Random Thoughts Thursday.

Welcome to Thursday! Almost the weekend…it is so close I can practically taste it. So since I feel like there is not enough randomness on this blog already I thought we’d start a random thoughts Thursday. So why don’t you play along?

Here are some random thoughts rolling around in my head at the present moment. I apologize in advance…oops I mean, I hope you enjoy.

I really enjoy running trails after a long day at work when I am able to get out there. There’s nothing more fun than getting dirty with my trail pals and enjoying some icy cold beverages after. Plus it is getting cooler out so really it is the most perfect time of year for some trail adventures and to be one with nature.

I have a random obsession lately with string cheese. And I feel like I am 6 years old again. And I have to literally take it apart in string form. Also I have trust issues with people who bite straight into the string cheese without pulling it apart. Just saying.

Can we talk about how frustrating it is as an instructor to not have a working mic or when the music goes OUT when you teach a spin class full of people at the gym? Now you know my constant struggle.

-Like seriously, teaching spin class without music is like watching paint dry.

And…as I just typed that rant above, the Pharrell song “Happy” just started playing on my iTunes at work. It’s clearly the universe telling me everything is going to be okay. Woo sah.

I am planning on a random Friday off very soon so I can basically do absolutely nothing but my own selfish pursuits…you know, like get a pedicure, watching mindless TV, trail running with my personal trainer friend who always has Fridays off. It is going to be absolutely fabulous.

It is September and I could not be happier for upcoming fall festivals…yes that means the State Fair of Texas and GRAPEFEST my favorite wine festival of all…give me the vino and life will be just peachy.

Tell me something random about your week! Do you have any fall festivals in your area coming up?

Ultrarunner FAQs and a Roasted Chickpeas Recipe.

So as someone who runs ultras (as well as marathons, hey I still have love for my 26.2) there are a lot of random questions I get from time to time. I definitely get these from both runners and non runners! So I’m here to answer some of the most common questions I get from curious folks looking to know more about distances beyond 26.2.

Do your legs ever get tired?
Absolutely. It’s just kind of all a part of the journey though. You become REALLY…like really, really…good at knowing your body and all that it can handle. You actually become a machine of sorts. It’s pretty amazing how much your body can handle once you build up a base and are patient with yourself. Consistency really is the number one key. It pays off if you just listen to your body and respect the distance. All of this takes YEARS to really get down. So just hang in there.

How do you balance work life, social life and training?
I don’t have much of a social life. HA. I’m only half kidding! Honestly my social life revolves around running and my running buddies. I have a lot of non runner friends too don’t get me wrong. But the icing on the cake is having some amazing running buds and doing my social runs with them. I’ve really started enjoying doing trail runs with friends and just hanging out after. We get our lawn chairs out, kick back and have drinks and good convo. It is lovely. As far as work goes, work always comes first. I just have to MAKE time to run. So often times, that is early in the morning or after I teach a class at the gym, at the end of the day. Then it’s off to sleepy land. Mmm. Love to sleep.

When you run an ultra race, do you RUN the whole thing?
Often times a lot of these ultra races are run on trails, which is a good thing because trail running is much easier on the body than pounding the pavement. So with trails, as you know comes different terrain, rocks, roots and sometimes mountains. Which means some of it will involve some power hiking. But yes, some running too. I’ve also done some road ultras and those are lots of fun, if you like running in loops. Loops can be repetitive but I don’t mind ‘em.

You ran 100 miles?! Did you sleep during the race?
Um, that would be a negative ghostwriter. It’s literally you against a time clock so sleep kind of falls to the wayside. Don’t worry, your bed will still be in the same place when the race is over.

What on earth do you eat?
I eat a lot of things. I have to have fuel in the tank, ya know!? Check out my ultra runner staples post. I like to include a lot of these things in my diet. Avocado, veggies, lean protein. I actually really enjoy beans as well! I’ll mix them with jasmine rice or make my own little Chipotle style bowl with them.

I actually have a great snack recipe below – roasted chickpeas are amazing.

What you’ll need:

-2 cups of chickpeas, freshly cooked or canned
-A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
-a few squeezes of lemon juice (to taste)
-sea salt/pepper/roasted garlic

Preheat the oven to 400. Pat dry your chickpeas to get a lot of the moisture out and spread them out on a cookie sheet pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and maybe some garlic powder or roasted garlic. Drizzle olive oil. Roast the chickpeas in the pan for 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to even out the spices. Squeeze some lemon juice or more garlic/rosemary or whatever seasoning is desired. Serve hot or at room temp.

Put them in a bowl and make a heart! Because that is fun too.

What are some of your favorite healthy snack recipes?

Weds Spin Playlist and Greek Yogurt Spicy Corn Dip.

So I’ve decided since it’s basically summer and we all love us some poolside snacks I will be featuring some light and tasty recipes along with your weekly spin playlists! Hope you enjoy.

And be sure to check out where I’ll be teaching spin cycle next in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area!

Let’s go for a ride!

Leggo- B. Smyth: Warm up
Say Less- Dillon Francis, G-Eazy: Accelerations
Let Me Hold You- Cheat Codes, Dante Klein: Standing run
Go Girl- Pitbull, Trina: Tapbacks
You Don’t Want Drama- 8 Ball & MJG: Rolling hills
Back to Back- Drake: Hill climb
Freak- R3hab, Quintino: Tapbacks
Get Me Bodied- Beyonce: Sprints
Let’s Get it Started- Black Eyed Peas: Hill climb
Stay for It- RL Grime, Miguel: Jumps on a hill
Stanky Legg- GS Boyz: Rolling hills
ILYSM- Steve Aoki: Accelerations
Wipe Me Down- Boosie: Active recovery
She Knows- NeYo, Juicy J: Hill climb
Don’t Matter- Cherokee: Cool down

Here It Is- Flo Rida feat Chris Brown: Warm up
Tonight I’m Lovin’ You- Enrique Iglesias: Jumps
Down- Fifth Harmony: Hill climb
Black Beatles (Madsonik Remix)- Rae Sremmurd: Sprints
Say Aah- Trey Songz: Rolling hills
Get it All- GTA, Wax Motif: Tapbacks
Knuck If You Buck- Crime Mob: Accelerations
Snap Yo Fingers- Lil Jon: Active recovery
Give it 2 U- Robin Thicke: Standing run
P.Y.T- Michael Jackson: Rolling hills
Imma Be-Black Eyed Peas: Hill climb
7/11- Beyonce: Sprints
Scream- Usher: Hill climb
Hold On, We’re Going Home- Drake: Rolling hills
Pop That- French Montana: Sprints
Nite and Day- Al B. Sure: Cool down

And let’s move on to the yummies! You will love this poolside corn dip with greek yogurt as a healthy alternative. Enjoy!

What you will need-

4 cups of corn (Can of Mexican/fiesta style corn works well)
2 tablespoons of crumbled cotija cheese (feta works fine too)
1 cup of green chilies
Chopped fresh cilantro leaves (you can be as generous with this as you like)
1 cup of greek yogurt
2 green onions, chopped
Red pepper flakes/garllic powder/sea salt to taste

Blend corn with greek yogurt and toss in herbs and spices. Mix in cheese and top with more cheese. Because it’s delicious. You are welcome. Serve with veggies or tortilla chips.

What is your favorite snack in the summertime? What’s on your workout playlist this week?

Because I Haven’t Forgotten About Spin Playlists This Week and Watermelon Mint Feta Salad.

Ya’ll, I know I have been slacking on the spin playlists lately. So I am bringing them back! Of course with some cycle workouts to go along with it. These songs are all high energy and great for running, spin and whatever other crazy workout you have in mind!

Let’s get to it! Enjoy the jams and the summer recipe!

And check out where I’ll be teaching at 24 Hour Fitness locations in the DFW area.

Gone- Afrojack, Ty Dolla Sign: Warm up
Pass the Courvoisier- Busta Rhymes: Standing run
Countdown- Beyonce: Hill climb
Hotel- Cassidy: Jumps
Woah!- Black Rob: Rolling hills
Deeper Love- Jauz: Sprints
Heads Will Roll (A-Trak Remix)- Yeah Yeah Yeahs: Tapbacks
Truffle Butter- Nicki Minaj, Drake, Lil Wayne: Jumps on a hill
I’m Different- 2 Chainz: Accelerations
Talking Body- Tove Lo: Rolling hills
What U Workin’ With?- Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake: Hill climb
2 On- Tinashe: Active recovery
Play Hard- David Guetta feat Neyo: Sprints
I Cry- Flo Rida: Standing run
Clumsy- Fergie: Rolling hills
Luxury: Cococure- Maxwell: Cool down

Follow the Leader- Wisin & Yandel, Jennifer Lopez: Warm up
Sugar- Flo Rida feat Wynter: Tapbacks
Work- Electric Bodega: Accelerations
Be Right There- Diplo, Sleepy Tom: Rolling hills
Workin’ Day and Night- Michael Jackson: Hill climb
Somebody (Gazzo Remix)- Natalie La Rose, Jeremih: Jumps on a hill
You’re Makin’ Me High- KIKKR, Ideh: Tapbacks
Boom Boom Pow- Black Eyed Peas: Sprints
Hype- Dizzee Rascal: Tapbacks
WTF- Missy Elliot: Active recovery
Take it to Da House- Trick Daddy: Hill climb
Runaway- Galantis: Sprints
The Way I Are- Timbaland: Seated/standing run
Drop it Low- Kat Deluna: Sprints
Keep You in Mind- Guordan Banks: Cool down

Switching gears a bit…do you need a delicious refreshing post run/workout snack to nibble on by the pool? Try my rendition of this watermelon mint feta salad! And enjoy.

-1 medium watermelon, freshly chopped up
-1 cup of crumbled feta cheese
-2 lemons, juiced
-Lemon zest
-A drizzle or two of extra virgin olive oil
-1 cup of freshly chopped mint leaves
-Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Add chopped watermelon to a glass bowl. Watermelon can be chilled or chilled after preparing this dish. Drizzle olive oil, add feta cheese and salt/pepper to taste. Add lemon juice and mix altogether thoroughly until evenly distributed. Sprinkle mint leaves on top, extra feta if you have it and lemon zest on top (I like to be generous as I like the taste of zest but add as much or as little as you desire). Chill in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes, then serve! Perfect poolside snack.

What are some of your favorite recipes for summer?

Friday Eve and Tex Mex Sweet Potatoes.

It’s Friday eve! And definitely a great day to get some miles in. 8.15 for me this morning with coffee time after. Best way to start the workday for sure.

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So I’ve been doing a Girl on the Go meals series and thought I’d add this favorite to the collection. This one is quick and incorporates delicious sweet potato into the mix. I actually wasn’t sure how these flavors would work together but it turned out perfect! Sweet potatoes are just one of those things you could add basically anything to and it would taste good. Love.

Here’s what you need for sweet potatoes, Tex Mex style.

-1 medium sweet potato, cooked
-ground turkey taco meat, cooked (I marinated my meat with a little chipotle seasoning) You could also use veggie crumbles or black beans if you are vegetarian
-1/2 of an avocado, chopped
-a couple spoonfuls of corn
-crumbled goat cheese
-garlic powder/salt/pepper to taste

Top the cooked sweet potato with the taco meat or beans, corn, chopped avocado and then lastly goat cheese. Add seasoning or salsa to taste. Done and done! Perfect post workout dinner.

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What are you cooking up in the kitchen this week?

10k Thursday and Girl on the Go Meals- Summer Corn, Black Bean & Avocado Salad.

10k solo miles this morning enjoying some much needed sunshine. I’ve been on my grind teaching a bunch of extra spin classes this week so I need the run therapy. Gotta love that fitness instructor life. I feel like I have been busy as a bee lately. But I kind of love it that way.

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Speaking of being a busy bee…I’ve got a great meal you can whip up quick and in a hurry! This one has been great this week for my work lunches. Feel free to dress it up with a little feta or cheddar cheese. Yum.

Here’s what you need.

-1 cup of corn
-1 cup of black beans
-1/2 avocado, chopped
-Red pepper flakes/garlic powder/sea salt to taste
-1 wedge of laughing cow light swiss cheese (I used this in place of my usual feta. So good!)

Cook and mix together the black bean and corn. Top with avocado, cheese and/or salsa and spices to taste. Serve alone or with tortilla chips!

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What’s cooking in your kitchen lately?

Heat Wave and 4th of July Recipes.

7.07 miles this morning before the big heat wave hits today! Temps are looking to be quite spicy in the next few days. We should be hitting some triple digits for the 4th weekend!! So happy to get this run done and out of the way.

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Check out this forecast. I plan on finding a patio with some misting fans, STAT.

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I’m looking forward to a fun weekend though…watching the fireworks with friends, long running it, and hopefully enjoying some festive sangria! Because that’s just what you do when it’s super duper hot out.

Speaking of treats and eats, I’ve found some yummies on the web I thought I’d share with you…I plan on making some of these for sure in the near future. Enjoy!

Red, white and blue sangria. Um, how perfect are those star pineapples? Love love.

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Blueberry caprese salad. Nice creative spin on one of my favorite dishes.

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Roasted corn and summer tomato salad. Especially with that avocado…sounds yummy.

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4th of July fruit kabobs. Anything with watermelon in it, honestly…sign me up.

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Skinny 7 layer fiesta dip. Because obviously it’s not a party unless there’s dip involved.

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What’s on your 4th of July menu this year? Are you going to watch the fireworks?

One of the Best Things I’ve Done for My Running and Avocado Cauliflower Rice.

7 miles before 7 a.m. with the morning run crew followed up with some pretty fantastic coffee. If you ever go to this place make sure to order their almond milk latte…it is kind of the best thing ever.

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I have to say one of the best things I’ve done for my running as of late is to join back up with a running group. The support/accountability is amazing. It’s one of the things that has kept me going since 2009 when I first started running with Luke’s Locker, a local running store/group in the DFW area. So If you’ve lost your fire or are looking for some motivation/another way to spice up your solo running…definitely joining a gang of like minded people just might take you to the next level.

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It’s not only invaluable…it’s a truly priceless thing. And a good way to make new friends! I just love it.

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So since it has been a while since I’ve shared a recipe let’s talk about what’s been going on in the kitchen! Lately I’ve been all about quick meals that don’t leave me slaving away on the stove. This cauliflower rice is absolute perfection with some chicken or shrimp on top. Pick your protein and go to town.

Here’s what you need:

-Crumbled cauliflower (You can chop it up yourself but I love buying the fresh steamable bags from Green Giant. Cuts all the prep work out)
-Avocado, chopped
-Garlic powder/Mrs. Dash/Salt & pepper to taste
-Crumbled feta or goat cheese

Chop up and/or cook your cauliflower and drain water, pat dry. Mix in crumbled cheese & seasonings. Cut up avocado, mix in and serve. So good with baked chicken on top!

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What are you cooking up in the kitchen lately? How are you keeping yourself motivated to get those runs in this summer? 

Friday Eve Miles and Tomato Basil Cauliflower Pizza.

8 miles before 8 AM today with my early bird running crew. Check out those temps! Highs in the 80s. Thankfully there has been plenty of cloud cover lately. I love my early runs because they usually end in a gorgeous sunrise and also some freaking delicious iced coffee. Oh happy day.

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So I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen a lot lately and one thing I’ve always wanted to play around with is pizza with a cauliflower crust. The last time I made this dish it was somewhat of a FAIL but I think I’ve finally got it down now! So I figured I would share with you. I love it because it’s a nice low carb option, it’s filling and tastes tremendous! No it’s not EXACTLY like the bread kind but I tell ya, I did not miss the bread much at all.

Here’s what you will need:

-Chopped cauliflower (you can use a food processor or purchase it already pre chopped and fresh in a bag) saves a ton of prep time! I found this kind from the jolly Green Giant

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-2 egg whites
-1 handful of fresh basil
-1 medium tomato, sliced
-1 cup of part skim shredded mozzarella cheese
-Tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
-Parmesan/garlic/salt/pepper, to taste
-Other pizza toppings (load it up, however you like!)

-Preheat your oven to 425. Steam your cauliflower until cooked through. THIS PART IS IMPORTANT—Take a cloth or towel and squeeze out as much water/moisture from the cauliflower as possible. This will give you a crispier, more bread like crust. Once the cauliflower is dried, cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.

-Take the egg whites, cheese, garlic/salt/pepper and mix with the cauliflower. At this point if you have gotten out all of the moisture it will form a ball, sort of like a dough. Place the ‘dough’ on a pizza pan or sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Shape & flatten the dough into a pizza pie circle.

-Cook the crust in the oven for 20 minutes until browned.

-Take out the crust, remove the parchment paper and carefully put it back on your pizza sheet. Top the pizza with tomato sauce, cheese and desired toppings. Continue to cook in the oven for 10 more minutes until the toppings are all melted.

Enjoy! I can’t wait to make this one again.

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What’s for dinner tonight?

10k Tuesday and Energy Breakfast Bites.

My legs were feeling good today (after teaching spin/a little active recovery yesterday) so I was up and at ‘em for a 10k this morning by the lake. I had a few buds from IRC come along for the ride. It was crazy humid (90 percent humidity) so I was drenched by the end. It felt good to get out a good sweat though. It’s definitely good for the skin. Kinda sorta like a facial. See, running can be a part of your beauty regimen too. Just saying.

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So as promised today I’m giving you the recipe for my rendition of the No Bake Energy Breakfast Bites. Some of you call them balls…but yeah, haha…balls, bites, they are all the same to me! They make a great post workout breakfast treat. I made them for my running group and they gobbled ‘em up!

Here’s what you will need. My recipe makes about 20-25 bites, give or take.

-1 1/2 cups of organic rolled oats (dry)
-1/3 cup honey (I used the organic local honey from Sprouts)
-1/2 cup of chocolate chips
-2-3 tbsps chia seeds
-1/2 cup of all natural/organic crunchy peanut butter (you can use a different butter too…like cashew or almond)

Mix the rolled oats together with the peanut butter, fold in the chocolate chips. Drizzle the honey and sprinkle in the chia seeds until it’s all mixed together. Put the mixture in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes (to get a better consistency when you roll ‘em up into balls). Roll up into individual balls/bites and place in the freezer until ready to eat.

Yum! I am getting excited just talking about these. I will have to make some more here very soon.

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Do you have any fun post workout recipes to share?