I still had the annoying numbness.  I stopped a few times during my full marathon in March to take off my shoes and rub my feet.

I've been not running any training runs for the past 14 weeks due to a quad/hip injury and during that time my feet have developed pain even when not running.  I was limping through the airport a few weeks back :-(. I tried my first attempts at a training run this week and was literally stopped in my tracks by the foot pain.  I was also trying out a new shoe, the Brooks Pure Flow which I loved when not running, but when running I realized the toe box was too small and causing additional pain.

I made another appointment, got custom orthotics to wear daily to take stress of the nerves and another round if cortisone shots, this time in right foot only since that's the worst one.  I can't do cortisone too much because it can began to atrophy the foot and the skin will begin to dimple :-(. He told me to wait 3 weeks for the cortisone to take full effect and if I'm still in pain we will move to alcohol injections once a week for six weeks.  

My final resort will be surgery to remove the nerves.  I'm trying to avoid that at all costs because the recovery time being off my feet for weeks, including no driving for first week, is just too much.

Basically, it's been a nightmare.  I wish I could go back and shake my 20-something self and say NO HIGH HEELS!  They are not worth it!

If you start to feel tingling or numbness in your toes or balls of feet, go see a podiatrist.  Try to catch it early so they don't continue to grow and get worse!  And stop wearing the high heels ladies :-)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Recipe: Easy Mexican Bowl

For a quick healthy dinner, this is a go to in our house because it is so easy to put together!

Prepared Quinoa or Millet as the base
Black Beans (drained and rinsed)
Corn (I use frozen) or Trader Joe's Corn Salsa with Green Chiles
Sliced Avocado 
Douse the whole thing in Sirracha sauce
Top with lots fresh cilantro

This is the corn salsa (just know that it contains added sugar... which I usually limit/avoid)


Friday, June 14, 2013

Recovery Update

So, I'm still not running :-(. It feels very strange to not have run essentially in 12 weeks....TWELVE!  I had two races in those 12 weeks because I paid for them, I was lucky enough to get by lottery and still wanted to race (Cherry Blossom Ten Miler and Nike Women's Half).  Though running those I'm sure did more harm than good.  But no training runs, no just run for fun in 12 weeks.  

I've been going to physical therapy for the past 4 weeks and have been doing a lot of hip and flute strength and stretching.  I have also been able to use the Alter-G treadmill which has been awesome.  I've got in four runs on that at 70% of my body weight which causes no pain, but it is also definitely easier.  I am able to maintain sub 7 paces a lot which I don't think I could out on the road.
This was after some pretty fast splits on the Alter G to celebrate National Running Day.  I was pretty stoked.  

My pain comes on with impact, such as running, jumping, etc so a lot of how I normally get my sweat on is off limits.  I've been focusing on battle ropes, low impact but works the muscles in arms, shoulders and core like crazy and makes my heart rate soar!

I've been swimming a lot of laps, following the swimming workouts in Run Less, Run Faster.

And of course, doing a lot of yoga, which is good for my strength and to keep me loose.  I've even been competing in the daily yoga contest by Athleta on Instagram.  #seizethesolstice

I've also been foam rolling which has been more intense than it ever has been! Hurts so good?  Not sure :-/

But, of course I am anxious to get back at it and keep thinking I will try a run to see how it feels, but the fear of the pain and fear of doing more damage has held me back.  I am running the Marine Corps Marathon in October and my training should have already started so not sure how this next full will go.  I definitely won't be qualifying for Boston as I had hoped to (3:35 marathon).  

I get odd aches and pains in that right quad and hip even when not doing anything.  It often happens when I'm sitting in the car, or have that leg raise with my knee bent sitting in a chair tying my shoes.  :-(. Because of this, my Dr wants to send me back for a second MRI of my hip today.  The MRI looking for stress fracture of the femur 4 weeks ago came back clean.  In this 2nd MRI he will be looking for stress fracture but also deep hip burtitis.  If it is burtitis, he can use ultrasound technology to then pin point the location and give me a shot in the hip of cortisone.  Secretly hoping this is it, so I can get some relief ;-)

So I will be sure to report back once I go to my MRI follow up appointment on Tuesday.

Happy Running!  Get out there and run for those who can't!  XOXO

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Don't Throw Out That Old Running Gear!

We all have workout gear that has been well loved and therefore stained.  Whether its grass strains from doing post run sit ups, dirt from a muddy trail run, make up stains from forgetting to remove your makeup before your run and blood from bloody nipples- I feel for you men!

Light colored gear always seems to get dingy and gross quick.  If you love the fit and it's comfortable- dont throw it out...dye it!
I bought this packet of dye at Michaels for $3.  I took a formerly white workout tank that had make up stains and gave it new life!  I also threw a few of my daughters white clothing that was dingy and unwearable...all the pieces have new life!
I wish I had a before picture of the gross white tank top but here is an after:

I absolutely LOVE the color and result!  Of course choose a color based on how dark the stains are on the well loved gear :-). I have done other pieces purple and royal blue in the past and everything's come out great.

This is the royal blue tank I dyed last year: 

Just think of the possibilities with color coordination!  I was wishing I had dyed a white headband at the same time so it would match.

Save $ and give it a try!  Let me know how it goes!  

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Recipe: Quinoa-Kale Salad with Fresh Apricots

Apricots add fiber and vitamins A and C to this hearty green super-food salad.  You get a double shot of protein and good carbs between the quinoa and the kidney beans. Kefir is a probiotic gem and oh so good for you! 

Makes 4 servings:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1.5 tablespoons course grain dijon mustard (such as grey pupon)
1/3 cup Kefir (use coconut kefir to make it can mix coconut milk and coconut yogurt)
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups of finely chopped, washed kale
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1.5 cups of pitted and diced fresh apricots (about 4 medium) or 1 cup of dried, diced.  (I used fresh)
1/4 of a red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of fresh cilantro

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add quinoa and toast until fragrant and slightly darker in color, about 2 minutes.  Add the water, cover, and bring to a simmer.  Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer until all water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, about twenty minutes.  Cool quinoa to lukewarm.  Make the dressing by whisking the garlic, cumin, mustard, kefir, pepper, and salt.  Slowly whisk in the oil.  Place the remaining ingredients...kale, kidney beans, apricots, onion, and cilantro into a large bowl.  Add quinoa and the dressing.  Toss to coat and serve. 

Recipe found in Runner's World Magazine by contributing chef, Pam Anderson

Monday, June 10, 2013

Recipe: Spicy Black Bean Tacos with Kale and Sweet Potato

A great Mexican restaurant in Raleigh called Cantina 18 used to make a vegetarian taco very similar to this.  I loved it and decided to recreate it at home!

Recipe makes 4 well filled tacos:

You will need-
1 large sweet potato
Coconut oil or olive oil 
I clove of crushed garlic
Fresh baby kale or baby spinach (about 16 oz)
1 can of black beans, rinsed
Sriracha sauce
Whole wheat soft tacos
Goat cheese crumbles (for topping)

Sautee the greens in crushed garlic and oil.  

Prick the sweet potato to multiple times with a fork and microwave until soft (6 mins in my microwave).  Hold with a pot holder and scrape the insides out of the skin.  Use a potato masher to create a mash.

Mash the black beans together with the sriracha sauce.  (Make as spicy as you like...we like very spicy).

Warm the tortillas in the already warm pan you used to sauté the greens in.

Fill the tacos with the potato, then beans, then greens.  Top with goat cheese crumbles, drizzle some additional sriracha over the top and serve.  

Friday, June 7, 2013


I wanted to share this race series with all of you because I really enjoy the women's races and I used to live in Cary, NC and know this route...this will be a great race!


Even if you don't live in NC, Esprit de She holds races in Chicago, Houston, Naperville, Illinois, and Cherry Creek, CO. 

Event inspires, motivates and celebrates women’s athletic accomplishments at Koka Booth Amphitheatre; Features post-race rendezvous and local market

On Thursday, June 27 Athleta Esprit de She, the nation’s premiere athletic event series designed exclusively for women, will make its debut in Cary with a 5K and 10K at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre, just fifteen minutes from downtown Raleigh. Fueled by the spirit of “her,” Athleta Esprit de She is a lifestyle that lives beyond the finish line and features a signature post-race rendezvous complete with bubbly bar, tasty tapas and community market showcasing fresh produce, local artisans, creative projects and more.

To see highlights from Esprit de She visit
WHEN: May 30
7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Race Smart, Look the Part at the Athleta store in The Streets at Southpoint, Durham. Connect with local women at a fitness pep rally, complete with a fashion show highlighting quick tips on what to wear while training and racing.

June 24
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Packet pickup at the Athleta store in The Streets at Southpoint, Durham

June 25
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Packet pickup at the Athleta store in The Streets at Southpoint, Durham

3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Day-of registration and packet pickup
6:30 p.m. Race begins
6:30 p.m. – 10 p.m. Post-race rendezvous and night market

June 28
9 a.m. – 11 a.m. A Toast to You at the Athleta store in The Streets at Southpoint, Durham. Celebrate your race with family and friends at this special event featuring mini-massages and cool refreshments.

WHERE: Koka Booth Amphitheatre
8003 Regency Pkwy Cary, NC 27518.

Our course begins and ends at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre, looping through the beautiful greenery of Regency Park along the shores of Symphony Lake.

REGISTRATION: Registration is still open at Participants can either the Esprit de She 5K or 10K.  To compliment the fun race experience, participants will receive a custom designed, tri-blend lifestyle tank as well as a stylishly functional race bag to use while shopping the post-race night market or wherever life takes you after!

I am giving away to a lucky reader an an Esprit de She gift pack that includes this Athleta visor!  To enter all you have to do is comment on this blog post below with the answer to the question "What was your favorite race and why?"

I can't wait to hear the answers.  Deadline to enter for the prize pack will be Sunday June 9th 5pm EST.   Please feel free to share and winner will be chosen at random!  

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Recipe: Zesty Cucumber-Mint Quinoa Salad

 This recipe is best served chilled and is very refreshing on a hot day.  The cucumber mint combo scream summer and the jalapeno adds some zip!  You can use this as a cookout side dish or as a salad on it's own.  Enjoy!

2 cups of quinoa
4 cups of water
Put both into the pot on the stove top.  Bring to boil and then let simmer until all water is absorbed....about 15 mins.

Combine in a large bowl:
1/4 cup olive oil
juice of two limes (optional)
2 large organic cucumbers
4 tablespoons finely chopped mint leaves
4 tablespoons of chopped jarred jalapenos
dash of salt and pepper

When the quinoa is cooked, let it cool.  Then add the quinoa to the bowl of all other ingredients and mix together.  Let cool in the fridge (I think this dish is best chilled).  Serve with additional jalapeno garnish and an additional sprig of mint.  

Guest Post-Race Review: Applecrest Half Marathon

This is a race review from a great running friend of mine!  She has been so supportive of my running and I love supporting her!  We have been virtual training partners from afar.  Love you Amy!   -C

Date: September 2, 2012

Setting: Rural back roads of Hampton Falls and Kensington, NH.  The start and finish were at Applecrest Farm, a large local farm with many fall activities for families to enjoy. 

Cost: $55 Early Registration, Feb-May  $60 May-Race Day
Registration info can be found here:

Pre-race photo

Expo: None.  Bib pick up was only offered day of race.  Runners were told to park on the grass and head to the tent to pick up their number.  Applecrest posted a recommendation to bring an extra pair of shoes for your walk to the tent from your car.  I thought it was an odd recommendation, but did it anyway.  I am glad I did...the walk in the wet morning grass soaked my shoes!  I can't imagine running a half in wet socks and shoes!

The Race:  As we were lining up, I was shocked at how small the race was.  I have an irrational fear every time I race, that I will come in last!  When I saw how few people were running I couldn't help but think...this could be that race.  I quickly knocked out that negative thought and got ready to run my 2nd half marathon. 

The race started on a dirt road or path rather and then after a few minutes you reach a residential road.  The trees in the background provided so much shade that it made for the most perfect running conditions of any race I had entered.  September in NH can be hit or miss with heat and I was thankful for good weather on race day.

While the rural roads are great for running, they are not so great for spectators.  There were very few along the course and it seemed very quiet.  I don't always need a cheering squad but their absence was definitely felt.  Even the finish line had very few people cheering on.  I would go as far to say that it felt less like a race and more like a training run.

The course description called for the course to be moderately hilly, which to me I always read as killer hills.  I can only think of two hills that I had to push through.  It may be because I generally train with hills, but for the most part this course was flat and moderately easy.

Half #2 in the books!
Finish: The finish was the biggest disappointment.  The last leg of the race is on the main road leading to the finish.  After spending the entire race of a back road, it was mentally challenging to all of a sudden be on a main road with bumper to bumper traffic.  It was single file all the way up a huge rolling hill with a mass of mini-vans on my left waiting to take a right into the farm.  The only good thing about this was I ran passed my friends, The Martin Family, who were stuck in traffic instead of at the finish line.  Once I made it up the hill, I had to take an extremely sharp turn to hit the last few strides before the mat.  Nothing slows you down like a 45 degree turn and no to mention almost running into a few spectators crossing the road.  I feel they did a poor job of organizing the finish to say the least.  I wish I ordered pictures of me crossing the finish line because I am sure I look angry and I never look like that at the end of an amazing accomplishment.  Would be a funny memory to keep!

Grade: C-  I felt that the peaceful environment was good for training, but not for a race.  I will most likely not run this race again.  Save your training and money for the Seacoast Half in November or Smuttynose Half in October....and just come to Applecrest for the apples, pumpkins and animals!