Friday, September 25, 2015

The Friday Five - Favorite Fall Things

It's no question, this is my absolute favorite time of year.  I love everything about the last third of the year, but here are a few of my most favorite things!

Cool Weather

I looooove the fall weather.  Even though it was a balmy 83 degrees when I went out for my evening run, by all measure, that is a major cool down in Texas.  Beautiful mornings with low humidity and comfortable, if not a little chilly evenings are on their way.  I don't even mind when the days get shorter.  In fact, I kind of like it!


I am not a fan of pumpkin spice everything, but I do love me some pumpkins.

I usually have a big display near my front door in October and November and Louis and I tend to hit up as many pumpkin patches as possible.  We will make our tenth visit to one of them this year! Even though (sadly) the Big Orange Pumpkin Patch changed locations, it still appears to be the same premise and you can bet we will be there.

Fall Holidays

It's no secret that Halloween and Thanksgiving are my number one holidays!  I love that they are stress worries about gifts or extravagant decor (although I do decorate one crazy lit Christmas tree!).  They are all about the good things.  Family.  Friends.  Food.  There is always so much to be thankful for.

So much turkey....and well, because stuffing.

I love Thanksgiving up a storm in my kitchen.  Making homemade pumpkin and apple pie.  Roasting a delish turkey.

It's just my favorite.

The Fall Colors

While the fall colors in Texas are by no means even close to what they are in Minnesota, we still get some color here.

Ok...this is not Texas, but that is one cute kid!
More Free Time!

While there is often too little of it, I took a quarter off from grad school and have more than I have had in the last 3 years.  It makes me excited to be done with school next fall.  I am enjoying some extra time to paint the garage full of furniture I have accumulated (there will be no graphic to show this hot mess) and do some organization around my house (although little of that has been done).  I've had so much more time to run and that gets high praise in my book! Most of all, I love the extra time I've had with family.

What do you love about fall?

Big thanks as always to Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What? for the Friday Five Link-Up!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Friday Five - Five Fall Races

Isn't it hard to believe it has been 14 years since 9/11/2002?  In my mind it seems like last year or just a few months ago, yet years have passed and it still remains so fresh in our minds.  Most of us remember the exact time and place we were when the planes hit the WTC, the moment they fell.  I've had the honor of visiting the WTC site several times and it still seems so raw.  It relieves me that my son never had to witness such horror, hopefully none of us will have to again. Somewhere I came across this amazing blogging project; one I hope to contribute to over the coming year.  I highly recommend taking a few minutes just to read about some of these amazing people who lost their lives that day.  They are just a name in granite to some, but to others, they were fantastic human beings.

A photo I took on a trip in 2012.  I've always found the rainbow kind of comforting and eerie all at the same time.
Not meaning to make this post so somber, but wanting to remember the day.

On to the...

I got a little mixed up on the Friday Five themes, apparently last week was "Fall Races".  So this week?

My Five Fall Races

It may be pumpkin spice everything season for everyone else, but for me, it is not only my favorite time of year (Thanksgiving is getting so close!), it is my most favorite time of the year to run races!

The cool(ish), crisp weather makes me so happy!  I can't wait until Saturday morning.  It will be 67 degrees when I plan to start my last longish run before race season!


40 miles.  In 9 days.  It's happening.

In my mind, I've already ran 36 (a 34 miler with a really wrong turn), so what's 4 more?! (I need to keep telling myself next Saturday around mile 30).

This is part of the Endurance Buzz Adventure's 5 series challenge.  It will likely be the most difficult I've done.  The pictures are terrifying, yet I can't wait to get out there!  I think this will be my biggest challenge yet.  I feel ready, yet I still worry about finishing within the allotted time. Being a very technical trail with some pretty massive climbs, I know it is going to be slow going with a great deal of sun exposure.  The time cut off is what scares me the most, but it is what will push me the hardest.

Apparently there are some hills or something like that.  Rusty crown?  You mean, tiara?  Sign me up!

photo cred: EBA

Palo Duro 50k

Can you believe this is in Texas?!
This race takes place in October and is in a part of Texas I've never really been to. The geography looks *amazing*.  I have a lot of friends who are also doing this race and I know it will be so fun!!


Big Cedar Endurance Run
This is on a gorgeous trail in the heart of Dallas/Ft. Worth.  I ran a timed, 3 hour,  race in the dark here earlier this summer, but have yet to actually see it in the day time.  This was supposed to have been my first ultra last year, but it was rainy and gross.  I wasn't a very experienced trail runner last year (I still have a lot to learn, really!) and I just didn't feel comfortable going on and running on a slick, technical trail in the ran.  I was really disappointed that this didn't happen and it was the second time I had signed up for an ultra where things didn't line up for one reason or another.  Distance is still an unknown (with the exception of the fact that I will NOT be doing the 100 miler).  The 50 mile (which I really want to do!) starts at 3:30 in the morning, which is no bueno for someone who goes to be around midnight.  I am torn.  This race is still a *tentative* on my schedule.


Brazos Bend

With a variety of distances (again, NOT doing the 100) and in the heart of Texas gator country, this one should be interesting and a lot of fun!

seems legit!


Isle du Bois

The last of the EBA high five series, this one is still up in the air as well.  Not due to my decision making, but due to the fact that the park where it happens was underwater for so long this spring and summer from all of the rain we received in Texas this year.  Repairs are starting to be made to the trail and the park has opened up a few routes, so hopefully it'll happen!  What I'm really looking forward to is getting my bell!  Because isn't that a good enough reason to run 130+ miles over 5 events for?  Makes perfect sense to me!

So these are the races that I'm looking forward to this fall, what's on tap for you?

Big thanks to Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What? for the Friday Five Link-Up!

Friday, September 4, 2015

The Friday Five - Healthy Snacks For Runners

I'm getting back on track with the Friday Five!

This week I am teaming up with to take a look at some super healthy snacks that are not only good, but good for you.

Since I've started knocking out 50+ mile weeks, snacks throughout the day, as well as those before and after I work out have become essential.  I find myself so hungry throughout the day and so frequently reach for the sweet stuff first, that I've found it much easier to stock my pantry with a larger variety of things that will benefit me both health and fitness wise.  

The dietitian at suggest this rule of thumb for snacks...ideally a snack should be 160 calories of less, provide fiber and protein and contain less than 2 grams of saturated fat. 

Here are some of my faves:


Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are considered a super food.  They are also really great at keeping us hydrated (super important for runners - especially in the Texas heat).  They are also loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fiber as well as omega-3 fatty acids.  I like to throw chia seeds in my morning smoothies and often take a flavored chia packet along with me on long runs instead of using gels.  You can also add them into baked goods - they add a really nice crunch!  I really like using them in my pumpkin muffins.


Quinoa Puffs

Another superfood that can easily be added to yogurt or baked deliciousness.  You can even make quinoa krispies (similar to rice krispies!) with these.  Add in some peanut butter and honey - and YUM!  A healthy alternative to rice krispies without all of the sugar and that packs a punch protein wise.


I've carried dried apricots in my fuel belt/vest during marathons for years. They are sweet and chewy and taste heavenly in comparison to gels and sports chews, which are commonly used by long distance runners to help maintain energy during the run.

Dried apricots provide a healthy amount of potassium and magnesium, electrolytes commonly lost during endurance running.  They also have a fair share of fiber and iron per serving, making them great every day snacks.


Dark Chocolate - yes, I said chocolate!

In a recent study, small amounts of dark chocolate were found to increase leg strength and cardiovascular endurance.  The key here is small amounts (such as one small square a day).  I often keep a dark chocolate bar (similar to this) in my gym bag and have a square before a run.  The higher the percentage of cacao, the better it is for you.  One serving of dark chocolate (such as a Godiva square), also boast 10% of your daily iron needs.


Pumpkin Seeds

Since fall is upon us, one of my favorite snacks of the season is pumpkin seeds.  I've never actually seen them in the grocery stores that I shop in, so I was happy to find that they sold them on (mostly because I don't necessarily want to carve more pumpkins than I have to).  I LOVE them roasted.  (You can also purchase them already roasted, salted/unsalted or spiced for you).  Pumpkin seeds provide 10g of protein per serving and 15% of daily iron requirements.

When making my own, I typically wash or boil them to get all of the stringy stuff off of the seeds and let them air dry over night.  Prior to roasting, we put them in a bag with a very small amount of EVOO and salt and shake them up (you can add more salt/seasoning after you get them on the pan) . Then we pop them in the oven on a piece of parchment paper for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. You can really top them with any seasoning you like for a variety.

What are you favorite healthy snacks?

Big thanks to Courtney @Eat, Pray, Run DC, Mar @ Mar on the Run and Cynthia @You Signed Up For What? for the Friday Five Link-Up!