menu ideas burger basket final

In honor of the Independence Day holiday, I’m sharing the meal plan we use when we camp, including our most-recent adventure to Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s all easy and fast food to accommodate our vacation status.

From a running standpoint, our trip to the UP was amazing. Lots of challenging trails with beautiful scenery and my first trail half marathon to cap off the week.

Proof that I survived my first trail half.

Proof that I survived my first trail half.

I even got to run the four miles of trails connecting the Upper and Lower Falls, which I have to admit was the most-technical run I’ve ever done.

They weren't kidding when they said it's medium difficulty.

They weren’t kidding when they said it’s medium difficulty.

Altogether, I ran 14 miles that day. Started out running the four miles from the Lower Falls to the Upper Falls on the road, then running back through the trail system and back into a couple of other trails within the park to try to get to my goal of 16.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park trails.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park trails.

Unfortunately, I ran out of water on an 80-degree day and was already past the time I had told la familia I would be back. With no cell service, I headed back to our campsite to a very relieved el husbando.

See? Worth risking dehydration.

See? Worth risking dehydration.

But I went out a couple more times because I just couldn’t waste those beautiful sunny days and scenery.

I don’t know about you, but this running thing has me trying things I never dreamed I would even consider. I’m so glad I got the bug!

Hope you have a great holiday weekend. Here’s a week’s worth of meals to make sure you can find time to run or otherwise be active. Remember, this is how you can make your own family meal plan.

  • Hamburgers, chips, fruit
  • Mac and cheese, rolls, something salad-y or a veggie. I do love this particular recipe, but we use the instant stuff when we’re camping: Italian Macaroni and Cheese
  • Taco-pasta salad
  • Spaghetti and (precooked) meatballs, rolls. Friendly reminder that this Weight Watchers Favorite Tomato Sauce is deliciosa.
  • Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches, fruit, chips

Happy camping, boating or, of course, running this weekend!

What’s on your holiday schedule? If you’ve written about this topic, feel free to share your blog post link below.

You know you’ve found your running tribe when you suggest you head out at 6:30 on a Saturday morning for a 14-mile run to avoid the heat and half a dozen women show up. Even more joined us later on the Lansing River Trail.

Team Playmakers at the Lansing River Trail rock.

Team Playmakers at the Lansing River Trail rock.

So continues our ultra marathon training, which has us ramping up mileage for the foreseeable future. I plugged in the mileage into my online calendar and am following it throughout the week, but not having a print-out on my fridge means that I don’t look ahead, so every weekend long run is a bit of a surprise.

In light of the day’s hot temperatures, here are some tips for running in the heat:

  1. Start early or go late. With the forecast including temperatures in the 80s, we settled on 6:30 a.m. With 14 miles on deck, however, it wasn’t nearly early enough. We may be meeting up even earlier in the coming weeks. Or go at 8 or 9 at night, when the temperatures are dropping again. Worst case, run on the ‘mill inside.
  2. Hydrate. Because we run with a formal team, we have water stations with Gatorade and ice water every two miles. But our trail runs have left me water-less with miles to go. I just ordered a Nathan water belt and can’t wait to try it out. Some runner friends stash water in hidden spots along their route; others plan to stop by their local convenience store.
  3. Dress appropriately. I have some really cute cotton tanks that I just love, but on days like today, it’s tech fabric from head to toe. The wicking properties make a huge difference in making me feel more comfortable. And I always wear my SmartWool socks to avoid blisters.
  4. Wear sunscreen. Yes, even those of us with dark skin should slather the stuff on. We’re already bound to get weird tan lines; no sense in also getting skin cancer in the process.
  5. Consider bug spray. Warmer temps also mean more bugs and in our case that means mosquitoes. In previous years, I’ve found individually wrapped Off towelettes. Still looking for them this season.
  6. Wear a hat or visor. Those of us with little hair should especially cover our heads (or remember to wear sunscreen), while the rest of us can benefit from a brimmed hat to avoid squinting eyes and burnt noses.
  7. Bring sunglasses. Once again, glasses can provide eye protection and prevent wrinkles. Plus, you’ll look better in your selfies when you’re not squinting into the sun.
  8. Fuel properly. No matter the temperature, your body still needs those calories, electrolytes and salt. Consider also using salt tablets. I just tried some today and couldn’t tell the difference, but I don’t know if I could have survived the hottest part of our run if I hadn’t been fueling and hydrating properly.

The weather here in Michigan is just going to keep getting hotter into July and August, so I’ll be sure to follow my own advice about running in the heat in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, here’s the week’s meal plan (and here’s how I make my meal plan in the first place.):

Did you do a long run today? What are your tips for running in the summer heat? If you’ve written about this topic, feel free to share a link to your post below.

We’re camping at Sleepy Hollow State Park this weekend and it’s been all trails all the time with more planned for tomorrow morning when some friends join me for at least six miles.

Sleepy Hollow State Park trail.

Sleepy Hollow State Park trail.

My Brooks Cascadias are caked in mud and my legs are tired but my heart is happy.

The shoe-eating mud.

The shoe-eating mud.

Last week’s attempt at trail running is a distant memory, although the wanna-be ponds turned into wanna-eat-your-shoes squishy mud pits. I swear I almost lost my left shoe twice, a first.

But I conquered.

Feeling strong and more confident on the trails.

Feeling strong and more confident on the trails.

We also spent some time by the fiah.

Now that's a fiah.

Now that’s a fiah.

I did carve a few minutes to plan out our meals for the week because all this running makes me want to eat all of the food:

How was your weekend? Did you run? What’s on your menu this week?

I’d been looking forward to Saturday and Sunday morning trail runs while we camped in our motorhome just north of Lansing. It felt like the night before a race as I made sure I had everything I could possibly need.

But the RV wouldn’t even start. Dead battery.

And so began this less-than-perfect weekend. We called our insurance company, which sent a technician to give us a jump and we were able to leave our driveway.

We finally arrived at our campsite two hours later, built a fire and started to make s’mores when it started raining.

I heard rain on and off all night, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I headed out for my morning run. Things were quiet as I walked, then ran a half mile or so to the now-familiar Sleepy Hollow State Park trail head.

sleepy hollow state park trail map

Sleepy Hollow State Park trail map.

I ran on wet grass and muddy trails, my trail shoes making a satisfying squish-squish sound. It was early but already light out as I entered the first loop, turned left where I planned to run a couple of miles before turning around and heading back.

I dodged overgrown bushes and tried to stay clear of the ever-present poison ivy, the previous day’s emotional yuck quickly fading.

Sleepy Hollow State Park trail

Sleepy Hollow State Park trail.

Then I saw it. A wanna-be pond overtaking the trail, no evident path around. No problem, I told myself and headed back to whence I came and ran toward the other end of the trail.

And there it was: another pond-like puddle blocking my way not a quarter mile in.

sleepy hollow flooded trail

Flooding, aka, my nemesis, on the Sleepy Hollow State Park trail.

This is where I questioned my resolve. Was it worth plowing through and pressing on?

I chose dry feet, even as I worried this meant I wasn’t really ready to call myself a trail runner.

I headed back to the road a bit deflated before remembering I’d seen signage for a triathlon by the lake. And there they were. Runners. Triathletes, sure, but my people. The temperature was in the 40s and dozens of them were getting gear ready, checking on bike tires and walking to the all-important bathroom.

I didn’t see anyone I knew, but I felt the kinship nonetheless. They didn’t know anything about me. They didn’t know whether I ran through the puddles or ran straight back to the comparatively dry road. They just saw someone running, smiled, gave me head nods and waved just the same.

I guess I’ll stick with the label.

I did have some time to plan the coming week’s meals, using my trusty method:

MENU IDEAS vegetables for Pinterest
  • Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn, cornbread (we use Jiffy mix)
  • Chicken Cacciatore served over noodles, rolls
  • Spanish rice (with tomatoes, green peppers and onions), garlic toast. Here’s a similar recipe
  • Stuffed manicotti, green salad, garlic bread. Here’s a similar recipe
  • Bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwiches, chips, fruit salad

How was your running weekend? Do you trail run?