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12 Nut-Free Fall Side Dishes to Fall For

12 Nut-Free Fall Side Dishes to Fall For! 

Check out 12 Fall Nut-Free Side Dishes to Fall For

by Cynthia Steele at

As you know, my youngest has several food allergies. Fall is a time when people add nuts to everything – it’s just a fall “thing”. As much as I love nuts, it can be tough to navigate fall food when it might send a two-year old to the hospital. So these days I’m having fun in the evenings hunting for fall recipes – I like to find nut-free side dishes and nut-free main dishes that we can add to our repertoire. We tend to get into the same ruts over and over and over… seriously, the kid will eat pasta for every meal if you let him!

I’ve put together a collection over at with 12 nut-free fall side dishes – enjoy and be inspired for autumn flavors! You don’t have to be nut-allergic to enjoy these – they just happen to not contain peanuts or nuts of any kind! And still super delicious!

12 Nut Free Fall Side Dishes to Fall For collage

In this collection, you’ll find:

  1. Cinnamon Wheat Bread (My very own allergy-safe bread recipe that the whole family devours)
  2. Broccolini and Feta Galette
  3. Carrot Tart in a Glaze of Glory
  4. Easy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
  5. Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Goat Cheese
  6. Roasted Squash with Brown Butter and Cinnamon
  7. Fall in Love with Fall Pumpkin Soup
  8. Homemade Applesauce in the Slow Cooker
  9. Butternut Squash, Cranberry, and Apple Bake
  10. Roasted Pumpkin Wedges with Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Sage
  11. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Vinegar
  12. Roasted Sweet Potato Risotto

Scroll through the collection at the top of the post, and pick a new side dish for dinner tonight, or go directly to the collection here.

What’s your favorite fall side dish?

Do you have any food allergies, or does anyone in your family?

Oh, and an important PS - If you are peanut or nut allergic, have any other food allergies, or are making these for a nut-allergic guest, please read labels and check with manufacturers on the allergy-friendliness of their products and facilities. While I present this collection as “nut-free”, your specific ingredients and packages should be your guide.

This is a sponsored post with but all opinions are my own!

Baltimore Half Marathon Race Recap 2014

Where to begin for my Baltimore Half Marathon Race Recap… Do I begin back in the Spring, when I was gunning for a sub-2-hour half and just barely missed it at the Frederick Half Marathon? Do I begin with the Army Ten Miler a week ago? Do I begin with the congestion and head cold that plagued me the week between that race and the Baltimore Half Marathon?

I can’t decide, so I’ll just bring you up to speed with a five-point rundown, and then we can get to the race recap:

  1. I was working hard for the sub-2 in the Spring and almost had it at Frederick. I COULD HAVE RUN 4 SECONDS FASTER. Okay, enough of that. I’ll get over it some day.
  2. After the ZOOMA Annapolis Half Marathon, I focused on duathlons and triathlons. The Army Ten Miler was my first running race since the Spring.
  3. I held a decent pace for the Army Ten Miler and felt pretty on track for the sub-2 at Baltimore.
  4. After the Army race, I got sick. I did ZERO running all week, and the only workout was my Masters Swimming workout on Wednesday. I felt pretty run down, with tired limbs/body and a head cold.
  5. I decided to go for the sub-2 in Baltimore anyhow. I’m not going to NOT try, ya know?

As I posted on Instagram and Facebook from the finish line, the Baltimore race for me was “all about the battle between how bad you want it and how bad your body doesn’t want you to have it“. This was running through my head as I ran – how bad do I want it? I want it, so I can make my body do it. Right?

Baltimore Half Marathon Race Recap


I did not plan this part well, especially since I was under the weather all week. I’ve had so many Sunday races that a Saturday race really left me with a surprise: how to get my packet/bib on a work day?! I left work early on Friday for a doctor’s appointment (remember the fire ants biting me at my transition spot in Ironman 70.3 Augusta? The bites were still raging!). So I planned to head to the Baltimore Running Festival Expo after the doctor, but I had dropped my phone in a toilet earlier that day and needed to spend considerable time waiting in line on a Friday evening to get a new one.

So my little buddy and I headed to Baltimore late that evening – it’s about a 50-minute drive.

Baltimore Running Festival expoWe parked on the street, breezed right into the Expo – they were just about to close so there was no line for bib pickup or shirts, and the volunteers were still super friendly and helpful, despite it being almost 9pm! I bought my ritual race pint glass and we headed out the door. This 5 year old was going to bed late…

That night, I started stressing about the morning and parking because on Facebook people were saying that you need to get there before the Marathon starts to get parking. People said to take light rail – honestly, I’m not that familiar with Baltimore and don’t even know what the light rail is or where I would park and take that. There was no way I was waking up at 4am for a half marathon that started at 8:45am. I was sure that somehow I would find a place to park – it might not be free, and it might be a long walk, but I’d find a place.


I headed out the door at 6:30, crossing my fingers about parking. When I approached Baltimore, there was a huge line of cars for one particular off-ramp, but that wasn’t where I intended to go. Phew. I headed towards Camden Yards and immediately off the exit I saw two parking areas (for pay). Picked one and parked. Easy.

I was in a bit of a sick-fog, so the big mistake I made was not really noting where the garage was located. I looked around and said “yep, I’ll remember this!”, but having a specific store to look up on Google Maps would have helped me find my car later!

I walked over to the starting area – the Marathon had started and I was able to watch some of the runners.

The weather was perfect. I had worn an old shirt to hang around in before the start since I was so freezing at the Army Ten Miler, but I almost didn’t need it!

I was going to a Moms Run This Town group photo, but decided first I should pee. The line was long. There were not many portapotties. Would I get through this before the group photo? Would I get through this before the race start? I worried.

Baltimore half marathon potty line

I made it a few minutes late for the MRTT group photo but they hadn’t taken it yet – hooray! I chatted with some really nice ladies and hoped I was coherent, I felt like my ears were kind of plugged up.

I headed to the starting corrals. The start was divided into waves but it wasn’t very strict. It took me a while to find Wave 1, which was indicated by the “1” on my bib.

I texted with Lauren from Run Salt Run (click to read her race recap!) and we found each other – it was so fun to see her at the start!

with Run Salt Run

 Why am I not looking at the camera?

I ditched my throw-away shirt at the starting line and tried to pep up a bit and snap out of my sick fog. Lauren was revving up with some dancing.

Lauren dancing at starting line

I had forgotten my visor, and found an old headband in my car – it was a bit stretched out but I figured it would do the trick. But then I realized that I didn’t have sunglasses – I usually skip them since I wear a visor. Eeek, this would not be pleasant.

And then it was time to RUN!


Since Lauren and I were both in Corral 1, I knew that it would be a big mass of runners at various paces starting out since she’s way faster than I am. And there wasn’t any organization to where in the corral you should seed yourself. Everyone was pretty relaxed about it but there was some clumping up and people trying to pass each other right out of the gate.

Here’s my race in a nutshell:

Miles 1-3: I felt amazing, despite being sick. I was on track. This is going to happen.

  • Mile 1 = 8:38/mile
  • Mile 2 = 8:43/mile
  • Mile 3 = 8:37/mile

However, in Mile 3-4: I got a side stitch. OUCH.

  • Mile 4 = 9:05/mile

Mile 5: I felt a bit better. Side stitch gone.

  • Mile 5 = 9:01/mile

Mile 6-7: “I swear I didn’t realize that Baltimore was this hilly.”

  • Mile 6 = 9:03/mile
  • MIle 7 = 9:17/mile

Mile 7-8: My feet started to hurt. Ouch. I really need new shoes.

  • Mile 8 = 9:25/mile – pace is dropping!

We ran around this lovely lake area at this point. Someone was handing out white wine – I couldn’t even imagine. I took my shot blocks as I ran around the lake.

Baltimore Half Marathon

Mile 9: I was fading out, my body started to feel as though it really wanted to lie down.

  • Mile 9 = 9:18/mile

Mile 10-11: I picked it up a bit – I felt that burst of energy and felt like it was Mile 1 again! I looked at my watch and thought “it’s going to be close but I’m going to do it!”

  • Mile 10 = 9:19/mile
  • Mile 11 = 9:01/mile

Mile 12: That burst of energy was gone. I felt like I was running just as hard as in Mile 10, but the watch said I was way slower. I knew I’d make it to the finish sometime around 2 hours, but it would be close.

I thought of that mantra “Pain is temporary, Pride is forever” and repeated it over and over in my head.

Mile 12 = 9:24/mile

Mile 13: I stopped looking at my watch – it was just stressing me out – and just decided to “I’ll just do the best I can”. And it was here that I pushed myself past where I thought I could go.

  • Mile 13 = 9:13/mile

My body felt like dropping the pace even more, but I pushed it – and this is where I feel like I won the battle between mind and body.

I kept going. I ran as hard as I could.

I got to the big crowds at the end heading towards the finish line, and then towards the stadium. And just before the finish I couldn’t keep it up. I couldn’t sprint to the finish like I sometimes can. I had nothing left. I knew I wasn’t getting the big PR goal anyhow so I just ran in to the finish on my own terms. Not pushing, not slowing.

Just running.

My Garmin showed me going 0.33 miles past Mile 13, which were 9:18/mile pace.


Official Pace = 9:15/mile. My Garmin at 13.33 miles says 9:05/mile average pace. SO CLOSE TO THAT SUB 2.

Baltimore Half Marathon finish

I felt really disappointed when I crossed the finish line. I feel silly saying this, but I wanted to cry. I didn’t cry though. I suppose some of that might have been the release of all the tension trying so hard for two hours, and the relief of being done.

And then I started to feel some pride as I walked through the finisher area. I won the battle. I didn’t make my goal time, but I can honestly say that I did the best I could. I pushed myself past what my body wanted to do.

Baltimore half marathon finish

The finish area had good options for post-race fuel – fruit cup, granola bar, banana, bagels, oranges, chips for the salt replenishment. The reunion area was set up with flags for your family to find you by name.

The big post-race area was pretty well-equipped with vendors, samples, contests, entertainment, and merchandise.

Baltimore Running Festival finish area

There was a big outdoor Under Amour shop, in case you missed it at the Expo. They’re headquartered in Baltimore, so it’s a big Under Armour town.

Under Armour shop at Baltimore Running Festival

I headed over to get my second medal of the day for doing the “Maryland Double” – Frederick Running Festival + Baltimore Running Festival = Maryland Double!

Maryland Double medal pickup

Pretty snazzy, eh?

Maryland Double Medal

As for some general things about the Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon, here’s my opinion:


  • The incredible pre-race information and interaction by the Baltimore Running Festival. On their website and on Facebook. I mentioned this in the Frederick Half Marathon race recap, and it is the same race management company (Corrigan Sports) that coordinates the Baltimore Running Festival. It was awesome. They were constantly posting on Facebook getting us revved up, providing information, and previewing shirts and medals. I was even at the starting area when I saw them post on Facebook about another portapotty location for runners.
  • The time of day. They pushed up the starting times one hour from when they usually are, and the half marathon start time was perfect for me: 8:45am. It was the first race in ages where I didn’t have to wake up before 6am!
  • The crowd support. Because the half marathon runs concurrently with the marathon after Mile 16 of the marathon, there are spectators, and they are awesome.
  • The city – I really love Baltimore! It was so neat to start downtown near the stadiums and the famous Inner Harbour, then run through parts of the city I had never seen before. There were residents out on their front steps and the street corners, kids high fiving. Great spirit in that city.
  • The medal – I love it! It’s also a bottle opener.

Baltimore Medal bottle opener

  • The shirt – I love it!!! It’s like Frederick’s shirt – a really nice long-sleeved shirt. Here’s Lauren/Salt modeling it at the finish:

Lauren and Cynthia at finish


  • The roads. The roads were rough. I don’t mean the course or the hills, since I expected some elevation changes, I mean the roads were pretty torn up and bumpy. I know I need new shoes, and my feet were hurting. There was even one really gross smooshed road kill I almost stepped on. Ewww.
  • Portapotties – I didn’t see very many at the start area, and the ones there were had HUGE lines. When I ran by the relay exchange area I saw a massive line for the potties there – I hope that people made their relay exchange on time!
  • It got a little crowded at times since the marathon and the half marathon were concurrent.
  • The starting area was a little confusing – people were not sure where to go. It all worked out though – I found my corral and the frequent announcements explained that the number your bib started with corresponded to your corral number. I wasn’t sure where to seed myself though.
  • No pacers – the amazing pacers from the Frederick race were pacing the Marathon. I would have loved to have been with pacers for the half marathon! I’ve run plenty of halfs without pacers before, though, it’s not a requirement. I was just jealous of the marathoners because those pacers were the BEST!

All those things (besides the roads and the potties) were pretty minor. I’m not a negative person so I really wasn’t bothered by anything. Also, I replaced my running shoes on Sunday with a fresh pair so I’m ready for rough roads again!

As for my goal time? I realize now that I’ve been running faster as my triathlon training has progressed and thought I’d whip out the sub-2 at this race just because of my overall fitness and pace improvements of late. Yes, I’ve been doing some speed work. But I haven’t been really focused about this sub-2 running-specific goal. It’s time to get busy going for a 1:55 rather than a 1:59 so that I have room to have a couple slower miles. That’s my downfall – no room for error.

So Frederick’s 2:00:03 stands as my half marathon PR.

Have you ever run a race where the marathon and the half were going on at the same time?

Have you ever run a race sick?

Army Ten Miler Race Recap 2014 – My Redemption Race

I did not miss the start of the Army Ten Miler this year. Why is that the lead story in this race recap? Go read the Army Ten Miler race recap from 2013 and you’ll see…

Army Ten Miler Race Recap 2014

You may recall that 2014 was my year of no-big-DC-races. I swore them off just for this year. I’m so lucky that I get to run in DC whenever I want because I work downtown – it’s such a gorgeous city for running! And although I love big, jam-packed races for the excitement, and I love the thrill of running with a crowd through the awesome sights of DC, I needed a little break from the DC-ness of bit-DC-races – the security, the crowds, the complicated parking, the packed Metro, the challenge of getting to the starting line – you get the point.

I focused on other races and discovered some new favorites this year.

So I wasn’t going to register for the Army Ten Miler. This was 2014, my year of no-big-DC-races. But I did. I pushed that registration button. I got swept up in the moment – it sells out quickly! – and the fact is, after my less-than-stellar experience last year, I wanted another shot at it. You see, everyone loves this race. My friend Melissa flies up from Texas every year to run this race. People come from far away to run it because they love it.

I did not love this race in 2013.

I wanted to love it. But I didn’t, despite the moving atmosphere of running with military personnel and wounded warriors. I was thankful to be a part of the experience for that reason, but didn’t love the race itself. So I wanted another shot – I needed to see what all the fuss is about when you don’t miss the start, and when you can enjoy the run.

As time went on, I thought I’d transfer my registration before the transfer deadline. I don’t need to do this race, I thought to myself, I have tons of other races this year! And with the Baltimore Half Marathon the next weekend I decided I didn’t need to be out at a race two weekends in a row.

But I never transferred. So I ran. And I had a good experience.

The Expo didn’t disappoint – tons of vendors, very efficient getting the packet and race necessities. My shirt was a little too small, but since I tried it on over my clothes before realizing this, I couldn’t exchange it. The guy at the desk said you can only exchange unworn shirts. Oops. Oh well.

Army Ten Miler expo

The night before the race, I set out all my things. Which was like nothing after doing duathlons and triathlons for months. Seriously, I hadn’t done a run-only race since the Spring, and it took about 3 seconds to pin my bib to the shirt.

The hardest part was figuring out what to wear since my black capris are a little too tight. So I added a skirt. I may have been a little sparkly but at least I felt more comfortable than wearing too-small pants.

Flat runner

On race morning, I got up super early – I wasn’t going to chance a big stress for parking, Metro-ing, getting to the starting line. I did my morning routine quickly, grabbed food for the car, and hit the road. I managed to park somewhere that didn’t involve Metro (and I hoped my spot was legal), and walked to the starting area at the Pentagon.

I got near the Metro and immediately saw Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes. So fun to see a friend in a crowd of tens of thousands of people! Sue was super smart and was wearing a trash bag. I was freezing.

Cynthia and Sue before race

Seriously I was so cold, glad I had my arm warmers but still freezing. I was trying to text my friends and my body and hands were shaking. I was wishing I had brought a trash bag or a throw-away shirt. I found my fabulous longtime friends and took a photo. In the green is Melissa –  you can read her awesome race recap here.

With friends at Army Ten Miler

I wanted to head to the starting line early so that I would have time for the portapottie line (and not be stuck in one outside the security barrier). As with last year, I found it a little confusing to navigate the Pentagon area from the Metro to the starting line, but I wandered in that direction and eventually came upon a security checkpoint. They seemed to just be checking bibs and were very clear about moving people through quickly – thank you!

I found another friend from work, and since we were in the same corral together, we kept each other company until the start. I don’t know why he wasn’t as cold as I was! Brrr, I was shivering.

I hit the portapottie line just inside the security barrier, which wasn’t terribly long, and we went to our Red Corral. I was SO EARLY!!!

Army Ten Miler starting corral

We were waiting there a while and I saw more portapotties between our corral and the one in front, so I figured as long as I’m just standing here, I might as well be standing in a line and went again. Better safe than sorry!

Army Ten Miler starting corrals

The start of the Army Ten Miler is awesome. You can feel so much pride in the crowd.

Army Ten Miler start

As the corrals moved forward, it was soon our turn. I loved being in the red corral since we started pretty early. The Wounded Warriors started at 7:50am, then the first wave at 8:00am and then waves every 8 minutes thereafter. Red started at 8:16am.

Army Ten Miler starting line

I felt corralled pretty well – I think I put a 1:30 finish time as my goal, and I can’t remember if we had to submit a recent race time to be assigned our wave. If we did, I probably put my Pike’s Peek 10K finish time, which was pretty good. It definitely didn’t feel as though our wave was as crowded as my experience last year and the runners were tearing out of the starting line.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous once we started running – my pre-race shivering was long gone.

The course is pretty good, but you definitely see more DC “sights” at other races. For example, the map shows you running by the Lincoln Memorial, but you don’t actually see it. You sort of skirt the edge of the touristy area of DC. But you still get the DC experience – big white buildings, the Potomac River – it’s still really scenic!

Army Ten Miler course map

The real story of the Army Ten Miler is the people running in this race.

The Wounded Warriors are so incredibly inspiring – I was in awe of their strength and determination. This is hard to talk about, but at Mile 8 or so, a Wounded Warrior stumbled and fell in front of me. And for a moment the atmosphere was tense. But the people running with him helped him back up, and all the runners nearby were amazed at his inner strength and the determination he must have to not only run this race, but to keep going when things were tough. I had tears in my eyes.

So many runners were either military personnel, or family members. There were many runners with “in memory of ___” on the backs of their shirts.

It was an incredible atmosphere or military pride, remembrance, and strength.

I was thankful to be a part of it.

As for my race personally? It’s honestly not as important. At times I felt silly for thinking about my finish time, because I was reminded of the more important things in life as I was running.

But since this is a race recap, I’ll sum it up: I did pretty well! I felt pretty strong throughout – pretty on my target pace. I pushed myself at times to keep the pace and other times the crowd carried me through

My Garmin data shows:

  • Mile 1 = 9:01
  • Mile 2 = 8:38
  • Mile 3 = 8:48
  • Mile 4 = 8:37
  • Mile 5 = 8:44
  • Mile 6 = 8:48
  • Mile 7 = 8:41
  • Mile 8 = 8:48
  • Mile 9 = 9:02
  • Mile 10 = 8:43
  • And a 0.1 at 8:07

There’s this really big, long bridge – it’s a tough one since it just keeps going and going. Just when you think you’re done with the bridge, there’s more bridge. That’s about Mile 8 and I faded a bit after that, but picked it back up.

Garmin data for overall: 10.1 miles with average pace of 8:47/mile.

Official finish: 1:28:38. Pace of 8:51/mile. 

Army Ten Miler official finish certificate

With that finish, I felt like I could get that sub-2-hour half marathon at the Baltimore Half Marathon the next weekend.

After crossing the finish line, they kept us moving forward – at a race like this in DC, security is a primary concern.

Army Ten Miler finish line

They had lots of finish line food.

Army Ten Miler finish food

Cookie, fruit cup, hummus, granola bar, muffin, banana – it was a good replenishment of what I had exerted that morning! Last year I was doing the Whole 30 during this race, and I was glad to have normal fueling and post-race fuel this year.

Army Ten Miler runner food

I took one of everything, and a woman near me wondered if there would be enough for runners who finished later. I certainly hope there was, because I saw people who took SO MUCH food that their bags were bursting.

Army Ten Miler runner food

Okay, admittedly that person has other things in his bag, but I saw multiples of the hummus packages and other items in there, and many, many bags near me were just like that.  So hopefully it was okayed by the volunteers passing out the food, and the runners who finished later had enough.

I took the complimentary shuttle back to the Metro/start area, and although the line was pretty long but I didn’t feel like walking. Plus, they were handing out these awesome hats.

Army Ten Miler hat

Overall it was a great day – gorgeous weather, inspiring atmosphere, and a successful race.

Have you ever done a ten mile race?

What’s your favorite race distance?

Friday Five: Favorite Fitness Tunes

Each week, I chat about the Friday Five theme with my awesome co-hosts Courtney and Mar. And each week, we come up with what we think will be a fun theme. This week, Five Favorite Fitness Tunes sounded awesome. I was so into this theme. I said “that’s going to be totally fun!”

Five Favorite Fitness Tunes

You all know by now that I’m into music. I work in the music field. I loooove music. I just posted about how music helps get me to my goals in another post today about Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds.

But after my initial excitement about the Friday Five theme, it dawned on me: I no longer run with music outside. I don’t bike with music. And I don’t swim with music. It’s been a while since I worked out with music with all my triathlon training going on. But winter is coming, and I’m going to be rockin’ to some serious tunes on the treadmill, and spinning to some great tunes in cycling classes.

So today I have a combo list of Favorite Fitness Tunes & Tunes That Won’t Get Out of my Head While I’m Running. Those earworms that keep me going on a long run, even if I don’t have headphones on.

1. Happy by Pharrell

Yes, it makes me happy when I run. No, I’m not sick of this song yet.

2. Sabotage by the Beastie Boys

Always, always listed as my “gets me moving faster” song.

3. Darth Vader’s Theme Song (aka Imperial March). 

Okay, bizarre, I know – this is totally in my head while I’m running this week. Why? My 5 year old is dressing up as Darth Vader for Halloween, and I explained to him that he now has a theme song. So we’ve been listening to it a lot. And it’s stuck in my head.

Darth Vader costume

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme song

While we’re on the topic of kids, I cannot get this theme song out of my head when I’m running. The problem? I only know the lyrics to the main chorus: “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”. Thus, it’s super repetitive and not that useful for running since I just sing the same thing over and over. The tempo is great and the rest of the song is pretty fun rap – it would actually be a great fitness tune – I’ll download it for my winter playlist!

5. Lucky Strike by Maroon 5

I love working out to this song. It’s interesting enough that it keeps me listening and not zoning out, and the beat is really good for working out.

If you want a complete list of great workout tunes, check out The Ultimate Workout Playlist that I compiled back in May! It was from reader-submitted comments!

And while we’re chatting about music, I went to a great concert last night (which is why I’m writing this post after midnight…) by singer-songwriter Marian Call. If you haven’t heard her, you’re missing out. I just picked up a couple of her CDs after the concert and can’t wait to listen to more of her music. Here’s one album that I bought – I love her voice! And if you’re in Baltimore tonight or anywhere else on her tour route, go see her on tour! I just heard about her through my husband and I’m a big fan now.

Don’t miss my other post today about these super cool new wireless earbuds that have an in-ear heart rate monitor, the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds! Start your Holiday wish list, people!

What’s the song that really gets you moving? I need to work up my playlist for indoor workouts – post in the comments below!



[This post contains a couple of Amazon affiliate links, thanks for supporting the site.]

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds

This post is sponsored by Jabra.

Since we’re talking about our Favorite Fitness Tunes today on the Friday Five, I’ve been thinking a lot about music this week. Wait, who am I kidding, I think about music all the time. But specifically, I’ve been thinking about my running and triathlon goals, how music can help me reach those goals, and what gear I could use to make that happen. I’m thinking ahead to my Christmas wish list and I love gadgets, tools, and other gear that can make my running and fitness more enjoyable and more effective. So because of these two loves of music and gear, I’ve been lusting after this super cool new product that was just launched, the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds.

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds

Jabra wants to help people “Beat Their Best“. The concept is perfect for me – when I heard this phrase I felt like it was made for me.

What’s Beat Your Best? We set goals, they may seem impossible. But we go for them. We conquer them. I’ve recently conquered several seemingly impossible goals. From losing weight after Baby #3, to doing my first triathlon, to running my best half marathon time, to conquering a Half Ironman – I feel like it’s been a year of Beat My Best!

The feelings of accomplishment have been incredible. Pushing beyond my limits, finding out what I’m really capable of, and matching the outside with who I really have been on the inside this whole time - this is what it’s all about.

So I’m excited about these new Jabra earbuds because they’re different. I’m about to start an off-season triathlon training plan, and it’s focused around heart rate training. With triathlon training I’ve been learning so much about monitoring your heart rate and how it can help you understand your body and your training. I’ve never trained like this before. I have an old heart rate monitor, and I mostly used it when exercising while I was pregnant. And now I have a heart rate monitor that came with my GPS watch. It has a chest strap, and I’ll confess that it’s still in the box. I’m just not in love with all the wires and straps and things and have never bothered to use it.

Jabra is breaking free of the wires. They want to do away with the restrictions and the limits in more ways than one. The Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds are wireless headphones that have a built-in heart rate monitor – it detects your HR without any extra gear on your body. No wire. No chest strap.

Whaaaaaat???? No wires and no chest strap???


So what is Sport Pulse?
In the old days you would need a Heart Rate chest strap, a pair of headphones, your phone, GPS watch. No more. Jabra Sport Pulse is an all-in-one training solution. Listen to music, send Heart Rate Data to the Jabra Sport Life app, get workout readouts. Turn on your headset, put your phone into your pocket, and you are ready to go.

The earbuds work with an app to provide continuous heart rate guidance to inform you whether you’re in your optimized heart rate training zone that aligns to your specific fitness goal – whether that’s fat-burning, aerobic conditioning, anaerobic threshold training, or general cardiovascular fitness. Voice feedback is used to keep you in your target heart rate zone.

Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds for training

Jabra is cutting-edge and dedicated to superior sound, innovative technology, and an individual’s inner potential. I want to Beat My Best next season and I’m working hard to get there!

So since we’re all about the music this week, be sure to visit the Friday Five where I talk about my Five Favorite Fitness Tunes, and work to #BeatYourBest this fall and winter in your training! And get these super amazing things on your Holiday Fitness Wish List!

How have you Beat Your Best this year? What are you doing this winter to stay motivated to Beat Your Best next year?


The Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless Earbuds retail for $199 and come with 4 sets of earwings and 4 sets of eargels to be sure the fit is the best it can be for your ears. You also get two sets of Fitclips to help you manage the short cable that connects the two earbuds, and a carry pouch.

Running the Timex ONE Relay #ONERelay

Newsflash: My weekend is going to rock. It’s full of awesome running events, along with some quality time with the family. Saturday: I’m hoping for a half marathon PR at the Baltimore Running Festival. Then on Sunday: I get to participate in this super cool running event – I’m running in the Timex ONE Relay.

Timex ONE Relay

It’s an 800-mile relay with more than 100 runners, going from the Chicago Marathon to the NYC Marathon. And instead of a baton, we will apparently pass the brand new Timex Ironman ONE GPS watch from runner to runner. I’m curious about the watch since people can send text messages to it during my run via the website!

But this is the part that got me really hooked: Timex is donating $100/mile to a charity of my choice via the Charity Miles app. I’m lined up for 6 miles, so that’s $600 (and no, I didn’t need to use my daughter’s 3rd grade “new math” concepts to do that calculation).

I’m really excited to support the Ironman Foundation – here’s a little bit about them:

Since its inception, The IRONMAN Foundation, a U.S. registered 501 (c)(3) has provided over $35 million in grants, donations and program support to many deserving global, national, regional and local nonprofit organizations.

The IRONMAN Foundation’s purpose is to leave a lasting impact in the race communities where our IRONMAN events are held. The Foundation works with community leaders to help fund local initiatives, as well as give back to the nonprofit organizations that have a volunteerism component. Through these projects, the Foundation leaves a piece of the IRONMAN legacy behind after race day and establishes a stronger impact within our race communities.

I’m hoping for strong legs to do the Timex ONE Relay the day after the Baltimore Half Marathon – it’s like doing the Glass Slipper Challenge in reverse!

It looks like the relay is going through Cleveland today, then Pittsburgh tomorrow, before coming to DC and Maryland. I’ve been stalking the #ONERelay hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, so feel free to stalk me on social media this weekend as I set off on my six miles midday!

PS – my Army Ten Miler race recap is in the works!

Have you ever run in a relay?


Cinnamon Wheat Bread Recipe

In Friday’s Favorite Fitness Fuel post, I mentioned the homemade Cinnamon Wheat Bread recipe that I make for my son, which has become one of my favorite pre-workout fuels. He has several food allergies so it’s been safer to make bread at home with ingredients that I know I can trust, rather than risk cross-contamination with one of his allergens from a packaged bread.

Cinnamon Wheat Bread Recipe for bread machine

I hadn’t used the bread machine in years – I think it was a wedding present 14 years ago (today is actually my anniversary!). After learning about my son’s multiple food allergies, I took the bread machine out of the closet and started experimenting with different recipes and ingredients. My own recipe evolved out of trial and error, and we started calling it “Finn’s bread”, after my son.

Toddler eating bread

Then, much to my surprise, the other two kids started begging for the homemade bread, preferring it rather than the store-bought bread!

Child enjoying bread

I also eat it regularly – we gobble it up so fast that I have to make the bread twice a week. It was the one thing I missed the most during my two rounds of Whole 30 detoxes. I eat it before every workout or race.

Cinnamon Wheat Bread with butter

So here’s the recipe. I will preface this recipe with three points:

1. It’s designed for a bread machine. I’ve never made it another way, although if you’re handy with non-bread machine bread, give it a shot and let me know how it turns out.

2. When I mention Cinnamon Wheat Bread recipe everyone says “raisins”. I’ve actually never put raisins in it, but I keep meaning to! I tend to toss it in right before bed so we have fresh bread in the morning, and I’m never paying attention at the right time to add raisins.

3. You can adjust the cinnamon according to your taste. The tablespoon of cinnamon is a lot, and it counteracts the honey to tone down the sweetness. Sometimes I’ll lessen it to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon or increase the honey to 1/2 cup (which changes the texture of the loaf).

But toasted with some butter or whatever you like on your bread, and we think it’s delicious!

Cinnamon Wheat Bread sliced

5.0 from 1 reviews
Cinnamon Wheat Bread Recipe
Recipe type: bread
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1 loaf bread
Homemade cinnamon wheat bread recipe designed for a bread machine. Natural bread with simple ingredients and no added sugar (just honey).
  • 1 cup water
  • 2.5 Tbsp Canola oil (I estimate that half a tablespoon)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 cup white bread flour
  • 2 cups wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup oats
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 packet yeast (1/4 ounce/7g packet, equal to 2¼ tsp yeast)
  1. Heat water 30 seconds in microwave.
  2. Add warm water, canola oil, and honey to bread machine pan.
  3. Add white bread flour, wheat flour, salt, oats, and cinnamon to pan.
  4. Make a small indent for the yeast on top of the dry ingredients and add.
  5. Bake on white bread/regular setting in the bread machine (3 hours).

It comes out great every time and we love it.

Cinnamon Wheat Bread Recipe

And who wouldn’t want to make this face happy with a yummy allergy-safe bread?

Toddler enjoying bread

Hope you enjoy!

Have you ever made your own bread? 



Moms RUN This Town Pears Up With Johnsonville!

I have discovered the coolest thing that I didn’t know existed! Let me explain: I created a page on for my Moms RUN This Town group and we’re earning actual dollars towards shirt sponsorship for our chapter from Johnsonville! Totally amazing.

I started the MRTT chapter this past Spring and we already have over 125 members! We’ve been having regular group runs with ladies running, walking, walk/running, pushing strollers – you name it! We’re having a great time getting to know each other and helping each other stay motivated. I love it!

Now that we’ve been more active, we really want some shirts and other gear for our chapter, so the Pear campaign is the perfect way to be supported. All we have to do is some clicking – engaging with the sponsor Johnsonville online – and we are earning actual dollars towards our shirts. If you visit my Pear page and click to interact, you can help us raise funds for our shirts!

Moms RUN This Town Pear campaign

Johnsonville teamed up with to sponsor shirts or other apparel for groups, clubs, and teams. They also have Pears to support charities.

Something really cool? You can create a Pear too and have Johnsonville sponsor your club, team, or charity! Just CLICK HERE and follow the prompts – it’s super easy. I did it last night while watching TV, drinking wine, and falling asleep on the couch. And now we have sponsorship towards our shirts! Here’s how it works:

I love that Johnsonville is helping families and groups reach their goals and expand their reach in their communities. The more people who join and interact with your page, the more money your group can earn toward apparel or for a charity.


FYI for those of you who don’t know Moms RUN This Town is – it’s a free nationwide running club for moms. TOTALLY FREE. All you have to do is join your local chapter and get involved. I didn’t see one in my area so I started one and I’m so glad I did.

Moms RUN This Town

Which group would you choose for a Pear to get sponsorship for shirts or a charity donation?

Have you ever made a Pear? If you have one, share in the comments and we’ll support each other’s efforts!


This post is sponsored by Global Influence, but all opinions are my own!

Friday Five: Favorite Fitness Fuels

Today we’re talking about food. I love food. It’s one of my favorite topics. Specifically though, we’re linking up for the Friday Five to talk about our Favorite Fitness Fuels. Fuel for running, triathlon, or general fitness activities. The food that keeps us going on those long runs or big brick workouts. Or even the fuels that you grab for a quick workout – sometimes those short bursts of energy are the hardest! So join in the linkup at the bottom, co-hosted with my pals Courtney and Mar, and discover other fitness blogs and running blogs to read!

five favorite fitness fuels

I try to eat healthy, but since the Ironman 70.3 Augusta race, I’ve been slacking in my healthy eating and letting too many sweets pass my lips. I know, some of you say “live a little!” but I find the scale creeps back up quickly. It is hard to maintain my weight loss, I have to be constantly “on” with making good choices.

But for training? I need fuel. I wrote a post a while back about Fueling Your Training, which was healthy eating inspiration and motivation – check it out! I think that in general, when I’m in “training mode”, I have a pretty good balance. I’m not all about deprivation. I can eat healthy 80% of the time and then relax about it for the other 20%.

Another good post on this topic is the Race Day Fueling tips so check that one out too!

So what are five of my go-to fitness fuels? My must-haves in my fitness bag?

1. Bananas.

I go bananas for bananas. I have one every day, they’re a staple in my pre-workout fuel. I also like them after workouts but have to balance how many bananas to have in one day with how much I want to eat bananas all the time. It’s a dilemma.

2. Larabars

These are my absolute favorite things on earth. Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but I love these bars for their clean, simple ingredients. I’m addicted to them as pre-workout fuel, in addition to workday snacks that have nothing to do with fitness.

I know I’ve mentioned these before on the blog and on Instagram but I swear, I have no affiliation with Larabars, I just love them.

(PS – I have to be really careful with these, since they have nuts in them and my son is super allergic. I only eat them out of the house and clean up carefully afterward.)

3. Honey Stinger Waffles

I tried these things a long time ago and they didn’t do much for me. But I’m always open minded, so I gave them another try this summer. And now? I love them! I use them for pre-workout fuel and also during a long bike ride.

I arrived at Ironman Augusta and realized that I didn’t have any Honey Stinger Waffles in my training bag, and had a short-but-not-so-sweet meltdown. None to be found at the expo, either. My dad saved the day and found some for me at a nearby Whole Foods. And all was right in the world.

I’ve been using them a lot for cycling and I’ve found they are the perfect size to pop in my top tube pack for holding fuel. They do get a little messy – shoving a huge round thing in my mouth while I’m cruising along at high speeds means that half ends up on my cycling jersey, but it’s all worth it for the waffle.

4. Gu. Any flavor, but hint: Salted Caramel is yumtastic.

You have to find what works for you, and I know a lot of people don’t love Gu or other gels, but they work amazingly well for me. Gu is the only thing I can force down when I’m on a long run on a hot summer day. They work wonders for my energy and to keep my legs moving on a long run. I think the salted caramel is the perfect mix of salty and sweet.

Want to know a Gu-tastic secret? I even used them in labor. I knew after marathon training that nothing else would even sound remotely good for food when I was in an endurance event such as natural childbirth, so I packed up the Gu and used it for fuel. Trust me, you need an energy boost when you’re pushing out a gigantic baby!

5. Homemade cinnamon wheat bread

This one may seem totally random, but I’m sure some of you would say “bagels” or another bread product for your pre-workout fuel. Not me.

Because of my son’s food allergies, I make homemade bread for him in our bread machine. It turns out that everyone prefers the homemade bread to store-bought, including the other two kids. And including me.

I have a pre-race ritual of eating a big slice of the homemade bread with some buttery spread in the car on the way to a race. I even brought a few slices to Augusta with me so that I would have my usual pre-race bread. It was perfect, although a little crumbly from surviving the 9-hour road trip.

I tried so many recipes and then experimented until I found our favorite combination of ingredients. We nicknamed it “Finn’s bread”. I just made some at midnight last night and am typing up the recipe – it’s super easy if you have a bread machine. UPDATE – RECIPE IS POSTED HERE!!!

So there you have it – my five must-have fitness fuels! I have a few other things in my regular rotation but had to pick just five.

What do you eat before a race?

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Run On Over to RunHaven!

Hey, friends – this is a quick post to let you know that I’ve started writing a weekly article for RunHaven, a pretty cool website devoted to running, running, and more running!



In case you didn’t catch it shared around Facebook, last week my first article was posted:

Am I a real Runner? Are You?

Read it, weigh in at the bottom, and share it if you enjoy it!

Today a new article is up on RunHaven:

5 Tips to Convert Night Owls Into Morning Runners

Read it, weigh in at the bottom, and share it if you enjoy it!

Look for a new article every week – here’s a handy link to all my articles. Hope to see you over at RunHaven!


So… are you a night owl or a morning person?

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