Horrible Training Runs=Race Ready Runners

This past weekend there was a very common trend all over social media.  I’ve touched upon this subject before, but I think that it is a really important one to revisit.

For some reason, this past weekend seemed to be the time for everyone to have one of those terrible, horrible, no good, very bad training runs.  Friends and clients alike, regardless of what plans they were following, seemed to have a rough weekend.  For some it was the weather, but for others it was just one of those mysterious days where nothing went right.

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I know this can be incredibly discouraging.  Nothing is worse than getting part way through a long run and feeling like you can’t make it or you just want to quit.  It messes with your head in all sorts of crazy ways.  Just about any runner will start to play the race day questioning game.  “How will I possibly make it through race day if I can’t get through X miles?!”  This is totally normal.

In fact, it is absolutely normal to break down.  Maybe you cry.  Maybe you scream and shout profanities.  Whatever it is that you need to do you, go for it.  Have a moment.

Then it is important to sit back and reflect.  This is a great time during your training to figure out just what went wrong.  Did you fuel properly before, during, and after?  How was your hydration game?  Did you get enough sleep leading up to your run?  Was it the weather or something else that was out of your control?

Perhaps you will find the answers, and that is great.  Or you might find that you just plain had a crappy run.  That is okay too.

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Here is the good news about your bad run:

It can be a learning experience.  Upon reflection, if you discovered that you made a few mistakes, you have come out ahead.  Now you know how to learn from those errors and move on.  Better now than on race day.  Take those lessons and use them to make your next long run even better.

You got it out of your system.  Odds are that during your training, there is going to be a really bad run.  It is inevitable.  So roll with those odds and shake it off.  Move forward and be grateful that it is over and happened now.

You know that you can survive.  To me, this is the number one takeaway from a terrible training run.  Marathons and other endurance races are a rollercoaster of emotions and physicals ups and downs.  Every runner needs a really bad run before race day in order to know that you can survive.  Regardless of what comes at you out on the race course, you can take a moment and recall that you’ve been in a similar situation before.  You pushed through and you finished.  You can do it on race day too.

Having a bad training run is inevitable.  Take the time to reflect.  Go ahead and get mad.  Learn from your experiences and then move on.  Go forward with confidence that in the future you will be an even stronger runner both mentally and physically, thanks to that crappy run!

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All smalls after finishing the most miserable marathon of my life. I even thought about getting on a bus at mile 18 to quit.  I survived!

What have you learned from a bad training run?

Thanks Kiddo

It is hard to believe that I have been a Mother Runner for almost 2 years now (21 months to be exact and we are 4.5 months out from meeting our next one!).  A lot has changed in those 21 months and I believe I have changed quite a bit myself.

Being a parent isn’t always easy.  There is no way to prepare for the true toils of becoming a parent.  First there are the sleepless nights.  I knew we would be up.  But I had no clue just how little sleep we would be living on during those first few months.

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I’ve spent a lot of time with children over the years.  We teach sports and activities for a living and I have had plenty of babysitting gigs.  Regardless of the amount of experience, you quickly realize just how clueless you are.  Getting to know your little baby and their personality, riding the random illnesses and sick days, and just plain figuring out how to juggle everything, takes time and patience.

I’d like to think we have figured out quite a bit so far, but every day has it’s changes and challenges.  In any given day I have moments where I think our little girl is the most incredible ever, and five minutes later I’m ready for a break.

New milestones bring new challenges.  Right now we are dealing with the start of those Terrible Twos.  Tempers are starting to flare.  The piercing screams and shouts this little munchkin can make are mystifying.  I’ve done my share of Googling and reading parenting sites lately.

But the truth is, being a parent and being a Mother Runner has made me a better person and also a better runner.  Sure, I have learned to live on a heck of a lot less sleep.  I have also learned to let go of a few things.  I love a clean house and a set schedule.  I have learned that things aren’t always perfect and sometimes a little mess or a bit of randomness can lead to a great time.

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Oh the messes!

When I was pregnant the first time, I worried a lot that my running would never be the same.  I watched as I got bigger and my pace got slower.  The good news for Mother Runners and Mom’s To Be, is that you can actually become a better and stronger runner than ever before.

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Having a child is no easy feat.  I once read that the act of labor takes you to the brink of where you think you cannot make it any further.  It is one of the biggest physical challenges you will ever face.  Being pregnant is a challenge in itself; 9 months of an evolving body is something else!

If there is a theme to this post, it is patience.  Pretty much anyone who knows me would tell you I fit the bill of a Type A personality.  Patience isn’t always my strong suit.   Being a new parent and a Mother Runner requires a lot of patience.

To come back from being pregnant and having a baby, takes a special kind of patience.  I needed to allow my body to adjust and relearn a few things.

I had to learn balance.  Finding the time to get a run in most days requires some skill (especially when both parents are runners).  Sometimes I have to do a shorter run.  Other days I have to hit the treadmill during nap time or after Mary goes to bed.  There is no time for messing around!

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For all the lessons, adventures, ups and downs, I am forever grateful to Mary for making me a mom and a Mother Runner.  She teaches me new things daily and brings joy to our family that we never could have imagined.  She’s hilarious and exhausting and I wouldn’t change a single moment.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!  What are your best and most difficult adventures?

Wind As Your Training Tool

One thing that is never in doubt when we visit Florida, Chicago, or NYC, is the crazy winds.  During Rock’s first visit to Florida, I took him on a run that was so windy, our ears actually ached afterwards.

I will admit that I am not usually a huge fan of the wind.  As a girl with curly hair,  it makes me look like a hot mess.  As a runner, it really kills my pace and sometimes even my enjoyment!

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How I want to think I look.

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How I really look!

 

The key to running in the wind is to learn to make it work for you, or find a way to work around it.

I once read that during any run, you need to know that your pace will slow when you run into the wind.  While your pace will speed up once you have your back to the wind, you will never be able to make up any lost time from when your pace slowed.  Lesson to be learned, is that you just need to be patient and work with what you’ve got.

Here are a few pointers to make running with the wind work for you:

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Use resistance training to work on form.  One thing I noticed on a particularly breezy day was that you really need to focus on the drive of your knees.  Efficient form makes running into the wind a lot less frustrating.  Take the time to use this resistance as a lesson in working on driving your legs forward more efficiently.  Powerful strides using both the knees and glutes will make your running much stronger.

Keep your shoulders and hands relaxed.  A slight lean is fine but never hunch over.  While you want to look ahead, it can be useful on hills and with wind to look forward and down little in front of you to push through.

Choose the least annoying route.  Mentally, it is much easier to running with the wind for the second half of a run.  If you have the chance to alter a route, take a look at the weather before you head out.  Aim to run into the wind for your first half and then head home with the wind at your back.  Knowing that the second half of your run will be easier will make everything a little bit more bearable.

Planning ahead is always helpful.  It can be very frustrating to not realize you are running with the wind, only to turn around and get smacked in the face!

Arrange for a drop off.  I’m not going to lie.  On a particularly windy day, there is no shame in having someone drive you a few miles out and then run the entire route with the wind at your back.

In fact, I had the most wonderful 10 mile run on the beach in Florida with 15-20 mile gusts.  My GPS said that this pregnant runner was knocking out times similar to when I was in marathon shape.  I knew that the wind was giving me a giant cheat, but it was still a nice mental boost.

Turn up the tunes or find another way to ignore its existence.  Sometimes you have no choice but to just deal with the wind.  We can complain all we want, but if you want to get a workout in, you might just have to deal with it.  Turn up the tunes, tuck your chin, and just power through.   You will be so glad you did once it is over!  And you will also likely be so glad it is over too!

How do you like to deal with windy runs?

Playing Winter Tourists At Home

Two weekends ago we had a guest for a few days.  I was a little bummed because earlier in the week we had amazing spring-like temperatures.  A few days of that weather melted all three feet of snow we had in our yard.  It was awesome.  I even got out for an 8 mile run in shorts and a tank.

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Friday morning I woke up to thunder and the sound of rain.  I was thrilled.  I assumed that any remaining snow was gone.  Was  I ever wrong.  I opened the curtain to our bedroom window and may have shouted a profanity or two.  The entire yard was covered in snow.  What the heck?!

Our guest arrived to a winter wonderland.  Yuck!  Sure it was nice to have for awhile, but I am ready for spring to come and stay!

Saturday after Mary’s nap we drove over to Traverse City and wandered around downtown on Front Street.  I will admit that there is something really picturesque about Traverse City when the snow is out.  Street lights are wrapped with holiday lights and the snow dusts the trees that line the sidewalks.

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It is just as beautiful, if not more so, when summer arrives.  With the warmer temperatures you see plenty of tourists and shops are buzzing.

Traverse City is a special place in Northern Michigan.   While you might picture the northern Midwest serving Friday fish fry’s (and you won’t go without finding one here), this mini city prides itself in serving quality farm to table foods.  From sushi, to salads, wood fired pizzas and even French cuisine, you can find it in this town.  The Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsula’s have the perfect land and climate for vineyards, and hops farms are also now abundant in the area.  You will find so many delicious wineries and breweries in the to enjoy. 

We spent our afternoon wandering through shops and picking up some fun gifts and winter sales items.

A trip to Front Street is never complete without stopping at Cherry Republic.  You will find just about any cherry product you could possibly ever imagine here in the “Cherry Capital of the World.”  Rock and I love wandering through the shop and sampling all of the cherry deliciousness.  I am a huge fan of the chocolate covered cherries and we discovered a delicious barbecue sauce and horseradish.  Mary found a perfect cherry ball pit and slide to play in.  Needless to say, we managed to stay there for quite some time.

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Next we drove over to the Grand Traverse Commons.  If you are a fan of history, architecture, shopping, or even ghosts, you will love this place.  This is the former site of the Michigan Psychiatric Hospital.  It closed several decades ago and sat in disrepair while locals fought it’s demolition.  Years later it has been refurbished without losing it’s original character.  Inside and around the grounds you will find shops, restaurants, apartments, condos, wineries and breweries.  We were bummed that our favorite taco shop was closed while we were there but we did enjoy wandering through all of the shops.

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The halls are lined with old photographs and this terribly un-PC postcard that somewhat amused me.

We ended our evening at Red Mesa Grill for some delicious, while not quite authentic, Mexican food.  The burrito might not have been my favorite typical Mexican fare, but I was really impressed by the slowly roasted pork inside.  It was a pleasant surprise.

Sometimes it can be fun to tour your hometown and see it from a different perspective.  While I wasn’t loving  the cooler weather,  it certainly set the tone for a picturesque visit for the day.

Have you ever visited Traverse City or any other places in Michigan?

Sun’s Out, Run’s Out

This past weekend brought a heatwave to Northern Michigan and much of the country.  We went from lots of snow and 20 degree temperatures to mid and upper 40’s.  After dreary and cold days, it felt amazing to see the sun shining and the snow melting.

I woke up with a bit more energy.  I felt happier and was also much more motivated.  I met with several clients over the weekend and they all mentioned that they felt so much better.  There was more motivation to get to the gym and they were happier in general.

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I felt like this all weekend!

Now, I’m not going to say that the groundhog was wrong.  Having grown up in the Midwest, I know that Mother Nature is just giving us a brief reprieve.  We can easily still get dustings of snow into the middle of May. But spring has started to show a little hint of itself and it feels great.

One of the most difficult parts of winter is the shorter and much colder days.  Even our dog doesn’t get outside as much.  It is very difficult to go for walks when your face freezes and the ground is covered in snow and ice.  We naturally start spending more time inside and less time being active.  Even as a runner, my step count isn’t nearly as high during the winter months. The cold weather and darker days also tend to make us want to hibernate.  It is much easier to curl up under a blanket on the couch with the family.

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When the sun starts peeking out from it’s winter hibernation, it is a great reminder that it is time to dust off those walking/running shoes.  Throw on some rain boots and walk around in the melting puddles left from the snow piles.  Take the kids out to make one last snowman.  Find some cleared sidewalks and join the family for a walk.  Yesterday we took two family walks.  Both times we finished by letting Mary splash in puddles until it was time to strip down and change clothes.  All of us had a blast playing in the melted snow.

The weather is getting a touch warmer and that can feel absolutely awesome.  Step outside at lunch and walk for a few blocks.  The fresh air and sunlight will wake you up and leave you feeling more motivated for the rest of the day.

The sun is setting later.  I love when this happens.  On my drive home the other night, I noticed that it was almost 7:00pm when the sun finally set.  Take advantage of this.  Even if you get outside for the last 5 minutes of the evening, just run around in the yard.  Throw a ball with the kids or a friend in your driveway.

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That’s what I’m afraid of…..

It has been a long winter.  Let’s take advantage of every bright and sunny or warm day.  Find some time to enjoy a few extra minutes outside.  Breathe in the fresh air.  Move a little bit more.  You will soon notice that everything starts to feel a bit better and you will set the tone for an active spring and summer season!

Did you enjoy the weather this weekend?  Were you able to get outside for a bit?

Busy Days and Weekend Adventures

I seriously have not forgotten about this space.  Life has just gotten rather hectic lately and I decided to take a week to stay busy doing other things.  A co-worker broke her leg on our icy streets and I have been covering lots of extra hours at work.  No complaints here, as I really enjoy my job.  But I do hope my co-worker is feeling better soon.

At some point during the middle of last week, Rock suggested that I go with him to teach skating in Central Park for the weekend.  After some schedule juggling and some very kind offers from my parents to watch Mary, we were off to New York City for a few days of skating and lessons.

The weather was astounding!  It stayed in the 50’s all weekend and there was no snow in sight.  This was a delightful break from the constant snow we have been getting in Michigan.  It felt like spring!  I took a few days off from running and just enjoyed working as much as possible.  When I wasn’t working, I spent my time wandering the city.  It had been a long time since I just walked around and enjoyed the sights.  I felt like I had a renewed appreciation for everything.

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My office at 6am.  Not a bad way to start the day…..after a cup of coffee.

Rock and I stopped into St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  We wandered Central Park and the Time Warner Center.  We watched the skaters at Rockefeller Center.  That brought back special memories for me because we went there on our first date to see the Christmas tree.

We ate delicious food.  Thursday night we had a late evening slice from Artichoke pizza.  If you are ever in New York City or Queens, I highly recommend a stop here.  I covered my craving for sushi and beef shwarma.  And I of course enjoyed some delicious NYC bagels for breakfast.

Sunday came quickly and I boarded a plane back to Detroit.  I had the luck of getting an upgrade to first class.    After a long delay at LaGuardia, which ranks in my book as the worst airport to be stuck at, I walked down the ramp to board the plane.  Half way there, the pilot sent me back and announced all flights were in a ground stop to Detroit due to fog.  Flights had been canceled all day and it didn’t look good for us.

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Fortunately we managed to board the plane after a surprisingly brief wait.  We then sat on the tarmac for what felt like ages as flight plans were made and changed.  I managed to make it to Detroit by evening and drove three and a half hours home in dense fog.  I arrived home in the wee hours of the morning and woke to early cries from little Miss Mary.   Fortunately, she was game for an hour of snuggles in bed, before it was time to start the day.

With a few hours of sleep and a few extra miles in my frequent flyer program, it was back to reality and back to the gym for work.  What would a weekend be without some fun adventures?

Quick summer trip planner for you.  Did you know that National Geographic just named our area with one of the Best 21 Beaches in the World?

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The Rockefeller tree may be pretty awesome.  But Rock outdid himself by proposing to me here.  Then National Geographic chose it.  Coincidence?  I think not.

How was your weekend?  Did you have any fun adventures?

Eating Seasonally

Happy Monday and hello from Northern Michigan where we are enjoying some crisp fall weather and even a few dustings of snow last week.  I’m not sure I am ready for this, but we are embracing it.

Despite the cooler weather, fall is one of my favorite seasons.  I love the crisp air for running.  We pull out the cinnamon scented candles and brooms.  And we start cooking a bit more for the season.

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Soups show up on the stove.  Breads and cookies are baking.  The slow cooker is put to more use.  We also start to switch up some of the foods we typically eat.

Our little girl is a lover of all fruits.  While she gobbles up strawberries and blueberries, we have had to opt for more seasonal options like pears and honey crisp apples (our favorites).   Fruit that isn’t in season is either hard to find or comes at a hefty price because it must be shipped in from other parts of the world or country.  Beyond not being very pocketbook friendly, it also loses a lot of the delicious flavor that fresh picked, local and in season produce offers.  

I love asparagus, but in the winter a small bunch can set you back $7.00.  Ouch!  Again, it just doesn’t have that delicious flavor that you find direct from the farm in the summer. 

Eating seasonally is great in so many ways.  Produce is cheaper when it is ripe, and has more color and flavor.  By eating with the seasons we also switch up our diets and add a bit of variety.  

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While in New York with Rock he took me to one of his new found favorite restaurants called Create.  They offer acai bowls, salads, sandwiches, soups and rice/quinoa bowls.  We were looking for something to fill us up after a hard day at work and he brought me over to the rice and quinoa bowl section.  After looking at the menu, I opted for their Natural Bowl.  I chose brown rice and steak to top mine off.  Inside was roasted butternut squash, roasted sweet potato, baby kale, roasted tomato, chick peas, and avocado.

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My bowl was delicious and a great reminder that we can easily switch things up.  While I love salads in the summer, the rice or quinoa bowl is a wonderful option in the winter when we are looking for something to warm and fill us up.  

Roasted vegetables are a great way to add flavor to your meals.  It is simple and adds totally different tastes and aromas to your veggies.  All you need to do is chop vegetables evenly and toss with olive oil.  Pour onto a baking sheet and bake at 425° for 15-30 minutes.  Start checking after 15 minutes, as some vegetables go faster than others.

You can roast veggies ahead of time on the weekend and then pop them into the refrigerator for later in the week.  Throw some rice in a bowl, add your toppings of choice and toss in the microwave for a minute.  You could do this several nights during the week and never have the same meal twice.  

Great veggies for fall:  Squash, pumpkin, sweet potato, kale, mushrooms, beets, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, carrots, fennel, cabbage, brussels sprouts, parsnips, garlic, and radishes.  All of these can easily be chopped and roasted. You can also add herbs to season as you roast.  I am a huge fan of rosemary, thyme, basil, and sage.

Great fruits for fall:  Grapes, apples, pears, persimmons, cranberries, and pomegranate.

Other great things to have on hand: Canned black beans, frozen corn, chickpeas, hummus, avocado, cilantro, and salad greens. These can all be added on top of your seasonal bowls.

Switch up your base:  You can easily switch the base of a bowl up to completely change things around too.  Try adding greens, couscous, freekeh, or grits.  The possibilities and combinations are endless.

Quinoa is an excellent source of protein!  Quinoa and soy are the only two plant based complete proteins; meaning they contain all of the amino acids our bodies need.  For anyone who is a vegetarian or vegan, quinoa is an excellent source of protein to add into your diet.  It is also a great low calorie option for meals.  For those of us who do eat meat, it is a great choice for Meatless Monday meals.

How do you like to eat seasonally?  What would you put in a rice or quinoa bowl?

Dealing With Minor Foot Issues

We runners are notorious for having ugly feet.  The stereotype is real for a reason.  Sometimes even getting a basic pedicure can be quite the embarrassment.

There are a few things you can do to ward off minor issues like blisters and bruised/lost toe nails:

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Get yourself fitted for the appropriate shoe for you.  Everyone’s feet are different and our running styles are unique too.  From narrow to wide feet, flat or high arches, to supinating or pronating; each of these are factors that make a customized shoe choice very important.

You can go into almost any local running store and they will be happy to find the right fit for you.  Shoes not only vary in size, but also in how they help work through your gait, and assist with minor variances in how you run.  Your fitting will also take into consideration how many miles you typically put in, the terrain you will be running on, and other variables.

When we have a shoe that is too big or too wide, our feet can move ever so slightly and cause blisters or pound on our toe nails.  If you consider how much time you spend in your shoes, you will quickly see how important it is to have the appropriate pair.

You might recall that two years ago I switched to a neutral from a stabilizing shoe.  The end result was a rough case of Achilles tendinitis that lasted months.  It wasn’t pretty and I have since learned that cute shoes are not an important factor in the decision making process.

Skip the cotton socks.  100% cotton can be a recipe for disaster.  Cotton doesn’t wick, and when you sweat, the moisture gets locked in there.  The end results is an environment for blisters to pop up.

Keeping your feet dry is the first step to avoiding blisters in the first place.  Find a sock made with sweat wicking material.  This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on socks.  I get my favorites from Costco for about $10 for 6 pairs.

Keep your shoes dry in between workouts.  As mentioned above, a moist environment is grounds for major foot pain.  If you sweat a lot or run in the rain, make sure you air those shoes out before your next run.  Take the insert out and leave your shoes in a cool and dry area.  You can also ball up some old newspaper and stuff it inside.  This will help pull any excess moisture out.

Side note:  This will also help avoid getting majorly funky smelling shoes.  Although this is likely inevitable if you run hundreds of miles in your shoes, it can help keep them fresh as long as possible.

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Trim those toes!  A quick weekly trim of the nails will help avoid pounding your toes against the front of your shoes, which often causes bruised and blackened nails.  Take care of your feet and trim the nails as short as you possibly can.

Sometimes despite every best effort, blisters and ugly toes just happen.  There isn’t always anything you can do to avoid these minor pitfalls.  I’ve gone out for a run and come back to find the most random of blisters.  During my last marathon training session, I managed to lose 3 toe nails (although I blame the hot and humid course at Grandma’s Marathon for at least 2 of those!).

The good news is that you can continue to run through both of these issues.  It is up to you whether you hold onto that blister or not.  I am not a doctor or medical professional and I cannot give you advice on that matter.  But I will suggest that regardless of how you handle your blister, that you keep it clean and sterilized.  A little peroxide, a good air dry, followed by a bandaid will have you back out on the road.

As for missing toe nails.  They can certainly hurt during the bruising process.  The good news is that once the nail is ready to go, it looks far worse than it actually is.  At that point, you will find that it has healed up underneath and ready to go.

Bottom line is, take care of your feet.  Find proper gear and keep them clean and healthy.

How do you deal with these common issues?

You Can Be Like Fine Wine & Stinky Cheese

Who else is dealing with bipolar weather that is messing with your head?  Last week we had some really hot days that were followed up with cooler and drier weather.  Then this week has been hot, rainy, and ridiculously humid.  Those hot days earlier in the week were making me feel pretty down about my running.  I was slow, sluggish, and not very motivated.

Then the cooler and drier weather came along and I found myself running fast and happy in the middle of a long run.  It felt great.  I felt like my old self again.  And when I saw my splits in the middle of my run, I was shocked.  Earlier in the week I had felt slow and discouraged.  Then I started seeing some pretty speedy paces with that cooler weather.

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It was a great reminder that we need to be aware of our weather conditions and cut ourselves a little slack at times.

However, I also began reflecting on my running over the years.  I realized that at 36 years old, I am running stronger and better than I was in my 20’s.  As a mother of a 13 month old, I am continuing to run hard and improve.  Not many other sports would let your body do this.

I was a competitive figure skater for many years.  If I tried to do anything near what I used to be capable of, I would risk serious injury (and be out of my mind).  My body just isn’t cut out for that anymore.  Yet, with running, I can do more now than I did a decade ago.

I thought to myself, “Huh, I’m kind of like a fine wine.”  But after assessing my sweaty self, I opted for “Stinky Cheese” instead.  “I’m like a stinky cheese.”  You know what? I’ll take it.

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Perhaps with a beer on the side….

Earlier this year as I was in the midst of training for my first marathon after having a baby, I had a moment where I really second guessed myself.  Being a new mom, I hadn’t put in the prep time leading up to training.  I didn’t get as many double digit long runs in.  I had a baby 5 months earlier.  All of this made me wonder if I silly for attempting to qualify for Boston so soon, or even attempt a marathon at all.  I posted about how I came to understand that I am not the runner I once was.  But I wasn’t the runner I am now.

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I ran that marathon.  I PR’ed and I got that Boston Qualification.  I pushed myself hard that day because I felt like I was running like the wind.  My legs burned but my heart soared through the Poconos.  It was the most amazing experience and comeback.  Lesson learned, we need to be patient with our bodies and also know when to push them.

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Nothing like coming in to the finish and having your little girl there to give you that final push!

Sure, there will come a time when we will reach our peak.  But in the sport of running, it happens at a much later point in our lives.  The only way to find that peak, is to keep pushing to the top.  We are capable of so much more than what we realize.  Stop letting your mind question your ability and let those legs show you just how strong you are.

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And remember, you can always be that stinky cheese 😉

Less Running and More Drinking: Summer Weather Got To Me

Happy Monday!  That was some crazy weather we had last week.  Here in Chicago, like much of the rest of the country, we had some searing temperatures.  I woke up on Saturday morning and it already felt like 95°F.

I used the weather as an excuse to do a lot less running.  I logged 20 miles between Monday and Sunday, approximately half of my normal mileage.  The miles that I did get in were very slow and sweaty.  It was the perfect time to take some much needed rest from running.  Work has been super busy lately (there are a lot of upcoming races and we are in the peak of training) and life in general is pretty busy.

It is important to remember that running should be fun, and we need to take breaks; even from the things we love the most sometimes.  Coming back fresh and excited helps us to maintain a healthy relationship and avoid becoming stale.  When I did run, my legs felt fresh.  When I wasn’t running, I made sure to do other activities.

I also made a point to hydrate.  During the day, I did some healthy hydrating.  One of my favorite mocktails is also my favorite summer drink.  I am a huge fan of all things LaCroix.  I love their good old standby flavors of grapefruit, lemon, lime, and passion fruit.  I also love their new flavors like cherry lime and cucumber blackberry.  When I finish a long, hot run, I find that it is easier for me to down a glass of sparkly bubbles, than a flat glass of water.

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I totally forgot about cherry lime!

My sister-in-law introduced me to a LaCroix mocktail when I was pregnant and I have never looked back.  Minute Maid makes a delicious 15 calorie per serving lemonade.  They also make this in 12 ounce cans at 5 calories per serving.

Pour yourself a glass of sparkling water of your choice and add a splash of the lemonade (or 1/3 a can) and enjoy.  It makes for a perfect post run refresher or a great mocktail anytime during the day or evening.  Go wild and throw a splash of vodka in there for an evening imbibe.  Hey, it works for both night and day!

During the summer months, I love bubbles when cocktail time comes around.  I have a few current favorites.  My longtime go to, has been a sparkling Rose’ from a vineyard in Suttons Bay, Michigan.  L. Mawby only makes sparkling wines and his “Sex” is the perfect summer wine for picnics or late night cocktails.  Plus, who doesn’t like showing up at a party and offering someone a bottle of Sex?!

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If you ever get the chance to do some wine touring in Northern Michigan, I highly recommend visiting L. Mawby where you can sit on the back porch with a small tasting plate and a glass of his sparkling wine.  Stop by next door at Big Little and sample their Tire Swing, another of my favorites!  Visit their websites where you can order yourself a bottle of both if you can’t make it to the vineyards.

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Finally, the week after Mary was born, I popped into my favorite wine shop, The Bottle Shop.   When the owner found out I had just had a baby, she invited me to the back for a celebratory tasting.  She poured a small glass of her favorite prosecco and added a squeeze of fresh lime.  Cielo comes in at just under $10 a bottle.  It is light and refreshing.  When you add the fresh lime, it gives the prosecco a bit of a sparkling margarita flavor.  It is the perfect summer sparkler.  Cocktails don’t get any easier than this!

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The weather is looking cooler this week.  Rest assured I will be running again and back to posting more about summer running tips.  Until then, cheers!

What are your favorite ways to hydrate for real and for fun?  Share your favorite simple cocktail ideas!