Dark Chocolate PB Bars + 3 other favorite homemade treats

Every few days I get the urge to bake.  I’m not sure if it’s the satisfaction of stocking my freezer with “healthier” options or the possibilities of taste testing and licking the bowl (total kid at heart!) but it’s really not a chore for me.

Dark choc swirl pb bars

Yesterday I set out to imitate a dark chocolate pb protein bar I’m in love with, but has a few ingredients I want to avoid.  I failed in duplicating the grams of protein per serving, BUT came away with a delicious snack with much less sugar than a store bought granola bar. Win.

Dark Chocolate PB Bars

by Mommy, Run Fast

Cook Time: no bake

Ingredients (16-18)

  • 2/3 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c. vanilla protein (I used Shaklee life)
  • 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 c. crispy rice cereal
  • 1 dark chocolate bar, or about 1/2 c. chocolate chips

Instructions

Combine peanut butter and honey, until well blended. (Melt it if needed). Add vanilla, protein and melted coconut oil. Stir in 2 c. crispy rice cereal and a few dark chocolate bits (it will be hard to stir). Spread into a square 8×8 pan or a round pie pan and press down.

Melt the chocolate and swirl it over the top. Refrigerate the bars until the chocolate has hardened. Makes 16-18 small squares.

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Nutrition facts: One square has 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, 13 grams of carbs and 7 grams of sugar.

 

A few others that I make on a regular basis:

Gluten Free Granola Bars (use almond flour in place of whole wheat for a gluten free option- both of my girls love these, and I often send them in L’s lunch)

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites – deliciousness

 

Almond Chia Protein Fudge – These are a great healthy dessert!

 

 

Do you enjoy creating in the kitchen?

Favorite treat ingredients? Are you a dark chocolate pb lover like me, or do you prefer fruity flavors, coconut, lemon… maybe even salty snacks?

One week until the runner’s reset! (Answering some of your questions)

While in Mexico, I took along some fun reading…

Mexico reading

I really need to get some good novels back in the mix but if reading about hormones and training strategies entertains me, I know I’m in the right field!

I have so many ideas from the combination of these books that I’m going to add to our runner’s reset group.  We start with a kick off call this Sunday evening so I can share an overview and answer your questions live.

I found the Runner’s World article on getting lean especially interesting because it is exactly the kind of plan that never worked for me!

As your body adjusts to running distances, nutritional needs shift and change and the old advice for runners does not always work- especially when you throw hormones into the mix.  I’m excited to cover more of this in detail in the reset.

For more details, here’s what I’ve been emailing in response to many questions:

We lean toward a Whole 30 way of eating, with limited sugar, dairy, wheat. Coffee is fine up to 1-2 cups.  I’ve found women are more successful without absolutes- so small amounts of sugar, grains, etc can fit in.

 

I encourage women to look at the right balance of foods (protein to carb to fat) for metabolic efficiency, which is balancing carbs and protein fairly equally, overall relatively moderate carb, not low, but not as high as we’re usually eating.

We also talk about styles of working out that lead our bodies to store fat (moderate intensity) vs the benefits of focusing on the extremes (high intensity and very low intensity) to encourage fat loss.

And now for a totally unrelated but inspiring side note- did you see this 100 year old woman winning running records? Her life story is pretty crazy- she has seen it all, and I love that running is a healing outlet for her.

Do you ever feel like advice that works for other people doesn’t work for you?

Any easy reading novel recommendations for me?

 

 

Recovery Between Races + Meal Planning Link up

What an inspiring week! I’m still on a runner’s high from watching the live feed of the Boston marathon on Monday… I wasn’t even there, and it was just almost just as fun!

I’ve spent some time mapping out my marathon training plan, which will start in July.  My legs, however, are not as excited as my head.  They’re still in recovery mode from Sunday’s race but I’m feeling a bit more of a spring coming back to my step with every run.

This week’s workouts:

Sunday: Rutger’s Half marathon!

Monday: very easy 30 minutes on the spin bike to boost recovery

Tuesday: easy 3 mile jog (10 minute pace) plus 3 sets of 3 pull ups at the park

Wednesday: 1 hour spin class

Thursday: 4 mile easy run (9:30 pace)

Friday: off, slept in!

Saturday: am- Jillian’s NMTZ; pm- 6 miles easy (8:55 pace)

I’m racing Broad Street (10 mile race) next Sunday so I’m trying to make sure I recover well and then might add one day of speed before backing off again to race on (hopefully) fresh legs!

Rutgers half

Meal Plan

Sunday: Family request for ham and mashed potatoes, so I’m adding a big green salad and roasted cauliflower and calling it Sunday dinner!

Monday: Tempeh stir fry with oyster sauce and mixed veggies

Tuesday: Roast chicken (in the crock pot) with roast veggies (asparagus, beets, green beans)

Wednesday: Mock Chipotle burritos and salad bowls with lots of guacamole

Thursday: Quinoa stuffed peppers

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Pre race dinner in Philly

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Have you done races 1-2 weeks apart? How do you recover?
What’s one of your kid’s meal requests?

Anyone can be a superhero

Good friends of ours have a little boy born about the same time as our oldest daughter was born, except that he was born way too early and has struggled physically to do the things we all take for granted.

In the last year, with the help of lots of therapists, he has taken some of his first steps! And then he was determined to complete a superhero race (1k) which he did in 85 minutes.

Ryan

He wants to run it again this year, and all proceeds will go toward Kali’s Klubhouse, offering equine therapy for those with social, mental or physical disabilities.

He is one of the sweetest, most positive kids I know!

This video makes me tear up every time.. can you imagine how scary it would be to have a baby born so tiny? What a powerful story of perseverance as he conquered each milestone, all with a huge smile on his face!

I love his determination. And could he be any cuter?

The race is in Owego, NY- it’s a 5k as well as a 1k, and you can support Ryan and Kali’s Klubhouse by signing up to run the race OR by supporting him directly.

Have a great weekend!

 

 

Fall and Spring Half Comparisons- By the numbers

I love tracking my training.  I love writing plans, filling out what I ‘actually’ did, and then having all that data to reflect back on before race day (and after, as needed.)

However, I rarely sit down and map out a comparison chart between two race cycles but I decided to compare the numbers Saturday when I was feeling the effects of travel and doubting my ability to run well.

I tracked the 11 weeks before each half marathon, and here’s what I found:

Number of short interval workouts:  4 (fall)      vs. 4 (spring)

Ave pace of short intervals: 6:00 minute 400s    vs. 5:55 minute 400s

6:22 pace 800m      vs.    6:20 pace 800m

Tempo workouts at 7:30 pace:   2 (fall)    vs.  0 (spring)

Tempo workouts at 6:55- 7:05 pace: 2 (fall)    vs.  5 (spring)

Total number of long runs over 10 miles:  8 (fall)    vs.  8 (spring)

Average pace of long runs:  8:59  (fall)     vs. 8:08 (spring)

Average weekly mileage: 30 (fall) vs. 33 (spring)

“Extra” workouts: 3- ( races (fall) vs. 5- tough 30 minute AlterG workouts  (spring)

Plus my usual 1-2 days of spinning, 2-3 days of strength and walking

The two cycles were very similar! Short distance sprints were the same, but the biggest difference were more (and faster) tempo workouts and faster long runs.  Plus the last minute addition of those AlterG workouts at the end.

Although the pr didn’t pan out, reviewing this gave me confidence that my fitness is moving in the right direction.  Now I have some decisions to make about how I want to structure the training plan for the marathon this fall.  I want to increase mileage slowly and carefully but not skip the cross training either.  We’ll see if I can balance it all!

Do you track your training?

Have you compared one cycle to another to gauge progress?

 

Rutgers Half Marathon Recap

It’s Boston marathon Monday!

Despite my mile long to do list, I’m hoping to watch as much as possible of the live feed and cheer on many friends running.  It’s a beautiful weekend for running, but just a tad bit warm!

Rutgers expo with L

I had a great time running the Rutgers half marathon yesterday.  I felt really strong and ready for it, although I was a bit disappointed by the final results.  Here’s the story:

The race was really well organized.  I went with a friend and we parked at the finish and took the shuttle to the start, where I checked my gear bag.  Everything went smoothly and we weaved through the crowd to find our starting pace flags.

As we took off, I started my watch- only to learn 6 minutes later as it threatened to power off that it never actually started.  I found the satellite again and started it toward the end of mile 1.  This through me off, as I was never sure what my overall time was.

I started relatively conservatively and the paces felt easy and my legs were ready to run.

The course had a few mild rolling hills, which were reflected a bit in my paces.  It was a pretty course through the Rutger’s campus.  Miles 1-6: 7:12, 7:06, 6:59, 7:14 (hill), 7:05, 7:14 (rolling hills)

I spent the first half slowly passing people and settling into a good pace.  I was feeling confident that it was going to be a good racing day!

By the halfway mark, I was glad I had ditched my arm sleeves pre-race.  The sun was out and it was warm!

I took a Huma chia gel at mile 6 and got through about half of it.  It wasn’t sitting well in my stomach and I spent a mile or two wondering if my stomach would settle.

:Miles 7 and 8 continued to have a few rolling hills before we descended gradually during mile 9.  Splits: 7:09, 7:12, 6:59

With three miles to go, my legs were starting to feel tired and my breathing was getting heavier.  I was determined to stay within the 7:05-7:10 range in order to pr but I didn’t realize how much of the last two miles was a steady, gradual incline.  It wasn’t easy and I could feel my pace slipping.

Miles 10-12: 7:14, 7:08, 7:16

The final mile was more gradual climbing with one short steep incline before the final flat dash to the finish.  Talk about bad timing! My legs would have happily climbed that incline earlier in the course but wow, that was brutal.

Splits Mile 13 and the final .3: 7:22, 6:45

This is the first half in a long time that mile 13 was my slowest! I did still have a kick at the end, so I’m blaming the demoralizing hills.

Rutgers finish

There was no clock at the end and I still thought I had a chance of beating my pr by at least a few seconds until I checked online and saw 1:35:33… tied yet again!!

My stomach was pretty unhappy for a few hours post race so I might need to experiment with warm weather fuel.  I haven’t been training with fuel so I just hoped for the best today but something was a little off.

Honestly, I was initially bummed because I had a pretty good training cycle and really felt good in the first half.  But as I looked over my splits, I began to feel better.  My watch told me my average pace for the 13.35 was 7:10, which is technically a pr – (the long course averaged my overall pace to be 7:17, if it had been a strict 13.1).  My average watch pace in the fall was a 7:12 (again the course averaged it as 7:17).  So a 2 second improvement, right?!

Sometimes these tough just-missed-it races can be discouraging but I’m feeling happy with my overall effort and more fired up to shave some time off! I know I’ll get it one of these days.

Rutgers medal

But for now, I have the Broad Street 10 miler in 2 weeks which is my all time favorite distance, so I’ll channel my energy there!

Did you ever come within seconds of a pr?

Have you had races with challenging finishes where you watched your pace slipping away?

Race day! Taper recap + meal planning

We’re back on U.S. soil- and it’s race day for the Rutgers half marathon!!

I was exhausted yesterday from late night travel Friday night and it’s an early morning today, so I’m hoping adrenaline will power me through this half!

I was starting to doubt my preparation (as always happens during the taper, when I’m hardly running and even my easy runs begin to feel sluggish) so I read through my training logs again last night to remind myself of the work I put in.

There’s always more I wish I had done- more work at race pace with more tempo runs would have helped boost my confidence a bit more, but overall I’m happy with the work I did and I’ll go do my best! I do think a small pr is possible, so I’m going to believe, endure, achieve.

Believe Endure Achieve Momentum Jewelry

This week’s workouts:

Sunday: travel day – short walks

Monday: 5 mile run with 4 x 400m (6:14 pace) on the resort treadmill (this run felt hard!!)

Tuesday: am- 30 minute walk + upper body strength + pm easy swim

Wednesday: easy 5k (9:30 pace) + snorkeling/ paddle boarding (this run also felt hard!!)

Thursday: yoga + massage (treat myself day!)

Friday: easy 5k, 8:30 pace (finally a run that felt really good)

Saturday: off

I am definitely well fueled for this run with a week at an all inclusive resort with AMAZING food! Post race, we’ll try to get our bellies to adjust back to smaller, normal meals after eating delicious meal after delicious meal.  :-)

Los cabos breakfast buffet

Meal Plan

Sunday: Post race celebratory burger + fries

Monday: Giant recovery anti-inflammatory salad: salmon, avocado, beets, walnuts, strawberries and cucumbers

Tuesday: Shrimp and veggie kebabs on the grill with guacamole

Wednesday: Orange ginger sirloin broccoli stir fry

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Pizza night

Saturday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

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I’m obviously still craving some of the good Mexican food I ate all week! I had guacamole and chips at least once a day… mmmm.

Favorite food on vacation?

Anyone else racing this weekend or excited to track runners in Boston tomorrow?

Mexico so far (photo dump)

I didn’t know if I would pop in to the blog this week or not, but with the time difference, I’ve been up before the rest of the resort most mornings and decided to share a few photos with you.

Everything about this trip has exceeded my expectations- the perfect weather, the views, the gorgeous rocky ocean, the FOOD!! (unlimited is dangerous, I’m learning!) and the time to relax and recharge and focus on being a couple without kids for a few days has been so nice.

Los Cabos breakfast  Los cabos famous arch Los Cabos famous rocks Los cabos resort

Los cabos breakfast buffet Los cabos sunrise resort Los Cabos sunshine

Los Cabos dinner sushiLos cabos walk on beach

Los Cabos getaway

Los Cabos

A huge thank you to Shaklee, the natural nutrition company I partner with in my business, for sending us!

Have you been to an all inclusive resort?

Favorite water sport- snorkeling, paddle boarding, kayaking, water skiing?

Off to Mexico! Plus Meal Planning

Hey friends!

As of 10am this morning, we’ll be in the air on our way to Mexico.  It’s supposed to be in the 80’s all week and after a cold, wet week here the timing couldn’t be more perfect for sun and warmth!

The Rutgers Half is next Sunday, so I’ll get home and jump right into the race.  We’ll see how that works out!  My training this week:

Sunday: 12 run (1 warm up, 10 at 7:39 pace, 1 cool down)

Monday: Jillian’s NMTZ + 50 minute spin

Tuesday: am- 6.25 run (1.25 warm up, 5 miles at 6:18 pace on the AlterG for the last time!); pm- taught 45 minute spin class

Wednesday: 1 hour elliptical/strength combo

Thursday:5 stroller miles + 2.5 pushing the pace (7:05, 6:55 on the treadmill)

Friday: 1 hour elliptical/strength combo

Saturday: 8.5 run (warm up mile at 8:35, then 7 miles at 7:30 with the final mile at 7:17)

This week I’ll plan to squeeze in a few short runs where I can, but I also hope to do some swimming, hiking, stand up paddle boarding and snorkeling.  Plus lots of resting up for the race!

Meal Plan

So my husband survived the two weeks without dairy, gluten or sugar.  Honestly, he did better than I did.  I tend to cheat a bit when I feel like something is totally off limits.  It’s something I’ve learned about myself over the years… a little wiggle room works out better!  I see a difference in his skin but I’m not sure he believes me, ha! We’ll have to figure out the best plan going forward.

Our meal plan is taken care of this week as we’ll be at an all inclusive resort (for the first time.) We typically like to do our own thing and explore a new place on foot, but this will be a nice change of pace.  Thanks to Shaklee for sending us!
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Have you done an all inclusive resort before?
Any warm trips in your future?

Cucumber Quinoa Goat Cheese Salad

Cucumber Quinoa Goat Cheese Salad

After a Costco trip last week, I found myself with 3 giant cucumbers, an enormous container of grape tomatoes, and two logs of creamy goat cheese.  That’s how this salad was born.

I made it for a teacher’s appreciation lunch and it was a big hit, so I took it along again for a potluck at church Sunday evening.  And I have enough ingredients to make it one more time for a moms night I’m hosting Friday night.

This salad makes a great side dish to salmon, chicken or pork or can be a stand alone main dish salad with the addition of chickpeas.  A few toasted pine nuts or walnuts would be delicious, too!

Cucumber Quinoa Goat Cheese Salad

by Mommy, Run Fast

Ingredients

  • 1 c. quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 c. chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 large cucumber, diced
  • 1 pint (or more) halved grape tomatoes
  • small handful of parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp brown mustard
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c. – 1 c. creamy goat cheese, chopped

Instructions

Cook the quinoa in broth over medium heat for 15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Pour the quinoa into a large mixing bowl and let it begin to cool.

Add cucumber, tomatoes, and parsley. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients (oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and salt/pepper). Stir into the quinoa salad until well combined. Stir in the goat cheese and serve luke warm or cold.

Enjoy!

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Do you have a favorite potluck salad?