Monthly Archives: May 2013

Foodie Pen Pals May!

This is the first time I am able to share the amazing Foodie Pen Pal program here on this blog!!! I have been part of this amazing program for almost a year now, and I have to say it just keeps getting better and better!
This month Laurel was my FPP match!  She sent an amazing package and it fit my dietary restrictions/needs perfectly 🙂


This is what I saw when I opened my box!


This trail mix looks amazing!! I will certainly be using it when I travel next month!


These berries were really yummy!  I am thinking of adding the rest to the trail mix for my many upcoming flights!


I made this the other night, and then decided to throw it in the blender with some ice and made a frosty like drink! The hubs and I both enjoyed it!

IMG_0916 I had this for breakfast this morning! YUM YUM YUM!  I added a little almond butter and the almonds pictured below! What a great breakfast!

IMG_0914These almonds are fantastic! And the flavor is really yummy!

The day my box arrived I had been working on my office re-do for HOURS, and so I broke into this right away! I love me some dark chocolate 🙂


I have used GU before.  Probably for ALL of my half marathons, some training sessions, and other random events.  I am a fan of this flavor! I will be using it soon on a long run in prep for my half in July 🙂

These little chips are pretty tasty.  I had to laugh because I received my Kona Kase the same day as this package, and it had the same Pop Corners in it! (Review coming soon!)IMG_0919This soda pop bottle made me laugh.  I have never seen a bottle like this in my life! Hehe.  I don’t really drink soda, but I did give this a try before I gave the rest to the hubs.  It had a nice fruity flavor.  The hubs really did enjoy it too!!

Thanks again Laural for your very thoughtful package!!

Here is more info about the Foodie Pen Pal program that Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean set up!

-On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.
-You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!
-The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treatsThe spending limit is $15The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!
-You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)
-Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.
– Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at to get involved!

If you want to be part of Foodie Pen Pals in June, sign up HERE!

Have a wonderful rest of you day!!

~Chocolate Runner~

Fitness Recap May 6-12, 2013

Fitness Recap May 6-12, 2013

Monday- 4 mile walk with the twins to the park.

Tuesday- Another 4 mile walk to the park with the twins.

Wednesday- Half a mile walk with the twins to the park. And my FIRST interval workout with the running group I just joined 🙂 It was a blast- 2 miles of walking and every few minutes we stopped and did 30-45 second interval exercises like jumping jacks, planks, burpees, Russian twists, pushups, and a few others!

Thursday- This is my LONG workout day. I did my body pump class, and it was HARD! I packed the weight onto the bar for a personal challenge and lifted more than I have in a LONG time. Right after body pump I booked it over to my church where I do a class called “Restore the Core.” It is a great ab/core workout.

Friday- After my classes on Thursday I was SO sore, and the weather was rainy and blah so I took a well deserved rest day!

Saturday- Started the day off with body pump, and then did a Zumba class. It was the perfect combination for the day 🙂 And I had an afternoon nap which was the icing on the cake!

Sunday- Today was some sand volleyball. I would say beach, but it is a sand pit located in a grass field in the back of my church 🙂

Who worked out last week? Tell me something you did you challenge yourself 🙂

~Chocolate Runner~

Fitness Recap April 29-May 5

Fitness Recap April 29 – May 5, 2013

Well last week I got back into the swing of things for the most part. I am posting this to help keep myself on track and to keep a record of what I am doing for work outs and if I am changing and what is working for me. This is NEVER a place when I want to compare myself to anyone else, or to make anyone feel bad or poorly about them selves if they have a different number of workouts in a week. We ALL have different goals for our workouts and health and you need to do what works for YOU 🙂

I do love to hear what others do because it gives me ideas of new things to try! For me I need to keep changing my workouts to stay challenged and to not get tired of doing the same things over and over again.

On that note, here is a little recap of the week.

I took the twins I nanny for on at least 1 walk a day. Some days we managed to get 2 walks in 🙂

Monday – I took a break from anything major as I needed a rest from the 10k and playing volleyball on Sunday. The twins and I did get a slow walk to the park about a mile.

Tuesday – As I am really starting to get back into running I am working on taking the twins out a few times a week for a walk/jog. Today was 3.55 miles 🙂

Wednesday – I was feeling good today and managed 4.6 miles 🙂

Thursday – 1 mile walk with the twins and body pump! I love that class 🙂 I also did a 20 min speed drill of 1.25 miles. As much as I dislike the treadmill, sometimes cranking up the speed is just what I need!

Friday – 1 mile walk with the twins. Zumba party! I was doing Zumba really regularly for several months and I really enjoyed it. Sadly my gym canceled one of the classes I was able to participate it, and the 2 others that I could make it to are not my favorite. Needless to say I have been looking for other ways to get my cardio in, and getting back into running has come at the perfect time!

Saturday – 1 mile walk

Sunday – Rest day. And a lot of cleaning 🙂

What do you do for your workouts?  I love hearing about the ways people challenge themselves!


~Chocolate Runner~

Motivation Monday!

Happy Monday all!  It has been a little quiet over on this end.  I have been really busy with work and am finally getting a chance to sit down and share an amazing story with you all!!  My friend Becky is an inspiration and motivation to me, and a reminder to never give up on any dreams, especially when they have to do with your health!
I went to high school with Becky, but we didn’t really connect till a few years ago (thank you Facebook).  I am so glad we did connect! She is a wonderful girl who has worked REALLY hard to get where she is!  I am so proud of you Becky 🙂

Here is her story followed by a few pictures!

“I should preface this with the fact that all my life I had been a little bit chubby. However, it never stopped me from being active. My parents had me in all sorts of activities–dance, ice skating, swimming, intramural sports and marching band. I always enjoyed a little activity. I actually stayed with ice skating and swimming for quite some time–spending about 8 years on the ice and 4 in the pool (and it was quite busy when Swim season overlapped with ice skating season). I never let the fact that I was always heavier than the other people get in my way or bother me. And the people I was skating or swimming with never really minded that I was heavier either.

Something changed when I hit college. I was nowhere near the activity level that I was at in my pre-university days, but I certainly was not sedentary. I loved to take walks and had 2 jobs–one those jobs kept me on my feet the whole time. I ate a fairly healthy diet, but knew it could have been better. After college, I started running thinking well I hate running, but it might help. The pounds wouldn’t budge. No matter how much I restricted food intake and increased exercise would the pounds come off.

I decided I’d run my first half marathon in 2009. I teamed up with Team in Training which is an offshoot of the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. I was getting really frustrated because I was running about 20 or so miles per week, eating a lean/clean diet but still as heavy as I was before I started training. I still ran and finished that first half marathon, but couldn’t help but be a little jealous of my training buddies who were sporting more trim bodies. I KNEW something was wrong. I later found out my thyroid had shut down. It certainly explained why I was feeling SO miserable and not able to lose weight despite my best efforts.

Since that diagnosis, I have lost about 97 pounds, run 2 more half marathons and started working at fitness facilities in addition to my full time job. I am certified to teach SilverSneakers, which is a fitness program geared towards the elderly to help them keep and/or get back strength and fitness for daily life activities. I am also certified to teach Les Mills Sh’bam (dance based cardio) and as of yesterday (4/26/13), I am now certified to teach Les Mills CXWorx (30 minute core conditioning). I am gearing up to train for Les Mills BodyAttack, which is 55 minutes of high intensity/interval/sports inspired cardio and also planning my next half marathon (perhaps the Hershey Half since this is chocolate runner girl’s blog..wouldn’t that be appropriate?). When I’m not teaching, I enjoy a few miles here and there and also take BodyPump, BodyStep and RPM through Les Mills as well. They are great additions if you’re looking for cross training activities while gearing up for a distance running event.

I’ve always had a passion for sports, fitness and exercise. Heck, my major was Kinesiology at Penn State. I’ve always wanted to share my love of fitness and nutrition with others. I am hoping to take my American College of Sports Medicine exam for Health and Fitness expert. I would love to pursue a career in health coaching or corporate wellness coordination. I want people to know that everything is possible.”

Becky at her heaviest
Mile 10 in the first Half Marathon she ever ran in Jan 2009–the Disney World Half Marathon.Beckydisneymarathon 044
Her last half marathon which was December 2011 in Miami Beach (for her birthday–race day was on her birthday).
Becky in action while taking BodyAttack
A gym of the more recent photos of Becky.


~ Chocolate Runner~

Race Recap :)

Well Saturday was my first 10k of the year (not counting the two 5ks I ran in the duathlon 2 weeks ago).  It was a bit of a last minute decision since I have been dealing with some foot pain the last few weeks.  Since I got my new shoes 2 weeks ago, I have been breaking them in and working my way back to running more mileage.  So Saturday was more of an experiment with myself to see what I could do.  I knew I was not ready to fully run 6 miles so I planned to walk/jog and just see how I felt.

Saturday morning came quickly.  I tried to get to bed early on Friday night, but I didn’t manage to fall asleep til well after 11. I woke up about 15 min later than I really wanted to, and that put me a little behind schedule with leaving.  Once I was on the road I did see a beautiful sunrise!

I had some issues with my GPS and for a few min I thought I wasn’t going to make it in time. Ekk I really dislike when that kind of hiccup happens. I ended up going without my friend because she had an event come up with her kids and needed to be with them, so I was solo for the event.

When I arrived at the race I still needed to pick up my bib. One of the pros to this race is that the race packet is all virtual.  So no waste of paper. They sent a link with all the race sponsors and different coupons from the vendors. I really liked this feature since I rarely actually use any of the coupons that are inside my race bag.

I wandered around a little since I was not familiar with the area looking for the place to pick up my bib. I did not see any signs or anyone helping people find out where to go. I asked a few people and no one knew where to go. Finally a very kind woman walked me over to the area where the bibs were (in the corner of an alleyway)!! I don’t know if I would have found my bib without her.
After I found my bib I headed back to the start line area. Realized I probably should try to use the bathroom so I hustled over to the port-a-potties (NOT MY FAV) and went.  In my head I thought the race started at 7:30 so I was a little nervous that I was going to miss the start…Silly me had my times mixed up and the real start was at 7:45, so I really had plenty of time to use the bathroom and get back in place to start.

As I was waiting to start a few people commented on the Boston Race bib I printed out, and I saw a few other runners have them. In those moments, it was like we really all came together, fast and slow, newbie and veteran. We all had something in common, and there was a spark and an energy that you could feel about what was about to happen.

Pop, the starter gun went off and the pack started to move. There were about 1800 runners for the 10k. I stayed off to the side and near the back of the pack. I knew that I was not going to be running more than a few minutes at a time and I didn’t want to get in anyones way. (One of my running pet peeves is having to weave in and out between people who are walking at the beginning of a race. I try to remember that someone might have to run around me and I don’t want them to deal with the same frustration I have had to at times.)

The first mile I felt ok. It usually takes me a mile or so to really warm up/get in my groove so I was taking it a bit easy. It was a bit humid and warmer than I have run in over the past few months so I felt like I was going a LOT slower than I was hoping. This race was for sure not going to be a PR or any great time, but my goal was to just finish (although I really wanted to keep a better than 15 min mile pace) 🙂 RunKeeper said I did mile 1 in 13:30.

The second mile I felt a little more in my zone and I had a girl who was about my pace who was a little ahead of me. We were back and forth so it was nice to have someone else hanging around the same pace. I was doing 5 min increments of walking 3 min/running 2 min. A few times I split the time 2.5 min for both walking and jogging. They had a water station right before mile 2 and I was starting to feel like I needed some liquids.  Mile 2 – 13:17.

Mile 3 was my best mile of the race. I was still feeling pretty good, and I was enjoying the gorgeous neighborhood we were running through.  Mile 3 – 13:09.

At the beginning of mile 4 I was starting to get fatigued and my hands were starting to swell. For me, that means I am already pretty dehydrated. The second water station was not until a bit into mile 4. I stopped for a second and drank a few glasses of water and gatorade. I did not want to end up passing out like I have before at races from dehydration. The sun was a bit stronger at this point, and the nice shade from the neighborhood was fading fast. About 4.5 miles in I felt I could not run any further. I started to feel a bit disappointed in myself for not being able to walk/jog a 10k. I thought I would walk for a few extra minutes and see if I could pick myself up and run some more. Mile 4 – 14:08.


Near the end of mile 4 a really sweet lady (Ms. Kelly) and I started walking together. She was there right at the perfect time. We just walked and chatted about life and how we got into doing races. She was 69, but did not look a day over 50!  My shins also started to hurt and I figured I would save my energy and run the last .2 of the race.  Mile 5 – 14:16

The last mile was a bit of a struggle for me. My shins were in a LOT of pain and so I was walking a LOT slower than I had before. I tried to run for a minute but it did not go well. I am really thankful for Ms. Kelly walking with me cause I might have just stopped at that point. Mile 6 – 16:39.

As we got closer to the finish line I was determined to pick up the pace. When I saw the finish line I asked Ms. Kelly if she wanted to run the last part with me. She said she would. I started slow but then took off.  I have to say that no matter how tired I am, I ALWAYS finish strong! The last .2 mi I managed to run in 77 seconds!

IMG_0241 IMG_0352
I was so very happy to cross the finish line and see that my average pace for the race was 14:19. Although my main goal was to finish, I was really hoping deep down that I would finish in under a 15 min mile pace.

After the race I got my finishers medal and looked around where to get the finisher t-shirts. Again, NO signs 😦 I was also in need of some hydration, but all I could find near the finish line were pastry/muffins, and beer! Grrr
We finally found the shirts, and I grabbed a bottle of water from a random vendor tent that was set up. Well I asked first 😉


I saw a lot of people walking around with trees in their hands and realized that they were handing them out. I went to see if I could get one but they ran out as I was literally the next person in line…Kinda bummed me out. Seeing the trees reminded me back to my grade school days and how we all got little trees on earth day and we would always plant them in our backyard. They never seemed to last too long with dry weather and random animals eating them.

Well, that is my 10k recap. Overall it was an ok day. It is a race I would consider doing again, but I would make sure I have something with me to stay hydrated!

Did YOU race this weekend? Tell me about it 🙂

~Chocolate Runner~