What’s Cooking: Cookie Balls

It’s no surprise that I love food, specially snacks and sweets, I mean, even the ol’ Instagram name is “erinrunsforcake.” LOL

So I have spent the last year or so testing out all sorts of recipes that would be nutritious and help me fuel for long training sessions, but also satisfy the sweet tooth and watch my calories. This has been my go-to snack.img_6237

Cookie Balls

  • 1 c. raw oats
  • 1/2 c. oat flour (I use raw oats and grind them up)
  • 1/2 c. ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

I seriously just dump all of the ingredients in a big mixing bowl, and with clean hands, mix it up and then make little 1″ balls. No baking, no cooking, nothing for me to screw up. Easy-peasy! They sit in an airtight container for several days, although truth be told, they don’t last that long because everyone in the house will walk by and grab one to snack on.

I usually pack two of them in a small container for my after lunch snack and that keeps me away from the candy machine at 3pm. They will seriously fill you up!

If you give this recipe a try, let me know how you like them!

Favorites Friday: Running Skirts!

Whoooshhhhh…

Man, this poor little blog is a little dusty.

dusty

Since the height of fall marathon season has kicked in here in Texas, I thought I’d start off my renewed commitment to the written word with (cue the music…) “a few of my favorite things.”

I will begin this particular post with the disclaimer that I am an Ambassador for Skirt Sports. I don’t get paid and I don’t get any sort of commission, but I get a little discount on the items I can’t live without as well as a discount for all of you in exchange for spreading the skirt love in my little world. Now that we have that out of the way…

When I first started on my journey to lose weight, oh sometime about six or seven years ago now, I began to walk. Walking turned to runs. It was pretty awesome. But I was genetically gifted with, dun dun dun…. CHUB RUB. Come on ladies, most of you don’t have that thigh gap, and YOU NOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. First it begins with the thighs that kind of catch when you’re mid-run. But then the sweat starts to give it a little lubrication, and you think you’re out of the woods. But no. About a mile later, you’ve got a little heat that has built up and (sorry men, it’s not THAT kind of heat). Before you know it, there is a little stinging involved.

imageMy options included giving up the idea of wearing shorts and just resigning myself to those running capris. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s darn hot here in Texas and humid to boot. If I could run nekkid and get away with it, I would! So I began my quest for something better. A random post all those years ago on a weight loss message board was ultimately what introduced me to the running skirt, specifically, Skirt Sports. I was promised that those skirts would change my life.

I was all about changing my life at that point, so I took a look. Back then, the selection was just a couple of styles, so it was easy for me to grab a gym girl ultra skirt and be done with it. The company promised that the little compression shorts would hold all of me in there (yeah, that was a concern at the time) and were long enough to cover all the way down to that little piece of meat on the thigh that was causing all my angst. Verdict? Well, there is a reason I ONLY run in Skirt Sports running skirts.

But enough time in the old way-back machine… let’s talk about the here and now.

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My friends are as diverse as their favorite skirts!

The skirts have come a long way and there are so so many to choose from, it’s almost dizzying. So, the big question is… what features are important to you? Coverage of the leg? Length of the shorts underneath? Adjustability of the waistband with a drawcord? Pockets to fit your iPhone or run nutrition?

When my friends ask me which skirt to buy for their first, I almost always tell them “gym girl ultra” because it’s a tried and true classic. But I scoured through the website this morning and put together this little handy-dandy table of all the features of the various skirts being currently sold in the hopes that it helps all of you decide which skirt is your soulmate…

skirts

Oh, and as I talked about earlier, my friends get a discount on their Skirt Sports order! This code (FWS20) is good only once per customer and expires 9/30/2017 and can be used at www.skirtsports.com. We get new codes every quarter, so you can place an order every quarter with discount codes!

So, do you have a favorite style? I’ve been challenged to break out of the old comfort zone (I mean, really, I have more than 30 gym girl ultra skirts alone!) and try a different style I didn’t think I would like. I’ve bought a Happy Girl, a Jette, a Peek-A-Boo and a Mod Quad. Which one should I try next?

Limiting Language: Or How I Learned to Fly…

“I am ONLY running a half marathon this week.”

“I am JUST a beginner.”

“It’s JUST a LITTLE sprint triathlon.”

“I would love to join, BUT I probably couldn’t keep up with you guys.”

“I don’t have one of those fancy bikes.”

“Thanks, but I have so much more to lose.”

“Have I reminded you lately that I’m not fast?”

 

I have heard it a million times from my husband, gently correcting me and telling me how proud he is of me; that I am “doing fantastic.” I hear it from my guy friends that I always worry only run with me to humor me; “you’re doing great.” But something about being called out by a coach you really respect hit me like a lightning bolt. He did it so perfectly, so respectfully, but in a way that told me that he was serious and not just humoring my lack of self-confidence.

“Let’s remove that limiting language. You’re going with the flow, so just enjoy the journey and see where it takes you.”

“Limiting language.” Wow, I hadn’t heard it that way before. It’s always been “don’t be so hard on yourself.” Which, let’s be real, is code for “stop it, you’re fine, insert gratuitous comment and eye roll here.”

I’m a slow learner and it’s take a few weeks for this to sink in, but I see it everywhere now. I have observed it in almost every interaction I have had. I am constantly limiting myself by subconsciously telling myself that I’m not enough. I see it in all of my friends, too. We are always putting ourselves down in that stealthy way and we shouldn’t be. We like to think that we are telling ourselves that we are enough, but then that little demon that sits on the left shoulder whispers in our ear the complete opposite. It whispers those stupid words: ONLY, JUST, BUT.

When we limit our language, we limit what we are capable of.

Enough! I am making the commitment to stop my limiting language NOW. I am proud of what I can accomplish. I am not in competition with anyone, not even myself. I am not who I was yesterday, three months ago, or three years ago. I am choosing to live in the present and find the joy and satisfaction in doing exactly what my body, and my mind, allows today. It doesn’t mean I don’t have goals. On the contrary! But by releasing myself from the chains of “not enough,” I will build a far better foundation with which to reach those goals because I will have the confidence that I CAN.

*****

So my challenge to all of my girlfriends – remove your limiting language and let your truths shine on their own merit. Own it all and be joyous in what your body can accomplish today, because seriously, we are all doing truly epic stuff.

“I am running 13.1 miles this week!”

“I am so excited to learn something new!”

“I am training to swim, bike and run – all in the same race!”

“Thanks for the run, guys!”

“I am squeezing every ounce of awesomeness out of this bike!”

“Thanks for the compliment, I’m working hard!”

“Hey Coach, watch me fly…”

 

A new year…

Tap, tap, tap… Is this thing on?

Hey! Long time, no chat!

I stepped away for a bit from blogging to focus on some goals last fall. I had a sort of abysmal spring last year as far as racing was concerned. I struggled to meet any of my goals, but not because I wasn’t fit enough. I think it was all between the ears. So, I really buckled down, got a trainer for some strength training and began to work on the mental side of distance running. I took the pressure off of myself a little bit and didn’t train for a specific finish time at the marathon. Instead, my goals were a little more success driven.

  • Push my wall. The last marathon I literally sat on the curb at mile 19 ½ and cried. I almost DNF’d. I hated every stupid step of the last 6 plus miles I walked to finally make it to the finish line. I didn’t feel empowered when I crossed the finish line. I felt like I needed a do-over. So many things went wrong with that race, it was just a joke. The only positive I can take from my 2014 marathon was that I didn’t quit. I figure, if I can make my wall show up anywhere in the 20’s, I would automatically PR because I would shave 10 minutes off from the “sit on a curb and cry” pace.
  • Don’t go out too fast. I am notorious for this foolishness. I get so caught up in the start line frenzy, I don’t show any sort of discipline. I think that if I start off fast and bank time, it will be a good thing. Not really, what happens is the whole race falls apart! My new goal was to show discipline and ignore those around me going faster than me and just run my race.
  • Don’t give up. I have given up on so many things in life and I was tired of it. I shorted workouts if it was too hot, too humid, wasn’t feeling it, it was hard, if a friend wasn’t feeling it. NO MORE. I would do all the workouts and prove to myself that I was tough. That way, when it got tough in the race, I could dig from that experience.

So, how did it go? It was miles different and learned a lot about myself in the process. I had a great time at the Dallas Marathon this past year and I met all of my goals. In the process, I even managed a PR. I am contemplating a race recap, since I’ve had about a month to digest it all, but I am back and will dust this poor little blog off in an attempt to keep my mind off my oldest son getting ready to graduate high school and head to college in the fall. There may be a lot of running involved. 😉

A few of my favorite things, part 3: PaceBands! (And a giveaway!!)

imageOne of my must haves when I run races is my pace band. I learned early on that I wouldn’t always have a friend to run with and pacers are only hit and miss at the slower paces.  It’s not to say that someone who runs slower than 2:30 halfs and 5:00 fulls aren’t plentiful – indeed, there are an awful lot of us back here, race directors! – but we just don’t seem to be a priority sometimes. That’s ok, we just roll with it. That is where PaceBands come into play. About a year and a half ago, I found this small company while printing a band in paper online. I always told my husband that there had to be a better system than printing off a paper, cutting it out, laminating it with shipping tape and trying to tape it to my wrist. Not to mention they get nasty before the race is over when you run in the August heat of Dallas. It took me no time to order one and give it a try. Verdict? I loved it! I instantly felt a comfort that I could look down at my watch and compare that to my PaceBand and instantly know if it was realistic for me to finish in the time I hoped. The silicone band is just like those bands that people have worn forever, only a bit wider. The numbers are raised and their color is a contrast from the band itself. There is a variety of paces from super speedy to “I have endurance” and come in five different colors. I’ve found that the yellow and green pace bands are easiest to read with my old lady eyes, but that is just my personal preference.

The coolest part of these pace bands is that, as a pacer, I keep a variety of times available so that I can always grab one at a moments notice. At less than $10 each and free shipping, they are a bargain!

For the record: I own a ton of pacebands and paid for them all by my little lonesome. I love them and wanted to share them with you. All of the opinions in this review are mine and I have not received any compensation for this blog… However, the company has offered to let me give away one of these awesome pace bands to a lucky reader of my blog!  Woo hoo!

So, without further adieu, if you would like to snag a PaceBand of your very own for your next goal race, just click: a Rafflecopter giveaway

The “rules” are pretty simple, just visit and like (and maybe tag a friend!) the PaceBands page on Facebook (www.facebook.com/pacebands) and follow my blog. If you already follow my blog, you’re halfway there! I’m using Rafflecopter, so on Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 a winner will be selected. But seriously, I would love to help tell everyone about PaceBands. I wear them to all my halfs and fulls and everyone always thinks they are the bomb. If you would like to buy one (or two or three!), here is a link to get you started:PaceBands.com. Not only is shipping free, they come super speedy!

Mid-Season Unexpected Training Derailment

You know how sometimes life just happens? I thought I was pretty good at managing life, but apparently, I was just on a schedule and a creature of habit.  The  minute I was removed from what was considered normal, the wheels fell off. My training has been sporadic and life has just been exhausting.

Three weeks ago, while fighting a respiratory infection that “looked like the beginning of pneumonia,” life hit like a ton of bricks. On the news was EBOLA. No big deal, but it was in my town. But there is zero risk, so we go on about our business. Until you get that call from the 6-year-old’s school. One of the exposed children from the Duncan household attends her school. Fear, outrage, confusion, uncertainty. It all hits you. I’m a pretty smart girl and did well in science, but when your youngest daughter, too young to be allowed to cross the street by herself, is involved, it’s game on. All of a sudden, the hand washing wasn’t long enough. Sixty containers of hand sanitizer were spread throughout the house and in backpacks and cars.  Seriously, you can’t make this crap up. Custodians in spacesuits were in the school every afternoon to clean with Lord only knows what kind of chemicals. The helicopters that hovered over the house day and night were an unwanted disruption to quiet dinners. The media standing outside of the school each morning were confusing to the kids. School, however, became a safe haven for them. Blinds were drawn, recess and PE were kept indoors, teachers and administrators kept the kids safe and protected and loved, business as usual outside of temperature checks and extra nurses on site. Two more cases of Ebola by nurses in our neighborhood rattled everyone’s nerves just when we thought things were starting to die down a bit. Crazier still was that I was asked to work from home while this was all going on. Things were not normal and I didn’t wish for any of this to become the new normal.

My perfect schedule with my perfect lunchtime workouts in my office building gym and runs at the trail that backs up to my office building were put on hold as I attended meetings via conference call. Had I planned for this, I could have made up a dream schedule complete with early morning runs and workouts at home, but it all happened so suddenly that there was no time to prepare. So, therein lies the root of it all. Preparation. It’s more than just writing it on a calendar. It means coming up with a backup plan when life throws you a curveball. I’m nowhere near where I should be on my Plan B, but I will actively be putting something together over the next several weeks.

I’m now back at work and life is looking more like it did a month ago, complete with lunches brought from home and my runs outside on the trail, which is where I am heading now. I have a half marathon to pace on Saturday morning and a half marathon next weekend I will run for time, so be on the lookout for race recaps!

We were interviewed for our local FOX network about lessons learned in the last twenty-one days, and I answered that the world is a pretty small place when it comes right down to it. What I would like to also say: Have a Plan B…

A few of my favorite things, part 2: my iPod Shuffle!

imageAs I count down to my next marathon on December 14th, I thought I would share the items that I consider “must haves” for my race. I don’t typically run with headphones during training runs. Bottom line is, I have great friends that I train with and I enjoy their company too much to listen to music. However, races are usually a different story. I don’t typically have anyone to run with, so I have a playlist of my favorite tunes that I know will motivate me. Up until a year ago, I would just use my iPhone because I was already carrying it, but I knew that my iPhone battery wouldn’t survive the length of time I would be out there for a marathon. (Let’s face it, I have ENDURANCE… LOL) I am so excited that I decided to pick up a small little iPod.

This cutie snaps perfectly to the strap of my running bra and is kept underneath whatever top I’m wearing while I run so that it is protected and won’t be lost while running. One of my favorite things about it is the long battery life and the engraving that my sweet hubby had put on the back of it -” December PR is made today!”  It’s a phrase I use often when it’s 105 degrees outside and training runs are brutal. You just have to keep plugging away because the PR I’m chasing takes time to achieve. 🙂

What are some of your must-have’s when racing?