Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Laughter is the Best Medicine!

happy Wednesday!!
I am a firm believer in the saying "if you can find the humor in a situation, you win."
There is a lot in life that happens that we cannot control, but we can always, always control our attitude. Our attitude is not and SHOULD not be based upon our circumstances!!
There is always something to laugh about, you just have to look for it!!

Take-along-picnic pants. Oh my goodness.

 sometimes family doesn't operate in your brain-width.

Tell me something that made YOU laugh today!?!?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Just Two Thoughts

4 miles
20 minutes arms & abs circuit

Normally I set my alarm 20 minutes ahead of the time I actually need to get up. This allows me to snooze 2x and use that 20 minutes to wake up and be somewhat functionable by my actual rising time. This morning I rolled out of bed the instant my alarm rang.
This is never a good thing.
While I can't really recall what exactly I did while moving around my house in a very zombie-like fashion this morning, I DO remember having two very distinct thoughts;

1. I am actually becoming a protein pancake making master-- I've finally can make them without them being a complete wreck.

2. What's the big deal about snow on the ground? Everyone is whining about it and I don't see why. Snow hasn't caused me any issues this winter.

fast-forward twenty minutes;
 I eat my protein pancake out of a bowl with a spoon because it didn't just crack on me, it splintered into about 1500 pieces. #1 thought goes down the drain.

fast-forward another 30 minutes and I'm doing one of these in the gas-station parking lot.

The good news is- I didn't spill a drop of my coffee!
I had to chuckle because I am usually the ONLY person in the entire parking lot when I fuel up, but of course this morning, every possible parking spot and fuel pump was occupied and there were only a couple of dozen people on scene to witness my clutziness.
(The truck full of construction workers next to me unloaded the instant my rear made contact with the ground and they all offered to carry me to my car in case I broke something.)

fast-forward another 20 minutes;
I'm sitting in the middle of a cornfield with tears streaming down my face while I laugh uncontrollably. Icy roads-1, my driving-0.
Thought #2 becomes oh so terribly ironic- this snow is now causing me issues on foot or by car.

Amazingly enough neither my rear or my vehicle were damaged. I was able to eek out of a tow bill by flirting like a mad woman with the driver calling a neighborly farmer dude who got stuck himself and then rescued me.

Have you ever gotten stuck in the snow?? Did you laugh or cry??

Spring may be here, but I'm rocking my boots for the last little bit that I can. I figure as long as there is snow on the ground, I can get away with wearing them, no??
(oh, and if there is anything better than purple skinny jeans; I don't know what it is. well, maybe skinny legs in purple skinny jeans.)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Would you be scared of me?

Every runner has a love hate relationship with hills. Somedays you can eat them for breakfast and take those back to back hills like there's no tomorrow. Other days the very thought of a hill send us curling up in the fetal position.
Just north of where I grew up there is an amazing 1.5 mile stretch of 3 killer hills. Yesterday, I ran them and logged one of my fastest 3 mile runs ever. #Winning.
I really pushed it on this run and I felt amazing. I am starting to feel a little bit better/back to normal this week, and this run was a reflection of that. This was definitely the best run of my year so far!!

Are you loving or hating hills right now??

This run also reminded me of how FAR I've come- how much I've changed. I can remember growing up I couldn't walk up the first hill without stopping to catch my breath. And now I can run them!! Sometimes I get so focused on how far I have to go to reach certain goals that I forget how much has changed- how close I actually am!! It has not been an easy journey, but I am stronger, faster, bolder, happier and more dedicated than ever!! I look back and I am grateful that I was once weak- it makes me appreciate and value my strength and the hard work I am doing!!

When I got back from my run my 8 year old brother said "you look like a gangster. If I met you on the street I would be scared of you!!"

Hmm.....if you met me on the street would you be scared of me??
 Post-run I had a protein pancake (2 egg whites, 1 scoop protein powder, cinnamon, salt, raisins and shredded coconut) topped with an apple I cooked in some cinnamon. Delicious.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Great Run & Paleo Day One.

4 mile run @ 9.12/mile
40 minutes cardio/strength circuit

This morning I felt completely unmotivated to do absolutely anything. I decided to just go out and get in a good, slow run. Slow run?? I didn't push, just ran conservatively the entire time and ended up running faster than I have been for the past several weeks! Yay!! Some runs just click, and this was a great one! I enjoyed every minute of it. Hello, running- yes- apparently I still do love you!!

When I left for my run, the sun was out and it was pretty nice out. At mile 3 it started to rain and I got SOAKED!! By the end of mile 4, the rain had turned into big snowflakes. Gotta love Kansas weather!
Are you running today? What weather are you running in?

Post-run I had me some corned beef & cabbage and a sweet potato.

I was surprised how easy it was to skip my oatmeal this morning. I was at a little bit of a loss what to have pre run- I normally have some pb or almond butter on an ezekial tortilla or english muffin. I had a handful of walnuts and raisins instead.

This afternoon I made a batch of Oatmeal Chocolate Cookie Bars for my brother's Bible Study. When I reached for the oats, I couldn't figure out what in the world happened to them- they were all gone and I NEVER run out of oats!! It took me a few minutes to remember that I hid them in my porch freezer. haha.

Talk about tempting!! They smell delicious. They better disappear tonight because they are NOT staying in my house!!

30 Days of Paleo.

For the past several months the health and fitness community has been ablaze with the Paleo Lifestyle/Diet. I've read countless blogs and articles about the benefits, the super awesome results, the HARD work that it takes to make the change. I've considered trying the Paleo Diet before, but it hasn't been a priority for me. (Honestly, it's a bit of an 'extreme' and the only times that I have tried strict eating guidelines, they have triggered unhealthy disorders for me.)

One of the recommendations from my health professionals has been to adopt the Paleo method and see if I experience any relief from the health struggles I have been encountering. Initially when they suggested it; I didn't even want to consider it, but I'm trying not to have such a thick head and be a little bit less headstrong. 
If you are NOT familiar with Paleo, you probably don't have Facebook, Pinterest, a gym membership or read very many blogs. I kid, I kid. If you haven't heard of it before- Paleo is also known as the 'Caveman Diet' or 'Primal Eating'. Meat, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and fruits in moderation while avoiding all grains, dairy, legumes, natural/unnatural sweetners/sugar and caffeine.

I've decided to take the next 30 days and give Paleo my best shot. I'm not going to wade in half-heartedly; I'm jumping in head over heels. Hard-core Paleo.
Call me crazy. Yes, it's crazy.

I am NOT trying Paleo for weight loss. While I still have weight to loose in order to reach my goal (healthy) weight, I am not focused on the scale right now. My main objective in life is to be healthy and fit, which includes a healthy weight but is so, SO much more than numbers on the scale. If I end up loosing weight in the next 30 days, that's awesome, but it's NOT my priority.

I know without a doubt the hardest thing for me to give up will be oatmeal. I eat oatmeal for breakfast almost every single day. I just love my oatmeal. Taking a break from my oats is not going to be easy. I will also greatly miss my greek yogurt.
The easiest thing about Paleo will be that I love all vegetable and fruits. Vegetables and fruits make up about 50% of my regular diet, so I won't have to force myself to choke them down. I know this is a difficult thing for a lot of people, but vegetables are actually some of my favorite foods.

It's a little bit overwhelming to look at all the little factors that this change is going to require. I'm typically a very organized person, but I'm going to need to be especially particular and prepared. Having ready-to-go approved snacks and quick grab meals will be super important because my schedule is so unpredictable. I don't want to find myself stuck with the option of not eating, or eating something that's not approved.

I'm excited and nervous about the upcoming 30 days. I had my 'good-bye' bowl of oatmeal tonight and then I moved the oats from my kitchen out to the porch freezer so that they don't even tempt me. :) I also did a quick clean out of any foods that would be problems for me that were lingering in my fridge or cupboards. I was surprised to see how few foods I had that were not Paleo approved. (Or maybe it's just grocery day tomorrow. haha!)
I'll be sharing the details of this change with you over the next 30 days.

Do you eat Paleo?
Have you ever altered your regular diet for health reasons?
Paleo friends-- please share your favorite tips to avoid 'cheating' and your favorite recipes!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Mondays musings.

Full body weight circuit.
I joined my friend Natalie for a workout this morning. It's always more fun to workout with friends!!
We did a full body weight circuit three times. I upped my weights for a couple of the moves-- slowly seeing improvement in my strength.

Breakfast was an egg scramble with bacon, onions and mushrooms and a side of steamed broccoli. I was still  a bit hungry, so I had some red grapes too!!

Do you prefer red grapes or green grapes!!

The temperature was up near 50 today, but the wind was strong and chilly out of the northwest. I'm getting so excited for Spring! I love my cold weather runs, but I'm ready to get in some runs in shorts!! These poor white winter legs would like some vitamin D!

I don't like cats or fake tans, but this cracked me up!! Haha!

This was my day off so I got to spend part of the afternoon with my nieces and nephews. It's so wonderful to have them relocated in our area! Super fun to hang with them! We had lots of outside time on the trampoline and playing hide and go seek. Those boys are fast!!

Supper was super easy- corned beef and cabbage in the crockpot all day. So delicious. I love how it makes my entire house smell tasty.
Growing up, we had a special pot that was our corned beef and cabbage pot. I only ever remember my Mom using it when she made corned beef.
 I'm excited to use the left over corned beef to make ruebens. I ABHOR sauerkraut, but I'll eat it if it's in a rueben.

What was the best thing about your Monday?

What's your beef??

Last week was outrageous.
 I was so glad that I had plans to spend the weekend with a friend- I needed a break!

Weekend Workouts;
Saturday; 45 minutes elliptical
Sunday; 4 mile run + opening a new jar of jam (that counts as an arm workout, right??)

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day?? Aside from eating corned beef and cabbage (every day for the entire month of March), it doesn't hold much significance for me. All I know is I get pinched all day because I'm a non-conformist and refuse to wear green. (Actually, I'm just vain and I don't look all that awesome in green, so I never wear it. best foot forward, right??)

Obviously I don't realize just how awesome this holiday is. I have never even considered wearing a green wig.

My friend Grace and I had a wonderful weekend, it was entirely too short! I hadn't seen her in forever and we had so much to chat about. We ended up at Panera's for lunch and I tried their bbq chopped chicken salad. It was good, but not amazing. 

When you're with a friend- who decides where you eat?? I hate making decisions so I always ask the other person to pick. As long as they are happy, I'm happy.

And a little bit of Red Mango action!! I am really loving their nutty potion flavor. I don't like nutella, but for some reason I'm all over the froyo version of it. #walking contradiction.

What is the most obnoxious green food you have ever eaten?
I would have to go with raw broccoli.

What's your beef with Corned Beef?
I think it's definitely a love it or hate it food. I don't a single person who is neutral about it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

60 seconds or 1 minute.

Happy Tuesday! I hope your day is as wonderful and beautiful in your corner of the world as mine is! I'm loving the itty bitty taste of Spring weather. Yes, this winter-loving girl is ready for spring!

My breakfast this morning was truly delicious. How can it not be when you start with ingredients like these??

2/3 cup oats, 1/2 cup water, 2 egg whites, 1 TBS almond butter, 2 drops almond extract, cinnamon & salt to taste-- microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally until desired consistency is reached. Garnish with blueberries and slivered almonds and a splash of milk.
This was delicious!! I love all those flavors and they really mesh together well. I used frozen blueberries and when I mixed them into the steaming oats, they were a wonderful little pop of cold and sweet. If you're as skeptical as I was about adding egg whites to your oatmeal- don't be! They don't scramble and they completely adopt the flavor of whatever you cook them with.
Not only is it delicious, but it's quite healthy- a good balance of protein, healthy fats, and a great dose of fiber!

I ran out of daylight for running yesterday so I came up with a quick circuit routine that incorporated both strength and cardio. My upper body is my biggest problem area, so I like to give it extra attention. :)
I loved this workout!! Typically I absolutely abhor circuit-styled workouts, but this one was actually not boring and horrible. Each circuit took be between 12-15 minutes to complete. The little bursts of cardio really keep you on your toes. If you try it, let me know what you think!! :)

(Please note that I am not a certified personal trainer and only offer my personal opinion. Please consult a doctor before a change in your nutrition or exercise routine.)

When working for time, do you measure by 60 seconds and 1 minute?? Our minds respond differently to different styles of measuring things. I've found that if I approach anything with the word MINUTE in it, I automatically view it as longer. 60 seconds doesn't sound that long to me, while 1 minute seems to be an eternity. While it's the exact same amount of time, my mind tells me that 60 seconds is shorter and more doable than 1 minute. Weird!!

Which is shorter to you- 60 seconds or 1 minute??

What workout are you doing today?


Monday, March 11, 2013

Carrots Candy Bars and a SWEET giveaway.

Good beautiful wonderful Monday afternoon to you!!

I ended up with a spare 60 minutes between work and more work (can anyone say 16 hour work day?)  and I threw together a variety of ingredients to make some quick-to-grab bars. I love having a quick, protein packed, unprocessed/clean snack to grab when I'm in a pinch and short on time.

Quick run-down of ingredients; shredded carrots, banana, shredded apples, walnuts, chia seed, ground flax, coconut oil, agave nectar, mexican vanilla, almond milk, cinnamon, raisins, unsweetened shredded coconut, egg whites, protein powder and oats.
I really had no idea how these would turn out because I just kept dumping in ingredients and stirring, rummaging through my cupboards, dumping in some more and then finally realized that I had barely enough time to get them cooked before I had to leave for work so I licked the spoon and called it the finished product.
I'm not sure which siblings got the creative cooking genes but I certainly got the short end of the wooden spoon. Nobody has died from my cooking yet, but it's nothing to write home about.

The finished product- quick little snack bars. I paired one with some plain greek yogurt today for a mid morning snack and it hit the spot. They aren't particularly sweet, but they are super flavorful. Carrot Candy Bars?? Okay, works for me.


I have always said Mondays are my faaaaavorite day, and this one is even more than usual-- check out this fanfreakingtastic giveaway!! Meghan has an awesome blog and she is a fantastic runner. Her race recaps are worth reading more than once.  Right now she is linking up with some other super rad-runner-chicks to bring us this awesome giveaway. I know I could handle me some lululemon. I'm normally opposed to people stealing my identity but I wouldn't be mad if you register in my name. nbd.

Have you ever won a giveway/raffle?

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday feels like Wednesday.

Happy Sunday! I hope you are having a relaxing and refreshing weekend.

Saturday's long run did not happen. This is wildly frustrating and I will admit, I am panicking. I have a marathon to RUN in 5 weeks and I have now missed two full weeks of training, and an additional 3 long runs. While I am cleared to run by my Doctor, my training has stalled. Time to kick it into over-drive and get some serious work in. 5 weeks gonna make it or break it for my 26.2.
Marathoners- what is the best thing to focus on at this point in training??

Regardless of missing my run, last night I had a wicked good gym session after work. I did a weight/cardio circuit and 4 minutes of planking (1 minute regular, 1 minute each side, 1 minute regular).  I was tempted to skip the gym because I was working a turn-around shift and with daylight savings it made for an incredibly short night but had too much frustration and discouragement left from missing my run to go straight home post work. I'm happy to say I left most of my frustration in a puddle of sweat on the floor. Somethings are outside of our control, so we just let them happen.

Am I the only person who freaks out about being late for work during DST?? I know my smart phone is designed to automatically roll-over to the current time but I'm always afraid that it's going to bleep out on me and make me late for work. I always set my alarm clock and wake up to watch my phone switch from 0159 to 0300 just to be sure. 
Trivia- did you know that the state of Arizona does not observe DST?

Sweat like a boss.

Delicious- no?? When I got home I had some man-sized hunger in me. (Read that again, I don't mean what you think I meant.) I've been going through a truckload of eggs lately and last night I kept throwing in additional ingredients. In the pan went an onion, black olives, spinach and bacon.  

Am I the only person who gets this lovely sight every single time they make scrambled eggs? And horrors- I was even using a non-stick pan. I'm going to blame it on my electric stove-- I started making scrambled eggs when I was in 3rd grade and I never had such burning issues until I moved out and transitioned from a gas stove to an electric stove.
Do you use a gas stove, electric stove or your boyfriend's abs to cook your food?

What are you doing TODAY to make yourself epic??

Tell me about your week-end!
 What was the most awesome thing you did/saw/ate/experienced?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Pink Treadmills for the win.

Hey- hey- it's FRIDAY!! Congratulations- you just lived another awesome week!
Welcome to the weekend! What are YOU going to do to live it up this weekend??
Because of my funky schedule, yesterday was my 'Monday', so my work week is just beginning. Weekend? What is that??
I've decided that the only way for me to stop hating the treadmill is to get a pink one. How could I hate such a beauty as this?! Anyone loving this as much as I am? If your treadmill was a color, what would it be?
I had a fabulous  6 mile run last night, one of the best runs I've had yet this year! Maybe I'm slowly edging out of my running rut?? Me hopes yes! I've been amping up the incline for my treadmill sessions, alternating between 2% and 3% incline. I love the extra challenge and I feel like it's a little bit more true-to-life, since my zip code includes a large dose of hills.
One of my goals is to find the humor in everything in life, even the not-so-awesome things. While I don't love the insomnia that has been plaguing my life lately, I do love this clever spin on the word. So far I've been able to avoid the late night munchies, definitely a good test of my self control!  
Tomorrow I plan to squeeze in my long run (16 miles, here I come!!) before work. The forecast is predicting rain and 15-20mph wind......not ideal conditions, but rain or shine I'll be hitting the pavement! I'm looking forward to this long run since I've missed two in a row.
Do you run in the rain? How 'bad' does the weather have to get before you move your run indoors?

Life is beautiful my friends-- savor it!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

When Life gives you lemons.....

 make lemonade.
throw them right back.
take them- we don't waste food.
make grape juice, then sit back while the world asks you how you did it.
Sometimes in life- you just get lemons. Proverbially, we're not supposed to let it get us down. Just make lemonade. But even after you've made the lemonade, sometimes you still have surplus lemons to deal with. Then it's time for Plan B.
It's been a crazy up and down the past few weeks and my marathon training came to a tumbling, screeching halt. As I discussed in this post, my marathon mojo has just been missing. Running in general has been extremely difficult for me and held very little joy or relief for me. It's been a struggle to get in even my short runs!! Instead of being my daily getaway and rest, it has been hanging over my head like a dark cloud.
I also have been having some unusual health issues that I have been ignoring for the past few months that I finally had to address. I would like to say that I was listening to my body and took the time to take care of it, but in actuality, I kept procrastinating thinking "oh, it's just will go away." It took a threat from a loving family member to take me to the ER to actually get me to schedule the appointment.
Because of this, I did take a 10 day break from training until I could get in to see the Doctor. I missed two long run (14 miles and 16 miles) which makes me really nervous as we approach the 6 week mark from my marathon.  
I finally saw the Doctor this week and didn't particularly make any definite progress during my appointment. We talked about a variety of different issues, ranging from minor to life-altering, but my symptoms are so varied and random it could be any number of things. I have some additional testing and adjustments to make now in order to try and pin-point what I may be experiencing.
I did get clearance from the Doctor to continue running and he said he saw no reason to scale back on my marathon training. Three cheers!! This girl doesn't want to give up!! That being said, I am going to continue to train smart and I'd rather be healthy and take proper care of my body for the long run (pun intended!)! There will always be marathons to run, but proper care of my body takes priority.
While the past few weeks have been tough, I cannot complain. I have SOO much to be thankful for. Never, never underestimate the power of gratitude. It is life changing!!
Here are a few things that are topping my gratitude chart this week;
1. Protein Pancakes. (for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but not all the same day.)
2. Olly Murs. (every stinkin' song!!)
3. My valentine's flowers are STILL alive and beautiful.
4. New shoes (reviews coming soon!!)
5. Hugs from little brothers.
6. Pink sunsets over snow-covered fields.
7. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, not depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. " Romans 8:35, 38 & 39
What are you grateful for today?!? I wanna know!