Good Reads: Sports Bras, Healthy Cooking & Eating, Defending CrossFit

Sometimes I find it relaxing to just be able to sit down with my MacBook and read new blogs. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that in quite some time. However, here are some good reads from the week:


5 Sports Bra Commandments (Keep It SimpELLE): As a woman who is “blessed” with an ample chest, sports bras are always something that is a pain! I hate trying to find the right bra, but when I do, I try to buy as many as I can afford–and they can be expensive. There’s nothing worse than an ill-fitting sports bra as you’re trying to push for a 7-miler, or go through Karen in the CrossFit box (150 wall balls). Elle is right on point!

Healthy Cooking Solutions (Slim Sanity): I love if I can find a healthy substitution for cooking and baking, because then I hope I can enjoy my favorite foods without a lot of guilt. Alysia shares some great tips, some that I knew and some that I didn’t. I really need to try doing mashed cauliflower! M loves mashed potatoes, so why not try something different and healthier?

5 Adjectives to Avoid While Eating Out (Diary of an Ex-Sloth): Crispy, Slathered, Battered, Breaded, and Rich…yep, those are some tempting, but also some naughty adjectives when it comes to foods! Giselle offers great alternatives for some of your favorite foods that just might contain those words. Great things to remember!

In Defense of CrossFit (T-Nation): This paragraph says it all: Again, God bless CrossFit. Women in droves are lifting weights, squatting, deadlifting, climbing ropes, sweating, and building beautiful bodies. In an increasingly unfit world of sloppy cows and praying-mantis legs, CrossFit helped redefine sexy and gave women the green light to do what they should have been doing all along to look their best. Your wife or girlfriend, once content with lifting pink dumbbells and running on a treadmill, took one look at Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet and magically became interested in setting PRs, building thick, muscular legs, and learning to clean and jerk. Maybe she even bought a pair of bootie shorts. Thank you, CrossFit.

Your turn: Share something great you’ve read this week!

Food Prep: Delicious Recipes for Easy Meals

Life has been a bit busy lately. I’ve been trying to do some meal prep and easy meals to make life easier…and maybe a little healthier.

M’s been working long hours at the racetrack while live racing is in session. When I say “long hours” I’m talking from 6 am to 9 pm…five days a week. Poor guy. It sucks because he doesn’t get to eat much, and when I’m hanging out on my own I’m not that motivated to eat right. So, for both of us, pre-planning is the best route to go.

I’ve done easy things like washing and cutting up carrots and celery which I can take for sides for lunch, making chicken salad for M to take and snack on with some crackers when he gets a few quiet moments at work, and I’ve also marinated and grilled chicken breasts that can be heated up for dinner or lunches. I’ve actually really enjoyed the grilled chicken because it’s so flexible–shred it for a salad, eat it cold or heat it up and eat it with my carrots and celery.

Another easy, yet delicious lunch I discovered last week is a salad with chicken sausage. We buy this spinach and asiago chicken sausage from Sam’s Club every once in a while and I love it. I’ve sliced it up to have with whole wheat pasta and tomato sauce, as well as just eaten it plain for dinner. But one night I had a bag of salad and wanted something different. I poured some salad in a big bowl, sliced up some carrots and celery, added some slivered almonds and sunflower seeds, then heated up one sausage link. After cutting it up into smaller pieces, I added that and some light Italian dressing to the salad. OMG. I’m telling you, it might sound weird, but it’s delicious! So good that I had it for lunch the next two days (I just packed the salad in one container, the sausage in a sandwich bag, and brought the dressing with me to work).

One of the most satisfying work lunches ever!

One of the most satisfying work lunches ever!

Another favorite has been this Meatball Parmesan Casserole that I discovered on Pinterest. If you think you might be pressed for time, you can pre-make the meatballs and store in the refrigerator to bake another night. The longest part is the baking, but if you can have these ready to pop in the oven, it helps so much.

To add a little something, I place slices of zucchini under eat meatball, as well as scattered along the top under the cheese. I love zucchini, especially in Italian meals, so any time I can incorporate it, I will. Plus I think it adds some fiber and extra nutrients to the meal. The meatballs are great in a sandwich, as well as leftovers for lunch the next day.

Meatball Parmesan Casserole

Meatball Parmesan Casserole

And, finally, for breakfast, I have loved the Lean Green Bean’s Baked Oatmeal. I made this recipe in one pie pan, substituting chopped walnuts and slivered almonds for the pumpkin seeds and I used peanut butter instead of the Nutzo (but I added some cocoa powder as well as the cinnamon and some nutmeg). Baking this in the pie pan yielded four servings for me. And I loved heating these up every morning, adding some more peanut butter to the top and having some fresh berries on the side. It’s a great way to wake up! Next time I’m going to try adding some of my protein powder to it for some added protein.

The Lean Green Bean's Baked Oatmeal

The Lean Green Bean’s Baked Oatmeal

I’ve come to appreciate taking a little extra time, when I have the free time, to do some food prep. It might not exactly be Sunday night like some people, but it works…whenever I do it.

Your turn: Have you started doing food prep? If so, share your favorite pre-made meals!

Runner who CrossFits, or CrossFitter who Runs?

A year ago, I would have answered this question easily: I’m a runner who does CrossFit for my cross training. I started doing CrossFit in April 2013 as a means of cross-training to overcome my injuries from training for a half marathon. I knew I needed to do more cross-training than running to prevent the repetitive use injuries, and I was always intrigued by CrossFit thanks to reading Lindsay and Tina’s blogs.

A year later and I have more miles under my wrist wraps than I have in my running shoes I think.

I basically stopped running last summer, but the urge to race never died. I got back into running in the early Fall and hit the Race for the Cue for my big 5K personal record.

But now I’m trying to get back to running, but I still want to stay active in my CrossFit box. I know there are CrossFitters who still run half, and full, marathons–they’re just diligent about their nutrition, rest days, and athletic scheduling. So I need to be the same.

For right now I’m sticking with hitting Man O’War CrossFit four times a week, making Friday a complete rest day (minus a long dog walk for the pups). Tuesday evenings, when I can, I’m going to continue running with the West 6th Brewing Running Club (3-4 miles), and then Saturday mornings I’ll get in my long training runs with the Striders. Sundays will be recovery days.

I have been really lax on my nutrition lately, which is frustrating and unfortunate. Because of that, I’ve gained five pounds in the last couple of months, so I’d really like to get back down to my manageable weight. I know they say you don’t go through half marathon training to lost weight, but I would have to beg to differ because I know that if I weigh less, that’s less stress on my joints/knees when I’m pounding the pavement.

Your turn: Are you a CrossFitter who runs? Or a runner who CrossFits? If you have any advice, or nutritional programs you like to follow, I’m all ears!

Lacing Up the Running Shoes Again

I’ve been home from the National Agility Championship for a week now, but I’m still suffering the effects–a nasty viral thing that’s left me feeling like poo (sore throat, cough, bleh). But I’m still flying high from my best friend and her Cardigan Corgi winning the national championship in the 4″ Preferred division! It was awesome to watch, and she so  deserves it.

Merinda and PNAC Porter!

Merinda and PNAC Porter!

Getting back to normal life, I’m getting back into running. I missed a few races due to scheduling and finances–why are half marathons so darn expensive?? But when a local racing company announced a new race series that includes a 5K, 10-miler and a half marathon. It’s going to run through horse country (I’m seriously lucky to have such beautiful running views), including a Thoroughbred horse farm. The one kicker is it’s in mid-June, which can be a very hot time in Kentucky. But, I bit the bullet last week and registered before the price went up. I figure I’ll train my best for it and see what I can do, and don’t expect a PR from this race.

So now that I’ve finally registered for my third half marathon, it’s time to get serious about training. I’ve been doing some longish runs with friends while they prepare for their races this Spring, running up to 8 miles, but nothing too serious. But now I really have to start being serious. I don’t want to overtrain like I have in the past, which has caused some injuries that have curtailed my running. So I’m planning on sticking with my CrossFit WODs at Man O’War CrossFit, long training run on the weekend, and one or two shorter runs during the week. There will be some weekends where I won’t be able to run, but that’s OK.

I kicked off my training with a fun group run back with the John’s Striders, a group I trained with a lot last year. On Saturday we met up for a quick 2.5 mile “warm-up” run before we had a wedding-themed 5K for a couple getting married later that day. We ran around the Chevy Chase area, stopping at different places that were special. The end of the race we stopped at the church they were going to be tying the knot a few hours later and the leader of our group pronounced them “Running Partners for Life.” It was real sweet! (Not the 7 miles I was planning, but it still worked.)

Steven and Ryan, "Running Partners for Life"!

Steven and Ryan, “Running Partners for Life”!

For now it’s time for me to figure out my training and re-figure my nutrition. It’s time to get serious about eating healthy again. Any advice will be appreciated!

Your turn: Have you ever participated in a themed training run?

Combining Two Passions: Horses & Healthy Living

I love horses. And I love fitness. I’ve run in two half marathons (training for my third now) and am an avid CrossFitter. I’ve always been active, but I’ve gotten more so as I’ve gotten older, and I’m obsessed with following healthy living blogs. So when the opportunity to combine my equine passion with my fitness passion came up for the Equine Chronicle, I jump at the chance to interview two competitors on the Quarter Horse and Paint Horse circuits and see how they attempt to live a healthy lifestyle in a world where fried foods usually reign.

If you’ve ever wondered, can you be a healthy equestrian athlete on the road, Melissa Sachs and Erin Shapiro Boatwright have your answer: YES!

On top of this article, I started an online article series, happily working with Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean. I’m so thankful for her insight and willingness to help. It’s a great series and I’d love for more ideas on how to grow it.

First up, the initial article:

HealthyHorseShow_Page_1 HealthyHorseShow_Page_2Read the rest of the article here: Healthy Horse Show Living

And now, the initial article for the online series: Healthy Horse Show Living: Breakfast Basics

Better health is always a topic of conversation from the newsroom to the boardroom and now the tack room. Equestrians are athletes too, and in order to be able to show your horse at its best, you have to be at your best. If you read theMarch/April issue of The Equine Chronicle, you learned how two competitors, Erin Shapiro Boatwright and Melissa Sachs, strive to live healthy lifestyles in and out of the barn. This online series will continue to help give you tips so you can start making healthier choices and perhaps live a healthier life at home and on the road.

Start Every Day with Breakfast

The old saying is “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For some horsemen and women, it’s often the most forgotten part of the day. We’re more concerned with getting our own horses fed and chores done and maybe squeezing in a few rides before the heat of the day. Soon, it’s after noon and your stomach’s grumbling. You realized the last thing you ate was dinner the night before.

Finish reading the article here.

Busy, Busy! Mid-Week Good Reads: Fun Game, Girl Power, CrossFit Power

Today I’m heading to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for the 2014 American Kennel Club National Championships with Dally, my Pembroke Welsh Corgi. I’m so excited–this is the third straight year we’ve qualified, second straight year our friends get to join us, and will probably be Dally’s final foray in the Nationals ring. I’m hoping for nice weather, but the 10-day outlook isn’t looking so bright. Whose bright idea was Pennsylvania at the end of March anyway??

  • I’ll be posting updates on my dog agility blog: Agility On Stumps
  • As well as doing some coverage for the Canine Chronicle, both on their website and in their print magazine.
  • Plus coverage for The Daily Corgi, as well as orchestrating #TeamDailyCorgi, a collection of five Corgis competing at Nationals who will share their experiences for the popular blog.
  • You can watch the free live streaming video, though Dally and I run early everyday (8 am).
Dally competing at the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Dally competing at the 2013 AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, Okla.

Shew! So, like the title said, I’ll be busy, busy! But I wanted to share a couple of cool things with you:

First of all, my friend Nicole’s boyfriend just released a fun game app called Box Off. Remember playing that game as a kid? Now it’s “grown up” so you can play it on your IPhone. Check out Nicole’s blog, Fruit N Fitness for a fun giveaway she’s doing to help promote the game. And be sure to download the game!

Girl Power! Have you seen this video on YouTube yet?? It surprised me and really made me think. One guy answered a question about what would be wrong about having a female President with “Besides the PMSing…” Excuse me?? Wowwww… What do you think?

Because of that video, this post was written on WODTalk (thank you, Lindsay, for sharing this). Again, all I can say is “TRUTH!” I haven’t felt more powerful in a long time thanks to my time in the CrossFit gym. I still can’t do pull-ups like the guys, but when we finish a tough WOD, and I’m the only girl in our class, I’m beaming from the props I get from everyone. It has helped my confidence and helped me overcome my depression in so many ways.

Your turn: Share something you’ve enjoyed reading in the past week! 

CrossFit 14.4 & a 6 Mile Run

This weekend was supposed to be about getting everything done that I needed to get done before I leave for Pennsylvania for the 2014 American Kennel Club (AKC) National Agility Championships. You might remember me going to Tulsa last year with Dally, and this year we’re lucky to get to experience Pennsylvania in March…ugh. Looking at the 10-day forecast I’m not so excited. But, I’m trying to look at the positive! :-)

Friday I tackled 14.4 at Man O’War CrossFit. I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the 50 toes to bar–I do well to squeeze out one real toes to bar. I really wished it went 50 wall balls–I can sail through those! Anyway, here’s the WOD:

CrossFit Open 14.4

14 minute AMRAP
60 calorie row
50 toes to bar
40 wall balls (20/14)
30 cleans (135/95)
20 muscle-ups

I outfitted myself with some hand guards made by Taylor for the toes to bar. It was my first time wearing such things, and I kind-of liked them! But I definitely need to practice making them myself…Taylor wasn’t impressed with my attempt (I wish I could have taken a photo). I did kipping knees to elbow instead of the toes to bar and zoomed through the wall balls. Half-way through the cleans I realized I hadn’t changed my weight from the warm-up 65 (we did a mini WOD to warm up) to the need 95. Whomp whomp. Udder FAIL. I just continued through the WOD, pushing myself harder. I got through the cleans, then started on my (red) banded ring dips, another modification. I finished the WOD in the 14 minutes allotted.

Then Saturday morning I hit the pavement for 6 miles around the neighborhood. I’m trying to keep a routine of long(er) runs on the weekends until I really start upping my training for a half marathon in June. I had 6 miles on the docket, and none of my friends were around, so I turned on the tunes on my phone and belted out 6.3 miles in 1:00:54:

Mile 1 – 9:17
Mile 2 – 9:15
Mile 3 – 9:40
Mile 4 – 9:34
Mile 5 – 10:08
Mile 6 – 9:47
0.3 nubbin – 9:03
9:35 avg/mi

I did walk a little twice, but I definitely need to work on my pacing more and keeping things consistent. I felt great during my run. It was lower 50s and perfect weather.

I followed up the run with a 2-mile dog walk, which included a friend’s two dogs that I was dog sitting–let me tell you, the looks I got from people in my neighborhood when they saw me walking four dogs… LOL

4 dogs? No problem!

4 dogs? No problem!

I ended the weekend grilling some chicken breasts for M to have for dinner while I’m away in Pennsylvania, making chocolate chip cookies for the trip, and cheering on the guys at MOWCF for 14.4. One of our guys, Jon, made it through 8 muscle-ups (8!!). Rough WOD!

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Coach Taylor (right) and Iverson (left) attacking the 135 lb cleans during 14.4.

Your turn: How was your weekend?

Deadlifts? Yes! Box Jumps? No! CrossFit 14.3 Review

I realized I didn’t do a CrossFit Open 14.3 review, which is a shock because I am so proud of how I did!

For those who aren’t aware of what the 14.3 WOD was, here’s a review:

CrossFit Open
8 Minute AMRAP
10 deadlifts 135/95lb
15 box jumps 24/20
15 deadlifts 185/135 lb
15 box jumps
20 deadlifts 225/155 lb
15 box jumps
25 deadlifts 275/185 lb
15 box jumps
30 deadlifts 315/205 lb
15 box jumps

Before Friday, my one rep max deadlift was 175, which I was pretty proud of. When I watched the 14.3 live announcement, I didn’t think I would get close to the 185 round, so I didn’t think I had anything to worry about. I also knew that that many heavy deadlifts, plus box jumps, were going to be killer on my legs, especially after the long WOD we had the day before.

We set up for the WOD and Coach Brenton helped us set up so we could quickly change weights without much thinking. (Seriously, how did CrossFit expect us to be able to do math while lacking oxygen??) I warmed up with my 35lb bar and a couple of box jumps, then added my starting weights: 5 lb plates on the inside (which stayed on) and a 25lb plate on each side to start. The next round we’d add a 15lb plate. The third, remove the 15lb plate and add a second 25lb plate. The fourth, add the 15lb plate. That would total 185.

I started the WOD expecting to do box jumps the first two rounds, then depending on how my legs were, perform box step-ups (which were allowed). Well…I made it past the first round and decided that box step-ups would probably be faster than me taking my time shaking out my legs every couple of jumps.

When I got finished with the 155lb deadlifts, all I could think about was I was going to finish the step-ups with plenty of time to attempt the 185–whoa! I set up my weights and took a deep breath. Brenton stood next to me, reminding me to keep my back straight, shoulders back, and left with my legs first. One more deep breath and up I went…new deadlift PR of 185! Boom! Still some time left… Another deep breath….a second lift at 185. Still a little time left…a third. I squeezed out a fourth rep before time expired. My 1 rep max deadlift went from 175 to 185 in the span of 8 minutes, and became a 4-rep max. I finished 14.3 with 94 total reps…and a new deadlift PR.

2014-03-19 22.18.37

I didn’t get to cheer on my teammates on Sunday like previous weeks because I was out of town, but it looked like everyone did a solid job.

I’m excited to see what 14.4 brings us tonight. My guess is more heavy weights and gymnastics. Oi vey!

Your turn: How was your 14.3 attempt?

Low Key St. Patty’s Day & Irish Soda Bread Recipe

I hope everyone had a good weekend and good St. Patrick’s Day. First, I’d like to give a quick shout-out to Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean Blog. Every Sunday she does her “Sunday Food Prep” post and I was featured in her post this weekend! :-) I admit I haven’t done much food prep since that post, but I swear I will get back into it at a better level because it makes life so much easier!

I spent the weekend at my first dog agility trial since November and it was great to be back. The pups were great, I enjoyed seeing my friends, and I learned my handling wasn’t as rusty as I thought it’d be. We leave for the AKC National Agility Championships in a little more than a week, so I’m starting to get pumped.

M and I celebrated a low-key St. Patrick’s Day on Monday. Sunday night, when I got home from the agility trial, I was inspired to bake Irish Soda Bread for the holiday. I’ve made it a couple times before and I love it. This time I combined two recipes to make kind-of my own. I used Anne’s Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread and The Southern Lady Cooks’ Irish Soda Bread as my inspirations. What came out was a little sweeter, and more moist, bread that I’m obsessed with now.


Irish Soda Bread with Apples

3 tablespoons (in chunks) softened butter or margarine
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour
2 1/4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1 small apple, peeled and chopped (I used a Pink apple)
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 tablespoon lemon juice in 1 cup no-fat milk–this is what I did)

  1. Preheat oven to 375* F
  2. Combine the flours, sugar, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl.
  3. Using a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles fine crumbs.
  4. Stir in the buttermilk.
  5. Stir in the raisins and chopped apple.
  6. Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, until smooth. Shape into a round loaf and place on a greased baking sheet. Cut an X into the top of the dough about a half-inch deep. Baste with melted butter before placing in oven.
  7. Bake 35-45 minutes, until golden brown. Baste with melted butter half-way through baking.

I hadn’t thought of putting apple in until I saw Anne’s recipe. And I also mis-read the Southern Lady Cooks’ recipe and put in 1 cup of raisins instead of a 1/2 cup, but I love raisins, so I’m keeping it that way.

This was great with my scrambled egg whites for breakfast, plus a mid-morning snack at work.

And to top off the celebration, what else is better than green…..

My favorite Mexican restaurant had green house margaritas for the holiday!

My favorite Mexican restaurant had green house margaritas for the holiday!

margaritas! (You thought I was going to say beer, didn’t you??)

Your turn: What’s your favorite Irish recipe?

Good Reads: Crazy Journalists, CrossFit Rules, Spring Cleaning Challenge

Happy Friday!! Time to share some reads I’ve enjoyed lately.


20 Problems Journalists Deal With on a Daily Basis (NewsCastic): If you’re a journalist or freelancer like myself, you can totally agree with just about all of these. I can’t tell you how many times I struggle waiting for sources to call or email me back, and then when they do, sometimes it’s at the worst times (in the middle of a run, while walking my dogs, dinner with M, etc.). But as a freelancer, you just grin and bear it and ask to call them back, hoping they’ll answer…and you can meet deadline.

CrossFit 101: 22 Rules to Avoid Being THAT Athlete (CrossFit Surf City): It’d be great if  I could make a poster so we could hang it up at Man O’War CrossFit. I’m especially fond of making sure you’re coachable and to always cheer on everyone even if you’re the first to finish. I always cheer on my peers, and after an extremely rough upper body WOD on Wednesday that saw me being the last to finish, I was appreciative of my friends pushing me to get through the last 50 push-ups. You definitely also have to check your ego at the door in CrossFit. Which is your favorite rule?

7 Day Spring Clean Challenge (Perfectly F.I.T.T.): Spring is always a time to refresh your home and yourself! I love the idea of this challenge to kickstart the new season, and it starts March 17! Clean out your freezer, cabinets, fridge…your life! Join in!

What if Everyone Ran? (Mom’s Little Running Buddies): She took Mizuno’s clever series about what if everyone ran and added her own thoughts. Really cute and worth a read! What do you think would happen if everyone ran?

This weekend I’m headed to my first dog agility trial since November and I’m so excited! We have just two more weeks until I head to Pennsylvania for the AKC National Agility Championships. I hope you have a good weekend!

Your turn: Share one of your favorite reads from this week below!