The Traveling Runner

One of the best things about traveling is the great opportunity I have to run in fun and exciting places. I have been fortunate enough to run along a tiki-torch lit path in Maui; in balmy weather in Mexico; in and around Kensington Park and Palace in London; and along a Mediterranean beach front on the coast of Spain.

And this week, my job has been kind enough to indirectly support my travel and running habits because today, I ran along a fantastic pathway along the Pacific ocean. My 4-mile journal took me along cobblestones, gravel, and pavement, but all among the fresh, clean, and salty sea air. Not only did I have an amazing view of the water, but everything that comes with water, including sailboats, naval ships, and pelicans! Being away from home due to business is definitely hard. You’re not sleeping in your own bed, you live out of a suitcase, and you have to deal with airport hassles. Yet somehow, running in the cool, crisp air along the Bay in San Diego –  hearing the waves hit against the rocks, makes being away from home that much easier.

And, on my way back from my glorious run, there just so happened to be a Starbucks across from my hotel. Perfect timing and a perfect convenience…

11.1 breakfast

If you can’t tell, I tried to take a photo that incorporated my lovely latte with the perky palm trees below. However, this was not the extent of my breakfast. Raisin Bran Crunch awaited me in the staff lounge, taunting me a little because I arrived too late for the hot breakfast.

After setting up my meeting room and doing “work” things, it was time to head back to the staff lounge for a bit of lunch…

11.1 lunch1

I started with my version of a cosmopolitan salad, which was a mix of green leaf lettuce, squash, roasted veggies, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and bacon. It felt sooo good to eat a salad today, especially one with tons of goodies. My salad was quickly following by a cup of bake potato soup with a few fixins’…

11.1 lunch2

Hmmm… good, incredibly tasty and filling. 

There was no “dinner” per se tonight, only a series of buffet lines and pasta stations at an evening reception. I ended up having a little pasta with side of huge green olives and aged cheddar cheese. The food was actually really good – too bad I had to eat standing up – a situation I hate nearly as much as I hate eating in the car. But, when you’re tired, hungry, and are threatened with a group karaoke song, you just have to eat and then get the hell out of there!

On the way back from the reception, I stopped in our staff lounge and found that there were still 3 cupcakes left from yesterday! How fantastic because I just so happened to be craving a cupcake – a chocolate peanut butter cupcake to be exact….

11.1 dessert

This was definitely NOT as good as it would have been last night when I actually bought it, but it was still a melt-in-your-mouth, peanut buttery cupcake.

Now I must leave you for the evening before I fall asleep. 

Night all!

The "Glass Slipper" of Running Shoes

Hello Everyone!

I have to make this quick because the car service is picking me up for the airport at 6:45 AM tomorrow and it’s already 11 PM!

My day started like this…

10.29 shoes2

I had Happy Feet in my new 2010 Nike Air Pegasus running shoes! I have been wearing the Air Pegasus for about 10 years and absolutely love the way they feel. When I put these on for the first time a decade ago, it felt like Cinderella finally fitting into her glass slipper – a perfect fit – without the horse-drawn pumpkin.

Avid runners know how important finding the “right” running shoe is for their performance. Runners can also tell a good shoe from a bad shoe within seconds, many times without even trying the shoe one. And, when runners finally find their “glass slipper” of the running shoe – the perfect match in their running life – they rarely stray from that style of shoe, or at least the brand. I just pray Nike never puts my glass slipper out of commission!  

10.29 shoes1

So, with my new shoes on, I went out to run 4 miles in 55 degree weather – again, perfection! It was just beautiful outside this morning. At one point, I ran under a huge maple tree, with all of it’s leaves still on it, and a big gust of wind blew a shower of fresh leaves on top me. I love the Fall!

The rest of my day went like this:

  • Breakfast
  • Packing
  • Macy’s to return an item
  • Lunch with Scott
  • Hair appointment
  • Dentist appointment
  • Trip to the bank
  • Starbuck’s run
  • More packing
  • Dinner
  • More packing
  • Work/blogging

I literally had no time to rest today, except for when I was getting my hair done. However, I am very happy to report that I am all mostly packed and ready to go. But I still have a few more emails to answer before I go to bed.

Have a great night everyone and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow from my hotel room in San Diego!

Odwalla Choco-walla Disappoints a Hungry Runner

Happy Labor Day!

A few days ago, I made a quick run to Dominick’s, a grocery store that I had not been to in at least 6 months. Dominick’s is a typical grocery store, although it generally has higher prices than Jewell, the store that I frequent most often. Well, when I walked into Dominick’s I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had completely remodeled the store – it was now a cross between an upper-scale grocery store and Whole Foods. Perfect timing too, considering the backlash that Whole Foods is receiving. They had a ton of great deals too on specialty and health food items. In fact, I was able to buy 5 power bars, each for $1. I don’t normally buy powerbars but have recently been eating them to see if they help with my running performance.

9.5 powerbars

Of the 5 bars, I bought a CLIF bar, a LUNA bar, and 3 different Odwalla bars – one of which I had today. About 30 minutes before my run I tore open my new original flavor Odwalla bar…

9.7 Odwalla1

The original version, called the Choco-walla, is made with fruit, whole grains, and chocolate – all the things I love. Plus, it had a good amount of both protein and fiber. Well, it’s too bad I didn’t love this bar. Ok, I didn’t even like this bar. One taste and I knew this bar was not for me – the chocolate tasted chalky and it had another strange taste/flavor that didn’t sit well with me. I made myself eat 1/2 of it then I thew the rest in the trash. Well, that was only $.50 and 110 calories down the drain. But, I still have 2 more Odwalla bars to try, so we’ll see how that goes.

9.7 Odwalla2

After a few sips of water, to hydrate and to wash the weird taste out of my mouth, I headed out the door. On Mondays, I usually only do 4 mile runs because I’m pressed for time to get to work. Today, I ran a little over 40 minutes or 5 miles and felt GREAT! I think I might try doing a 7 or 8 miler next weekend.

I was really hungry again today after my run I did a shot of Zola’s Daily Wellness drink and then chowed on a big yogurt bowl…

9.7 breakfast2

I started with a carton of Trader Joe’s vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt and topped that with chopped watermelon, finely chopped Gala apples (fresh picked on Saturday!) and a few walnuts. So filling and yummy!

9.7 breakfast1

I absolutely love watermelon in yogurt and on vanilla ice cream. It’s a great mix of flavors and it gives you added vitamin C and antioxidants in every bite!

We’re headed out to the store now and then onto to the in-laws for a Labor Day dinner. Hope you all have a beautiful, fun, and relaxing Labor Day wherever you are!

Running in the Rain

Well, it is raining for the third day in a row. I know we need the rain but come on! When I woke up this morning, it was just drizzling a bit, so I laced up my running shoes and headed out the door. It was chilly so I wore running capris and a light rain parka with a hood. I was determined to not let the rain stop me – although I’m sure my ipod had other ideas. I actually don’t mind running in light rain. It definitely keeps me cool. A light misty rain also seems to clean away all of the dirt and grime from the ground and leaves things smelling fresher than before. And, somehow, everything just seems quieter, maybe because there are fewer people outside milling about. 

After my wet, but awesome run, I made a quick breakfast parfait….

8.28 breakfast

It almost looks like ambrosia salad in the photo! But really, it’s not. I mixed one container of Trader Joe’s nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt with strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts. 

Seeing as it is my day off, I leisurely got ready and then headed out the door to the mall to see if there were any end-of-summer deals. Well, no real deals to speak of, but Lucy’s Fall line of running gear looks very promising.

On my way back from the mall, I met my husband for lunch at our favorite Italian hot spot…

8.28 lunch1

I had a personal pizza topped with (very few) black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese – oh my, this was gooood!

8.28 lunch2

I also had a small Misto salad, made with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, topped with goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette.

8.28 lunch3

It’s time to clean up the house and do a little more reading before heading back out into the rain this afternoon.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Addicted to Running?

As many of you know by now, running is one of my passions and when I am not able to run, I get anxious and sometimes, downright cranky. This morning, it was pouring down rain again so I opted to not run. But, after making that choice, I began to feel guilty and anxious once more. Luckily, this feeling faded after I reminded myself that I have already run 3 times this week and have 2 more days left in the week to get in my runs. But, there was a time, a few years back, when missing a run would have devastated me.

Race the World

I am definitely not alone when it comes to feeling this need for running. New research from Tufts University shows that the endorphin rush of a “runner’s high,” can also provoke feelings of anxiety and despair when something prevents avid runners from getting in their daily running fix.

I know this feeling all too well. A few years ago, when I was training for the Chicago marathon, if I would even miss one run or have to shorten my workout I became very upset. When I look back at that time, I could have been addicted to running – and not in a good way.

After doing some research, I learned that there are definite signs of running or exercise addiction, including:

  • Missing important obligations (including work) to run
  • Giving up interests, like friends, to run more
  • Feeling depressed or irritable if you can’t run or workout
  • Running through illness or injury
  • And more

Jen-grass cropped

I think, at one point, I had the majority of these telltale signs. Thankfully, something happened that woke me up from my addiction – I became completely burnt out from running and decided to scale back my workouts. I also took up cross-training in the form of yoga. Both of these changes helped me tremendously, mentally and physically.  I am much more mellow about running now. If I miss a run, I may get a little irritated, but I know that there’s always tomorrow.

If you think you might be addicted to running or exercise, try slowing things down a bit by reducing the length of your runs or the number of times you run per week. Or, talk to a health-care professional, a personal trainer, or even a trusted friend about your potential addiction. Talking things out, might actually help you to find the root of your fixation and help you change your addictive attitude about running.

Top 15 Foods Runner's Should Eat

Good morning! Yes – I’m actually at work right now and it’s only 8:15 AM! All the stars and planets seemed align this morning so that I could actually get to work early rather than late. It helped that it was raining this morning so I didn’t end up running. I’ll be out there tomorrow though – bright and early!

For breakfast, I changed things up a bit. I have been eating cereal quite a bit, mostly because we bought industrial size boxes of Cheerios and Kashi so I feel like once they’re open, I have to finish them before I open anything else. I decided to change things up today….

8.20 breakfast2

I had a Thomas Multi-grain English muffin. These little muffins only have 100 calories and are packed with fiber – 8 g, that’s a LOT for a bread product. I topped my muffin with the last of my all-natural raspberry preserves and a couple dollops of all-natural creamy peanut butter. Too bad I didn’t run this morning, because this would have make an excellent post-run breakfast.

8.20 Breakfast

This got me thinking…as a runner, what exactly are the foods I should be eating to stay healthy and increase my performance? After doing a little research, I found 15 superfoods that Runner’s World recommends runners eat, at least on a weekly basis to improve performance and maintan overall health. I then assessed these superfoods to see if I was incorporating them into my overall diet. Let’s see how I’m doing….

Top 15 Foods Runner’s Should Eat

  1. Almonds – I definitely eat these on a weekly basis.
  2. Eggs – Hmm, I’m not much of an egg person, but I can try to eat more.
  3. Sweet Potatoes – Love these! But I don’t find them as convenient to make as other side dishes.
  4. Whole-grain cereal with protein – This is practically a staple for me!
  5. Oranges – Could definitely eat more of this, but oranges are so expensive so I find it a challenge to eat them every day.
  6. Canned Black Beans – Not a big fan of these unless they are part of another dish.
  7. Mixed salad greens – No problem in this area.
  8. Salmon – I do not eat seafood – so this is a big dilemma. 
  9. Whole-grain Bread – Yes, this is an every day food for me.
  10. Vegetables – Are you kidding me? I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t eat at least one vegetable.
  11. Whole-grain pasta – At least weekly, but I try not to overload on carbs.
  12. Chicken – This is a no brainer, I will likely turn into a chicken soon.
  13. Mixed Berries – Hmm, I definitely eat these when they are on sale, but I could use more.
  14. Dark Chocolate – At least weekly, if not daily. Now that I think about it, I probably eat a little too much of this!
  15. Low-fat Yogurt – Oh my – how could I not eat this weekly?

As far as the ideal runner’s diet, it seems that I’m not doing too bad. Although I do need to increase my intake of eggs, sweet potatoes (actually have these in the pantry right now!), oranges, and seafood (not gonna happen).

Whew, now that that’s out of the way, I’m going to make some Tazo Awake tea – too bad that’s not on the Runner’s World list!

Have a great day everyone!

The Runner's Headache

Hey everyone. I’m not having the greatest day today. I went to bed with headache, woke up at 5:30 AM with a headache, and still have one now. I did end up going running though and it was really rough. It almost felt like I was drained/dehydrated, but I don’t think I was. This feeling of having a dull (sometimes throbbing), constant headache, is what I refer to as The Runner’s Headache. This is because it always seems to start after a run and then continue on for days.

After my not so great run, I made a huge bowl of energizing oatmeal.

8.14 breakfast

I started with 1/2 cup rolled oats (not the quick kind) and added 1 cup of skim milk. I popped that in the microwave for 2 1/2 minutes then added 2 big strawberries and a dollop of all-natural creamy peanut butter. I think this was the first time I’ve added peanut butter to oatmeal and it was awesome. I am so glad that peanut butter is good for you because I absolutely love the stuff.

After my hearty, fiber- and protein-filled breakfast, I ran a few errands. The whole time, I still could not shake the headache, even though I drank at least 2 water bottles full of water. I thought a little caffeine might help, so I stopped at Starbuck’s for a mocha frap. It tasted great, but still did nothing for my headache.

I headed home and contemplated lunch. I really wasn’t that hungry because I didn’t feel well, but I knew I had to eat something. I pulled out some of the homemade split-pea soup I made a few weeks ago ….

8.14 lunch

My husband questioned whether or not the soup would really taste good after being frozen, but honestly, it tasted like it was just made today!

Now I’m off to take a nap, which I rarely do (only when I’m sick). But, I’m hoping it will do the trick to zap my headache away. See you all at dinner.

Exercise Alone Won't Help You Lose Weight

Hello All, 

I just read a fabulous article in TIME magazine how exercise alone might not help people lose weight. Yoga Ball

The article reviews several studies that show exercise alone does not lead to weight loss and may actually lead to weight gain, and here’s why:

TIME, August 2009: 

“The basic problem is that while it’s true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn’t necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder.”

This is known as The Compensation Problem. You workout 5-7 days a week and feel that you are either 1) entitled to having that quart of ice cream a night or a few donuts each day or 2) So hungry from your hardcore workout that you eat everything in site. In reality, the calories that you are consuming greatly exceed those that you are burning. This is why cardio fanatics might have a hard time losing weight. 

I won’t get into all of the details of the article, but I will tell you that from experience, this article does have some very interesting points. I for one have seen how too much exercising, followed by too much eating, can backfire on you, either making me gain weight or taking a toll on my overall health.


A few years ago, when I was training for a marathon, I followed a marathon training program to the letter for probably 3 months. Even though I had already been running for several years, I had never done a marathon. After doing a little research, I kept coming across two main tips for marathon training: 1) follow a marathon training program, and 2) increase your carbohydrate in take. I followed both of these tips. 

Right around the third month of training, I had a few family photos taken at a wedding. When I finally got the pictures developed (back when digital cameras weren’t very popular) I was absolutely shocked at how puffy, bloated, and heavy I looked. How could this be? I was running a ton – so wasn’t I burning a ton of calories too? I realize now that in addition to the massive amounts of carbs I was consuming, I was also so ravenous during my training that I was eating gigantic portions of food. Point Blank – I was taking in way more calories than I was expending, and most of those calories were from carbs.


After running a 1/2 marathon (as part of the full marathon training program) I decided not to run the full marathon. For me, that was the best decision I could make at the time. I still continued to run, but decreased my milage dramatically and went back to eating a normal diet and a normal amount of carbs. Low and behold, my appetite went back to normal, I was less tired and cranky, AND I lost weight. I had another picture taken (actually my engagement picture) taken a couple months later and was so happy that I looked normal again, no bloat, no puffiness, just a thinner and healthier me.

Although I do still hope to run a marathon some day, for now I’m content with running my 20 miles a week with the occasional 5 or 10K thrown in.

I personally don’t advocate forgoing exercise and relying on calorie intake alone for weight loss or maintenance. Your body needs exercise, especially for cardiovascular health. And, it’s really all about balance. Just like the saying goes, too much of a good thing – whether it’s exercise or food –  can hurt you…or at least not help you.

If you can find a balance between regular exercise and healthy and proportional eating (based on height, weight, calorie expenditure) you should be able to reach your healthy weight and fitness goals without having to resort to excessive measures.