Monday, August 26, 2013

First Week of School - (half)marathon Monday Recap

Phew - we made it through the first week back to school!  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday were teacher inservice days.  Our students arrived for Thursday and Friday!  It definitely takes some adjusting to get back into the routine of getting up early, working out after a full day of work, and meal planning again!  The "back to work" reality really hit on Thursday when I tried to do a 3 mile easy run after school and my legs barely hung on for 2 miles.  They're not yet used to being walked around on all day long again!!

Here's the summary for the week:

Mixed run - ran a lap (well, a hallway at school) then up and down the stairs twice, mixed in with some bear crawls, pull ups, walking lunges, and burpees.  Then repeat! (I think I did 4 laps?  Maybe 5?)

Strength training at the gym

Urbanathlon Group Training at the gym!  We did circuits that included kettle bell swings, mountain climbers, step ups, walking lunges, pull ups, push ups, and running.  I was feeling this one the day after!

Terrible run.  Ran 2 miles, walked a half for a total of 30 minutes.  It was really humid and I was exhausted!

Strength training at the gym

Long Run - 10 miles!  (1 hour, 54 minutes - 11:29 pace)

I felt pretty good through the run.  I ran a variety of terrain - road, grass, gravel trail, hills, and flat.  I fueled with ENERGYbits and an Ezekiel muffin topped with banana and almond butter beforehand.  Then I had a honey packet at mile 3, and I dropped an 8 oz bottle of water with a baggie of cut up dates and dried apricots at mile 5.  I snacked on those throughout miles 6-8. 

Lesson I learned - don't start out with water.  Drop water at about mile 2-3, and then another bottle around mile 6-7.  I don't need the water for the first few miles but I'm desperate for it during the last few!!

Also - I forgot socks for my Thursday run and so I ran without them...which resulted in rubbed heels.  So, when I went to put on my Brooks Ghost (my usuals), they hit that same spot on my heel even with socks.  I decided to run in my Mizuno Wave Enigmas since they didn't hit the same spot.  Annnnd I ended up with a nice blood blister on my toe!  First toe issue ever. 

I got myself some new shoes on Saturday, since I've been wearing my Ghosts since February.  I went with the Brooks Pure Flow.  They felt so springy! They're lightweight, and have a lower heel drop (4mm vs a 12mm in the Ghost) but yet plenty of stability.  I'm anxious to get out and try them for a few miles!!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dirty Girl Mud Run Recap

A few weekends ago, some girlfriends and I participated in the Dirty Girl 5k Mud Run!

We were team PMS (Pretty Muddy Stuff) and we had a BLAST!!
(before and after - we accidentally stood in the exact same order haha!)

This was my first mud run, and after my color run experience, I was a little bit apprehensive about how this themed run would end up being.  

The race took place on a large farm, and everything was extremely well organized and labeled.  We were in the 9:00 wave, but we arrived really early (a little before 8:00).  We dropped our things off at gear check, took some pictures, used the facilities, and decided to start early.  The waves weren't monitored at all, so we jumped in with the 8:30 wave!

At first, I thought we were in for another color run experience.  The beginning of the run was really crowded because the course was not very wide.  People were walking right away, and we couldn't get around them.  But it didn't take long for things to thin out and from there it was a blast!

After bouncing our way down the first big obstacle, we crawled across these cargo nets - which hurt our knees!

 Then we headed to the "Utopian Tubes" - the first really muddy obstacle.  We were definitely muddy after that!  Some of the other obstacles included a wall to climb over, and then this bungee cord maze.

We ran along, but since it was a low stress and untimed event - we stopped for pictures along the way! (Shout out to Mike and Chris - our course photographers!) 

Everyone's favorite obstacle seemed to be the MUDSLIDE!  It definitely made me feel like a kid again!

Overall, this race was definitely the most fun one I've ever done.  We all had a great time!!!  The option was there to go around any obstacle you wanted, but I didn't find any of them to be challenging enough that I felt like I had to skip them.

The race was well organized, well marked, and there were water stops along the way.

My only 2 negatives were that we had to pay $10 for parking (and the race itself was $85!) and there was NO water after the finish.  You could get your free beer, but I didn't want one - so I got NOTHING to drink.  If I'd known that, I would've stuck a bottle of water into my gear bag.

If you're looking at a race like this, I definitely suggest getting into an early wave as the event gets more crowded as the day goes on.  When we came out of the changing/shower tent, the line to get in was really long. 

I was actually bummed when we were coming to the end of the course, and I remember saying to someone that I didn't want it to end!!  This is a race I will definitely do again!

Monday, August 19, 2013

9 Mile Week - (Half)Marathon Monday

Another week of training down - and one week closer to Baltimore! This was the last week of summer vacation - boo!!! It was a fun week, though, involving a spontaneous trip to NYC for a taping of Dr. Oz and my parents have arrived in town for awhile!

Here's the breakdown...

Urbanathlon training at the gym - we did the "Pyramid of Pain" (we nicknamed it that)
It basically starts at one pull-up (assisted), two push-ups, three crunches, and four squats - then builds from there.  In the end, you do a total of 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 crunches, and 400 squats.  Plus we did 18-19 sprints in between.  It was a killer!

Ended up resting.  I was a little sore from the Pyramid, and we left in the afternoon to travel to NYC.

Walking around NYC was enough workout!  We walked a few miles!

Ran 4 miles - my legs were dead!

Track workout - 6 laps total with different body weight strength moves and sprints between each lap.

Long run - 9 miles (1:37:07, 10:44 pace)

This is my super fancy hydration method.  An 8 oz water bottle with half a tablet of Nuun!  I planned my running route so that my parents' RV would be about halfway, and they were able to trade me my almost empty bottle for a fresh one! 
I fueled with ENERGYbits before my run, and then tried some plain honey.  I "borrowed" these packets from a certain fancy coffee chain.  The nice thing is, they're smaller than a traditional gel/Gu - so I took one at mile 3 and one at mile 6.  They're just pure honey too, so there aren't any weird additives or chemicals.  It worked well!  I will definitely do this again.

These were my mile times.  I was pleased that my mile 1 and mile 9 paces were so close! Mile 3's time really gives an accurate picture of how I was feeling at that point.  After NYC on Wednesday, outlet shopping on Thursday, more shopping Friday - my legs were DEAD.  I really thought I was going to have to stop at my parents' and ask them to drive me home.

However, if you look at miles 6, 7, 8, and 9 - you can see I got my groove back!  A 10:01 mile at mile SEVEN?  That's awesome for me!! I was really pleased with this run - and the route was not flat!

My time goal for the Baltimore Half is under 2:30. At the pace I ran Saturday, I could finish closer to 2:20!  I still have over a month of training left, so I'll adjust my goals as I get closer.

How was your week??

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Be Where You Are

I seem to have settled at around 172 pounds.  That makes 78 pounds lost total.  

It's not my final goal, but for the past several months, my body has decided this is where it is staying. And I'm okay with that.

I started the month of June at 172.6 pounds.  I didn't count a single calorie all month, and started July at 173.  For July, I was really careful with my counting and ended the month at 171.8.  I decided that if I can maintain this current weight around 170-173 WITHOUT counting calories, then I'm going to be okay at this weight for awhile.

I can't believe I'm posting this picture.  But the thing is, when I look in the mirror - a lot of times, I still see the girl on the left. It's a strange thing. 
I think I need to learn to be okay here.  
I'm not 250 pounds anymore.  

This realization hits me when I go clothes shopping.  I was in Old Navy the other day and my dressing room was full of pants in size 8 or 10, and shirts that were Mediums. When you've spent most of your life over 200 pounds, it's not easy to shift your brain to see a size 8 staring back at you in the mirror.

Yes, I still have some weight I'd like to lose.  But I also would like to allow my body (and mind) to get used to where it is now.  I'm training for 2 big races in the Fall and I want to focus on that, not on calorie counting. 

I don't really know what the point to this post is, but I guess it's just a reminder to myself to be happy where I am, and stop wishing I was somewhere else!  I eat in freedom now, I actually love working out, I sleep better, I have more energy, I've made amazing friendships, I am stronger - those are all successes that have nothing to do with a number on the scale!

Monday, August 12, 2013

(Half)Marathon Monday

Congratulations to the winners of my EnergyBits giveaway - Colleen I. and Jill T.!!  
Your bits are packed up - send me your address via email (getbusylivingblog at gmail dot com) and I'll get them right out to you!

Didn't win, but still want to get yourself some Bits?  Remember you get 30% off using the discount code GetBusyLiving on all types of Bits (Energy, Recovery, Vitality, and Skinny) at Bits of Health!

T-minus 9 weeks until The Baltimore Running Festival!  Seriously?  Single digit weeks already?

This week's training included...
Urbanathlon workout at my gym - a mixed mile run (run 1/4 mile, stop to do strength, run again, etc)

Strength training program
Run: 2.65 miles (I felt yucky on this run, tired legs and had a cramp - just went 30 slow minutes)

Mixed workout with my friends!  A total of 6 track laps, with strength/plyo exercises mixed in

Strength training program plus 1.5 miles on the treadmill at 6.0 mph (done a half mile at a time in between strength circuits)


Dirty Girl Mud Run!!  (full recap coming this week - it was a blast!)

5.65 mile run - my legs completely died at mile 3, like would NOT continue moving.  But since I'd run 3 miles out, I had 3 miles to get back home so I had to keep going.  I stopped at 60 minutes when my RockMyRun mix ended.  

And then I did this....ahhh!! Ice Bath!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vegan Cuts Box Review

I won this snack box from VeganCuts through a giveaway on Twitter, so I thought I'd share some of the goodies with you! (Virtually, of course - I'm not giving up my snacks!)

The VeganCuts company offers monthly home delivery of beauty or snack boxes to your door!  The boxes contain samples of different vegan products for you to try.  They are $19.95 a month.  Here are some of my favorites!

I must find these Smooze bars!  They are delicious and they make me feel like a kid.  Plus they're only 70 calories!

I sprinkled these toasted hemp seeds onto a salad for lunch.  They added a yummy crunch!

This was the thing I was most excited about trying! I've seen these in stores.  They're like the "real food" version of Fig Newtons.  Delicious!

Overall, it was fun winning this box!  I haven't finished sampling everything yet, but I've liked every product so far.  

Would I sign up for this service myself?  Nope.  It's not overly expensive when you see how many products I got - it's around $2 a product.  However, I don't keep a lot of snack foods around on purpose because I eat them mindlessly.  So for me, having a box of snack foods around is just a bad idea.  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

EnergyBits GIVEAWAY!! Be #PoweredByBits !

Alrighty folks, you know I LOVE my EnergyBits!  I've used them now on short runs, long runs, and strength workouts.  They are my super fuel!  (read my thoughts on bits here and here)

If you've been reading about these little green guys and wanting to try them for yourself - this giveaway is for you! I have TWO samples of Bits to giveaway to YOU!  Enter below and check back on Monday for the WINNER!

Don't forget - Get Busy Living readers get 30% off any type of Bits using the code "GetBusyLiving"!

Enter Here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. We hereby release Facebook of any liability. Winner(s) will be contacted by email 48 hours after the giveaway ends. If you have any additional questions - feel free to send us an email! 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Guest Post: Why I Run

Today I'd like to welcome Denny (aka @DizRuns) to Get Busy Living!  I "met" Denny through the #RunChat community on Twitter.  He runs in the flat, but ridiculously humid, state of Florida and is on a quest to complete a marathon in all 50 states!! (this is about 49 more marathons than I ever want to do) Today, he's sharing a little about why he runs.  And I have to say, if I made a list of the reasons why I run - they'd be pretty much identical.

Also, if you're looking for something from me today  - head over to DizRuns, where I'm sharing the answer to the question I get asked most frequently - how should I start running?

Why I Run

My journey to becoming a runner is anything but interesting.

From the time I can remember, up until a few years ago, running was something I did but never really enjoyed. Growing up, I did it to be in better shape for playing sports in high school. During my college years, I ran to try and keep my beer belly under control. And after graduating and getting married, I ran occasionally with my wife because she enjoyed it, and occasionally when I was trying to do something good for my health.

Throughout all of these phases of my life, if you ever asked me how a recently completed run went, the response was usually “Terrible!”, or something even more colorful than that.

I guess for me, running was one of those things that I did for awhile because it was good for me, and somewhere in the past couple of years it has actually become enjoyable. Similar experiences I have had include eating broccoli, the drinking beer, and getting up before 9 on a Saturday morning. Man, I’m getting old!

Honestly now, if I don’t run for a day or two, I start getting super antsy and going through withdrawals.

I guess you could say I’ve become a little addicted, even though I’ve never had an “Aha, I must start running!” moment.

Why I Enjoy Running

As I’ve become more and more immersed in the running community, both locally and on the internet, I’ve fallen more and more in love with my regular runs for a few reasons. Specifically:

   The Health Benefits--There is no doubt that exercise in any form is good for your health. Running is a fantastic way to lose weight, strengthen your heart and lungs, build muscular strength, improve endurance, and more. There have even been recent studies that suggest that cardiovascular training is incredibly important for brain health. Running may not be the magic bullet for curing all health issues, but it is a great way for improving health in general.
   The Camaraderie--Unless you are part of some relay team, running is a solo sport. But if you’ve ever run a race, you know that you’re anything but alone when you are running. Runners are some of the nicest people I know, and they are always encouraging other runners. My running friends that are faster than I am are always encouraging me to push harder to get faster, and that extra push has helped me increase my speed dramatically in the past year or so. And most towns have a local running club which allows you to always have a friend or two to run with.
   The Solace--While I get plenty of support from other runners and friends, sometimes I just want to have a chance to go somewhere by myself and enjoy some quiet time. Running affords me this opportunity anytime I want it. Just by tying my shoes and heading out the door, I have the opportunity to think, pray, let stuff go, or just be at peace with my environment.
   The Competitive Spirit--I’ve been involved in sports my entire life, and while I’ve never been a “Win at all costs” kind of person, I still like to compete. As I continue to get older, there become fewer and fewer opportunities to compete in sporting events in a team environment. But, I’m able to keep my competitive fires burning while running by both competing against myself (always striving to get faster or run farther), and by competing against other runners (I can’t let that old guy beat me AGAIN!).

I wish I had a great story about why I started running. Something inspiring like beating cancer, or being in some accident where doctors said I’d never walk again, or running in honor of a friend or family member that loved running but no longer could.

But I don’t, although I’m glad I haven’t had to endure any similar hardships on my way to becoming a runner.

For me, it truly has been a slow evolution from running because I had to, running because it was good for me, to running because I really like to.

And I can honestly say that I’m glad to be a runner.

Join Me

Perhaps the best thing about being a member of the running community is that we are always looking for more teammates! No matter how many people are running, we always have room for another fellow runner, and If you’re considering it I hope you’ll join us.

The great thing about us runners is that we are all so unique in how we got to the point that we are right now, but we all go forward together one step at a time. It doesn’t matter if we are world class, Boston Qualifiers, mid-packers, or leisurely strollers, we are all runners. We all run for our own unique reasons. I may not have a great story of why I started running, but I’ve got a dozen reasons why I keep lacing up my shoes and heading out the door. And every runner I know does as well.

What About You? Why Did You Start Running? I'd love to hear your story in the comment section!

Monday, August 5, 2013

(Half)Marathon Monday

We're 10 weeks away from the Baltimore Half Marathon, which means I'm 2 weeks into training! 
I wanted to write a little more here about my training and workouts, kind of just as a journal that I can track what works/doesn't work, etc.  I won't be offended if you don't care about these details and skip most of this!

So here's this week's training!
 Urbanathlon group training #1 - read about that here!

Run 3.5 easy (36:42/10:30 pace)

Strength program at the gym, then stairs and bleachers with my Urbanathlon pals - we ran 1 lap around the track and then did 2 runs up and down the bleachers, and repeated for a total of 6 rounds. It totaled 2.03 miles at a 10:55 pace!

Rest Day.  This was unplanned.  I planned to run 3 this day and rest Saturday, but my hips/legs were sore from 3 run workouts in a row so I listened to my body and rested.

Strength program at the gym, then 30 minutes on the elliptical

3 miles easy - which felt AWFUL!  I went out in the rain on purpose, but it stopped raining right as I started and was just muggy and gross! (11:13 pace - bleh)

 LONG RUN DAY! 8 miles (1:28:40/11:05 pace) 
I felt good! I ate half an Ezekiel muffin with some PB and jam on it, plus coffee.  Then I did a little warming up, took my EnergyBits, grabbed my water bottle and headed out.  I took a long route through country roads, which was very different from my last round of training when I did a lot of ups and downs on neighborhood streets. I only took a small 8 oz bottle of water with a half tablet of Nuun in it to carry, but I wish I'd stashed another halfway through the run - I was dreaming of water the last 2 miles!  I fueled midway with 3 dates and 3 dried apricots (about 100 calories plus natural sugar).  The weather was great and I knocked 7 minutes off the last time I ran 8 miles!

I spent a little extra time stretching, foam rolling, and doing some yoga on Sunday, too!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

August Goals

(grabbed this graphic from Karen!

Ok really - where DID July go???  June was nice and slow for me - but July? I blinked and it was gone.  A blur of house cleaning, running, reading, and Netflix watching - beautiful!

Let's look back at the July goals...
  1. Cook at least 5 recipes and blog about them. Two Here, one here, and one  here - 4/5!
  2. Run for mileage, not time - done!
  3. Begin consistent training for the Baltimore Half Marathon - done!
  4. Count calories, but eat real food - done.  But see goal #4 for August.
  5. 30 Day Plank Challenge - I lasted until we hit 3 minutes and that was my limit! (22/30 days)
And now for August...
  1. Run 75 miles.  Lots of my runner friends regularly clock 100+ miles a month.  Last month I hit 63, and with several long runs in my future - I think 75 is doable!
  2. August Core Challenge @ Sneakers and Fingerpaints -  a strong core is key for running, and for overall fitness. I liked the plank-a-day challenge last month, and I wish instead of stopping at 3 minutes, I'd just kept doing 2-3 minutes a day. 
  3. Foam Roll/Stretch regularly - and by regularly, I mean seriously - not just the halfway kind, but do a good job really stretching and rolling 3-5 times a week.
  4. Eat mindfully.  After a solid month back to calorie counting, my weight stayed exactly the same as it had when I spent June eating mindfully.  And there was a lot less guilt in that way of life, and since it didn't affect my scale - I'm sticking with that.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Best Kitchen Tool - EVER.

Last week, my mom called me and asked if I'd heard of a "vegetable spiralizer".  She thought it looked like something we'd like and wanted to try it out.  I'd seen it on a few blogs and Instagram photos, and since my mom was willing to buy it for "us" (me) to use - I was in!

You might be thinking - what in the world is a vegetable spiralizer?? It's this handy little gadget that turns ordinary vegetables and fruits into beautiful pasta-like noodles! 

This is our first try with the spiralizer:

Isn't it pretty?!?   It was amazingly easy too.  The box arrived, we pulled out the spiralizer - no assembly required - and started going!  You just stick the veggie onto the holder, and twist. 

My 2nd try was with a sweet potato.  I simply sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic - then tossed the sweet potato noodles with it gently until they were warm.

How beautiful are those curls???

Here's some more zucchini - tossed with a little basil pesto and topped with scallops.  Something I love - because my plate of "noodles" is actually zucchini, I can add the piece of bread to the side without feeling like "Oh I shouldn't eat that many carbs" - woo hoo!!

The machine cleans up relatively easily, too.  The blades store under it, so it doesn't take up much space.

I've found that the best way to cook the noodles is to simply toss them in a pan with whatever oil/butter and seasonings you'd like for just a few minutes until they're warm.

I haven't played around with the other blades much yet, but I'm seeing curly "fries", apple chips, zucchini coins...OMG I'm in love with this machine!!!


What are you waiting for - order yours now!!! 
This is the model that I use:

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Foods I'm Loving Lately

I'm always on the look out for tasty new foods that are both good for me and delicious!  I thought I'd share some of my current favorites with you!

Crofter's Fruit Spread
This is my favorite jam/jelly!  It's organic and sweetened with cane sugar - no HFCS here! This brand has 30 calories in a tablespoon, where brands like Smucker's have 50. I love the flavors Crofter's comes in too!  I'm currently finishing the raspberry and starting in on the cherry!  Yum!

 Qi'a Cereal
This product was recommended to me by the lovely folks at EnergyBits when we were Twitter chatting about nutrition one day.  It's a mix of chia seeds, buckwheat groats, and hemp hearts. The cranberry/vanilla flavor also has dried cranberries in it.  The directions on the package say to mix 2 tbsp with milk and let it sit for 5 minutes so the chia seeds soak up the milk. I don't do that - I just sprinkle a tablespoon onto my yogurt. It adds a really good crunch, a boost of fiber, and omega-3's!

La Croix Sparkling Water
Some of my Instagram friends had been sharing pics of this stuff, so when I saw it at Target I grabbed 2 packs!  I tried the Grapefruit and Peach Pear and I love them both! This stuff is completely unsweetened.  It's just sparkling water with (natural) fruit flavor.  The thing I love about sparkling water is how it fills me up.  When I'm "hungry" (you know - not really hungry), I can drink this and it fills my tummy and gives me extra water!
 Chobani Greek Yogurt
I love this stuff.  I went through a phase of being a "plain only" Greek yogurt snob - because the fruit flavored yogurts are higher in sugar.  But really - I just love the Chobani flavors so I'm eating them, sugar and all!  The new coconut is so good!  It's not overly sweet and has just the right amount of flavor.  I also love the blackberry, pear, and blood orange.  Ok, and every other flavor.  

Quest Nutrition Bars
These are seriously yummy!  Quest bars are a protein bar.  They range from 160-210 calories with around 20g of protein per bar.  They have a line of natural flavors that are sweetened with Stevia and a line of regular that are sweetened with sucralose.  I try to stick with the natural flavors (coconut is my fave!) but the chocolate chip and chocolate brownie of the regular are just plain amazing.  They're especially good heated up for about 10 seconds in the microwave.  They taste like dessert!  I love that they satisfy my sweet tooth and give me a protein boost!
What are some of your favorite products right now?? Please share!

*All of these are just my opinions! These are just some things I love! None of the companies mentioned gave me anything free or sought out my opinions or reviews.  Though if any of them wanted to give me free stuff, I'd certainly take it - haha!!