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And, it’s Summer!

20 Jun

Summer certainly made itself known today. Makes sense since it is the first day of summer and all, but we don’t normally see temps in the 90s here in Rhode Island in June, we typically average mid 70s to 80.

So I threw myself right into heat training with a 4 mile run. Hey, the training schedule speaks to me – I must listen. And I was too lazy after staying up late watching a movie last night to get it in this morning.

Schedule says: 4 miles @ 9:55. My legs said:

First Day of Summer Run

I’m honestly surprised. Last time I ran in hot weather was an 8 miler over Memorial Day weekend and I was miserable.

This speaks volumes to me in terms of hydration – I drank 75 oz. of water and 16 oz. of (full strength) Nuun prior to this run.

It also tells me that my planlessness throughout May (and mostly lack of running – 71 miles in May, with my longest run being Cox Half Marathon) really paid off in the sense that my injuries have healed and my legs feel entirely too fresh.

This was Monday’s run, hence the “entirely too fresh”:

Chicago Marathon Training Run #1

Plus, I have a pretty kick ass pacer – I literally looked at Kevin at about 3.5ish miles and said “Who’s pacing this run anyway?” I was doing my damndest to keep up with him! It was then we decided on a strong finish! And strong it was. The best part is after that I’ve had no residual soreness, no dead legs, no problem doing it again today. I hope I can keep this up throughout my training program!

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While we’re on the topic of running, heat, summer, etc… I have a little “first day of summer surprise” for you guys.

ZICO has been kind enough to hook me up with a case of coconut water to give away!

Coconut water is a phenomenal rehydration beverage post-run!

“ZICO contains the five essential electrolytes that gives your body everything it needs to stay hydrated and perform at your best. One ZICO has more potassium than a banana – 15 times more than most sports drinks – to prevent cramping.”

Whenever I have that “super thirsty” feeling – I reach straight for the coconut water, it truly does the trick.

And in the summer, what’s better than a refreshing beverage with a tropical feel?!

I’m going to make this short and sweet, so here’s how to enter:

(Required) Tweet: “@runcupcake wants to help you hydrate this summer with a case of @Zico! Enter here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-Po ”

(Optional) Follow me on Twitter @runcupcake

(Optional) Follow ZICO on Twitter @zico

I’ll pick a winner Monday night at 9 p.m.!

Good luck and I hope you all enjoyed your first day of summer!

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OXO Salad Dressing Shaker: Review & Giveaway

15 Jun

Is there a better way to start Friday than with a giveaway? I didn’t think so…

A while back OXO sent me a salad dressing shaker to try out. It’s like they know me or something? I eat salad almost every single day.

Dressing Shaker 1

It took me a while to finally bust this baby out of the box, but now that I have it’s going to be put to great use.

The OXO Salad dressing shaker has three uses:

Shake

Pour

Store

Oh and another use they don’t list on the label:

Measure

Dressing Shaker 2

I went straight to work concocting a dressing to have with a dinner of grilled mahi mahi and grilled sweet potatoes.

Apple Cider Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup lime juice

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp cilantro

Combine all ingredients in your shaker bottle and shake until well combined!

The only problem with this dressing is the lack of thickness. My brother told me to use xanthan gum, so I guess I’ll have to invest in some of that!

Here’s what I like about this bottle:

  • The lid screws on – so as long as you screw it on properly you don’t have to worry about messes
  • You can measure, mix, pour, store – without dirtying multiple dishes
  • The lid has a flip up top for easy pouring, and when you flip it back down it seals nicely, so your dressing won’t go bad sitting in the fridge.

Now here’s the fun part – would you like to win one of these for yourself?! Here’s your chance.

Please leave one comment per entry.

(Required) Follow OXO on Twitter

(Required) Follow me on Twitter

(Optional) Tweet about this giveaway: @runcupcake is giving away an @oxo salad dressing shaker bottle, enter for your chance to win one here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-P5

Entries will be accepted until 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 21st. Good luck to you!

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*DISCLAIMER: OXO provided me with these salad dressing shakers at no cost to me, in exchange for a fair and honest review.*

Race Day Giveaway

6 May

Hey everyone!

While I’m off basking in the glory of my 7th half marathon you have an opportunity to win a truly ass kicking prize.

Yup, I’m still giving stuff away. It’s craziness around here.

I am giving you the opportunity to win a Coaching Plan from 26.2+ LLC

Seriously. A full blown Coaching Plan – You choose the distance (from 5k to marathon), they provide the rest.

26.2+ LLC is an online running business dedicated to the working athlete that exists to keep you training strong, see you reach your running goals from 5K to the marathon, grow, and strengthen the running community.

Check out their Coaching page for all that they offer.

Phil is a local guy, who I haven’t had the opportunity to actually meet yet, but we run a lot of the same routes, so it will happen. I am so pleased to offer you guys a giveaway from a local company! SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS!

So, now that you are all fired up about getting your very own custom training plan, here’s how you enter:

1) Follow 26.2+ LLC on Twitter (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/26point2plus

2) Follow me on Twitter. (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/runcupcake

3) Tell me what training plan you’d choose if you’d win, and what race you’d use it for. (Optional)

4) Tweet about this giveaway: @runcupcake is giving away a coaching plan from @26point2plus for her 2-year raciversary. Enter here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-Km (Optional)

This is a seriously wicked prize – thank you Phil, for offering this up to my readers!

Good luck to everyone who enters!

Giveaway is open to all US residents.

Giveaway ends at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 12th.

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Thursday Randoms

3 May

Hey everyone! It’s 10 p.m. already – where did the day go! A few random shorty things and I’m off to bed.

1) I got a haircut tonight – the only difference is I added short bangs. What do you think?

Me New Do

2) I have a job interview tomorrow. Yup. A new job (doing what I do now), in a new place, near my favorite friends. Wish me luck!

3) I have some WICKED awesome guest posts set up for you starting tomorrow morning – you do not want to miss them, any of them, stay tuned!

4) Clean Eating Week 3 is going smashingly! I was really admiring my abs in the mirror the other day, and realizing how much better I feel! I’m loving it.

Speaking of clean eats – you guessed it, time for another giveaway. I hope you guys aren’t tired of the mega celebrations that have been going on this week. I also hope ya’ll come back to read when I’m not throwing tons of fun presents at you!

This giveaway is in the form of my favorite must have daily snack:

LB_Variety

From the first time I discovered Larabar I was in love.

These babies are:

  • Gluten Free
  • Vegan
  • Safe for peanut allergies (except for the flavors that contain peanuts)
  • Soy free (except for flavors containing chocolate chips)
  • Kosher
  • Free of coloring, additives, and preservatives

Many Larabar varieties contain just 3-4 ingredients! My favorite flavor is Peanut Butter & Jelly – it’s made with dates, peanuts, and cherries. And I kid you not it tastes like a PBJ. Amazing, really. I eat one 5 or more days a week. Sometimes I eat 2 (Like today).

So, how can you get your hands on a case of 16 Larabar flavors? Easy.

Here’s how:

1) Follow me on Twitter. (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/runcupcake

2) Follow Larabar on Twitter. (Required) https://twitter.com/#!/larabar

3) Go to the Larabar website and tell me which flavor you’d like to try most. (Optional)

4) Tell me something random about your day, because it’s 10:15 on Thursday, I’m tired, and I’m not feeling wicked creative right now. (Optional)

5) Tweet: I want to win a case of @runcupcake’s favorite snack, @larabar. If you do too, enter here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-Kw (optional)

This giveaway is open to all residents of the U.S.

This giveaway will end on Wednesday, May 9th, at 5 p.m.

Don’t forget to enter my other giveaways:

Chobani

Nuun (EXTENDED! Now open until 6 p.m. on Monday, May 7th)

I hope everyone had a great day, send me positive vibes for my interview tomorrow!

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P.S. You may hear from me one more time between now and the rest of this weekend, but that’s it til Monday night! Have a great, happy, safe weekend everyone! XOXO

The Importance of Hydration

2 May

Now that the warmer months are approaching, I thought I’d take this time to express to you the importance of proper hydration. But first, a little story…

Once upon a time there was a Little Cupcake (we’ll call her LC for short) who drank nothing but soda. And not diet soda, but full blown, straight up, high fructose corn syrup loaded Coke (or Sprite if I she was going caffeine free). LC had chronic problems with urinary tract infections, headaches, and not feeling well in general, but she couldn’t figure out why. So LC took a trip to her doc. Doc asked LC, “Do you drink water?” LC, befuddled at such a question, told the Doc “No, I do not drink water.” Lo and behold, lack of water consumption was the root of LC’s problems. From that day forward LC drank water all the time, aside from her morning coffee and her lunch time soda. No more UTI’s, no more headaches, no more icky feeling.

I love a happy ending. So, why am I telling you this? Because you need to hydrate. Especially during the summer. Which is quickly approaching (YAY!)

Why do we need to hydrate?

1)  The lower a persons percentage of body fat the higher their percentage of body water is. (Source) Okay so, we run, we work out, we lower our body fat and increase our body water. With a higher body water percentage to keep up, you must hydrate.

2) Insufficient hydration fatigues your muscles, reduces your coordination and causes muscle cramps. (Source) Not something you want to experience while running or working out, amiright?

3) Water is the most important nutrient for life and has many important functions including regulating temperature, lubricating joints and transporting nutrients and waste throughout the body. (Source) Without proper hydration you’ll overheat. Transporting waste throughout your body – waste, like lactic acid that builds up during a hard workout or a long run.

Enough science already. Science was never my strong suit. The point is – the weather is getting warmer and we’re all taking our workouts outside. Please make sure you hydrate properly. Signs of dehydration include:

  • Dry mouth (Do NOT wait until you are thirsty to hydrate, thirst is a sign that you are already on your way to dehydrating!)
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dark urine and/or lack of urination

If you experience any of these symptoms, grab your closest water bottle/glass and chug! It is incredibly important in order to avoid situations like LC in the story above.

My tips for staying hydrated:

  • Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. I keep one at work, one in my purse, alright I keep them everywhere. I’m a water bottle hoarder.
  • Freshen up your water – add ice, lemon, lime, a splash of fruit juice. 
  • Try to avoid feeling thirsty, and try to avoid having dark colored urine. Monitor your water intake if you’re not good at drinking it.
  • Make it a habit. It took me a long time to get used to drinking water all day long. Now, whenever my water bottle is empty, I immediately refill it and just sip throughout the day. Most days it adds up to over 100 ounces. Yes, I pee a lot, but my body is happy.

With that being said, I am here to kick start your hydration habits! Yup, you guessed it, giveaway #4 has to do with hydration. My favorite way to hydrate pre-run, mid-run (and workout), and post-run.

Nuun

I keep Nuun everywhere.

Nuun Gym BagNuun Purse

Nuun Kitchen Cabinet

I’m never without it. Why Nuun you ask?

(From Nuun’s Website)

  • Zero sugar
  • Important electrolytes
  • Under 8 calories
  • Easy to use

Drop a tab in the water, wait 2 minutes for it to dissolve, drink. Easy peasy.

And, I’m here to tell you that one lucky reader will win 2 tubes of Nuun for your own hydration needs!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

Here’s how:

1) Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/runcupcake (Required)

2) Follow Nuun on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/nuunhydration (Required)

3) Tweet: I know how important it is to stay hydrated, that’s why I want to win @nuunhydration from @runcupcake! http://wp.me/p25oLf-JD (Optional)

The flavors that I’m giving away are two of my favorite flavors – Grape and Strawberry Lemonade.

Leave a comment for each entry.

Giveaway is open until Noon, Friday, May 4th.

Nuun is providing two tubes to one winner.

Open to all US and Canadian residents.

I hope you all had a happy Wednesday. I’m off to bed, final taper run tomorrow morning!

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It’s Taper Time!

1 May

First off, in case you missed it:

PT Tweet

Exciting stuff! They were practically throwing me out of the office – I guess that means I’m healed, right?

Okay, so, it’s that time again. Taper time! This taper won’t be horrendous since I haven’t really been running much anyway.

Tonight, though, I did run. Coachy said something that resonated with me, and really lit a fire up under my ass today. He said if I want to get better, faster, stronger, it’s going to be hard and it’s going to hurt (good hurt of course), but it will be worth it in the long run (pun not so much intended, but rather amusing). Now I know I’ve been told this a million times but for some reason today it just sunk in. I decided right then and there – to hell with excuses, to hell with floundering over decisions, I have a plan, I know what I need to do, so I’m doing it. And do it I did (at the gym, on the treadmill – damn rain)– my splits looked like this:

Mile 0-0.75: 9:50 pace

Mile 0.75-1: 8:57 pace

Mile 1-1.75: 9:50 pace

Mile 1.75-2: 8:57 pace

A couple of notes – I wasn’t feeling tired. My legs felt fresh, even just 48 hours after my speedy Sunday run. My lungs felt fine, no breathing struggles at all.

Because of all this goodness I decided to finish strong:

Mile 2-2.75: 9:50 pace

Mile 2.75-3: 8:34 pace

Even that last quarter mile “sprint” didn’t feel hard. I was shocked! And now, I still feel great. I think I’m at a major breakthrough point – some more hard work and hard training and we’ll see what good things I can accomplish.

Maybe starting on Sunday? We’ll see.

Speaking of good things – you know what time it is? It’s time for another giveaway! We are still celebrating my blog-iversary after all!

Giveaway Week Banner

It’s not called a giveaway week for nothing! One thing I did forget to tell you guys is that everything I’m giving away this week is personal in one way, shape, or form to me.

Sparkly Soul headbands? (This giveaway is still open!) I can’t workout without one on my head!

Perky Jerky – I’d never had turkey jerky before, and now that I’m not eating red meat (99.9% of the time hehe), it fits into my life perfectly. (Still a little time left to get in on this one!).

And tonight – Chobani. That’s right my friends. One lucky winner will receive a case of Chobani! Thank you Chobani, for providing not ONLY one lucky reader with a case, but also providing me with a case. Yum. You guys seriously rock.

Chobani

I love Chobani – and even though I’ve cut way back on dairy, I’ll still eat it. Friends and family alike recommended trying Lactaid – and sure enough it works. So, I’m self diagnosed lactose intolerant. Which means, if I have a craving for Cho, I’m going to eat it! I’m still mostly avoiding dairy, just like red meat. HAHA.

I have a feeling this is going to be a popular giveaway, so I’m going to give you guys a bunch of options for entering!

1) Follow Running and Cupcakes (look to your right – where it says “Follow Me”) (Required)

2) Tell me your FAVORITE Chobani flavor. Mine is Apple Cinnamon. (Required)

3) Follow Chobani on Twitter. https://twitter.com/#!/Chobani (Optional)

4) Follow me on Twitter. https://twitter.com/#!/runcupcake (Optional)

5) Share a link with me of your favorite recipe made with Chobani. (Optional)

6) Tweet: @Chobani is giving away a case to one lucky reader with @runcupcake. Enter here: http://wp.me/p25oLf-Jj

There you have it my friends! 6 ways to win a case of Chobani!

This giveaway will be open for one week – I will accept entries until Midnight, Tuesday, May 8th.

Please leave a separate message for each entry!

Good luck!

I hope everyone had a great Tuesday. Stay tuned for another wicked awesome giveaway tomorrow! Smile

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P.S. Have I told you guys yet that I have some seriously awesome guest bloggers set up for you for this weekend? Just you wait and see – you will not be disappointed!

Monday Love: Race Week Edition

30 Apr

Hey hey everyone! Can you believe it – Cox Rhode Races half marathon is a short 5 days away! It’s going to be here before we know it!

With that being said, what better time than to offer up a “Race Week Edition” of my favorite way to beat a case of the Mondays? So, what am I loving this race week?

1) Completing a training schedule: strong, proud, and happy.

Happy Training Plan

2) Completing the final run of the training plan at a pace that will allow me a PR on Sunday. *Disclaimer* I am not trying to PR on Sunday. I am going to run with my friends and have fun. I am going to listen to my body so as to not reinjure my leg. If I get a PR out of the deal, that would be fantastic, but I’m not getting my hopes up.  (Side note: This exact race, last year, still holds my PR. So I may be thinking about it just a little bit.) I ran the first half of this run with Jess at a comfortable pace. Since she’s still healing she could only run 4, so I was left to my own devices for the second half. After convincing myself to finish the run (and not get in my car and drive home) I decided to throw in some speedy miles. It was hard, but surprisingly not too hard. I negative split the second half of this run by almost 5 minutes!

Final Cox Long Run

3) My dog. No matter what kind of day I had, she always cheers me up. I love having a dog – they truly are (wo)man’s best friend. (Super strange side not: When I typed the wo in parentheses Live Writer turned it into a suitcase? Strange.) Tonight was especially hilarious – she was so nutso when I got home. Running around with the most disgusting looking tennis ball I’ve ever seen, jumping, playing fetch with herself basically, while my parents dog just watched her from the deck.  sometimes I swear he thinks he’s babysitting her. And now, well, see for yourself:

Sleepy Lexi

She seems to be getting better since I wrote the other day that she was having some behavioral issues. She had basically thrown herself out of my bed a couple of weeks ago, but I put her blanky back up on my bed and brought her back in, and she’s happy. She’s a big time cuddlepuppy. When she can cuddle, she’s happy.

4) Quick, but effective, workouts. I’m pressed for time this week while getting ready to enjoy my mini stay-cation. I’ve got posts to set up (so I don’t leave you guys hanging while I’m unplugged – I’ve got some great guest posters lined up starting Friday!), I’ve got grown up crap to do (like make sure my bills are all paid, laundry, etc.), a hair cut on Thursday, you get the picture. Wicked busy, as always. So in order to save myself some time I decided I’d skip the gym this week; however, I’m not skipping working out. I created a great, fast, full body circuit that you can do at home when you’re pressed for time. All you need is a stability ball and a set of hand weights. I used 5 pounders – I don’t want to be too sore or worn out come race day! I did 3 total sets in 25 minutes (except I only managed 25 total push ups – those babies are HARD!) Stability Ball Circuit

Exercise Descriptions (Be sure the ball is supporting your upper back, neck, and head for all exercises that you’re laying on the ball. Raise your hips into a bridge position so your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your knees):

Bench Press – traditional bench press, only laying on the ball.

Supine Tricep extension

Hammer Curl – Sitting on the ball. Engage your core, make sure your feet are on the floor and your legs form a 90 degree angle.

Push-up: Make sure the ball is directly under your shins. Engage your core, don’t round or arch your back.

Wall Squats

Ball “Roll-Ins” – Assume push up position on the ball. Bring your knees to your chest (rolling the ball in) and move back out to push up position. That’s one rep.

5) Another giveaway. What’s that you say? Oh yes, I told you guys I’d have a giveaway a day this week, right? Well it’s a freakin party around here! Today’s giveaway is brought to you by the wonderful people over at Perky Jerky. Have you had this stuff yet? I’ve tried both, I prefer the turkey, and OMG, it is the most tender pre-packaged jerky I have ever eaten in my life. I buy it all the time to snack on, and today, the folks at Perky Jerky are being kind enough to give away 5 bags each of the beef and the turkey!

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They’re not kidding. Since I possess this bag of yumminess, and it’s taken every ounce of power in me to not devour all of the turkey jerky myself, this is going to be a 24-hour flash giveaway! This giveaway will end TOMORROW at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

How to enter: THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

1) Follow Running and Cupcakes (look to your right – where it says “Follow Me”) (Required)

2) Tell me if you won which flavor you’d prefer – Beef or Turkey (Required)

3) Tweet about the giveaway. However you’d like! Just make sure you copy me (@runcupcake) and Perky Jerky (@perkyjerky), and link back to this post:

Giveaway is open to all US and Canadian Residents.

This giveaway will have TWO winners.

Giveaway ends at 9:30 eastern standard time Tuesday, May 1, 2012.

Good luck! I hope everyone had an amazing Monday!

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