Favorite Stretches for Preventing Injuries!

Stretching Runner Injury

IT IS IMPORTANT TO STRETCH.

Enough said? For most, it probably isn’t. It took a painful injury to fully convince me that 30 minutes of stretching each day is crucial in long-distance running. Here are the 4 most important stretches that cured me from a hip and knee injury:

1. Quadricep Stretch- bend your knee behind you, holding your foot with your hand.

2. Iliotibial Band (ITB) Stretch- Stand near a wall for support and cross your one leg over your the other leg at the ankle. Extend your left arm overhead, reaching toward your right side.

3. Knee to Chest Stretch- Lay flat on your back. Bring your knee bended to your chest, top pointed downward. Slowly bring you knee so that points to your opposite shoulder. You should feel the stretch down the outer side of your leg and also your hip.

4. Hip Flexor Stretch using bench or bed- Lay flat on your back on a bench or bed, bringing half of your body to hang off of the edge. One leg should lay flat on the bench/bed and the other hang. With your arm that is hanging off the surface, grab your hanging foot from behind and pull back. This is very similar to the quadricep stretch, just laying on a bed. You should feel the stretch on the inner portion of your thigh.

Spaghetti Squash + Marinara Sauce

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Spaghetti squash doused in marinara sauce. It’s a combination I have seen all over Pinterest. So, I decided to give it a try. I cooked mine in the microwave; cut in half, seeds scooped out, and face down in 1/4 inch of water for about 10 minutes. Then I combined it with my favorite Trader Joe’s marinara. Consensus? All in all, this low-calorie dish is worth a try. If you have been avoiding pasta, it’s a perfect substitute. The flavor definitely comes from the sauce, so having a good one is key. My husband will eat this when mixed with turkey meatballs and topped with mozzarella cheese. Weeks when I am watching the kinds of carbs I take in, this is a perfect dish!

 

Things We Need to Say to Children

Growing up, I remember thinking my mom thought I was amazing and important. She told me it often and I believed her. I was convinced that I could be and do anything and everything. Her words reassured me such. I knew she loved me without a shadow of doubt and nothing could ever change that. Today, I read an article listing 19 things we should say to children. I loved it, so I want to share. They reminded me exactly of how my mother would talk to me as a child. They were her words.  I hope to often say these things to my own little ones- they are so precious and words like these are so vital in their development.

1. I love you! There is nothing that will make me stop loving you. Nothing you could do or say or think will ever change that.

2. You are amazing! I look at you with wonder! Not just at what you can do, but who you are. There is no one like you. No one!

3. It’s all right to cry. People cry for all kinds of reasons: when they are hurt, sad, glad, or worried; when they are angry, afraid, or lonely. Big people cry too. I do.

4. You’ve made a mistake. That was wrong. People make mistakes. I do. Is it something we can fix? What can we do? It’s all over. You can start fresh. I know you are sorry. I forgive you.

5. You did the right thing. That was scary or hard. Even though it wasn’t easy, you did it. I am proud of you; you should be too.

6. I’m sorry. Forgive me. I made a mistake.

7. You can change your mind. It’s good to decide, but it is also fine to change.

8. What a great idea! You were really thinking! How did you come up with that? Tell me more. Your mind is clever!

9. That was kind. You did something helpful and thoughtful for that person. That must make you feel good inside. Thank you!

10. I have a surprise for you. It’s not your birthday. It’s for no reason at all. Just a surprise, a little one, but a surprise.

11. I can wait. We have time. You don’t have to hurry this time.

12. What would you like to do? It’s your turn to pick. You have great ideas. It’s important to follow your special interests.

13. Tell me about it. I’d like to hear more. And then what happened? I’ll listen.

14. I’m right here. I won’t leave without saying good-bye. I am watching you. I am listening to you.

15. Please and Thank You. These are important words. If I forget to use them, will you remind me?

16. I missed you. I think about you when we are not together!

17. Just try. A little bit. One taste, one step. You might like it. Let’s see. I’ll help you if you need it. I think you can do it.

18. I’ll help you. I heard you call me, here I am. How can I help you? If we both work together, we can get this done. I know you can do it by yourself, but I’m glad to help since you asked.

19. What do you wish for? Even if it’s not yet time for birthday candles and we don’t have a wishbone, it’s still fun to hear about what you wish for, hope for, and dream about.

 

Chocolate Coconut Energy bar

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I made some energy bars this past week that were pretty darn good. It was just things I had in my pantry that I threw in together because other similar combinations had worked so well in the past. I shared with some friends from my running group as well as a friend at the gym, and all my taste-testers told me they liked them a lot. You really can’t go wrong with almonds, chocolate, and coconut. So I thought I would share with you the recipe!

1 c almonds

1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut

1/2 c 70% cacao chips

1/2 tbsp coconut oil

1 c figs

Blend in blender and then spread on parchment paper inside of a bread pan in press it firmly so it will form bars easier. Stick in refrigerator for an hour or freeze for 20 min. Makes about 12-14 bars.

 

 

Cilantro Lime Quinoa and Chicken Dinner

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I love an easy to prepare dinner. This is a cilantro-lime quinoa dish with chicken that my kids love. I was given the recipe by my best girlfriend from college. This recipe feeds my entire family. I typically chop up Logan’s chicken and mix it all together so he eats all of it.

1/2 c uncooked quinoa

1/4 c cilantro chopped

1/2 lime

Cook quinoa per instructions on the package but add one tsp organic Better Than Bouillon chicken stock base. Add cilantro and lime juice. I also threw in a tomato or whatever I have on hand that sounds good, but this can stand alone with your chicken.

So I have been meaning to blog about what has been going on around here lately. I have a knee injury that has been pretty debilitating and in all honesty, depressing! I have been resting, elevating, compressing and icing it with no relief. I am guessing that I have patellar tendonitis but I wont be seeing a physical therapist for about a week. Wish me luck on getting this healed!

What do you eat before you workout?

Anti-Gravity Yoga

I tried Anti-Gravity Yoga at my gym this week and I have to say: It was a lot of fun! I felt a lot of stretching which was definitely needed. For the entire hour, you pretty much do stretching and strength training with fabric suspended by bars. My favorite part was hanging upside down and letting my entire body realign through the pull of gravity. I have a hip injury and today my hips have felt phenomenal. My appointment with a podiatrist to get a heel insert for my shoe isn’t for two weeks, so in the mean time I am going to keep up with this type of stretching and then foam rolling.

Now for my real topic of the day: workout foods. I was at my local runners store this afternoon and they had these:

Honey Stinger Energy Gel

 

I want to try them for my half-marathon when I get to the hour mark. They are pretty much a shot of honey for energy. I read reviews on Amazon that said they were great! I may also try bringing my own homemade energy snacks.

A few days ago, as I was checking out at my local whole foods store, the cashier mentioned to me that his wife chews speariment gum before working out so that she doesn’t get sick. I don’t chew gum before I workout, the thought makes me ill! I do have a list of foods I eat before I workout to give myself energy but also prevent any stomachache.

Here are a few of the things I typically choose from:

– 1/2 cup organic Cottage Cheese with fruit

– Plain Oatmeal with some blueberries and a dash of cinnamon

– Chia Seed Breakfast Pudding

– Whole Grain Fig Bar (non GMO by Nature’s Bakery)

– 1/2 Homemade Larabar

– Greek Yogurt and fresh fruit or berries topped with blueberry flaxseed or chia seeds

– 1/4 cup dry Homemade Granola (not too much because I don’t want to make myself sick!)

I don’t do smoothies in the mornings because they always leave me feeling too full or with an upset stomach. I would love to get more ideas for preworkout breakfasts and things to eat while running! What do you eat before you workout OR during exercise?

 

Grilled Mahi-Mahi Cilantro Lime Marinade

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I love grilled fish. LOVE. Grilled fish tacos are my favorite food ever. This marinade would work great for fish tacos. I buy my Mahi-Mahi from Trader Joe’s, in frozen small cuts. It is a lot cheaper and I don’t feel like I have to eat a ton of it. You also can grill the whole package and then refreeze the grilled pieces or refrigerate them for later on in the week. The recipe also goes amazing with quinoa cilantro-lime rice.

Just let the fish soak in this mixture for about an hour and grill.

Marinade recipe:

Mahi Mahi fillets

1/4 c chopped cilantro

1/3 c lime juice

3 cloves garlic grated

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp cayenne pepper (or less depending on how much of a kick you want.)

Everyone who has tried this marinade has loved it. Definitely a winner.

This past weekend I did a 10 1/2 mile run. I felt great! Then I did a TRX workout. If you don’t know what TRX is, you gotta search it on pinterest. It is amazing and I’m planning on doing it a ton this week. I am a new TRX addict!

 

 

New Game Plan

Don't Give Up. Running Exercise Motivation

This past week, I had a great conversation with my friend who is an expert marathon runner. She gave me some awesome advice for half-marathon training and I ended up deciding to change my game plan. I am on a completely NEW training schedule. One that includes a LONG run (this week is a 10 miler!) once a week with a group of other moms. It will be great to 1) Start training outdoors and 2) Have others to pace myself with and learn from. So I’m trashing my old schedule.

Planning my schedule has also got me thinking about my diet and what I need to be eating to fuel myself before a big race like this. I have written down a few things from what I have read online that have stood out to me: 1) Lunch the day before the race will be my most important meal for energy and should probably be a white pasta (I read this will help me not have to make any potty stops). 2) Make sure to have a light dinner the day before the race. 3) Breakfast on race day should be at least 2 hours prior to start time. 4) Don’t eat any foods that are different to your regular diet in the week prior to racing. 5) Take food with you for fuel. I’m not sure what I will take. I’m so glad I have a few months to figure this all out. I still have a ton of questions as to diet, so this list will definitely be growing as weeks go by.

 

Strawberry Chia Seed Energy Bars

Strawberry Chia Seed Bars

My baby loves those whole grain fig bars by Nature’s Bakery that you can buy at Costco. I confess, I love them too. They are sooo yummy and easy for my baby to eat. I just hand her one and she takes care of business. We buy them instead of Nutrigrain bars because the ingredients are non-GMO and dairy free. Anyway, I wanted to experiment and figure out how to make a similar treat. Now I have to admit, I sorta failed. They look nothing like a fig bar and more like a dessert. My husband said they taste more like a Larabar, but we all enjoyed them so I’m calling it a success.

Ingredients for the filling:

2 c strawberries fresh or frozen (thawed slightly)

1 tsp honey

1 to 3 tbsp chia seeds (Just throw in a good amount)

Ingredients for the crust:

1 1/2 c unsweetened coconut

1 1/2 c almonds

dash of sea salt

11 pitted prunes

In a blender, blend the strawberries with the honey and chia seeds to a consistency of jam, not totally pureed. Pour into a bowl and store overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, the  mixture should be a thick consistency, like a jam. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take ingredients for the crust and grind in a food processor or blender. Place parchment paper at the bottom of 8×8 pan and press 2/3 of your crust ingredients onto paper. Spread strawberry mixture over crust. I did a layer of coconut next. Then top with remaining crust mixture. Bake for 25 minutes.

Crust was adapted from this recipe for Key Lime Bites.

 

Cumin-Lime Marinated Chicken

Cumin Lime Marinated Chicken

I love barbecuing chicken breasts on a warm summer evening.

Ingredients:

Chicken Breasts

2 tsp olive oil

1 rounded tsp ground cumin

Fresh squeezed juice of 1/4 lime

Dash of sea salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Pour ingredients into a bag and let them marinate for the afternoon. I found a link on Pinterest from Kaelyn’s Kitchen that showed chicken breasts cut before being marinated, so I tried it! Worked fabulously. I felt it cooked the chicken quicker and more even. It made this dish absolutely delicious. I served it with some southwest quinoa and it was a hit!

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