Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Name in Sports: REPREVE Recycled

The following post is sponsored by REPREVE

Here in New Hampshire, recycling is a BIG deal. In our household we do it daily and take our trash to the local Transfer Station where we sort our recyclables. You might remember when I told you about my favorite yogurt company helping the planet and today I want to tell you about how your choice of fit gear is too.

REPREVE is a recycled fabric made from recycled PET introduced to the world in 2012 and already using over 629 million plastic bottles recycled by people like you and me. REPREVE fabric is already being used in many brands that you know and love.
  • Patagonia
  • Swiftwick
  • Polartec
  • The North Face Denali jacket
  • ChicoBag
  • and more listed here
So how does it work? REPREVE takes plastic bottles and other recycled materials and turns it into cool stuff that we wear and use every day. 

For example, it takes 6 recycled plastic bottles to make one REPREVE green beanie.

Would you like to wear an eco-friendly beanie made out of recycled fiber? You can win a REPREVE beanie of your own by entering the rafflecopter giveaway below.

I want to thank REPREVE for sponsoring this post and inspiring me to #TurnItGreen. Next month I will be telling you about an exciting contest where you can win $5000 by showing how you #TurnItGreen! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Training Truths: Christmas Break Workouts

In addition to not having to work and being able to sleep in if I want to, Christmas Break means that I can do workouts in the morning again. I love starting off with a good workout and feeling ready to take on the rest of the day.

On Monday I made my way back to Booty Barre after trying this workout at a NH Blog & Tweet event. Becki must have taken it easy on us that day, because after just a 50 minute session this time, I was sore for two days!

Tuesday was the unofficial Christmas Eve Family 5K. My husband and stepdaughter joined me for a morning Santa hat run to the beach and back. Surprisingly we only got honked at once.

mrC was not impressed with the lack of holiday cheer

Before the unwrapping of Christmas presents and chaos began on Wednesday, I did a quick strength workout in the basement.

While in Massachusetts on Thursday my brother-in-law offered to lead us on a morning-after-Christmas run through Forest Park on the Bright Nights 5K course. It was the perfect follow up to a busy holiday visit. Later we spent an extra 1.5 hours in the car trying to get back to NH during a small snow event, so it was good that we ran before leaving.

Friday was a rest day except for another quick strength workout.

I did my long run on the Manchester Rail Trail on Saturday morning so that mrC could run the first 4 miles with me. The first mile of the trail was a frozen icy mess, but then we found that someone had hand-shoveled a 1.5 mile path large enough for running. Rather than struggle on the trail, I opted to run the last three miles on downtown streets.

My Athleta Polartec tights kept my legs nice and warm!

Sunday was another day of strength followed by a football game workout from Amanda at RunToTheFinish. She always has the best workouts!

With only days remaining, the Chilly Challenge has begun to heat up. There are about 12 challengers  (and several very close) in the running to win a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17s  Will it be you? Have you posted at least 5 Instagram photos of the daily challenges? Check out some of my favorites from last week.

Did you workout more or less over the holiday?

Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 17

Happy Fitness Friday! I hope you had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying all of your new fit gear.

Earlier in the month my friends at Mizuno sent me an early Christmas present - a pair of shoes to try out before their release. As soon as I saw the new Mizuno Wave Rider 17s, I knew they were going to be fabulous.

Admittedly, the first thing I was excited to see when I opened the box was the color. I had been eyeing the slate gray shoes since seeing the color options on my laptop.

When I slipped them on, I noticed right away that the shoe felt wider. The toe box especially seemed much more roomy than the Wave Rider 16s. I have worn the 16s for more than 200 miles and never thought of them as narrow, but next to the 17s you can definitely see and feel a difference.

In fact, the new Wave Rider 17's toe box width reminds me a lot of the Wave Sayonara.

Although these shoes are lighter than the 16s (can you believe it?), they are still supportive and very flexible.

I've already put my Wave Rider 17s through the New England initiation and they are awesome on the road...

on the snow...

and on the treadmill.

In addition to function every runner girl knows that running shoes must look good. The Wave Rider 17s have some fashionable features that standout, like colored aglets.

A cool new medallion design.

And look at the rainbow reflection.

Once again Mizuno has completely spoiled me in more ways than one: they treated me to another pair of awesome shoes and every time I lace them up, I'm reminded why I fell in love with their brand.

What new fit gear did you get for Christmas that you are loving right now?


Road Runner Sports spotted this awesome review and asked me to share their exclusive review video with you! Enjoy!

Women's Mizuno Wave Rider 17 Video Credit: Road Runner Sports

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

WIAW: Raspberry Protein Bars

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you have a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.

It's also #WIAW, so I wanted to share the newest homemade protein bar recipe I tried over the weekend.

I'm really enjoying making my own bars and knowing what exactly goes into them. The recipe is very similar to my Banana Peanut Butter Bars and Blueberry Protein Bars, but I used Sunbutter for the first time.

This recipe only takes about 15 minutes prep time (I'm usually ready to put them in the oven right as the beeper tells me it has pre-heated) and 15 minutes to bake. So just 30 minutes until delicious-ness!

One of the best parts of baking is the removal from the oven. Everything smells so yummy. I flip the baked mixture onto a cutting board and remove the wax paper right away, but then let it cool for a minute or two before I cut it into squares.

After opening presents this morning, we're heading to Massachusetts to spend the holiday with my husband's family. These homemade bars will be a great little snack on the 2.5 hour drive.

Do you have any favorite snacks for when you're traveling?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Training Truths: Bonding with my Treamill

After months of spending barely any time on the treadmill, last week I was forced to do all of  my runs there. Between snow, long days, and the threat of freezing rain, none of my planned runs took place outside.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those runners who shun the dreadmill. I'll jump on the thing, turn on the TV and go.

However, my first choice is to run outside for many reasons:

Time goes by faster - For some reason it just feels like it takes forever to finish a run on the treadmill. Even Wednesday's short 3 miler felt like a long run.

It feels easier - For me, running on the treadmill feels like a lot more effort than it would if I were doing the same mileage outside. Like on Friday, I set the speed to 6.0 and increased gradually to 7.0. According to my sportwatch my pace was much slower than when I run outside, but it felt like I was working much harder. Are my feet made of lead?

Outside is prettier - I love the convenience of the basement especially on days like Sunday when the freezing rain prevents a safe outdoor run, but the view is pretty uninspiring. I can turn on the TV or listen to music, but it's no winter wonderland. No breathtaking views here. My sportwatch was more cooperative in reporting my pace on this one, but shorted me .20. So confusing.

On a positive note, I stayed on track with my cross training for another week and attended another session of SurfSet on Saturday. Sara took our urban surfing class through a H.I.I.T training workout and for the first time I used the resistance bands with the boards.

The Chilly Challenge wrapped up week #3 and the challengers have been hitting their workouts hard in the hopes of winning a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17s! You can follow along on Instagram and Twitter with hashtag #chillychallenge, but here are some of my favorite photos from last week's daily challenge posts.

How do you feel about treadmill running?

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fitness Friday: Holiday Workout Plan

Happy Friday!

Today I get to start my Christmas vacation! After finishing up some shopping, present wrapping, and baking, I'm looking forward to spending time with the kids and my husband's family in Massachusetts.

With all that running around, it's easy to lose my fitness focus. My pre-holiday weeks went much better when I had a plan, so I'm taking the same approach with my Christmas break.

After feeling the benefits from cross training during my runs, I've been trying to attend a cardio/strength class at least once a week. With my mornings open over break, I'm taking advantage and heading back to Booty Barre class. Last month I snagged a great deal on Living Social for three classes making it even easier to want to go.

In addition to cross training at the barre, I'll be attempting to complete my RTB team captain's weekly challenge. She is serious about getting us ready to run 200 miles across Massachusetts in May. I love that the challenges encourage us to cross train and strength train in addition to run.

Our latest weekly challenge.

Speaking of running, I'll be lacing up my Mizuno Wave Rider 17s for some more miles. My weekly mileage has been increasing slowly and it is working. My last long run was 6 miles on the treadmill because of our first big snow storm, but I'm hoping to get in another 6 miler outside this weekend.

Another goal I set for myself is to do better pre-run warm-ups, so I put together this drill hoping that my dependence on routine would ensure that I do it before every run.

I also put together a mini Tabata workout of some of my favorite strength moves that I think will be good to do once or twice a week post-run. Even though I'm accustomed to following a schedule, sometimes I'm motivated to do a little more.

How do you stay focused during the holidays or vacation?

Need some extra motivation? Join my Chilly Challenge and you could win a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17s of your very own! More details here.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

WIAW: Gluten Free Blueberry Protein Bars

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Designer Whey.

One of my goals for 2014 is to continue to make healthy food choices. Since giving up wheat in the summer, I have been more conscience of the foods I make and eat. 

One of my favorite snacks to make are my Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars. Now, even though I am a proclaimed creature of habit, while prepping to make my latest batch of protein bars I decided to change things up with a new flavor: Blueberry.

I used to eat blueberry muffins, blueberry bagels, blueberry toast...you get the idea. My smoothies often have blueberries, but it's not the same taste. So I changed up my peanut butter banana bar recipe and came up with this:

I mixed all the ingredients together (btw - I used a mini-chopper to mash up my blueberries), plopped the mixture down on wax paper, and then rolled it out before putting it in the oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

After flipping the baked mixture over onto a cutting board and removing the wax paper, I cut it into squares.

It was blueberry delicious-ness! (full disclosure: I will probably double that amount the next time I make them...because I like blueberries that much!)

I love packing these homemade bars for lunch, grabbing one as a pre-workout snack, or munching on one after a good sweat session. They are so much healthier than my pre-gluten-free choices and using Designer Whey protein helps make my food work better for me.

What is your go-to pre/post workout snack?

In case you are interested in more healthy snack choices, head over to the WIAW linkup or join the fun!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Training Truths: It helps to have a Plan

Zooming into the last weeks before the Christmas holiday is hectic. Hectic at home. Hectic at work. Hectic everywhere! Once again, I am grateful to have a supportive family who understands my need to run and workout.

Last week I knew things would be crazy with mrC out of town Sunday to Friday, so I went into the week with a plan. I still did my morning #squatstreak and foam rolling routine, but then varied my evening workouts based on how much time I would have. It was so helpful to do it this way and useful for making sure I accomplished my RTB weekly team challenge set by our Team Captain Katherine.

MON: 4 minute ninja ab workout, 1 minute of jumping jacks, and 2 AMAZING strength sets by Katherine (10 push-up, 10 front alternating lunges, 10 pistol squats, and 30 second side planks).

TUES: Snowy afternoon 2 mile treadmill run

WED: Same as Monday.

THURS: Same as Monday.

FRI: Cold and easy 5K run to the beach and back. mrC was back in town (and bored I think) and followed me in the car with the dog. He did capture this really good look at one of the hills I have to climb on the way back.

SAT: 4 minute ninja ab workout and then another Saturday morning SurfSet session. As if the full body workout wasn't reward enough, we walked out with sweet little gifts from TI Fitness Training.

SUN: It was the first BIG storm of the season and we picked up 10.5 inches of snow overnight, so I hit the treadmill first thing in the morning for my long run - 6 miles. It was a bummer to have to do my long run on the 'mill because I never feel like it is a good run. It always feel so much harder than my outdoor runs, yet my stats usually show that the opposite.

Do you plan your weekly workouts? 

And #ChillyChallenge Week 2 Warriors. Here are some of my favorite photos from the week. I know some of you are dealing with cold weather, snow storms, and most are working on holiday planning, but you are ROCKIN' the daily challenges! I can't wait to see what you've got for week 3!

There's still time to join the fun and be eligible to win a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 17s. Follow #chillychallenge on Instagram, complete the daily exercise, post a photo TAGGED #chillychallenge @runningescapades. Post at least 5 photos to Instagram throughout the month to be eligible to win. All details here.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Year of Running: 2013

Happy Friday!

Today I'm joining Miss Zippy and friends in taking a look back at my year of running. It wasn't the year I was hoping for back when we got started and a lot of things changed, but I still had a great time and learned so much. I'm grateful for the experiences I had and the people that I shared them with.

Best race experience: It might be an odd choice, but finishing the BAA Half Marathon with my slowest half marathon time was actually the best race experience. I was on the sidelines with an injury and only ran the race to get the Distance Medley Medal. Going into the race knowing that it would be hard and slow allowed me to let go of the pressure of a great finish, but still have a GREAT FINISH.

Best run: Anytime I run somewhere new is a great run. While home in Cincinnati for a visit over the summer, I discovered an awesome bike trail that caters to runners, walkers, skaters, and obviously bikers. Stopping at a running store or grabbing a bite to eat right on the trail is just...the best idea ever.

Best new piece of gear: It's really hard to pick just one thing, but right now I am so grateful for my Athleta Polartec Tights. They will make cold winter runs (25 degrees or less) so much easier because my legs will be nice and toasty. 

Best piece of running advice you received: If you want to be a better runner, cross train. As I work my way back from injury, I am learning the truth behind this advice. I have spent the better part of 4 months completely committed and my runs have been better and faster than I could hope.

Most inspirational runner: Hands down, this is RUNEMZ. Not only can she RUN, but she RUNS 100 miles in 24 hours or less 3x on a treadmill for the benefit of underprivileged children and battered women. A-MAZ-ING! She recently did a guest post on tips for beating treadmill boredom. I think she knows what she's talking about!

If you could sum up your whole year in a couple of words, what would they be? 

How was your year of running?

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

WIAW: A Childhood Favorite

When I was a kid, I loved spending time at my grandparent's house and eating mush. Mush was pre-cooked cornmeal fried up crispy and served to me smothered in honey. No one could make mush like a Gpa. Over the years, I learned to make mush just like he did and would have it as a treat every once in awhile.


When I left Cincinnati, there were many favorites that would be left behind: LaRosa's Pizza, Skyline Chili, and Mush. I can order request some of my Cincy favorites and have them shipped to me (thanks to my wonderful friends and family), but I couldn't figure out how to get Mush since it was refrigerated and expensive to ship.

This past summer, while spending a weekend in Newport, RI, we stopped for breakfast at our favorite diner. For the first time I noticed Johnny Cakes on the menu. A Johnny Cake is a fried cornmeal flatbread that is claimed to have originated in Rhode Island. I was so excited to learn that I could order some mush whenever we went to Newport.

Then a few weeks ago I made another discovery: Polenta.  More cornmeal, this time with it's roots in Italy, Polenta is very similar to mush (so much so that I really don't what is different) and can be served fried. And oh-happy-day, it's gluten-free!

So, I finally tried some Polenta and it was like traveling back in time. It WAS the American cornmeal mush that I had as a kid. I couldn't believe it and it was so easy to make thanks to the pre-cooked rolls you can buy in the grocery.

I sliced the Polenta into 1/4" thick slices and fried it in a skillet. Some people use butter, but I used oil and tried to get it as crispy as I could. I served it just like when I was a kid, with honey on top.

What childhood favorite have you revisited (or would like to) lately?

Don't forget to check out other great recipes and food ideas at the WIAW linkup!