Challenging Long Runs And A New Favorite Smoothie

Hello from Sunny Florida!  It feels so great to be here after a few months of gloomy winter.  I absolutely love that feeling of being in the car for hours and stepping out into warmer air.  It reminds me of childhood Spring Breaks.

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It’s so nice seeing the sunset again!

This year, I am even more excited to be here right now because I’m currently in week 6 of marathon training.  Michigan has had a relatively mild winter, but that still hasn’t helped my long run game.  It has either been too cold or too snowy to get long workouts in outside.  We live in a rural area, and the roads don’t always get plowed in the timeliest manner.  To be quite honest, I don’t love winter running and I find that snowy conditions mess with my gait, putting me at risk for injury.

The treadmill has been my friend this winter.  So far I have done my weekly 8 mile speed workouts, 10 mile moderate pace runs and long, slow distances ranging from 12-16 miles on the treadmill.  I was really looking forward to taking these outside in Florida.

That isn’t to say that I don’t realize the challenges of running in warm weather immediately after leaving Northern Michigan.  My body always takes awhile to adjust to the warmer weather and that often messes with my head.  This time around, I was mentally prepared to slow the paces down and just fit in whatever I can.

First, I needed a trip to the Asics store to get some new shoes because I’ve logged upwards of 500 miles in my last pair.  On Wednesday, I was so excited to lace up my new Kayano 25’s and do a slow 10 miles to St. Augustine Beach.  Things didn’t go quite as I had planned.  Around mile 4, the ball of my foot began to feel like it was chafing.  I soon had to stop every mile and let me foot stop stinging.  I was so frustrated and in a lot of pain.

To say that I was nervous about Friday’s 18 mile run, would be a major understatement.  My stomach was sick with fear.  How should I approach the run?  Do I run 4 out and 4 back with the option of switching into my old shoes?   The idea of 18 miles suddenly seemed enormous with this fear about my shoes.  I headed out into the wind and just kept going.  I took deep breaths and reminded myself that every mile is different.  First you have to calm your mind or you will never make it through the entire run.

It wasn’t until I stopped for water at mile 14 that my feet started to ache again.   At that point I was pretty sweaty and a bit dehydrated.  I gave myself the option to stop every mile or so for the last 4 miles, and to be honest, I was totally okay with that.  I made it through a big mental and physical challenge and that is a huge takeaway in endurance training.

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Then I headed back home for a shower and some recovery time, which includes both rest and fuel.  I have a new favorite dairy-free smoothie that my girls and I can’t get enough of.  Every time I make one after a run, the girls insist that they get one too.  Some evenings at snack time, they even request this.  It is super easy and full of antioxidants.

We generally limit our dairy, so we usually get our calcium from orange juice and almond milk,  We always have Tropicana Trop 50 No Pulp on hand,  along with Minute Maid Sugar Free Lemonade to mix with sparkling water or even dilute with water.  Both of these are the key to a really great smoothie!

Dairy Free Cherry Mango Recovery Smoothie!

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup Tropicana Trop 50 Orange Juice (or any citrus juice)

1/2 cup Minute Maid Sugar Free Lemonade

I cup frozen cherries

1 cup frozen mango

Directions:

Pour everything into a blender and blend well.  Serve and enjoy.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!

What do you like putting in your smoothies?

Away For A Few Days, But Back At It

Hello again, friends!  I took a brief blogging hiatus this week, but for good reason.  We needed to head up north and take care of a few things at our house before spring truly arrives.

Almost three years ago, we were married at Shanty Creek Resort in Bellaire, Michigan. This is a ski resort by winter and a golf mecca by summer.  From the moment you walk into the main lodge you feel like you have found a special place.  The lodge gives the vibe of an old ski resort as you enter into the main lobby which then steps right into their dining area.  From your table or the bar you look out large windows onto the slopes and beyond that to crystal clear Lake Bellaire which is part of a huge chain of vast, beautiful lakes.

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During the winter you can ski and tube down the slopes.  And in the summer you can golf, or lounge in the outdoor pool looking out at the ski runs and the lake beyond.  If you like the outdoors, you will find plenty to do here.

We chose this location for our wedding because we wanted a place where our friends and family could spend a long weekend and enjoy the wedding festivities without having to get in a car and drive anywhere (which is always at least 30 minutes when in Northwestern Lower Michigan).  We loved the hotel options as well as the many condominiums located around the resort.  Shanty also has a shuttle system that will take you to all of their various resorts (Schuss Mountain and Cedar River Village) as well as into town.  And if you can’t wait for a shuttle, they have a taxi system that costs $2 per ride.

Let me just say that I loved the suite that they gave me for our wedding.  It was large and had a lovely sitting area, a huge comfy bed, large bathroom to get ready and a gigantic balcony that overlooked the entire resort and lake.  Imagine my surprise when I was searching online and found a March special for $75 per night.  Done deal!

 

Things were a little different from the last time we were there…..

We headed to Bellaire, Michigan and met my brother and his wife for dinner in the main dining area.  The ski runs had closed for the season the day before and the resort was basically empty.  When I found out that my favorite food on their regular menu, the walleye, wasn’t offered that night, I mentioned it to the waitress.  She came back and told me that the chef would be happy to make it for me anyway.  (Bad blogger, I didn’t take a pic.  But I highly recommend this with their wild rice with dried cherries and steamed green beans).

We spent our evenings splashing at the indoor pool and our in-room spa.  And we spent our days taking care of homeowner’s details, and of course getting training runs in.



The evening before Christmas Eve a huge wind storm tore through the area.  We later found out that our power had been wiped out during that storm and we needed to go check it out.  This is what we found.


 Cue the electrician!

Our final night ended at our absolute favorite spot.  Short’s Brewing Company is an absolute must if you visit anywhere in this area.  This place makes some of the best beers and ciders around and their food is just as delicious and thoughtful.  We love this place because you can get a fantastic healthy meal while enjoying a flight of their tasty brews.  I tried everything from my favorite IPA to a sour beer and even a smoke infused beer.  So good!

 

I love getting a flight here!

If you are ever looking for a quick vacation in the Midwest area, I cannot recommend this place enough.  The rooms are great, the food is delicious and there are tons of great shopping and tourist destinations nearby.  I recommend that if you are doing the Bayshore or Charlevoix Marathons, that you consider a stay here.