Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tasty Thursday: Vegan Crustless Pizza

Hello friends! A couple of days ago I tried a recipe from Amanda's blog, Run To The Finish, and it was exquisite. It seemed quick, delicious and easy to do, so I gave it a shot. Besides, I was in the mood for some pizza (healthy that is!).

Vegan Portobello Mushroom Pizza
Portobello mushrooms
Tri-pepper mix
Tomato sauce
Lettuce leaves (I used a Spring Mix)
Cheese (I opted for non-dairy vegan cheese)
Garlic powder
1. Turn on broiler, line baking sheet and spray with cooking spray.
2. Wash the underside of the mushrooms.
3. Place the mushrooms on the baking sheet with the gills facing up.
4. Broil for 10 minutes.
5. Remove them from the oven and dab with paper to soak up the excess water.
6. Saute the peppers and the lettuce.
7. Add the tomato sauce, tri-pepper mix, oregano, garlic powder, lettuce and cheese on top of the mushrooms.
8. Broil for 2-3 minutes.
Gratitude Journal: I'm grateful for the long weekend ahead of me.
Quote: "Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each." -Henry David Thoreau
Positive Affirmation: Today is a sacred gift from life.


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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Sitting down can cause death?

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Hello everyone and happy hump day! Today's weather has had me feeling lethargic, but somehow I found the energy to go for a run. So is it the gloomy and rainy weather that makes us feel lazy or the fact that it's the middle of the week and the weekend seems so far away? Anyway, my triathlete friend Tina, sent me a great article that was too interesting not to share. Actually, I was rather shocked when I read it.

As I began reading the article, the title immediately got my attention: Why Exercise Isn't Enough. The article explained that people who exercise aren't necessarily the healthiest individuals. But how can that be? Doctors have always encouraged people to exercise in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but now they're saying that exercise isn't enough?

In a study that was conducted in Australia, researchers examined 200,000 people and separated them into groups according to the prevalence of their physical activity. They were then categorized based on how many hours they SIT DOWN AT WORK. The results of the study were shocking!

The researchers concluded that there's a link between sitting down too long and mortality. They found that even though people exercised regularly, they are still at risk for dying sooner than people who did not sit down as many hours. They also found that people who had cardiovascular disease and diabetes were even more at risk of mortality than those who exercised. Basically, if you sit down for more than 11 hours a day, the benefits of exercising are essentially wiped out.

Most of us, even cops like me, sit down for long hours during the day. So, you're probably wondering what you can do to fix this problem. After all, not going to work is not an option, so what are the remedies you may ask. Well, according to Dr. Joyner, there's a few things we could do differently at work. For instance,

1. Ride your bike or walk to work.

2. If #1 is not an option, then have a mobile lunch. Take a brisk walk or run during your lunch hour.

3. Use email differently. Instead of sending an email to your colleague, walk to their location and have a conversation with them.

Moral of the Story: Don't just exercise, be active at work!
Gratitude Journal: I'm grateful for the unexpected opportunities I receive.
Quote: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." -Henry David Thoreau
Positive Affirmation: I drop habits that no longer serve me. 

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Mondetta Performance Gear Review

Today's Workout:
5 mile run
(with 30 seconds strides at the top of every minute on the last mile)

Hello everyone! So my friends at Mondetta Performance Gear (MPG) gave me a few of their pieces to try out. Before I tell you how awesome their apparel is, let me briefly tell you who they are. MPG is all about fashion and function. Their clothing is not only fashionable, it's also functional and suited to fit every body type. Their gear is not only intended for athletes, but anyone and everyone who is active in the environment.

Here's what they sent me:




Today I ran in the Pi tank top and the Sentia shorts.

My thoughts on the apparel:
I really enjoyed running in the Pi tank top because it was soft and comfortable. The material was stretchy and light weight. This is important for runners because we sweat a lot when we run, so we have to maintain our bodies cool with light weight clothing. I also liked that the tank top was double-layered, which provided support for the tatas. Both the inner and the outer layer were stretchy material. What's neat about the tank top is that it has small holes throughout the garment in order to provide ventilation to your body.
I equally enjoyed running in the Sentia shorts because they were stretchy and contoured my body in a very comfortable manner. The shorts have an inner lining, which is great for people who don't wear underwear when they run or do exercise. The shorts have two side pockets and one back pocket to store essentials, such as IDs or keys.
If you're interested in looking through their website click here. You could also find them on:

Gratitude Journal: I'm grateful for the random smiles and hellos I receive when I go grocery shopping.
Quote: "Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that." -Norman Vincent Peale
Positive Affirmation: I am full of abundance in every area of my life. 

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Monday, August 26, 2013

My Weekend Re-cap

Hello friends and Happy Monday!
I hope you all had a fabulous weekend. Mine was relaxing, well, sort of. I took Thursday off from work because my hubby got oral surgery which required me to be his personal chauffeur and assistant  drive him to the dentist's office and then run some errands for him. Needless to say, I played nurse that night because he was completely sedated and in pain. Luckily, he woke up on Friday morning feeling a lot better. I did the usual that morning and I ran 8 miles at an easy pace throughout Coconut Grove. I felt fantastic!
Later that day, I got a much needed manicure. I was feeling fiercely red. 
When I returned home, I found a package by my door. Finally, my maternity running belt had arrived! =)

I eagerly tried it on and it was a perfect fit!

When the hubs got home that night, we decided to stay in and cook dinner together. I prepared the salad while he cooked the lobster tails. It was delish!
Arugula and romaine leaves, cucumber, onions and tomatoes.

Hubby cooking the lobster tails.
The perfect dinner for two ;)
On Saturday morning I woke up bright and early and got ready for the long run of the week. I excitedly put on my new maternity running belt only to be disappointed by the comfort, or lack thereof, that it provided. My belly felt support, but it applied too much pressure, which caused me to run (even faster) to the bathroom in the middle of my run. Yes, another one of those shitty stories.  It was horrible. I just couldn't control my bladder and bowel movements. I blame it on the belt! =/
Anyway, despite the discomfort, I ran 13 miles under the warm sun. My day was fulfilled =).
After my run, I enjoyed a cold Vita Coco. Yum!
I ended my weekend by going to church on Sunday morning and then visiting my parents during the afternoon. My dad whipped up a very typical Cuban meal that consisted of, congri (black beans and rice combined), yucca, corn tamales, roasted pork and avocado salad. I opted to skip out on the traditional meal and ate a piece of chicken breast with avocado salad.
Have you ever used a maternity running belt? Share your thoughts on it.
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for NetFlix. It has made my nights more entertaining since I've been pregnant.
Quote: "Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Positive Affirmation: I am the star in my own movie. I am also the author and the director. I create wonderful roles for myself. 

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Confessions of a Pregnant Runner

Hello friends and TGIF!
I decided to take a rest day today from running for three reasons: a) I ran 8 miles yesterday and I'm quite tired, b) I have a splitting headache and c) Because I feel like it.
Running while pregnant has been both an interesting and humbling experience. For anyone who has a Type A personality like myself will understand that people like us are very driven, competitive (against our own selves) and controlling. Being pregnant has forcibly shown me that we (Type A people) can still be driven, but we have to know our limits; we can still be competitive, but we have to know when to back down; and we have very limited control.
Being exposed to the experience of pregnancy has been truly a blessing in disguise. Sometimes I find myself sighing in relief because I finally have a "legitimate" excuse not to run. Not that I don't want to run, but competitive runners just don't know when to stop or take a break. We are all or nothing. Truth be told that life should not be lived as "all or nothing." Sometimes we have to operate in the gray areas and that's ok. Anyway, these are my confessions:
I hate wearing two sports bras. Ok, this might be TMI (too much info) but my bust has grown three cups sizes and I hate it. I never had an issue with "keeping them in place" and now I have no idea how to control those suckers. Not even two of my tightest sports bras will keep them in check. Ugh!
I catch my reflection in store windows and bus benches. I can't help but to look at myself when I run pass a mirror or window. I'm totally not checking myself out. I'm looking at my bump and the two suckers on my chest bouncing around.
I have a slightly bruised running ego. I take pride in training hard, running at certain paces and running certain distances. I can't stand when people pass me or train for longer hours than me. I thought this ego would vanish when I got pregnant, but it totally disguised itself as something else. In my own way, I try to make myself feel better by passing really really slow people and I'll usually run very fast at the end of a run so that the pace in my watch can change. Silly me!
I'm a hypocrite. If any other woman would tell me that they run 5-6 times a week and average about 40-45 miles, I'd tell them they're fierce and crazy. I should listen to my intuition a little more.
I hate that I can't control my desire to use the bathroom. I've never really had an issue with using the bathroom mid-run, but now it seems like it's a normal part of my run. I cannot control my desire nor can I hold it in. When I have to go, I have to go!
I couldn't stand seeing women wear "Running for Two" shirts. Now look at me: I own one myself!
I thought pregnant women looked silly in compression socks. I never understood why they would wear those socks, after all, they are only running a few miles. Well, that's because our feet get super swollen!
I hate that I breathe so hard. It sounds like I'm about to have a heart attack when I run. My breathing is hard and so is the sound of my stride. I'm not a silent runner anymore.
Despite all my current running "hates," I'm having an amazing experience with all of this!
Did you run while pregnant? Share your stories with me!
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the random people I meet at my nail salon. Today I was schooled on how to remain relaxed while being in labor. Hmmm...
Quote: "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." -Milton Berle
Positive Affirmation: The gateways to wisdom and learning are always open.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Choosing Your First Marathon

Today's Workout:
6 mile run

Hello friends and happy hump day!
So, Fall season is rolling around and there's a ton of marathons to choose from. There's the Chicago Marathon, New York City Marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, Palm Beach Marathon, etc. Are you thinking of running your first marathon this season? If you are, you probably have a ton of questions and concerns about doing it.
First, let me tell you why you should run a marathon:
1. Marathons are like festivals. Since growing in popularity, cities all around the world are treating marathons like a huge celebration. They are a ton of fun!
2. Marathons are a bucket list item. More and more people are putting marathons on their to do list because they are a huge accomplishment in people's lives. Running is a testament of one's dedication and motivation to do something great!
3. Many marathons take place in different cities across the US and around the globe. Running in a marathon gives people the opportunity to travel and explore the world.
4. It totally rocks! Running a marathon is challenging and fun. It's simply an amazing experience.
Things to Consider When Choosing Your 1st Marathon:
1. Timing.
During what season will the marathon take place? How will the weather be? At what time does the race begin. For example, when I decided to run the Las Vegas Marathon, I totally kicked myself in the butt afterwards because I didn't like (a) the weather (it was hot as hell) and (b) the race started at 3pm (that's way to late! That's why it felt so hot!!).
2. Travel.
Are you willing to pay for traveling expenses to run a marathon in a different city or country? Do you have enough money for the total costs of the race and for traveling expenses? Are you familiar with that city's terrain and weather? Are you okay with feeling stressed out because you are in a new city, trying new food and running in a different environment? Traveling to a race may be costly and stressful. If you're okay with the costs, and with the fact that you will be running in a brand new place, then I say go for it.
3. Staying local.
Do you prefer to stay in your hometown for a marathon? Do you feel more comfortable running in a familiar environment? Do you rather stay local so your friends and family can join in on the fun? There's many pros to staying local. For example, there's minimal costs incurred, familiarity with the environment, and your family and friends can see you run your first race. On the other hand, the con to staying local is that you have already seen your city while you run, so the scenery won't be new to you. If you're okay with that, then perhaps staying local is the option for you.
4. Big or Small.
Do you prefer a glamorous and huge race like the New York City Marathon or do you prefer something smaller like the Albany, GA Marathon? Bigger races are more crowded and they may be very methodical to get into the starting line like the Boston Marathon, whereas, smaller races are less crowded and easier to maneuver yourself to the front of the line. Also, there's more fans in bigger races than in smaller ones, which may be important to some runners because the fans motivate the runners throughout the race.
5. Course.
Do you prefer a straight race without hills, loops or turns? Or do you prefer a hilly course near the ocean? Do you enjoy going bridges and feeling the wind in your face? Choosing a race because of its course is important to some people. Some runners prefer a scenic and easy course, while other runners may opt for a more difficult course that includes high hills, bridges, loops, etc.
As for me, I enjoy running a race during the Fall season when the weather is about 40 to 50 degrees. I like an early morning race that starts at about 6:30 am. I enjoy traveling to races, as long as, I have enough time to get over the jet lag. I love exploring different places, so racing in a different environment typically doesn't make me apprehensive. I enjoy running in local races too because "it's my stomping grounds" as I like to call it. I enjoy running with my fellow community runners and I like that my whole family can watch me race. I also enjoy running in big races. The glamour and crowded streets totally hypes me up. The fans are very important to me because they motivate me to run faster. As for the type of course I choose, it all depends on what my goals are for that race. If I want to improve my time (PR), then I'll choose a race that's relatively flat. If I'm wanting a challenge and time is not that important, then I'll choose a race that's more difficult.
What will be your first marathon? If you have already ran a marathon, which one has been your favorite?
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful that I have felt so amazing throughout my pregnancy.
Quote: "Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people." -Eleanor Roosevelt
Positive Affirmation: Life is a joy and it's filled with love. 
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tasty Tuesday: Grass-Fed Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps

Today's Workout:
5 mile run
(with 30 seconds strides at the top of every minute on the last mile)

Hello there! My hubby has been doing Cross Fit for a few months now, so he decided to jump on the Paleo Diet bandwagon. I told him I would love to jump on that wagon with him, but not so much while I'm pregnant. I still NEED CRAVE oatmeal and organic sugar in my coffee, so I told him I would jump on that once the baby is born. In the meantime, it's a divided refrigerator!!

So, with that being said, I've been forced I willingly offered to help him with his daily breakfast, lunch and dinner meals, so I've taken the task of learning all there is to know about the diet. It's a simplistic diet in that there's certain foods you can eat and others you cannot. Once you learn the list of foods you may eat, all it takes is the preparation of the meals. I've been experimenting with different recipes and snack options and here's what I came up with for dinner:

Grass-Fed Ground Beef Lettuce Wraps
1lb grass-fed ground beef
onion, chopped
1 tbs coconut oil
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper, to taste
avocado, chopped in pieces
tomatoes, chopped
romaine lettuce leaves
1. Place the coconut oil in a frying pan along with the chopped onions.
2. Add the cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper to the ground beef. Place the ground beef on the frying pan. Cook until fully browned.
3. Peel the romaine lettuce leaves and wash thoroughly. Then place the ground beef on top of the leaves (like a taco).
4. Add the chopped tomatoes and avocado on top of the ground beef.

Have you ever tried lettuce wraps? Share your recipe!
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the warm sun at midday. It keeps me warm while I eat my lunch.
Quote: "It is never too late to be what you might have been." -George Eliot
Positive Affirmation: I compare myself only to my highest self. 

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Should You Run with a Cold?

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Hello friends and Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I had a great weekend, but what's even more great is the fact that my cold is gone!! Woohooooo! After 7 long days, it's finally subsiding. I started feeling really tired on Monday, but I ran anyway. When I woke up on Tuesday, I was still feeling tired, but I figured it was symptomatic of my pregnancy. I decided to run on Tuesday, but by the time I got home that evening, I was completely spent. I knew something was wrong. Sure enough, I felt like a train had hit me on Wednesday morning. What's worse is that pregnant women's immune systems run very slow in order to keep our bodies from rejecting the baby. The down side of this, is that our bodies don't fight off colds and flus as well as they normally would.

Of course, this put me in a predicament because I really wanted to run, but my body just wouldn't allow it. Anyway, I ended up taking a few days off and now I feel great. Getting sick during training always poses a struggle for me because I know I shouldn't run, but I often end up doing the opposite. Don't be stubborn like me! I did some research to find out if we (athletes) should run when we have a cold or flu and the research blatantly stated "NO!"

According to coach Jay Johnson, when we get a cold we should be thinking of moving forward versus moving backwards. So what exactly does he mean by that? It's a simple theoretical concept: If you take days off while you're sick, then you will probably miss fewer days later on during your training. However, if you run while you're sick, you will prolong the duration of your sickness.

85-90% Better

Coach Johnson has a simple rule: If you feel 85-90% better, then you can start running again. You must be honest with yourself though. If you wake up feeling 85-90% better, then you can ease into an easy run without overdoing it. For example, if you normally run 5 miles on an easy day, run 3-4 miles instead. On the following day, if you feel closer to 100% better, then you could run your normal 5 miles at an easy pace.

Coach Johnson also warns about the "post-run high" that we feel after our first run when we come back from a cold. You may feel 100% better after that run, but the true assessment should be done the following day. So be mindful of that phenomenon and don't fool yourself. Believe me, I hate taking days off from training, but doing so will actually help you out in the long run. Not only will you recover faster, but you will come back stronger. When we get a cold, that's usually a sign that something wrong is going on in our body (i.e., stress, fatigue, lack of sleep, etc).

Have you ever ran with a cold? How did it feel?
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the sound advice I receive from my family.
Quote: "When people think of themselves as successful, they succeed. When you believe in yourself, others tend to believe in you. When they see your self-confidence and positive expectancy about your goals, they believe in you and begin to accept your ideas." -Paul J. Meyer
Positive Affirmation: My feet dance through life.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Fitness Fridays: How to start a fitness program

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Hello friends and TGIF!
In today's edition of Fitness Friday's, I want to show you how simple it is to start a fitness program. You don't have to be a body builder or a professional runner to workout, all you need are some goals and the determination to carry out those goals. Working out shouldn't be taken lightly; it's as important as bathing and brushing your teeth. When you first begin a fitness plan, you must mentally tell yourself that it's not going to be easy, but it's definitely doable. Be patient!
Here are the guidelines:
1. Establish a goal. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to maintain your weight? Do you want to be healthier? The kind of exercise program you choose depends on the goals you are trying to achieve.
2. Choosing an exercise program. Generally speaking, your exercise program should include a warm-up, muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility and a cool down. As a rule, you should space these out and avoid doing two hard workouts consecutively.
Here are the amounts of activity necessary for the average healthy person to maintain a minimum level of fitness:
Warm up: Between 5-10 minutes. Examples include, walking, jogging, knee lifts, arm circles, etc.
Muscular strength: At least two 20 minute sessions a week of weight lifting. Make sure to include all the major muscle groups.
Muscular endurance: At least three 30 minute sessions a week. Examples include, calisthenics, push ups, sit ups, pull ups, etc.
Cardiorespiratory endurance: At least three 20 minute sessions a week. Examples include, brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, rope jumping, rowing, etc.
Flexibility: About 10-12 minutes of daily stretching exercises.
Cool down: 5-10 minutes of low level exercises. This may include stretching or a light walk.
3. Maintain the exercise program. When you decide what your goals are, you must determine what specific exercises you will need to do. For example, if you decide you want to run a 5K, then you will focus mostly on cardiorespiratory endurance. The rule of thumb is to cater your workout plans to your goals. In order to improve your fitness, you must overload your workouts. This could be done a couple of times a week and it basically entails working out hard and long enough to overload your body passed its resting level. Furthermore, you must be consistent with the workouts. You should aim to workout at least 3 times a week. And lastly, another way to improve your fitness is by increasing the intensity, frequency and duration of your workouts.
4. Times to exercise. Depending what your schedule looks like and what your preferences are, you could workout in the morning or at night. It doesn't matter when you do it, as long as, you do it!
Some key points to remember:
1. Weight control is determined by how many calories you consume versus how many calories you burn. For example, if you eat more calories than you burn, then you will gain weight. If you eat as many calories as your body needs, then you will remain the same. And, if you eat less calories than you burn, then you will lose weight.
2. How much exercise you need to lose weight depends on the amount and type of activity and how much you eat.
3. Don't be frightened by what you see on the scale. Muscle weighs more than fat, so someone who is a body builder may show as "over-weight" on the scale, but they are actually ripped. Body composition is a better indicator of your condition than body weight.

What are your fitness goals?
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for my determined attitude.
Quote: "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen." -Ralph Waldo Emerson
Positive Affirmation: I forgive myself and others. 

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tasty Thursday: Quinoa and Eggplant Sandwich

Hello friends! Today I decided to take a rest day from running because I felt sick when I woke up. I had been feeling tired the last couple of days, but I figured it was a pregnancy thing. It turns out that I've been sniffly all day and I've had a throat ache--just my luck! Since medication is out of the question (not that I'm fond of it), lots of water, vitamins and rest should fix the problem. I'll let you know tomorrow how that works out for me!

Anywho, did y'all know that August is the "sandwich" month? In honor of the sandwich month, I will be posting a delicious sandwich recipe that requires no bread! What's the point huh? Well, I'm not crazy about breads or products that contain gluten, so I try to limit that food item as much as possible. That doesn't mean however, that you can't eat a mean, lean and delicious faux sandwich. There are many substitutes to bread, including eggplant! Here's the recipe:

Quinoa & Eggplant Sandwich
8 slices of eggplant, 1/2 inch thick
1 cup quinoa
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
1 bunch of basil, chopped
1 bunch chives, chopped
1 cup finely chopped carrots
1/2 cup black olives, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup capers
1 bunch watercress (optional)
olive oil to taste
balsamic vinegar to taste
salt and pepper to taste
*cheese substitute (if you enjoy eating cheese on your sandwiches)
1. Lightly salt the eggplant slices on both sides and rest on a towel for about 10 minutes. Boil the quinoa for about 20 minutes. Strain and cool without rinsing.
2. Prepare a tomato salsa by mixing the diced tomatoes with some basil and chives. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil. Set to the side.
3. Preheat a skillet and add some olive oil. Lay the eggplant slices in the pan and sear for a few minutes on each side (be careful no to to overcook). Remove them from the pan.
4. To make the "sandwich," place a slice of eggplant in the center of a plate and cover with a handful of watercress. Place a scoop of quinoa salad on top, follow with some cheese substitute and finish with another slice of eggplant.
Ok ok, so it isn't a juicy burger, but hey, your body will thank you!!
What's your favorite sandwich?
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for having lunch with my BFF Alyssa today.
Quote: "Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself." - T.S. Eliot
Positive Affirmation: I am my own unique self. 

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

What it takes to be a runner: Gear that you NEED and DON'T NEED

Today's Workout:
5 mile run

Howdy friends and happy hump day! A lot of runners who know me are usually shocked by the lack of cool running gadgets that I DON'T own. I'll get asked, "Hey, did you buy the new Forerunner Garmin watch?" Or, "Did you get that new fuel belt that holds more bottles?" I'll be the first to admit that I just don't buy (no pun intended!) into all those products. I have always kept the same philosophy as when I first started running several years ago: Keep it Simple! I have however, upgraded to a few new things but only because I am a competitive runner. I need certain things when I train to monitor my speed and to get me going on my long runs. However, if you're a beginner, I you don't need all the bells and whistles that people try to sell you.

Here's what I don't think you need:
1. Body Glide. You don't need to use Body Glide to avoid chafing. You could use other cheap products, such as Vaseline or A+D Ointment.
2. You don't need a Garmin Forerunner 305. There are other running watches that are cheaper than the Forerunner 305, so unless you have to track your pace, then I suggest buying a simple running watch. Or you could do what I used to do: drive my car through my running route to gauge the mileage!
3. You don't need a fuel belt.  You could hydrate at the water fountains or you could do what I do: Place water bottles at different locations throughout my run.
4. You don't need compression socks.  Unless you have been instructed by a doctor to wear these types of socks, you don't need them to run. Yes, I have worn them on my long runs to avoid leg pain after the run, but it's not a necessary component to running. If your legs hurt after a run, you could soak in ice water, perform a self-massage or lay down on the ground with your legs elevated on the couch.
5. You don't need fancy running gels.  You could make your own running gels  or you could stash bananas along your running path. You could also eat some candy for some sugar intake.
6. You don't need a coach. There are plenty of websites to refer to if you need a training plan. There's Runner's World,  Hal Higdon's Training Plans,  Cool Running,  Competitor,  Active,  etc.
7. You don't need pricey clothing. All you need is a light-weight shirt and a pair of shorts (summer wear); you can get these at Walmart.
8. You don't need an IPOD. Sure, it's nice to run with music, but it's not necessary.
9. You don't need a foam roller.  You could use a PVC pipe or a tennis ball to remove pain from your muscles or to loosen those stubborn knots.
Here's what you do need:
1. Good shoes. You cannot go cheapo on this. Running is a minimalist sport and the minimum thing you need is a really good pair of sneakers. I swear by Newton Sneakers.  These shoes are just perfect for my feet. Remember, running shoes hold up your weight and sustain miles after miles after miles, so don't budge on this. If you're not sure what type of shoe you should wear, go to a local running store like Miami's Footworks Running store, which helps runners determine what type of shoe their feet require.
2. Your will and determination to run. It's up to you to get up and go!!!
What's your favorite running gadget?
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the sweet notes that my hubby gives me.
Quote: "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." -Dale Carnegie
Positive Affirmation: I am healthy, happy and whole, therefore I am complete. 

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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Tipster: How to buy organic on a budget

Today's Workout:
5 mile run (with strides at the last mile)

I think most people can agree with me when I say that eating organic is truly the way to go, but it almost seems like a luxury to do so. There is no doubt that eating organically can be very costly, but there are ways to mitigate the pain of dishing out a lot of money.

Here are some tips on how to buy organic while being on a budget:

1. Use coupons. Check the websites of your favorite companies for coupons and special promotions. For example, Whole Foods has coupons here every week for different products throughout the store.

2. Organize your meals for the week and budget what you buy. Plan out your meals for the week according to the organic foods that are on sale and write out a monthly budget to help you keep track of unneeded spending.

3. Do it yourself. Rather than buying certain products, DIY instead. For example, make your granola, juices, smoothies, etc., instead of buying it at the store.

My very own granola.

4. Buy organic frozen produce. This is a savvy way of buying produce instead of spending big bucks on fresh fruits and veggies.

5. Use the freezer. Freeze your leftovers instead of throwing them away.

6. Make smart choices. When buying meat and dairy products. These items tend to have pesticides, anti-biotics and cancer-causing hormones.

7. Limit meat consumption. Organic meat could be very expensive, so limit the amount you eat by replacing it with another protein. For instance, instead of a steak, eat a bowl of beans.

8. Use the Clean 15 and the Dirty Dozen list to make your produce purchases. For example, if you have the option of buying cheaper asparagus versus more expensive bell peppers, then opt for the asparagus. Asparagus has less pesticides than bell peppers.

9. Do not buy pre-washed fruits and veggies. These ready-to-eat produce are way more expensive than buying the entire fruit and making your own fruit bowl.

10. Buy what's on sale. If there's a "buy one get one free," then put that item in your cart.

11. Join a buying club. When you join a buying club, you can buy items in bulk for a cheaper price. For example, United Buying Clubs serves 34 states via its website.

12. Buy online. Buying certain products online can be cheaper than going to the store. For example, I shop at Vitacost for vitamins and Sun Warrior for protein powder.

13. Choose inexpensive organic brands. Instead of buying the "bouji" brands, choose brands like Trader Joe's, Publix, 365 brand, etc.

14. Join store loyalty and rewards programs. These programs typically have discounts on many items throughout the store.

15. Grow your own food. For example, you can grow your own herbs in pots and plant fruit trees in your back yard. Here are some tips on how to grow organic food inside of your home.

16. Don't waste food. For example,
  • Raw nuts and flour last longer inside a frigerator.
  • Place paper towels inside of your produce drawer to absorb the excess moisture. This will keep your produce fresh longer.
  • Place bananas separate from one another. It'll take longer to spoil that way.
  • Turn almond butter, cottage cheese, tahini sauce, yogurt and sour cream upside down in the fridge. This keeps them fresh longer because it creates a vacuum seal.
  • Put a bay leaf inside of containers of rice, flour and pastas. This repels bugs.
  • Learn how to use over the edge food. For example, overripe bananas can be used for banana bread.
Remember, "you could pay the farmer or you could pay the doctor!"
Do you buy organic food? Why or why not?
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the early "goodmornings" that I get from other runners during my runs before work.
Quote: "Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
Positive Affirmation: It is the simple things that make me happy. Being with friends or loved ones, sharing food and wine and laughter.

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Monday, August 12, 2013

What Motivates You to Exercise Test

Hello friends and Happy Monday!
How was your weekend? Did you run or exercise? Did you participate in a race? Here's my weekend running re-cap:
On Friday, I went for an easy 10 miler down Coconut Grove and Key Biscayne. I had only anticipated running 8 miles, but I felt so amazing that I continued for another 2.
On Sunday, I went for an 11 mile run with friend/coach Dan Smith. We ran in Key Biscayne. It was lovely.
A lot of people have been asking me if it's safe to run so many miles while being pregnant. Many have looked at me with a confused look as if thinking, "She's crazy!" The answer to that question is "yes." Yes, it is completely safe to run a bunch of miles during pregnancy, but only if you are trained to do so. I have been an endurance runner for about 4 years now, so my body is well accustomed to the mileage. An individual who is not used to the mileage should not try to attempt a high mileage training plan while they're pregnant.
After months of being asked this question I began thinking, what motivates people to exercise/run? I've asked myself this question and I've come up with a few reasons:
-I have a desire to become a faster runner.
-I have a desire to win races.
-I have a desire to stay lean and healthy.
-Running makes me feel good, both emotionally and physically.
-Running makes me feel empowered.
So, now I ask YOU, what motivates you to exercise/run? We all know that motivation is very personal. Different things motivate different people. I think that the key to knowing what motivates you is to know what your desires are. Once you have identified your desires, then you can set goals based on those desires.
Have you ever heard of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Maslow theorized that people are motivated by unsatisfied needs. "Needs" fall into 5 levels: The 4 lower levels are associated with physiological (bodily) needs, while the top level is associated with psychological needs. So what are your unsatisfied needs? You can find out by taking this short online test. It's short, sweet and to the point!
Here are my results:
Physiological Needs     10%
Safety Needs     37%
Love Needs     24%
Esteem Needs     40%
Self-Actualization Needs     46%

My unsatisfied need is self-actualization. Based on this test, I can assume that PRing (getting the best time than my previous times) in a race, winning a race or becoming a faster runner will motivate me to run.
Interpreting Each Need

-Physiological Needs: Motivational goals centered around feeling healthier would probably work best, such as running to lose weight, exercising to lower your blood pressure, etc.
-Safety Needs: Perhaps you feel as though your life is in an uncontrolled state right now? Perhaps a structured training plan will make you feel more in control of your life, thus making you feel safe.
-Love Needs: If some love is what you need, how about joining a running group or exercising with friends and family?
-Esteem Needs: Perhaps by accomplishing something impressive will motivate you to run or exercise. How about trying out a new distance running course or trying a new sport?
-Self-Actualization Needs: To have a self-actualization need is the need to make the most of your abilities. This is the desire of becoming everything we want to become. If this is your need, perhaps you should create a training plan that will help you achieve your best time in a race or qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
Whatever your desire may be, just know yourself and set some goals to achieve the best you, you can be!
What motivates you to exercise/run?
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:
Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for my running apprehensions, for they motivate me to be the best runner I can be.
Quote: "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand
Positive Affirmation: My future is glorious. 


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Friday, August 9, 2013

Fitness Fridays #Fit In4

Hello friends and TGIF!!!
After reluctantly taking a rest day yesterday from running and exercising, I got up this morning and eagerly put on my Newton sneakers and running clothes. I dashed out the door and ran 10 easy miles. I felt fantastic during the run. It was warm and humid, but it began drizzling half-way during the run, so the rain refreshed my warm body and belly.
Today's topic of conversation is not about fitting in exercising or running into your daily schedule, but rather, it's about fitting in time for yourself. You may be thinking, "Well, isn't running and exercising ME time?" Well, yes and no. The ME time I am referring to is the time you do NOTHING. This may sound silly because you're probably thinking, "I always make me time. I get manicures. I go shopping. I have a man cave and play video games. I cook." That's not the me time I'm talking about. Do you ever just relax? Can you actually sit in your couch for 30 minutes without using your cell phone, laptop, IPad or XBOX? Can you actually sit there and not get up to do anything (bathroom is permissible!)?
I'm sure you have found yourself thinking:
"I wish I had more time for myself."
"I need more hours in the day."
"I don't have time for that."
Most of us live very busy and hectic lives. We find ourselves having time for everything is except ourselves. We all know that when we take time for ourselves and pursue our passions, we are happier people. We obviously cannot add more time during the day, but we can evaluate what's important versus what's not. Better said, we can learn to prioritize the important things in our lives. When we take time to prioritize and refocus our energy, we come back stronger and more resilient. So, "how can I make more time for myself?" you may ask...
#Fit In Time for Yourself: 7 Ways to Put Yourself First
1. Make up your mind to put yourself first. Don't feel guilty for thinking of yourself and wanting to do ME things. It's not selfish to pursue passions and do the things you want to do.
2. Think about how to best make me time. Everyone is different, so make a list of things that are relaxing and that will make you feel rejuvenated.
3. Think about the things that are wasting consuming your time. Organize your responsibilities rather than spending countless minutes and hours checking emails, answering phone calls, updating social media, etc.
4. Learn to say "no." If saying yes to everyone is adding more work and time into your life, then evaluate those requests and learn to say no. That doesn't make you a bad person, it just means you don't have time for that.
5. Ask for help. I know you're Wonder Woman and Super Man, but asking for help doesn't make you useless, vulnerable or less of a person. Asking for help just means your delegating your work ;) .
6. Commit to X amount of time for yourself each day. Do something that completely lets go of every responsibility you have. Release your mind from all burdens. Make this non-negotiable.
7. Create a daily ritual. This could be reading a book, meditating, or listening to music. Make me time a habit.
Enjoy yourself!!
What do you do as "me time?"
Transforming Your Morning Challenge:

Gratitude Journal: I am grateful for the amazing Netflix series. I am thoroughly enjoying Orange is the New Black. 
Quote: “Make a game of finding something positive in every situation. Ninety-five percent of your emotions are determined by how you interpret events to yourself.” - Brian Tracy
Positive Affirmation: Loving others is easy, when I love and accept myself.

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