Weekly Fitness Plan: January 29

You probably (or maybe you didn’t and that’s cool too) notice that I’ve started running my hill running group again. It’s such a difficult running group, but keeps me in shape and helps improve my speed. For some reason it never gets easier. Ever. I can’t quite figure out how that works. If someone figures this one out, please let me know!

In case you’re wondering how the hill running group works (and also the majority of the hill runs I do on my own) – we pick a very steep 1 mile hill. The first loop we run 1/3 of the way up, the second loop we run 2/3 of the way up, the third loop we run all the way up. After this, we run to another steep hill that’s about 1/4 mile and run a few repeats. I always total about 7.5ish miles for this run (I run to and from my car as well) and it always takes it out of me. This group has been incredible with helping me improve my speed though! My hope that is by incorporating this group every week and pushing myself to be comfortable with uncomfortable, I’ll be able to crush my half marathon PR this year.

Here’s the fitness plan for the week!

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Happy Monday!

 

Practicing Gratitude

I used to be great about writing in a journal when I lived overseas. I wanted to document my experiences and have these great stories to remember for a long time. After I got back to the States, I didn’t keep up with the daily habit. Lately I’ve been wanting to journal again and more specifically write down what I’m grateful for every day.

Practicing gratitude can be such a helpful way to relieve stress and appreciate what you have around you (which unfortunately many of us can lose sight of during our busy days).

This week hasn’t been pretty. Like many weeks my schedule has been booked solid from 5am until I go to bed. The stress from that, work, commuting, school, training, and recovering from an ill-timed cold got the best of me. Last night I was stressed beyond belief crying about how I’m coaching people in life balance and not practicing it in my own life and my partner made me point out things I’m grateful for. He kept making me point out things until slowly I started feeling better.

Though I’ve encouraged practicing gratitude with my own wellness coaching clients, I haven’t been practicing it as much as I should in my own life. I’ll be the first to admit, wellness coaches may know exactly what to do for a better life balance, but we also have trouble following through with it every week (we are human after all)! So this week, I’ll be starting a gratitude journal. Additionally, I’ll be trying to incorporate little moments throughout my day to do a quick relaxing yoga session, walk in the fresh air, and definitely schedule some much needed me time before I go absolutely crazy!

In case you’re wondering, today I’m thankful for:

1.) A loving, supportive, encouraging, sweet, inspiring, and all around amazing partner.

2.) A cuddly, sleepy, and often adorably grumpy puppy that loves to love and only wants to be loved.

3.) The weekend – even though it’s busy, there will be pockets of time to practice self-care, run, spend time with the pup and my lovely partner, and sleep a full 8 hours each night.

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Baked Pumpkin Ravioli

Happy middle of the week!

I’m still struggling a little bit with lingering cold symptoms, but I’m hoping to be back to my old self by this weekend.  I’m still trying to hit my running mileage this week, but won’t be devastated if it doesn’t happen.

One of my favorite fall/winter recipes to make is baked pumpkin ravioli. It’s one of those comfort food meals that warms you up and keeps you full for a long time. It’s easily improvised too if you want to add or do something different!

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Sorry for the phone photo – I was too hungry to wait to pull out my real camera!

Ingredients:

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese

1 package of won ton wrappers (should be about 48 to a package)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1 egg, beaten

1 – 1.5 cups spinach, sauteed

2 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn into smaller pieces

1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2 onion

2 cloves garlic

Pasta sauce or tomato sauce to make your own pasta sauce

Optional: Tofu sausage or chicken sausage

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 350f .

2.) If using, cook sausage according to instructions.

3.) Mix together the pumpkin, ricotta cheese, nutmeg, sea salt, and sauteed spinach.

4.) On two parchment lined baking sheets, lay out half of the won ton wrappers. In the center of each wrapper place a large dollop of the pumpkin mixture.

5.) Brush the egg around the outer edge of the wrappers and then place another wrapper on top of it. Then press down with a fork along the outer edge of where you placed the dollop to seal the ravioli.

6.) Lightly brush olive oil on top of each ravioli and then place in oven to bake for 7-10 minutes. 7 minutes will have a more pasta like texture and 10 minutes will have a crispier texture.

7.) In a skillet saute the garlic, onions, cherry tomatoes, and kale until the onions are translucent and kale is wilted.

8.) When the Ravioli is finished, take out of the oven and serve with the sausage and kale mixture. Then top with tomato sauce.

Enjoy!!!

Should You Run Through a Cold?

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Homemade orange, carrot, lemon juice to knock this cold out. 

Part of training for races or even just having a fitness plan is sticking with the plan, but also accepting and being open to changes in the plan. This week has already been a bit of a bust with running as my Sunday run just couldn’t happen. I came down with a nasty head cold on Saturday and any weekend running was just out of the picture. I rescheduled Sunday’s run for Tuesday, tonight’s run will likely be Friday or just taken out of the calendar completely, and hopefully then I will be back on track ASAP!

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I generally run through colds if I don’t have a fever or if it’s not in my chest. This weekend unfortunately, I was barely moving off the couch so I made an executive decision that running would harm my training rather than do any good. A hard lesson learned for me over the years is – it’s always good to figure out if the miles you’re going to run will be beneficial or if they’ll just be junk miles. Pushing yourself to run can be good especially if the lack of motivation is mental, from slight fatigue, or a slight cold. However, if you’re really sick and exhausted, running or pushing yourself through a tough workout could make you much worse.

This week marks the first week of training (ha! – off to a good start with the first two days out of commission)- I’ve just been maintaining/building mileage up until this point, however, now I will start increasing mileage and adding tougher workouts. It’s crazy that it’s time to train again – this winter flew by pretty quickly!

For reference, if you’re paying attention to my training plans – I’m running half marathons through May and then a half ultra in June. Likely July and August will be for recovering and then maybe a couple more races in the fall.

 

Living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

I’ve decided to write about something I don’t often share with others. In fact, only those close to me know about this. After some encouragement from friends and family, I felt the need to share this so that maybe others can take comfort if they share similar experiences. A little over 3 years ago, I got really sick. In the emergency room with IV’s kind of sick.

Up until that point, I thought I was invincible. I worked overseas. Survived a bout of Dengue fever in Haiti, worked back to back to back shifts in the human and social services fields and then could still fit in a long distance run before sleeping. Then one day I thought I had a bad cold coming on…. or maybe a nasty flu. All I knew was I had a high fever and I just couldn’t swallow without significant pain, which was especially terrible because for some reason my appetite was unreal. I needed to eat and eat and eat yet I was dropping weight like crazy. My heart was racing and skipping beats all the time and I couldn’t get through even 1/4 mile of a run. In true invincible fashion, I kept working through it for a few days until I just couldn’t get out of bed one morning.

Fast forward to the hospital where they start saying words like enlarged thyroid and suddenly I’m being scheduled for cat scans and x-rays. At the age of 26, I was pretty scared. It turns out, I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. My thyroid went out of control because my own immune system was attacking it and I was told by doctor after doctor that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. They told me that now my life would consist of medicine and blood tests to keep it under control.

I. Was. Devastated. In fact, I still have days where I get so frustrated with a handful of hair coming out, a brain fog so intense I can barely function through my work day, exhaustion so severe I can’t keep my eyes open in the afternoon, or shivering from being so cold in the summer. I try to brush it off, but let’s be real. It sucks. I wouldn’t tell anyone otherwise. I’m not going to be one of those people who tells you that this changed my life for the better. Though it has made me want to work in the health and wellness field that much more. It has made me appreciate my good days where I’m feeling healthy. It has also made me appreciate running that much more.

Here’s the thing though, it won’t just go away. For a lucky few, yes they will magically get better, but for most of us living with Hashimoto’s is a lifetime battle.  I won’t pretend that I’m an expert on thyroid issues on this blog – I’m certainly not. I can only write about my experiences (and I’ve had quite a few) in hopes that it will make someone else feel comforted that they’re not alone. So from time to time, I’ll write about it on the blog.

My advice if you’re struggling with this. Don’t lose hope. Stay as strong as you can through the bad days, surround yourself with those that understand and support you, keep fighting to be heard at your doctor appointments, and keep learning what works for you.

 

 

Food Budgeting

One of my major goals this year is stick more to a food budget. With two athletes in the house (and you know, that long distance runner when training lives by the “eat ALL the food” mindset) it can be difficult. The last several months we’ve let that slide a little… a lot.

With some financial goals this year and further education happening, now more than ever it’s really important for us to stick to a budget. That generally means meal planning/prepping, healthy budget meals, and making sure not to let food go to waste. My time was limited this week for meal planning and grocery shopping ended up being grabbing random vegetables/ingredients. So this morning I decided to check the cupboards and figure out a plan for the rest of the week.

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When you actually pull things out of the fridge and cupboards and pair them together, it’s crazy how quickly healthy meals can form!

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Here’s the plan for the rest of the week.

Dinners:

  • Pumpkin ravioli with sautéed spinach and homemade tomato sauce (I always say I’m going to freeze half, but we end up eating all the leftovers pretty quickly – so good!)
  • Veggie stir-fry with brown rice and likely some tofu “chicken”
  • Butternut squash soup with whole wheat cheddar biscuits and a spinach, pear, walnut salad. (I will likely freeze half the soup for quick meals on busy days)
  • Tomato soup and grilled cheese

Lunches:

  • Leftovers
  • Tuna avocado salad

Breakfasts:

  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Protein smoothie

Snacks:

  • Almonds
  • Fruit (Apples, blueberries, pears) with peanut butter
  • Healthy banana muffins

This weekend, I’ll be back to meal planning, prepping, and all that fun stuff. We’re debating a CSA and also how much per week seems like a reasonable food goal for us. Stay tuned on that front!

 

Making a Comeback!

Wow – my first blog post. I have been meaning to write a wellness/health/nutrition/I’m a running nut blog for awhile, but life got in the way a little bit. In fact, I was injured for the last 3 months and as a long distance runner, I felt very unlike myself and dare I say even a little embarrassed. When your fitness routine revolves mostly around running and it suddenly is taken away from you, it can definitely have a major impact on your life. All I can say is that I now appreciate every step I take now and every day that I can lace up my sneakers and head out the door.

I’m happy to report that the last few weeks have been successful with running  – so much so that I’ve signed up for two half marathons and will be signing up for a half ultra when registration opens. After a great 2016 racing season, I’m so excited to push harder in 2017 and reach new goals.

I constantly get asked for my weekly fitness plans so to give you an idea of what my week looks like, I’ve included it below. Please note, what works for me, may not work for you so please take in consideration your goals or fitness levels before diving into a fitness plan.

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One last week of building a solid base – next week starts the crazy difficult training. Can’t wait! Every day running feels better and my body feels stronger.

Thanks for reading –  I am so so SO happy to be writing this post and jumping into contributing to the health and wellness world.

Happy Monday!