A Runner Is Born…

(Photo source)

As some of you know, I’ve been a runner for more than 20 years. For someone who is only in her 30s, that’s a pretty long time to be a runner. Colleagues, friends, family members, and even bloggers have asked me why and how I started running. Good question. Every runner has a story about how and why he/she started running – and this, my friends, is mine….

When I was a Freshman in high school, I played on the girls fast-pitch softball team. I was a pitcher, and a pretty good one too. At the beginning of the season, I was told that I would be moved up to varsity by the end of the year. At that point, I decided softball would be my life. Little did I know that my dream of becoming a major league women’s softball star would become derailed just as quickly as I could throw a pitch.

“You can swim…or you can run”

A few weeks after the start of the season, my throat began to hurt and I started running a high fever. My throat began to swell, so much that it was hard to swallow, and sometimes, even breath. I was extremely tired and felt weak all over. After a trip to the doctor, I learned that I had mononucleosis, the kissing disease, as it was so lovingly called in my school (I swear I contracted it from the softball water bottles!) I was told by the doctor that I could not play softball or any contact sports for the rest of the year because of the risk they posed to my enlarged spleen. Fearing I would gain weight and be out of shape for next softball season, I asked the doctor what I could do to stay in shape. He replied, “You can swim…or you can run.”

When Life Hands You Lemons…

Not being much of a swimmer, I contemplated running. I never really gave it much thought before that day. However, I always ran faster and farther than the other girls on my softball team during our mile warm-up lap around the school. In the next few days, I was approached by the girls’ track coach, who just happened to be the former coach of the national women’s cross country team. He had heard about my softball situation and suggested I join the track team (apparently, he had seen me run during softball practice). So, running it was.

Just like softball a few months before, running quickly became my life. For four years, I ran on the track and cross country teams. During this time, I learned a great deal about running. My coach and the seasoned runners on the team taught me about warm ups, cool downs, running form, pacing, interval running, proper stretching….and about racing.

Convincing Myself…

Despite this new-found love for running, I didn’t call myself a runner nor did I think I was any good at it. Although others may have seen me as a runner, I was constantly trying to prove (to myself) that I was a runner. Throughout college, I did strenuous running drills, because I thought that’s what real runners did. I entered road races, because I thought that’s what real runners did. I didn’t win the races, but often finished in the middle of the pack or even at the end. Yet somehow, just being involved in racing made me qualify as a runner, or so I thought.

On Being a Runner…

Fast-forward 20 years. After many years of running and many races under my belt, I now know that it’s not winning or even racing that makes you a runner. It’s about the commitment to running and the enjoyment and benefit you receive from running. But most of all, it’s about the desire to run.

If I were asked today, how do you know you’re a runner? I would reply – You will know when you’re a runner because you will run even when there is no race, no finish line, and no fans.

Yes, I am definitely a runner.

As I said, everyone has a story about how he/she starting running, biking, doing yoga, etc. So, what’s your story?

Surprise! It's A Boy…And A Girl

Hello out there! It has been nearly 6 months since I started Running With Cake. Like most of you, I don’t reveal all of my surprises right away, if at all. Some information needs to be kept close for security purposes or for other sensitive reasons.

What I’m getting to is this. Surprise! Scott and I are the parents of two young children! Our son, let’s call him Mr. C, is 4 and our daughter, we’ll call her Miss M, is 2 (very James Bond-esque names, don’t ya think ;-)). They, along with my husband, bring me so much happiness just by their presence.


There they are, looking out onto the orchard where we went apple picking in September.

I chose not to mention my children for many reasons, but here are a few top ones:

  1. Safety/security reasons – too many crazies out there!
  2. I wanted this blog to be about my health habits and not a mommy blog (but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with mommy blogs)
  3. I didn’t want to be one of those people who talks about their kids all the time

So, as I’ve been writing the past 6 months, retelling my daily eating habits, health habits, and overall life events, my children have been with me 100% of the way. They have actually been a key part of my healthy lifestyle. I mean, how can you NOT be healthy chasing after two little ones?? I’m also a firm believer that our children will follow our lead, so I’m trying to not only be healthy for me, but also to set an example for them. I want them to grow up loving exercise and sports, while also knowing the importance of healthy and balanced eating. My son often says, “Mom, when I get bigger, I’m going to run with you.” For a mother and a runner, that is a sentence that brings me tears of joy.

Going forward, I don’t know how much I will mention Mr. C and Miss M, if at all, but know that they are still a huge part of my life and my heart.

By the way, if you think you have a crazy and stressful life, take a look at mine.

Jennifer (aka Running With Cake) is a…

  • Wife of a successful entrepreneur 
  • Mother of two
  • Career women with a full-time senior-level position
  • Author of two blogs
  • Aspiring Personal Trainer (studying for the exam!) 
  • An avid runner
  • A frequent traveler (for work mostly)
  • A neat freak

Whew! Can I have any more responsibility in my life! 🙂

Night all!

RWC: A New Health and Fitness Challenge

Hi All! I have some very exciting news to report! First, let me give you a little background.

For years, I have played the part of the communications professional – I’ve been a journalist-health writer, a health-care public relations practitioner, and a public speaking instructor at a university. Although I’ve loved everything that I’ve done related to these positions, I’ve always felt like something was missing.

Women's Health Month: www.flickr.com/photos/36645092@N02/3971742249

Also during this time, and actually quite a bit before this time, I have been interested in health and fitness – not only for myself but for family, friends, and eventually my husband. However, in recent days, I’ve felt like I need to take this passion to the next level – make it official somehow. I’ve been contemplating switching careers, going back to school to earn a more health-care related degree. However, at this point in time, it’s just not practical for me.

So, I have decided to embark on a new journey, one that takes me on a path toward health and fitness but allows me to fit this new knowledge and training into my current lifestyle. Does anyone care to guess what I will be doing??

Woman on yoga ball

In just a few short weeks I will begin the training process to earn my Personal Training Certification. Although expensive and time-consuming (especially around the holidays) I am completely committed to this challenge. I admit, I’m both excited an a little nervous about the certification program – I mean, I haven’t taken a test in YEARS!

I am definitely not going to be quitting my day job. In fact, I really like what I do for the most part, I just feel like I need MORE in my life than what I do during the day. Blogging about health and fitness filled this void somewhat. But even then, the advice about health/fitness was more personal advice – what worked for me. By becoming certified, I will know truly that the advice I’m giving is coming from a sound and strong knowledge base.

I am very excited and relieved to be sharing this news with all of you. Telling all of you seems to make it more official, more real. I plan to chronicle the certification process on Running With Cake – all of the highs and lows of studying, testing, taking, and practicums, etc. I hope that you will stick by me through the whole process. Because, I will definitely need the fitness blogging community now more than ever!

And with that my fellow fitness and food bloggies, I will say good night!

Bear Naked Goodies!

Running With Cake Fact: I used to work at Disney World (Magic Kingdom) on the College Program and that’s where I met my husband. Anyone want to guess where I worked?

Hey All!

It’s my day off today as usual and I’ve spent it running errands and cleaning the house! The fun just never ends 🙂

This morning I ran a very relaxing 4 miles. It was a typical “fall” morning, with leaves beginning to fall off the trees and a cool, crisp breeze in the air. I left the house around 7:30 AM which is prime school bus time in my area. I must have seen a half dozen school buses in a matter of 15 minutes.

After my run, I enjoyed a nice, leisurely breakfast. I forgot to mention last night that yesterday, while I was at work, I received a sample of Bear Naked’s new banana nut cereal! Yeah- I love goodies!

9.25 Bear Naked

The cereal is 100 percent all natural and is made with banana chips, oats, dried apples, and walnuts – everything I LOVE! The cereal itself kind of reminded me of Kashi cereal, only with a little more sweetness and not as crunchy. Instead of just eating this as plain cereal, I decided to add it to some Trader Joe’s nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt.

9.25 breakfast1

See it laying on my yogurt – all nice and crispy? Just before I took the plunge, I had a revelation – I should really add peanut butter to this, I thought! And, so I did! I added 1 tbsp of MaraNatha all natural creamy peanut butter right on top.

9.25 breakfast2

Oh my, this was just about perfection! The taste of bananas, chocolate, oats, and the yogurt were fantastic! And the mixture was so thick and creamy – like a little bowl of goopy heaven…

9.25 breakfast3

I washed everything down with Day 25 of Zola’s Daily Wellness shot. Only 5 more days and I will have completed my challenge!

After running a few errands, it was time for a quick lunch. I grilled a homemade turkey-vegetable burger..

9.25 lunch1

A few weeks ago, I took a 1/2 pound of ground turkey and mixed it with a bunch of finely chopped veggies, like carrots, onions, and peppers. I froze 4 very nice size patties from the bunch. Even though I slightly over grilled the burger, it was awesome – so full of flavor.

9.25 lunch2

I paired the burger with a side of all-natural tortilla chips and Frontera salsa – so spicy and yummy!

Tonight, Scott and I are headed out to dinner to start our anniversary weekend celebration! As of September 28, we will have been married for 8 years – I can hardly believe it! Since our anniversary falls on a Monday, we thought we’d celebrate the whole weekend before our big day. 

For those of you who do not know me, Scott and I met while working at Disney World in Orlando on the College Program. He also proposed to me at the Magic Kingdom right when the fireworks were going off – he’s such a Disney romantic. Ahh, so many fun memories!

All right, see you all tonight – or maybe tomorrow morning 😉

Sunday Morning With Bob Marley

Running With Cake Fact: I ONLY run in Nike running shoes. I haven’t worn any other running shoe since high school.

Hey all!

It’s so nice to actually sleep in on a Sunday. Before I started my typical run, I had a little pre-run snack..

9.20 Luna1

I had 1/2 of one of my LUNA bars – Nutz Over Chocolate. I usually only eat power bars half at a time. Any more than that and I’m afraid I may feel too full during my run.

9.20 Luna2

As far as nutrients, this bar had 180 calories, 10 g of protein, and 3 g of fiber. Plus, it combined two of my favorite things – nuts and chocolate! The bar tasted awesome…I just really wish that there was more fiber in it.

My run consisted of a quick 5-miler. Although I was well-rested and it was a gorgeous morning, I just wasn’t in the mood for a longer run – I’m sure you all have been there.

I wasn’t too hungry when I came home from my run, so I ate a simple breakfast of fresh, whole fruit…

9.20 breakfast1

A super yummy pear! I used to hate pears as a kid – I’m not sure why, maybe it was the texture. Now I love them – although they have to be pretty ripe for my taste.

9.20 breakfast2

After the pear, I still had a taste for something a little sweet, so I picked out a few fresh strawberries….

9.20 breakfast3

Now these beauties were VERY sweet and juicy! Just like watermelon, I am sooo going to miss strawberries in the winter.

The rest of the morning/early afternoon was spent house cleaning. My in-laws are coming for dinner and somehow, the house looked like a tornado swept through it. It’s not as if I don’t clean EVERY day, so how does it get like this?

While cleaning, I listened to the melodic sounds of Bob Marley. I typically can’t wait to listen to Bob Marley, Jimmy B, and all of the other summer favorites. But this summer wasn’t that hot and most of the time, it just didn’t feel like summer. Hence, Bob and Jimmy were barely played at all the last few months. I guess today was as good a day as any to bring them back out for a final summer fling. Now, for the next month or so, it will be my Autumn transition music (what I play until I’m allowed to play Christmas music in the house), including Jack Johnson, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and plenty of classical.

I stopped mid-cleaning and had a simple lunch…

9.20 lunch

…which was a 1/2 salami and ham sandwich with cheddar cheese, and Mezzetta hot peppers, all on 12-grain Brownberry bread. Plus, I had a handful of carrots and my tasty Cape Cod potato chips!

We’re making homemade minestrone soup for dinner tonight, so I’d better get chopping! 

See you all tonight!

Lazy Friday

Running With Cake Fact: I’ve run in 23 of the 50 United States, as well as Washington, DC.

Hello All! I’ve had such a full day already and it’s not even 2 PM. Friday is my typical day off so I slept in just a tad (6:45 AM but I usually get up before 6!) and was out the door running shortly thereafter. I love my Friday runs. It’s so nice running at whatever pace I want, knowing that I don’t have to rush to get to work. I decided to do an easy 4 miles, and save my longer run for Sunday. 

I forgot to eat my 1/2 powerbar before running so by the time I came back, I was crazy hungry. That’s what I get for eating cereal for dinner the night before a run! So, what did this famished girl have for breakfast….

9.18 breakfast2

You guessed it! More cereal…well it was actually a mixture of 2 cereals and 1 granola. I mixed 1/2 cup of Kashi Go Lean Crunch with 1/2 Kashi Go Lean (both are super high in fiber) and then added 1/2 cup of Cascadian Farm dark chocolate almond granola – a perfect cereal trifecta if you will. But, I seriously think my eyes were bigger than my stomach because the bowl of cereal ended up being HUGE! And, I ate it all! But, I am happy to say that this big bowl of cereal kept me satisfied all the way to lunch.

9.18 breakfast1

After a little breakie, I packed up my things and headed to Target. It was just a regular Target – not a superstore or anything. But, I was amazed and happy to find that LUNA bars were on sale for $1.00! I promptly snagged three…

9.18 LUNA bars

Out of all of the powerbars I’ve been eating lately, so far LUNA is the best. And, I love that they have extra vitamins/nutrients specifically for women. 

After my Target run, I scooted over to the local Italian cafe to pick up a carry-out lunch…

9.18 lunch

..a cup of minestrone soup and a 1/2 veggie panini. I usually get the veggie pizza when I go to this cafe, but I was in the mood for a sandwich. This was my first time eating the veggie panini and it was fantastic! It had spinach, red peppers, tomato, onion, provolone, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomato pesto. I’m glad that it was only a 1/2 because I don’t think I could have eaten a whole.

Now, I think it’s time for a little break. The book I started reading last night – Improper English – is ok so far. The heroine is actually a tad too crass for me. I can’t believe that a girl would actually be saying some of these things, but it’s fiction, right? Anyway, I’m off to read a little more.

Have a great afternoon!

Just one of those days….

Running With Cake Fact….I’ve run in 8 countries, not including the United States.

Well, it’s just one of those days. You know, when you’re so tired that you just want to go home and crash. I worked until 11:30 PM last night on “office” related-projects and then didn’t fall asleep until after midnight. And, I spent 2 1/2 hours in a work meeting this morning, to which I was very actively involved, regarding the new staff training that is occurring tomorrow. Blah!

When 1 PM rolled around, I was feeling very weak, and rightly so considering I had only eaten a nectarine since I woke up…

9.16 breakfast

It was very sweet and juicy, but still not enough to get me through 6 hours!  So, after my grueling morning, I decided to treat myself to lunch.

9.16 lunch

I had the most delicious chicken and wild rice soup EVER from the local Italian restaurant near work. It was incredibly rich and creamy and had the best flavor! I wish I could recreate this soup at home. If anyone has a great recipe for chicken and wild rice soup, please don’t hold back!

Gotta run now. I’m trying to get out of here by 4:30 so I can enjoy at least some of this gorgeous day!

See you all tonight!