10 Tips for Keeping Runners Safe

I remember sitting at my desk on April 15, 2013 when my phone started ringing and multiple text messages started popping up.  “Are you okay?!”  I had no idea why people were asking, but I soon found out: the Boston Marathon bombing.  I was 2 weeks out from the Nashville Marathon, and all my loved ones knew was that I was training for a marathon, but not sure of which one.  (Bless them for thinking I’m that fast…)  Of course this moment is memorable for all of us, especially for runners, but for me, it stands out for an important reason: It was the first time I realized that runners weren’t safe.

One thing that I love about running is that it is pure.  It’s (for the most part) a solo activity.  Just you and the road.  There’s no impact to others.  No hitting, blocking, punching, concussions.  So when something like the traumatic event in Boston, or the abduction of Molly Tibbets on her run in Iowa, I am rocked.  Something so pure and individual attacked by evil.  (I can’t even type this without the tears stinging my eyes.)

The attacks on runners has becoming much more frequent.  In the past couple of years, I too have been noticeably (and scarily) followed by unwanted spectators in their creepy conversion vans.  The most recent was last week, so I wanted to share my top tips for keeping us safe on the run.

  1. Tell someone when/where you are going.  Never embark on a run without telling someone.  You can even share your location with a spouse/friend through apps like Glympse or RunSafe .
  2. Don’t share your location.  (I know, sounds like I’m confused after that first tip, but stay with me.)  Look at the privacy settings in your running apps (Strava, Garmin, etc.).  Turn off the location, the tracking, the location, the public settings, etc.  People are smart, and the wrong person could find you on your run.  Closely coupled with this, be very careful about sharing your running summaries on social media, especially if your profiles are public.  You are essentially advertising where you run and when.
  3. Run with a friend or a dog.  If you’ve got a dog that likes to run, this is a huge deterrent since a stranger doesn’t know if they bark or bite.  Also, there is safety and protection in numbers.  If someone sees a runner with a friend or group, they will likely pass that up for a solo runner with no support.
  4. Run in visible areas that you know very well.  Your route should be in a non-remote, frequently traveled area that has lighting along the way.  In addition, do not try a new route on your own.  If you look confused or unsure, that is evident to those that are watching, and you won’t know where to run (literally) if you encounter a scary situation.
  5. Stay aware.  If you’re good to run without music, do it!  If you need your music or podcast, there are still some options:
    1. Run with the volume down.
    2. Run with only one earbud in, so one ear is open.
    3. Invest in some safety headphones.  I am a huge advocate for Aftershokz, because they have bone conduction technology so runners can be open to what is going on around them while listening to their music.  They have more than paid for themselves.
  6. Learn self defense.  A lot of community centers and churches offer free classes, so just do a quick Goog to find one in your area.
  7. Run facing traffic, even on sidewalks.  (This is kind of a soapbox item for me, but I’ll show restraint.)  This is actually a traffic law, so we can keep it legal.  But moreover, if you have your back to traffic rather than facing it, you can’t see who is approaching.  Face oncoming traffic so you can see who and what are coming your way.
  8. Take your phone and keep it handy.  I know it’s ideal to take as little gear as possible, but this is a non-negotiable.  If you are ever in an emergency situation of any kind, you will want your phone.  I actually even have mine pre-dialed to 911 when I’m out on a run so that a couple of quick clicks will get me on the phone with the police really quick.
  9. Change up your routine if at all possible.  Very the time of day that you go, vary the route that you take, vary anything that could make you trackable or predictable.
  10. Trust your gut!  If something feels wrong, it probably is.  No run is worth risking your safety.  Call the Police immediately if something happens to you or someone else, or if you notice anyone or anything out of the ordinary.  It is important to report incidents immediately.  Practice memorizing license tags or identifying characteristics of strangers so that you can recall them if needed.  (I do this and it actually keeps me entertained while I run.)

 

I hope you found these tips helpful.  If you have anything to add, please drop it in the comments so we can all benefit.

Stay safe out there friends!

XOXO,

Molly B.

 

Chocolate Chip Protein Balls

Ingredients:

2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I use Arbonne.)

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup ground flaxseed

1/4 cup chia seeds

1 cup nut butter of choice (I use Almond Butter.)

2/3 cup agave

2/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Optional:

1/3 cup sunflower seeds

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup dried fruit

1/3 cup other nuts

1/3 cup coconut

Instructions:

Place all dry ingredients in mixing bowl and combine.

Add the agave and nut butter and stir until combined.  (This will be very thick and hard to stir, so I recommend using a mixer if you have one.)

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to slightly harden.

Remove from the refrigerator and form mixture into balls.  (I use a cookie dough scoop or ice cream scoop, but you can use a spoon or just eyeball it for the size you want.)

Place balls in airtight container of choice.  Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Enjoy!

 

XOXO,

Molly B.

Overnight Chia Seed Pudding

Overnight Oats are one of my favorite quick, easy, healthy breakfast items to meal prep for the week.  But I’m here to tell you that Overnight Chia Seed Pudding is the real unsung hero that I’ve been eating on repeat lately.

Chia Seed Pudding makes a fantastic breakfast, a filling mid-day snack, or a fabulous dessert!  The recipe is so simple, it’s really versatile, and the flavor and topping possibilities are endless.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I prefer coconut milk, because it’s extra thick and creamy.)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice (I use chocolate, and I prefer the Arbonne brand.)
  • 1 cup cauliflower rice (This is totally optional, but I’m always finding an excuse to add in more veggies.)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp nut butter of choice

Instructions:

  1. Add all ingredients except nut butter to the container of your choice (mason jar, Tupperware, etc.)
  2. Replace the lid and give it a shake to combine all of the ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  3. When ready to eat, remove from the refrigerator, and you have several options:
    1. I prefer a hot breakfast, so I heat mine for 3 minutes in the microwave, and then I add the nut butter to the top.
    2. You can eat it cold.  Just give it a stir to combine everything, and add the nut butter.
    3. To save on more time, you can add the nut butter when prepping; I just prefer to add it at the end for a creamier consistency.

Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for 4-5 days, and you can add with more toppings if you like–bananas, granola, whipped cream, whatever!

 

I know you’ll love it, and I can’t wait to hear what you add to yours!

XOXO,

Molly B.

Easy Slow Cooker Risotto

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup uncooked Arborio rice

1/4 cup olive oil

4 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp. onion powder

1 tbsp. garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1-2 cups of desired vegetables (Ideas: corn, asparagus, mushrooms, peas)

2 tbsp. thyme

2 tbsp. basil

 

Instructions:

  • Combine rice, vegetables, and all your seasonings in your slow cooker.
  • Add in olive oil and broth.  Stir until combined.
  • Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 – 2 hours, or until most of the moisture is absorbed.
  • Add in cheese and stir.

Protein Mug Cookie

Ingredients:

1 scoop Vanilla protein powder (I use Arbonne.)

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp. chocolate chips

1 tbsp. nut butter

1/3 cup milk of choice (I use almond.)

 

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients, using only 1 tbsp. of the chocolate chips, in a mug and stir to batter-like consistency.
  • Add another 1 tbsp. of chocolate chips on top.
  • Microwave for 90 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on desired consistency.  (I do 2 minutes.)

Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

1 cup riced cauliflower

1 scoop protein powder (I use Arbonne.)

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 cup fruit of choice (I like mixed berries.)

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup water (I like my oats super thick, so I use less liquid.  Add more if you want a thicker consistency.)

2 tsp nut butter

Optional:

  • Greens powder
  • Collagen
  • Nuts
  • Milk instead of water

Instructions:

  • Mix everything except nut butter in your storage of choice.  (I use Tupperware, but use a mason jar if you fancy.)
  • Store in refrigerator for up to one week.
  • When ready to eat, microwave for 3 minutes.  Top with the nut butter.  Eat it all! Mix everything

 

XOXO,

Molly B.

The Easiest (and Yummiest) Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

2 medium sweet potatoes

1 tsp olive oil

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

sea salt (to taste)

black pepper (to taste)

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Wash sweet potatoes and dice into even cubes (about 1 inch).  I like to leave the peel on, but you can peel yours before cutting, if you prefer.)
  • In a large bowl, toss sweet potato cubes with oil and spices until coated evenly.
  • Spread onto baking sheet.
  • Roast potatoes for 30-45 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes.  (They should be soft inside but crispy outside.)
  • Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

Our Three Favorite Toddler-Approved Breakfast Recipes!

Oh toddlers…They certainly don’t make meal time (or anything) easy on us.  Luckily, Jack is a pretty good eater, but he definitely has his favorites.  But more than anything, I don’t have a ton of time (or skill) to whip up a culinary masterpiece.  And I definitely have no desire to do so when I’m not sure if my little dude will throw it on the floor in protest.  I’m always on the hunt for easy recipes that can be frozen and reheated for a quick toddler-approved breakfast.  I’ve rounded up the top three breakfast recipes that I’ve perfected over the past two years.  Recipes, instructions, and freezing instructions are all below.  Enjoy!

1

Almond Butter Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 2 large eggs (can use egg replacer for vegan)
  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice (I use almond.)
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1.5 cups flour of choice (I use almond.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar of choice (I use coconut.)

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with muffin liners OR spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients minus the melted coconut oil.  Then transfer dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  • Finally, add in melted coconut oil and give the batter a final mix.
  • Transfer batter into muffin tin, filling each muffin about 2/3 of the way full.
  • Bake muffins for 16-18 minutes or until fully cooked.
  • You can also mix in blueberries, nuts, diced or shredded vegetables, or anything else of your choosing before baking.

Banana Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (2 bananas) mashed banana + 1 additional sliced banana for topping
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 2 eggs (can use egg replacer for vegan)
  • 1 cup milk of choice (I use almond.)
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 ½ cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkle cinnamon on top to taste

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together mashed banana, eggs, milk, coconut oil, and vanilla until mostly smooth.  Next, add in rolled oats, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt until well combined.  Finally, gently fold in blueberries.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan and top with banana slices, spread out evenly.  Sprinkle cinnamon on top, to taste.
  • Bake for 25-35 minutes until edges start to become slightly golden brown.
  • I have also added in two scoops of protein powder for a quick protein bump or riced cauliflower for some extra veggies.

Carrot and Blueberry Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 egg (can use egg replacer for vegan)
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1½ cups grated carrots (approx. 2 carrots)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped (OPTIONAL)
  • 1 cup blueberries

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350, spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.
  • Place the oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt into a large bowl.  Whisk to combine.
  • Add the egg, maple syrup, vanilla, coconut oil, carrots, walnuts, and blueberries and stir to combine.
  • Use an ice-cream scoop to shape the cookies.  Arrange on the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.  Allow to cool on the tray.

 

These all freeze and reheat very well.  Wait for everything to cool completely, then store in individual sandwich bags.  Place all sandwich bags in a large gallon freezer bag and store in the freezer.  When ready to eat, place in microwave for 1-2 minutes, depending on microwave.

 

I hope you and your littles enjoy these recipes, and I would love to hear your favorites too!

 

XOXO,

Molly B.

A Guide to a Downtown Kansas City Brewery Crawl

A few weeks ago, Chad and I unintentionally embarked on a Brewery Crawl through downtown Kansas City. Yes, unintentionally. We’d planned to spend the day downtown, with no other agenda besides that. What started as, “We should go to one of the breweries down here,” unfolded into the best little day date.

If you open your Yelp app and type in “Brewery,” you will see the dots appear in bulk. We had absolutely no idea how many breweries had opened downtown, and how close they were in proximity! So I put together this guide for you to plan your own Crawl.

First things first, be responsible. If you don’t live downtown, you can’t walk to these places, so you’re not driving. Get an Uber, Lyft, cab, DD, whatever…but leave your car at home. Chad and I actually booked a room at a hotel in the Crossroads, so we were set! Everything is walkable once you’re in the Crossroads, but you could also easily grab a Bird scooter to get you from place to place.

(I’m giving you $2 off each of your first 3 Uber rides. Just use code ‘mollyb6344ue’ to sign up.)

Start your day at Torn Label. (It is the furthest in distance, so you can start there and work your way back.) Tucked back from the road, this little hideout is cozy with a fantastic shaded patio area. They are dog and kid-friendly, and although they don’t serve food, they’re cool when you bring your own. Get yourself a Monk & Honey and thank me later.

Next you’ll head over to City Barrel. Their taproom is large and very high energy. They also win the prize for most entertaining beer names. I settled on the Sunshine Radler, which was the perfect compliment to a hot summer day. They also have a killer food menu, and I highly recommend the Local Cheeses Board for a mid-Crawl nosh.

After you finish at City Barrel, walk around the corner to Double Shift. If you’re a fan of sours, this is your spot. Chad and I decided to share a flight so we could get a small sampling of a lot of flavors. (This is also just a smart endurance move for a crawl of this sort.) Bonus points that their flight trays are shaped like hops. Double Shift’s taproom also features some of the best wall art!

Next Door is Border Brewing Company, and they have a great beer selection. The taproom isn’t large, but they have a fantastic deck that offers a lot of outdoor seating. I’m a dark beer girl, so their Pecan Brown Ale hit the spot.

Wrap up your tour of the Crossroads at Brewery Emperial. This is one of our favorite places, so we were excited to revisit. Not only is their beer delicious, they have some of the best food in the city. I have dreams about one of their dark seasonal beers, but today it was their Maibock, which is also perfect malty sweetness.

If you’re up for it, jump on the Street Car and get to the River Market area for one last stop at Strange Days. Their taproom is family friendly, a great place to watch the game, and they have a beer selection to meet any affliction. We had a blast playing with their giant Connect Four while sipping their Le Petit. I’ll spare you the details on who won every game. (Me. It was me.)

By now you’re starving, and there’s no better place to end your beer-filled day than Il Lazzarone for the best Neapolitan pizza in the city. They have a great local beer selection, but if you’re ready for a change, their Froze is exceptional. Their Cavolo Riccio side salad is big enough for two people, but delicious enough to devour on your own. Same goes for the pizzas—we shared the Bruxelles, but you know I ate the leftovers.

Sometimes the best days are the ones that have zero plans, and that was this for us. I hope you try out a crawl of your own and share with me when you do.

XOXO,

Molly B.

Discounts on My Favorite Products

From time to time, I like to share some of my favorite products, especially when I can offer a discount to my friends, family, and followers.  I know it can be overwhelming to keep track of discount codes and links.  And when you actually need that discount, then you can’t find it!  So I’m rounding up my links and discount codes to keep an easily accessible list for all of you.  Please know that I do not recommend any products that I do not personally use and love.

 

Daily Harvest:

Get 3 FREE Cups on Your First Order

At Daily Harvest, they believe that living good starts with good food. It feeds us physically, mentally and emotionally. Recognizing the challenges people face today, they have taken the care to design good food around the speed at which we live. They are meticulous about the food they choose, where the food comes from, and how they guarantee the freshest nutrients stay locked in for you.

They take care of food, so that food can take care of you, so that you can be at your best, always.

From the ground up, they partner with farmers who don’t settle for anything less than the sweetest, heartiest, most nourishing fruits and vegetables. Then they freeze everything within hours of harvest to lock in the nourishing goodness of peak season ripeness. Their in-house chefs and nutritionists craft recipes that are both delicious and bring a little something extra to the table. All delivered to your door and ready to enjoy in minutes.

 

Care/of:

Get $40 Off Your First Delivery from Care/of with Code: MBPEB1

Everyone has a different path to personal health, and Care/of is here to help you find yours. They believe in the power of technology, science, and human empathy to make the journey simpler. Let them help take care of you by taking your quiz today!

 

Rent the Runway:

Get $30 Off Your First Order

Rent designer pieces, Love the fit, Return for free.  Shop for any occasion!

Function of Beauty:

Get $5 Off Your First Order

Historically, beauty companies have told you what you need for your hair. Function of Beauty knows that you know your hair better than anyone else does.

Their founding team—world-class MIT engineers and data scientists—spent years building their own algorithm and machines, that pull from hundreds of ingredients to potentially create billions of completely unique shampoo and conditioner combinations.

Tell them what you want and need for your hair, and they’ll individually formulate and fill a product that is as unique as you!  Take the quiz today to get started!

 

Love Wellness:

Get $10 Off You First Order Over $30 with Code REFIFJG7AXT

Love Wellness is women’s wellness reinvented. With a mission to modernize an archaic category, Love Wellness provides a female-first voice alongside natural, OB/GYN-recommended personal care products. Their products are holistic, with an offering ranging from OTC suppositories for common infections, to safe personal hygiene cleansers, and their line of vitamin supplements for PMS and Total Body Care. Driven by a community empowered to create a more open and honest self-care culture for women, Love Wellness creates the new standard for women’s wellness.

 

Beauty By Design:

Get $25 Off Your First Order

Beauty By Design is on a mission to make finding the right skincare easier than ever.

We’ve all been there: pacing the aisles of a beauty store, desperately trying to figure out which skincare products are actually right for us. Too often, we’re unsure if we’re using the right products and end up disappointed when we don’t see results. They’re here to change all that. Beauty By Design is the first skincare brand that provides precision-matched formulas with unlimited expert guidance from your own personal Esthetician.  Take the quiz today to get started.

 

Saucony:

I’ve been wearing these as my primary running shoes for a while, and I cannot recommend them enough!

$20 off $100 and Free Shipping at Saucony.com

Aftershokz:

The lightweight and comfortable wireless stereo headphones are the safest alternative to traditional sport headphones and earbuds. Bone conduction technology, an open ear design, and a suite of convenient features deliver premium music play and crystal clear calling without compromise. Designed with athletes in mind, Aftershockz are sweat-proof, secure, and will allow you to hear your surroundings – no matter where life takes you.

Get $50 off any Aftershokz bundle with code MOLLYB

Enjoy!

 

XOXO,

Molly B.