Spring Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

Spring in the northeast produces many delicious garden goodies but I think strawberries might be my favorite.  The season is so short- it makes a fresh strawberry all the more amazing.

I offered to bring a salad to a friend’s house over the weekend and knew I wanted to incorporate them somehow.  Before kids, there was a berry salad dressing that I made and I wanted to re-create it.  It’s so good and super fast! I whipped it up in the immersion blender in a large cup, then transferred it to a jar and we were out the door.

 

Spring Green Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

by Laura

Ingredients

  • baby greens
  • 1-2 cups strawberries, sliced
  • 1 large or 2 small red beets, cooked, cooled and sliced
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese
  • toasted walnuts if desired
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. frozen mixed berries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • dash of sea salt
  • dash of ground pepper

Instructions

Arrange salad over greens as desired.

In blender or immersion blender, combine dressing ingredients (oil through salt/pepper) and blend until well mixed. Dressing will be thick and can be thinned out with a Tbsp or so of water if desired.

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Spring salad with strawberry vinaigrette

Next I want to master a good avocado based dressing.  The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca made an amazing one!

And for those of you in the northeast, I shared on my health coaching blog the foods currently in season and an additional reason to eat seasonally!

Do you make your own salad dressings? Have you experimented with fruit in the dressing?

 

Marathon Training week 1 + Meal Planning

Hey friends!

I hope you’re enjoying the weekend! We spent the evening with friends last night and have a more low-key day planned today.  I promised a game of Candyland and also have a book for book group to finish.  I’m also planning to meal prep a few things – steam broccoli for baby J (her fave), make more granola bars for school lunch snacks, and more almond butter fudge.

The 60 day challenge also kicks off tomorrow.  This is not a reset, but more about setting small goals each week- like having sugar every other day, instead of giving it up altogether.  There are over 200 women in the group so there will be lots of accountability and group support, too!

I announced on Friday that I have a marathon goal race… and it’s a month before the NYC marathon, which means training is kicking off!

Sunday: 4 easy recovery miles (9:15ish)

Monday: 6.25 run with 5 x 20 second strides (5:45 pace) + Barre class

Tuesday: 3 mile walk

Wednesday: 6 mile tempo with 4 at 7:10 pace

Thursday: 45 minutes easy biking + upper body core circuit (mountain climbers, push ups, leg raises, squat and press, incline push ups, tricep dips x 4)

Friday: 6 easy miles (8:50 pace)

Saturday: 11.25 hilly run with the group (8:39 ave)

11 hilly miles

I’m excited about my new training plan.  I’m mixing it up this time and planning to do a lot more tempo runs and miles at goal race pace before this marathon, plus a lot of easy aerobic runs.  My goal aerobic pace is between 8 and 8:55 for easy runs and I find most of them naturally fall in that range. Recovery runs will be slower.

I’ll miss intervals but throwing some strides in is a nice change- my legs get the turnover without the stress of a long interval workout.  We’ll see how it goes!

Meal Plan

Sunday: Homemade sushi (a hit with the girls!)

Monday: Chicken Veggie stir fry and brown rice (hubs night to cook)

Tuesday: Homemade pizza

Wednesday: Clean-out-the-fridge burritos and salads

Thursday: Traveling

Friday:  Weekend with cousins

Saturday: Weekend with cousins

I still need to plan out some of our weekend food as we will have a kitchen but haven’t sat down to do that yet.

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Do you have easy kid-friendly meals you like for the beach?

Are you starting to think about fall races and training?

My next big goal

Happy Friday friends!

This last week has been absolutely packed and insane but with all good things and I think I can finally take a breath this weekend.

I’m learning that I really thrive on big goals- is it an oldest child thing?  Whatever the case, I set a massive business goal for myself and chased it and hit it so that was really exciting.  And now my focus is back to running…

I mentioned that I got in to the NYC marathon.  And the more I’ve been thinking about my training and reading about the race, I realized that if I’m going to put all the work into training for another marathon, I want to train well and try to run well.  And I keep hearing that NYC is not the place to pr.

So… to add to the craziness, I decided to pick a goal marathon to do first and then run New York for fun.  Is that totally crazy?!? I know my husband’s response…

Runner to runner you get it, right? The marathon is a huge undertaking.  I feel so much better about going into New York without any goals- the size of the race and crowds intimidate me, the possibility of wind and freezing temps, the somewhat challenging course… it’s all a little overwhelming.

So instead I chose Steamtown in October as my goal race.

It’s still not an easy course- but it’s smaller and more manageable.  The first half has some steep downhill and it finishes with a few climbs.  I can easily imitate this for long training runs as we live at the top of a steep hill with a nice long flat stretch at the bottom for miles.

That also means that training is officially kicking off now!

I’m easing in this week with one tempo run and following a plan from Runner’s Connect that I tailored a bit to match my ideal mileage (nothing too crazy- 30s and peaking at 50).

The biggest difference will be some paced runs on Fridays followed by the long run on Saturday on slightly tired legs, with some of those at goal paces.  The point is that the overall distance doesn’t have to be as far, but it’s time to teach my legs how to run goal pace and hold onto it with fatigued legs.

So here we go! I’ll take any tips at all on Steamtown or on running two marathons within a month.

Have you run two marathons within a short amount of time? Tips?

Any advice about Steamtown?

 

 

National Running day (Survey)

Happy National Running Day! I thought it would be fun to link up with a few other runners and join the survey fun…

Why do you run?

My answers have changed over the years, but now I think the easiest answer is that it’s part of who I am and what makes me happy.  I feel so much better after a run- it’s time for my introverted self to recharge and boost my energy.  And I love working toward running goals!

How do you plan to celebrate National Running Day?

I’m just kicking off marathon training and my plan calls for 6 miles with 4 at 7:10-7:20 pace, so that’s how I’ll be celebrating!
How many miles have you run so far this year? Do you have a mileage goal for the year?

I’d have to add that up- not as many miles as last year at this time.  I’m hanging out in the 25-35 miles/week range so I’d guess about 120 per month or 600ish so far this year.


What big events do you have on the race calendar so far this year?

The big one is the NYC marathon in November!  I also have a few 5ks this summer, a half marathon in September and possibly another goal race that I’ll share about soon. (A big one!)

Before I leave for a run I must have:

Water and sneakers… that’s about it!

Do you track your runs? If so what do you use?

I can not, will not give up my journal where I track my training by hand.  I love writing in journals and have been keeping a separate running journal for over 6 years! I also track pace and distance with my Garmin watch.

Who is your favorite running partner?

I’ve had many! Right not I’m enjoying running with a local moms group when I can.

What races have you run so far this year?

The Rutgers half marathon and the Broad street run.

If you have to give someone one piece of advice about running, what would it be?

Start each run nice and easy, so slow that it’s almost embarrassing.  As you get warmed up, your pace will naturally drop and you’ll be able to go farther because you eased into it.

Describe your relationship with running in one word:

Lifestyle.  It’s what I do!

 

Pick a question and tell me a bit about your running journey so far this year!

 

Cut back week recap + 60 day accountability group

Hi friends!

I skipped my meal plan post yesterday but I assume most of you are unplugged as well. Right?  It’s a beautiful weekend to be outside, at BBQ’s, with family or at the beach.

We spent time with my sister and her family on Saturday and then left the girls with grandma for a few days.  It’s so weird to have a quiet house! But really helpful, too.

We tackled the entire yard- front and back, finished getting our tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and herbs in the garden, and did a few other small projects.  But we mixed in some play as well- getting out both nights for dinner and ice cream, and picking up breakfast sandwiches and coffee in the morning.  We’re pretending we’re on vacation- it just happens to include a bit of work, which we both find very satisfying to check off our to do list.

This past week was a cut back week before I start ramping up training so here’s the quick recap:

Sunday: hilly 11 miles (8:18 ave)

Monday: 2.5 walk plus 5 rounds of (15 squat and press; 15 toe touch crunches with legs straight up; 15 push ups; 15 squats and 15 straight leg sit ups) plus a plank at the end

Tuesday: 6 easy miles, no watch

Wednesday: off, because I felt like it and I have no training plan to tell me otherwise

Thursday: 5 easy stroller run with a few triceps, pull ups and push ups at the park afterwards

Playground bribes

Friday: Barre class

Saturday: 12.5 crazy miles

Sunday: easy recovery 4 miles and yard work

Lost in Lancaster

So Saturday… my parents are used to me heading out on a run and there used to be a 10-15 mile (very hilly!) loop I did on the back roads behind their house.  I didn’t take my phone because I didn’t feel like carrying it and was pretty sure I knew where I was going.

I missed a turn and accidentally headed north an extra 5 (did I mention very hilly?!) miles… I finally stopped a biker and learned that the only way back was the way I had come and I was about 9 miles out.  Of course it was in the high 80’s and I had no water, and was doing a fasted run and have not run more than 13 in months.  I felt fine but knew everyone would be worrying about me and I also had a client session that I was going to miss!

I borrowed a phone from a stranger twice to leave a message with my husband to tell my parents to meet me along the stretch as I headed back (note to self: memorize more than one number and don’t leave my phone at home!)  The second time, a very kind woman insisted on giving me a ride home as I had some massive hills and another 5 miles to go.  I was happy to take her up on it! I managed to make it home in time for my session, with 5 minutes to spare. Making memories….

Shake it up for summer

And one last update before we enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend: the runner’s reset wrapped up, congrats everyone!!  And because I’m enjoying groups so much these days, the next one is a 60 day accountability group for summer – it starts June 6th.

You’ll get a little goodie bag to your door and we’ll spend each week working on 1-2 small things to add up to some big lifestyle changes by the end. No foods are off limits. I can’t wait! Contact me if you want to join us or have questions… there’s room for 3-4 more people and the registration deadline is Wednesday.

Have you ever gotten lost on a run?

How are you spending the rest of the holiday weekend?

 

 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!

Before we all head off on our long weekend adventures, I wanted to pop in with a few things I’m loving lately.

Sweet potato and almond butter: Perfect fuel before or after a long run…and so delicious!!

Friday faves almond butter sweet potato

 

Kobucha: I found an entire case at Costco this week! I’ve been meaning to make my own again but in the meantime, this made me a happy shopper. Friday faves kombucha

 

Crunchies: These arrived at our door this week and have made snack time super fun for my girls! They opened nearly every one the first day to sample them all.  Freeze dried fruits don’t have the same amount of sugar that dried fruits do and they have a fun crunch. Friday favorites

Zing bars: I probably should have labeled this Friday Favorite Foods… that’s about the only thing I can talk about today!  But have you tried these? Honestly, I’d say they are the best bar I’ve had, in terms of taste, texture, protein to sugar ratio and clean ingredients.  The dark chocolate mint was the closest thing to a healthy peppermint patty that I’ve ever found, that still tastes amazing.  Check them out!

Zing bars

New shoes:  A non-food item! You may have seen me post about these on other social media sites yesterday but I’m super excited about these mama/daughter new shoes from New Balance! I’ll share my thoughts as I experiment in them.

New balance new shoes

 

What new foods, finds, or favorites are you enjoying this week?

What are your holiday weekend plans?

How Barre can benefit runners

On Friday, I ventured into my first Barre class.  I had no idea what to expect, but I’ve heard I would be amazed at how these little movements can create impressive soreness!

I pretended like I knew what I was doing.  I took my socks and shoes off like everyone else and took my place toward the back of the room alongside one of the ballet barres.

I lucked out with an awesome instructor- she kept it interesting with lots of variety and often walked around giving suggestions and correcting form.  In some movements I felt super strong and confident, in others I was shaking and counting down the seconds.

What exactly is Barre? Here’s one definition from Sadie Lincoln, founder of barre3 fitness:

“Most barre-based classes use a combination of postures inspired by ballet and other disciplines like yoga and Pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training (holding your body still while you contract a specific set of muscles) combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements.”

There are a few things about Barre that I think are especially helpful for runners:

  • it’s a lower impact way to build strength (no jumps/burpees/power moves which can push a tired runner over the edge to injury)
  • it focuses on the small stabilizing muscles that can make a big difference in overall strength and posture
  • it emphasizes balance and includes one-legged exercises
  • it encourages flexibility

 

Even better, I learned after class that my instructor is also a runner! She shared the ways that Barre has benefited her as a runner, and helped me think about how Barre could fit into my training schedule.  I’m planning to stick with the Friday class- a little soreness going into my long run is doable, but soreness before a hard track or tempo workout would make it difficult to run well.

Do you mix up your strength routine?

Have you tried a Barre class?

 

 

 

Marathon prep and Meal Planning

How was your week? I am loving this time of year- it’s no longer a struggle to get out and run with the bright sunshine and the mild (but not too warm) temps.

The countdown is on for marathon training… just a few more weeks until training “officially” kicks off! I’m trying to focus on some base building, while throwing in a bit of 5k work here and there to find some speed again.  Whatever speed I had last year is gone- my legs are happy to run at half marathon pace for a workout! But I’m hoping it will come back soon.

Recap:

Sunday: 10 miles with 5k work (2 mile w/u (9:15, 8:30); then 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1000, 800, 600, 400m all at goal 5k pace 6:23 with 400m recoveries; 2 1/2 mile cool down)

Monday: 3 recovery run + 30 easy bike + core (leg raises, hamstring curl on ball, side leg raises, planks and straight leg sit ups)

Tuesday: 6.6 miles run (8:18 ave)

Wednesday: Iron Strength workout + spin

Thursday: 5 easy miles, no watch

Friday: 6 mile run with 6 x 400m (1:32, 1:32, 1:31, 1:31, 1:30, 1:30) + my first Barre class!!

Saturday: off and speaking at a nutrition event

Speaking at conference

My first Barre class was really fun! I was afraid I would be horribly sore on Saturday but it wasn’t too bad.  Maybe I’ll be feeling it tomorrow.  I’m hoping to keep the Friday class in my schedule.  The instructor was awesome, and I learned afterwards that she is also a runner so I may have a new running buddy!

The long run is going to have to get squeezed in today before church.  We’re going early to help set up a thank you for Sunday School teachers so there is zero wiggle room!

Meal Plan

Gah… losing motivation…. relying on my husband for some ideas this week:

Sunday: Black bean chili and rice

Monday: 5 minute meal!! Frozen Costco turkey burgers + microwave baked sweet potatoes + frozen Trader Joe’s asparagus

Tuesday: Homemade sushi (hubs cooking)

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: Jamaican rice and peas + grilled organic chicken drumsticks (hubs cooking)

Friday: Cauliflower Crust Pizza + Regular pizza with Trader Joe’s frozen organic crusts

Saturday: out or leftovers

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Do you go through phases with motivation to cook?

Have you tried Barre?

6 Common deficiencies in runners

I used to avoid supplements, confident that I could get everything I needed from food.  But eventually my body told me otherwise and I realized I needed to pay a little more attention, especially after a stress fracture 5 years ago, thinning hair and poor sleep quality.

There is some research to show that 100 years ago, yes, we could have gotten everything we need from food.  But now, due to hybrid seeds, lack of crop rotation, poor soil quality and more, even our vegetables often contain less then half the nutrients that they used to.

100 years ago food

Even when our diet is perfect, it’s nearly impossible to get everything we need.  A number of my running friends (blogging and real life) have been testing their nutrient levels and learning where their deficiencies lie.  I’ve brought mine back to healthy levels and I really feel the difference in everything from my steady energy in the afternoon to my faster recovery from hard workouts.

These are the nutrients that are most often missing in runners (especially women):

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin is hard to get in the north more than half of the year.

What’s it do? Vitamin D is important to regulate calcium and phosphate in the body and to support good bone health.

Signs of deficiency? Low energy, mild depression/mood swing

Where can I get it? Oily fish and eggs, sun exposure and a D3 supplement

sunshine--960x360

B vitamins, especially B12

What’s it do? B vitamins are essential for cell repair, especially keeping nerve and blood cells healthy.  It affects our energy as well.

Signs of deficiency? Low energy, fatigue, weakness, depression

Where can I get it? Animal products: salmon, meat, cheese, eggs and milk as well as a B complex vitamin with a quality source of biotin (helps the body metabolize carbohydrates and fat … also key for healthy hair and skin!)

Iron

What’s it do? Iron helps red blood cells transport oxygen (key for athletes!)

Signs of deficiency? fatigue, shortness of breath

Where can I get it? red meat, dark green leafy vegetables, beans and nuts and as part of a pharmaceutical grade multi -vitamin

Magnesium

What’s it do? Magnesium is key for healthy bones and for using food for energy.

Signs of deficiency? cramping, anxiety, dizziness

Where can I get it? green leafy vegetables, brown rice, fish, nuts, dairy and as part of a pharmacuetical grade vitamin

Zinc

What’s it do? Zinc helps the body process carbohydrates, fat and protein and is key for good immunity.

Signs of deficiency? hair loss, weak immune system, poor appetite

Where can I get it? meat, fish, dairy, by cooking with cast iron pans and as part of a pharmaceutical grade multi vitamin

vitamins

Omega 3 fatty acids

While not often recognized as a deficiency, Omega 3 fatty acids are rarely in the correct ratio balance with Omega 6 fatty acids which can lead to chronic illness and inflammation. (These are the most highly linked to disease of all nutrient deficiencies.)

What’s it do? A powerful anti-inflammatory for the body for recovery and long term health and disease prevention

Signs of deficiency? Weak skin, hair and nails; skin issues; thirst; depression or anxiety

Where can I get it? Oily fish like salmon, flaxseed, walnuts, chia and a supplement with AHA and DHA from pure sustainable water

A lot of my health clients are either iron deficient or low in Vitamin D and I’m really careful with which supplements I recommend as vitamins are not regulated by the FDA.  Many don’t contain what they say they do or have some contaminants (even if they claim to be organic/natural, I’ve seen so many recalls.)

This is why I’m really picky about pure vitamins that are well absorbed and only recommend those to my clients.

I know it can be a little overwhelming where to begin.  Here’s what I usually suggest:

At minimum: A quality multi vitamin and Omega 3 supplement

Better: Add in a probiotic

Best: Add in B complex, D3 and extra C

If you have questions about any of this, I’m always happy to chat… just send me an email!

Have you tested for nutrient deficiencies?

What do you currently take?

Linking up with the Coaches Corner.

Celebrating Successes

I’ve been really inspired this year by the women I work with.  I learn so much through coaching – with both my health clients and runners.  I don’t often take time to feature them, so I wanted to congratulate these ladies on their hard work paying off!

Kim and I work together on both nutrition and running and she surprised herself with some big improvements this year!

Laura set up a training schedule for me that helped me accomplish all of my goals and then some this spring. I ran the furthest distance that I’ve ever run before; and, as for race day (which was unexpectedly super hilly), I ran smart, my dream race pace was my exact average pace, and I beat my last PR by just under 7 minutes. I was, and still am, beyond ecstatic.
Runner Kim
(PS- I have no idea how she crushed her pr at Rutgers, because I was dying in the heat and on those hills!)

 

Lisa contacted me after missing her marathon goal and wanting a plan to get stronger.  She nailed every.single.workout in this training plan! And it paid off big time.

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This was a great training cycle!  After running my first marathon in January in 4 hrs 21 mins,  I really wanted to see if I get under 4 hrs.  I really enjoyed doing all of the speed workouts and pushing myself. At first some of the workouts seemed impossible- but I surprised myself by what I could do!  I also loved adding some strength training to my workouts.  All the hard work paid off when I ran the Providence Marathon Sunday in 3 hrs. 54 mins. A 26 minute PR!!!

 

Runner Lisa M

 

And she capped it off with another pr on Sunday in the half, I should add!

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Lisa F has been chipping away at her goals as we’ve worked together over the past few years and she is steadily improving season after season. After we talked about nutrition and cross training, she took the changes seriously and her body said thank you!

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In 2016, I ran my 5th half marathon and earned a spot in the NYC Marathon this fall. I’ve finally learned a few big lessons: cross training is important and what you eat matters. After adding an extra workout (or two) a week and tweaking my diet, I’ve had a new PR three times this year. Here’s hoping for a fourth for May’s half!

 

Runner Lisa F
Lisa’s on the right- congrats!!

 

Ashley has truly inspired me too.  She was determined to get ready for this half, despite some aches and pains along the way. She stuck with her plan and did it!!

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If you asked me two years ago to run a mile or even a quarter of a mile, I would have replied there is no way I can run. With Laura’s guidance throughout 2015, I trained and prepared for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2016. I successfully completed the half marathon in upright position, with a smile on my face and running across the finish line… all while wearing Maleficent Mickey ears!

 

Runner Ashley
I love the ears, Ashley- so proud of you for this accomplishment!

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Your turn to brag… what’s one of your favorite accomplishments in the last 6 months?