April 26, 2016

I've got a fever, and the only cure is more marathons

You know after the Boston Marathon, a day in which every runner at work is in fact sneaking away to watch the Boston Marathon streaming online, that it is almost fall marathon season. Okay so it's at least fall marathon lottery and registration season.  

Everyone and their mother is registering for marathons, maybe catching the fever and running their first or running multiple races. 

Of course as always, I'm super inspired and motivated to train again after watching the Boston Marathon and seeing all the heart and reading all the stories that come out of it. 

boston-marathon-pro-compression-socks

I want another, faster BQ (Boston Marathon qualifying time) since I am less than a minute under my qualifying time and need to be faster to apply and be accepted to run nowadays.  I'm still shy about talking about it, but it's something I want that I can't deny. 

I talked about why a BQ is an A goal but obviously it's not everything here last year before I ran the Chicago Marathon.  Since I wanted to run a flat-ish marathon course, my options were limited. Because of my school schedule I also didn't want to run a marathon that was going to be a big trip and farther away.  

The Philadelphia Marathon has been on my list of races to run for a while.  I've shied away from it the past couple of years because I really would rather run a race earlier in the Fall since I have more time to train in the summer and less in the Fall, especially now that grad school is crazy.  I ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon a couple years ago and have obviously raced there a bunch.  

Once I PRed a half marathon in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago (recap to follow!), my choice to run it was solidified. I love Philly, and it loves me.  I signed up on the day registration open, sadly missing their really discounted marathon entries, but still getting early bird registration. 

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So yep, Philadelphia Marathon 2016, and I'm all ready to go

Not so fast. Did you forget that I'm a crazy runner lady? 

I've got a fever, and the only cure is more marathons
Maybe I'm an old fart, but this skit never gets old!
I've been getting emails for weeks from the Chicago Marathon about entering the lottery or applying for guaranteed entry (which I qualify for again, as I did last year).  Then I saw a bunch of friends were entering the lottery. Then I thought long and hard about getting vengenace on that Chicago Marathon course which mostly because of the heat last year, kicked my butt. 

So despite only being able to pop in and out of Chi-town for a weekend to run a race, I found myself literally an hour before the lottery and my chance to apply for guaranteed entry ended, pulling out my credit card and submitting my application.  How could I not when I again didn't even have to go through the anxiety-inducing lottery process?!

BECAUSE I REALLY LIKE CHICAGO (when it's not freezing cold and wintry or when it's hot and I'm trying to run 26.2 miles) . 

Honestly Chicago is so well-organized and has been two good experiences for me, that it's hard to not run it again. 

So yup, Chicago again and then Philadelphia a little over a month later. 
Third time's a charm with Chicago?  


chicago-marathon-2016-guarantee-entry

I read you need to forget your last marathon before doing another. I think I have definitely forgotten all the pain and tears from the end of Chicago Marathon 2015 and only remember the smiles, beers, and post-race doughnuts and pizza. 

Runners are a crazy & awesome breed of people.

chicago-marathon-2016-expo

Do you have any big goal races or fit events later in the year? Are you a fellow crazy runner? 

April 21, 2016

Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2016 Race Recap

Disclosure: I was a social media ambassador for the CUCB 10 Mile Run and received complimentary entry with an upgrade into the race. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

It's been so crazy with school, work, and travelling that I'm happy to finally get back into a little bit of a blog routine! It has been two years since I've run the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run and running it again only reminded me how much I love this race.  Despite high winds and cold temperatures this year, I had a fabulous time.  Thank you so much to CUCB for letting me be a part of the race as one of the social media ambassadors! 

Cherry Blossom Ten Miler 2016 Race Recap

Pre-race: I actually stopped by the expo Friday afternoon to beat the rush and grab my bib despite coming back to the expo on Saturday.  The expo was in the beautiful National Building Museum again and everything ran smoothly.  

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-expo

I was hanging out at the ZOOMA Race Series booth for a while but first I stopped by to see Meb speak. The line that was forming on the right was really short so I hopped in to meet him afterwards. As everyone says, he comes off as such a nice guy. I wish they had the mic a little louder because it was hard to hear! 

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-expo-meb

I also can't freaking believe I met MEB! He's an American hero! He is also the nicest guy and after he signed an autograph, and I started gushing about how I watched the whole Olympic trials and explained to my boyfriend everything that was going on like a nerd, he gave me a spontaneous hug. MADE MY DAY. 

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-expo-meb

The next day I was lucky enough to have a hotel room in DC so I popped back over to expo to pick something up and decided to hop into the line to meet Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first ever women's Olympic marathon champion and all-around badass femalre runner, because the line was short.  Here's us just having a totally normal conversation. No I'm not gushing and nervously talking about getting a BQ in Chicago. (I'm the nerdiest.)  

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-joan-benoit-samuelson

That night I got to attend the VIP Elite dinner and finally got to meet all of the other social media runners and ambassadors I haven't met yet.  The joke of dinner was how all the elites were sneaking out to go to bed and get a good night's sleep. Instead I stayed the whole time and then went out for a drink with my friend in DC because #priorities. 

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-dinner-ambassadors

That day we had gotten an email that because of predicted high winds of 25+ mph and maybe up to 50 mph, that the race was not having any signage on the course as a safety precaution. The weather was supposed to also be in the 30s which is just lovely. Isn't it supposed to be spring? I dressed warmer than I probably could have but wasn't really having any of this cold weather.  I also did what you really shouldn't do for a race and wore my brand new New Balance kicks. Rebel

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-gear

Race: Besides the wind and cold temperatures, the race start was a beautiful morning.  The start was a little hectic with no signage but the volunteers did a great job. I will say that the big open area around the Washington Monument was the windiest part!

credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-start

I did a little jog to the start line and pretty much stood around like this until getting in my corral: 
credit-union-cherry-blossom-10-miler-recap-start

I came into the race with really no time goals and was just going to try to run around 7:45 pace.  Miles 1-4 I was feeling pretty good. The first mile was a little crowded but things started to break up, and we weren't running much against the wind.  I took it easy and allowed my legs to start to warm up.  

Miles 5-8 I really was in a groove. The course is pretty fast and flat so my pace sped up a bit. My breathing and everything felt really relaxed. I was just in the groove and decided to stay where I was at.  I saw some friends along the out and back stretches which was always fun. I ended up running with some November Project DC people for most of these miles and used them as kind of pacers, plus they were hilarious. We even broke out into a little Living on a Prayer at mile 5 when we were "halfway there!". 

Ugh if I felt some discomfort anytime during the race it was from Miles 9-10 at Hains Point. Here we were running into the wind which was not awesome. I totally was trying to push to keep my pace, but definitely slowed down.  I actually love the 10 mile distance and this race reminded me of that.  I ended up finishing in 1:15:43, 7:34 pace which is two minutes off my PR which I set on this course a few years ago

I'm really freaking happy with how this race went.  I felt so good during the whole thign until the end and was happy with how I raced. I could have probably pushed it a little more, but I had FUN. With the weather and wind, I was not expecting to have such a fun race. Just goes to show me how much I love the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!


No race day is complete with a brunch and a mimosa.  I ended up grabbing some food at Busboys & Poets later with my boyfriend and best friend to cap off and awesome morning.   Sidenote, I think the medal is really cute but could be a little better quality. It's awesome that this race lets you pay for an upgrade to the tech tee, but the also allow you to buy a medal, which some people aren't aware about. 

Overall, I love the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and running in DC for the first time in a while. It's a fabulously organized race, beautiful course, and definitely a great place for a PR!



How do you deal with windy conditions? If you raced, link up here

April 14, 2016

This Girl Runs on Dunkin

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand and I have been compensated for my participation. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

As someone who is on-the-go and a full-time graduate student, coffee is a must! I usually have it in the morning or in between classes. Or if it was a day like yesterday I have it in the morning, in the afternoon, and before dinner.

I’m a fan of coffee for the taste mostly, not just the caffeine.  Because there is a Dunkin’ Donuts right near Charm City Run in Baltimore and my favorite spin studio, Rev Cycle Studio, Dunkin’ Donuts is a great weekend post-run or class treat.

This Girl Runs on Dunkin


I’ve teamed up with Dunkin’ Donuts to share this special offer starting April 14 and continuing through April 21 where anyone who joins the DD Perks using the special code “STARS” can earn an automatic 125 points towards a free any-size beverage, and an additional 125 points with each of their next two purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants. 

As DD Perks members receive a free beverage upon enrollment and each time they accrue 200 points, with this special offer new DD Perks members are well on their way to enjoying a total of three free Dunkin’ drinks.

This Girl Runs on Dunkin-dd-perks


I’m all for free coffee so of course I’m already a DD PerksProgram member! Full disclosure, I signed up because you receive a coupon for a free, any-size beverage when you enroll and on your birthday! As a member you earn 5 points for every dollar spent on qualifying purchases at Dunkin’ Donuts when paying using an enrolled Dunkin’ Donuts Card either physically or via the Dunkin’ Mobile App.

Luckily, this is just in time for when I'm really getting back into iced coffee. I was just talking to some classmates yesterday about how I LOVE Dunkin' Donuts' blueberry iced coffee. 

So now you know! Share the Dunkin’ love and get your free coffee today!

Do you drink coffee? What's your favorite morning beverage? 

April 8, 2016

Relay Foods MD Review: Healthy Groceries for Busy People

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Relay Foods. I received a complimentary $50 gift card  from Relay Foods MD in return for my review. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own. 

The past couple of months have been ridiculously busy and kind of a mess as far as planning ahead goes, especially when it comes to packing lunches and making dinners! That means lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast or lunch (like at least one a day, most days) and throwing together whatever I can in 10 minutes for dinners.



I was really excited when Relay Foods MD reached out me to work together. 
Basically, Relay Foods is an online grocery store-they are allowing you to shop at your convenience from their stock of over 200 local farmers and vendors.  Most of their foods are organic, local, or all-natural and allow you to just fill up a virtual shopping cart online and either pick-up your groceries for free at their set pick-up spots around the city or have them delivered right to your door for a small fee.  There were plenty of spots in Baltimore City and county that I could've chose from, but I didn't have to go far and picked a spot right in my neighborhood!  

I love it because I don't have time to be driving to a bunch of different stores and seeking out all the fresh, healthy ingredients I want. I also love that there are local vendors that I haven't been aware of whom I can learn about and whose products I can order! 


relay-foods-md

I had ordered once from them a few years ago and just never happened to again.  They were one of the first places online nationally to stock Gundalow Juice so of course I was a fan! They have redone their website and it's so much cleaner-looking and more user friendly! On the website you can shop by item type, what's on sale, what's in season, featured products, organic products, or even specific meals. 

I also love that you can keep lists and add favorite items so ordering something again or at another time is made easy.  All of the prices are clearly labeled so you'll know how much you are spending. As a bonus, you can change your order by adding an item you might have forgotten up until midnight the night before your delivery!

You can get $20 off your first order with my Relay Foods link!

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Here's a screenshot of the website homepage so you can see what I mean!

I found most of the prices reasonable for local and organic groceries. I also took advantage of some of the sale items to try out. Below I included the current prices of the items so they are subject to change. 

Check out what I purchased in my first order!

relay-foods-MD-snacks

Some great snacks that I ordered to try out were: 
 Hummus & Turkey Snack Pack ($5) 

I loved having the snack pack to take with me to school for one of my longer days on campus. Everything tasted really fresh! Besides the hummus & turkey snack pack, the website offers a great list of other lunchbox solutions you can order for the week. The website also includes an awesome meal-planning section that I need to order from-it includes the recipes and all the ingredients you can order in a click of a button.  

Look out for a future post on using that feature!

relay-foods-md-dinner-ingredients

Some great ingredients for dinners I ordered include: 
1/2 lb. of Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp ($9.50)
The Spice Diva Applewood Smoked Salt ($1.80)

The raviolis are locally made in the Maryland and were SO delicious with the marinara sauce. I ended up making a shrimp scampi with the shrimp and the smoked salt which was also a fresh and easy dinner. 

I'm definitely excited to use Relay Foods again to help keep me on track with meal prepping as well as making it easy for me to pick-up local, fresh groceries each week that I can order at my convenience. Definitely check out Relay Foods. If you are curious, remember  
you can get $20 off your first order with my Relay Foods link!

Have you ever ordered groceries online? What is your favorite local product?

April 1, 2016

CUCB Goals & No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary sample pack of Naked Nutrition protein for review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

This weekend I'll be running the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC, and I'm pretty excited! The last time I ran the race was in 2013 (read my race recap here) so it'll be great to be back.  

Goal wise, I really just want to have fun (Goal A) and run sub-1:20 (Goal B).

 I ran it in 1:13 and change in 2013, but don't know how I'll be feeling this weekend. The cherry blossoms have already hit peak bloom so I have a chance of seeing some flowers. Also it's supposed to be cold & windy with sub-40 degrees at the start which is not my favorite. School plus work plus other obligations has really messed with my schedule so there have been a lot of missed runs and workouts in the past month. I'm ready to get back on track in April, especially with all these races, but don't think I'm in any sort of PR shape! 

I'm also really excited to be running as a social media ambassador for the race and hopefully getting to see Joan Benoit Samuelson and Meb Keflezighi. Yes, I will be run-nerding it out hardcore.  I read Meb is running a cool 6:00/mile pace if you want to try to keep up! Check out this list of Five Things To Know Before Heading to the CUCB for some pre-race weekend tips. 


 I know there's lots of people running so definitely say hi if you see me! 

A couple months ago, Naked Nutrition reached out to me and offered me some samples of their protein powders to try out.  


CUCB Goals & No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake-naked nutrition protein

While "clean-eating" is a trendy term being thrown around all over the place in the food industry, I was excited to try their protein powders because they offered so many different types including whey, casein, brown rice, pea, and goat whey protein powders
CUCB Goals & No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake-nakednutritionprotein2

They have vegan options and all of their protein powders are soy & gluten-free, GMO and hormone-free, and free of any artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors. My favorite part of all is that all of their protein powders include one ingredient-protein! In a sea of protein powders that contain ingredients I can't pronounce, this is awesome.  


CUCB Goals & No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake-nakednutritionwhey
Here's the nutritional information from the Whey protein sample packet
I used a bit of all the different types of protein in shakes and couldn't tell much of a texture or taste difference, so I think it just depends on what type of protein you prefer 

Naked Nutrition had a bunch of delicious looking protein recipes on their website so I decided to try one out to see how their protein tastes in other  things besides shakes. I adapted this basic vanilla no-bake cake in a bowl from Naked Nutrition and decided to make it in a mug and use sprinkles to make it a confetti cake.  You can always adapt it to what you have on hand or what kind of cake you're craving! 

I also used the Naked brown rice protein powder in this recipe. I love that this version is vegan (gluten, dairy, and soy-free too) as well as packs 25 g of protein and 4.9 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) per serving, making it great for a post-workout snack. It also tasted really well in the microwaved mug cake with no weird flavors. 

CUCB Goals & No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake

No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake {Adapted from Naked Nutrition}

Ingredients    
(yields 1 single-serve cake)

3 tbsp applesauce
2 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp milk (of choice-I used almond milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp pancake mix 
1 scoop of protein powder (I used Naked Rice protein powder)

Directions
1. Place all ingredients except for the flour, pancake mix, and protein powder into a blender, and blend until fully mixed.   
2. Add the flour, pancake mix, and protein powder into the blender, and blend until mixed again. 
3. Pour the batter into a greased microwave-safe mug and top with sprinkles. 
4. Microwave on high for about 2 minutes until cooked through. Wait for the mug to cool, top with a few more sprinkles, and enjoy!

CUCB Goals & No-Bake Protein Confetti Mug Cake

This post was linked up with my fave Friday Linkup DC ladies ( CourtneyMar, and Cynthia as well as HeatherNicoleJilland Amanda .

Are you racing this weekend? What is your favorite protein powder?
 
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