The most amazing Carrot cake bread. Period.

The most amazing Carrot cake bread. Period.

New program, new goals, new recipes! Which has led me to this delicious 80 day obsession Carrot Cake Bread recipe. Oh yum. I started a new 13 week program last week and it has a somewhat specific eating plan. Which means, it tells me what types of foods I need to eat before my workout, after my workout and then what kinds to eat every 2-3 hours during the day outside of that. It actually makes meal time super easy and keeps me from getting hangry (which translates to slightly insane, super cranky irritable mother and wife). I choose from a huge list of clean eating foods what I want to eat for each meal.

This Carrot cake bread is the perfect combination for my preworkout meal, with veggies, protein and carbs. It is added sugar free, gluten free and is low carb and high protein. I advise cooking the day before because it does take a few minutes to blend together and about 25 minutes to cook. And when it’s time to workout and that preworkout is kicking in nobody wants to wait around!!!

Carrot Cake Bread Recipe
1 cup shredded carrots
2 eggs
1/4 c oatmeal (gluten free oats if desired)
3/4 tsp baking powder
dash nutmeg
generous dashes of cinnamon
splash of vanilla extract
coconut oil or spray

Preheat oven to 350. Combine carrots & oats in food processor or blender, pulse until finely ground. Add remainder of ingredients and blend well. Pour into greased mini loaf pan or muffin tins (it will fill 3 muffins) and bake for approximately 25-27 minutes until edges look firm and toothpick in middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10+ minutes.

I sliced and reheated mine in the morning and added a smidge of almond butter. This was SO light and spongy and tasted like such a treat! It’s not sweet but the carrots add a subtle sweetness and the nutmeg and cinnamon add that delicious flavor. I would eat any time of the day honestly! It definitely will satisfy that “bakery” craving if you have one, guilt-free!!


Spartan Recovery – bye sore muscles!

Spartan Recovery – bye sore muscles!

After my first Spartan Sprint (read about it here!) I was mega sore – especially in my upper body. My traps, forearms and shoulders were feeling the various obstacles that I had to carry!! I was so thankful for the chance to test out and review some Real Time Pain Relief products to help with my recovery.

I’ve used things like Arnica Gel in the past, I love all natural products and Real Time Pain Relief Hemp Oil Plus and the Sports cream both are all natural products. It’s pretty nice to be able to know what all the ingredients are on the back of the bottle! And the bottle size is huge! About 3x what you usually get at the typical drug store. I had a hard time deciding which one to use so did both – Sports cream on my legs and the Hemp oil plus on my upper body sore muscles. Within a day or two my soreness in my arms was dissipating and I felt back to normal! I did something to my left inner groin muscle that the pain cream wasn’t able to help with – but that muscle was sore before the race and I definitely aggravated it with running in extremely muddy conditions and climbing over obstacles – almost 2 weeks post race, I am finally almost fully recovered from that muscle strain.



Things I love about these – they are a lightweight lotion, easy to apply and they dry quickly (unlike arnica gels that I have used in the past). They both have a very mild peppermint scent – definitely NOT like your Grandfather’s BenGay, it is very minimal and barely noticeable. I also love that there is no intense “icy hot” feeling with either of these. You do get a bit of a tingle with the menthol in the sports cream, but it’s not like Tiger’s Balm or actual Icy Hot. Overall I give these very high ratings, there’s not much I don’t like about them! The higher price tag reflects the larger bottle size, but there are great deals on convenience bundles on the Real Time Pain Relief website – check it out here!



I hosted a giveaway on Instagram last week along with this review and two lucky winners will receive their own bottle of the Hemp Oil Plus and Real Time Sports Cream! Congrats to the winners! Stay up to date with Real Time Pain Relief for specials and sales at Instagram here and follow them on Twitter here!

Spartan Sprint Race Review & what you should know before you do your first one!

Spartan Sprint Race Review & what you should know before you do your first one!

To say I was nervous going into this race was an understatement! I’m a runner, and upper body strength is ALWAYS my weakness. Coming off of my marathon in March, I felt especially weak. I hopped into lots of strength training using Beachbody on Demand, an at home workout program streaming system. I’ve done numerous programs on it before, so I was able to pick and choose particular strength ones from past workout programs and focus on upper body.

A friend who was also doing the race goes to a gym called Kinetic Heights that focuses on obstacle course racing and training, so I went with her twice to her gym to work out on more obstacles specific equipment. They offered a training program which included programs from Beachbody on Demand as live classes as part of the training, coincidentally! The gym was awesome and would be really fun to attend for training, but it’s a bit pricey for me – I’d rather pay the $99 for Beachbody on Demand for a year than that price + for a month of membership! If you want to try out Beachbody on Demand for a two week free trial, click here! Grip strength was definitely my biggest weakness – I wasn’t strong enough for the wider monkey bars or the swinging rings, or anything with a small grip. This was definitely something I could have worked on while marathon training, but I kept forgetting about it and was just generally fatigued from marathon training in general.

The race I ran was the Spartan Sprint in Concord, NC on 4/7/18. I ran with a team of 4 other people – one of my fellow soccer players from college, her husband, his runner friend and brother-in-law. If you’ve never ran one before – I HIGHLY suggest running it with a small team, especially with someone who has ran this type of race before. One of the guys on our team had done similar events before. There were a few wall obstacles that I could NOT have done without his help – he also knew the best ways to help us up without it being awkward or dangerous.

So here’s a list of the obstacles:IMG_20180407_114535259_HDR

Some of these were absolutely manageable. The obstacles seemed to start off easy and then get harder towards the end (when you’re feeling fatigued, of course!). Everything was made a bit more challenging because there was a steady light drizzle most of the morning, and the ground was complete mud everywhere on the course. Our start time was 12:15pm, so there were hundreds if not thousands of feet who trampled through that mud before us. In some places my shoes almost got sucked off into the mud, it was that deep; and running was a challenge because of stability and falling.IMG_20180407_144308160

I will say I enjoyed the sand bag obstacles – you hefted a big old sand bag on your shoulders and had to navigate through a muddle trail, down a small creek bank and back up, which was very slick and hard to do without falling. I felt like my 2 kids really prepared me for being able to heft a weight around without falling, haha! The gravel bucket challenge was harder – similar challenge but you had to carry a bucket through a muddy trail. My fingers were about to fall off towards the end of the loop! That grip strength coming into play. I also really enjoyed the Atlas Carry – huge concrete ball that you had to lift and carry a short distance, put down, do 5 burpees and carry back. I felt super strong doing that one!

So the ones I COULD do helped counter balanced me not being able to do the monkey bars and rings. I also missed the spear throw, I couldn’t do the rope climb (have to work on that S technique!). There was also an angled wall with various things to hold onto and climb across I couldn’t get the hang of. There may have been one more I wasn’t able to do. I dutifully did 30 burpees for each challenge I was unable to do. Definitely check out the correct way to do a spartan burpee – it’s not as bad as a regular burpee, in my opinion! I definitely got winded but I found them manageable. I was also incredibly annoyed at the amount of people I saw walk past an obstacle and not do burpees. But, I guess if you want to pay the spartan price to walk a muddy 5k, so be it! In the open category, there is no burpee enforcement, unlike the elite categories (so I’m told).

spartan mud burpees
Burpees in the mud are so fun!! HA!

There were a few high rigs to climb – netting of some sort – which were fine, I was just nervous about slipping at the top while switching to the other side so took it slow. Definitely doable, as long as you are not scared of heights. One of them was quite high.

spartan rig
Here I am at the top of the rig, coming down the other side!

My team was awesome in helping each other out and we all ran the whole thing together. One of the runners of the group was our pace setter – he was always the first one to start us up running again and the rest of us were working to get our pace back up – but he always circled around to make sure were were all together. It definitely helped us to get going again rather than spending extra time walking! We got soaking wet and muddy from head to toe, but the whole experience was awesome and we already started planning on doing a beast together in the fall! Bring on a new challenge!!!!

Spartan fire jump
About to do the fire jump and run through the finish line! Love this team picture! I’m on the far right 🙂 

In conclusion: before you do your first spartan: work on your grip strength, and there are tons of ways to do this at home, at the playground, etc! Google it and there are some good ideas. Work your whole body during workouts. You need your legs just as much for lifting as your arms. Do practice burpees. Run with a team or partner who has done obstacle races before. Expect to get completely muddy and soaked! Also, I somehow got poison ivy or oak or something on my arms from the race. Do wear long sleeves if weather permits!!

spartan group shot
Team Avoiding Burpees!! We finished in 1:58. Clearly I wasn’t ready for this picture to be taken. I’m reminiscing about the burpees, perhaps.


Myrtle Beach Marathon PR!!

Myrtle Beach Marathon PR!!

MBMLogo-Updated-copyI had some big goals going into my second marathon, Myrtle Beach Marathon 2018. I ran the same marathon the year before, as a first timer! It was a huge learning experience and I fell way short of my own expectations, going out too hard for my training and really struggling the second half of the marathon, struggling to clock in at 4:48 after running a 3:45 pace for the first half! Also, I didn’t have a solid fueling plan and I ate all my fuel by mile 16. Whoops! I planned this year much differently; I fortunately avoided serious injury during my training and got all my long runs in as planned.

The race was on March 3rd, 2018 at 6:30am. This year’s weather forecast was 40’s and windy, which ended up being a bit brutal for a good part of the course (literally being pushed backwards by the wind at some points!) but hey, everyone who ran had the same challenge and we all kept going! I ran with a hydration pack, filled with my favorite electrolyte solution Hydrate, which I had trained with and I felt would keep me more consistently fueled than depending on water stations during the race. This was a great plan, until I ran out of it around mile 20! Yikes. During one of my 20 mile training runs I ran out of water too, so I added 8 more ounces this time around but logically thinking, 8 ounces is not enough for race pace + 6 more miles. There were fuel stations every mile after mile 20, so I used them but really wished I had more of my own. The temperature had gone up into the 50’s by this point in the race and the sun was shining. My long sleeved jacket was really making me too hot at this point in the race, but I would have had to unbuckle the hydration pack and take it off to take off my jacket, and I really didn’t trust myself to get started back up again after stopping to do this. And I couldn’t do it running. The fatigue was pretty serious ya’ll!

My fuel plan was to eat Nature’s Bakery Fig bars around mile 8-9 and again around mile 16-17. They pack about 220 calories each of straight carbs, they don’t bother my stomach and I get a solid energy boost from them. They don’t sponsor me or pay me to share this information, but maybe they should! They are seriously straight fuel! My kids like them too. I used these during the Ragnar Trail Ultra I ran last fall, and they were superb then as well. I also had a baked potato and gel on reserve. Yes, baked potato. I would have eaten it too except it was in my hydration pack pocket, which I couldn’t reach and didn’t want to take it off or stop to get it. Again, fatigue was strong and stopping just didn’t sound like a good idea. My concept with eating “real food” and running with the hydration pack was that although it would take longer to eat real food-(I have to walk while eating it, I’m a big time mouth breather while running and I’d probably choke/inhale it while trying to eat and run)-it would fuel me better and I’d save time not stopping to walk through hydration stops.

Although a nice idea, I feel like walking to eat the bars was in the end, a waste of time. (There goes my Nature’s Bakery sponsorship potential). I don’t know how long it took me to eat them, but it was at least a few minutes each time and that basically cancelled out some of my faster miles that I ran. So I’m saving them for relay races and I’m going to go with gels or something else next time around that’s quick and on the go.  I will say, I never hit “the wall” that a lot of marathoners do, so I feel like my nutrition plan was pretty good as far as calories in. My legs just continuously got fatigued, which is to be expected, I think. Does anyone run a marathon and just feel perky and great the whole time??? Around mile 20-23 I was running with a very nice lady who was keeping a solid 9 minute mile pace, which was a struggle for me at that time, and I was able to keep pace with her for a few miles and chat to pass the time. I walked through a hydration stop and ate a gel packet and then I lost her but I appreciated the distraction while it lasted!

A lot of people say marathons are mental, I guess that’s true. I do a lot of self pep talks, some of which may have been out loud towards the end. It was fairly spread out at that point so I don’t think anyone heard me talking to myself, but I wouldn’t have really cared anyways at that point! That last 10k really is the longest 10k you’ll ever run. Walking isn’t an option for me, because it still hurts and you’re just taking longer to get to the finish.

I crossed the finish line in 3:58, thankfully achieving my number 1 goal, which was to finish under 4 hours. Hey, I had a minute plus to spare! My number 2 goal was to beat my brother’s marathon time from last year, which was 3:48. Ten minutes doesn’t seem that long and I ponder that if I had fueled differently and taken more Hydrate in my pack, could I have done that? The world will never know. And goal number 3, which was a long shot, was to Boston Qualify which would mean running under 3:45 but probably would need to be closer to 3:40. I realized over the course of my training that I wasn’t doing enough to achieve goal #3, but I still kept it as a goal. I’ve pulled races out before that I didn’t think I could, but I think the marathon is a distance that it’s pretty difficult to do that with, HA! I wasn’t necessarily planning to run Boston in 2019 anyways even if I qualified…so it was really more of a pride goal than anything.

Overall, I was pleased with this race. I shaved 50 minutes off of my marathon time and I’ve read that sub 4 is actually pretty difficult, and that only 25% of runners achieve a sub 4. I’m not sure I believe that statistic as it seems like over 50% of the race was in front of me, haha, but I feel good about that performance and all the hard work and training and time I put into this race. And I’ve said this before, but for right now I am hanging up the marathon running shoes indefinitely. The time consumption for training and the toll it takes on my body was hard this training cycle. I definitely would like to do another half marathon and am considering doing it while I’m still up there with mileage. Realistically though I probably will take a break from longer distances until the fall. I am really hoping to do the Ragnar Trail Carolinas race again (as a regular run, not an ultra!) which would be 16 miles and then from there add in a half marathon at some point in November or December. I’ll keep you posted! Thanks for reading!

Post marathon cheer squad!


Run Myrtle Beach Marathon 2018 is 4 weeks away! An update on my training.

Run Myrtle Beach Marathon 2018 is 4 weeks away! An update on my training.

When I started training 8 weeks ago, I freaked out and thought I didn’t have enough time to build up my mileage with only 12 weeks! What a misstep on my part! But it turns out, it wasn’t a big deal at all. I had a solid foundation – I had just run a 32 mile race in October; I took most of November off of running but still averaged 45-60 minutes of strength and cardio conditioning via Beachbody’s Core de force program.

So here we are, 4 weeks out! Training has been really, really good. Such a difference from last year, when I was significantly struggling on my long runs since I wasn’t fueling properly; and then hurt my foot 5 weeks out from the race. I changed my diet to be more healthy carbs and fat centered this training cycle and it’s worked out really well. Last year I was consuming way too much protein and randomly trying to carb cycle around longer runs. Don’t do it. It doesn’t work at the marathon level. I have been using orthopedics in my shoes (Dr. Scholl’s running inserts) and they have been working great to prevent my foot problems.

What foot problems, you ask? So for a few years now I’ve had to always wear supportive shoes – going barefoot out of the question because of a weird nerve pain in my feet when I walked. Whatevs, minor – and then while running a 15 miler with my brother 5 weeks before the marathon, my foot started hurting, was swollen, painful to run on. All the while I was still having this nerve pain. I went to the podiatrist and he didn’t think the two issues were related, gave me a topical cream for the foot inflammation (xrays came back fine) and told me I tied my shoes too tight most likely in regards to the nerve pain. Ummmm… no. Anyways, the topical cream didn’t seem to be doing much – I couldn’t run at all those last 5 weeks before the race in an effort for it to heal. And I max out at about an hour on the elliptical or stationary bike. It was awful. In desperation, a week before the race, I had a long session with Dr. Google about foot pain, and decided based on this info session to start wearing some toe spacers. Pretty much instantly my nerve pain disappeared, and within a day or two my other foot pain vanished. Basically my metatarsals are pinching or rubbing the nerves, but when you make sure they don’t get too close and space them out at the toes, they are fine. So, podiatrist, they were related, thank you very little. I went out and got over the counter inserts and with my homemade toe spacers (foam toe bandages)I was able to run quite comfortably with no foot pain for the race.

Moral of the story – wear supportive shoes and get orthopedic inserts. This training cycle, I threw on a pair of OLD running sneakers to walk to the bus stop to get my son, and then I wore them around the house for about an hour afterwards. I could feel my foot a little bit but ignored it – because I was WALKING. It swelled up later that night. I couldn’t believe it! Those shoes immediately went in the trash; and as fortune may have it I ended up getting a nasty head cold and didn’t run for a week or so and the foot healed up quickly. It’s quite interesting the different orthopedic inserts make though. I currently really like the Brooks Adrenaline shoe – I got a pair while training for the Ragnar and have been wearing them. They are getting to the end of their life cycle so I just got a new pair – and had foot pain when I put them on just walking. I got the Dr Scholls running inserts and swapped them in ($15 at Wal-mart) and perfect. I’ve seen $40-60 inserts at Dick’s, but since the $15 ones seem to be working for me, haven’t felt the need to splurge on the others.

My new shoes! Just ran 7 miles in them and they feel great.

Back to this training cycle – I ended up with 131 miles in January, which I’m pretty happy with, considering there was a week plus where I had the worst head cold and it was freezing out, and I just didn’t want to push it and end up with bronchitis or something more serious. I did manage my long run during that time (it warmed up on the weekend) which was only a 13 mile run, and I felt good about that. This past weekend was my longest – 20 miles. Tomorrow I will scale back to 15 and then go back up to 20 the next weekend – and that will be my peak week! Then it’s a 3 week taper down to the race weekend.

I’m bummed that my two friends who ran the half last year won’t be going this year, but excited that my family will be there to cheer me on. I’m feeling really excited and much more confident about running this race again as my second marathon!

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Carbonara

I saw this posted on IG and had to try it – a healthier version of pasta carbonara?? Genius!!



I won’t deny it.  Pasta Carbonara tends to be one of my favorite dishes on the planet when I’m in the mood for comfort.  And my entire family is right there with me, even on picky-eating days.  It’s as indulgent as all get out and I am always able to get it on the table in a matter of minutes which is huge.

But my little unsatisfied food brain got to thinking….if Carbonara is so delicious and weeknight savvy with spaghetti pasta…why the heck couldn’t it be with spaghetti squash?    

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Mixed martial arts and health advice!

Mixed martial arts and health advice!

Two things I’ve been up to since my last post here! I had great plans to keep my mileage up by running 2 days a week, one short and one long run, but that has completely dropped off the radar. I started a new workout program a week after the Ragnar Relay, and it has completely kicked my butt, as all Beachbody workouts manage to do! I am 25 days into the 30 day workout and can’t wait to share my results. I should be wrapping up the day before Thanksgiving (Is that good timing or what??) and I will be sharing my results at that time.

The workout program is called Core de Force, and it absolutely has worked my core. Every. single. day.  Much to my chagrin. Who in the world likes working their core??? It hurts!! I really hate it, but then I love it. It’s mixed martial arts, which means a variety of punching, a variety of kicks and then there are agility related cardio “spikes” or intervals thrown in between the martial arts aspect. It’s completely different than any workout I have done before – there are no weights, but lots of push-up variations to improve muscle strength.

As a health coach, I also love connecting with like-minded fitness individuals and companies – so today I’m excited to share with you this graphic from Elysium Health! Elysium’s mission is to solve the biggest challenges in health with science, to help people live healthier, longer. Working directly with the world’s leading scientists and clinicians, Elysium translates advances in science and technology into effective, scientifically sound health products that work — like their NAD+ supplement Basis. As a health coach who helps people live healthier lives, I love companies that are working to make people’s lives healthier too! For more information,  check out their YouTube channel, or connect with them on Facebook.

Check out my health tip in their company graphic below – pretty cool! Do you get four servings of vegetables every day?? Connect with me if you want some support with this – it gets easier, I promise! ElysiumSCBGjpbwp (2)