Scary Catcalls, liver scans and 19 miles

Well it’s probably clear from the title that today is entirely a Think Out Loud Thursday rather than anything super helpful…and I love you for still showing up to find out what’s going on!

Be prepared to read the world “seriously” multiple times as that appears to be my way of saying…WHAT ON EARTH IS HAPPENING.

Tis the season for all things spooky, so I’m sure dark shadows and too many Criminal Minds viewings have me more cautions than normal, but still…

What do men expect to happen when they start hollering at you while you are running.

It takes a lot to scare me any more when I run. I’m aware, I’m confident and I’m always trying to make smart choices about where I run solo…but I’ll be darned if some a-hole didn’t get my attention Sunday morning.

Yelling at runnersHeading out at 5:30 it’s dark these days, but I beelined to a busy and very well lit street to kick off my long run. Within minutes a car pulled up with the driver hanging out his window hooting and hollering. Per normal, I didn’t engage…then we got to a stoplight (damnit).

Cue more catcalls, I keep running and then he slows down to continue yelling.

At that point my spidey sense is tingling and he has my full attention. Eventually I did in fact unleash a verbal smackdown and he sped off. Realizing this is a horrible idea I watched carefully to make sure he wasn’t turning down an upcoming street to let me know just what he thought.

Really..WHAT do they expect that I’ll stop, mosey over to his car and say “ohh sweet ride, thanks for yelling at me hot stuff.”
Catcalls while running19 MILES OF FUN
Which leads me to the far more exciting topic of how that 19 miler went!! For starters the plan was 18, but I felt so freaking fabulous with our finally cooler weather (upper 60’s) that I wanted to just keep going and going.

Just a month ago I couldn’t keep my HR low enough to do 12 miles all below a 10 minute pace and this weekend I was happily puttering along around 9:40 without any concerns about HR. It was a nice run to see how my fueling is going as well.
PureMagicPre-run was slice of sourdough with nut butter
During was hand full of dried fruit and Vega mix of electrolytes and pre-workout
Post-run a big fat green smoothie

All of this leads me to my last point…more dr time.

The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of health and lack there of. One week I was just too pooped to do much of anything and ready to call the Dr to get a referral ASAP, the next I was flying through my runs feeling on top of the world.

This week I’m about middle of the road. Not sleeping well (highly usual), definitely low moods and a little tired but still finding my runs highly enjoyable.

Yesterday, was navigating the hospital for a full abdominal scan (seeing if liver/kidneys look ok) and tomorrow I’ll follow up with the hematologist to see if we can finally pin point the location of my crazy. I’d say it’s located somewhere between my right and left ear. CrazyFor the scan, I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink anything after around 8 the night before…

What is it about being told not to eat or drink that pretty much sends you in to a complete feeding frenzy?! Seriously after my abdominal scan, I was fully contemplating hospital food!

There you have it a little random Thursday what’s happening in my life for you!

How do you handle catcalls?

What was the last AMAZING long run you had?

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

Spooktacularly Healthy Halloween Treats

Every once in awhile I like to really get in the spirit of the holiday.

I’m pretty handy with a broom, ok that’s a lie.

I really love being scared, nope also a lie.

I adore bags full of candy, yup that’s more like it.

Alas I really am trying to skip the processed sugars and that left me pondering how could I do something fun to celebrate Halloween. If my nieces and nephews were around this would be the main attraction, since they aren’t David will be the recipient of my Martha Stewart moment.
Healthy Halloween Ideas - Orange smoothie and beet smoothie that everyone will loveJACK-O-LANTERN SMOOTHIE
Anyone else have a stash of empty nut butter jars that you keep thinking will come in handy?? TA DA that day has arrived, after mixing up our fun smoothie, we can pour it in the glass and decorate with a permanent marker. 100x’s faster, easier and safer than carving a pumpkin.
Jack-o-lantern smoothieIngredients

If you can convince them the jar is fun enough then absolutely toss in spinach for a few more greens!

One thing I do not watch is horror movies…one thing I do love is sneaky greens!

Many folks are scared to use beets in their smoothies and I was absolutely in that boat for many years, but the benefits to athletes are huge so I prepared myself for a bad taste and forged ahead. To my surprise I found some great mixtures and you’d never know it included beets!

  • 1 cooked beat
  • 1 cup mixed berries {strawberries, raspberries, cranberries}
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup {cuts the bitterness down a bit}
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 scoop vanilla Vega Protein {optional, but makes it more filling to me}

For those wondering about the maple syrup, I use PURE maple syrup from Canada which is 100% maple syrup no additives. This option is great for me as other sweeteners popped up on my ALCAT as no-no’s. CHEERS!! Time to drink our smoothies and hear what kind of healthy things you have planned for Halloween. Drop your link below, visit others and Pin it to remember!

Do you do anything special to celebrate Halloween?

Will you be dressing up to pass out candy?

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

Ultimate Guide to Running Hydration

The countdown for the NYC marathon is on and part of me is sad that I won’t be lining up this year, ready for redemption. Sure I PR’ed last year, but I also crossed the finish line looking pretty haggard due to the wind and likely mismanaged hydration/fueling.

It’s no surprise that even the simplicity of water has become an area of confusion for many runners as studies change each week: drink before thirst…no, no this could lead to overhydration (hyponatremia), drink your body weight x’s 123, drink less, drink more, throw your hands up and wave ‘em around…

What’s a runner to do?

Learn to trust your body and of course test all advice before race day. You’ve read all about how dehydration impacts performance, so let’s instead talk about what to drink, when and how. ultimate guide to running hydration - what to drink, when and how As a long time runner, I have learned how to follow the cues of my body. I don’t need to drink a great deal while running and when I did test out “the rules” it usually resulted in feeling bloated and nauseous, not exactly conducive to a great run.  Following are what I’ve found to help me and the runners I have coached over the years.

One of the major complaints for runners is that feeling of slosh while running. Some of this is due to waiting too long to drink and then guzzling, some of it is due to trying to follow guidelines that are causing us to take in more than needed.

Here are a few strategies to figure out your needs:

  • Ensure 30-45 minutes pre-run you’ve had at least 8oz
  • Start carrying water on every run (then you won’t forget on long runs)
  • Try sipping it every mile
  • Still feeling thirsty? Try sipping every couple minutes
  • Still thirsty? Check your pre-hydration again
If you don’t like the taste of flavored water, you can also take something like Salt Stick tablets before and during the run to help balance out sweat loss as well.

Not sure how to manage those cups on race day?

Slow down to grab the cup, squish together so you've created a peak on one end making it like a funnel to pour down your throat. Again sip if needed rather than feeling you must chug it all. Some people prefer to walk through each aid station to ensure they get in water, I hate to lose momentum so I practice the sip or carry my own water. Do what works for you.

How to hydrate on the runPost run, again it’s time to sip not guzzle which usually leads to an unhappy stomach. All the blood is currently diverted from your digestion, so you want to ease in both water and food. One great way to do this is with a recovery smoothie which can contain a lot of hydrating foods along with water.

Do you need a sports drink? No. Skip the artificial chemicals (nothing in nature is neon),

Do you need electrolytes, probably (depends on the distance). Learn more about electrolytes and how they impact your running.

If you answer is yes to any of these, adding some electrolytes to your water can help:

  • Are you a heavy sweater?
  • Is it a longer run than normal?
  • Have you been feeling fatigued on recent runs?
  • Do you have muscle cramps during or post run?

Personally I like to carry water on short runs and a  Vega Sport electrolytes or coconut water for longer runs. The slightly sweet taste also helps your brain believe it’s getting fuel and can reduce gels needed.hydration race sign  Not sure I agree, but I like the enthusiasm.

One of the biggest frustrations for many runners is finding the right method to carry water.

I reached out on Facebook to get your feedback and the options were pretty varied with no particular consensus other than different strokes for different folks. One of the benefits to carrying your own water is being able to sip it rather than feeling rushed to slug it down or not having it when you want it.Options for carrying water on the run - pro and con of eachHere are the pro’s and con’s of some different sizes and methods of carrying water:

  • Hydration pack — hands free, easy to sip anytime, can be hot and more clean up time
  • Handheld small Nathan Quick Shot – light, fits to palm, low water volume
  • Handheld large Camelbak — keeps water cold, plenty of fluids, must be conscious of form
  • Fuel belt holster – extra storage, good volume, bounce or chaffing issues
  • Stash water/water fountains - nothing to carry, but pre-planning required
  • Beer hat — sometimes you just need to party

Thanks to my friends at Poland Spring for the extra motivation to talk hydration today, you’ll be seeing tips from other bloggers as well prior to NYC to help everyone get through Fall marathon season in one piece!

Poland Spring Cheers is their awesome campaign to send a little extra love to those who have supported so many of us in getting to the start line healthy and happy {even if totally nervous}. Video booths will be available to the public during the Poland Spring Marathon Kickoff Event on 10/26 and the TCS New York City Marathon Health and Fitness Expo on 10/30.

Here’s my personal “thanks a million”...watch to find out who it's for:

If you can’t drop by, you can still create your own video and share it on your social channels using #polandspringcheers to say thanks to those who have supported you.

What do you carry for hydration?

How much do you drink on the run? 

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Poland Spring. All opinions, water sloshing belly moments leading to the above tips are my own. Image source The Q Speaks.

Could a 5K make you a better distance runner?

Endurance or speed that seems to be the option for most runners. But what if we could actually improve in both areas by combining the two...a real mind bender, eh?! After pondering this idea and talking with friends, Kathryn showed up with some very good details on why we should stop shunning the 5K during distance training.

It seems as though there is a great divide amongst runners. You're either distance with the half marathon or marathon or speed with 5K or 10K. While preference often depends on natural ability and propensity towards speed, available training time and running buddies, most of it depends on what you enjoy.

Just as 5K runners can benefit from longer runs by increasing their endurance, distance runners can make some big gains in performance by throwing in a few 5K's.

It is not only a fun break from marathon training, but preparing for a 5K can actually help your legs get ready for the longer stuff.

How to improve your marathon time by running a 5K

Getting Out of Your Pace Rut
When you train for a marathon, you get really good at setting a pace and cruising there for hours upon hours. If you’ve reached your goal time and are happy with your performance, that’s great! But if you want to get that time down even just a little bit, you’re going to have to give your legs a little kick (get it?).

Doing some shorter workouts at a faster pace can help to get your legs used to going a little faster. For example, if you do 8 miles at 9 minute pace every day, you’ll get really great at running exactly that pace.

But if you do one workout a week of 4 miles at 8 minute pace, your body will eventually adapt to that faster pace, and then you can train it to sustain that pace a little longer by bumping your fast run up to 5,6,7, then 8 miles.
Break a running rut

Increased Leg Speed and Turnover
Preparing for a 5K requires some speed work, and that can be a good thing. Interval training teaches your legs what it feels like to go faster. As the muscles and other tissues in your legs are challenged by doing repeats of 400 meters, 800 meters, or more, they actually adapt to the stress being placed upon them. That means more recruited “fast twitch” muscle fibers, more flexible and springy ligaments, and a strengthening of the muscles used to propel you forward.

When you teach your legs to have faster turnover (the speed at which your legs cycle through from one touching down to the next), you improve your running economy. In some cases, speed work can actually lengthen your stride as well, leading to more ground being covered with each step. And in a race that spans over 26 miles, the less pounding on that pavement- the better! trackfinish

Embracing a new Discomfort
Marathon training forces you to become comfortable with pushing your body to go farther, but 5K training helps you start to embrace a new kind of discomfort. It's the lung burning, legs on fire kind of discomfort that scares many distance runners. Each time you dip in to that zone, you are once again mentally preparing for those difficult miles late in the marathon. You might also find that you are able to run a little bit faster than you realized!

Giving Your Brain a Break
Marathon training always has its ups and downs. Some days everything is clicking and you feel great and you want to run forever. Other days, every mile seems like a chore. Just toeing the line at a marathon is a daunting task, because you know what’s about to hit you.

For a marathoner, a 5K seems teeny tiny, and that can be a good thing. Because every now and then, we all need a little mental breather. Doing a shorter, quicker race can be a good way to prevent that mental fatigue that can really interfere with your motivation. Running a 5K allows you to test out your training and get a quick boost of motivation when you realize all that endurance is paying off in other ways. CDR - Beltline Run 1

Kathryn is an avid runner who has been a lover of the sport for over 12 years. When she's not running or writing about running, she loves to be outdoors- preferably with her awesome dog, Honey. You can catch up with her over at Chicks Dig Running!

Thanks Kathryn!! I would add that 5K's can make great practice races to work on managing race day nerves and to drag more of your friends in to the insanity of our world!

Do you run a variety of race distances?

Are you more a fan of endurance or speed?

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin

OMGega 3 Meals for Busy Athletes

While I considered creating some sparkling new recipe today, what I love most about fish is the simplicity. It doesn’t require anything fancy to make it feel like a quality meal!

Satisfying and high in protein without making me feel weighed down, ya know what I mean?!

The AHA {American Heart Association} has long recommended 2 servings of fish each week, which sounds like a superior idea to me. BUT when buying fish we tend to buy a big package and well even for this repetitive eater 4 weeks of salmon is a bit much. 

Enter the Sizzlefish omega pack…wohoo!! 2 pieces of a variety of fish means I can try something new each week, which is also great to ensure I’m rotating foods per ALCAT.
Quick and easy meal ideas to incorporate more Omega 3WHY EAT MORE FISH
As athlete's we get amazing benefits from beefing up our omega 3 intake. While we can take pills to do this, there’s something satisfying about getting it from our food…there’s also some science to say it’s more beneficial from food than a pill!

Even after controlling for a range of other factors that might have accounted for differences in brain health, eating baked or broiled fish was still a significant predictor of a healthy brain,” said Dr. James Becker after a brain study.

Athletes and fishy benefits:

  • Reduces inflammation from long runs
  • Helps to reduce swelling
  • Prevents blood clots
  • Increases the body’s natural use of DHEA
  • Improves brain function
  • EASY to cook (10 minute dinners)
  • High in protein, usually lower in calories

Omega fish options:

  • Salmon
  • Sablefish
  • Rainbow Trout
  • Catfish
  • Atlantic Cod
  • Haddock

One reason I’ve heard many shy away from eating fish at home is not knowing how to prepare it or what to really eat with it. I get that, it’s something new for a lot of people.

Keeping it super simple, over the last month each week I’ve pulled out a couple filets from my Omega 3 pack from Sizzlefish to thaw overnight. The next evening, I put it on a baking sheet then popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.

While the fish was cooking, I simply decided what veggies sounded good for the night and trust me they all pair up just fine with a little garlic salt or cracked pepper.
12 ideas for eating more fishHere are a few ideas to get you started:

Catfish served with a salad of spinach, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, brussel sprouts and butternut squash. This one literally only needed some spices as the flavors worked so well together.

Salmon served with a salad of mixed greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, roasted brussel sprouts and lightly drizzled with Vega Antioxidant oil.

Haddock served over brown rice, spinach and sautéed zucchini and yellow squash.

Tuna with 2 tbsp hummus, 1/2 sweet potato, 1 stalk celery, cherry tomatoes…mash it all up!

In case you do want some more multi-step ideas (i.e not my thrown together meals), here are some awesome options to get everyone on board with fish.
Salmon FajitasMustard glazed sablefish
Salmon and bok choy with miso glaze
Fish Chowder - The Lean Green Bean
Indian Spiced Tuna Cakes - Cotter Crunch
Salmon Fajitas - Gimme Some oven (pictured above)
Lemon and Lavender Broiled Trout - Sweet C’s Designs
Baked Haddock (with greek yogurt topping) - Focused Intent
Spicy Ginger Salmon - The Big Man’s World

How often do you eat fish?

Any favorite combo’s I need to try?

Other ways to connect with Amanda

Instagram: RunToTheFinishRunning_motivation_thumb

Facebook: RunToTheFinish

Get new posts via BlogLovin