Category Archives: Running

The Pittsburgh Half Marathon

Happy Monday!! Hopefully it’s a smooth day for everyone that’s back to the grind. Before we know it we’ll be back at home in our yoga pants recovering.

I wanted to recap the Pittsburgh Half Marathon from May, because even though it’s 4 months late, I was sharing some of my training in the early weeks and I happened to (unexpectedly) hit a new PR!

But seriously, I’m pretty convinced that it was like 20% training, 30% having a margarita and a huge dinner the night before, and 50% sheer luck.

This was the 4th year that I ran the Pittsburgh Half, and although I couldn’t break the 2 hour hurdle, I came across the finish line at a cool 2:07.

This is the second year that I ran as a charity runner for the Animal Rescue League. It always makes me feel good to help the animals, especially if I’m going to be running anyway.  Also – check out that cat bag.

I also totally forgot about my choice of bib wording until I picked up my packet. Is it possible to prank your future self?

I tried my best to stick with the pacers but I was totally burnt out by the last hill. I ended up walking and although I know deep down I had nothing in the tank, I still always wonder if I could have made up for those pesky 7 minutes past the 2 hour mark. Gets me every time.

Kris was there to support me (after a minor wreck on his bicycle… Who knew spectating was so dangerous?? Luckily he’s making a full recovery.) along with my parents. And my mom cut those gorgeous tulips out of her garden.


All in all it was a good year. Although I have to be honest… I still haven’t signed up for another one. I have been doing some shorter distances and it’s kept me feeling pretty content, so I’m not sure if I want to change that. I still like to think I’ll chase down that sub 2 hour time someday, but for now it feels nice to just enjoy the leisure running.

Half Marathon Training – Week 5

Last week I hit a few set backs in my half marathon training. But as part of my commitment to stay accountable, I’m sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

On Super Bowl Sunday I came down with a nasty head cold that really put me out of commission for a few days. I’m typically one to try to run through a cold because I think it actually helps loosen up the bad stuff and gets things moving. But this time my body was telling me I needed the rest, so I honored that. 

I took a few days off and by Wednesday I felt like I could struggle through a 3 mile run to get back on track. 

Here’s what the week looked like:

Monday – rest (sick)

Tuesday – rest (sick)

Wednesday – 3 mile run (30 minutes)

Thursday – 4 mile run (40 minutes)

Friday – shovel snow

Saturday – 3 mile run (30 minutes) 

Sunday – rest

Total Miles – 10

I was pretty happy with myself for getting 4 workouts in, all things considered (and if your wondering if shoveling snow counts as a workout, come on over to our place on a snowy day. BYOS).

My diet on the other hand was pretty poor. Something about being sick just made me crave sweets. I honestly think the real issue is that being sick stresses me out. I never used to think of myself as a worrier; boy, how things have changed. I resorted to SO many peanut M&Ms it’s embarrassing… not to mention Fruit Loops and Valentine’s Day chocolate

So on Sunday I made a huge batch of Minestrone soup to have for lunches this week in an effort to get back on track. Sugar is definitely addictive to me. But once I can work through a few days without it I don’t usually crave it. 

  

In a surprising twist of events all of that sugar must have benefited me because I felt good running 6 miles this Monday. It’s so strange how just when you think you have it all figured out, you run like a champ after pounding sugar for a week straight. I know from past experience excessive sugar usually slows me down and makes me feel like I’m running with bricks strapped to my feet. But I guess sometimes the opposite is true and I can eat clean and still feel that way, so I’m definitely not complaining! 

Incase you missed it, you can read about my 2016 Half Marathon plan here: 

2016 Half Marathon Plan
How do you keep yourself accountable? 

Can you tell a difference in the way you feel when you eat a lot of sugar?

Half Marathon Training Plan + Mantra

This year I signed up for my 4th half marathon.  

  
There was a time when I never would have believed that. I distinctly remember finding a book on running form at a friend’s house and thinking anyone who ran as a sport or hobby was extremely boring and insane. Yeah, that was probably a little harsh. Someone should have told me never to say never.

  
So now here I am painfully chasing down that 2 hour goal time. (And even the term ‘chasing’ is probably generous.) 

   
The past few years I’ve really floundered. My first race I pretty much ran solely on determination, and although the time was not impressive, I know I could not do that again if I tried (ahhh, youth).

2013 Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:21:44

 The second year that I ran the half marathon was my best. I trained, I felt good, and I improved…but I still didn’t meet my goal. 

  
2014 Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:08:34

The third year that I ran was filled with moving, starting a new job, and mass confusion. I actually debated skipping. 

2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon – 2:22:19

Woof. 

So that brings us to 2016. I knew I needed to be committed to a training program, but I also needed a plan that would help me with my speed. So I launched a search… And it was surprisingly successful. 

That’s when I found RUNfit365 and was able to download their 16 Week Intermediate Half-Marathon Training Plan for free.

The plan breaks down different training techniques, explains all of the terminology, and allows you to base your training off of a goal pace. The other thing I really like about it is that it doesn’t require logging crazy miles so it’s completely attainable. 

I am on week 4, and so far I have missed the weekend runs (major fail) and replaced one easy run with a hot yoga class each week. 

So to stay on track I’m going to check in on F&F each week to report my progress, and I’m also going to have a mantra.

  

I’ve heard that having a running mantra can do wonders for your race game. Which I actually believe to be true because I definitely had one for my second half marathon. (Something along the lines of ‘Hell hath no fury like that of a scorned woman’… You get the picture.)

As cheesy as it sounds I’m going to make my mantra to appreciate that I have the time and the ability to train this year. (Having a wedding on the horizon doesn’t hurt either).

Do you have a running mantra? 

Have you ever crushed your goal time? 

Baked Salmon with Guac & Baby Bok Choy

Lately I have been making an effort to eat less processed foods around here. So when I did my meal planning for this week I quickly realized that many of the recipes that fit that criteria can get pretty time consuming.  So I tried to find things that were fairly quick and easy, but packed with natural nutrients and ingredients that would satisfy our hunger.

Over the weekend I made the more time consuming meals, but to be honest, with the crockpot it wasn’t too terrible.

Last night’s dinner was inspired by this salmon and avocado salsa recipe.  I really didn’t change too much, but I used sesame oil on the salmon along with the spices, and added cherry tomatoes to the avocado salsa instead of the jalapeños (I couldn’t find them at the store, I’m actually a little disappointed about this).

baked salmon with guac and baby bok choy

I also added baby bok choy to the mix, mostly because I bought it at Trader Joe’s last week on a whim and I figured this meal could use a side of greens.  I have actually never had baby bok choy before (at least that I can remember), and I was a little nervous when I googled a recipe and saw that it was also referred to as Chinese cabbage.  So I decided to play it safe with a 5 star recipe, that basically smothers it in butter and garlic and it turned out pretty good!

baby bok choy

This dinner is definitely a make again.

On the exercise front, (in typical Shae-fashion), I signed up to participate in Pile on the Miles and then kind of changed my exercise approach.  With it getting dark out so early (and colder), I don’t feel very comfortable logging tons of miles, so I’ve decided to run shorter distances and try to work on my speed.

running at night

Night time running is so peaceful and creepy all at the same time.  If I hadn’t seen a coyote run across the road on my way to work one morning I probably wouldn’t be such a baby.  (Ok, I might.)

Last night I logged 3 miles and I felt really good (maybe all the food prep is paying off??).  My time was nothing impressive, but it was still an improvement for me.

garmin forerunner

Do you notice an improvement in your running when you eat well?

What are your thoughts on running in the dark?

Halloween Weekend + November Goals

Good morning!  Here we are at the start of another week and we are officially kicking off November.  I can’t believe how fast time is flying!

But first, this weekend was a really great one.  It was one of those rare and special times where everything just seems to come together and everyone in the family is miraculously available.

I loaded up the B dog for a road trip and headed down to my parents on Saturday.

b dog roadtrip

I love spending Halloween with my parents, sitting on the porch with the pups and handing out candy.  I have spent many-a Halloweens at my parents house, and even my sister was able to join this year.

sister time

The pups were all decked out in their Halloween best:

little monsters

Although, we didn’t get to attend any Halloween parties this year, here is a flashback from last year’s Anchorman outfits:

anchorman halloween

On Sunday we were able to round up my brother and we all went to brunch at Bravo.  I didn’t even know they had brunch there, but I got the veggie omelet and it was dee-lish! 

bravo brunch

After brunch we headed over to the shooting range for some quality family bonding time.

shooting range

shooting range

shooting range

Now onto November!  I needed some motivation to keep running outside now that the weather is getting cold.  Kris and I signed up to run the Turkey Trot this year, but that won’t be enough to keep me motivated.  That’s when I found Monica’s Pile on the Miles Challenge 2015.  So I jumped at the chance to have a little motivation in my run game.  I set my goal for the month at 81 miles.  Sounds kind of ridiculous doesn’t it?  It certainly won’t be easy, but I’m going to give it my best shot!

Yesterday I kicked off the month with a 5 mile run:

fall running

5 miles down, 76 to go.

What are your November fitness goals?

Proscuitto Caprese Salad + WWWP5K

Yesterday in an attempt to detox from all of the fish n’ chips and beer consumed in London, I created this salad.  It is fresh, filling, and it tastes great! I made it again for lunch today and I’m looking forward to it. Gotta love days that you look forward to your lunch!

Proscuitto Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • Greens of your choice (I used Spring Mix with Herbs, and it added a little extra flavor dimension)
  • 1 roma tomato, diced
  • 1 slice of fresh mozzarella, diced (approx 1/5 of the cheese ball below)
  • 2 slices Proscuitto
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil & balsamic vinegar
    proscuitto salad ingredients

proscuitto caprese salad

After work I hit the road around our neighborhood for the Automatic Worldwide WP 5k 2015.  I came across this blogger challenge yesterday afternoon and thought it was such a great idea.  I was also pretty happy with my time considering I hadn’t run in a week and ate all the food in London.

Don’t mind the time on my Fitbit… I started timing my workout and then didn’t leave the house for about 45 mins. (And yes, I’m that obsessed weirdo wearing both a Garmin and a Fitbit just to go for a short run.)

3 mile run garmin fitbit

Dinner was a pan fried chicken sandwich topped with mayo, tomato, red onion, & baby spinach.  And since it’s getting cold out and we needed some comfort food, we paired it with my favorite Trader Joe’s soup.

tomato roasted red pepper soup

chicken sandwich tomato soup

Thanks for reading and have a great Tuesday!

What foods do you eat when you need comfort food?

Random Thoughts I Have While Running

I was originally going to do another ‘What I ate Wednesday’ today, but that quickly went out the door when I forgot to take pictures of every single thing I ate yesterday.  So here’s the quick version:

Breakfast – 1 slice whole grain bread with lots of Trader Joe’s raw almond butter, pumpkin coffee (from Target)

pumpkin coffee

Lunch – pita chips with beet hummus & a spinach salad w/ olive oil & balsamic

Snack –  1 cup of green tea, followed by a pumpkin yogurt ( maybe it’s just me but I was not a fan of Trader Joe’s pumpkin yogurt, good thing I bought 3 of them)

Hot yoga power hour

Dinner – Out to eat – BBQ Grilled Chicken Wrap w/ sweet potato fries and a Pumking

Now that we got that out of the way, when I was running on Monday evening I found this little guy huge scary monster on the sidewalk:

sidewalk snake

Which someone so graciously put a few pieces of mulch around as a ‘warning’.  And then I started thinking… what other strange things have I seen or thought while I was running?

  1. What color would I dye my hair if I was on the run?
  2. Do you think anyone would recognize me? (Who am I, Gone Girl??? watch out, Kris)
  3. If we had to go into hiding in the woods, would B cooperate without a leash?
  4. If this was a zombie apocalypse, could I run any faster than this?
  5. No, I would probably give up and die.
  6. One time when I was running on a trail, someone in a black hoodie crawled out of the woods and I thought it was a bear.  And then I was just terrified of the creepy person that just crawled out of the woods in the middle of nowhere.

runners meme

So there you have it, a brief glimpse into my sick runner’s mind to start your Wednesday.  Thanks for reading, and have a good one!

Getting Over the 4 Mile Hurdle & Eating Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Good morning, I hope your week is off to a good start! The past few days I have been trying to get motivated to get running again and overall things have been going well, but I can’t seem to break that 4 mile hurdle.  Fall is my absolute favorite time for running.  The air is cool and crisp and it’s so much easier to breathe, so I’m hoping to really get back into my groove… but man, it’s painful starting over.

4 miles garmin forerunner

I think I may need to bite the bullet and sign up for another race in my near future.

But on another (more delicious) note, dinner last night was incredibly easy and super yummy.  We had some leftover chicken in the fridge and on my way home from work I had a serious craving for a buffalo chicken sandwich.  There is nothing I love more than a healthy meal that takes minimal time to make. On Saturday night, Kris concocted this buffalo sauce and I totally stole it from him for this sandwich – so a shout out to him for forever changing buffalo chicken in our household!  Also, I have to admit I did not measure anything… but error on the side of caution with the spicy ingredients!

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • grilled chicken breast (sliced)
  • Yogurt bleu cheese dressing
  • Frank’s red hot sauce
  • Sriracha sauce
  • swiss cheese
  • whole wheat bun

Toppings:

  • baby arugula
  • sliced red onion
  • tomato

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F

In a mixing bowl, combine leftover chicken, yogurt bleu cheese dressing (I used Wegman’s brand), Frank’s red hot sauce, and sriracha sauce to desired spicy-ness.  Make sure the chicken is evenly coated.

Top your bun with the coated chicken and add a slice of swiss cheese on top.  Put the sandwiches in the oven for 5 minutes (until cheese is melted).

Top with desired toppings. Enjoy!

easy buffalo chicken sandwiches

We had ours with a side of baby cucumbers and carbonated water.

Have a good one!

Summertime Hamburgers + Mint Iced Tea

Hello, hello! I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!  We had a nice, low key Saturday while we did our best to savor the last of the summer.  I can’t believe Fall is upon us!!!! (But I’m actually totally psyched about it, this is my favorite time of the year.)

Me and B started our Saturday with some yogurt, iced coffee, and a morning run:

coffee yogurt water

gsp yogurt

perfect august day

4 miles garmin forerunner

Boom. 4 more miles in the books.  Although B called it quits after 2.  I could tell she wanted to go home because she was pulling toward our apartment every time we passed our street and I get pretty nervous about heat stroke when the sun is that intense.

After the run, we did some cleaning and I sipped on this refreshing carbonated water while I did some meal prep for lunch:

La Croix carbonated water

We had some ground beef in the fridge that we needed to cook, so we decided to make hamburgers for lunch, and they turned out delicious.  I don’t know if we were just extra hungry, but I’m telling you they really hit the spot.

Summertime Hamburgers:

Recipe makes 4 hamburgers.

Ingredients:

  • Burgers:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup panko (or bread crumbs)
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • salt / pepper
  • Toppings:
  • 4 whole wheat hamburger buns
  • 1 sliced roma tomato
  • baby arugula
  • red onion
  • 4 slices of cheese
  • ketchup/mustard/other condiment

hamburger ingredients

Directions:

Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir it up until it’s well mixed.  (I used probably about a tablespoon of the Montreal steak seasoning, and a decent coating of the salt/pepper.)

Once the ingredients are well mixed, divide into 4 parts and make patties:

hamburger patties

Grill to desired done-ness and add a slice of cheese so it gets melty and delicious.  Add toppings and put that sucker on a bun – done!

hamburger

We enjoyed our burgers with a side of cucumbers/hummus and some cool mint iced tea.

cucumbers hummus

Mint Iced Tea

Ingredients:

  • 13 cups water (3 liters)
  • Herbal mint tea (5 bags)

Directions:

  • Bring water to a boil
  • Add tea bags
  • Steep for 3-5 minutes
  • Place in the fridge to cool down

peppermint herbal tea

mint iced tea

Enjoy over ice!

4 Miles and Eggplant Parmesan

Yesterday was a long day filled with work, running, and cooking.

After work I came home for a 4 mile run.  The little Beester came with me for 2 of them, but it was way too hot and humid, especially for a pup to be logging the miles.

4 miles

(I swear I tried to lighten up this picture, but my efforts were futile.  It took me about 39:20 to run 4 miles.  Not my best time ever, but I’m generally happy if I average under 10 minute miles.)

I hadn’t run in a while and I felt surprisingly good.  There’s nothing better than a run that feels good both mentally and physically.  I wasn’t even counting down the miles, which has felt rare lately.  After my run I chugged some dark chocolate almond milk while I looked up a recipe for dinner.  I think I could easily drink that whole carton in 2 servings.  It is heavenly.

dark chocolate almond milk

I had an eggplant that needed to be cooked but I didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen making eggplant parmesan, so I did a little research and came up with this Whole Foods Market recipe.  It was still a decent amount of work, but it was easy enough and it turned out delicious!

eggplant parmesan

I actually had some broccoli on hand so I decided to make the broccoli side as well (recipe is also included in the Whole Foods link).

roasted broccoli eggplant parm

Dinner was a success!  And lunch will be leftovers.  Happy hump day!