Training + Finding Balance + Meal Planning

Hi friends!

I’m wrapping up a solo parenting weekend and hanging in there! We packed in a play date, trip to the pool, IKEA visit, park afternoon, Trader Joe’s trip, and a picnic.  I’m worn out!

As I mentioned in my runner’s identity crisis post, I’m wrestling with what is next for me in terms of fitness. I still love running and have many running goals but my body doesn’t seem up for the challenge of many more marathons.  And I’m honestly not even craving those long runs in the way I used to.  I like having more family time over the weekend and knowing I can get in a great HIIT workout and be done in less than half the time! So I’m looking for that balance.

I took a break from my coach while I really listen to my body and take it week by week in my running.  I’m trying to focus on alternating the hard/easy days.

Here’s the training rundown:

Monday (hard): 6 mile progression run, felt tough! (9:23, 8:32, 7:56, 7:50, 7:31, 7:25) + short pool run

Tuesday (easy): 35 minute pool run, 25 minute swim

Wednesday (hard): 7 miles with intervals (1.5 warm up, 1 @ 6:29, 800 x 3 @ 6:39, with 400m recoveries, 400 x 4 @ 6:44 with 30-45 second recoveries, cool down)

This was a backwards speed workout… getting shorter and slower, instead of shorter and faster to make those 6:44s feel easy, and it was really fun!

Thursday (easy): 40 minute easy pool run

Friday (hard): 5k run, 3 miles elliptical with 10 x 90 second sprints, strength (squats, lunges, assisted pull ups and push ups)

Saturday (easy): off – solo parenting

Sunday (hard): 45 minute spin with 2 sets of 8 tabatas (4 minutes each) + kb squats, kb swings, TRX push ups and pull ups, core


My meal prep isn’t happening this weekend, but last week was a good first week with the awesome reset ladies! For this week:

Monday:  BBQ chicken on the grill + veggies (I’m embarrassed to admit that this is the first summer I’ve learned to use the grill!)

Tuesday: Easy Chicken Masala + green salad

Wednesday: Gado Gado (peanut sauce over steamed veggies and rice)

Thursday: travel/ conference

Friday: conference

Saturday: conference

Sunday: Friends here- likely grilling!

Who handles the grill in your family?

Are you careful to follow the hard/easy principle?


I’m linking up with Fitness and Food with Ilka and Angela, and Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap!

Using the Pool for Marathon Training

I’m still undecided whether I’ll be running the full or half marathon in Richmond, but I have decided that aqua jogging will be part of my training.

I used the water to maintain fitness while letting my tendonitis heal for 5-6 weeks, and so far, I’m continuing to get in 1-2 pool workouts a week.  It feels amazing to be in the water and get in a great workout with low impact!

Last week, I spent some time reading more about using the pool for marathon training and I came up with a plan.

There are several ways you could use aqua jogging in training.  The key is to continue normal training volume and intensity- alternating hard and easy days.

For all aqua jogging workouts, a belt is ideal to keep your body weight in place so you can work on the movements.  These exercises are meant to take place in deep water.

Using the pool for intensity

While injured or first coming back from injury, the pool is where the hard runs should happen, and you can use the road for the easy runs as you build back.

There are countless ways to get a high intensity workout in the pool.  After a warm up jog in the water, choose one of the following:

  • alternate 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy x 8-10
  • run 5 minutes hard, 3 minutes easy x 5
  • do a ladder of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 minutes hard with equal recovery
  • “run” a length, skip a length, try high knees, butt kicks or front kicks each for 1 minute with equal recovery and repeat

This book is also a fantastic resource for getting a high intensity workout in to complement running.  It covers forms, exercises, tools, and sample workouts in detail.

Using the pool for recovery

A second option is to use the pool for easy days in order to “run” without the impact. This can include easy aqua jogging, with short bursts of speed for 30 seconds to break it up.

Using the pool for a combination of hard and easy workouts

The pool can also be used for both speed and recovery.  This is ideal if you want to get in one hard workout on land but prefer to keep the other runs easy.  The second hard workout (or third) can take place in the water.

My plan

I’m going to combine some of the theories of Run Less, Run Faster with pool running, spinning and strength.  So for now, I’m focusing on about 3 runs per week, with 2 of them “hard” – intervals, tempo or long runs with a pace goal. My recovery runs will be in the pool.

Because my body tends to break down when I consistently run over 40 miles per week, this will allow me to maintain higher volume while hopefully keeping my body strong and happy!

I’m planning to get in a few more long runs before making the call for the half or full.

If you are currently injured, I shared more workouts in this post on getting fitter while injured.

Have you ever used pool running in your plan when not injured? 

Do you have one set way you train for races, or do you like to experiment with various training plans? I’ve done a lot of experimenting over the years!!

I am linking up with SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.

Training picks up + Meal planning

Happy Sunday! We are dropping my older daughter off at her first overnight camp today, eek! She’s old enough to try it for a half week, and it’s through our church so she knows a number of kids going.  I know she’ll love it.  My only concern is how exhausted she’ll be after staying up late every night.  Her internal alarm clock gets her up around 6/6:30 no matter what time she goes to bed!

Training is picking up and going well! Here’s the rundown:

Monday:  35 minute full body strength circuit + 30 easy spin

Tuesday: 6 miles with intervals (800m at 6:22 pace, 400m at 5:38, 800m at 6:10, 400m at 5:40, 1 mile at 6:32) all with 400m recoveries

Wednesday: 40 minute pool run, 15 minute swim

Thursday: 6 miles (8:04 ave) + squats, lunges, TRX push ups and pull ups

Friday: 45 minute pool run

Saturday: 11.2 miles- longest since May! This was a fun one with a variety of paces: warm up: 8:46, 7:58; 2 @ 10k-half: 7:00, 6:50, 1 @ hmp-marathon pace: 7:17, 3 easy: 8:51, 8:25, 8:07, 45 seconds hard with 45 seconds easy x 10: hard paces ranged from 6:33 –> 5:44)

Half or full? This is the big question for the next month.  I’m going to try a few more long runs and see how everything is feeling before I make a decision. I’ve definitely lost speed endurance (it feels harder to hold challenging paces over several miles) but my shorter speeds seem to be back to normal.

Meal planning will be a bit easier for the first 3 days while the picky eater in the family is away!

For lunches this week, we have leftover Jamaican food that my husband made this weekend: jerk pork and chicken, rice and peas, plantain and grilled eggplant and zucchini.

Monday:  Pesto pasta and chicken with all the basil from our garden

Tuesday: Cilantro Lime Fish Tacos

Wednesday: I want to try these Miso Mango Chicken and Cabbage Wraps from Lindsay

Thursday: Veggie Omelets

Friday: Probably eating at the pool, as we spend most afternoons there and try to limit food to once/week

Saturday: Girls night out


Do you spend a lot of time at the pool in the summer? It’s so much easier this year, as my older daughter can go off on her own.

Is anyone else debating between a fall half and full marathon?


I’m linking up with Fitness and Food with Ilka and Angela, and Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap!

Half Training + Meal Planning

Hi friends,

As I write, the house is still a mess but we wrapped up a successful birthday party  yesterday for our almost 3 year old.  My 7 year old did most of the planning- an Elmo theme, and she chose games, a pin the nose on the Elmo, decorations and Elmo cupcakes (from Pinterest) that actually turned out pretty cute!

In terms of training, I’m inching along slowly and increasing my long run little by little. Yesterday’s long run was a mix of trail and road, and my legs seemed to appreciate the change of ground.  But the heat and humidity were rough this week!

Here’s the rundown:

Monday:  4.25 easy miles at the beach (so humid, but a treat to run with my husband while the girls hung out with cousins)

Tuesday: 30 minute HIIT workout

Wednesday: 4.5 miles with 2.5 at tempo (7:23, 7:11, 7:04)

Thursday: 45 minutes elliptical with 8 x 2 min sprints; upper body strength

Friday: 40 minute pool run; 25 minute swim

Saturday: off

Sunday: 9 mile run, combined trail and road

For meal planning this week, we made a few things ahead this weekend:

  • large batch of quinoa salad for lunches
  • pot of lentils to top salads
  • chopped veggies and watermelon
  • carrot oat “cookies” for the girls

Monday:  Pesto chicken on the grill

Tuesday: Ground turkey, zucchini, tomato and salsa one pot dish + corn tortillas

Wednesday: Leftovers

Thursday: BBQ chicken; kale salad

Friday: Pizza

Saturday: Grilled Mediterranean turkey burgers (from RW meals on the run); corn on the cob

Sunday: Breakfast for dinner: Omelets + Two ingredient pancakes

Have you attempted to follow a Pinterest birthday cupcake? They always make it look so easy.  We’ve had a lot of flops, but thankfully the Elmo ones worked out okay!

How was your training in this humid weather last week? 


I’m linking up with Fitness and Food with Ilka and Angela, and Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap!


Why a runner’s identity crisis can be a good thing

Last weekend marks 8 weeks since the day my tendonitis reared it’s head and caused me to pull out of my training.  For the most part, I stayed upbeat and positive.  I could spin, swim, aqua jog, use the elliptical and weights, so I was enjoying the mix of training.

By the 5 week mark when I was able to ease back in, I had a few good runs and then one run with a little pain that brought everything crashing down for a few days.  Isn’t it funny how that can happen?

From that one run, I was sure I was back to square one.  That I would need another 6 weeks off.  That my body was done with road running for good.

And then there was the issue of my name… mommy run fast? What do I share on Instagram if I’m not running? What do I blog about? What if I’m done with running for good? Should I change my brand and pick a new name?

Have you ever had a runner’s identity crisis? I think that’s what I would call my experience.  But it gave me a healthy perspective that, in retrospect, was much needed.

When everything is feeling good and all systems say go, I go!! And push and push and push.  How much more can I increase my mileage? How many more minutes might I be able to shave off my race time?

Social media rewards intensity.  The longer you run, the more likes a photo receives. The bigger the challenge, the better! This is not helpful for my somewhat addictive personality.

As I stepped back and considered being done with running for good, a strange thing happened… I realized I could be okay with that.  During this running break, I

  • actually really enjoyed my spinning, swimming, elliptical-ing, and strength training
  • felt fitter and stronger after a swim or strength workout than an easy 5 mile run
  • found my body was happier and more balanced without the long runs
  • had more energy on the weekends (and week days) to really play with my kids, swim around in the pool with them, and happily take them more places because I didn’t need a nap or wasn’t worn out from training
  • found my appetite was more balanced and I thought less about food, eating at normal times and not needing all the extra snacks
  • had more quality family time and my kids noticed and appreciated my energy


I signed up for the Richmond marathon and part of me really wants that 3:15.  I can’t quite understand why.  I mean, I totally get it when I’m in training, but when I step back, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  What difference does a 3:23, 3:15 or sub-3 make next to my name in the big picture?

My kids will only notice the additional hours that I’m gone and the added exhaustion when I’m with them.  My husband will have to pick up the slack around the house.  My body will be back in the stressed zone- is it worth it?

The answer might be yes.

It might be no.

I’m still wrestling with the next immediate goal, but I appreciate being forced to consider how running fits into my life for the long term and to know that regardless of what happens, I will be just fine.

Have you had a runner’s identity crisis? Have you found an injury took you through all the emotions?

Does running start to define who you are and what you do? I think it’s natural to be proud of our accomplishments and plan around races and training runs but it’s also easy for this to go too far (for me).

I am linking up with SuzRachelLora, and Debbie for Running Coaches CornerPattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run, NicoleAnnmarieMichelle, and Jen for Wild Workout Wednesday.


Progress in my running this week + 2 Ingredient Pesto Chicken

Hey friends,

I have no idea where this week went! I didn’t plan to ignore the blog but here it is the weekend again.  I’ve been reflecting a lot on my runner identity (or identity crisis while injured!) and my future with marathons and training.  It’s been helpful to step back from training… more on that later this week.

In terms of training, I decided to see how much speed I lost and did a repeat track session Wednesday night and Saturday morning.  The good news, I didn’t lose as much as I thought and I feel my paces slowly returning. Progress for sure!!
Here’s the rundown:

Sunday:  Easy 5, felt wiped out for some reason… this was without my Garmin but probably 10+ minute pace

Monday:  45 minutes easy spin with a few intervals was all I could handle

Tuesday: Off! Still feeling tired… I think I was fighting something off. Finally felt better by the evening.

Wednesday: am: 35 minute pool run; pm: 4 miles at the track with a few intervals to see where I’m starting from in terms of speed…

1 mile- 6:48, 800m- 6:44 pace, 400m- 6:29 pace, 100m x 2- 5:48 pace for each

This was humbling, yet encouraging too.  I thought it would be worse.  The mile pace was my goal half pace 6 weeks ago so yeah… lots of work to do!

Red face, green smoothie

Thursday: 45 minutes spin + TRX push ups, pull ups, lunges, squats and planks

Friday: 4.5 run, .5 walk with my blogging friend Steph, nice and easy pace

Saturday: 6 miles with a repeat of Wednesday’s track workout and progress!

1 mile- 6:42, 800m- 6:31 pace, 600m- 6:14 (added this one), 400m- 6:01 pace, 100mx2- 4:45 pace for each

These are pretty much back to where I was pre-injury, other than the longer than normal recoveries I needed between each!

I’ve never seen a 4:xx on my watch before! But I’ve also never done 100m bursts in training.  I want to stick to track or tempo work just twice a week and not worry too much about endurance right now. I know I have enough volume with all the cross training, and my focus is on remembering how to turn over my legs and making the quality count, while of course taking it really easy on non-running days.  So far, so good!

I skipped meal prep this week as we’ll be spending the next few days at the beach, but we did make an awesome pesto chicken Friday night which was SO easy!

Pesto Chicken

  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1-2 pounds of chicken

Brush chicken with pesto and grill for 4-5 minutes per side, or bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

We made our own pesto with our exploding basil plants and grilled chicken breasts and drumsticks (the girls love these!) and threw veggies on the grill as well for a fast, easy, healthy dinner.

Then I threw leftovers together with quinoa and veggies for a one dish salad for lunch yesterday.

What are your favorite veggies to grill? We love zucchini, red peppers, onion, mushrooms and eggplant.

Do you have a favorite interval workout at the track? The shorter the better for me.  I started with the mile because I knew mentally I wouldn’t be able to wrap my head around more than one and loved that the repeats in this workout kept getting shorter!

I’m linking up with Fitness and Food with Ilka and Angela, and Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap!

Workouts this week + Meal Planning

Hey friends! I think I’m back to normal over here… 8pm no longer feels like 2am, and I’m feeling caught up on my business, emails and other to-do lists.

In terms of training, I had a great 6 mile run on Tuesday when I got back.  I was back to running 8ish paces easily and felt normal again.  However, after seeing my PT this week they asked me to back off a little and stick to 4-5 miles for another few weeks.  So I’m going to listen.
Here’s the rundown:

Sunday:  8 mile run around Amsterdam, including Vondel Park with 3 x 1200m pick ups (7:30, 7:15 and 6:51 paces)… felt like I was sprinting on that final one!

Monday:  Nada… travel day.  I watched Patriot’s Day and Hidden Figures on the plane ride home. I really enjoyed both, especially Hidden Figures.  Such a cool story!

Tuesday: 6 miles with some short bursts up hill (8:23 ave)

Wednesday: pool run 20 minutes + swim 40 minutes (about 1 mile)

Thursday: 1 hour elliptical with 12 x 2 minute sprints (8.5 elliptical miles) + upper body strength

Friday: 40 minute pool run + 20 minute swim

Saturday: 4 mile run + 40 minute strength (Cathe’s SuperCuts)

I also got some meal prep done yesterday… grass fed meatballs, chocolate chip banana bread, another batch of kombucha and roasted sweet potatoes.

For the meal plan:

Sunday: Chicken sausages with sauerkraut

Monday: TJ’s Quinoa and Rice pasta with grass fed meatballs and sauce

Tuesday: Grilled chicken and homemade guac (maybe fajitas?)

Wednesday: Leftovers or eat at the pool

Thursday: Soba noodles with broccoli and  pb sauce

Friday: Likely pizza

Saturday: Head to the beach!

What meal prep do you do on a regular basis?

Have you ever jumped back into running too quickly? I do every.single.time.  When will I learn?!

I’m linking up with Fitness and Food with Ilka and Angela, and Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap!


Europe part two plus the running comeback

If you missed it, I shared some highlights from the first part of our Europe trip earlier in the week.

I left off in Worms, Germany.  Our next big goal was to go from Worms to Amsterdam, so we broke up our trip with a few stops including the small town where my MIL’s ancestors came from.  We found her town way out in the country through some winding, narrow roads at the top of a hill.  The drive was beautiful, as was the quaint town.

From there, we broke up the trip by touring the Marksburg Castle in Braubach, one of the only remaining castles that is completely intact.  I highly recommend it- the tour was fascinating. We had lunch at the cafe there before driving the final stretch and making it to Amsterdam in the early evening.  We did a bit of walking around our hotel in Amsterdam in Old Town before calling it a day.

Jared had to present at his conference the next day, so his parents and I took a train to nearby Haarlem to find the Corrie ten Boom house and walk through the historic market square and the impressive Grote Kerk cathedral which houses the third largest organ and the one on which both Handel and Mozart played.


After lunch at a cute cafe, I hunted down an adorable chocolate shop and stocked up.  That evening, Jared joined us at Cafe Bern, which was a great Swiss spot where we got cheese fondue and steak since we missed the fondue experience in Switzerland.  From there we walked to Central station to take the ferry across to the Eye. We stopped for ice cream on the walk back to the hotel, of course.

Saturday was another busy day.  I walked a bit in the morning and checked out a local grocery store and did some shopping. Then we spent all afternoon on a bike tour- in Amsterdam, there are more bikes than people! Parents tote their kids in carts on the front of bikes and everyone bikes everywhere.  It was an architectural tour so we stopped at various places and learned more about the history of Amsterdam on the water.

That evening, I joined Jared at the conference dinner in gorgeous TropenMuseum and had dinner in the adjourning marble foyer. Our table included academics from Russia, Germany, Spain and Israel.  Directly across the table was, ironically, an endurance running couple from Utah who were at Boston this year where she ran despite breastfeeding a 5 month old! We bonded over our similar stories but I loved the diversity of the conference.  And of course, English was a second language for everyone else yet they spoke it flawlessly.

On our last day, we said goodbye to Jared’s parents and spent the day on foot one last time.  I started the day with an 8 mile run through Vondel Park and the hotel’s breakfast buffet. Then we checked out the Portuguese Synagogue, the largest Synagoge outside of Israel and walked Old Town, got lunch at Cafe Bloem, took naps and then after dinner caught the canal cruise through the city.  After one last ice cream stop on the way home, we got a few hours of sleep before saying goodbye to the city and heading home on Monday.

So that’s a wrap! Thanks for sticking through it with me!

In terms of the running, I feel good.  The tendonitis is still a bit tender when I press on it but doesn’t hurt to run. I got 3 runs in this week (4 miles walk/run, 5 mostly running miles and 8 miles) and felt awkward and slow but had no pain.  I’m not sure that training for a marathon is the smartest decision but I’m going to see what the PT thinks this week.  Regardless, it feels amazing to be back out there!

Have you been to Amsterdam?

Do you ride bike to get around? The last place we lived where we actually used bikes on a regular basis was in Philadelphia, when we were first married.  If I hadn’t had that city biking experience I think I would have been pretty terrified as we navigated traffic to get out of center city on the bike tour- it was intense near all the tourists! Beyond that, it was easy with well marked bike lanes everywhere.

Any words of wisdom on recovering from tendonitis and marathon training?


Europe part one

Hi friends! And Happy 4th of July!

We got back from Europe last night and I’m a bit jet lagged, so if I’m not making sense or repeating myself, you’ll know why.  But I wanted to pop back in with a few photo updates of our trip!

I am lucky that my husband is part of an international conference every year, and other than the year I was pregnant (Sydney, Austrailia) and the year I had an infant breastfeeding (Costa Rica) I get to tag along.  This year it was in Amsterdam, so we started our trip in Switzerland and made our way north.  We also invited Jared’s parents along so we could do a bit of family history too as they’ve never been to Europe and we both have Swiss German roots.

It was a fantastic trip! I could write pages about each day but I won’t.  A few highlights from Switzerland…

On the first day, friends of the family met us in Schaffhausen and took us to a gorgeous lunch spot overlooking the Rhine river, a walk through of the Munot castle, and a walk by the famous Rhine waterfalls.  We finished up with the town’s favorite ice cream spot before crashing at the hotel.

On day 2, we drove south to Lauderbrunnen for a hike in part of the Swiss Alps.  Amazing.  Probably the highlight of the trip for us!

Day 3 was the day I was cleared to begin my running comeback.  I did a combo run/walk for four miles early in the morning through the countryside.

Then Jared and I explored Zurich including a lot of our religious history around the Protestant Reformation and we walked through gorgeous historical cathedrals including Grossmunster church (from the tower you get an impressive view of the city), Fraumunster church with the famous Chagall windows and Peter’s church with the largest clock face.  I could have spent days on the historical side of Europe but I think Jared had his fill of churches that morning!

That evening we drove to a friend’s house for dinner and got to see their traditional small Swiss village and learn more about Switzerland from their perspective.  Definitely another highlight for me as I got many of my Swiss questions answered!

PS-  I was so impressed with the maturity and respectfulness of their four kids. Even their almost four year old can walk by himself down the hill into the small store in the village to pick up a few things.  If only it were safe enough in the US to allow our kids that kind of responsibility!

We woke up to rain the next day and began our drive to Germany.

The main goal was to see a few Luther sites (it’s the 500th anniversary of the Reformation) and Worms was one of the anniversary spots that was on our way to Amsterdam.

We spent the afternoon in Worms where we explored more incredible cathedrals, Luther history and memorials, and got a traditional Germany dinner. In the evening, we walked past the oldest Jewish cemetery in Europe and sat outside eating ice cream. I’m pretty sure we had ice cream every day at some point.  How can you not on vacation?

The adventure continues in Germany and then Amsterdam so I’ll save that for later this week!

Have you been to Europe?

Do you have a favorite country or city? Switzerland was the highlight for me. I told Jared I’m going to start working on my Swiss German in case we decide to retire there. I’m not sure how serious I am about that but at the very least, I could see us spending chunks of time there in retirement!

Workouts this week + a fun trip

Hello from Switzerland! We left our girls behind yesterday and our kid-free adventure begins! It was another solid week of cross training. I’m feeling really good!
Here’s the rundown:Sunday:  rest (so important)Monday:  8 miles on the elliptical with 12 x 1 minute sprints, 1 minute recovery + ST (legs)

Tuesday: 40 minute pool run + 20 minute swim

Wednesday: 8.5 miles on the elliptical with 6 x 2 minute sprints with 1 minute recovery + ST (upper body)

Thursday: HIIT legs/cardio + 45 minute pool run

Friday: very easy 40 minute spin

Saturday: 45 pool run + Ignite Burn + Build

I did a little bit of running this week as warm ups for some of the boot camp/ HIIT workouts and felt fine (not to mention high knees, burpees, squat jumps, skaters, etc in the HIIT workouts.  I know that if I’m fine with all that jumping, I can do some short, easy runs but somehow running is still a bit scary!)

This is the week I’ll be adding some back in, starting conservatively with walk/run combos.

I won’t have much access to my computer this week so I’ll check back in when I’m home again, but you can keep up with my workouts and travels on Instagram!

Do you love or hate HIIT workouts?
I’m loving them lately! But they’re tough to include when I’m also running as it become too much intensity.

Have you been to Europe? Favorite city or country you’ve visited? We went once before kids and explored France and Italy.  This time we’re hitting the northern part- Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.  Share any tips or things we must see!

I’m linking up with Fitness and Food with Ilka and Angela, and Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap!