Cajun Pasta with Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Chicken

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Tyson®. The opinions and text are all mine.

When Tyson reached out to me to try out their Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Fully Cooked Refrigerated Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast, I was really excited because I already use their fully cooked chicken strips.

During marathon training, I don’t get home until 7 pm or so, and then am in no mood to cook, especially something that will take an hour or more. I’m all about the simply and easy meals. Well, Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Fully Cooked Refrigerated Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast makes that possible!

Since it’s fully cooked, all you have to do is warm it up, and cook your other ingredients. You can find these at WalMart, as well as their other Tyson® products.

Just a shot of my doing my WalMart shopping ;)

Just a shot of my doing my WalMart shopping ;)

Initially, I didn’t know what recipe I would create for this post, but then saw the perfect idea on the Tasty Facebook page (check it out for so many awesome recipe ideas).

This recipe is a one-pot cajun pasta recipe. I’ve never made a one-pot recipe, so decided to try and re-create it, though I did modify it a bit. I honestly did not expect it to come out like the video at all, but it was TRULY delicious and I will be including this into my dinner routine. Because the chicken was already cooked, it was quick and easy to make. Next time I just need to make more for leftovers!

Let’s go through the steps:

Try this quick and easy cajun chicken pasta recipe!  Perfect for busy nights.  #everydayeffortless

1. Throw in the chicken. I used about half of the package.


2. Add in your cajun seasoning, onions, peppers and garlic. Cook for a few minutes and stir consistently.


3. Add in your pasta (I used whole wheat), and enough chicken broth to cover everything. The recipe called for 5 cups, but I did probably around 3-4 then added water. I used Progresso Unsalted Chicken Broth. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes.


4. Drain the broth/water to your liking, I took it all out. Then add in parmesan cheese and stir it well.

And voila, you’re done! I sprinkled some green onions on top and then devoured this meal ;)



Cajun Chicken Pasta
Quick and easy one-pot meal!
Write a review
Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Fully Cooked Refrigerated Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast
  2. Cajun Seasoning
  3. Onions
  4. Peppers
  5. Garlic
  6. Pasta of your choice
  7. Chicken broth
  8. Other seasonings of your choice
  1. I'm not sure how much of the onions and peppers I used because I buy them pre-cut and eyeball my measurings.
Reach Your Peak http://reach-yourpeak.com/
I am excited to try other one-pot recipes. I liked the quickness of it AND not having a million dishes to wash.

If you like quick meals, I highly suggest you try out Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Fully Cooked Refrigerated Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast. The options are endless for what you can use it in, and it really is a time-saver when it comes to cooking dinner. Their hashtag is #everydayeffortless and it is true!

Another one of my go-to meals using this chicken is pasta + chicken + add-ins of your choice (I use onions and peppers) + pasta sauce. Simple and delicious.

Have you tried Tyson® Grilled & Ready® Fully Cooked Refrigerated Oven Roasted Diced Chicken Breast?

Do you have a “go-to” dinner recipe for busy nights?

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.


Follow Reach Your Peak: 



When I Feel Most Confident

No weekly training recap from last week because I can sum it up real quick: 2 easy runs and a long 13 miler haha. I decided to give my shins a few days of extra rest because I felt like if I was going to do it, now is a good time as I gear up for the taper, right?


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

We ran 12 outside, then finished with 1 mile on the treadmill because it got dark. Like I said on Instagram…check out that elevation! It will be interested to run a flat race, since most of our training runs include hills, and any races we have ran in this area have all been hilly. The idea of a totally flat race (until the end) kinda makes me nervous!

Anyway, today I wanted to talk about a sort of revelation I had while I was on that 13 mile long run. I’ve written in the past about not feeling happy with my body, or wanting to lose weight…and I’m still in that mindset most days. I know I could lose 10-15 lbs, but also know during marathon training that is just not feasible.

When I look in the mirror I’m not 100% happy with what I see. In every day clothing, I am pulling at my shirt or wearing bigger shirts to hide my belly.

However, I realized the moment I put on my workout clothes, I feel confident. When I’m wearing my spandex shorts, I like the way my legs look in the mirror. I am reminded that these legs are strong and have carried me hundreds of miles.

I feel the most confident when my hair is up in a ponytail or brand and I am out there running. Despite my sweat dripping down my face and neck (remember I sweat A LOT?), my makeup-less face, etc. I feel strong and healthy. I love hearing my breathing and my steps on the pavement. I love making my body work hard…which is why I love track workouts so much.

I don’t know why I started thinking about this while running, but it just clicked. I may not be happy with how I look, BUT I am happy with my body’s abilities, and happy that I can run every day if I wanted to. Or lift, or whatever. I am the most happy and confident while running or at the gym. 

My goals for when this marathon is over is to continue running, but also start lifting again. I do want to try to lose some weight, so that it CAN help my running (racing weight or whatever haha), but I am slowly getting to a place where as long as I’m healthy and able to run, that is my number 1 priority. Yes, sometimes it sucks not being able to wear clothes I want to wear because I feel self conscious, but it’s not longer bumming me out like it used to.

Long, random post – so thanks for reading! I want to get your thoughts as well.

When do you feel the most confident in yourself?

How has running (or exercising in general) changed your perceptions/life?


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


How To Avoid A Side Stitch

Getting a side stitch in the  middle of a run is a pain (pun intended). I hate when I am in the groove and get a side cramp, and my XC runners have experienced it as well. Luckily, I have a little trick to get rid of them quickly (which may already be well known but whatever).

A side stitch can be caused by numerous things, such as shallow breathing, a spasm of the diaphragm, and eating too big of a meal or drinking too much before a run. 

So how can you prevent it or treat it once it happens?

How To Avoid A Side Stich While Running...try these 4 tips!

Eat/Drink Less Before a Run

Typically, you should eat your last meal about 2 hours before a run, and stop drinking coffee or water 30-60 minutes before a run. I still sometimes eat a small snack right before a workout (like half a banana or granola bar), but definitely avoid a large meal or snack, and obviously don’t chug a bottle of water before a workout. BUT at the same time, stay hydrated. A few of my runners got killer side cramps earlier this season and when I asked them if they drank water all day they said “no because I didn’t want to get a cramp.” What?? Staying hydrated throughout the day will HELP you to avoid getting a side stitch.

Slow Down

If you need to stop and walk, do it. No shame in that. Take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Resume running once you feel the cramp has gone away.

Focus On Your Breathing

Speaking of breathing, if you regularly get side cramps, try a different method of breathing. It will be uncomfortable and feel weird at first, but might help you in avoiding cramps. I am a mouth breather and my mom is a nose breather – everyone has their ways. Many articles I’ve read on breathing while running have suggested breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. I try to do this when running easy, and during a workout I will remind myself to take a deep breath through my nose occasionally to regulate my breathing and heart rate.

Squeeze it

This is my favorite “trick.” When I get a side stitch, I will squeeze where it hurts, and also push in and up a little bit, while ALSO bending over as I do it, continuing to run, and forcefully exhaling out everytime my left foot strikes.

lol WUT?

Yeah I know, that was confusing. Here are the steps:

  1. As you continue running (slow down a bit), squeeze your cramp AND push up.
  2. Bend over as you are running (looks a little weird but F it, you want to get rid of that cramp) AND keep squeezing
  3. Breathe deeply through your nose, and when your left foot strikes (as you’re continuing to run), forcefully exhale through your mouth. As in, get rid of all the air.
  4. Repeat a few more times, and then your cramp should go away.

I forget where I initially read this sequence, but it really does help. I’m sure people look at me and wonder what I’m doing, but usually my cramps go away within seconds, and my XC runners can attest to that as well.

Do you get side cramps regularly? If so, what do you do?

If not, what is one of your “runner pains?”


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


Chicago Marathon Training Week 15

What was supposed to be peak week, but wasn’t. Almost but not quite.

Guys, I know I keep saying how nervous I am but I AM NERVOUS. I know that I’ve been running consistently for the past 15 weeks, and haven’t really skipped days or anything (minus those 3 days where I was REALLY fatigued)…but I just feel like mileage wise I should have been higher. 

My peak was 37 miles…then I found the Chicago Marathon training plan written by Nike from last year for beginners and they had them going up to 50, which is what I did in my 2013 NYC Marathon training cycle. 

Lately, I have had this nagging pain in my shin and I’m not sure what it is. It has been bothering me for the past 2 weeks, which is why I cut my long run short this past week from 18 miles to 13 miles. I have been talking to the athletic trainer at my job and she thinks it is just muscle tightness and (hopefully) nothing serious like a stress fracture. 

Anyway, here is this week’s training:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 4 miles. UGH this run made me so angry. I was supposed to do 6×800 repeats but barely finished 4. My legs felt like cement and I was supposed to run the 800s in 4:40, yet the last one I eeked out a 4:57. I called it off after that because I didn’t want to force it too much since I knew I had a long run in 2 days (Thursday). Was feeling annoyed and frustrated, but coach Marc reminded me that I ran the 5th Avenue Mile Sunday and it is normal for your legs to feel that way. I created this image for Instagram that night because sometimes, we all need to remember this!

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 10.16.57 AM

Wednesday: 6 miles. Just an easy paced run.

Thursday: 13 miles. This was supposed to be my last LONG, long run, and supposed to be 18 miles. I wanted to quit after the first 6 and was SO CLOSE. But I knew I had no other time to do it. I contemplated quitting and somehow finding the time to do it Friday night (I was going to be working late), but sucked it up and told myself, I will complete this no matter how slow I have to go.

I just felt off from the very first mile. Isn’t that the worst feelling? After 6 I didn’t think I could do it. But then I rallied and told my mom, look I feel like crap, I’m going to have to do run/walk intervals and see if I feel any better after a while. So I would run for 2 minutes then walk for 1 minute. After the next 3 miles, I started feeling better so I changed it to run 6-7 minutes, walk 1 minute. My shin was hurting and I just did not feel 100% so I was ok with taking it slow. 

By 8 pm we had finished 13 miles, but I decided to stop there. My shin was hurting with each step and it was now really dark, despite having a flashlight. We ran for 2:40ish minutes, and I figured that was good in terms of  “time on your feet.” Now though, I am kinda wishing we were able to finish those 18…


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: Sloooow 5 mile recovery run.

Saturday: 3 miles. Another crappy run. Needed to do 5 but legs just felt like cement again. Every run this week was crappy. I ended up walking at 2.75 until mile 3 and called it a day.

Sunday: 4 miles. I did this on the treadmill and did some intervals. After yesterday’s slog, I wanted to try to do some faster pace stuff and knew the treadmill would help me. Honestly, I did NOT want to run considering the day before we had been tailgating for hours and then didn’t get to our hotel until 1 am, and THEN had to drive 2 hours home…but got it done anyway.


To make myself feel somewhat better, I went back to my 2013 training log and calculated my average weekly mileage. Despite peaking at 50 miles one or two weeks, my weekly average miles was 32. Currently, my weekly average is 30. So not too far off.

What do you do when you have a whole week of bad runs?

Do you think that a 20 miler is necessary in marathon training? I personally think 16-18 is good depending on your weekly mileage. I like Hansons Marathon Method because of that. They calculate your long run based on the percentage of your total weekly miles. Your long run, according to them, should never be half of your total miles.


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


5th Avenue Mile 2015 Race Recap

First I want to say…TGIF!! I’m so pumped that it’s the weekend, mainly because I’m (and Dan and my sister) heading to Penn State tomorrow for the Rutgers vs. Penn State game. They have a stripe out planned, but hopefully we have a big enough RU contingent that our red ruins some of their stripes ;)


It will be cool seeing a much bigger stadium than anything I’ve ever been in…but I just really really hope Rutgers can pull off the win!

Anyway, last Sunday, my mom and I ran in the 5th Avenue Mile. We have ran in 2 other times previously, and it is always one of our favorite races.


This year was a little different because I got an invite to run in the media/social media mile. It’s a speciality heat with only about 50 people (as opposed to hundreds) and reserved for members of local media and bloggers such as myself. Since it was a small heat, I was really nervous about coming in last place and everyone else being way faster than me lol.

My mom’s wave went off first at 10:40. We ran about 1.5 miles together for her warmup, then I stood around the 1/2 mile marker to wait for her.

5th Avenue Mile is just a straight shot down 5th Ave…20 blocks. It starts on a slight decline, then you have an incline until 1/2 mile, then it flattens out. It’s weird because you can see the finish line from the 1/2 mile point, and it feels so close, yet it is still so far. That’s a tip I have heard time and time again: do not accelerate just because you see the finish, it is still far away!

My mom decided to start off conservatively and pick it up in the last half mile. She regretted that decision because she felt she could have ran faster, but she finihed in 7:53!

Afterwards, I met up with her and then it was my turn to run. She stayed at the 1/2 mile point, then I headed out to do more of a warm-up and strides before my heat at 11:45. 

I didn’t really know what my own strategy was going to be. I figured I’d go out hard and just try to hold on.

I was surprised by my splits for the first half mile: 1:44 and 1:46 (quarters). I was like damn if I keep this up I can finish in 7 minutes! But I finished in 7:38, so as you can see I slowed down a bit in the second half.

I felt like I was just running as fast as I could. I love the fans on the sides cheering and one guy yelled, “Great form!!! You have great running form!” I was like oh, ok! :)

The cool thing too about the media mile was that I had the whole road to run on. When you’re in the age group heats it is very crowded and you’re running around people. For me, I was running alone the whole way. The faster group had left me, and the other group behind me was about 10-15 seconds behind me, so I was smack dab in the middle. 

I tried to throw in some “surges” to speed up when I could but I was basically just already going as fast as I can. I mean, can you tell the pain by my face here?

Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.12.39 AM

The photographers captured some great ones of me and my mom, now deciding which ones to order. I have yet to order a cool action shot of me running, but would like one where I don’t look like I hate running lol.

Oh lastly, another cool thing was that they announced my name as I crossed the finish! 

Once we crossed, we were told we could go to the VIP tent, and guess who was there? Meb!


I said him, “I just tried to run as fast as you!” and he laughed and said hey, you did good, and fist bumped me! :-)

Afterwards, we went for a run while we waited for the elite races to go off. I mainly wanted to see the women’s race, especially Jenny Simpson! We went up to the start to watch the elite men and women warm up. Interesting to note that they are warming up about 45 minutes before race time…meanwhile I warm up like 15 minutes before haha. Here are some pics from the warm-up:


Treniere Moser

Treniere Moser


Matt Centrowitz

Matt Centrowitz

Shannon Rowbury

Shannon Rowbury

Jenny Simpson ended up winning, and this is the second athlete and first female in event history to win 4 5th Avenue Miles. Pretty cool!


Also, did you see the oldest man to finish the race? He’s 96 and finished in about 21 minutes. Such an inspiration!

This is one of my favorite races of the year…if you haven’t ran it OR have never ran a 1 mile race, I highly recommend it. It’s tough, but over in a flash. A fun race day all around.


Have you ever ran a 1 mile race? Which one?

Football talk: do you have a favorite college football team? What’s your alma mater?


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


Chicago Marathon Training Week 14

I really can’t believe the marathon is so close! I have zero clue what to expect out of this race…but my mom and I will be shooting for a PR (anything below 4:50). 

I know last week I said I would try to hit 40 miles this past week, but I actually ended up changing my plan for the week. Originally, I would be doing my last longer run (18 miles), but since I had done 17 the week before, I decided to take a down week and do 10 instead, and move the 18 miles to this week. So with the shorter run, it made for less miles on the week.

I was feeling pretty fatigued so some runs also ended up only being 3 miles instead of 5-6. I figured a down week would be ok before going into this peak week.

Here’s last week’s training:

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 5 miles

Wednesday: 3 miles. Ever have those runs where you feel tired and out of breath from the start? This was one of those runs. It was also hot and humid (yet again), so instead of going for 5-6 I just turned back at 1.5 miles. Blah.

Thursday: 10 miles. It’s so funny how after a bad run you can have a great run. I was thankful for the rainy day because it meant less heat. Since it was thunderstorming when I got out of work, my mom and I ran 3 miles instead until the rain dissipated. Then we headed outside, and although it was a light drizzle, it felt nice! We did 6 miles outside (at tempo pace), then 1 mile on the treadmill (because it was getting dark). Finished with strides.


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Friday: 3 recovery miles.

Saturday: Off. 

Sunday: 6 total miles. 5th Avenue Mile (recap coming this week) + warm up and cool down miles. Ran it in 7:38…not my best (past 5th Ave Miles have been 7:07 and 7:20), but actually better than I thought I would do on tired legs from marathon training. I just gunned it and ran the first 2 quarter miles in 1:45, but then slowed from there lol. I want to keep writing but I’ll save it for my recap!


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Pretty cool I got to get a pic with Meb (and he fist bumped me when I told him I tried to run as fast as him lol). 

This week I am hoping to get over 40, then one more weak around 40 range, then it is TAPER TIME. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?? Because I can’t.

Have any of you ran the 5th Avenue Mile/any mile race? I think it’s my favorite race distance.

If you could meet any elite runner or athlete in general, who would it be?


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


My Top 5 Websites For Runners

If you’re anything like me, you are constantly reading up on running, and perusing the internet anytime you have a running related question or concern…or is that just me? ;)

I wanted to share with you my top 5 websites that I visit on a regular basis to read about running and get answers to my burning questions. And to just help myself feel better about things…for example last night I was re-reading up on the benefits of a 2 week taper (which is what I did when I used Hansons Marathon Method). I think I’ll be doing a 2-2.5 week taper this time around.

So here are my top 5 websites for runners:

Check out these 5 websites the next time you need running tips, info, or motivation!


Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 11.37.01 AM

I love reading RunnersConnect for everything running related. They get very detailed and “science-y” with their posts, so the “runnerd” in you will be happy. They write about training, nutrition, injury prevention and much more. They also have a podcast so you can listen on-the-go! Fellow blogger and elite runner Tina Muir is one of their hosts. Here are a few of their recent article you might want to check out:


Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 11.39.36 AM

I feel like LetsRun is a love/hate thing with runners…you either love it or hate it. I’m sorta in between. I can find some great articles and tips in there, but sometimes the message boards are a little much. Oh right, this website is more about the message board/forums than it is a blog or anything like that. They do also post regular articles about updates and news in the track and field/elite running world if that’s something you’re interested in.

I like reading through message boards for training tips and to see what other people are doing or what other people think of certain training plans, injury prevention topics, etc. Lots of good stuff in there!

Here are a few current topics on their message boards:


Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.11.06 PM

I actually only recently started reading through the reddit running subthread (or /running as redditors call it). I have posted in the threads a few time and have gotten really good feedback and constructive criticism back about my running. This thread I started was super helpful: Will I Ever Qualify For Boston

You can search keywords and topics in order to find what you need, and every week they also a questions thread where everyone just asks their own questions in one place and people answer. Sometimes I like reading through those too to see what random things people are toping about that I might be wondering too.

Here are some topics on the /running reddit right now:


Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 12.20.07 PM

This is my main place to go to for running motivation and inspiration. I love their Workout Wednesday videos that highlight workouts being done by pros as well as collegiate and high school athletes. This one, of Mary Cain and Jordan Hasay doing a workout AFTER a race, really gets me ready to get out there and run!

They also have “FloPro” where you pay $20 for access to all of their workout videos (as in workout videos for you to do yourself, think strength training videos). They also have mini-documentary series that are part of their Pro subscription. I paid $20 once because I wanted to watch their series on Kara Goucher :)


This website is similar to RunnersConnect in that it is a great overall resource and tool for runners. Chock full of information. It is run by 2:39 marathoner Jason Fitzgerald and apparently helps 200,000 runners a month “train and run faster.”

I follow Jason on Twitter and always click his links whenever there is a new StrengthRunning post. 

Here are some recent StrengthRunning articles for ya:

Hopefully you can find some value in these websites as well! I highly recommend you go to FloTrack’s Workout videos the next time you need some motivation to get out the door for a run.

What websites would you add to this list?

What motivates you the most as a runner? Videos? Blog posts? Interviews?


Follow Reach Your Peak: 



Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

Wow 5 weeks to go!! I feel like I am hitting my stride but for some reason am STILL really worried I’m not prepared enough. I do want to thank everyone who has commented and given me their insight and support – I truly appreciate it. 

I guess the reason I am nervous is because in 2011, I was running about 30-35 miles per week and MAJORLY BONKED at NYCM. But I’m telling myself it was also because 1) it was my first marathon and 2) I was really dehydrated.

In my second marathon, I was averaging about 40, and peaked at 50…and that was when I finished strong and PRed by 30 minutes. So I guess I’m nervous that since I’m not doing that this time, I will bonk like the first time. TIME WILL TELL :-O

Anyway, I did have a solid week last week and hit 37 miles!! The most so far in training. Here’s how it went down:

Monday: 7 miles. Mile repeats were on the schedule which made me nervous. We did a 1 mile warmup, then 4 mile repeats, then 1 mile cooldown. We ran .25 in between each at a slow jog to recover. We needed to hit about 9:35, and since it was hot and humid I thought to myself, “I’ll be fine with 9:45.” Well we crushed it! Our splits were: 9:35, 9:32, 9:31, 9:20. I like pushing myself on last reps of workouts and seeing what I can do…but that 9:20 was really hard haha. 


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Tuesday: Off

Wednesday: 5 easy miles. Super slow because it was yet another hot and humid day. Finished last mile run/walking but I was ok with it because we knew we had a long run the next day.

Thursday: 17 miles. Guys. I was freaking out about this run. I wrote more about it in my last post, but basically I was ready for it, but then got in my own head. I asked people about how to get through a really hot run and many people advised me not to do it and skip it. Then I started getting really nervous. Was I going to get heat stroke or something? Should I skip it? We decided to split it up between indoors and outdoors, which actually really helped the time go by so much faster.

We did 6 miles on the treadmill, 6 miles outside (with water stashed every 1.5 miles), 5 miles inside to finish up. Those last 5 miles were done at marathon goal pace because we haven’t really practiced that yet. It was kinda uncomfortable, but I kept telling myself that the race will be uncomfortable. I finished the last mile in 9:45 and felt great. I really, really hope that is how race day goes too!


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Oh I also changed my shirt 3 times because…sweat. lol as I have mentioned before, I sweat A LOT. So after I hopped off the treadmill I changed, and then again when I got back from outside. It also helps you mentally I think…you feel fresh, starting in a dry shirt. Or maybe it’s just me…

Friday: 3 recovery miles. Ran this on my lunch break before my team’s first XC meet. They did great! We are adding a few more people this week, so hopefully we can get a full team down before our next meet.

Saturday: Off. 

Sunday: 5 miles before my friend’s Beer Olympics BBQ :) Yes, not the best to be drinking a ton of beer while marathon training but you know what, I’m okay with it! It was so much fun – and no I did not run yesterday (day after). It was spent recovering on the couch ;)


This week I’m hoping to break 40. Here’s a little inspirational image I made for myself/other runners who can relate:


A photo posted by Patty Rivas (@pattyrivas13) on

Wouldn’t it be nice to be sponsored? :)

Have you ever participated in a beer olympics? It’s basically different team games + drinking (we did dizzy bat, water balloon toss, flip cup, etc.)

If you could be sponsored by a brand, which one would you choose? As much as Nike is in some heat in the track and field world, I would love to be outfitted in Nike gear from head to toe!


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


I Ran 17 Miles!

17 miles in the (marathon training) books. It’s funny because the last 2 long runs I’ve had, I had been totally dreading them. I was nervous and really doubting myself…and then they ended up being great runs. 

I was really nervous about this one because of the heat. All week it had been mid-high 90s, and humid. The day before this run, I struggled even finishing 5 miles. In fact, I ran/walked most of the last 2 miles in order to keep it easy effort.

I posted in the FitFluential Running Facebook group and got some good feedback from other runnerrs. Many advised me not to try to do the entire run outside due to the high heat. I would be running at 5 pm, so it would be a bit cooler than during the day, but still mid 90′s. 

So my mom and I decided to run indoors at the gym first, then head outside. We were kinda winging it. We didn’t know how long we’d run on the treadmill but the initial plan was only 3 miles. I felt fine running longer so we ended up running 6 miles on the treadmill before heading outside.

I changed my shirt real quick (#heavysweaterprobs) and then we continued with 6 miles outside. I’m glad we ran inside first because once we got outside the sun had gone down, BUT it was still pretty hot and muggy.

Before our run we left 2 water bottles on the route so we could stop every 1.5 miles and drink.

So anyway, we did 6 miles outside, then headed back inside (after another shirt change), and hopped on the treadmill as quick as we could to keep moving.

We were supposed to do 18 but finished at 17. The gym was close to closing and we needed to stretch and cooldown too. I felt really good though!

We wanted to do the last 5 miles at marathon goal pace (10:20-10:30) so we pushed ourselves a bit, and then I finished my last mile in 9:45. If only it felt so easy in the actual marathon! I’ll share some photos from my snapchat story (I’m @pattyrivas13 btw):



I’m so glad this run went well because this one and the previous 14 miles have been confidence boosters for me. I’m still kinda not sure at all how I’ll fare at Chicago Marathon, but here’s what I’m thinking:

  • Even though in my training for NYC Marathon I was close to 50 miles per week, I think this range (35ish) has been working well because I don’t feel too run down AND my shin pain has not been flaring up *knock on wood*

But I guess we’ll see!

Screen Shot 2015-09-04 at 10.02.33 AM

How do you handle hot runs? I made sure to take water every 2 miles and a salt pill every hour.

What is your least favorite part of long runs? Mine is just how time consuming it is…though I guess if you’re faster, that’s not a problem for you! ;)


Follow Reach Your Peak: 


6 Healthy Foods To Keep In Your Dorm Room

It’s back to school season! Which  means fall weather is right around the corner…bring it on!

Today was the first day of classes at the community college I work and coach at. I love seeing campus full again and am always jealous of  first year students…such an exciting journey ahead of them.

If you’re living on a college campus, you probably only have a small fridge and microwave (if that) in your dorm. Side note: as a higher ed professional, we were taught to say “residence hall” instead of dorm, but I’m going to stick with dorm ;)

Even if you don’t have a fridge, you can still stock up on some healthy foods and snacks which will be perfect when you’re on the go or just hungry and lounging around in your room.

Keep reading and I’ll talk more about these items!

6 Healthy Foods To Keep In Your College Dorm!
Protein Powder

I love PlantFusion protein – it’s free of all major allergens and plant based. I’ve tried other plant based powders but didn’t like the chalky taste or after taste. PlantFusion has a variety of flavors (like cookies and creme!) and also has a nutritional shake called Phood, which is more of a meal replacement type shake. You can order samples of their different products on their website for just $10! Can’t beat that.

While I had never even thought to buy protein powder in college, it’s a good thing to have on hand. You can easily make shakes with just water, or if you do have a fridge, you can stock up on almond milk, fruits, etc. to make delicious smoothies for breakfast or snacks.

Nektar Honey Crystals

I should have added tea to this list but oh well. If you’re a tea lover, Nektar Honey Crystals are perfect for you! I have been working with the Nektar team for a bit, but genuinely love the product.

I have written about them before, and love that they are perfect for on-the-go. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve brought my honey bear (lol at that phrasing) to work and have it leak all over my lunch bag. They also just released a pourable bottle which is perfect for baking. If you bring tea to class (or oatmeal), pack a few of these packets and you’re good to go.

Peanut Butter

Does this even need an explanation?? Stock up on peanut butter! Eat it by the spoonful or spread of on apples and bananas. My favorite pre-workout snack is a piece of bread with peanut butter and sliced bananas on it. I also always add peanut butter to my oatmeal and overnight oats. Oops, just realized I should have added oatmeal to this list too!

Granola Bars

I love Nature Valley bars, but this new product is now my favorite granola bar (the simple nut bar). Minimal ingredients and a great snack to pack in your bag. Also good for pre and post-workout. When shopping for granola bars, make sure to read the ingredient labels…some are packed with random ingrediets and loads of sugar!


These are also another good snack option. I like them because they can be kept anywhere (cold, hot, etc.) without it going bad. So you can keep a few in the car or in your purse for emergencies. While they do have a bit more sugar than I would like, I’m comforted by the fact that it is all-natural. I like to snack on these before runs for a little energy boost.


These are a recent discovery of mine. I have tried the BBQ flavor and the restaurant style and both are delicious! If you love chips and salsa, try Beanitos. It’s a healthier alternative to other chips. I eat them with hummus as well. Dan doesn’t like beans so he’ll never try them, but I swear it does not taste like beans!

Have you tried Beanitos? Let me know if you do.

What would you add to the list? What are your favorite on-the-go snacks?

If you’re starting school, tell me what college you’re at! Maybe we are Big 10 rivals ;) #Rutgers


Follow Reach Your Peak: