Tag Archives: SPA

AMRAP Nutrition Bar Giveaway!!!

This post is sponsored by Fit Approach on behalf of AMRAPBar. All opinions are my own.

Hello!!  Amazing review to commence in 3…..2….1…..

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I was sent these amazing bars from AMRAP which stands for As Many Rounds As Possible!  First let’s get the details out of the way and then I will fill you in on my opinion!

First off…let’s check out their mission statement!  Just reading it makes me want to go out and FOR SURE take on the world and make positive changes along the way!

As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) defines our philosophy. Through determination, intensity, and focus, we aim to inspire and empower our community to reach their full health and fitness potential. Join us and together we will change the world. 

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Ingredients are always an important factor for me when it comes to nutritional bars.  We all know that there are some out that are wolves in sheep clothing just gearing up to fill our bodies with ingredients that are anything but nutritional.  Not this company!!!

AMRAP creates food that is 100% Paleo, gluten-free, GMO-free, dairy-free, and unprocessed. Raw whole foods, like almond chunks, are a top priority in our bars because we know from experience it is clean fuel that feeds our bodies’ daily activity the best. Their bars have an optimal research-based combination of good proteins and carbs for well-rounded athletes. They are recommended for a meal supplement or replacement, and especially a pre or post-workout snack.

I received three different flavors from AMRAPCashew & VanillaFig & CacaoAlmond Honey.

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Let’s just say that I was stoked about ALL the flavors because they all sounded AMAZING!!  I tried the Cashew & Vanilla first.  After one of my training runs, I ate it to refuel and it totally hit the spot!  Filled me up without making my stomach feel super full and heavy!  And the taste?!  Can you say DELIGHTFUL!!  It wasn’t too sweet and had a little bit of a salty taste from the cashews.  I even let my kiddos try a tiny bite of it and they loved it also.Cashew Vanilla

Next up, I gobbled up the Fig & Cacao prior to my workout one day.  I had weights and core that day and used this to prep me for the energy I was about to burn!   The flavor of this one was just as amazing.  It was a bit rich so I ate half before my workout and the other half after.Fig Cacao

I’ve not tried the Almond Honey flavor yet but I’m sure it’s just as amazing!  But hey…don’t take my word for it…go check it out yourself!  You can find tons of information on their site at:  www.amrapusa.com

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AMRAP is also making it possible for THREE (YES…I said THREE!!  WOOT WOOT) of my readers to win an 8-pack of AMRAP bars in a flavor of your choice.  Go to this Rafflecopter link for your chance to win!!!  —-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

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And the winners are…….

Theresa Varga Kavouras

Nicole Millheim

Linda Ruamthong

Congrats to all and thanks to all that entered!!!  Winners have been contacted by email 🙂

2 PR’s (Personal Records) in 2 Weeks!!

I started the month of March with two Half-marathons on the books…one week after another…for some, this may be no big feat but for me (a.k.a. the girl who hid inside from the cold nasty Missouri weather all winter but also refused to run on the treadmill) this  was HUGE!!  Up until the beginning of March, I had only ran a handful of 5K’s on the old dreadmill in the basement.  All that training I had planned for my two March races went to the wayside.  I stressed about it for a bit (okay…a few weeks but that’s normal for me) and then finally decided to just take it as it came.  I decided that I had no goal in mind for either race except to just finish.  I have only ran one other Half-marathon (you can read about it here and here) and I got hurt so I wasn’t looking to push myself too much.  I really did not want to injure myself right before all the great weather arrives.

I ran my second ever Half-Marathon on March 15th and I rocked it!  I ran in the Irish Upon a Star Virtual Half-Marathon hosted by the IR4 community.  They are an amazing group by the way!  If you want to learn more about our great little family, check out this post about my IR4 buddy Riley!  She is an amazing little sweetheart!  See for yourself 🙂

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For this run, I decided to join my running pal Stephanie for part of her scheduled 18-miler that she was running that same day.  Win-Win for both of us!! It was nice to have someone to keep each other company…although we both had to finish our runs separately since I wasn’t going as far.  It was a great route that was mostly flat.  Our run went pretty easy and before I knew it, I was setting a PR! I smashed this run with a 2:32:01 and I was ecstatic!!!!  Check out Riley & I’s medals!!

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I also happened upon ONE of the 250 cakes that are part of the STL250 celebration!  If you aren’t sure what that is exactly….?  Well here is the dirt on it!  2014 is a big year for St. Louis!  It’s the 250th birthday!!  Read about these amazing birthday cakes here!

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Fast forward another week and I found myself getting ready for my long-awaited and much-anticipated Relay & Run for 21 Half-marathon!  I have been looking forward to this race since I signed up!   I could not wait to run in honor of my IR4 buddy Riley!  My only goal on this race was to make her proud 🙂

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This race was a little different from any that I’ve run because it as a point to point race that took us from Downtown Clayton to Westport Plaza!  Wanna see what that actually looks like on a map?!  It looks like a huge distance to go…LOL.

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It took us through some amazing neighborhoods and we able to enjoy the views and scenery as well as the rolling hills which we loved to hate 🙂  Although we have had a few nice days here and there lately, the day of the race was windy and cold to say the least.  Thankfully, we were able to hang out in a little coffee shop at the starting line to keep warm.  We were also able to snap this “before” picture of us getting ready to rock this race.

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I ran the Relay & Run for 21 with two amazing women (both named Stephanie…plus read one Stephanie’s account of our race on her blog here) who told me before we left for the race that this day was all about me getting a PR.  I knew that the course was hilly…very hilly!!  I was not thinking that a PR was anywhere in my future that day!  However, they pushed me to the very end and I thank them tremendously because….I crushed that race with a 2:25:24 (elapsed time).  I can tell you how that felt…I truly felt at times that I wanted to give up…that I couldn’t do it…the hills were killer…I thought of Riley many times during this challenging race and I know that her bright smile got me up many of those hills that I encountered.

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After running these last two races (#2 & #3 Half-Marathon), I’ve come to the conclusion that, like most, I’m addicted to the Half-Marathon!!  I can’t wait for the next one which will hopefully be during my birthday weekend!!!!  Of course, that means I need to start training for that….NOW!!!  Yikes!  It will be here before ya know it!

(F-F-F-Frozen) Hot Chocolate Race

Wow!!!  Yesterday was frigid to say the least!!  All I really wanted to do when my alarm went off at 5:00 am was hit the dang thing off, roll over and curl up snug as a bug next to my hubby for some much-needed snuggle time…but instead I got up, dressed in three layers and headed downtown to run in the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K!

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning...Yikes!!!

This is what I woke up to Saturday morning…Yikes!!!

First let me tell you a little bit about the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K!  It has been coined as America’s Sweetest Race, was established in 2008 in Chicago, Illinois and has had over 200,000 participants since then!  Each race features a 15K (9.3 miles) and a 5K (3.1 miles) distance to choose from and all participants receive an amazing goodie bag that you pick up at the Expo along with your bib number!  This year I received an awesome bag and an even awesome-er (that’s a word right?!) jacket!!  Check this thing out!!  It’s awesome and proved very useful the day of the race!!

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Here are all my goodies from the Expo along with my at the Expo!  Loved the race swag 🙂

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After the race, there is usually a huge Post Race Party where runners can enjoy music, a family friendly kid-zone complete with bounce houses/games (they had to cancel the kid-zone due to the temperatures but they did have them at the Expo and my son had a blast) and an awesome Finisher’s Mug filled with hot chocolate, chocolate fondue and tasty treats to dip!!

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The Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) is the official charity partner for the Hot Chocolate 15/5k race. This program provides a “home-away-from-home” for families and children facing a serious medical crisis so they can stay close by their hospital at little or no cost.  Check out their page for my information on this great program!!

Now back to the actual race….due to the extreme weather (snow, ice, frigid temps) that came through our area on Friday & Saturday…many people were deciding to not go at all due to the extreme cold (it was about 15F at race start) and I easily could have done the same but there was just one problem…you see…I had won this entry from Ashley over at Downsizing Ashley so there was no way I was going to throw away an entry that someone else would have loved to have won!  I was excited to win at the time and I was going to follow through cold or not 🙂  Here is me before the race with my AmAzInG IR4 Riley signage.

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I did, however, switch from the 15K down to the 5K.  I did this for a few reasons, namely that I have just not been running as much lately due to some issues with my one leg (which is better now) and also some deaths in the family.  I just did not feel like I was prepared at all to run the 15K and really did not want to hurt myself.  I’m getting ready to start training for a Half-Marathon in March and really didn’t want to start out injured.  I battled myself with switching for a few days…even right up until the turn off for the 5K’ers to take as the 15K’ers went another route…Why?!  I really kept feeling like a fraud because here I was veering to the right with my 15K Bib showing for all the world to see…I was a little disappointed but  for just a second and then I pulled forward and finished that 5K STRONG!!!  I just have to remember that it’s always better to listen to your body and finish something strong rather than pushing your body too far and not finishing at all.

I also KILLED that Finisher’s Mug of Chocolate-y goodness!!!

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I Run 4….Riley! Who will you run for ?!

I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of something big…something amazing…something inspirational…something I want and need to tell you all about!!  Recently I came across a website dedicated to matching runners up with Special Needs children who then in turn run for that child.  It is called I Run 4 (IR4)This group “allows runners to find a whole new sense of purpose in their running while sharing who they are running for and bringing awareness to diseases and disabilities of all types“.  I was amazed at the stories I saw and knew in my heart that I wanted to be a part of this also!  I signed up and after about 6-7 weeks, I was matched with the most amazing little girl named Riley.  She is an inspiration to me like no other!  Meet Riley….

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I asked Riley’s mom if she would want to guest post here on my blog also to tell her side of it all and she was more than happy to put something together to share with you.  Here is her story…

For those of you who follow this blog, you know that Jennifer is a runner, something I am definitely not..LOL. Quite frankly I’ve always thought that people who run for fun were just plain crazy. Until my recent commitment to Herbalife and Fit Camps, you’d only find me running if something was after me. HAHA! That being said. I couldn’t be more thankful and blessed by those crazy people who run for fun… and here’s why!

I was introduced to a group called I Run 4 Michael by a friend of mine who had recently signed up as a runner. She encouraged me to sign my daughter Riley up for the program, hoping they would be matched. So I went to the website (http://whoirun4.com) and signed her up. . Some of you may not be familiar with IR4, so here’s a little background… A man named Tim, who loves to run became friends with Michael, who has Down Syndrome as well as bilateral hip dysplasia. Michael was unable to run and told Tim “You can run for me anytime”. This planted a seed that started this wonderful organization. Runners are matched with children with special needs, and they run for them.

Not long after signing up, we were notified of our match…Jennifer.  We have connected through Facebook and Riley gets so excited to see new messages and photos from Jennifer.  We also send messages and pics from Riley to help keep Jennifer inspired to run the extra mile. The I Run 4 group on Facebook is big, it is so awesome to see all of the people running in honor of those who can’t.

I have shared our IR4 story with many of my friends who have in turn signed up their children. This year at our annual Buddy Walk for Down Syndrome Awareness, Riley carried a sign that said “I walk for Jennifer because she runs for me” and had the Buddy Walk and IR4 logos on it. It was really special, Riley was so proud of her sign!

Riley is 8 years old and has Down Syndrome, she is smart, funny, and super sassy, and she loves making new friends. I think that is the best part of the I Run 4 organization, the friendships! If you are a runner, I’d like to encourage you to join this wonderful group. You never know the impact you could have on a child. It makes my Riley so happy to know that Jennifer is thinking of her and running for her. I would like to take this opportunity to tell Jennifer “Thank You” for allowing me to guest blog on her site, and for running for Riley. You honor and inspire her, and that means the world to me! We are so excited to get to know you better!  Keep running! ~Alena

Soooooo…how awesome is all that?!  I just love the feeling I get from being a part of this special family and being a part of something so huge and inspirational!  I encourage all of you to go to the I Run 4 website and just check it out.  Maybe you will be inclined to sign up and share your love of running with someone who may not be able to experience it the same way you can…and maybe you wont…but I do promise that you will at least be touched by these stories and these families.

I also encourage all of you that read this to pass it on to your friends.  The waiting list of runners who are eager to be matched with a special needs child has grown large…over 1000 and growing!  If you know a child who would love to become an inspiration to one of our runners…please go and sign them up!  You won’t regret it….I promise that!

I leave you with this amazing video that was put together recently to help spread the word about I Run 4 and to show others what we are all about 🙂

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Healthy Twist on Halloween + Giveaway!

Oh Halloween treats…oh how you tempt me with your yummy goodness and your sticky sweetness!!  Why?!  Why do you do it??!!

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Does the thought of this holiday make you feel the same way?  Halloween has been and probably always will be, a huge battle I fight against each year.  I LOVE CANDY AND SWEETS!!….and I’m not afraid to admit it! 🙂

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I’m also not afraid to admit that I rummage through the kiddos candy piles after they fall asleep on Halloween night…Hey…don’t judge 🙂

However, this fun holiday doesn’t always have to be unhealthy.  There are so many options out there for making healthier choices on the Halloween treats that you make.

Yummy goodness + healthy choices = A happy girl!

A few months ago, I did a review for Kretschmer Wheat Germ!  This little nutrient-rich powerhouse has truly become a staple in my household and I use it almost daily in my smoothies as well as a breading for chicken, fish, etc.  I love this product!!!!!

So without further ado, I’m very excited to share these new recipes with you that will make some yummy Halloween treats that won’t make you feel completely guilty 🙂  **Recipes courtesy of Kretschmer Wheat Germ

Caramel Apples with Wheat Germ

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  • Use the handy caramel apple kit found in the produce department, near the (you guessed it) apples. It is microwavable and heats up to just the right consistency (apple sticks are included).
  • Then mix about 1/4 cup wheat germ (Kretschmer Original or Honey Crunch) with about 1/2 cup finely crumbled chocolate-toffee pieces for six apples.
  • As soon as you’ve swirled the apples coat them immediately with the wheat germ-chocolate toffee bar mixture. Let the apples cool for about an hour.
  • While still a definite indulgence, these sprinkled caramel apples taste incredible and the crumbly topping provides a welcome layer of goodness.

Dark Chocolate Truffles with Wheat Germ 

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  • 8 ounces good quality bittersweet or semi sweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons Kretschmer Original Toasted Wheat Germ (or Kretschmer Honey Crunch Wheat Germ)
  • Line baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
  • Place chopped chocolate in medium bowl.
  • Heat cream to gentle boil in small heavy-duty saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate. Stir until mixture is smooth and chocolate is melted. Refrigerate 25 to 30 minutes or until mixture is thick enough to form into balls.
  • Using very small ice cream scoop or melon baller, drop rounds of chocolate onto cookie sheet. Shape or roll into balls; coat with wheat germ. (Note: If chocolate becomes too soft to shape, return it to refrigerator until it is cold enough to manage.)
  • Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Remove at least 15 minutes before serving to bring to room temperature.

Do those sound amazing or what?!  I see some yummy cooking AND eating in my near future!

Kretschmer would like one of you lucky readers to receive a full size jar of Kretschmer Wheat Germ.  Enter the giveaway by leaving a comment telling me which recipe you would make with your prize.  Listed below are other optional additional entries.  *****Please leave a separate comment for any optional entry.

This giveaway will be open until Friday, October 25th, 2013 at 10:00 pm (CST).  The giveaway winner will be selected at random and announced on Saturday, October 26th.  You will have 48 hours to contact me or another winner will be selected. Open to US residents only.

Dreams and Promises….Part 2

….So…..I survived!  I didn’t finish like I wanted to finish but I finished nevertheless!!!
AND THAT IS WHAT MATTERS!!!
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I started out this race feeling great!!  I had decided to stick with a friend of mine who was participating in the Half-Marathon Relay.  There was her first timed race, as well as the longest run she has done so far.  Needless to say, she was a little nervous.
We started off and the miles just seemed to slip away and before you know it, we were at mile 5.  At this point, I pulled a little ahead and met up with our other friend who was taking the second half of the relay.  I had planned on sticking with her during her part also.  Little did I know….my body had other plans for me.
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I was still feeling pretty good and until about mile 8 and then I felt it….my knee started to hurt a little and was doing this popping thing.  I stopped and tried stretching out and kept doing that for at least a mile before my knee just went completely.  At this point, I could not run at all.  I could not even bend it without it feeling severe pain.  I continued on though because I was bound and determined to finish this race.  And by continue on…I mean…I walked two miles up a hill (the ONLY hill pretty much on this race) with one leg that would not bend at all.  The weather also decided to turn chilly and the wind came out in full force and then the sun said good-bye to us and hid behind a sky full of clouds.  I’m sure I made a silly sight to watch with my gimpy walk and shivering body 🙂
At mile 12, my knee had rested enough that I could do a slow hobble run which I was able to keep up until I crossed that beautiful finish line.  I was greeted by my two pals who had done the relay and there were congratulations and hugs to go around.  I grabbed my awesome medal (see below), a bottled water and I headed straight for the medical tent where I had an amazing angel of a girl stretch my hips out and my legs.  She also handed me the equivalent of gold to a runner…a baggie of ice!!!  JACKPOT!!
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After getting special love and care at the medical tent, I made my way over to the sea of goodies to eat and stocked up on some cinnamon bread, a banana and some amazing Lays plain potato chips (are they not the BEST after a run?!).  We milled around for just a short time and then it was just so chilly and windy that we decided to head home.  I also passed a guy who seemed to be suffering the same fate as I…okay…maybe a little worse since he was curled up in fetal position on the sidewalk.  Since I was heading home, I passed on my bag of gold (a.k.a. bag of ice) to this poor chap who was GREATLY appreciative!  I was glad to help 🙂
Here I am in all my glory!!  I’m super proud of myself for following through with the training and finishing this race!  I can now proudly say that I’m part of the half-marathon club.
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Of course, I can also safely say that I have also caught the bug…I’m already itching to sign up for the next one (which will be the Go! St. Louis Half-Marathon in April 2014)!
For now though, I’m staying off the knee as much as possible and have become best friend with my ice packs.
Here is my final time….like I said…I was hoping for better but I will take what I got!
Proud either way!
Finished:  3:18:37

Dreams and Promises….

It’s here!  The day is finally here!

What day you ask?  Well…it’s only the day of my 1st Ever Half-Marathon!  I’m running in the MO Cowbell Half-Marathon in St. Charles, Missouri.  It should be a beautiful race with gorgeous weather!  PERFECT!

I’m super excited and nervous all wrapped up in one ball of joy and stress :). If you have trained for any distance of run ….then you know what I’m talking about!

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I will be back in a bit to let you know how I survive ROCK IT OUT!

To be continued……

Peace, Love & Running Shoes!

Jenn