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Turkey Pumpkin Chili

I started working out again yesterday. Yes, the wash n press is gone!! Good riddins, now I can sweat with NO WORRIES! I hit the gym early before church for some HIIT (high intensity interval training) along with abs and legs and am good and sore today.

Post-workout snack of scrambled egg whites and veggies on whole wheat Ezekiel bread with fig butter spread and green tea…Nice, light, and quick!!

I went to kick it with my fam after church and guess who was there waiting for me when I got there…

The Devil was not only busy during church but  also after… :-/  It was tough, but i held strong #sweatin’ #awayfrommesatan!

Anywho, today, I hit the gym early for a short 3mile run + abs. Although my body was ready for this run, my mind was NOT! I started struggling with boredom half way through it. Uggh! Fortunately, I pushed and got it done….but you would think after running 26.2miles, that a 3 measly miles would be a piece of cake…smh.

Sidenote: I’m not sure if I want to run another marathon. The experience of the last one is still too fresh, LoL! I will say that I am SLOWLY beginning to consider running another one simply because the competitor in me wants a second chance at a better run time. So the question is really WHEN will i run again? And the answer is i don’t know yet o_O

During one of my many errands today, I wanted to buy a couple of things since I planned to finally make a pumpkin chili recipe that I’d been meaning to make.

soooooo addictive!!

I picked up these rice chips to go with my chili….notice that BOTH bags are ALREADY empty…and I haven’t even made the chili yet!!!! LMBO. Ooops! #shiftyeyes

This Remixed Turkey Pumpkin Chili was inspired (i can’t help but to tweak recipes…even perfectly good ones) by fellow blogger FitFoodieLe.com She is a perfect example of determination and discipline and a HUGE fitness and healthy eating inspiration for me. Check her out!

Now check this out

What you need:

1/2 red onion, chopped

2 sprigs of cilantro, chopped

5 oz of lean ground turkey (i think my vegan/vegetarian folks can sub tofu or other meatless alternative or nothing at all…)

2 tbsp Bragg’s liquid aminos

1tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp ground ancho chili

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp pumpkin spice

1 small can of sweet corn

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper

1/2 green bell pepper

1 can pumpkin puree

1 (4oz) can of tomato sauce *no salt added

1/2 c low sodium chicken broth

1/2 c water

1 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Here’s what you do:

1. In a medium pot, cook onions and half of chopped cilantro stash til onions are translucent

2. Add ground turkey, Braggs and spices. Cook til meat is no longer pink.

3. Add your veggies, (dont’ forget the canned corn), pumpkin puree, tomato sauce, broth, and water and let simmer for 10-15minutes

4. Serve with a few garnishes of cilantro and ENJOY!!

soo GOOD!!! i started eating before I remembered to take a pic….wish I had some chips to go with it :-/

CB

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Healthy Cookies

Need something healthy to kill that sweet tooth craving??? Try these. I’ve seen various versions of this recipe and, as per my norm, I modified it to my preferences.

Here’s what you need:

2 bananas mashed (I’ve also tried 1c mashed sweet potatoes instead of the bananas and apples, so feel free to experiment with other fruits, roots, or veggies!! 🙂

1/2 apple chopped into little chunks

1/4 c. walnuts

1tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

*I eyeballed it with the cinnamon and nutmeg so feel free to tweak these amounts to your tastes

1c oatmeal

1/4-1/3c honey (but feel free to sweeten with whatever you like — maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, stevia, etc.)

1/4c oil

Here’s what you do:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. Mix it all in a bowl

3. Spoon onto greased (non stick cooking spray) cooking sheet

4. Bake at 375degrees fro 10-12minutes. Let cool, then ENJOY!!!

*Makes about 9-12 cookies depending on how big a spoonful you use

These are so addictive for me!!! No flour, no egg, no FUSS!! Healthy way to have your oatmeal on the GOOOOO! 🙂

apples and bananas and oatmeal….YUM!!

 Try them and tell me what you think!

CB

November challenge

So the marathon’s over, now what!? After the marathon, I went H.A.M. on all the foods I had stayed away from while training–pizza, cakes, pies, ice cream, alfredo pasta, garlic bread, rich, spicy Indian food, plates of naan–I had a CHEAT WEEEEEK!!!! And didn’t work out ONE BIT (mainly cuz I’m trying to hold onto this wash and press on my hair).

But after a week off, I’m over this hair, this constant bloated feeling and READY to SWEAT!!!

finally got a chance to wash, blow dry, and flat iron my hair after 4 months…took FOREVER to do, but it feels good to not have to fight it with a brush in the morning, lol…oh yeah, forgive the dirty mirror, lol

The next 6 weeks are filled with holidays and graduation and we all know what that means….PARTIES/CELEBRATION –>FOOD!!!!! I don’t know about you, but I LOOOOOVE Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, I always gain about 5 lbs between Thanksgiving and the New Year. I then spend more than 6 months of the following year trying to those lose 5 measly pounds and by the time I finally get them gone, the holiday season has begun anew….very cyclical… and frustrating…uggggh!!

So after training for this marathon for 4 months, I learned a number of things about myself and one of those things is that I do better with achieving my goals when I have a set deadline or target date. I also like setting and achieving goals, soooo for the month of November my challenge is to eat clean for a month and still enjoy Thanksgiving to the FULLEST!!!! ya heard me!? *lip smack*

Here’s the skinny on the challenge (pun intended… 😛 )

1) Eat only whole foods. That means eating oats and blueberries rather than a blueberry muffin. When you eat packaged foods, only buy brands that contain “real food” ingredients–ingredients you easily recognize, can pronounce, and would use to make a “from scratch” version in your own kitchen. If a food contains even one ingredient that makes you think “huh?” skip it.

2) Keep meals simple. Delicious, healthy food don’t have to contain a lot of ingredients. Keep your meal ingredients to a minimum—just be sure to include a source of whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat at each meal. Take the time to prep and package your meals on the weekend in preparation for the work week. You’ll save sooo much time, calories, and energy if you have your healthy meals already cooked, packed, and ready to eat.

*If your pantry is FILLED with “unclean” eats, then a gradual transition may be in order so as not to feel overwhelmed by change. Employ the rule of “Take One Replace One”. As a strategy to help clean up your kitchen and transition to clean eating, every week take away one unhealthy item from your diet and replace it with a natural clean option. Before you know it, you’ll be eating healthier and feeling better.

*Another strategy that my friend Linda came up with is to eat the not so healthy stuff on your cheat days. That way you don’t waste money by throwing/giving away all that food at one time.

Foods to Love

complex carbs (more nutritious and better for glycemic control): whole grains, wheat, gluten free (especially if you have an intolerance to gluten products), brown rice, quinoa,couscous (although grains, the latter two are excellent sources of protein)

fruits and veggies (which for people like me means expanding my veggie repertoire)…also veggies are a good source of complex carbs and much needed nutrition without all the unnecessary calories

natural sweetners: honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses; natural, no cal sweetners like Truvia and Stevia

*use natural sweetners in moderation though. too much can still pack on the pounds

homemade meals (made with LOVE!!!), whole foods

low/no sodium

unsaturated healthy fats in foods like avocados, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil

lean cuts of steak and leaner meats like chicken, turkey, fish, shrimp

low/no fat dairy or non-dairy products like non-fat Greek yogurt, goat cheese, almond cheese (I’ve heard of this but have yet to find it at stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s), soy milk, Almond milk, Skim milk, etc

Foods to Avoid

-processed, simple carbs: white breads, pasta

-refined, white sugar, high fructose corn syrup

-pre-packaged foods, packaged lunch meats

-high sodium…sodium hides in foods you would never suspect, so read your food labels folks. that’s what they’re there for!!

-anything packaged or prepared with ingredients you can’t pronounce

3) Drink water. Hydrate! HYDRATE!! HYDRATE!!! It’s necessary for proper metabolism and digestion, but also great for glowing healthy skin!! Often times we confuse hunger for thirst because we don’t drink near as much water as we should.  According to the Mayo clinic, studies indicate the average man needs to drink about 3liters/day and women 2.2liters/day :-O. I know for a FACT I don’t drink near as much as I should. The traditional rule is to drink at least (8) 8oz glasses of water a day, which is the equivalent of 1.9L. According to the Mayo clinic, studies indicate the average man needs to drink about 3liters/day and women 2.2liters/day. Drink at least a glass of water between and with each meal. So if you are eating 5-6 small, balanced meals a day, you’ll definitely reach the minimum hydration goals. Drink more, if you’re exercising!!

4) Eat on a regular schedule. Try not to let more than about 4 hours go by between meals or snacks. You might even find that you have to eat every 2.5-3hrs. Steady meal timing helps regulate your digestive system, blood sugar and insulin levels, and appetite.

*Depending on how early you wake up, you’ll find that you’re eating about 5-6meals/day with your last meal eaten about 2.5-3hrs before bedtime. Try to keep your meals balanced with protein, complex carb, and healthy fats.

5) Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full, meaning satisfied, not stuffed.

6) Limit cheat days to no more than once a week, which may coincide with that good ole’ Turkey Day….*salivating at the thought of sweet cornbread, cornbread stuffing, and sweet potato dishes* 🙂

7) Exercise. I’m challenging myself to at least 3 days of cardio/week alternating with 2 days of weight training.

What will YOUR exercise/fitness goals be?

This morning the girls and I decided to climb Stone Mountain. Good friends + good hike (cardio) = Good times

Linda, me, Ling, Mecha my PA school buddies!!!!!!!!

she scroooong!!!

PA school is cut throat! LoL!!

Gorgeous view!

chillin’ on the side of a rock…

Ling is stronger than she looks, lol

All that hiking and balancing on the side of a mountain had me STARVING!! Let’s go eat!

Larb chicken aka Thai Spicy Chicken salad sooooo G-OO-D!! All natural ingredients. I could literally taste the lime juice, cilantro, and fresh mint!! Gonna recreate this myself 😉

Anyone wanna join me in this November challenge? Or share some of their own health and fitness goals?

 

CB

 

Marathon Weekend!!

The day before the big day. I took it easy and guess who flew ALLLL the way across the country to come witness and support my run in person??? Uchenna! ❤ He came in late Friday night, so we kicked it off Saturday with a brunch at Flying Biscuit with my fellow marathoner Linda. This restaurant was OFF di CHAIN!! Biscuits, apple butter, fried macaroni &cheese, cheesy dreamy grits. O. M.GEEEEE!!! ( i sample Uchenna’s cheesy grits. Yum-may!!) So far from clean eating, but everyone needs to indulge every now and again. For myself, I had organic oat pancakes, veggie scramble, turkey bacon, and potatoes. Can we say stuffed, but in a good way, lol.

Later that day, Uchenna and I kicked it with one of his friends, David, from his undergraduate days at Tufts University.

Morning of the race. I got nervous anticipation building so strong I could hardly sleep! LoL

My marathon buddy/classmate/friend Linda

trying to figure out where the Start Line is…

i don’t know what was going on here, lol

Found it! Places people…

just another face in the crowd of marathoners running 26.2miles BEFORE the sun was even up!!! Sheer madness, but exciting!!

Uchenna aka My biggest supporter and fan

getting my music together

READY!!

And we’re off folks… See you at the finish line…HOURS later o_O LoL

my camera man boo got a good pic of Linda in action…Gone ‘head girl!

The best thing about running 26.2 miles…is the FINISH LINE in sight!!!!

AMEN y’all!! I don’t know these women, but this picture captures MORE than 1,000 words!!

DONE!!! 26.2 miles and 4:55:08 later I. AM. DONE!!!!!

I DID it!! I. DID. IT!!!!! I completed my first ever marathon!!! PRAISE GOD!!! 4 LONG months of consistent (i did miss a run day here and there) training all boiled down to a few hours. For 16 weeks, I have purposefully selected my meals, chosen when to push my body, and…But the ONE thing that I could not control was the weather, UGGH!! Of all days, Mother Nature decided to switch it up on me. I woke up race day and the weather was maaaddd COLD yo!!! o_O No bueno! I HATE cold weather…like forreal foreal DESPISE it! Needless to say I was praying for the weather to warm up. Unfortunately, it never did. In fact it got colder, windier, and even rained!! Yuck! I’ve been training in sunny 80+ degree weather. I did not prepare for this…dah well the show must go on…I came to RUN!!!! And run I did!! Even the cold weather tightened up my muscles, I couldn’t get warm, and my fingers were numb, I NEVER STOPPED!!

Whew!!! What a weekend!! It was everything I anticipated, minus the weather!!! The sea of people, each with a different story or inspiration for running such a race. I’m soooo grateful that I had the chance to be a part of it all. I THANK GOD for the gift of limbs and movement and good health!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to EVERYONE who supported, encouraged, ran/trained with me, ate with me, gave me tips, and ALL THAT during this 16 week journey!!! I’m so BLESSED to have and be surrounded by such sincerity and love!!! We did it!! 🙂

CB

Feeling good

Six days out from marathon day and I’m feeling good!! I could get used to this taper schedule forreal!! My knees and hips don’t hurt, my endurance is up and most importantly I feel good. During these last 3 weeks of tapering, I’ve been trying to work on increasing and maintaining my speed. Woke up this morning, bright and early, and got my 3 mile run out of the way before work. My main time goal is to complete the marathon while averaging a 10:00min/mile pace, but this morning I was feeling good and froggy, so I pushed myself and ran 3miles in less than 27minutes, averaging 8:57min/mile pace!!! I’m so proud of myself. I don’t think I’ve ever run THAT FAST for THAT LONG and STILL feel like I could’ve kept going. PROOOOGRESSSS!!!!…and it feels good. 🙂

Early morning FLEX!

Breakfast this morning was my usual bowl of oatmeal with bananas, honey carmelized apple bits, walnuts, and cinnamon…in my measuring cup to go in my bell-lay!! 🙂

With just days away from marathon, I’m not eating ANYTHING new and I’m steering CLEAR of the processed, packaged, white sugar, alcohol, cheesy, and fiber-rich foods. I just can’t risk a crummy run or the BG’s aka the bubble guts. This runner, right here, is sticking to what I know!! So what does that include? Complex starches, protein, whole grains, and low to no fat. Unfortunately,  I got a little lazy yesterday and didn’t cook, so lunch today was a big owl bowl of garden mixed salad to which I added strawberries, tomatoes, fat free feta cheese, and chopped walnuts. I drizzled some low-cal, low sodium, low fat raspberry walnut vinigarette over it. I snacked on some unsweetened applesauce and fresh strawberries throughout the work day.

But if I plan to keep my meals safe and clean, I DON’T have a choice but to cook. Just like my run pace, my schedule has picked up the pace too, so I have little time. I need a TECQ meal at this point (Tasty, Easy, Clean, and Quick), so I decided to go with salmon, brown rice, and steamed broccoli. I marinated the salmon in McCormick Grill Mates marinade and sprinkled the fillets with some shaved almonds. I steamed the broccoli and seasoned it with Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle seasoning, Salt-FREEEEEE!

Lunch for the rest of the week!

What are some of y’all’s lunch meal plans for the week?

CB

Proooogress…

With one week to go til Race Day, I figure I am WAAAYYY over due for some progress shots and measurement updates.

Date:                             September 9, 2012            September 12, 2012 Anaheim, CA

Distance/Time:        16.0miles in 2:53:40              8.02miles in 1:16:00

Avg pace:                   10:00 mi/hr                                 9:29 mi/hr

Date:                             September 15, 2012 (Cali)  October 20, 2012 Cordele, GA

Distance/Time:        12.0 miles in 1:55:00            8.53 miles in 1:20:00

Avg pace:                    9:38 mi/hr                                   9:37 mi/hr

At first glance, when compared to my avg paces from the month of August, it doesn’t look like I’ve made any improvements, which had me feeling a little discouraged…until I realized that I’m able to maintain this pace for longer distances without feeling dehydrated and fatigued. On the contrary, I’ve actually been feeling the classic “runner’s high” during these mod runs (moderate run = 8-13miles). Progress??? Yes, don’t mind if I do!!

random pic while running in Tifton, GA aka the boonies aka the middle of nowhere, GA…

Update #2: These measurements are 2 weeks old, but not much has changed since I took them.

Thighs   23.75 inches–>23.25 inches –>22 inches

Hips       38 inches–> 37 inches –> 36.0 inches

Waist     28.5 inches–> 27 inches –>26 inches

Wrist     6.75inches–>6.5 inches –>6.25 inches

Forearm 10.25 inches–>10 inches –>9.75 inches

Biceps   11.75 inches–> 11.25 inches –>11 inches

Neck      13.25 inches–> 13 inches –> 12.50 inches

I got a new phone, so I joined the IG (instagram) community of fitness and clean eating. (it’s a whole new world and way to live!!) I’m learning a lot and am slowly realizing that all the sit ups in the world won’t get me that six pack I so desperately seek. Although I’ve made some progress in the abs department, I still have a LOOONG way to go, but I’m learning everyday how to get to my goal. It’s not enough to exercise or to do hours of cardio. The KEY to abs that POP is a consistent C-L-E-A-N diet!! Eat as close to ALL NATURAL and as far away from processed, packaged, high sodium, high fat, simple carbs, high fructose corn syrup, white sugars, etc as you possibly can. They say “abs are made in the kitchen” and they ain’t nevah lyin’. *sistah girl neck roll with the head angled to the side*

And speaking of kitchen…I’m hungry. Time for me to eat.

What are y’all eating?

CB

Preparation is KEY

Time is flying by and with JUST a week til race day, I feel my anticipation and nervousness increasing. Although I’ve done a couple of 5K runs, I’ve never competed in athletic event like this before. It seems I am constantly visualizing race day and praying that everything goes smoothly (#Godwilling!!) I think about the weather and my race day outfit. The bulk of my training has been in warm weather, so I’ve mainly worn shorts and a tank, but these last few days in ATL have brought with it 50degrees morning temperature, so I know it’s going to be EXTRA cold come October 28th. In case y’all didn’t know, I HAAAATTTTTEEEE cold weather. For some reason I can never get warm enough. Uggh! Anywho, my race day daydreams also include everything from my pre-run meals and company to visions of the marathon crowd. I wonder how many people have signed up and what their individual stories are…like what’s their motivation for running 26.2miles? I’m excited to see the other runners, their families and friends, the event organizers and anyone else who feels like rolling out of bed before 7am on a chilly Sunday morning.

Back to reality, guhl! I have only a week left to train and prepare and not a moment to lose. I’ve been tweaking my diet to fuel up for my long runs. For the most part I have been eating clean with strategically placed cheat days that don’t interfere with my endurance run days. I have changed up my diet to eat low carb, high protein Sunday-Tuesday and increase my carb intake Wednesday-Saturday to coincide with my crossfit, rest, and short run days vs my long run day.

I also have a Long Run prep list to make sure I’m primed and ready to run with no worries.

1.Music for distraction and boredom

2.MapMyRun app track my mileage, pace, time, etc

3.Polar heart rate monitor to track how many calories I’ve burned (Just cuz I’m curious)

Guess who joined the Polar HR club?? MEEEE!!! T’was a surprise gift from my boo 🙂

4.Fanny pack for hydration and cliff bar for sustenance

On the run (pun intended) snacks to go…sans the grapes

R.I.P. fanny pack. This pic was taken only 2months ago, when I FIRST bought this fanny pack. Then randomly on a 14mile run, the damn thing literally unraveled. Ugh!

Plain water gets boring, so to switch it up I hydrate with SoBe LifeWater. I usually cut them with water. I filled those little fanny pack (RIP) water bottles and I’m good to go!! #refreshing

5.My dri-fit socks to protect against chafing and blisters

Dri-fit socks cost a pretty penny!! At least $15 a pair! Ridiculous? Depends…Would you rather have blisters and lose toenails or keep your skin and toenails intact but lose $15? You decide… :-/

My Nike Free Runs. LOVE these shoes! Super comfy, wide toe spread, lightweight, and durable. I’ve put some SERIOUS mileage on these bad boys since i bought them in 2 months ago. The only negative is that they don’t have enough cushion on the forefoot for SUPER LONG Runs. Didn’t realize this til it was too late :-/

The above list is only PART of my pre-run check prep list. The other half of my list includes a bunch of CRUCIAL intangibles that all fall under one umbrella–FUEL (diet). In my opinion, this is THE most important aspect of my training regimen. It’s not a secret that poor food choices make a long run practically UNBEARABLE. Two weeks ago, my grad program hosted a 4 day conference that us students were required to attend. Since we were sequestered in a lecture hall for 12 hours every day, they served us FOOD. ALLLLL DAY. Ya’ll I’m not talking about rinky dink chips and deli sandwiches. We ate GOOD. We ate everything from egg casserole for breakfast to apple glazed porkchops at the buffet lunch! Snacks included things candy, chips, soda, hummus, salami, and BEEF WELLINGTON!! The only time I’ve ever heard of beef wellington was from an episode of the Cosby Show when Clare was making a big surprise, trick B-day dinner for Cliff…needless to say i thought it was some big fancy schmancy dish…nope, it aint nothing but a piece of pastry filled with beef. I tried it and wasn’t a fan. 😡

Anywho…sitting for 12hrs a day listening to a lecture means you are BOUND to get bored and rather than fall asleep, I got up and ate…and ate…and ate…AGAIN. It was really ridiculous. I actually started craving to run after these long days in order to help my body metabolism this junk I was feeding it. Cheese, processed sugars, coffee, alcohol, etc. You name it, I ate it!!! 😦 So it’s not surprising that my runs that week were some of my WORST!!! Some days I couldn’t even finish my run because the urge to go #2 was so pressing (pun intended). I’m talking prairie dogging, bloating, abs definition GONE, swollen ankles, and legs feeling heavy like lead. The leg pain was so bad I thought they would BURST!! It was a struggle just to lift my legs. At one point I had to stop which only led to tears of frustration and anger at myself for eating my way into this situation. Uggh! Fortunately, the fighter in me would NOT let me quit, and although it took almost 3.5miles for the pain to go away, I FINISHED my 14mile run!!! Thank God!!

LESSON LEARNED: Although I haven’t completely given up on sweets and have had occasional cheat days, going H.A.M on junk 4 days in a row was NOT smart. I totally overloaded my body and shocked my system. I gave this diesel machine regular unleaded fuel and still expected it to run optimally. Smh.

I’m back on my clean eating and marathon training and ready to PUSH!!!

What are you fueling your body with?

CB

305 miles Step by Step…

I’ve been through 12.5 weeks of training (just 5 more to go!!), put over 305miles running on my feet, and only now have the mid-week runs gotten easier…to the point where last week I began incorporating negative splits into my training. Negative splits are a strategy for improving your overall pace and performance by starting slow and gradually increasing speed.  I divide my run into sections and start at a pace that’s about 20 seconds slower than my goal pace, then gradually increase my speed so that I run each section faster than the one before.

For the last 3 weeks, my long runs (any of the double digit runs >10miles) have left me EXHAAAAUUUUUSTED!!!!! Initially, I begin feeling good, breathing well, tons of energy, thanking God for the gift of legs and movement and supportive friends/family, but then towards the end of my run (without fail and usually with about 2miles to go) I start getting frustrated and mad. I’m angry at myself for signing up to run 26.2miles and I’m mad at my supportive family and friends for NOT talking me out of running a marathon. LoL!! Literally, this is the conversation that takes place in head: “Why in the hell did I agree to run 26.2miles?! Why the hell didn’t anyone stop me?!!!? They can’t be real friends and family cuz not ONE person talked me out of this foolishness!”  It’s not til AFTER I finish my run that I go back to thanking God for all the wonderfully supportive family/friends in my life. LMBO! A lil Bipolar crazy much??? YES!!!! But you have to understand those last couple of miles are PAAAIIIINFULLL for me. My joints are hurting, my feet are hurting, I’m hungry, I’m TIRED, I’m bored, and most of all I have mentally CHECKED OUT….soooo D.O.N.E with this run… do you hear me?? DOOOONE!! And the latter, my dear friends, is where I go wrong. By the time I check out, I have completely forgotten ALL the reasons that originally motivated me to register for this marathon, so it’s not surprising that I focus on the immediate, yet temporary pain of my situation. Fortunately, after a bit of research, I discovered I am not alone in this. With the exception of today’s 18mile run,which you’ll hear about in my next post, I have compiled (some from google searches…others from talking to people) a list of strategies to keep me motivated when the going gets painful. 🙂

1. Break the long run up into sections. I started doing this early on…back when doing 6-8miles seemed ridiculously LONG, LoL! Thank goodness for progress!!! A 3-4 mile run now truly feels like a short run, and I can do 8-10miles comfortably with about an overall -20sec split. (I run the last part of the run at a pace that is about 20secs faster than my initial pace.)

2. Beat the boredom and distraction. Chances are the longer the long run, the more likely you are to actually start feeling the pain, the fatigue, the boredom, and the hunger, so when that happens distract yourself. This includes listening to music/ lectures/books on mp3, talking/singing to yourself, prayer, people watching, observing the scenery, etc.

3. Running with a buddy. Running with one person or in a group has MUCHO benefits. Besides the physical benefits of exercise, it makes the run go by a lot faster because you have someone to talk to while you run. Having a running companion provides external motivation and push to KEEP RUNNING!! No one wants to be the first person to quit running. It also creates a bond/comraderie centered around health/fitness/discipline/etc.

4. Dedicate miles. This idea came from my sweet boyfriend Uchenna. He had a friend who regularly trained and competed in marathons multiple times a year. Like so many other runners, he would always hit that point in his run where he wanted to just stop running and go home. Instead he decided to dedicate certain miles to important people in his life and when he completed that mile, he would send that person an email telling them how much they meant to him and the mile he dedicated to them. He would type up the individual emails the night before the marathon and save them as drafts in his email. Then during his run, he’d pull out his phone, after completing a mile, and press send on the corresponding email. I thought this was a really cool idea because it adds another layer of meaning and purpose to the entire marathon experience.

Also finding a way to dedicate miles toward a cause, on a personal level, may add much needed motivation. Signing up to run in support of a fundraiser (i.e. cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, orphans, etc) is an easy way to do this.

For me running for a reason other than myself  takes the focus off me and makes it harder to quit because I don’t want to disappoint them.

5. Remind yourself of the sacrifices. Mostly likely you trained or are currently training for this marathon. With that training came dedication and sacrifice…At the point when you want nothing more than to quit, that’s when you REALLY need to dig deep and rediscover the motivation to keep pressing forward. Whether you are running for fundraiser, to increase disease awareness, personal health/fitness goals, etc…whatever it is remember it and push through. Gotta make it all worth it, right???

6. Make Post run Plans or Projects! Take time during those long runs or race day run to make plans. Maybe you can mentally put together your post-run meal or meals for the week…OR make plans toward a particular project you’ve been meaning to/need to get started or have been working on…whatever it is, a long run is a good time to put thought into and iron out the details. This is one that I find myself doing pretty frequently…maybe because I’m always thinking about FOOD! 🙂

7. Visualize the BIG DAY. Drawing a mental picture of your marathon day is another good strategy for distractions to help you push through an endurance runs. This picture can be as detailed as you like and include anything  from your race day outfit, pre-run breakfast, marathon eve meal and who will be there to the sights and sounds as you cross the finish line. I must admit-I visualize on just about every run. Part of my mental picture includes an alternative outcome that results from inadequate training. I have this fear that I’ll run my race so slow that by the time I finish everyone will have packed up their banners, tables, food stands,etc. and left and there will be NO ONE to greet me as I cross the finish line. 😦  Although sad, that picture usually makes me run a little faster and a little longer, LOL!!!

Well I hope this helps any of you currently training to run a marathon. These are some tricks that I’m learning along the way and have proved very timely and useful.

Does anyone have any other tips to add?

CB

Cali Boo Vacay

This past week was spent with my sure thang in Anaheim, CA. We hadn’t seen each other since July!! Long distance relationships are NOT easy. We have a 3 hour time difference (Atlanta to Anaheim) and individually hectic schedules, but after over 3 years of LDR, we STIIIILLLL together!! ♥ ♥ ♥

One of the first things we did was to attend a K-1 kickboxing tournament in L.A. There were about 15 fights…several of which ended in some pretty naaaassty knock outs!!! NOT TKO’s but straight up KNOCK OUTS!! Initially I was supportive of Uchenna training hard and entering at least one amateur fight, but after seeing two knock outs with one guy convulsing and his toes curling up, I ABSOLUTELY FORBID it!! *shrugs*

K-1 Kickboxing tournament. It has taken over 3 years, but I actually enjoy watching/learning/talking about MMA/kickboxing/UFC/etc

Enjoying our first K-1 tournament together! Fun times!!

You would think that being on vacation would be a temporary license to take a break from marathon training as well…NOOOOTTT!! I told yall I am not playing with this marathon. Race day is 6 weeks away!!! EEEEKK!! Even though, I’ve been consistent with training, I cannot afford to start slacking now. Update pics coming soon…bear with me y’all…*sigh*. Anywho, since Uchenna has been my #1 fan/supporter/encourager/sounding board/personal blog IT guy from JUMP, I figured he wouldn’t mind if I sucked him into my world of long distance running and training. Unfortunately, that didn’t go over so well, LoL.  He HATES running, but LOVES eating, so even though I had difficulty convincing him to run a mile with me, I had no such problems getting him to eat my clean cooking, LoL.

JUST because it IS a vacation and we are IN southern California we HAD to visit the beach to kick it off RIGHT 🙂

Like I said, had to maintain my training schedule…some days were rougher than others, but overall my long double digit run days are getting better and I’m even managing to maintain a faster pace for longer my runs!! Woohoo!! This schedule worked out throughout the week–I marathon trained, cooked, and relaxed, while he worked and taught mixed Muay Thai kickboxing at Cal State University Fullerton http://www.asi.fullerton.edu/src/instructionalClassDescriptions.asp  and NOC Boxing Club http://www.facebook.com/NOCBoxing throughout the week.

One of my easier short run days…just 4 miles, so i paired it with a workout for my abs and legs

After clocking hundreds of miles on my feet over the last 12 weeks, my feet were in some serious need of TLC. I haven’t had a toenail casuality…YET, but I think I’m pretty close to losing one toenail :-(…that mug is holding on even though it is now black and blue #sadness, but I have to keep running…at least for 6 more weeks. Gotta make it worth it/count and finish strong!!

Even though he trains and teaches muay thai and LOVES to kick things, his feet looked better than mine before and after our pedicures,which is why you won’t be seeing my feet anytime soon, LOL!!….smDh

The next day, I hit the road again for a 12mile run…

post 12mile run…i actually felt good after this run…unlike the aftermath of my 16mile run from the week before…it was NOT cute, in fact #pityful

We decided to have a picnic with one of the lunches I had prepared earlier in the week…

One my clean meals for the week–spicy honey baked chicken, avocado pesto pasta, and plain baked sweet potato…#eatcleantrainlean

Later this same day we hit up the batting cages. Neither of us have played baseball/softball in YEARS…since we were young teens (we even used to be on the same church softball team waaaaaaay back in the day before I knew he liked me 🙂 ), so we started out a little rusty and ended only slightly less than rusty, lol. Uchenna did waaay better than me though.

perfect form 🙂

After a brief nap and shower, we hit up the streets of Old Pasadena, CA for dinner at La Luna Negra, a tapas bar and restaurant. On our way there, we passed by a HUGE 2-story WholeFoods!! I could only imagine what their salad bar and bulk bins aisle had to offer… I halfway, low-key wanted to ditch the reservations at La Luna and have dinner at Whole Foods instead, but I didn’t…and thank goodness I didn’t because then I would have missed the lovely, yummy sangrias at La Luna Negra. 😉 #refreshing!

My plate: salmon on a bed of spinach with mashed potatoes, asparagus, carrots and mango cilantro pico de gallo…#thisthatishiDOlike!

these sangrias were the TRUTH!!

 

ANTM posing

good heal + good angle = longer legs

 

Gentlemen wear vests…

 As you can see y’all, California was a BLAST and very relaxing. Now I’m back in Atlanta, shaaawtay, with 3 months til graduation. Woot!! Senioritis kicked in 9months ago, LoL! PA school has been a different sort of marathon. It’s been crazy hard/stressful/exciting/fascinating/frustrating/etc, but I can’t wait to do my dougie across that stage!!! LoL! Anywho, I gotta get back to my school work.

Peace out!

CB

Oatmeal sweet potato apple carrot walnut flaxseed muffins

This is a recipe I stole from one of my dear friends, who used found this recipe from this site http://www.sweetpotato.org/recipes/recipe/24 .Of course, I modified it as per my usual. I LOVE sweet potatoes!! They are everything you could ask for in a starch root–complex carbs, sweetness, easy to prepare, delicious plain with NO  spicy adornments, complements to a variety of other foods either as a main or side dish. Literally, they are the best root around!!!…at least in my opinion…

Here’s what you need:

1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 c. rolled oats

1/2 c raw cane sugar

1/4 c ground flaxseed

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg (slightly more than 1/2)

1/3 c canola oil

1/4 c water (skim milk really but I didn’t have any on hand and I was too lazy to go to the store again…didn’t matter cuz these are still a hit!)

3 tbsp of liquid egg whites (or 1 large egg… or potato starch for my vegan folks)

a little more than a 1/4 c honey (this is also tweakable…substitute with maple syrup or agave nectar)

1tsp vanilla

1c baked mashed sweet potatoes

1c apple shredded

1/2c carrots shredded

1/2 c chopped walnuts
Here’s what you do:
1.Combine dry and wet ingredients in two separate bowls.

2. Then fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients3. Scoop spoonfuls into muffin pans. I used a cooking spray on the muffin cups just to make sure they didn’t stick. Baked @ 400 for 15-18min or till a toothpick or fork inserted comes out clean.*Feel free to tweak…lord knows I modified the original recipe from here http://www.sweetpotato.org/recipes/recipe/24*I also used this same recipe, switched out the fruit for 3 ripe, mashed bananas, 1 c blueberries for banana blueberry walnut flaxseed muffins.

nice clean and moist muffins!

My boo Uchenna loved them!!

Try’em and love’em too! 🙂

CB

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