Running and Fitness 2015 – My Highlights, My Bloopers, My Gear 

The Events: To the best of my memory, I raced eight 5ks, one 5-miler, one 10k, four half marathons, one marathon and two obstacle course Spartan Races (the Sprint and Beast).   I also competed in the CrossFit Games Open, Austin Fittest Challenge, the Zilker Relays and a CrossFit event called “Sprint & Snatch.”   Loved them all!

Most Unexpected Race Win:  In October, I was the first OVERALL winner of the Hill Country Half Marathon in Marble Falls, Texas. Granted, the field wasn’t Rock ‘n Roll marathon kind of huge, but that being said, I beat all the women and the MEN with my scrawny legs — the hills were some of the worst I’ve ever seen (not kidding, one went upward for at least half a mile).Jennifer Fisher winner 2015 Hill Country Half Marathon

Craziest Conditions in a Race: The Spartan Beast Dallas was not what I was planning for, it was crazy! With a half marathon being in my wheelhouse, I expected to nail this Spartan Beast Dallas Sand Bag Carryrace — but unforeseen Texas flooding delayed the start for hours and created a running situation in ankle deep mud the entire distance. I was sore the next day in some pretty weird places!  Although hoping to do better, I managed to pull off a 2nd place podium finish in the Elite Master division (and it was only my 2nd Spartan, and first “beast”).

Most Unusual Prize Won in a 2015 Race: A $250 gift card for a tattoo! I am no saying if, when and where I used it! :-)

Best Pre and Post Race Festivities at a Race:  Hosted by Health and Cooking Light magazines, The Fit Foodie Run in Austin (but also in Fairfax, Chicago and San Diego) proves that a healthy lifestyle can mesh with culinary enthusiasm!  The weekend is packed with celebrity chef tasting, food and fitness interactive demos, yoga sessions, and yoga boot camps – there is so much food! Plus, the goodies and samples you get to take home from the after run are some serious healthy nom-noms – bring a big bag!

Best Running & Fitness Moments on Instagram: Of course, I blew up my @thefitfork profile with photos of my favorite yoga poses and running with friends!

Favorite Women-centric Race: I’ve been an ambassador for Zooma Race Series for 4 or 5 years now and have run that hilly Austin-area half marathon and said – “never again” at the finish line. But, after I catch my breath a few minutes later, I’m like Jennifer Fisher at Zooma Texas 2014“awesome, that was the best race ever despite the course challenges.” The Austin race is now defunct, but the other fabulous locations across the country beckon for a mini-vacation! Created and run by women, this race focuses on females supporting each other, no matter age, ability or life situation – and the weekends make great girlfriend getaways!  My mom and I have made a tradition of it! Even though I’ve been in a role to mentor and support the runners, I can’t tell you how much more energy and inspiration I’ve received from them – always so happy to see those smiles and high-fives at the half-marathon turnaround.

Favorite Yoga Pose:  Always the Crow or some variation! Hopefully this time next year, my hamstrings and back will be more bendy and stretchy so my Instagram profile can be more well-rounded! Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com Yoga Crow Pose

Running / Workout Injuries: Thankfully, nothing serious this year – eg. no stitches, concussions or pulled rib muscles like last year! Only falling off a box doing the Murph CrossFit WOD and spraining ankle, numerous palm tears, one lost toenail . . . looking for some wood to knock on!   Despite the healthy year for me, I did write a helpful post on 4 Ways Sports Injuries Build Better Athletes that will keep all of us focused on end goals.

Weirdest Workout Moment: It would have to be working out with watermelons for the second summer in a row on my #LivingOnTheWedge blog series!  I CrossFitted with watermelon, ran with watermelon, and even worked out in the swimming pool with a watermelon! Oh, you don’t want to miss that watermelon pool workout video – please make sure you are wearing Depends. On behalf of the National Watermelon Promotion Board, I will be taking the show on the road at IDEA World Fitness & Nutrition Expo in L.A. in July 2016. Summer Squat Challenge -- Do 100 squats per day from this mix an match list!

Best Blooper(s):  Oh, there are a lot of bloopers and outakes, my phone is filled with them!  Practicing on the parallettes is cause for crashing on my face or rear, but still it’s fun.  There are also some awkward moments coming out of a handstand in a walkover when my old back decides “no” midway through! 

More Bloopers: Because research shows you live longer if you laugh. Yoga and Fitness Bloopers from TheFitFork.com

Favorite Running and Workout Gear / Fuel:  Vim & Vigr Compression Socks (super functional , fashionable and fun  in a variety of stripes, polka dots and fun patterns), Altra Running Shoes (I love the super lightweight, zero-drop “The Ones” ) and Nuun for my hydration needs  — I’m digging their  fairly new product called PLUS for Nunn. Unlike regular Nuun that is virtually calorie free (there are a few, but under 10), PLUS provides a boost with fast absorbing performance carbohydrates that keep me hydrated and provide quickly sourced energy for demanding endurance events.  Also, I still love my bottle of Core Power High Protein Shake in Chocolate Lite Flavor for 20g of quality protein to help my muscles recover right after a long run or intense workout. My Running and Workout Must Haves

I’m also really appreciating mobility gear from ACUMOBILITY – a great company that I connected with this year at The Running Event that not only makes rollers and other mobility products, but also assesses, corrects and unifies movement to reduce injuries and unlock improved performance.   Stay tuned because I will be having an awesome giveaway at the beginning of January! And, for “on the go” rolling, I really love The Original Worm (based right here in Austin).

Most Used Mantra: When times get tough in a race, I break out the “If you can take it, you can make it” line from Unbroken. Or, when I try to get too controlling about stuff  –  “Where are you?  Here. What time is it? Now. What are you? This moment.” – from Dan Millman’s book , “The Way of the Peaceable Warrior”  Both books are so inspirational — read them!

Favorite Kettle Bell Workout:

20 Minute Kettle Bell Blaster

My Best Way to Stay Motivated: When I start to feel burned out, I take an active fun day! And, always more crazy with my friend Valerie (by the way, she’s an internationally known running coach, not kidding — check her out at @runrx ) 

What are your fitness favorites from 2015?! Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

Olive You! Easy Holiday Recipes and Entertaining Inspiration

As the holidays approach, I think fondly of all those who are near and dear – and also my loved ones further away. And, of course, the readers of my blog and friends and supporters on social media are on my mind and heart, what would I do without you all! I just want to let you know that it would be the total PITS without you . . .  OLIVE YOU! Because OLIVE YOU so much (bear with the puns please), I’m sharing some of my favorite ways to use olives in holiday recipes.

Olive You

First, it’s cocktail hour. Might I suggest skewering up a salty olive to complement a sweet drink – you’d be surprised at how well the combination goes. Because I fall on my face easily enough sober, I typically limit myself to ½ a drink. With just one “mini” drink, I can still wake up refreshed for the fiercest workouts and morning to-do lists, but can still enjoy a little taste of fa-la-la libations.

Cranberry Martini with Mezzetta Olive

Here, I’ve added a Mezzetta Olive to a Mini Cranberry Martini – it’s a tablespoon each of vodka and cranberry juice along with a splash of lime juice – and cranberries for garnish.

Mezzetta Olives for a Cheese Board

Holiday Olive TrayNo cocktail party would be complete without an olive tray and cheese board filled with delicious noshes –  olives, aged cheeses, seasonal fruit, artisan crackers and an array of almonds. It’s simple yet sophisticated as a focal “snack” for your festivities and also makes a lovely prelude to any holiday meal and creates an abundance of Mezzetta Memories.

 

Pasta with Blue Cheese OlivesSpeaking of holiday meals, think of all those busy-night dinners leading up to and after the BIG DAY where a huge roast or bird isn’t on the menu – yet you have a house full of folks who have worked up quite the appetite shopping, wrapping, visiting, caroling, baking or being on hall-decking detail. My recipe for Pasta with Blue Cheese Olives is the easiest, most amazing holiday meal that comes together practically in the wink of an eye – or as long as it takes to cook pasta al dente. If you’re making it after Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza or whatever your holiday celebration may be, feel free to toss in any leftover main course protein such as beef tenderloin, pork roast or turkey breast!

Pasta with Blue Cheese Olives Recipe

  • 8 ounces uncoooked whole grain pasta
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Mezzetta Blue Cheese Stuffed Olives, halved crosswise
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 12 ounces pre-cooked protein leftovers, like chicken, turkey, roast beef
  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat up olive oil in large skillet and saute garlic and red pepper flakes for approximately 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add olives and tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes until warmed.
  4. Toss with noodles optional protein leftovers (warmed) and a little extra olive oil, if needed. Season with salt to taste. Stir in blue cheese while still warm.
  5. Serves 4.

 

 

 

Pasta with Mezetta Blue Cheese OlivesBeing able to make a speedy yet special recipe like Pasta with Blue Cheese Olives which uses extraordinary ingredients I wouldn’t necessarily use every day (including gourmet olives, bold blue cheese and sun-dried tomatoes) frees up my time to make more meaningful Christmas memories with family and friends that will last a lifetime. Plus, I appreciate the fact that Mezzetta, a fourth generation family-owned company, also values holiday tradition, family and providing the highest quality olives available from the sun-drenched soils of California, Italy, Spain, France, and Greece. I like to keep quite a few varieties of Mezzetta olives stocked in my pantry for impromptu salads, pizzas, pastas, snacks and more — inspiration is just a twist away!

Mezzetta MemoriesPlease visit Mezzetta to find daily inspiration and enter the Holiday Memories Sweepstakes for a chance to win the holiday memories sharing pack. One winner will receive an Instant Print Digital Camera plus an Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket and ten others will receive the Ultimate Olive Lover’s Gift Basket – I have one, it’s fabulous! Expires Dec. 31, 2015 – enter here.

What are your favorite holiday memories that involve gathering friends and family around good food? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer