Well, I did it. All the training and hard work definitely paid off. 13.1. It was amazing, when it was over with.

On April 22, I ran the Earth Day Half Marathon in St. Cloud, MN. I stayed in St. Cloud the night before to avoid having a drive in the morning before the race. The evening before, I indulged in some pasta from the Olive Garden. Any excuse to eat carbs is completely okay with me.

The morning of, I ate a peanut butter and jelly, English muffin, some eggs, a yogurt and banana. I also drank plenty of water and was sure to get a lot of sleep. I ended up wearing running leggings that tied on the top so they didn’t move during the run, an Under Armour tank top and a running light zip-up jacket. I had Brooks running shoes on as well. 18033301_10155627064796874_6654001974034216975_n

As a rookie marathon runner, I figured out before the start–that you want to line up at your projected finish marker, since you will be running at a similar pace as those people.

So, once I decided where I wanted to finish (I choose the 2.5 hour marker), with hopes that I could finish around that time. Once the run started, I was feeling good. There were so many people lined up along the route, with encouraging signs and were cheering as people ran by.

For the first 5 miles, I didn’t have any pain and was running at a great pace. I was using the Map My Run app on my phone, so I knew where my pace was at each mile and what my split pace was. I was keeping up with the starter marker, and I was feeling good.

At mile 6, I started getting some cramps in my stomach and my lower back started hurting. Now before the 13.1, my longest run that I trained for was 10 miles long. When you are at 6 miles, 10 doesn’t seem that far off. When you’re going all the way to 13.1, you’re not even half way there at 6.

After reaching mile 8, my stomach and back started to feel better. There were a lot of people I was keeping pace with, and we just kept going. Once you get to 10 miles, your legs just aren’t all the way “there” anymore. My legs just kept going, although my body was very exhausted.

The last few miles were exciting, but it became hard to concentrate on anything else besides “I’m almost done, it’s almost over. Just a little longer.” The last mile was by far the best. My pace had fallen a bit at mile 11, but I was still doing better than I had originally hoped.

That last mile I gave it my all. My app I was using however, was off from the measured distance the run had calculated. So when I thought I was about done, I still had what felt like forever to go. I started to sprint, which was a great idea–but I did it too early. Knowing I was so close (may .3 of a mile out now) away from the finish line, I just couldn’t give up. I ended up making it over that finish line and just wanting to crash.

It was amazing. I felt so great. I did it. I just ran 13.1 miles, and I did it well under my goal of 2.5 hours. My final time across the finish line was 2:11:10.

My body wasn’t hurting significantly besides my lower back. I took pain pills before the run and when I finished, and the pain went away within 5 hours or so. The evening of the run, I was feeling great and was amazed at how well my body handled it. By the end of the night, I realized I may have injured myself a little more than I had hoped.

My foot had endured a lot of pain and seemed to be getting worse the more I was on it. For the rest of the weekend, I continued to ice my foot and try to rest it as much as possible. It has been about 2 1/2 weeks now, and my foot is still hurting. Unfortunately, I think I may have a slight fracture that is going to continue to need time and rest to fully heal.

I was all ready to sign up for the Tough Mudder which takes place in July, but I may be looking at the Tough Mudder 2018 to ensure my foot heals properly. All in all, I a so glad I tried a half marathon and it has inspired me to do more challenges, like the Tough Mudder.

My overall advice from my experience is to listen to your body. Goals are amazing to reach and it’s exciting to finish what you started out for, but be careful. If you’re in pain, your body is telling you it’s too much. Don’t hurt yourself in the process. Your body is a beautiful thing.



Shake Up Your Morning

Need an easy breakfast shake that will keep you full, is quick to throw together and doesn’t require putting a bunch of weird ingredients into your body? You’re in luck, I found the perfect fix–Vega protein and greens.

With vega, you’re able to skip a lot of the unhealthy ingredients that make up many whey protein powders. Vega provides 20 grams of plant-based protein, 6 servings of greens and 6 grams of fiber in 170 calories or less. Click here to learn more about Vega protein.

This morning I mastered a recipe that tastes exactly like homemade banana bread. Breakfast shakes don’t have to be boring and blended with only water or milk. Add some ingredients to make it delicious, while starting off your morning with a full serving of essential nutrients to start your day off right.

Banana Bread Protein Breakfast Shake
-1 scoop Vega vanilla protein & greens
-1 ripe banana
-4 ice cubes
– 1 1/2 cups of milk (almond milk, soy or regular)
-1 tsp vanilla

Add all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth. I use a personal blender, which couldn’t be any easier for clean-up. Simply make the shake, switch the top and go. After finishing my shake, I always make sure to drink a good amount of water. This I feel helps fuel your body right away, & helps me stay full for longer. For more delicious recipes, click here to visit the Vega website recipes.
If you are looking for a personal blender, consider one like the Oster. Click here to find it at Target.

Oil Pulling: Why You Should Try It

I just read this article by , and was pretty inspired to give it a try. But then.. I realized not only did you have to do it for 20 minutes (that’s a long time!) but that she tried it and could barely handle it for 10. So… who has tried this and what did you think!?

What exactly is this?

Although oil pulling has been a hot topic recently, it’s definitely not new. The practice is actually an ancient Ayurvedic remedy for oral health and detoxification. The belief is that swishing pure oils in your mouth for 15-20 minutes will pull out bacteria, fungus, and other harmful organisms from the mouth, teeth, and gums.

What are the benefits?

The main benefits touted from oil pulling include whiter and stronger teeth, stronger gums, cavity and gingivitis prevention, and better breath.  So say goodbye to Crest Whitestrips? It’s worth a try. (Some larger health claims such as sinus congestion relief, cleared up psoriasis, headaches reducer, a hangover cure, and allergy help have been made but not sure of any conclusive evidence.)

How do I start?

1. Choose your oil.
You will need 1 tablespoon of an extra virgin cold press oil. The traditional oil of choice is sesame, but sunflower, coconut, and olive oil will do the job, too. Coconut oil’s antibacterial properties and (somewhat) good taste have made it the most popular.

2. Swish for 15 to 20 minutes.
Once you have the tablespoon of oil (the solid form will melt within five seconds in your mouth), push, swirl, and pull the oil all around your mouth and through your teeth for 15 to 20 minutes. Since the oil is supposed to be attracting toxic material, you don’t want it to touch your throat, so don’t gargle!  Evidently, the timing is key, according to Dr. Bruce Fife, author of Oil Pulling Therapy.  You need to do it long enough to break through plaque and bacteria but any longer won’t help. Fife says if you go over 20 minutes, your body could start re-absorbing the toxins and bacteria.

3. Spit and rinse.
Now that you made it the full time (go you!), spit the oil in the garbage NOT your sink! The oil could solidify and wreck havoc in your pipes. Then, rinse your mouth with warm water and brush your teeth. You’re done!

Trader Joe's organic virgin coconut oil to be used for oil pulling

I tried it….

I knew I couldn’t handle 20 minutes of olive oil or sesame oil, so I went with coconut oil because I love the taste in my cooking. How bad could be it, right? The oil tasted fine to me but it was the length of time! Five minutes, maybe 10 was all I could tolerate. I do have to say that the second day of oil pulling felt easier, and the third, even more so, but I never felt completely comfortable with the constant swishing. Did I notice any changes? My mouth felt super fresh right after spitting, but apparently you need to do oil pull for most days during a two-week period to experience any of the proposed benefits. I don’t mind it for 5 minutes but don’t think I could stomach 20…I may just stick to getting my heart healthy oils in my meals.

So to oil pull or not to oil pull? That is for you to decide. It won’t hurt you and it may help you.  It could give you whiter teeth and fresher breath…but don’t go canceling any dentist appointments!