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Nuun Vitamins - Review + Giveaway

Hey babes! Thanks for sticking with me through Ironman training. I know I haven't been able to post a ton of content these last few months aside from a few updates on how training is going. So today, I wanted to do something a little different and share a review on a new product that I'm currently loving.

It's no secret that I love Nuun hydration tablets. I've blogged about them for years and I'm also kind of super fan. With that being said, as a nutritionist I can't deny the fact that Nuun is, in fact, a sports drink and as such, contains high levels of electrolytes (sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium). Like most other sports drinks, you may be tempted to drink it every day however, this may not actually be the best idea. There are negative consequences for high intake of electrolytes such as elevated blood pressure from excessive sodium or an upset GI tract from excessive magnesium. It's best to consume these drinks in moderation and only when necessary to replenish electrolytes lost from physical activity.

The fine folks over at Nuun HQ saw the need for a hydration tablet that was better suited for "everyday" hydration and thus released Nuun Vitamins! (queue heavenly music) Nuun vitamins is a hydration tablet with a lower electrolyte profile than Nuun Active and also contains 11 vitamins and minerals. Think of it as a yummy low calorie beverage/multivitamin that also keeps you hydrated and healthy.

So what's the REAL difference between regular Nuun Active and the new Nuun Vitamins? Well let's break them down and take a closer look:

As you can see these two side by side really show a bit of a difference, most noticeably the vitamin content. Nuun vitamins also lower in sodium and magnesium than Nuun active. What I really love is the antioxidant content (vitamins A, C, & E). Some researchers believe that long, intense exercise like endurance training, may cause more oxidative stress on the body which is a direct result of higher levels of free radicals. As we know oxidative stress has long been linked to things like cellular damage, heart disease, cancer, and many other diseases. Antioxidants combat free radicals so the more we have the healthier we can be.

You could totally make Nuun vitamins your every day healthy drink to sip on at work or on the go even if your not an endurance athlete. I think, for me, it's completes a part of my diet in conjunction with Nuun Active. As an endurance athlete I need Nuun active to keep me hydrated, especially as spring and summer approach. I'm sweating hard core twice a day as I gear up for Ironman Texas. I keep Nuun active on hand to help combat muscle cramps and dehydration during my training days. I also need the antioxidants Nuun vitamins offers to help my body recover and keep me healthy. Intense training really takes a toll on the body and can put it into a catabolic state. It goes without saying that a good (healthy) diet is essential for optimal recovery and healthy muscles and bones. I make a huge effort to get all of my necessary micro nutrients and antioxidants from fruits and veggies, but the addition of a healthy drink to supplement with recovery, that's also low in calorie, and keeps me hydrated is the yin to my Nuun Active yang.

...and can we talk about these flavors for a minute? I've really loved all of the existing Nuun flavors, but the makers at HQ really out did themselves with the vitamins. Nuun is well known for the lighter tasting flavors. They know that subtle flavor has a much higher impact than harsh over powering flavors. Somehow they managed to pack delicious flavors into each tablet with overpowering the senses. I've sampled all of them and can honestly say, there isn't one single flavor from the new line that I don't like. I've tried the Ginger Lemonade as a warm soothing drink during the colder months. The blue berry pomegranate or blackberry citrus are great over ice when you need something on the sweeter-fruitier side. The strawberry melon is a calm smooth flavor reminiscent of gorgeous brunches on the patio in spring and the grapefruit orange and tangerine lime will definitely make their way into my summer pool bag.

All in all I'd give the new vitamins line a 10 out of 10 for health, flavor, and content. Hands down, Nuun has bridged the gap for us super fans. While nothing takes the place of water, the vitamin line has given me an option for everyday consumption that helps keep me stay healthy without making me worry about calories, sugar, or dehydration.

Now on to the good stuff! If you're like me, you can't wait to get your hands on a couple of tubes of delicious Nuun Vitamins so I'm giving away two tubes to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment down below or on one of the related giveaway posts on my Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter and tell me why you want some Nuun. Comments on social media will only be included if they are on the original Nuun vitamins giveaway posts on one of my social accounts. Comments on retweets or reposts will not be included.

Next Friday I will pick a winner at random and announce it across all social channels. Feel free to share this giveaway with someone who might also need a healthy everyday drink! The contest is open to all US residents and closes 03/23/17 at midnight.

Happy Running!

Training Check-in: Ironman - The Back Up Plan

Hey guys! Welcome back to tales of a torn ACL. ha ha ha! It's been seven weeks since my skiing accident and things have really been coming along nicely. If you would have told me six weeks ago that I would almost feel normal today, I would have never believed you. It's truly amazing what the body can do.

The last time I checked in, I was just beginning my physical therapy and I was easing my way back into training. I'm happy to report everything is going very very well. As soon as I was given the green light by my PT I resumed my Ironman swim training. It took me a few swim sessions to get back in the swing of things, but it felt like I'd lost no time. Today, I'm back to pre-injury swim strength and I'm still seeing so much progress. I'm getting faster every day and even seeing a few new PRs. I think this was the one area of practice my ACL had the least effect on.

I have continued my physical therapy every day. I see my PT in office once a week or once every two weeks and we go through new exercises. I do those every day of the week at home or at the gym and it's made such a difference. We initially started with range of motion exercises that focused on regaining my flexibility and muscle activation.  Today, we've worked our way up to mild weight lifting and single leg balancing. The idea is to gain the strength back in my quad muscle and the muscles surrounding the knee.

Did you know that tearing an ACL creates so much trauma to the quad muscle that you see severe muscle atrophy? When I was first injured my quad muscle seemed to shrink in size. I'm talking a hugely noticeable reduction. You could poke it and it was squishy and you could feel my thigh bone. Later, I learned that it was because of my ACL tear and that I would have to learn to activate that muscle again. A large part of my PT was just flexing that muscle while seated. It's one of those basic functions of the body that all of a sudden becomes so difficult.

At the beginning of February, I officially began working with my new coach, Suzanne Flanningan from Sooz sports. If you guys remember, I mentioned that I'd won three months of triathlon coaching through the Equally Inspiring program by Tri Equal. At the time, I thought it was going to be helpful as I was new to full distance Ironman training. Now, I realize that with my injury, I would have never been able to make it with the training plan I was using. While the Be Iron Fit program was great for the first 15 weeks, I had to take several weeks off after tearing my ACL. More importantly, I haven't been able to run. At all! That sounds so scary to say when Ironman Texas is just a short 9 weeks away. How will I ever make it across the finish line?!

With a new plan! The back up plan. Sooz has written a new training program for me which takes into consideration the time I lost during my injury as well as the limitations on my knee. We are quickly building the miles on the bike to get me back up to where I need to be in order to race in April. I've even been able to take my rides back outside again. While I still cannot run, we are planning to implement a run/walk strategy for the last leg of the race. This was pretty hard to hear at first, but I have to adjust my goals and take into account the fact that I'M INJURED.

There were so many people who told me that I should give up on Ironman and have surgery. They weren't trying to discourage me. Most of them had been through this injury themselves and were either forced to have surgery or would have just rather get it fixed right away. I chose to rely on my doctor's advice and take into account my unique situation. Everyone is different and not all treatment plans are the same. I'm so incredibly grateful to have a team of people working with me and supporting me on my journey to Ironman. I could not be doing any of this without my physical therapist and my coach guiding me. Although my plan for Ironman has not been perfect, I'm still able to continue my training and that, in itself, is a great gift. I refuse to let these gifts go to waste.

They say that Ironman isn't just about the race, it's about the journey to get there. Today, I'm so grateful for my journey. I have learned to take risks, to cry when I need to, sort through my emotions and dig deep for strength. I've learned that set backs should be expected, but that they don't have to stop you no matter how impossible they seem. I'm so grateful for all of this. Every single minute of it.

I hope you guys are out there chasing your dreams and if you're not, it's not too late to start.

Happy running,

ACL Tear Week 3

Well it has been 3 full weeks since my skiing accident on New Year’s eve. I finally made it to the orthopedic doctor this week for a full evaluation. As we suspected, I suffered a full ACL tear. After an extensive evaluation he determined that I still have fairly good stability and mobility in the knee. So, despite the results of a tear, my doctor and I have decided not to have the surgery to repair it. We talked in length about my fitness level and the types of activities I like/want to do. Since the majority of my training has been swimming, biking, and running the doctor felt like I may not need surgery after good rehabilitation.

We also discussed the Ironman I’ve been training for in April. While he warned me that it may be difficult, he did feel like I would be able to complete it. He is going to monitor my progress closely. If things don’t appear to be progressing as they should, we will consider scrapping Ironman and heading on to surgery. If I do make it through rehab and training, we’re still going to re-evaluate my knee post-race to determine if surgery is a better option long term. Although, my doctor is confident that if I can gain enough strength to complete an Ironman, I should have enough strength to continue without surgery. We are not taking any of the options permanently off the table until we see how my progress goes. He’s going to let my physical therapist make those decisions.

So, with that in mind, I started physical therapy this week! I met with my PT on Wednesday and we discussed my current activity level, my goals, and my limits. She gave me a full assessment and then we talked Ironman. She cringed a bit when I told her it was in late April and then she said, “I understand, I did a half Ironman myself”. I can’t tell you what a relief it was to know that I’m in a triathletes hands. She was honest with me and voiced her concerns regarding the run. The next few weeks will be quite revealing I’m sure, but I’m willing to give it 110%. This week we set some pretty high goals as we don’t have a lot of time:
  1. Regain the ability to walk normally (not just unassisted by crutches and brace, but without limping and such)
  2. Regain full range of motion
  3. Introduce strengthening exercises
  4. Get back on my bike and back to swimming

 I’ve also made an appointment to be fitted for a sports knee brace to help with running. I’m sure I’m far from being able to run, but I will need one long term. Hoping it’s not too bulky and that it doesn’t inhibit movement. I’ve been wearing a Mueller brace since the accident and it really prevented me from walking normally. It did, however, give me the stability I needed to get around. My PT gave me the OK to stop wearing the Mueller brace on a day to day basis and that, in itself, has really helped my knee.

 Tuesday I got back in the pool for the first time. My only goal was to see how things felt. I did 1000 yards and was a bit slow, but overall things felt pretty good. I know I’ll need at least a couple of weeks to get back to the fitness level I was at before the new year.

Thursday I got back on the bike for the first time and was so incredibly surprised. After only a day of physical therapy there was hardly any pain or stiffness. I was fairly reserved and only rode 30 minutes on the trainer with very low tension and moderate cadence. My heart rate was in Z1 for most of the ride, rose to Z2 for a few minutes and peaked at Z3 for just a few seconds. It was just enough to break a small sweat and then it was over, but it was just the confidence boost I needed.

I’ve been doing my PT strengthening exercises every day after dinner and on my lunch breaks. Any time I walk anywhere I focus on my form, which is kind of weird looking. Sometimes I feel like I look like I’m marching. I walk much slower than usual, but it also allows me to make sure I’m extending my knee and lifting my heel like I need to be. From a far, you can still tell there is something wrong with me . I’m  not walking 100% normal just yet, but every day I make progress. Now that I’m finally able to ride, swim, and walk unassisted I know that it will only get better and I will only get stronger.

Thanks for checking in on me! My spirits are high this week and I’m feeling great! Remember, nothing is ever easy. If it were, it wouldn’t be worth it.

Happy running babes,

Training Check-in: Ironman - When Things Go Wrong

Hey babes! Happy new year! It's been so long since my last post that I haven't even had a chance to wish you all well in 2017. I hope your holidays were filled with family and fun. I was so grateful to spend the holidays with my in-laws and even take a trip to see my sister over the new year. Living so far from my only sister is hard sometimes. I jumped at the chance to fly out there and spend the holiday with her. Which brings me to the reason for today's post.

I had an amazing time with my sister but sadly, my year ended with a bit of a surprise. The last couple of weeks, for me, have been filled with lots of stress and discomfort. You see, when I visited my sister we made a trip up to Tahoe for some new year's eve skiing. Unfortunately, I've never skied before and I'm not a coordinated person. I took a bit of  a tumble twisted my knee, heard a pop, and have been down for the count ever since.

Initial reports confirm I tore my ACL however, I don't know the extent as of yet. Hopefully I'll now more next week when I have my first orthopedic appointment to discuss the possibility of surgery and/or rehab.

Today, I just wanted to write and get it all our there. I've tried so hard to keep it all together since the accident. I've tried to be patient and wait for results. I've tried to stay positive and optimistic. BUT...(there's a but) you see, this injury leaves only a very small chance that I will complete Ironman in April. As heart breaking as that is to admit, I have to face the reality and prepare myself for every outcome. There is still some small chance that I will see my orthopedic doctor and he will tell me that I can race however, I'm pretty sure that percent is slim to none.

These first few weeks of the new year have really set the tone for the rest of the year. I realize that I have two choices here: I can feel sorry for myself and allow my thoughts to drift into negativity OR I can remain optimistic, determined and focus on my recovery. I have to decide what kind of year I want this to be and I need to stick with it!

When I first announced I was going to do an Ironman it was because I wanted to prove to myself that I had recovered from my past. I survived my struggle with addiction, depression, and self-harm. I wanted this race to be the big F-you to the negativity I carried with me for so long. So, yea it hurts to think I wont get that chance in April BUT that doesn't mean I WON'T get that chance AND it doesn't mean I can't continue to live a life filled with positivity in the mean time.

The last few weeks I've been hobbling around my life with a brace and crutches and there have been many times that I could feel my thoughts drifting and a lump building in my throat. A lot of people have told me that it's normal to feel loss. It's normal to want to feel down or angry or sad because I'm injured or even because I may not get to race. A lot of people have also told me to get some perspective! Just because I tore my ACL it doesn't mean my life is over. It also doesn't mean my triathlon career is over. It just means I need to step back and recover.

The prognosis for an ACL tear is generally a good one when you think long term. Though I will likely need surgery and the road to recovery will be long, I will recover and may even recover stronger than I was before. So even though this accident may mean that my initial plan to race in April is no longer feasible it doesn't have to mean it's all come to an end.

I will have more of an update on Monday after I see my ortho. Until then, I'll continue to remain positive and hope for the best. Who know's, maybe my doctor will have surprisingly good news for me!

Before I go I want to leave you with this one final thought. You can call it a motto of sorts. Just because things don't work out the way you planned them, doesn't mean they don't work out for the best. Everything works out for the best in the end. All you have to do it accept it.

Happy running babes!

Training Check-in: Ironman - Base Phase

Hello again my sweaty babes! It's been a while since my last check-in. For those of you who actually read my blog, thanks for coming back! It's been surprisingly hard for me to keep up with my blog during Ironman training. Between the holidays, work and work-outs, the only free time I've had is to eat, ha! No, seriously, it's been a tad crazy these days. I think I've been managing it well thus far however, things are about to get even crazier. I've just wrapped up what's called "base phase" of my training plan and am now heading into "build phase". Before we get into all of that, let me quickly recap what's been going on this last month.

So many amazing things happened recently! If you follow me on Facebook , Twitter or Instagram you may already know. BUT I'm so happy to announce that I have been accepted as a member of (not one but) TWO amazing teams for the 2017 race season! The first of which is Mojo Racing.

Mojo Racing is the official team of Love the Pain, an apparel company I currently represent as an ambassador. Mojo Racing is a simply amazing and awesomely inspirational group of athletes including elite member Jeff Fairbanks. Jeff founded an amazing initiative called the Triumph Project. Which, by the way, has truly been an inspiration to me personally! He completed 21 days of 70.3's (half Ironman distance) to engage others in the sport of triathlon and encourage them to share their stories of WHY WE TRI. As you may recall I recently shared my story and announced my initiative to raise money for Shatterproof so, I whole hardheartedly support Jeff and his goal to get others involved and share their triathlon stories and encourage others to tri.  I'm so incredibly proud to be a part of this team! Love the Pain is a fairly new company, but has already created an incredible community of Triathletes. I'm so motivated by all of them and I only hope I can be an asset to the team.

The second team I have the honor to join is Equally Inspiring  by Tri Equal. I think I almost fainted when I got the email. Not only am I able to join a team whose sole purpose is to increase the participation of women in the sport of triathlon (inspiring all by itself), but I also won 3 months of free coaching from one of TriEqual's amazing volunteer coaches. This is seriously a dream come true for me. I so desperately need guidance! I've really been struggling with my heart rate zones and I just need someone who knows what their talking about to give me sound advice. An Ironman is a big race. It's something I want to do right and I really want to finish without a DNF (did not finish - a technical term). I know I have the heart to do it, but I also want to be prepared with the athletic ability.

What's best about joining this team (and most important), is that someone out there thought my story was worth sharing. I can't express what that means to me. I was so afraid to share my addiction and depression story with the world, but I knew that there could be someone out there who would benefit from it. I always told myself that there would be a day that all those mistakes and the pain and suffering would all mean something. I hoped that one day I'd be able help others like me. Today, I hope that by sharing my story on this journey to Ironman I can reach someone who needs to hear it. My hope is that I can motivate someone, anyone, who needs a reason to believe in themselves.

Triathlon has been so much more than just a sport for me. It has been my saving grace, my therapy, and my inspiration. For now, I'm waiting to work out the details with my assigned coach. I'll continue on with the Be Iron Fit training plan as scheduled. If my coach decides to give me a new plan or change things up, so be it! I'm so incredibly excited to work with a coach and get serious about my training.

So with all that in mind, Let's talk about the last five weeks of my current training plan. If I had to some it up in one word, I'd use "slacking". For the most part I've been doing the work however, I have consistently been missing at least one work out a week. I hate to admit it, but its true. It's been pretty random too. Some days I just get lazy or busy and I push off those smaller workouts. Early in my training I was just doing 30 minute sessions here and there. Things have increased a bit since then. I now do one brick workout a week and my long rides/runs on the weekends have all increased to 1-2 hours each. As of today, I have only missed one of those long days and it was during the Thanksgiving holiday. It's so so so so hard to manage time during the holidays! We had four family Thanksgiving dinners and by Saturday I was so stuffed with Turkey that I literally couldn't do anything but roll around on the couch. I skipped my long run that weekend and I regret it. It was the first time I'd missed a key workout like that.

I've also found myself sleeping in later and later. When I started my training I was up at 5am every day going to the pool or riding my bike on the trainer. Now, I find myself sleeping in until 6am or even skipping my morning workouts and having to do them during my lunch hour. I've tried to be easy on myself. Meaning, I don't beat myself up about those days I get my workouts done later in the day. At least I'm getting them done, right?

My training plan is broken down into three parts. Base phase, where I take things easy and build an aerobic base. Build phase, where I start tacking on miles/hours as well as speed training. Finally, peak phase, where its all out long rides/runs/swims and finally taper to race day. Now that I have completed base phase I'm moving on to build phase and I'm honestly a bit worried. It's been over six months since I've done any speed work at all. The thought of trying to stay in zone 4 for any extended period of time hurts my lungs. Im hoping that the seriousness of adding speed work and longer workouts helps me get (and stay) into the groove of serious training.

I went out on my longest run to date last weekend. It was a 1 hour 30 minute zone 2 run. I haven't run for over an hour since I was training for Ironman 70.3 in Austin last year. I'd honestly forgotten how amazing it felt! The weather is finally turning in Texas and it was cold and beautiful. It brought me back to my roots and my love of running. I SO needed that. I've also found a comfort zone on the indoor trainer rides. I can easily put on Netflix on get down to business and have fun in the pain cave. Even though I'm not the rock star triathlete I thought I'd be by now, I do believe I have found my place in Ironman training. I'm excited to see what the next 10 weeks bring!

Happy Running!

Training Check-in: Ironman Weeks 3 & 4

Happy hump day! This week has just flown by. I'd hoped to get this post up on Monday, but you now how it is.

So weeks 3 & 4 of Ironman training are in the books! Boy, what a crazy couple of weeks that was! I don't know what was wrong with me. I slept in more than I should and I just felt generally drained. It wasn't really fatigue from over work either. It was that yucky kind of tired where your workouts feel harder, but they're not....and then you're yawning constantly.

I went to see my doctor before training ever started to get his blessing to begin training. (You can never be too safe when starting a training plan like this) I really just wanted to get a base line in case things start to go awry deeper into my training plan. I can always go back to my doctor and compare to my base line. Anyway, I went to see him and he recommended that I start a prenatal vitamin to keep my iron levels up as my blood work showed it was a tad low. I'm thinking this may be the cause of my fatigue. I sat down in week 3 and really tried to evaluate my diet to see what changes I could make and attempt to raise my energy levels. I was really suprised how much difference it made, especially after I started taking the supplements. 

Here is the break down of the last two weeks:

Week 3

Monday - Rest day

Two-a-day-Tuesday: 1600m swim & 30 min run
I just couldn't get up for my swim. I slept in until about 5:45am that morning, but still made it to the gym. My overall swim was horrible. I felt so slow in the pool and my arms were just so tired and heavy. I was only able to finish 1450m of the 1600m swim. I averaged a 2:29/100m pace which really shows something was off. The rest of the day I felt like I was being pulled to the ground by iron chains. I just didn't have any strength. I managed to drag myself to the gym for my second workout of the day during my lunch break. It was awful as well. My heart rate spiked and I only made it 2.29 miles in my allotted 30 minutes. That's a speedy 13:08 min/mile pace.

Wednesday - 30 minute trainer ride
I opted to sleep in again on Wednesday since Tuesday was so tuff. I figured I hadn't recovered enough from the previous week and needed some extra rest. I took a spin class on my lunch break which left me feeling refreshed. I took it easy and tried to stay in Z2 and managed to have a little fun while I was at it.

Thursday - 30 minute trainer ride
Repeat of Wednesday. Instead of a spin class I did an easy ride in Z2, nothing fancy just focused on cadence/speed. Felt pretty good as the day went on. I seemed to be getting a little bit of energy back.

Friday - (two-a day-Friday) 1600m swim & 30 min run
The last few Fridays have also been two-a-day workouts although, I haven't been doing the second workout of the day. In my last check-in I mentioned my local gym had been closed for renovations and it made it so difficult to get all  my workouts in. This week I was determined to get every single workout done! I woke up early Friday morning and got my swim done, I manged to get the full 1600m swim done with a 2:20/100m pace (getting closer to normal). I went home, showered, got dressed for the day and even packed my gym bag for a lunch run. Unfortunately, work got in the way I wasn't able to take a lunch break and go run like I'd hoped. There goes my goal for the week!

Saturday - 30 min trainer ride
I woke up at the butt crack of dawn on Saturday to get my trainer ride done. We planned to take the kids hiking that morning so I wanted to get my ride done early enough so that we weren't hiking in the heat. Mission accomplished! I was done by 9am and my ride felt great. We took the kids hiking for about an hour and a half and then my day went south. I'm not sure what happened, but my energy levels took a nose dive again! I was eating well and staying hydrated, but I felt like I was being pulled to the ground by those chains again. Its such and odd feeling! Went home for lunch and then headed to my brother-in-laws to check out his new farm. Luckily I was able to relax and rest out in the country for the day.
Sunday- 30 min run
I woke up Sunday feeling like I never went to sleep. I knew something was really wrong with me. I took the day off and skipped my workout. I spent this time evaluating my dietary intake and creating a meal plan for the week ahead. I went on a shopping haul and packed my pantry with energy & iron rich foods. I knew if week 4 was going to be a success, I needed to get back down to business. I started taking the vitamin my doctor recommended and prepped my meals for the week.

Week 4

Monday - rest day
Even though I took Sunday off, I let myself have Monday off as scheduled. I took my vitamin and was sure to eat well, stay hydrated and go to bed on time.

Two-a-day Tuesday - 1600m swim & 30 min run
back at the pool! Things felt great! I spent a little time doing some drills and then smashed out my main set. I could really tell my energy was high. I ate a good breakfast and took my vitamin. Later that day I headed out on a run on my lunch break only to, once again, be defeated by a high heart rate. This time I ran a 13:59 min/mile pace in order to stay in Z2 for the full 30 minute run. I practically had a breakdown after my run. I've been running in Z2 since late May and even in the dead heat of Texas summer, I was able to run faster than that while in Z2. Something is just not working for me. I decided to make some changes to my training plan. Going forward, I will be incorporating speed work even though my plan doesn't call for it for another few weeks. Hopefully, the changes in my diet and the addition of my vitamins will also help bring that heart rate down as well as things begin to balance out.

Wednesday - 30 min trainer ride
Another spin class - I always have so much fun doing these. I know as the weeks pass I will have longer rides on the schedule and wont be able to continue doing these lunch spin classes but for now, they are really a treat as I find myself struggling emotionally on other days.

Thursday - 30 min trainer ride
Repeat of Wednesday - focused on cadence and speed

Friday - (two-a-day) take two!
Woke up early for my swim, felt GREAT! I've been taking my vitamins all week, ate great, slept like I was supposed to and it payed off! I did the full 1600m swim with an average 2:17min/100m pace. Felt so stinking awesome. I came home from the gym that morning, ate a good breakfast and packed my bag for a lunch run. The day was a bit stressful and I almost missed my run, but I was determined this time around. I decided to just run for a change. I set my Garmin and then never looked back down at it. I just ran and I needed it too. I was all over Z3 and Z4 the entire run, but I didnt care. I averaged a 9:46min/mile pace and I loved it. Good to know I can still run a bit fast if I want to.

Saturday - 30 minute trainer ride.
Oh. My. Gosh woke up Saturday with sore legs. I guess apparently 6 months of Z2 training makes for weak legs because my run Friday torched my legs. I'm a little ashamed to say it, but its true. This is all the more reason I want to begin incorporating speed work into my weekly plan. The purpose of the first 10 weeks of my plan is to build an aerobic base, but I have been doing that for 6 months. I'm going with my gut on this one.....and keeping my sanity. I used Saturdays ride as a bit of a shake out. Took it easy and just rode.

Sunday - 30 minute run
The weather has been cooling off a lot more here in Texas and it was a bit of a chilly run. It was refreshing to be honest. My heart rate seemed to be doing better. I found myself running in Z1, which is rare sight for me. After the halfway point in my run, I started reaching the upper limit of Z2 and was forced to slow down. I averaged a 12:43min/mile pace. Not the best pace ever, but still happy with it. Especially since I was able to run a while in Z1/Z2.

Well, like I said, its been an interesting couple of weeks. I think the introduction of the vitamin is really helping. As a nutritionist I really don't like to admit that MY dietary intake is lacking, but the truth is, it has been. My iron levels have been low and my energy levels were even lower. Last week I focused on it and I was able to see improvement which tells me that I need to keep my head in the game and make sure I'm eating well and taking my supplements. Week 5 will be my last week of 30 minute workouts. My weekend rides and runs will start building in duration and I will begin brick workouts weekly. Things only go up from here so I know I need to stay focused. Do you have any tips or tricks that you use to keep your nutritional goals in check? Be sure to share them with me in the comments below. I know I need all the extra motivation I can get right now!

Happy Running,

Healthy Shopping Haul with Sprouts

Happy Monday babes! I hope you had an amazingly wonderful weekend! I'm still recovering from mine. We took the kids hiking out at Cedar Ridge Preserve again and then out to the country side to visit my in-laws on their new farm.

It was such an amazing time. They have chickens, horses, cats, dogs, the whole works. I even met the fattest and cutest pig ever. Her name is Chubbs, just look at that face!

All the excitement from hiking and chasing animals left me so drained and worn out that I slept in pretty late on Sunday. I'd planned to do a 30 minute run, but I just couldn't peel myself off the couch. This last week of training really got me down. My energy levels have been beyond low and I think it's due to a mix of low iron levels and a bad diet.

I went to see my doctor before training started to have some blood work done and get a physical. He warned me that my iron was pretty low and that I should take a prenatal vitamin while training. I'm pretty stubborn though and I was sure I could get my iron levels up on my own through diet intake. Unfortunately, my diet has been poo.

It took all the energy I had Sunday, but I peeled myself off the couch for a quick trip to my local Sprouts to pick up some healthy snacks for the week and check out their vitamins. My trouble is that I've been getting pretty "snacky" lately and I've been reaching for those easy-but--not-so-great snacks like potato chips. I just love Sprouts because they have so many healthy options when it comes to snacks and foods and their produce is amazing too!

Today, I thought I'd share my "healthy" shopping haul with you and perhaps inspire some healthier snacks for you as well!

Breakfast is always one of those important meals for me. Especially now that I'm training in the early morning hours, I really find that I need two breakfasts before lunch. You guys should know that the Mexican girl in me about died when I found this chicken chirzo. I LOVE chorizo, but the fat and cholesterol in real chorizo just get me every time. This chicken chorizo is a great alternative. It's higher in iron (which I need right now) and it's also lower in fat and cholesterol.

I also love parfaits for breakfast and as well snacks during the day so I picked up this diary free yogurt alternative in Vanilla. I love SO Delicious products because they don't upset my stomach as much and they're super creamy and delicious.

To go with my yogurt parfaits I found these delicious blueberries and raspberries as well as the sweetest smelling dried figs. Seriously, the aroma made my mouth water in the store. Sprouts has such an amazing selection of dried fruits and nuts. That's one of (the many) reasons I love coming here when I need more of a selection.

To top off my parfaits I picked up this maple dream granola which I think will pair nicely with those figs.

Now, I also wanted to pick up some extra ingredients to make smoothies with this week. I'm hoping to premake a few to take to work with me when I feel that urge to snack. Plus its a great way to get more fruits and vegetables added into my diet.

The  micro nutrients in fruits and vegetable also help in the recovery process which will make for less of those sore days after a hard workout. My body is still adjusting to the 6 days a week training schedule. Even though I haven't had any extremely tough workouts, I find that just working out 6 days a week has made for some pretty sore muscles.

I found these beautiful mangos and these ginormous honey crisp apples. Can you believe the size of these things???

I also found this red beet root powder near the supplements while browsing for protein powder. I opted to get these instead of a protein power because we still have about 5 tubs of it as it is. I've ready a lot lately about the positive effects of beet root on oxygen uptake and efficacy for endurance athletes. Now, while I understand that it has been shown to have SOME benefit I also understand that it's not going to make my Lance Armstrong. I just thought it would be nice to mix in with my smoothies. I've never had a beet root supplement before so this will be an experiment for me. (I'll keep you posted on that.)

While I was in the supplement section I also browsed the prenatal and iron supplements. I'm still so hesitant to take either of them. I just feel like a failure as an nutritionist when I have to supplement because my diet has been off. I want to give my body what it needs so until I can get my act together with food and training, it might be best to supplement.

I picked up this gentle iron specifically because its formulated to digest easily. Most iron supplements are notorious for causing constipation and I definitely don't want to deal with that.

I also picked up the Sprouts brand prenatal vitamin. Important note, I wont be taking both the prenatal and the iron supplement. I wanted to have to options available should I feel the need to boost my iron levels. The prenatal with offer more than just iron and will act as a daily multivitamin but as my diet improves, if I'm feeling like I'm getting enough nutrients from food than I can also opt to take the iron pill.

I also found these yummy smelling lotions and picked up coconut body cream. It gave me a chuckle because my husband's name is Jason. Real talk though, I'm swimming a lot now and my skin has been so dry and itchy. I really needed something to help hydrate it and this body cream seemed perfect.

Last but not least, I stopped by the meat isle so see what specials they had and found these lamb chops. I've never had lamb before and they were a great deal so I picked some up!

Anyone know any good recipes for lamb?

Well that just about covers it. Keep in mind that my pantry was pretty stocked before this trip to Sprouts. I just needed to pick up somethings I couldn't find at my other grocer and I knew Sprouts would have some healthier options.

So, now to the good part! I've teamed up with Sprouts to share some great deals with you and give away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader!

Sprouts is offering 25% off nutritional supplements and body care from October 19th-26th. Plus, you can save an additional 10% when you spend more than $100 on supplements or body care after the discount.

To enter to win the $25 gift card simply enter using one of the entry methods in the rafflecopter below.

If you're sharing on Instagram or Facebook, be sure to enter using the rafflecopter then visit my FB or IG to re-share my giveway post on that social site. It's much easier to re-post then to create a new one.

Open to US residents only. Contest ends Thursday October 20th. Winner will be announced Friday October 21st.

Happy shopping!

Use Code: FQ00AFF for 15% Off

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