A Weekend of Runs, Fun, and Good Eats!

The older sister left to go back to college yesterday afternoon, so we spent Friday evening/night as a family…which meant a delicious dinner of gnocchi (zoodles for me!) + sausage + sauce with fresh basil AND a fire and s’mores later.  Perfect summer night!

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Speaking of zoodles and zucchini…

My grandparents have a, uh, THRIVING vegetable garden so operation eat-all-the-zucchini was in full force this weekend.  Zoodles on Friday, zucchini crust pizza for dinner last night, zucchini in eggs this morning…

Zucchini crust + sauce + a little bit of shredded mozzarella + leftover sausage + olives + mushrooms = perfection.

Zucchini crust + sauce + a little bit of shredded mozzarella + leftover sausage + olives + mushrooms = perfection.

…what can I say?  I am happy to eat ALL the zucchini.  You know, just doing my civic duties, eating my veggies, all that jazz.  (Also, they were delicious, so there’s that.)

And we should probably talk about these gorgeous roasted veggies from Thursday night:

Pre-roasting...

Pre-roasting…

...and the finished product!

…and the finished product!

Baby golden potatoes + pixie eggplant + onion + pepper + zucchini (What did I tell you?  ALL the zukes.  In everything.) tossed in olive oil and a little bit of sea salt.  So good!!

While we’re still talking about food, I have discovered that Larabars are fantastic.  Where have you been all my life, Larabar?

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I loved this flavor and I have a Peanut Butter & Jelly one sitting upstairs that will probably be eaten tomorrow.  Oh, and I ordered 16-packs of three different flavors today to take back to school with me.  Needless to say, I was immediately sold!

…And I finally tried out a new breakfast recipe that I have seen floating around on the internet for a while.  I was pretty skeptical about it because it seemed too easy, but I tried it out…BANANA PANCAKES!

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Easiest recipe ever: 1 banana + 2 eggs + pinch of baking powder + cinnamon, vanilla to taste.  You could sweeten them if you wanted to, but I didn’t and don’t think they needed sweetened at all.  Basically, you mush up the banana (I used a fork), whisk in the eggs, baking powder, cinnamon, and vanilla…then cook like normal pancakes!  They have more of a crepe-y texture than normal pancakes but I thought it was nice that they were filling but didn’t sit heavy in my stomach.  A single batch makes four large pancakes, and I topped mine with strawberry jam. 🙂

So much good food this weekend!

…But I promise I do other things besides eating…like running!

My runs this weekend were great.  I felt like I was running slow both days but when I looked at my Garmin, I was surprised to find that I was running much faster than expected.  What a nice surprise!  Friday’s run was 3.55 miles at 8:38/mi pace and today’s run was 3.60 miles at 8:21/mi pace.  I am slowly (and carefully) picking up speed!  I am itching to get back on the track to work on my speed and stride length.  One step at a time!  (And yes, my ankle is still feeling fantastic.  I am so thankful!)

Whew.  Busy weekend!  Hope you guys enjoyed your weekend as much as I enjoyed mine. 🙂

Tell me about your weekend!  What did you do?

Did you run this weekend?  Any races?  Tell me all about it. 🙂

The Bad Runs Make the Good Runs a Thousand Times Better.

Tuesday’s run sucked.  Seriously.  I was so mad about it (ask everyone…I raged).

You see, I was dog- and house-sitting for some family friends from Monday until yesterday, and they live in a gorgeous (albeit a little bit hilly) development that I was looking forward to running in.  However, I didn’t realize that I was going to have job training (it was a seriously last minute thing) Tuesday and Wednesday morning from eight to noon.  Forty-five minutes away from where I was staying.  I was going to need to get out of the house by seven to allow for possible traffic.

Enter: the awful, no-good run from you-know-where.  

I had to hit the pavement at five in order to be able to get in my run, have breakfast (luckily I was smart enough to make my oatmeal the night before and just have to stick it in the microwave), walk and feed the pooches, shower, grab a cup of coffee, and throw a granola bar in my bag for the car ride home after shift (because I knew I would be stahhhving) by seven.

I drove around the development Monday evening so that I could get my bearings before running on Tuesday, since I knew it would be dark at five a.m.  That was a smart idea, but I couldn’t take into account the lack of functioning streetlights on certain streets I had planned to run because that’s not something I could see during daylight hours.  Thus, I ended up running the same several streets the whole time to avoid the dark streets and, because I also didn’t want to run with my iPod so that I could be aware of my surroundings, I was struggling.  Hard.  I ended up deciding to run hill repeats for the last 15 minutes on the SUPERhill on one of the streets (sprint up – about 0.35 miles – and jog back down).  It all sucked.  The whole thing.  There was a lot of stopping and turning around when I hit a really dark area, impromptu direction changes, and confusion.  And HILLS.  At least I kind of turned it into a valuable training opportunity with the hill repeats…?  😛

This is what that crappy run looked like:

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I was running more than a minute slower per mile than my usual pace.  And on top of that, I couldn’t find a good cadence/stride, felt out of breath, and got soaked from the pre-rain humidity.  Some runs just suck!

And that’s okay.  

Because for every sucky run, there are a billion good ones.  Those are the runs that I love – but the awful runs are important too: they make the good runs feel 5364789212521024501 times better, happier, and more fulfilling.

Like today’s run, during which I felt like I was just kicking some serious butt.

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(I am still a good little patient and doing my PT-mandated walking time, which fell during mile 2.  So basically, my actual RUNNING pace was more like 8:35ish per mile.  Yay!)

(I am still a good little patient and do my PT-mandated walking time, which happened during mile 2. So basically, my actual RUNNING pace was more like 8:35ish per mile. Yay!)

I felt like a rock star this morning, but I’m sure I wouldn’t have felt that good about it – because it was pretty much a typical run for me – if Tuesday’s run hadn’t sucked so much.

So thank you, awful, horrible, terrible, SUCKY runs…for making every single other run feel amazing.  

THIS is why I run.

Frederick WDF 5K Race Recap

(Whaaaaat?  A morning post?  I must be going crazy or something… 😀 )

Yesterday’s race was quite the success!  I was focusing simply on finishing (preferably under 28-30 minutes) and planned to take it slower than I normally would in a race.  I was definitely running to compete (because I’m a naturally competitive person and it was going to happen anyway…haha), but I was also running conservatively because I like my shiny new ankle the way it is and didn’t want to overdo it. 😀

I also have a bad habit of riding high on the race adrenaline and coming out strong in the first mile-ish then burning out by the end of the race.  So, yesterday, I took the first mile pretty slow and gradually (then not so gradually!) picked up the pace throughout the race, leaving enough energy to really kick the last ~0.3 at the end.

Holy negative splits, Batman!

Holy negative splits, Batman!

Unfortunately, the race was not chip timed, so I got a little frazzled in finish-chute confusion and pulling the tab off of my bib, so I ended up stopping my Garmin a little late (it read 3.18 miles, 26:55).  I figured that my time was around 26:45ish.

After checking my official time, I found out that I ran a 26:42!!

It was a double-loop course (with a slight variation in the second loop), and (I think) this was around the beginning of lap 2.

It was a double-loop course (with a slight variation in the second loop), and (I think) this was around the beginning of lap 2.

It looks like I'm walking (I'm not).  Long legs + trying not to push my pace too hard = short stride and awkward photo.

It looks like I’m walking (I’m not). Long legs + trying not to push my pace too hard = short stride and awkward photo.

I think I was trying to fly, because those are some serious chicken wings!

I think I was trying to fly, because those are some serious chicken wings!

My mom has been running with me (well, we split up and run different routes in the same park) in the mornings and she also ran yesterday’s 5K!

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So photogenic!! I'm jealous...this is such a great photo. :)

So photogenic!! I’m jealous…this is such a great photo. 🙂

…And my powerhouse momma finished in 34:48!  After I finished, I had just enough time to grab a water, a chocolate milk, and half a banana before I headed back out to the finish line to cheer her on as she came down the last stretch.  And thanks to allergies, I arrived at that race with a voice…then I ran, screamed for my mom at the finish, and talked a LOT after the race…and I left without a voice.  Now I sound like a sixty-year-old man…NOT cute (but so worth it!).

Post-race picture!  (My dad took lots of photos of us...thanks Dad!)

Post-race picture! (My dad took lots of photos of us…thanks Dad!)

Overall, I would say the race was very well organized and lots of fun!  The course marshals were very encouraging and helpful, the water stations seemed to be running smoothly (I didn’t stop for water), and the volunteers were friendly (and there were a lot of them!).  Being a two-loop course with a slight variation in the second loop, the course had the potential to be confusing but was actually very well marked and staffed to prevent any mishaps.

However, as I mentioned briefly above, I wish that the race had used chip timers.  The finishing-chute situation was a little funky and overwhelming, but luckily did not seem to affect the accuracy of finishers’ times.  Additionally, the double-loop course caused a little bit of congestion when the faster runners started to lap the slower runners/walkers.  

There were also raffle prizes (based on bib numbers) – about 25 of them! – which was really cool, and the age group winners’ medals were very nice.  The post-race experience in general was upbeat and fun, even if a little drawn out. 🙂

Out of all of the runners, I placed 43/329, which I would call a win since I am definitely not 100% yet!  I finished the race not feeling very tired or out of breath at all, which was both frustrating and encouraging: I know I could have run faster, but I know it was a good thing that I didn’t, since I am still recovering; however, it did make me happy because I know that as my ankle continues to get stronger, I can push my pace more and hopefully bring my time down considerably!

Overall, both my mom and I enjoyed our experience at the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival 5K.  Schedule permitting, I will definitely run this race again next year…hopefully a lot faster. 🙂

Today, I ran an easy 3.5 miles at 8:53 pace to stretch my legs out and give them a break after yesterday’s race.  I wasn’t sore at all this morning, but I didn’t want to push the pace to give my legs a nice little break.  There are plenty of other days for speedier runs. 🙂


In other news – because this just NEEDS to be talked about – how did I NOT KNOW that mini-bananas are a thing??!!

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I saw them at Wegman’s the other day and it kind of blew my mind.  What a genius idea!  Bananas, snack-size-ified.  Except…who would want to eat a little teeny banana when you could eat a banana the size of yo face? 😀  But I did want to buy them just because they were so adorable!


Did anyone else run a race this weekend?  How did it go?

Tell me three things you did this weekend. 🙂

Has anyone ever tried mini-bananas??  Sorry, I’m just obsessed with those adorable little fruits! 😀

What I’ve Been Up To…and BIG NEWS!

Hey there!  Remember me? 🙂

Sorry that I’ve been MIA for the last…month…?  Summer has been in full swing and is keeping me nice and busy!  I’ve really missed Muffins though, and I am glad to be back. 🙂  Here’s a little peek into what I’ve been up to while away from da blog:

– Eating plantains the size of my face.

photo 1 (16)– Spending time at the BEACH!!

photo 3 (12) photo 2 (16)(I know, I know.  They’re not pictures of the actual beach…I am kind of the WORST at taking pictures.)

– Enjoying one of my birthday gifts.  I absolutely love them!

photo 2 (17)(Other gifts included an iPod Shuffle and a Garmin running watch!)

– Lots and lots of running (of course). 🙂

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– Post-run breakfast dates with the best momma ever!

(That, folks, is what happens when I tell my mom to smile while she's chewing her food.  Sorry Mom!)

(That, folks, is what happens when I tell my mom to smile while she’s chewing her food. Sorry Mom!)

– Cooking and eating lots of tasty food…

...which included teaching myself to poach eggs (a fantastic decision).

…which included teaching myself to poach eggs (a fantastic decision).

And, lastly…BIG NEWS!!!

I am running a 5K this Saturday!  Yes, THIS Saturday.  Three days from now.  (More specifically, the Frederick Women’s Distance Festival 5K.)  I am SO excited to be back at it and actually racing!  Of course, I will be taking it easy and listening to my body during the race so that I don’t push it and re-injure my ankle.  This race isn’t about time, or medals, or placing in my age group – it’s all about the comeback.  I will just be happy to finish. 🙂

I am now officially back to the blogging grind, so make sure you stop in here on Muffins and say hello!  And stay tuned for an official race recap this weekend following the 5K.

What have you been up to this week?

Is anyone else racing this weekend?  What are you running?

FIRST POST-OP RUN!!!

Oh hey everyone.  Happy Tuesday!  Today is a super happy day for me because, first of all, tomorrow is my birthday (!!!!) and second of all (and most importantly), I RAN YESTERDAY!!!

Yes, you read that correctly.  My first post-op run is in the books, and it felt FANTASTIC.  No ankle pain, minimal soreness today (and actually just in my hips/upper quad area), and no problems to report!  I decided not to take my phone with me during my run and ran without music so that I could really listen and pay attention to my body.  The running program that my PT has me on is a walk/run interval progression program so it was not all running, but it was running nonetheless!

Sweaty, frizzy, tired, HAPPY post-run selfie.

Sweaty, frizzy, tired, HAPPY post-run selfie.

The beautiful park where I run.  It was very overcast yesterday morning (but I'm not complaining) so it doesn't look as pretty as usual...but still nice!

The beautiful park where I run. It was very overcast yesterday morning (but I’m not complaining) so it doesn’t look as pretty as usual…but still nice!

During my run, I noticed several things:

1. My ankle felt really strong.  I am so glad that I took my time getting to this point and followed my PT’s directions carefully, doing my exercises frequently and with the correct form, because my ankle felt awesome.  And today, I don’t have ANY soreness whatsoever in my ankle or calf!

2. I am in excellent cardiovascular shape.  Thaaaaank youuuu, cross-training.  As much as I hate to admit it, the elliptical/spin bike were helpful.  Bah.

3. Increasing my strength training during recovery was the greatest idea ever.  Remember how I said that I have minimal soreness today?  Yeah, I attribute that to lifting and strength training.  I felt stronger than I ever (EVER) have while running, even stronger than soccer season during high school.  I was never really coached on the importance of strength training until the past few years, and I did not know what I was missing.  Stronger legs and body = better running form = less fatigue = stronger, faster running.

4. Nothing feels better than the first run after time off for injury.  I almost cried in the car after my run, it felt that good (and I am not a crier).

My next scheduled run is tomorrow morning.  Can you say BEST BIRTHDAY PRESENT EVER?!  Oh and perks of being a Starbucks addict (a.k.a. Gold card member): free drink on my birthday.  Birthday + morning run + post-run Starbucks trip = PERFECTION.  I’m beyond excited!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Tuesday! 🙂

When was your last run?  Yesterday.  (I’m so excited to be able to say that!)

Favorite drink at Starbucks?  Peppermint mocha in the winter and vanilla latte basically the rest of the year.

Oh Hi. Remember Me? (And Some BIG NEWS!!!!)

Oops…

Obviously, I have taken a little blogging hiatus for the past two weeks.  Things got busy, and I’m at a point of transition right now.  All good things, don’t worry. 🙂  And I have some BIG NEWS for you at the end of this post, so if you’re in a rush, just scoot your boot to the bottom of the page and check it out!  But first, here’s what I’ve been up to while I was away.

There has been a lot of baking, cooking, and eating…

Trying out Vega protein powder to go in my smoothie bowls on strength training days.  Full review to come, but spoiler alert: I like it a lot!

Trying out Vega protein powder to go in my post-workout smoothie bowls on strength training days. Full review to come, but spoiler alert: I like it a lot!

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Sandwiches.  All the sandwiches.

Sandwiches. All the sandwiches.

I BAKED CHOCOLATE-ALMOND BISCOTTI AND IT IS WONDERFUL AND DELICIOUS.  That is all.

I BAKED CHOCOLATE-ALMOND BISCOTTI AND IT IS WONDERFUL AND DELICIOUS. That is all.

…camping…

What would I do without my best friend?  Love that girl (and we're just precious).

What would I do without my best friend? Love that girl (and we’re just precious).

…and lots of workouts.  I was inspired by Megan‘s post a few weeks ago and have been incorporating a deck of cards workout once a week.  Absolutely loving them! 🙂

And now on to the BIG NEWS…

I HAVE BEEN CLEARED BY MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST TO START A RUNNING PROGRAM!!!!!!!!  Of course, it starts slow and the progression is going to be slow.  I have not been able to run for a long time and my ankle is basically brand new, so I have to be careful.  But as of Monday, I AM OFFICIALLY BACK IN THE RUNNING GAME!!!!

Words cannot describe how excited I am.  I’ve already been planning where I’m going to go Monday morning to do my workout, what I’m going to wear, and what I need to take with me.  Can you tell I’m ecstatic?!?  It’s been a long road to get to this point and I am so glad that I was patient and gave myself the time to get healthy and focused on my recovery.  Muffins is about to enter a whole new phase!

I will be taking a complete (NOT active) rest day on Sunday to make sure my legs are prepped for Monday’s workout.  I rarely do full rest days (because I’m antsy and I hate sitting around) but I think it will be the best thing for my body to prepare for my running program.

Speaking of Muffins‘ new phase, you will probably see some changes around here over the next few days/week.  I’m working on getting a banner in place, updating/adding pages, and changing some formatting.  I welcome your feedback and I hope you like the updates!

Have a wonderful Thursday (heyoo, best day of the week), everyone! 🙂

Change Is Good.

Sometimes, regular routine just gets boring.

So why not change it?  I have a special talent for getting into a food rut and having the same thing for almost every meal, every day.  But today and yesterday, I wasn’t very hungry after my morning workouts and just didn’t feel like having my usual eggs, toast, and fruit.  So this happened…

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SMOOTHIE BOWL!  The recipe I used:

– 1 frozen banana

– ~1/2 c. vanilla Greek yogurt

– handful of fresh baby spinach (probably about a cup, but I didn’t measure it…)

– 1/2 c. sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen both work)

– 1 T. peanut butter

– handful of ice cubes

Yesterday I just kind of grabbed things out of the fridge/freezer and threw them in the blender and I liked the flavor, plus it made the perfect amount…so I used the same recipe today and liked it just as much!  It came out nice and thick, and held me over until lunchtime (surprisingly…haha).

Speaking of lunch…we’re going camping with family friends this weekend and breakfast on Saturday morning is going to be pancakes, so I made a batch of GF pancakes today to take (makes Saturday morning less complicated for everyone).  Do you know what that meant?  Pancakes for lunch today!  Breakfast all day, every day.  It’s how I roll.

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These pancakes use oat flour and always come out super fluffy.  I topped them with almond butter and a diced Granny Smith apple.  PERFECTION.  Who can say no to pancakes for lunch?  Definitely not me, that’s for sure. 🙂

Supposedly, the weather is supposed to be great for camping this weekend!  I’m really looking forward to it.  Plus, S is coming with us (she’s coming down from PA) so that is super exciting. 🙂  I will take lots of pictures to share on here next week!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thursday!