Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts Review, Recipe, and Giveaway!

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Manitoba Harvest and the Sweat Pink community in exchange for a review of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts. All opinions expressed are my own.

Almost exactly three years ago, I become a vegetarian. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, so I decided that my last time eating meat would be at my family's Turkey Day feast. I enjoyed my last few bites of turkey at my grandparent's apartment, and haven't had a bite of meat since.

Even though I no longer eat meat, and my Thanksgiving dinner plate is usually loaded with salad and side dishes, I love all of those traditional Thanksgiving flavors. Cranberries, pumpkin, cinnamon, all those nutty fall flavors...the best! And since becoming a vegetarian, I've explored tons of new foods, especially those that help me meet my daily protein needs.

One of my favorite discoveries since transitioning to a plant-based diet is hemp hearts. So when FitApproach provided me with an opportunity to do a review and giveaway on my blog for Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, I applied immediately!

Hemp hearts are tiny seeds that have a slight nutty flavor, along with a whopping 10 grams of protein in each 30-gram serving. And there are so many ways to eat them! These seeds can be sprinkled on top of salads, cereal, or yogurt, blended into your favorite smoothie, or whisked into the batter of your favorite baked goods. You can even eat them straight out of the bag! The possibilities are endless.

Now, you're probably wondering why I mentioned my love of Thanksgiving foods earlier. FitApproach and Manitoba Harvest asked that I try out a new recipe with the 2oz bag that I received. I looked up several recipes using hemp hearts on the Internet, before selecting a Fruit and Hemp Seed Muesli recipe from Whole Foods that I altered to taste just like Thanksgiving dinner (minus the bird).

Everything-But-The-Thanksgiving-Turkey Muesli

Combine all ingredients in a bowl, and toss to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

To serve warm, combine 1/2 cup muesli with 1/2 cup liquid of choice (unsweetened non-dairy milk, water, etc.) and simmer on the stovetop until oats are softened, 1-2 minutes.

Want to win a bag of your own? Leave me a comment telling me what your favorite Thanksgiving food is and you're automatically entered! Winner will be announced on November 13, 2015. Good luck!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'm an Everlast Nutrition Partner!

 I am so excited to share that I am now a partner with Everlast Nutrition! Yes, this is the same Everlast that has been providing us with authentic boxing, mixed martial arts and fitness related equipment and apparel for over 100 years.

As a plant-based athlete who is always looking for more natural products to help me perform my best, I really can't get enough of Everlast's products. I was able to try Everlast Vegan Protein powder for the first time a few months ago, when I received a sample of it in the mail. I loved both the texture and the flavor--two things that are very important to me in a protein powder. So when I saw that the company had opened up a Nutrition Partner program, I applied right away!

Last week, I had a 2-pound bag of Vegan Protein delivered to my door and I wasted no time tearing into it.

Some quick facts about Everlast's Vegan Protein (VP) in the Light Vanilla Flavor:
  • contains a complete BCAA profile using the highest grade blend of yellow pea, rice, and hemp protein
  • increases lean muscle mass and strength
  • increases post-workout recovery
  • free of lactose, gluten, sugar, hormones, GMO, and cholesterol
  • 1 scoop (29 grams) contains 110 calories, 1.5g fat, 2g carbs, 22g protein

I'm not much of a protein shake or smoothie person, so instead I've found other ways to enjoy this protein powder. Some of my favorite ways to increase my protein intake using Everlast Vegan Protein is by adding 1/2 to 1 scoop to "nice" cream, oatmeal, baked goods, and homemade ice pops. Adding VP to these foods creates a nice subtle vanilla flavor without additional fat or sugar!

Thanks to Everlast VP, the nutrition facts of this nice cream are anything but scary!
Everlast also offers FUEL, a performance drink mix, and BURN, a convenient tablet to support the body’s metabolism and provide energy throughout the day. The company has a TON of great deals going on right now, where you can save on all three of these great products and even score some freebies! Current deals include:
  • Buy one bag of Everlast Vegan Protein and get a free box of Everlast FUEL
  • Buy 2 Everlast FUEL Performance Drink Mixes and get a free Everlast 20oz shaker cup
  • Free shipping on all orders over $20
Looking to save even more? Use code REBECCA5 to get 5% off of your total order!

I'm so excited to be an Everlast Nutrition Partner, and am looking forward to even more great products from this company! There could even be a few giveaways or favorite recipes in the future, so stay tuned!

Have you tried any Everlast Nutrition Products before? Which product would you most like to try?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Fall Race Recaps!

One of the reasons it took me so long to start a blog was because I thought that I wouldn't keep up with it. I haven't updated since August 30th, so clearly my assumption was correct! The main reason I haven't updated is because I've had a LOT going on, so blogging has kind of taken the back seat. Tons of great things have been happening though. I hadn't planned on running so many fall races, but opportunities kept presenting themselves and I took every single one!

Those of you who follow me on Instagram may recall the horrible running funk I experienced this past summer. IT WAS AWFUL. I think a lot of my issues were the result of mental issues rather than physical ones (I won't get into details but I was stressing out BIG time, which itself was a struggle because normally I don't stress), but there were seriously days where I would set out for 8 miles but stop after 3. At the end of July, I found out I was running the New York City Marathon, which caused me to stress even more because I had lost a lot of fitness and truly believed that I would not be prepared for it. So I did what I always do...signed up for a ton of races leading up to the big race!

Dumbo Double Dare
One week after I last updated, I headed west to California for the Disneyland 10k and Half Marathon (Dumbo Double Dare). Technically it this was a summer race, and the title of this post is "Fall Race Recaps," but bear with me. Not only was it the 10th anniversary of the race weekend, but it was the Disneyland Diamond Celebration for 60 years of the Happiest Place On Earth! Rani and I were running it together to receive our Coast to Coast Challenge medals, after completing the first part of the challenge in Walt Disney World this past January. I've got a few races to report on so I'll try to keep them brief!

It's been well over a month, but I remember the 10k feeling very hard. I had been sitting on a plane for over 6 hours the day before, so I did factor that in while wondering why my legs felt so stiff. I ended up completing the 10k (which was a villains theme this year) in 57:16.

Rani & I before the 10k!

Who's the fastest one of all?

I met Andrea Barber (you may remember her as Kimmy Gibbler) in the finisher's area!

After the 10k, Rani and I spent time going to the parks and Downtown Disney. I think we ended up walking over 20 miles that day. Not the best idea when you have a half marathon the following day but hey, we were in DISNEYLAND!!

The next morning, we set off for the half marathon around 4:30am (I think? This is why it's important to update more than every 6 weeks!) and hung out in the parking lot until we were released to our corrals. While heading to our corrals, we spotted the ever-inspiring Carlee!

Only runners are this happy to be awake before the sun comes up!
Rani and I were in different corrals, so we quickly hugged and wished each other good luck before splitting up. I knew a few people in my corral, but it was so crowded by the time I got there that I couldn't find anyone. Before I knew it, the race was starting.

Again, it's been several weeks, so I don't remember al of the details, but I do recall the first 5-6 miles feeling very difficult. I was wearing compression socks, but my legs felt very stiff. I don't think they loosened up until about mile 9, and the last four miles went a lot better. My splits ranged between 9:16 and 9:53, and I finished in 2:07:02.

Redesigned medal for the Diamond Celebration!
From Dopey to Dumbo
Embrace the clank.

Diva's Half Marathon - DC Wine Country
Two weeks after Disneyland, I ran the Diva's Half Marathon in Loudon, VA. I hadn't checked a state off of my list since May when I ran the Vermont City Marathon, so I was itching to get another one under my belt. This race was about 45 minutes from my apartment, and I didn't want to spend money on a hotel so I ended up driving to the expo the day before, and then back to the race in the morning. All participants received a pink tutu in their race bag, and I decided to race in mine since I had never run in a tutu before. It was pretty fun!

The weather was actually perfect, and the course felt pretty easy. There were a ton of hills but miraculously they didn't bother me. My only complaint about this race was that most of it took place in a residential area that was comprised of several cul-de-sacs. I would have liked to actually see more of the "wine country." At the mile 13 mark, a group of high school cheerleaders gave the runners tiaras and boas, so I looked like a total diva as I crossed the finish. I made it to the finish in 2:04:18. It was still far from a PR, but I was happy to have beat my Disneyland time.

Color Run 5k - DC
The day after Diva's, I ran the Color Run 5k. It took place at National Harbor, which is actually in Maryland but is just across the river from DC. There was a huge turnout, and the course was really great and scenic. As an ambassador, I received a purple tutu from TCR. So for the second day in a row, I ran in a tutu! I also received two free registrations for the event, so I gave one to fellow #SweatPink ambassador Allison of Life's a Bowl who was in town for both the Diva's Half and her birthday weekend. She helped me out a ton when I was considering moving to Northern Virginia, so I was glad I could return the favor! We ran the course together on tired legs from the previous day's half marathon, but it was a ton of fun! The race isn't timed, but new this year were medals for every finisher. 

#SweatPink at the Color Run!
Lovin' all the color!

Army Ten-Miler
I loved everything about this event. With 35,000 participants, this is the third largest 10-miler in the country. I'm still fairly new to the Northern Virginia/DC area, but I ended up running into SO many people that I knew, including a student, a co-worker, and fellow Annapolis Run Classic ambassador Courtney of Eat Pray Run DC! The event weekend started off at the expo, located at the DC Armory. I had a half-day at work for conferences, so I headed over to the expo as soon as I got out because traffic in the area is BAD, especially on a Friday. There were SO many great vendors, including some of my favorite companies like Sweaty Bands and Honey Stinger (where I loaded up on way too many gingersnap waffle samples). The Annapolis Running Classic had a booth, and since I'm an ambassador, I headed over to say hi to the race directors. They are awesome people, and they sent me off with a ton of new swag! (Side note: registration is still open! Save 10% with code RCREF15.) I hung out at the expo for a little bit, and then headed back to Virginia, again to avoid traffic.

The first corral (which was comprised entirely of our nation's wounded warriors) would start loading before 7am, so I got to the race early to find parking. At 5:15AM, I was the second car in the lot. I always get really bad anxiety before a race if I think I'm going to be late, so I'd actually rather show up early and keep warm in my car than get stuck in traffic or be unable to find a parking spot. Around 6:30AM, the parking garage starting to fill up, and I saw other people in my corral (I was able to identify them by bib color) heading to the start area. It was about 45*F, so I wore pants, the long sleeve race shirt, and an Under Armour Storm hoodie. The idea was to check my hoodie at gear check, but I was so cold that I wouldn't part with it. I regretted this decision at about mile 5 of the race, when I finally got so hot that I had to tie the hoodie around my waist.

The course was incredible. We started in the South Parking Lot of the Pentagon, up to Arlington National Cemetery, and then across the Arlington Memorial Bridge into Washington, DC. Most of the race took place in downtown DC, until around miles 7-8 when I realized we were running on Interstate-395! I thought that was the coolest thing. I mean, how many races are able to shut down a major highway like that?! There weren't a ton of hills on the course, and my legs were pretty cooperative, so I cruised through the finish line with a time of 1:32:52. It definitely wasn't my best time, and I couldn't help but think that I would've been faster had it not been for the hoodie mishap. The Army Ten Miler was such a great event that I really didn't care too much about my time; I was just happy to be there!

Finishers received a coin in place of a medal!

Post-race, I received my coin, and then waited in the longest line ever for the food tables. Soldiers were distributing the coins around me, and at one point, I noticed several boxes of coins sitting on tables, unattended. I was shocked, as I thought about how anyone could just walk off with an entire box. Later on, I found out that many people had to have coins mailed to them, because they ran out. I can't help but think that people were taking extra coins from those boxes as I had predicted. It's truly a shame to think about people taking advantage of situations like that. 

Monster Mash Half Marathon (Dover, DE)
Final race of the recap! If you've made it this far, congrats! I have to say, this was one of the smallest half marathons I've run, but it was definitely one of my favorites! I left work right away on Friday, went home to feed my guinea pig, and then headed straight out the door to try to beat traffic. The drive was supposed to take two hours, but there was an accident on Route 80, so it took me close to three hours. Packet pick-up closed at 8pm, and I made it with 15 minutes to spare. Inside my race bag was New Balance tech tee, a magnet, and a plastic cup, all of which had the event logo on them. I also received a package of limited edition Reese's Peanut Butter Cups with the Wounded Warrior Project logo on them, as the race sponsored the organization. I don't like chocolate so I'll probably be giving them to my mom, but I thought that was such a great touch! I was pretty exhausted between work and the drive, so I made a quick Wal-Mart stop (most incredible Super Wal-Mart ever!) and then headed over to my hotel.

After grabbing coffee and fruit from the hotel breakfast area, I headed over to the race around 5:30AM. I think I was the tenth car in the parking lot this time, haha! I only had to sit in the car for about an hour, because at 6:30, the runners assembled at Miles the Monster (more on him later) for the national anthem, and to honor the members of our military. Then, we headed inside the speedway for a 7AM start. Two things I loved about the starting area were 1. the parking lot was just feet away from it and 2. there were no port-a-potties. Since the race started on the race track, runners and spectators were allowed to use the speedway's own restrooms! If you're a runner, you know how stressful parking and port-a-potties (GROSS) at a race can be. No such stress exists at this race!

As I stated earlier, the race started on the race track. After running one lap on the race track, we then headed out into the city of Dover. The half marathon and marathon take place at the same time, splitting after the mile 6 mark. It was a little cold at the start, but I knew better than to wear pants and a hoodie again. I set off in shorts, a racerback, and compression shorts, and was able to warm up pretty quickly. During the first 6 miles, the course took us through some residential areas, as well as Dover's historic district. Between miles 6 and 7, the course transitioned from residential to rural, and remained that way until we headed back to the speedway to cross the finish. Around mile 11, I looked at my watch and realized that I was on pace to set a personal best. I had been talking to a few fellow runners throughout the course, but stayed focus during the last two miles to ensure that this would happen. I crossed the finish line in PR!

Miles the Monster and my monster-sized medal!

Thanks for sticking with me this long! I promise not to wait so long to update again!

Have you done any of these races? If not, which one would you like to do?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Bulu Box Review!

One of the MANY perks of being a #SweatPink Ambassador for Fit Approach is that I am often given opportunities to review products or services, and share discounts (or even giveaways!) with my readers and followers. This month, I was notified that I was selected to participate in a campaign with Bulu Box!

You're probably wondering what Bulu Box is. To be honest, I hadn't heard too much about the company myself before this campaign (which is another reason why Fit Approach is so awesome...I've learned about so many great companies from them!). For those of you familiar with Birchbox or Ipsy, consider Bulu Box to be a similar service geared toward those interested in fitness and/or weight loss. The company describes itself as "the best way to discover the health, nutrition and weight loss products that are right for YOU!"

Here's how it works:
  1. Try Samples: Each month, Bulu Box will send you 4-5 samples to try based on your profile before buying full-size so you don’t waste your money.
  2. Earn Points: Each month you can earn up to 100 Rewards Points (that’s $10!) just for subscribing and sharing your thoughts. Log in to your account to fill out your sample surveys about the products you just tried.
  3. Cash Out: Once you’ve earned Rewards Points you can use them like actual cash towards a full-size purchase of your new favorite product. Some Bulugans even get their order completely free! 
About 2 weeks ago, I received a Bulu Box of my very own to review! Here's what was inside:

RUNA Tea: Runa (which means "fully alive") is a tea that "offers clear, focused energy by balancing as much caffeine as one cup of coffee with twice the antioxidants of green tea." I tried this tea before my morning (about 5am) 4-miler this week, and it definitely helped wake me up. I liked that this tea was a hybrid of two of my favorite drinks (coffee and green tea), but I generally only drink (caffeine free) tea at night. I have tried to cut down on my coffee consumption, but I think I'll stick to my morning joe pre-run. This tea did what it promised to do, but I wasn't too crazy about the taste.

Shapeology Garcinia Cambogia: I definitely had to fight with Autocorrect while typing that product name out! Each Garcinia Cambogia capsule supports weight loss, and serves as a "dual action fat-fighter that help burn and block fat without leaving you feeling jittery." As instructed, I took one capsule 30-60 minutes before eating. As promised, I didn't experience any jitters, and the capsules were pretty easy to swallow. I'd have to try the product for an extended period of time to report how functional it is.

Movit Energy Gummies: These dummies use power-boosting ingredients like guarantee, CoQ10, and folic acid to combat fatigue and help you perform your best. I stuffed a few of the gummies in the pocket of my running shorts for last Sunday's 10-miler, and consumed 2 about every 30-45 minutes. In the past, I have used Clif Blox, and these gummies serve the same purpose. I liked that the dummies were small because it made them easier to both store and consume, but I've recently switched to dates to eat on my run in my effort to eat all or mostly whole foods.

Earth's Care Anti-Itch Cream: THIS CREAM WORKS WONDERS. The package states that the product will relieve pain and itching associated with skin irritations such as poison ivy, sunburn, and minor cuts and scrapes. I have some skin irritation on my ankle (probably caused by running/sweating) that gets super itchy at night. Like I've had to sleep in high wool socks just to prevent myself from scratching it. Each night, I rubbed a small amount of this cream on the affected area and the itching stopped immediately. It even lessened each night! I would definitely buy a full-size jar of this product!

Quest Protein Powder: I was reluctant to try Quest protein powder, as I am trying to eliminate dairy from my diet completely (Quest contains whey), and I only use plant-based protein powder. However, there were several reasons why I decided to try it:

  1. I do consume Quest bars from time to time, and they are incredible (especially when microwaved for 15 seconds).
  2. For the sake of this review. I had a feeling I would have a positive experience with the product, and since most people I know like Quest bars, I thought they might be interested in trying the protein powder.
  3. The back of the bag revealed that I could find recipes at the following link: I typed the URL into my web browser and was SO impressed with some of the things that I saw! Did you know you could bake a loaf of bread using a Quest bar??? There was even a recipe for Cookies 'n' Cream Crusted Chicken! Now that's not something I would personally eat, so I decided to browse the site for something I *would* eat.
That "something I *would* eat" turned out to be Pumpkin Pie Pancakes. I chose this recipe for a few reasons.
  2. I had all of the other ingredients in my kitchen, or at least things that I could use as substitutions.
  3. Fall marathons are approaching, and many runners I know enjoy pancakes post-long run. I thought this would be a good thing to share here on the blog!
I would definitely recommend this protein powder to anyone who does not mind that it contains whey. For now, I'll stick to my beloved Vega.

Interested in trying Bulu Box for yourself? Use discount code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3-month subscription!

What are your thoughts on Bulu Box? Which of the above products would YOU try?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Freekeh Foods Review & GIVEAWAY!

Remember when I said I wouldn't go another two weeks without updating?

So that didn't happen.

I tried my best. I really did!

Well TODAY I am pairing up with my friends at Freekeh Foods to share a favorite recipe and provide YOU with a chance to score your own bag of freekeh!

A lot of you are probably asking yourselves, "WHAT IS FREEKEH?!"

Freekeh Foods describes freekeh as "a process which means 'to rub' in Arabic. Freekeh was created by accident nearly 2,000 years ago when a Middle Eastern village was attacked and their crop of young green wheat was set ablaze. Most folks would sulk over their misfortune, but the crafty villagers rubbed off the chaff, cooked it up, and 'Eureka!' Freekeh was created." Freekeh Foods offers the grain in three flavors: Original, Rosemary Sage, and Tamari.

When I gave up meat almost three years ago, I began searching for new foods to eat that were nutrient-dense and contained protein. Freekeh became one of my favorite ancient grains because not only does it contain more nutrients than other grains like wheat and rice, but it's absolutely delicious! As a busy plant-based athlete, I'm always looking for recipes that I can make ahead of time and store in the refrigerator or freezer so that I don't have to cook every night. This week, I used my Original Freekeh to make Roasted Sweet Potato Stew with Kale and Freekeh, a recipe straight from the Freekeh Food's website!

Sweet Potato Stew with Kale and Freekeh

1 8-ounce package cracked freekeh, any variety (I used Original)
3 sweet potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cups vegetable broth
2 bay leaves
1 bunch of fresh Lacinato kale, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, diced
1 12-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 12-ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, diced

Scrub the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle a little olive oil on them. Bake in 375° oven for about 25 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and set aside. While the potatoes are cooking, pour all ingredients into a large pot on top of the stove over high heat. Stir with a spoon and heat for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and add roasted sweet potatoes. Cover partially and simmer for at least 30 minutes. Check occasionally and give a stir.

Continue to cook longer for richer flavor, adding water or more broth if desired.

  • Sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top for a “parmesan cheese” flavor without the fat.
  • Try using roasted pumpkin or butternut squash instead of sweet potato for a delicious twist.

Want to get your freekeh on??? Leave me a comment telling me which flavor of freekeh YOU would like to try (Original, Rosemary Sage, or Tamari) for your chance to win a bag of your own! Contest ends Friday, August 14th at 11:59PM EST. Winner will be announced Monday, August 17th!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

I want to be a part of it...

I can't believe I haven't blogged in over two weeks! This summer is flying by. There hadn't been too many exciting things to write about until very recently. Since school is out for the summer, my days really just consist of running, working at the cafe, and applying for teaching jobs for the fall.

About two weeks ago, I burned my finger pretty badly at work. It looked okay for the first few days so I didn't treat it (rookie mistake), and then suddenly it BLEW UP. My managers insisted that I see a doctor, so I did. What I thought was "nothing" turned out to be a second degree burn and an infection. I'm just glad it isn't something that will affect my running!

About two weeks ago, I shared a photo of my race medals hanging in my apartment on the Facebook page of a NYC running group I'm in. After sitting in a box in my closet for three months, I finally got around to hanging them! Some of the group members were curious about my medal racks, which I actually make myself. I had a few requests to make personalized racks. Here are two that are ready to be shipped!

Finally, the most incredible thing has happened. I have been in touch with my mom's cousin, who works for Foot Locker, and she recently asked if I was interested in running the New York City Marathon this year. The company receives a few guaranteed entries each year since they are a sponsor, and she said that she could recommend me for an invitation. Of course I said yes! Last Friday, I received an e-mail from New York Road Runners, stating that I was invited to run on behalf of Foot Locker. I can't even describe the emotions that overwhelmed me upon receiving this e-mail.

The NYC Marathon was the first 26.2 race that I ever attended when I volunteered at the mile 25 fluid station back in 2013. I swear it was the best spot to volunteer, because I got to see runners just over a mile from the finish line, and it was so inspiring. Early on in the day, I witnessed the elite runners moving on tired legs, hoping to reach the finish line first. After that, I saw runners of mixed abilities and emotions passing through Central Park. Some were feeling strong and passing right by the water tables, while others in tears BEGGING for fluids. There were runners carrying their nation's flag, and even runners recording the entire race using videocameras strapped to their hats. Last year, I attended the marathon as a NYRR employee. Most of my time was spent distributing radios to other employees and volunteers, but I did get to spend a good half hour in the finish area. I never imagined that I would be a part of the race itself.

This race could not have come at a better time. For the past two months, I've been experiencing a really bad running funk. We all have those days where we don't want to run, or where running feels hard both physically and mentally. This has been more severe than that. The most frustrating part was that I wasn't even sure why it was occurring. After filling out the application on Friday (and paying the registration fee $$$), I put together a training plan. I decided to go with the Nike plan created for the Chicago Marathon (Advanced Plan). Since I got in to the race 14 weeks out, I started on Week 3 which is fine because I have a pretty good foundation (despite the funk). I would post an image of the plan, but it was about 4 pages long online so for those interested, click here to see what my running schedule looks like for the next 90+ days.

Fit Approach's #1MillionMinutes campaign is still going on via Instagram and Twitter, so be sure to check out their website for the latest prompts and other news! The campaign is going through August 21st.

That's all for now. Hopefully I won't go another two weeks without updating!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Celebrating #1MillionMinutes with Puritan's Pride!

Some of you may have seen me using the hashtag #1MillionMinutes on both Instagram and Twitter. The one #1MillionMinutes campaign kicked off on Fit Approach's 4th birthday (June 21), and will continue through August 21. This campaign motivates people to get moving this summer, and track their activity on the Fit Approach website. We're hoping to hit one million minutes by the end of summer!

Each week, Fit Approach announces prompts for members of the community to follow as they continue to stay active and share their activity. There are also some contests just for Sweat Pink Ambassadors like myself! This week, Fit Approach is teaming up with Puritan's Pride for a Mad-Lib style blog prompt. Without further ado, here's my version of the Mad-Lib!

I’m so stoked to fuel my #1MillionMinutes goals with Puritan’s Pride! All summer I plan to crush my way to a healthier, fitter me, and I’ll need help staying hydrated and fueled during all my running adventures!

I will make sure I stay on track and will rely on healthy carbs and protein to keep me well fueled before, during and after workouts, and my good ole water (and coffee) to keep me hydrated!

I’m most excited to try Dastony Organic Hazelnut Butter and NoGii No Gluten Super Protein Bars from Puritan’s Pride because they look fan-freakin-tastic'.

One supplement I’ve never tried but am curious about is melatonin. I think it might make me extra sleepy, because it's supposed to help you fall asleep faster. I lay in bed wide awake for hours every night!
Bring it, #1MillionMinutes! I’m ready to go!

I hope you enjoyed my Mad-Lib! Have yo been participating in the #1MillionMinutes campaign? There's still time to share your activity today for the "free Friday" prompt! Be sure to participate this weekend using the following prompts:
  • Saturday: What's your food philosophy? Show us a day in the life!
  • Sunday: #SundayZenday: How are you relaxing and recharging today?

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Updates, and a recipe!

Note to self: Don't start a blog the week before one of the busiest weeks of your life.

I feel like I've been on autopilot since starting this blog last week. Here's a few exciting things that have happened.

I started my summer job last week. The cafe I work at serves Starbucks beverages, so my co-workers were pretty fired up that they didn't really have to train me since I was a barista when I graduated college. I memorized most of the recipes! I am new to cold brew coffee though, and it is AMAZING.

I took my first yoga class last week! A few weeks ago, I bought a Groupon for one month of unlimited yoga classes. Just $17! Fitness classes can be pretty expensive, so I feel like I pretty much won the lottery. I've only attended two classes so far, but I really enjoyed it. And let me tell you...YOGA IS HARD. The classes are for yogis of all levels though, so there is absolutely no intimidation. I can't wait to go back!

A Wegmans opened up in my city, right across the street from the yoga studio! If you've been to Wegmans before, you understand why this is a huge deal. If you've never been to a Wegmans, you haven't really been living.

On June 21st, Fit Approach kicked of the #1millionminutes campaign in celebration of their fourth birthday. The Sweat Pink community is coming together to achieve one million minutes of activity this summer (through August 21st). The goal is to inspire and encourage EVERYONE to get moving. We've racked up over 100,000 minutes already! If you'd like to join us, visit fit to sign up and track your active minutes. Then, log those minutes and share your progress towards helping the Sweat Community reach their goal of 1 million minutes. You can also win prizes! Share your progress on Twitter, and follow the daily prompts to upload pictures on Instagram. Be sure to use the hashtags #1MillionMinutes and #SweatPink to show how you're staying active this summer!

#WeRunSocial is a fairly new online community of runners. Started by some of my favorite bloggers/social media runners, the community is described as "a crew with the sole purpose of running all the miles and winning life on the interwebs." When I first saw that this was project was launched, I knew that I had to join. While experiencing a running funk during the month of June that kept me from meeting my goal of 100 miles (see below), I decided to order a racerback from Pavement Runner. I swear this shirt is magical. On Sunday, I had set out to run 16 treadmill miles. I walked one. On Monday, I received the shirt in the mail, took a quick selfie with the TimerCam app, uploaded it to Instagram, and then banged out 7 miles on the treadmill like it was my job. I am so thankful for this community.

100 Miles Per Month
My goal every month is to run a minimum of 100 miles. Some months, I shatter this goal and run almost 150 miles. Other months, I just squeak by with 100-110 miles. Last month, I ran just 79 miles. I struggled a lot with motivation, and I think a lot of it had to do with nutrition. My nutrition was on point during the month of May (which resulted in a 13+ minute PR at the Vermont City Marathon), but I got off track during early June. I'm not sure if it's because my parents came to visit and took me out to eat three times, or because I watch the Food Network every night. Regardless, I started my training plan for the Dumbo Double Dare (September 5-6) this week, so I have really high hopes for July!

Speaking of July, did you know it's National Ice Cream Month? Since I'm usually training for a marathon, I do watch what I eat, and can honestly say I don't even remember the last time I ate ice cream. BUT...during the month of May, my diet was really consistent. I figured out that what works best for me is consuming all or mostly raw foods for breakfast and lunch, followed by a high-protein dinner. I had a lot of energy, slept better, and looked and felt leaner. I also felt really great during my workouts. Just about every morning started off with "nice" cream. For those of you who don't know, "nice" cream is "ice cream" made entirely from fruit, with optional milk and protein powder. The best is that this concoction tastes just like ice cream, but does not contain any added sugar or fat. I love it so much that I've decided to share my recipe with you! You can eat this any time of day, but I prefer it in the morning because it gives me so much energy and keeps me satiated (and who doesn't want to eat ice cream for breakfast???).

I use my shovel spoon from the Ben & Jerry's Factory to "dig" in!

Non-Dairy "Nice" Cream

Makes 1-serving.
-half a banana, sliced and frozen
-1/4 to 1/2 cup sliced and frozen fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, mango, or even the other half of your banana...feel free to mix them!)
-1 to 2 tbsp non-dairy milk (almond, cashew, coconut)
-*1/2 to 1 scoop plant-based protein powder (optional; I use Vega One in French Vanilla)
-**Optional toppings: chopped nuts, chia seeds, granola, more fruit.

-Place sliced/frozen fruit in a food processor or blender, and use the "chop" feature to break the fruit down into smaller pieces.
-Add milk, and puree. You may need to stop and mix the fruit with a spoon so that all pieces are being pureed.
-Add protein powder, if desired. Stir the protein powder in a little bit so that it does not stick to the top of the food processor/blender.
-Scoop nice cream into a bowl. Add desired toppings and enjoy!

*Protein powder is recommended if you are eating this as a meal, as it will keep you satiated. I once forgot to add the protein powder and was starving two hours later!
**I'm not into toppings, but you do you!

Be sure to comment and let me know how your "nice" cream turned out! I seriously loved this recipe!
Also...what are your fitness goals for July?

Note: This post was not sponsored by Vega, and I was not compensated in any way. Also, remember that I am not a health professional. Please contact the appropriate health professional before making any changes to your diet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Nomad Runner's Blog - The Pilot Post!

Hello, and welcome to my blog! This making of this blog has been a long time coming. My last day of work was last Friday (I'm a teacher), and my plans for the summer include running, improving my overall fitness, and working part-time at a cafe. I figured it was the perfect time to start blogging! Hopefully my layout will look better over time but hey, baby steps!

My plans for the blog include sharing my running and fitness progress, race recaps, product reviews, favorite recipes, and nutrition advice. I may even host some contests and giveaways!

My posts will become more interesting as the blog develops (I promise), but for now, enjoy these ten random facts about me!

About Nomad Runner:

  1. I grew up in the suburbs of New York City, and very recently moved to the state of Virginia to pursue my career as a teacher.
  2. If I weren't a teacher, I would be a graphic designer or pastry chef. Or a professional distance runner. But most likely a graphic designer or pastry chef.
  3. When I was in fifth grade, my teacher assigned my class to research different states and give presentations on them. We got to pick the state that we wanted to research, and I chose California. After hearing about the incredible geography and landmarks across the county, I decided that I wanted to visit every state in my lifetime.
  4. I'm currently living that dream today. Two years ago, I set a goal to run a half or full marathon in every state and Washington, DC. To date, I have run in 11 states and our nation's capital. Thirty-nine states to go!
  5. I first started running as a member of my high school's track and cross-country teams. I joined for the social aspect of the team, and to stay in shape.
  6. I LOVE ANIMALS. My pets include a tuxedo cat named Hudson (who still lives in New York. This breaks my heart every day.) and a guinea pig named Skeeter. My love for animals was the main reason I became a vegetarian (see Fact #8).
  7. Three years ago, my New Year's Resolution was to quit soda for good. That was the first (and last) resolution I ever stuck with. I used to be a Caffeine Free Diet Coke addict (I called it DCDC--Decaf Diet Coke), and now I don't even miss it!
  8. I've been a vegetarian for almost three years. The last time I had meat was Thanksgiving 2012. Turkey was always my favorite, so I enjoyed one last holiday bird before giving up meat completely. Just like soda, I don't even miss it! Now if only I could figure out how to give up peanut butter on a spoon, straight out of the jar...
  9. When I'm not at work or the gym, I'm in the kitchen! I'm always looking up and experimenting with new recipes. Or eating peanut butter off of a spoon. Out of the jar.
  10. I don't watch TV! Well, that's not 100% true. I DO watch the news, Jeopardy!, Once Upon A Time, and the Food Network, but other than that, my TV is mostly used to watch [animated] movies. TV bores me, and I can't sit still that long!
If you made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed my first post! Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or comments, or just to say hi!