Blog’s Next Steps and Runner’s Thoughts

Your encourager and supporter in all things active :)
Your encourager and supporter in all things active ๐Ÿ™‚

So I want to go about this in the best way possible! Thank you all for following so far; I really really appreciate your support and likes ๐Ÿ™‚ I think what I’ll do with my blog posts is to do an every-other-switch between fitness and nutrition. So one day running, then it’ll be food. One day exercises, the next food. I’ll keep posting recipes as I make them and insert writerly tidbits whenever, but I think this will help give balance and provide you all with the MOST info possible on how to make your life active and healthy all the time ๐Ÿ™‚ You can tell I’m pretty passionate about this!

I am imagining that my next few posts relating to fitness will be groundwork stuff, stuff you never would have even thought of before stepping into the gym and picking up a dumbbell. The nutrition I want to continue talking about the superfoods and how to cook with them because I am a strong advocate for those. Eventually, I will be testing out programs and supplements (Shakeology anyone?). That way, I can recommend those here or warn you about what to expect and so on. I am super excited to be here and to be continuing to motivate and help others!

Also, my little sister Katie is doing super well. I failed to mention that she is also an expert cello player ๐Ÿ˜‰ It has been unbelievably cold here in Illinois, sub-0 temps, and ugh. It’s just awful. But we’ve been getting her out to the barn to ride her pony when it’s nice-ish. (And that’s about 15 degrees or higher). Katie doesn’t get as cold as I do…in fact I’m pretty sure she’s hot-blooded and I’m part-reptile. We also re-did her room so it looks VERY much like a country girl, horse-lover’s room. The bedspread she has now, she selected herself because she said it reminded her of a horse blanket they wear in the winter! She’s so cute. Anyway, as always, without her realizing it, Katie has been inspiring me. I get stronger for her, I get faster for her. There have been some recurring struggles that took place yet again while I was hurt. And of course, the struggles caused me to grow weaker, thus prolonging me to recover and build up my mileage quickly. And though the problems and “roadblocks” are aย long backstory, I am getting past the backstory and focusing on the many goals I have for myself and Katie. These legs aren’t just mine; they’re hers too. Read my How I Became A Runner page, if you haven’t yet ๐Ÿ™‚

From my Instagram, follow me for more inspiration and fitness action @ runrisa94
My photo from my INSTAGRAM, follow me for more inspiration and fitness action @ runrisa94

I live by this. I stand by this. And I will never get soย low as to be weak again.

Have a lovely night everyone, thanks again for reading! xoxo

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Back to That Grind

Books

Well here are most of my books for the semester! For all you college kids out there, doesn’t this look about right? Okay sorry, English majors,ย does this stack strike an accord?

Luckily, I am NOT in over my head like last semester. Trust me, I know this looks bad, but I don’t think any semester will top the one I just had, and I still managed to pull off straight A’s!!!! Don’t ask. It was a miracle. The Lord was with me day by day. I am a Dean’s List student and have always been an academic nerd, and I will give everything my 110%. No doubt about that.

But here I am again, back to the grind of school. Today was my second day back so I’ve been introduced to all my classes besides my lab (yeah. I’m an English major but I gotta have those two courses of science. yay.) But I am entering this one strong. No falling behind; I am going to make sure I am as ahead of my classes as I can be and get a bunch of these projects and papers out of the way NOW. Makes a huge difference come April for sure. Some keys to success I’m going to uphold:

Get those papers and group projects done sooner.

I am not going to have this option with all of my papers, so the ones that you can fulfill at literally any point in the semester…yeah I’ll take that now! Especially while I am waiting to hear back from a job that I may possibly be starting at the end of this month!

Plan accordingly.

Well that sounds awfully vague, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. I can’t be planning date after date with Luke, or have a New Girl marathon when there a billion things to attend to. Label the whole week out, assignment to assignment, and plan each day. I usually don’t spend hours on media or Netflix, but it can get easy to succumb to after a long day of classes and running. But when I just plan little things to do, or one movie to watch AFTER the work gets done, it seems like the greatest reward of all time. I tell myself, get coffee after you’ve done three more pages or having read this much for Friday, etc. Little plans suddenly sound like gold after all the work I’ve put in!

Smile.

Oh geez, I don’t know about you, but every bubbly brunette can also twist that alliteration into a bitchy brunette. I am guilty! When things get overwhelming, stressful, and I have deadlines up to my chin, I tend to want to drown everyone out. Friends included, classmates definitely included, and people who just want to ask me about my day can get the death glare from time to time.ย Not okay. Smile and push through it. Research has proven that “faking it till you make it” really does work, and I plan on doing just that, but also to genuinely ask more of my classmates about their days and how their studies are going. I want more people to know that I am praying for them; I want people to not look at me and think “Yeah. She’s having a rough semester.” I want people to look at me and think “Wow. Even when we’re in the grind of the semester, she still always has such a positive attitude and a smile.” ๐Ÿ™‚

Pray, Pray, Pray

Pray when things are good; pray when they are bad. Do it when you want to, and when you need to. I have so much to be praying for and I can’t let my prayer time get lost in the craziness, or my devotionals. Neither are going to suffer this semester ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s 2015, going in still as a Junior and will be finishing out 2015 as a Senior in college. Phew. Just day by day. The Lord assures us that He will strengthen us day by day and we don’t need to worry about tomorrow and what’s looming ahead. When we do that, we become overwhelmed and can’t handle all that we are about to face. That’s why we take it day by day, with God. It is then that we can really do anything ๐Ÿ™‚

Goodnight everyone! Got a good run in the morning waiting, xoxo

Runner Girl’s Fluffiest Post-Run Pancakes

Just got done with a hard run, core, and a little strength? You’re going to need some good-quality carbs and protein after that, and next to my banana bread pancakes, these things are crazy perfect!! Fluffy, taste amazing, and all that jazz.

Runner Girl's Pancakes

Runner Girl’s Fluffiest Post-Run Pancakes

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup soy vanilla protein isolate (one I use in all my pancake recipes)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Optional cacao powder (1/2-1 tsp.)
  • Water if needed
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • **Optional- 1 tsp. sugar or Stevia packet
  • **Optional- Vanilla Greek yogurt to top with and dip in!! So good. Use with all pancakes

There are only about 255 calories in this WHOLE stack you see above without the Greek yogurt. There will be a little more with sweetener. This is the perfect breakfast for me after a hard work-out. I usually add raspberries and blueberries which are both crazy good superfoods. This is one of the most balanced breakfast’s I make, adding the berries helps a lot with recovery and don’t forget your water!! Hydrate!

Enjoy your pancakes if you make some!! These are so simple but so good. And you can add any flavor you want. PB2, extra cacao, butterscotch, banana, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cinnamon apples.

Have a great day, I’m off to an interview! xoxo

Berries
Blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries are all superfoods for runners. They are incredible for recovery and just some of the greatest sources of antioxidants, natural glucose, and energy!

 

To A Great Day: Don’t Get Burned Out

5 miler

A completely, unashamed selfie taken after my first 5 miler today since the stress fracture!! I have been doing a ton of 3 milers and 4 milers (1’s and 2’s at the very start of course). And have been consistently running 5 days a week since the first week of December. So I haven’t been consistent for very long, but here I am! Very excited, and very happy.

With completing this feat, I have been thinking of the new year ahead. Last year, I entered 2014 still being injured and the injury lasted until mid March. The recent stress fracture was from September through mid November. Though when I wasn’t injured, I had an incredible straight 5 months of races and pure, good running!

My goal is to keep this year injury-free. With that, I am actually not concerned with the whole #15in2015 thing. If I do 15 races, great! If not, whatever! Did I stay injury-free and have a great, full year of running and races? If that answer is yes, I’ll have had one of the best years of my running career.

I’m going to keep this post short and sweet for you and compile a list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind in your running, workouts, sports, etc. This list is for everyone, from beginners to the most elite athletes.

Runner Girl’s List of How to Avoid Injury/Burnout

  1. Do not overlook anything. Whether you’re an athlete in school, or an athlete post-school, you cannot overlook the smallest ticks. Especially if it seems irregular. If something seems out of the blue, or worse, you’ve experienced these symptoms previously which led to injury, then you HAVE to tend to it! Do not ignore strange pains/atypical symptoms.
  2. Tell your coach/trainer at first signs of pain. Do not wait for it to worsen because I assure you that it will. When you explain the situation immediately, then the healing process is A LOT faster. Catch it early, fix it fast, get back to running sooner.
  3. Do your exercises!!! The trainer is going to give you a lot of exercises to help; do not do only two things on the list and be done! Complete each exercise fully and completely. Basically, just listen to your trainer. Do your work. It’s good for you.
  4. Research. If you do not have a coach or trainer and do things on your own, then you have to be responsible for researching exercises. If you are a veteran athlete, chances are, you learned a lot from your school sport/track/cross country. Regardless, go to Runner’s World. That’s a great place to start, and just research the heck out of your early stages of injury.
  5. Don’t overtrain and do progress slowly.ย Research states to increase your mileage by steady 10% increments each week when building your weekly mileage. Don’t jump from 15 miles per week to 30 the next. The body isn’t ready to make that jump.
  6. Mix it up. Want to keep running but don’t want to ONLY run? Or do you just want to stay active and have no idea how to not get bored? Well there’s Insanity, P90X, yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling, outdoor adventure biking, hiking, HIIT, aerobics classes, dancing classes, basketball at local gyms (YMCA offers a very wide range of activities)….there’s so much out there. Keep testing out new things and bring friends!
  7. Do local races/themed races. Chances are, you’ve heard of glow runs, color runs, Tough Mudder. These can be a lot of fun to do and are exciting to anticipate!! Again, if you need friends, call them up! Do it as a group! I promise, it’ll be one of the most fun and rewarding things you’ll do. If you’re a solo runner like me, keep looking for local races and again, test your abilities. Step up and do 10Ks, half marathons, though don’t over-commit yourself.
  8. Since that last thought is important, Don’t over-commit yourself. Be practical with your schedule, and ask yourself “Will I be tired every day if I try to train for a marathon right now? Work has been crazy, the kids still need a lot of my time…maybe I can just do a 5k or two right now.” There are tons of other ways to stay active than setting aside hours to run and train for a marathon.
  9. Eat right!!!! Ahhh. Can’t stress this enough. You will hurt yourself or get burned out if you’re eating crap and trying to run. Please visit this site for superfoods that are amazing for runners! http://www.runnersworld.com/photos/41-superfoods-how-they-can-help-your-running ย  Try incorporating some into your everyday diet. Nutrition is a huge topic, so I’ll have to talk more in separate posts or this bullet point would get obnoxious.
  10. Good ole dynamic stretches. Alright, and lastly, before EACH run, do some dynamics!! Don’t just go out cold! Do some calf raises, butt kicks, high knees, lunges, walking quad stretch; there’s a ton of them. Look into it if you aren’t too familiar ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope this list helps you in your training! There’s a lot to running. That’s why there’s a million magazines and books and coaches dedicated to talking about it and helping everyone else ๐Ÿ™‚ And there’s me too, who will hopefully have a book and be a coach someday ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for reading, have a wonderful Saturday! xoxo

Late Nights Can Lead to Truth

Remember when we were little and would stay up until 5 am just so we could say we stayed up that late and to talk to our best friends about everything? We didn’t have work to get to, finals to cram for, bills to stress about, or obligations to think of.

We just had the whooollleee night. The whole long night with our best friends at a sleepover.

What I would give to have that again for just one night.

And if we are being wholly honest with ourselves, the best conversations come out after midnight, right? Or at least the truth does.

The truth came out some for me last night before I went to bed, though I’ll have to chew on it some more until I come to a full consensus. By the way, that phrase is cliched, but it is impeccable. “Chewing over/on something” really is the best way to say it. Because when we chew, we savor each different flavor of the food, feel the texture, sense if it’s spicy or bland, know if it’s salty or sweet– a lot goes on in that process. During the “thought chewing” process, I realized that a number of things need to happen.

  1. I need to pray. There’s so much swimming in my head right now, it’s crazy. I am certain you have all felt this on several occasions. Whenever I have become overwhelmed and up to my neck in thoughts, ideas, plans, obligations, worries…I pray. I pray hard, for extended periods of time, hoping I’ll hear something. Hoping I’ll know exactly what to do next.
  2. And listen. Being an active listener during prayer is tough. Being silent in everyday life is tough.
  3. And write some more. Writing helps organize the thoughts and mind. I have a lot of journaling to catch up on, and a lot of thoughts bouncing off of each other like pinball.

It’s a lot like meditating. All of these things occur only in silence. They do not involve other people. They merely involve God, the mind, and maybe pen and paper.

I am not sure what your debriefing, solitude, writing time looks like, but I hope that you all take the time to enjoy some this weekend. Because I look back now and see that we all did find out the truth in our youth and did a lot of active thinking…with each other at sleepovers talking for hours. Even then we needed the time to sort things out, make sense of everything we’ve been experiencing.

However, not just tonight do I need to pray and reflect, I have to make sure I’m making time for this every day. I typically do, but not for as long as I’d like. Even when I don’t feel like doing it after a long day, I need to remind myself that that’s when I need it most! I’ve had a long day; I should take time to digest it! Not for an hour, just ten minutes. I think I can always promise ten minutes of my day. And soon, this time will feel really, quite pleasant and soothing. It’ll be like having my massage at the end of the day, releasing all the knots and stress I’ve been carrying on my back ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you all do take some time out for yourselves and have some reflection. It certainly is cold enough to do so! And I hope you all have a lovely night tonight! Stay warm! xoxo

Runner Girl’s Clean Banana Bread Pancakes

Sometimes…runners have to get in the gym and pump iron. And work. And do work. And keep on keeping on. We grit our teeth and suck it up because we all just want to run. But every runner knows that he or she can’t just run and get by. Heck no. I have to do a certain strength routine every day and weight sessions twice a week. There’s so much to the mechanics of running, and that’s why I’ll put that up in a separate post ๐Ÿ˜‰

My workout today:

  • 30 minute elliptical session
  • 3×20 kettleball squats
  • 3×12 single leg deadlift
  • 3x 1 minute wall sits with stability ball between legs
  • 3×20 4 way straight-leg raises with 5 lb. ankle weights
  • 4x 1 minute planks
  • 3x 1 minute side planks each side
  • 3×20 mountain climbers with kettleball
  • 3×12 tricep kickbacks
  • 3×12 bicep curls
  • 3×15 stability ball hip extension
  • 3×20 stability ball tuck-ins (as ย I call them)
  • 3x failure Scorpion (feet on bench, in plank position, bring knee to chest, over to other arm, put leg back, repeat)

After a VERY good, hard workout this morning, I came home and couldn’t decide what kind of protein pancakes to make….then I remembered my famous banana bread and decided to make a banana bread pancake!!

Oh, and is it GOOD.

Sorry, but you guys have got to try this at home.

Clean Banana Bread Pancakesย image

  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tbsp. milk OR 2 tbsp. applesauce
  • Water as desired for consistency
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 scoop vanilla soy protein isolate (or any vanilla whey protein powder)
  • Almost whole medium banana (leave a little to put slices on top!)
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt for filling

First, mash the banana with a fork (mine was not overly ripe, and it doesn’t have to be! Just has to be a ripe, yellow banana). Combine your dry ingredients first with the banana, then the water, milk or applesauce, vanilla extract. Once it all looks very well combined (will be some lumps from banana), then spray your pan and turn on stove to medium-high. Mine made around 4 small pancakes; make whatever size you would like.

As you stack the pancakes when you are all done, take a butter knife and spread a little bit of the Greek yogurt in between each one! Then on the top, add some sliced banana left over ๐Ÿ™‚

image

Have a great Thursday!

xoxo

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Hot Pockets

I am a sandwich lover. I can hardly go one day without a sandwich at lunchtime; I just never want anything else! And there is just way too much you can do with a sandwich–the possibilities seemingly endless. Especially when you have an awesome sandwich grill.

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Hot Pockets

So here is one of my creations! I have a Cuisinart Sandwich Grill (which I got for Christmas one year…shows how much I love sandwiches) and you may not have one at home. Simply put yours on a flat pan over the stove and flip it like a pancake. If you have a panini maker or anything like that; use it for this recipe! The idea is just to have a warm sandwich because who doesn’t want a warm sandwich when it’s frozen solid outside?! And it’s a buffalo chicken “hot pocket”…so it needs to be hot.

Sandwich Grill

This is my lovely sandwich grill I got for Christmas (a year ago, not this past Christmas) and I have made a lot of gems with this thing! It’s only 20 bucks, very manageable, and a purchase that I promise you won’t regret after you see these!

Use whole wheat Pocket Thins, just in your grocery's store normal bread aisle. At your deli, ask for the deli buffalo chicken. Ours is called Boar's Head.

Sandwich Ingredients 2

I love mustard, and believe it or not, buffalo sauce and mustard go together. It gives the sandwich extra flavor, and you’ll find out that this sandwich knows no lack in flavor!

Healthy Buffalo Chicken Hot Pockets

  • 3 slices deli buffalo chicken
  • 1-2 tablespoons of low-fat cheddar cheese (based off preference)
  • Half of a full pocket thin (they are naturally serrated in half as semi-circles, so just break one off)
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Mustard
  • Optional (but so worth it!!) A sprinkle of chopped chives!!

Plug in your: Sandwich grill, panini maker, turn on stove and warm pan, whatever appliance you will be using!

First, break the deli buffalo chicken slices in halves or fourths, then lay them in your pocket thin. (it’s gonna be stuffed) You can drizzle your sauce and mustard as you lay the meat down. Then sprinkle your cheese in, making sure it gets in the middle, bottom, in between. Same with the chives.

If you are using the sandwich grill:

Cuisanart Sandwich Maker

I laid my sandwich literally ACROSS this maker. Because the pocket doesn’t fit in like normal bread but this is perfectly fine! Because you end up getting these crazy awesome hot pockets when you just lay it in the middle horizontally!

And then you have it:

Sandwich Finished Product

This incredible looking sandwich that resembles a quesadilla triangle or a hot pocket ๐Ÿ™‚

And this sandwich maker, guys I’m telling you, you have to get! It makes the sandwich so hot and melty on the inside with this crunchy shell on the outside! So good, you’ll never, ever go back to the microwave ones.

Your welcome. Have a great day everyone, stay healthy and happy!!

xoxo