Surviving a Taper. And a Monday.

Happy Marathon Monday folks! I’m in a taper week and Saturday will a beautiful 30k trail race around Lost Creek Lake in Southern Oregon. Taper week will be a great or as nerve racking as we make it. My incredibly wise advice to myself: trust in your preparation, eat clean, and do some Pilates and Yoga. Earth shattering, I know.

For your Monday enjoyment, here are some fun running quotes. The last one is a bit vulgar, but funny. And true.

“Jogging is very beneficial. It’s good for your legs and your feet. It’s also very good for the ground. It makes it feel needed.”
–Charles Schulz, “Peanuts”

“Remember, the second most important thing to choosing the right shoe, is choosing the left one.”
— High school coach to his runners

“The trouble with jogging is that the ice falls out of your glass.”
–Martin Mull

Runner's Quote

Make your Monday great my friends!


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Strawberry Peach Green Smoothie

There is an old adage that one good choice begets another. I often find that after a run or hard workout all I want is a really delicious smoothie-easy to digest and great fuel to replace what I have burned off. It is such a good feeling to give your body vitamins and nutrients that it desperately needs, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be done on workout days. The protein smoothie has been having a moment for several years now, though some are more healthy than others. Today’s recipe is non-dairy, and high in protein thanks to spinach, the amazing wonder green. Spinach is touted for its nutrients including Vitamins A, C, and K. It is also known for it’s provision of iron, calcium, and folate, which makes it a very handy vegetable to have when you are pregnant, or training, but lets be honest, we should take care of our bodies on a daily basis regardless of activity level.

The strawberry and peach in this recipe adds a little treat to the mix. I use frozen organic fruit for the added cold factor and because it is a great choice during off season months in order to get great flavor, though fresh fruits in season are always a good idea.

Strawberry Peach Green Smoothie blend


4 cups spinach

2 cups rice milk

1 cup strawberries

1 cup peaches

Directions: Blend until smooth. Easy.

Strawberry Peach Green Smoothie

Yield: 4 cups of smoothie, at 2 cup per servings this can be shared, or enjoyed in the morning and then later.

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 194

Protein: 8 grams

Saturated fat: 0 grams

Sugar: 24 grams

Enjoy and make your day great!


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Gluten Free Spicy Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

My mother in law left us with some live butter lettuce over the weekend, and it proved to be perfect for making lettuce wraps with. This truly decadent lettuce holds it’s form to make the perfect flexible wrap to hold safe veggies and meat. In this particular recipe I utilized meat, vegetables, and a block of tofu as well.

Live Butter Lettuce


1 Block Firm Tofu

4 oz. Ground turkey meat

2 green bell peppers-diced

2 green onions-diced

1 tsp. garlic salt

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1/4 cup Tamari Sauce-or other gluten free soy sauce

3 tbs. chili paste

1 bundle live butter lettuce-washed and pulled from base

1 tbs. coconut oil

Spicy Gluten Free Turkey Lettuce Wraps


In a large sauce pan warm coconut oil over medium heat. Place ground turkey into pan and brown, cooking thoroughly. Once turkey has been thoroughly cooked, add tofu and cook for 8 minutes until tofu has a slightly brown tint as well.

Then, add chopped green peppers and green onion. Sprinkle in garlic salt, black pepper. Then add Gluten free Tamari sauce and chili paste. Stir thoroughly and continue to cook until vegetables are softened.

Serve by placing scoopfuls into butter lettuce.

Spicy Gluten Free Turkey Lettuce Wraps 2

Serves 4-6. Enjoy!

Make your day great,


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Gluten Free Vegan Southwest Quinoa Bowls

It is entirely possible to cook tofu in a way that mimics meat, if you are into that sort of thing. My husband tends to like his tofu to mimic meat as much as humanly possible, so I was very pleased to make this bowl of goodness for him the other night in lieu of meat. The combination of beans, tofu, and quinoa makes for good dose of protein and a meal that will stick with you without weighting you down. Enjoy!

Southwest quinoa protein bowls


1 block organic firm tofu

1 can organic black beans

2 cups quinoa

1 cup organic corn

1 lime

1 cucumber chopped

2 tbs. cumin-divided between quinoa mixture and tofu

1 green bell pepper- chopped into small pieces

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. garlic salt

1 tsp. coconut oil

1/2 cup olive oil


In a medium pot, cook quinoa in 4 cups of boiling water. While quinoa is cooking, heat coconut oil in a medium sauce pan. Cut tofu into 1 inch cubes and place into the sauce pan. Cook evenly on all sides over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1 tbs. cumin evenly over tofu, then add 1 tsp. chili powder evenly distributed. Cook tofu until it is lightly browned on all sides.

Southwest cooked tofu

In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic salt, remaining 1 tbs. cumin, and juice from the lime.

Once quinoa is cooked, pour into a large bowel. Add in corn, green bell pepper, black beans, and cucumber. Mix well, then pour olive oil and seasoning mix in and mix thoroughly. Serve in bowels and place tofu pieces on top.

quinoa vegan southwest bowlEverything good all in one bite.

Enjoy, and make your day great!


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Gluten Free Banana Coconut Bread with Strawberry Reduction

As promised, here is the Part II to my original post last week, new and improved with a strawberry reduction. In case you missed the original post, here it is:

The strawberry reduction brings this from a breakfast bread to a dessert. I have served this to a few different gluten eating individuals and they were pleased with it, so this eats like regular dessert, I promise!

Gluten Free Banana Coconut Cake with Strawberry Reduction

Ingredients and Instructions for Cake:

2 dates

2 eggs

3 bananas

3 tsp. honey

1/2 cup rice milk

3 tbs. coconut oil

2 cups coconut flour

1 tsp. vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a circular cake pan with additional coconut oil.  Then, in an a standing mixer bowl, mix eggs, dates, rice milk, vanilla, and 3 tbs. coconut oil until blended. Add honey and mix, then add bananas and mix. Then, slowly add in coconut flour while mixer is on a low setting, and mix thoroughly.

Mixture is going to have a bit of a crumbly consistency once blended thoroughly. Pour contents into cake pan, and gently press mixture in to create a gently packed, even and flat consistency.

Gluten free banana coconut cake

Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes. Edges will appear brown when cake is done.

Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

Banana Coconut Bread Cake Makes a beautiful, non-crumbly cake!

Ingredients For Strawberry Reduction:

2 Cups strawberries cut in half

1 tsp vanilla extract (Gluten Free)

2 tbs. Honey

1/2 tbs coconut oil

Directions for reduction:

In a medium sauce pan, melt coconut oil. Place strawberries into the sauce pan and heat until strawberries soften. Add vanilla extract and honey, stirring well. Then bring to medium-high heat until contents of pan simmer. Once simmer is achieved, decrease heat to low and continue to stir. The consistency of the mixture will thicken as it cools and become more sauce-like.

Enjoy, and make your day great!


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Spring Running Must Haves

Spring running brings some interesting challenges in terms of wardrobe and gear. The morning runner will frantically double check the weather and depending on the region in which you live, you may still be running in long sleeves and jacket, and you may be sneaking out in a short sleeve shirt. Layers are a great idea and there are some awesome options available this spring for great wicking fabrics. Time to go shopping!

  Under Armour Women’s UA Fly-By Long Sleeve Medium X-Ray: A great mid-weight long sleeve top available in several spring colors.

B00B35RBVC           Gore Running Wear Women’s Essential Thermo Shirt, Black, Medium: For early morning spring chill, this layer works well to keep you warm!
     prAna Living Women’s Sabin Chakara Top, Dragonfly, Medium: Prana’s tops are supportive and well made with good materials, and this one makes for a great top on a warmer afternoon run.

B003VMWUV6Women’s Nike Printed Relay Crop Tight Hyper Grape/Matte Silver Size Small: These are quite possibly the most comfortable pants that I have ever run in. The Nike Relay Capris have been serving me well for several months now. They seamlessly transition from bootcamp class to pilates and yoga, train runs to grocery shopping and errands. I don’t usually get excited about running pants, but I love these.

B004HL9FHMNew Nike Women’s Printed Relay Crop Tights Black/Black/Matte Silver Small: Here they are in silver too.

B00ESZJO1OPearl Izumi 2013/14 Women’s Infinity Windblocking Run Jacket – 12231103 (Scuba Blue/Black – S) Size Small: A mid weight running jacket perfect for brisk morning runs.

B00U1VWREK Balega Ultra Light No-Show Running Sock White/Berry/Aqua, S: The only socks that I will run in, now in spring colors.

B00JQF6HBQ Garmin Forerunner 15 Small, Teal/White: The Garmin has long been my favorite running watch, and the teal is quite the looker. They also have them in pink, purple, black, and green if you are so inclined.

B00H0D62JIBrooks Womens Pureconnect 3 Running Shoes (Atomic Blue/Festival Fuchsia/Peacoat Navy) 8.5: I have ran in the Brooks Pureconnect for 4 years now and I love them. They are a great lightweight shoe with good endurance ( I run these puppies into the ground over a period of several months).

What did I miss? What running treats are you loving this spring? Make your day great!

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When Running Can’t Be There For You

Anyone who calls themself a runner knows what the rest of the world doesn’t. That is, that if you hang in there long enough, you find exactly what you need. The experience comes uniquely, and at different points for each of us, but eventually it comes. Relaxation. Peace. Answers. Endorphins. Runners who run to run mostly agree that it is an amazing stress release, a mechanism to think clearly, and perhaps a spiritual experience. Running can be like a best friend. It can be the only constant in a whirlwind of change. It creates opportunities to better yourself and to make goals. It listens and doesn’t talk back. Sometimes it can be snotty, but it always makes up for it in the end. But what happens when we can’t run?

For one reason or another many of us have faced periods perhaps short, perhaps long, wherein we couldn’t run. I had an incident last week that resulted in a terrible epiphany. I am training for a 30k trail race, and have had a great training cycle thus far. But I also have celiac disease and in the past few weeks have experienced a fairly significant flare up due to some accidental cross contaminations while eating out at restaurants and not reading labels clearly. It is frustrating to say the least, and feeling sick gets old fast. I was in the middle of a celiac flare up and decided to head out on a solo training run on a sunday afternoon despite not feeling well. I wouldn’t normally run while in a flare, because the symptoms are horrible. If you are unfamiliar with the symptoms of a celiac flare up, they are similar to giardia. Not good. I was starting to feel a little better but wasn’t 100% but was feeling troubled and needed to go for a run to relax and do some thinking.

About 2 miles from my house I was doubled over and extremely sick. I felt defeated and stupid for leaving my house. For the first time in 20 plus years of running I had to call my husband and get picked up. I knew I wasn’t even going to be able to make it home. To put this in perspective, my legs cramped up something fierce around mile 20 of the Portland marathon and hobbled my broken self across the finish line of 26.2 without even thinking twice about bailing out. I just do not bail on runs, I am headstrong, and portuguese and I stick things out much longer than I probably should. But not this time.

My husband came and picked up and asked what was happening. I explained to him that I had felt sick earlier but thought I could make it out for an easy run. He asked why on earth I went for a run when I was sick and I told him I had been feeling stressed and needed to relax. At that point he said something basic and profound. “Amanda, at some point you are going to have to realize that running can’t solve all of your problems. You are going to have to find another way to cope because your body isn’t always going to be able to run”. What on god’s green earth did he mean? I am actually going to have find a way to think clearly and deal with stress without breaking a sweat and exhausting my body first? What kind of crap is that?

I have used running for stress relief and thought processing for as long as I can remember. Certainly all of my major decisions in adult life have been hashed out on a run. My father is a police officer and always expounded on the importance of stress management and proclaimed running to the best source. Throughout college if I whined about tests and papers and such he would ask “Are you running Amanda? Make sure that you always have decent running shoes, go for a run”. The decision between staying in Oregon, or moving to Maine or Colorado for graduate school? Colorado became the answer while on a run-both in Oregon and while interviewing in Colorado. Break up with a boy undeserving of my time? Yep. Conversation created in my head on a run. Move back to Oregon at the end of graduate school and leave my awesome friends for a boy? Yes, and that boy is now my husband. And we have moved a lot together since then, and I have been able to run almost anywhere. Thank you running.

So what do we do if our body just won’t let us run? A glass of wine helps, but not in the middle of a celiac flare-up. Yoga is great, the breathing is extremely calming, and it allows fidgety people like myself to relax while actually moving, albeit slowly. But what if our body can’t do that on occasion either. Perhaps I have become too reliant on my running to protect me. Perhaps I need to become stronger mentally. Lord knows that running a marathon, completing a doctorate, and enduring life’s other perils demands a certain amount of mental toughness. But perhaps that was toughness borrowed from endorphins, and borrowed from running. Perhaps I need to find the ability to make decisions and say the things that need saying without the sweat, dirt, fresh air.

What a tough realization. But I suppose this a trainable skill. Just like muscular strength, flexibility, or balance. But in the meanwhile, I’m gratefully going to turn to running for support because today my body let me run.

Make your day great,


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