Cross Training Tools: The Zero Runner

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Octane Fitness featuring their Zero Runner machine. The machine, similar to an elliptical, offers a more realistic running-like motion to its user with zero impact to joints. Because it so closely mimics the motion of running without the constant pounding of being out on the pavement, it’s a perfect cross-training and injury prevention tool for a runner to add to their “runner’s toolbox.” At the event, we listened to Olympian Carrie Tollefson and “recreational” runner Larry Schmidt talk about the machine and how they incorporate it into their training (I say recreational with quotes because Larry has competed in 80+ marathons, 100+ mile endurance runs, Ironmans, and more!). By the end of the night all I could think about was how great it would be to get my hands on one of these machines!

You’re probably thinking, what’s so great about this? Well, if you’ve ever been injured, you know how hard it can be to sit idle without running. Sure, you can go to a physical therapist’s office and hop on their (super expensive) Alter-G treadmill, or spend time in the pool running… but it’s not really the same. The Zero Runner is a relatively affordable (comparable to a treadmill or other at-home fitness equipment) machine you can own and use for both rehab and prehab. As I mentioned in my last post, I need to do a better job with my own prehab – it isn’t always easy to remember that injury prevention is something that needs to be practiced all the time, even when you’re feeling good.

Hearing from Carrie Tollefson and Larry Schmidt about their experiences with running and injury was fascinating. I’m a C Tolle Run fan, but I admittedly didn’t know that much about Carrie’s running career. Learning about all of the injuries she faced (multiple stress fractures, plantar fasciitis, hernias…) and her belief that if a machine like the Zero Runner was around during her elite training days she could have prolonged her career was an eye opener. I find myself often forgetting about the long term when it comes to running – it’s a sport I love and one I want to be able to do well into old age – I need to be diligent in not only preventing injuries, but dealing with them in a way that won’t hurt me down the line when they do happen. As they said at the event, all runners want three things: to be efficient, to run faster and longer, and to stay injury free… and sometimes that’s easier said than done!

Some of the major highlights I took away from the event (a.k.a tl;dr):

  • The machine is almost completely silent, battery powered, and cordless. Making it easy to use anywhere, at any time.
  • They have an app for the machine that you can connect to and see not only your running stats, but also your gait and cadence.
  • It offers “Cross Circuit,” meaning you can do more than just ‘run’ on the machine – you can easily attach strength bands to make it a full-body workout.
  • It’s really suitable for everyone – from a casual exerciser all the way to elite athletes.
  • It’s perfect for prehab, active recovery, and the always dreaded rehab.

The Zero Runner is a really impressive machine, and one that I want to own. So naturally I was jealous when one of the event attendees won one (spoiler: it wasn’t me)! I can honestly say that I left the event feeling more inspired to be diligent about my cross-training and injury prevention than I already was. Now I just need to figure out how I can get one of these into my apartment!

Feel free to check out Octane Fitness and the Zero Runner on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to learn more!

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Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Rider 17

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

In 2013, I’ve run 13 races (with another one or two on the schedule before the year ends), and I’ve PR’d in almost every distance I’ve raced (5k, 5 mile, 10k, half marathon) all wearing the same sneakers – my Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s. I got my first pair of Mizunos in July 2012 when I was in the middle of training for the Chicago Marathon (which I also PR’d). I fell in love with them, and immediately ordered 2 additional pairs to have available for when I ran through the others. I always hear horror stories about re-designs to a runner’s beloved shoe that makes them unwearable, and I was afraid of that. By the time I got through my three pairs of Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s, it was almost time for the 17’s, which I had only heard wonderful things about. Still, I was skeptical. So when the opportunity to give them a try presented itself, I knew I had to. I’ve run in the Wave Rider 17’s three times now (4 milers each time), and while I’m sure my thoughts on them will continue to evolve over time, I do have some initial thoughts and opinions about them. 

Mizuno Wave Rider 17 |

The first thing I did when I received the sneakers was to compare them side by side with my Wave Rider 15’s. The first thing I noticed: the weight. They feel significantly lighter than my 15’s! A big contributing factor is the updated and seam-free forefoot, similar to the Wave Sayonara that launched this past summer. Other than that, they seemed to be similar to the 15’s in that they didn’t feel wildly different when I put them on. I did notice that I had more room in them than with my 15’s. I’m typically a size 8-8.5 in regular shoes and generally size up a half size to a full size in running sneakers depending on the brand and their fit. I’ve worn a 9.5 in all other Mizuno shoes I have, but I think I would be better with a 9 in these (my feet seem to kind of slip around a bit).

Wave Rider 15's on the left, Wave Rider 17's on the right
Wave Rider 15’s on the left, Wave Rider 17’s on the right

So how do they feel on the run? Great! All of the things that I loved about the Wave Rider 15’s are still there, but in a lighter version. I noticed that I felt closer to the ground when I was running, which is something I like, as my main gripe with the 15’s (aside from their weight) was that I sometimes felt a little disconnected from the ground. I’ll admit that I wasn’t really a fan on my first run – they felt stiff, I didn’t tie them right, and I just had that “but I want my old sneakers!” feeling. But now that I’ve worn them three times, they’re growing on me. I’m looking forward to logging some serious miles with them!

Bottom line (for those of you tl;dr):
– Lighter than the previous Wave Rider versions
– Runs a little bigger, so you likely will only need to go up half a size from your regular shoe size
– Awesome color options
– Great light neutral running shoe (you can do everything from a speed workout to a long run in them)
– They’re available as of December 5th, so get to your local running store to check them out!

Tell me…
What’s your favorite brand of running shoe? 

Are you wary of model updates like I am? 

Shoe Review: Mizuno Wave Sayonara

Disclaimer: The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

I first fell in love with Mizuno running shoes about a year ago. I headed to my local running store with every intention of simply replacing my worn down Brooks Ghost 4 with the 5’s. Instead of just grabbing the shoes and leaving, I decided to do a gait analysis and let the sales associates make some suggestions. I had felt like a Brooks loyalist, but was open to trying new shoes if it meant a more comfortable ride. I was happy that the Ghost were among the shoes suggested to me, but so was the Mizuno Wave Rider 15. I put them on and was immediately sold… I didn’t even have to jog around the store like they encourage. Here I am a year later on my third pair, and I’ve even added a pair of racing flats (Wave Ronin) to the mix. So when the opportunity to get a sneak peek at the Mizuno Wave Sayonara became available through Fitfluential, I immediately signed up and crossed my fingers. I received the shoes about 2 weeks ago, and have been running in them more and more ever since.

Wave Sayonara

Admittedly when I started running I didn’t know anything about running shoes, and I’m far from an expert. I ran my very first race in a pair of year old Nike Shox; thinking about that now makes me cringe. As I’ve gotten more and more into running, though, I’ve learned to appreciate the importance of a good shoe, and come to understand what different types of shoes can do for different types of running. I also like the idea of being able to switch it up throughout the week – putting the same shoes on day after day isn’t much fun anyway. While I’m far from a serious shoe hoarder (I’ve seen pictures of some of your closets!) I have no problem keeping quite a few pairs of good shoes in rotation.

Now onto the important stuff: the shoes. I wanted to take my time with them and try a few different runs over the course of the two weeks I had them in order to get a good feel. The Wave Sayonara feels very much like my Wave Riders, so it was easy to put them on and just start running, even though they’re almost a full two ounces lighter. The Wave Riders are 9 ounces, while the Sayonara are only 7.1 ounces of awesome. I am picky when it comes to the upper of my sneaker because my feet are sensitive and too much “junk” up top can leave my metatarsals and phalanges sore. These definitely embrace the less-is-more mantra and are minimal when it comes to fabric and material on top (which I love). They also have textured laces and notches on the shoes themselves which help keep them in place. The soles have awesome traction (I took them out in the rain and didn’t feel like I was slipping at all), and the colors are nice and bright just like all of the Mizuno shoes. I tried to come up with a Pro and Con list, but could honestly only come up with one negative; the laces are on the shorter side which can be tricky for a double knotter (like me).

These sneakers have been worn on easy runs, long-ish runs (10 miles), and tempo runs… And also video-ing runs, as you can see from above. They’ve been great, and everyone that I’ve talked to who also has a pair seems to love them just as much as I do. In fact, fellow Mizuno obsessed runner Ashley and I decided to put together a little speed workout to celebrate the Sayonara launch. We figured strides would be a quick, fun, and easy workout for anyone and everyone to do. The whole point of a stride is to add some quick turnover work, that can really be done at any point within a workout, and even after any kind of workout. What do I mean by that? I mean that at the end of a 10 mile run, in theory, you should still have enough energy to throw in a few strides. This particular workout is stride-specific, meaning you’re really just focusing on those sprint bursts with an easy mile on each side. I’ve found that in the event you aren’t on a track, simply starting off easy and picking it up to a full sprint for about 30-40 seconds total will get you about 100 meters, give or take. Feel free to take a few seconds rest in between each stride, but you shouldn’t need more than 15 seconds or so.

Sprints Workout | &

So the bottom line is that yes, these shoes were sent to me to review, but I would absolutely spend my own money on them. I’m a Mizuno fan that had high hopes for these shoes, and these definitely didn’t disappoint. They’re available as of July 5th, so go and check them out!

Do you wear different sneakers for different kinds of runs? 

Diet-to-Go: Delicious At Your Doorstep

Even though I absolutely love cooking and spending time in the kitchen, sometimes it’s nice to have your meals prepared for you. A lot of nights after a full day of work and running, the last thing I want to do is spend 30+ minutes in the kitchen making myself dinner. Unfortunately, the “quick and easy” options don’t always translate to the healthiest options. I’m not a stickler for healthy foods and do my fair share of indulging, but at the end of the day, I like to make sure I’ve eaten enough of the right foods to keep my body fueled for not only running, but life in general. So, when I was given the opportunity to try out Diet-to-Go as a Fitfluential Ambassador, I jumped at the offer.*

One of the first things that caught my eye about Diet-to-Go was their accessibility – it isn’t just a one size fits all approach to diet meals. In fact, they have three different choices; traditional (which is low fat), vegetarian (lacto-ovo), or low carb with 1200 or 1600 calorie options. And, within those base selections, you have the ability to even further customize your meal choices; you can make substitutions, change your meal plan type, and even pause your plan! They also offer 5 or 7 day plans, and you can have breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or just lunch and dinner. Talk about options! And the best part? The meals that are delivered to your door are fresh, which I learned isn’t something that all mail order diet meal plans do.

Now for the good stuff – the food! My meals arrived on Tuesday and I started with dinner. Obviously being a vegetarian I chose the vegetarian meal plan, and my meals came from the 1600 calorie per-day group. I decided on my first meal, tomato pie and couscous with some crackers and a Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedge. I am a Giant Sports fan and follow a strict diet and I’m pretty sure this was the first time trying Laughing Cow, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long – it is absolutely delicious! I had the cheese and crackers first while I waited for the entrée to cook, and once it was ready I dug in. Not only was the dish flavorful, but it was filling! I would be lying if I didn’t say I was skeptical that I’d be full after this diet meal (especially having run 5.5 miles earlier), but I was. I added a salad to the mix as well (I make sure to have one pretty much every night – nothing special, just spring mix with some dressing) in order to round out the day’s fruit and veggie intake. I definitely picked the right meal to start of my experience; I couldn’t wait for the next one.

My first meal - Tomato pie & couscous!
My first meal – Tomato pie & couscous!

The rest of my meals did not disappoint. Whether it was eggs florentine with soy sausage patties and asparagus for breakfast, bean burritos for lunch, or a lentil loaf for dinner, I was always pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of the options, and was satiated. I kept saying “wow, I can’t believe this actually tastes good!”

Added some hot sauce for good measure
Added some hot sauce for good measure

Of course since I’m not a registered dietitian I can’t speak to the overall nutritional value of these meals, but I think that it’s important for anyone (on a “diet” or not), to do research and ensure they’re getting the right nutrients. Some of these meals were on the saltier side for me, while others seemed to be higher in fat, or overall calories. Because high blood pressure and heart issues run in my family, I try to be cognizant of my sodium levels, while also understanding that as a runner, salt is important. In terms of higher-than-I’d-like sodium, for example, a suggested day is the eggs florentine with soy patties and asparagus (delicious) which give 830mg of sodium at breakfast, followed up with a grilled veggie burrito with polenta at lunch for 650mg, and then a lentil loaf with sweet potatoes and green beans for dinner with 1030mg. That brings my sodium totals to 2510mg in one day (if I don’t eat anything else). The Institute of Medicine recommends 1500mg of sodium per day as an adequate amount, and to try and stay under 2300mg (source). This is just one day, and not all of the meals are high in sodium, but because of those levels I don’t know that I myself would use Diet-to-Go for 3 meals a day, but rather as a supplement to add in quick and easy healthy options throughout the week.

Stuffed shells w. pesto sauce, carrots, and a roll.
Stuffed shells w. pesto sauce, carrots, and a roll.

Trying out these meals really opened up my eyes to the way I eat throughout the day, the food choices that I make, and what different calorie amounts really look like. For me, I tend to eat smaller or lower calorie foods in the morning and afternoon, but then find myself ravenous by the time I get home from work and wind up not only matching my calories from the first half of the day, but I usually have more. For the most part I’m not concerned with the weight aspect of eating since I am running 25-30+ miles a week, but I am concerned with the nutritional value and making sure my body is getting the right foods. Lesson learned: I need to eat more in the morning!

Super easy and delicious lunch at work - soy nuggets and creole veggies over rice!
Super easy and delicious lunch at work – soy nuggets and creole veggies over rice!

Mail ordered meals may not be for everyone, but for people that just don’t have time to cook or don’t like to cook, I think this is a great option. As I said earlier, I think it’s really important for people to understand their nutritional needs based on their age, sex, activity level, and overall lifestyle before they decide on a meal plan that’s right for them (whether they’re making it themselves, or having it made for them). Diet-to-Go has a lot of great options and flexibility, is delicious, and if nothing else can help people newer to the world of eating right form good habits. Not to mention it did win Epicurious’ #1 voted meal plan based on a national blind taste test! So for those of you that are interested in giving it a try, you can get 20% off by using the code “fitfluential” when ordering.

So tell me…
Do you track your eating throughout the day? 
How do you  make sure you’re getting enough of the right foods? 

*Disclosure: Fitfluential LLC compensated me for this Campaign. All opinions are my own.

ShowerPill: The Shower Supplement!

It’s no secret that we all sweat when we’re working out. As a former swimmer, I was lucky in the sense that I rarely ever felt my sweat; there wasn’t that awkward half wet, half dry feeling – I was either all in or all out (even though that meant I always smelled like chlorine). So you can imagine my initial disdain for sweating when I started working out outside of the pool. And of course adding insult to injury, I sweat a lot. But it usually isn’t a problem; I either run near home and hop right in the shower afterwards, or I run/workout at the gym and immediately head home for a shower. Obviously those are ideal situations, and it isn’t always practical to take a shower as soon as you’ve finished a workout. A great example of this is post-race… sometimes there are errands you need to do, post-run brunches that need to be devoured… you get my drift. So what’s a girl (or guy) to do when they’re in that awkward sweaty cool-down state, and you can’t hop right in the shower? Enter: ShowerPill!

The folks over at ShowerPill sent me some samples of their product to test out. No, it isn’t a pill, but rather a “hygene supplement designed to keep you fresh and clean on the go.” So you can think of it more like a recovery drink or jetson probiotics – it’s something meant to be used after your workout. I’ve never used a full-body wipe after a workout, so I was excited to give these a try. I decided to go for a run during lunch on Thursday, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to shower right after and wanted to stay fresh.

The first thing I did was smell the wipe – I was curious to see if it had any fragrance, or if it smelled a little more like medicine. The smell reminded me of a baby wipe, but not nearly as potent. This was the first sign that it wasn’t going to just try and mask the sweat-smell, but rather actually clean my skin. The next thing I noticed was it’s size and texture; this wipe is thick! I’m so used to baby wipes or makeup remover wipes that are small and thin, but it’s clear this wipe is really meant for your entire body. After my mini inspection, I gave it a try.

Directions on the package suggest that you use a different side for each body part, and clean each area for about 30 seconds, then air-dry… simple enough. The wipe is on the cooler-side (as are all wipes I’ve encountered), so I definitely recommend using this sooner rather than later – it’s definitely no fun when you’re already cooled off to wipe yourself with something cold! I was left feeling clean, without any sticky residue or awkward masking smell. And since the temperatures outside have been dropping, I was happy to note that my skin didn’t feel tight or dry after using it either. I even gave one to my husband to try and he was equally impressed.

I already have plans to use another ShowerPill after my Turkey Trot next Saturday… these are great and I highly recommend them! So you may be wondering – how can I get myself some of these? Well, you’re in luck! You can order these badboys on, and I’ve got a Black Friday coupon code for you! From Friday 11/23 to Sunday 11/25, if you buy 2 packages, you’ll get 3rd for free! You have to add all three to your shopping cart, but once you enter the coupon the discount will be applied. Be sure to enter SPFRIDAY at checkout!

Have you ever used an athletic wipe post-workout? Would you try this?
Do you have any good stay-fresh tips for after a workout when you don’t have time to shower right away? 

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of ShowerPill to review at no cost to me as a FitFluential Ambassador. All opinions are my own. 

Wrong Side of 25

I remember turning 21 like it was yesterday (well, it was only 5 years ago). I woke up early, excited at the prospect of legal drinking awaiting me and joined my dad on a walk with our black lab Kennedy. We discussed how it felt to be 21, and he jokingly said “well, it’s all down hill from here!” which is something my uncle firmly believed in and would tell anyone approaching the age. For me, it was a milestone that only meant I was beginning my transition to the real world. But, being  a young 21 year old, I didn’t think much of it at the time. Not to go into details, but I certainly enjoyed myself that weekend!

To be 21 again… with my two co-captains!

Anyway, it’s crazy to look back and think I turned 21 FIVE YEARS AGO, today! That’s right, I’m officially 26 as of this morning. There was definitely a point at about 23 where I started to stop wishing my birthdays away. Growing up you’re so concerned with what’s coming next – when you’ll be old enough to drive, to drink, etc., that you miss all the milestones in between, until they’ve already passed. I guess you can say I’m at a point now where I want to stop and smell the roses. I’m thankful for every moment – good and bad, and look forward to all of them (the good just a bit more than the bad, though!).

My sister and I… about 15 years ago.

My twenty-fifth year was my most memorable yet. Sure, I didn’t get my license, become a legal drinker, or graduate from college. But, I ran my very first (and second!) marathon, I spent the year working on my fitness and joined a fabulous group of likeminded people at FitFluential, my blog has started to find it’s grove, I finally finished my teacher certification, and I’ve enjoyed my time with friends and family, celebrating their milestones and each other’s company.

So, how could I top 25, you ask? Especially now that I’m over a quarter century old, and officially on the wrong side of that quarter? Well, I have big plans, people! Aside from trying to figure out just what it is I want to be when I grow up, I’ve got plans for my third and fourth (and possibly fifth) marathon this year, as well as celebrating a lot of marriages of close friends. I’m sure there will be much more in-between, and I’m looking forward to it. But first on my list is to devour some ice cream cake!

How do you celebrate your birthday? 
Did you ever reach a point where you became thankful for each birthday, rather than expectant?  

Mom… the protein!

There was quite a surprise waiting for me when I got home from work on Wednesday evening – protein powder! The awesome folks at GNC sent me a bunch of protein powders to try out, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m just getting into trying out supplements to aid in my healthy eating and working out, and now that I’m on a mission to get ripped arms, I have just the right tools to do it!

Whey, Casein, Egg, Soy, and Plant protein powders!

As a swimmer I dabbled (I use the term lightly) with protein powders in high school. I remember going to Trader Joe’s with my parents one summer afternoon after long course practice and staring at the options in the supplement asile. After some label analysis we left with vanilla whey, and I drank it here and there, but never really committed to anything. By the time college rolled around I didn’t have the funds to really buy anything, so I only drank the watered down Gatorade supplied by the school at practice. Don’t get me wrong – the Gatorade was great for during the workout, but I wasn’t doing anything to help myself pre or post practice. But, now that I’m determined to have more defined arms, I’ve been on the hunt for new protein powder(s), so this is perfect timing!

I’ve set myself up with a pretty good routine in terms of the different powders, and I’m really loving it so far. Of course, it’s going to take some time to really see any results, so I will absolutely share my progress! I’ll also share my routine of what I drink when, after I perfect it (there’s always room for improvement!). But, here’s what I’m starting with, in terms of my arms goal. These shoulders have seen some serious work over the years (hello, swimming), and I’m looking forward to getting them more toned than ever. I guess you could say it’s my summer goal.

Welcome to the guns show… maybe?

Of course I’m not content just mixing the powder into water or milk, so I decided to get a little creative. Enter the Chocolate Cherry Protein Bites! I’ve had some dates and dried tart cherries hanging around in my pantry, so I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to use them. I decided to use the soy protein as it’s best used twice a day, and I figured this would be an easy way to enjoy a mid-morning and afternoon snack. Of course, you can use any (preferably chocolate) protein powder you see fit.

Here’s a little info about the Pro-Performance Soy Protein 95 powder: soy is the only completely plant-based protein; it contains all of the essential amino acids including BCAA – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Soy protein 95 is cholesterol-free. Pro Performance Soy Protein 95 features Supro brand soy protein, made from certified non-genetically modified (non-GMO) soybeans that are produced while being tightly monitored and controlled from planting through processing.

So stay tuned for more protein fun! But in the meantime, I want to know: do you guys have any tips or recipes for me to enjoy my protein other ways? AND, what flavor do you prefer – chocolate or vanilla? (I think I like them both equally!)

Cherry Chocolate Protein Bites
– makes 18 teaspoon sized balls –

10 pitted dates, chopped in half
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup mixed nuts (or your favorite kind)
1 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
1 Tbsp protein powder of choice
1 Tbsp+ chocolate chips (however much you like, really)

1. Place everything into a food processor, and process for about 2-3 minutes. Everything should be combined, without any chunks.
2. Using a tsp, form the balls and place them staggered about a 1/2 inch apart on parchment paper. You can then roll them in the parchment paper, and put them in a container for easy storage in the fridge.
*They are best kept in the fridge so they maintain their form and don’t “sweat”.

DISCLAIMER: These products were sent to me for review purposes, and all opinions are my own.

All About the Legs

I’ve always been someone that thinks a strong body is beautiful. As a swimmer in high school and college, I made sure to get myself to the gym in addition to spending time in the pool in order to work on my upper body strength. For whatever reason, I always neglected my legs. They were pretty strong on their own, but I always felt the burn while chugging along during kick sets at the back of the lane. Since I’ve started running, though, I’ve realized more and more just how weak my legs are.

My kind of body!


Knowing full well that in order to be a well rounded athlete and to excel at any form of exercise you need to incorporate more than just your typical routine into the mix, I decided to do just that. So, since I’m primarily a runner these days, this means body weight exercises, yoga, and anything else I can think of. I know that doing this can help me in addition to logging countless miles, and it can help keep me from boredom. And maybe most importantly, I’ll be working different muscles and making sure I stay injury free!

So, I’ve been doing the same leg workout for a week or so and I can definitely feel my legs getting stronger. This is a perfect workout not only for runners, but also to get ready for shorts season!

I’ve been trying to figure out the “perfect” upper body workout for me, and am working through a few different variations. Once I have that down pat, I’ll share it as well! And don’t worry, I’m still devouring deliciousness and will be sharing it with you, but I wanted to start branching out to my second love – fitness. So, you’ll likely be seeing a few more running/fitness related posts from me here and there in addition to all the foodie related goodies.

Love the run

Since I’ve been in a lull in terms of my racing schedule, I’ve had the opportunity to really enjoy running for what it is. While it can be a struggle some days, once I finally drag myself outside I always end the run happy. I haven’t been running tons of miles each week (topping at about 30), but I’ve definitely been speeding up, and enjoying myself more. I tend to go through phases where I am absolutely in love with running one minute, and then the next I question my ability to continue training for races. Right now I’m embracing the love moment!

I picked up a pair of Brooks Green Silence early this week, and took them out for a test run. They’re more on the minimalist side, but aren’t as minimal as the Vibram Five Fingers I have. I actually took those out for a 1.25 mile jaunt last weekend, and am excited to slowly incorporate them back into my running as it’s been 2 years since the last time I ran in them. I’m really happy with the Green Silence, and plan to rotate them in with my Ghosts for shorter runs until my legs get stronger, since I definitely felt my calves screaming by the end of my 3.5 miles on Wednesday. Brooks’ “Run Happy” mantra certainly applies to me.

Look at those laces!
Look at those laces!

In terms of my near-future running plans, I’m looking forward to a 10 mile race on March 25th (an automatic PR since I’ve never raced that distance!), and then a half marathon April 22nd. From there, I’m not really sure what my plans are (maybe another half or two?), aside from the annual summer 5k’s, and then the Chicago Marathon in October!

My running has been fueled by some good eats, of course. On Wednesday I decided to give Healthy Happy Life’s Easy Sweet Potato Burgers a try, and they were awesome. The only change I made to the recipe was subbing tahini for almond butter (just because I didn’t have any tahini), and I also threw in a teaspoon of chili powder. The recipe made six decent sized burgers, so I’ve been enjoying the leftovers!

Waffle Fries
Waffle Fries

Even though there was a mashed sweet potato in the burger, I couldn’t help but have some fries. Conveniently, the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program sent me a coupon to sample an Alexia Foods product. I’ve had a few of the different french fries they offer, and was immediately drawn to their waffle fries (my favorite). I find that oftentimes the heating instructions on frozen potato products aren’t sufficient – I wind up having to babysit the fries because when the timer goes off, they are still mush, but after that they can go from mush to burnt in a matter of seconds. These fries were easy, though. I popped them in for the suggested 25-30 minutes, and they were good enough at 25 for my liking, and perfect at 30 minutes for my husband (he likes them on the crunchier side). Paired with the veggie burger, we had ourselves a simple but delicious meal. I absolutely plan on trying some of their other flavors, because I wanted to grab multiple bags while I was in the frozen aisle!

I’ve got some big plans for the weekend in terms of running and food – I mean, what else is there?! I’m looking forward to some running, eating, and of course, lesson planning. It’s hard to believe I’m already half way through my student teaching.