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

Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon a Spartan Beast Feast!

So, I ran the Spartan Beast Dallas this past Saturday. It was muddy – really, really muddy thanks to record Texas flooding.  This is only the second obstacle course I’ve raced and the first as an elite —  I knew to expect the unexpected, but damn – it was a crazy from just trying to get into the parking lot . . . . . . . and then trying to get out, let alone the course.

Stuck in mud at Spartan Beast Dallas

The race was delayed while they rerouted the trail due to raging rivers. I got hungry. Then I got muddy – really, really muddy. I was hoping to dominate the running, but the ankle-deep mud made lifting each footstep up out of the muck difficult for me . . .and everyone. On this course, I think my favorite obstacles were the barbed wire crawl (the mud made for good slithering) and the monkey bars (because swinging around like a chimpanzee is just plain fun). Spartan Beast Dallas Barbed Wire Crawl

Spartan Beast Dallas Sand Bag Carry The bucket carry and sand bag carry were both hard obstacles given the incline of the hills and the slippery footing. I made a ton of mistakes but am excited to run another and see improvements in my strategy – and I’m happy to report that I came in as the 14th Elite and 2nd  Master Elite at the Spartan Beast Dallas  . . . and I’m not too badly banged up. The worst of it was a thigh rope burn and a goose egg on my head where I slid right into a tree limb!

 

Get 10% off a Reebok Spartan Race! Use Code: FINISH10. Sign Up Today!

Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey SalmonSo, enough about running and hurdling over stuff – onto the food! This easy dinner recipe for Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon is deliciously flavorful and surprisingly satiating even served atop a salad thanks to protein and heart-healthy fats. I love southwestern and spicy-sweet flavors and this fish recipe was inspired by a savory-sweet Ancho Honey Granola I made a few months ago – I originally served the granola on top of an heirloom tomato salad, but the leftovers are perfect for making a crunch topping. If you want to make the whole batch of granola (keep it in the freezer for long-lasting yumminess and recipe inspiration), check out the recipe post – otherwise, I have pared down the ingredients for just enough to make a topping for 4 salmon fillets.

So, how do you make your salmon? Saute, bake, special seasonings or sauces? And, have you ever run an obstacle course race — love it or leave it?  Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer

 

Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon
Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon
Print Recipe
The slightly-spicy, slighlty-sweet crunchy topping on top of succulent salmon is such a contrast in textures -- and a real treat! Clever enough for company, but easy for busy weeknight dinners.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 5 minutes
Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon
Crunchy Baked Ancho Honey Salmon
Print Recipe
The slightly-spicy, slighlty-sweet crunchy topping on top of succulent salmon is such a contrast in textures -- and a real treat! Clever enough for company, but easy for busy weeknight dinners.
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 5 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 5 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
20 minutes 5 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
for topping
  1. Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
  2. Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add 1 ½ teaspoons of the honey and stir to combine.
  3. Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes on paper towels.
for fish
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  2. Place salmon filets, skin side down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle tops of salmon filets with evenly with remaining honey; lightly rub in with fingers.
  3. Top each filet evenly with oat mixture, patting down with fingers. Bake in pre-heated oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until salmon cooked through and flaking.
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9 Minute Core Workout for Runners #GratefullyUndead

Back in the day, my running coach would always yell at me tell me to knock out some crunches after practice. La, la, la (hands over ears), I can’t hear you! I would usually ignore him, as I was in my 20s and felt nothing really got in the way of me running well. Well, that’s when my body was fresh and new and I  could bound right out of bed for a long run after knocking out a nauseating amount of 800m repeats the night before.

jennifer boa standing

But then I had three kids, got a little older and started noticing that the sorest parts of my body after a long run, half marathon or marathon race was my lower back and lower abs. It made sense when I stopped to realize just how much core muscles come into play with running mechanics. The muscles in the abdominal area, lower back, and glutes provide so much of the power, stability and endurance needed for surging up hills, sprinting to the finish, and maintaining proper running for miles on end.

9 Minute Core Workout for Runners

So, today, I’m sharing a 9 Minute Core Workout for Runners that will keep you strong and ready to run long.  Just tack it onto the end of a cool down run and grab a friend for accountability– it’s less than 10 minutes, so no excuses!

Also, I want to mention an awesome running brand that I’ve become reacquainted with — BOA.  Some of the flashiest, most fun running shorts and tops I’ve ever worn in my 25 year history of running have been made by this sportswear company — even back in the 90s when working out core was a bore.

I love their new #GratefullyUndead collection at BOA USA, brightly-colored but still so bad ass prints that you’ll blaze a head-turning trail right to the finish line. In the women’s line, you’ll find running shorts in a couple lengths, bra tops, singlet tanks and fitted (bootie) shorts – and there’s running apparel for the guys too.

BOA Gratefully Undead Running Shorts

Right now, through midnight EST Oct 12th, you can get 20% off your total purchase with the discount code JENNIFER20 at BOAUSA.com. Order(s) must contain at least one item from the Gratefully Undead collection to qualify for 20% discount and excludes sales items. Check it out here.

jen trail run boaDrop me a comment if you have any questions about BOA, the sizing, how to perform a specific core exercise or running chat in general! XOXX — Jennifer

This post sponsored by BOA USA. However, all opinions, advice and enthusiasm my own.

How I Busted my Running Rut (not BUTT) at Spartan !

Get 10% off a Reebok Spartan Race! Use Code: FINISH10. Sign Up Today!


How I Busted My Running Rut at Spartan - Jennifer Fisher - TheFitFork.comI have been in a running rut for about a year and a half.  With more than 25 years of running behind me, this isn’t the first time I’ve felt stale and unmotivated about running – but it’s definitely the longest lull in my love for the sport.  I’ve implemented many of the rut-busting running tips that experts recommend – heck, I pretty much am an expert, for what it’s worth. I’ve reduced my mileage and taken rest and recovery seriously, varied my race distances and cut back on racing, adjusted my goals and added variety to my routine with other fitness activities like CrossFit and yoga. But, nope, still not having that warm fuzzy about running –especially racing.

Pre Spartan Race selfie -- Jennifer Fisher TheFitFork.com

Pre-Spartan Selfie — Feeling Positive!

I decided to enter the Spartan race when it rolled into Austin a couple weekends ago to “try something new.” I really had no expectations. Primarily, because I had never done an obstacle race before and didn’t know what to expect. And, also because I knew there would be no benchmark for comparison that my overly self-competitive mind could obsess over. I couldn’t “lose,” be let down or feel like a failure, because this race (I convinced myself) was just a fleeting novelty that I wasn’t really that invested in.

comparisonOooh, comparison is the thief of joy, there is so much truth to that statement and I have robbed myself of many positive race experiences because I have tried to measure up with many things – my past abilities, other’s talents, and such.

 

So, I just went out to Spartan and soaked up the big AROO at the start. Took off and just did my thing. For the first time in a long time I enjoyed the challenge and burn of the course and that feeling that I might not live to see the finish line but down deep know I will. I took the challenges one by one and made it – I didn’t stop to think how well someone else may or may not being doing it compared to how I was performing. I just tore through the course like I was on a fast and fun mission.

Jennifer Fisher Spartan Race Austin

I jumped through the fire obstacle and into the pond and was grinning ear-to-ear about the experience. I knew I was near the front of my heat, but didn’t know or care what my finish time was – it wouldn’t have meant anything compared to my PRs in the marathon or a 5k. I couldn’t compare! I took my finishers medal (the one’s I usually scoff at a marathon) and slung on the bling everyone gets with pride. Actually, in this pic I have it off because I had just entered a post-race pull-up contest and didn’t want to be weighed down – lol!

Celebrating with friends at the end of Spartan Race.

That’s right, I kicked these challenges right in the butt and busted out of my running rut in the process. Of course, I’m dying to run another obstacle race ASAP – but also feel like I have a renewed mood to race on the road again and have my eye of the tiger back.  Whahoo!

Oooh, geeze -- now you know how old I am!

Oooh, geeze — now you know how old I am!

The next day when I checked the results, it did knock my socks off a little that I was 2nd Overall in the women – I totally didn’t see that coming. In some ways I wish I didn’t even know that. I’ll take it gladly, but it didn’t make me any happier or more joyful about finishing the race. And maybe that’s the biggest lesson learned coming out of this rut – just enjoy each experience for what it is and not worry so much about the past or future. Aroo!

spartan memoriaSo, have you ever run a Spartan race?  From now until May 27, 2015, they are having a special promotion where you can save up to $40 dollars on a race. That’s a nice chunk of change to save – I’m going to spend my savings on arm sleeves to keep the elbow scrapes away and extra Q-tips for cleaning out my ears – lol!

Core Power WorkoutAlso, I’m reposting this Obstacle Course workout I put together for Core Power High Protein Shakes a while back!

Get 10% off a Reebok Spartan Race! Use Code: FINISH10. Sign Up Today!

So, what are your experiences with obstacle course races or breaking out of a fitness rut?  Please share in the comments!!!!