Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring Cleaning

Eat Clean April. I'm looking at it like Spring Cleaning for my body. So... Spring Cleansing
I’m not usually one for “challenges.” I don't do diets.I just do my best to eat well and remain active. For whatever reason, I’ve decided I need to make an honest-to-goodness attempt at eating clean. That’s why I’ve decided to make April a “Clean Eating Event.”
I’ve noticed that I’ve just become so lackadaisical about what I’m eating and drinking. For example, last night as I was munching on Reece’s cups and multiple glasses of wine, I took in probably an extra 600 calories. SIX HUNDRED. Each Reece’s cup was 100 calories. I had 4. I had what was probably equivalent to 2 glasses of wine. Well over 200 calories. Mind blown. And the worst part? I had these thoughts WHILE I WAS DOING IT and KEPT GOING. Ridiculous.
Gotta stop. No way I can expect my body to perform at its best if I’m not willing to give it the best. Time to refocus. Not to diet. I don’t do that. I’ve got to be better to my body. I’m expecting great things from it – losing weight, looking fit, running faster…but none of that can happen if I wanna sit on the couch and shove my face with indulgences that should be left for special occasions. Please note: I don’t think that you’re terrible if you want to sit and eat Reece’s or drink wine. I just realize I have been doing it way more often than I ought to. And as a result, I’m not seeing results. Cause and effect.  Not dieting. Just doing better things for my body. #imisscookiesalready. 
I made it to a really wonderful yoga class with one of my BFF and loved every painful moment, ha! I've got to do a better job of stretching before and after my workouts.... 

HA...if only this were an option...

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Self Magazine's Hot Water

You know, we've all been there. A total foot in mouth situation. You said something that you shouldn't have. this the case with Self Magazine? It has been producing a monthly publication for women across the world for years. They've supplied endless articles about health, nutrition and general well being. Generally speaking, they supply women with a positive outlook on themselves and the world we are building. They are a place for women to come together and support each other through thick and thin (pun intended). With the release of their recent article surrounding the lameness of TuTu's they seem to have missed their mark entirely.

You can see a snap shot of the article and read some of the back story here. Basically a woman named Monika Allen, who is battling cancer, was photographed wearing a tutu at a marathon last year. Self got a hold of the photo and reached out to her asking if they could use it in the magazine. When a nationally recognized magazine asks for your awesome picture - of course you say yes.

Well, unfortunately, they had malice intent. They used the photo to point out what they thought was "lame." Now...I don't know about you, but any woman who is running 26.2 miles is anything but lame.

It's not the fact that Monkia had (and has survived) cancer. It's not that she makes the tutu's for a charity. It's about the fact that they took another human being and humiliated her for no good reason. They failed as writers, editors and compassionate human beings. They diverted entirely away from their "do good" intent. And...that just makes my stomach turn.

They issued an apology. When I read it I got the feeling they were simply sorry they got caught.  I've posted screen shots of both FB and Twitter.

Call me old fashioned, but reaching out to someone online hardly seems personal. Why would she want to be covered in a magazine that did something like this? How is she supposed to trust them again? It's just so odd. It's so odd that they think that this is enough. I would have expected a personal apology that she let something like this appear in her magazine. The insensitivity was absolutely intended and avoiding blame is just going to escalate the issue. 

Now I want to share with you an AMAZING response to this apology on their FB page. 

I can't stress to you enough how amazing I think this is. Jamie is truly a stand up gal who let people know EXACTLY what the problem is and why we wont accept it. Kudos to Jamie and everyone in the running community who has stepped up for what is right. Between t-shirts being made and profits being donated to Monika's charity and twitter exploding with #tutusrock - I know we'll overcome Self's disgusting journalism. Remember - we control more than we think. We can choose to continue to support people who intentionally pin women against one another or we can stand up in unison and support one another. Support every shape, size, color and yes - even fashion decision! Unite in being human and amazing in our individual ways! 

My First Barre Class - Holy Smokes! - Review

Yesterday morning I attended my first Barre Class at Dance Stop Studios in Marietta, Georgia. I had been reading a bunch about how beneficial Barre can be for lengthening muscles and overall strength.  Unfortunately, in my area these classes are so expensive. You know the drill - once something becomes popular, the prices skyrocket and all of a sudden only the financially elite can participate.

I managed to find a great studio! Dance Stop Studios offers both traditional dance classes and fitness classes. The drop in rate for the Barre Classes is $10/class or you can buy 10 classes for $80.

When we walked in, the facility was gorgeous. Big, bright and clean. The woman at the front desk was super friendly and accommodating. She offered to let us take the class before we decided if we wanted to simply pay for the one class or if we wanted to take advantage of the 10 class value package. She offered us clean grippy socks to wear and directed us where to go.

When we walked in, the barre class studio was huge. The instructor was setting up our weights, straps, gliding pads and balls. The weights were only 3 pounds. Honestly, I was thinking to myself "How hard could this be?"

By the end of the hour long class, my legs and arms were screaming. I honestly can say that muscles were hurting that I didn't even realize I had. It was a great work out that went by fast. I can't wait to go back!

I definitely took advantage of the 10 for $80 deal! It's good for any fitness class at any time. The zumba classes are less expensive so you may not want to use it for that. Can't wait to go back next Saturday!

As for this Sunday, we're supposed to be experiencing some wonderful weather! I'm thinking a nice 10k and then some hammock and kindle time out on the back patio! I hope all of you have a fab rest of your weekend!!

Did you do any fun, new classes this week? 
What's your fitness plan for today?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Marathonfoto WIN

You know, I've run a lot of races through out the years. I've had many a run-in with the folks from marathonfoto. It wasn't until this race that I actually got a GOOD photo. And dare I say it - maybe multiple photos that aren't so terrible that I'm ashamed they even uploaded them?! Since I was the cheerleader and not the competitor while completing these past 13.1 miles I was able to not only spot the marathonfoto creepers but make sure I looked overwhelmingly happy! I'll be shocked if I'm not on running posters around America (kidddddding!)

Anyhow, hopefully tomorrow I will be back in the gym full-force and doing work. The Orthopedist said my foot should be good to go with lots of ice and not running for a couple more days. Didn't say I couldn't spin and work some intervals though. Not sure if I'll make it to do that tomorrow morning seeing as how it's already so late. But if not tomorrow AM then tomorrow afternoon for sure. Nothing like starting a weekend with a solid workout, right? Right. Pretty positive the weekend will be filled with wine, hammocks and friends. Gotta make sure I earn those beverages ;) 

What's your workout plan for the weekend? 
has marathonfoto ever gotten you at your worst? Your best? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Brooks Ravenna 5: Running Shoe Review

If you've been reading for a couple weeks you will have read my review of the Big Peach Running Company. During my wonderful experience, I hate to report that I was misfitted. I was put into a pair of Ravenna 5 running shoes.

Don't get me wrong - they felt great at the store. They felt stable and firm. Unfortunately, that's exactly what ended up causing me so much pain. The shoes themselves were very light yet incredibly structured. They were pretty (come on - you know it matters!). I was pretty excited to be in a pair of what I saw to be "elite" shoes. All the super fast runners are in snazzy shoes like these.

Sadly, I've spent Monday and Tuesday nursing sore ankles and feet. When I went into BPRC I had always thought that I ran on the outside of my feet. IE, I underpronate. (If you don't know about pronation, you can read about it here. I was stunned when they told my I actually slightly over pronate. The pain I'm experiencing is directly related to being put into shoes that caused me to underpronate even more. The structure in my shoes forced me even further outside the "normal" range and put a LOT of stress on the outside of my ankles and feet. I've decided that my short 10 seconds on the treadmill in my work clothes just wasn't enough to get into a normal gait/stride.

Thankfully marathonfoto got some great pictures of my foot actually striking the ground. Notice that they captured both my right and left. Clearly, I do not over pronate. Looking at these photos makes me wonder how I didn't break my ankle. EEK! 

This is not in any way a bash against BPRC - perfection in running is impossible. I would go back again and again. In fact - when I took the shoes back, Carl not only remembered me but was clearly upset that they didn't work out. I didn't go in there looking for a refund - just a pair of shoes that didn't make me want to second guess how badly I needed to pee because walking to the bathroom just seemed like torture.

I exchanged them for a snazzy new pair of Nike Air Pegasus + 30. I've been running in Pegasus for quite a while and haven't experienced this problem. I got the grey and orange ones - super cute and so comfy. I wore them to work today to continue to nurse my poor feet. I'm confident I'll be able to return to the gym tomorrow at full strength.

BPRC, Brooks, Marathonfoto nor Nike paid me a single penny to review them or provide feedback. Just more ramblings by yours truly. 

RooSport Fitness and Travel Pouch - Review

So, last weekend I attended the health and fitness expo for the Goergia Marathon. Now, I've been to a lot of expos so there isn't a lot that makes me go "oh...I need this. Now." After getting my race packet we wondered around looking at the piles of shoes, shirts and various bumper stickers.

But there was one thing that immediately stepped out. The RooSport Fitness and Travel Pouch. I absolutely hate running belts. I hate arm bands. I hate anything that makes me feel restricted while I'm trying to run or workout. My problem has just been solved. This fabulous little magnetic pouch holds your phone, cards and a key. Then it magnetizes to your pants. Okay, so really what it does is it folds over the top of your pants, capris, shorts etc and is held together via a super strong magnet. I used it for the first time during this race and it was magical. It stayed in place perfectly. I did have to make sure that my Nike capris were tied a little snug to make sure that it held up to the weight of my new pouch. 

It is the perfect size - not too big. The magnet worked perfectly. The material is such that I can easily clean it to get the running glitter (also known as sweat) off of it. It's truly a fabulous little gizmo. 

This is the part that faces your body. 

This part shows over your pants - clever, aren't they?

You place the top of your pants along that middle seam and flip the top down. TA-DA!

Anyhow, totally worth the $20 I spent on it. I highly encourage you to get one. And, I'm not going to lie - I really hate it when people don't run with ID and their health insurance card. We're seeing way too many runners injured these days due to car accidents and I want everyone to be prepared. So grab this guy, throw your credentials in there and get to running! 

RooSport did not pay me any money or ask me to write this review. As usual, I offer my opinion free of charge (ha! I know some folks who would strongly agree to this happening often). 

Publix Georgia Half Marathon !

This past Sunday I was lucky enough to participate in a race with my friend of many years, Meghan. She is an absolute Tennis rockstar but is just starting her running journey. I convinced her that she was strong enough to sign up for the Georgia Half Marathon. I can't say it enough - I am truly honored to have been able to be with her as she crossed the finish line.

I think she experienced an entire rang of emotions during this race. She went from "I can't do this" to "why am I doing this?" to "OMG I'm doing this!" to "OMG I just did that!" It was amazing. I am so proud of her.

The race, for me, wasn't about a time or running the whole thing. It was about being there for someone and truly giving them the ability to believe in themself. It was a blast being able to joke around, be wildly positive and pump nothing but positive energy into the air. We made friends along the way and chatted with all the people who were out there supporting us. I received complements from strangers about how much they appreciated my positive attitude. That meant the world to me.

I left that race with a new light inside of me. I remembered what running is about. It's about the journey and all that it can help you realize. Pushing limits and breaking your personal barriers.

The medal this year was pretty snazzy, too ;-)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gym Boss - Review

I had always heard a lot of talk about intervals. I had never really given them a go until semi recently when I decided I needed to do a variety of exercises during one workout to keep myself from losing my mind while stuck inside due to multiple ice storms in a row in Atlanta.

I have to say that I’m kinda addicted to them now. More often times than not I just pick a place on the gym floor and set up shop. I’ve made index cards with interval routines on them. Each exercise gets either 30 seconds or 1 minute. Each card contains about 5 exercises so that I can easily remember the order without having to reference the card after I complete each exercise. I have a whole stack of them and choose them at random when I get to the gym. I can say “tomorrow at the gym I’m going to do 45 min of intervals and then an hour yoga class.” So I still have my “plan” but the workout is always different.

I absolutely couldn’t do my intervals without my Gym Boss interval timer. Easily one of the best fitness purchases that I’ve made. I purchased the “mini” which, in my opinion, isn’t very mini but it easily clips to my pants, sports bra or you can purchase a wristlet that it will also clip to. You can program it however you like. I THINK it goes up to 3 intervals. I typically use it for 2 intervals, the timing differentiating depending on what I’m doing. (I don’t do the HIIT workouts. Way too nuts for me. I’ve tried and I just don’t like it. Go figure.)

For example, if I’m doing an ab circuit, I’ll do 30 seconds on and then 10 seconds off. Five rounds. This gets me through an entire ab circuit once. Much easier than trying to keep up with a timer. It can either beep, vibrate or both. It has a “loud” or “soft” setting. I typically just use the vibrate setting because the beep is kiiinda bonkers.

I also use it when I’m doing interval runs. Whether it be that I’m doing speed work or if I’m injecting walking into my run, the gym boss allows me to properly keep up with the intervals without having to pay attention to the time. It comes in a bunch of snazzy colors, too. We all know I’m a sucker for things that are cute AND helpful. I definitely suggest purchasing a gymboss for use during runs or intervals!

Gymboss hasn't sponsored me or paid me any money to review them. I think it's an awesome product and I think other's deserve to know :)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Beauty: Define

1. Definition of beauty (n)

Bing Dictionary

o beau•ty

o [ byĆ³otee ] o

4. pleasing and impressive qualities of something: the combination of qualities that make something pleasing and impressive to look at, listen to, touch, smell, or taste

5. pleasing personal appearance: personal physical attractiveness, especially with regard to the use of cosmetics and other methods of enhancing it

6. beautiful woman: a beautiful woman or girl synonyms: loveliness • attractiveness • good looks • prettiness • exquisiteness

So, I put my exact title into Bing and this is what came up. Weird, isn’t it? To absolutely define what beauty is? What it looks like? What it feels like? ”Especially with regard to the use of cosmetics and other methods of enhancing it.” I don’t get it.

I’m going to be completely honest and say that when the yearly Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show comes on television, my stomach turns and I immediately have the urge to work out for hours…and hours… and hours. And I really can’t give you a great answer as to why. I don’t want to look like them – honestly, I think that they’re very thin and very hungry. But, I almost feel like I need to look like them. Embody that image of beauty. Silly, isn’t it? And I know I’m not the only one.

Men catch a lot of the flack for this. But – can we (women) really give them all the blame? Ask a man if he noticed his girlfriend lost 5 pounds and I am willing to guarantee that he will say no. Why? Because that typically just doesn’t matter to them. They don’t have the expectations that we have to look like those we see in ads and television. Just like we don’t have the expectation that they look like a GQ cover model.

As women, I feel like we are constantly in competition not only with ourselves but with each other. Constantly comparing and contrasting and trying to outdo one another. We are constantly wondering if our mate looked at that other woman and liked her hair/makeup/clothes/shape/weight/tan/whatever better. The question is why. I’m guilty. Constantly. A goal of mine is to stop this cycle within myself and to stop it when I hear my girlfriends share these same thoughts aloud. Comparing and contrasting is for fine wine, not for our bodies.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Used by Nelson Mandela in his 1994 inaugural speech

Monday, March 17, 2014

4:30 Wake-Up Call Success !

I’m really starting to cling to this “one day at a time” theory. I don’t have my week of workouts planned. I’m finding that doing that overwhelms me and I get incredibly disappointed if life gets in the way and I’m not able to accomplish the entire schedule. So, I’m planning one day ahead. I’ll figure out today what I’ll do tomorrow. This way, if I have a really terrible day today and simply need to sleep in tomorrow to prepare for the day ahead then it won’t be a problem. I can plan accordingly.

As for today’s “plan” – it went well! I woke right up at 4:30, no snooze button needed. I was planning on running a 5k on the deathmill…but I left my headphones at a currently unidentified location. So, I hit the stair climber for a total of 45 minutes instead. That combined with 45 minutes of spin [20 mile ride! Woo!] (I’ll come back to this later), 100 squats and 100 crunches totals out to 803 calories burned before 7:15 this morning. WOO.

I also started back to My Fitness Pal today, also. When I did it, I noticed a difference. I hate it and it’s a pain in the butt. Yeah, that was said in a grumpy voice. But, all in the name of goals, right? Right. I ate m&m’s this morning. I didn’t cheat. I scanned them and added them in. They were super tasty and worth every bit of the 230 calories. You won’t find this girl counting to 100 to avoid a craving. 

Okay, so back to spin. The instructor was a mega buff, super thin and pretty lady. She has two kids, the youngest is three. She really likes to compare her life to the rest of us. And by the rest of us I mean the people who don’t have the pleasure of not working and have all the time in the world to train. One of her kids is in elementary school and the other goes to an all-day pre k Monday-Friday. She doesn’t work. So she trains. ALL. THE. TIME. And she has the nerve to try to tell us (us being the people in the class who are up at the ass crack of dawn because it’s the only time we have to work out) that if we simply put in 2 hours before work and 2 hours after work every day, that we too could look like her. I’m all for people being proud of their accomplishments. She should be proud! She has a killer body that she obviously works hard for. But don’t rub it in people’s faces, especially when you’re set up to succeed and some of the others in the class may not be. It really made me angry. Just as a side note, she would also randomly say during the class “Can you feel the burn?!” – we just did a 3 minute, heavy load, seated hill climb…. WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK?! Rawr. I don’t deal well with this type of individual at 5am. I just don’t.

All in all today was a success! Granted, I’m not quite through the work day but I’ve got a feeling the rest of the day is going to be great.

What are your plans for St. Patrick’s day? What’s your goal for this week?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Weekend Used to be a Dream....

Ah, the weekend. I'm still getting used to it. I love having two full days in a row to do what I want and enjoy time with my loved ones. I spent the day yesterday in Newnan, Georgia with one of my best friends. We ate Mexican (margaritas included) and overindulged in some ice cream...
It was worth all the hundreds and hundreds of calories. Though, I was kinda shocked that I just couldn't finish it all. I barely got half the cone down. I suppose this is for the best? 

I've been battling a pretty ridiculous ear ache. I've got these bad boys to help take the pain away. It's helping but I've entered into ear infection territory so off to the Dr. I go on Monday... womp womp womp. 

Overall, it's been a really fabulous weekend. I managed to get up and get to the gym in time for Yoga this morning. We asked to focus on hips and... all I have to say is be careful what you ask for. I just know I'm going to be aching tomorrow. I got in a bit of carido before, too so I'm pretty pleased. 

Tomorrow I'm hitting the gym early for spin. After spin I'm going to try to get in a quick 5k and some resistance band work before heading off to the day job. Working out in the morning has started to grow on me. I don't have to "make room" for it in my schedule after work and can just go home and relax. I go to bed at the same time no matter how early I wake up anyway so I may as well get my butt in motion and make the best of all the hours of the day! 

This is going to be my mantra for Monday.

There's no kill switch on Awesome. 

This is how I'm going to go into the week. I'm going to kick ass in every thing I do. I'm going to hit the gym and eat things that help me and not set me back. I'm going to be kind to myself and accept my imperfections as beautiful characteristics belonging only to me. I'm going to do the best I can do and accept when I don't quite meet my own personal expectations. I'm going to do my best and my best is all I can ask for. 

Have a great Monday, y'all! 

How was your weekend? 
Did you complete a kick ass work out? 

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Westview Track - Review

By now I'm sure everyone has seen the letter "to the fatty running on the Westside track this morning..." I've read several reviews of it and I've decided that the more I read about it, the more angry I get. And this is because from what I can see, there is a ridiculous amount of people defending the author. And...I just can't fathom how anyone would think that calling someone else a "fatty" would be motivational at all.

In my opinion it's a clear form of abuse. It wouldn't shock me to learn that in the author's life they depeict verbal abuse on people around them. To insult them in a manner that they know will strip them down to nothing, only to build them back up by telling them "you're awesome!" is an obvious form of abuse. It's a cycle - break you down then bring you back and keep you close by "building you back up again."

Humiliating someone is not an appropriate way to inspire. It's the core of what's wrong with our entire thought process on health and fitness. If this person, who clearly just wanted their blog to go viral, really wanted to inspire them - they would have gone up to them, gave them a huge high five and said "you're doing AWESOME!" They wouldn't have written such a tastless letter.

Someone wrote a response as if they were the person who they were speaking about. I felt it was incredible and very honest. Judging someone else's journey is tasteless. It doesn't make for good journalism and it sure as hell doesn't make you a good person.

So, my response to whomever wrote this letter initially - I hope you never have to face the humiliation and suffering that you put this one annoymous person through. I hope you see the error of your ways without having to learn the hard way. But, if the hard way is the only way - so be it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

All The Exercise!

For a good while prior to me making the difficult decision to postpone my Marathon, I was working out twice a day four days a week. I'm not sure how I was still standing. I was exhausted. I really thought that working out more would make me stronger and thus better prepared for the race. What I'm finally seeing (or maybe, believing) now is that all it did was put more stress on my body and disallow any type of recovery.

I found this article on about working out "smarter" and not "harder." I've been reading a lot about this. I do my best to switch up routines and incorporate different intervals into my work outs to avoid the plateau. But I wonder if there's a "best" way to do this? More weights and less cardio one week and then switch the next? Weights VS resistance bands? Treadmill VS elliptical? Don't read this blog if you're looking for the answer to all your burning athletic questions...I've got just as many as you. But, I've also been reading about exercise addiction. Did you know that it's considered an eating disorder just like anorexia? There are treatment centers for it and everything. I can see how addicting it can become and how it can become such a necessity in a person's life.

Speaking of exercise addiction...Taking the day off...not feeling great. Doing my best to "listen to my body" and rest up. I'll probably hit the gym for a bit in the morning for spin before work. Haven't been feeling like myself since the decision. Don't know if I'm depressed or if I've lost faith in myself. Pretty sure it's a good mixture of both. Allowing myself to mope for a little while. Moping includes eating what I want...which is totally counter productive but.. oh well. I suppose I'll cross the back on the horse bridge when I get to it.

To make that matter worse, it's going to rain all weekend. So much for a pretty, no pressure run this weekend. Bleh. But - for now I'll go soak in a bath and read Divergent on my Kindle.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Why I think the Paralympics Get Cheated - Rant

It's no secret that I love the Olympics. Okay, as a runner I do prefer the Summer Olympics but the Winter Olympics still fill my belly with butterflies and I still tear up when they raise the American Flag and play the greatest song in the world to celebrate a US Gold. Please note that I did NOT differentiate between the "Olympics" and the "Paralympics." And let me tell you about how it grinds my gears that the Paralympics seemingly get crapped on every year.

Let me first say that I have no idea if there is any logical reason why the Paralympics happen weeks after the closing ceremony. Nor do I know if there's some sort of logistics that go into the tracks etc to change them to better suit the Paralympic athletes.

What I WILL say is that it really makes me mad that we separate the two. I really, really want the Olympics to be celebrated all together as Athletes come together to celebrate sport and spirit. It's like the Paralympics are a side note to the "real" olympics. No glitz, no glamor. And truly these athletes are incredible. I would go as far to say that I feel they are even more incredible that those who are blessed to not have had to experience some of the loss that the Paralympians have. I mean - cross country skiing - without legs. OMG. Have you seen the cross country skiers fall over after the race because they're so exhausted? Try doing it without two important factors - your LEGS. Crazy! So inspiring to watch.

And the BLIND down hill?! WHAT?! Are you kidding me? SO DOPE. I mean truly - amazing and inspiring to watch. If you haven't been watching because the TV network is doing a terrible job televising it, you can head over to their fancy website and watch different events and even a live stream!

Bottom line is - and if you've read this far I'd like to extend a warm thanks - is that the Paralympics are amazing and deserve the same respect and coverage that the "normal" olympics do. I'd love to see them all compete together. To be able to walk out in the same ceremony and walk out in the same closing ceremony. As athletes we are united - and it makes me sad to see them separated like this.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Four Letter Word

DIET. Did you just shudder? I may have. This four letter word has such baggage attached to it that there isn't a country song written that could accurately depict it. We're approaching that time - you know - the diet time. Target has their bathing suits out for Spring break and it's no longer getting dark at 4 in the afternoon. Our extra "warmth" layer is no longer deemed acceptable and must go! PRONTO! (I should write for the cover of magazines, don't you think?) But...why do we go through this exact same cycle year after year?

Grab your guilty stamp and get me right in the middle of the forehead. I haven't had the greatest relationship with food. I've yo-yoed and binged. Cut carbs and added protein. I've tried the pills and shakes. And...what I finally was able to realize that *duh* my body is a machine. When I take my car to get gas, I certainly don't put oil and transmission fluid into the gas tank and expect it to perform well. So, slowly but surely I'm making permanent changes in what I eat and drink to allow my body to perform at it's best. Now, I'm not a registered dietician and I am certainly not a Dr. The only thing I can say is that not drinking soda is great. And that a bag of cookies is no where near as rewarding as a bowl of grapes and apples.

I have done things like....mix Pure Life Naturals Chia Seeds into my greek yogurt in the morning. Or sometimes Spectrum Organic Ground Flaxseed instead. I make an honest attempt to buy "all natural" or "organic" when I'm forced to buy processed foods. The amount of fresh foods I'm eating has gone through the roof in comparison to what it used to be. And slowly but surely I can feel my body just.. working better. I've decreased my wine intake (but not cut it out entirely...because...really... I like it. And moderation is key, right?) Slowly but surely is what I tell myself. I eat the protein on my plate first. I don't eat all the bread on the table at a restaurant. I try to only eat half of what's brought to me while eating out. Ya know. Easy, simple, common sense stuff.

This is not to say that I don't still eat the things I like. Today, I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and ate probably a few more than what I should have. But the days where I would scold myself and tell myself that this has ruined all my hard work are over. I'll just make sure to up my cardio a smidge a make sure I savor every bite. Eat what you love, just don't eat all of it. Seems like a good deal to me. Love your life and not go through each day dreading what you'll have to eat at your next meal. Yes, please. Besides, I can think of a lot of other four letter words that I'd rather say...

So, as you embark on your four letter word adventure for this season....I wonder if you'll continue the cycle or simply revamp your normal?

Neither Pure Life Naturals nor Spectrum Organics paid me to mention their products. I use them nearly daily and my thoughts/opinions are my own. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Big Peach Running Company - Review

In the midst of my Marathon gloom, I decided to take a trip to the Big Peach Running Company in Kennesaw, Georgia. Nothing makes a runner feel better than being surrounded by other runners who understand their disappointment. (Because really – what normal person would be disheveled by the fact that they can’t run 26.2 miles on a Saturday morning….)

So in I went and started talking to Corey regarding the shoes that I’m currently in. I first stood on a foot analysis machine (very fancy) that measured my characteristics. They decided my foot width and arch and what type of construction I needed. Before I knew it I was in a pair of neutral shoes and running on a treadmill. They have a camera set up behind the treadmill so they record your gait. This combined with the foot analysis they set you up with multiple options of shoes for your specific needs. You then get to try on each pair and run around their store like a crazy person to see which one fits you best.

I ended up with a pair of Brooks Ravenna 5’s. They’re pretty snazzy looking AND they offer crazy support. I learned during this little running adventure that not only do I WALK pigeon toed but I also RUN pigeon toed…really great for my knees. Next up: fix that. The shoes were decently priced and came with a pretty generous return policy.

The best part of the process (other than scoring an awesome new pair of shoes that are sure to send you to the Olympics… OK maybe not quite that far…) is that there is no pressure to buy. They provide the fitting services for free and are genuinely just interested in getting all runners in the proper running shoes. Running is their passion and they hope it will be yours too. I will definitely be returning to this local shop for my running needs! Ask for Corey – he was the

Please know that I'm not being paid for this review, nor did they ask me to write it. I feel it's important to sing praises when due and they definitely deserve it!

Not Your Olympic Runner

Back in December I set out on a journey that has been… rough. I finally decided it was time to run towards my first full marathon. With proper training and a bunch of mental strength I knew I could do it. I bought all the right cold weather gear, found a solid training schedule and started reading any running book I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, winter in Atlanta had a different idea for me. Between ice storms, snow storms and an injury to my right knee and ankle, I had missed about 7 total weeks of training. Crushing, right? For someone who has never run a marathon, those training weeks are crucial. This past weekend I made the official decision to E-mail my race director and ask to be switched to the 13.1 distance instead of the Marathon. It was about five steps past devastating for me.

I never thought that running would become so important to me. That saying I wasn’t going to run 26.2 miles would leave me feeling so empty and sad. It’s true what “they” say – it’s about the journey. It’s been a rough one. Running in the blistering cold and wind. Missing out on activities with friends so I can run. All worth it. My friends and loved ones understood and always supported me when I’d be gone for 5 hours at a time. My thoughts were routinely about how I could do better and run faster.

Within those thoughts, however, I was continuously comparing myself to every other runner. My blood pressure would rise every time I saw someone posting about how they ran an “impromptu 5k” and has “never really ran before” yet somehow they ran it 4 minutes faster than my fastest 5k ever. WHAT. How is this even possible? What am I doing wrong? I would get so frustrated with myself and my body for, as I put it, “underperforming.” What I didn’t realize through all of this is that all athletes are different. Some athletes go to the Olympics, and some do not. I fall into the latter category. But that doesn’t make me any less of an athlete. I work hard. I do the best I can for my body. And eventually, I’ll get there.

Now that the pressure to be at the 26.2 level by April is off I can focus on the distance that I know I can handle. I have run many 13.1’s before and know that if I work hard I can make this a PR. Lemons into lemonade, right? I’m hunting for a marathon to complete at the end of the year so I can run through the heat of the summer and push myself to my top fitness tier. Ice be damned, I’ll run those 26.2 miles.