Friday, May 31, 2013

ZOOMA Chicago Training Care Package

Don't miss out on this great training care package!

Register for ZOOMA Chicago before June 2 to get the package!
Enter promo code CHIAMB9 to receive 10% off!

Happy Friday!
Any fun plans for the weekend?

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Training - Week 4

It's been crazy with end of school activities and obligations - just over a week until summer vacation!   I'm still working on fitting in my cross training.  I love riding on the trails with my kiddos, so I'm hoping once they're are out of school, we'll get out a couple of times a week.

Spent the long weekend in Michigan...lots of walking:)

So here's what my week 4 of the ZOOMA 1/2 Marathon training looked like:

Monday - rest.
Tuesday - 4 mile track workout with Tazer and Gaigai
Wednesday - rest.
Thursday - 4 miles
Friday - rest.
Saturday - 6 miles with CARA then off to Michigan:)
Sunday - lots of walking in Michigan.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Fun Things Friday

Through FitFluential I am taking part in the Under Armour #WhatsBeautiful challenge.  My goal for the challenge is to complete my first marathon - #IWill!  Join my team, Team Women's Endurance in working towards your goal of taking it to the next level.

Five lucky ladies were selected to participate in the Muscle Milk Light Half Marathon challenge, powered by ZOOMA and NorthShore University HealthSystem. This fabulous five will receive lots of perks and support through the program as they train for their very first half marathon including the support of our ZOOMA Chicago Ambassadors, a training plan, a yoga session, nutrition and training tips, race entry, fun swag, and, of course, Muscle Milk Light to fuel their recovery.

ZOOMA Half Marathon Challenge

We're looking forward to our Memorial Day weekend.  Our schedule is packed with birthday parties, bbq, running and hopefully some beach time.  Even though temps are to remain relatively low, it will still fun to celebrate the start of summer!

Having fun at the beach!
Happy Friday!
Any fun plans for the long weekend?

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Training - Week 3

Monday:  3 miles with Tazer (age 12) and Munchkin (age 6);  We started by doing a loop near home in case Munchkin wanted to stop, but Munchkin ended up outrunning his older brother:)

Tuesday:  cross-training; Still feeling sick, I decided to take a rest day.

Wednesday: 4 miles; I decided to take another rest day - still congested and coughing.

Thursday:  4 miles; Managed to squeeze in an early morning 5k around the neighborhood.  Then home to finish preparing for the kids' Fun Run which was after school.

Fun Run
Fun Run 2013 start

Friday: rest; 4 miles with Munchkin, Little A and Kovas.  Kovas pushed the double stroller most of the time, Munchkin ran half of the time.

K double stroller
Kovas pushing the double stroller with Munchkin and Little A

Saturday:  5 miles; I was supposed to run with CARA but took another rest day instead.  This Saturday for sure, I will run again with the group...

Sunday:  Cross training; Kovas and I ran 5 hilly miles - without the stroller or kiddos.

I ran all the week's runs according to the CARA training plan, but still have to work on the cross training...

Goals for the week:  at least one day of cross training (cycling) and long run with CARA

Working on any short term goals?

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Meatless Monday - Healthy Granola

This tasty "granola" happens to be a failed attempt at healthy energy bars.  As a family our afternoons and weekends are pretty crazy with soccer, music lessons, running club etc.  And as most kids, mine come home from school ravenous and rushing to get ready for something.  So my plan was to make bars for the week - instead we ended up with granola for breakfast:)


Preheat oven to 350.  In large bowl combine:
1 1/2 old fashioned oats
1/2 c steel cut oats
1/2 c quinoa
3/4 c seeds and/or nuts of choice (I used hemp, pepitas and sunflower seeds)
1/2 c dried fruit of choice (I used dried bananas)
1/4 c flaxseed meal

granola dry ingredients
Granola - dry ingredients

In microwave safe bowl, combine and microwave until smooth (about 45 seconds):
1/4 c sweetener (I used honey - could also use maple syrup, brown rice syrup)
1/2 c nut butter (I used sunflower butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

granola - nut butter mixture
Granola - nut butter mixture

Mix nut butter mixture into dry ingredients until well combined.  Spread into a 13 x 9 inch pan.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Serve with fresh fruit, yogurt, milk or as a snack by itself.  Enjoy!

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Fun Things Friday

Kovas and I were sent some organic herbal Alvita teas to sample.  So many delicious flavors - perfect for any time of day!

We make sure that every ingredient comes from responsible growers who make the land—and the herbs that grow on it—their primary concern. From there, our team painstakingly reviews the scientific data to make sure of proper dosage, and the perfect brewing techniques, so that our teas can give you the maximum benefit and the best taste.

Alvita teas
Alvita - organic, gluten-free, kosher

We also had the opportunity to try Huma Chia Energy Gel in strawberry and apples and cinnamon flavors.  I love that these are all natural and have a great flavor without a chemically after-taste!

Don't like gels that taste like cough syrup? Neither do we. Now you can enjoy your gel with Hüma, the great-tasting, all-natural energy gel based on Chia.

Huma gel
All natural - Huma Chia Energy Gel

You can have the best running shoes with the right fit, but without good socks, you're likely to still have problems.  I have a pair of Darn Tough ski socks and love them, so I was psyched when they sent me two pairs of their running socks to try.  Super comfortable with a great fit and feel, no rubbing and no slipping - these have become my go-to socks for running!

...miles and miles (and miles) of blister-free bliss. Feel the difference of feeling nothing at all.

Darn tough - run/bike socks
Darn Tough Run/Bike socks

Here's a great event to support virtually or in person if you're in the Chicago-land area...Tazer and I are planning to register for the event - the rest of the family will join virtually...

The Run for Boston 5k is a partnership between the Chicago Running Bloggers community and Muddy Monk Trail Running. Katie of Live Half Full worked to bring together the running community to put together an event to show the power and resiliency of the running community.

Together, our goal is to raise funds from our generous sponsors so that 100 percent of race entries benefits the Who Says I Can’t Foundation and directly to support the rehabilitation of those who lost limbs as a result of the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. We need your help to make this possible. Contact us for information about volunteering or sponsoring this event.

Join us June 15, either in Libertyville at Independence Grove or virtually, for #Chicago4Boston.

Run for Boston 5k
Run for Boston 5k

The (new) winner of my Bestowed giveaway is

CONGRATULATIONS!  Please email or DM me your mailing address!

Happy Friday!
Any fun plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Koss Fit Series - Fit Clips and Fit Buds Stereophone Review

Last week I had the pleasure of heading up to Milwaukee for the Koss Fit Series Launch via FitFluential.  The Fit Series features two earphone models - FitClips and FitBuds, designed for women by women.

My mint FitClips and coral FitBuds

The Koss' female team partnered with 5-time Olympian and fitness enthusiast, Dara Torres to design the new line.  So a huge bonus of attending the launch was meeting the great people from Koss and Dara and participating in a spinning class with her (my first spin class ever!)!

Each of our spin bikes were adorned with the new FitClips - over the ear headphones in assorted bright colors - 5 different colors in all.  Love all the cute colors!  The soft, flexible clips fit comfortably around the ear.  Great fit and great workout!  My question was - how would the FitClips and FitBuds perform on a run...

Koss FitClips and FitBuds
When I got home,  I tried both the FitClips and the FitBuds for running.  Both stayed put and of course had great sound!  Both are available in 5 vibrant colors, feature a sweat-resistant coating and choice of 3 sizes of ear cushions for a perfect fit.

Koss Fit Series
Koss Fit Series - check out all these great colors!

The Koss Fit Series is available now and to get $5 off a pair of Koss Fit Series headphones, enter Fit4Life during checkout at

This campaign was sponsored by Koss through FitFluential. All opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday Training (a day late) - Week 2

Started the week out well, but ended up missing a couple days due to a cold.  No biggie with work, children and everyone's schedules, I am trying to stay flexible with my training...

Monday: 3 mile run.  Nice morning for an early before school neighborhood run with Gaigai.  Gaigai and Tazer are in their school's running club which is preparing them for the local YMCA's Commit to Be Fit 5k.  This has been a great way to slowly build up my miles and spend some extra time with them.

Tuesday: cross training.  I had to be at work early in the morning and right after Kovas and I headed into Chicago for a Portugal Wine tasting and dinner at III Forks.  We walked quite a distance from the car to the wine tasting and back to dinner - does that count as cross training? :)

Wednesday: 4 mile run.  Instead of my run, I spent the day in Milwaukee - I met and took my first ever spin class with Dara Torres!  This was definitely the highlight of my week - most memorable first spin class ever:)

Thursday: 4 mile run.  Woke up with some congestion, so I decided to take a rest day.  I've always heard if it's in your head, you're good to go.  If it's in your chest, take a rest day.  This was mostly in my head, but decided to rest anyways...

Friday:  Rest day.  Woke up feeling better and wanted to get some miles in before the week was over - ran an easy 4 miles.

Saturday: 5 miles with CARA.  Woke up feeling crappy again.  Super bummed that I missed my run with CARA.

Sunday:  Cross training.  Kovas and I went to my cousin's wedding Saturday night, so the kiddos spent the night at my aunt and uncle's house.  We took advantage of the beautiful morning and being childless to get in a steady 5 miles.

All in all a good week considering I was feeling miserable for most of it...

Do you train when sick?

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Meatless Monday - Raw Berry Crisp

No time for a hot breakfast?  Here's a simple, healthy no-cook breakfast from Whole Foods.

WF raw berry crisp
Raw Berry Crisp - recipe from Whole Foods

Rich nuts and sweet dates make a tasty topping for mixed berries in this no-cook version of berry crisp.

6 cups mixed berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries 
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, more or less to taste depending on sweetness of berries 
1 cup raw pecans 
1/2 cup raw walnuts 
1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

Method: In a (7- x 11-inch) dish, toss berries with maple syrup. Put pecans, walnuts, dates and cinnamon into a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Scatter nut mixture over berries and serve immediately, or chill until ready to serve. 

Nutritional Info:
PER SERVING:  240 calories (140 from fat), 16g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 0mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 16g sugar), 5g protein

Special Diets: Dairy Free Gluten Free Raw Vegan Vegetarian Wheat Free

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Friday Funnies and Bestowed Winner

Some friday funnies - in honor of all mothers...

Motherhood, inc
Mother's Day - vacation day, but technically you still have to work (from

definition of mother
Loony - love it:) (from

Happy Mother's Day to SUPERMOMS everywhere (from

And the winner of the Bestowed giveaway is Sara - CONGRATULATIONS!

Please email or DM me your mailing address by Wednesday 5/15!

Happy Friday and Happy Mother's Day!
Any fun plans for the weekend?

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Spinning With Dara Torres and Koss

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting, chatting and spinning with 5-time Olympian, 12-time medalist, Dara Torres, courtesy of Koss during the launch of the Fit Series stereophones, a new product line Designed for Women, By Women.

Dara Torres
Dara Torres wearing the coral Koss Fit Clips while spinning

I also met up with a handful of other ladies from Fitfluential and some friendly people from the Koss Corporation. Michael J. Koss, President and CEO of Koss led the product unveiling, and afterwards we headed over to a private spin class with Dara Torres.  We each had a pair of the new colorful Fit Clips on our bikes to wear for the class.  This was my first spin class ever, so I was nervous but super excited!  It was a great workout and the music definitely helped me get through it!  The headphones had great sound and stayed put in my ears (I will be trying them out on some runs this week - full review coming soon).

Coral Koss Fit Clips
Coral Koss Fit Clips
In addition to the headphones, we also received some other nice swag for the Koss Fit For Life campaign: tank, tee, hoodie and re-useable bottle.

Koss Fit For Life Campaign
Koss Fit For Life Campaign
After class we had the opportunity to talk with Dara.  She is such an inspiring woman - and lives her motto of "age is just a number."  She gave us some great tips on the importance of listening to your body and recovery, moderation when it comes to nutrition, balancing family/work/exercise, and other interesting topics.

Fitfluential Ambassadors with Dara Torres
Fitfluential Ambassadors with Dara Torres 
The clothes are super cute and I love the Fit Clip design which kept the ear buds in place.  The Koss Fit Series is available now and to get $5 off a pair of Koss Fit Series headphones, enter Fit4Life during checkout at

This campaign was sponsored by Koss through FitFluential.  All opinions are my own.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Midweek Motivation: What's Beautiful

"Are you ready to show the world 
what it means to be a female athlete? 
Set a goal. Then get it."


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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Training: What's Beautiful

I am super excited to be part of Under Armour's "What's Beautiful" campaign (through Fitfluential LLC), a movement to redefine the female athlete!   As part of "What's Beautiful," we're asked to define an epic goal, no matter what that goal may be, to push past where we've been before.  To put a goal out to the world and go after it in a big way. 

What's Beautiful Laima

My epic goal this year is to complete a marathon.  My husband, Kovas and I are still trying to figure out which one, but we'll find the right one for us.  This fall is our 15 year anniversary and I turn 40 - so perfect time to conquer something more, something new (for me at least - Kovas has done a marathon and an ultra)!

The "What's Beautiful" competition is open  to teams of women, so if you'd like to complete your goal with me, be it a 5k, 10k or ultra, join me in saying #IWILL and crush your goal.  By sharing our goals and progress, we'll be encouraged and motivated through an Under Armour network of women and receive support from each other, receive training tips and chances to win free swag for meeting and exceeding expectations.  After 10 weeks, 3 females will be chosen for a yoga and surf getaway to Costa Rica.

I'm just as excited to be a  ZOOMA Chicago Ambassador which ties in nicely with my marathon goal this fall.  Through ZOOMA I'm training with CARA through August 10th.  Group training is also new to me, but so far it's working out well.  After the ZOOMA half, I  will continue to prepare for my first full marathon solo (or most likely with Kovas).

So for week one of Summer 1/2 Marathon training:

Monday:  morning neighborhood 3 mile run;  Monday evening was the CARA Summer Half Marathon training kickoff with a 3.2 mile run along the lakefront.  Beautiful evening for it, but I was not sure I'd be able to run and be ready to represent ZOOMA as an ambassador and "social runner" so I opted to run in the am...

Tuesday:  3 mile neighborhood loop with Kovas

Thursday:  almost 3 mile loop in the neighborhood while taking care of some errands - multi-tasking:)

Saturday:  first group training run with CARA out of Wheaton, 4 miles

I should have added some cross training on my off days, but with work, my kids' activities, and wanting to spend time with the family, I didn't squeeze it in.  My goal this week is to make time for cross training as well.

The What's Beautiful campaign, ZOOMA and CARA are blending perfectly to help me get to my goal of completing a full marathon.  Sign up for What's Beautiful and join my What's Beautiful team , then check back here on Tuesdays to see how it's going.

What's your epic goal?

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Meatless Monday - Cold Beet Soup

Cold beet soup (Šaltibarščiai) is a Lithuanian summer staple.  Easy and refreshing, this soup is perfect for lunch or light dinner on a hot summer day!

Cold Beet Soup
Saltibarsciai - Cold Beet Soup

Not only easy and refreshing - and pretty, this soup is healthy too!  Beets are a rich source of potent antioxidants and nutrients, including magnesium, sodium, potassium and vitamin C., and betaine, which helps to lower blood pressure, prevents development of heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease and may protect against liver disease.

Take note, the red color compound betanin is not broken down in the body, and in higher concentration may temporarily cause urine (termed beeturia) and stool to assume a reddish color.  This effect may cause distress and concern due to the visual similarity to hematuria (blood in the urine) or blood in the stool - could be especially disturbing if you have a child still in diapers:), but is completely harmless and will subside once the food is out of the system (from wikipedia).

Here's the recipe-

Wash and peel
3 large red beets (about 1 pound) (canned whole beets can also be used)

Cover with water and boil until tender.  While beets are boiling, chop into cubes
1 large cucumber
2 hard-boiled eggs 
2 scallions

Remove beets from water reserving liquid.  Let beets cool, then grate coarsely.  In large bowl add to beet water
2 cups kefir
2 cups buttermilk

Then stir in beets, cucumbers, eggs, scallion.  Season with
salt and freshly ground pepper,
chopped dill

Refrigerate.  Before serving garnish with chopped dill.  Enjoy!

Amounts of beets, liquid, eggs, cucumbers, etc. can be modified according to personal tastes.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Fun Things Friday - and a Giveaway

This week I started my CARA half marathon training program in preparation for ZOOMA Chicago.  I've never trained with a training group, so I'm excited to try it!  First long run is tomorrow!

ZOOMA's Run to Chi-Town Sweepstakes ends today - grand-prize winner receives an all-expenses paid trip for two to Chicago on August 9-10 for the inaugural ZOOMA Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and 10K, including luxury accommodations at The Langham Chicago, travel expenses, and a fitness-and-fashion makeover from the contest’s sponsors.  

If you like to sample healthy tasty snacks, check out my Bestowed giveaway.  With a Bestowed membership, one gets a monthly shipment of 5+ healthy snacks chosen by registered dietitian.  For a chance to win a month's membership, enter here.

Happy Friday!!

Any fun plans for the weekend?

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