Running, Hiking, & Pumpkin. Oh, my!

morning running simply taralynn

I’m getting really good at waking up early, and my body is naturally rising without an alarm clock. I’m in bed by 9:30 pm  and waking up by 6:30 am.  You can count on me being in a good mood if I’m up early. Some people are the opposite and need to sleep in. I am more relaxed when I have that morning time to myself.

I was out the door by 6:45 and headed to the Riverwalk for a 3 mile run. I finished up with a stretch by the river before heading to the grocery store to pick up coffee. It’s sad that the real motivation for this run was having no coffee in the house, so I had to get up and go anyways.

I’m still trying to become a morning runner.  Running in the afternoon goes so much better because I’m more hydrated and fueled. My lungs don’t want to work either that early and I’m out of breath faster. Does anyone else have this problem? It may have been because it was 57 degrees and I’m used to the 90’s.

Food Network Magazine

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home so I could pick up coffee. I found the new October Food Network Magazine I’ve been waiting for! I’m not kidding; I’ve looked on shelves everyday since September 1st. I’m pumped to go through it and make some of the recipes! I also bought some pretty fall flowers for my table:)

Food Network Magazine

I treated myself to hot coffee, a little blueberry muffin, and a banana. I plan on making eggs later.

crowders mountain

I had another morning workout yesterday.

I met up with my friend to do the weekly hike up Crowder’s mountain. We finally got the trail right this time and didn’t get lost. That happens when you don’t pay attention to the dots.

We are getting so much better at it because our time is going down and we didn’t have to stop this time. We are going to add an extra mile up next week.


Yesterday’s route: 2.5 up and 2.5 down.

salad with Barcelona vinaigrette

Later in the afternoon, I finally had time to make lunch. I whipped up a salad so I could use up all the produce.

salad with Barcelona vinaigrette

The salad had hard boiled eggs (one with yolk) romaine lettuce, sweet peppers, bell peppers, tomato, unsalted sesame seeds, red onion, and Barcelona Vinaigrette.

The rest of the day was devoted towards school.

golfing simply taralynn


I haven’t been able to golf in a while and I couldn’t resist the 70 degree weather, so I threw my clubs in the car and drove up to the course. The course is so peaceful in the evening. I usually run into some turtles, deer, and squirrels. No one else to bother you.

golfing simply taralynn

Golf game success.


I made pumpkin spice popcorn and it was SO GOOD!

I air popped kernels (10 cups popped) In a large pot, I melted together 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 3 tablespoons coconut oil, and a cup of marshmallows. Once the mixture was melted, I added in the popcorn and mixed well. After the popcorn was coated, I poured it onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. I took the spatula to spread it out evenly, sprinkled pumpkin spice over the top, and let it dry for an hour.

pumpkin spice popcorn

Here is a simpler version! 


Reversible Placemat



Want me to run another giveaway? Give me some Fall giveaway ideas in the comments!

 plaid flannel dress




  • ANON


    Reply to ANON
  • Donna

    I run best about 2 hours after I get up. It gives me time to have coffee, water and a small snack. If I wait until afternoon I don’t have as much energy to run as efficiently.

    Reply to Donna
  • Grace

    Mmmm pumpkin spice popcorn! That salad looks amazing, too! I love to see how you mix things up according to season.

    I have that same problem with morning running. I just do it as soon as I get off work, that way I don’t sit on the couch and stress snack all evening.

    Reply to Grace
  • Cate

    I love running in the cold! You just have to get used to it and wear the right gear. You’re lungs def have to adjust!

    Reply to Cate
  • Kerri Mcgrail

    I read an article that running is more difficult in the morning often because your heart rate is highest in the morning when you first wake up. I found this to be true when using my heart rate monitor- always a lot higher in the am! I am a morning workout person, but I know many people who aren’t! I think it just takes some getting used to.

    Reply to Kerri Mcgrail
  • Katie

    What about a flannel themed fall giveaway? I love plaid and it just signals cooler temperatures to me!

    Jealous of the hiking! It looks SO pretty!

    Reply to Katie
  • Tessa @teslipsblog

    I just received my football stadium scarf and i’m in love.

    Reply to Tessa @teslipsblog
  • Megan

    Your blog makes me so happy. I love waking up in the morning to a new post 🙂 Thank you for being there for us.

    Reply to Megan
  • Linda


    Reply to Linda
  • Susi

    Hey Taralynn,

    I just had to leave a comment now because I’ve always wanted to tell you how much I love your posts! They always give me a great feeling. <3 And I love your fall decoration with that little pumpkin.

    I've been following your blog since you started on tumblr, so quite an eternity ago.. and never left a comment. (shame on me) 😀

    Greetings from Germany! 🙂

    Reply to Susi
  • Amy

    Hi did you take off some of the hooks in your handmade jewelry rack for the one with your name on it? On your website, the first picture shows the blank one with 13 hooks, and then the bottom picture with your name on it only has 7 hooks..??

    Reply to Amy
  • Melanie

    Great job with your workouts! I love running and hiking this time of year.
    You have the cutest table/home decor! I love the sparkly pumpkin 🙂 Was that DIY?

    Reply to Melanie
    • Taralynn McNitt

      Thank you Melanie!

      It’s the perfect weather for outdoor workouts.

      I bet you could do a DIY pumpkin like that:) I have a fun DIY project I want to try with the pinecones. I bought it at Hobby Lobby in the Fall section. Everything is 40% off in that aisle.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
  • Liv

    Really love your blog….I’ve been a follower for years and I can honestly say you’ve been one of the most helpful influences in my life. In the future, do you think you could post more about a healthy college lifestyle? I’ve been struggling through my freshman year, with a digestive disease to boot, and am always on the lookout for some study tips and ways to fit in exercise and healthy eating when there is not much choice on campus. Cheap and healthy eats are always my fave! Thanks again for always being such a great role model! xoxo

    Reply to Liv
  • Selene

    And again, you look great!
    Like the salad btw

    Reply to Selene
  • Emily freeman

    I love you and hate you for posting this popcorn recipe! It will be the death of me! Hahaha

    Reply to Emily freeman
  • ashhash14

    I can’t workout in the morning either, no matter how hard I try! I’m dehydrated and hungry and stiff. Bleh!

    Reply to ashhash14
  • Jen H.

    Taralynn, I just got my October Food Network Magazine in the mail today and also am SO excited to try some recipes!! I’m hoping you’ll be making some and posting about them so I know which ones are good 🙂 Happy baking!

    Reply to Jen H.
    • Taralynn McNitt

      You know it! i’ll be making the RUM wings this weekend for the games!

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
    • Anonymous

      I was so excited when I found the food network magazine in the mail…untill I started reading it.It is more focused on Carmel than pumpkin! I was disappointed.However i did find pumpkin spice Milano cookies tonight. so there that 🙂

      Reply to Anonymous
  • Tara

    I am not a morning runner either! I absolutely hate it and will do anything I can to try and fit my run in some other time of the day. My body is still asleep and it does not cooperate in the mornings!

    Reply to Tara
  • Melody

    Hey, Tara have you ever tried to make pumpkin fries???

    Reply to Melody
  • Mandy

    A dose of karma for Alice/Partypants at GOMI

    Reply to Mandy
    • Taralynn McNitt

      I don’t even know who Alice/Partypants is. Confused.

      Reply to Taralynn McNitt
    • Colie

      So it’s okay to Internet bully people as long as you don’t like them? I don’t like GOMI, but I fail to see how this is any better than GOMI itself. Cyber bullying is cyber bullying, whether it’s against Taralynn, Alice, you, me, or anyone else.

      Reply to Colie
  • Aimee

    Making this popcorn tonight! Yum!

    Reply to Aimee
  • Sarah

    I have a problem breathing in the morning too!! I thought it was just me because I have asthma (and less trouble breathing later in the day). I’ve never figured out why but just try to workout later in the day. You aren’t alone girl! I sure hope someone knows!

    Reply to Sarah
  • Jess Cates

    So cool! I never win anything – thanks, Tara! I just emailed you :]

    Reply to Jess Cates
  • Nicole

    Ooooh what if you did a Fall Fitness kit giveaway!? Like pumpkin spice protein bars (I’m sure Larabar or Cliff make something that flavor) and those awesome socks you had and one of those flavored water diffuser bottles?

    Reply to Nicole
  • Kristin C

    Oh! Where did you get that cute little pumpkin?! I want one!

    I am loving this weather! It has felt like the mountains!

    Reply to Kristin C
  • Sara @ Oats & Rows

    oh my gosh…that popcorn looks AMAZING!!

    Reply to Sara @ Oats & Rows
  • Victoria

    I’m so bummed I missed the return of the aztec bags that fast! Are you planning on ordering more?? They’re so cute!

    Reply to Victoria
  • Liz

    The popcorn looks so good! I’m obsessed with anything pumpkin this time of year.

    xo, Liz

    Reply to Liz

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post

Asian Lettuce Wraps & Garlic Parm Scallops

Next post

Weekend Recap: So Much Food, So Much Football.

Site Maintained by Victor Font Consulting Group, LLC.