Hiking Along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Due to camera issues, I never got around to posting pictures of the little trip that Perry and I took to the NC mountains last weekend. While I generally consider myself more of a beach person, hiking in the mountains was a great experience as well.

We decided to go along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and found some awesome hiking trails off of the highway.

 Waterrock Knob was our first hike. The trail was paved most of the way, but the hike up the knob was a bit strenuous. It felt like we climbed stairs continually for most of the journey; Perry and I both gasped for air at the top of the ledge. We also found a little side trail that followed the high way for about one mile, and enjoyed exploring. The views were incredible!

I loved that the weather was almost ten degrees cooler up there, even though we were only a couple of hours away!

The second place we hiked (and swam at) was Graveyard Fields. We did not have time to make it to the Upper Falls, but the Lower Falls were only .3 miles down the trail. Perry convinced me to jump the pool at the base of the falls. The water was freezing, and I was hesitant at first. But after my legs and feet went numb, swimming around wasn’t too bad ;). Graveyard Fields also has tons of wild blueberry bushes. Lots of people were picking the berries, so Perry and I picked and ate our fill!

Unfortunately, before this hike is when I realized that my camera was no longer working. However, I did get a great last shot.

 

My resolve to wait to buy a camera lasted about 5 days. On Friday I ordered one online; now I am obsessively checking my email to see when it’s going to be shipped!!

In other technology-hates-me news: my headphones broke a couple of days ago, and I used them almost exclusively for running. I decided to get a pair of running head phones in hopes of having something that will stay in my ear better than my old ear buds. I bought this pair from Sony.

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I’ll let you all know how they work out in my next couple runs!

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Banana Stuffed French Toast

I had another long run this morning! Listening to music really helps the miles go by when I am on the treadmill., and now I also have the Olympics on TV to distract/inspire me in the mornings. I am still working out the kinks in my workout playlist, but on the whole it is motivating…until some John Mayer comes on and I want to go relax while eating breakfast in bed. Other than that, the training is going well and I am hopeful that I will be able to keep it up as I travel more for work in the coming weeks.

One of the biggest difference of running longer distances is the fuel that my body needs. When I started out with 3/4/5 mile runs, I would just go straight from the bed to the gym without even drinking much water. However, now I really need some carbs to get my through the run. My default breakfast solution is toast and peanut butter, which is quick and easy. But if I had the time, I would definitely make this banana stuffed french toast every day!

This french toast is so creamy and rich without the ridiculous calories and fat of other recipes. I found it was substantially easier to fold pieces of bread in half rather than putting two pieces together like a sandwich (or cutting a slit in thickly cut bread). This recipe makes two mini french toasts, perfect for a pre-run treat!

Banana Stuffed French Toast

serves one

Ingredients

2 slices of whole wheat bread

1 egg

2 Tbsp almond milk

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 ripe banana, mashed

2 tsp plain whipped cream cheese

Whisk the egg and milk together. In a separate bowl combine the spices, banana, and cream cheese. Stir the mixture well (the bananas and cream cheese can be a little lumpy). Take the slices of bread and put half the banana mixture on one side of each piece. Fold the bread over to cover the mixture and pinch the edges closed. Dunk the stuffed bread into the egg mixture. Cook the bread on a oiled pan on low heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.

 

Also I want to give a happy birthday shout out to my mom!!

🙂

Half Marathon Training

Since I am currently four weeks into my (first) half marathon training, I thought it would be a good time to check in and talk about how it is going so far.

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Currently, I complete most of my workouts in the morning before work, with the exception of my long runs which I do on Sunday afternoons. So far I have been staying inside in the gym for pretty much all the runs.

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It’s funny because I used to hate running on the treadmill and could never motivate myself to stay on for very long, but over the past couple of months I have really grown to appreciate it as a training tool. Manipulating the speed on the treadmill is a helpful to help me increase my pace and to become more aware of my speed in general. Running in the gym is also very convenient. I don’t have to worry about the weather, water, my keys, or getting lost.

Despite the benefits of being indoors, I do miss running outside.

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The treadmill can make me feel like a hamster, going nowhere fast. I often have to watch Sports Center for at least 30 minutes, which gets old really fast because the show seems to be on a ten minute loop. When I am outdoors, the changing scenery keeps me interested and hills challenge my heart and lungs. The main reason I don’t run outside now is that I am still finding my way around the area, and have gotten lost every time I run in neighborhoods.

I really need a GPS attached to my wrist! I usually see a cool road or place I want to explore, so I decide to go down the road “just a little ways” and end up running rather far away. Instead of retracing my path, I reason that there must be a quicker route back to the main road and then with only a few turns, I am totally unsure of my current location and have to ask for directions from someone sleepily picking up their newspaper from the driveways.

This week I am going to resist the urge to explore and stay on my predetermined path in hopes of getting some solid running time outside.

I hope you all enjoy all the random images 🙂 I rediscovered pinterest last night and went a little crazy.

Pinned Image

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Run for the Green 1/2 Marathon

I am finally running a half marathon! I chose this one because of the date, location, and relative flatness.

Running a 1/2 is only something I have wanted to do for about a year. I never ran consistently until I trained for an international length triathlon last summer. But after that experience I knew I wanted to continue running (but not compete in another tri until I bought a decent bike).

I started half-heartedly training last fall, but school and the whole finding a job thing took up too much time. Before my mini summer break, I also thought about trying to train for something to do after graduation. However with moving from school to home, graduation, and moving from home to Charlotte, plus our cruise vacation, everything was a little up in the air until the last minute.

Any way, after going through all the reasons why I haven’t ever ran a half, I do feel like I have the stability and structure to start training.

The race is 12 weeks away (including this week) so I have the perfect amount of time to build up my mileage.

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On another note, my first day of work was great. Thanks for everyone who called, texted and commented to wish me luck 🙂 I was ridiculously nervous-not that there was anything but filling out HR paperwork and training to be worried about. I really like my office and supervisor so far. It is a very young office, and I think it will be pretty fun as far as work environments go.

Guest Post: Lora’s Running Tips

Since I am cruisin’ right now, I am excited to introduce my first guest blogger, Lora from Crazy Running Girl. She was one of my first blogger friends; she was also my first Foodie Pen Pal! She is a marathon runner/lover and is so super fast! It is always inspiring to read about the ridiculously long runs she is able to tackle in the mornings.  She also has “Friday Randomness” posts that are always so funny, and shares stories about her two crazy cats.

I hope you enjoy her post and check out her blog as well 🙂

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Hi guys! I’m Lora and I blog over at Crazy Running Girl where I talk about running, healthy eating and adventuring in New York City (you can also follow me on Twitter!).

When Erin asked me to be a guest poster when she is away on her amazing cruise (who else is extremely jealous?!), I was like umm, yes! I absolutely love Recimplicity and am so honored to be a guest poster. Thanks, Erin!

I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit race obsessed. I have a hard time seeing a race and not wanting to run it – even if it doesn’t fit into my schedule. But sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are ready to run a race, especially if it’s your first one. Here are five signs that you’re ready to run your first race:

1)     You’ve thought about it… and it doesn’t scare you. If the idea of running a race has crossed your mind at some point, you are definitely ready to run a race!

2)     You’ve gone running recently. If you are thinking about a race, it’s important that you’ve gone running and built up a base. Most people recommend that first-timers choose a shorter distance like a 5K to prevent injuries and make sure they build their bodies up to longer distances. There are some awesome training programs for beginners too – like the Couch to 5k program.

3)     You know that run you did? You actually liked it. When people think about running, they think about the laps they had to do in gym class. Which, who enjoyed doing that? Maybe Kara Goucher. When you run on your own, it’s so different and actually enjoyable. If you feel this way, you are definitely ready to try a race.

4)     You’re ready for an adventure. If you aren’t in love with the idea of running a race for one reason or another, consider an adventure race. What about The Color Run, where they throw powdered color at you so you end up tie-dyed by the end of the race (I just registered for this and can’t wait!)? There are also Zombie Runs, Warrior Dashes and even a Pizza Run in New York City. When I lived in Florida, I even ran for a pie once. It was awesome!

5)     You’re reading this post. Caught you! You are definitely ready to run a race. Don’t let Negative Nancy tell you otherwise! Visit Active.com or one of your local running group websites to see what your options are… and take the plunge! Have you ever heard anyone say “I wish I didn’t do that workout”? No? The same applies for racing.

What are some tips for first-time 5k runners? How did you know you were ready to run your first race?

Tips to Keep Running

Often when I run, the second mile is the hardest. It doesn’t matter how long I am planning on running. It could be 3 miles or 5, but the second mile is ALWAYS the one during which I want to quit. After I make it through the second mile, I usually fall into my pace and really enjoy running.

On one of my last runs I made a mental checklist of things I do/think to just keep running when I want to quit.

It seems to fall into four stages:

1. Avoidance-Instead of acknowledging the fact that I want to quit, I try and distract myself by thinking of other things

-Focus on what I will eat when I get home

-Make a mental list of things I need to do

-Plan my outfit for the day

2. Mantras– These are especially helpful for me when I am running up hills, and I can no longer avoid the thought that quitting would feel really nice

-You quit when you are done-not when you get tired

-This will be the hardest hill

-You have to run for the race

3. Mini Goal making-If a mantra is just not persuasive enough, I try and trick myself into going just a bit further

-Just run to the next stop sign (block, stop light, etc)

-Run up hills and jog down

4. Peer Pressure– When all else fails, the fact that people around me will see me quit (even if they are mowing the lawn and totally not paying attention to me) keeps me going. 

-Why do I want to stop?

I am out of breath? (no), Does anything hurt? (no)

So…there is really no reason to quit

-Those people will think you are a wimp for quitting now, are you even sweating?

 

Do you have any workout mantras? What do you think about to keep you going when you just want to quit?

5K on the Fifth of May

YAYAYAY! I am finally done with college 🙂

I was the last of my friends to finish exams, and it was so hard to study when I knew they were out having fun. But after a super long Friday, I can stop thinking about school for a while.

This morning I woke up really early to head over to Duke for a 5K.

My dad ran the race last year because one of his coworkers, John, is a Sarcoma survivor. I actually don’t know why I wasn’t invited that time…but since I only started running last summer, I don’t think I could have handled 3 miles in the heat. Regardless, my dad invited me along this year-now that I can keep up with him ;). I’m not sure how long it took us, since the race was small and did not have timing chips.

John (center) and his family with my dad and I

But as you can see from my red face, we ran fast enough to get pretty hot and sweaty!

I cooled off with some Vitamin Water.

and fruit

And saved my sub for lunch

I need to do some yoga for my tight hips and then jump in the shower!

The girls and I are going graduation dress shopping this afternoon, and will probably get a margarita somewhere tonight 🙂

Are you doing anything fun for Cinco de Mayo/this Saturday?