May 30, 2017

5 Tips for Surviving #ShackTrackandField {plus class at Rev Cycle Studio beforehand}

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary ride at REV Cycle Studio for hosting a giveaway and sharing about the event. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Last week I was lucky enough to get the chance to take part in the last event in REV Cycle Studio's #REVOutdoors series which happened to be a partnership with Shack Track and Field, Shake Shack's monthly run club. The event involved a 30 minute spin class at REV followed by a short run to Shake Shack where the first beverage was on the house. Now I regularly participate in the Shack Track and Field runs (the second Tuesday of every month starting from Charm City Run) and REV is my favorite place to spin in Baltimore, so this event sounded PERFECT. 

I've run to Shake Shack before but adding in a spin class before a run adds a whole new twist to the mix. Classes were held at both the McHenry Row and Brewer's Hill locations. 

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I had an awesome, sweaty, and fun spin class with Sean at McHenry Row where we spun fast and climbed hills for 30 minutes, leaving just enough in the tank for just over 2 miles of running in the beginning of a rainy storm as group. Then that was followed by enjoying a free huge red velvet milkshake at Shake Shack. And buying myself a chicken sandwich for dinner there because #starving. 


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Here are some tips for when you decide to run to Shake Shack or spin AND run to Shake Shack because #shacktrackandfield: 
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1. If you are making it a duathlon (spinning and running), leave just a little bit left in the tank during the spin class. If you are completely exhausted, it will feel like a very very long 2-3 miles to Shake Shack. 
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2. Keep it a moderate pace. There is plenty of Shake Shack beverages for everyone, however if you want to beat a long line of sweaty runners and get your delicious FREE beverage faster, keep it moving on the run. 
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3. Have an idea of what you want ahead of time. I like visualizing my delicious milkshake or cold beer as motivation during the run. It also is helpful knowing what I want before I hop in line before I'm thinking about how sweaty and tired I am post-run. 
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4. Don't feel guilty or think about how that milkshake is probably 1000 calories or maybe you'll save a hundred calories by not getting whipped cream on top. Treat yo'self. You deserve it, and it's delicious. You literally ran (and possibly spun) here for this. 
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5. Find a friend to carpool with or call an Uber/Lyft/cab. I've made the mistake of trying to run the mile back to my house after having a milkshake and fries. I do not recommend it. 
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I definitely encourage you to check out Shack Track and Field the second Tuesday of every month (Baltimore group leaves from Charm City Run at 7 PM). 

Also if you are interested in another awesome REV Cycle Studio spinning + food event check out an event happening tomorrow with Atwater's! First you can get your sweat on for 45 minutes of REVBlast with Rachel at 5:30 PM or REV45 with Eddie at 6:30. Then head down to Atwater's to refuel with a 3 course prix fixe dinner including your choice of beer or wine, salad, entree, and dessert for only $35. Such a sweet deal! Details and register here

You can also save 30% off class packs at REV Cycle Studio's new Brewer's Hill studio with discount code "gearupBH" at checkout -just in time for summer!

Have you ever participated in Shack Track in Field? What is your favorite drink to have after a run? 

May 11, 2017

What to Pack in Your Marathon Gear Check Bag

Disclosure: I received complimentary product from ShowerPill. As always, all thoughts & opinions are my own. 


When you cross the finish line of a half or full marathon, the first thing you are thinking is YAY, glad that's over. If you are me next you are thinking where can I get a beer, water, banana, and sit down, PLEASE. If it's a big event or one where you plan on hanging out around for the post-race festivities that so many races have now, it might be a good idea to pack a gear check bag. I find this especially true if you're running a big race where it's going to take you a while to get back to your hotel/lodgings/house or you'll be hanging out in your post-race clothes for a while. 

After the Chicago Marathon the past 3 years the weather has been nice, and I've been feeling good so I hang out with friends, have a couple beers, and listen to the music in Grant Park. 
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Post-Chicago Marathon 2016 with a beer in one hand and my gear check bag beside me
Now, I'm the type of person that is usually cutting it close to getting to a race start or at least isn't giving myself much time beforehand. Even with marathons which are big deal to me, I still feel like maybe I should give myself some more time to get around. This is particularly true if you're running a huge race or one with security checkpoints. 

I usually hope that I have a friend or my boyfriend to carry some stuff for me until I finish. If not then sometimes I'll quickly navigate the pre-race area and drop off a gear check bag, if available. For some of the bigger half marathons and marathons I've run bag check is usually offered, and the process is pretty organized. Races give you a clear plastic bag at packet/bib pick-up (security reasons nowadays!). Then you can drop it off before the race with your bib number attached, and pick it up after finishing the race. It's not recommended to store valuables in there, because it's not like locked-in-a-safe secure. 

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Here are 5 items that I always pack in my gear check bag

1.Clothes
The type of clothes is dependent on you and the season, but I think having something not damp with sweat or smelly is a post-race must have. Even if it's summer I like to have at least a dry shirt to change into. If the weather is cold, I love having a comfy sweatshirt, dry shirt, and possibly extra pair of tights to change into. After hanging out in my sweaty clothes I usually feel extra chilly once my body starts to cool down and some fatigue sets in. 

2. Socks
This kind of goes along with clothes, but having a nice pair of clean, dry socks to change into after logging some race miles is great. It gives my feet some relief. Often I pack a pair of compression socks to wear to get a head start on recovery and to aid with circulation. 

3. Wet wipes
Having a travel-size pack of wet wipes is great to just wipe off my face and arms of sweat or dirt after a long run, particularly if I'm hanging out post-race for a bit. 

Since I discovered them a year or so ago, I've been loving ShowerPill wipes which are a thick washcloth-sized body wipe which kill 99.9 of germs and also contain hydrating vitamin E, witch hazel, and aloe vera. They come in single packets and are perfect for travel or gear check bags. 

You can save 20% off any ShowerPill order through 6/15/2017 with code LAUREN

4. Sandals
Oh yes, I've been known to rock some socks with sandals post-race. Actually my beloved Adidas sandals from my high school soccer days are falling apart and need to be replaced (not shocking). Again like the socks, it's nice to get my feet some relief and a chance to air out. Besides for comfort, I also like having sandals or even a spare set of shoes if the race has been muddy or wet. 

5. Favorite snack & drink
I always usually eat something offered post-race after I have my go-to recovery snack of a banana. If it's a long distance race or I'm not sure what post-race fuel will be available, I like to pack a small snack or drink that's a favorite of mine. That way I'm positive I have something that my body can easily handle and that I'll be able to quickly refuel with. 

For me this means a tube of Nuun Hydration that can easily be mixed with water and a Honey Stinger waffle. The gluten-free salted caramel  waffles are my favorite! 

6. Hair ties 
These are always just a good thing to have (for us longer haired gals and guys anyways). Possibly for pre-race if I (or another runner!) realize I've forgotten them or had one snap when fixing my hair (it's happened). Sometimes it's nice to pack some extra hair ties or a headband if I take out my sweaty pigtails post-race and want to look a little less like I just ran 13 or 26 miles 

Do you often gear check a bag? What's your must-have item to pack for post-race?

May 4, 2017

Eat More Greens: What I Ate in a Day {with BrightFarms}

Disclosure: I received promotional consideration from BrightFarms. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sometimes I get in ruts where I've been so busy that I notice I haven't really been eating any greens. Oops

I find myself grabbing some protein bars, oatmeal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, and whatever for dinner (including pizza sometimes because it's my favorite and SO easy). So I drink some green juice, eat some salads, and re-balance my diet. A couple weeks ago was one of those times that I decided that I really needed to start adding more greens and vegetables into my diet again. I wanted to start this diet shift off by including vegetables in every meal of the day. It encouraged me to get creative in the kitchen and actually make a meal plan. Planning actually makes things a lot easier when you take the time to do the planning, in case you forgot (like I had). 

This all happened at the perfect time because BrightFarms was lucky enough to send me some of their produce to try out, which made my one-day challenge more fun. I was going to use 1 shell of the BrightFarms local spring mix, 1 of their local baby greens, and 1 of their kale in a different meal of the day. 

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BrightFarms is a produce company that uses sustainable greenhouse farming to supply grocery stores with fresh greens, tomatoes, and herbs year-round. In the DMV area they solely deliver their produce to Giant grocery stores, farm to shelf within 24 hours. I was excited because unfresh produce and buying lettuce from the grocery store and finding a couple smelly, slimy pieces that have gone bad within a day is super annoying. If you need to grab some greens and can't make it out to a farmer's market or local farm, BrightFarms from your grocery store is the next best thing! 

Meal 1- Breakfast: Queen Green Smoothie

I decided to keep it nice and simple for breakfast with a green smoothie. This was also portable to take in the car with me on the way to class which is a bonus. I created this smoothie on the fly, using whatever I had available in my refrigerator and pantry. I like trying out new smoothie recipes, but usually end up making ones with my favorite ingredients like frozen pineapple anyways. This is the Queen Green because it's one of my go-to smoothie variations and is queen to me!

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Into my Ninja blender for my Queen Green Smoothie I added: 
  • a  handful of BrightFarms kale
  • a handful of frozen pineapple and peaches mix
  • 1 1/2 cups of vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tablespoon of honey
  • Optional: 1 scoop of your favorite protein powder or supplement-I used a scoop of Vital Proteins collagen in this smoothie. 
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Blended everything up, and it was ready to go. Despite the color, you can barely taste the greens in this smoothie. Everything went into the blender and within minutes I had breakfast on-the-go, packed with lots of yummy goodness. 

Meal 2-Lunch: a Mediterranean-style Salad

Today was one of those days where I was able to stop home in between class and heading to work. I actually dislike packing salads (probably why I was eating more sandwiches lately) so I love when I can grab lunch at home. I can't take all of the credit for this one because my lovely boyfriend actually whipped this salad up for me. 

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This Mediterranean inspired salad includes adding all of the following to a bowl, mixing, and enjoying: 
  • BrightFarms baby kale
  • shredded carrots
  • chopped cucumbers
  • feta cheese
  • kalamata olives
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette dressing

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This salad was so delicious. I have been loving olives in everything lately so the mixture of the salty olives with the sweet carrots and creamy feta cheese just hit the spot. I also loved the texture of the baby kale which made for a great salad base. 

Meal 3-Dinner: Cheesy Taco Skillet 

Making some sort of Mexican-inspired meal is always a go-to for me whether it's tacos, enchiladas, taco salad, or a taco skillet, like what I made this day for dinner. 

I used this recipe from Sweet C's as a guide for my cheesy taco skillet  and used BrightFarms local spring mix as the greens in it. The best part is I cooked everything in this one big pan so clean-up was easy. 

My cheesy taco skillet (adapted from Sweet C's) included: 
  • 1 lb of ground beef ( I used grass fed ground beef) 
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1, 12 oz. can of diced tomatoes with green chiles
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 2 tbsp of taco seasoning
  • 2 cups (I just did two big handfuls) of local spring mix (or any greens you prefer)
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese


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First brown the ground beef in the pan, and then drain the excess fat. Next add onions and peppers, cook until browned. Then add the canned tomatoes, taco seasoning and zucchini into the pan. Then add the spring mix or greens and let fully wilt, mixing everything together. Finally add the shredded cheese on top and cover to let the cheese melt. This took just a few minutes. You can eat it right out of a bowl like I did or could even eat over rice or in a burrito. 

Of course, I made sure to include plenty of cheesy goodness on top! Sadly it was so good, there was only a tiny bit of leftovers. The greens in this wilt so you are getting lots of nutrients that you can't even really taste-perfect for those picky eater kids or significant others. 

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I'm a totally snack queen so in between I had multiple snacks during the day  including a yogurt, trail mix, and good old protein bar. Adding in greens to all of my big meals of the day was a lot easier than I thought. I was happy to be balancing my diet as well as preparing some delicious meals in the kitchen instead of grabbing sandwiches, pre-packaged meals and snacks. I was thinking of making it a fun Monday challenge for myself to help me start planning my meals and beginning the week on a high note after enjoying some weekend treats. 

Shout-out to BrightFarms for supplying some yummy greens for my challenge-Marylanders can find their products in local Giant grocery stores. 

 What's your favorite way to sneak greens into your everyday meals?

May 1, 2017

Adult-ish Things #1: Dry Cleaning {ZIPS Dry Cleaners giveaway}

Disclosure: I have received promotional consideration from ZIPS. As always all thoughts and opinions are my own. 



This week I'm turning 29 which has me thinking a lot about adulthood. It's weird to be turning the age that I will say I am for the next 10 years (haha).  I mean I don't know how I got to be almost 29, when I feel like I just turned 25 (what did happen in years 25-28 besides running a few marathons?!). Alas, in the past few couple of years I've figured out the big secret to life is that no one ever feels like they know what they are doing. No one ever "feels like an adult". I just find myself doing (or trying to figure out) adult things. 


Ya know, like setting up a retirement fund. Doing your taxes.  Attending weddings and bridal/baby showers. Going to get your car's oil changed. Calling the dentist to make an appointment voluntarily. Getting excited about finding sheets on sale at Target. Also getting excited about a Sunday involving going to Home Depot, a crockpot dinner, and laundry. 

One other adult-ish thing is having clothes that actually need to be dry-cleaned. My wardrobe does involve a lot of spandex. Years dressing casual as a researcher in a lab didn't require much professional clothing. Now I have multiple wool sweaters, shirts, and dresses that are supposed to be dry-clean only. And honestly it's been years since I've dropped something off at a dry cleaners.  

Literally this is what my laundry bin consists of: 
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#runnerproblems #fitgirlproblems

So I was really excited when ZIPS Dry Cleaners reached out to me about checking them out. I had recently seen their new TV spot that launched in March. ZIPS helped me dry clean some dresses I've worn to a couple weddings, a couple winter sweaters, and my bed comforter (which REALLY needed to be cleaned because yikes, I don't think I ever washed it). 

ZIPS started with 8 dry-cleaners in the Baltimore-Washington area in 1996 and now is the largest chain of retai dry cleaners in the Mid-Atlantic. I had no idea it had such local ties.  They provide affordable services for their communities and operate on premise with a "in by 9, out by 5" promise. ZIPS Dry Cleaners even uses 100% biodegradable plastic bags and donates thousands of unclaimed garments annually to charitable organizations. 

I dropped my items off at the new ZIPS Dry Cleaners location in Harbor East right on the corner at 1325 Eastern Ave. There is metered parking right outside which was convenient, but honestly I was literally in and out. 

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I dropped my clothes and comforter off around 10 AM on a weekday, and no one else was in the store. I was quickly helped with friendly customer service at the kiosk. The store was clean and efficient. The two sweaters and dress only cost $2.29 each and the comforter costs $19.99 to dry-clean. The garments would be ready the next day and the comforter would be ready in about 5 days so I waited to pick everything up all together. 

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I received email notifications (which I opted in  for) to notify me that my garments were ready and again picked up my things in the afternoon. I was in and out of the ZIPs with no problems and no complaints about my clothes. 

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Some things an adult should do can be easy! You can find the ZIPS Dry Cleaners nearest you and check them out for affordable, quality dry cleaning. 

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ZIPS Dry Cleaners was nice enough to help out my readers and giveaway (4) $25 giftcards to ZIPS Dry Cleaners. Giveaway ends 5/8/2017 12 AM EST-enter using Rafflecopter below: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When is the last time you had something dry cleaned?
 
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