Pack the Perfect Picnic with Stonyfield

This post is sponsored by Stonyfield . The opinions expressed and the adventures are all our own.

Pack the perfect picnic with Stonyfield

It’s true. Summer begs for picnics. And as it winds down there’s something about the waning evening light and the still warm air that makes you want to get outside as much as you possibly can. Every time August rolls around I start to panic a little, because summer is coming to an end and there is still so much I want t do. My husband calls me the “Harbinger of Winter Doom” because I start lamenting the oncoming New England winter before fall leaves have even hit the ground. Honestly I can’t help it, summers in New Hampshire are so dang beautiful I want them to last forever.

At the beginning of the summer we made a list of all the things we wanted to do this summer and one by one we’ve been ticking them off our list as a family. We’ve been to the lake, to the ocean, on a few hikes and explored caves at the “Lost River.”

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Trying to squeeze in as much summer fun as possible creates quite an appetite and the easy and economical way to fuel those adventures is with a picnic lunch. Packing a picnic the whole family can enjoy doesn’t have to be elaborate or time consuming. One of the things I’ve found that keeps everyone happy is found is making a large salad that everyone enjoys, adding a little protein on the side and finishing it off with a sweet, healthy treat for dessert. Packing a “family style” picnic is a little easier than catering to everyone’s lunchtime requests; instead of packing four different sandwiches we pack just a few things and some paper plates, utensils and we’re good to go.

Pack the perfect picnic with Stonyfield

Recently I put together a little picnic for us that included a Couscous, Beet and Mint Salad (or “Pink Salad” as my kids called it), chopped all natural turkey from our local deli to top the salad and a little Stonyfield Oh My Yog! “Upside Down Sundae” for dessert.

Pack the perfect picnic with Stonyfield

The great part about making a large salad is that you can keep eating (or packing up) the leftovers for lunches. And the Stonyfield Oh My Yog! Sundaes are a sweet and healthy treat. I like to pack small bowls with granola and a few bits of dark chocolate and then when the time comes combine the yogurt and topping mixture in the bowl. It’s the perfect ending.

Pack the perfect picnic with Stonyfield

Couscous, beet and fresh mint salad

Couscous, Beet and Fresh Mint Salad

1 1/2 cups pearl couscous cooked as directed on package

1 jar pickled beets

1/3 cup chopped cashews

1 large pear diced

1 small bunch of fresh mint

1 cup baby spinach greens or spring mix

 

Dressing

2 Tbs. Olive Oil

2 tsp. lemon juice

3 Tbs. pickling juice from beets

sea salt and fresh cracked pepper

1. Cook couscous according to package directions.

2. While couscous is cooking, drain and chop beets, reserve 3 Tbs. of pickling juice for dressing. Chop cashews and cut pear into bite size pieces. Chop fresh mint.

3. Combine cooked couscous, beets, pear, cashews, mint in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together dressing. pour dressing over couscous mixture, stir and serve.

pack the perfect picnic with stonyfield

So pack up a big picnic, get out and enjoy the rest of summer!

What are you favorite picnic foods?

–Sarah

Midweek Musings: finish lines and steep hills

It’s Wednesday. Good old halfway-through-the-week-day. Here’s a few musings from the week so far: 

Women’s Running Magazine Blogger. I’m very excited to be joining the blogging team over at Women’s Running Magazine. I’ll be posting for them weekly, sharing running tips, insights and musings. You can check out my first post for them HERE.

Run through the Finish. By now you may have seen the heartbreaking finish for Molly Huddle in the 10K at World’s this week. She had the bronze, but eased up at the end and allowing Emily Infeld to sneak past her on the inside and win by a stride and a lean.

It’s so easy to ease up when we know the finish is just steps away, you know there’s a finish to the pain and it’s right there. Sometimes we do that in life. We see the end in sight and we stop trying, thinking we’ve got it in the bag and then we lose it all. Always run through the finish, pick a point beyond the finish line, beyond your goal and shoot for that.

Embrace the Steepest Hill. In case you want to race the steepest race ever you can. The World’s steepest race is coming to the USA, sponsored by Red Bull this race up a ski slope comes to Park City, Utah on September 26th. It looks like you run up the ski jump and finish at the top, gaining 200 feet in 400 meters (.25 mile). It’s kind of crazy and I would totally do it if I could.

Be Defiant. I read this great post from Krysten and it really resonated with me. As she described her younger self I couldn’t help but picture my own strong willed, five year old daughter. She’s defiant and strong willed, asks tons of questions. Sometimes it’s a little tough to handle. Reading Krysten’s post reminded me that it’s a character trait I should help Sophia cultivate and harness, rather than try to “parent it out of her” by forcing cooperation and obedience.

Would you run the steepest race in the world?

–Sarah

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Fall Racing Plans

Fall Racing Plans. This title is a bit of a shock to me on a few levels. Firsts of all, fall?!! Where the heck did summer go and can it please not end. The misery of last winter is still seared in my memory. And second, racing! Yes. Racing. Real racing. Not running a race for fun. No, I’m talking lungs burning, legs aching pushing to the limits racing. Which I love, but also scares me.

I’m not sure where my fitness is right now at almost four months postpartum. I’ve mostly been running easy, running hills and running strides. I won’t be headed to the track anytime soon like I thought I would this month. After talking my plan over with a coach I respect, he suggested waiting until indoor track (December) before running any formal speed work. He suggested running intervals on the road (for example three minutes hard, two minutes easy) to integrate some “speed” work into my weekly routine.

I have a rough idea where my fitness is at, but without intervals on the track to tell me I feel like I’ll be running my first race “blind.” Which I think is a good way to start. Sometimes when we have a number goal in mind that can end up backfiring and lead us to either push too hard or not run hard enough. My first race I’ll be running by “feel,” which is honestly what produces the best race results for me.

Here’s how things are stacking up for races this fall:

9/19 St. Katharine Drexel 10K– I’ve run this small race before. It’s a very hilly out and back.  A hilly course will keep me honest about the pace and also provide a great workout in the process. This race will be my guage: a little test to see exactly what kind of paces my body is capable of at this time.

10/4 Maine Half Marathon-I’ll be running this race as part of Rise.Run.Retreat, the all women’s running retreat I’m organizing for the first weekend in October. I’ve run the Marathon course before, but this will be my first time on the half course. My results from the 10K will give me a better idea of what I’m capable of. The last half marathon I ran was in 2013, so it’s been a while since I’ve raced this distance. I won’t be chasing a PR, but I don’t think it’s out of the question considering I broke my 2013 PR (1:39) in the second half of my marathon last year.

10/19 CHaD HERO 5K-I look forward to this race every year. It’s been a family event for us for the past two years since our son, Jack received care at CHaD as an infant prompting me to start fundraising. I’ll be running the 5K again this year because it allows me to spend time with the family enjoying all the activities they have. I’m fundraising again this year and my goal is to raise $6000. If you feel compelled to give you can read our story and donate here on my fundraising page.

What fall racing plans do you have?

–Sarah

I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:

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Own These Miles

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Staring up 25% grade. I will myself to keep moving forward. No matter how choppy my steps are, no matter how slow I feel. Keep going. I slog up the mountain.

Every week for the past few weeks I’ve run up the maintenance road of a local ski area, Gunstock Mountain Resort. With 1280 feet in elevation gain in 1.5 miles and grades ranging from 9%-25% it’s a solid workout. And in the beginning it kicked my but. The first time I went back in June, I hiked up it wondering how on earth I managed to run up it the summer before. It seemed unfathomable. It took me 38 minutes to hike to the top.

Three or four weeks later I tackled it again, this time running. I walked the steepest portions of it, huffing and puffing, my heart rate through the roof. I managed to finish it in 26 minutes, faster than hiking, but not anywhere near as fast as I ran it last year.

gunstock summit view

A few weeks later I went back to the mountain, determined not to walk as much. I huffed and puffed but my heart rate wasn’t quite as high and the steep part (25% grade) felt manageable instead of impossible. I ran it in 23:57.

Last night I went to the mountain feeling strong, knowing that I could tackle it and do well. Knowing that my goal of running to the top without stopping was possible. Knowing I was capable of beating my time from last week. But when I hit that steep part I lost all that confidence and that feeling of strength and I just slogged. Head down one foot in front of the other in a slow shuffle. I’d wanted to beat my time from the week before, but as I slogged I realized it probably wasn’t going to happen.

Then somewhere from inside came this voice that said “Own These Miles.” Own them. Put your name on them. Make them yours. Slogging wasn’t owning it, and I knew it. Sometimes when we know we aren’t going to hit our goal, in a small way we give up. We’re already disappointed and so we quit a little. Maybe we don’t walk of the course, but we stop giving it out best because there won’t be a PR at the end. But not every run, not every race has to or can be a PR. The circumstances will always yield different results, we want them to be better than the result from before but often they are not. And when the results aren’t what we hoped them to be, that’s the very moment when we need to Own These Miles. Own it. Put your name on it.

My stride quickened, my arms pumped more. Damn it, I was going to own that last 200 yards to the summit even if fell to the ground in a heap at the end. I pushed just a little more and reached the top. 24:31. Not better than last week by the clock, but better than last week.

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Ever feel like giving up because you know you’re not going to improve or hit a PR? What do you need to own? 

–Sarah

I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:

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Mid-Week Musings: Elite Training, Beijing Inspiration and Carbs

With the IAAF Beijing World Championships just around the corner the running world is a buzz. I’m always inspired by elite athletes, their dedication to the sport and their ability to come to a world stage and push aside doubt and go for their big goals. I love watching athletes lay it all on the line in a race. It’s so inspiring.

Here are a few articles I’ve found this week that are making me think and keeping me inspired:

Sweat Mobile: Sweat Mobile is a new app created by Nick Symmonds (the 800m runner who won’t be in Beijing). It’s basically a training log for elite and non-elite runners alike. And gives you a chance to peak inside the training of world class athletes. The app itself seems to be having issues since it’s launch last week and has been taken down, but with the promise that it will be back up and running soon. I’m looking forward to following some of the athletes who use it once it’s back. You can check out the latest from them on their twitter feed: @sweat_mobile.

Daring to Dream: If you haven’t picked up the latest copy of Runner’s World you should. In it Lauren Fleshman shares an amazing article about not letting your dreams die.  She talks a bit about the struggle she’s faced with injury and how sometimes you get a little cynical and try not to care. But deep down we do care and we want to hang on to those dreams.

runners world sept 2015 cover

The Work Behind the Scenes: I happened to click on this video one early morning last week while I sat in a sleepy stupor checking my phone, waiting to muster the energy to put on my running shoes. I was inspired. But what got me was not just the running, it was all the little things Jenny Simpson does: the drills, the core work, the strength training. It got me and my sleepy butt moving. I may never compete at an elite level, but I’ve got dreams and goals and I want to keep pushing towards them.

Take your Training to the Next Level: One of the things that took my training to another level in 2014 was manipulating my carbohydrate intake around and during my long runs. Greg McMillan recently wrote a great article for Competitor explaining how to manipulate your carbs and why it can be effective. It’s worth a read.

What’s been on your radar this week? What has inspired you?

–Sarah

I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:

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