Archives for arizona

Training Update + Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

Happy Friday! Ok, so I know back in June I originally said I would post EVERY Wednesday… well today is clearly Friday. 🙂 I’ve been pretty consistent however up to this point. So this week I want to focus on my current fitness, talk a bit more about heart rate training and then toss in a quick recipe. I think my heart rate training update a few weeks ago, may have gotten a little lost in the shuffle, since I mentioned our infertility struggles. (What has become a normal, every day part of my life… and didn’t seem like a huge deal to mention. However, I absolutely appreciated the outpouring of love.)

So as I mentioned previously, I didn’t really feel like running, after our boy Rocco went to the rainbow bridge in March. That, combined with the horrible all body skin rash I got a year ago, left me wanting to sideline running for a bit. Throughout this summer, I jogged a few miles here and there with the Mr. and made sure to stay in some level of fitness through other workouts. It wasn’t until the beginning of September that I felt the pull on my heart and legs to go pound the pavement again. Around that time I remembered I had registered for the 2017 Mesa-Phx Half Marathon (formerly Phoenix Marathon/Half Marathon), so slowly getting back into running-shape seemed like a good idea.


As you can see above, my mileage has been sloooooowly creeping it’s way back up. I do not want to get an injury, so I am taking an extremely conservative approach to my running. I think a common mistake runners make is doing too much, too soon. Running — after all — is so “easy” anyone with the desire to run, can… which commonly creates a recipe for injury very quickly. Anyway, I’ll hop off that soapbox.

When I trained for my very first half marathon in 2010, I used Hal Higdon’s training plan. Judging by where my running fitness currently is/was, I thought it would be a good idea to head back to the drawing board. So this time I modified the Novice 2 half marathon training plan and stretched it out over the course of 6 months, versus 3 months. So I just doubled each week.


Above you can see the calendar I created for my scheduled runs. This isn’t the bible, it’s just a guideline to keep me on track. If I’m not feeling good or need to change something up, I will. But I always work better with a written/visual plan. You can see week 2 and 3 of November are identical, giving me an additional week to adapt to that mileage before increasing or doing a race.

Now, how does heart rate training fit into all of this? (This is for you Shane… I know you are wondering!) Well, heart rate training in and of itself WAS a very good thing for me to do for my heart. I realize that now; after MUCH thought and analyzing. It took getting back into running; and really getting OUT of running, to recognize this. I think the key turning point was when I would do light work around the house, and notice I would get out of BREATH from something super basic. It took about a week of that happening for me to appreciate how much running WAS helping me previously. I also noticed my asthma was starting to pick up again. I would wake up in the morning a bit wheezy and feel mild chest tightness here and there. Running strengthened my heart and my lungs, and I took that for granted when it was a normal part of my routine. It’s that old saying, ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone’.

I also started thinking of the child we don’t yet have… and thinking of MY personal fears I struggled with as a child of two older parents. I was fearful my time with them was numbered, because they were “so old”. My mom had me when she was 40, which at the time was “quite old”. I don’t want our child to have that same fear, I want him/her to see strength and youth in us despite our age. I want to have enough energy to chase them around and not get winded. Previously, I was thinking I needed to STOP running to be able to have a child. Now I believe I need to maintain running to HAVE our child – to set an example of health and wellness and strength. I want my body to be strong and to handle pregnancy without being winded when I bend over to pick up a sock.

I still stand by my original assessment that heart rate training is NOT going to make you a faster runner, definitely not at first, but it WILL make you a smarter runner. I make sure 80-85% of my runs are under 160 bpm average, ensuring I don’t overdue it. I don’t care about pace anymore. Now it’s just about logging some miles, feeling the air fill my lungs and getting the blood flowing; running to stay healthy. PR’s are a thing of the past and don’t interest me. It is an incredible feeling of release.

Currently, I am feeling stronger and stronger each day in my running, and learning to manage my stress induced heart palpitations through yoga, daily meditation, emotional healing and acupuncture. Running definitely helps with stress management, especially when I keep my runs slow. It’s funny, because the fast, hard runs seem to make it worse, because I get so amped up! I have a high energy personality by nature, so slower runs benefit me more.

You do you; do what is best for YOU! <3


Easy Toasted Pumpkin Seed Recipe

After you scoop all your seeds out of the pumpkin, separate them out from the pumpkin goo and rinse them well. I laid mine out on a paper towel to dry (quite honestly, for days until I could get back to them). So once you are ready to bake them, follow the instructions below.


Pumpkin seeds, dried out
Coconut oil
Real salt

  1. Dump seeds onto a baking sheet.
  2. Coat with a little coconut oil and stir around to combine. I did this on the pan, to get a little oil ON the pan as well.
  3. Sprinkle with as much salt as you like, feel free to get creative with other seasonings. Cinnamon and sugar might be sort of fun!
  4. Bake at 350°F for 3 minutes. Remove, shake around a bit and place back in the oven for an additional 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and give them a taste test. It’s important to remember they will continue to bake a little after they are out, so you don’t want to overdue it.
  6. Leave out on the counter in a little bowl for snacking. 🙂img_9784

Have you tried heart rate training? What are your thoughts?

Phoenix Half Marathon Recap

This recap is going to be short and sweet – well my version of short and sweet! Because to tell you the truth, the actual race itself was a big ole blur, and I have another race coming up in 2.5 days! I only got a little over 5 hours of sleep the night before the race, and due to the very early start and bus departure time, I needed to wake up at 3:30 a.m. Yes. 3:30. Sometimes Mr. Zucchini Runner and I go to bed at 2:00 a.m., so this early wake-up was rough. Also, some of you may recall from last year’s full marathon, that my alarm never went off and I woke up at 6:03 a.m., when the race had already started. Needless to say, I took extra precautions this year by setting THREE alarm clocks.



As you can imagine, Mr. Zucchini Runner was thrilled about this. 🙂 But it turned out I didn’t need them! I am permanently scarred for life from my last experience, which prompted me to wake up at 1:30 a.m., 2:37 a.m. and then finally seconds before alarm #1 went off at 3:30 a.m.

I was out the door and on my way to the race within 45 minutes, when suddenly I ran into this traffic jam miles from the shuttle bus parking area.



Luckily it passed, and before I knew it I was at the half marathon start line, looking at this site with tears in my eyes. Tears for the memories it stirred up from last year when I was running the full, all alone for the first 14 miles, due to my super late start. I had missed some of the best parts of running a race — the people, the camaraderie and the energy from hundreds of energized bodies anxiously waiting to start their race. I pushed back the tears, smiled and then looked at the friends all around me… so grateful.


I was anything but alone this year! Look at all these beautiful, smiling faces! So happy for our running group Run Eat Tweet AZ. I’ve met so many cool people in the last year. 🙂


Left to right: Me, Jenny (Runny Legs), Nic (Cave Creek Nic), Brian (brigallop), (Shirley Run Conquer Celebrate), Jen (Pretty Little Grub), Kaella (Kaella on the Run), Jeremy (Confessions of an Amateur Athlete), Melissa (issamosely) and Sarah (Running like the Winded)

Fellow Run Eat Tweet AZ CRO and founder, Jeremy and I snagged one last pic before we crossed under the starting arch! I was showing off my brand new Orange Mud handheld water bottle. This was my first time using it and I’m happy to report it worked great! Thanks for the recommendation Jeremy!


Once the race started, Jeremy and I stuck together for about the first 7 miles. My goal was to go out easy for the first half and then pick it up slightly for the last half. I didn’t want to push really hard, because of my other half marathon this coming Saturday and wanted to use this race as more of a training run. Looking at my splits, I was able to stick to that pretty well.


I wasn’t super consistent, but considering this was my first 13.1 miles on road since my 26.2 LAST YEAR… I’m not going to be hard on myself. I’m actually quite impressed with how quickly I’m getting my speed back! I’ve also been using a heart rate monitor to ensure I’m not doing too much, too soon. I have a tendency to push myself really hard and not even realize it! (A huge thanks to the book 80/20 Running by Matt Fitzgerald, recommended by Liz at BitchinRunner!) Below is the extent of my training for this coming Saturday’s half, so there won’t be any PR’s, but I’m on my way there slowly!

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 3.26.58 PM


As you can see, I finished with a time of 1:51:59 for my Phoenix Half Marathon training run. 🙂 I finished nice and strong and tried SO SO hard not to make my race face (otherwise known as “The Face” in my house) at the finish – I did not succeed and therefore, no race finishing pics. I finish strong during my training runs too but you can see I pushed extra hard since I had the clock counting down in front of me.

After the race I met back up with Jeremy, who was not far behind. We chatted a bit, got our picture taken and went to check out the post-race area.


We were actually both freezing, so decided to change into warm, dry clothes then met back up to cheer on all our friends running the full marathon. It was SO much fun waiting on the sidelines, cheering ALL the runners on. Then when we’d see someone we knew the cheering turned into freak out screaming!! So proud of every single runner, but it’s always extra special when you know them!


Carlee (CarleeMcDot), Amy (superhuman athlete), Michelle and Nate (michrun4 and sagerman), Brian (PavementRunner), Amy (GoFastMommy), Rosario (Chayo_Run), Michael (PointOneMiles), and Smitha (RunningWithSDMom)

Until next year Phoenix Marathon! Looking forward to the fun and miles already! (Maybe for 2016 I will register more than one week before too!)