Tri Talk

I’ve fallen in love with triathlon training.

Absolutely head over heels, googly eyed, drawing hearts all over the margin of my notebook, in love.

I wake up with enthusiasm and an eagerness to train.

It’s totally refreshing, and a welcomed change after a long winter of working out just to work out. Any day of the week I wake up with a whole selection of training options.

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Let’s say the sun is shining and I have a podcast I’m dying to listen to, then I hop on my bike and log some miles. Or my legs are sore from yesterday’s run full of hills, so I make my way to the pool. Or I can’t imagine doing one more second of cardio, so I change the pace with a lifting session.

Now of course I am following a training program, but it’s flexible. I aim to run 3 – 4 times a week, swim 2 – 3 times a week, and bike … well to be honest I just bike a lot.

My point is I can’t stop gushing over how much fun it is to be training for an event that has multiple elements.

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It’s a drastic change from last summer’s marathon training. I spent 5 – 6 days a week “eating miles for breakfast.” Every morning I laced up for run after run… and if you ask anyone who was close to me then I really struggled to get through my training.

The mental battle of marathon – ing is no joke.


Now I am by no means saying triathlon training is easy.

Brick workouts are EXHAUSTING…

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Brick Workout – combining two elements of the triathlon into one workout, one right after the other. For example, completing a bike ride and immediately parking your bike to run. 

And interwinding sprint triathlon training with half marathon training can be tricky. I have increasing long runs each week to prepare me for a 13.1 mile foot race, while simultaneously focusing on having the fastest 3.3 mile run possible on the last leg of the tri.

And attempting to get the hang of sighting while swimming laps in a pool feels … awkward. The River Rat Triathlon’s swim portion is in open water. You can’t just look at the lines at the bottom of the pool to keep you on course because… well the water in the River isn’t clear. Hence, why I have to practice looking up above the water.

Sighting – lifting one’s head above water during the open-water swim portion of a triathlon to stay on course. 

Let’s not forget my ever – growing appetite from all the training.

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With that said, I don’t mind. Not one bit. Even with its challenges and difficulties, triathlon training has evoked nothing but positive feedback from this girl. And I feel myself getting stronger, faster, and more confident each week. 

As for this coming week of training, I’m interested to see how it goes. The hubby and I will be traveling, and therefore I won’t have easy access to my bike or a pool lane.

I will focus on running for most of the week… and have plans to run part of the Boston Marathon course during our stop in Boston. Eeeeeekkk!!

Can’t wait to share photos from our travels late next week. Until then, happy training 🙂

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River Rat

And with the confirmation in my gmail account, it’s official…

I am registered for my first triathlon. 

The excitement is overwhelming. There is nothing about an open water swim, road bike, run combination that is familiar to me, and the newness of it all makes me giddy.

I love running, bbbbbbbuuuuuttttttt a girl needs to shake things up! I’ve had my fair share of distance races, and I’m ready to test the waters in the “tri” world  (pun intended).

The triathlon I’m participating in is called the River Rat Triathlon (Here’s a quick link: to the race’s website). It’s in Norther New York and takes place on August 23rd, 2015.

What I find really awesome about this race is that it’s local. I spent last summer working in the very town in which it takes place. Last year, when I had friends participating in the River Rat Triathlon, I never thought that I could or would do one.

… let’s just say those “I could never do that” moments inspire me more than almost anything else.

So here I am, almost a year later with my name on the registration list and three weeks into my twelve week training program, with a point to prove to myself.

can do this and I will do this.

Side Note: The power of the mind is insane. You believe exactly what you tell yourself to believe. Don’t waste a single second holding yourself back whether it’s a triathlon, pursuing that job, or writing that book you’ve always thought about. Be your own greatest advocate. If you don’t think you can, who is going to convince you otherwise? And with that being said, I believe I’m going crush this triathlon.

Now in case you are unfamiliar with anything triathlon related, don’t worry, so am I. I’ve done my fair share of research before making the decision to participate, but I have a lot to learn along the way. And I plan on sharing what I learn with you.

In the meantime, here is a breakdown of what race day is going to look like:

Stage One: 600 meter open water swim

Stage Two: 16.75 mile bike

Stage Three: 3.3 mile run

It’s going to be tough, but I like I said earlier I’m ecstatic. I can’t wait to fill you in on what I learn, how I feel training for a triathlon, and the biggest differences I find through the journey in comparison to my previous adventures training for distance runs. 🙂

Mika Yoga Wear

Mika Yoga Wear, a family owned fitness brand, sent me beautiful clothing pieces this past March.

And let me tell you, I was ecstatic.

Their clothing is unique, colorful, and meant for all shapes and sizes.

If you check out any of Mika Yoga Wear’s social media sites, you see so many incredible photos. The clothing, yoga poses, and scenery are breathtaking.

After realizing that this company had yogis traveling and practicing in nature, I knew I wanted to post my review of their product after doing the same.  I wasn’t going to write until I had the chance to do my practice outdoors, uninhibited, surrounded by beautiful scenery.

On Sunday I finally had my chance…

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I wore The Lolita Top, which was perfect for low to medium intensity activities such as kayaking and yoga. It also doubled as a bandeau for necessary outfit layering yesterday. 🙂

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The sports bra was breathable, comfortable, and fashionable.

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I can’t thank Mika Yoga Wear enough for the awesome top and the inspiration to do my practice outdoors.

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And I can’t forget to thank my hubby, turned photographer, who kayaked with me into the wild this weekend to capture these photos.

Weekend Warriors

“If it wasn’t on the NY bucket list, add it, and then cross it off.” – Kenny 

Memorial Day Weekend brought beautiful weather to the North Pole. 🙂

The hubby and I spent the long weekend playing catch, biking, and kayaking.

The baseball mitts and baseball that we bought this weekend were a bit of an impulse purchase, but a huge hit. What can i say? When it comes to my family, walking through a sporting goods store is asking for trouble.

Luckily, there isn’t an REI anywhere near us.

Or unluckily? Hmmmmm.

Anyways, Apollo loves when Kenny and I pull out the mitts and baseball. He thinks the whole point of the game is Monkey in the Middle. He runs back and forth, waiting for one of us to miss the ball. And then he steals it, running around the yard victoriously.

It’s adorable… until he won’t give it back.

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The most scenic portion of the weekend was definitely kayaking in Lake Ontario. It was also the quote reference at the beginning of the blog post… who would’ve thought one day we would be kayaking in a Great Lake?!

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It was GORGEOUS. And the whole endeavor made me feel like I was a world renown outdoors woman, until I found out I holding the paddle the wrong way the entire time I was kayaking….

Whoops.

There has to be some sort of learning curve implemented in this situation. Either way, I wear my blistered hands and aching back with pride.

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I haven’t stepped foot in the gym this weekend, and with good reason. If the sun is shining and you are surrounded with activities that keep you active, why waste a single second stuck indoors?

I made sure to sneak in my yoga practice first thing each morning and went on a couple runs, but this weekend was all about enjoying the weather and great company 🙂

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Snack Attack

Everyone seems to harp and harp and harp on how important breakfast is, so I find no reason to revisit the subject. You know you should eat breakfast. And if you don’t know why… ask Google.

Instead, I want to talk about another very important meal of the day, snack time. 🙂

My quick bite to eat around 3pm everyday is what ties me over until dinner, and gives me a much needed energy boost! Without it, I would never have the energy to get myself to run, head to zumba or a yoga class, or join my hubby in the weight room after a long day at work.

The days I forget to pack a snack or don’t have time to make one, my work out suffers. It’s hard to get your body to move when it’s running on empty.

… and grabbing something quick to eat keeps me from attacking the entire contents of my kitchen when dinner time finally rolls around.

In an effort to share some of my favorites with you, I made a list of my top nine midday snacks!


1. Fruit

Fruit is one of the easiest snacks to grab on the go and always satisfies my sweet tooth. I keep apples, bananas, sliced pineapple, grapes, and berries well-stocked in the kitchen.

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2. Handful of Nuts and/or Dried Fruit

Have you ever tried dried apricots? Or dates? Or figs? Or banana chips? Dried fruit is nature’s version of fruit snacks. I love pulling out a handful of dried apricots from the fridge or munchin’ on a couple of banana chips. Now pair some almonds, cashews, or pecans with dried fruit and to make your own homemade trail mix!

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3. Veggies with Hummus

In order to make veggies with hummus an on – the – go snack, I chop up my veggies right after I buy them. This means I already have sliced cucumbers, peppers, and carrots ready to pack for midday snacks, salads, or to use in dinner recipes.

Roasted garlic hummus is my FAVORITE hummus flavor to pair with veggies.

4. Rice Cake topped with Peanut or Almond Butter

I’m pretty much in love with anything that involves nut butter, but I’m especially in love with rice cakes topped with nut butter. The crunch, salty, sweet flavor combination is addictive. Trust me. If you haven’t tried it, DO IT.

I always have apple cinnamon, caramel, and plain rice cakes in my pantry, along with an assortment of nut butters. More recently, I had the chance to try out Barney Butter. almond butter spreads. The company sent me a sample pack of every single one of their delicious flavors of almond butter.

It’s safe to say I went rice cake and almond butter crazy. I had some combo of the two for snack every single day for weeks. This photo features my favorite nut butter spread that Barney Butter makes, Cocoa + Coconut Almond Butter.

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5. Hard Boiled Eggs

Just like veggies, I prep hard boiled eggs right after I go grocery shopping. It’s a life saver having hard boiled eggs in the fridge during the week. I can grab a couple for a quick bite to eat or use them to add a little extra protein to a salad.

6. Smoothie

As the weather heats up, I crave smoothies more and more! Refreshing. Simple, Nutritious.

The smoothie pictured below is just frozen watermelon and frozen banana slices blended together with water.

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7. Lara Bars

I’m obsessed with Larabars. Obviously, my favorite is a nut butter flavor! Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip is iiiincrediiiibbbllllleeeeeee. I also love Cashew Cookie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Carrot Cake. The best thing about grabbing a Larabar is that I know that no matter what flavor I choose it’s gluten free AND dairy free. The less label reading I have to do in a day, the better.

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8.  Toast 

Step One: Toast two pieces of Udi’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Step Two: Spread avocado on top of one piece

Step Three: Sprinkle with crushed red pepper

Step Four: Spread peanut butter on top of the second piece

Step Five: Top with banana slices

… and then decided which one to eat first!

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9. Homemade Popcorn 

Homemade popcorn is a household favorite. All you need is some olive oil and kernels! Once the popcorn is done popping, you can dress it up however you like. I go back and forth between seasoning my popcorn with salt and italian seasoning or cinnamon and sugar. Yum 🙂


Now that you’ve had a chance to read through my favorite snacks, what are some of yours? I’d love to hear them and try something new!

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A very special THANK YOU to Barney ButterUdi’s Gluten Free, and Larabar for sending me so many fantastic gluten free, dairy free products to try. I’ve had a blast experimenting and incorporating my favorites into my diet!!

My Simple Joys

Today was one of the lucky days that I was able to work close to home.

Instead of my normal commute,  I just slipped out my front door and strolled the single mile that lays between my house and work.

It may seem trivial to everyone else, but I am grateful for the early morning stroll.

It’s a simple joy. 

There is nothing that can really explain why I love the walk so much, but it doesn’t really need explaining. It just makes me happy.

As I made my way to work, I started to wonder what other things I consider to be simple joys in my life. I ended up thinking about the list throughout the work day.

Honestly, spending my day thinking about all of the small parts of life that bring a smile to my face made my Monday that much better.

I really like Mondays…


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And, in hopes that this list inspires you to brainstorm some of your own, I thought I’d share my list of simple joys with you. 🙂

My Simple Joys:

1. Finding Apollo and Kenny curled up together asleep on the couch.

2. Checking the mail.

3. The smell of ground coffee beans in the coffee aisle at the supermarket.

4. Mondays.

5. The Farmer’s Market.

6. This huge, historic library nearby that makes me feel like Bella from Beauty in the Beast.

7.  Scratch-Off lottery tickets.

8. Britney Spear’s Baby One More Time album.

9. Living in a neighborhood full of little ones riding bikes, having squirt gun fights, and playing hide – and – seek (It makes summer feel like it truly is right around the corner).

10. Early mornings runs by the water.

The list could go on forever… Cold watermelon. The smell of sunscreen. Catching fireflies. Licking the bowl clean. Blasting music in the car.  Sleeping in on the weekends. Laying by the pool. Snow days. Brunch with friends. Calla lilies. Netflix marathons. Bonfires in the summer. Dancing the night away…

And the more I think about those things that effortlessly make me happy, the more I wonder why we don’t all stop to recognize them a little bit more often.

Go ahead, slow down and count all of your simple joys.

Why shouldn’t you take the time to smell the roses?

I mean they are blooming 🙂

Embrace the Unexpected

April was quite… the whirlwind to say the least.

And even though ranting can be quite therapeutic, I’d rather brush it off. It’s time to embrace May and everything this month has in store.

The first weekend of May was sunny, adventurous, and unpredictable. Although things didn’t go as planned, and I spent the weekend in NY, I still had a blast.

The warm weather and oversized watermelon sitting on the kitchen counter inspired my husband and I to have our first cookout of the season! We grilled burgers, barbecue chicken, and veggie kabobs.

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It was so heart warming to have our pup running around the backyard, country music playing, and a family dinner together full of healthy, delicious food.

After a big meal and a good night’s sleep, we were well energized for a mountain bike adventure the next day. We took the Jeep to one of our favorite spots in New York with the bikes ready to go.

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As you can tell, we ran into some wildlife…

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Not all of it was as cute as the turtle.

#iHATEsnakes 

Luckily, my better half was there to rescue me from the man eating serpent.

Now as many of you know, I was excitedly registered to run the Dirty Girl Mud Run, which would mean I should’ve been in Scranton, PA this weekend (don’t remember my blog post about signing up… click HERE to refresh your memory).

If you follow me on Instagram, you saw me training, running, and counting down until what was suppose to be race day for the past couple of weeks.

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Unfortunately, life happened, as it sometimes does, and I wasn’t able to be in Scranton.

Thankfully, the Dirty Girl Mud Run team was extremely understanding. They are letting me move my registration to a different location this season!! And I have to say, having the generous support of a race with such an incredible reputation only makes me THAT much more excited to run this dirty, muddy, obstacle-filled race 5K later in the season.

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Be sure to keep your eyes and ears peeled for when my new location is finalized. I’ll be sure to fill you in on everything Dirty Girl related. 🙂

In the meantime… let the May shenanigans continue.

Melissa the Rabbit

I’ve always really liked salads.

Even before gluten and dairy were removed from my diet, I generally opted for a leafy plate of greens over pasta or a steak.

Now before you start pointing fingers and turning your nose up at the runner who loves vegetables, you should probably know that I am a dessert addict.

I will never give up my post dinner treat. I’m a child at heart. And after a hard day pretending to be a grown up, I deserve a damn cookie. But, that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about my salads and I.

The best ones are invented when I’m running low on groceries. I just have to make something work. The last time this happened I started experimenting with breakfast salads, and now I’m hooked.

As the assembler that I am, I’ve always loved how easy it is to throw together a salad.

I don’t have time for spices, preheating an oven, measuring cups, yada yada yada. When it’s time for a meal I just open up my fridge and toss ingredients together.

Okay, you got me. I actually place my ingredients on my plate ever so gently… and then I take a picture of what I’ve created.

Even so, my meals are quick to put together.

Here are a few of my favorite salad creations from the past month! Underneath each photo I listed the ingredients. Feel free to recreate them to your liking.

And if you are a photo addict like me, snap a picture, and post it on instagram. Make sure to  #myheartandhamstrings so I can see it. 🙂


Summertime Breakfast Salad

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Simple Salmon Salad

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Hearty Dinner Salad

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Sweet Chicken Salad

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And as of late, I’ve started pairing a little something extra with my salads…

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Udi’s and Earth Balance both sent me a variety of products to review! I’ve been ecstatic to try so many new things in the past couple of weeks, but wanted to show you this specifically. It’s the perfect side to any salad.

This combination of the two products is my FAVORITE. A toasted everything bagel with buttery spread on top is my gluten-free, dairy-free heaven.

And just in case you didn’t believe me earlier or for some reason all that salad talk REALLY got you in the mood for a chocolate chip cookie… 😉

This was one of my masterpieces from last week. I made a gluten-free,dairy-free version of Cooking Classy’s One Big Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe :

It was incredible.

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Getting Dirty

The sun has decided to make an extended appearance in the North Pole.

Finally.

And with all of the beautiful weather, sunshine, and opportunity for activity, I’ve been outside as much as possible.

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Apollo the Pup and I have been exploring our little town every morning. We’ve been walking, hiking, running…

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…and don’t forget snacking. 🙂

Bakery on Main kindly sent MyHeartandHamstrings gluten free, dairy free goodies to review, and I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve tasted! The travel packs of granola have been a lifesaver on the trails!

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My favorite is the Nut Crunch original. If I’m not on the go, I’ll mix the Nut Crunch in with my cereal to add a sweet tasty crunch. 🙂

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The other granolas have been put to the test at home too. I’ve sprinkled the Apple Raisin Walnut Granola on top of salad. The Cranberry Orange Cashew Granola is a favorite mix-in for my gluten free oats. And the Rainforest Granola is DELICIOUS sprinkled on top of a mixed berry smoothie.


On top of just simply enjoying all the morning adventures and healthy snacking, the sunshine has been key to help me prepare for my first race of the season!

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The Dirty Girl Mud Run has given me the honor of reviewing their race! I’m absolutely ECSTATIC to lace up on May 2nd in Scranton, PA and get dirty.

I’ve already started scouting out pink and black outfit options. Which may seem unnecessary because I’ll be rolling in the mud…

but I assure you it’s necessary.

And did I mention that this race is run for women by women only? It’s the World’s Largest Women’s Only Mud Run. The Dirty Girl Mud Run is all about celebrating the women who have beaten breast cancer and are at the start line conquering the course with you.

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How cool is that! Over 900,000 women have ran this race since 2011, and I can’t wait to be one of them.

Now since I’m running The Dirty Girl Mud Run in Scranton on May 2nd, I WANT YOU TO RUN IT TOO! Go check out the website, godirtygirl.com. When you register use the code MHH10 and receive $10 off your registration.

I hope to see you there 🙂

Contest Winner Announcement

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First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who entered the MyHeartandHamstrings contest for a FREE Spartan Race registration. The photos posted on Instagram were both motivating and inspiring. I love hearing about what encourages others to stay active and fit!

Here are some of the beautiful photos entered into the contest:


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Don’t ever hesitate to #MyHeartandHamstrings on your Instagram photos. I absolutely loved having the chance to see so many fitness inspired posts in the last week!

And I have to say, I can’t wait to hear about the winner’s experience running a Spartan Race of his or her choosing! I’m sure it will be an adventure full of mud, running, and motivation! Please #MyHeartandHamstrings on any photos you post so I can see all the fun you have on race day!

Before I announce the winner, I want to let you in on a little secret. Just because you follow MyHeartandHamstrings, or entered the contest, or simply read this post you have a 10% discount on a Spartan Race registration! Just use the code: SPARTANBLOGGER

But, without further ado….

The winner is @lizzymclell

Way to go! Never stop sharing your motivation with those around you 🙂

Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for the next contest on my blog. And make sure to follow MyHeartandHamstrings on Instagram at @MyHeartandHamstrings to stay up to date on everything blog, fitness, and running related!