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? 

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Meals, Deals, and an Early Spring

This week I was a little late to the meal planning party. I normally try to plan on weekends but sometimes with our busy schedules (and my current Shameless addiction) that’s just not an option.   

So things were a little delayed this week, but luckily we had some leftovers to get us through Monday.

My sister got me The Skinnytaste Cookbook for Christmas and I have to say I’ve been loving it. I was a little nervous at first that the ingredients would be super expensive because the recipes looked so fancy, but that was not the case at all. 

In the lineup for this week: 

Monday – leftover skinny enchiladas (from the cookbook)

Tuesday – Cheeseburger Casserole

  

Wednesday – Grilled romaine steak salads with roasted baby potatoes and blue cheese/balsamic vinegar (and obviously a side of wine)
  

Thursday – Bangin’ Good Shrimp (skinnytaste cookbook) 

Friday – frozen pizza

On a side note, I totally jumped on board with the Victoria’s Secret swim suit deals this year. They still have some going on right now that are ending soon. 

Code SPRING2015 – $15 off $100, $25 off $150, $50 off $250

Code DIVEIN – free shipping and returns on swimwear (ends Friday)

Bras – any 2 / $49.50

Yoga pants & Leggings – 2 / $65

FYI – I’m sure if you’ve purchased anything recently you know, but I’ve noticed that the offers/coupon code step of the payment process always gets skipped over by default and I have to go back and add each coupon code. The free shipping and returns are not automatically applied. Do not fall victim to the trickery! 

And Punxatony Phil predicted an early spring?! I never thought that little fur ball would come through for us, but hopefully he is right!  

5 Things About the Weekend

Good morning!  This weekend was one of those rare weekends that everything just comes together.  My family took a trip up to the Great White North to visit us and although I failed at taking many quality pictures, I did capture a few things that made me happy about this weekend (besides sharing quality time with loved ones of course).

  1. House warming gifts in my favorite color.  I love green/blue/teal. And I love baking.  And I love Valentine’s day.  So these towels and dishes from my parents were a wonderful surprise housewarming gift.
  2. Furry family members coming along for the road trip
  3. Brunch! We tried a new-to-us restaurant on Sunday morning to celebrate my sister’s birthday and the food was incredible.  The restaurant was called Trattoria Aroma, and if you’re ever in the north towns of Buffalo it’s definitely worth the stop.

      

  4. Valentine’s Day cookies.  I made these sugar cookies and they are the BEST cookie recipe I think I have ever tasted.  I would argue that they give Eat n’ Park a run for their money.  And they’re easy to decorate with this royal icing recipe.img_4978
  5. Engagement picture canvases.  I found a Groupon and got an awesome deal on these canvases from canvasonsale.com.  They came in the mail on Saturday and I was so pumped to get them up.  (The canvases turned out awesome and the picture quality was great… but does anyone actually pay the full prices listed on that site??).img_4982

And on that note, I suppose it’s back to the grind.  Do we really have the Monday already?

Anything good happening over the weekend in your neck of the woods?

Is anyone else super into Valentine’s Day decorations?

 

Blogging Resurrection – We Bought A House

Happy Friday! Man, am I happy to say that.

If you read the blog regularly you know I have been MIA for the past two months. I hope you will accept this recap as my sincere apology for temporarily abandoning F&F. 

I do have some exciting news though, we finally closed on our house! And we are all moved in. After planning on closing in October, it has been a heck of a ride. 

We actually closed in December about 2 weeks before Christmas, so you can imagine the craziness that ensued. 

After signing the papers we picked up the B dog and headed over to the house for a small celebration. 

 
  

Early the next week we got everything moved in and began the unpacking.  

I have to say the kitchen is really the only place that isn’t still in limbo. We have a lot of projects in mind already, and we are super excited to begin this exciting and slightly overwhelming adventure!  

 

Some other things that happened over the holiday season… 

Kris’ work threw an awesome Christmas party
  

(I got my dress from LuLu’s. It was a little tighter than I expected but it was definitely a good purchase. It will be worn again!)

We celebrated Christmas in Pittsburgh
  
My mom, sister, and I made more Christmas cookies than one family should ever consume
  

And we rang in the New Year with wine, cheese, and a 2,000 piece puzzle… And I totally fell asleep on the couch long before midnight. 
  
…everyone was thrilled.

That about sums up the highlight reel. This weekend my family is coming in to celebrate my sister’s birthday. 

I hope you have a great weekend! 

What’s on your weekend agenda? 

Are you currently working on any house projects? 

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?

Weekend Eats + A House Update

Good morning and happy Monday, my friends!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  Ours was pretty low key.  We did a lot of lounging and recovery from a rough Saturday night when the poor little B dog came down with a nasty case of kennel cough. She seems to be doing just fine, but she was hacking up some pretty nasty stuff every hour Saturday night.  So I spent a night catching up on the last season of Suits and chasing her around every hour until 5am.  That’s the first all-nighter I’ve had in a long time.

But to rewind a little bit, Saturday morning I went to a new-to-me boot camp class and I am sure feeling it.  After bootcamp we had a little lunch and headed over to check out the house!

We are so excited to move into our first home together and it’s so amazing to see it all coming together (after what felt like forever getting started).  We have kitchen cabinets!

house kitchen

house morning room

I also got a little crafty in the kitchen this weekend, and made this Chicken Pad Thai recipe:

chicken pad thai

And this slow-cooker butternut squash soup recipe.  (I also added ginger to the mix and it was a great decision).

slow cooker butternut squash soup

This evening I’m hoping to go for a run before it gets too dark, even though my poor little running buddy is on house arrest.

Did you eat anything good over the weekend?

Has your dog ever had the dreaded kennel cough?

Vegetarian Enchiladas

This week I decided to go out on a limb and attempt one vegetarian dinner (that was not pasta) and I actually killed two birds with one stone. Not only did I find an awesome recipe, but I used up mostly ingredients that I already had on hand. 

 
The only supplies I had to buy were enchilada sauce, cilantro, avocado, and green onions. The rest I had in the pantry or leftover in the fridge just waiting for the right recipe to come along. 

I found this recipe for vegetable enchiladas  from epicurious and followed the recipe pretty closely. 

The only thing I omitted was the rice, and I used leftover roasted sweet potatoes from Tuesday’s dinner. Then I topped with sour cream, chipotle salsa, and some salsa verde. 

B dog was there for moral support… 

 

These babies are best prepared with a margarita (or three).

The Many Faces of a (Sassy) German Shorthaired Pointer

Sometimes I find myself scrolling through my phone and looking at all of the ridiculous pictures I have of B, so I figured today I would share some of the cute/crazy/ridiculousness.  She sure has a lot of sass personality.  If you have a GSP, I’m sure you can relate to many of these.

  1. Lazy B (so sleepy) That little lion is actually her very first toy.  It amazes me that he is still in existence.

german shorthaired pointer

2. Gangsta B (Don’t mind the mess in the background.  I was packing for vacation, which appears to have been a challenging process for me)

german shorthaired pointer

3. Sassy B – “Please get this Lion off of me”

german shorthaired pointer

4. Bacon!

bacon german shorthaired pointer

5. “I accidentally ate my lips”

frisbee german shorthaired pointer

7. “Look how tiny I can be in this ball”

german shorthaired pointer

8. The Greenie face (pure concentration)

greenie face

9. ‘I’m listening…go on”

german shorthaired pointer

10. ‘If I have perfect posture will you please get these stupid things off my feet??”

german shorthaired pointer

11.  “I could run for days”

reman shorthaired pointer

They sure are a handful, but there is nothing quite like them.

Superfood Smoothie

Over the weekend I found myself with some strawberries and bananas that were about to go bad, so I decided that they would be perfect smoothie fruit.  But the strawberries and bananas aren’t the real stars of this show.  The ingredients that really make this is a ‘superfood’ smoothie are the ginger, baby spinach, and cinnamon.  Not to mention that the greek yogurt will keep you full until lunch time.
ginger strawberry banana smoothie

Ginger is packed full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties that offer a wide variety of benefits.  This article from Authority Nutrition lists 11 different health benefits of ginger.  It’s a pretty incredible little root.

Cinnamon is also classified as a superfood and has anti-inflammatory properties and may help with a host of ailments.

Baby Spinach is one of those leafy greens that everyone is always raving about because of its high dose of nutrients and low calorie count.  Spinach is also a good source of iron and B vitamins which will give you the energy boost you need to combat the day.

Superfood Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 banana
  • 5 sliced strawberries
  • 1 tsp diced ginger root
  • dash of cinnamon
  • handful baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut almond milk

Blend and enjoy!

smoothie for one serving

Weekend + Monday Motivation

Happy Monday!!!  I hope everyone out there had an excellent weekend!

Ours was pretty good around here.  Friday night was pretty low key.  We made a frozen pizza and watched Southpaw (and admittedly I fell asleep before the end).  Sorry Jake Gyllenhaal.

Saturday was an exciting day!  We picked out our appliances and checked out the house like adults! It’s really starting to come together and we are super excited to hopefully be moving in soon!

building a house

Saturday afternoon Kris’ friend came to visit so me and the B dog snuggled up on the couch to watch a chick flick.  I Red Boxed The Age of Adeline, and I thought it was pretty good.  Definitely predictable, but I like feel good movies and Blake Lively so I thought it was a winner.

the age of adeline

On Sunday we got our tailgate on with some delicious meatball sandwiches and the Bills even brought home a win.

meatball subs

buffalo bills vs miami dolphins

Now for some Monday motivation, since I didn’t do so well last week with the Pile on the Miles challenge that I said I was going to do for my November Goals.  I only logged another 6 miles this week.  So that leaves me with 70 miles to go for November.  I better get my butt moving.  Here’s the plan for the week:

Monday – 5 miles

Tuesday – yoga

Wednesday – 5 miles

Thursday – circuit workout

Friday – rest

Saturday – 5 miles

Sunday – 3 miles

just do it even if you suck at it

What’s your favorite motivational quote?