Marathon Weekend

Knoxville’s marathon weekend snuck up on me.  It seemed like it was so far away!  As with most marathons, the day before there is a Health Expo and packet pick-up.  I have always enjoyed the expos… the booths with cool running gear, health food, and lots of people with similar interests as me.  Check out this funny t-shirt I snapped a picture of at one of the many booths…

 

After the expo, my husband and I hung out in downtown Knoxville for a while, killing time before the 1-mile Kid’s Run, where we were volunteering.  There’s always lots of interesting things going on downtown.  This weekend happened to also be the “Rhythm & Blooms” festival (part of our annual Dogwood Arts Festival), so I guess that explains the random pianos in the middle of Market Square?

 

And finally the main event.  After 2 bad months of training, sickness, and frequent business travel, I was totally planning to walk part or all of it, but a couple good weeks of training runs boosted my motivation.  Not only did I finish, I beat my best time and clocked in at 2:10 for 13.1 miles (half-marathon)!  I might have finished under 2 hours if I had not run out of steam around mile 11, but I was still pleased.  Those East Tennessee hills are killer!  I might even consider another one next year.  Below are a couple of pictures of my husband and I  the day before the race, volunteering at the 1-mile Kid’s Run at Knoxville’s World Fair Park.

After the race, I had a nice big Avocado Smoothie (yes, I’ve been a little obsessed with avocados lately) and relaxed outside in the sun.  This smoothie is a simpler version of the one I posted the last time – almond milk, vanilla yogurt, 1/2 avocado, honey, and ice.  That’s it!  Mmmm….

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More Workouts + More SuperFoods

I’ve really stepped up my workouts lately and thus have encountered a new problem – increased hunger!  I’m not sure why the proper balance of food and exercise is so difficult for me, but I can’t seem to get it right.  Just when I was getting in a groove with the Cinch 4-meal / 5-ingredient philosophy, my caloric needs have changed as my workouts have increased, and I need to figure out when and how to add more healthy calories into my diet.  Seems easy right?  I’ve added a small snack before my morning workout, and eat a full breakfast and lunch, but am still famished by late afternoon and end up overeating at night in my rage of hunger.

Hmm, what to do.  I will start by trying to add more healthy fats and fiber to my earlier meals and see if that helps.  It will also help that the junk food in my house is now gone and there isn’t much left for me to “splurge” on.  My favorite healthy-fat & high-fiber foods are below, along with recipes.  All of these items are also considered “SuperFoods”!

AVOCADOS– chopped in a wrap, as a topping, or even use in smoothies (max 1/2 avocado per day)

Avocado Banana Berry Smoothie (1 serving, great post-workout / high-protein snack.  There are several other avocado smoothie recipes in the Cinch book.)

  • 1/2 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and removed from the skin
  • 5-6 strawberries, fresh or frozen, stems removed
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup skim milk or almond / soy / coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey or 1 tsp Truvia
  • Handful crushed ice or 4 ice cubes
  • Blend all ingredients and enjoy!
  • Nutrition: 300 calories, 17g healthy fat, 35g net carbs, 9g protein. 

 

BEANS– black, red, white, chickpeas… toss them on salads, in a wrap, in soups, or eat them plain.

Black Bean side dish (1 or 2 servings, depending on how you use it.  I make this often, sometimes as a side dish, to top a salad, or even throw in a wrap with avocado and shrimp.  You can also sub chunky salsa for the veggies)

  • 1/2 cup cooked black beans (low-sodium) 
  • 1/4 cup corn, cooked but still slightly crisp
  • 1/2 tomato, diced
  • 2 T chopped onion
  • 1 T fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Mix, chill, serve
  • (for an extra kick, add a little jalapeno or green chiles)

 

Black Bean & Mango Salad (6 servings)

  • 1 15-oz can black beans
  • 2 cups diced mango
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 6 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped 
  • Mix and servce.  Makes 6 Servings. 
  • Nutrition: 140 calories, 3g fat, 19g net carbs. 

 

 OATSOld-Fashioned or Steel Cut are best, as they are less processed and do not spike your blood sugar as much as the quick-cooking variety.  But if you prefer softer, more gooey, oat products, the quick-cooking variety is OK.

Grab & Go Homemade Oatmeal (1 serving, no microwave required!  I make several and store them in my pantry)

  • 1/2 cup dry oats
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit and nuts (raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots, almonds, walnuts…)
  • 1 tsp flax or pumpkin seeds
  • Place all ingredients in a tupperware container at least 3x larger than the dry mixture
  • When ready to eat, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of very hot water (such as the kind from a coffee machine) to the dry mixture, seal the top, and wait at least 5 minutes.
  • Remove the top, stir, and enjoy.
  • Nutrition: 200 calories, 7g fat, 39g net carbs. 

 

Click here for a LIST OF SUPER FOODS and their benefits.