Making Smart Food Choices

Food. We are surrounded by it everyday almost everywhere we go. How do we make smart food choices while on the go, while traveling, while stressed, while sad, while happy, and while celebrating? 

  
I’ll be honest with you and say there’s no easy answer to this. This involves hard work and making conscious decisions. I still struggle with this myself. I will say, however, that I have had a few victories lately that I’d like to share.

Victory #1
While at a teacher conference recently where breakfast and lunch were provided, I was presented with a table full of pastries upon arriving. Those close to me know that I love, love, LOVE maple bars! Last year, I even had a student who brought me a maple bar to school everyday for a week straight! I, however, confidently walked past the maple bars, headed to the fruit trays, put some cantaloupe and pineapple on my plate, and walked to my table. When I got to my table of 7 other teachers, guess what many of them had on their plate? Yes, that’s right… maple bars! The smell wafting my way almost made me walk back over and pick up a maple bar for myself, but I didn’t! Yay! Victory!


Victory #2
I don’t know about you, but when I travel, I normally take some kind of candy with me to munch on. While I was preparing for my current vacation, however, I did not purchase any candy! Nope, no Skittles, no M&Ms, no Hot Tamales, nothing! Victory!


Victory #3
It’s so easy for me to mindlessly eat. As read above, I eat while traveling, while stressed, while sad, while happy, and while celebrating. Nearly every emotion is connected to food! While vacationing, it’s so easy to mindlessly eat while sitting at the beach, laying by the pool, or relaxing in the room. Today, however, there’s been minimal snacking. One way I have combated the snacking has been by consuming plenty of water. I, in fact, have drank over 3 liters of water today! That may seem like a lot, but you should have seen how much Sweat came from my body today on my run (walk / jog). Lots of sweat, lots of water consumption, and minimal snacking! Victory!


How do you make smart food choices? Do you have any tips to share? What do you struggle with when it comes to food? 

Until next time,

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Thursday Thoughts

I’ve said it once I’ll say it again… Thursday is my favorite day of the week. Why? Well it’s because you’re excited about the weekend, but the weekend isn’t quite here yet. By the time the weekend starts you are sad because you know the weekend is coming to an end. What’s your favorite day of the week? 

Disclaimer: this blog is going to be filled with a lot of random thoughts. Not all of the thoughts will pertain to running. 

Can you believe that three weeks from today school starts?  I told that to a friend yesterday and her response was, “It seems like just yesterday summer vacation started!” As much as I love summer I’m actually very excited for the new school year! Out of my nine years of teaching, this will be my first time to be at a school for more than two years! 

Wow! I just counted and I’ve been on summer vacation for six weeks now. It doesn’t really feel like it’s been six weeks. But on the other hand it does. A lot has happened this summer. I ran a marathon in Utah, the daughter traveled  to Europe, and as a family we traveled to Napa, San Francisco, San Diego, and Palm Springs. In two days, the husband and I leave for another week long vacation! Yes, we are truly utilizing our summer vacation!


Do not be fooled however, because this summer has not been all sunshine and happiness. There’s been some trials and struggles but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Right? 

Through the struggles, I find myself being incredibly thankful for my husband, for my parents, and other friends and family members who have been so supportive. Truly I am blessed beyond measure. 

It doesn’t do any good to stay in the muck of struggles. Instead, you must move on and trust that God knows what he’s doing. How am I moving in and trusting God? Well, I’m finding projects to work on. Naturally, I am someone who doesn’t do well being still.  So I’ve worked on a few big projects this summer which included doing some curriculum work as a side job, organizing my pantry, organizing my closet and transitioning to flexible seating in my classroom. 


As you can see, these Thursday thoughts are quite unorganized partly due to the fact that I am writing them by speaking into my phone while out on a walk at 5:30 in the morning. Some of the best thoughts are done in the wee hours of the morning. My 4:50 AM partner is moving to the other side of the town, so I may be having some more solo wee hours of the mornings in my near future. 


Speaking of the future, what’s next for Run Strong Run? I have Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver on tap for October and the California International Marathon (CIM) in December. Use BIBRAVE15 to save $15 off of Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver half marathon and use code RUNSTRONG10 to save $10 off of CIM

Do you ever find yourself needing to clear your mind of random thoughts? What’s coming up on your schedule that you’re excited about? 

Until next time,

Race Recap: San Diego Craft ClassicΒ 

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Craft Classic San Diego race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

As stated in my Friday Feels blog, this was my first timing running a race in San Diego.  I, therefore, didn’t really now what to expect when I signed up for the Craft Classic half marathon.  Now that I’ve completed the race, I’m ready for more San Diego races and perhaps a relocation down to Southern California! πŸ˜‰ 

Our first stop upon arriving to San Diego was Road Runner Sports, the location of the race expo. Bib pick up was well organized, quick, and easy. My race swag included a pint glass, a racer back tank top, and a customized bib!


One of the things I was looking forward to about the race was the Green Flash Brewery beer at the finish line!


Since I was on a family vacation with the husband and two kids, they all got to join me at the expo. They enjoyed trying all the Nuun flavors and the Honey Stinger waffle and energy chew samples. 

Earlier in the week, while on Twitter, the Fat to Finish Line gang reached out to me and told me to stop by to say hi at the expo. So, that is just what I did! It was so wonderful to talk about weight loss (since I too have gone from fat to finish line) and Ragnar races. I have yet to do a Ragnar, but it is definitely on my bucket list. 


That evening, I prepared myself for my half marathon (as best as I could since I had recently taken a month off of running). One of the things I do in preparation for a race, is I lay out everything for a #flatrunner picture. 


The next morning, I woke up at 3:30am. My goal was to leave the hotel at 4:15am so I could catch a shuttle to the starting line at about 4:45am. (The shuttles ran from 4:30 – 5:30.) I ended up being right on time, got a front row view on the shuttle, and made it to the starting line with a little over an hour to spare!


I had the pleasure of meeting up with my fellow BibRave Pro ambassador, Mai, at the starting line.


I also got to meet up with some fellow ProCompression ambassadors too! 


In no time at all, it was time to line up at the starting line. There were two waves of runners: the under two hour group and the over two hour group. Maria and I waved goodbye as Mai and the other Pro ambassadors started in wave one. A little less than 1.5 years ago, I earned my half marathon PR of 1:52:32. I will get back there someday, but today was not the day. 

 

Maria and I ran together for the first couple of miles and then I began my walk/run intervals for the remainder of the course. Taking a month off of running really takes a toll on one’s ability to run. πŸ˜‚ 

The aid station at mile 3 was probably one of my favorites since they had popsicles! Yes, popsicles at 7am when you’re hot and sweaty are the BEST!


From that point on, the race was fairly uneventful. I had the 2:30 pacer come up behind me at about mile 6 and two thoughts came through my mind, “Ugh! Am I really that slow?! Hmmm… can I keep up with him?” Sadly, yes, I really was running that slowly and no, I was not able to keep up with him. Don’t be fooled by the smile on my face… yes, I was having fun, but my body was revolting against me! Side note: way to go 2:30 pacers! 


The next notable event happened sometime between miles 9 – 10. This is where we approached a monstrous hill. It was steep and long. This hill even has its own split on the race results! It’s the King of the Mountain split. The hill may not look that scary in the picture, but it was a beast! 


Slowly, but surely I finally made it to the finish line! I stocked up on some Honey Stinger waffles, filled up my water bottle, and made my way to the Green Flash beer garden. 


I walked around and took a few more pictures before heading back to the hotel. 


Interested in seeing more of the Craft Classic San Diego course? Be sure to check out my Craft Classic San Diego 2017 video! While you’re at it, please also subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking SUBSCRIBE. 

Overall, I’d highly recommend the Craft Classic San Diego race! You can read my full race review at BibRave.com and while you’re at it, read other reviews and/or write your own race reviews! 


Until next time,

Review: Healthy, Quick, and Delicious Luvo Meals

Disclaimer: I received Luvo Meals to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

As a full time teacher, wife, mom of two, and runner/blogger, I am often on the lookout for quick and nutritious meals.  I and my colleagues often pack frozen meals to heat up and eat during our lunch break. When I was offered the opportunity to try a new brand of frozen meals, I said, “Yes, please!”  I was quite stoked when my package of 10 Luvo free meal coupons arrived!


Prior to accepting the offer to try and review the Luvo meals, I went to the Luvo website to see which of my local stores sold Luvo products and to also see if they had vegetarian meal options. (Check out my journey towards becoming a no-meat athlete HERE.)  I was pleased to find that several stores in my area sell Luvo meals AND Luvo has many vegetarian options. 

Here’s what I found when I headed out to purchase my Luvo meals:

Safeway – $4.99

Whole Foods – $5.99 with a $1.00 off coupon taped to the box

Walmart – $4.42

Bel-Air – regularly priced $5.99 on sale for $4.99

Raley’s – regularly priced $5.99 on sale for $4.99


Nugget Market – $5.99

Sadly, when I traveled to six stores within a 40 mile radius to my house, I did not find any vegetarian meals. I still purchased a few meals, however, since the rest of my family are not vegetarians. The first meal I prepared for my husband was turkey meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  

The first thing that surprised me about the Luvo meal was that it was “steamazing”. It steams perfectly in the paper pouch. There’s no puncturing, no mess, and it slides out easily when it’s done cooking! My husband’s first comment after tasting his meal was, “It tastes homemade.” 


After trying hard to find some local vegetarian Luvo meal options, I contacted BibRave to let them know I wasn’t able to find any. They ended up contacting Luvo. Luvo was kind enough to send me not one, not two, but eight vegetarian meals to try! So awesome!


The first meal I decided to try was the  quinoa and vegetable enchilada meal. Again, it steamed nicely in the pouch, and tasted great! If I could only eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it’d be Mexican food. Seriously, I am always in the mood for Mexican food! This quinoa and vegetable enchilada meal not only helped to give me my Mexican food fix, but it also had a little spice to it which made my taste buds dance!

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As I began to do some more research in the Luvo brand, one thing that caputured my attention was their 3-2-none promise. The three things they focus on are: fruits and veggies, whole grains, and quality proteins. The two things they limit are sodium and added sugar. None. The things they leave out entirely are artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners. (Read more at http://luvoinc.com/blog/fighting-obesity-basic-nutrition/


One of my fellow BibRave PROs, Lindsey, posted that her favorite meal was the steel cut oatmeal meal, so that was my next meal to try. Oatmeal is not a food that I eat vey often. This Luvo meal, however, tasted so good that I think I could eat this every morning for breakfast and not grow tired of it! (As you can see from the pic collage below, it smelled so good that I didn’t even take a before pic. I only got the after pic.)


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I recently spent an entire day eating only Luvo meals! I ate a steel cut oatmeal for breakfast, a so cal kale and bean bowl for lunch, and a quinoa and vegetable enchilada for dinner. I felt full, energized, and even ran 3.1 miles that evening for the first time in a month! 

Overall, I’d recommend Luvo meals if you’re looking for a quick and nutritious meal option. The only con I’d comment on is the lack of variety found in my local stores. Perhaps it’s due to brand being fairly new in the market? Perhaps it’s my area? Not sure, but what I am sure about is it’s true… Luvo meals are healthy, quick, and delicious! 

What are you favorite healthy, quick, and delicious meals? Have you tried Luvo meals before? Have you seen them at your local grocery store? 

Until next time,

Friday Feels

Happy Friday friends! This week has felt like one ginormous roller coaster ride and I don’t know about you, but I am ready for the weekend! I’m so stoked because on Sunday, I am running the Craft Classic half marathon in sunny San Diego! This is actually the first Craft Classic race of 2017 in their Craft Classic series. 


Here are the races in the series:

Craft Classic San Diego – July 16, 2017

Craft Classic Atlanta – September 9, 2017

Craft Classic Seattle – September 10, 2017

Craft Classic Phoenix – October 15, 2017

It’s not too late to join in on the Craft Classic fun! When you register, use code BIBRAVEHALF for $10 off the half and BIBRAVE5k for $5 off the 5k. (Looking for other race & product discounts? Check out my discount page at https://runstrongrun.com/discounts/)

I’m actually writing this blog post while in the car with the hubby and two kids. We’re headed out for a week long vacation. Yes, I was able to slyly sneak in a race while on family vacation. πŸ˜‰

Here are a few reasons why I’m looking forward to the Craft Classic half marathon on Sunday:

  • This will be my first time running a race in beautiful San Diego
  • Race giveaways for all participants include a commemorative event shirt and beer glass, special finisher’s medal, a free beer at Green Flash and free race photos (who doesn’t love FREE?!)
  • This is my first official BibRave race. I’m looking forward to proudly wearing my BibRave gear. 

As for my training leading up this race? That’s a whole other story! If you’ve been following me on Insta, Twitter, or Facebook, then you know that I just started running again three days ago after taking a month off of running (not due to personal choice nor an injury). My last race was the Utah Valley Marathon on June 10th. I definitely am not feeling prepared, for Sunday’s half marathon, but two things I am sure of:

  1. I will finish. 
  2. I will have fun!

Are you running one of the Craft Classic races or have you run them in the past? Have you ever gone into a race feeling unprepared? If so, how did you cope?

Until next time,

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Craft Classic San Diego race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!