Monday, February 8, 2016

Training Week 5: Hemp Heart Bar Review

Sneaking in a healthy snack after a tough workout is challenging. 

When I get in from a long run, the kids mob me — the toddler wants to tell me how stinky I am and the baby needs to nurse. Between taking care of the kids, stretching and sneaking a shower, it's easy to skip eating all together.

Not eating after a hard workout is a bad deal because your body needs nutrients to repair the micro-tears in the muscles that result from exercise. When fueling correctly, the body is able to repair the muscle tears and actually makes the muscle stronger!

According to Runners Connect, the optimal window for nutrient absorption is 30-90 minutes after working out. Whatever your recovery food of choice is, you should consume it as soon as possible post-workout. Lately a Honey Stinger Caramel Waffle or spoonful of NuttZo Power Fuel is my favorite post-run snack!

This week I had the opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest's Hemp Heart Bar and they proved to be another great recovery snack option. I threw them in the diaper bag and gave the Chocolate and Apple Cinnamon flavors a shot.

Each Hemp Heart bar packs 10 grams of protein and 10 grams of omegas and they are around 230 calories per bar (depending on the flavor).

The Chocolate flavor was a little too bitter for me but the Apple Cinnamon flavor was delicious. What I really appreciated was that the Hemp Heart bars didn't have a weird protein bar after-taste! They contain the 10 grams of protein but still sport a great flavor.

Manitoba Harvest is running a photo contest and a winner will be chosen EACH MONTH! Tag @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars! Open to US and Canada residents

Also, when you shop at, the discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off your order! (Expires 3/31/2016)

Fargo Marathon Training Week 5/20:

This is the first week of the Build Phase of my training plan and also a week when I had to cram all of the runs in before the weekend!

02/01 Monday - Easy: 7.04 mi, 01:04 @ 09:05 pace. Quiet run with the dog this morning. Very slick on our streets! It's a little too warm to skate on them though. Tried that :) Strength Training: Planks

02/02 Tuesday - Speed Intervals: (Treadmill) 4.5 mi, 00:36 @ 07:53 avg pace. 8 x 400m (with 400m jog recovery) @ 6:23 x 4, 6:23 x 3, 6:19 x 1. This workout felt great after running so many hill intervals in the base phase of training. Much more enjoyable than the hill sprints! I'm done with the hill sprint intervals for now! Back to 1.5% incline and it feels so good.
02/03 Wednesday - Easy: 6.01 mi, 00:57 @ 09:32 avg pace. Took the dog out for a run this morning. I've been spoiled with the 20°F degree mornings because the 4°F felt quite chilly today! Strength Training: Planks, core work and lunges.

02/04 Thursday - Long Run: 12 mi, 01:43 @ 08:36 avg pace. Ice, ice, baby. Icy streets, icy gravel roads, just icy all over. And I wasn't smart enough to throw on my Yaktrax today :s Made it through the run with only a few near-slip wobbles :) Not sure if anyone saw me doing that!

02/05 Friday - Recovery: 3.2 mi, 00:30 @ 09:22 avg pace. Tired and feel like I'm coming down with something. I switched out the scheduled tempo mile repeats for a few recovery miles.

02/06 Saturday - Off. Yep, I am getting sick.

02/07 Sunday - Off. Definitely sick.

Total Mileage: 32.75

What is your favorite post-workout snack?

Linking up with Fitness Health & Happiness and Mommy Moments.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Training Week 4: New Year, New Opportunities

Hellooo to you on this first day of February!

We are yet another month closer to Spring-time, the green grass, running shorts, sunshine and mosquitoes. I can just feel it.

This year I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with NuttZo and Honey Stinger through my running and blogging! Nut butter AND honey?! It doesn't get any better than that, folks. I'm ecstatic! And kind of hungry just thinking about it.

NuttZo Organic Nut Butter is the ONLY ORGANIC Seven Nut and Seed Butter on the planet! Their products include these pure ingredients: Peanuts, Cashews, Almonds, Hazelnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, Brazil Nuts, Sunflower Seeds, 70% dark Peruvian Chocolate, sea salt. NuttZo Nut Butter is a whole lot of nutritious and delicious!

Check out their products and take 20% off by using my Ambassador Discount: will-20

Honey Stinger fuels runners, cyclists, triathletes and teams all over the country with nutritious and great tasting honey-based foods. From energy gels for the long run to the kid-friendly caramel waffles, they have all of the bases covered with natural ingredients.

I am so very thankful for the opportunity to work with these companies. Because they work so beautifully together, I am tempted to make a NuttZo and Honey Stinger Waffle sandwich before first 20-miler of training...

I will make sure to take a picture of that epic NuttZo Honey Stinger Waffle :)


Fargo Marathon Training Week 4/20:

This was a "recovery" week and also the last week of the Base Phase of my training plan. On to the Build Phase next week!

01/25 Monday - Easy/Recovery: 6.01 mi, 00:59 @ 09:44 avg pace. I felt wiped out this morning — physically, mentally, emotionally, all of it. The run felt good to shake out stiffness from the last windy long run but I could have easily slept 'til 10 a.m. this morning... Not that the kids would have let me!

01/26 Tuesday - Hill Intervals: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:34 @ 08:22 avg pace. 4 x 2:00 minute intervals at 6% incline, 6:47/mile pace. Still pretty wiped! I think we all need to go to bed early tonight.
01/27 Wednesday - Strength training while the cookies were baking.

01/28 Thursday - Tempo Run: (Treadmill) 5 mi, 00:40 @ 08:04 avg pace. 4 x 2:00 minute intervals @ 6:32/mile pace. Early morning miles on the treadmill. I'm really liking the interval workouts on the treadmill this winter. It was raining last night and the roads were like an ice sheet this morning!

01/29 Friday - Easy: 6.1 mi. 00:55 @ 09:00 avg pace.

01/30 Saturday - Long Run: 7.35 mi, 01:02 @ 08:27 avg pace. I had 8 miles scheduled for today but cut it short when my

01/31 Sunday - Off.

Total Mileage: 28.46 miles

Have you tried any NuttZo or Honey Stinger Products?
Runners: What is your favorite long run fuel?

Linking up with Fitness Health & Happiness.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Quiet Moments | Five-Minute Friday

Our Five-Minute Friday Word: "Quiet".

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

00:00 START the timer!

Quiet is beautiful and yet so hard to come by.

The kids are in bed and I sit here in the quiet, feeling a bit unsure of what to do with myself. Sleep would be my best bet as the 10 o'clock hour nears.

The Lord uses quiet to recharge the soul. In this wild and busy world, He is our one true Source of refreshment.

He sneaks those precious quiet moments into my day when I least expect it.

Snow crunching under my running shoes.
Pulling the kids on the sled on a sunny winter day.
Making memories unplugged from technology.
Curling up on the couch on a January night.

My soul is refreshed.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters,
He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for His name’s sake.
PSALM 23:1-3

05:00 STOP the timer!

***Bible verse and quote added after the timer***

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Book Review: "Whatever Is Lovely" Coloring Book

We live in a busy and hectic world with a million messages and images whirling through our minds every second. How can we find peace amongst the noise?

Social media and technology are great tools but they can add to the noise. In our technology-savvy culture, we are presented with a unique challenge: to escape the world's hamster wheel of busyness, quiet our minds and find peace we must be disciplined and intentional. We must take the time to listen to God's voice.
"Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world." PSALM 64:10 NLT
Whatever is Lovely is truly a resource to "color your way to peace", as the book's introduction says. While the book's author is clear that this is not to replace the time you spend reading God's Word, Whatever is Lovely is a supplement that presents Scriptures and encouraging quotes for meditation, reflection, and a time of openness to whatever God wants to reveal to you.

We do a lot of coloring in our house and coloring the Scriptures has been a great opportunity to bond with my toddler. He loves to color with mommy's "fancy" colored pencils and he has even memorized some of the Scriptures! Our coloring time is the perfect quiet activity for us.

Coloring calms the soul of kids and adults alike — except for in the case of my littlest, who would rather eat the colored pencils.

A photo posted by Amy W (@creativeaim87) on

Whatever is Lovely includes a Spotify playlist to accompany your time of worship and reflection. I'm actually listening to it while I write this post!

Worship is what this book is all about. Whatever is Lovely is a beautiful collection of Scriptures, quotes and artwork focused on holy meditation, creativity, and quiet time with God, the Greatest Artist and our Creator!

I would recommend this coloring book over and over again — may God be glorified in all of your creativity. I plan to continue coloring until every page is complete and possibly frame some to hang on the wall!

To purchase or to learn more about the Whatever is Lovely coloring book, visit the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own.

What is one creative way you worship the Lord?

Linking up with Mommy Moments.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Training Week 3: SLS3 Run Belt Review + GIVEAWAY

Disclaimer: I received this run belt for giveaway and review purposes. All opinions are my 100% own.

Another week of Fargo Marathon training is in the books and this week I had the privilege of testing the SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt!

Prior to this belt, I have stored my energy gels in my sports bra during long runs. Awkward, I know, but most of my shorts don't have pockets. My previous way of storage wasn't very comfortable, things get sweaty and, like I said, it was awkward at times.

Then came the SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt! I tested the belt on a few runs this week and I was blown away by this belt.

When running outside, I carried my husband's huge "smartphone" and an energy gel in the run belt. I carry a phone with me "just in case" when running in the winter or in the dark. When I carry the phone in my coat pocket, it annoyingly bounces around with each stride but it in the belt it didn't budge!

My Favorite Features of the SLS3 Dual Pocket Run Belt:

  • Comfortable fit and easily adjustable waist band.
  • Light-weight, doesn't feel bulky even when carrying items.
  • Stayed in place during my entire long run.
  • No bounce while running with a phone and energy gel in the belt.
  • Reflective front-side for running on dark early mornings.
  • The pockets are water-proof (and sweat-proof) 

I hit the treadmill for a 6-mile tempo interval run to test the SLS3 Run Belt in my "normal" (or non-winter-layered) running clothes — because you couldn't pay me to run outside in a tank and shorts right now!

The run belt did ride up during this run which was likely due to my shirt's more slippery material. Tightening the belt did help to prevent riding up.

So how much can the pockets hold? 

LOTS! Say your going on a super long trail run... I loaded up the run belt to its max capacity with six energy gels, a honkin' phone and my car keys just to see how much would fit.

The dual pockets expand to hold more gels than I could ever use on a long run! When not in use, the pockets collapse down to lay flat against your body.

My Final Thoughts

This is an awesome and practical running accessory to invest in! Carrying energy gels along for my upcoming long runs will be so much more comfortable with the SLS3 run belt.

Enter to win your own belt in the giveaway below and check out the SLS3 Dual Pocket Running Belt on Amazon at a limited-time introductory price of $12.90 (retail price is $29.90)!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fargo Marathon Training Week 3:

01/18 Monday - Easy: (Treadmill) 6 mi, 00:52 @ 08:37 avg pace

01/19 Tuesday - Hill Intervals: (Treadmill) 3.65 mi, 00:30 @ 08:13 avg pace
01/20 Wednesday - Easy: 6.15 mi, 00:57 @ 09:12 avg pace. I finally ran outside today with our pup! The fresh air and frozen fog felt wonderful and the SLS3 Run Belt was perfect for carrying my phone and house keys. They didn't bounce around at all!

01/21 Thursday - Strength training in the kitchen while cooking supper. The little ones and I get creative to fit the strength training in!

01/22 Friday - Tempo Run: (Treadmill) 6 mi, 00:49 @ 08:05 avg pace. Base pace run with 6 x 2:00 min intervals @ 6:32/mile pace. Leo has most Friday's off during the winter months so we all watched Mater's Tall Tales on Netflix while I ran :)

01/23 Saturday - Long Run: 11.2 mi, 01:36 @ 08:35 avg pace. Windy run but it felt good to get outside. Lots of snow drifts and loose snow to run through. My quads were done for by the end of the run! The dog joined me for the last 3 miles.

01/24 Sunday - Off.

Total Mileage: 33 miles

What is your favorite running accessory?

Linking up with Fitness Health & Happiness and the Wednesday Giveaway Round-up.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Strength for the Present | Five-Minute Friday

Good morning! Our word for today's Five-Minute Friday is "Present".

What's a "free write"? No editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write!

00:00 START the timer!

Years ago, Gram still lived in her own house. Waving goodbye as I backed out of her driveway and into the alley, tears started to form. I didn't know what I would do when Gram left us.

I didn't know a day of life without her. She was like another "Mom" to me and I truly thought I couldn't make it without her.

I was sure that when she died I wouldn't be able to make it.

Fast forward to the present. 

Gram went to be with Jesus on Monday morning. We all knew the day was coming yet to finally hear that she passed hit me. Gram's house that I remember so well only exists in my mind and now she's gone, too.

She is enjoying her time in a finally healthy body in heaven and I feel an unexplainable peace instead of heartbreak.

God has strengthened me to feel such peace in the present — such joy as I remember my last visit with Gram and the precious memories we have together. I smile as I think of her in Heaven and certain memories bring on the tears again.

She has shifted my perspective from the grief of the present time on earth to the joy of heaven and our eternal hope.
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. PHILIPPIANS 4:7 NLT
Our mighty and sovereign Lord gives us the strength we need at exactly the time we need it — not a day too early or too late. I will leave you with my favorite quote from Casper and Corrie Ten Boom in The Hiding Place.
“Father sat down on the edge of the narrow bed. "Corrie," he began gently, "when you and I go to Amsterdam-when do I give you your ticket?"

I sniffed a few times, considering this.
"Why, just before we get on the train."

"Exactly. And our wise Father in heaven knows when we're going to need things, too. Don't run out ahead of Him, Corrie. When the time comes that some of us will have to die, you will look into your heart and find the strength you need-just in time.”

― Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place

05:00 STOP the timer!

***Bible verse and quote added after the timer***

Grandma Grace went home to be with the Lord on January 18, 2016 and I know without a doubt that her time here on this earth was well spent. She has been and will always be an encouragement in my life and a true example of a gentle spirit, sprinkled with a little sass.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Training Week 2: It's a Great Week

Happy Monday! I am deciding that this is going to be a GREAT week though it was off to a shaky start.

My Great Grandma passed away this morning at the age of 96. Talk about endurance! She was the toughest person I have ever met and I miss her greatly.

Her and I were very close and, though it's hard to see her go, I am thankful she is no longer in pain and she can fully see and hear again. Now she's in heaven spending her days with Jesus. It doesn't get any better than that, folks!
He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. REVELATION 21:4
She was a supporter of my running and had her own witty way of encouraging me:
Gram: "How far did you go today?"
Me: "20 miles, Grandma."
Gram: "That's it?"
And her advice for running the Boston Marathon:
Gram: "You run fast now. I will be behind you poking you with a pin!"
I can just hear her saying that now and it makes me smile. I loved her sassy sense of humor!

In other news, the baby crawled for the first time today. He is a mischievous little one that keeps me running whenever he is awake! Him and his big brother get into everything.

We have been in a cold streak here and I ended up running on the treadmill for 4 out of the 5 runs. I can't complain! The treadmill was quite enjoyable, especially for speed-work and the tempo intervals. Our streets are so icy that it would be insane to try that outside.

Here's my little crawler and a breakdown of Fargo Marathon Training Week 2:

A photo posted by Amy W (@creativeaim87) on


Fargo Marathon Training Week 2:

01/11 Monday - Easy: (Treadmill) 6 mi, 00:51 @ 08:34 avg pace. I haven't been feeling well over the last couple days and decided to pass on a -16°F morning run.

01/12 Tuesday - Hill Intervals: (Treadmill) 3.57 mi, 00:30 @ 08:24 avg pace. 6 x 90 second intervals @ 6% grade, 6:47/mile (2.5 minute recovery jog in between). 5 x 1:00 planks. Feeling exhausted with a gunky cough still. The kids have whatever this is, too. The upside is that the run helped to cough up the nasty stuff!
01/13 Wednesday - Strength Training.

01/14 Thursday - Easy: 6.53 mi, 01:00 @ 09:11 avg pace. Quiet morning run in the snow with our pup. The 10°F weather felt GREAT compared to our sub-zeros lately!

01/15 Friday - Tempo Run: (Treadmill) 4 mi, 00:32 @ 08:03 avg pace. 6 x 90 second intervals @ 6:47/mile pace.

01/16 Saturday - Long Run: (Treadmill) 10 mi, 01:23 @ 08:18 avg pace. Ran long on the treadmill today and actually enjoyed it! Our treadmill handled the distance really well (usually don't run long indoors) and it felt great to not run on our icy streets. Ran @ 8:34/mile average with 5 x 5 minute intervals @ 8:00.

01/10 Sunday - Off.

Total Mileage: 30.1

What is one great part of your Monday?

Linking up with Mommy Moments and Fitness Health & Happiness.