Best Christmas Gifts for Runners – Part 1!

I hope you all had fun shopping on Black Friday, Small Shop Saturday, and Cyber Monday. I hope you found tons of great deals. However, if you have a runner on your list to shop for, I know your pain. Buying Christmas Presents for a runner can be difficult because we are so particular in what gear we like and need, and it all depends on what kind of running we are doing.

Well I got your back.

Last year I made a list of the best Christmas gifts for runners. The list was so good I decided to share it with you again. I am going to break this post into two parts. Part 1 is my last years list and Part 2 will be my top picks for this year.

So here it is Part 1.

click on the link below to see last years wish list.

It’s Crunch Time – Christmas Wish List for Runners!

Happy Running. Happy Shopping. Happy Holidays!

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Above is a picture of a fun homemade gift my sister made me last year. It was awesome! I will tell you about it in Part 2!

Attention Runners: I want to hear from you. If you have a favorite running item that is on your Christmas Wish List let me know by commenting below. 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Kara Goucher struggles at the NYC Marathon

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Last Sunday was the New York City Marathon.

Kara Goucher one of my favorite female elite runners ran it. She went to New York, not in it to win, but hoping for a solid 2:28 race.

I remember my run last Sunday. It was windy. So windy my lips got chapped. While I was running, I was thinking… I hope it’s not this windy in NYC. If it is, there aren’t going to be any PRs, marathon times are going to be slow.

I constantly talk about the weather on this blog, as a runner the weather really does make or break us. In Kara Goucher’s case, it broke her.

She suffered…

Hit the wall…

and struggled to finish.

I recently read her blog post, A Bitter Sweet Return, and it almost brought me to tears. As I read her post, I felt like I was running the marathon with her, right by her side. There are¬†so many emotional moments. Ones that include…

Deciding to run the first ten miles with the lead pack.

At mile 9, realizes the others aren’t intimidated and slowed down by the wind. Her game plan back fires. She went out too fast, causing her to burn out.

Slowing down running the next 10 miles solo. 

Goucher spots Edna Kiplagat at mile 18, and uses her as a target. Unfortunately, she barely passes her, and never regains energy. 

Continues running to mile 24, knowing her coach would be there. But being too delirious that she runs right by him, never seeing nor hearing his support.

Finally, Goucher makes it to finish line.
There is a quote that goes something like, “The only run you regret is the one you don’t do…” Goucher says she has no regrets… As a runner, we run races. Some end up good, while others bad.
“I have at times been criticized for showing so much emotion.¬†¬†I wear my heart on my sleeve and have never been good at ‚Äúkeeping it together.‚Ä̬†¬†
Goucher poured her heart out on her blog. And the reason why I found it so important to recap her race and blog post is because of that reason. She is so passionate. And I have always put elite runners in a whole different light. On a different level. Physically they are on a different level, but after reading her blog post I realized elite runners are really not much different then you and I. They have the same mental strategies, and the same mental break downs.
  • The wind effects them.
  • They go out too fast.
  • They don’t want to run alone.
  • They use other runners as a focus target… to run faster in hopes to regain energy.
  • They look for familiar support at mile markers.
  • ¬†They get delirious…
  • ¬†They make it to the finish line.
  • ¬†They never regret running.
  • ¬†They have determination that the next run will be better.
As a runner, I read Kara Goucher’s¬†emotional blog post and totally got it. ¬†I’ve been there, and done that, but of course 2 hours slower.¬†
© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Goodbye October, Hello November!

Halloween has come and went.

And, you probably feel like this right now…

halloween candyBut thats okay, because day light savings time gave us an extra hour of sleep… So now we are well rested and ready to take on November!
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November is here, and I am excited. It is probably my favorite months. 

These are my top 3 reasons why I heart November and my November goals…

 

1.    I love November because it is so damn colorful!

On the first day of November, my husband and I left the city to spend some time in the country. The fun thing about living in the DC area is that you only have to drive 90 minutes out and you hit beautiful country roads. Virginia is also very historical! Lots of history are among these country roads.

fall leaves country roads2.   Another reason, I love November is because it is so damn tasty.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And this November I will be doing lots of cooking. I want to come up with some fabulous new additions to our traditional Thanksgiving. So be prepared for lots of food posts.

3.   And the final reason, I love November is because it is the perfect month to run. 

I wake up every morning with a strong desire to hit the trail. There is only a short time that the leaves are this colorful and I don’t want to miss it. Plus, soon it will be really cold and I’ll have to pull out my winter running gear. So these are the last weeks where the weather will be perfect for running. Also, I must run, to counter act all of the cooking, food testing, eating, tasting I will be doing in order to find the prefect Thanksgiving addition. So I will be participating in Pile on the Miles. (More on that later.)

NYC MARATHONAlso CONGRATS to everyone who ran the NYC Marathon! You guys rocked it out!

What is your favorite thing about November? What dishes are you eating this Thanksgiving? Are you going to pile on the miles?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

The story of why I stopped drinking Milk & a Cashew Cream Recipe!

When I was little, I refused to drink milk. I still remember the day my older sister scarred me for life. We were sitting at the kitchen table, and we were both about to down a glass of white rich creamy milk, when she said, “You know, thats from a cow’s boob.” She ran off smirking, when I on the other hand, immediately put the cup down with a look of disgust. I vowed, from that day forward, I would never drink a glass of milk again.

Now a days, if you don’t want to drink milk, or heavy cream you don’t have to. There are tons of dairy alternatives right on your local grocery store shelves. They are available and the variety is endless. However, there are sneaky additives to some of the most popular brands, and it is just as easy and quick to make your own, fresh at home.

When I started to cook more vegan and plant based meals, I noticed that most of the dishes that required heavy cream such as Clam Chowders, used Cashew Cream.

I first came across Cashew Cream in the, Isa Does It, cookbook. But today, I found another variation on the blog I have been reading, My New Roots.

Can you believe I made that creamy goodness from the raw organic cashew nuts sitting in the bowl behind.

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So here it is, the Cashew Cream recipe…

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup raw organic cashews
  • 1.25 cups water
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  • Place cashews in a large bowl and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and let soak for a minimum of 4 hours at room temperature or overnight refrigerated.
  • Once cashews have soaked, drain water.
  • Place soaked cashews in Vitamix, and add water, garlic, lemon juice, and sea salt.
  • Blend until completely smooth.

That’s all you do.

That’s it!

Enjoy as a replacement to (dairy) heavy cream in all of your recipes!

Have you made Cashew Milk before? What is your favorite dairy replacement?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Butternut Bisque with Coconut Swirl

Besides running and cheering on the marathoners. I have been cooking and eating. It is my all time favorite season. The leaves are changing. The air is comfortably breezy and crisp. Lucky us! ¬†We have been having some absolutely beautiful FALL days here in Washington, DC. And although it hasn’t been too cold yet, I am still craving everything fall.

One thing that defines fall is butternut squash. When I was growing up it was a special treat that my mom made only at Thanksgiving, but now it is a staple in my house. I love everything about it. I eat it all different ways, but my favorite way is in soup form. That is why when I came across the Butternut Bisque recipe in the cookbook Isa Does It, I knew I had to make it asap, plus its Vegan!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • oil (olive oil or coconut oil)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (more if you desire)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk (extra for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS

ROAST SQUASH

TIP: (you can do cook the squash in advanced, and the soup will come together in 20 minutes.)

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the squash in half.
  • Remove seeds.
  • Brush the parchment paper with olive oil or coconut oil and place the squash pieces cut side down.
  • Roast for 45 mins. until squash is tender.
  • After squash is cooked let cool and continue with the soup recipe. If you are making squash in advanced, refrigerate the squash until ready to use.

LETS MAKE THE SOUP

  • Preheat a 4 quart pot over medium heat, add coconut oil.
  • Cut up onion, and add to the pot, saute until caramelized.
  • Add ginger.
  • Add garlic.
  • Mix in red pepper flakes
  • Add white wine and deglaze bottom of the pan, by scraping with a wooden spoon.
  • Peel and scoop squash.
  • Add squash to the pot.
  • Add vegetable broth (if you don’t have vegetable broth on hand you can use water.)
  • Add coconut milk.
  • Add maple syrup.
  • Add lime juice.
  • After everything is heated all the way through, add soup to you Vitamix. I actually use the soup setting, which continues to heat everything. Blend until smooth. If you are using a Vitamix it shouldn’t take long.
  • Pour bisque into a bowl, sprinkle with red pepper flakes and swirl coconut milk on top.
  • Enjoy!

What is you favorite way to eat butternut squash. I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you think about this recipe. 

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Hello Fall…

Fall has arrived. It is my absolute favorite season.

The air is crisp and it’s time to get cozy.

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The things I am most excited about are…

I love the touch¬†of soft warm colorful hand-dyed yarns that are later handmade into chunky knits. (I’m a knitter.)

I love the feeling of a hot and steamy Bikram yoga classes.

I love running, running, and more running. I love seeing the trees which are colorful along the running trail, then hearing the leaves crunching under my running shoes at each stride.

I love tasting… Spicy soups, smoky chili, butternut squash, pumpkin everything.

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First pumpkin beer… 2 years ago at October Fest!

I love the smell¬†of… Gingerbread, cinnamon, pumpkin spice…

I love hot tea, chai tea, hot cocoa with coconut milk.

 

Those are a few of my favorite things… What are yours?

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

 

Will the Apple Watch replace your Garmin?

The newest addition to the Apple family will be the Apple Watch, which will be released early 2015.

They have a couple different models, including a Sports model!

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When Apple first announced they were releasing a watch, I thought the idea was stupid. But now that there is a sports addition I am very curious.

 

It looks really cool, but will it function as good as some of the leading brands?

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Some of the Features…

  1.  Band is durable and strong. Yet surprisingly light and soft.
  2.  Sport models are as light as possible.
  3.  Made with strong scratch resistant alumina-silicate glass.
  4.  There are a variety of apps that will do things such as monitor your activity through out the day.
  5.  Heart rate sensor.
  6.  There are reminder features to tell you when your next workout is.
  7.  Data sharing.
  8.  It is unclear whether the GPS feature to track runs will be used from the iPhone. In this case runners will need to run with your iPhone.

The watch will retail $349.

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Being a serious runner, my watch has become my running buddy. I am
pretty loyal to Garmin.

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Above are the facts, but it will be interesting to hear reviews once the watch comes out.

Will the Apple Watch replace your Garmin? Which running watch is your favorite?

References:

© 2014 sweat1xdaily

Summer Running… Why I may defer my MCM bib.

I can’t believe how fast this summer has been flying by. Honestly, it has been really busy and I can’t believe this summer girl is saying this… But I am ready for summer to end. Normally, I love summer, but because my wedding was at the end of June, my first month of summer was consumed completely with planning our big day. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with the planning process.

I loved everything about my wedding, but because of my wedding, I took off 9 days of work, which has made it swamped for me once I got back. So I am ready for things to slow down, and for the crisp air to make an appearance.

I know I haven’t blogged much this summer. And most of my blog posts have been about my wedding. It has seemed like I have been pretty obsessed. But, in all honesty, I have been. Every bride-to-be or newly wed is… It only happens once so might as well be.

Anyway, I haven’t had much free time this summer. In the small amount of free time I have been squeezing in runs, cooking up a storm, knitting, reading, and trying to do some design changes to my home.

This summer has not been too hot. In fact, I’m considering this summer straight up cold. Being from the DC area, I am use to sweltering record breaking, code red days. But this summer has actually been perfect running weather. Most runners have been in heaven. That is why it disappoints me that I have no desire what so ever to run far. Instead, I have been enjoying faster shorter runs. Unfortunately, I also have been having some minor health issues, that I have seen the doctor about. Because of this, I may defer my bib for MCM until next year. I have until August 31st to decide.

This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A couple years ago, when training for the ¬†Chicago Marathon I had some digestive track issues which left me unable to fuel my body for long runs. When it comes to running and training, I do it to be healthy and have fun, not to injure myself. Plus, I have run MCM 3 times before, I have already proved to myself that I can finish the 26.2 distance. With that being said, if I can’t train to PR, and my training isn’t at the intensity level I want it to be at, then it is best to defer until next year when I can really train at the best of my ability. In other words, I don’t half ass my training, and I definitely do not run a race I don’t train for. The training is part of racing, and it is one of my favorite parts.

So the year before last I felt the same thing about long runs. I was tired of running slow and far. So I decided to switch it up and sign up for half marathons and 10 milers. I switched to a natural barefoot running shoe, (out of being bored) and focused on running form. I worked on speed, cadence, and started lifting weights. I became a faster, stronger runner. This change made me happy. And being able to change… is also the reason I love running. If you are bored switch up your shoe. If you are tired of running slow and far, start running shorter and faster. If you are tired of city running, hit the trails. This sport has something for any runner’s mood, for whichever type of runner you choose to be. And it is perfectly okay to be a marathon runner one year and a half marathon runner, or ultra marathoner the next year. Switch it up, keep things exciting.

If any of you have been reading my blog over the years, you would know last year, was quite the opposite. I was pretty excited, and ready to really consume myself with marathon training. I looked forward to longer runs, and higher mileage weeks. I was sooo obsessed about my marathon training that I annoyed a few people with my daily  facebook and instagram running posts.

Anyway, one thing I want to make clear, is that I love MCM. This race is my absolute favorite! And I’ll be involved in it in some way, whether that means running it or showing love and support.

A lot of people are running now. My coworker just started training for her first half marathon (Go Katie). My other coworker is running as well. ¬†My running buddy is doing her first full marathon (MCM.) Seems like everyone is running and racing. And although, training for a race and then racing it, is my favorite thing to do, I don’t feel the need to run every race in the area.

Racing all the time can be fun, but it also is expensive and time consuming. Trust me I know, last April I ran two 10 milers and 1 half marathon. It was fun, but it was expensive. But, once April had ended I was happy to sleep in. I will admit I definitely got tired of waking up early and trying to get to a race, then rushing into work right after.

This fall I only signed up for MCM. When I train for a marathon, I am very disciplined. I run long runs when I am scheduled to, I taper when I am scheduled to.¬†Because of this, when¬†I run MCM, I don’t normally sign up for any other races, unless it lines up with my training plan.¬†

I’ve come to the conclusion that signing up for a race and running it, doesn’t make you any more of a runner than someone who is still running daily to stay in shape and have fun.

And at the end of the day, even elite runners and professional athletes sometimes need to pull out of a race…¬†

So with that being said, I’ll keep you updated on what I decide about MCM.

If I decide NOT to run MCM….

there is always next year!¬†There are always other marathons to run… Trust me I have plans… Plus, I have some other fun exciting things I will be doing to get my running fix…

But in the mean time enjoy some of these summer running photos below…

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That’s it for now… Hope you are enjoying your summer.

Do you have a race this fall? Who is training for a marathon?

© 2014 sweatdaily

Wedding Planning and Diet and Exercise Routine…

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So the count down has officially started. In 17 days my groom and I will make things official, and commit to each other for a life time. In 17 days we will celebrate our love, by having a wedding, sharing it with our closest family and friends.

I am very excited! I can’t wait to be married to Erik – what can I say, he is my favorite guy in the world. I am one lucky girl.20140611-174646.jpg

However, I will say this… there has been times during the wedding planning process when it hasn’t been fun. I am not a crazy planner girl, so I have been out of my element. I think the below photo expresses the way I feel about wedding planning more than any words could.

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However,¬†I am very proud of myself though because I have planned most of this wedding by myself. I am now the QUEEN of weeding planning. I am soooo thankful for my Mom and Aunt Nina for being my side kicks – I couldn’t have done it with out them.

I will say this- I have been swamped with wedding stuff. When I am not busy planning my own, I have been doing tons of wedding hair and make up. It seems like every time I see a client and tell them I am engaged… They respond, “Me Too!!”

Being swamped with wedding hair and make up has actually been really fun. Because I am also a bride planning my own wedding, I can totally relate to my bride clients on a whole different level. We share stories with each other about the ups, downs, and drama of wedding planning. Plus, it is so special to me to be a part of such an exciting time in my clients’ life.

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When it comes to my wedding planning, at the moment, I have my checklist and I’m checking it twice. I also am still emailing vendors back and forth. I have never emailed so many people in my life. But my questions need to be answered and so do theirs. I am hoping by the start of next week my emailing will come to an end. It is coming down to the wire. So at this point I am¬†trying to stay focused.

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Ask any of my friends, and they will tell you I am the type of person who always goes above and beyond. I am the type of person who totally gets wrapped up in what she is doing. (For example, I don’t just run, I run marathons.) Some may think I am obsessive and extreme, but I am just trying to be the best person I can be.

My advice to all brides to be…

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And that is exactly what I have been doing… Working on my wedding details everyday. I will admit I have never been so tired. It is a lot of work – now I understand why my best friend quit her job to plan her wedding. Wedding planning is like a job on its own.

On the other hand, I did not quit my job, but instead I am working more. I have never felt so busy. This type of stress is normal for all brides to be.

Alright, now that I have told you, I am excited, in love, exhausted, busy, and stressed. Let me talk to you about my stress reliever.

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Of course I have been running and lifting. Two weeks ago I finished another round of the Livefit trainer.

As for my…

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Along with running, I am now doing Ashley Conrad’s Clutch until I head out to California for my wedding. I am loving the intense circuit training. The one thing I need to stay on point with is the clean eating diet. I am eating clean but I need to eat more, and drink more water. Being so busy has made it difficult for me to meal prep and eat every 3 hours. I will say this though…

I am seeing awesome results. I am looking stronger and leaner. I can’t wait to be in my wedding dress! (I’ll post pics of me in my dress after the wedding.) But here are some progress pics.

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The Clutch programs make me sweaty. Running in the heat does too… And although, I am seeing great progress, I have been really sore lately. I am definitely taking rest days when needed. Marathon training starts in mid July so I want to feel refreshed, not burned out.

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So thats what I have for you guys today! I promise you, I will be updating more often. I awesome have an amazing green tea product to share with you! Look for that post by friday.

What work out do you use to relieve stress? Do you take regular rest days?

© sweatdaily 2014

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