Athens Half Marathon

Image Ahhhhh... Such excitement in the air for the Athens Half Marathon this weekend! I love that new and old participants come out of the wood work to run this race though the beautiful streets of Athens. I truly believe the buzz in the air over the race brings on more people thinking about exercising and leading a healthier lifestyle.

Like I've said before, the most running I ever did prior to the first Athens Marathon in 2010 was down the vault runway in college! Running was never my sport (too boring I thought), until a dear friend convinced me to run the Athens Half with her. I trained for four challenging months starting with just one mile and gradually worked my way toward the 10-mile mark, until the day of the race where I did the 13.2 around Athens and up the dreaded HILL (that the race director has since taken out).  From the moment I crossed the finish line I was hooked! Ready to sign up for the next race, I sprinted home to tell my husband!

After three years have passed by, I am still ever thankful for my sweet friend who coerced me into signing up; it has blessed my family and me in so many ways. Even if you are not a runner, let the energy of the half marathon sweep over you and try something new, something life changing, something that will push you to a new level of health and wellness.  Try a new fitness class, try to get up early to exercise, try yoga or Pilates, try some interval training in your living room- get moving! You body, mind, and spirit will thank you!



My Post-Race Smoothie: Clean Eating Pumpkin Smoothie (Makes 1 serving) Ingredients 1 cup Greek yogurt 1/2 cup pumpkin (I used canned and organic) 1 tbsp. honey 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (no sugar added) 2 tbsp. whey protein powder Directions Step 1 - Place all ingredients in a blender, and blend till smooth. Step 2 - Pour it into a pretty glass, find a relaxing place to sit, and sip it slowly for the "full smoothie experience".





My Post-Race Dinner: Farro and White Bean Chili

Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 35 minutes Yield: 6 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoon Fire & Flavor Everyday Rub 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon dried oregano 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 (15 ounce) cans white beans, drained and rinsed 1 cup farro, rinsed 6 cups vegetable or chicken stock juice of 1 lime 1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro (optional)

Topping Options: Avocado, green onions, cilantro, sour cream, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, lime wedges

FIRST Heat oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute onion until soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, Everyday Rub, cumin, oregano, and pepper and cook for 30 seconds, stirring. NEXT Add beans, farro, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 35-40 minutes or until farro is cooked through. If chili becomes too thick add additional water or stock as needed. Season to taste with salt and pepper and stir lime juice and cilantro. LAST Garnish with your favorite toppings, and serve.

(Recipes courtesy of The Gracious Pantry and Fire and Flavor.)