POUNDING PAVEMENT

Three and a half weeks ago, I laced up my sneakers and began my annual 3 season sport of pounding pavement and I struggled. I truly struggled to get through the 3 mile route I had mapped out. After a winter solely focused on weight training and minimal cardio my body was no longer the long and lean machine it had been last summer. However, one of the biggest lessons running has taught me is one of perseverance. My mind always tries to chicken out before my body does and it’s pushing through these moments where the magic happens. This is where I grow.

Once again, I am reminded how quickly the body adapts. We evolved from athletes. While some of us are more athletically blessed than others, we are all programmed to physically adapt to our climates. Three and a half weeks ago, I finished my 3 miler with every muscle in my lower body aching, my heart pounding, and my lungs starving for oxygen. I had pushed myself to the point of nausea and I felt like a failure. Fast forward to week four (this week) and I am pushing through 7 milers with strong stems, a steady heartbeat, and abundant air in my lungs. This is a big win for me because I tore both of my iliotibial bands in high school and long distance running has always been out of the question.

Last night I finished my run with a .25 mile sprint and literally had to force myself not to keep going. The truth is though that while runners look forward to the runs where they feel literally feel invincible, we immediately start formulating a way to create complete exhaustion again. We have learned that pain equals reward. Running is a hard sport. It requires self discipline in the purest form, a lot of heart, commitment, and a tad bit of crazy.

This year I have decided that I wanted to run for more than just exercise and endorphins. I want to run for self-awareness. I want to learn my physical and mental “limitations” and then surpass them.

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MONDAY

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Mondays are one of my favorite days of the week (followed by Sundays in the fall of course…football, sunday dinner, walks). They promise forgiveness and a fresh start. They give us another chance to do more and be better. They often force us to step out of comfort zones and begin a new chapter. This week I am striving to stay close to whatever brings me the most happiness and letting go everything else. I for one needed some change in my exercise routine and diet.No matter how fit we are, every so often we need reminders of how good our body’s are at adapting. If we don’t switch up our routines, we not only see no progress, but we lose that rush. I’m extremely motived and anxious to see my body change. Never put a limit on your goals.

PUMPKIN OATMEAL MUFFINS

I have been having a hard time digesting gluten lately so I decided to experiment with some flour free pumpkin muffins. I have to admit it was a fail the first few times, but I finally got it right and these are amazing!!!
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Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
Ingredients:
-1 1/2 cups of oats
-1/4 cup egg whites or egg beaters
-1/4 cup of plain nonfat greek yogurt
-1/4 cup veg oil or 1/2 cup applesauce
-nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger to taste (I like a lot!!)
-1 cup of pumpkin
-1/8 cup stevia
-tsp of baking soda
-tbs of baking powder

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until they form a consistent mixture. (You can put the oats into a food processor but I didn’t.) I let mine sit for 10 minutes so that the oats absorbed the batter.
3. Place baking cups into regular sized cupcake tray cups and spoon 2 tbs sized spoonfuls into each cup.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes. They are finished cooking when a toothpick or knife can be stuck in them and come out clean!
5. Consume 1 muffin with a complete protein (eggs) for a yummy fall breakfast!!

Serving size: 12

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PROTEIN CONSUMPTION POST EXERCISE

Our bodies are extremely efficient at using carbohydrates and even fat for fuel, but in a typical moderate intensity workout, protein contributes very little. In endurance and/or resistance training however, once carbohydrate fuel stores run out, significant protein catabolism takes place, depleting those stores as well.

It is important to understand that our muscles do not store protein. Amino acids can be found in 3 places: bound muscle protein, muscle intracellular free amino acid pool, and then the free amino acid pool in the blood. These molecules are constantly moving and changing to perform both protein breakdown and synthesis. During recovery, BOTH protein breakdown and protein synthesis increase. By consuming a high-quality/complete protein snack (a protein with all the essential amino acids, typically an animal source or combining two incomplete proteins) within an hour of exercising then helps to even out synthesis and breakdown. This is significant for athletes because when we break down more amino acids than we take in, our muscles begin to shrink.

Keep in mind that we also need an energy source to help our bodies repair. Pairing a high-quality protein with a carbohydrate prevents protein from being metabolized for energy so that it can do its job in synthesis and breakdown.