Less Talking, More Doing

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That’s my resolution for 2017. Simple and to the point.

Because hopes and aspirations are all well and good. But in the end, results — not desire — will get you to your destination.

First up: Finding myself in the midst of motherhood by getting back in touch with running.

It’s been a constant in my life for the past 20+ years, although pregnancy recently wreaked havoc on the relationship. What previously felt great was uncomfortable, and where I once was confident now filled me with self-doubt.

As a new-ish mom, taking time for yourself feels incredibly selfish. But after almost a year at this gig, I’m a believer that happy people make better moms, so it’s imperative not to lose touch with your passions. Even if a current one is scrolling through baby pictures after you put your little one to sleep at night.

So after stepping back from training and racing for the better part of a year, I’m making good on my intention above and am back at it. Knowing that I thrive on having goals, being on a schedule, pushing myself and checking off a to-do list made the decision a no-brainer.

Gut instinct told me that 26.2 is too much at the moment, so I’m focusing instead on the 13.1 distance. And now that training is officially underway, I can say that it feels good to prioritize self-care again…even if it’s just for a few minutes a day on the treadmill during naptime.

There’s also something different this time around: I hired a coach. Getting certified recently as a running coach myself makes me appreciate a more tailored approach to training, plus he came highly recommended from a college friend who successfully juggles family, career and racing.

His task? Helping me (safely and conservatively) get back in the game. I especially appreciate not having to overthink workouts; based on my feedback, he adjusts paces and mileage, so all I need to do is just trust the process.

Which leaves me more time and energy for paying it forward via Portland Women’s Run Club where I’m helping other women find themselves through running, as well. We fill the void for ladies who want to step up to a challenge, whether it’s getting out of a comfort zone, achieving a personal best or making an impact on their community.

That’s my challenge to you, as well, with whatever your intention is for the year: Don’t talk, but act. Don’t say, but show. And don’t just promise, prove.

So far so good, 2017.

A new addition for 2017…

pwrc_launch_pageNo, this isn’t a pregnancy announcement (sorry, grandmas) but if you’ve been wondering why things have been a bit quiet around here lately it’s because I do have a new “baby” in the works…

I’m thrilled to announce that 2017 will be the inaugural year for Portland Women’s Run Club!

Sadly, LUNA is winding down their local teams’ program. So even though Team LUNA Chix Portland Run will technically be no more, the company will still remain as a sponsor and support us as we transition into a team with a local focus.

What does this mean? Well, a few things (all of which are really exciting):

  • A brand new name, logo and website, along with social media accounts (give us a follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!)
  • Team-based, run-specific workouts led by a certified running coach (yep, I’ve been making the most of the off-season)
  • Partnership with a Portland-based charity (to be announced soon!), allowing us to make more of a local impact, as well as donate our time along with money raised
  • Dedicated walk captains, so we can truly offer something for every ability and level at each workout
  • Team races, which we will be working toward throughout the season, plus training plans for non-PWRC practice days
  • Awesome branded club gear, so you can show your team pride both during workouts and when racing!
  • All the usual seasonal swag for our regular participants – including attendance rewards and other fun surprises
  • Special discounts and perks at local businesses with whom we’re partnering for the upcoming season
  • Additional workouts for people interested in co-ed sweat sessions, group long runs, trail running, as well as rotating locations
  • Social events, clinics, charitable opportunities and much, much more!

And last, but certainly not least, our workouts will remain FREE for everyone. Adulting is tough enough; we want you to just show up, get after those goals, make some new friends and be able to give back to a good cause without having to dig into your wallets.

So if you’ve been wanting to nab that new PR, attempt a new distance or simply start from square one and see where it takes you, now’s your chance to be a part of Portland’s fastest-growing running team.

Don’t miss out – sign up here to get our latest updates as we prepare for our 2017 season!

We’ve got big things in store for 2017, and we’re looking forward to get faster, stronger, better – together.

5 Secrets to Banishing Post-Workout Breakouts

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Rigorous sweat sessions can often be a double-edged sword: While workouts do wonders for our bodies, they can wreak havoc on our skin.

We’re more susceptible to breakouts after hitting the gym due to the clogging of pores that occurs after sweating. Not exactly that “healthy glow” you were going for, huh?

Well, the good news is that there are some easy ways to stay “skin-sational” this spring. Dr. Ronald Moy, a board-certified dermatologist and one of the leading cosmetic and facial plastic surgeons in Los Angeles, has five tips for keeping both your complexion and your body in peak condition.

1. Keep it simple

Ladies, it’s a treadmill not a runway, so leave the heavy artillery at home. Slathering on a thick layer of makeup will only mix with sweat and get stuck in pores, increasing your chances of blackheads and cystic bumps.

2. Refrain from touching

You pick up a veritable smorgasbord of bacteria every time you grab dumbbells, grasp treadmill handrails or manhandle that elliptical control panel. Keep hands away from your face, and you’ll not only help prevent potential breakouts, but also avoid that nasty virus making its way around town.

3. Remember to cleanse

Even if you’re in a hurry, don’t skip this step. “Cleansing can help prevent some clogging of pores,” says Dr. Moy, who recommends products that contain a mild glycolic acid coupled with naturally-derived, sulfate-free cleansing agents to remove dead skin cells and de-gunk pores, respectively.

4. Brush it off

Exfoliating ensures there’s no dead skin lingering around to clog up pores. Try a gentle scrub, or invest in a face brush, which utilizes a sonic frequency to clean skin and remove more makeup, dirt and oil than manual cleansing alone.

5. Hydrate, inside and out

The body loses water through sweat, so it’s important to replace lost fluids throughout the day to keep skin soft and supple. And don’t forget to moisturize every morning and evening — not only can it soothe irritation and help keep wrinkles at bay, but it also wards off excessive dryness, which keeps your oil glands from going into overdrive.

What’s your post-workout skincare routine? 

This Spud’s For You: Health Benefits of the Humble Potato

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I used to avoid potatoes like the plague because, well…chips, fries and vodka. But then Ben and I did our Whole30 experiment at the beginning of the year and developed an entirely new appreciation for the tasty little tubers (particularly the sweet variety).

Their association with famine and high starch content aside, potatoes don’t deserve such a bad rap. Sure, when fried to a crisp or drowned in butter they can be less than healthy, but when eaten in their whole, unprocessed form they’re actually quite the nutritional powerhouses.

And popular, too — according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, potatoes are the leading vegetable crop in the United States and the fourth most-consumed crop in the world (behind rice, wheat and corn).

Yup, we each consume an average of 55 lbs. of frozen potatoes per year, 42 lbs. of fresh potatoes, 17 lbs. of potato chips and 14 lbs. of dehydrated potato products.

So whether you’ve always been a proponent of the potato or you’re learning to love them all over again, I found a handy little guide (below) to help you make the most of this versatile veggie.

You say poh-tay-to; I say bring on the phytonutrients and fiber!

Reasons to Love the Humble Potato
“Reasons to Love the Humble Potato” on Health Perch

What’s your take on taters? 

“Get me across the finish line” half marathon training plan

Note: I had drafted this post before the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, but held off running it because it just didn’t feel right making light of crossing a finish line when so many didn’t get the chance this past Monday. But now that the second bomber has been captured and is in custody, it’s time for the healing to begin. So let’s run…for Boston. 

A friend of mine just signed up for a half marathon this fall. The best part? It’s her first post-baby 13.1-miler, and she’s doing it along with her sister, who will be tackling the distance for the first time. You go, gals!

My own sister has also been a willing guinea pig participant in both the Rock n’ Roll Chicago and the Detroit Free Press International half marathons with me, so I thought I’d share our favorite training plan below.

It’s loosely based on Hal Higdon’s training program, but I tweaked it a tad for our individual schedules and fitness levels – i.e. sometimes I’ll take an extra rest day or swap a cross training session (elliptical, bike, rower, stair stepper) in for one of the mid-week runs to help aid in recovery and prevent injury.

Check it out, and let me know what you think (and if you use it for a race, I’d love to hear your results)!

FinishLineHalfMarathonPlan

Delectable dessert: Individual Chocolate Soufflé Cakes

End your meal on a lighter note with individual chocolate souffle cakes

End your meal on a lighter note with individual chocolate souffle cakes

Deliciously decadent-sounding, these soufflés are made with unsweetened cocoa for an intense flavor without the usual higher fat content from chocolate.

And since they’re conveniently sized into single servings, it’s easier to practice portion control with sweets when willpower has a tendency to go out the window.

Cooking Light’s Individual Chocolate Soufflé Cakes

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 soufflé)

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Dutch process cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Coat 2 (6-ounce) ramekins with cooking spray; sprinkle each with 3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
  3. Combine 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook 2 minutes, stirring until smooth. Spoon chocolate mixture into a medium bowl; cool 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla
  4. Place egg white in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form. Add remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not over-beat . Gently stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture
  5. Spoon mixture into prepared dishes. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times to level. Place dishes on a baking sheet; bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until puffy and set
  6. Sprinkle each soufflé with 1/2 teaspoon powdered sugar. Serve immediately

Nutritional Information:

  • Calories: 152 (4% from fat)
  • Fat: 0.6g (sat 0.3g, mono 0.2g, poly 0.0g)
  • Protein: 3.5g
  • Carbohydrate: 35.3g
  • Fiber: 1.4g
  • Cholesterol: 0.31mg
  • Iron: 0.8mg
  • Sodium: 35mg
  • Calcium: 26mg

Source: Marcia Whyte Smart, Cooking Light, April 2007

Offering prayers and miles for those in Boston

Channing Tatum uploaded this image on to Instagram.  Copyright [Instagram/Channing Tatum]

Channing Tatum uploaded this image on to Instagram.
Copyright [Instagram/Channing Tatum]

Whether you’ve crossed it as a runner or watched it as part of the crowd, there’s no place on Earth quite like a marathon finish line – especially the Holy Grail of races, Boston.

Although I’ve never run the race myself, some of my fondest running-related memories were made on the Boston Sports Clubs‘ (BSC) rooftop near the race’s finish line, where I worked part-time as a personal trainer while in grad school.

The entire staff would gather above the entrance and cheer runners on for hours at a time, relishing in watching the range of emotions as they crossed the line – pure joy, relief, pride…and a thousand other thoughts at once.

That’s why it’s especially painful and surreal to see the stark contrast in this year’s coverage – of the same exact place where so many good memories have been made. Except now, in one moment, it’s been marred by an unbelievable tragedy. An incomprehensible act of evil.

But only momentarily will we falter. Little do they know they picked the wrong city and the wrong group of people. Boston is tough and has so much heart – and so do runners – which is why I know we will prevail and not allow this to let us lose our faith in humanity.

I think Kristin Armstrong said it best in her reflection on yesterday’s race, saying:

We cannot undo the evil that was done. But we can inhibit the goal of division. Let’s do that. Let’s not give them the pleasure of our division, the foothold of our futility.

Let’s instead do what runners do best. Let’s be strong. Let’s be patient as information comes in. Let’s pace ourselves. Let’s endure. Let’s close the gap and tighten up the pack. Let’s recover together.

The road ahead is long. But little do they know, we’re good with that.

Join me in praying and offering miles for the good people in Boston.

Yes, Kristin – I will be praying and running today for all those who cannot.