You Win Chicago. I’ll Find My Own Sunshine, And Mice Too.

Wouldn’t you know that we woke up to more snow in Chicago this morning?  Seriously, I think everyone here is ready for spring.  Apparently I speak for everyone…..

Quick post today because we are headed to the airport in this snowy (and frigid weather).  We are fed up and we are getting out of this place.  Actually this has been planned for weeks and I have been counting the days down since we booked our flights and room.

If all goes as planned we will be in sunny Orlando by late this afternoon.  And by tomorrow morning we will be hanging with some famous mice, ducks, and dogs.  Mickey, Donald and Goofy we are coming for you!

Rain is in the forecast while we are down there and you know what?  I am totally fine with that.  I will happily run in non-frozen precipitation if I don’t have to wear three layers on top and bottom!

And friends, I will do my best to bring back some sunshine and nicer weather!

Easy Delicious Slow Cooked Breakfast

As promised I have the recipe for that slow cooker breakfast I made on Saturday morning.  I mentioned before that I wanted to have something warm for the runners after a chilly training session.  I did a little research and combined a few recipes to come up with this simple and seriously delicious crustless quiche.  Although it isn’t super healthy, it also isn’t terrible and you can revamp it any way you want to make it fit your dietary needs.

SlowCookerBreakfast

I found one small remaining piece to take a picture of. Not the best, but better than nothing!

What I loved most about this recipe was how easy it was to prep.  All you need to do is cook up the bacon and you are good to go.  This dish is a perfect balance of breakfast favorites.  I would do this as a brunch or Christmas morning treat.  I love that you can put it together the night before and turn it on before you go to bed.  In the morning you have breakfast ready to go.  I served this with my Blueberry Buckle, a perfect combination.

Ingredients:

1 package hash browns (from freezer, uncooked)

8-12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

1 onion, chopped

1 pound bacon cooked and crumbled (we like ours extra crispy)

12 eggs

1 cup skim milk

Salt to taste

Garlic salt to taste

Directions:

Cook bacon and crumble.  Chop onion to preferred size.  Spray inside of slow cooker.  Layer half the hash browns, half the onion, half the bacon, and half the cheese.  Sprinkle with a little salt and garlic salt.  Layer the remaining ingredients.  Combine the eggs and milk whisk thoroughly.  Pour eggs and milk over the layered ingredients.  Cover slow cooker and set on low for 8 hours.  Turn to warm until ready to eat.  I waited and kept this in the fridge until right before I went to bed and then turned it on so that it didn’t overcook.

Note:  When we woke up it looked a tad watery on top so I adjusted the lid to allow steam to escape for 10-15 minutes.  I put the lid back on and it was perfect when we were ready to eat.  Nobody wants watery eggs!

More Cold And Spins!

Happy Monday!  I don’t know about you guys but that was fast.  I had a great weekend and even enjoyed an outdoor run.

Friday Rock did something really awesome and showed up after work with Red Velvet Oreos.  My only complaint is, I don’t understand why these are limited edition.  I used to love Oreos as a kid and don’t care for them very much as an adult.  But this pregnant lady thought these were a major hit.  Hello cream cheese frosting!

Oreo2

Saturday MDA Team Momentum had it’s first group training run for the Michelob Ultra Chicago Spring 13.1.  Did I mention that we were chosen as the official charity for this race?  This is pretty huge because Team Momentum just turned one year old just a few months ago.

The weather in Chicago has been just brutal lately.  It is getting a bit depressing.  But the weather/running gods were shining on us on Saturday and the temps went from zero to 20 something for the few short hours we needed.  We got our run in and then Sunday the temps dipped back into awful degrees.  It was fun to be coaching runners again after a winter break.

Afterward those who braved the temps came over to our place for a post run breakfast.  I wanted to make something warm for everyone but when you are up at 6 and out the door it is hard to have a hot breakfast ready.  If only we had a personal chef to prepare pancakes to be ready as we walked in the door…..But I tried out a slow cooker breakfast recipe and it was a huge hit.  In fact, I am going to share the recipe tomorrow but I didn’t get a picture because I thought there would be tons of left overs and it disappeared quickly.  So you will just have to trust me, and a team of hungry runners, on that one.

By late afternoon it was nearly 30ºF out, so Louie and I did some strolling. It felt so nice out.  How sad is it when 30’s feel like spring?  But come Sunday morning those temps were a thing of the past and we were back into the single digits.

Oreo1

We also consumed a lot of Oreos. Correction: I consumed a lot of Oreos.

After sleeping in and eating lots of leftover Blueberry Buckle I was ready to crawl back into bed and take a nap.  Fortunately my friend Michelle invited me to try Flywheel.  This was my second ever spin class and slightly intimidating.  But it was just the kick in the pants I needed.  I got a great sweat and my quads were wrecked, a tough feat for this runner.  I will share a review soon.  I do think spinning is a great way to cross train and a fun way to mix up your training program.

How was your weekend?

Did you know that the Michelob Ultra Chicago Spring 13.1 has a pancake breakfast and beer garden at the finish?  We still have spots on our team and plenty of time to train!

Achy Achy Shins

Spring training has begun or is just about to begin for many runners.  One of the ailments I hear about most often from athletes is shin splints.  This is a common overuse injury that tends to flare up at the beginning of training, usually with runners who are just starting out or picking up their mileage rapidly.  It can also be caused by other factors such as running on harder surfaces, changes in or poor gait, and improper footwear.

If you haven’t ever experienced shin splints you are lucky.  The typical symptoms are pain and inflammation in the shin area, either medial or anterior (inside or outside).  More serious forms of shin splints can also cause a bumpy corn cob like feel. It is very important that you rule out a stress fracture before continuing with training.  The main signs to look for in a stress fracture are localized pain that you can feel to the touch and more pain in the morning which tends to ease as the day goes on.  If you are not certain whether it is a stress fracture or shin splints, it is imperative that you make an appointment with your doctor.

Once you have ruled out a stress fracture there are a few things that you can do to ease the pain and get yourself on the path to recovery:

Rest or lighten the load:  If you can take a day or two off, go for it.  If not, try easing up on your mileage and then slowly return as your pain lightens.  Remember that this is often a case of too much too fast.  So if time is on your side, ease yourself back in.

Stretch:  Focus on your calves and Achilles tendon.  Downward dog the heck out of your legs.  And do my favorite stretch where you sit on your feet!  Remember to slowly stretch, hold for 30 seconds, and never ever bounce!

Feet7

Compress Compression sleeves can be your best friend.  They aren’t cheap but if you feel like your achy legs could use some TLC this is the “hug” you have been looking for.  These bad boys give a nice light squeeze to keep out the inflammation and speed up recovery.  Skip running in them and wear them afterwards.  I have spent many a night sleeping in these and can tell a difference in the morning.

batman2

Skip the meds go for heat:  I recommend that my athletes avoid using anti-inflammatories.  Besides the fact that they can mask pain and cause you to do further damage, research shows that they can also slow your recovery.  Instead, try eating foods with anti-inflammatory properties: bright green and red fruits and veggies.  Cherries are a real inflammation buster!

Also skip the ice and after the first day, put some heat on those shins.  Try this both before and after your runs for extra relief.

Thank you to everyone for your amazing well wishes for Rock and I yesterday as we announced our pregnancy.  We are over the moon excited and each and every one of you made it even more exciting!  We are truly blessed.

Happy running!

Our Team Is Expanding

I am excited to share that our running team/family is expanding.  It has been incredibly hard to keep this secret for the past few months from my friends, extended family, and readers.  I also have been avoiding the camera and posting pics of me on here.
Lockerroom2
While I am beyond thrilled to be able to share this I also wanted to acknowledge how hard it can be for some people to read this.  I know this from personal experience.  I cannot begin to tell you how hard it was at times to read some of my favorite blogs or run into some of my closest friends and hear their exciting news, only because it was something I too was desperately hoping for.  Although I was so very excited for them, it was difficult as we patiently waited and prayed for a family of our own.
This wasn’t the easiest path I have ever been on.  There have been ups and downs along the way.  I hope that this post can serve as a glimmer of hope for anyone reading this who is hoping to find the same in their life.  I can most definitely say that I am one lucky woman to be with my best friend and husband on this journey.  He is the most positive and caring person I have ever met. He is certainly my Rock!
On our end all is going well minus a few weeks when this salad eating runner couldn’t stand to think of eating vegetables.  Bagels and bread took over my life for awhile.  But things have settled down and I am enjoying the wait to see where this journey takes me.  In the meantime I have been able to stick with my running for now and that has been wonderful as always!  I have been given the go ahead to continue running as usual but just at a lower intensity.
 Preggo2
Yesterday I also took full advantage of Fat Tuesday and as you can see I laid into some paczkis.  This also happened to occur in the car, because there wasn’t time to wait until we got home.  Our car has also become junk food central.  Yes that is a tub of chocolate frosting that hangs out in the car these days….because you just never know what you will need to put it on (thus the stockpile of animal crackers, Teddy Grahams and Nilla Wafers).  It’s going to be a long 9 months!  Thank goodness for stretchy yoga pants!
Preggo

One Chilly Weekend With Some Spins

Happy holiday to my friends in the U.S.  And a happy Monday to everyone else!  I hope you all had a great weekend.

I have to say that for pretty much the entire winter I have lucked out on the weekends, until now.  I hate going to the gym on Saturdays because I find it totally annoying to try and fight for a treadmill.  Plus my gym has started plastering signs everywhere stating that there is now a 20 minute limit on cardio machines when there is a wait.  I am the first to say that I hate waiting for a machine at the gym, but 20 minutes is a bit ridiculous in my opinion.  There isn’t much you can do in 20 minutes.  Give me 30 minutes and I can at least get a couple of miles done.

I find myself running on the machine with paranoia when the mills fill up.  I start to panic and wonder if I am going to have to stop my workout.  I would by lying if I said I haven’t noticed the machines are all full and stopped my machine and pretended to fix my laces. Then I start back up in a lame attempt to get my full run in.  I will also admit that I am annoying and average 6-9 miles at a time on the mill.  Sorry gym friends I will be out of there as soon as it warms up again!

To avoid my treadmill paranoia or fighting for a machine, I decided to do something totally new this past weekend.  Thanks to Chicago for having single digit temps, my Saturday long run was out of the picture.  So Rock and I headed to Core Power Yoga and took our first spinning class.  Not only were we spinning virgins but we also opted to try Core Power’s Core Ryder class.

A pic of me on a bike, because I am a bad blogger and didn't take a pic!

A pic of me on a bike, because I am a bad blogger and didn’t take a pic!

These bikes are different than what you will find in most spinning classes.  The Core Ryder allows you to move like you are on an actual bike.  The front “tire” moves back and forth to simulate turning and tilting on a bike.  This gives the bike a more realistic feel and a great overall body workout.  I was feeling my abs by the end of class for sure.

Unlike yoga classes, Rock was also happy to see that he wasn’t the only male in the group.  About 1/3 of the class was men and some of them appeared to be quite serious athletes and cyclists.

The Core Ryder class was the highlight of my weekend.  We had a great teacher who sought us out before class started to make sure we were set up properly.  She made sure we had weights (because our class did resistance exercises while on the bike).  She also played great music, kept the class pumped up, and made sure every level of rider was challenged and instructed properly.

I will definitely go back for another class.  At $23 per 45 minute class this isn’t the cheapest option.  However, I felt like I got my money’s worth.  Groupon has a deal right now for $75 for a month of unlimited classes and if you are new to Core Power you get your first week free.  Definitely try their Power Fusion class which incorporates hot Vinyasa with free weights and aerobics; a calorie torching trifecta.

*This post was not sponsored by Core Power.  I simply went to try it out and paid for the class.

In the end I got that sweat I was looking for and my legs felt like they had a serious workout.  We were both glad we tried it out.  A huge thanks to Julia E. at Core Power Yoga Lincoln Square for making our first spinning experience a big success.  You can find locations and schedules at corepoweryoga.com.

Do you spin?  Have you done Core Power Ryder?

Running On The Road

I’m not referring to the type of runs you do away from the trails.  I’m talking about taking your running on the road.  I hear from a lot of clients who are concerned about still training with work or travel plans.  I absolutely get their concerns.  But I think most people are missing out on the best part of running; doing it in totally new places.  Sure you love your daily running route, but nothing is more exciting than lacing up and not knowing what is around the next corner.

Whether you are out of town on business or with the family on vacation, there are ways to slip away for a few miles.  Heck, after a rough day of business meetings, an evening run in a new city might be the perfect way to unwind (and justify a glass of wine or two later).  Even when you are with the family at a new destination there is often a way to head out for a 30 minute to hour long run.

Maybe you can run on a beach!

Maybe you can run on a beach!

Perhaps you might not be able to log that long run you had your heart set on, or fit in what your training plan called for, but anything is always better than nothing.  The new terrain can also refresh your mind and body and bring a new sense of love for the sport.  This is super helpful when you are in need of a pick me up or if your running is feeling stale.

There are some great apps available to help make travel running easier.  Mapmyrun offers users a way to log their runs with descriptions and mileage for others to look up in various destinations.  A recent favorite of mine is localeikki.com where users can write down and share favorite running routes.  This site is full of great pictures and information for runners, hikers, and bikers.

One of the best ways I find new routes is to do a little online research before I head out on vacation.  When you arrive don’t be afraid to ask around.  Sometimes the best resources are not at the front desk of your hotel.  My husband and I ended up at a bar one afternoon for a post run burger and beer when we met a bartender who happened to be an avid cyclist.  He gave us some great info on places we had never heard of.

That time I got to run in Aruba wasn't so bad.

That time I got to run in Aruba wasn’t so bad.

When all else fails there is always the gym.  I have lucked out here in two different ways.  Sometimes your hotel gym can really surprise you with top notch equipment.  One of our favorite spots in upstate New York offers passes to a local gym that has become my absolute number one facility.  Besides having the best treadmills (and tons of them) they also have a great summer pool situation.  The best part is, the hotel offers this perk for free.  So don’t be afraid to ask at the front desk.  You never know where you might end up!

I know that whenever I travel I tend to eat a lot more food and things that I normally wouldn’t have.  I feel like I fall out of my normal routine and get in a bit of a funk.  Running on vacation always makes me feel like I am still keeping it all on track.

What are you favorite tips for getting runs in on the road?