Official Race Schedule and Training Update

Planning out your races for the year is no joke! I decided to conquer the goal of completing 15 races this year. At first this seemed like no big deal…and then I started planning and realized YIKES! I started writing notes and entry fees and seeing what would work around other important dates (birthdays, anniversary, etc.) and what I could actually afford. Luckily I did win a Spartan entry so I was good with one race paid for.

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Yes this is how I organize my schedule! ;)

 

After looking at all the different race websites and going through the cost of each race and seeing what worked for our calendar I finalized it all. So here is the official race schedule!!

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I am super excited for my first half in March with Oakland Running Festival! I ran this race a couple of years back and loved it. I also decided to be a little crazy and go for their “We Run The Town Challenge”, which means I run the 5k before running the half marathon. Plus check out the cool medals for this year :)

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You can get all the links for all my races HERE. I also can’t believe that it will be my first half marathon since 2012. It really doesn’t seem that long ago and yet somehow over 2 years has passed. Then again I can’t believe that our little man turned 16 months today!! Ok back on topic here….

So my training has been going pretty well. I have realized that squeezing in a run while working 2 jobs and being a mom can be pretty dang tough. It’s so funny cause before I had the little man I used to think I had no extra time…oh I had tons of it!! But of course I didn’t realize that until now ;) But that’s ok cause I am just extra creative with the little time I do have. I can definitely only run 3 times a week due to time constraints but I know it is still definitely doable.

I also seem to have this nagging hamstring twinge that I have come to find out is probably weak hips and glutes so I am working on that currently. There was an awesome article in the current issue of Runners World that is all about hips. If you are a runner you should definitely go check it out!! Here is the link!

So, what is on your training schedule? Any big races coming up?

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Hot Chocolate 15k San Francisco Race Recap

They had me at chocolate!! I will openly admit to have an obsession…ok maybe an addiction to chocolate. So you can imagine my excitement when I read about the Hot Chocolate Run in SF! I had not run a road race since the end of 2013 (I ran the Spartan Sprint last year but that definitely isn’t the same). So my first race of 2015 was in beautiful Golden Gate park in San Francisco. What an awesome way to start the race year!! On top of that I got to run with 5 of my campers. Well truthfully they ran way in front of me….cause they run those crazy 8/8:30 minute miles ;)

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So the corrals were set up awesome and everyone started quite fast. I have been to some races where it seemed to take forever to get people going but not this race!! And how cool is this start line?!

2015011195074503And this awesome blow up mug :)

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Along the course they had a bunch of awesome yummy treats along with the usual water/sports drinks. At mile 2 they had chocolate pieces (which I missed but everyone said they were super yummy). Up next were Strawberry Marshmallows…and you know I took some…but one note, make sure you eat them and then drink the water otherwise your throat gets super dry!!

Strawberry Marshmallows

Strawberry Marshmallows

At about mile 6 there were Chocolate Marshmallows!! Thank goodness I saved my water until after I ate them. I definitely learned from my mistake at mile 4. They also offered tootsie rolls but I felt that would be way too hard to chew and run (some people just sucked on them).

Chocolate Marshmallows!

Chocolate Marshmallows!

So besides all the yummy treats along the course there were some awesome views!! We ran an out and back course, which put us running up highway 1 with awesome views of the ocean…

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And then once we got in further you passed by the Golden Gate park buffalo, which most people don’t even know are there. I remember the first time I saw them running Bay to Breakers a couple years ago I thought they were fake.

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And last you run past this beautiful lake, where everyone was out enjoying their Sunday with the kids or going for a run.

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This race was truly a confidence booster for me!! It had been so long since I ran a real road race and it was scary coming back after having my little man. I think the thing that scared me the most is I still get pain in my scar from my C-section. Luckily the more I run the better it gets :) I hit a couple goals during this race that made me beyond ecstatic!!

Goal 1: So the best part of this race (besides the chocolate) was that I hit a new PR!!! My 5k split time was 32:35 (fastest time ever!) and my 10k split time was 1:08:15 (again fastest time ever!). I finished the race in 1:49:36!! Which is an 11:46 mile and again my fastest time ever in a race. Normally my past half marathons have been around 13 minutes per mile.

Goal 2: I ran the first 7 miles of the race without walking. I would stop at the aid stations for treats and water but get right back to running. I have always been a run/walker so this was HUGE for me!!

The last 2.5 miles were killer for me but it was this gradual incline the whole way so I am giving myself a break on having to walk a little bit. Overall it was an amazing race and I will definitely be doing it again next year!

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Plus look at these awesome treats waiting for you after you finish :)

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And the medal was pretty awesome too! My little man always loves my medals and he had to put it on as soon as I got home. Isn’t he the cutest?!?!

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Have you ever run this race series? Would you consider running it if you haven’t before?

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Fitness Friday – Awesome Full Body Workout

Who is ready to get in an awesome full body workout that will have you sweating in no time?!?! I do this awesome workout with my bootcampers at least once or twice a month. The great thing about this workout is you can sub in or out all different types of exercises. I normally make sure that we are doing cardio moves for at least 3-4 of the exercises. 7-7-7 Workout 2

And remember if you aren’t at a track or outside you can do a different cardio move for the sprints. And if  you don’t have any workout equipment you can do all body weight exercises.

Now get out there and get sweaty!!

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Marathon Training Postponed

I have been toying with the idea of training for my first marathon this year. For some reason though I couldn’t write it down on my “2015 Goal Poster”. It just didn’t feel right and I had that sneaking feeling it wasn’t going to happen. After a whole lot of thinking, discussing with friends and the hubby (who would support me in anything I do! I am a lucky girl!!), I have decided to postpone marathon training until 2016. Unfortunately there are not enough hours in the day.

As the only one that is working (a paying job) to support our family (my hubby is a stay-at-home dad, which is an extremely hard job in itself) I don’t have enough time to train. I am up every morning at 3:45am to commute in to teach bootcamp, which is an hour drive in. Then head to the office and work a full day (sometimes lift weights on my lunch), commute home for about 2 hours and help hubby with finishing up dinner and feeding the little man. Then it is mom and little man time (which is so special to me considering I only see him 2 1/2 hours on commute days). Hubby puts him to bed around 8pm and I get to relax a little before going to sleep at 9pm. And it starts all over again!!

Luckily I get to work from home on Fridays so I can at least get 2 runs in a week but that isn’t enough to train for a marathon safely. I also would never change anything about our current situation. We are so lucky that one of us can stay home with our little man (he will be starting daycare at the end of this year)!! You do what you have to do to make your children’s life the best possible.

When little man goes to daycare the hubby will go back to work and then it is all about marathon training!! And I can’t wait!!

And the even better part is I still can keep my 15 races goal and complete a couple of half marathons this year!

Have you ever had to postpone a goal because you knew it just wasn’t the right time?

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New Years Goals

With the start of the New Year a lot of people make resolutions (most of them being fitness or health related). I used to make resolutions every year but then came to realize that I never really stuck to it. Once I missed one day or one thing that I had resolved to do that was it. I basically threw it all out the window and was back where I started. It seems that resolutions are so hard bound. There is no sense of flexibility in resolutions and I almost feel like most people think it is “All or Nothing!”.

So my fix to this problem is to focus on making New Year Goals instead. Goals can be flexible and can also be changed to fit our lives (an unexpected injury, a vacation or even a move). I have been making “Goal boards” for the last 4 years and it is truly one of my favorite things. The last year I got my husband into it too. Plus it is fun to do something together and have goals that support each other. I can’t wait until the little man is old enough so he can do this also. Here is my goal board for 2015!

Personal Goal Board

My hubby refuses to write his own but will have me write his out for him (personally I think it’s adorable cause he says how he loves my writing :) )

Goal boardsI love how much more fitness focused mine is. You can definitely see the things we love to do within our goals. Oh and I need to remember not to be talking while I am writing these things cause it seems that I lose my ability to spell!

There are also a couple of things to keep in mind when making your goals. You want to make sure you focus on making S.M.A.R.T goals…

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Let me break these down a little bit and give you a little more explanation so you are ready to set your own goals for 2015!

  • Specific: Make sure that your goal is specific. It is better to set a goal of running 3 times a week or for a specific time then just setting a goal to run more. You should be able to answer Who, What, Where, When and Why.
  • Measurable: Make sure you can measure your progress. When a goal is measurable you are more likely to stay on track. Progress is what helps keep you motivated.
  • Attainable: You want to be able to complete your goals so make sure it is something you can truly commit to. You can do most anything but also take into account your daily life. This is one reason I am on the fence about running my first marathon this year. I want to make sure I actually have the time to train with how much I work and having a young child.
  • Relevant: You want to be able to see the importance of your goal. Make sure your goal is specific to you and what you see as important in your life. Don’t make a goal just because someone else is. You need to have interest in your goal and the want to complete it.
  • Time-Bound: Setting a time frame on your goals will help you to stick with them. If you are thinking of trying to run more maybe signing up for a race will help you have a timeline for training. Or if you are trying to wean yourself off soda you can set a date to be completely soda free.

I hope this information helps you to set some awesome SMART goals for yourself this year! I would love to hear what you have in store for 2015!!

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ProYo Frozen Yogurt Review & Giveaway

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Disclaimer: I was given ProYo High Protein Frozen Yogurt for free to review. I was not paid for this post. As always all options are my own!

We all know how important protein is to build and repair our tissues after those hard workouts. There are so many products out on the market right now that range from protein powders, bars and now frozen yogurt. I am the most finicky person when it comes to taste and texture. I have tried them all and I can’t get past the taste of most bars and the texture of powders (the gritty texture kills me!). I was so excited to learn about ProYo High Protein Frozen Yogurt. There is no gritty taste, it totally takes care of my sweet tooth (I am a sucker for all sweets ;) ), it’s healthy and so easy to grab and eat on the go.

One of the most important things to me is that this product is soy free, which seems to be almost impossible to find in most protein products. It is also GMO free and nothing artificial at all. Plus it feels like I am just eating regular icecream and it’s good for my tummy with all those probiotics and prebiotics (I don’t like regular yogurt, again its a taste thing lol). Can you tell I enjoy them?!?! And yes this is a pic after a workout and with no makeup :)

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I absolutely love the story behind ProYo! Please check out the website for the longer version of the story. I wanted to give you guys a couple snippets though :)

Santa Barbara native Nathan Carey enjoyed an active, on-the-go lifestyle as the owner of Twin Cups, a popular local drive-through frozen yogurt and coffee bar.

Nathan wanted something completely different. So he set out to formulate a distinctive high-protein frozen yogurt that featured more balanced nutrition and amazing taste—and was convenient for all ages.

After extensive research and development, Nathan successfully created ProYo—a premium  low-fat frozen treat made with creamy probiotic yogurt packed with 20 grams of protein per handy tube and is gluten-free, soy-free, and GMO-free. The perfect blend of healthy nutrition and delicious flavor without all the gunk.

Each tube of ProYo has 20 grams of protein and only 160 calories! They also come in 4 different awesome flavors, which include Dutch Chocolate (my fav!), Vanilla Bean, Banana Vanilla and Blueberry Pomegranate.

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They are carried in a good amount of different grocery stores…and I bet you want to know exactly where to get yours?!?! Check out there Store Locator Page and also enter below for your chance to win a box of each flavor!!

Good luck and Happy Saturday!!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy New Year and New Blog Name

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Happy New Year All!! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Years Eve. When you have a 1 year old NYE just isn’t as carefree as it used to be. Hubby and I stayed in, drank some wine and went to sleep

Soooo I am beyond excited to launch my new blog name Strong & Beautiful Fitness. I have been working on my rebranding for a couple months now and can’t tell you how stoked I am to finally release everything. A fellow blogger worked with me for weeks to get my logo just perfect (check him out at PavementRunner!) And of course I have been working on getting my social media channels going.

Why the name change?!?! Well I loved my old blog name (Larissa Milano Fitness) but it just didn’t seem to really fit, besides the fact that it is my name ;) I had been thinking for some time about changing it but could never really find something that worked. One night I was complaining to my hubby about having a rough time with my workouts lately and he turns to me and says “Always remember that you are strong and beautiful”. He is seriously the sweetest guy in the world and I love him to death! Needless to say later that night it came to me… Strong & Beautiful Fitness. Cause even when things aren’t going our way, the kids are driving us nuts, that run just wasn’t what we wanted it to be or we are kicking ourselves for overindulging a little the night before, we must always remember that We Are Strong and We Are Beautiful and We Can Do Anything!!!

I hope that you will continue to follow me on my adventures of sharing workouts, tales of running, probably some injuries, healthy eating (most of the time) and of course stories about my family. I look forward to what 2015 brings and this amazing new change!!

Here is to an amazing year! Bring it on baby!!

Larissa

2015 Burpee Challenge

We made it though another year!! I can’t believe how time has flown by. I truly feel that time speeds up once you have a child. It feels like just yesterday he was only a couple of months old. Now he is out running around the backyard in his star wars vans (way too cute!) and playing with the dog. The best quote someone told me after having little man was “The days are long and the years are short”. Man is that true!!

Ok so we all know that with the New Year comes Resolutions, Goals and Challenges. I normally don’t make resolutions per se. I love doing goals and challenges because they just feel so much more attainable (posting more on this later). What better way to start the new year then with an awesome challenge?!?! I love challenges because it is a way to push myself, to push past what I think I am able to do and to make myself a stronger person both physically and mentally.

So here is the 2015 Burpee Challenge… for 2015 let’s do 15,000 Burpees!!! Yes, you read that right!! A whopping 15,000!! I must say that this idea was not my own and came from a fellow Spartan Chick (yes I got her ok to share this!). What an amazing ideas in my eyes. It will keep us accountable throughout the whole year and I guarantee we will come out stronger! Please don’t let the number scare you. We are all in this together. I have even made a Facebook page dedicated just to this. Here are the rules

2015 Burpee Challenge

Now how are we going to keep track of all these Burpees….well there are a couple different options. I will be keeping track with beads in a jar. I went to Michael’s and bought 1,500 beads (each bead will equal 10 Burpees). I also bought some fun glitter glue and letter/number stickers to decorate my mason jar. I liked the fact that I could see how far I needed to go and how far I have gone. You could also use money and then reward yourself at the end of the year. Maybe say a quarter for every 10 Burpees (that’s $375 at the end!). Either way make it something that will motivate you!

Burpee jar and beadsI even used the glitter glue to write some motivational words on my jar. I never realized how hard it is to write with those things so excuse the sloppy writing :) And for those of you that are Spartans, I’m sure you noticed the very specific colors I went with ;)

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Are you in?!?! Let’s do this together and start the year off with a Burpee :)

~ Larissa

Holiday Gift Guide: Top 5 Gifts for Runners

As the holidays are almost upon us I wanted to share my 5 top gifts for runners. I personally own all of these items and absolutely love them. I think that any runner would be happy to receive one of these awesome items!

1. Flipbelt. This thing is a total savior for anyone that runs. It is super comfortable, holds everything (even my iPhone in the OtterBox case) and is extremely convenient.FlipBelt_BlackCThru-625x417Every bit as flattering and contoured as the rest of today’s athletic wear, FlipBelt is designed to carry your on-the-go essentials without tying up your hands. Made of a moisture-wicking, spandex-lycra blend, FlipBelt slides right on and sits snug on your hip. No bulk. No bounce. FlipBelt is also machine washable and machine dryable.

They also come in a whole bunch of awesome colors! I have the black one as most of my pants are already super bright and patterned so I didn’t want to totally clash. And to keep items secure, all you have to do is flip the belt inward. Now, everything you need while exercising fits right around your waist.

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Cool part is that I have a limited of number of 33% off discount codes to share with some lucky readers. If you would like to purchase this for a runner (or yourself) then just comment below letting me know and I will send you a personal code. There are only a couple of codes so if you are really interested please let me know as they are different for each person :)

 

2. PROCompression. I absolutely love their calf sleeves! My legs always feel so much better during a run when I have them on. You can check out my full review on them here.

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PROCompression socks are equipped with true graduated compression, arch support, have a stabilization zone through sides to mid foot, a wide cuff for added comfort, is moisture wicking and will prevent blisters.

 

3. Apera Bags. I was introduced to this bag last year and absolutely fell in love with it. I use mine everyday and will be purchasing another one to use as a diaper bag when we have the next kiddo (better than any other diaper bag out there!).

imageApera bags are designed to be healthier – with built-in antimicrobial product protection to inhibit the growth of bacterial odors, separation of your wet, sweaty gear from your dry stuff, and venting air to keep your bag dry and suppress odor. And believe me my bag has never smelled in any way. I recommend this bag to everyone!

 

4. Sweaty Bands. I live in these things! I could never wear the super cute headbands that everyone would get from Nike or Under Armour. I was always so jealous of the girls that seemed to have no problem with those dang things slipping off their heads in a matter of seconds. Maybe I had a funny shaped head?!?! But then came along sweaty bands!! These things never slip and I can’t workout or run without one on now. Plus they come in so many awesome colors and patterns, what’s not to love?!?!

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5. Grid Roller. The one piece of equipment that I have a love/hate relationship with. It keeps my muscles happy and helps me to perform my best but man is it painful sometimes! I have had some of my best races when I use this roller on a regular basis and definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone!!

gridfoamrollerThe GRID foam roller is designed with proprietary Distrodensity zones. This three dimensional surface has a variety of widths to replicate the feeling of a massage therapist’s hands. Use the GRID for a self-massage and roll through the tight muscles, knots and kinks that prevent feeling good and moving well. You might curse at it while using it but will thank it later!

Happy Holidays!!!

xoxo,

Larissa

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

With the weather getting cold nothing sounds better to me than a big bowl of comforting soup. One of my favorites is Loaded Baked Potato Soup. Considering I get the pleasure of working from home on Fridays it also means that I am able to actually cook. During the week the hubby cooks most meals as I have a pretty long commute home (about 1hr 45min…sometimes 2 hrs if traffic is really bad). Plus by time I get home the last thing I want to think of is cooking dinner. I have such a short amount of time with my little man during the week that it is all about him. We play trucks or blocks or just chase him around the house. I know he won’t be small forever so I take advantage of any one-on-one time I get. Plus when he runs over just to give me a kiss it melts my heart.

Ok so now onto the recipe. I hope you enjoy this!! I also added some healthier substitution options for those that don’t want to go full out Comfort Food style. Enjoy!!

What is your favorite cold weather soup??

Loaded Potato Soup

Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Loaded Baked Potato Soup
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4-6 10 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large dutch oven (or large pot) cook bacon and set aside once done. Do not discard the bacon grease. Cook diced onion and celery in bacon fat. Add butter and let veggies cook until almost soft (5 - 8 minutes)
  2. Add in flour and stir continuously for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in chicken broth, half and half, potatoes, apple, salt and pepper. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are soft.
  4. Using an immersion blender process about half of the soup, leaving some chunks.
  5. Take pot off burner and add in the cheese and sour cream. Stir until completely incorporated.
  6. Cut up onion and use with bacon as a garnish
Recipe Notes

Adapted from Damn Delicious

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