Thursday, April 30, 2015

Move it May Monthly Challenge

What's it About?

Are you looking for a challenge to get motivated to move? Or maybe you just like challenges and want to add something different to your routine.

My Move It May Workout Challenge is a great way for beginners to get started and a fun challenge for old pros. There is no equipment needed and you can even do the moves while catching up on your favorite tv shows!

How Does it Work?

Each week is a different bodyweight only exercise. You begin with 30 reps and work your way up to 50 reps. You can do the exercise in groupings throughout the day (e.g., 10 reps in the morning, 10 at lunch, etc.) or knock them out all at once. It's your choice!
MayChallengeImage

Visit my Where's the Beach Fitness Online Training Website to sign up for weekly email reminders and to find out about new challenges!

Let's Get Social!

Don't forget to like me on Facebook, and follow on Twitter and Instagram for check ins and reminders. Use hashtag MoveItMayChallenge and/or WTBFitness.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Salsa Salad with Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing

Big confession: I don't like avocados.

I think it's more of a texture thing than just the flavor. I've tried over the years, I really have. If I can hide them away smashed into other flavors, then I may be able to eat a small sliver.

But, I know that they're really healthy with healthy fats, vitamins, potassium and amino acids. Research has shown that eating avocados can reduce risks of several types of cancers, lower your cholesterol and are good for heart health. 

Jason loves avocados and has been using them often lately. I decided I'd give them another shot in the form of a dressing or sauce. Avocados, in my mind, go with salsas. Ok, not that I eat them with salsas myself. But, this was my train of thought. 

I had several tomatoes on hand that needed to be used, some frozen corn and canned beans. I often make a black bean and corn salsa/salad during the summer so I just ran with that general concept for flavors and textures and came up with a Summer Salsa Salad with Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing.



Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing
Ingredients:
1 avocado, peeled, de-seeded
1 tbsp peanut butter (I used Myprotein) (tahini would also work)
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup OJ (more or less for consistency)
To taste: Honey (or agave or raw sugar), salt, cumin powder, chili powder, garlic powder
Small bunch fresh cilantro (more if you like the taste)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (more or less for consistency)

Directions:
In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients until smooth. Re-season as needed.

Summer Salsa Salad
Ingredients
4 tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1 cup frozen edamame, thawed (optional)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups cooked quinoa (rice or couscous would also work)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix in the Peanut Butter Avocado Dressing. Refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld together and the onions to mellow.

Because I had the quinoa already cooked, this came together really quickly. Even if you don't have any pre-cooked, it's still a quick and easy recipe to throw together. You can serve it as is or over a base of greens.

Are you an avocado fan? What fruits/veggies do you dislike but know you should try to eat?

Monday, April 27, 2015

Downtown Dash and RussVegas in the Books

As I mentioned, I may have taken a break from blogging, but I jumped right back into running and racing.

Downtown Dash

After the Little Rock Half Marathon, I was signed up for the Downtown Dash 10K to support the Junior League.

I had done this race last year, and thought it'd be a good race to try to help me continue to regain my endurance, and confidence truth be told. Though, I knew that the course was kind of tricky. It's a double loop and there are some challenging long, gradual inclines. It may not be a straight up big hill, the those gradual inclines really sneak up on you.

The race started just over a mile from my house, so I did a slow, easy warmup run down to the start. Only it was warm and humid. I knew right away it was not going to be a good running day. Not only was my cardio still down, but the humidity is never good for my asthma.

I lined up near the front. Unfortunately, several kids and slower runners did as well. It's a small race so maybe it's just a lack of general race etiquette/knowledge, but please don't line up in front if you aren't able to race fast. It's just out of courtesy and also safety really. So, it was a very frustrating start.

Mentally this race got me because it's a double loop. I know the hills, I know the incredibly long, slow, gradual, butt-kicking inclines. I managed 1st in master's but my time was significantly slower than last year. I was frustrated.


This race kicked my rear far more than it should have. I honestly felt like I had run a half not a 10K.

RussVegas Half

Thankfully I have very patient running friends who have helped me along. Because I didn't think I was going to do the Little Rock Half, I had signed up for another half - RussVegas. It was highly recommended.

As race day approached, I dreaded my decision to have signed up. I hadn't been doing dedicated speed work, but at least I had worked up to 13 miles steadily. Race start time was 7:30 and it was just over an hour away so that meant a very early wake up call.

The weather started off right around 45 degrees, which would have been fantastic. However, the temps rose fast as the sun came up. It was in the 60s by the time I finished if that gives you an idea of how quickly it warmed up.

The course was surprisingly populated with spectators, bands, live music. It was mostly flat and fairly scenic as well. I was really impressed with the crowd support. That truly goes a long way for the runners.

While the course was mostly flat, there was one really nasty bridge right at mile 12. As you came around the corner, it didn't look too bad from the side, but man once you started up it, your perspective came to a screeching halt ... oh no, that was my speed! Not only was it steep, but the grade changed halfway up to an even steeper stretch. It was like a death march at that point. I was struggling with my breathing, the heat was really getting to me then that darn hill.

Luckily it is pretty much straight down as soon as you crest. I tried to take advantage of that. I could see the enormous American flag at the finish, but it was still so incredibly far way. But I could see it. The end in sight.

I crossed the finish line at 1:37:46. Again, not my best time, but all things considered, I was really proud. I feel like I raced as hard as I could. I did stop at several aid stations for water knowing that the water was more important than my time. So, it could have been faster? But maybe not if I was too dehydrated.




I took 1st in Master's division. This race, while difficult for me still, gave me some much-needed confidence.

One of the best parts of the day was that I got to meet Beth from Running Around My Kitchen. We had actually run near each other for a huge part of the Little Rock Half Marathon without even knowing it. There's even a picture of us next to each other during the race! So, it was great to actually get to finally meet her and not just run near her LOL.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chocolaty Matcha Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Disclaimer: I was given this product for free to sample and review. There was no monetary compensation and all opinions are my own as they always will be. 

Peanut Butter. Matcha. Chia. OH MY!

If you're like me, you're always on the lookout for new protein bar or bite recipes that aren't crazy complicated to make. Who has time for complicated? Pretty sure no one raised their hands.

But, I'm also looking for protein bars or bites that have healthy ingredients providing full, balanced nutrition. Basically looking for the biggest bang for my buck so to speak.

Oh, and if you're like me, you love peanut butter!

MyProtein offered to let me try one of their products. Unfortunately, they were out of their vegan protein powder, however, they had peanut butter! So, I quickly took them up on the offer to let me try it out. But, I didn't want to just do a review on peanut butter alone. I mean, it is peanut butter right? At least theirs is. It's straight up ground peanuts. Period. No added salt or sugars.

But, I took this an opportunity to get my creative juices flowing again for recipe ideas.

The nice thing about this peanut butter is that it is nice and smooth, after you get in your workout of stirring it up I must add. It's a large jar and it took a large spoon to get it stirred up. That may be my only complaint. But, there are no additional ingredients, just peanuts. Plain and simple.



After scouring the internet and looking through tons of different recipes in search for ideas, I came up with my Chocolaty Matcha Peanut Butter Protein Bites.

These bites pack a punch of nutrition with chia seeds, matcha powder and protein plus the antioxidant benefits of cocoa powder.

I think this recipe lends itself to some easy additions like banana, pumpkin puree or unsweetened apple sauce in lieu of the almond milk. Some ideas I have for the next batch that I make.

Chocolaty Matcha Peanut Butter Protein Bites

Ingredients:
2 scoops vanilla protein powder (60 grams, I used PlantFusion Vanilla Bean)
2 tsp organic matcha powder
1/2 cup peanut flour (I used PB2)
1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter (I used Myprotein)
3 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
NuNaturals Cocoa Syrup (to taste)
NuNaturals Liquid Vanilla Stevia (to taste or vanilla extract)
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 cup + Unsweetened almond milk (to consistency, start with less and work up)

Directions:
In a large bowl combine all ingredients adding in the almond milk 1 or 2 tablespoons at a time until you reach the desired consistency. The dough should be damp enough to allow you to form into balls that hold together tightly.

Gently roll into balls and refrigerate. Makes 12-14 balls depending on the size.

Note: The nutrition breakdown is based off of 12 bites and a serving being 1 bite. Also remember that the nutrition information is just an estimate and can vary depending on the protein powder you choose as well as the amount and brand of almond milk you choose.


Do you have a favorite peanut butter protein bar recipe? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I'm Still Here

Knock knock. 
Who's there? 
Me. 
Me Who?
Oh you know, the gal that used to blog ...

After 5 1/2 years of blogging, I simply needed a break. I needed to reconnect to my life, not an online life. It was beyond refreshing I must say.

Also, I felt like my posts were starting to feel contrived, especially after finishing my first full marathon and then ending up sidelined with that good old stress fracture.

I didn't know what more to say.

I wasn't feeling inspired in the kitchen.

I most definitely wasn't inspired by running, since I couldn't. I didn't want my posts to be all "woe is me" because in the grand scheme of everything in life, my life wasn't necessarily bad. I was just having some set backs.

After my injury, I set on the road to regaining my running endurance - both distance and cardiovascular endurance. It was hard. It was frustrating. Any runner who's been sidelined knows all about the comeback game. It's as mentally challenging as it is physically challenging.

I ended up able to run the Little Rock Half Marathon. Definitely not my best time in several years, but I was happy just the same because it meant I was back to running. Injuries will certainly help you change your perspective on things.

Since I last left you (I know everyone has been glued to their feeds waiting for a post right?) ...
  • I've been running with my awesome running partners (Must give a HUGE shout out to L in the yellow for a 10 min PR at Boston!!! Hello awesomeness.)
  • I ran a 10K, the Little Rock Downtown Dash 
  • I ran the RussVegas Half Marathon
  • I've put together a couple of new recipes 
  • I registered for the Chicago Marathon (<<<< WOW)
I plan on recapping the races and sharing the recipes individually. I just wanted to do a quick post to give a few updates and hope that I have a few readers still around!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Little Rock Half Marathon Take 5

On Sunday, March 1, I woke up and ran the Little Rock Half Marathon for the 5th time.

I'm beginning to think this race is completely cursed for me. The only time I've run it well was my first time. Since then, it's been injuries, torn plantar fascia, craptastic weather ... and this year it was seemingly all of the above. Even the finisher medals hadn't arrived! (Though, while we didn't get our real medals, the race directors made certain that we had a temporary medal after we crossed that line.)

So, here I was completely untrained coming off of a stress fracture. 100% chance of rain, cold rain at that. I had only been running again for 2 weeks. No speed work, longest distance was 8 miles (done the day before).

However, I was feeling pretty good overall. No foot pain. Just a lowered endurance level, to be expected after not running for 37 long days. I didn't really announce that I was going to run. I wasn't completely sure I would. But, when it came down to it, I felt I had to participate. Call me stubborn, call me determined, it's something I needed to do for me.

 

The temperature Sunday morning was around 34 degrees. It was drizzly, gray. I could have easily backed out. I had a great excuse right? But somehow that felt like, well, an excuse. An easy out. I'm not about easy outs. Let me preface this whole thing by saying that if I had thought for one instance that it would have put me in jeopardy for further injury, I would not have run.

The race course was changed up significantly this year. The start was a mile from my house, so I used that as an easy warm up (needed because of the cold especially). My plan was to run and walk when I needed it. I knew that I couldn't think about pace, about my time, about hitting any sort of goal other than to finish.

I was a little nervous about the new course. I had heard a few people complain about it, say it was more difficult. I actually really liked the new start. It was a total straight stretch so it was so much easier to settle into a consistent pace without zigzagging and making tight turns with the masses.

That, however, changed. My only real complaint about the course was the constant turns that eventually came on. We repeated the same stretches as well, and that can start to get to you mentally. But it was the turns, a sharp left, then a right, then a left. Runners all trying to get into that tight turn together, no one wanting to take the wide sweep. Lots of feet. Lots of almost tripping up moments. Lots of apologies to one another. Then trying to regain momentum again. And again. And again.

I did feel like there were more downhill stretches for the new route that helped offset the longer inclines and the blips of hills. Sort of a nice reward for all the turns too.

It's definitely a more spectator friendly course. However, the horrible weather meant there were far fewer spectators. The energy levels were sadly low this year. There were a few stretches of great crowd support, like the Couch Potato Mile where they had set out couches along the sidewalks and were handing out potato chips. It was amusing for sure. But other than that, not much support even through my 'hood where neighbors usually sit out and basically have a party.

My Garmin was about 2 tenths of a mile ahead, so I never really knew what my true pace was. I felt like I was plodding along, slowly, oh so slowly. I was a little disappointed with how hard my effort level felt. But when I looked around me and saw all the other runners pushing through, some beaming with pride, some in pain, knowing that for many this was their first of any of the distances ... I was proud of myself.

I only walked through the aid stations. And while my time was significantly slower than what my races have been recently, I still felt that amazing sense of pride, of accomplishment.


Half Marathon #11 is now in the books. I ended up with a time of 1:46:08 putting me 6th in my age group, however, 3 of them were grand master so that actually ended up making me 3rd in my age group. Somehow I find it a little amusing that my slower time got me an award. I'm digging the aging up thing right now.


Friday, February 20, 2015

10 Non-Fitness Things About Me

If you read my blog with any regularity, you know that I tend to write a lot about running, some about lifting, cycling/cross-training, as of late, a good deal about recovering from injuries, with a smattering of recipes and life along the way.

Yesterday, I read a fun post from Jess at The Blonde Ponytail - 10 Non-Fitness Things About Me. After reading it, I thought it'd be a fun post to do for Fun for Friday. I always enjoy reading posts that give more insight to the blogger behind the blog. I think it's fun, it's personal. Perfect for the end of the week.



1. I love to read. 
I typically read for an hour each night before bed. It helps me relax and fall asleep. I can go through 4-6 books in any given month.

2. I hoard hardback books. 
So, to go with the reading thing, I feel like I must own the hardback. I think it goes back to working at Waldendbooks through college. And if I'm reading that many books and own them, you can imagine the issues with that one. Jason has sort of forced me into the kindle world and I'm stilling kicking and screaming over it.

3. I'm an introvert.
Through and through this is me. Now, one-on-one I'm good, even very small groups of people I know. But anything more than that and it really puts me on edge. I can't wait to get home after work to decompress, alone, in silence. It's how I re-charge.

4. I hate doing my makeup.
This is funny for me because I used to be the girl who never walked out of the house without a shirt tucked in. Now I can't wait for the weekend and at least have one day of not messing around with makeup, even if I leave the house, I'm so dressed down that it's appropriate to go without make up.

5. I love shoes.
Seriously, most girls do right? I mean, you typically don't outgrow them in any capacity. They can absolutely make an outfit. There's just something about shoes that makes me happy. I have to stay far away from stores like DSW.

6. I love to shop.
I wish someone would just pay me to shop basically. And part of it is the bargain hunter in me. So it's not just going and buying, it's searching for a good deal too. Even if I come out empty-handed, I still have enjoyed the hunt.

7. I love pizza.
Seriously one of my favorite foods that I could eat every day of the week if I let myself. I try to justify it only after long runs and that it's usually loaded with veggies. But, I know, it's still a pizza! And, I'm absolutely ok with it too.

8. I'm a Food Network and HGTV addict.
If I have the tv on, it's one of those channels (or Cooking Channel or DIY since they're basically the same). I will watch the shows even if I've seen them 10 times, but I would never sit and re-watch a regular sitcom that way.

9. I am not a movie watcher.
I can't recall the last time I went to a movie theater. I am a little better renting because it's home and comfortable and I can easily get up and mill around. And I could watch half of a movie and basically get up and walk away and absolutely not care if I don't see the end.

10. I hate geese. 
We had one as a child (at my grandparents' house) that was flat out evil. It would chase me or my sister wings spread, head down, hissing and honking. And it didn't stop there. If you've never been bitten by one, count yourself lucky because it hurts and they don't want to let go.

What are some non-fitness related things about you?