Monday, September 30, 2013

Training Truths: Switching Gears

Last week should have been a taper week for the ZOOMA Cape Cod half marathon, but instead it was another injury-induced-no-running week. I haven't become a couch potato during my time off though because I'm hoping to bounce back enough to be ready for my next running event in just two weeks!

Monday - My 50 squats a day streak continued first thing in the morning and after a chiropractor adjustment, I did some touchdown lunges.

Tuesday - Morning squats and a 5K walk along the New Boston Trail with mr.C and the dog. Threw in my challenge workout while we were there: superman pulls.

Wednesday - Morning squats and another 5K walk with mr.C and the dog. This time we went to the beach and when we got there I did some dolphin walks on the dock.

Thursday - Morning squats and a quick walk after school on the Goffstown Trail before heading to my step daughter's soccer game. Does jumping up and down while cheering count as exercise? I think so! For my evening workout, I broke out the PAPER PLATES for some gliding saws.

Friday - Morning squats and then we were off to Cape Cod for the ZOOMA weekend. We walked around Falmouth after lunch doing some sight-seeing and some shopping.

Saturday - Spent the morning working the ZOOMA Cape Cod race handing out personal best medals. In the afternoon, we went exploring on a 15 mile bike ride along the Shining Sea Bikeway from Falmouth to Woods Hole.

Sunday - Started the day with a little yoga and a walk on the beach before leaving Cape Cod and heading home.

Have I mentioned how much I love the Under Armour September Challenge? Every day there is a new exercise that pushes me to try something new. As much as I have enjoyed focusing on some strength work the past 6+ weeks, I'm ready to put on my Mizunos again and go for a run.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fitness Friday: ZOOMA Weekend Fun!

TGIF!! Today I am off to Cape Cod to begin my weekend with #ZOOMAnation. I was so excited yesterday when I got home from work to find a big box of product from ZOOMA sponsor Honest Tea  waiting for me. I was ready to get the party started!

Just like last year I am looking forward to an amazing weekend and as I already mentioned in my ZOOMA blog post, I'm not letting my cranky adductor ruin my fun!

So here is what I have planned for this weekend:
  • First stop on Friday will be at the Sea Crest Beach Resort for the ZOOMA Fitness Expo where I will check-in with race co-founder Brooke. I'll probably do a little shopping, too.
  • At 6 P.M. you will find me chatting it up with race participants and some of the other ZOOMA Ambassadors at a Q&A Session in the Nauset Center.
  • After working up a thirst answering questions, we'll be heading to the Honest Tea Let's Get Fizz-ical "Mocktail" Party at Red's Poolside Bar. The fun begins at 7 P.M.
  • Bright and early on Saturday morning, we will be reporting for volunteer duty at the Runner Info Tent and then waiting for the first runners to cross the finish line! 
  • Sometime during the morning, we will head over to the After-Party Expo and maybe do a session of Recovery Yoga by Yoga Therapy.
  • On Sunday morning, mr.C and I will be unloading the bikes and pedaling our way to the Shining Sea Bike Trail for a little ride before heading back to New Hampshire.

This is hopefully my last weekend of no running. I will be doing another test run next week and (fingers-crossed) slowly getting back out there in my running shoes. 

Are you racing this weekend? Let me know in the comments and I will give you a shout out!!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

WIAW: Weekend Plans

I've been cooking up some ideas on how to spend my ZOOMA Cape Cod weekend even though I'm injured and won't be running. You can check out some great ways to still have fun on race day in my post on the ZOOMA Blog and find out what I'll be up to this weekend!

Weekends are also fun for cooking up some treats around my house. Last weekend we had a big batch of Greek Flaxseed Protein Pancakes for breakfast.

Then for dinner, we skipped the usual meal options and went straight for the football appetizer favorite: Buffalo Chicken Dip.

The recipe is so easy:

We watched football and munched all afternoon!

Find more ideas to cook up your weekend plans at the WIAW link up!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Training Truths: ZOOMA Week 11

My second "test" run last week did not go as I hoped, so my plans to run the ZOOMA Cape Cod 10K have been scrapped. However, I have plans to make race day just as fun as ever. Stay tuned!

Last week, I spent more time with my strength training and more time doing what I can do without pain: WALK. My friends in the running community keep telling me that hamstring injuries take a long time to heal, so I've decided to walk on the days that I used to run.

Monday - 50 squats. PT after school followed by a workout at home: Good Morning Circuit from Lorna Jane and the Knee Strength Workout from Christine.

Tuesday - 50 squats. Ran two slow painful miles on the trail after school and then sat through a soccer game. My adductor was not happy for about a day and a half.

Wednesday - 50 squats. Spider man pushups, straight leg bicycles, and the 8 minute belly buster circuit.

Thursday - 50 squats. Normally a run day, I took a 5K walk to the beach with mr. C and the dog. The view was gorgeous so I did some spontaneous side plank crunches for the Under Armour daily challenge.

Friday - 50 squats. Saw the dermatologist after school and he took a small spot from my cheek. Long day, emotional day = rest day.

Saturday - 50 squats. Walked, instead of ran, the My Dogs Are Barking 5K course with mr. C and the retired-loyal hound. Knee strength routine and got caught up on some daily challenge exercises.

Sunday - 50 squats. Needed to work the abs, so I did the 4 Minute Ninja Abs circuit and then added some glute strength exercises as well.

Waiting out this hamstring/adductor injury is by far one of the hardest things I've had to do in a while. If you have been in my shoes, I'd love to hear your advice/tips. This week, I'm looking forward to some good walks and then we head down to Cape Cod for a ZOOMA filled weekend!

Last, but not least, the winner of the Oofos Recovery Shoe giveaway! Please email me your Oofos recovery shoe selection and size.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Oofos Recovery Shoes Review & Giveaway!

One thing that is never far from my mind as a runner is recovery. I have accumulated a lot of recovery gear like compression socks, compression shorts, ice packs, foam get the idea. Recently I was sent a pair of recovery shoes from Oofos.

Oofos footwear is built using the "proprietary OOfoam™ technology" and "patented footbed design" to "comfort and support while reducing fatigue and enhancing recovery." At first glance, it's a clod-hopper with a very thick sole, but it's surprisingly lightweight.

As soon as I put on my Oofos Ooriginals, I forgot about how awkward looking they are and immediately felt their cushion-iness. After standing on classroom tiled floors for the first three days of school, my legs and feet were tired.

I like to wear slip on shoes around the house (my normal go-to pair are some Addidas that I have had for years). After just a few steps, I could feel some bounce in my walk. According to the Oofos blog, these shoes make an excellent training buddy because they'll "help absorb 37% of stress."

After spending some quality time in my new Oofos shoes, I can see why they have made the Sneaker Report's Top 10 Recovery Shoes list.

Oofos Footwear would like you to feel the #RejOOv for yourself. Use the rafflecopter below to enter. This giveaway is for US residents only and ends Sunday evening September 22.

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary pair of Oofos footwear for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Day in the Life: What I do Besides Run

Happy Hump Day! Making it to the middle of the week takes on a whole new meaning once school is back in session. Today I'm joining Angela and Jill for a "Day in the Life" link up and sharing a glimpse of what one of my days as a high school English teacher looks like.

I usually wake up around 5:30 and after brushing my teeth, feeding the dog, and pouring a cup of coffee, I start my day with 50 squats. This is a new routine for me. One that I adopted right after the PT told me I need to strengthen my glutes.

For breakfast my pre-wheat-free toast has become an apple cinnamon rice cake with PB & J and a side of yogurt.  At this time of the morning I still have the downstairs to myself, so I watch the news, read email, and check Facebook while eating. 

After breakfast I make a smoothie and pack my lunch. After getting dressed for work, if I'm lucky I get a brief chat with my husband and step-daughter before heading out the door for my 20 minute commute to work.

My days vary as a high school teacher because we are on a 90 minute block schedule: we have odd days when periods 1, 3, 5, 7 meet and even days for periods 2, 4, 6, 8. Here's a look at a typical even day. 

From 7:30 - 7:56 I get ready for my day - making copies, writing instructions on the white board, greeting students as they enter the classroom. 7:56 - 9:26 I teach Period 2 English 10 for 90 minutes. As the class starts, the morning announcements begin with the Pledge. During announcements students work on a quick write that leads to a discussion of the story the students read. Afterwards I give them a writing assignment to complete. The class ends with another reading selection. When the bell rings, I quickly change what I've written on the white board for my next class.

9:31 - 11:01 Period 4 is my planning time. Most of it is spent in the teacher's room which happens to be right across the hall from my classroom. I use this time to grade papers, make copies, and run errands. I might also have a snack during this time, like some dry rice chex cereal. Although I could stay in my room, another class is being taught in there during this time.

11:06 - 12:36 I'm back in the classroom for Period 6 English 10 Honors. This is my biggest class of the day and right before lunch. Today this class starts with a practice SAT question and discussion. Today they are practicing how to write correct works cited entries for various sources. They work quietly with a partner to complete a series of entries. I walk around helping and monitoring for most of the activity.

12:36 - 1:06 This is my lunch period and I'm back across the hall in the teacher's room for a little down time with my colleagues. Today I'm having some tuna, grapes, and cheese & crackers. 

1:11 - 2:41 Period 8 English 10 Honors is a repeat of the my before lunch class. The last five minutes of class we listen to announcements before the dismissal bell. I like to stand in the hall and say good-bye to students as they leave.

3:00 - 4:00 Today we have a faculty meeting in the Information Center (aka library). These are held every third Wednesday and are scheduled for one hour. I also attend a quick GEA meeting after the faculty meeting.

4:30 When I get home, I will complete the Lorna Jane daily challenge and my strength workouts. I told my PT about exercises I found from Christine and he LOVES them, so it is a priority to get them done more than twice a week.

Once everyone is home, it is time to prep dinner. Tonight we are having a favorite: chicken florentine with gluten free pasta. I used to use cream of chicken soup, but now I use plain yogurt, milk, parmesan cheese, and garlic.

Don't forget to see what everyone else is doing and eating today!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Training Truths: ZOOMA Week 10

Another week has gone by and I'm still not back to running. Instead of training for the ZOOMA Cape Cod half marathon, I downgraded my registration to the 10K (in the off chance that I might be able to run 6.2 miles just 2 weeks from now).

For now, it is more PT, lots of strength, and testing the hamstrings on smaller runs. I am again using challenges to help keep me motivated and focused while working to get back into my running shoes. Another thing to love about challenges is that some have prizes. Like this great Brooks Running hat I received from the #AugustCoreFocus challenge with Kat.

Monday - 50 squats and I broke out the weights for single leg dead lifts.

Tuesday - 50 squats in the morning. My afternoon workout consisted of horizontal pull ups, the 4 minute ninja ab workout and the knee strength workout I mentioned last week. Then I tried a new one from the Lorna Jane Challenge: Good Morning Circuit.

Wednesday - The usual morning 50 squats. After work I had to get a physical and then went straight to  PT. I was tired, so it turned into a rest day.

Thursday - 50 squats. After work I did some reverse table top crunches, single leg squat jumps, planks, and a slow, tender two mile treadmill run at the suggestion of my PT. As much as I wanted this to be pain free, I'm realizing that the healing process cannot be rushed.

Friday - My hamstrings were tender following my short run, but I still did my 50 squats in the morning. When I got home from work I did the Love Your Legs workout from Lorna Jane before heading to another session of PT.

Saturday - I started the day with happier hamstrings and 50 squats. Later I did some planks and jump rope jacks. My PT told me to take it easy after the ART session we had on Friday. I'm not taking any chances!

Sunday - This was rode trip day to Connecticut for a soccer clinic with my step daughter. Before we left I did my 50 squats and a handstand challenge. While at UNC, we walked around campus for a bit to stretch out our legs from the 3 hour car ride.

Off to PT now and hopeful for some more improvement. Maybe I'll even try another run tomorrow!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fitness Friday: Gymboss Timer Review

Even though I have been on the NO RUNNING plan for the past few weeks, I have still been working out. Thanks to super nice Jake at Gymboss Timers, I have been able to do my timed sets easier.

I've always relied on the clock app on my phone or a stop watch for timed sets, but an interval timer like this one from Gymboss is so much easier to use. It can set on the floor or clip onto your waistband.

I have used it both ways and although I am not doing running intervals, it has remained clipped to my shorts during transition moves.

It was simple to set up and the screen is easy to read if you choose to take a peek at it during your workout. Otherwise you just wait for the beep to alert you that your set is over.

I have used the Gymboss during a variety of workouts:

It is also a great tool when you are working out with a partner because the alert beep can be easily heard by both of you.

I'm really looking forward to trying the Gymboss during my interval runs when I am cleared to lace up my running shoes again.

Disclaimer: I was sent a complimentary Gymboss for review purposes. All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WIAW: Greek Flaxseed Protein Pancakes

One thing I am learning on my wheat-free journey is that you don't have to give up your favorite foods altogether. With wheat-free options and substituting ingredients, I can still prepare many of our family's favorites. Pancakes are one of those favorites.

After an exhaustive internet search, I found a wheat-free/GF recipe that looked good and sounded good - by that I mean it didn't sound complicated. So I gave it a whirl. The first thing I noticed after mixing all the ingredients together was that the batter was much thicker than regular pancake mix. Looking at it, I was worried that I had done something wrong.

Dropping spoonfuls into the pan didn't make me feel any better because the batter did not spread out like I was expecting (based on regular pancake recipes) and again, I worried that I had made a mistake in my preparations.

However, just like when I have made regular pancakes in the past, a little patience mixed with a few flipping attempts and I finally realized that the batter was fine and the pancakes turned out delicious.

This recipe is for one serving or four medium pancakes, but can easily be doubled.

The original recipe can be found here. I made a few changes based on what I had available, and used the Designer Whey Sustained Energy Protein that I received from my FitFluential campaign.

Don't forget to see what's cookin' at the WIAW link party with Jenn.

Monday, September 9, 2013

TrainingTruths: ZOOMA Week 9

It's killing me to not be able to run. Am I still a runner if I'm not running?

So, once again, I focused on the exercises that I could do and found a new challenging routine. I also joined a couple of September challenges to help keep me motivated. Remember the #AugustCoreFocus challenge? All my hard work for the month was rewarded with a prize from Brooks Running.

Monday: 50 squats to start the day and then some challenge work - twisted chair taps and Bulgarian split squats followed by my one minute plank routine.

Tuesday: 50 squats first thing in the morning. After my first day back to work I did my challenge work - triceps dip and flips. I really have no upper body strength.

Wednesday: 50 squats. Two mile trail walk after school with mr. C, then some walking planks and my one minute plank routine. I'd never done walking planks before and felt completely awkward at first, but then finally got the hang of it.

Thursday: 50 squats. My first attempt at downward air jacks (not easy or pretty), along with some jumping jacks and crunches. I also found and tried the 4 minute ninja ab workout from Amanda for the first time. This is an awesome dynamic ab workout. Be sure to watch her video!

Friday: 50 squats. Too tired after school and a soccer game to workout. Took a rest day!

Saturday: 50 squats. Cross-body mountain climbers, 15 minute very slow jog on the treadmill (speed set at 3) with the incline on 10 for some "hill" work, and the 4 minute ninja ab workout again. I also did my plank routine with some supermans and butt kicks.

Sunday: 50 squats, hip flexor strength workout from Women's Running and a new knee strengthening workout from Christine. She has a great demo video too.

It's three weeks until ZOOMA Cape Cod. I already know that I won't be running the half marathon again this year. Now I'm wondering if I'll be able to even do the 10K. We've decided that we will go for the weekend no matter what and if I can't run, then I will volunteer at a water stop!

Until then, all my faith is in Trainer Brian and St. Sebastian.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

WIAW: Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

So far on my wheat free journey, my favorite new food is quinoa. It is so easy to make and very filling. After making my first batch of quinoa bites, I couldn't wait to try more.

Since school starts today, I thought it would be perfect to share another recipe that I think will make a great back to school lunch.

On Sunday, I made a whole batch and sorted the bites into small containers so I can grab them and go in the morning.

Don't forget to check out all the great recipes at Jenn's link up today!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Training Truths: ZOOMA Wk 8 with a #GoalGetter2013 August Update

It has truly been a bummer to not be able to run. I spent A LOT of time last week trying to get a diagnosis. So, after physical therapy, a referral to a sports medicine doc, an x-ray, and an MRI, here's what I know:


No one can find an explanation for my pain. What we do know is that I need to strengthen my left leg and HOPEFULLY with continued TLC I will be back to 100% soon.

On Saturday I had to defer my first race entry and now the ZOOMA Cape Cod Half Marathon is in jeopardy. There is still the option to run the 10K or just enjoy the weekend on the Cape with mr. C and the other Ambassadors as a spectator. We shall see.

Looking back at my #GoalGetter2013 goals, my quest to reach 1000 miles for the year was derailed this month with only 33.19 miles. On the upside, I was very consistent with my strength exercises.

Thank goodness for Kat's #AugustCoreFocus challenge and Under Armour's #SweatADay challenge to help keep my mind off what I couldn't do and stay focused on what I could do.

Here's a look at all the core and strength work I did this month.

After an easy 2 mile test run on Saturday, I was still feeling tenderness in my left leg which tells me I'm not ready to jump in where I left off earlier in the month. Heading into September, my plan is to keep working on strength training and patiently wait for the pain free running to return.