August 30, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015 Training Recap {Weeks 9 & 10}

{Read about Weeks 1&23&45&6 ,7&8, of my training} Weeks 9 and 10 of training are here already. It freaks me out the race is only 6 weeks away now! Luckily I have another two solid weeks of training behind me. 

Be sure to check out the hashtag #breathedeeplyandrunchi on Twitter and Instagram for more snippets of my training! 


Chicago Marathon 2015 Training Recap

Week 9

Week 9 was a solid week of training despite the fact that I was trying not to push it hard due to my freak toe injury . I wore my more stable Mizuno Wave Enigma 5 shoes for running and took an extra rest day on Monday.  I got in my favorite run, Shack Track & Field, this week. I switched it up and got a root beer float after the run which hit the spot! 

Thursday I went to a bootcamp class at Beachfit which was a nice change of pace. I also found a ride over to the workout so I went to my first ever Friday NP workout. I had been using Fridays as a cross-training day but decided to have some #hillsforbreakfast since my schedule for work/school has changed. I loved the workout and the different vibe of Fridays!

NP #hillsforbreakfast at Patterson Park

Druid Hill Park as the sun came up was worth the early wake-up call. 

I also did a group long run again with some NP people and got in a really solid 17 mile run at an average of 9:04 min/mi with some fabulous views. My fueling and water intake felt solid and there were no issues during the run besides a little humidity. I treated myself to this gluten-free caramel pastry & coffee which was as if a biscuit and a muffin had a baby-YUM. Of course I had some serious breakfast eating when I got home and showered as well. 


Week 10
This week really rocked. The weather was a bit warmer and humid again so there were many sweaty runs. I got in a quick treadmill run and a speedwork treadmill intervals two nights after work. Tuesday I finally went to another yoga class at the Under Armour Headquarters gym. With views like this in the morning, it's hard not to be feeling zen, body & mind. 


I also made it to November Project on Wednesday and again on Friday for hills! 

Saturday was a big long run of 18 miles, the longest of my training cycle so far.  I met up with a group of NP people at 5:30 AM with my new Energy Boosts and new Lululemon running skirt on and was ready to tackle some miles despite barely being awake!

We ran a path that took us around parts of the Baltimore Half Marathon route, going north of the city. I stuck to my own pace so at some points I fell behind the group. I do really like meeting up with people and trying different running routes I normally wouldn't these past few weeks.   Despite just-before-5 AM wake-up call, I felt super great and accomplished after getting my miles in and made sure to stop at Starbucks on my way home for some water and a frappucino with a big smile on my face. That post-run high is amazing sometimes. 

Remember you can always  use my code BREATHEBLOG to save 10% off sweet Bondiband headbands like the ones I always sport! 

The bad: Incorporating more yoga in my life, for my physical and mental health.  I also need to make sure I'm getting in enough water because I've been starting to feel really dehydrated and thirsty again after a few good weeks of water intake.  

The good:  I'm happy with where my mileage is at.  I know some people suggest running more but hanging out around 40 miles a week seems to be working for me right now.  I've been mixing up easy miles, workouts, and long runs without feeling run down.   

Things to Focus on: Since I'm starting grad school, I need to make sure I keep a good balance of sleep, work, training, and run so I can keep my sanity and continue training strong. 

This post was linked up with Weekend SnapshotsWeekly Wrap, and MIMM.  

How was your week of workouts?  Do you switch up your longer run routes often?

August 27, 2015

What's Up Charm City?: Beginner's Guide to Baltimore City Running

I've been asked all the time about where are the best and safest places to run in Baltimore or what running groups are in the city. I figured since this blog often covers Baltimore running events and groups, I should make an unofficial mini guide with some resources for new runners in the city.  


First of all you know I'm going to mention November Project Baltimore. It's not a running group or club but rather a free fitness movement. We do a lot of running, eat hills for breakfast, and chase PRs. It's some running, stairs, and body weight circuit exercises mixed in with sweaty hugs, high-fives, and laughter. If you don't know anything at all, November Project is an international free fitness workout group currently in 21 cities (and counting!).   


november-project-baltimore-workout1NP-Baltimore meets at 6:30 AM on Wednesdays at Rash Field (there's a 5:30 AM group too!) and 6:30 AM on Fridays at Patterson Park for a hill running workout. It is weatherproof and goes on sun, rain, or snow! 

Check NP-Baltimore out on Facebook for updates and fun news. 

Running Clubs

Baltimore Road Runner's Club (BRRC) is an running club for both competitive and recreational runners that includes a paid annual membership and is sanctioned by the Road Runners Club of America.  Membership includes dirt cheap races, training programs, social outings, and volunteer opportunities. They have many events on road, track, or trails so there is something for everyone.

Me running the 2015 Prettyboy Trail Race held by BRRC

Baltimore City Pacemakers are a group that rotates Saturday long runs through the Baltimore area as well as Wednesday morning workouts at the Gilman Track. 

List of Running Clubs (some I mentioned and some others) from Falls Road Running

Running Group Meetups

Federal Hill Runners is a free group that meets Monday nights at 6:30 PM in front of Federal Hill Fitness. 

Charm City Run-Baltimore holds a free fun run every Thursday night at 6:30 PM. It's a great run for the 8-11 minute crowd and sometimes features special events and wear test opportunities from shoe companies. You can also head right across the street to World of Beer right across the street for a free beer!

Shack Track and Field is a free run hosted the second Tuesday of every month at 7 PM starting at Charm City Run-Baltimore ending at the Shake Shack on Pratt St. The runs are posted as events on the Facebook page for each city. After the run you get a free beverage of your choice-I usually go for a milkshake!  


Hopkins Marathon Team offers free group training runs targeting both Fall half and full marathons. 

Running Routes

This list of places to run in Baltimore from Charm City Run is a great guide to places to run in Baltimore and Maryland and includes some of my favorites. There are so many places to run so I've included my personal most common routes and favorites.  

My main running route is running along the Inner Harbor. If you hug the water you can run all the way from Canton through Fells Point to Locust Point and even make it to Fort McHenry and run that loop. There are usually lots of people walking or running so it's a pretty safe route.  

I feel so lucky to run with this view almost everyday. 

Another great route is around Patterson Park, which is where November Project does its weekly hill workout.  It's a a nice loop which allows you to run a variety of distances.

Loch Raven Reservoir is a nice weekend route I ran a few times with the Charm City Run marathon training group. Part of it between Morgan Mill Road and Providence Road is closed to cars (but open to pedestrians) on the weekends so it's a great place to get a long training run in on paved and off-road trails.  

The NCR Trail is a popular route for runners and cyclists alike which extends up to the MD-PA line.  

You can run all the way up Charles Street from the downtown to the county. A nice route is to take either Charles Street or Saint Paul Street up to Johns Hopkins University-Homewood area. You can run further and link up with the Robert E. Lee Park, around Roland Park, head towards Druid Hill Lake, or take 33rd street up to Lake Montebello.  

These are just some of my favorite and most common running routes but of course there are a ton of places to run! Another fun thing you can do is go on Strava or Map My Run and see what routes people have created and where most people run!

I also helped out with this article from Baltimore Magazine about the Best Running Routes around Baltimore which includes some of the routes I mentioned above along with some other options. 

Running Resources

Charm City Run-Baltimore is my personal go-to running store, but they have locations all throughout the state.  They are the sponsor of many races, can help you get fitted for shoes, and run great training groups for anything from a 5K to an ultra-marathon. 


Falls Road Running is another local running store in the northern part of the city that holds fun annual races such as the Celtic Solstice 5 Miler and Dreaded Druid Hills race as well as other events and running teams.   

Team That's What She Said is a great local running blog that also is a training group. Their blog offers great race recaps and Baltimore running community updates.   

Upcoming Races in Maryland from

Resources from Federal Hill Runners group

*Always run at your own risk. While most areas of Baltimore are safe for running, be smart and run with a group or friends, especially in an area you are unfamiliar with. If running alone I wear my Road ID, sometimes carry my cellphone, let someone know where I'm going, and even have a mini pepper spray wristband to wear.Baltimore is a wonderful city-just remember to be aware of your surroundings and be smart!

August 24, 2015

Rock 'n' Blog #TrainingRockBox Reveal

Disclosure: I received a complimentary box of products from Comeptitor Group as part of my ambassadorship with the Rock 'n' Roll Race series. I was not required to blog about it-I just really loved the training box. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

As you know I'm a Rock 'n' Blogger for the Rock 'n' Roll Race Series so I got hooked up with a complimentary tourpass to run 3 races this year and promote the race series.  As you can imagine I was extra surprised when this big box was sitting by my door one day.  


It was heavy, so that always means it's a really good present like Christmas when I was little, right? 

Inside the box was a sweet, handwritten note from Ashley who is the main #rocknblog contact from the race series to the all of us ambassadors.

August 20, 2015

Vanilla Cookie Protein Bites {Designer Protein Aria Powder Review}

Disclosure: I received a complimentary tub of Designer Protein Aria protein powder through my ambassadorship as a 2015 Women's Health Action Hero. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Don't forget you have until Monday 8/24 at 12 AM to enter my SPIbelt giveaway!

There are a lot of protein powders out there. Most of them are just okay. I've found some I like but also have tried many I don't. When I received my Designer Protein in the mail I honestly wasn't expecting much after trying so many different protein products over the past few years. I had picked up an older version of Designer Whey protein from Trader Joe's years ago and don't remember it being a stand-out. 

I was however, excited when I started to read about Designer Protein (yup, name change) and all their new & improved offerings.  They have lots of different protein powders based on what you want and need, all for 100 calories or less per serving. I was sent the Designer Protein Aria (100% plant-based) in vanilla. I think the taste is good, and it blends easily in smoothies. I like that it only retails for $14.99 for a 12 oz tub so if you are flavor crazy like me, you can buy a bunch of different kinds to keep on hand that aren't huge, expensive protein tubs. 

What I love the most is that it's a plant-based, all-natural formula with 15 g of soy-free protein plus  like all the other Aria protein powders, it has wellness helpers like biotin, vitamin C, folate, calcium and vitamin D. It hits all the bullet points with being  non-GMO, certified vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.  


I tried the protein in a few smoothies and drinks. Next I was inspired by a Designer Protein recipe packet that was sent along with my powder that included a big fruit smoothie bowl. I made my own twist on an acai bowl using a frozen acai packet, banana, cashew milk, maca powder, and my vanilla Aria protein powder. I topped it with shredded coconut, half a banana, raisins, and some oats.   


This week I was looking to make some protein bites to grab as a quick pre-workout bite or snack. I ended up whipping up these awesome little vanilla no-bake bites that I made with what I had on hand, including my Designer Protein Aria. 

I know, another balls/bites recipe-what a basic blogger move, haha. I really do love having a container of little bites in the fridge to quickly grab or pack as a snack for work. I've been eating 1 or 2 before a run or workout in the morning this week since I'm the type of person that wakes up hungry and needs something in my stomach. They are nutty and slightly sweet and delicious. It's really hard to not eat half the batch in one sitting!


August 17, 2015

Chicago Marathon 2015 Training Recap {Weeks 7&8} & SPIbelt Giveaway

Disclosure: I was sent a complimentary SPIbelt to review and another to giveaway to readers. As always, all opinions and thoughts are my own.  

{Read about Weeks 1&23&4, 5&6 of my training} Weeks 7 and 8 mark the almost halfway point of training. It's stressful and crazy. I just booked my flights to Chicago so I hope everything works out with my school schedule since it'll be right around midterms. Yikes

I've also got a mini review & giveaway for SPIbelt after my training recap below so enter away!

Be sure to check out the hashtag #breathedeeplyandrunchi on Twitter and Instagram for more snippets of my training! 


Chicago Marathon 2015 Training Recap

Week 7

Week 7 was an okay week of training.  I had some speedwork at PR day at November Project, went to a Crossfit class, and did a couple easy treadmill runs. I spent the long weekend with my family in New Jersey which always throws me off because of all the eating and family time, but I managed to sneak in a quick treadmill run and got my long run done.

August 14, 2015

5 Friday Favorites 8/14/15: Nuun Update, Flatout Pizza, and Kardashian Dream Fitness Closet

My blogging has been sporadic as I get ready for school in a couple of weeks and keep up with my busy schedule. This is probably how it's going to be until I figure out how my new schedule is going to work out. Anyways, it's one of the last few weekends of summer (HOW?!?), and I still don't understand how I've only been to the beach once. That needs to change. I also need some more ice cream, watermelon, and sunshine in my life.  

5 Friday Favorites

1. Favorite Afternoon Snack: LesserEvil Himalayan Sweetness popcorn


I've talked before about LesserEvil snacks and their avocadolicious popcorn, but this week I've been absolutely loving their . As an ambassador I get a big box of snacks every month, and between my boyfriend and I, this is always the first popcorn to go. 

It's basically a kettle corn popcorn, except it isn't overly sweet or glazed. It's the perfect sweet snack for me to munch on in the afternoons at night and is awesome mixed in a bowl with their wasabi popcorn. Only 110 calories for 2 cups, but I'm always eating double of that! 

2. Favorite Natural Product: Rocket Pure Friction Therapy Anti-Chafe Balm Stick

August 11, 2015

Work it Out Wednesdays #4: Internal Dialog of a Beginner Yogi

It's time for another Work It Out Wednesdays. On Wednesdays I share a new workout or special topic for you all to learn about featuring some of my fellow amazing 2015 Women's Health Action Heroes.  These fitness queens have so many fun workouts and great fitness & nutrition tips that I can't wait to share with all my blog readers.


Today I'm bringing you a hilarious post from the fabulous Lauren of Twenty Something Living. At first she was unsure if I'd like it and immediately read it, laughed out loud, and told her it was great. I used to do yoga weekly a few years ago so now when I sporadically go to a class it always takes me a little bit of flow to get into the groove. 


I also feel these thoughts WAY more in a really hot bikram class.  I'm also really get nervous about possibly farting in a quiet room!  I hope you enjoy this light-hearted take on yoga. 

Internal Dialog of a Beginner Yogi

As a beginner yogi it often feels like I am trying to convince my body to become a hybrid pretzel, all in the name of flexibility. Walking to class I try to prepare myself with some deep breathing and minor stretching, getting in the groove for some serious body work, but knowing that just one class will have the stress running down my body in beads of sweat instead of holding my heart and mind captive. There are feel feelings better than the last few moments of a yoga class, and the feeling of the air on your face as you walk out of the studio into the evening air… but the internal dialog isn’t always so carefree:

August 10, 2015

Weekend Updates featuring City Sports Baltimore, Blogger Brunch, and Minor Training Snags

I had a super busy weekend and am definitely feeling sluggish this dreary Monday morning. More coffee, please?

Friday I got in a quick run followed by ice cream from Harbor Market and then ran some errands.

 I stopped by City Sports in Harbor East to grab a few things from their closing sale. Unfortunately that location is closing up (not relocating!) and everything was 20% off with sale prices marked. I got a Nathan water bottle waist pack that I had my eye on for a while and stocked up on more fuel including Honey Stinger vanilla waffles and energy gels.  Check them out and stock up on sports and running supplies while they are having the sale through the rest of the month! 


Saturday I headed down to DC for a fabulous blogger brunch.  I popped into SculptDC for a 45 minute AM cycling class that definitely had me sweating.  It was my first time there and liked it because it was easy to get to from Union Station and had a $15 first-time drop in fee along with showers.  

After getting cleaned up I headed over to Matchbox Chinatown for a nice blogger brunch hosted by the DC Trifecta ladies.  I was a little tired but loved chatting with local fitness bloggers and meeting new people. It was also awesome to finally meet hosts Mar and Courtney in person for the first time as well as see my fellow ZOOMA Annapolis ambassador Cynthia again! 


Follow all these ladies if you aren't already! 
From back left : AnnaColleenKylie,Sharita, Courtney, DiattaCoCoAlexisMarSue, ME!CynthiaChaitali, and Bri

I had a lovely watermelon lemonade cocktail to go with my crabcake eggs benedict. Thanks to Matchbox for taking such good care of us! On my way to meet up with a friend I treated myself to a little red velvet cupcake as well. 

August 5, 2015

Work it Out Wednesdays #3: Burn It Out Workout {At-Home Circuit}

Disclaimer: I am not a health or fitness professional so try out this workout at your own risk. Always consult a medical/health professional before starting a new workout plan. 

It's time for another Work It Out Wednesdays. On Wednesdays I share a new workout or special topic for you all to learn about featuring some of my fellow amazing 2015 Women's Health Action Heroes.  These fitness queens have so many fun workouts and great fitness & nutrition tips that I can't wait to share with all my blog readers.


Unfortunately I've been having some scheduling hiccups so today's post is featuring a workout I created. I've been trying to work more strength training into my routine since I've been neglecting it as marathon training is in full swing. This workout took me around 40 minutes to do and left me drenched and sore all over. 

Yesterday I was scrolling through my Pinterest Working on my Fitness Board for a quick 30 minute workout I could fit in and found one from Muncher Cruncher that seemed sweaty and awesome. I took her format and changed up the exercises to make it my own little workout. It left me a lot sweatier and tired than I expected! I usually hate at-home workouts because I get bored, but I liked how simple and fast paced this one was.  

I used a set of 10 lb. dumbbells and tried to only stop to catch my breath when I needed but otherwise move through the reps.  I did 40 reps of all 6 exercises, then 30 reps of all 6 exercises, etc. 


This post was linked up with Tuesdays on the Run, The Fit Dish and Link Love

Do you like home workouts? What is your favorite workout from the past week? 

August 3, 2015

MIMM {Food & Family in Hashtags}

This weekend I got to spend at home with my family in New Jersey. It flew by, and I really did not do much besides eat, which is the BEST.  I wanted to blog but ended up just relaxing and unplugging a little bit. Considering it's already AUGUST (WTF!?!?) and school starts for me in a few weeks when I'll have no life, this weekend was marvelous . I decided to do this recap with accompanying hashtags because I love that they are short and sweet. 

The bad 

Being delayed on the train heading to my Philly because the train in front of us broke down. No bueno.  #getmeoffthistrain

Monday mornings on work days. #seriouslywhereisthecoffee

No solid workouts besides my long runs.  #restdayvibes

The good 

Dooby's avocado toast (recipe here) for breakfast with a side of coffee. It is amazing and has tons of avocado on top of soft sourdough bread. 


My sister has just returned from 6 months with the Disney College program, and it was fabulous to give her lots of big hugs.  

Being greeted Thursday evening with a Philly cheesesteak from Geno'sI had a provolone, wit (that means I had mine with provolone cheese and onions on it!).  It's been SO long-it was amazing, and I ate every last bite. #onlyinphillyfoods

Receiving my prize from a Fitfluential CALIA by Carrie Underwood giveaway for this beautiful top that is ridiculously soft and feels like pajamas (along with a pretty headband.) I've been dying to try out her line.  #workoutclothesarerealclothes