Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September Marathon Training Plan - #MyASICS

September? How on earth is it September? While many locations throughout the US are starting to see the signs of Fall, those of us in FL are still looking at many weeks of humidity in our future. The past few weeks have been brutal here - 100% humidity mixed with constant rain equals weather which feels like it's in the 110's. This impacts breathing on long runs and quite frankly, I am sick of running with what feels like a refrigerator strapped to my chest. One thing I have had to do is being sure to properly hydrate. I do not recall last year or the year prior being anything like this (I've lived in FL my whole life). To say I am looking forward to cooler temps is a slight understatement!!

Heat and humidity aside, September is going to be an amazing month. For one, my husband and I will be celebrating our one year wedding anniversary at the end of the month! This means marathon training at sea during our anniversary cruise aboard the Carnival Sunshine. That means I get extra visits Guy's Burger Joint, right? This will not be my first time spending a big vacation marathon training (see: marathon training on your honeymoon).
On a side note - did you see the newly released ASICS Gel Kayano 22? I am slightly obsessed with the Lite Show (top left photo above)! I am super excited to try out the Kayano 22 - be sure to look out for a review over the next month. Check out a few of the men's options below, I may be able to convert my husband to an ASICS boy after all:
So my September Marathon plan via the myASICS app is below. The plan I have from Coach Kastor is a bit different from this one with more long runs on the weekends. I will do a mix between Coach Kastors plan and the one below (especially during the week of our anniversary cruise).

Week 1:
Day's 1-5 are easy. Not much to report on this week. I will add in some yoga for running and some extra cross fit. In a side note, when we were in New Orleans two weeks ago, I broke a 5K PR on the treadmill. I am a proud turtle runner and have never broken a 30 minute PR yet after 3 years of running, I finally did it.

Week 2:
The big difference between this week and my plan from Coach Kastor is that one says a 6.5 comfortable run on Sunday vs. the other which has me doing 10 miles with 4-5 at goal marathon pace (11 minute mile). I will be traveling on Wednesday and Thursday this week so I will need to adjust my "days off".

Week 3:
Ugh. While I have finished 4 half marathons, I loathe training runs over 14 miles. I can handle it when you have thousands of people cheering you on, running with peers and collecting a medal at the end. However, running in your neighborhood for this long is not fun. Days like this, I listen to audio books (we recently finished Girl on the Train) or mixing up my music with ASICS #GoRunIt playlist on Spotify. Week 3 is on par with what my previous weeks have looked like with the exception of Sunday the 13th. My plan with Coach Kastor wants me to do 16-17 miles. Oye.

Week 4:
I feel like a broken record. Same thing for this week as the last 3. Instead of 15.5 miles on the 20th, Coach Kastor wants me to do 18-19 miles.

Finally week 5:
I started this screen shot on September 27th, which is our one anniversary and the day we leave on our 5 night cruise. I will be blogging about tips on marathon training on a cruise. It seems myASICS was thinking ahead when they planned this weekend. Coach Kastor was nice with an 8 mile run on October 1st vs. 4.5 miles. I will be sure we get our mileage in this week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Golf and Pub Food at Innisbrook Golf Resort and Spa

A few weeks back, my husband and I spent a weekend away at Innisbrook Golf Resort and Spa. I wrote about the resort overview, Spa Indaba and an amazing dinner at  Packard's Steakhouse. Today I am going to talk about their golf courses and lunch at the Turnberry Pub

On a very rainy Saturday, Gabe and I went out to play 9 holes on Innisbrooks Island Course. This Par 72 course has tight fairways and water hazards. I can happily say I did not lose a ball. My husband on the other hand is a whole different story.
The Island course was absolutely beautiful and has played host to numerous U.S. Open qualifiers and NCAA Championships. It was also the site of LPGA ISPS Honda Legends Tour Open Championship.
We fell in love with many houses on the Island Course. The Island’s first six holes are bordered by Lake Innisbrook with lateral water hazards. The first thing I noticed about this course was the elevation - something you do not get too often in FL. The middle six holes showed this with rolling hills. The final third of this course boasts a mixture of challenges.
It was no wonder to me that this is one of the most photographed golf courses in Florida.
After a day of Golf, we met up with Gabe's parents and decided to eat at the Turnberry Pub, located in the clubhouse of the Island Course. It was here that we had some of the best fish and chips in FL. A crispy and flaky beer battered cod was served with cole slaw and perfect chips. 
Turnberry Pub is only open for breakfast and lunch but their menu is drool worthy. I have a thing for pub cuisine and I had a very hard time deciding on what to order. Luckily for me, my Mother in Law agreed to splitting the Fish and Chips with me if I ordered the beer battered Chicken and Waffles. OK! Chicken and Waffles is one of my favorite dishes and this one came with Whiskey maple reduction and cinnamon butter. SWOON.
Gabe ordered the classic cheddar burger which had caramelized onions. It came perfectly cooked and delicious.
My father in law got the Sheppard's pie which consisted of ground beef, onions, carrots, corn and peas, topped with mashed potatoes. I am a Sheppard's Pie snob and can gladly say this one did not disappoint. Once again, I will say I was very impressed with the menu at Turnberry Pub but this did not come as a surprise as I've never had a bad meal at Innisbrook.
The following day, Gabe and his father played the North Course at Innisbrook while I had a spa day with my Mother in Law.  This Par 70 course is similar in terrain to the famous Copperhead Course and remains one of the most challenging courses at Innisbrook.
Gabe brought up the fact that Innisbrook had club cleaners on their golf carts and wishes more golf courses had this feature.
The North Course has eleven holes with water hazards. I am very happy I did not play this course or I would have surely lost all of my golf balls. This course has gone under some recent enhancements including additional yardage to selected par 4s and 5s, along with strategically placed bunkers and “waste bunkers.”
The Copperhead Course, named in Golfweek's Best Courses you can play in Florida and home to PGA's Valspar Open was closed for refurbishments and will be reopening later in the year. Click here to check out Innisbrook's current resort packages, including the "Your way Golf & Spa package"!

Disclaimer: Innisbrook comped our two days of golf in exchange for this review. We paid for our own lunch at Turnberry Pub and was not expected to write a review. As always all opinions are my own.

Monday, August 31, 2015

New Orleans Mardi Gras World

When you've been to the same city 9 times, you start to think like a local and ignore a lot of the magical things around you. This is how it is for us in New Orleans. When we had a short weekend getaway last week, we decided to check out places and tours we had not done before.
One place that always peeked our interest was the Mard Gras World. Prior to our wedding, we thought it was a building of Mardi Gras memorabilia. Boy were we wrong. Someone in our family visited the museum, letting us know that they saw mardi gras floats up close. We made it our mission to visit on our next trip.
When we arrived at Mardi Gras World (we took Uber but there is a free shuttle), we noticed a lot of activities going on. Food trucks, free standing bars, free sno balls, no one taking tickets....what on earth?
That's when we found out we were there during their halfway to festival celebration! They even had a free concert that night with Rebirth Brass Band. This was truly an unexpected experience. The floats are giant and familiar faces were all around.


It was amazing going back and seeing the floats that were a work in progress. The one shown below is Endymion's Salute to Rudyard Kipling.
Seeing the above drawing turn into massive real life art: Poor elephant.
Around another corner we saw artist hard at work:
Once we left the art station, we found the actual floats, so massive it was difficult to fit into one photo.


Seeing Mardi Gras World made us realize how much planning goes into the floats which produce 40 parades each year. It also made us want to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras - something we have yet to cross off our Crescent City Bucket List.

Click here to visit Mardi Gras World website to see their specials and events. You can also visit them on facebook and twitter.

New Orleans Central Visitors Bureau provided us with a city VIP pass which would have gotten us free access to Mardi Gras World but the day we visited, everyone was free. As always all opinions are my own. You can visit NOLA CVB on facebook, twitter and Instagram to find out the latest festivals and events happening throughout town.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cheers to New Orleans - Why we love NOLA

"Why do you love New Orleans" - this is a question that we've been asked more than any other. Today is the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and I felt writing a post about our love for this city today only seemed right.
Why we love New Orleans: New Orleans is a city unlike any other. You will find culture, architecture, history and the best food in the US. It is both a family friendly and a party town. You can spend a day antique shopping or go bar hopping. Watch a Superbowl champion play football or go to the casino. The city is full of romance and intrigue. New Orleans is so much more than Bourbon St. New Orleans is our favorite city in the US.
Our first visit to New Orleans as a couple took place in April 2012. I had been there once before for a College football bowl game and instantly fell in love with the city. My husband and I decided to go for his 30th birthday (we were only dating at the time). Although I had been to New Orleans once before, this was truly my introductory to the city.
We went back to New Orleans in January 2013 with both sets of our parents. We were there to run the Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon. I was certain Gabe was going to propose on that trip (he didn't). Our parents loved the city and this would not be their last visit to the Big Easy. This was the first time we went outside of the French Quarter and visited Oak Alley Plantation.
June 17, 2013 we got engaged. The following day we told our parents we were getting married in New Orleans. We then got asked "why New Orleans" on a daily basis. Simple - we wanted to introduce our favorite city in the US with our family and friends. We headed back in August 2013 for an engagement shoot at Oak Alley Plantation and to view venues. We ended up signing at Hotel Mazarin.
After our summer visit in 2013, we went back up two more times to do wedding stuff. It was a valid excuse for a trip ;). On September 27, 2014 we got married in Jackson Square with St. Patricks Cathedral as our backdrop. 85 people came into town for the wedding, only 6 of whom had been to New Orleans before. Everyone had a fantastic time and now knows why our heart is in NOLA.
We try to visit New Orleans twice a year, using the Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon weekend as an annual excuse to go up. The 2016 medal is Jackson Square! You know we will be there for sure.
Second Line Parade's are always a lot of fun to watch. They're even more fun to be in. One of my favorite details of our perfect wedding was parading down the French Quarter. Everyone stopped to watch and say congrats. It was surreal.
There is something magical about New Orleans at sunset. Walking down the streets, gas lanterns lit. Bourbon Street at sunset is magical too - in a different way.
Just a short street car trip away you will find yourself in the Garden District, home of some of the most beautiful houses I have ever seen. A few blocks outside of the French Quarter will place you on Frenchman St., where you will hear some of the best Jazz in the city.
I mentioned architecture earlier. Cottages, shotgun houses, bungalows and Colonial mansions adorn the streets of New Orleans, some of which are over 300 years old.
New Orleans is a place you cannot miss out on visiting at least once. This is a place where there is truly something for everyone. A place that will always be our second home. When's the best time to visit New Orleans? There really isn't a bad time. This city always has something going on so be sure to check out New Orleans Visitors Bureau to  see what festival or event is taking place.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato and Egg Salad #EBeggsfit

One of my favorite sandwiches is a BLT no T. My friend Darlynn and I order this together and always get comments or strange looks - yes we eat bacon and lettuce sandwiches, don't judge. Over time, I have taken this sandwich and elevated it to adding Avocado instead of tomatoes and sometimes an egg which makes a perfect breakfast sandwich.
One day with an empty fridge, I decided to make my favorite sandwich and turn it into a salad. This has become a go to meal for me on any day of the week. While I am not a fan of raw tomatoes, I LOVE roasted cherry tomatoes and eat them like candy. Adding them to a salad with arugula, bacon, avocado and a soft boiled egg equals delicious perfection.

Ingredients:
Arugula
1 soft boiled egg (directions below)
Oven roasted Bacon
Oven roasted Cherry tomatoes
Diced Avocado
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Balsamic & Olive Oil

This salad is super easy to make and you will be eating it in less than 20 minutes after prep.

Make your roasted Bacon and roasted tomatoes at the same time.
Preheat oven to 400
Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Place on a foil lined pan.
On another foil lined pan, lay out your bacon slices
Bake for 15 minutes, turning bacon once

Place arugula on a plate, top with diced avocado, Parmesan cheese, bacon, roasted tomatoes and soft boiled egg. Drizzle balsamic and oil for a salad dressing if wanted.
Soft Boiled Egg
When your water is boiling, prick the wide end of an egg with a egg prick (I used a needle). Boil for 4-5 minutes and place in cold water. Gently peel.
We only use Eggland's Best eggs in our house.

Compared to ordinary eggs, each Eggland’s Best large egg contains:
25% less saturated fat
10 times more vitamin E
3 times more vitamin B12
4 times more vitamin D
Double the Omega 3s
Good source of vitamins B2 and B5
38% more lutein

Plus they stay fresher longer! Although that is never a problem in our house :)

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Eggland's Best.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tired eyes no more - Phonetic Eyewear #giveaway and discount code

I've got a great giveaway for you today! But first.....I was in 4th grade when my parents took me to the eye doctor. I left with glasses, the second kid in class to have them. Fast forward many many years later, in January 2012 with my first bonus check in hand from work, I made the decision to get LASIK. This was the best money ever spent and nearly 4 years later, I still have perfect vision. So why am I wearing glasses in the photo below? I'm protecting my eyes with Phonetic Eyewear!
Phonetic Eyewear is a company who developed a line of lenses that are designed to combat the effects of Digital Eyestrain. On a slow day, I find myself on the computer at least 10 hours a day between my job and this full time blog. When I am in busy season, I am literally on the computer from 8am - 10pm.
Phonetic Eyewear was designed to alleviate the symptoms associated with Computer Vision Syndrome. The lenses have a coating that are able to reflect and absorb a portion of potentially harmful blue light that is emitted from computers and other backlit devices.

I have worn the Phonetic glasses for over a month now and can say that they make a huge difference. I wear the Blair model in tortoise from the premium collection. They are lightweight and do not give me a headache. Since I don't need corrective lenses, I wear the no power version. If I needed reading correction or prescription, you're in luck - both are offered.

There are a variety of frame options available in both men and ladies. Here are 4 of my favorite Phonetic guy frames:
Here are my 4 favorite Phonetic ladies frames (not including the Blair, which was obviously my favorite of all).
Now it's time for a GIVEAWAY!

Phonetic is giving one of my readers a pair of their amazing computer eyewear. Head over to their website: https://phoneticeyewear.com and let me know in a comment below which you would choose if you won. Be sure to log your entry in through the rafflecopter widget below for your chance to get additional entries.

I also have a Phonetic Eyewear discount code for my readers! Use WINE10 for 10% off your purchase!

a Rafflecopter giveaway