2015 Goals

I’m not always big on New Year’s resolutions.  I often set them, but I can’t seem to follow through for an entire year.  Like most, I have the best of intentions, do very well for a few months, and then fall of the wagon, leaving those good intentions in the dust.  But I think maybe that’s because I’m too ambitious, too specific, and too hard on myself.  So this year I’m going to go a little more general, hoping that even if I am not perfect, I’m improving.

Running

Okay, here I do have a couple of specific goals.  I’d like to break my half marathon PR of 1:41:35.  And I’d like to run the 25K Riverbank Run this May in under two hours.  But really and truly, if I could stay injury free all year and not break another PR, I’d be happy.  I love meeting goals and setting PRs (who doesn’t?) but more than that, I just love to run.  And if I can get through 2015 without having to take time off for injuries, that would be my ultimate goal.

Fitness

Continue to get stronger and push myself when it comes to cross training.  For years and years people told me to cross train, told me it would help my running.  I didn’t listen.  I loved to run and if I had a spare hour I was going to spend it running.  But then I got injured, and I couldn’t run.  So I joined a gym, started going to strength training classes and discovered that I absolutely LOVE kickboxing.  As in, when I was marathon training this past fall I lamented that I had to (mostly) stop going because even though it was good cross training, it wasn’t exactly letting my body recover with low impact exercising.  It’s good to try new things when it comes to exercise.  Maybe this year I’ll even finally give yoga a shot?!

Family

Be more present.  I am often chided by my husband and kids for trying to multi-task too much, spending too much time on my phone, etc.  Life goes fast; faster every year it seems.  I want to enjoy the little moments, being 100% focused on what’s most  important to me when I can.  And if I give my kids even 20 minutes of my undivided attention, I think they can feel the love and reassurance, and are then more ready to play on their own without me.  I want to tell my husband more often that I appreciate him, how hard he works so that I can stay home with our children and pursue the passions that I have.  I want to keep working on that all important balance of giving my time to others and keeping some just for me!

Reading

I want to read more of the books that my book club chooses each month.  I want to read more, period.  I love reading, but lately I have found myself reaching for the remote instead (Scandal has taken over my free time, oh my goodness that show is addicting).  I think my poor, tired brain is getting lazy, not wanting to think too hard.  This is totally fine now and again, but I love to learn and grow and discover.  And as much fun as Olivia Pope is, Scandal isn’t exactly helping me to learn anything except how NOT to run for office.

Nutrition

I really love learning about foods, and how they interact with our bodies, and how our overall nutrition can play such an important part in our overall health.  I’ve been thinking and praying hard about doing some intentional, focused classes regarding nutrition and health coaching.  Maybe 2015 will be the year I take the plunge and go for it?

What about you?  Do you enjoy New Year’s Resolutions?  What are yours?


Workout Recap + Random Things I Love This Week (Volume 4)

Hello everyone!  Did you have a good Christmas?  Our family enjoyed a full week of time in Pittsburgh with my family.  It was so nice to spend quality time with my parents, sister and brother-in-law!  We don’t get to see them as often as we’d like, so I appreciate our time together quite a bit.  And then just yesterday we had our second Christmas with my husband’s family.  Phew!  Now I’m ready to get back to a routine for a bit.  And I’m definitely ready to start eating healthier again.  My friend Laura, over at MommyRunFast, is hosting a 21 day sugar detox that I’ll be joining beginning January 5th.  And I sure need it!

My workouts this past week were definitely focused on running.  Since we were out of town it was the easiest way for me to get a workout in, and I had my favorite running partner – my sister – with me for a few of them too!

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M – 5 speedy miles (7:10 avg. pace)

T – 4 easy miles

W – 3 easy miles with my sister + small hike with my family along a trail in the woods

Th – 3 mile walk/jog/sprint with my sister and brother-in-law’s dog, Monty.  He’s a fun running buddy but his pacing needs a little work…

F – 1 mile run/walk with my youngest daughter + 5.25 miles with my sister (8:10 avg. pace)

S – OFF (travelling back to Grand Rapids)

S- OFF

Here are a few random things I’m loving this week:

  • My latest Stitch Fix box.  I really liked what my stylist picked out again this month, and ended up keeping two items pictured here: the houndstooth tunic and the infinity scarf.  I would *never* have picked up this top if I was shopping by myself, but I got a lot of complements the first time I wore it and it’s pretty versatile.

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  • My four year old asking for “running clothes like mommy wears” as a Christmas gift.  That was a no brainer of a present!  And if I say so myself, she’s a pretty cute little runner.  We ran/walked nine tenths of a mile together.  I loved every second of it and she’s already asking to go again.

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  • Running on familiar roads.  There is something oddly comforting about going home to run routes that I have traversed countless times going all the way back to high school.  I even ran by the track where I set my 1600 meter PR (which, for the record, was 5:39 will never be touched again!).
  • Christmas breakfast casserole.  For as long as I can remember, my mom has made the same egg and sausage casserole for breakfast on Christmas.  It’s a simple recipe, but it says Christmas to me!  And since I began eating gluten free years ago, my mom now makes me my own GF version (because she’s just that awesome).

Headed back to the gym for some strength training tomorrow, and I’m sure it’ll hurt a little after more than a week off!  Hope you have a fabulous week!


Workout Recaps + Random Things I Love This Week (Volume 3)

Hey everybody!  I am sorry this post is coming a day later than usual.  Traveling to visit family always makes me lose track of time.  Does this happen to anyone else?  I can’t believe tomorrow is Christmas Eve already.

Here’s a quick recap of what my workouts looked like last week:

M – 6 mile run

T – 4 mile run

W – OFF

Th – 60 minute kickboxing class

F – OFF

Sa – 60 minute strength training class + 60 minute kickboxing class

Su – Travel Day – OFF

I had a couple of unexpected things pop up this week that changed my workout plans, plus I was just feeling exhausted all the time.  Not sure if I was fighting off a cold or not getting enough quality sleep or what, but I lacked the motivation to exercise this week.  This hardly ever happens, so I tried to listen to my body and just go with it.  I did, however, sign up for a four mile “Resolution Run” on New Year’s Day and I am excited to race again, despite the fact that I have not been incorporating speed work lately.  The good news is I’ve never done a four mile race before, so guaranteed PR!:-)

Here are a few things I’m loving lately:

  • Temperatures that are above average for the month of December!  After a snowy November, I was dreading another long winter.  But I’ve been able to keep my capris for most of my outdoor runs lately, and tomorrow it is supposed to hit 63 degrees here in Pittsburgh where I am visiting family.  I may even break out the shorts!
  • Kennywood’s festival of lights: I went to this local amusement park multiple times each summer growing up, and now they are opening over the holidays in the winter.  It’s so much fun to introduce my girls to the rides that I loved as a kid.
  • This grain free, gluten free pizza crust.  One of the only things that I really miss from my glutunous days is a good pizza.  I love finding alternatives that are still yummy!

Short and sweet this week!  I hope you are all enjoying time with family and friends over the next several days.  Merry Christmas!


Confessions of a vegetable hater + exciting news!

In the world of healthy living blogs, I feel like I am about to commit a major faux pas.  I am going to publicly confess that I simply do not like most vegetables.  This is not to say that I don’t eat them.  I do, usually multiple servings a day.  And I’ve learned to tolerate them, occasionally even mustering a small amount of gusto when they are prepared in a way I can say I enjoy.  But the people who eat salads every day for lunch, who happily munch away on kale, squash, cabbage, and beets?  Those people astound me.  I want to like be like them; I tried for a long time to be like them.  But I’m just not.

So what do you do when you know very well how important vegetables are for you but you don’t like them?  I’ve got a few suggestions.

1) You don’t know if you like it until you try it.  Turns out that the same advice I give my kids at almost every meal applies to me too.  No, I didn’t necessarily think I’d like rutabaga, but when it was grilled and seasoned and served with bites of sweet potato?  Very acceptable. It turns out that most of the time we decide what we like before we bother to really try it, and this prejudice clouds our perception of what we actually taste when we eat.

2) If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  Again, I tell my kids this at least once a week, but sometimes you have to try something several times before you begin to like it.  My older daughter told me at least ten times that she didn’t like the taste of broccoli, but on the eleventh time, she suddenly stopped complaining.  I won’t pretend she asks to eat broccoli now, but she stopped telling me it tastes disgusting.  I count that a win!

3) If you don’t like it hot, you might like it cold.  I really despise cooked carrots, but I eat them raw with hummus almost every day.  Enough said.

4) Hide them!  I love findings ways to sneak in vegetables where you don’t expect or taste them.  Cauliflower mac and cheeese?  Yes please!  Sweet potato pancakes?  Bring ’em on!  And my personal favorite – the smoothie.  You can hide TONS of greens in a smoothie and they are always overpowered by the fruits and yogurt base.  Love that!  The task of hiding vegetables to make sure I eat enough is almost like a game to me. Ha!

5) Use your brain.  There are all sorts of statistics and studies about how good vegetables are for you, how much they will help you run faster, lose weight, get sick less, give you valuable nutrients and vitamins, etc.  And here’s one from the most recent issue of Runner’s World: “Each daily serving of produce (up to five) reduces your risk of early death by about five percent”.  If that doesn’t motivate you to eat your veggies, I don’t know what will!  I make sure to keep reading and re-reading these things, and I’m much more likely to keep trying to eat my veggies if I remind myself just how valuable they really are!

And now for some exciting news: after completing my CPR and First Aid training, I am an officially certified running coach now!

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I even have my first unofficial client.  Sure, she’s paying me with a few hours of free babysitting instead of cold hard cash, but given how infrequently my husband and I go on dates, this might be even better.  Here’s to new running and coaching adventures!


Workout Recaps + Random Things I Love this Week (volume 2)

Happy Monday Morning!  I hope your weekend was fun filled and productive.  Mine was mostly those things, but I still feel very unprepared to travel to my parent’s house in a few days for Christmas.  I crossed several of my to do list items off this weekend, but I think I added an equal amount of new things that need to be dealt with.  Sigh.

Without further ago, here’s a summary of how my workouts went this past week.  You’ll note, once again, the lack of mileage.  I keep trying – and failing – to find ways to fit in a long run.  And long is relative.  For me, long right now would be 8+ miles.  For me 3 months ago, 8 miles was just another run of the mill tempo run day.  Crazy!  Maybe this week?  Fingers crossed.

M – 60 minute strength training class + 3 mile run

T – 60 minute total conditioning class (squats, lunges, push ups, planks, sit ups, etc.)

W – OFF

Th – 5 mile run with a friend (much needed!) – avg. pace 8:45ish + 60 minute kickboxing class at night (note: two-a-days may have been okay in high school, but they are tough now!)

F – OFF

Sa – 60 minute strength training class + 60 minute kickboxing class

Su – 4 mile run (avg. 7:47)

wpid-img_20141214_173653.jpgI had fun telling you about random things I’m loving last week.  So here’s another edition:

  • Weather that’s in the 40s for the month of December!  Last year we were getting hammered with snow storm after snow storm, so even though it’s been awhile since I’ve seen the sun poking through, I’ll take the mild temps!
  • My (relatively) new breadmaker.  It has a gluten free setting on it, and I have had the best results with it.  Love it!
  • Continuing to build Christmas traditions.  We’ve done various models of Gingerbread houses since the girls were born, and even though my kitchen always ends up a complete disaster, and one of the houses will inevitably fall apart at some point and my girls consume WAY too much sugar during the process – it still manages to make me smile.

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2014 Running Recap – It all came together!

Hello!  One of the blogs I love to read, Miss Zippy, posted a chance to link up to her running year in review, and this year I actually have a blog so I get to play along.  It’s a baby, brand new blog, but still, it’s legit.  Here we go!

Best race experience? I had a LOT of great races in 2014.  And I managed to set PRs in several distances: 5k (20:58), 10k (44:16), 13.1 (1:41:35) and the very best one, the one that finally qualified me for the Boston Marathon, 26.2 (3:35:15).  I trained right, I trained HARD, and it all came together for me!  I also finished my first sprint triathlon and came in third in my age group; a complete surprise! 2014, you were good to me!

Best run? They’ve all been pretty great, but some of my best ones were: running a complete mile with my daughter for the first time, running on the beach in North Carolina with my husband on vacation this summer (and then heading straight into the ocean after becoming a hot, sweaty mess), and the 20 miler I did before tapering before my marathon.  I felt so good and strong on that run; I knew I had a decent shot at hitting my goal.

Best new piece of gear?  Hmmm.  I have a few tried and true favorites when it comes to running gear, so I just tend to update as needed.  But I did start running with an Under Armour visor since my eyes are fairly sensitive to sunlight and that was a smart move.  And I *just* bought new shoes that I am loving.  They are supportive yet lightweight and make me feel super speedy.  Plus, they are pink and fun (and so are the tiny feet next to them in this picture)!

wpid-img_20141203_110921.jpgBest piece of running advice you received? To strength train and target my weak hips.  I was very good about doing both of these things this year, and it totally paid off.  Many thanks to my doctor and my PT who diagnosed me and helped me in these areas.  Also, I had lots of friends who would repeatedly tell me “you got this” whenever I needed to hear it.

Most inspirational runner? There are so many!  From all the feature stories in magazines like Runner’s World to those who run and raise amazing amounts of money for charities to those who continue to set PRs again and again as well as those who just crossed a finish line for the first time.  Running, as a sport, is completely inspirational!  Ask any runner for their story, their highs and lows, and I promise you’ll be inspired.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words, what would they be? Awesome. Fun. Unbelievably blessed.


Workout Recaps + Random Things I Love This Week

Happy Monday!  Seriously, why do the weekends always insist on flying by so quickly?  And can we pause for a moment to collectively wonder how in the world it’s almost the middle of December?  I feel like time keeps speeding up and the harder I try to slow it down the faster it insists upon going.  In the next two weeks I’ve got presents to buy and wrap and cards to send and class parties to attend and…well, you get the idea.  It’s so hard to hit the pause button in the middle of the craziness , and that’s another reason why I LOVE running.  In the midst of it all I can take an hour, recharge and refocus, and when I’m done everything seems a bit more manageable than it did before.

Here’s how my workouts looked this past week:

M – 30 minutes core + 60 minutes group power (strength training) class

T – Total Conditioning class (group work involving LOTS of different exercises)

W – 6 mile run (avg. pace 8:10)

Th – 60 minutes group power class + 60 minutes kickboxing

F – 5 mile run (avg. pace 8:16)

Sa – 60 minutes kickboxing

Su – OFF

I’ve been loving the group fitness classes at my gym lately, and my favorite instructor was teaching his final classes this week, so I didn’t get in very many miles.  Remember last week when I was feeling aimless in my running?  Yup, still feel that way.  But I’m still mostly okay with it.  I know I’ll find spring races to fill my calendar soon enough.

And now, here are a few random things I’ve been loving this week:

  • The Out of Milk App – it’s amazing and let’s my easily create and add to grocery lists whenever I remember that I need something.  I can also create separate lists for different stores, and I can sync them with my husband’s phone so if I ask him to stop at the store for me on the way home, he always knows exactly what we need.  Genious!
  • These (gluten free) zucchini flaxseed muffins.  Perfect texture and taste – they disappeared even faster than muffins usually do around here.  We’re talking less than 20 hours!
  • La Croix sparkling water.  I’ve completely given up on diet soda and decided this would be a good occasional treat. The only problem is it has become a not so occasional (read: daily) treat. The can tells me it contains no artificial sweeteners, but I am a little skeptical of the claim of natural flavors…
  • The Nutcracker!  It’s always been a tradition for me to see it, and I love that I can now take my girls too.  So fun!

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