Feb 27, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , , | 2/27/2014
I've been making a lot of quick breads, lately. They keep disappearing really fast and a loaf hasn't lasted over 24 hours without being completely devoured. My family eats a lot. It's in our genes :P

I know I said that I would share my Lemon Cranberry bread that I made for brunch on Saturday, but I want to share this recipe first. This loaf is filled with coconut, cranberries, and sunflower seeds. The bread itself is lightly sweetened and has a coconut-y, buttery flavor that is so addicting. Each bite has the sweet-tart bits of cranberries and crunch of sunflower seeds. 

Coconut Cranberry Oatmeal Bread

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup + 1/2 cup oats
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup cranberries
1/3 cup coconut flakes
2/3 cup milk
3/4 cup turbinado sugar (or white sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted (or oil or melted butter)

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a blender, blend 1 cup oats until it becomes a fine flour. Add to a large mixing bowl and add the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cranberries, and coconut flakes.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. Add the melted coconut oil to the flour mixture, followed by the milk mixture. Stir until just combined and avoid over mixing.

Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.


Feb 26, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 2/26/2014
Yesterday, I talked about the "fitspiration" messages disseminated by the media and how it can be harmful to one's body image. Today, I want to focus on something different and discuss our positive athlete role models. During the recent Winter Olympics, we followed the athletes' stories, celebrated their successes, and was inspired by their courage in the face of adversity. I think that sports is an invaluable tool for instilling positive values, such as self-confidence, body-satisfaction, and the motivation to find the best in ourselves.

I have been reading A Life Without Limits by Chrissie Wellington, a four-time Ironman Triathlon World Champion. She is an incredible triathlete with an incredible story. Growing up, Chrissie didn't show any particular athletic prowess, but what distinguished her from the rest is her unrelenting drive. Her drive and passion she pours into everything she does was harmful at times (she struggled with eating disorders), but she was able to channel that energy into becoming arguably the world's best triathlete. She holds or held records in the ironman distance triathlons, including the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. What's amazing is that she won the Ironman World Championship in less than a year after she turned pro!
I find Chrissie so inspirational because of her sense of adventure and her drive to become the best she can be. She didn't come upon triathlon until her late 20's, and spent the better part of her 20's living and traveling all over the world, including Nepal and New Zealand. Through her intensive mountain biking in Nepal and her friend's encouragement to enter races, she discovered her talent for competing in endurance events. She raced a few triathlons as an amateur successfully before making the leap to turn pro. She has such an amazing life story, and has gone after what she is passionate about, including international development and helping others. 

What I learned from Chrissie:
  • Don't be afraid of pursuing your passions (I struggle with this sometimes and tend to take the safer route, especially in terms of my career)
  • If you love something, put your heard and soul into it
  • Celebrate your body for what it can do
  • Keep an open mind and you will discover your hidden talents
If you want to learn more about this incredible athlete, I would highly recommend reading her book!

Who is your role model and why?

Feb 25, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in | 2/25/2014
This week, 2/23-3/1, is National Eating Disorder Awareness week. Today, I would like to discuss how "fitness" is portrayed in the media, especially on the internet through blogs and other social network sites. I think this is an important topic because the messages we constantly receive from these sources can be damaging to one's body image and make us feel inadequate.

As an athlete, I work out and train for self-improvement, the thrill of getting my personal best, pushing my limits, and for the camaraderie of the running and cycling community. For me, fitness means being able to perform the sports that I love. I am amazed at what I am capable of, and I make sure to take care of myself so I can keep running, cycling, snowboarding, whatever for years to come.

However, the idea of "fitness" is frequently portrayed in the media by how our body looks. Especially in women's health and fitness magazines, recipes and exercises are all about slimming down, toning the tush, fighting the flab. What bothers me about how fitness is portrayed in the media is how it's all about shaping one's body into one "fit" body type, and for women especially, increasing sex appeal. Pinterest and Tumblr are notorious for having these types of "fitspiration" posts.

Since I'm feeling rather snarky today, let's bash some of these so-called "fitspiration" trends:

So my choices are get a six pack or hide my body in shame?

I don't want to do these exercise moves so I can magically have toned inner thighs, a flatter belly and a nice ass.

I don't work out for the upcoming bikini season

My work outs are not about how many calories I can burn and the pounds I can lose

I don't need to "detox", whatever that means

I don't want to eat a dinner that's only 350 calories and 2g of fat

I don't want to eat a sad facsimile of pizza when I want to eat a real damn pizza

I don't care about your guilt-free muffin recipe. Since when did a regular muffin come with a side of guilt?

Pureed bananas does NOT equal ice cream

I don't work out for the upcoming bikini season

And please, this paleo diet thing needs to go away.

Dear god, no. I am not a cavewoman.

Anything else you want to add? 

Feb 24, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/24/2014
I haven't posted one of these since... October!? What have I been doing with my life? Not training much, apparently. Well, here are the workouts I've done this past week:

Wednesday- 47 mins on bike trainer doing intervals; 15 mins warm up, 1 min on, 30 sec rest x10, 15 mins cool down. Followed by Insanity Core Cardio (17 mins)

Thursday- 5 miles, 7:57 pace

Saturday- 37 mile bike ride

Sunday- 28 mile bike ride

Umm, I think I did another workout on the bike trainer earlier last week, but I didn't write it down and I can't remember.

Today, I went on a 5 mile run. I was planning on doing 2 miles relaxed, 2 miles tempo pace (under 7:30), then 2 miles cool down. That didn't happen and I only did one mile at 7:23 pace because my ankle started to bother me and I was gasping for air and felt like shit. If anyone cares besides me, my splits for this run went like this: 7:54, 8:09, 7:23, 7:59, 7:50.

It was windy and cold at the start, but I soon got pretty warm. At least it was nice and sunny!

Blergh, I have a lot of work to do before my 10K in 2 months and a handful of days. I got this. I got this.

Have you gotten your run/workout in today yet? What are your goals for this week?

*** You can still enter to win a sample of ENERGYbits, so enter my giveaway HERE***

Feb 23, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/23/2014
How was your weekend? The weather here was so nice both Saturday and Sunday, so I took advantage of it and spent a lot of time cycling outdoors. This weekend was the first time I rode outside for the season, and It. Was. Freaking. Awesome. I've been itching to get out there all winter, so I was looking forward to the rides all week.

On Saturday, I met up with my cycling buddy for a 26ish mile ride down to the Potomac river. We headed out around 11am, so it was already in the 60s. My legs felt great the whole ride, and at the end, they still felt fresh. I wanted to stay outside a little longer, so when I got home, I went out again for a shorter, hilly 11 mile ride. 

This morning, I was supposed to meet up with three friends, but two people couldn't make it so I went out again with my friend from Saturday. This was supposed to be a shorter, relaxed ride, but since my partner rides at a similar pace as me, we decided to pick up the pace and go a little bit longer. We ended up making a big loop for a total of 28 miles. There were quite a few climbs on this ride, and I pushed myself comfortably hard.

Okay, enough cycling. Let's talk about FOOD. I went out for pho on Friday night at a pho place I haven't tried before. Their pho was decent, though the broth was a tad too salty. I got a Vietnamese dessert that was sweetened mung beans, jelly, tapioca, and coconut milk over crushed ice. It was pretty good, though probably not worth the price.

On Saturday morning, for some reason, I felt like making breakfast for my family. I made a crustless quiche and a loaf of lemon cranberry bread (recipe coming soon!) The bread was delicious and unfortunately was gone by the end of the day. I wanted to eat it for a snack but my family devoured it :(

For dinner on Saturday, I was starving since I didn't really eat lunch. I finished my ride around 1pm, and just ate a Clifbar and a Kashi granola bar. We got Maryland blue crabs and I made enough pasta to feed a cross country team. 

Mmm, I love crabs. I ate three :P

And then I got froyo.


What was the best meal you had this weekend? Did you train outside and what did you do?

*** You can still enter to win a sample of ENERGYbits, so enter my giveaway HERE***

Feb 22, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/22/2014
As promised, my recipe for soft gingersnaps! I made these yesterday for my 4K for Cancer fundraiser. I delivered them to my friends who donated, and they loved them!

Soft Gingersnaps

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 taps ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup turbonado sugar (Sugar in the Raw, optional)

Preheat oven to 360F.

In a medium mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric beater or by hand. Add the egg, molasses, and salt and mix until combined.

In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon together. Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture and thoroughly mix. Add the remaining flour and mix until a uniform dough forms.

Use a spoon to scoop out balls of cookie dough, about the size of a large walnut. Dip one side in a bowl of the turbinado sugar and place on a greased cookie sheet. Use the palm of your hand to gently press down to flatten it slightly, with the sugar-dipped side up. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bake for about 8 minutes. You want to underbake them slightly so they will be soft. The bottoms should be only slightly browned.


*** You can still enter to win a sample of ENERGYbits, so enter my giveaway HERE***

What are your plans for this Saturday? If the weather's nice, are you doing anything outdoors?

Feb 21, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/21/2014
Happy Friday everyone! I was busy this morning baking a bunch of cookies: more of my Funfetti Sugar Cookies and soft ginger snaps. Sounds delicious, right?

I baked about 40 cookies total for a cookie fundraiser I held on Valentine's day on my 4K for Cancer Facebook page. I promised to bake cookies for anyone who donated a minimum of $14 on Feb 14th. Gotta go deliver/ ship them to my donors! 

I will share my soft ginger snap cookie recipe later this weekend. For now, you can just imagine the scent of warm spices wafting from fresh-out-of-the-oven cookies and biting into the pillow-soft, melt-in-your-mouth bit of heaven ;)

One of my best friend is obsessed with them, so when she donated, I had to bake her some! 

Hope you're having a great Friday!

*** You can still enter to win a sample of ENERGYbits, so enter my giveaway HERE***

Feb 20, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/20/2014
Yesterday, I shared my training goals for this spring, and it's about time I start actually training for them. I am embarrassingly out of running shape, and need to get back into running more regularly. I've probably ran a grand total of 5 times since New Years. I have two months and some days until my goal race on April 27th. It will be a mostly, slightly downhill 10K race that I should be able to PR in. For my last 10K, I finished in about 48 minutes, but there was a massive hill for about a mile. I want to shave off at least 2 minutes and my target pace is in the low 7's (min/mile).

Today, I went out for a run for the first time in what seems like forever. The weather was actually pretty nice and in the 40's. I could have worn capris and arm warmers instead of a shirt and light jacket. I didn't have a workout in mind, and I just wanted to run to get back into the groove. I ended up running a total of 5 miles with some walking breaks because 1) I didn't drink enough water and was getting a headache and 2) I got a call and had to take it. 

It's pretty frustrating to have lost so much fitness compared to where I was last year. During the last training cycle, at the peak of my fitness, I got a massive half marathon PR, completed a century ride, and finished my first marathon. I know I shouldn't be comparing myself now to then, but I feel like I'm starting back at square one. That's probably not true, since I feel that I've maintained my fitness base in the winter months through training on my bike and running occasionally. I just need to get my running mojo back!

Yay running!
Anyways, I am going to stop my moping! The weather is getting nicer and that definitely helps with motivation. I'm going to take it slowly, run more consistently, and get my speed back.  

Besides running, I am so excited to get back on the bike! I've been pining to ride outside without freezing, and it looks like the weather this weekend will be perfect. Mid 60's! I am planning on going out with my friends both Saturday and Sunday, and I am stupid excited for it. The weekend can't come soon enough :)

I miss THIS so much

*** There's still time to enter my raffle for a chance to win some Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and help support young adults with cancer! ***

*** I'm also giving away a sample of ENERGYbits so be sure to enter the giveaway HERE ***

Are you getting back into training after the winter season?

Feb 19, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/19/2014
(( There's still time to enter my raffle for a chance to win some Beats by Dr. Dre headphones and help support young adults with cancer! ))

If you know me and how I train, you would know that I'm not too great at making plans and sticking to them. I don't meticulously plan out each workout for an 18 week training cycle and follow through with them. Instead, I just make some basic guidelines or a goal mileage to hit for each week.

I trained like this, informally, for my past few endurance events, and I think I was fairly successful. For my marathon training, although I didn't plan out each day's workout, I increased my long runs progressively up to 20 miles, and was running 3-4 days a week. Some weekends, I would reach a new personal distance record on my long runs, and some weekends, I would step back on my mileage based on how I was feeling or how busy I was. It was low-key and stress-free training.

For the upcoming spring season, this is what I am training for:
  • low-key 10K on March 30
  • Pike's Peak 10K on April 27 that I want to PR in
  • my cross-country bike ride with 4K for Cancer
I am going to focus on developing speed for the two 10K races and then build up endurance for the cross-country bike ride. I've never trained for something as daunting as riding 4,400 miles over 70 days! 

As of right now, I have been training indoors on my bike trainer about 2-3 times a week and running an average of 0 miles per week. Wompwomp :(

It's fun watching TV while riding and all, but I prefer riding outside! 

Once winter starts thawing out, I will start training more outdoors and hopefully I can do some longer rides on the weekends soon (praying for good weather this weekend)! I've been a wimp about running outside with all the snow we've gotten recently, so that needs to stop. 

So yea, that's not really a training plan, but what I plan to do in the next three months. 

What are you training for this spring?

Feb 18, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , , , | 2/18/2014
I had the opportunity to sample some Energybits, a spirulina tablet, way back in November (I know, this review is long overdue). I've heard about them from other bloggers, and I was curious to test them out. Energybits was generous enough to give me a sample to see how I would like it!

I got a cute, portable little canister of energybits with about 70 tablets.

What are Energybits?

The little green tablets are about the size of a small lentil, and are easy to swallow. They are 100% spirulina, a type of blue-green algae that contains over 40 nutrients and have the highest concentration of protein (64% is pure protein). They are only 1 calorie each, so you eat about 30 tablets before exercising with a little water. I would not recommend chewing them because they taste pretty "green" and would probably get stuck in your teeth. Swallowing them is way faster.

Basically, Energybits is an extremely concentrated form of protein and nutrients that will help give you a boost of energy! It's 100% natural, made with just one ingredient.

My Experience using Energybits

Let me start off by saying that I don't usually take supplements or performance-enhancing substances, nor do I drink energy drinks. I believe in nourishing myself with real, whole foods and I chose to try Energybits because they align with my food philosophy.

After I received my sample, I planned on eating them right before my 10K Turkey Chase. I know it was kind of risky to eat something new on race day, but I was really curious whether they would help. About half an hour before the start, I popped about 35 tablets in my mouth with a few swigs of water. I had eaten a breakfast of coffee and toast about two hours before the race, so I wasn't running completely on Energybits (I can't NOT eat breakfast before a race).

The tablets did not upset my stomach at all since they are very easily digested. I started the race strong and overall felt pretty good. I was pushing myself pretty hard in this race, and was able to give a final strong kick in the last half mile. I finished with a 4 minute PR from the previous year!

Although there are other factors attributing to my successful race, I think that the Energybits helped me sustain my energy throughout the race. When I am running hard, I sometimes get that really lightheaded, weak feeling when I am running out of energy. I think the Energybits helped to stave off that drop in energy during my 10K.

What surprised me the most was that after the race, I was not hungry at all. I guzzled down some low-cal Gatorade and water, but didn't feel like eating anything else. Since it was Thanksgiving day, I went home after the race and showered before starting to cook the Thanksgiving meal. Although I ran a hard race, I didn't feel ravenous afterwards like I usually do, and didn't eat a real meal until we sat down to feast around 4pm!

Want to try Energybits?

Energybits has generously offered to give away a sample to one of my readers! Enter to win below and leave a comment on how you will use Energybits?

Can't wait to try them? Energybits are only available at ENERGYbits.com and Jonathan (their brand manager) has shared with me that he's be happy to connect anyone with a current ambassador to share a discount on a bag of bits- you can email him at jlevitt@energybits.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Feb 16, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , | 2/16/2014
This weekend was a four day weekend because of the snow! The snowstorm on Wednesday night closed school and my workplace, so everyone stayed home. I took advantage of the snow and shoveled my neighbor's driveways to fundraise for my 4K for Cancer bike ride. My arms and back were tremendously sore afterwards, but it felt good to work towards my cause!

The snow days were perfect for feasting on Chinese hot pot. You cook everything in the middle of the table and it warms you up. It's also fun to cook and eat at the same time! Hot pot always reminds me of a festive occasion :)

I also made heart-shaped funfetti sugar cookies for Valentines day. They were delicious and disappeared in less than a day. Seriously.

For lunch today, I wanted to try out a buffet at a sushi place. It was pretty small, but pretty decent sushi. They had about six different types of rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. It's rare to find sashimi at a sushi buffet. It wasn't the best quality, but still, it's sashimi!

I ate three plates. And a salad. And miso soup. Yum.

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?
Posted by Jo W. in , , | 2/16/2014
Happy belated Valentines! I hope you had a great day surrounded by your loved ones :)

For the holiday, single me didn't have specific plans. I did bake some delicious heart shaped cookies for my family to enjoy! I don't know about you, but funfetti makes everything more yummy. I made a sugar cookie dough and just dumped a bunch of nonpareils on top. Isn't it healthier to eat all the colors of the rainbow? Something like that. 

Feb 14, 2014

Posted by Jo W. in , | 2/14/2014
After two and a half months, I am back to blogging! After the Thanksgiving holidays, I had some things in my life that I needed to figure out. I thought it would be best to take a break from the blogging and keeping up with social media. It was a much-needed interlude, but I'm glad I'm back.

So let's catch up. Here's what's been going on with my life:


Ever since Thanksgiving, I haven't been running much, and lately with all the snow, not at all. That's probably a good thing because I have some knee and ankle issues that are still nagging me. I only have two spring races, both 10K's, in March and April. The one in March with a low-key race, and I want to PR in the April one. I need to start training more consistently and work on speed.


I got a Cyclops Fluid bike trainer for Christmas and I have been training a couple of times a week on that. I'm weird in that I actually like training on it and just hammering away listening to music or watching TV shows. I can't stand running on a treadmill but an hour on my trainer goes relatively fast.

Dental School

I finally got an acceptance in early February! I have been waiting for a long time, so I was thrilled to finally get into a school. I can't wait to start school in August, but I will also enjoy my freedom for the next six months.

Summer Plans

I am officially on the 4K for Cancer bike ride from Baltimore, MD to Portland, OR. Find out more about it here.

From now until June 1 when I hit the road, I will be putting a lot of miles on the bike in preparation for the 70 day, 4400 mile bike trip. I am also fundraising $4500, so I will be busy with that.

I will be posting updates with my bike route, training plans, fundraising news, etc. so stay tuned!


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