I Run for…

peace of mind, that “runner’s high”, my love for the outdoors, fitness…the list goes on and on.

Today is national running day and I fully intend to hit the pavement after work today to get in a few miles.  I also thought I would share a little bit of my running story.

It all started in elementary school, when I would race all the boys at recess.  Yes, I was that girl who would challenge the boys to race…and usually beat them all.  I was also that girl that hit her growth spurt early, so I had a little bit of a leg length advantage. So, you could say I have always loved to run.

In middle school I ran cross country and track, but always enjoyed being out on the cross country course or running though neighborhoods for practice rather than on the track.  The track stressed me out.

In high school I ran track during my freshman and sophomore years.  I would always run the starting leg or anchor leg of the 4 x 800.  I also ran the open 400 and occasionally ran the 4 x 400.  I was definitely a middle distance track runner.  My sophomore year I joined the cross country team and remained on the team through my Senior year.  Again I say, there was just something about being on the trails or running in the neighborhoods around our high school.

During college my running pretty much took a back seat..that was until my friend Hawley and I decided to train for a half marathon.  We would hit the sidewalks of Athens or go to the botanical garden and run the trails…it was so much fun and a great way to form a friendship.  Unfortunately, I injured myself (stress fracture in the hip) just before the half and had to cheer Hawley on from the sidelines.  She did amazing and I was so proud of her..and so thankful we were able to bond through our training.

Post college, running has been a semi-constant in my life.  I don’t run every day..and I definitely have periods of time that I don’t run at all.  However, I always find that I am happier with life if I am running a few times a week.  I don’t necessarily have a goal I am aiming towards, I just get out there for my health and well being.  I’ll do a fun run 5k here and there, but nothing competitive.  Sure, I would love to run a half marathon some day…and heck, maybe even a full…but right now I am satisfied for running for me, for my health, for my happiness, for my peace of mind, and so much more.

Some pictures from the past year of running:

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Franklin Classic 5K with Mom

Trail running - challenging but beautiful.

Trail running – challenging but beautiful.

My running shoes when they were brand new - they look nothing like this anymore.  In fact, it's probably time for a new pair.

My running shoes when they were brand new – they look nothing like this anymore. In fact, it’s probably time for a new pair.

Before and After: Bridge to Bridge 4 miler.  1 bridge per mile, love this tradition with mom!

Before and After: Bridge to Bridge 4 miler. 1 bridge per mile, love this tradition with mom!

Morning run down my street.  Country running is the best!

Morning run down my street. Country running is the best!

Edwin Warner Park - where I ran cross country meets in middle and high school.

Edwin Warner Park – where I ran cross country meets in middle and high school.

Cut ’em all up

I don’t know about you…but often times some of my produce doesn’t get used before it goes bad.  Yesterday I took a trip to the grocery to stock up on a bunch of veggies for the week but I wanted to be sure not to OVER buy, which can be hard when all of the produce looks AMAZING!

I’ve learned that if I go right home, cut everything up and put it in containers, I tend to use it up before it goes bad.  Last night I sliced a bunch of red and yellow peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, strawberries, and a cucumber.

Some of the peppers, zucchini and squash were used right away for dinner last night, but some were put back in the refrigerator to use later this week.  I put the extra zucchini and squash in a ziplock with some marinade to serve up with some chicken tomorrow and packed the strawberries and cucumber in easily accessible tupperware.  This morning, all I had to do was throw some of each in ziplocks and toss them in my bag for work.  So easy when the prep work is already done!

I also reorganized the refrigerator, putting all the newly chopped veggies right where I can easily get to them.  I am pretty proud of all the healthy stuff in our fridge right now!  Please disregard the leftover mellow mushroom pizza and the jello pudding (hiding behind all those veggies on the top shelf).  At least the pudding is fat free…right??

Last night we grilled some chicken and roasted some of the veggies for dinner.  We even had leftovers for lunch today..so good!

How do you use up all your fruits and veggies before they go bad?

Healthy dinner

Earlier this week I was craving a deliciously fresh and healthy dinner. I got some great ideas from friends via Facebook…but I ended up with something entirely different than what was suggested.

I decided on tilapia, sautéed spinach, cooked carrots and some mashed taters.

Everything on the stove.

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Ready to serve.

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Plated.

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For the spinach, I added a little olive oil, garlic and S+P. Carrots are simply boiled. The tilapia had some olive oil, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and S+P.

Everything tasted so fresh and we weren’t stuffed afterwards.

For those who offered suggestions, I am looking forward to trying those meals, too!  I’ll be sure to share when I do…and to give you props.

(photos via iphone…quality not the greatest)

Couch to 10k

In January I started this program called “Couch to 10k” to jump-start my workout program. Like most other individuals..I don’t always have the best determination when it comes to working out.  I love to do it..I just lack motivation from time to time.

After I reached my goal, I slacked off…and I definitely took a big workout hiatis this summer.  So…I’m back to it and I have restarted the Couch to 10k program.  I started a few weeks ahead this time, but I’m excited about sticking to a routine again.

Couch to 10k has an app for iphones and I’ve found that it really helps me stick to a routine.  Here is what the app kind of looks like:

This is definitely a great app for beginner runners.  Since I am not a beginner runner, I found my own way to make it work for me.  I generally run the entire time…just change my pace when it says “walk” or “run”.

Some features I love about this app:

  1. You can use your own playlists when you run.  I prefer to run to Pandora.  To do this, you have to start your music and then go to the Couch to 10k app.  BUT, if you use your own ipod playlists, you can control those from within the app.
  2. It will tell you when it’s time to run or walk.  That way you don’t have to worry about looking at the clock..you just go until it tells you to change.
  3. It tells you when you are 1/2 way done!  I personally love this for pace reasons.
  4. You can use other apps at the same time for mileage.  I personally use the Map My Run app to track mileage and average minutes/mile, etc. But, you can also use Nike+ in the background to do mileage.
  5. It gives you workouts for 3 days a week.  This gives you time to cross train and gain strength from other types of work outs (swimming, weights, biking…just to name a few)
So..if you are wanting to get started..and you want to run, this is a great place to start.  Check out more information on the app at felt tip inc. or at the Apple App Store.
If you don’t like this program and have another one you use, let me know.  I would love to try out others, as well!