Category Archives: Running Recipes/Tips

Recipes, Pre-Run tips and tricks for successful training and races!

Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

Happy August!

Most mornings I enjoy a breakfast smoothie at work around 9AM. I whip up a quick smoothie in the morning at home before taking the dog out and leaving for the office. I love using smoothies to up my fruits and veggie intake early in the morning and to add protein into my diet as well.


Most smoothies I make include a scoop of vanilla bean protein powder. It really adds to the smoothie flavor and also gives me much needed protein, especially after a tough morning workout.

This smoothie is packed with delicious flavors that remind me of laying on a beach while relaxing in the sun.

Enjoy this smoothie as your breakfast or to replenish your body after a tough workout.

Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

Tropical Breakfast Smoothie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1
  • 1 Handful Spinach
  • ½ Cup Ice
  • 1 Cup Pineapple
  • ½ Cup Frozen Berries
  • 1 Scoop Vanilla Protein Powder
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • ½ Cup Water
  1. Add ingredients to blender.
  2. Blend
  3. Enjoy!


Chicago Marathon 2014


ChiMarWell everyone it’s all over. I have successfully completed my third marathon, the 2014 Chicago Marathon. I am happy to announce that I had a Personal Record of 3 hours 39 minutes and 4 seconds. The entire day went perfectly. It was pretty cold at the beginning of the race but after mile 4, I hardly noticed the temperature. Chicago was such a different race than any I have completed before. It was so nice to know what to expect in every neighborhood and to see so many friends and family along the course. Running through Boystown, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Pilsen and Chinatown was incredible.

It is refreshing to look back on the past 5 months of physical therapy, added strength training, yoga sessions and of course runs and see how they all accumulated to create a great race. Physical Therapy for my IT Band Syndrome was by far the biggest game changer for the success of this race. I had no idea that I needed to foam roll and stretch almost daily, increase the strength of my hamstrings, glutes and quads in order to keep my IT band from tightening up and causing pain in my hip and knee. Of course, there were a few hiccups during the race: my right hip was incredible tight starting around mile 4 and continuing until mile 18 when the rest of my body started hurting as well, becoming super SUPER hungry (more like hangry) around mile 15, and then the usual all over pain around mile 22. BUT I got through all of those issues and even remedied any physical and psychological pain I was feeling during the race.

Here is an insight how to keep your stomach, knees, legs, mind on an even keel while running for 3.5 hours +:

1. Hunger: During the marathon and long runs prior I have a packet of Clif Shot Blocks with me at all points. These refuel my electrolytes and refuel my energy levels. These bad boys are filled with carbs, potassium and sodium. During the marathon I had 2 shot bloks at mile 8, another 2 at mile 15, and 2 more at mile 17. The amount I eat during races/runs varies, really just eat 2 around 1 hour into your run (as directed by the package) and then keep eating as your get hungry. I wasn’t hungry after mile 17, so I didn’t eat anymore. Pretty simple. One of the other successful strategies I’ve enacted the past two marathons is to eat a Clif bar at mile 19. Not only does this help my hunger levels but it also gives me something to really look forward to. At mile 16 I was starting to feel pretty depressed that after running for the past 2 hours and 13 minutes, I still had another 10.2 miles to go, BUT when I start thinking of it as only 3 more miles until Chris hands me that wonderful/amazing/glorious Clif bar, it started to make the race go by so much quicker. I only ate about 1/2 of the Clif bar but it was a great pick-me-up when I still had 1 hour left in the race.
Here is a link to the Shot Bloks on Amazon:

2. Pain during races: Backstory: My first marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013, and I trained VERY VERY hard for this race. I’ve always hears the the first race is the hardest….it was. Around mile 15 my knee cramped up so bad that a light jog sent unbelievable pain up my leg from my knee to my hip. I ended up walking miles 17-20 and was so upset about this. It was the most pain i’ve ever been in and it was also very discouraging. Moral of that sob story is that I understand pain during races. It sucks. Really. It sucks. Every runner seems to have their “substantial pain or discomfort” in a race story and I think it helps runners to train better, fix issues and motivate themselves to have a better race.

On Sunday I was fairly  upset about my hip feeling so tight, but I figured that I would keep running and hope that it went away. I got lucky. It went away. Only you will know your limits and when to stop and get help. Listen to your body and if you need medical attention… get it. I am pretty stubborn, so going to the orthopedic and admitting that something was off is an accomplishment for me. I could not be happier about setting aside my pride and  getting help. It allowed me to have my best race ever.

Marathon*My dad took this photo of me running down Taylor Street in Little Italy around mile 17

3. Mental: Every runner has a means to get through 3.5+ hours of running and being completely alone with your music and thoughts. For the Chicago marathon, I set up the course into sections. Section 1: the Loop, miles 1-4. Section 2: Lincoln Park/Lakeview/Old Town. Miles 5-11. Section 3: River North/West Loop/Greektown/United Center, miles 11-16. Section 4: Little Italy/UIC/Pilsen/Chinatown miles 16-21, Section 5: Southside/South Loop/Homestretch miles 21-26.2. Breaking the race into 5 sections allowed me something to look forward to. When I got to mile 16 in Greektown I knew that I was close to my home neighborhood of Little Italy and would see Chris and my family somewhere around there. It’s little mental tricks like that which really assist in keeping me sane during these races. During the last 5 miles I like to “dedicate” every mile to a different person in my life that has helped get me to the race. I’ll think of that person and stories, events, etc with them that stand out. It really helps take my mind off the pain and stress that my body is going through. Anything that takes my mind off pain at mile 22+ will really help.

All in all, the Chicago Marathon has been by far my favorite marathon and probably race. I am fully aware that I am 110% biased because this was my home race, but I think that’s what made it so much more meaningful and special for me.

Now it’s time to spend the next few weeks recovering and getting back into running shape for my next race: the Hot Chocolate 15K on November 9th.

Photo Oct 13, 12 33 59 PM

Banana Berry Smoothie

Feeling dehydrated is an awful feeling. As a runner, properly hydrating prior to and after runs is crucial. Every runner has their own routine and calculated amount of water/Gatorade/liquid that they consume prior to lacing up their shoes and hitting the pavement. After long runs I like to drink a smoothie to hydrate and pump nutrients back into my body. One of the best ways to get the body hydrated again is eating a banana. The smoothie I made today consisted of frozen “super greens” (Costco’s giant bag of kale, spinach and other associated leafy greens), coconut water, 1 banana and a scoop of frozen berries. It’s super easy to throw together and also super healthy.

Enjoy your  banana berry smoothie and even more importantly Enjoy your Friday!


Banana Berry Smoothie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Banana Berry Smoothie
Serves: 1
  • ¼ C Frozen Spinach/Leafy Greens
  • ½ C Frozen Berries
  • 8 OZ Coconut Water
  • 1 Banana
  1. Add to blender: greens, berries, coconut water and banana. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Enjoy!


20 Mile Run Prep


Here I am after my last half marathon in August 2014:


It’s crazy to think about the fact that I am this far into training… I am running 20 miles today. This seems like an insanely amount of miles to run and let me tell you…it sort of is. I always have family and friends ask me questions about this long LONG run, and I’d like to share some of the answers I have to these questions.

Q. How do you run 20 miles?

A: I just keep going. I like to plan my route ahead of time and memorize markers to help the run go faster. Example: When I get to the Shedd Aquarium i’ve hit mile 3, when I hit Fullerton I’ve gotten to mile 7. Also, music. Lots of music.

Q: Don’t you get hungry?

A: YES. I bring 2 packets of Clif Shot Blocks with me to refuel and give my body much needed electrolytes. Otherwise, I rely on my pre-run meal to carry me through the 2 hours 45 minutes.

Q: How do you fuel for this?

A: I eat a carb heavy-ish meal the night before. These are always “good” carbs such as sweet potatoes, wheat pasta etc. I really just want to make sure I continue to eat healthy but also up my calorie intake for the few days before the long run. Also, I drink A LOT of water the week of my long run.

Q: What do you eat before you go for the run?

A: For every race (I like to treat my 20 miler as a race) I eat 2 slices of peanut butter wheat toast topped with sliced bananas. I also eat the rest of the banana and have a Clif bar as well. I also drink A LOT of water. And a cup of coffee.

Q: Are you crazy? 20 miles is a long way to run.

A: Mildly yes. I’ve also trained for this for the past 2.5 months, so I’ve gotten used to this amount of mileage and insanity.

The night before I like to lay out my clothes for the long run, as well as my shoes, watch, iphone arm band, headphones, Clif shot blocks and Clif bar, and headband.


This morning, I took off work because Chris and I are going up to the cabin for a long weekend. I was able to sleep in (sleeping past 7AM is sleeping in for me…so sad). I start my morning by eating Peanut Butter Toast with sliced bananas, A cup of Coffee, the rest of the banana, and then more water. While I get ready for my run I eat a Clif bar. This will give me 20-30 minutes to let my food settle and then off I go!