Saturday, December 26, 2015

Make your holidays #FitHolidays

During the holiday season, one of the most common things i hear people complain about is the extra holiday weight they gain.  At the holiday times there are so many delicious foods and desserts being made its sometimes hard to say no, or to know when to stop eating.  Portion control isn't always as easy as it sounds when you have a love affair with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoe pie.  Lucky for me, this holiday season I had a secret weapon to help me stop stuffing my face with deliscous stuffing!  What is my secret?  MealEnders Signaling losenges

MealEnders Losenges are similar to a hard candy with a soft outer shell. What makes these different then just a simple hard candy? Well, MealEnders have a Duo-Sensory Taste SystemTM 
which rewards your taste buds with the flavor but also rests them.  Once you get to the hard candy part of the MealEnder, you begin to feel your tounge tingle.  Its as though all your taste buds are being activiated.  MealEnders described this in the following way:


DUO-SENSORY TASTE SYSTEM™

MealEnders’ active-taste formula rewards and resets your taste buds, distracting you from the temptation to overindulge.  First the delicious Reward Layer treats you to the sweet taste of dessert – a signal we typically associate with the end of a meal.  Then the Inner Core’s Active-Taste Layer releases a proprietary blend of gentle, cool tingling sensations on the tongue, which engage the trigeminal nerve, distracting your mind from the urge to continue overeating.  You can feel your MealEnder go to work instantly.

(taken from MealEnders webpage : https://www.mealenders.com/

To learn more about the science behind MealEnders, visit their webpage and read how it works.

One thing I really enjoyed about MealEnders is that they come 4 flavors- Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mocha and Citrus. 
Chocolate is my ablsolute favorite.  My fiance loves the chocolate ones too, he ate all of them! (not at once though).  Luckily, i had a stash of chocolate ones unopened still. When i recieved my package of MealEnders Losenges, I also recieved a package of sample packs!  I took those to work and shared them with my co-workers who are always trying to find a way to lose weight or cut down calories.  They loved the losenges!  One of the girls was a little scared when her tounge started to tingle, but i assured her that is the way they work and she was fine :)

I love the way that the losenges activate my tastebuds.  I could be tempting myself to have seconds, but as soon as i pop a MealEnder in my mouth, im able to say no to seconds.  Not only do i get that sweet tooth craving, but i also am left with a mouth sensation that tells me i dont need to have extra servings.  Its really quite a cool thing! 


MealEnders make the perfect Holiday stocking stuffers.  I even used mine as party favors!

I highly recommend MealEnders to anyone and everyone! They even make great stocking stuffers and party favors!  You can check them out here!  If you are struggling with saying no to that second helping of pie or have trouble with controling cravings, MealEnders is perfect for you!  My goal through out the holidays is always to have #FitHolidays.  To say no to seconds, to keep working out, to not eat too many cookies! You too can have a #FitHoliday season and MealEnders can help you.  Why wait until the New Year, sure its just around the corner, but there is no time like the present! Dont wait for tomorrow to change what you can do today! So, heres to my secret weapon not being so secret anymore :)







Friday, December 11, 2015

Nektar Naturals #BeeSweet!

Recently, i had the opportunity to try out Nektar Naturals Nektar Honey Crystals. The honey crystals reminded me of instant coffee, but instead, instant honey! Nektar Honey Crystals are all-natural granulated honey. You can get the crystals in easy to go packets or an easy pour bottle.  Honey on the go with no sticky mess!  

I really enjoy having a cup of tea at night when i want to relax and prepare for bed and I love pairing natural honey with my tea.  I often end up with a sticky mess and honey on the counter top.  What i love about the Nektar Honey Crystals is that they are all natural, non-GMO and are naturally gluten-free.  I just added a teaspoon to my tea and i was good to go. 

The Nektar Honey Cystals have the same flavor as regular honey. I received the bottle of crystals with a set of measuring spoons which made adding honey to my tea easy.  I also added the Nektar Honey Crystals to my plain Greek yogurt. I ended with the same great honey taste and an extra texture to my yogurt. 

The Nektar Honey Crystals are also great for cooking and baking with.  I love to bake granny smith apples with cinnamon in the oven.  I saw the idea when i was a kid on a PBS show and have been obsessed since.  I added the Honey Crystals to the inside of the apple as they baked and ended with a delicious flavor.   For more great baking recipes, check out their webpage
image from google images
Another beneficial thing about the crystals that i love, is that they contain natural electrolytes. Being a very active athlete, this is a great benefit for me. When I add them to my tea is not only adding great flavor, but benefiting me! You can also add the crystals to a bottle of water for added flavor and added electrolytes.  
I really enjoy how easy the crystals are to use and look forward to creating more with them.  If you love honey but hate the mess, i highly recommend the Nektar Naturals Honey Crystals to you! 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Santa Hustle 5K

This past Saturday, My fiance and I ran in the Santa Hustle 5K.  For the race being on the lake front and on a December day, we had great weather.  The sun was shining and the temperature reached a high of 47 degrees- i think it only got to a high of 39 while we were running though.  

The morning of, we woke up at 6am to start getting ready so we could leave by 6:45.  My routine on a race morning is very simple- make coffee and get dressed. I always lay out my clothes for a race the night prior so I'm not scurrying around in a frenzy the morning of trying to find what i need.  By 6:45 we were out the door and driving down to the east side.  The race was held right off of Lake Michigan at Veteran's Park downtown Milwaukee. 

We arrived around 7:10am for (we had to stop and get me gum on the way- i cant run without a piece of gum). The race didn't start until 830 but we had to pick up our race bibs and packets, and we knew parking could get crazy so wanted to make sure we got a spot.  After picking up our packets and bibs, we went back to the car so we could stay warm.  At 8:15 we did a final bathroom stop and headed to the start line.

At the start line, we placed ourselves towards the front so we wouldn't have to battle through people while running.  Before the race started, UW-Badger alum and Heismann Trophy Winner, Ron Dayne spoke and gave a pep talk. 

 Then the count down began and we were off.  The start was very congested and i felt like I was tripping over people.  Once we spread out more, My fiance and I started to pass people and fall into our rhythm.  I think a lot of people placed themselves in the front when they shouldn't have.  

The course took us onto Lincoln Memorial drive to North Ave and then turned back to the finish line.  I enjoyed the course a lot, as its one that i have trained on consistently in the past.  The first mile, we found ourselves passing a lot of people and ran past the "Cookie Stop".  I hit mile 1 in 7:31



A mile 1 1/2 we passed the Water Stop and we nearing the turn around.  My legs felt a little dead, but overall i felt like i was doing pretty good. As we neared mile 2 i could feel that i had slowed a little but I thought i had been holding a decent pace.  (i didn't check my watch the entire race so until i finished didn't know what pace i was holding).  I hit mile 2 in 7:50.  



As we turned around and headed back to the finish, i could feel myself dying, but i wasn't giving up.  I thought i was on track to run faster then i was running and that kept me motivated. Entering back into Veterans Park, we passed the "Candy Stop".  Neither of us took anything from the stops, but they were cute to see.  Throughout the course, there were also funny motivational posters.  The one near the candy stop was of two snowballs and one saying to the other, the more i run the more weight i put on.  It took me a minute to figure it out (im a bit slow with jokes) but then i had a good laugh. 
  

After passing the candy stop, we were about a .5 from the finish and i could feel my legs dying and my pace dramatically slowing.  There was a girl in a penguin suit in front of me that I was trying to pass and I told myself to just let her go. I hit mile 3 in 8:19.

As we headed to the finish line, i had a little bit of juice left in me and began to pick up my speed.  We crossed the finish line in 24:58 and of course, as always, finished hand in hand.   
Headed to the Finish
I was disappointed with the time, but not with my performance.  I had really thought i was running so much faster.  My legs definitely were frozen from the cold, so i believe that had an affect on me feeling how i was running.  Just one week prior, i ran 2 1/2 minutes faster in a 5K.  I have noticed the last mile i tend to die and in my training have been trying to work on keep myself consistent in that last mile.  One day I want to run a 5K like i had 2 years ago. I know i wont be running a 15 minute 5K again, but i would like to get into the 18min range once more.  

Overall, Im very pleased with the way Saturday went.  My fiance and I had a lot of fun.  We even hung out for a bit afterwards to take some pictures and say hi to the Reindeer.  


I feel that i have a long way to go in my training, but the run did feel good and I'm proud of myself.  

The next race on my agenda is in February- on my 30th birthday.  We are traveling to Tampa Florida for a half marathon.  So, until then, i will be focusing on my training and gaining speed and logging longer miles with a more consistent pace.  


Until next time:


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

DRUMSTICK DASH 5K

Thursday, My fiance and I ran the Drumstick Dash 5K here in Milwaukee.  It was a great way to start our Thanksgiving.  We are both very grateful we are able to participate in the races we have done this year. They may not always go as planned, but doing them together is what matters.  

The weekend before the Drumstick Dash, I went to a local running store to get fitted for a pair or running shoes.  My current ones had over 300 miles on them and *GULP* were Nike Frees. The lack of stability in the Nike Frees explains some of my injuries.  To be honest, i didn't even know what i was running in until last week, i just knew i had Nikes and that they had hit the limit.  The sales associate who helped me at Performance Running in Brookfield was incredible. He knew all details on every shoe he showed me- more on that in a later post. After trying on and running in different shoes, I found that the Brooks PureCadence 4 was the best fit for me. The size i needed wasn't in stores, so they ordered them in for me.  Wednesday, I got a call that my shoes had come in but i had to work.  My fiance was amazing and drove out to get them so i could have new shoes to run in at the Drumstick Dash.

The morning of the run, we got up at 6am.  I made myself a cup of coffee and took my time to get dressed (okay, i snoozed a bit).  We left the house at 6:40 and stopped at his parents real quick so i could drop off my green bean casseroles (yes 2) for our thanksgiving meal later that day.  We arrived at Miller Park around 7:10.  The race didn't start til 8:30 but we wanted to make sure we got parking and had to pick up our race bibs. 

We picked up our Bibs and race packets inside the stadium.  While i was giving the woman helping me my name, i felt someone put their arm around me and a kiss on the cheek from someone with a beard. I was trying to figure out who would do this and was so surprised when i turned around and saw my Dad!  He was volunteering and was there helping with the race packets.  Was such a great surprise.  I made sure to get a picture with my Dad- he was doing Novem-Beard and had grown out a Santa white beard.  Last time i saw my dad with facial hair was a mustache when i was 8 years old. (i cried when he shaved that off, i was an emotional child). 


After getting our packets, we headed back to the car to wait until the race start.  At 750 we decided to do a quick bathroom run before the lines got crazy.  And then we headed over to the start and warmed up a bit.  Only to realize that both of us, with out talking to each other, had somehow decided that we thought the race started at 815.  We had a good laugh about that when at 8:10 we were trying to figure out why no one else was lining up.  After we realized that, we headed back into the stadium to kill some time. 

Eventually, one of the volunteers made an announcement for everyone indoors to head outdoors to start lining up. We maneuvered our way toward the start of the lineup, but positioned ourselves about 6 rows back.  No point in starting with the front runners when we weren't racing to win.  (Plus the winner finished in 14:57).  The announcer started the count down and we were off.  I knew that we were going to face an uphill right away so wanted to race smart.  Our training has increased the past few weeks, so i knew we could run this race faster then our last 5K in October.  We fell into stride with each other and took the hill smart.  Soon after the hill, we were running down hill and hit mile 1.  

Mile 2 was mostly downhill and flat. We had a slight incline right at the end of the mile, but it wasn't anything that we couldn't handle.  Mile 2 i started to feel myself holding back. I didn't want to take things out to hard, but i didn't want to go to slow.  I know i die on mile 3 and didn't want to push myself too hard. 
Mile 3 we headed back toward the stadium and the finish line.  There was another sight downhill, but the rest of the course was flat.  As we rounded the stadium, we saw the finish line and began to pick up our pace. Had i reviewed the course map more careful prior to the race, i could have avoided dying, but lesson learned.  So, we've picked our pace up to a sprint- we think we are about to finish- wrong! The course throws you a curve bar and we have to run a loop to come back to the finish line (and finish on an incline).  I wanted to scream.  I think i actually did.  

I have always been able to pull out a strong finish at every race, it doesn't matter how dead i feel, when i see that finish line, i can bring it in strong.  But now, i had used that energy thinking i was headed to the finish line and still had some distance to go.  I was dead.  I felt my pace slow and the defeat settle in.  My fiance was trying to encourage me to finish strong but i just couldn't wrap my head around it.  Had i looked at my watch,  I also would've seen where we were at and avoided this situation. As we neared the final 20 yards, I was able to find that strong finish and cross the finish line hand in hand with my fiance.  


Overall, i was satisfied with the race.   We finished stronger and faster then we had a month ago.  I didn't feel sweaty or that out of breath at the end though, which tells me i had more to give.  This weekend we are racing another 5K which i know is a flatter course so I am excited to see what we can pull of this weekend. 

Results:
bib number:1986
overall place:165 out of 2758
division place:7 out of 228
gender place:41 out of 1688
time:22:44
pace:7:19



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Turkey Trot Prediction Run





This past Sunday, My fiance and I participated in a 2 mile prediction run hosted by the Badgerland Striders.  There were a couple of things about this run that had me really excited- 
1)The route is one that i have trained on and is about 3 miles from my house
2)There were no clocks or "winners" it was a run your own pace "race" 
3)This was a prediction run, not a race 
4)If I was close to my prediction time, i could win a turkey! 
5) The run was only 2 miles long!  

There was the option to run a 15K, but my training is not strong enough right now to run a "feels good" solid 9 miles.  Plus, I like running with music and being able to check my pace on my Garmin, and I wouldn't have been able to use those on this run.  (I did find out at the run that music was allowed, but I didn't know that at the time of signing up and that swayed my decision to choose the 2 mile run).  Being a prediction run, upon signing up I had to enter a time that iI thought me and my fiance would finish in.  I predicted both me and Paul to finish the 2 miles in 15:48.  I know our training isn't as strong as it could be so i didn't want to estimate too fast of a time for us, but I also know even on weak training, Paul is a strong runner and 16 would be too slow for him. 

The morning of the run, we got up around 7am to start getting ready.  I needed coffee and we had run out 2 days prior, so we left the house early to stop at Starbucks so I could get my caffeine fix.  When we left the house, the temperature was 34 degrees.  Not my ideal weather for a run.  By the time we left Starbucks,  the temperature had already risen about 5 degrees. We drove over to the race site and snagged a parking spot at the picnic area near the starting line.  There were over 300 participants at this run, and the parking lot near the start had about 30 parking spots available.  I should mention, one reason we were so lucky is we arrived an hour early.  We picked up our race bibs around 8:15 and then sat in the car until 9:15 (the race was scheduled to start at 9:30).  

Sitting in the car, we took a few goofy pictures together to kill the time. 



Photo credit @Sizzle_bean
It was nice to be at the starting line in a warm car and not have to worry about walking in the cold, in a hurry, to get to the starting line.  About 20 minutes before the race started, i decided to get out of the car and stretch my legs (and throw out our coffee cups).  I saw a girl I used to work with taking a picture with her husband, so I went over to say hi and offered to take the photo for them.  It was nice to see her and to catch up.  When I got back to the car, we took our traditional pre-race picture together and then headed to the starting line.  

This time, we didn't start right at the front. The run was on chip times, not gun time and this run wasn't about winning, so i didn't feel pressure to be at the front.  The race was scheduled to start at 9:30 but there was a slight delay and the run started around 3 minutes after the scheduled start.  The only complaint i have about the starting line is that the announcer didn't have a strong speaker to broadcast what he was saying, so i had to strain to hear.  I'm glad i didn't run the 15K because i couldn't hear how he was explaining the course. Later, watching some of the 15K runners i heard two runners passing each other ask if they were at the halfway mark. I think the speaker not being so loud left a lot of people not being able to hear how the route went.  It left a bit of confusion for the 15K runner.  The race did have lots of volunteers directing though, so that helped the runners to not get lost.  There were no mile markers for the 15K runners- the 15K course was a 2 loop out and back course.


Once the race started, Paul and I fell into stride with each other and were running strong.  I communicated to him when i felt the pace was uncomfortable and we backed off a little.  I did find myself enjoying running without headphones and a watch.  I was able to talk with Paul and i felt at ease not checking every minute what my pace was.  My favorite part about this run was that it was an out and back run.  I love those!  I always feel as though i thrive on the return; i know how far i have to go and am able to give it my all.  When we turned around to head back to the finish line (starting line), Paul felt something shift in his stomach, i think it was the Tall latte from Starbucks and had a bit of pain running.  Despite his stomach pain, we both felt strong in our running on the way back. Strong as we felt, i did feel like my legs were dying and like the pace was uncomfortable, but that is also how i knew i was running faster then normal. When we could see the finish line, we picked up our pace to a spring and finished strong. Of course, we finished hand in hand- we always do :)

Heading to the finish line. In stride with each other.

After crossing the finish line, we walked for a bit before heading to the car. I needed to grab my phone so we could take our traditional after race photo.  On my phone was an email notification from the run. I had finished 26 seconds faster then i had predicted us to finish, Paul finished 27 seconds faster. We finished in 15:22 and 15:21. When we crossed the finish line (before checking out phones) Paul said to me that he was guessing our time would be 16:05.  We ran faster at this run then we had been training at and felt slower then we were.  To me, this means that we have a bright future ahead of us if we start training more often and more consistently. And by bright i mean our races will be faster and our bodies stronger.  


after race photo:)
After taking our after race picture, I suggested we go get some water and hang out for a little while to watch the people running the 15K.  Also, we realized we were trapped- the 15K was running past the finish line to make a loop and cars couldn't get out.  So we grabbed a cup of coffee and sat on the side of the road to watch the runners. I saw my friend Alyson run by so I made sure to cheer for her and on her loop back snagged a few action photos for her. Paul and I were really impressed with the 1st place runner of the 15K and watched him loop around and stayed around to watched him finish.  He finished the 9.4 miles in 58 minutes.  After he finished, we headed over to the gazebo where the food/coffee/water was to hear the winners of the turkeys from the 2 mile. 

The last turkey winner from the 2 mile run was 25 seconds off of her prediction time.  I was next in line for a turkey! oh well, i cant win them all!  I did finish 1st in my age group and 7th female overall.  I'm very pleased with how Paul and I ran and I'm looking forward to our next race together on Thanksgiving morning.  I definitely want to run the prediction run again next year, and I think with more consistent training, we can run faster and stronger and have a better idea of what our final time would be.  I want to win a turkey next year! 


watching the 15K Runners. 

Questions for you:
Whats the strangest prize you've seen given at a race?
Are you doing any holiday themed races this year?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Hemp Hearts Review

This past month, I had the opportunity to review Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts.   Hemp hearts, are the heart of a hemp seed.  They are easy to eat and remind me of the texture of quinoa.  Packed with 10grams of plant based protein and 10 grams of omegas per 30 gram serving, they are a great source of nutrients.  I am a huge chia seed lover and hemp hearts have more protein and omegas then my chia seeds!

I found Hemp Hearts very easy to use with my daily meals.  I love having a salad for lunch and yogurt for breakfast or a snack.  I simply just sprinkled the hemp hearts on to what I was eating, and voila! I had an instant serving of nutritional goodness. 



A bit blurry, sorry!
I was slightly hesitant about trying the hemp hearts- I was afraid I would hate the texture or the flavor.  When sprinkled on my salad, I didn't even notice them, and when added to my yogurt, I was able to easily stir them in.  The texture reminded me of having chia seeds mixed into my yogurt.
Hemp Heart on my Greek yogurt!
I love that they are very easy to add to your meals, I could even add them to a blended protein shake!  Check out this recipe and just add your 2 tbl spoons of hemp hearts prior to blending! It will give your shake and added texture, but it doesn't change the taste flavor wise! Plus how can you pass up an easy way to get the nutrients your body needs!

Overall, I was highly satisfied with this product and plan to continue to purchase Hemp Hearts as well as some other goodies from Manitoba Harvest!


Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Let Go

The last 10 days, I've had so many thoughts racing around in my head that I haven't been able to figure out what I wanted to write about.  This week, it became  clear to me what I needed  to talk about.  I say need, because this is something that I need to do for myself, I need to get these thoughts down, I need to talk about what's bothering me and what I'm currently struggling with.   Maybe someone will benefit from reading this or maybe someone will leave a comment that will help me.  I guess time well tell.

This past Monday, I attended a Church service with my Fiancé and his family.  The service was on All Soul's Day, and we were there to remember his grandmother who passed in the spring.  It was a great service and many were remembered.  During the Priest's homily, he talked about how when we thought we had dealt with grief and moved on, it sneaks back up on us.  Grief comes in stages, and sometimes those stages can be things that trigger a memory causing you to feel all the feels again. 

This past Sunday, I had one of those triggering moments. Paul and I were walking through Target looking for the aisle with the Vacuums (ours broke Saturday) and while we were wandering around, we passed through the baby section.  I felt so overwhelmed with sadness. I had tons of memories flood in from when we were pregnant and looking at what we needed/wanted to buy for our baby.  This month I'm getting tons of mail from baby and maternity stores and as well as emails and coupons for baby items.  All of this just triggers more sadness in me, making me long for what we've lost.

This month is a hard month.  I don't do good with holidays.  I especially don't do well with holidays centered around food.  And now, to be honest, I'm overwhelmingly sad.  This would've been my last month of pregnancy; I was due Nov 31 and that's hard for me to deal with right now.  I could keep suppressing this and saying I'm fine, but sometimes, I need to talk about what is bothering or hurting me.  We all do.

Paul mentioned to me that I have a lot of things from my past that I'm holding on to- and it's not in a healthy way.  I need to let go.  I've been dwelling on how I used to be and striving to be that girl again- to be thinner, prettier, and to run as fast as I used to- but that is all past me and I cannot rewind. I was a different person then- and I was not necessarily a healthy person at that time either.  Today I may look a bit different on the outside, but I've finally started to beat this demon of an eating disorder. I am pretty, It's my own insecurities telling me that I'm not.  And yes, I may run slower than I did 2 years ago- but I'm not killing myself with over training these days. I also took time off from running to deal with eating disorder treatment, therapy and to process the grief of losing the baby.  I'm slowly learning to process everything that has happened that last decade or so that I haven't dealt with.  There is a lot of grief to deal with. 

My best friend posted this to her Facebook yesterday.  What perfect timing! It rang very true to what I have been thinking about the last few days.
photo credit : @nikkipowersyoga
I need to let myself feel the sadness and then let it go.  I have a right to be sad, but I shouldn't stay stuck in this place.  That is not a good thing for me to do, nor a healthy thing.  There will always be little moments that will spark a memory and a feeling, that is unavoidable, but I have a choice on how I react.  I need to be grateful for what I do have.  If I want to live in my past, I will only hurt myself.  I have been given so many blessings this past year- an amazing fiancé, health, and sobriety to name a few. 

Instead of dwelling on my past, its time to look to my future.  What does my Higher Power have in store for me, what can I do to live the life He wants me to live.  What are my goals and dreams? Its time to take action to make positive things happen. 

In yoga, I constantly hear about surrender and letting go of the ego. I need to bring my practice to my everyday life. To breathe in and let go- of my past, of my ego and to surrender. To trust my Higher Power and to know that even though I don't know what the future holds for me, everything will be alright. 

"The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward."



November and December are Gratitude months. I challenge all of you to take time each day to write down 5 things you are grateful for. 



Sunday, October 25, 2015

Monster Run 5K

Lets talk about bad races.  The majority of runners experience a bad race here and there. This fall mine have all been okay, I haven't PR'd but I also haven't had amazing races. I have only myself and lack of training to blame for that.  I wouldn't call my races bad races, just ones that I could improve upon.  Last weekends 5K- I would consider that a bad race.  Sure, I won my age group and finished 45th out of 610 5K competitors, but I could have done a lot better.  Its not that I am a slow runner, by no means is that the case- its that my mental game is weak, my training is not where it should be, and I made huge racing errors.  

With that being said, I still had fun at last weekends Monster Run 5K.  The run is paired with a Halloween themed festival! Prior to the race beginning there is pumpkin carving, kids races and costume contests.  After the race, each competitor gets a free hot dog- the wiener mobile is even there! And there is a movie screened in the park- this years was the kids movie Hotel Transylvania.   A few years ago, Runners World even mentioned this race in their race finder article.  The one difference this year from prior years, is that they now offered a 5 Mile race along with the 5K.


My fiancé and I got to the race around 3:30 to pick up our bibs and race packet (aka t-shirt). We had an easy time finding parking- super rare and super lucky! As we were walking to get our packets, the kid's races were finishing up. We saw parents running with their 2 and 3 year olds, some parents carrying their kids.  It was very cute!  I would say that 80% of the people participating were in costume. My fiancé and I went costume shopping about 2 days prior and deciding on something simple that we could run in.  We ran as skeletons.  Nice part about our costumes is we can reuse them! Which I actually plan on doing for work on the 31st.  

The weather was a bit chilly with a slight wind and intense sunshine! I can't stand to be cold on any part of my body, and since we had time, we took a walk to a nearby Walgreen's so i could get some cheap gloves.  My fingers were freezing and I didn't want to risk that throwing off my head game (which needs a ton of work).  

After getting me gloves, we walked back to the festival and took a bunch of pictures together.  I had fun looking at all the different costumes and I of course was scoping out runners to see who I thought would be a top finisher.  I had told myself going into this 5K that it wasn't about winning, it was about having fun.  My fiancé is a little tired of hearing me beat myself up after races that I don't win, and he just wants to run together and have fun.  I did not have as much fun running this race as I should have. In fact I wanted to scream and cry.  But more on that later. 

With ten minutes until the start of the race (the 5k and 5 miler started together and had different break off points), we went and lined up.  We placed ourselves in the front.  We always do. (hmm, maybe I should change that to take a different mental approach).  There were a few kids (7-8 year olds) who ran up to the front wanting to start first.  Those kids didn't stay in the front, but I'm sure they had fun, and they finished a 5K race which is awesome.  I definitely (when I have kids) want them to race with me.  


Anyways, so we are at the starting line.  There is a giant minion next to us.  We hear the announcer state that "The Minion" is the winner of the previous weekends Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon!  As you can see in the picture below, this costume was huge! (And, he won the 5 Miler that day holding a 5:35 pace in that costume! Insanley amazing!) Hearing that he was the winner of the Marathon, I mentally noted around what pace this guy probably runs at and that I shouldnt go out in front of him.  I wish I listened to myself sometimes.  



The gun goes off and I'm off.  I felt great, my legs felt strong, and next thing you know, I'm running a 6 minute pace and I'm first person overall.  I turn the corner and there is the race truck (the one that leads you the path) and it starts when I get to it.  Part of me is stoked that I'm in this position and another part of me is freaking out that I should not be running in 1st place this soon- or at all.  So, I checked my watch to see what pace I was running at- 5:59. I checked my Garmin Connect results (its an app that connects to my watch and shows me all the results) and it showed me that at one point my fastest pace was 5:11. Yikes! I used to be stoked about that, but with where my training and fitness level are currently, I should not be running at that pace, not even for a brief moment. So I knew that it was time to back off and that I needed back off now. I tried to slow myself, and honestly, after going out that fast, part of me felt like I was just starting to die.  

I went out to fast and i was paying for it.  What in the world was I thinking.  My fiancé knew we were going out to fast, but he knows how in my head I get and let me do my thing.  The first mile started with us going on state street and then turning up a small hill. Once past that hill, we turned to run another 10m to turn up another hill.  This hill killed me.  My fiancé even noticed that this hill was my end game.  

The rest of the race was a great course.  It had flat roads, some downhills and only one more uphill. I have one complaint about the course- there were no mile markers!! I run with my Garmin set to show me my pace, not my distance, so the only way I knew how far we had actually run was if I clicked through all the options on my watch to get to the distance tab to see where we were at- which distracts me and causes me to slow down.  The majority of the race, I had no reference as to how far we had actually gone. 

The last uphill I could hardly breathe and the Police Officer directing traffic even asked me if I was okay since I was wheezing so loud.  Note, this is all because I decided to not listen to myself and go out faster then my body can handle right now.  Lesson learned.  My mistake has also helped me realize where my fitness level is / isn't right now as well. 

After we got up that last hill, I started my routine "go run, go without me" dramatics.  When am I going to learn!  But as always, my fiancé stayed by my side.  I knew we were entering the last mile and would be done soon.  I also should mention- I stopped to walk about 800 times during this 5K- that's how bad my mental game had gotten.  So when we finally saw the park through the trees, I knew the end was coming and that I could not stop.  When we rounded the corner toward the finish line, I gave it all I had and sprinted.  Right as we neared the finish line I hear my fiancé yell for me and we grabbed hands.  We always finish hand in hand. Its our thing.  We do these races together, we battle different thoughts and feelings during the race, but we finish together.  

I finished with a time of 25:31:31  I was 1st in my age group and 44th finisher overall.  My fiancé finished in 25:31:05 (even though we held hands as we crossed the finish, he still crossed it first!) placing second in his age group and 43rd overall.  I know from our first 5K together this spring that we both could have done better (4 minutes better) but we finished, had some fun and did this together and that is what matters.  I'm learning its not always about winning or losing, just accomplishing something and having fun.  Its a lesson that is taking me time, I used to race to win, heck I trained to win- I was always trying to train faster than the day prior. 


After the race I grabbed a water and went and leaned against the back of a building to catch my breath.  I was not used to the chill in the air and it had done a number on my lungs.  My fiancé and I didn't stay for any of the festivities being held after.  Neither of us felt good and the both of us were coughing from the chill in our lungs.  We finished the night with burgers from Red Robin (our after race ritual) and snuggled up watching reruns of Parks And Recreation on Netflix. 

Overall, I really can't beat myself up.  I finished, I finished in a stronger placing then most runners, and I got to add another race completed with my Fiancé to the list.  I had fun overall.  Sure, I wanted to just lay down and die during the race, but I kept going.  I know now what I need to work on for my next race and I need to start putting in the work.  Hopefully I will have a more positive race recap after the next one I run in a few weeks :)

until next time:
   

Friday, October 16, 2015

Acceptance

(disclaimer- Yoga Six has in no way sponsored this post. this is not a paid review. this is my own experience and personal thoughts)

Two Fridays ago,  I had an interview to work for a new yoga studio in Milwaukee- Yoga Six.   I am very excited to say, I got the job! Last Thursday, Yoga Six hosted a yoga event downtown.  The event was an hour yoga practice followed by hors d'oeuvres and drinks to get to know the other Yogis who had participated in the class, the ladies I'd be working with, and to talk with the instructors about the practice.  I am not normally one to head to an event where I don't know anyone, but I am so glad I went! 

I invited a friend of mine to join me for the practice.  He just completed his RYT 200 and is pursuing the RYT 500 this winter.  It made perfect sense to invite such a devoted Yogi to this yoga event. Plus, then I would know someone! It was nice to catch up with him for about 15 minutes prior to the start of the practice.  We talked about how certain actions in our lives were ego driven and now things are shifting for both of us and its more of an energetic/spiritual force driving us towards our goals. 

The practice was lead by an instructor who had come up from Chicago. She had the help of an instructor from St. Louis (helping students with pose adjustments).  Both ladies are teachers with Yoga Six.  The help with adjustments was amazing, and the practice made me wish I lived in Chicago so I could take more classes with this instructor.  

At the beginning of the practice, Jenny, out instructor, asked us to reflect on one word that embodied what yoga has brought into our lives, or a way it has affected us.  There were two words that popped into my head.  Calm and Acceptance.

Midway through our practice, as we stood on our mats and brought our hands to our heart center, she asked us to think of the word we had chosen earlier.  Acceptance came to my mind this time.  Yoga has brought acceptance to my life in many ways.  

Most of my readers know that a part of me has always struggled with self acceptance.  Be it with my running, my body, or my life in general.  I have always wanted more, wanted thinner, wanted better.  Yoga brought me acceptance.  It has helped to calm those thoughts.  When asked to reflect on the word I'd thought of earlier in the practice, I had so many thoughts run through my head.  Acceptance.  So many parts of my life have focused on acceptance. 

In my practice, I accept that my practice is my own.  It is between me and my mat.  I do not focus on how someone else is doing.  How strong or weak they hold a pose is between them and their mat.  We are all there for the same reason- to practice.  We are all on our own journeys.  I used to have to compare myself to everyone.  When I am practicing I don't do that, I accept that my practice is mine and others around me should not impact what I can do or get out of my practice.

I've had to accept my body.  That is a constant work in progress, but the last 4 years I have come very far.  From being 89lbs to 120 is a huge accomplishment.  I had to work on acceptance.  I had to accept that I was like everyone else- my body needs food to function, nourishment is vital to my survival.  I had to accept that weight gain is not a bad thing.  That my body needs to be healthy and not a skeleton.  This is not always easy for me. I do not always want to accept this.  I have my bad days, but the good are more prevalent now.

I had to accept that I am an alcoholic.  I cannot drink like a normal drinker.  I cannot drink. I'm okay with that today.  Honestly, removing alcohol from my life is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Reflecting on that word, I realized I have  leaned to accept who i am on my mat and have begun to carry that into my daily life.  My practice is my own, just like my life is my own.  My practice is what I make it- Just as my life is what i make it.  I can let things destroy me and bring me down, or I can accept that life happens and move forward. 

At the end of the practice, the word acceptance kept ringing in my head.  I feel that acceptance is something I will always work on.  Self-acceptance and acceptance of others.  I am always a work in progress, and that is something I have had to accept :)




what one word would you use to describe how yoga has affected you?




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Am #BOSUStrong

Its the last week of the #BOSUStrong challenge! This challenge allowed me a lot of time to reflect on my fitness goals, strengths and weaknesses.  My fitness journey is one that will always be continuous.  One of my favorite quotes is:

"Good Better best,
Never take a rest.
Til you good is better
And your better is best"

I am always striving to be better than I was the day before.  To be stronger, to be faster, to be a better version of myself.  This challenge opened my eyes to how weak my training has been- and how weak I have become- both physically and mentally.  My mental game has caused me a lot of problems in my running- making me want to throw in the towel and give up.  But I am continuing to persevere and stay strong.  I have an amazing support system and surround myself with positive and loving people.  I have a very blessed life and for that I am extremely grateful.

This week, I have a goal of getting in 20 miles of running- sure that's not a ton, but its a good start.  I want to do some hill training and speed training as well.  Id like to do 3 yoga practices this week and 3 days of strength training.  If I run, practice yoga, and strength train in the same day- then power to me!

What are your goals this week?



Week 4: What makes me #BOSUStrong!
This week is the very last week of the #bosustrong challenge that has inspired me to up my fitness game! Before starting the challenge, my goal was to actively participate in this challenge and now that we’re in the final week I plan to not only continue to participate, but to continue using parts of this challenge in the weeks to come. I want to be a fitter stronger faster version of myself, and I will need to continue to put in the work to achieve this goal.

This week we’re focusing on the things that make us BOSUStrong. Here are the 10 things that make me #BOSUStrong:

I am always striving to be a better version of myself!

I will always set goals and chase after them! Half the fun is achieving goals! Whether I'm chasing a PR, working towards holding a new yoga pose, or just trying to strengthen my body.


I never give up.  Sure, I want to give up half the time, but I don't!  Mind over matter!

I do my best when I have support.  I have written in previous posts how having my fiancé by my side when running helps me tremendously.  He supports me in everything I do.  When I finally nail a new yoga pose I've been working on, he is there to congratulate me.  I surround myself with positive and uplifting people.  That is the kind of person I want to be, so I find being around like minded people to help.


I love to
#stopdropandyoga  Yes, I'm guilty of being that person who posts yoga poses on her Instagram.  When I feel inspired I go for it! I love to take creative shots with my poses.  And I LOVE to fall into a backbend!

I am inspired to inspire others.  I want others to see in me the good, and I want them to want to embrace the good in themselves.  I feel we are all working on being the best versions of ourselves, and if I can inspire someone to keep doing that or work harder, Ill call that a success.

I love to encourage others to try their hardest and chase their goals.  My fiancé didn't start running races until I came around.  I encourage him to try, and he has more than succeeded! He has become an amazing runner- he always was- he just didn't run like he does now.  In my social circle, I have friend always telling me they are about to try a new yoga class or signed up for their first 5k.  Its an amazing feeling to have them come to me to share something so exciting. I hope to always motivate and encourage others to try new things and continuously chase goals.


I have bad days.  Its a part of being human.  I have runs where I end up walking half the time, but I'm out there trying, which is more than the person sitting on their couch can say.


I am proud of who I am.  I have battled a lot in my life.  I don't let that hold me back or keep me from growing.  We have to fall to get back up.

I hope to
finish 2015 strong!


So I want to know - are you #BOSUStrong? Copy and paste the above, fill it in and make it your own and then tag me in it and share with your friends! Let’s all be #BOSUSTRONG.