Green Smoothies: Banana Strawberry Sunrise

One of my favorite parts about being at the shore with my family (we go down to Ocean City, New Jersey a few times a year) is my morning routine: a run by the ocean followed by green smoothies from the Bashful Banana. I love the feeling of indulgence they bring – that’s right, they’re green but sweet and delicious, no “green” flavor whatsoever – without the guilt. In fact, a lot of the options at the restaurant make eating healthy on vacation simple and enjoyable. But, that’s besides the point.

I started thinking about it and realized there was no reason I couldn’t make them at home. I asked for a blender for Christmas and was given the Ninja Professional. Let me tell you, I am in love. I’ve started experimenting and will be sharing recipes as I go. To make it more doable (I know the cost of fresh fruits and veggies can be hard to come by), John and I have signed up for a local CSA (Strites’ Orchard for those interested) this year, with fresh veggies and fruit delivered each week starting in May. I cannot wait!

Anyway, here is the recipe for my first green smoothie, even the husband gave it his approval (when something is green, that’s a big deal!).

Green Smoothie 1

Banana Strawberry Sunrise

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • 5 large strawberries
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach
  • 2 baby carrots
  • 3 ice cubes

Directions

  • Add all ingredients to blender and blend to desired consistency.

Green Smoothie 2

Note: This makes two 8-ounce servings. I keep one in the fridge to drink the next morning.

It really is good, give it a try for a morning boost!

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Girls: Strength Training Matters!

Alright, I have a confession. I’m a distance runner – but you already knew that. There’s another side to what I do though (and have done in the past). I’m a lifter. I love the feeling of being strong, in many cases more than being fast. In fact, in the past I thought that’s how it had to work. To lift and become strong you have to sacrifice speed. But, after some serious training, talks with professionals and my own experience, I’ve learned that that idea is not true. In fact, speed and strength can work together to compliment one another. Not sold? Keep reading.

Squat Warm Up

When I was a basketball player, weight training was part of what we did. The problem? Our coaches were male, with experience training men. They taught us about the need for brute strength, but left it there. Sure, we were strong, we were tough, but it wasn’t a program designed to meet our needs, as female athletes. Based on that experience, when I got into running, I fought the need for strength training, I thought it would work against my objectives (to lose weight and get faster).

Then, I started working with Sam at Performance Fitness Training. I was skeptical about choosing a female trainer (she is aware of this!). I wasn’t sure if she could push me the way I needed to be pushed. WOW, she changed that quickly! Instead, she knew EXACTLY what I needed, listened to my goals – on the running side – and designed a program that many days left me wondering if I’d make it through the workouts at hand.

Here’s the best part. She talked me into power lifting for a rotation. Soon, I was doing pull ups (not assisted!), squatting well-above my body weight and lifting weights that I never would have thought was possible. It was addictive. But, to my surprise, it didn’t work the way I thought it would. During that time, I continued to lose weight until plateauing at my goal weight (even while cutting the miles). I also dropped my half marathon best time by 20 minutes. That’s right, 20 minutes…even though I didn’t change my running plan (except by cutting back!). My new strength gave me endurance and worked with running to turn me into a better athlete with a routine I loved (I was able to mix it up and that’s something that helped me thrive).

I’m writing this because as we come up to a new year, it’s important to think about your goals. In an earlier post, I encouraged you to sign up for a race and to write a training plan. I wanted to be sure to emphasize the importance of resistance training and writing that into the plan. Below are a few important points:

  • Strength training increases overall endurance.
  • Muscle burns more calories than fat (read more about this here).
  • Women can be STRONG without being bulky. I didn’t believe it until I experienced it, treat yourself, work on strength!
  • Adding resistance training allows you to better handle runs, especially long runs, by offering a varied routine.

It’s important to note that it’s good to talk to a professional before starting a strength regimen. The machines at the gym may look easy to use, but proper form is paramount for avoiding injuries and best results. To learn more, check out Girls Gone Strong. This blog encouraged me a lot and gives great tips. Become a fan…and get strong starting today!

Questions? Ask! Connect with me! I’d love to learn more about your journey, your goals and where you’re going.

 

Intermediate Speed Medley Treadmill Workout

When the weather is rough sometimes things just need to happen inside. While the track is generally the best location for interval training, it can happen anywhere. Treadmills aren’t the end of the world, in fact, they offer great control options.

treadmill

Below is an intermediate – advanced treadmill speed workout. The concept is simple: it’s a reverse ladder (work distances get shorter) with increased speed.

A few important notes:

  • This workout is written according my own pace. Adjust to be sure you are able to do each phase comfortably and based on your own habits.
  • Just like any other workout, be sure a doctor approves your regimen. They can tell you what you’re body is ready for, jumping into something too soon, or at the wrong level can lead to injury.
  • Be sure to throw dynamic stretches into the mix before your workout, with static stretching after. This is a best practice for any running plan.

Having said that, here goes:

Intermediate Speed Medley Treadmill Workout

Lap Number

Speed (mph)

Notes

1-6

6.6

Easy distance pace

7-8

9.0

9-10

6

Resting pace

11-12

9.0

13-14

6

15

9.5

Faster than earlier intervals

16

6

17

9.5

18

6

19

10 – 6

Half lap all out, half lap at rest

20

10 – 6

Half lap all out, half lap at rest

21-22

6

Recover

23-24

4

Walk it out

Total: 6 Miles

Gluten Free Parmesan Garlic Crackers

Gluten Free Crackers

 

I love snacking. Being gluten free and hyper-aware of the preservatives, additives and fillers found in most pre-packaged snack foods makes it really hard to sit down and enjoy something without guilt.

Because of this, I set out to create my own alternative. After a few tries, I came up with a recipe that has won approval from the family and a few guests: Parmesan Garlic Crackers…they’re easy to make and delicious. Try them out today!

Parmesan Garlic Crackers

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I use Pamela’s)
  • 3/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Parmesan blend
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (approximate)
  • 1/2 cup butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg yolk

Directions

  • Combine flours, cheese, onion and black pepper until combined.
  • Add the butter and use your fingers or a fork to make it into a crumb-like consistency.
  • Add the sour cream and egg yolk. Use your hands to blend until the dough stays together.
  • Roll the dough out into 2 logs, 12 inches each (I like my crackers to be smaller).
  • Wrap each log with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours…you can do it overnight. (I froze one log to use later).
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Slice the log into the thickness you desire. Mine were around 1/8 to 1/4 an inch, but they could be thicker if you’d like softer crackers.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown.

Each log should yield 30-50 crackers depending on the thickness you desire.

2014: Who’s In?

2014

 

I’m not a big fan of new years resolutions. I think they set people up to fail and are made without plans. But, I do think a new year (or any time for that matter!) is a great time to start thinking about goals (long and short term) and making plans to see them through.

I’ve already shared my big goal for 2014. I’ve registered for the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY on October 5. I can’t wait. I have training schedules printed out and am ready to go. What really excited me though is what happened AFTER I shared my plans. You see, in that time, I’ve had two people share my enthusiasm and decide to join in. Why is this exciting? It’s because it’s about encouragement, it’s a built in training team and it’s something that will stop me from doing the flip-flop and backing out down the road. Like any other aspect of life, accountability matters for fitness goals.

Think about your own goals for 2014. My thinking is that it’s best to set a large goal…but to put in smaller goals to accompany it. Want to run or walk your first 5k? Make a training plan, ask someone to join you or to at least help you stick to your plans. Want to lose 40 pounds? Awesome…think about the tools you need to make that happen and make small diet changes or commit to working out 10 minutes a day to start. It’s all about small plans to reach the big goals.

Having said that…what are your plans for 2014. Even better…want to take the marathon plunge with me? I’d like to welcome others to sign up for the Wineglass full marathon OR half marathon and to take part in what should be a really great weekend! (Note: there is a 2500 runner cap and they’re about halfway there…don’t wait too long!).

Make your 2014 into what you want it to be!

Butternut Squash and Red Onion Pasta

Last night I was looking for something a little lighter for dinner, but with the heartiness of a fuller meal. I started throwing things together based on a few other recipes I found. The result? It was a hit…both kids and the husband enjoyed!

Squash and Onion Pasta

 

Butternut Squash and Red Onion Pasta

Ingredients

  • 8.8oz package (or similar size) gluten free egg noodles, prepared according to the package directions, al dente
  • 2 TBs butter
  • 1 small red onion, sliced as thin as possible
  • 2 cups sliced butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan, Romano and Asiago cheese blend (or similar)
  • 1.5 cups water

Directions

  • Melt 1 TB butter in skillet over low to medium heat. Add the onions, salt and pepper and cook until caramelized, stirring regularly.
  • In the meantime, add 1.5 cups water, oregano and butternut squash to a small pan, bring to a boil and cook until the squash is soft, drain the water and save it.
  • Combine the pasta, squash, onions, 1 TB butter, cheese and 1/2 cup water from the squash into the skillet and heat until the cheese is melted. Serve immediately.

 

Jingle Bell 5K

Jingle Bell 5k Logo

On Saturday, December 14, I took part in the Jingle Bell 5k in Harrisburg for the Arthritis Foundation. It was my first 5k in a few months, and I couldn’t wait to be a part of the day. Below is my take!

Let me start by saying, the day was COLD. When I woke up Saturday morning we were under a Winter Storm Warning (we got about 4 inches of snow later in the day) and it was 22 degrees. Brr. I’m not a cold weather person so I have to admit, I was concerned. This was in no part a reflection of the race, the organization or anything else…just a general observation!

I showed up at 8 am for the 10 am start because of the Girls on the Run program. Packet pick-up was a breeze and in no time I was in the heated tent looking for my running buddy and trying to figure out how to dress for the race (Jacket on or off? How many layers of Under Armour? etc.).

At 9 am, the program started. Dr. Lippy with Pinnacle Health thanked all the runners (over 3,000!) and introduced Kaylee Heberlee, the race’s honoree. Shortly after, music started, runners started stretching and everyone got excited. This was excellent…the only problem? Being outside for an hour prior to the start in frigid temperatures was tough!

Right before the race started, runners lined up. Chip timing made placement less important and we were ready to go. The course was fairly straightforward, two laps (with a few modifications the second time around) through the business park with times posted at each mile and clear directions. This gave runners fewer things to think about and made the experience more pleasant. At the finish, runners moved through the corrals and prepared for the awards ceremony. It was a fun – yet cold, can I emphasize that enough? – race that helped get everyone into the Christmas spirit. I fully plan to participate again next year. Great job Jingle Bell 5k!