On: Fall Running Gear

It’s fall, and it’s time for a gear update, so here is what I’m running in these days:

Balega Socks: I’ve ran in them for about 3 years now and my feet have never been happier.

Prana Poppy running shorts-still a fan of the fit and lightweight material

Prana Capri pants for the cooler mornings and evenings

My favorite method of tracking pace, time, mileage, and heart rate: The Garmin Forerunner 210 does it all!

And a little extra help from the Brooks Pure Connect

What are you running in this fall?

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On: Gluten Free Cava Pear Crisp

My mother in law does an amazing job of making gluten free desserts for me, and most recently made me a gluten free peach crumble crisp. My in-laws are awesome scandinavian people with no food allergies so the effort that goes into making dishes for the celiac, lactose intolerant, portuguese girl (myself) is always highly appreciated. The peach dish sparked the inspiration for the cava infused pear crisp that I made as a treat for my husband and myself last night.




The inside:

1 cup Cava (or other sparkling white wine)

2 pears cut into small cubes

1 tbs. honey (heated for easy distribution)

The crust:

1.5 cups coconut flour

1 tbs coconut oil

1/2 cup organic granulated sugar


Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees fahrenheit

Place cubed pears into a medium sized corning ware dish (or other bakeware). Drizzle cava and honey over the pears.

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, coconut flour, and coconut oil and mix with a large wooden spoon until chunky and evenly mixed.

Evenly spread crust mix over pear mix.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until top is golden brown. Remove and allow to cool, serve warm, perhaps with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dairy free substitute.

Serves 4. Or 2 with adults in the evening and 2 adults again in the morning for breakfast. If that is your thing.






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On: Why Physical Activity is Important for Women with Breast Cancer

A recent study in the medical journal Cancer found that two thirds of patients with breast cancer reported lower than recommended levels of physical activity. In a study of 1,735 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 35% of them met the current standard of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. The study investigated racial differences in physical activity and found that African American women were less likely to meet national physical activity guidelines after diagnosis than their Caucasian counterparts. The researchers concluded that “despite compelling evidence demonstrating the effects of physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer, it is clear that more work needs to be done to promote physical activity in patients with breast cancer, especially African American women.”

Research indicates that physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer may be beneficial in improving quality of life, reducing fatigue, and enhancing energy. According to the National Cancer Institute, both reduced physical activity and the side effects of treatment have been linked to weight gain after a breast cancer diagnosis. One study found that women who exercised 3 to 5 hours per week at an average exertion after a diagnosis of breast cancer had improved survival rates compared with more sedentary women. The benefit was particularly pronounced in women with hormone responsive tumors. Another study found that a home-based physical activity program had a beneficial effect on the fitness and psychological well-being of previously sedentary women who had completed treatment for early-stage through stage II breast cancer.  For more information on the benefits of exercise for individuals with breast cancer visit:


If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, a physical therapist specializing in women’s Health or oncology is highly beneficial in creating a safe, individualized exercise program during and after breast cancer treatment. Stay tuned for Breast Cancer appropriate Pilates exercises.

Make your day great,


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On: Why myofascial rolling with a self massage device is beneficial

Great news for those who do not have time or money for regularly scheduled massages: self massage devices such as “The Stick”have been shown in a recent study to reduce post workout soreness and pain.

Investigators in this study published in The International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy examined the effectiveness of the inexpensive massage tool on reducing hamstring muscle soreness after a high intensity exercise. More specifically, this study sought to investigate the acute (short term) effect of massage with the Theraband Roller Massager on delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).

DOMS, the syndrome that leaves runners walking like the Tinman after a demanding run is a common phenomenon following new exercises or overtraining. Muscle pain and stiffness are experienced often 24-48 hours following the workout, and can be alleviated with ice, stretching, and massage.

Researchers in this study found that participants that utilized the roller massager experienced significantly lower levels of pain and stiffness than those receiving no treatment. We may extrapolate that foam rolling the legs may deliver similar benefits.

All things considered, self massage techniques have been show to reduce muscle pain and stiffness, and should allow runners to be ready to workout quicker with less discomfort. This however should not be utilized as a replacement for treatment from a qualified health care provider. If pain does not significantly reduce in 48 hours and involves a joint, seek attention from a physician and or physical therapist for proper diagnosis and treatment of the ailment.


roller massagerTheraband roller massager



This is an unsponsored post.


Jay K, Sundstrup E, Sondergaard S, et al. Specific and cross over effects of massage for muscle soreness: a randomized controlled trial. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014;9(1)

Take care, and make your day great!


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On: Gluten Free Pasta with Chicken and Portobello Mushrooms

Following in my usual course of easy prep and quick cook time, this little recipe is a gem. I bought a Costco pack of portobello mushrooms and it was a race against the clock for my husband and I to eat them, thus they found a happy home in a bed of noodles snuggled with lean chicken breast, olive oil, and garlic. Enjoy!



2-3 Portobello mushrooms, sliced

2 cups (dry) Gluten free noodles ( I used Goldbaums brown rice noodles this time)

2 lean chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes

1/3 cup Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and 2 tbs. for cooking the chicken

2 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. black pepper



Heat 2 tbs. EVOO in a large pan on medium heat, add garlic and sautee for 3-5 min. Meanwhile, cook gluten free pasta according to package instructions.

Add chicken to the pan with garlic and EVOO and cook thoroughly. Once the chicken has cooked, add sliced mushrooms and cook evenly for 5-7 minutes.


Once the noodles have cooked, strain and add contents of chicken/ mushroom pan. Add 1/3 cup EVOO and pepper according to taste.

Serves 4

Enjoy, and make your day great!




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On: Pacific Crest Sports Festival-A race review

To say that Sunriver, the location of Pacific Crest Sports Festival, is gorgeous is an understatement. Located in central Oregon, approximately 20 minutes from Bend, this vacation villiage offers a myriad of recreational opportunities for outdoor recreational enthusiasts. During the winter it is packed with skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers who make the short drive up to Mt. Bachelor, while the summer brings runners, cyclists, mountainbikers, kayakers, and stand up paddle boarders.

The Pacific Crest Sports Festival capitalizes on all that the area has to offer with a weekend packed with a race for all abilities and vices. Rather bike than run? Rather stick a fork in your eye than swim? Duathalons, triatholons of all distances, pure cycling events, marathon, half-marathon, 10k, and kids fun runs are all available throughout the weekend. One would think that with all this activity chaos might ensue, but on the contrary, this was one of the most organized races I have ever run in. All race staff and volunteers were friendly and helpful, the course was meticulously marked, and the trails and paths accommodated the masses.

I opted for the half-marathon this year. The race began in the epicenter of Sunriver, at The Village, a retail and restaurant plot. The course weaves through the vacation homes on primarily paved paths and roadways. The course is flat, with a few minor rolling hills (very minor), though the race is at altitude with the Pacific Crest mantra stating “Sea level is for sissies”.


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Did I mention it was gorgeous?

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Because it was gorgeous.



Mt. Bachelor

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And the medal could double as a coffee cup coaster.

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This is truly a race worth traveling for, especially for out of state runners. There is so much to enjoy about this part of the state, and excellent food and microbrews as a reward for your efforts in Bend afterwards. If you go, try to either rent a house in Sunriver (available in all sizes), stay at the lodge, or for the Oregon camping experience, stay in my family’s favorite camping ground at Elk Lake. This offers “A” frame cabins with beds and bunks (no running water), or tent camp sites at a gorgeous mountain lake.


As far as my finish time goes, despite having a cold, this momma finished in under 2:00. For my next race, I will be running as an official pacer for the Run the Rogue Half-Marathon here in Medford. I’ll be pacing the 1:50 group on a flat and fast course, and am very much looking forward to pushing some of my amazing Southern Oregon Runners club members across the finish line.

Make your day great!




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On: How to run downhill

The subtitle to this article should be “without falling or hurting your knees”, because there comes a point in every runner’s life where one of these unceremoniously happens to you. Whether in a race or a training run, the added benefit of ascent is the speed and freedom of the descent. The problem is harnessing body mechanics and gravity into the perfect symphony for speed and not disaster.

Let us discuss mechanics. When running downhill, the initial instinct may be to attempt to decelerate the body by leaning back with the trunk, and striking the ground heel first. These two actions paired together increase the ground reaction forces through the legs significantly. Additionally, by leaning back, increased pressure is put into the low back, which can lead to a back injury as well.

Conversely, flying downhill willy nilly and out of control can lead to strain in the knees and low back as well, not to mention the prospect of a fall which can lead to face planting (add insult to injury if there are witnesses).

So how then, do we safely get down hill simultaneously clipping time off our pace and running safely? First and foremost, utilize your core musculature. Draw your belly button in towards your spine, and bend forward slightly with your whole trunk, flexing at the hips. The lean should be approximately 10 degrees, and your line of vision should fall 4-5 feet in front of your feet, not on the feet themselves. This will prevent you from leaning too far over your feet (again, face planting =bad).

The turnover of running stride should increase slightly as a product of shortening of the stride length. This will promote midfoot strike and help decrease the likelihood of heavy heel first striking down the hill, thus decreasing force through the legs and low back. Some runners benefit from self talk as they negotiate difficult terrain. A mantra to remain “light like a feather” on your feet is a helpful one.

Finally, arms should be utilized to maintain balance. Arm swing may increase a bit in swing excursion front to back, though they should not drift away from the body from side to side unless you are actually falling.

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“Beyond mountains there are mountains”- Haitian proverb

Make your day great,



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