Kick Off Summer at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

Kick Off Summer at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival

*Thanks to affiliations with the Tampa Bay Bloggers and Big City Events, I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and fun run for free as well as give away two tickets in exchange for blog posts and social media love. All opinions are my own.*

Happy Post Memorial Day weekend! I was at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival this weekend kicking off summer with a cold margarita in my hand. I mean it’s the drink of summer, how could you not?? It was hot as HELL here in Tampa Bay so it is definitely feeling like summer. It got hot and humid quickly, so the ice cold drink(s) and water hit the spot.

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I’m not always a big drinker, but this event also came with a run which was a fun way to kick off the festival plus a drink for participating so I couldn’t say no! A 2.5 mile run along the Tampa Riverwalk plus a complementary drink and medal that doubled as a bottle opener…totally joining in! However, it was pretty steamy at 11am when it started so there was a fair share of both runners and walkers. Everyone got a medal, cold water, snacks, plus a t-shirt, and drink. A fun way to get a workout in and earn your margarita. I got to meet up with a few other Tampa Bay Bloggers post race which was fun too. It’s always a fun time to catch up with other bloggers in real life then from screen to screen. 🙂

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Tampa Bay Bloggers killed the fun run!

After the run I cleaned up and my mom and I went back down later in the afternoon to enjoy our complementary drink and enjoy the festival. They had at least fifty types of margaritas to choose from each from a different brand, flavor, or frozen or unfrozen. I had the Tito’s classic margarita and my mom had the watermelon one. Both we’re awesome and oh so refreshing! The music was great too, all local bands throughout the day, including Blue’s Travelers from 9pm till close.

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I’m not even a huge fan of vodka, but the Tito-Rita was really good

When you weren’t enjoying the margaritas, you could take the water taxi on the Hillsborough River to bar hop down the Riverwalk and be able to re-enter the festival for a second (or third) round if you chose 😉 Even if you needed a break from the heat, the breeze from the ride felt refreshing. Although the water taxi wasn’t part of the admission to the festival, it was pretty cool seeing the other parts of Tampa via the river. My mom really enjoyed it and so did I!

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Aside from the tasty drinks, they had a great selection of food and had plenty of places to sit down and chill, either under an umbrella or on one of their outdoor couches! If you didn’t sit in one of their seats, you could have brought in one of your own and snagged a spot in front of the stage.

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Besides the hot weather, the event was definitely worth attending again. Music was good, people watching was great, and of course the margaritas were THE BOMB. A perfect way to kick off summer! Next time they’re in town, I’ll be there!

Four Favorite Pre-Workout Snacks

Four Favorite Pre-Workout Snacks

Hey All!! It’s almost half way through the week. YAY! I’ve been trying a few new ideas for my pre-workout snacks as well as adding my usual ones. Try these out to fuel your workouts for the week!

When picking healthy snacks, I typically pick something that has a good balance of carbs and healthy fat mixed with a little protein. Nothing heavy or anything that requires much prep because remember its a SNACK–something small to get you through without weighing you down. Let the weights take of that instead. 🙂 They’re filling, easy, and full of only the good stuff. If you can, prep these in advance so you have them all week long.

These snacks can all be swapped for something vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian. I do like dairy and don’t have a nut allergy, which is what I typically used for these snacks. Feel free to use what you have in your pantry. No special grocery trips here. 🙂

Trail Mix

-I love this mix because you throw everything into a bowl and that’s IT. A salty-sweet crunch with healthy fats from the nuts, easy digestible carbs from dried fruit, and whole grains from the Cheerios. I like Trader Joe’s selection of nuts and dried fruit for this mix the best. When measuring each into a bowl or bag, I’d say less is more. If you over fill the bag, your portions get large fast! (if you’re doing single servings). I try and keep this is mind because of the nuts since the healthy fats are usually dense in good calories. This makes enough for one serving so it’s perfect for pre-portioning and having them ready through the week! Just remember to store them in a cool, dry place.

  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s mixed nuts lightly salted and roasted
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s dried pitted cherries
  • 1/3 c Multigrain Cheerios
  • Handful of Semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional but completely worth it)

Celery & Peanut Butter with Pretzels

-For peanut butter, I buy whichever one is on sale so I don’t have a brand preference. I love to hate peanut because of the price (BOGO is my friend at Publix) and the calorie content *insert crying emoji face* such a tease because it is SO good! The pretzels are really good with it too. Its a great salty-sweet crunch that’s hard to beat!

Hard-boiled Egg on Toast with Gouda Cheese and Salt and Pepper

-I cook my eggs in advance so they’re the perfectly convenient way to get in protein. Sometimes I even have this for breakfast its so good and filling yet light. Gouda cheese is my favorite, no other reason. Bread-wise, I buy Rudi’s Multigrain Gluten Free bread. This would be good on an english muffin too.

Non-Fat Plain Greek Yogurt with Multigrain Cheerios, Honey, & Fresh Fruit

-I never used to like plain yogurt, in fact I rolled my eyes because it reminded me of sour cream. I didn’t actually starting liking it until I saw how much SUGAR was in my flavored yogurt. It was basically dessert for breakfast. So there went that idea. Now, I sweeten my plain yogurt myself with real flavors. 😉 Multigrain cheerios give it a crunch, honey adds a naturally sweet flavor (of which you don’t need much) and fresh fruit for added antioxidants, fiber, and color.

All The Coffee: Enhance Your Endurance & Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival

All The Coffee: Enhance Your Endurance & Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival

*Disclaimer: Thanks to the Tampa Bay Bloggers I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival with a friend for free in exchange for social media love and this post. All opinions are my own.*

This past Saturday, I was able to attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival! As soon as I got word on this opportunity, I knew I had sign up! I mean it’s COFFEE plus tastings and demos, art, live music, and food, you can’t go wrong! A portion of the proceeds went to Bay Area Foundation for the Arts (BAFA), a organization that helps students and teachers further their knowledge in fine and performing arts. I brought a friend and we both had a great time. Great tastings and brews. It was from 6-9pm, first thought: “YES! Coffee!” and second thought: “Late night coffee?…not gonna stop me though.” Took on the brews like a champ and didn’t have *much of a problem sleeping* 😉 worth it though!

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It was inside at the Noise Box, a local venue in Brandon, FL . They had a variety of local vendors such as pottery, art, books, home decor, etc. They had a corner with baked goods to pair nicely with your brew too! All good looking options of course because what else would you pair it with? At each corner of the venue they had four tastings. All unique with different flavors. I tend to like medium roasts, so my favorite was the Colombian.

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They featured a local company, Zeal Coffee Roasters. My first time having their coffee and their cold brew was AMAZING! I don’t always go for the cold brew since it is a little strong for me, but their ‘s was heavenly with a little cream that made me melt–PUNS… get it cold brew, melt…okay I’m done. SO GOOD!

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After having walked around, tried the tastings and had our drinks, we were ready to head out. Since it was a three hour event, the event really took us an hour and half to get through because it was on the smaller side. I heard that it sold out, which I wasn’t surprised about considering a great turnout! However, there was only one roaster, which I feel wasn’t enough. Adding a second or even a third roaster each offering something unique would make it good to compare to. Overall, I would attend this event again because it offered great coffee culture, something I really enjoy and appreciate. Coffee really is an art!

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If you haven’t already noticed, I LOVE coffee. Hence, me jumping at this opportunity to blog about my experience! Aside from the tastings, demos, and info sessions, coffee has other benefits besides the caffeine kick. Although they’re are many benefits to your brew (a load of antioxidants, lowers your chances of certain types of cancer, fights depression) this reason is my favorite: Enhances endurance and improves workout performance! <— Can I get an HELL YEAH??

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For particularly tough workouts either running or a strength day (like a HIIT workout), I grab a cup a couple hour before if I can. Having that boost of energy before your workout puts that energy kick to work! When you have as little as eight ounces, the caffeine travels into your bloodstream and surpresses neurotransmitters in the brain. Once kicked in, the caffeine takes over and masks the effort you’re putting into your run or workout. Result, you can push longer and harder. Read more about it here.Who needs pre-workouts right? Pair coffee with some easy digestible carbs and a little fat and you have the perfect pre-workout snack! My favorite is pretzels and peanut butter and an 8 oz cup of plain coffee with a little stevia. During my marathon, I made sure my GU contained some amount of caffeine and I saw a noticeable difference in that, just as I did when I tried the ones without caffeine. LOL. Wasn’t quite on my A game during those training runs.

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I’ve noticed an equal kick in a grande latte from Starbucks too, so amount is dependent on you. Make sure you have water along that coffee though! Coffee is a dehydrator so I tend to double fist my Camelback thermos with water and coffee in the mornings.

Make sure you attend the Tampa Bay Coffee & Art Festival the next time, enjoy your coffee, then workout afterwards and kill three birds with one stone (or cup) ! 😉

Enjoy!

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Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Two Favorite Ingredients Lately: Lentils & Sundried Tomatos

Hey Guys! I’ve been going through my pantry and taking some mental notes of recent ingredients I been into lately. Of course I have my staples I buy every week like yogurt, eggs, fresh veggies, meat, etc. but some of the meal prep I’ve been doing involved a couple new additions. For a while I wasn’t great about meal-prepping every week because I simply didn’t feel like it. Lately I was going through some blogs, namely The Blissful Balance, my girl Christina’s blog and Cooking Light for some inspiration for meal prep ideas, because we all need a little motivation to spark our interest right?! 😉

I’m a carnivore and really enjoy meat, but I wanted go on the lighter easier side and go meatless for a change. I also felt super lazy when it came to cooking meat and keeping an eye out as it cooks. Not feeling it. I saw how lentils are a meatless alternative and found a great one-pot dish for it. The dish lasted me the WHOLE DAMN week! All dinners Sunday  through Thursday and I didn’t get tired of it because it was THAT good! With wilted spinach and parmesean cheese (which can be opted out for dairy-free if vegan) on top, it was easy to reheat and enjoy (almost) every night of the week.

Aside from being an easy/convienent dish, lentils are great for you. They’re full of fiber, high in protein and iron, and have a meaty satisfying feeling to them. They’re also great with most things and can easily be used as a side among other ingredients. I can see how vegans and vegetarians really enjoy them. As delicious as they are too, they’re CHEAP! I mean really. Not a bad price for a 16 oz bag. I think $2-3. I don’t remember an exact number but I don’t recall cringing at the price. Filling up on a budget, that’s what I like to call it.

Another favorite has been sundried tomatos. They come jarred and if they’re an option, picking the ones in olive oil is your best bet. They’re full of flavor and go well in anything! I love them in salads or snacking on them among mozzarella cheese and crackers or bruschetta *drooling*. Going Italian and I’m not complaining, note: not one bit of me is Italian…lol! I was disappointed when I ran out when making my mini english muffin pizzas and realized I couldn’t use them. SO SAD. Thinking of having the tomatoes as a staple for last minute ideas since they have a decent shelf life as well. I love the flavor they have, that roasted and savory flavor! Packed with goodness, its an item that’s gotta be on your shelf. Aside from how great they are to have in your kitchen, tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants, are full of water keeping you satisfied, and is a fat free food, just to name a few!

If you’re thinking you wanna try these two ingredients, here is the lentil recipe I used from The Blissful Balance. Again, very filling and it went along way! I also included another recipe using lentils but in a greek style type salad that is ready to eat straight outta the fridge thanks to Cooking Light. Hope these two ingredients and recipes sparked your interest as they did mine. Enjoy!

 

5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned as a Runner

5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned as a Runner

In case you need it, here is some mid-week motivation! I was not too excited about getting up today because I was just blah. Stuff needed to get done regardless of whether it needed to be done or not. I put on my Momentum Jewelry bracelet and made today happen anyways. Since I needed some motivation, I decided to write today’s post on something everyone can relate to and could be used for motivation too!

 Running is my jam. It’s the reason behind my blog, what makes me happy when I’m sad or what I help celebrate with, and has given me to so many cool opportunities and friends. Besides the obvious of it being great cardio, can be done anywhere, opportunities to race, running has taught me lessons that I carry into everyday life. Sounds corny. It kinda is, but its true!

I like to think of any goal that seems tough yet attainable is something worth working for. If that’s weight loss, adding speed work into your workouts because its good for you…like me, or training for the Boston Marathon (coming up this month!) adds a mental challenge worth achieving if you commit to making it happen.  Although the reasons I mentioned above are just fitness goals, running has allowed me to apply this mindset to real-life situations too.

1.) If you want something bad enough, work for it. #GOALdigger.

Simply put. If you keep thinking about, it get’s you excited/good butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling, or gives you happy thoughts about it, it’s worth digging deep for. I got these feelings post grad when contemplating a marathon. I started looking up races “just for fun” and the next think I knew, I signed up for one!

2.) Rough patches exist.

Yes, it’s true. Just like running a race, workout, job, relationship, or hobby. If it’s worth it, it won’t be easy, but that’s what makes the journey worth it!! Marathon training was three months of work. I looked forward to training most of the time, but there were runs that did suck. Try running sixteen miles with not enough Gu or running thirteen in the pouring rain. It wasn’t fun but they’re memories I look back and think “sh*t–did I really do that?”

Studying for personal training was the same. Another three months of weekly commitment…see a pattern? Friday’s were study days since it was the only day I didn’t have class (I was still in college taking courses among studying for PT on my own). But I passed the exam and started putting my knowledge to good use the next semester. One of the best decisions I made for myself!

3.) Have a good support system.

I’ve very grateful for my amazing parents, family, friends who support my love of the Fitness and running. I connected with the Fit2Run- Tampa community for fun runs during the week and other active/fun events throughout the year. I later met other people through group fitness, specifically my group class HEAT and Peerfit peeps, who just love working out together, but might not necessarily run. All these people and more are my go-to people for accountability, support, and motivation. My sorority sisters in Kappa Alpha Theta always have my back no matter what, regardless if it’s fitness, having a movie and wine night, or being phone call away. No one needs to go at it alone! More then likely, someone feels the same or wants to grab a coffee and catch-up! Reaching out is key.

4.) Take it easy when you feel “meh.”

This is particular lesson I’ve learned and am still learning, I don’t think we’ll ever be done either ha. This one takes time and can be a little scary. If you’re feeling un-easy about something…and I mean not the lazy “meh” more like the bad vibes “meh.” There is a difference here…then say no or plan another time. Feeling tight hips? Re-schedule the speed work for another day. Stressful day at work? Take a yoga class, take a nice bath, call a friend (remember–support system!). Need more sleep? Go to bed earlier. When in doubt take a rest day!!! I’ve learned that my body workout related or not, is smarter then I think it is and sometimes needs to CHILL OUT.

5.) Don’t be close-minded.

This is not just relating to yoga!! I really like structure, schedules, deadlines, etc. I’m not really type-A..for real though! I just like knowing what’s up for the day. Similar to the above with swapping things out, but to be open to new workouts, friends, networking events, opportunities, etc. I find myself in the “running and fitness is my jam” sterotype. Although that really is a big part of who I am and who I socialize with the most, I try to keep other events open. Beer sampling opportunity? Sure! Is this my go-to event? No. I’m not a huge fan of drinking, but it’s fun right? I mean it’s beer sampling! Theta-alumna networking event? A good excuse to connect with other women and hand out cards for my PT business. New workout class? Try it, worst case: don’t go back.

YOUR TURN:

-Any lessons running/working out has taught you?

-Anything you’ve done recently that paid off or has been a learning experience in workouts or life?

Tuna Salad with Lemon Oregano Dressing

Tuna Salad with Lemon Oregano Dressing

Hi Friends! Spring is here–and that means more meals outside. Of course you wanna take portable/travel-friendly meals with you that are easy to make, tasty, healthy, and fresh. This tuna salad has all that and more. I saw a similar recipe used with green beans, but I didn’t have those, so I improvised with edamame! I keep edamame on me for snacking, so this was a no-brainer. I also happened to have a few other things ready to go so this whole tuna salad idea was meant to be. The best part of this salad is that you literally through everything into a bowl with minimal measurement needed and then pour the dressing over the top. Like I mentioned before, I had most of this on me so I’m sure you do too! Best part is that this DOESN’T require MAYO…can I get a hell yeah?! Finally a tuna salad that isn’t swimming is mayo and is full of flavor instead. Tuna is low in fat and high in protein making this a great post-workout meal too. Aside from the protein, tuna has heart-healthy omega-3s. Edamame makes for a pretty green color and its benefit of added fiber. Pair this with a hardboiled egg, on a piece of toast, on a bed of spinach, in butter lettuce cups, or on a spoon, for an easy spring time lunch. Enjoy!

Tuna Salad with Lemon Oregano Dressing

2 cans of albacore tuna (5-6 oz)

1/2 c of edamame beans

1/2 red onion

1 15oz can of white beans

1 tsp of dried oregano

1/4 olive oil

2 Tbsp of lemon juice + 1 tsp of lemon zest

4 hard-boiled eggs

-First off, drain the tuna and put into large bowl, breaking it up into small bits. Add chopped red onion. I left mine chunky for color, but feel free to dice it finer. Rinse and drain beans and add to bowl. Cook edamame if not already cooked and/or remove edamame beans from pods. I estimated about a half of cup for color. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice and zest, and oregano. Add salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad, mix together, and refrigerate. Serves four. Enjoy!

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Why Group Fitness is AWESOME

Why Group Fitness is AWESOME

I started taking group fitness in high school. I took this class called “Body Sculpt” at a local gym in Delray Beach (where I’m originally from) which was high intensity class combined with weights and cardio using the bosu or a step. I went with my dad and we both loved the class, music, instructor, and times/days it was offered. We were one of the hardcore regulars who went twice a week for about six months until the gym went out of business. We were crushed (for real though) when it closed down and the instructor left. To this day, my dad STILL talks about this class and how awesome it was. I must admit, it was a tough class and a great gateway into the world of group fitness. I briefly thought about becoming a group fitness instructor in college, but I really had my heart set on becoming a personal trainer instead. In April of 2015, I decided to take the AFAA Group Fitness Instructor Certification in Sarasota. I wanted to make myself more valuable of a candidate post college for jobs and having this certification along with being a PT would be a double whammy. I passed the exam and started teaching class over the summer at the Downtown Tampa YMCA teaching a HEAT (high energy athletic training) bootcamp style class and in the same summer got my Barre certification.

I currently teach up to nine to ten group fitness classes per week at various Y branches and through HealthFitness, a corporate wellness company. Group fitness is something very different then personal training! Aside from the group setting you’re in versus the one-on-one, I’ve learned how to engage in an audience aka public speaking made physically sweaty, meet new people, and get of my own comfort zone. I’m pretty shy when you first get to know me, but group fitness has really been something that has pushed me in another part of the fitness industry.

Group fitness is a pretty cool way to get fit. Besides the obvious of getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new, there’s a lot of benefits too. There are SO MANY cool classes to try! The possibilities are endless. The classes I teach are only a small part of what group fitness can offer. Group fitness is social. If you thrive in being in a gym or studio and love getting your sweat on (like me), you meet other like-minded people, make new friends, and network with other fitness professionals! I attended a group fitness class for a cause this past weekend at South Tampa Fit, Fit2Run does themed 5k fun run each week, and Hyde Park Village is doing a Valentines Day themed yoga class. A good way to have fun and get fit at the same time. No worries about judgement–we’re all here to have fun and get fit. I personally love it when new faces show in my class. It another reason to share my love of fitness through my class.

Yes, group fitness does wonders for your comfort zone. Any time I’m feeling blah about my workouts and need to switch it up, I’ll pick a class. It’s nice once in awhile to follow along to another instructor instead of being the one leading a class or workout! Switching it up results in a different response to the stimulus (i.e variety of movements, switching up reps/weight/time) pushing you beyond your limits–in a good way, which in the end beats plateaus. I’ve mentioned in previous posts my love for Peerfit. With their flexible memberships and packages to choose from, you constantly are changing up your routine with different classes. Read more about Peerfit in my post here.

Best part about group fitness besides getting fit? All you do is follow along, or do as you’re told! Didn’t think you could squat for a minute? Group exercise just proved you can. I use it in some cases as a business expense to learn about other forms of exercise, ways of doing various movements, meet and network with instructors, and learn about the class I’m taking/location/equipment etc.! I’ve been grateful enough to blog about some speciality studios and have taken some classes in exchange for a post. Not a bad way to experience fitness!

Depending on the type of classes you enjoy, some places ONLY offer that type of fitness. Most gyms offer a little of everything which is great. The more you find what you enjoy, the more you can focus on those particular classes. However, private or boutique studios are typically more expensive compared to a local gym that offers a variety of classes. A factor worth looking into if you are hard core yogi, spinner, or cross-fitter.

Below are a few instructors in the Tampa Bay area who also teach! Check’em out and see where and what they teach–Thanks friends! 🙂

  • Danielle Duval, LesMills BodyFlow Instructor & YRUN Coordinator – Downtown Tampa YMCA.
    • “BodyFlow is a LesMills class that integrates Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates. It incorporates music and poses that strengthen and relax the mind and body. It challenges and rejuvenates the body and ends with quiet and calming relaxation to relax and renew. YRUN is a social run group for members and non-members at the downtown YMCA. It was created to support and promote the Y’s non-profit organizations like the Veggie Van as well. We run along the Riverwalk up to the arena and end at Holy Hog BBQ for brews, food, and socializing. Whether you’re a walker or a runner of various abilities, everyone can participate!”
  • André Ortega, South Tampa Fit Instructor.
    • “I teach high intensity interval style classes focusing on engaging muscles in unique ways through different formats, combinations, and intensity levels. The best part about instructing HIIT style classes is feeding off everyone’s energy. These classes keep things fresh and fun, all with killer music. There’s nothing better!!”
  • Caitlyn Connolly, Insanity & Piyo Instructor at Trim Lean & Healthy- Palm Harbor
    • ” Insanity is a bodyweight, high intensity cardio workout and PiYo is a dynamic flowing sequence-based workout that combines pilates and yoga moves to get your heart rate up! The motivation- you feed off of other taking it, the music, the feels, and the environment. The variety of each class offers benefits for everyone! I love teaching these classes because of the variety they offer and the motivation to DIG DEEPER! Just those reasons should make ya want to get up and go! Come find me at my studio in Palm Harbor!”

Check out these classes above and see for yourself!! You’re one class away from getting your sweat on and seeing what group fitness has to offer 🙂

My Journey Through 26.2 Miles: Miami Marathon Race Day

My Journey Through 26.2 Miles: Miami Marathon Race Day

Hi everyone! It’s been a bit since I last posted since I wanted to think about my journey of my experience and not rush into just posting just to “post.” So the whole point of my blog was to document to my training for this race, but really I’ve been posting a lot about my active lifestyle in other ways besides running. This blog isn’t going to end anytime soon!–I’ll still use it to share my experiences throughout my running, fitness, recipes, and active lifestyle interests. I’m breaking up this post into two parts: Race Day & Training. There’s SO much to share so I would rather focus on one part of my journey at a time. This post is all about RACE DAY. The finale of my training!

I signed up for the marathon in July and started my training this past September. I booked about three months worth of training to play it safe while making room for life to happen, injuries, flexibility, etc. I ran about four times a week, which is what I typically do anyways but this time they were more scheduled runs. I still kept running for fun, but each run had purpose behind it in some way. They were an easy, tempo/speed based, long, or a combination of two.

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Time for Packet Pickup at the Expo

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Marathon Weekend/Day! 

I drove home that Friday before, stayed the night there, and the next day drove down to Miami with my mom. The expo was amazing and was in the Art Deco district of Miami. There was so many vendors, food samples, and gear! I bought the Miami Marathon 26.2 mile car magnet and bought an “official” Miami Marathon long sleeve shirt! (not included in goodie bag). My mom and I walked along the Wynwood District (a part of the Art Deco district), saw the Wynwood Walls—which I recommend! and found a local coffee shop called Panther Coffee…AHmazing. They have a delicious latte I must say. Its always ritual for a pasta dinner the night before, so I made reservations at this local Italian restaurent called Spaghettino through Yelp. It was so cute and local! I had gluten free pasta with homemade tomato sauce, mozzerella cheese, fresh basil, and seasonings and it was simple and delicious. I didn’t over stuff myself and made sure to drink plenty of water. We got back to the hotel and relaxed. I tried not to think about my race, look at the course map, over plan or think about any of it. As soon as I posted pics to social media, I played solitaire (my fav mindless game) then went to bed around 9:45. Early to bed before my wake-up at 3:30am to eat!!

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Wynwood District in Miami
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Mom’s really excited for our Italian pre race dinner!

Marathon “breakfast” included copious amounts of peanut butter with gluten free pretzels and an orange plus a bottle of water. I got to corral H (a corral are sectioned off areas behind the start to help keep runners organized, usually based on estimated finish times before the start of the race). My mom and I headed down around 5:15/5:30am all bundled up waiting to start at 6am. It was in the 40s that morning plus a windchill–one hell of a day to race! haha. I had two long sleeve shirts on for layering plus cheap gloves which I ditched at mile one. Throughout the beginning of the race, I didn’t kill myself and went about a minute slower then usual and took my first gu at mile four. I picked up the pace gradually, and had a gu every three miles.

By mile thirteen, I was feeling great! At this point I was considering removing and ditching my top layer. After going back and forth in my head, I decided against it. I honestly didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep going! There was a breeze the whole time, so keeping both layers was tolerable. One regret I had was looking back where the marathon and half split…..LOL all mental! Coconut Grove, a quaint residental and historic area of Miami, was my favorite part of the course. It was somewhat shaded and the houses were beautiful. Some local families had tables of there own with beer and candy to hand out!

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Pre-Race and Bundled Up before heading to the start!

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I stayed focused throughout mile twenty. Mile 23 was probably my toughest. It was the pier (not sure the name) but that’s when I felt myself somewhat fade…eekk!!! It was also the mile my music died due to my playlist not being long enough and ran out of my electrolyte drink, Nuun in my Nathan Sports water bottle…oh well! Again I didn’t want to stop so mentally I pushed through. They say count down from twenty, but six more miles was too much. After starting to feel tired, I up-ed my gu to every two miles. At this point I was so over the gu, which at this point had eight of them, it took me my all to get it down. I used gu as another form of measurement to the finish as well haha…” I would say *two* more gus till you get real food!” If I had any more then eight gus during this race, I would have puked. Sorry #TMI haha. I took gatorade the last three to four miles and had my last gu at mile twenty-two. I felt my feet burning from blisters forming and was WAY past feeling anything in my legs. I kept saying to myself “all your effort and training is right here in front of you” periodically throughout the race, especially approaching mile twenty and the last six miles.

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Most iconic pic of the whole race haha! Dad snapped this at mile 11

The last mile was momumental. Out of pure adrenaline, my pace was around seven or so minutes. I wanted to see that finish as soon as I could! We ran over the Biscayne Bridge before heading into mile 26 and although the bridge was hardly anything, it was the most mentally tough part of the course…tougher the mile 23. It didn’t help spectators saying, “finish is right over the bridge!” because it wasn’t. It was over the bridge, plus the .2 which was torture.

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SO CLOSE!

I’ve never been so happy to finish a race EVER!!!! The spectators along the sides of mile 26 were amazing. So many people cheering and smiling! I couldn’t help but smile too despite the pain. The finish was RIGHT THERE and BOOM I crossed it. Just like that, I FINISHED and was in one piece! Just like that it was over. I did the biggest fist pump at the finish. Then all of the sudden all the soreness and pain went straight to my legs and my body was numb. They tunneled us through the finish and gave goodie bags with pretzels and water. I was delirious. At the end of the finish, there was mom and dad!!! They had the cutest and brightest signs and were right in the front of the crowd. I was ELATED to see them. My mom cried and gave me a hug and my dad just gave me a hug and congratulated me. I needed water and fluids immediately but oddly there was not many options in the post race area 😦 one of the downsides in terms of poor planning. I sat down and couldn’t move and had no appetite. Three blisters later, but thankfully that was my worst “pain” the whole race. Thank God my mom surprised me with a new pair of flip flops called, Oofos. They were HEAVEN and was like walking on a cloud. We walked ten blocks back to the hotel…the longest ten blocks of my life even though I know it was good for me to keep moving. I showered, changed, and put on my CEP compression tights. Time for lunch at the Biscayne Tavern!

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The FEELS are REAL

We went to a place for lunch called Biscayne Tavern for lunch, another Yelp recommendation. All I wanted post marathon was a huge A$$ burger and fries. This place hit the nail on the head let me tell you. The burger was amazing with all the fixings and sweet potato fries were on point. I didn’t have a beer because I feel like I couldn’t completely stomach that post race plus I felt dehydrated. After lunch we headed out of town and back to Delray where we arrived around 3pm and I went to bed, iced, ate more, and went to bed again. LOL.

I took off Monday and stayed home and recovered. I got a massage the next day at The Sagely Willow Massage & Bodywork Company. I’m not one to get massages, but today it was SO necessary! It was amazing. They used a car buffer/polisher on my body and it did wonders! I felt significantly better and was able to drive back to Tampa that evening.

I must say it was by far the most amazing running experience yet AND I would do it AGAIN! I’m proud to say I ran the entire race, did not need first aid, didn’t stop for water, gu, to use the bathroom, or tie my shoe, walk etc. I knew signing up I would RUN the entire thing and nothing else. Not to say walking if I had to would be the end of the world, but I had trained the three months I did to RUN it.

I finished strong with a time of 3 hours and 57 minutes and took number eight out of ten in my age group! All the training, early morning runs, the amount of time I spent on my feet, speed and intervals sessions, and gu of all things paid off!! Although I’m incredibly proud of my time and place, I am most proud of my commitment to my training. I could have said f— it, I don’t want to run today, but I sucked it up and perservered on ALL of my runs. I did not miss many of my runs. I knew the training I was getting into and the time I would be devoting to this. In some ways training is like a part-time job. I made sure to not look at it like this, but more of a dedication to my passion and an opportunity to improve and challenge myself. I can say I don’t regret training for this distance and making it part of my schedule the past three months. I can officially say that it’s true, miles change you, and I’m grateful every single one.

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Standing and Smiling Post 26.2! Look at that hardware!

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Results are IN!

 

 

 

What’s #InMyBowl? My Assembly Only Meal

What’s #InMyBowl? My Assembly Only Meal

Happy Weekend! This past week, I’ve been part of challenge on Instagram using the hashtag #BGBInstaChallenge on my pics. I’ll be honest, I kinda fell off the bandwagon on it. However, it was super fun and it challenged me to pick fun interesting pics to share each day based on the theme. One day in particular was #InMyBowl. This one was my favorite because the first thing that came to mind was SALAD! Don’t roll your eyes yet 😉 To be real, salads are a really great meal. Yeah, most people associate them with weight loss, boring, and “full of vegetables.” I’m changing the conversation on this in this post.

Most days during the week I get home late–around 8pm from teaching group fitness and training clients. The LAST thing I wanna do is stand over the stove for an hour to cook a fresh meal post workout/work. NO THANKS! So instead of take-out or going out (which I don’t really wanna do either), I prep a salad. I fill my bowl up with greens as a base, on top various types of veggies of whatever is in my fridge, cheese, nuts or seeds, dried fruit, lean protein, and a bottled or homemade vinaigrette dressing to finish it up. I don’t touch a pan. It really is an assembly only type dinner! I mean yes, if I have to cook or warm up leftovers to put on my salad I’ll whip out a pan, but its only ONE pan! Not three or four each for something special. Bonus points if your protein or veggies are already pre-cooked!

Depending on my salad, sometimes it is meal-prep approved and all you do is add the vinaigrette when you’re ready. Otherwise, the only thing I do is take out a cutting board and knife, wash my vegetables, warm-up or quickly cook my protein, and add my dressing on top and dinner is DONE! I’m pretty sure it’s assembled and ready to eat in less then thirty minutes. 

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Simple Salad from #InMyBowl with greens, lean chicken breast, veggies, dried cranberries, and walnuts with feta cheese.

What I’ve learned about salads:

  • Get out of the box! Salads are more then just lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. Experiment with different flavors to make it interesting.
  • Read cookbooks or look online. I like Salads by Cooking Light or any of the Runner’s World cookbooks (which are my fav)
  • LAYER it UP:
    • Base: greens (spinach, romaine, iceberg, kale, spring mix)
    • Vegetables: A carb-rich vegetable (squash or potato) and a simple vegetable (carrots, cucumbers) pick two from each type
    • Dried or fresh fruit: cranberries, apricots, raisins
    • Dairy/Cheese: any shaved or crumbled cheese (parm, feta, goat) really anything you like!
    • Nuts/Seeds: pecans, almonds, walnuts, flax or chia seeds
    • Lean Protein: chicken, eggs (a quick cooking favorite), canned tuna, ground turkey or beef (for a Mexican inspired salad!), tofu or beans for a vegetarian or vegan option
    • Dressing: bottled or homemade. I chose a low calorie/low sugar type dressing if buying. For convenience I’ve really used the bottled dressings a lot. When I’m not in a rush, I really love making my own! Check out my recipe on a simple balsamic dressing below:

Basic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Makes 1 serving

1 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp of good balsamic vinegar

1 tsp of red wine vinegar

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp honey or agave nectar

A few shakes of garlic powder or 1-2 gloves of fresh garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Wisk together until combined well. Pour over top of salad and enjoy!

Remember, salads can be anything you want! To make sure you’re get the most out of your salad, follow my steps above and don’t be afraid to get creative. Enjoy!

A Taste of Peerfit: Experiencing SOHO Cycling & Mantra Tampa

A Taste of Peerfit: Experiencing SOHO Cycling & Mantra Tampa

*Disclaimer: Thanks to my affiliation with the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was able to experience Peerfit in exchange for writing this post. As always, my opinions are my own*

Have you established your 2016 goals yet?? The past couple weeks I had the privilege of being chosen to experience a taste of Peerfit through Tampa Bay Bloggers!  Peerfit is a company creating a versatile, multi-location subscription used at various boutique fitness studios around Tampa Bay, Orlando, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Sarasota, and Jacksonville. Peerfit offers new ways to get fit while challenging yourself with different types of workouts and classes, and allowing you to explore fitness within your town, all while changing up your fitness routine and keeping you motivated.

Fun facts about Peerfit:

  • There are no limitations with studio visits
  • Credits renew each month and rollover to the next (you are able to use your credits for 60 days before they expire)
  • Big on corporate wellness–currently working with Laser Spine Institute in Tampa and St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville
  • Started by University of Florida students and alumni

With Peerfit, you don’t just “get your workout done”, you experience a one-of-kind fitness experience all under your own flexibility and control.

How does it work?

You sign up in terms of credits that act as a currency. Most classes are 2-3 credits each, while some are up to 3 or more. You simply reserve your spot online, and you’re good to go!

Wanna try it out?

Use this link for $1 for your first pack of eight credits. *this is good for your first month only, and renews at full price after the first month.*

I was able to experience Peerfit at two different locations: SOHO Cycling Studio and Mantra Tampa. Both were two different styles of workouts, both equally challenging in their own way 😛 (and super fun)!!

SOHO Cycling is an indoor spin studio located in South Tampa on W Kennedy Blvd, across from Buddy Brew Coffee. I’ll be honest, I’m not a “cycler”, but it was pretty tough yet invigorating! Luckily I had motivation from another blogger, LiveSweatSleep, to keep me accountable for our 6am ride…eekk!!! Totally worth the wake up! I enjoyed it so much, I would go back to use as a good form of cross-training when I’m not running. It is a relatively small building, mostly making room for 52 bikes, and had two large screens in front of you, as well as the instructor motivating you every step of the way. Upbeat, loud music kept you riding to the beat in conjunction to scenes of nature or music videos playing on the screens ahead of you throughout the ride.

Peerfit made signing up super easy, and convenient to try. No questions asked, I checked in and picked a bike! If you like to cycle, live in the South Tampa area, or just want to change up your cardio routine, I suggest SOHO Cycling Studio as one of many great places you can use through Peerfit!

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SOHO Cycling across from Buddy Brew Coffee

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LiveSweatSleep joined me for our ride at 6am! #accountabilityfortheWIN

Mantra Tampa is a #pilatesonsteriods (literally) style workout using a Megaformer. Located in South Tampa and Sarasota, Mantra is a Pilates-based class focusing on a variety of upper and lower body movements; A LOT of core and balance with a combination of resistance bands thrown in.

I’ve never done Pilates or any type of workout relating to a reformer/Megaformer, but this was the quite the workout, and a good one at that! Peerfit made signing up easy, convenient, without questions asked.IMG_0121

I went in early and received an overview of the Megaformer before my first class. I learned a few basic terms, how the class is instructed, and what to expect. The class had about eight to ten women with the instructor cueing you on transition throughout the class. Going slow is key, as well as pulsing and holding. YIKES!!! It hurt so good, if that gives any kind of indication!

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I felt kind of uncoordinated the first time I took it, but caught on as they shouted each movement and transition. By the end of my class, I had it down. They recommend you use toe-sox with grips on the bottom since you are using your own body and multiple parts of the Megaformer. I would say you definitely should invest in a pair since it makes you feel more stable. I already had mine from teaching barre, so they came in handy.

Another class I would look into for a good switch up from my routine, also accepted with Peerfit!! Now I can officially say I can check off a Pilates class off my list under my schedule’s flexibility and control, thanks to Peerfit! 🙂

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Melissa, our instructor, working with me during some lunges and bicep curls

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