Race Day Faves

Happy Friday! This weekend I'm running the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in DC and could not be more excited about it. Even though the forecast is calling for 5-8 inches of snow tomorrow. In April. Fingers crossed that the race isn't canceled because I've been looking forward to this race since I crossed the finish line last year.

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Today I'm sharing my tried and true race day favorites -  from clothes to running gear to food and more. Over the last few years I've tested a ton of things and have fallen completely in love with these items. They're my running staples. 

1) Lululemon Speed Up Short. These are my all-time favorite running shorts and I own them in five different colors. They're so comfortable, never ride up OR down, and are the only shorts I run in. They are a bit pricey but totally worth the investment if you're a frequent runner. I've found them for half off at the Lululemon outlet at the beach and try to add to my collection whenever they're on sale. 

2) Pro Compression Socks

I can't run a race without my compression socks. Not only do they help keep the circulation in my legs and feet flowing, but they also help to reduce lactic acid build-up post run. I usually change into a new (read: clean!) pair post-race and keep them on for a few hours and have found that really helps my legs recover from longer distance races. 

3) Nuun

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Everyone knows the importance of properly hydrating yourself, whether it's for a race or just every day life. I got hooked on these Nuun tablets after LAST year's Cherry Blossom race. My friend Brian actually turned me on to some good flavors and I've been loving them ever since. I'm not a big Gatorade fan so I like to add Nuun to my water post-long run. Watermelon is my favorite flavor!

4) Lululemon Fringe Fighter Headband

I wear these every single day when I workout. They are the best headbands and keep all stray hairs back and out of my face, and they don't move a bit. I've worn them in half marathons, 10K's, BodyPump, and yoga and they stay put no matter what!

5) Brooks Ravenna 9 Shoes

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Before last year's race, my mother in law treated me to a pair of new running shoes. We went to our local running store, Charm City Run, where I had a gait analysis and they recommended Ravennas. I wore them last year in the 10 Miler, Zooma 10K and Annapolis Half and am now convinced I will never find a better shoe. She actually just bought me a new pair a few weeks ago for my birthday, so I'm excited to break them into their first race. I have very flat feet and over-pronate, so these shoes help protect my feet and are extremely light, making them the perfect shoe for me. Highly recommend them!

6) PB & Banana Rice Cakes

Everyone has their go-to pre-race meal. I get it.  Peanut butter and banana rice cakes are mine. Maybe it's all mental but I'm a firm believer that the carb + fat combo is the perfect running fuel. Plus, I'm always looking for a reason to eat more peanut butter. 

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I'll be back next week with a race recap. Fingers crossed for a snow-free weekend!

My Favorite Protein Pancakes

It's no secret that I love carbs. And breakfast. Especially carbs FOR breakfast. For the first five or so years of my life in the working world, I used to rush through the morning M-F, often grabbing either a smoothie or breakfast to go. About a year and a half ago, I decided that since my morning sets the tone for the day, I needed to slow down a bit - and that meant eating breakfast at my house, not my desk. As a result, I found myself turning to stovetop oatmeal, smoothie bowls and protein pancakes for breakfast on the regular. 

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As you probably know from this post, stovetop oats are my jam. But, if I work out in the morning, I typically turn to protein pancakes to help my muscles recover and keep me full until lunch. There are many things that I love about protein pancakes, but some of my favorites are:

  • They're super simple to make
  • They're packed with 40+ grams of protein
  • They fill me up but aren't nearly as heavy as regular pancakes
  • They're essentially another vehicle for PB&J

I post the pancakes on my story every time I make them and have received quite a few requests to share the recipe, so ask and you shall receive! I do want to note that I use the Growing Naturals Vanilla Protein Powder but feel free to use any favorite. Bess introduced me to it years ago and I've been buying it ever since. It has a very subtle vanilla flavor and it also cooks really well. You can find it on Amazon!

Back to the pancakes. Like I mentioned, they're really easy to make and all you need is three ingredients:

  1. One scoop of protein powder
  2. Two egg whites
  3. Half of a banana, mashed
  • Spray a medium pan with non-stick oil and heat over medium heat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together protein powder, egg whites and banana.
  • Cook on medium heat until edges are cooked and large bubbles form in the center of the pancake. Be patient - you must cook on medium heat or else you will burn your pancake.
  • Flip, then continue cooking for 2-3 minutes.
  • Top with fruit/nut butter of your choice. I typically top mine with the other half of the banana and peanut butter and jam, but you can also add yogurt, honey, granola - it's up to you!

 

The Oatmeal Recipe

So. I go through breakfast phases. For the longest time (when we lived in Florida) I drank a green smoothie pretty much every morning. Then I went through a yogurt bowl phase where I ate vanilla yogurt with banana and peanut butter day after day. After that was the protein pancake kick.

And while I still love all of those, right now I'm all about the oats. Not overnight oats (which I love during the summer) but just regular, hot oats. I eat them at least four times a week and have found that they are one of the only things that can actually keep me full until lunch time, which is important since some days that isn't until 2 or 3 PM for me. 

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And what kind of person would I be if I didn't share the recipe with you all?! Not a very nice one.

In all seriousness, these oats pack a punch thanks to the protein almond milk that I use and the healthy fat from the peanut butter. I swear by Silk Protein Nutmilk - a combination of almond and cashew milk -  and it truly makes all the difference. Adding half a banana to the base keeps them thick, fluffy and voluminous. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (I use Trader Joe's GF oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Toppings: nut butter of your choice, remaining half of banana, fruit - whatever you want!
  1. Heat your stove on medium high.
  2. In a small pan, combine oats, almond milk, water, mashed banana and vanilla. Stir.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil, and then whip oats repeatedly for 2-3 minutes, or until liquid starts to thicken.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and let oats boil for 60 seconds.
  5. Whip again, and then remove from heat.
  6. Pour into bowl and add toppings! I typically add peanut butter, jelly and the other half of my banana but go crazy and add whatever you want!

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! 

While I'm certainly not planning for this blog to be a diary recap of every day in my life, I do intend on recapping weekends, trips, and random days because those are some of my favorite blog posts to read by others AND I think it's fun to show how life changes day in and day out.

That said, this was one of the least exciting weekends in a while thanks to the downpour we had in Baltimore from Friday - Sunday. It definitely forced me to slow down a little bit but I am missing sunshine and warmer temperatures now more than ever.

Friday night I went to Corepower and came home to eat dinner and watch the Olympics opening ceremony. It was a long week at work and all I wanted to do was sweat on my mat and go home and relax. We worked on chin stand (my favorite!) and the message of the class really spoke to me. It's crazy how yoga can change your perspective on life in such a short amount of time.

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Saturday morning we woke up and while Nick walked Bentley, I made breakfast. I'm still having a moment with these PB&J oats and promise I'll share the recipe soon. I've been eating them almost every morning for the last few months.

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I went to the gym with the intention to run six miles but ended up only being able to get five in before hot yoga.

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And then bounced straight from the gym to my yoga studio. My teacher Angela was in California last week so it was so nice to have her back. Her Saturday morning classes are always the perfect combination of challenging and relaxing. Angela is so real and down to earth and one of those teachers that I really click with. 

After yoga, I swung by my favorite local juice store, Pure Raw, for my go-to matcha mango bowl. I think I've officially made it because when I walked in, the guy at the counter said, "Hey Claire! The usual?". Yup.

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This baby is loaded with matcha, mango, almond milk, banana and topped with cacao nibs, coconut, granola, blueberries and almond butter. So good and refreshing after a hot yoga class.

I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning the house and working on the blog! It was rainy and cold so I didn't have much motivation to leave aside from a quick Starbucks & Target run.

Saturday night I made dinner for us. We had a TON of random veggies that needed to be used so I roasted up some purple potatoes and brussels sprouts for me to eat along with a veggie burger and made quinoa-stuffed peppers for Nick. Then we spent the rest of the night watching Fixer Upper and researching for our Italy trip!

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Sunday morning I woke up and went to a special class at my yoga studio. My two favorite teachers, Angela and Jenna, taught a C3 inversion class and it was such a fun way to start the day. 

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The rest of the day was pretty standard: grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, etc. I did swing by the gym to walk for a while because being trapped inside was making me feel a little stir crazy and I just needed to get out and moving. 

And now it's Monday and time to get back to work!

2017

Happy New Year! Like seemingly everyone else in the world, I'm really excited for 2018. I have a lot of personal and professional goals for the year ahead, and after spending a week off of work, feel more motivated than ever. I was so focused on planning and executing my dream wedding last year that my entire life revolved around it from January - August. I'm not going to lie, it's a breath of fresh air to have a whole new year without the pressure to plan, plan, plan!

But before looking forward to my intentions and goals for 2018, I want to take a second to reflect on and appreciate all that 2017 was. It was by far the most life-changing year of my life. One of my favorite bloggers (and humans) Amanda writes her year-end reviews in a short, simple format and I'm totally stealing the idea because I love it. And because it really forced me to sit back and reflect on each month, which was challenging and fun at the same time.

So here's to you, 2017...

I turned 28. Spent a week in NYC at Social Media Week immersing myself in all things social media. Ran through Central Park in February, in shorts. Ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile race in DC. Got bronchitis on Easter and stayed up coughing for two nights straight. Flew to Austin with all of my favorite girls to celebrate my bachelorette party. Drank way too many margaritas and tequila shots on said bachelorette party. Flew to Denver to watch one of my best friends get married. Ate the best tacos of my life in Boulder with Nick. Helped throw a bridal shower for one of my best friends. Ran and PR'd in the Zooma 10K in Annapolis. Spent an amazing long weekend at the beach for the 4th. Worked. A lot. Ate a lot of acai bowls. Ran along the docks in the city almost every weekend. Received the sweetest bridal shower from my maid of honor and best friend, Courtney, and Nick's Aunt Karen. Watched two of our closest friends get married in Lancaster, PA. Flew to Chicago to celebrate my friend Jacque's bachelorette party. Spent a day on a boat on Lake Michigan. Fulfilled one of my life-long dreams and got to be in a commercial with Bentley. Married my favorite person. Then spent a week at the beach recovering from the wedding. Drove to Bethlehem, PA to stand beside one of my best friends as she joined the marriage club. Spent a long weekend in London, and fell head over heels for the city. Got invited to visit Facebook's office, and had to pinch myself that this is, in fact, my job. Ran a half-marathon. Added highlights to my hair for the first time ever. Helped win one of the biggest accounts for our agency. Ran a Turkey Trot with my mother and sister in-law. Nailed my chin stand. Spent the holidays with my family, and best friends.