Friday Link Love

Oh hello, happy Friday! It’s my last day in the Outer Banks (feeling sad).

sunrise 1 framed

One of the best things about spending a week at the beach is cramming in tons of reading. I don’t typically have make time for all the reading I wish I could do in my normal life. For me this means catching up on blogs, articles, audio books and novels. Since not much else is going on in my life this week, I figured I’d share my favorite reads from around the web througout this post.

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Meal and Mental Prep Monday

When my Nike app sang out “20 miles” a mix of relief, joy, and fear consumed me. The relief is obvious, my feet were tired from hearing from my mind, the joy came with the achievement but it’s the fear I want to talk about. Because when powerful leg muscles and strong lungs are in check, you still need to believe in yourself. I do not know if the fear is new or something I forgot because my last marathon was in 2011. All I know is the fear of 26.2 has arrived this time around.

While you are training for a race you keep telling yourself “you’ll get there with training”, but when your last training comes to an end you are left with the need to trust. You need confidence that on race day your feet and more importantly your mind will persevere and carry you through to the finish line. Anyone who has ever run a half marathon or full marathon understands the need to remain mentally strong.

The week before the race is about preparation.

For the mental prep I’ve been looking up mantras, you know the lines you tell yourself over and over to get through. Here’s what I found:

1 running mantra

  • Run the mile you are in!
  • Your legs aren’t giving out, your head is giving up, keep going!
  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been!
  • Breathe through it
  • Find your strong
  • This too shall pass
  • I believe in myself, I believe in my run
  • Sometimes the biggest problem is in your head, you gotta believe!

I’ve also been looking for some music to add to the race day playlist to help pull me through…

1. Ghost- Ella Henderson

2. Blank spaces Taylor Swift

3. In your arms: Nico and Vinz

Finally, I meal prepped. Like really prepped. I don’t want to leave the week before the race up to chance. SO I took a plunge and made six meals, a combination of dinners and lunches to eat throughout the week. I figured the best way to stay on top of my nutrition this week was to have it all planned out before I got rolling.

Meal Prep Monday


The Baltimore Running Festival Half Marathon Recap


This morning I struggled through my slowest half marathon to date. I finished in 1:51, 20 minutes slower than my PR, 1:31. I would be lying if I said I was happy with my time but I’d also be lying if I told you I was mad at myself for it. The weather was perfect, I trained past 13 miles (in preparation for the Richmond Marathon Nov 16th), and I had no injuries to slow me down. It was just a bad race. They happen.  Note: When I say it was a bad race I’m talking about my performance, not the event or my overall experience. I have absolutely no complaints about those, thanks to the Bearnarth Sisters, Lauren (ran too) and Paige (our number one driver). The Baltimore Running Festival was well-organized, the expo was easy to navigate, and who doesn’t love Under Armor race shirts? Plus, I had a great time pre and post race running into friends and chatting it up with Lauren and Paige!

Amy and Lauren

(Lauren and I post race…she killed it!)

Paige and Laure

(Paige and Lauren post race…Paige and her boyfriend (not picture) get the fan award)

With that said, I’ve been deconstructing the events that lead up to the race so I don’t make any of the same mistake in Richmond on Nov 16th.

The Food: I tried not to change my eating habits the day before in preparation for the race. I eat a balanced diet and I wasn’t fretting about 13 miles. Next time I will fret.

Friday’s Breakfast: Wouldn’t change it had protein, carbs, and fiber.

breakfast 1

Lunch: Wouldn’t change a thing, a great combination of complex carbs, protein, and healthy fats!



Dinner: Now this I would change! A huge salad topped with feta and two thin slices of tortilla makes a great dinner most nights of the week but I can do better pre-race. Looking back It was probably too much fiber, too much saturated fat, and too little carbohydrates for an ideal pre-race dinner.


Saturday Morning Breakfast: If I could go back, I’d skip the almond butter. I’ve found that the fat slows me down a bit and is better for post race recovery.


The Sleep: I went to bed at 11:30pm and woke up at 5:00am, clearly not ideal. For Richmond I will be in bed by 10:00pm mark my words. I’m aiming for at least 6 hours!

Training the week before: If I could guess which one aspect of today affected my performance the most it would be the training. Last Sunday I ran a 16-mile training run and never really gave my body time to recover. I ran everyday this week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, I ran 3-4 miles and did some yoga. On Thursday I ran 6 miles at an intense pace and did some leg work…big mistake. During the race my legs were heavy and fatigued. Learning my lesson, I’ve decided the week before Richmond I’m going to stick to yoga and swimming in the 5 days leading up to the event.

Conclusion: First and for most, I’m grateful to run injury free. Focusing on performance is a gift my health allows. I’m proud of my body for running 13.1 miles at a fast pace even if I have bigger goals.  Some people might get discouraged having a slow half marathon while training for a full one but not me. I’m fired up. I have work to do and I thrive on that. Stay posted for updates on my training for Richmond!

find a remedy

New Blog, New Distance, New Drink, New Things

Notice anything different around here?

Yup, Up Early With Amy got a big-girl makeover. Transferring my blog from to a self-hosted site with was on my To-Do list for a long time. I finally checked it off the list! My decision to switch platforms is another story for different day but in general a self-hosted site allows a blogger more freedom than You may notice a few more tabs up top, I’ve shared my running story, writing resources, and inspirational blogs/websites.  My recipe page is jazzed up now too so check it out.

However, with freedom comes complication so things got a bit tricky. I didn’t have access to my site for three days and I freaked out just a little. When they say transferring a domain name can take 72 hours, they mean transferring a domain name can take 72 hours. Patience is not my best virtue. No fear, I’m back to catch you up on the part of my weekend that was not spent behind the screen.

When I wasn’t blogging it up at Starbucks I was running…

14 mile run


The Richmond Marathon is right around the corner (Nov. 16th) and long runs in my training plan are starting to take chunks out of my weekend. I ran Sunday morning at my favorite trail in the DC area.  It was 55 degrees, the air was crisp and cool, the perfect weather for a long run. The run started off a bit rocky but by the 5th mile I developed a rhythm and the rest of the 2 hour run flew by. I was exhausted and dehydrated when I finished. I lose a lot of salt when I run so refueling on electrolytes and simple carbs is critical. Coconut water and bananas are rich in potassium and peanut butter has plenty of sodium so I came home and formed my version of a this coconutwater-chocolate recovery drink.

Chocolate Coconut Recovery Smoothie

Chocolate Coconut Recovery


  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1 cup light vanilla soy milk
  • 1 chocolate Zicos coconut water
  • 3-5 ice cubes
  • 1 Tbsp special dark coco powder
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter

Directions: Blend it all together and enjoy!

Exhausted, I downed my smoothie and spent much of my Sunday in bed reading until my parents came over to my apartment to hang the new wine rack my dad made me #spoiled.

wine rack polaroid


My weekend extended when my sister Katie hooked us up with Dream Seats to the Monday night Redskins game. My boys lost but we won’t go there. It was an awesome time considering that’s the closest I’ve ever been and probably will ever get to the Redskins field.

skins car

redskins dream

What’s your choice recovery fuel after a long run?

Marathon Training, The Other 90%


It’s 6:30 am on a Sunday, I hit the snooze button on my iphone, knowing sooner or later I’ll have to get up and face the inevitable. At 6:50 am I drag myself out of bed and turn on the k-cup machine, coffee is the only thing that makes exercising so early possible. I down a cup and eat half of a banana while simultaneously trying to throw clothes and shoes on. The trick to running 10 miles at the butt crack of dawn is getting out of the door before my brain can fully comprehend what I’m about to do to my body.

I step outside, thankful for the light breeze in the air and the empty streets. The first mile is always the hardest, my feet feel awkward and I am still in the process of convincing my mind that I will be doing this for the next hour and a half of my life. I turn the music up and try to take in all of my surroundings; the sun rising, the pine cones on the trees, the empty beers bottles from people having way more fun than I did last night, really, anything to hide the sound of my own breathing.

By the third mile I have a comfortable rhythm going. I’ve stopped peering down at the pace on my iphone and I’m trying desperately to loose myself in One Republic’s “Something I need”. The hardest decision to make isn’t to keep going but to choose a path that forces me to hit 10 miles. With the 5th mile, the sun comes out and I start to notice life on the streets. The euphoric feeling is at its climax and for a moment, just a moment, I think I could do this forever.

The feeling doesn’t last long. Around the 7th mile my legs get heavy. I begin checking my pace a bit too often and the thought of breakfast keeps creeping into my mind. I push the distracting images to the back of my mind and turn up Eminem’s “Till I collapse” and trod on.

The 9th mile brings with it feelings of death and defeat. I can no longer stop hallucinating thoughts of oatmeal topped with peanut butter and bananas. A familiar feeling of pain in my right foot starts to reveal itself and I check my iphone just about every minute from this point on.

Finally, I reach 10 miles. That’s it. When I stop, there is no finish line to cross and no one claps or pats me on the back. There is, however, an irreplaceable feeling of self-accomplishment. It reminds me I am capable of achieving goals. It reminds that I can follow through on plans. I feel stronger. These feelings are what dare me think I can subject myself to this pain all over again. So I do.