Healthy Mocha Protein Smoothie

I have been starting to keep track of my food in My Fitness Pal for the last couple of weeks since I’ve gone back to more serious training.

When I track my macro nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats), I am always low in the protein category. I don’t normally eat a lot of meat (although I’ve eaten more now since tracking my food), so I sometimes resort to protein drinks.

The other afternoon I was craving my afternoon (decaf) iced coffee, but I also wanted something sweet and more filling than coffee.

So I thought: coffee + chocolate in an cold drink form sounds amazing! You can’t go wrong with a healthy mocha smoothie! I added a banana since bananas always taste good in a smoothie, and I threw my collagen peptides in there as well since I hadn’t had them for the day.

I surprised myself with how good this was! It was creamy, smooth, full of flavor, and you can’t beat the mocha taste! Make this now, you won’t regret it, and it is full of good things.

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 banana

1 cup ice

2 espresso shots (*see note)

2 scoops chocolate protein powder

2 scoops collagen peptides

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in the blender.
  2. Blend on high speed until combined and all ice chunks are gone.

*Note: I make a concentrated amount of coffee in my French press. I use 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds + 4 oz. of hot water and then let it steep for several minutes for one shot of coffee.

I used this Orgain Organic Chocolate from Costco, but you can also get it on Amazon through the link. It isn’t so great on its own, but in a smoothie or my protein balls it tastes much better!

Collagen is the new superfood. Everyone seems to be using it! I have been using the Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides for a couple of months now, and I want to rave about the product like everyone else and say it has done wonders for my skin, hair, and nails, but to be honest, it is hard to tell if it has helped in anyway. I think my hair might be growing faster, but it is hard to tell. I wonder if I stopped taking it, then I would notice whether or not it affected my hair, skin, or nails. I figure it can’t hurt though!

Question

Anyone tried the collagen peptides? Have you noticed any changes?

PR Coaching Athlete: Uran

I’m introducing one of my athletes today: Uran. We have been working together for several months now, and she will soon be running the Her Tern Half Marathon in July!

Uran been a very diligent athlete, and I look forward to her text after each run telling me how it went. Recently we’ve had a few break-through workouts, and I can’t help be excited for her! I’m also looking forward to see what she’ll be able to do at the half marathon!


Tell us a little about yourself: family, work, where you’ve lived, etc.

I’m originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but I lived between there and Costa Rica where my dad is from until I was five. We settled in Atlanta permanently after that, and I stayed there until I moved to Homer, Alaska three years ago. I work as a Controller (Accountant), and my partner Jimmy flies float planes. I am a stepmom to two awesome little boys Bryce (11) and Joe (3).

How did you get into running?

I tried and failed to enjoy running for years in my 20s, but I really didn’t hit my stride (hahaha) until last summer. I started with just a walk/run app that finally moved into all running, but with just a year under my belt, I’m still just a beginner! <img src="https://s.w.org/images/core/emoji/2.3/72×72/1f642.png&quot; alt="

The Power of the Mind

It feels so good to be running pain-free, to be running during the summer (with no snow, ice, and freezing cold temps), and feeling like I am getting back into shape! I still have a long ways to go to get back to where I was last summer, but I am truly enjoying the process of this all!

Last week I hit 57 miles, with a long run of 17 miles that went really well. This week I’m on track to run 67 miles with one two-a-day and a 19-miler this weekend. Nichole has me working!!

This morning’s workout was an interval workout on the track. Track workouts still intimidate me. (They bring back memories of my high school daysnot bad, just lots of nerves.) I had no plans of ditching the workout, but I may have procrastinated a little more than usual before heading out the door. Good thing I have to be back by a certain time in order for Craig to go to workotherwise these runs would be pushed off even longer!

It was perfect running weather this morning with temps in the low-50s and cloudy. This would be my ideal conditions to run a marathon in if it were up to me. I ran to the high school track that’s close to our house, which I’m so thankful I don’t have to drive somewhere. Once I got to the track, I did some dynamic drills and striders before starting the workout of 6 x 800 meters.

Luckily I’ve run so many intervals, that my mind and body fall into the right pace from the get-go.

#1 2:58

The first one always feels so easy! I jog one lap for a recovery, and then start the second interval.

#2 2:58

Nichole said I should try to run these in 2:50, but I knew I wasn’t going to be close to that after the first two intervals. BUT it isn’t time to give up. I start the third one and keep pushing. I tell myself I’m halfway done after this next one.

#3 2:58

Maybe it is all my years of playing in the band that my internal metronome kicks inthe exact same time for the first four intervals.

#4 2:58

Now it is time to start playing mind games. My time usually drops a few seconds on the last interval because I know it’s the last one. So, I reason, what if I tell myself the second to the last one is the last one. Of course I know this is actually not true, but what if I simply say it in my head. I figure it is worth a shot, so I start the 5th interval.

#5 2:55

I glance down at my watch and surprise myself with the numbers on my watch. It actually worked! I paid for it though because my legs were really starting to feel it. But there’s always ‘just one more’ left in those legs and you find the willpower for the last one.

#6 2:56

And done! I leave the track and start a very slow jog back home.

It is amazing what limits the mind can put on your physical capability when using the wrong phrases or mantras. Too many times we let the negative thoughts creep in, and they limit what our body is actually capable of. Practice using positive words and phrases during your workouts, that way when it comes to race day, you don’t have to think about themthe positive thoughts will come naturally.

Some positive thoughts I’ve used during races:

  • I have worked harder than 95% of the other people out here.
  • It will be over before you know it.
  • This is way easier than childbirth. (At least anything will always be for me.)
  • Keep pushing.
  • Only X mile(s) to go or X minutes to go.

Anchorage Mayor’s 5K Race Recap

My exciting running-related news. . . .I’m back to working with my coach, Nichole!

I couldn’t be happier to have someone planning my workouts each day, having a purpose for these workouts, and a mastermind behind my plan.

Here’s more on why I love having a coach.

I had thought about running either the half marathon or the 5K for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon race series this past weekend. I had also considered not doing any of the races, but that’s what’s great about having a coach, this indecisive girl doesn’t have to decide, I just follow my coach’s orders. Nichole thought the 5K would fit well into the plan, so with less than a week until race day, I signed up for the Anchorage Mayor’s 5K.

I wasn’t quite as nervous come race morning as I can be. I wasn’t tapered for this race, and it wasn’t an ‘A’ race, but as always, I want to do well and try my best, so there was a little bit of anxiety.

After warming up for about 45 minutes, I was ready to go. Out of the gate, there were a couple of girls who started out a sub-6 minute pace, but I knew I didn’t have it in me to go out that fast, so I held back. The course starts by going down a pretty steep hill and then immediately back up another steep hill. Then it goes down another longer hill before flattening out for the next 1.5 miles. I used the downhill portions to try and gain some ground and occasionally checked my watch to see that I was staying at a good pace. (I was trying to hit a 6:15/6:20 pace.) I caught one of the girls in front of me before the half-way point turnaround and then passed the other one shortly after that. The last 0.75 mile or so has another steep uphill portion, followed by a steep downhill, and another hill that leads you into the chute. I’m convinced the race director did this on purpose. I actually feel worse for the marathons who have to run these hills at the end of their race.

My splits were okay but definitely not great.

Mile 1 6:21

Mile 2 6:28

Mile 0.89 6:01

My GPS distance: 2.89 miles

I know the course was short. I don’t think it was quite that short as my old Garmin watch always measures long. A couple of other people had closer to 2.95 miles, but that’s still pretty far off for 3.1 miles.

These are my official results. The short course makes my average time look really good, but I know I wasn’t running a 6:05 pace.

I am pretty bummed the course was short. It is what it is, but still kind of disappointing it would be off that much. Despite this, it was still a solid race effort, and it is fun to come away with a win.

We’ve got a few weeks of training before the Her Tern Half Marathon in July. It is my favorite race, and I am especially excited for this year’s race because my sister will be up here for it!! I think we’ll finally be able to run (and race) a race together. More often than not it seems like one of us is injured, but we’re both healthy so far!

Beautycounter Trying New Products + Free Gift with Purchase

I’ve always loved trying new products, and I recently got a few new Beautycounter products that I wanted to share with you.

Also, stay tuned until the end of this post because I am offering a FREE gift with purchase from now through Monday, June 19.

Tint Skin

For the past several months I have been using the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer, which I really like! It is lightweight, has sunscreen in it, and leaves your skin with a dewy hue, which is perfect for summer. However, I had been wanting a little more coverage and have been wanting to try the Tint Skin, which is their true foundation. After just a couple of times using it, I love it already. It definitely has more coverage, which I like, applies easily, and doesn’t leave a cakey appearance afterwards. I purchased the ‘Sand’ color, which is slightly darker than I would usually go, but I wanted something darker for my summer skin.

Lip Gloss Peony

I have a slight obsession with lip gloss. I started this habit that I need to apply lip gloss after brushing my teeth each time. It is kind of a silly/random habit, but it has caused me to have quite the lip gloss collection. Up until I purchased this Lip Gloss in Peony from Beautycounter, I have been using some chemical-laden lip gloss from Victoria’s Secret. Gross, I know, so I was very happy when this safe lip gloss came in the mail. The peony color has the subtlest hint of color, which is perfect for everyday wear. I also particularly like the applicatorkind of random, but the tip is bent, and the bristles on the brush are really soft. I love that Beautycounter pays attention to the little things in their products.

No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil

This winter I posted about my love for the Soothing Face Oil. It was the only thing that cleared up my dry skin after trying far too many other products. Shortly after purchasing the Soothing Oil, they discontinued it, which was a bummer, so I picked up the No. 3 Balancing Facial Oil now instead. I honestly had a hard time choosing between the three facial oils but ultimately chose No. 3 because I often do have combination skin during the summer, which helps calm and ‘balance’ those two extremes. I do love this facial oil just as much. It works so well to combat to soothe and softens kin. To be honest, I don’t love the scent as much as my previous Soothing Oil. By no means do I think the Balancing Oil has a bad scentbut rather just not quite as pleasant as the Soothing Oil.

Daily Shampoo & Daily Conditioner

I didn’t really have a lot of hope for the Daily Shampoo or the Daily Conditioner from Beautycounter. I just hadn’t heard rave reviews on them like I had for some of the other products. But, holy cow, I really, really like this stuff. The smell of my shampoo and conditioner is a big selling point for me. Both products have a more subtle scent, which is nice, but not quite as fragrant as other brands I’ve tried. BUT I know these products are a lot better for my hair and skin. What I especially love about this shampoo and conditioner is how soft my hair feels when blow drying it and after it is dry. I don’t know that I’ve used any other shampoo and conditioner that has left my hair this softand I’ve used some higher-end products before. So needless to say, I would give these two products two thumbs up.

I can’t stress enough how much I love Beautycounter’s line of products and would honestly continue to use them even if I wasn’t a consultant.

First and foremost, they are safefree of 1500 harmful chemicals! I’ve made a lot of changes in my life these past few months with trying to reduce the chemicals that enter my bodybeing mindful of air freshener use, cleaning products, hands soap, etc. I’ve made these changes slowly over the past few months and plan to continue to work to reduce my expose to chemicals in my home and daily life.

Secondly, these are truly quality products. You get what you pay for! I am all about paying a little more for products that work well and do what they say they are going to do. I have yet to be disappointed by any Beautycounter products. But if you ever are, they have an awesome 60 day return policy.

Sooo. . . .here’s your chance to try some of their products as well. If you purchase $100 in Beautycounter products (before taxes and shipping charges), I will send you one of the following products for FREE:


Start Shopping Now


If you do end up purchasing some items, please leave a comment below! Tell me what products you ordered and what free item you’d like to try!

Best Places to Run in Anchorage, AK

I am starting to get questions about running in Anchorage as people are starting to plan trips here during the summer, so I thought I’d write up a little blog post to highlight some awesome places to run in the Anchorage area.

Westchester Lagoon

If I have to pick just one spot to recommend to tourists, my first pick is always going to be Westchester Lagoon. Views of the mountains, ocean, wildlife, and the trail system takes you in three different directions.

  1. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail > heading towards Lyn Ary Park, Earthquake Park, Point Woronzof, and Kincaid Park

    This is the most-talked about trail in Anchorage! Fittingly because you can’t beat the views as the trail takes you along the ocean with mountains off in a distance that seem to go on forever.

  2. Tony Knowles Coastal Trail > heading towards downtown and the train depot

    From Westchester, the Coastal Trail goes one of two ways, so take your pick; you won’t be disappointed either way.

  3. Chester Creek Trail

    The third direction you can travel from Westchester Lagoon is along the Chester Creek trail, which takes you through the woods and along the creek. Not quite as much pedestrian traffic at the Coastal Trail, this is still a very popular trail and a great path to run under the tree cover if the suns too hot for you or you want to escape the rain.

View from Westchester Lagoon

Lake Hood

Lake Hood is the largest seaplane base in the world. The loop around the lake is about 4 miles, so it is perfect for a quick run while watching planes take off and land on the water. The road around the lake has a nice shoulder for running on, and the auto traffic is minimal as cars are driving more slowly anyway. There is also a great view of the Chugach mountains during part of the run if you get tired of looking at airplanes.

Sorry for the winter picture. This is also a good place to run in the winter because the roads are often cleared sooner.

Campbell Creek Trail

This is another paved trail system that starts in West Anchorage and eventually connects to the Chester Creek Trail System. A wooded running experience takes you by Taku Lake and along the Campbell Creek. I’ve seen everything from moose to beavers to swans on this trail.

Chugach State Park overlooking Anchorage

Best Trail Runs

I personally don’t do much trail running, but these are by far the most popular trail runs in the area. They offer a little bit for everyone: rolling hills, wide open spaces, beautiful scenery, and even Ia road runnerhave ventured onto these common trails.

Kincaid Park

Kincaid Park is comprised of 1500 acres and many, many miles of trails. Some of the trails are single-track for biking, while others are multi-use. These mostly-grassy, non-paved trails wind through the woods, up steep hills, and across highly-populated moose areas and with sightings of an occasional bear.

Powerline Pass

I’d say this is the most popular mountainous trail run there is: a wide gravel path that’s not too technical and wide open spaces (no trees) with incredible views, in the Chugach Mountains. You access it from the Flattop parking lot, which is also the most popular mountain to climb. (Too popular for some.) The trail goes back for many miles, so bring your water and some fuel.

Turnagain Arm Trail

This is a very easy drive just a few minutes outside of Anchorage. This trail is more technical with roots, rocks, and wildlife. Not for the faint at heart with some decent climbs but views worth every step.

**I won’t go into a lot of detail about each of the different trails to run because a quick Google search will pull up more information than you need.**

One of the many parks in Anchorage with trails through the woods.

PlayHard GiveBack Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of my weaknesses. I could eat it all day long! I love the combination of flavors, the sweet and savory fusions, the crunchiness, and how healthy it is (in moderation).

I recently discovered this trail mix from PlayHard GiveBack. They have several different flavor combinations that are all delicious! The green Karmakandy Power Mix has banana chips, mini peanut butter cups, and protein bites in them. The yellow Rise and Shine flavor has dried mango and chocolate covered espresso beans in it, which was seriously delicious, but I was hoping for more espresso beans in my packages. Ha! Those things are so good! Finally, the blue Fuel and Flow Power Mix was filled with ginger, antioxidant bites, and dried apples. Honestly, I don’t know if I could pick a favorite; I truly loved all of them, but the Karmakandy would probably be my first choice if I had to choose. Those peanut butter cups were so good!

These are the 3 flavors I tried:

See how much we loved them! I couldn’t get a photograph of them all unopened.

Not only was the trail mix delicious, but the company PlayHard GiveBack also works hard to give back to the community as well. (Hence the name!) Five percent of all of their profits from the sale of their trail mixes and energy bars goes to support the program Hope Sports, where professional athletes build homes for those in need! It reminds me of when I went to Texas on a Habitat for Humanity trip. (Let’s just say the hammer and I didn’t get along so well.)

I love when companies support their community and people in need. It reminds me there are good things happening in our world! I featured a few other companies who are doing similar things in this post.

These bags are the perfect size for packing in a lunch, taking out on a hike, or in the car on a road trip. Just be careful: there are 3 servings in each bag, and it’s easy to turn it into one!

Cullen and I went for a walk at Potter’s Marsh and took some of the trail mix with us. It was a picture-perfect summer day here in Alaska. Cullen liked Fuel and Flow Power Mix flavor with the ginger in it. Is it weird for a kid to like ginger? He actually loves candied ginger.

All of these flavors in the 2.5 oz size are on sale for $3.50 right now. AND you can also get 15% off any order with this coupon code: RunnersPlate15

I’d stock up now for all of your summer adventures! I got 9 packages, and they were gone within a very short time period. . . .probably 9 days. Ha! They also have energy bars, so check them all out here!

Play Hard Give Back Trail Mix

Trail mix is one of my weaknesses. I could eat it all day long. I love the combination of flavors, the sweet and savory combinations, the crunchiness, and how healthy they are (in moderation).

I recently discovered this trail mix from PlayHard GiveBack. They have several different flavor combinations that were all delicious! The green Karmakandy Power Mix has banana chips, mini peanut butter cups, and protein bites in them. The yellow Rise and Shine flavor has dried mango and chocolate covered espresso beans in it, which was seriously delicious, but unfortunately there weren’t many espresso beans in any of my packages. Finally, the blue Fuel and Flow Power Mix was filled with ginger, antioxidant bites, and dried apples. Honestly, I don’t know if I could pick a favorite; I truly loved all of them, but the Karmakandy would probably be my first choice if I had to choose. Those peanut butter cups were so good!

These are the 3 flavors I tried:

See how much we loved them! I couldn’t get a photograph of them all unopened.

Not only was the trail mix delicious, but they also work hard to give back to the community as well! Five percent of all of their profits from the trail mix goes to support the program Hope Sports, where professional athletes build homes for those in need! It reminds me of when I went to Texas on a Habitat for Humanity trip. (The hammer and I didn’t get along so well.)

I love when companies support their community and people in need. I featured a few other companies who are doing similar things in this post.

These bags are the perfect size for packing in a lunch, taking out on a hike, or in the car on a road trip. Just be careful: there are 3 servings in each bag, and it’s easy to turn it into one!

Cullen and I went for a walk at Potter’s Marsh and took some of the trail mix with us. It was a picture-perfect summer day here in Alaska. Cullen liked Fuel and Flow Power Mix flavor with the ginger in it. Is it weird for a kid to like ginger? He will eat candied ginger plainno joke!

All of these flavors in the 2.5 oz size are on sale for $3.50. AND you can also get 15% off any order with this coupon code: RunnersPlate15

I’d stock up now for all of your summer adventures! I got 9 packages, and they were gone within a very short time period. . . .probably 9 days. Ha! They also have energy bars, so check them all out here!

Twilight 12K 2017 Race Recap

I was hopeful, but I couldn’t quite pull off another PR this last Friday at the Twilight 12K.

Two years ago, I was 7 months postpartum and ran the 12K in 48:26. This year I ran 27 seconds slower in 48:53. This race did occur just six days after racing the Pulsator 10K this year, so that didn’t give me much recovery time. Two years ago I had two weeks in between the two races.

throwback Adidas top (from a thrift store) | Oiselle competition brief | racing flats

For the record (and those of you who don’t live here), this race does not take place at true twilight or midnight. Our sun sets at almost 11:30 p.m. right now, but the race actually starts at 7 p.m.

I felt quite good throughout the entire race. I ran by myself for much of the race, which is kind of lonely, but thankfully I am good at pushing my pace and maintaining an appropriately-hard pace. It was a picture-perfect eveningperfect racing temperature in my opinion.

After taking a look at my splits from 2 years ago and comparing them to this year, I realized that most of my splits were actually faster this year, and I had a net time of 14 seconds faster this year compared to two years ago (through mile 7). However, when you look at the distance traveled, I ran a tenth of a mile more this year, which is why my overall time was slower this year. Let’s break it down.

Splits from 2015:

1 6:16

2 6:38

3 6:34

4 6:38

5 6:24

6 6:33

7 6:42

0.4 6:44 pace

Total: 7.4 miles | 48:26 | 6:30 average pace

Splits from 2017:

The number in parenthesis is the number of seconds faster (-) or slower (+) compared to two years ago.

1 6:12 (-4)

2 6:37 (-1)

3 6:20 (-14)

4 6:31 (-7)

5 6:26 (+2)

6 6:37 (+4)

7 6:48 (+6)

0.5 6:40 pace

Total (stats from my GPS watch): 7.5 miles | 48:53 | 6:31 average pace

throwback Adidas top (from a thrift store) | Oiselle competition brief | racing flats

My overall pace was only one second per mile slower this year. And when add up the net time differences between the two years, I was 14 seconds faster through mile 7 at least. Plus with an overall faster pace for the last portion of the race, that leads me to conclude that if I would have run the same distance, I would have had a faster time this year. Either I didn’t do a very good job running the tangents or the course was changed. I did notice in the 2015 photo, the finish line is at a different place than it was this year. (But that’s not to say that other parts of the course were slightly changed as well.)

Anyway, with that all said, I feel like I had a solid race effort, and I feel like I am getting stronger each week. I have really only been training consistently for about 6 weeks, so I feel like I’ve made quite a bit of progress in those six weeks.

I love that Cullen is finally understanding what it means for me to run a race. Here he’s standing (in the blue), waiting for me to finish.

I’ve been doing a lot of coaching this week, which is why it took me a while to get this race recap completed. Summer running and racing is in full-swing, but I am loving it!