Saturday, October 18, 2014

Walk Not Run and Skechers Breast Cancer Awareness

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Skechers. As always all opinions and thoughts are my own!

Seriously THANK YOU to every person on social media who gave me shout outs, commented on my last blog post, and who helped cheer me on before the Chicago Marathon. Reading all those messages from people who believe in me was what powered me through my the race after being sick up until the night before. More on that later but spoiler alert: it was GREAT!

After the marathon, even though I was really pumped and exciting about running more, I took a walk break. 

Yep, I traded my running shoes in for walking shoes this week. 

Staying active and healthy is clearly important to me. I truly believe it makes me a happier and healthier person inside and out.  Especially since my body was fighting an illness all week before the race, and I wanted to stay as healthy as possible afterwards so I could have fun on my trip, I decided to take it extra easy this week. That means no runs, no interval circuits,no spin classes, no Crossfit classes-even though I was itching to get strong again. 

Sleeping in, indulging in many beers & doughnuts, and NOT following a training plan felt great. It doesn't mean I was sitting on a couch all day though. 


Exploring Chicago for the first time on bike and foot, made me appreciate that being active doesn't always need to mean running. Something like walking which may seem like an informal workout can get the blood flowing just as much as something more intense. I'm sure I was logging many miles and steps hopping around the city and walking around downtown Chicago. 

I love seeing pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month. It's an important disease to me as a woman, particularly because I know so many other women affected by it.  When Skechers Performance Division asked me to spread the word about their special awareness collection of products that supports the American Cancer Society, I knew it was something I wanted to help out with. 

However instead of immediately choosing to try out the Skechers performance running shoes, I chose to be sent the GOWalk2 Awareness shoes (MRP $64) made specifically for walking. I thought they would be perfect for my walk break in Chicago, and I was right!

The GOWalk2 Awareness shoes feature a pretty heather grey and pink color scheme along with a subtle pink ribbon symbol like all of the the other awareness footwear products.

I was surprised how much I liked the design since I don't normally wear Skechers shoes. I still sometimes think they are the fashion shoe company that appealed to me when I was 13 and definitely did not expect the walking shoes to be cute-looking. 

While they weren't the trendy leather boots all the ladies were sporting around Chicago, these were SO comfortable. It's in part to the V-Stride technology that complements a natural walking gait, the multi-directional traction motif,and how the Resalyte™ Midsole  and GOimpulse sensors offered flexibility and impact absorption for a really responsive walking experience. 

Basically, my feet didn't hurt the whole trip when I wore them despite tons of walking around because they were so cushioned and comfortable. I feel so refreshed now after spending much of the last week smiling. 

I wish I was back in Chicago walking around right now. 

Thanks to Skechers for sponsoring this post and helping me realize that staying active can mean taking a walk.

The moral of this post is that maybe you need to take a walk break from whatever is going on in your life today. Unplug, hit snooze, or take a deep breathe. A walk may just be the workout that you need today!

Also be sure to check out the Skechers Performance Division awareness lines and all of these ways below that you and Skechers can make a difference in the fight against cancer!

Besides their awareness footwear and apparel lines, Skechers is
1.  Skechers Performance Division is offering a donation to American Cancer Society, and all of the Skechers Performance Division Awareness apparel and footwear will feature the ACS logo and messaging.

2.  Skechers is hosting the American Cancer Society San Francisco Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, and will be donating a percentage of proceeds from the sales of Skechers shoes on-site that day.

3.  Additionally, Skechers is launching a register round-up program in Skechers Retail stores in which customers can round up their purchase to the nearest whole dollar to benefit American Cancer Society for the entire month of October. If consumers donate $5 or more, they will also receive a 20% off discount for their next visit. This will offer anyone shopping for any item in a Skechers retailer store the opportunity to give back and support the cause.

4. Furthermore, Skechers Retail stores are offering a gift with purchase for customers who purchase a pair of limited-edition Awareness shoes. The gift with purchase will be either a breast canvas awareness canvas tote back or a pink water bottle.

Do you take walks? Have you ever worn Skechers shoes?

Thursday, October 9, 2014

How to Get Over Being Sick Fast: Marathon Taper Update

So I've been in taper town and everything was going great until I woke up sick yesterday. Yes sick, as in I'm supposed to run 26.2 miles on Sunday and I've caught a cold from my boyfriend.  Don't worry I already yelled at him!  

I also JUST realized it's my second blogiversary. The celebration will have to wait until after Sunday I'm afraid! 

Once I felt the scratchy throat and post-nasal drip in the morning I immediately broke down in tears. Tapering makes you extra emotional, don't you know?  My first thought was how I spent 17 weeks and all summer training for a race that I'm not going to run. Or one that I'm going to try to run and suck at/it will suck. I'm going back and forth between telling myself I'll be fine by Sunday and the race will suck.  Trying to breathe deeply and smile, most of the time though!   


Long runs:   

After hitting 20 and 22 miles, everything else feels like it's all downhill, which is the nice thing about taper. Until you get antsy, emotional, and start feeling every sore spot on your body and convincing yourself it's an injury. I've been feeling really tight on my ITB abductor/adductor areas that could not seem to go away no matter how much I foamrolled. I sprung for a massage on Tuesday and think it really helped loosen everything up. I didn't want to have randomly tight calves from the get-go like I did during last year's marathon. 
Alas, now I'm too worried about being sick to think about my phantom injuries. 

Week 15 called for 15 miles which felt strangely short after hitting the peak of training. For people training for the Baltimore marathon there was course run going on in the city so I joined in with my training group friends and only ran part of it.  As I ran around Lake Montebello it brought back memories of the Baltimore Marathon last year and I how awful I felt around those miles. I was reflecting and hoping that won't be the case this year. 

Week 16 called for 10 miles which always feels short yet long at the end of training. I felt a bit sluggish and heavy legs but I made it through.  It was followed by a big pumpkin iced coffee and brunch! 

Weekly runs:

Week 15 we did speedwork and again I was feeling kind of sluggish and heavy. I'm thinking maybe I was still recovering from 22 miles and not getting enough sleep. Week 16 included some hill repeats and my usual tempo runs. Less hills makes for a shorter hill workout, but doesn't lessen the intensity of it! 

Since I'm sick I ran an easy 4 miles on Monday, a 4 mile tempo run on Tuesday and nothing. I plan on not running the rest of the week and just RESTING. Maybe a quick shakeout mile on Saturday if I'm feeling better/to see how I feel. 

Thumbs down:  This is easy, that I'm sick! Luckily it's a cold that doesn't seem to have moved into my lungs or chest and there's no fever so I'm hoping it stays that way.  I'm taking every homeopathic immune booster I know (Airborne, Zinc, Echinacea, Elderberry Syrup, and Oil of Oregano) plus drinking lots of fluids and hot tea.   I'm hoping I'll be okay because I'm in the clear if I follow the neck and above rule (chest and below is no good for running!). I'm doing all I can to get over being sick ASAP. Of course if I felt it was something serious I wouldn't be running the race-listen to your body, people!

Here are my rules for getting over being sick (added to these ways to get better faster!)

1. REST. 
2. Lots of fluids, hot teas. 
3. REST-for real, no exercise. 
4. Be sure to eat even if you don't feel like it and give your body some fuel to fight whatever is making you feel like crap!
5. Multiple times a day take airborne or vitamin C, zinc lozenges, and echinacea tablets.  I follow the directions on the bottles (I'm not a doctor so do the same!). I also add in oil of oregano and elderberry syrup if it's getting serious because supposedly those boost your immune system too. 

Thumbs up:  I have a few days to get some good sleep, continue my immune boosting regimen, and hope my body fights this thing before Sunday.  I just hate that it's putting a damper on my marathon excitement.  That's not really a thumbs up since I ended up a negative note. We'll say thumbs up is to visiting Chicago for the first time and having some deep dish pizza! 

I just wanted to share this awesome blog post about the 3-day carbload I'll be loosely following in case you have a big race coming up too. I'm following a 3-day carb load, not that fat load this time around.  

 How do you fight sickness before races or big events? Does tapering drive you crazy?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Expo East 2014 Trends and Favorite Products

I was lucky enough to be able to attend Natural Products Expo East 2014 right in Baltimore a few weeks ago. Last year was my first time attending and was super overwhelming. Expo East  is a huge expo where brands and exhibitors come to showcase all of their products including brand new ones to industry professionals, retailers, distributors, and the press. 

This year I knew what to expect and made sure to bring a big bag for all my goodies. I thought it seemed less crowded on the floor even though I had less time to spend at the Expo than last year. I still got to try some amazing products, talk to great brands and companies, and leave with bags of swag. 

I left stuffed from samples each time and made sure to snap some photos of my favorites!  I spent most of my time in the supplement and food sections of the expo.


Suja Juice sponsored the Press Area so I made sure to stop by each day and grab a juice from the fridge to fuel me up for walking around the Expo. They are expanding their Elements line and also have two holiday flavors I really want to try- Call me Pumpkin and Wassail to You! 


Here's my breakdown of Natural Products Expo East 2014:

5 Biggest New Trends

1. Juices
There were lots of pressed juice companies so the trend of juicing and store-sold juices seems to only be becoming more popular.  

2. Protein 
From pea protein to cricket protein (yes, the bugs!) to protein packed snacks, protein was everywhere. 

3.Organic Chocolate
I sampled many bites of different brands of chocolate, all focusing on all-natural and organic cocoa and cacao beans. Definitely did not have to twist my arm to get me to try some chocolate. 

4. Raw Foods
This year there was a big emphasis on raw and fermented foods including kombucha, raw snacks, and even raw food beauty products!

5. Paleo
Paleo is still really trendy and natural products are not an exception. Lots of paleo-friendly snacks and foods including Steve's Paleo Goods which I finally had the chance to try. I loved their PaleoKit mixes which included jerky, nuts, and dried fruit and makes a perfect snack! 

5 Trends Not Going Away

1. Coconut Water
Still lots of booths for coconut water brands including lots of products infused with other fruits and juices such as mango and pineapple. 

2. Chia
Chia is still a big superfood and can be found in pretty much everything these days. Lots of chia drinks, snacks, cereals, bars, and even popcorn! 

3. Gluten-free everything
Most products at the expo are now gluten-free or have a gluten-free version. It's huge in the natural products industry.  I especially saw many gluten-free baking mixes and gluten-free skincare products being showcased.  

4. Popcorn
Last year I was overwhelmed with the healthy popcorn options like Angie's and KettlePop and still saw popcorn's presence at the Expo this year.  

5. Veggie Chips 
Of course I stopped by the massive Brad's Kale booth and sampled some Kale chips but I definitely saw and tasted many different kinds of vegetable chips and snacks. Brands are now branching out to different vegetables besides the more common sweet potato and adding more green veggies like brussels sprouts and snap peas.  

I was really excited to try Michele's Granola, a local company, at the expo since I buy their granola at local stores and farmers markets frequently. Their Apple Quinoa granola won  a Best New Product Showcase prize.  I  bought a bag at my local Whole Foods last week and demolished it within a week. 

Here's a look at some of my favorite products!


Fuelforfire is a pudding-like fuel pack of simply fruit & protein! 


This delicious peanut butter dairy-free ice cream from DF Mavens had a creamy consistency.


I was surprised how yummy these new gluten free frozen meals from Udi's were! 


This all natural, allergy-friendly cookie dough from Hampton Creek was being sampled baked as cookies or simply on spoons ready to eat. I'm all for raw cookie dough I can eat although I think having a whole container could be dangerous!


These EPIC meat bars may sound a little strange, but they were so tasty-my favorite was the bison bar!


These Brussel Bytes were a delicious alternative to kale chips. 


These Smart Flour  pizzas are literally the best-tasting frozen pizzas I've come across. I picked one up at Whole Foods for this weekend and my boyfriend agreed. I don't mess around when it comes to pizza either!


These were some of my favorite beverages-the Coco Libre tastes so delicious with the vanilla/coconut combo!


I finally got to try Quest Nutrition's newest product-these taste like baked potato chips but are packed with 21g of protein!


I was pleasantly surprised to find PROBAR came out with snack-sized bite versions of their meal bars and got to try some differnet flavors of their BOLT energy chews. 


This Rad Roller's massage tool was like a lacrosse ball on steroids and came in different textures. 


I was eating handfuls of these Gone Nuts! raw and sprouted nut blends in mixes like Rosemary Garlic Pistachios & Almonds or Thai Curry Cashews, Almonds & Coconut! 


Of course I had to grab an ice cold bottled Zevia!


The newest flavor of Honey Stinger waffles is perfect for fall and tastes just like those hard ginger cookies I love around the holidays!

Which one of these products do you want to try the most? What is the biggest natural food trend you see in stores? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pin it Party 6

I decided to join Lindsay's Pin it Party this Friday since I LOVE saving things on Pinterest. I've put together some of my favorite articles and recipes lately that I'd love to get pinned more!  

pin it party e1390186029146 Pin It Party 6

I have been trying to make my posts more Pinterest-friendly for all you people like me who save everything they want to look at later using the site!

Just click on the photos to go to that blog page or the links below to go straight to the pin!

Blender Chocolate Pudding made with bananas and avocados and other Friday Fave Sweet Snacks #cleaneats #dessert #gf #easy #dairyfree

Marathon Training & Weight Gain-It's real!

MIMM-Tips for Going into a Race Unprepared

Lentil Sloppy Joes-a heart, meatless dinner perfect for fall!

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest if you haven't already!

What is one of your favorite things you've pinned lately?

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Protein-Packed Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Since it's already October I know everyone is all like OMG PUMPKIN EVERYTHING but my love for bananas never wavers. 

So last week when I spotted a couple dark brown bananas begging to be eaten, banana bread was exactly what I was craving. I am always saving and pinning banana bread recipes because it's something I can't just get enough of. I used this recipe as a starting point and changed it to so it packed a protein-punch (and to accommodate what I had on hand!). It came out super moist, sweet, and delicious. 

Somehow my boyfriend and I made a whole loaf disappear in a matter of days. 

The only question now is when I'm going to get my hands on some overripe bananas to make it again. 


Protein-Packed Chocolate Chip Banana Bread 

(adapted from Skinny Mom)


  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (I mashed them in a little bowl using a fork.)
  • 4 oz natural applesauce
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup whole wheat white flour
  • 1/2 cup of vanilla protein powder (I used Vega but use whatever brand you like. You can also substitute 1/2 cup more of flour instead.)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup organic coconut sugar (regular sugar works)
  • 1/4 cup baking Stevia (or your favorite sweetener)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chocolate chips 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. 
  3.  In another bowl cream butter, applesauce, vanilla, brown sugar, and Stevia.
  4. Add egg whites and mashed bananas to wet ingredients bowl and beat with a mixer on medium speed for 2-3 minutes.
  5. In a separate larger bowl, mix together whole wheat flour, protein powder, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. 
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix together until blended-be careful not to over mix! 
  7. Gently stir in chocolate chips to the mix.
  8. Transfer the mixture evenly into the loaf pan. 
  9. Bake for 35-45 minutes until a fork inserted in the middle of bread loaf comes out clean.

I sliced the loaf into 10 pieces after it cooled and then immediately enjoyed a slice while the chocolate chips were still gooey. 


It's perfect topped with nut butter as a snack or for breakfast!

What's your favorite way to use ripe bananas? Do you have a favorite banana bread recipe?

(This recipe was shared here, here, and here). 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Chi Marathon Training Weeks 11-14: Tackling Long Runs in between Weddings

I'm really behind on my marathon training updates, but really things have been going pretty smoothly and now I'm in taper town! 

Oh and this came in the mail last week so things are getting SERIOUS. 



This update could be called how Lauren kept up with marathon training while attending a wedding practically every weekend for the last month.  

Thank goodness for Nuun for helping me stay relatively hydrated. 

My Weekend Warrior status has been achieved if it already hadn't been. 

Keep reading if you are still interested in how I've been running lately. There's no more wine involved!

Long runs:

During Week 11 some people in my training group were running the NCR 20 mile trail race on Sunday, but I had a Saturday evening wedding so I opted to tackle 20 miles around the BWI trails with a friend that morning. The weather was overcast and cooler, and we did the 10 mile loop twice. It was a nice change of scenery and cool to see planes taking off overhead as we were running. Besides some tight hamstrings and the usually tired/pained legs that happen after so many miles, it went super well!         
This girl just ran 20 miles and is still smiling.                

Week 12 and Week 13 included 12 and 15 mile long runs respectively around the city which went fine. The 12 miler I completed on a Monday since I had an out-of-town wedding weekend (yes, they happened all at once this year!) and that was awful. I felt tired, slightly dehydrated, and generally blahh after attempting to run after a full work day.  The 15 miler felt a lot better because I was back into my routine and finally had a free weekend. The weather was cooler, and it was great to have my friends to chat with. 

Week 14 called for the peak of my training-a big 22 miler! The gang was supposed to meet at Loch Raven Reservoir again, but I had my last weekend of weddings (finally!) so I planned to squeeze my run in Friday morning before work since I left town Saturday AM. I don't know how my body got up so early, but I was up and at 'em running downtown in the dark around 5:30 AM. I was supposed to meet up with a friend, but we never intersected so it quickly morphed into a completely solo 22 miler. I had to loop around the same parts of the city a few times, but the weather felt great.  I was proactive with my nutrition and only plugged in my iPod for the last 10 miles so I could jam out to some music. 

A helpful mental trick I used was to reset my Garmin after 12 miles so then I could focus on running just 10 more miles instead of watching the mileage slowly creep up to 22.

Although mentally I had a lot of pep talking in my head and kept telling myself I was strong, tough, and kicking ass on a Friday morning. I'm pretty sure my second 10 miles were  a bit faster than my first 12, and I was on a runner's high once I finished.  

I was also on a caffeine high from all the Gu during the run and the venti iced coffee I downed afterwards, haha! I'm still enjoying some post-run iced coffees before the weather gets cold. 

Don't worry, by the time lunchtime rolled around at work I was ready for a nap

Post-22  miler coffee selfie. 

Weekly runs:

Weeks 11-13  included hill repeats again which are always challenging. There were a couple really humid runs in there which doesn't make matters better when my legs are already feeling heavy.  

Week 14 was group speedwork, and it was a solid workout. We did 1 mile at marathon race pace (MRP), 2 miles at MRP, and then 1 mile faster than MRP. It's always great when you feel good at the pace you want to hopefully run at during the race.  

Otherwise I'e got in a few good tempo runs and kept easy runs at a slow & easy pace!

Thumbs down:  With all of the things going on this summer my mileage isn't as high as I initially hoped. I wanted to get to a higher peak mileage than 40 miles for this training cycle , but there's nothing to do now! Travelling and being busy makes me more tired and  so sometimes runs are missed or less than optimal, besides the fact that my schedule needs to get moved around.  

Thumbs up:  I'm happy that my long runs have been feeling good. My fueling has led to no problems, and things have gone pretty smoothly. Having the 20 and 22 miler go so well is definitely a confidence booster, besides the fact that I don't know how I'm going to be doing 26.2 miles faster than my long run paces!

 Do you usually feel great after long runs?  How do you tackle long runs by yourself?

Friday, September 26, 2014

Active Nation Day with Lorna Jane on 9/28/2014

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lorna Jane in a partnership with Fit Approach and the Sweat Pink Community.No compensation was received for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

If you missed it, be sure to check out my post on the Body Love Tour and body image yesterday!

I've recently become familiar with the Lorna Jane brand of activewear and hopefully will get my hands on some their cute fitness gear soon like this adorable polka dot sports bra and this inspirational running tank

This Sunday the brand is hosting Active Nation Day which is in align with the principles the brand stands for- "Move. Nourish.Believe". I was excited to be given the opportunity to spread the word about Active Nation Day because I wholeheartedly believe in the message!  

Active Nation Day is this Sunday, September 28, and all over the world Lorna Jane will be hosting events to bring a whole group of women together, all committed to living their best life.

Lorna Jane created Active Nation Day two years ago as a movement to inspire women to live an authentic and active life  It's about telling ladies to go, BE THAT GIRL, who works hard, leads an active lifestyle, takes on challenges,lets go of excuses, and accomplishes their dreams.  Pretty much what all of us are trying to do, right?

There is even a specially choreographed fitness dance called the LJ Move you can perform! 

Watching me dancing and doing the LJ Move or trying to explain the steps in words would be awkward and confusing so just watch the video above for a demonstration! It reminds me of a more coordinated version of something I would do when I'm having a dance party in my room and my favorite song comes on (or maybe that's just me??). 

If you're like me, and there isn't a big LJ event in your area, you can still virtually participate in the big day through these options: 

1. Sign up online to join the movement here!

2. Download the Lorna Jane app on your iPhone or Android device.  The app includes fitness logging, healthy recipes, and tons of motivating & inspiring quotes. 

3. Learn the LJ move by watching this video then check out Lorna Jane Active's Instagram feed to see women all over the world performing it ! 

Use the hashtags #LJMove and #ActiveNationDay when sharing your video on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for a chance to win a $1000 gift card to Lorna Jane Active!

4. Attend Active Nation Day and use the LJ app to get exclusive in-store promotions and stay fit throughout the day! If you track your activity on the app on September 28th you'll receive a fun Active Nation Day badge. 

I plan to do some reflecting on Active Nation Day while I move my body on a run, nourish my body with good fuel along with some dark chocolate, and believe in myself.  

This post was shared on Fitness Friday!

What girl do you want to be? Have you ever heard of Lorna Jane Active?

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