Friday morning I had a gorgeous, but very hot and humid, 7 miler. When I got home I heard on the news that a runner had been shot in the face a few miles away from where I was and at the same time I was out. Scary! Thankfully he is okay but it just reinforces how crazy I am about running safety. I don’t think I even mentioned a few weeks ago that my friend Christina, a feature on this blog occasionally (Mom of the adorable puppy I share photos of!) was hit by a car last month. She was waiting to cross a road, made eye contact with a driver who was stopped, and he decided to try and peel out anyway. He ran straight into her and she flew onto the ground. She didn’t have any broken bones but the leg and arm on the side she hit the ground on were seriously torn up. I will never understand why people like to drive like jerks around runners. 2014-08-22 06.27.41

Saturday morning Travis and I headed out for an easy 8 miler. We were under a heat advisory all weekend so I’ve been hydrating like a boss and not feeling bad if I needed to take any walk  breaks. The 8 miles went pretty well, but I was super nervous about the 14 miles schedule for Sunday at my long run pace (which, contrary to most other marathon training plans, is faster than every day pace.)2014-08-23 07.37.43Saturday afternoon we ran errands and went to Jason’s deli for lunch. I absolutely love that place. I always get their salad bar and come up with a similar concoction; lettuce with red pepper hummus and couscous, plus some of their divine mini-muffins & banana pudding. They also have free ice cream so that happened. As well as two more mini muffins.
2014-08-23 11.20.45Since it was so hot out Travis and I stayed in most of the weekend. We wanted something fun to do so we picked up paint supplies at Michaels. He’s actually a legit artist. Me … not so much. So, I grabbed myself this paint-by-number kit for 8 and up. So much fun!

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While we were there he picked up this adorable Spooky Town figurine for me. I’ve been collecting Spooky Town for years and there was no way I couldn’t add this to my set!2014-08-19 18.59.29Sunday morning we headed out at 6 a.m. for our long run. I went into it thinking I’d allow myself as many breaks as need be and my goal was to try to keep my target pace of 10:30. I was floored that I didn’t need a break until almost mile 10! The weather was better than we thought, and the Hanson method is continually making me do things I think I can’t (and I will give an update on how the plan is going soon.) We only stopped once to run into a gas station for some drinks. I chugged half a coconut water and added the rest (diluted with cold water) to my bottle. About 20 minutes later I realized that was a bad idea. Warm coconut water is disgusting. 
2014-08-24 08.50.47 - CopyWe came home, stuffed our faces, and immediately laid down on the couch. We put on License to Drive (old 80′s movie starring the two Corey’s.) It was cute and the perfect nap-inducing movie!

Then, this happened.

2014-08-24 17.55.44I’m pretty sure it’s usually ordered by two people splitting it (you really can’t tell how gigantic it is in this photo) but …. I ate all of it. So good.

How was your weekend? 
How often do you push yourself past your perceived limits physically? 

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

After freelancing in the health field for two years I’ve read a lot of exercise and nutrition related articles. In my own quest to lose 50 pounds, fuel myself for optimal running performance, and be a better writer I’ve done quite a bit of research into the field (and I cannot emphasis enough how much I love my job/s!) One type of article I see often involves foods that help you lose weight. Often the lists are made up of extremely low calorie foods that yes, you can fill up on quickly without packing in too many calories, but they don’t pack a lot of staying power so you are often left hungry again and eating more to compensate.

Nuts were something I always limited in my diet because they can pack quite the caloric punch! I love all types of nuts, but didn’t think I needed to eat them regularly since I get a lot of healthy fats from other sources. A few weeks ago Blue Diamond sent me two of their new flavors to try and I don’t think I went a single day over three weeks without having multiple handfuls.

IMG_7815So, the honey roasted vanilla made it about 4 days. Travis loved the honey roasted chipotle so I tried to save those for him (but definitely grabbed a few handfuls for myself!) It’s hard to see in this photo but both flavors had this delicious sweet seasoning all over them. I licked my finger to clean out the jar before I trashed it. #NoShameIMG_7812Aside from the great taste what else are almonds good for?

  • Lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Protect against diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Improve blood fats
  • Lowers the risk of weight gain
  • Great sources of manganese, copper & riboflavin
  • Loaded with healthy fats

Now, onto that whole appetite suppressant thing. Normally when I snack it’s on something carby and I’m hungry again an hour later. After eating 1/4-1/2 a cup of these a day after a few days I noticed a significant reduction in my snacking the rest of the day, and I just felt satiated. A study discussed on NPR found that people who added 1.5 ounces of almonds to their diet each day reported reduced hunger, and they compensated for the extra calories from nuts by eating less at other times of the day. I didn’t purposefully eat less to compensate, I just wasn’t as snacky as usual.

IMG_7817After I blew through those two cans I ended up polishing off a giant bag of Blue Diamond Smokehouse flavor. To be honest I hadn’t had Blue Diamond often before but I’m a total convert now. Anyone know any good recipes featuring almonds? I bet these would make great salad toppers!

What are your favorite Blue Diamond flavors?
What is your go-to snack?

Workout Wrap Up

Saturday: 5k race (27 minutes) + 4.9 miles after

Sunday: 8 miles (11:40)

Monday: 6 miles (11:20)

Tuesday: Ladder speed work. 400, 600, 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800 & 400 with 400 recovery between each at 9-9:20 pace. Lots of walking. Very hot.

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 8 miles 5 at tempo pace (10:15 avg).

Friday: 7 miles (11:00) + PiYo

We have a heat advisory here in Pensacola this week and my runs reflect that. My speed work Tuesday was a hot mess and I had to stop and walk after almost every interval. My tempo run Thursday was supposed to be 10 miles (7 at tempo pace) and I couldn’t do more than 8 if my life depended on it. At 6 a.m. the heat index was already 91. I have no idea how I’m going to survive my long runs this weekend! I stopped to let my heart rate go down and body cool off a few times, and went though two water bottles of water. I’m going to probably tie a handkerchief full of ice around my neck when I start my runs this weekend, and maybe loop back to the car to refill it with ice halfway through.
2014-08-21 07.51.56-2 On top of the crummy weather I’ve been feeling a bit sick. Travis started feeling poorly after the 5k last weekend, and I brought a sore throat home with me from Alabama. Nurse Salem helped me feel much better. 2014-08-20 18.46.56Classes started this week! The other school I will be teaching at doesn’t start until next week and I’m already wondering how I’m going to find the time to get everything done. I have classes from 11-2 on Tuesday & Thursday so I was starving when I left class Tuesday (must eat something quick between classes!) I ended up buying this box of Kix and ripping into it on the way home. It lasted two days in the house. Cereal is never safe around me.

2014-08-19 13.58.49Tuesday night I ran some errands with a friend. We went into Michaels to grab some stuff for a project she’s working on and the Halloween stuff is already out. I LOVE the season {see my Halloween decor explosion post for proof.} I saw this new piece for the Spooky Town I collect and was so so tempted to buy it, but I’m having to be super strict with spending again. 2014-08-19 18.59.29They have the cutest pet costumes there and she picked up this inmate one for her puppy. I wonder what Salem should dress up as this year?
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One of the best parts of the Fall season is the incredible Bath & Body works candles. Mom and I are legitimately obsessed with Pumpkin Cupcake. I happened to check and see if they were on sale online Sunday night and they had a killer deal going on that expired at midnight so I had to stock up! They were buy one get one, $10 off a $30 purchase, and free shipping. So, 4 candles were only $36 (usually $22 a piece!) One broke during shipping but I can take it into the store to exchange.
2014-08-21 14.33.59Of course the day after I splurge on some luxury item like candles my week started off with a trip to PepBoys. On Monday the AC in my car started going out whenever I was at a red light, and the engine started struggling like it was going to stall out. I took it in at 2, made their waiting area my office for the afternoon, and at 4 they were finished and said the fuel system needed to be cleaned out. So, I paid the $225 and started to drive home.

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Before I even left their parking lot I could tell the problem wasn’t fixed. I brought it back in and they said there was a ‘totally different issue’ with the radiator fan not working. So, another hour and $300 later I finally left again with working AC. Not how I wanted to start off my week! After having 2 weeks off between the Summer and Fall term this was a total budget buster. I did find out I’ll be paid one office hour a week at one of the schools I work out so over the course of the semester it ends up being about $350. I always joke that my life breaks even no matter what happens. As long as I don’t spend too much time in the negatives I’m okay with that!

I had a pretty stressful day Monday between the car drama and not feeling well. On Wednesday I was feeling back to normal and had the day off (since my MW classes start next week) and spent a few hours organizing my house and ended up taking a few bags of garbage out and a few bags of clothing & decor to goodwill. When I’m stressed it always makes me feel so much better to organize and purge!
2014-08-20 10.52.17Car problems, sore throats and heat advisories aside I still had a great week. My students seem like a great group this semester, my cat and I are happy & healthy, and my house currently smells like pumpkin cupcake. I mean really – how much better could it get?

What is your favorite Bath & Body works candle?
What are you doing this weekend?