Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What makes you want to run a half marathon?

One of the trainers at the gym asks me this just about every time I take her circuit classes. (Actually, she usually asks what makes me want to run a MARATHON and it freaks me out every time!)

So today we were talking after class and she asked again, "What makes you want to run a (half) marathon?"

I've been thinking about this a lot.  I don't think running is terribly fun, especially in my current position of running outside with a jogging stroller (geesh is that thing heavy!). I am not seeing the weight loss results that I used to, so it's not the benefits that are keeping me going.  So, what did I tell her?

I told her the real reason I keep running.  I was never very good at team sports. I'm am a people-pleaser and team sports brought out my worst fears - letting people down. I am clumsy by nature and when there are 10+ pairs of eyes watching me, waiting for me to do good things for their team...  and I would almost ALWAYS mess up.

But running - running is a completely different game. My only opponent is ME. It's all about me beating MYSELF. It's about a PERSONAL record, not about breaking a world record.

I shaved 16 minutes off my 5K time from last July to this May. I am hoping to shave almost a half HOUR off of my half marathon time. I have seen that I can improve. Now I am trying to get to be the BEST me I can. I've never aspired to be the best at anything, and if we're being honest, I still don't. I will never run a half marathon in under 2 hours. I will never WIN a race but I am OK with that. Because I am ALWAYS improving me.

But this is all based on MY times. Not my friends, not my family. I set my pace. I set my own records.

So - what makes YOU want to run - around the block, a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon??

Friday, August 17, 2012

Got Oatmeal?

Good. Now go make BOTH of these recipes.

Right now.

Two people from different parts of the country shared recipes with me last week and even though the recipes were very similar, I decided I needed to make them both. At the same time.  And boy, am I sorry I did, because I CANNOT STOP EATING THEM! 

The first recipe, from Weelicious, is for a delicious granola bar. I tweaked JUST a little - here's the original recipe from Weelicious, then my amendments are in red. 

Chocolate Chip Granola Bars


  • 4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut I can't find unsweetened, so I did use the sweet kind
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar Omitted but sprinkled about 1Tbsp on top
  • 1 cup chocolate chips* Didn't have any, but I chopped up a Hershey's bar to mix in.
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil I used coconut oil instead
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Almond extract, because I adore nothing more in the world than the smell of almond extract.
  • 1/2 cup honey


1. Preheat oven to 325 F.
2. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients.
4. Pour the wet ingredients over the oat mixture and stir to combine.
5. Place granola mixture on a parchment lined baking sheet and shape into a rectangle, about 13 x 9 x 1 inch thick.
6. Bake for 40 minutes.
7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes then cut into 3 x 1 inch bars.**
8. Serve.
* You can substitute raisins or other dried fruit for the chocolate chips.
** Individually wrapped, the bars will remain fresh for several weeks.

I thought I messed up somehow (maybe leaving out the brown sugar) because I was too impatient and started trying to eat them AS SOON AS THEY CAME OUT OF THE OVEN!  However, I had to leave and get the kiddo from school and when I came back - solid! Yay!

The kids have LOVED these and I'm not going to lie, I haven't stopped eating them either! I think the crumbles (from before I let them set up) will be FANTASTIC mixed into Greek oatmeal or even with some warm milk over top! (maybe with the honey Greek frozen yogurt I have outside in the freezer?!)

The second recipe was a suggestion of a friend, and she said to make sure you have people to share them with, because they are slightly additctive.

That was a HUGE understatement! These things are PHENOMENAL!  They are a no bake peanut butter chocolate cookie.  The recipe can be found at The Gracious Pantry under the title "Mini Chef’s No-Bake Cookies." 

Clean Eating No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tsp. vanilla - Again, I used almond
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter I used Smucker's Natural (peanuts + salt!)
  • 1/4 cup psyllium husks (you can substitute with wheat germ or oat bran too.) I used Flaxseed
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon.
2. Spoon 20-24 small balls of dough onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and place the cookie sheet in the freezer for at least 45 minutes.
3. Remove sheet from freezer and transfer the cookies from the parchment to a Tupperware dish with a good fitting lid. The best way to remove them from the parchment is to get a good grip and twist slightly.
Store in the freezer (if you have any left over to store – don’t say I didn’t warn you!).
These are awesome for energy! I have LOVED popping one in my mouth before I head to the gym (or any other time) because I feel like they are an energy POWERHOUSE! Peanut butter, chia, flax.... seriously delicious too. Mine haven't left the freezer, I like the frozen texture of the honey.

So if you need snack foods - these should be your go-to's. Obviously it's not a great idea for someone in the early IQS stages, but honey is on my "natural ok" list for where I am in my journey - I haven't felt any adverse reactions, cravings, pain, etc., since eating these.

So check them out, try them out, let me know what you think. I think the granola bars would be DELICIOUS with some kind of dried fruit - raisins or cherries.  And there is NOTHING to improve upon for the cookies :-)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Busy busy

Well, I did REALLY WELL at the water thing - for about 4 days.  Then I got a stomach flu two weekends ago and my entire regime - pfft. out the window.  I was sick Saturday-Monday, then just got busy with the end of summer (yes, my daughter started PreK today!) and our kitchen renovation (nope, still not done).

So the excuses stopped on Monday.  I've been pretty good about quitting sugar this week, except this time I'm keeping fruit in my diet. There are just too many delicious summer fruits to quit them! I don't think it's working the way it did when I DID quit fruit, but it's still helping me FEEL better, emotionally and pain-wise.

I have been doing much better this week with training. Last week, I flaked on almost everything. My whole week was just a 1 mile run on Tuesday. So sad! This week I ran 3 miles on Monday and went to the circuit class.

Oh boy, that circuit class!!  1.5 min circuits, alternating cardio and strength, for anywhere from 10-18 cycles! Plus the instructor knows I'm training for a half marathon, so she gives me "special" cardio, different from the normal treadmill/elliptical.

Here's my training calendar for the last few weeks. You can see I've dropped the ball - but with the kiddo going back to school, my goal is to start running OUTSIDE while she's there. The dreadmill is doable for 3, 3.5 miles, but anything more is depressing! With her in school four days a week, I should be able to get in two outside runs (weather permitting - and baby permitting, he did NOT like the jogging stroller last time!)

I tweaked my knee funny on Monday at the circuit class - I had the elliptical jacked up on a pretty high crossramp. Today in spin class, I didn't exert my TOTAL effort because when I stood up, my knee was still hurting :(  Hoping it's better ASAP!

I am doing the COLOR RUN on Saturday and I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT!! :-)  It is going to be awe-some!

Don't forget to follow #helpmetrain on Twitter!

Stay tuned. I am making two recipes in the next few days. Flax and chia and honey, Oh MY!