Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back in Training Mode

Sunday night already?! Awwww man.

It's 9:15pm and I'm already in bed - a sign of a busy weekend, for sure! And a weekend that involved a few too many indulgences....

These 2 talked me into donuts after swim class...

But it also involved a fair amount of running, so that cancels out all those calories, right? (Just mid and smile...)

Anyway.... I totally forgot to mention last week that I started training again! Week one of training for the Atlanta Half Marathon is in the books.

I adjusted my trainjng schedule for this go 'round. Instead of running Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday, I'm running Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (like I did last fall). Saturday is still my long run day, and I'm hoping that only running 2 days during the work week will make life feel a little less hectic.


I was up and at 'em early on Saturday for my long run, since daddy had to take off for work at 6:50 am, and wasn't going to be home until almost 5 pm. I got out of bed at 5:20, changed, stretch for a few minutes, and then was out the door, intending to do 6 miles.


Oops. I overshot.

It wasn't really a great run - I'm having problems with my left hip flexor / lower back, and I had a really hard time getting loose. And if I'm being honest, I was in pain pretty much the entire time. Ugh.

Oddly enough though, I ran again today (Sunday is now my short run day) and I felt great! Ran much faster and witjout much discomfort. Probably because I was up for quite a while before running, and had a chance to warm up my muscles...?


I closed out my active weekend with a 3:00 pm Pure Barre class. And it was a good one! I'll be feeling it in my "seat" tomorrow!

I'll leave you with a couple highlights from the weekend:

One-on-one time with my Big Girl at my Pure Barre studio's 1 year anniversary party

One-on-one time, snuggling with my Baby Girl

What was the highlight of your weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Most Amazing (Vegan!) Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies





TGIAF! We're almost the weekend! This week is flying by!

Cheers to almost Friday!
Rather than ramble on about how busy I've been lately or whine about my hip/back injury acting up (sigh), I'm going to share a recipe!

The girlies and I have been on a baking kick. We've been making different versions of oatmeal cookies every Saturday. Last Saturday, we decided to get really crazy and throw some dark chocolate chips in our cookies. Whoa! Too much excitement! :)

We used this recipe on the back of our Market Pantry oatmeal container as a starting point:



And we made a few substitutions/adjustments:

- Swap out the eggs for "flax eggs" (2 T of ground flax seed mixed with 6 T of warm water; mix and let stand for a minute before using)

- Cut the brown sugar down to 1 cup and the sugar down to 1/2 cup

- Swap out the butter for 1/2 cup of coconut oil (aka the ingredient that makes these cookies so amazing!)

- Use 1 cup of vegan dark chocolate chips

OMG! So yummy! We actually could've cut down even more on the chocolate chips. I had a hard time making them stick together at first when I was putting them on the pan. But they most certainly taste delicious!! This container used to be filled to the top...



I plan to do some more baking this weekend so stay tuned!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Day in the Life...

Holy sh*t - I have SO MUCH to do this week!! I'm covering for a colleague at work this week and early next week while he's on PTO. It's insanity. However, I WILL NOT complain because this is the same co-worker who covered for me on my vacation. I totally owe him. I go into hyper-productive mode when I have tons to do anyway, so I'll just be kicking some a** and taking names for the next several days. ;)

Totally unrelated to this post, but LOVE this picture from the top of Stone Mountain on Sunday!
Anyway... Since I've basically started every post for the last several weeks with a comment or 2 about how busy I am, I thought I'd give you a a glimpse into a day in the life! Here goes...

5:00 am: Alarm goes off; I roll out of bed and change into my exercise clothes.

5:10 am: Hop in the car and drive 7ish minutes over to my Pure Barre studio.

5:30 am: Pure Barre class! Such a great way to start the day!

6:40 am: Arrive home from Pure Barre, grab whatever breakfast I prepped for myself the night before, and multi-task - simultaneously eat breakfast and put my make up on, all while chit-chatting with my girls and listening to Pandora.

Multi-tasking at it's finest...
7:20 am: Say goodbye to Daddy and Big Girl as they leave for the elementary school.

7:30 am: Walk out the door with Baby Girl and head to daycare.

7:40 am: Drop off Baby Girl and head to work.

8:10 am: Arrive at work, make some coffee, get my inbox under control, and get down to business.

9:00 am: Eat a snack at my Varidesk and continue plugging away at my work.

12:00 pm: Heat up my packed lunch in the kitchen and then eat it at my desk while continuing to work.

3:00 pm: Snack #2 at my desk!

5:00 pm: Leave the office and head for daycare.

5:30 pm: Pick up Baby Girl.

5:45 pm: Arrive at home and start making dinner.

6:00 pm: Daddy and Big Girl get home.

6:15 pm: We all sit down for dinner.

6:30 pm: Clean up from dinner, prep tomorrow's breakfast and pack lunches.

6:45 pm: Get the girls in the tub and then in jammies.

We make time to be silly, too!
7:30 pm: Bring Baby Girl in her room for books and then bedtime. (Daddy and I alternate nights putting each kid to bed.)

8:00 pm: Daddy puts Big Girl to bed; Mommy heads out for a run.

I've grown to love nighttime running.
9:00 pm: Hop in the shower, put on jammies, then do some work on the computer and/or blog.

10:00 pm: Collapse into bed and get some sleep before doing all over again tomorrow.

Wow - I'm tired just typing that out! As you can see, I start and end my day with exercise. Sure, it takes some time and careful planning to fit it in, but it does wonders for my sanity! I'm not sure I'd make it through the rest of the daily routine without it.

What time of day do you usually exercise?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Why Pure Barre is Totally Worth the Price



Happy Saturday! I'm not feeling well today, so I hope you're doing better than me! I bagged out on my run today, but I still made it to Pure Barre!

Speaking of my new favorite workout.... I've thought a lot about how much I spent to buy my 3 months of unlimited classes, and I definitely felt guilty about it at first. But I've recently gotten over it - and now I would even go so far as to say that it was (and is!) totally worth the price.

I've noticed HUGE changes in myself since I began attending Pure Barre regularly back in July - both physical and mental.

Physically, I have never been in better shape in my entire life! I may not be at the lowest weight I've ever been, but I firmly believe that is due to all the lean muscle mass I've gained. My arms are toned and strong, my "seat" has definitely been "lifted," my hips and thighs are slimmer, and my abs - well I can actually see them! And I can feel how strong my core is during normal, everyday activities, like sitting upright in a chair. It sounds silly, but trust me - it feels different!

So obsessed - I book my classes way in advance!
While the physical changes have been absolutely AMAZING, I think the mental changes have been even more so. My husband has always maintained that I am the most self-conscious person he's ever met. And he's probably right. But Pure Barre has given me this new found confidence. The physical changes were a catalyst for a change in my perspective. The thoughts that go through my head when I look in the mirror are completely different. Instead of focusing on all the things I dislike, I now look in the mirror and feel proud of all my hard work. And instead of talking about how "flabby" this or that is, I'm now saying just the opposite. My husband is probably sick of me saying, "Check out these abs!" And "Look at the the muscle in my arms!" (Although I'm pretty sure he's much happier with this type of positive talk.)

One of the biggest changes is that I rarely ever weigh myself these days. It's almost hard to believe that I used to be the girl that stepped on the scale every single day (sometimes even twice a day). I realized the other day it had been over 2 weeks since I stepped on. I hopped on yesterday out of curiosity. I have only lost a couple of pounds over the past few weeks, but I no longer care about getting back to the weight I was last fall because I feel strong and confident, and I would much rather have a couple extra pounds of muscle weight on me. Those numbers on the scale no longer affect me. I think there's still value in stepping on the scale every once in a while for accountability's sake (especially since I tend to eat peanut butter right out of the jar...), but I finally see that those numbers are just that - numbers. They're not me - not who I am.

I confess that I used to think that people who gushed about expensive workouts like Pure Barre were "drinking the Kool-Aid" so to speak. And I truly never believed that a 55-minute exercise class could be life changing. But now I know.



I finally feel comfortable in my own skin - and I get 55 minutes of zen every morning. And for those reasons, Pure Barre is worth every penny.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Making Fit Happen: Business Trip!



I think I blinked and the entire week was just about over! I guess that's what happens when Monday is a holiday and then you turn around and take off for a business trip on Tuesday!

It's been forever since I did a Making Fit Happen post, but given that I've been on 2 business trips in the past 3 weeks, I think one of these posts is in order!

View from my Southwest flight

Unfortunately, business trips typically involve a lot of sitting - sitting on airplanes, sitting in meetings... But the great thing is they also involve hotels, and most hotels have fitness centers!

When given the choice, I will always choose running outdoors over running on the treadmill, except when I'm in an unfamiliar city by myself. These are the times I make use of the hotel gym. This week, I was at the Sheraton in midtown Minneapolis. Bonus: I was in a different time zone which means I was up plenty early to fit in a workout before meeting my colleagues in the lobby restaurant for breakfast and meeting prep. So I hit the fitness center bright and early for a 4-miler on the "dreadmill."

One of the main reasons I prefer running outdoors is the scenery. It keeps me from getting bored. So when I'm on the treadmill, as I was yesterday, I have to find ways to keep it interesting and pass the time quickly. So I put my ear buds in, put on Today's Hits on Pandora, and played with the speed controls. My workout looked like this:

0.0-0.5 miles: 6.0 mph (10:00 pace)
0.5-1.0 miles: 6.2 mph (9:41 pace)
1.0-1.5 miles: 6.4 mph (9:22 pace)
1.5-2.0 miles: 6.6 mph (9:05 pace)
2.0-2.5 miles: 6.8 mph (8:49 pace)
2.5-3.0 miles: 7.0 mph (8:34 pace)
3.0-3.5 miles: 7.2 mph (8:20 pace)
3.5-3.75 miles: 7.0 mph (8:34 pace)
3.75-4.0 miles: 6.8 mph (8:49 pace)

I finished my 4 miles in 36:30 - and it flew by! I followed it up with a delicious and nutritious breakfast of steel cut oats with raisins, soy milk, and a side of fruit. Who says you can't stay healthy on the road?!

Do you prefer exercising inside or outside?

Sunday, August 31, 2014

BFF

I keep promising myself I'll get back to blogging more regularly again... But there's just been so much going on!

This past Friday, thanks to a WVU football game being played at the Georgia Dome on Saturday, I was reunited with my very best friend and her husband after nearly 6 years. 6 years!!! The last time we had seen each other, I had no children. Now I have a 5 1/2 year old and a 23 month old. Crazy. How does that much time just fly by?!

Just like old times...

Admittedly, my BFF and I have fallen out of touch at times throughout these past almost 6 years, but the past year or so, we've really made an effort to stay connected. And no matter how much time goes by between phone conversations, it's always like no time has passed at all when we talk.



I'm not sure there are even words to adequately describe what it's like to see such good friends again after such a long time... Amazing probably comes close. And to also have these friends meet your kids for the first time? Surreal.

Hubby on the left, best friend's hubby on the right
We had dinner in downtown ATL with the kiddos, and then were lucky enough to go out for the rest of the night sans kids and just catch up and reconnect. We had such a fabulous night! So much fun!

The big brother I never had...
I honestly didn't even realize just how much I missed both my best friend and her husband until we saw them and spent time with them. I had such a mix of emotions throughout the night. And as soon as it was over, I was left very sad - sad that I don't know when I'll see them again; sad that I don't live near them; sad that I let so many years go by without seeing them.



We made many grand plans for the future over the course of the evening. Now to go make them a reality....


Monday, August 25, 2014

Race Recap: Hotlanta Half Marathon 8/24/14



I survived my 5th half marathon - or should I say 12.8 miler?? (More on that in a minute...)



In order to keep the rambling to a minimum, I'm organizing my thoughts into major buckets. (Organizing is just what I do!) But first, a brief description of the event, directly from the website:

Come see Atlanta from a whole new perspective. Never before has there been a race that speaks to the heart and heat of Atlanta, Georgia. HOTLANTA Half will take you on a journey of Atlanta icons. The course kicks off at Atlanta's Underground, winding your way through the city streets and onto the vista views of the city along the Belt Line. You will pass through historic Piedmont Park and pay homage to the Olympians, as you run by Centennial Park. Feast your eyes on the sun shining off the gold Georgia Capital as you make your way to victory to the finish back at Underground ATL. This is a world class event and finishers will be awarded the HOTLANTA Half medal, race shirt and SwagFest bag. Come and experience the city in a whole new perspective. Join us on August 24th for the inaugural run that will sure to be an instant classic and a time honored tradition for all Atlanta.

Packet Pickup & Pre-Race Swag
I loved the way the packet pickup was organized! Since it was a relatively small event, rather than having an expo, they had several designated packet pickup days at a different Big Peach Running Co. location each day. I don't exactly love crowds, so I thought this was great! I parked on the street by the Midtown location on Friday, walked in and picked up my packet and swag bag, and was back in the car in minutes.

Up early and ready to race!
The swag was pretty good, too. I didn't need to buy any Clif Shot Bloks because there were some in the bag - score! There were a few bars in there that I won't eat (they are glorified candy bars with more calories than a typical meal for me), and there were a few too many pieces of advertising in there, but the t-shirt totally made up for all of that! Women's fitted soft cotton tee - booyah!

Location & Getting There
The race started and finished at Underground Atlanta. I had never been there before, and I was a little worried about parking. I was pleasantly surprised when I pulled into a mostly empty lot right next to the start area and parked 1 space over from the exit. They hyped up the "lack" of event parking way too much, and public transportation ended up being much worse than just driving to the race. Score 1 for me! I zipped right out after the race. Lesson learned though - next time, bring a towel (or several) to sit on for the drive home! Needless to say I had to Febreeze the heck out of my driver's seat afterward...



Course & My Finish Time
This course was TOUGH! So.Many.Hills. It was 82 degrees at the start of the race too, which made those hills even tougher. On the upside, it was very scenic, taking runners along the Atlanta Beltline and through Piedmont Park.



I was running pretty strong from the get-go, exceeding my own expectations. This was good and bad - I was doing better than I expected, but I had probably started out too fast. My goal was to run it around 2:02:00 (about 3 minutes slower than my PR). I scored a free pace tattoo prior to the start for reference which reminded me along the way that I needed to run a 9:09 pace to come in around 2 hours. 


At about the halfway point, I was running an 8:58 pace. But I hit the wall coming out of Piedmont Park and up the hill on 12th Street. It was mostly uphill from there.

Heat, humidity and hills are not a good combination. Thank goodness there were well stocked water stations every mile. I think I dumped more water over my head than I drank.

I used Runkeeper during the race, and I noticed that somewhere around mile marker 8 the GPS and the mile markers weren't matching up. When I crossed the finish line, I was quite disappointed to see that I had only logged 12.8 miles, with my official finish time being 1:57:13. Did I cut corners? Was the course mis-marked somewhere? Or not marked well enough? Still not sure what happened, but I do know, thanks to Facebook, that pretty much everyone else using a GPS logged 12.8 miles too. Major bummer. I was definitely happy to be done, but bummed that I can't really compare it to my other half marathons since it wasn't the full distance. Maybe I'll just keep that to myself and claim it as my new PR! ;)






Post-Race Snacks
Best described as: not bad, but not great. There was Nuun hydration, but it wasn't remotely cold. I could've used an ice cold Powerade! There were buckets of bananas, but they were all cut into thirds, which I found super annoying. I had to grab 3 of them and peel them individually! There were also loads and loads of Einstein Bros. Bagels, but there didn't appear to be anything to put on them. Bagels really aren't my thing anyway. Maybe I didn't look around enough, but I didn't see any energy bars or anything else. Meh.


Good thing we had French fries later on!

Overall Organization
If I had to grade this race, I would probably give it a B, which actually isn't that bad given that it's the inaugural year. Will I run this one again next year? Not sure. Right now I'm leaning toward no, mostly because I've learned that training in the summer just doesn't work for me - at least not while I'm living in the south.

Highlight of the Race
Hands down, best part of the race was rounding the corner on the Georgia Tech campus at about 10.5 miles and seeing the hubby and my 2 baby girls waiting to see me run by. They looked so excited and so proud of mommy, and it was just the push I needed to make it through the last couple miles.