Race Recap: HCC Turkey Trot 5k

I think the best way to start a day of feasting is by running!

I have participated in 3 Turkey Trots now and think that this will be an ongoing tradition for years to come! In fact, the HCC Turkey Trot 5k was the first race I ever ran in, back in 2009.

My father and I after my first race
But this year was different than any other that I have participated in. I was joined by both my fiance and our puppy, Alpha.

It was FREEZING that morning. About 25 degrees, give or take. Thankfully, we were able to keep warm in the college gym prior to the race. The amount of people and puppies that were present had Alpha so excited. So much that he had an accident. It was a tad embarrassing, but hey, I'm sure it has happened many races before. He still did VERY well since he has never been around that many people or dogs before. We were proud puppy parents for sure!

Around 9, we ventured to the starting line. Peter stood near the back, joining the other runners with pups and I met up with Ashley near the middle. It was the first race she had ever competed in and though she was nervous, I knew she was going to do AWESOME. Ashley's way beyond where I had was in my first race.

When the gun went off, we accompanied each other all the way up to the chip mat, then went our separate ways. I had a hard time getting up to speed for about the first quarter of a mile. The road was packed with participants. I had to jump off the road into the grass to get around some of the runners. It wasn't until about a half mile in, that I finally achieved my race pace.

I am on the far left, I was on TV! Hahaha.
Although it was freezing out, the temperature was perfect for running. I did not once feel too hot, which usually is what causes me to slow down. I was able to have negative splits each mile and the end came in no time.

Once I finished, I immediately turned around to locate Ashley and Peter. I never did find Ashley, but I found Peter in his last half mile. I took the dog from him since Alpha tends to start fighting us when he gets tired. This allowed Peter to speed up and finish strong.

After managing to get Alpha back to the gym, we met up with Ashley, her husband Ben, and Peter a few minutes later. We all congratulated each other on a run well down! I also found out why I never saw Ashley on my way back. She finished just 13 seconds behind me! My time was 25:37 and hers was 25:50. She kicked ass! Peter finished in 34 minutes, but I know he would have finished in under 30 if he was puppy-less. When a dog has their own agenda halfway through, it is hard to maintain speed.

As for how I feel on my own time, I reached my goal of a 25 minute time, but still couldn't help but feeling that I slowed down since the races I did earlier this year. I was hitting 24 minute times easy. But I try to keep reminding myself that my gait has changed in the last few weeks. Still, those numbers are sometimes discouraging. It will encourage me to get faster though. I have a goal of 22-23 minutes for next year and I know I will get to it! I am already planning on working on speed a few times this coming week.

Anyway, I will always give the Turkey Trot a 10! Everyone participating is in the holiday spirit and they all have the same agenda: Run & eat a lot...My kind of people!! It was also nice to have a dog-friendly race so our whole little family could be involved because that is what this race is about: Being together for the holidays! 

Did you participate in a Thanksgiving run?

Have you ever found yourself discouraged over a slow race time?

What are your goals for the upcoming year?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Turkey Day from Mr. And Future Mrs. Szakacs...AND Alpha!

We all ran the Turkey Trot today...did you have a Thanksgiving Day Race?

JFK 50 Mile

As some of you may know, the JFK 50 took place just yesterday and lucky for me, the race runs right through my normal trail route. Because I assumed the area was going to be packed with people, I ALMOST decided to run elsewhere. I am so glad I went to check it out anyway.

I arrived at Taylor's Landing around 9am. My normal parking place was not accessible. They had a field designated specifically for those to come and watch runners passing by at mile 38. No fans were there at the time, but there was a man getting a water/fuel station ready. I asked him if I was still able to run the route today, and he informed me that the first runners would not even be arriving until 11, so I was good to go. That gave me nearly 2 hours to run 13.1 miles.

Although I was really excited to "break in" the path for the elite runners, I still kept a slow pace. I have been slacking in the speed department, but I think it is because my gait has changed (more on that another day).

Chilling at mile 7
On my way back, I was half expecting to pass some of the lead runners, but they still had not made it to mile 38. So I decided to stand along side the path with the other spectators and wait.

Around 11:30, the first 3 runners came through.

The first runner was Zach Miller, he ended up winning the JFK 50 with a time of 5:38:53! That's about a 6:45 min pace/mile! I can not even run that fast just doing one mile alone!!!

After the first 3 runners trailed by, I heard Michael Wardian was coming up next. After seeing him kick ass at Freedom's Run, as well as hearing he competed in 2 marathons in one day (winning one of them) just last week, I just had to watch him pass by!

Michael ended up placing 3rd with a time of 5:55:37.

The entire day, I could not help but think of competing in this run myself. The energy I felt just from being a spectator was amazing! I don't believe I will be Michael Wardian, but I would feel like him just by completing something as huge as the JFK 50. It has become an item on my bucket list for sure.

Have you ever ran in the JFK 50 or another ultra? Tell me ALL about it!!!

Interview with Ashley & a Spartan Race Giveaway

 Keep reading to learn how you can win a FREE Spartan Race entry!

When it comes to running, we are ALL different. We not only vary in personal goals, whether we want to run farther or faster, but our bodies and form differ, leaving one more injury prone than the other. Regardless of the differences, I believe that knowing what is important to another runner and how they mentally & physically handle a run, is great information that each of us should have. Seeing the perspective of another running enthusiast may open up your image of the practice. You may want to try one of their training techniques, or work towards a  similar goal you never thought of before. 

This is why I wanted to interview others in all stages of running. Hell, I want to interview non-runners to see what their fitness interests are and what keeps them going.

Today though, I am starting with my good friend and future bridesmaid, Ashley. 

I have had the pleasure of running with Ashley on several occasions and hope to continue doing so. Here's some details on her running lifestyle!

How long have you been running for?
I used to run a few years ago, but I didn't get really serious about it. I just started running again this past June. 

What motivated you to start running again?
I was feeling sluggish and out of shape. I just wanted to feel really good about myself and love my body. 

Many new runners become discouraged if they can't go as far or as fast as others. When you first started, how did you keep yourself going? 
I started really slow and didn't really push myself. I also kept reminding myself that if I kept at it, I'd get better. 

What was one of the biggest challenges that you faced in those first few months of running?
The biggest challenge I encountered was an injury to my foot due to running on a road that was severely slanted. It was the first time I had to take time off and I was nervous that I wouldn't start back up again. But I did! 

Now that you have developed a good habit of running, what is your favorite thing about it?
I love running where I live! Nature is so calming to me. I always look forward to the animals and birds that see. 

Tell me about how you are preparing for the Turkey Trot?
My first 5k is just about a week away. I'm trying to keep my miles up so the 5k will seem like a piece of cake! I'm also trying to make the most of my rest days. 

You're about to go out on a run, what are your must-haves?
My running must-haves include: an extra ponytail holder, my phone (music and runtastic), and depending on if it's dark outside my headlamp and reflective vest. My husband would prefer my evening runs to include a knife. lol

What running gear is on your holiday wishlist this year?
Dear Santa, please bring me compression socks, long sleeved running shirts, and I wouldn't say no to running underwear and a Spibelt.

Thank you so much, Ashley for sharing with us! I can't wait to run with you in the Turkey Trot!!! You are going to do awesome!!!

Now, who would like an early holiday present??? Ashley told us a lot about her goals and the challenges she faced while running. How would you like to also be challenged and achieve goals you never imagined possible? Lucky for you, I am giving away ONE FREE entry to a Spartan Race of your choice!* It is a perfect gift to either keep for yourself.

If you are not sure that this is the right for you, then you are in luck!

This year, Spartan Race and NBC Sports have teamed up to present to you "Spartan Beast World Championship." Get a taste of the amazing challenge you could be apart of.
Already sure you want to participate? Then take part in the raffle below!!
I will announce the winner on 11/29/13. Good luck!!
You can go ahead receive 15% off your entry by visiting this address: http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior .
Share this link with your friends!

*Must be in the continental US and within the 2013-2014 season

Recipe Time! Grilled Avocado Chicken Burger

It was about a year ago that I became OBSESSED with avocados. They are one of my favorite fruits (it's a fruit, right?). I try to incorporate avocados in all of my sandwiches, salads, wraps, tacos, etc. Now, I found a way to put them in a burger. And I don't mean on top of the burger meat, but IN the meat itself. It is magically delicious!

Try it out!!!

Grilled Avocado Chicken Burger
Makes 4-5 burgers


  • 1 lb Skinless Chicken Breast (shredded or whole)
  • 1 Chopped Ripe Avocado
  • Lemon or Lime Juice (optional)
  • 1 Chopped Garlic Clove
  • 2/3 C Whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
  • 4-5 Whole Wheat Burger Buns (optional)

  1. If you chose to start with shredded chicken, you can skip to step 2. I shredded my own chicken by placing in my Crock-Pot and adding a half cup of water. Cook high for about 2 hours or until chicken is fully cooked and shreds. Remove from pot and drain excess water. Set aside in it's own bowl.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, add chopped avocado and drizzle on lemon or lime juice (will add flavor and prevent avocado from browning over time). Mix in chopped garlic and bread crumbs. Add shredded chicken to bowl and mix well so all ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Form 4-5 patties and place on grill or skillet (my skillet was set on 400 degrees). Let cook for 3-5 minutes per side.
  4. Serve on whole wheat bun.
 Don't let it's looks fool you! It is really good! I plan on marinating the chicken next time around in a little bit lemon juice and garlic so it is more flavorful!

Tell me what you think and please, share with me your avocado recipes!

Pain & Exhaustion

For now, I am going to ignore the subject of my last entry until I receive further details from my doctor at my next appointment, which is not until next month (the week of Christmas). But I would like to thank those of you who messaged, texted, and talked to me about it! :)

Anyway, I have just a few things to share with you guys. Let me start with Saturday. I went on a 12 mile run and that went...ok. I was tired, to say the least. I feel like I am recovering from a 6 week break rather than a week break. Guess 26.2 miles can really take it out of a person? I have just been in one hell of a funk lately.

I was going to vlog that run, but did not want to make you guys nauseous with the shakey-ness of the videos I took. But here is just one video from the halfway point!

And a picture of my new purple compression socks!

Following my run, I went on yet another run with Peter. I just trailed behind him to check out his butt so he could chose a pace that worked best for him.

For someone who has only been running for about 2 months, he is doing AWESOME. He ran 3.08 miles for the first time (longest run before was 2.5 miles) and did it in just 31 minutes!!! That's amazing! Peter is definitely ready for his first 5k on Thanksgiving. Words cannot express how proud I am of him! His next distance goal is 5 miles before year's end. I know he can do it!

Today, I got up, not quite in the running state of mind. I had an 8 miler planned, but decided to cut it down to 7. Not a HUGE difference, but it at least got my butt out the door...and I got to wear another pair of new Pro Compression socks.

I ran out to the dam and started to feel a sharp pain in my knee. I stopped to try and stretch it out, but it was not letting up. I was ready to call the run quits, but I had no one available to come get me. So I did what any idiot would do...run on it the whole way home.

The pain did not got worse, but it did not feel great at all. As soon as I got home, I iced the hell out of my knee to try to help relieve the pain. Then, I took about 2 hours of down time laying on the couch. A glorious nap was included. I woke up with zero pain, so I have no idea what happened there. I can only hope it will not return!

Tomorrow, I have intentions of running after work. Just a 5 miler. Nothing too exciting. Then I will take my rest day. I have a run planned with my girl, Ashley later this week! I love our runs! Maybe one day, me, her and Peter will be able to all run together!

Anywho, have a good week all! I will sure try!

Have you ever had a rough time recovering from a long run, like a marathon, even weeks after it has ended?

Would you like to see a vlog of one of my runs in the future?

Ever do 2 runs in one day? How did you feel afterwards?

Ever have pain during a run that magically went away? No rhyme or reason to why you got it in the first place?

I WILL Be Okay

This is not my typical entry. First, it does not have a single picture! Second, it is a tad bit depressing. Bbut today, I am allowed to be a bit sad and angry. Tomorrow, I will pull myself back together again and enjoy life.

I probably shouldn't have, but I ran tonight.

Yesterday, I told you about the nagging irritation I had in my leg. Well, it was still there today and no matter what I did, it was not going away. So, I ALMOST decided to opt out until I received some not-so-good news.

A few months ago, I had surgery to help remove some areas of my body that were considered "per-cancerous." Just weeks following the procedure, I was given a thumbs up from the doctor, letting me know everything looked great. I was optimistic that I would feel stronger and healthier with each day since I rid myself of the abnormalities that were once thriving within my body.

Well, it tuned out I did not feel any better. I felt about the same. Actually, I started feeling pain that I did not have previously. I thought it was simply a part of the recovery process. Though, when I brought it to the attention of my doctor just last week, she told me that it was not typical to have the pain I was experiencing.

She examined everything as planned and told me I would hear back in about a week, as they sent the cell samples out for testing. I thought absolutely nothing of it. I was not worried. I had complete confidence that this surgery took care of me, regardless of the occasional pain I experienced.

Today, when I received the call with my results, I was already expecting to here that there were still some abnormalities. Apparently that is "normal" for what I had done. What I was not expecting to hear was that the abnormalities were worse and that I would have to come back for further exams.

My mind was a mess for the remainder of the work day. I cried several times over, blaming myself, blaming others, and just worrying about what this could actually do to my future. I don't want cancer, but I also don't want to continue this constant poking and prodding. Some of these appointments, where they are just "following up," are somewhat painful. They have become more painful after surgery. All those areas have become super sensitive from being sliced and burned through. So the very thought of having more tests done makes me cringe.

I went to my mom's after work, where I made the final decision to run. I contemplated my decision several times over, but with all of my emotion building, I thought the healthiest way to control it was by running and it was a gorgeous night out for it too.

I had 5 miles to re-organize my thinking and I was able to feel better about the situation about half way through. I did not come to any solution, but I felt stronger and more level-headed. My leg was slightly aggravated, but it felt surprisingly better. Maybe it will feel worse in the morning, but either way, my mind is at ease and that is all I wanted.

I don't know what is going to happen inside of my body as a result of these problems I have been having, but I think I will be okay.

Too Much Too Soon?

I keep trying to remind myself that my goals are only my own. I am the only one pushing myself to achieve them. I am not being held at gunpoint, threatened to reach a set mileage or maintain a specific pace.


Why must I keep reminding myself this? Well, I have a nagging sensation in one of my legs that has pushed me to take an unplanned rest day. I am not happy about this since I feel like I just resumed running after that week off. More than likely, I did too much too soon. Who knows...maybe this nagging in my thigh is nothing at all. Either way, I know that running on it won't lead to a better feeling.

I don't think it is my IT band. The feeling itself seems to be right next to it. Now, I am not a doctor or a pro when it comes to self diagnosis, so don't take what I say seriously, but from what I have researched online, the rectus femoris muscle seems to be the problem.

Sounds right on the money to me. Especially when he said that it was more of a nuisance than painful.  I felt the origin area that he described and it definitely held a lot of that tension he mentioned. So, I foam rolled.

And it felt SOOOO good. I emphasize the statement "hurts so good" when it comes to foam rolling. It didn't get rid of the existing irritation, so running still remains out of the schedule for today; however, I also swear by taping...

 I combined 2 recommended taping methods. From the point I started going down my leg, less irritation. I will keep this on for a few days and see if there are any improvements. It was dramatically helped the ankle pain I had last week.

From what I hear, this strain will not put me out for weeks. If I severely tore something, that would be one thing and would obviously be painful. I heard 3 days, unless it is more severe. This makes day 2 then. We will see if any of this will make a difference. Fingers crossed.

Ever have a quad strain? How long till it felt better?

Have you used tape to help relieve pain or irritation from running? Did you have success?

Busy week! Twerkin' tonight!

I was MIA this week, due to yet another busy schedule. Since the time has changed (boo!), I have had to make sacrifices.

First sacrifice: Goodbye to the canal during week nights.

Though I have received permission to run in the early part of the evening, I have decided to opt out due to safety concerns. Instead, I went running on my old route, out by my parent's house on Tuesday. Ashley joined me, which made night running a but more tolerable. It was a hilly run, which I am not quite used to, but even though I cursed at the hills, I know that they were for my own good. Afterwards, I spent a good part of the evening at my mom's.

Speaking of hills though, on Wednesday, I went for a 5 mile run during my lunch break. The hills were much more brutal than I remembered. I chose a route nearby my house that I frequented this past winter. Not my favorite route, but I did not have time to be picky. I, once again, reminded myself that even though the hills suck now, they will improve my running overall.

That evening, I went over to Ashley's for a girls night. We drank wine and ate some leftover Hershey's Halloween candy.

On Thursday, I was a SORE mess. So I opted out of running, while Peter was still kicking all kinds of ass! He made me feel like a loser.

He said that he is going to up his distance to 2.5 miles this coming week. I am so excited for him. Peter is SO CLOSE to making it to that 5k!!!

Friday, I also took a rest day as I was still feeling some significant soreness in my legs and joints, but that didn't stop me from partying up that night.

And it definitely did not prevent me from running today.

It was my first run in 2 weeks that I actually hit the double digits again. I can't say it was my best, but the weather was nice and I enjoyed myself. I also fell in love with my new UA Cozy Crew. Who does not love thumb holes?

More importantly, it kept me pleasantly toasty in 35-40 degree weather. I was sweating a little. I completely recommend!

Anyway, this evening I have a late-Halloween party...

And I am ready for some twerkin! Anyone else have a post-Halloween festivity to attend?

What are your thoughts on running hills? Woo! or Boo!?

Do you like thumb holes on your running shirts?

What were you for Halloween?

Sore Everywhere and Back to Nights

As promised, I said I would mention if the cheeseburger casserole was a success. And it was.

It was very difficult not to gobble down more than one plate. So I definitely recommend this recipe! Super easy to make!

Now on to my workout routine for the day.

After yesterday's squat and ab challenge, I was definitely feeling the pain today. My thighs, hips, and ribs are currently filled with lactate acid. But I always like to think that soreness is the aftermath of a great workout.

Even still, I went for a 7 mile run on the trail. It was a bone chilling 32 degrees so I bundled up in my Under Amour mock, gloves, capris, and compression socks. At least gorgeous out.

I also met a new animal friend on the trail!

I named him Ricky the Raccoon. I was surprised how close he got to me before scurrying off.

After my run, I went home to resume day 2 of my squat and abs workouts. Today was 55 squats and my ab workout was an 8 minute AMRAP.

I also started up my weight training after having the last 3 weeks off. I surely did not start where I left off, but I am sure my shoulders will still be sore in the morning.

I decided to change up my schedule tomrrow so I could run with Ashley. Typically I don't run on Tuesdays, but this would be the only day I could run with her this week. So we are hitting the roads out by my parents for a night run (damn, standard time!!!). I need to get some hills back in my routine and that's not what the C&O offers. Besides, night running on the C&O does not exactly feel safe. So I guess it will be road running for the majority of this winter. Boo!

Anyway, that's my Monday! Hope yours has gone well and was pain free!

Since we now have resumed Standard Time, has that messed with your typical running routine? Will you night run?

How do you soothe sore muscles?
 My fiance gives me massages :)

Re-evaluating My Fitness and Food

My zero week has come to an end and I am back in full workout mode!

First, I headed to the trail for an easy 6 miler and was surprised that my body did not put up a fight. I must admit that I was pretty lazy for the last 7 days, so I was expecting my legs to feel like led. Luckily, starting up felt like I never stopped.

After my run, I came home to do some squats and ab work. During my break, I had a lot of time to evaluate my current workout routine and what I need to do to improve. I concluded that what I needed to work on most was my normal strength and ab routines. I looked around online to find suggestions, finally choosing to take on a few 30 day challenges.

First, the Squat Challenge...

Today was Day 1 and I will make sure to share results if I see them! On top of the squats, I plan to include glute exercises on my normal strength training days, Mondays and Thursdays. My booty is in desperate need of a lift.

I am also taking on a 30 day ab workout.  I have stuck with the same ab routine for quite some time and figured that I won't get visible abs by doing the same workout.

This is what I did today.

Through out the 30 days, they have different workouts for you to do. They provide a calendar that you supplies different videos to perform. I may not follow this one to a T since it does not correlate with my rest days now, but I should be able to get through 30 days of this. Once again, if receive good results, I will definitely share them!!

Next, I decided to change up my eating habits. At least for the next few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. I tend to be repetitive when it comes to what I eat, so I decided to find a bunch of healthy recipes to cook this week.

Tonight, I started with Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Squash Boats w Chicken.

I used my own spaghetti squash for this recipe. Made it better ;-] . It may not look as pretty as it did on the website I pulled it from, but it was sooo good! I ate my boat down to the skin.

Tomorrow, I am trying a recipe from Skinny Taste called Cheeseburger Casserole. I will fill you in on the outcome.

Anyway, it is lovely to be back in the game again! I am looking forward to getting miles in this week and adding new workouts! Hope you all have a healthy week!

Are you able to take a week off running and start up where you left off? Or do you feel tired/lazy?

Have you ever taken any 30 day workout challenges? Squat, Abs, Arms? Did it work? Please share your results!

Have you tried any new recipes this week?
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