I helped put on my daughter’s school Valentine party on Friday and was put in charge of bringing the food. I love being in charge of food for my kids’ school parties because it allows me to know exactly what ingredient is in each snack or drink. I only bring what my kids can have and it allows them to be able to eat everything together with their friends, which honestly is very rare!
“Love Day” (as she calls it) is my daughter’s favorite day so she requested everything to be heart shaped. I ordered two types of heart-shaped silicone molds from Amazon (here and here) and made gluten-free banana muffins in one and these chocolates in the other.
*You can make them with or without the nut butter.*
Place the chocolate chips and almond milk together in a microwavable bowl and heat on high in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take the bowl out and stir the mixture until it becomes a very smooth consistency.
Split the chocolate mixture in half, and fill the bottoms of the heart-shaped silicone molds with one of the halves of chocolate. Take little dabs of the almond butter and evenly place on top of the chocolate in the heart-shaped mold.
Finish by placing the last half of the chocolate mixture on top of the almond butter in the molds.
Place in the freezer and once they are hardened, enjoy! Store the remaining heart-shaped chocolates in the freezer to keep firmed up.
*The links are affiliate links. When you purchase through these links, it helps support my website. Thank you!
Early Saturday morning, I got ready in record time and hopped in the car to drive 2.5 hours to the race. Adam was supposed to race too, but his work schedule had changed that week so I was on my own. It was a quiet ride there (which is rare for this mom of three!) and I arrived an hour early to pick up my race packet and finish my race prep.
It was much colder than I had anticipated so I sat in my car until I met up with my friend Anna about 15 minutes before the start. We huddled and shivered with the rest of the runners until they announced the race was finally going to begin. It was an out and back, which I’m not too fond of.
The race started off and I was honestly running to just warm up! I was cold down to my bones which is always hard for me to shake. I listened to a podcast for the first 8 miles, and the last two miles I took my headphones out and ran in the silence.
The course was very hilly and when I was running the first 5 miles, I knew that every hill I was running down I would be running back up on the way back to the finish line. My goal was to run at a 7:30/mile pace and I ended up running just under that so I was very happy! Especially since I did not take into consideration all those hills!
My split times were as follows:
Mile 1 / 7:03
Mile 2 / 7:15
Mile 3 / 7:30
Mile 4 / 7:55
Mile 5 / 7:12
Mile 6 / 7:46
Mile 7 / 7:08
Mile 8 / 7:48
Mile 9 / 7:26
Mile 10 / 7:07
I meet up with Anna again after the race. We hung out until the awards ceremony (I placed 3rd overall female and Anna placed 1st in her age group.) I loved having her there and the race crowd and volunteers were all very nice.
Overall, it was a fun race and I definitely will look into running it again!
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Some exciting news first! I am currently writing an e-course! I would love to get your opinions on a few things before I complete it, since I am writing this e-course for you. I would be very grateful if you would fill out this quick, 6 question survey for me! THANK YOU!
I live in the South where there are limited, good racing months throughout the year. Once April or May hits, it is unbearable to run outside past 9am. This continues until around September or October. So, I take advantage of the few good race months that I do get and run as many races as our family schedule and budget allow.
This past Thursday, I saw that the upcoming weekend was going to be absolutely beautiful. Adam’s work schedule changed the day before, so when I asked him about about getting out of town for the day to race, he agreed to come along with our kids.
I signed up for the Frostbite Half, and Adam and the kids for the Fun Run.
The race was a 10am start, which allowed us to leave our house by 7:45am and still make it in time for packet pick-up and a quick warm-up before the race began. The sun was out by time we arrived at the packet pick-up tent and around 58 degrees.
I split off from Adam and the kids around 9:55am to head to the starting line and do a quick, dynamic warm-up. I honestly had not prepped for this race how I usually do (no tapering the week before, no adequate hydration the days prior, and I didn’t eat my normal pre-race sweet potato hash meal the night before). I guess that’s what happens when you sign up on 2 days before the race.
I set a goal of finishing 1:45, since I knew I wasn’t as prepared as I usually like to be. I figured I wasn’t going to hit a PR so I would just run to enjoy a new city and wave and talk to as many volunteers and by-standers as possible.
The race started at a quick pace. I always tend to go out faster for the first mile to see how my legs feel and what I think I’ll be capable of for the race. (I honestly don’t recommend this to beginners! Usually you want to start right at your desired pace.)
My legs were tired from the harder strength workouts I had done during that week.
I enjoyed the race and ran at a pretty leisurely pace. I never stressed trying to hit a certain pace each mile and it was a bit refreshing! I knew I could have pushed it a little more, but I didn’t want to be too tired for my ten-mile race this coming weekend so I ran what was comfortable for me. This was just more of a fun run.
I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:41:00 (my GPS showed it was slightly under the 13.1 mile distance), and ended up finising 2nd over all female! I was honestly very surprised! It was a smaller race though, which helps placing a bit easier.
My family was there at the end, cheering me on through the finish line and it was the perfect end to a good race.
On the 1.5 hour ride up, I drank more water and finished my cup of coffee.
During the race I ate 1/3 of a Cocount Creme Lara Bar. I always gage how I’m feeling energy-wise around mile 6. I was feeling really strong and not lagging in the energy department. Around mile 8 I ate a bite of the Lara bar and honestly felt good the rest of the run! I ran with a plastic (eek, I usually am completely against plastic) water bottle and drank that as I went so I didn’t need to grab water from a water stop until around mile 10 when I had finished my water bottle.
I wore shorts, a race tank top, my compression sleeves, and my Asics.
On February 1, I will begin a FREE 10 day Fit Challenge! We will be streaming on-demand workout videos, posting about them, and motivating each other together in a private, online group setting. If you would like to be a part of this group, please email me! We’d love to have you join. There are only a few spots left, so please contact me within the next day or two!
I have been putting a lot of time, energy and love into something new lately! I created an e-book. A cookbook that is something that I have been wanting to do for two years now. I can hardly believe that it is finally written, photographed, and complete!
I would love for you to check it out, purchase it, and SHARE this cookbook with others! It would mean so much to me!
Are you looking for new, healthy, gluten-free meals that are family-friendly and easy to make?
Then this ebook is for you! I have created this cookbook as a go-to reference for those struggling to find allergy-friendly recipes. These recipes are our family’s absolute favorites, and I wanted to share them with you! Included in this cookbook:
November of 2008 marked my very first long distance race. I finished those 26.2 miles with pride and could officially call myself a marathoner.
Since then, I have run over a dozen long distance races. I have learned what works well in training for a race and also what does not work well. I also have figured out my race day rituals that are tried and true.
This past weekend, a friend and I ran a 25k trail run in Alabama. It was set back away from civilization where the trail wound through serene woods and overlooked a beautiful lake. It was one of the prettiest races I have enjoyed so far.
Being the road runner that I am (I have only raced in one other trail run that was a half marathon distance), trail running is a new ball game. The community of trail runners is quite a bit different and I feel like they approach the race with a different mindset. The runners I met along the trail were so kind in letting me pass them and not jockeying for position or trying to elbow me out of the way. Quite different from some road races where I have almost been pushed down in order for a runner to gain that position in front of me.
After years of running and racing, I would like to think of myself as a somewhat seasoned racer. I want to pass along some of my tips on how I prepare for a race and what my best race day tips are.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
The week before the race, and especially the day before, I try to drink a lot of water. It is always better to go into a race hydrated than not having enough liquid. Dehydration definitely hinders your performance on race day!
Get a good night sleep TWO nights before the race
I know this may come as a shock to you, but it is very important to get a lot of sleep two nights before the race. Reason being, the night before you most likely will have pre-race jitters, causing you to not get that full night of sleep. Also, if the race is not near your hometown, you will be sleeping in a different bed than normal which always throws people off.
Carb load a few days before hand
Please do not wait to carb load the night before a race, or even the morning of! Your body needs to build up glycogen in your muscles to use during the race and it always works best for me to carb load a few days prior. My favorite pre-race meal the night before is a sweet potato hash.
*You can find the recipe in my upcoming recipe e-book that I will be releasing soon!
On the race morning, wake up at least 2 hours before the start
I hate going into a race not fully awake. I love to wake up early on race day, hydrate with water and drink a cup of coffee, have my pre-race breakfast, and take time to mentally prepare for what is ahead of me.
Do NOT change anything up on race day Race day is not the time to try something new. Do not buy new running clothes, shoes or even try new foods the day of (or even the day before!). You have no idea how your body will respond to digesting the new food/drink/gu, if the clothes will chafe or ride up uncomfortably, and new shoes will definitely not be broken in. I suggest using your long training runs as a time to try out what exactly works for you. If you need to keep a log book of what your favorite running clothes are, what foods best energize you, and how well hydrated you were, it might help!
Wear compression sleeves
Seriously, I swear by these. I do not run a long distance race anymore without them. They help me during the race with swelling and circulation as well as keep the soreness at bay after the race. If you are not comfortable wearing them during the race, at least bring some to slip on right when you finish. It will still help with the post-race soreness.
Actively stretch after the race
After you cross the finish line, grab your finishers medal and some water/snacks they have provided, and then actively stretch. Your muscles and joints have been working continuously for a couple hours (or more – depending on your pace). If you actively stretch (do not do stationary stretches first), it will help immensely!
I hope you find these helpful for your next big race! I love talking about running so please post comments below or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get ahold of me.