Good Reads: Thinking Positive, Healthier S’mores, Pre-Workout Eats

My days are extremely busy, so I hardly get free time to read as much as I’d like, but I wanted to share a couple of posts I’ve found recently that are worth sharing!

LinkLove

It’s All About… (Black Dog Runs Disney): Life is all about perspective. We can take it as seriously as you’d like, or you can just let the chips fall where they may. This is a great post about the whole Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend during the NFL Draft, and how it should be treated the same as if he were kissing a female. What’s your perspective?

Healthier S’mores (Lululemon Blog): Umm…hell-llo!!! It’s summer, which means bonfires, cookouts, etc., which means my favorite summer treat–s’mores! I can’t wait to try these, and I hope you do, too!

Pre-Workout Carbs & Fat Loss (Eat to Perform): Working out at 6:30 in the morning makes it hard to get in the best pre-workout fuel–you’re still waking up and not hungry. I’ll drink a pre-workout drink, and I’ll get in half a banana with peanut butter if I’m particularly hungry, but lately it seems that’s more difficult to eat.

Let Me Introduce Myself (See Mama Run): Esther is a former co-worker and friend of mine and she’s joining the blogging world! She’s run many half and full marathons, plus a relay race (just months after giving birth to her adorable daughter)! I am excited she’s taking this step and I can wait to read along.

Your turn: What’s been some of your favorite reads this week?

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Half Marathon #3 Training Update: Noblesville Mini Marathon

**Happy Memorial Day! I hope you take the time to remember why we have this long holiday weekend–thank you to the men and women who served, or are currently serving, our country.**

The countdown is on for my third half marathon, and I am not very confident that I’ll be able to tackle the 13.1 miles at my best. I haven’t been able to train as consistently as I would have liked. Granted I went into this training intentionally not running as much as I have in races past. I wanted to see if not running as much and doing more cross-training (CrossFit) would help me overcome the usual issues of overuse injuries that I’ve had previously. However, life and time got away from me and I couldn’t spend as many Saturday mornings running as I would have liked. But, I’m still going to give it my all!

After being sick with exhaustion/walking pneumonia in April, I tackled 8 miles with a couple of running group friends. The first four miles felt strong, but the last four miles were tough as my lungs weren’t completely recovered. As funny as it sounds, though, I think that run helped me recover a lot faster, getting a lot of the junk out of my lungs that had been bothering me.

The next week I had an agility trial over the weekend, so I met the Striders for a run on Friday, going 6.5 miles rather than the scheduled 9, because that was all I had time for. I figured that was better than no miles at all!

Then this weekend… Thursday I didn’t go to CrossFit in the morning, so I decided to run 4 miles in my neighborhood after work, testing out how I handled the heat (it was 84*). I completed 4 miles in 38:38 (9:37 avg)…I really need to work on my pacing, though!

Friday M and I traveled up to my parents’ for the long weekend. At the last minute I registered for the Noblesville Mini Marathon 10K Thursday night because I knew that I needed the training miles, and I’d be more apt to get my 9+ miles in if I was able to run with someone or in a race. I had played with the idea of doing the mini marathon and just not push myself to run the whole 13 miles, but I decided that wasn’t smart and I didn’t want to spend the extra money for that. So I registered for the 10K race and planned to run the 5K route after I finish the 10K.

This was the first year for the Noblesville Mini, so of course this race had a lot to improve on. The organization wasn’t the best–there were no marked starting areas for the different races, just pace corrals for the mini, and verbal instructions for the 10K racers to line up after the Mini runners, the 5K racers after the 10K, and the one-milers after the 5K. They wanted each race to take off 10 minutes apart, but that didn’t work very well. I lined up after a large crowd of runners, expecting to be in the 10K group. When the cannon blasted to start the race (no countdown, so it was a complete shock to us all), everyone just started running. After I crossed the start someone was yelling that only the Mini runners should be going right then. I pulled off to the side, then decided that was stupid because I had already started my time–that was a wasted 30 seconds. So off I went.

The race threaded through some neighborhoods and on some running trails–there were about 800 runners, so for a small race, this was OK but if the race gets any bigger, they might have to come up with a new plan. It was a concern how cars were allowed to drive along and behind us in the neighborhood–I was constantly yelling “Car back!” to my fellow runners to warn them to move over to the side. We had water stops every mile, and were told there’d be gel fuel in two spots (I never saw those). I never saw the turn-around point for the 5K race, which was a big problem for those running that race for time. Thankfully there was someone at the 10K turn-around to let me know it was time to turn. (I had thought the race was a loop, but apparently it changed to be an out-and-back after they sent the course map, so i’m glad they had someone tell me to turn around.)

I finished the full 10K without walking–score! I felt strong, and after I crossed the finish, I grabbed a couple of things from the race (banana, Chocola, water), dropped them off with my sister and husband, then set out to run three more miles. By this time I was starting to feel dehydrated–I know being home I wouldn’t have fueled as good as I should have. After two miles I walked a little to loosen my hips.

My 10K time (according to me) was 59:13–pretty awesome! Though my official chip time was: 1:00:28

Here were my splits from my 9+ mile run:

Mile 1: 9:26
Mile 2: 9:33
Mile 3: 9:37
Mile 4: 9:57
Mile 5: 9:33
Mile 6: 9:50
Mile 7: 9:43
Mile 8: 10:02
Mile 9: 10:19 <– walked a little
9.14 miles in 1:26:30

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It was a beautiful morning for a run! The race was sponsored by a local Chevrolet dealership, so of course my favorite car, a Corvette, was at the finish line. The organization still had a lot to be desired, but not too bad for a first-time race. (The 1+ mile walk to the starting line was a nice warm-up, but I know my sister didn’t like it wearing flip flops haha)

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The next two weeks will be so hard for me to get decent runs in. I have agility trials the next two weekends, which will make things harder to spend 2 hours running, not to mention meeting my running group. The week before the race I’ll be back in Indiana not only competing in the trial, but helping to organize it, so I have long days ahead of me. To make up for it, I’m going to try to get in some runs throughout the week, just to get time on my legs.

So I’m already thinking the Bourbon Derby Half Marathon will be a practice in just finishing…on my own two feet. 🙂

Your turn: How did you spend your Memorial weekend?

Recipe: My First Try at Chia Pudding

I’m trying to do a better job at eating healthier, but not be boring. I’ve read a lot of different blog posts about chia pudding, and I’ve always been interested, but a little intimidated by the idea of it. But finally last week I looked for a simple chia pudding recipe that had ingredients that I knew I had already, and then made it my own.

Simple Chia Pudding with Strawberries & Bananas

Simple Chia Pudding with Strawberries & Bananas

I started with a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis on the Food Network and then just went from there.

Simple Chia Pudding with Strawberries & Bananas

1/2 cup low fat milk
1/2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1/8 cup chia seeds

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the milk, Greek yogurt, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and pinch of sea salt together.
  2. Whisk in the chia seeds, then set aside to let stand for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, stir to redistribute the chia seeds. I then divided the batch in half into two containers, cover, and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. The next morning I sliced up half a banana and a few strawberries, added some cinnamon, and mixed it all up.
  5. Enjoy!

This was great for my breakfast, and to have it already complete was great! Next time I’ll try unsweetened vanilla almond milk (then not use the vanilla extract). But I definitely love this dish and can’t wait to make more. (And to be more experimental with different flavors like Tina’s Almond Joy Chia Pudding.)

Your turn: Have you ever tried to make chia pudding? What’s your favorite recipe?

Fuel Your Better! Adding Extra Boost to Your Day

I’m excited to be part of the Vega Team! A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be part of the Vega Sport campaign 2014, and I chose to test out their sugar free energizer, knowing that I’ve been in need of an extra boost to my day.

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First of all, let me say you get a lot in this box! It’s great! And I love that Vega explains how their plant-based formula is the best for you:

“Good for your body and the planet, Vega is the clean, plant-based choice to fuel your healthy active lifestyle–without compromise.”

The ingredients are all natural, and the sweetness comes from natural blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, acai and pomegranate flavors with some stevia extract.

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Every morning before my CrossFit classes I’d mix one packet into a 22 ounce bottle of water. There wasn’t any jitteriness or anything like some other energy drinks might give you. In fact, I couldn’t tell anything different except that I had energy throughout the entire day, even after my workout. It was great!

However, I felt that the flavor lacked something. Maybe I’m too use to the sweetness from other pre-workout drinks, so I’m OK with that.

Now the Vega Team wants to know how I have used this product to Fuel My Better, and I basically used it to keep myself going through some long days. Mondays and Tuesday I ref sand volleyball after work. So after CrossFit at 6:30 am, I head to work at 8:30, work until 4:30, walk the dogs, fix a quick dinner, then head to ref volleyball from 6-midnight.

This Vega Sport has helped me push through the day!

Your turn: What do you use to help push through the long days and workouts?

**Vega sent me free samples to try as part of their campaign, but all opinions were my own.

 

Getting it Done–8 Tough Miles

After three weeks of no running, due to lack of time and then illness, I finally tied up my running shoes on Sunday (thanks to severe storms hitting the area Saturday morning, there was no running) and hit the pavement for what I was hoping would be 8 miles.

See, it hit me hard last week that I have a half marathon in a month. Oh yeah….I signed up for a half marathon? In the middle of June? Awesome. What was I thinking??

I figured my running and early long miles will help me. I ran with friends this Spring to help them train for their half marathons, getting up to 9 miles, so that’s been a big help, to know that I can still do it. I’m already thinking there won’t be a PR in this race–mid-June in Central Kentucky can be brutal–either really hot/humid, or nice. But I at least want to give it a good solid try!

I met up with a couple of runners from the Striders running group for a run on a new route for me. I warned them that I wasn’t 100%, but we were going to try to stick with a 9:45 pace.

Mile 1 – 10:16
Mile 2 – 9:33
Mile 3 – 9:31
Mile 4 – 10:12

After the first half of the run, which was very hilly, I started to struggle. I’d have to stop and walk a few steps to catch my breath–my lungs still battling the leftover from my walking pneumonia two weeks ago. Luckily my running mates understood and were OK with taking it easy (they were recovering from the the Flying Pig Marathon the previous week).

Mile 5 – 10:20
Mile 6 – 10:20
Mile 7 – 11:31 (lots of running, then walking)
Mile .72 – 9:47

Total = 7.72 miles/1:18:47

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When we came back to where we parked, I knew we weren’t going to hit exactly 8 miles, but I also knew my lungs were about done for. Considering I hadn’t run in about three weeks, and I was running this farm after overcoming being sick, I was OK with stopping there. I didn’t need to push myself further or make things worse.

Overall, I was OK with my training run. I didn’t expect anything better, and I accomplished my goal of running at least the first part without stopping. I know I have some ground to make up in the next few weeks, so I’m ready and devoted even more to training more consistently–better late than never, right?

Your turn: How have you overcome being sick with workouts?

Good Reads: Tracking Workouts, Your Body, Put the Phone Away

Life is so crazy busy for me right now that I basically fit in all of my blog reading on the weekends, or at random times in the few evenings I have available. But I still like to share some of my favorite reads from what I’ve been able to catch through the past couple of weeks.

LinkLove

Why Should You Track Your Workouts (Olive to Run): I am guilty of not tracking my workouts very well, which is pretty bad considering that I know it’s important to do so in CrossFit to track your progression. Tracking your workouts allows you to be proud of any little progression in your training, and help you set more realistic goals. I need to be better about it and plan to use an app on my phone. If you have any suggestions, please share them below!

Our Bodies are Really Darn Smart (Piloting Paper Airplanes): Ummm…yeah….I know I need to listen to my body more. My experience of nearly going to the hospital from exhaustion/walking pneumonia because of being way too busy taught me that. Being able to track your nutrition and seeing what you might be lacking is really interesting. I love the infographics that help illustrate things!

Look Up! (Life is Good):  This moving video has been going viral on Facebook this week. Admit it–we’re all at fault at some point or another about being glued to our phones, social media, etc. I know I am. And I know it’s frustrating when you’re at dinner with your husband and he has his phone out and having conversations with friends while you’re sitting across the table from you. Social media drives so much more than just the news now. But we need to step away and get reacquainted with the real world and life. Watch and spread the word!

15 Minor Life Annoyances (The Lean Green Bean Blog): This is awesome! I think we all need to do a little venting every now and then, and Lindsay rocked it with this post. Now that I got us all serious with the video above, now you can laugh and totally agree with this fun post.

Your turn: Share one of your favorite reads from the past few weeks below!

My 1 Year Anniversary of CrossFit

A couple of weeks ago I realized I was celebrating my first year anniversary of doing CrossFit with Man O’War CrossFit. I can’t believe it’s already been a year! But I started the sport last year when I was forced to take time off from running due to patellar tendonitis, knowing I needed to get stronger in many ways to try to avoid more injuries.

My time with Man O’War CrossFit has been nothing short of awesome. I have to thank my coach, Taylor Johnson, and the community that is MOWCF for helping me get through what was going to be a crazy year.

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I know there are a lot of misconceptions and mixed perceptions about the sport of CrossFit. There have been articles written about rabdo, an athlete disabled by a completely freak accident, and people saying it’s just a fad that will soon fizzle. But I don’t listen to them.

CrossFit is exactly the workout that I’ve been needing. I get bored easily with things, and everyday at the box is something different, something challenging…something fun. Everyday I feel like I’ve accomplished something awesome.

There might have been some negatives along the way. Remember my tussle with the box jumps?

It wasn't pretty and hurt like hell!!

It wasn’t pretty and hurt like hell!!

Well, it was a big day when I tackled the boxes again…and I’m not nervous about them any more.

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And my leg looks better (there might be some permanent scarring, but it’s still fading away):

Almost a year later, the scars are fading away.

Almost a year later, the scars are fading away.

And I’ve had some pretty big milestones: being able to put my name on the leaderboard for the benchmark WODs for Karen (6:09), joining the 200lb Club with my deadlifts, seeing improvements in my other olympic lifts (120lb cleans, 100lb push press), and hitting my first Toes2Bar.

But the other bonus has been my mentality and attitude. Because of CrossFit, I have overcome depression and discovered how strong I can be both physically and mentally. I’ve learned to be my biggest cheerleader through difficult things and I’m always working to not let my mind talk me out of things. I have to thank Taylor for this, as well. He’s taught me that when I “fail” a lift, just walk away, shake it off and clear your head, then try it again. Don’t give up, and don’t let your inner demons talk you out of your progress.

I still haven’t accomplished what I’d like: kipping pull-ups without the band, doubleunders, and stringing together Toes2Bar, but I’m a work in progress and I know that by my 2-year anniversary, I’ll have all of those down. I just need to be consistent with my work and my goals.

I want to thank all of those who have supported me through this year in CrossFit and for putting up with me. There might be those who still roll their eyes when I get to talking about the “Sport of Fitness”, but it’s my lifestyle and I’m proud of it. Here’s to another successful year!

Your turn: When you celebrate your anniversaries (of running, CrossFit, etc.), what has stood out the most for you?

Hardest

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

This weekend I was able to enjoy my first days off in more than two weeks. During the 2014 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, I ended up work 75+ hours in 6 days–often 12-15 hour days on my feet. I was working in a sponsor booth for Bit of Britain during the day and covering the Kentucky Reining Cup event at night for an online publication.

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Oh, yeah, and sand volleyball season has started at the German bar where I ref two nights a week. So here was my schedule:

Monday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30 am, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-7
Wednesday: Set-up at Kentucky Horse Park 8-6
Thursday: Rolex 8-6, Press Dinner 6:30-9pm
Friday: Rolex 8-6, Reining 6-Midnight
Saturday: Rolex 8-5, Reining 5:30-10:30pm
Sunday: Rolex 8-9:30, Reining 9:30-Noon, Rolex/Teardown 12-8pm
Monday: Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-Midnight
Tuesday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30, Ref 6-11pm
Wednesday: Work 9-4:30
Thursday: CrossFit 6:30-7:30, Work regular job 9-4:30
Friday: Work regular job 9-3

Mix in writing articles at night for publications that were due at night. I didn’t even have the energy to blog, let alone catch up on my usual blogs I like to read.

This past Tuesday I started coughing…and throughout the week it has morphed into more than a cough. I was supposed to run 8 miles as part of my half marathon training on Saturday, but combine whatever the illness is that I have (some say a cold, others bronchitis, we’ll see what the doctor says Monday), I strained my back doing thrusters (while coughing) at CrossFit on Thursday. Yeah….I’m a hot mess.

My mother always warns me about burning the candle at both ends–you burn out a lot quicker than you’d like. That has definitely rang true for me this past week.

I’m taking stock in everything that I’m doing, and it’s time to prioritize things. My day job (aka “regular job”) will soon be going from part-time (33 hours a week) to full-time come June (or so we hope). I’m also trying to grow and promote my freelancing business a lot more: I have picked up a few new publications/websites in the past few weeks that will start to require more of my time for brainstorming, interviewing, and story writing. I’m also wanting to get more serious about my CrossFit training and have a half marathon coming up in almost a month. Not to mention training the dogs in agility as classes are getting going in the warm weather, etc. Oh, yeah…and spend some time with my husband.

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For four years I’ve been a ref for a sand volleyball league at a German bar here in town. I used to ref 4-5 nights a week, but then cutback to 2 nights a week. For two years I’d ref Monday and Tuesday nights from 6 pm to 2 am. But this year I’ve decided I can’t do that any more. I need to take care of myself and make sure I’m getting decent sleep–I can’t be falling asleep at work the next day because I only had a few hours of sleep, and I don’t want to slack off on my training. So I will still ref Monday and Tuesday nights, but the latest I’ll ref is to 11pm. Yes I’ll miss some of that extra money, but I’ll appreciate my sleep more.

While I haven’t been able to enjoy the gorgeous weekend weather because of being sick, it has proven that I’m not Superwoman and I need to take better care of myself. I need rest just as much as I need activity, money, etc.

I might not be blogging as much as I used to, but I hope to focus on my quality blog posts, and for that, I hope you understand.

Your turn: Have you ever just hit the wall? How have you combatted burning the candle at both ends?

I’ve Been MIA: Scenes from a Busy Life

So you might have noticed that I’ve been a bit MIA lately. The thing is, I’ve been extremely busy. This past weekend was the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, a huge international eventing competition held at the Kentucky Horse Park here in Lexington. I was lucky (or some said “unlucky”) to get to do some contract work for Bit Of Britain, a well-respected tack store out of Pennsylvania. Because of that, I was working Tuesday-Sunday.

On top of that, though, I was covering the Kentucky Reining Cup for the EquineChronicle.com, so my evenings were spent at the Alltech Arena. That meant extremely long days…75+ hours in 6 days.

And on top of that, I worked my usual job, and started the reffing season at Marikka’s.

A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks, and I have some discussion to share with you, but until then, I wanted to share some scenes from my phone of my time at Rolex.

Such a beautiful horse--Yellow Jersey helps Mandy McCutcheon earn a spot on Team USA for the 2014 World Equestrian Games, as well as being the first woman to earn the title Two Million Dollar Rider.

Such a beautiful horse–Yellow Jersey helps Mandy McCutcheon earn a spot on Team USA for the 2014 World Equestrian Games, as well as being the first woman to earn the title Two Million Dollar Rider.

Multiple Gold Medalist, Three Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida will teach Norman a thing or two about sliding stops.

Multiple Gold Medalist, Three Million Dollar Rider Shawn Flarida will teach Norman a thing or two about sliding stops.

Norman visits the horseshoe globe at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Norman visits the horseshoe globe at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Norman helped me sell Ariat merchandise at the Bit of Britain booth.

Norman helped me sell Ariat merchandise at the Bit of Britain booth.

Cowboys take selfies, too.

Cowboys take selfies, too.

United States Equestrian Federation President David O'Connor and myself during the reining event.

United States Equestrian Federation President David O’Connor and myself during the reining event.

Dressage is so beautiful, even under cloudy skies!

Dressage is so beautiful, even under cloudy skies!

Another Rolex has come and gone...

Another Rolex has come and gone…