Category Archives: Fitness

Running in Mammoth Lakes

My favorite part of vacations: finding new running paths. The best way to experience a new place is to get out into it and explore on foot, in my opinion! Whether it’s New York City, North Carolina, Montana, or Mammoth, I always do a little research before a trip to find the best running hotspots. I feel like I get to see a part of the city or countryside that most tourists don’t. And I get to combine my love of travel with my love of running, which truly feels like vacation.

Last week, my parents and their friends rented a penthouse condo at the foot of the ski lifts on Mammoth Mountain and we spent 8 solid days exploring lakes and trails and mountains. I tagged along on their adventure, but began every morning with a run by myself at 9,000 ft. elevation.

Mammoth Lakes Running (Stronglikemycoffee.com)You already know I’m more fond of running than the average person, but this trip made me more excited than ever to begin mixing up my workouts and training more seriously for my next marathon. Something about just burning off my energy, pushing my feet off the ground, hurling myself forward as fast as I can, music blasting out the sound of my own breath…I just can’t get enough. I feel so lucky to be able to run as far and as often as I want, injury-free and surrounded by nature. The fact that I’ve been safe and avoided any serious encounters with sketchy people or wild animals has not gone unappreciated either!

Running in Mammoth Lakes // Altitude Training for Long Distance Runners | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Some days I just run for its health benefits and because I feel like I need to maintain the long-distance-runner body type I’m used to. Some days I run because it’s something I know I’m good at and I need a confidence-booster. Some days I’m bummed out or stressed out over something, and I know that I seem to stop thinking/obsessing/worrying/hurting for that hour I’m striding down my path. Every day and every run is different but I almost always finish a run feeling stronger than I started.

And even though I can power through a treadmill session with a pair of headphones, nothing can ever compare to running outside. While I was in Mammoth, I ran up Lake Mary Rd. to Twin Lakes, then from Twin Lakes to Horseshoe Lake and back. I ran without music but spent every second taking in the silence, smells (I ran through a campground at one point where people started morning fires and cooked their bacon breakfasts), horse ranch, wild deer, bridges over creeks and brooks, expansive views of the Eastern Sierras, Lakes Mary, Mamie, and George, and the gorgeous massive pine trees. Hitting a plateau with views of the mountain tops make you feel pretty small :)

Mammoth Lakes Running and Hiking Blog Post | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Speed has never been my strong suit and the fact that I actually enjoy running uphills makes it obvious that I’m a cross country runner at heart <3 I just thrive off of the feeling of cresting a really steep incline and knowing that I struggled and pushed myself. After I catch my breath, I’m always ready to do it again. I’ve added a few hilly trails and hill repeats to my workouts over the next few weeks as I gear up for my next marathon.

I passed high school cross country teams every day and was honestly jealous of their running camps. I went to Runner’s Workshop camps for 2 years in high school, and my high school coach also organized his own running camp for us a couple summers up in Big Bear, CA. Running teams and elite athletes love altitude training!

From the start of the Lake Basin Path on Lake Mary Rd. (which starts as Main St.), it’s 5.3 miles up to the finishing point of Horseshoe Lake. The bike path runs parallel with the one-lane road but sits a few feet over so that trees and fences usually separate you from cars.

Mammoth Lakes Running Blog Post | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Horseshoe Lake also has a perfect 2-mile loop around the circumference of the lake basin. The trail picks up at the parking lot, narrowing down to a single-track trail with pine trees on both sides. It was the flattest run of my trip because most streets have dramatic inclines and long flat roads are hard to find.

If you are braver than me or have a bigger group to run with, there are so many more bike trails to explore but I was by myself and nervous about bear sightings so I stuck with semi-paved and heavily-trafficked routes this time :) If you’ve ever run in Mammoth or the Eastern Sierra’s, let me know where in the comments below. I’d love to check out more areas!

Mammoth Lakes Hikes and Running | Altitude training for long distance runners | Stronglikemycoffee.com

Every morning after my run, we hit up a local coffee shop. At first, we intended to find a different unique coffee shop each day, but there was a definite favorite that we ended up at 5 days in a row. Full coffee shop review will be up tomorrow because it’s Monday after vacation and this girl has to get to work. See you again soon!

XOXO.

Healthy College Girl Meal Plan

I did a little “data digging” on the behind-the-scenes end of the blog this past weekend. The site statistics allow me to view some “analytics” around my readers (no, no specific names or locations…your identity is safe! Haha) like which pages get the most views and which search results brought readers to my website. Reading through the search keywords that lead people to stronglikemycoffee.com was surprisingly entertaining. Here’s a few of the completely random search results that brought readers to stronglikemycoffee.com …

  • “I feel like a pig” (I’m sorry you had to Google this. :( But I’m assuming it took you to my Farrell’s Ice Cream Post —-> Sunday Sundae and the Pig’s Trough)
  • “Can girls hike” (Ummm it’s 2015, girlfriend.)
  • “Snacks for a Coffee party” (I want to be your friend!)
  • “Fruit in Disguise” (I’m intrigued)
  • “Do I have to workout on Sundays?” Not sure that Google is the best source for that one!
  • More than one “Easy Diets” (Easy + Diet? Hah!)
  • And a surprising number of searches for “Pumpkin Bra

Out of the 26,000 search results in the past  2 years, 10% have been some variation of “healthy college meal plan” or “college diet for girls.” First: hate the word diet. I don’t follow any specific food trends or fad diets (unless someone has coined a fancy term for balancing-a-healthy-dose-of-leans-and-greens-with-equally-healthy-doses-of-graham-crackers-and-chocolate-pretzels). ;)

My daily meals and snacks are pretty consistent, full of fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Because so many “healthy college meal plan” searches lead to this page, (and I don’t want you falling victim to the Banana Girl Diet) I thought I’d share a breakdown of what’s worked well for me:

Healthy College Meal Plan on College Fitness Blog Sttronglikemycoffee.com

  • Everyday begins with a cup of coffee within 32 seconds of waking up.
  • 8:00am breakfast at the office:
    • Steel cut oats with half a banana, cinnamon, occasionally some blueberries, and unsweetened almond milk.
  • 10:00am snack:
    • Apple slices to quiet the growling belly
  • 12:00pm lunch:
    • Almost always a homemade yogurt parfait: non-fat yogurt with ½ banana sliced, almond slivers, strawberries, and whatever other fruits we have at home like nectarines, pears or mangos. Plus a crunchy snack like a serving of honey whole wheat pretzels, cinnamon graham crackers or ½ a protein bar like Quest Bars, Luna Bars, or Larabars.

Healthy College Girl Meal Plan | Clean Eating for College Students | Stronglikemycoffee.com

  • Afternoon snacks:
    • square of dark chocolate with an iced coffee.
    • Pre-gym snack: Rice cake with PBFit (powdered peanut butter, 55 calories for 2 Tbs.)
  • Dinner:
    • Salad (Greens, bell peppers, cucumbers, carrots, sometimes avocado, whatever fruit is in season, lite vinaigrette), roasted or grilled sweet potato circles, and a veggie burger (rotating black bean burgers, quinoa burgers, and garden medley burgers.)

Healthy College Meal Plan | Clean Eating for College Students | Stronglikemycoffee.com

  • Dessert:
    • (Unless we’ve gone to the gym pretty late, I almost always have dessert. I have a perpetual sweet tooth.) Could be a homemade peanut butter chocolate chip energy bite, square of Ghiradelli dark chocolate, or some dry cereal.
  • P.S.:
    • SO SO much water all day. Dehydration can have nasty effects.  I would say I drink about 75 ounces a day. (But sweat out about 40, hah!)
    • Limit alcohol. I love a fruity cosmo as much as the next college girl but the effects that alcohol has on the body keep me from regularly sipping the sangria. I save my alcohol splurges for special social occasions, and I always try to lighten the drink and sip lots of water to prevent its dehydrating effects!
    • I can’t drink my coffee black so I add in about a tablespoon of non-fat non-dairy creamer, but if you like your coffee sweeter, try stevia instead of sugar!
    • Restaurant calorie and nutrition information can be off by about 10% and typically include more oils and salt than you would add yourself. Packing lunches and snacks for the majority of the weekdays is the healthiest way to go, if you ask me!

Clean eating in college requires a little more effort, grocery shopping and washing/cutting all the extra produce. You can’t argue that packaged goods are more convenient but I think it’s absurdly obvious that our country is in a huge health crisis when you see the average size growing and growing every year. I wish we put more of a focus on the quality of nutrition and the impact it has on every part of our life! Eating healthy in college is like an investment in your future, and after you begin making a cleaner meal plan, it just becomes a habit. You start to no longer crave the icky fried foods and sugary drinks because you know they won’t make your body feel good.

Shrimp Salad from TK Bar (Stronglikemycoffee.com)Aaaand that’s a typical work day meal plan for me. Maybe that will be more useful for those of you googling “healthy college girl meal plan” I hope? I’m about to play tourist in Wilmington, NC and do some potential future-hometown huntin’….. can’t wait to share more later! :) I-40 California to Carolina | Stronglikemycoffee.com

 

XOXO Kenz.

#TBT Twelve

In exactly 10 hours, I will be checked out of the office for eleven days while I go chase some dreams. I’m going to be annoyingly vague and just leave it at that because I’ll be blogging about my adventures in real time next week! :)

Moving right along, I’ve got another #throwbackthursday blog post. This one is so appropriate because I’ve been doing Tuesday/Thursday backyard HIIT sessions all summer. This morning started with something pretty similar to this sweaty circruit. Since I’ve been back from my latest medical trip to New York, I’ve been taking it easy on the running & supplementing more core, strength and bicycling exercises. HIIT is a combination of strength and cardio sooo we get twice the protein bites afterwards, right…? ;)

Side tangent before I sign off….I tried a mango for the first time ever last week and I’ve had 3 more since. What have I been missing?! Alllll the fresh fruit is one of the best parts of summer :)

Backyard HIIT Workout

Originally Posted on May 29, 2014

Yesterday morning, my backyard was transformed into an outdoor gym with 6 HIIT stations. We had country music, coffee and water bottles…all before 5am!

After discontinuing the LiveFit Trainer and re-committing to daily running, I set up a workout schedule for the first week of summer vacation that looked like this:

Monday: Cardio Carnival (35 min. run; 15 min. bike; 30 min. walk with incline)

Tuesday: Morning run on treadmill (5 miles); Evening run on treadmill (5 miles)

Wednesday: Morning at-home HIIT workout; Evening jog around park (5 miles)

Thursday: Morning run with Matt (5.5 miles); Evening run on treadmill (5 miles)

Friday: Morning run on treadmill (5 miles); Evening run around the park (5 miles)

Saturday: Strength workout at the gym followed by 7 mile run outside

Sunday: Long Run (8 miles)

Notice a lot of “Run” in that schedule? That’s because running is my FAVORITE activity. I don’t look at it as pure exercise or a chore. My mom said my enjoyment and enthusiasm for going to the gym and working out is “disturbing.” ;)

Yes there is a whole lot of cardio on that workout schedule, but I have tried a strength-dominant routine. It’s not for me. This is how I like it :)

So on to the HIIT sesh!

***HIIT is widely popular right now as many health and fitness enthusiasts have recognized interval training as one of the most effective cardio strategies. If you are unfamiliar, it stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It incorporates short intervals/fast and intense exercises followed by a short rest period, repeated for a pre-determined duration.****

At 4:55am, my parents and I headed into the backyard with some country music and coffee. I wrote out six exercises. Downloaded a HIIT Timer app. Set it to beep after 35-second intervals and 25-second rest periods. We did a light 5 minute warm up jogging across the yard and jump roping.

Circuit –> Move from one exercise to the next. Complete 5 total rounds of each. (30 minutes total)

Backyard HIIT Circuit (stronglikemycoffee.com)

My favorite station was jumprope and least favorite was mountain climbers. My mom and I modified the “push-ups with a clap” on our knees. We’ll repeat this circuit every Wednesday for 4 weeks before mixing it up.

We were way sweaty by then end. Even in the cool morning air, our shirts were soaked with SUCCESS ;)

This workout is easy to fit in at home or in your backyard. Should take 30 minutes & all you need is a jumprope! (Bonus if you get to watch the sunrise.)

Are you pumped yet? GO HIIT IT!

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