Friday, January 31, 2014

Care for a Date?

Happy Friday Friends!

Have you ever been so hungry that the most unappetizing food sounds absolutely delicious? Let's just say that this has been happening to me quite frequently and for a couple of reasons. First, breast feeding burns an additional 500 calories a day (yay for breast feeding!), second, my cortisol levels are at an all time high because of lack of sleep (this is due to breast feeding in the middle of the night- boohoo breast feeding!) and third, I am exercising every day which burns an additional 300-500 calories a day. Needless to say, the combination of these is making me really tired, hungry and unenergetic. My solution besides a huge cup of cafecito Cubano (Cuban espresso) is food.

This might not be surprising to you because I'm sure you have noticed that you eat more when you're tired or when you're stressed or when you're feeling lethargic. It's quite normal to feel hungry when you're having any of these emotions because it's your body's way of saying, "Hey, I need some energy!" The important thing to remember is that you must choose your foods wisely. I'm not talking about grabbing a bag of chips or a candy bar (although the sugar might be helpful), I'm suggesting healthy and nutritious food filled with ingredients that will give you energy.

Here's a recipe that's loaded with energy and is amazingly delicious: dates wrapped with turkey bacon. Who would have ever thought that a candy-like fruit and meat would taste so good. 

Dates are packed with natural sugars and vitamins, which give you a ton of energy. Just be careful with the amount of dates you eat because they're high in carbs. This is a great snack to have after a workout in order to replenish your glycogen levels while getting some protein in your body as well.

Pitted Dates Wrapped in Turkey Bacon

1 pack uncooked turkey bacon (I suggest the Applegate brand)
24 pitted dates
24 toothpicks

1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Microwave the bacon strips for about 2-3 minutes. 

3. Cut the strips of bacon in half. 

4. Wrap dates in half strips of bacon and secure with a toothpick.

5. Place the dates and the bacon on a baking sheet for 10 minutes. 

6. Let cool for about 5 minutes. 


Workout of the Day:

Circuit Training Routine:
20 pushups
20 chest presses
20 shoulder presses
20 rear lat raises
20 side lat raises
20 bicep curls
20 tricep kickbacks
2 minute jump rope

Rest 1 minute and repeat 2 times

And, 30 minute run

Yesterday's Paleo Dinner:

Kale salad with tomatoes, onions, avocado and olive oil drizzled on top and grilled cod


Protein shake with organic cherries, one banana and 1 tbs almond butter (I used the Sun Warrior protein powder) 


Green juice with tuna smothered in guacamole

Have you ever eaten dates and bacon? Do you like it?

I am grateful to spend time
my friends and their children.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Circuit Training for Runners

Hello y'all and happy hump day!

I wanted to thank those who left comments on my post yesterday with their recommendations of the type of sports bra I should try out. The top 3 suggestions of sports bras to where if you have a big bust were: (1) Panache, (2) Enell and (3) Moving Comfort. I will definitely have to try them out because these babies are getting quite annoying! 

Anyway, today I decided to do some cross-training (my butt and thighs desperately need it!), so I performed a circuit type routine. The routine looked like this:

Erika's Circuit Training Routine:

Round 1:
Mountain Climbers
Jumping Jacks

3 circuits of 10 reps the first round, 15 reps the second round and 20 reps the third round. No rest in between circuits. Then, 

Jump rope for 3 minutes and then,
Rest 1 minute

Round 2:
Walking lunges with kettlebell exchange underneath the legs
Lunge Jumps

3 circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break in between each exercise and circuit.

Jump rope for 3 minutes and then, 
Rest 1 minute

Round 3:
Traveling kettlebell squats
Step Ups

3 circuits: 45 seconds per exercise with a 15 second break in between each exercise and circuit.

Jump rope for 3 minutes and then,
Rest 1 minute

And then a 30 minute run

Cross-training is an important element for running because it targets other areas of your body that running perhaps does not. Also, it strengthens your muscles and helps you become more agile when running. I particularly enjoy circuit training because it's a short and intense workout. It doesn't take a long time to complete, they are very challenging and they are not boring.

Yesterday's Dinner:

Sweet potato, organic chicken breast and bok choy stew made in the Crock Pot (we used Pacific Organic Chicken Broth for the stew)


Protein shake with frozen organic cherries, one banana and one tbs almond butter (I used Sun Warrior for the protein powder- it's my fav!)


Oven-baked salmon, steamed broccoli and yam and avocado

What type of cross-training do you perform?

I am grateful for the peaceful
rain showers in Miami today.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Running with DDs

Hello my friends! 

So what did you think of my Paleo meals yesterday? Not too shabby huh? Quite honestly I feel completely satisfied with the meals I have been preparing. I stopped eating all kinds of simple carbs and my body can feel it. I don't feel inflamed or bloated. If you're wondering what I mean by that, basically any simple carb or food that has gluten, causes inflammation and excessive weight gain in our bodies. Some of the foods that causes inflammation include, white rice, bread, pasta, tortillas, sugar and hydrogenated oils. That's why the Paleo diet works because it restricts these kinds of foods while promoting the importance of veggies and fruits. 

Anyway, on to another important issue that I have been facing: RUNNING WITH DDs. Yes, you read correctly, DDs! And by DDs I don't mean coffee, I mean a humongous chest. This might be TMI, but ever since I gave birth my chest has grown dramatically. This is obviously because I am breast feeding, but holy cow it's quite disturbing to run with those things. My remedy: layering 3 sports bras. Even that doesn't seem to be working. The layers make me feel like my boobs are Krazy Glue'd to my body. These babies are bouncing all over the place which makes it nearly impossible to focus on my breathing and my steps. I never imagined that a large bust could cause such distractions and challenges when exercising. I've got the old men in the park looking at me as my chest nearly smacks me in the face. Hello, can anyone please offer me a solution? Ugh : /


Moving on...

Today's Workout:
30 minute run

Last Night's Dinner:

Ground beef picadillo (grass-fed) with a green shake

Today's Breakfast:

Scrambled eggs (organic eggs), Applegate's turkey bacon and a yam

Today's Lunch:

Tuna patties, avocado and pan-grilled organic tomatoes
Tuna patties recipe click here!
Ok, so my patties got destroyed, but they were scrumptious either way!!!

Can anyone suggest what I should do about running with DDs?

I am grateful for my daily 
conversations with God- they
are helping my patience.
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Monday, January 27, 2014

Erika's Paleo Challenge

Hello everyone and happy Monday!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! I must say that mine was fantastic! I celebrated my 31st birthday on Saturday with my family and friends. It was a special day for me because it was my first birthday as being a mommy.

As I've mentioned before, motherhood has brought many challenges, but I'm also challenging myself in other ways too. Last Monday was my first day back to marathon training. On my last blog post I wrote about my running experience after a 3 month hiatus of no running. It was very challenging and I was heart broken. I vowed not to feel discouraged, but instead I am focusing on training properly and eating well.

That is why I have opted to do the Paleo Challenge. For the next 30 days I will challenge myself to eat clean while I continue to build my strength and stamina in running. I will post all of my meals of the day, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. I will also be posting my work outs of the day. In case you do not know what the Paleo Diet entails click here. I must mention however, that because I am breast feeding, I am eating nearly 2300 calories a day in order to produce more milk (hooray for milk production!).

I encourage you all to follow me as I re-build myself for the next few months. This is going to be an interesting and exciting journey. So come and cheer me on!!!

Workout of the Day: 
30 minute run


Scrambled eggs, avocado and a sweet potato 


Oven-baked cod fish, steamed broccoli and turkey bacon

I will be posting my dinner tomorrow, so stay tuned. If you have any Paleo recipes you would like to share please leave one on the comments below. 

Have you ever done the Paleo Challenge?

I am grateful to see happiness
and joy in others.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

Heartbreak Running

Hello friends and TGIF!

It's been a rather interesting week for me. As you know, I started running on Monday after nearly a 3 month hiatus. After speaking to my coach on Sunday, he suggested that I start off slow and progressively work up to the mileage and speed. He suggested that I run 20 minutes on Monday and continue to run on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Well, 20 minutes sounds easy peasy doesn't it? 

Let's see, how could I describe my running experience on Monday? Humbling. Upsetting. Shocked. Surprised. Infuriated. I could not believe how slow my running pace was. I nearly cried when I got home and angrily told my husband that I would never be fast again. I suppose that comment makes me a hypocrite because I am a strong advocate of believing in yourself and having faith in the training that you do. But yes, I am human and I lost faith on Monday night after I went out for my 20 minute run. 

After a few days of pondering my experience and thinking about my ability to run fast again, I told myself that I must be patient with the process of training; I must have faith in myself and in my coach; and I must be consistent with the training. It was very easy to fall in a negative mindset because I began thinking about my weaknesses, but I stopped for a second and began thinking about the positives: I am healthy and fully recovered from giving birth and I felt great (but sore) after my run. 

It was discouraging to run again because I literally felt as if I was learning to run. My steps felt out of place and rather awkward. I felt like the Tin Man, rusty and squeaky as every joint in my body cracked and in search of my heart to believe in myself.  Besides being slow, I was also gasping for air. That's okay because I WILL overcome being out of shape. I just have to take the proper steps to get to where I used to be. 

I encourage you all to follow me throughout these months as I train to build up my mileage and speed. I will also begin the Paleo Challenge on Monday and I will post my meals of the day. If you have comments or suggestions to motivate me, I would really appreciate it! I look forward to my journey and I welcome the new challenges of my life!!!

I'm grateful for the random good mornings
I got from people as I ran today.
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Monday, January 20, 2014

First post-baby run!

Hello my fellow runner friends!! I'm going on my first run since having my baby and I just had to let you know. I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. 

Check back tomorrow so I could let you know how it went. Stay tuned for all the excitement...! Ciao for now :*

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Marathon Mindset

Hello y'all! 

What do Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Hall have in common? Or how about Kara Goucher and Steve Jobs- what similar qualities do they possess? It's no coincidence that Oprah Winfrey and Steve Jobs have been two of the most successful entrepreneurs nor is it a fluke that Ryan Hall and Kara Goucher are the best American marathoners. So what do these individuals have in common? They simply share the qualities and traits that are necessary to be successful. 

You're probably thinking that these people were merely lucky and were probably at the right place and at the right time, but I beg to differ. Some individuals are born leaders and thus are successful in life, but to be successful doesn't require the innate quality of being a leader- you can learn to be successful. 

Most marathoners are high achieving individuals and not because they run 26.2 miles, but because they have trained their mind in a special kind of way that allows them to push forward in the face of adversity. 

So what does the marathon mindset entail? And how can a marathon mindset make you successful? 

First, marathoners have a long term mindset. They're okay knowing that their goal of running 26.2 miles is not going to happen overnight. They understand that with enough effort and time, they will achieve their goals. They don't expect to see results instantly, rather they're accepting of delayed gratification.

Second, marathoners are able to break down goals into smaller ones. Most people get scared when they hear "26.2 miles," but marathoners realize that they can work up to those miles. They believe that if they can run a 5K, then they surely can run a full marathon. They acknowledge that the goal won't happen immediately, but that they will eventually accomplish it. 

Third, marathoners are able to break down tasks into smaller ones. They don't get overwhelmed by the amount of miles in a full marathon, they break it down into smaller chunks. For instance, they may tell themselves that a full marathon are two half marathons or they will keep their focus at one mile at a time. 

Fourth, marathoners understand that they must train in order to achieve their goal of running 26.2 miles. They don't make excuses for not being equipped to accomplish a marathon. Rather, they take the time to properly train and they accept that sometimes they might fail and not perform as well as they wished. 

And lastly, marathoners achieve their goals because they follow through with their long term mindset, they break down their goals to smaller and more achievable tasks and they train as hard and as long as they have to.

So how is the marathon mindset related to being successful in life? Well, as you can see, achievement is based largely on one's mindset. Did you notice that I did not mention the physical nature of marathon runners? Most runners would agree that the real challenge in running a marathon occurs in the head. It's like a mental warfare and battle with one's mind when running a race.

If you're able to keep a determined mind and put forward all of your commitment with absolutely no excuses, then you're on your way to being a successful person who is capable of running any race in life!

Do you agree with this analogy?

I'm grateful for warm coffee during 
the cold winter days. 

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Before you run, you must learn to walk

Howdy friends!

Have you ever heard the expression "We must learn to walk before we run?" 

For me, this expression has taken on a whole new meaning. The idiom simply implies that one must master a basic skill before jumping into a more complicated one. I never found this to be so true until I became a mother. Let me explain why...

It's been three and a half weeks since I welcomed the most precious gift that God has given me- my baby Myles. I have felt blessed, inspired, happy and challenged. Yes, challenged! I have felt this way for a couple reasons.

First, motherhood has not been an easy feat. There are so many things involved in the transition of being married-without-children to being married with a child. Although rewarding, there has been a huge learning curve for the hubs and I. We've had to learn the whole gamut of taking care of a baby. From breast feeding to diaper changing to swaddling to bathing to burping and the list continues. Thank God for Google- they have answered all of our questions! And thank God for being able to talk into my phone to write a text message and to write my blog posts. They never cautioned us on the complexity of being a parent, but somehow and in someway, we have somewhat figured it out. 

Secondly, I have been forbidden (I'm using this term rather loosely) to run for six weeks. I nearly lost my head when my midwife told me this. How can she take away my sanity? I really believe that this transition has been a testament of my patience. I have replaced tempo runs with leisure walks and running sneakers with walking ones. But that's okay because I am allowing my body to recover before I begin training again. As I wait patiently for the day I can begin training again, I thank God that at least I feel well and I am smoothly recovering. Until then, I will learn to walk before I run...

Myles and I taking a stroll down Coconut Grove

Have you ever had a moment in your life that required a lot of patience from your part?

I am grateful for the women that
surround me in my life.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

See me on "Run South Florida"

Hello friends!! 

Hope you all had a wonderful New Years! I had a mah-velous time at my sister's house. I spent the day with my family and my two favorite boys- my husband Milo and my sweet baby boy Myles. 

At midnight, we ate 12 red grapes (that's good luck for each month of the year) and we drank a glass of champagne. That's our Cuban tradition. Do you have a tradition too?  

The hubs and I 

My brother-in-law Alex, my sister Angie, me and Milo

Me and the boys

So, I wanted to share this good news with you all...

I have been featured in the January issue of Run South Florida and I am extremely honored to have been chosen. For those of you who may not know, South Florida didn't have an exclusive running magazine until a group of determined people got together and established this brand new magazine.

Run South Florida has done an amazing job of capturing what it's like to be a South Florida athlete. Their stories are centered, not only on, the individuals that have made a difference in the running community, but also on motivating everyone of all ages to run. They offer tips on running races and tips on how to get started with a running workout plan. 

I encourage you to take a look at their website for some great stories on people who have transformed their lives because of running- you will feel inspired!

Which running magazine do you read?

I am grateful to have met such wonderful
people at Run South Florida.
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