This week had two exciting happenings – I finished the 21 Day Challenge with the Cleveland Marathon AND I celebrated my birthday! I don’t know which is more exciting, amiright?
Last week, I mentioned that I was doing a 21 Day Challenge with the Cleveland Marathon. The first few weeks have gone well and I can’t believe I’m more than halfway done! (Which means we’re more than halfway through January … yikes) Here are some highlights from this week’s challenge and how it has been going.Continue reading
My kids love muffins. They always have. And who could blame them? Tiny pieces of cake in a muffin-like single-serving shape? What’s not to like?
These muffins are sweet enough that my kids call them “treat muffins” (they’re sweeter than my spinach/zucchini/carrot muffins), but healthy enough to be called “healthyish.” They use honey instead of refined sugar, and white whole wheat flour. I also add in half a zucchini for some moisture and added veggies – but these truly taste like just your every day banana muffins! They’re easy to make if you have about 2 bananas on hand, so much that I’ve asked my family to set aside 2 bananas and NOT eat them, just so we can make these.
Healthyish Banana Zucchini Muffins
Here’s what you need:
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup avocado oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 large bananas, mashed (mine came out to be a little over 1 cup in volume)
- 1/2 zucchini, grated – pat with a paper towel to remove excess moisture (Note – I have made these without zucchini and haven’t had to change anything up, they’re still good just no added veggie)
- ¼ cup almond milk (this is my favorite almond milk; you can use regular milk if you like)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (my kids love cinnamon, but if you’re not a big fan you can omit this or add in less)
- 1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- blueberries, optional
Here’s what you do:
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare your muffin tin – I use silicone reusable baking cups and spray them with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, mix honey, avocado oil and eggs.
- Add in the mashed bananas, grated zucchini, milk and vanilla extract. Mix well.
- On the side, combine the dry ingredients — the cinnamon, flour, salt, baking soda. Add into the wet mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT overmix!
- Optional — add in blueberries or other add-ins. Suggestions include dried cherries or chocolate chips 🙂 I added in blueberries to a few of the muffins but not all. If you want to have blueberry (or another add-in) throughout, add in about 3/4-1 cup.
- Divide the batter evenly between 12 muffin cups. Bake muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Mine took about 24 minutes.
- Cool muffins and then enjoy! I like to keep 6 out and then freeze 6 so I have individual muffins ready to go whenever. I simply take one out of the freezer and defrost overnight OR in the microwave.
Nutrition info (I borrowed this from MyFitnessPal – I am not a dietician, just someone who likes to bake and make treats sometimes a little healthier, and I can’t claim 100% accuracy)
Seeking a non-healthy banana muffin? Give these a try instead!
Some questions for you:
- Do you have a go-to muffin recipe?
- What’s a healthy-ish recipe you made recently?
I’m not big on fitness challenges and I never have been. This time of year, over the summer, etc. my Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of “3 week ab challenge!” or “30 day healthy eating/drinking challenge!” and I’ll be the first to admit, they typically turn me off. Why? Because I like doing my own thing. I like to run, and that’s it. I’ll run for ME (not a challenge) and be happy with myself for doing how I do.
But last year, when I saw that one of my favorite bloggers, Runs For Cookies, was doing a fall to winter walk/run challenge, I thought, I can do this. What’s the big deal? I already run every day and track my mileage, this is just a group of people who like to do the same thing. Little did I expect that I’d finish the challenge with the most mileage of the group and a prize (the prize was given out randomly, but I was still just as excited to receive it – it’s a Kindle! my first one!).
So, when I saw Cleveland Marathon was doing a 21 Day Challenge starting January 1, I was curious. No, more than curious – I was interested. I had just done one challenge, could I do another? Especially since this one was mysterious – each day you’d be given a random challenge. It could be running related, strength training, or other healthy habits, all to help you prepare for training for the Cleveland races. So, as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador, I decided to sign up!
Now that we’re one week into January – and I’m one week into the challenge – here’s how it’s going.Continue reading
I feel like a lot of posts about 2020 could start like this — what a year. And while 2020 has sucked in many ways (sorry for the language), the one way it hasn’t is with my running.
2020 may have meant no in-person races for me — and only 3 virtual ones — but it also brought two things into my running:
- My longest running streak, ever
- My most mileage in a year (at least since I started counting in 2013) — this is undoubtedly thanks to the aforementioned running streak
Here are a few other fun facts about 2020:
Total mileage: 1,870.67 miles (Strava says 2,000 but I think it’s also counting some of the walks I did towards the end of the year)
Running streak: I ran 252 days in a row (and still counting!) in 2020. My average run during this time was about 5.5 miles and my longest run was my Cleveland half marathon (13.1 miles). I remember when I made it to 100 days, I couldn’t even believe it. And now I’m at more than twice that?
# of races: only 3! And they were all virtual. They included the Cleveland Half Marathon, Cleveland 5k (which I ran the day after my half as part of the Challenge Series) and the Dash Across the Land 10K.
Most fun run: the only run I did with people in 2020, my Thanksgiving Day run with B and his siblings/ Besides that, every single run I’ve done in 2020 has been all by myself (including no runs with B!).
What I’m grateful for: 1) Another year pretty much injury free. I’ve had some plantar fasciitis issues on and off this year, and worse than ever before, but I’ve somehow managed to keep them at a minimum and continue the streak. 2) A spouse who is supporting this crazy habit, doesn’t mind my need for new sneakers constantly, will watch the kids and help me continue this running even through a pandemic. It has kept me (mostly) sane this year and I do not know where I’d be without him.
My best piece of running gear: My wireless headphones (Beats – thanks to my bff Melgar!), our running stroller which I use once a week in the summer, and my treadmill, especially this time of year.
Something new: For the first time ever, I’ve enjoyed running in nature. I used to get bored running outside downtown and then the suburbs when we moved. But I’ve started to enjoy living near nature paths and even have gotten some miles on the trails – and loved it!
And running continues. This past week I got in around 39 miles, running nearly every day on the treadmill, as we got pounded with snow on Christmas Eve and it didn’t melt/just turned to ice. I only had 3 outdoor runs towards the end of the week (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, bringing the streak to 254 days).
As I look forward to 2021, I know that I will not continue the streak for a full year. Sorry, but I’m not that crazy. I don’t have any real running goals just yet and only one race on the calendar (Cleveland Marathon weekend) hopefully. But, I do know that if I’m lucky, running will continue to be part of my life and hopefully continue to keep me mentally and physically fit (or at least somewhat).
Questions for you:
- How did your 2020 end in terms of running?
- Any goals for 2021?
This post was supposed to just be a post about books I read this year, but as I wrote it, I couldn’t help but think about my uncle who recently passed away. One of the people I would typically enjoy comparing book notes with each year was my Uncle Barry. He – along with my parents – is one of the reasons I’m such an avid reader today (he was a reading teacher and always bought me his favorite books when I was growing up). And this time of year, as I’ve grown older, we typically talk through the latest books we’ve read and what we’ve enjoyed over the past year.
I wish I had a chance to share with him my reading list this year. It is much larger than other years, thanks to the pandemic. I would’ve loved hearing if he had read any of these, and see what he would’ve recommended I start with next year. But instead, I’ll be sharing my recommendations with you. And, I hope you can share yours with me, too! I know I’ll be needing some new ideas as I continue to read/listen my way into the New Year.
*Note: These are all Amazon affiliate links. But if you have a local bookstore near you, PLEASE consider purchasing from them! I took most of these out from my local library, but the ones that I purchased I did so from my local store, Appletree Books. If you’re local, they offer free delivery AND make the purchasing process so easy!
In no order:Continue reading
Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I can’t believe Christmas has come and gone. I’ll be honest, this year’s Christmas didn’t really feel like Christmas. We were in Cleveland (we’re usually in New York) and it was just the four of us. But we made the most of it … and thanks to being here, I was able to keep up my running streak!
I’m now at 247 days, which means if I continue through the end of 2020, I’ll have gotten to 250 days, which I really can’t fathom. I know, I’ve seen people do year-long (or longer!) streaks, and I honestly have no intention of keeping this up that long, but I’m pleased with where I’ve come so far. My plantar fasciitis is still acting up on and off, but I have been stretching and rolling and icing, and even took some Aleve a few months ago and that seemed to help.
Here’s how this week looked – it was going well until our HUGE snowfall on Christmas Eve that lasted more than 24 hours! We got around 2 feet I think!Continue reading
Not to be a bummer, but I had a hard week.
I know, it’s the holiday season. Everything is merry and bright. It’s a time to be joyous and thankful and celebratory. But, between my uncle passing away, the realization how different this holiday season will be without seeing my family, and some work stuff, it just wasn’t my best week. And this impacted my running AND walking. I just didn’t have the energy to get up in the morning and run a billion miles, and hit snooze way too much. I didn’t have the time to talk long walks with the family and the cold, icy/snowy weather made it even harder to get out of the house.
I’m hoping that the coming week will be better. With only three work days, I have no excuse not to sleep in, get in a run and get outside with the family. So, fingers crossed that I can continue to keep my running streak up (240 days!) and get out of this funk.
My uncle passed away this week. He had a heart attack the day after Thanksgiving.
He was healthy. I remember family vacations with him when I was younger to Fire Island, and he would work out nearly every day we were there. I remember him doing ab and leg exercises outdoors where we’d stay and even teaching me some at a young age. He was actually riding his bike when he went into cardiac arrest. A bystander saw him, called 911 and did CPR while waiting for the paramedics to arrive. Unfortunately, that did not save him. We buried him this week, over a Zoom burial (thanks, Covid).
I don’t often share very personal stuff here. And, I know this is a post about running, but I feel the need to include just a few sentences about him. And I thought of him on most of my runs this week. Running has helped me get through the challenges brought on by 2020, and this week was no different. It wasn’t an easy week – personally and professionally – and I’m grateful to have running to take some time for myself as I try to find peace.
November came and went and was a pretty decent month weather-wise. Not too cold, pretty mild and plenty of seasonably warm runs in shorts and capris. I was spoiled. Because as soon as December 1 came, we got SNOW.
And I’m not talking about a few flurries, or even an inch here and there that makes it look all festive. Nope, I’m talking about 15+ inches of wet, heavy snow that came down and didn’t stop, making it somewhat hard to run.