Weekly Recap: Favorite meals and workouts

This was a great week! We usually do fairly easy dinners, and while the meals we made this week were pretty simple, some weeks are not nearly as thought out or prepared. The highlight was wild caught tuna. We usually get wild caught salmon, but sadly our local health foods grocery store has stopped carrying it for the winter. Craig wanted to get tuna and I was pretty skeptical because I’ve never had it before and I used to not like fish at all (glad I got over that picky eating). It was great though! We did a blackened tuna recipe inspired by All Recipes, and made our own Cajun seasoning also using an All Recipes recipe. We coated the fish with the seasoning and then cooked it in a cast iron skillet with coconut oil. We sauteed some broccoli to go with it, and there was our dinner.

Earlier in the week we made a Mexican Quinoa dish, which was delicious and made enough for a couple lunches (always a plus). We used this recipe and swapped out chicken stock instead of vegetable stock and used regular diced tomatoes since that’s what we had. A perfectly ripe avocado really made this dish!

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Lastly we made chicken burgers last night. We accidentally bought ground chicken instead of turkey (rookie mistake) but rolled with it and it was pretty good! Super spicy and delicious. We put some organic white cheddar cheese on top (a treat for me), baked some sweet potato chips with cayenne, and heated up some frozen veggies.

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On the fitness front I am diligently working on my strengthening and stretching exercises from PT. I’m eager to get back out there but I know it’s going to take some time to get better. In reality I’ve dealt with this injury for a long time (in case you missed it, more on that in the Richmond Race Recap). The thing that’s hard is that the exercises take so much time and feel slow, even though the core work and glute strengthening is challenging for me. I have been doing the elliptical and yoga or body flow.

This week I finally made it to Om On Yoga! It’s right around the corner and Craig got me 10 classes for my birthday (back in August). I didn’t go at first because I was training for the half and then was injured. I am so happy to have gone finally. I haven’t done yoga at a studio (only the gym and a couple places outside of Richmond). I knew it would be different, and it was in some ways. The studio was a bit smaller, which was nice, and the instructor was great. It was a vinyasa class, which I’ve done a bunch before at the gym, and I’m glad I had because otherwise I would have been lost. Some things were faster paced, and so many planks! I was sore the next day. I’m excited to have added this to my keychain and try out some other classes soon. They have a Sunday evening candlelight class, which will be super fun!

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Richmond Half Race Recap

I did it! I finished my first Half Marathon. I honestly never thought I would do it or WANT to do it. It was so fun though!

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Before recapping the race, here’s a brief training recap. I trained with the Sports Backers Half Marathon Training Team (HMTT), and I loved it! It helped so much knowing that every Saturday I was running with hundreds of my closest friends. 🙂 I was on the Zebra team, which was a smaller group of about 30 people, and my coaches were great. I got so many helpful tips and gained so much confidence each week. Honestly I was nervous every Saturday morning until I got to 10 miles. The 10 mile run was so tough, more than half of it was uphill (including the Libby Hill, which Richmonders know is brutal). After that I knew I could run the half. The following week I ran 11 so confidently and so well, at a consistent 10 minute pace. That week on my shorter runs I was hurting more and more and I came to grips that I may have an injury, which shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. I’ve dealt with hip pain since I injured my back playing soccer in middle school, but it was always manageable because I was never consistently active after high school. When I increased my mileage my knee started hurting and then got to the point I could barely run 5 miles. I ended up going to a Sports Medicine doctor and then a Physical Therapist (PT) about two weeks before the race. They did some “quick fixes” in hopes to get me through the race, and I learned how to tape my knee and bought a patella band. I was ready but so nervous because my last long run (11 miles) was 4 weeks before the race. I tapered early and cross trained a lot, but I thought if I didn’t follow the training plan exactly that I wouldn’t be able to do it. Fortunately I was wrong. 🙂

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And to race day! I woke up early (as I always do) before the alarm went off and was so excited. The weather was absolutely perfect with the temperature getting to the low 40s while I’d be running. I started my oatmeal, did some of my PT stretching exercises, and taped my knee. I wore throw away sweats from Wal-Mart because it was chilly in the morning. My mom drove Craig, our friend Emily, and me down to the city close to the start. I ate my oatmeal on the way and made some last minute updates to my playlist. Craig and I parted since the full start line was a couple blocks from the half starting point.

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Emily and I went to the bathroom and ran into some other friends, Cara and Matt, who I ran with for the first mile. Emily and I said our goodbyes since we were in different waves. I shed my sweats but kept my gloves on (and kept them for a couple miles) and people started running before the start line. We were off! I didn’t know until after the race that Richmond is referred to as the friendliest marathon, but I see why. There were so many people, which helped so much. I also had my HMTT shirt on, and there were coaches along the course cheering me on. After mile 1.5 my left IT band started hurting (my right knee is what had been hurting before). I started freaking out because it wasn’t what I expected and it was so early. I had no other choice than to power through. I had been to the doctor and knew what was going on, and my plan all along was to focus on getting better and stronger after the race. So I kept going. About half way through the race we entered Bryan Park, and the HMTT coaches said some people dread that part of the race, but I loved it! It broke up the race and got me out of the familiar Richmond streets. In Bryan Park I reached the 10k line and thought, “I just finished my first 10k!” My immediate next thought was, “I probably should have done a 10k before running a half marathon.” I was feeling good though at this point, still in pain with both knees (left IT band and right patella) but not nearly as bad as it had gotten before the race. We started going through the Northside and those neighborhoods are so pretty and it was a perfect fall day. At mile 9 I stopped for water and fuel, and when I started back my left knee buckled. I tried to run on it some to see if it would ease up then I walked some and had to do that a few times. I changed my stride to try not to bend my left knee much (my whole right leg was WAY sorer after!). Then I made it to the last mile and I knew I was so close! I kept going and then finished! I finished in 2:13 which I was super happy with considering the pain. Everyone told me not to have a goal for my first half but secretly my goal was 2:10 (before I got injured) so 2:13 with the injury, I’ll take it!

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Now I’m focusing on PT and my strengthening exercises while getting some cardio in on the elliptical and long walks with Marlee. I had fun though and I’m eager to get back out there!

And so it begins

I never thought I’d start a blog, but then again I never thought I’d run a half marathon or give up gluten. So here we are. My hope is to share my life of wellness, particularly through fitness and food. As far as fitness goes, I guess I’m a runner now… I’m still not used to that since I hated it so much before. It was always a chore, something I had to do, but not anymore! I love yoga, and I want to become a better yogi. I enjoy classes at the gym, most recently body flow (a combination of yoga, tai chi, and pilates). Craig got me a tennis racquet for my birthday, but I’m not very good yet.  Maybe one day. Oh and hiking is great! This is the view from a hike we did at Wintergreen. Marlee came so we didn’t go too far, but I need to get her in better shape because she LOVES hiking!

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As far as food goes, I love it. When I was following paleo, it was easy to explain to people how I ate. Now it’s a little bit harder because there’s no label for how I eat. I just eat well, “clean.” I love to eat real, whole foods. I love shopping at farmer’s markets and eating local when I can. I try to eat organic and non-GMO foods. This past summer I bought fresh produce from my co-worker and loved getting these baskets delivered to my desk each week!

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So this is the start of my journey recording my life striving to eat well and live well because it’s made such a big difference in my life!