Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Travel safely!
Keep your body moving!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Final Recap: Michelle Bridges 12 Week Body Transformation Preview

***I received a free 4 week preview of the Michelle Bridges 12 week Body Transformation through my Ambassadorship with Girls Gone Sporty****

I was so thrilled to be able to preview this program, Michelle Bridges is an amazing trainer, with an unending supply of advice and encouragement, and I am glad she is making the leap from Australia to the United States! I was unable to give the plan 100% of my effort, because I have been fighting the never-ending month long cold, but I still manages to see some amazing results! I feel stronger, and I learned about some new healthy recipes that my family enjoyed (which is NOT always the case, what a bunch of wimps when it comes to healthy eating!
The last Motivational Video was about going to bed early. This is something I have recently started focusing on, and getting the hubs involved as well, and it is definitely paying off. A good night sleep is so key in everything that we do from day to day!

What I learned:
  • I am not as fit as I thought in some cases. Some of the exercises in her videos really kicked my butt.
  • I am pretty flexible!
  • I *can* hold the crow pose, for about 10 seconds, and I cannot wait to improve that time!
  • I totally suck at following food plans! The menu and recipes were amazing, but after a few days, I slack off, and that is something that I really need to work on!
  • I need a wide variety of workout options. I like classes and DVDs, and the program has that, but there isn't as much variety as I would like! You do the same toning workout from week to week, and I get bored way too easy! Luckily, there are also workouts for you to print out as well, to spice things up!
  • Having a month long cold sucks.
  • I *can* cross train while I am training for a race (after race, after race, after race)
  • I LOVE yoga. Michelle is not super flexible, but she has great staff members who are, and her video was one of my faves.
  • I like being better at yoga than Michelle. It gave me joy.
  • The forums were a wealth of information and motivation! The staff participates, as well as other members, and you can see how many rounds of the program each person has completed in the sidebar under their name and photo!
  • I look forward to participating in this program once I am well! Imagine the progress that I will make!
What's that? You want to participate, too? I don't blame you! Where else can you get customizable meal plans, weekly motivational videos, workout plans with several choices, and a great support system? The food plan can be catered to fit any dietary restrictions you may have, and there are so many different choices! Once you have chosen your meals, you can even print out a shopping list!
You can pick out a training plan as well, whether you want to lose weight, tone up, or train for a race!

If you want to check out some of my other posts about the program, you can see them, in reverse order….
Here!!! for Tuesday Training, Mish Bridges Style!
Week 3 and the JSRC Train Run
Introductory post
Wordless Wednesday Fan Girl Post

Perfect timing! If you have made any goals for the New Year that involve losing weight, toning, improving your pace, or anything fitness related, this is the perfect opportunity!
Be sure to let Mish know that Kim from Barking Mad sent you! 

Stop by Mish's website to register interest now, and you will be on your way before you know it!

Have you started to plan your goals for 2014?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Lemonade Cookbook

Awhile back, I mentioned that I received a copy of the Lemonade Cookbook in exchange for a review. I put in the counter just before Halloween and totally forgot about it!
Today I am recuperating from yesterday's race, feeling slightl wretched, and wanting a treat! The hubs mentioned banana bread, which I hate, but I pulled out the cookbook to see if there was a recipe. There wasn't, but there was one for …..

Oh my heck! I called the boy and recruited him as an assistant. And by assistant, I mean that he made the cookies. What better activity on a day like this?
Yikes, our thermometer is dusty! Blogger fail!
The directions were simple and he had no problem making them!
We used a melon baller to scoop them out, it is the perfect size!
After the boy filled the stoneware with cookie dough balls, he let me luck the bowl!
I shared with the pups, because I am nice like that!
Eighteen minutes in the oven, and before I could even take a picture, the hubs stole one!
Blogger hubs fail!
They are fabulous! And almost gone already! A definite hit! I am looking forward to trying some other recipes from this cookbook!

What do you like to cook on cold, wintery days?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Manasquan Turkey Trot and Under Armour Sunglasses

Today I ran the Manasquan Turkey Trot for the second time. This is a very popular race at the Jersey Shore, and I was so glad to her able to run it again. Last year it was cancelled because of Sandy, so it was extra special to those of us who love here all year round!
I arrived fairly early at the race, because I was running with a team of Kilt Runners. Yes, I said Kilts. Manasquan will be hosting a Kilt Run in March and we were all showing the Kilt Love Why a Kilt Run? The race directors have a goal of making a Guinness Book Record of the most people wearing a Kilt at an event, with a goal of 2,000 Kilt wearers! I won't be able to attend the run, because I will be running the Allstate NYC Half Marathon with my good friend and blogger Gigi from Running on Candy, but the fam and some friends will be running it. I was more than happy to help the directors advertise at the Turkey Trot.
Don't we look fabulous?
The race started at 11:00, so at about 10:30 we made our way to Leggett's where the starting line would be. We met up with some other friends and hung out until the race was ready to begin! It.was.freezing. The temp was about 40* and there were 20 mph winds. The wind was very cold, but as long as it wasn't blowing it wasn't too bad! We started right along the ocean, which didn't help! It was not chip timed, so we stayed as close to the front as we could, without being too close. We didn't want to get trampled!
The gun went off, and away we went. I started out very fast, and my lungs were burning, but I soon found my rhythm. I wasn't expecting much, my knee has been achey on and off, but I did want to beat my course time of 57:30. My best time ever was 53:33 but I was not even considering beating that!
The time flew quickly, I saw my little Track Star friend R, who wins her age group a lot, and has gotten in the top 3 females at 5Ks. She even slowed to wave to me, which I thought was sweet! She is in 8th grade, so it means a lot that she would slow down to waver to an old lady like me!
I saw Dave the Trumpeter shortly after and waved. That is when I realized that I had already run over 1.5 miles. Wow! It was speeding by! I barely remember the scenery, I was just concentrating on my pace, and every time I glanced at my watch it said my pace was roughly 10:23. I was in shock! It didn't feel that way, and I was sure that my watch was wrong!
Somewhere, at some point that I can't remember now, I saw the best sign. It said something to the effect of: "Sandy didn't keep us down, happy 30th Anniversary Turkey Trot". Yeah, I cried.
At the 2 mile mark, we passed my favorite group of spectators. The home owners stand out there with their littler kids and they cheer and yell, and extend their hands for fives. It is so energy, and it really perked me up. I hit mile 2 at exactly 20 minutes. WOW! Would I run out of steam? I felt like I was on fire, like nothing could stop me.
And then my Running Buddy fell off.
I worship my Running Buddy. It is the best purchase I ever made, and I am thrilled to be an Ambassador for them! The incident was through no fault of theirs, for sure. It was the kilt. I kid you not. It was one size too big, at least, and even with my capris on, it was just so loose around the waist. It was too thick to put my RB on over both the skirt and capris, so I just attached it to the skirt. There was no bouncing, but the weight of my iPhone, etc plus the looseness of the skirt worked against me. I pulled over to the side and attached it to my capris instead. Problem solved, momentum lost. Dang kilt.
Mile 3.2 was the beer table. For real. This is not a race table, some of the locals put it out for racers. I don't drink beer, but there were a lot of happy racers around that table!
I hit mile 4 at about 41:30. I couldn't believe I was keeping up that pace! I saw Dave again shortly after, and waved, and he made some hysterically exaggerated motions that I was almost there, just around the corner.
I couldn't believe I was almost done. A timing clock at that corner said 44:30ish, and I checked my watch. I had less than half a mile to go! I picked up speed at that point, and there were lots of spectators, lots of cheering. I pulled off my ear buds (race rules) and zipped through the finish line.

 Do you see that time?
Hoy heck!
I could't believe it! My eyes didn't leave that clock until I crossed the line. I was breathing so heavily, and really wished for my inhaler. I haven't used it in about a year, but boy oh boy did I want it. I headed over to the food tables to collect my water, root beer, chips and juice box. Still not breathing real well, but I didn't care. I did forget to pause my watch, though, so the time is off.
I scored a 6 minute race PR and a 2 minute distance PR.
What propelled me? Just before the race, my mom called me to tell me that my (former?) Aunt's son had died. He was only 28 and left behind a toddler. I was devastated for his family. When my Uncle got divorced I wanted to keep my Aunt, and lose him, but we don't get to pick our relatives, do we? She is an amazing lady, and we have kept in touch. Her second husband and children and are all amazing, and I am so very sad for them all. I couldn't stop thinking about it during the race, and I think that is what moved me forward so quickly. 

Overall, it was a fabulous race. My friends all did well, and I love racing with them, even though we don't actually stay together for the actual race. seeing them before and after truly make the day better!

Under Armour Sunglasses

***I was given a pair of Under Armour sunglasses (see them in the picture above!) as part of a Girls Gone Sporty Gear Girl Review! I was not compensated in any way, I was merely required to give my honest opinion after trying them out!***

Check out the link above to see some reviews from me, and some of my fellow Ambassadors, about several different styles of these sunglasses!
I chose the UA Surge glasses, because I liked the color (I chose the ones with the purple accents, although they only have all black available now).
They are my go to sunglasses now for running, and I am loving them! I have been wearing Under Armour gear since I began running two years ago, and am more than happy to add sunglasses to the long list of gear that I own! Check out the other reviews, to help you choose the best pair of sunglasses to fit your needs! They are high quality, just like their clothing line!

Are you running a Thanksgiving themed race this week?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday….. Holiday Challenge edition!

check it out at Run to the Finish, and tell her I sent you. Quick! We started this week!
Check it out here! Starts soon!

a mile per day from Turkey Day til New Year's Day!

Do you know of any other challenges you think I should join?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Michelle Bridges, Week 3 and the JSRC Train Run

Week 3 of the Michelle Bridges 12 week Body Transformation was rough for me in more ways than one. I received a chance to participate in a 5 week preview of the 12WBT as a member of Girls Gone Sporty, and will be posting about it weekly.
Each week, Mish posts a video for motivation on a variety of topics. This week she talked about Motivation and Body Image. Yikes.
I love this! I always look to everyone else to motivate me. I feel as if I need a challenge, or a series of DVDs, or other people to motivate me. Mish points out that we nosed to motivate ourselves and gives us some tools to help keep motivated on our own!
Body Image. Another yikes! I definitely have a problem with Body Image. Most of the time, I can point out my smallish waist, my defined calves from running, my arms are always fairly toned. On a bad day, though? Watch out. My stomach isn't flat enough, the cellulite above my knees screams at me, and I just feel like crap. Mish points out that what we see in the mirror doesn't necessarily reflect what other people see when they look at us. She gave some great tips on how to change your opinion of how you really look.
These boots did help my body image this weekend. The hubs brought me to the mall to buy some jeans made for my curves, because he knew that I was feeling negative, and my Levis were not helping. I got a pair of Lucky jeans, and they look amazing. I walked out feeling fabulous. Next, we went to DSW to get some boots. Even the ones that were made for wider calves did not fit! I was devastated. Body image shattered. Because of boots. For real?
I was getting ready for the Train Run the next day and was taping my knee. I noticed how strong my calves were looking, and realized that the boots lie. My calves are awesome, and I will still look great in the ankle boots I bought instead.

My favorite part of week 3 was the burpees!
No, wait, that's not right. I hate burpees. Truly. BUT MIsh challenged us to do 100 burpees during the week and I was determined to do it! I got up during commercial breaks and did them 10 at a time, and managed to finish all 100 within 2 days. Woot! Challenge met! Week 4 starts today, and I am very nervous about the next weekly challenge! What could it be??

My real favorite part of week 3? The Core and Flexibility workout. I stuck to Cardio and Toning during weeks 1 and 2, so this was my first time doing her Yoga workout. IT.WAS.AMAZING. I managed to hold Crow Pose for 5 whole seconds and I felt like a boss! I cannot wait to see how I improve  in the weeks to come! At the end of the workout, we did relaxation techniques. This was my favorite part. There was a lot of this:

What's not to love?
I ended my week with the JSRC Train Run. The Jersey Shore Running Club hold several of these each year. It is a simple concept. You meet up at Johnny Mac's in Asbury Park NJ, and board the train across the street. You get off of the train at one of 3 stops, depending on the distance you want to run. We chose 6.5 miles so we got off at the last stop.

still laughing about the hand dryer in the ladies' room

Eileen and I were taking it very easy, and the rest of the runners took off, and we never saw them again after that first mile. Dave the Trumpeter joined us, though, and ran the whole way with us. He was the JSRC caboose, and sent his birthday (Happy Birthday!!!) regaling us with story after story about races he had run and people he had met. If you read my blog frequently you know how much I LOVE this guy! He usually sets up at races and plays his trumpet and shouts out encouragement as you run by. Such an amazing guy! Everybody sang Happy Birthday to him before we left for the run:

Since this wasn't a face, it was not timed, which was great. We ended up finishing in about 1:16 for the 6.5 miles, and what a hot, sweaty mess we were! It was very humid, and there wasn't much of a breeze, even though most of the run was on the boardwalk along the ocean!
the last stretch was Cookman Ave in Asbury Park

photo op in front of Johnny Mac's with Eileen and Dave
We collected our long sleeved tee (a lovely deep green, and mine was XL since we finished last, but it is SO comfy!) and our beer ticket. The hubs drank the beer. I hate beer. We also got free personal pizza, and Eileen let the hubs eat hers, and I ate half of mine. We made our obligatory stop to Confections of a Rockstar and headed home.
What a week! Not as much running as I would like, because I was still feeling droopy, but not too bad either!
I am feeling 100% better today, and I am glad to be back on the workout wagon, and eating well. I know that I made things worse by resting too much and not eating as well as I could, but all I can do is pick up, brush off, and move on!

What did you do this weekend to keep your body moving?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

I finished my 2014 Achievement Board, what do you think?

Before the squares are added for he goals....

Done! There is room or another frame of squares if I need them!

Have you started thinking about your goals for 2014 yet?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge

I am so excited to have this challenge starting soon. November 17th, to be exact! I started doing this challenge last Holiday Season, and did the Spring Challenge as well. It is a great way to help you stay motivated to eat well during the Holidays, and too keep you off of the couch!
When you sign up (it is not free, but it is not expensive either), you get:
  • Over $3,000 in prizes again
  • Expert interviews with registered dieticians, world class running coaches, Ironman coaches, physical therapists and more
  • Weekly emails with tips pulled from the expert videos
  • Facebook support group - This group is like no other! Everyone checks in daily and provides a true support system
  • Optional 8 week training plan to get you through the holidays
 I have won a prize booth times! I won capri yoga pants in the winter and a sports bra in the Spring (the teenie stole it, though!)
How does it work? 
For less than the cost of a 1 month gym membership:
  • Earn points for being active
  • Earn points for eating your veggies
  • Compete against people at the same level as you
  • Enjoy an awesome support network
  • Have questions answered by experts
  • Meet other like minded folks to help you stay on track
  • Win Prizes!! Just a few of the brands featured below!
  • Clean Eating Holiday Menu ideas
  • Receive daily clean eating email tips {optional}
  • Receive an 8 week training plan with ideas for getting family involved and time crunched workouts {optional}
Some of the prizes are coming from Champion, Oakley, Asics, Vega, Timex, and more! It is a great motivational tool that couldn't come at a better time for me! I am really struggling with my diet and I tend to blow off any exercise other than my running! 
When you decide to sign up, mention that I sent you and be sure to let me know you are participating so we can cheer each other on! You won't be sorry! I find this challenge to be far more effective than that 4% weight loss challenge. I LOVE it!

Will you be doing the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day Virtual Run

For the third time, I pinned on my bib, and hit the road for the Veteran's Day Virtual Run, an 11K run in honor of our Nation's Veterans.
I woke up still a little achey from Saturday's hilly Half Marathon, and I wondered how my time would be at the end of this run. I wore my Dad's dog tags as motivation and hit the road.

It is beautiful here at the Jersey Shore, and I was only chilled for the first half mile. I had a hard time getting into the groove though, and stopped multiple times during the first three miles to stretch my shin and calf. Holy heck, it ached! I stopped to walk a few times, and started to worry about my pace. I only let it bother me for about 2 seconds, though. I am training for Dopey, and want to maintain a 13 minute mile, to help with character stops, and I knew I was on track, even ahead of that pace, so it was all good. I stopped at my usual turnaround, the 5K mark, and remembered that there was a beautiful monument inside the park.
entrance to Windward Beach
It wasn't a War Memorial, exactly, but just as important in my eyes, because it honors the casualties of war o our own home front, the victims of 9-11. Living so close to NYC, very few can say that theory have no connection to a victim. If you don't know someone who passed, you know someone who lost friends or family.
Weeping Angel

 As I was preparing to leave, I noticed my shadow and paused for one more picture.
The run back was so much easier. I don't know what changed, other than visiting that memorial, but my steps were lighter and my legs loosened up, and made up a lot of time. I took a slight detour through some neighborhoods to lengthen the second half, and hit my house at 11K exactly! Perfection.
My time was not great (1:21:52) but it was better than my first year, and my average pace was under 12 minutes, so I am thrilled with it!

I love my new shirt, and the medal is fabulous. I am going to give the pin to my Dad when I saw him on Thanksgiving. It's only fair, since I still have his dog tags, and don't plan to give them back! I have had them since High School, when I used to wear them all the time as a fashion statement. I even started a trend, and a pretty good one if I say so myself!

I discovered something interesting today, when I looked back at last year's blog post about this race. I was complaining that I was tired. Very tired. Like I have been for almost 2 weeks now. During my run today, I thought about this a lot. Can one hour difference really make you this tired? I guess it is entirely possible. I do know that I was sick for a few days before the time change. Could the two combined be the culprit? My eating habits have not been great. A lot of comfort foods and easy meals. That can't be helping. I am thinking that I am my own worse enemy right now. Something so quick to get over, like a one hour time change, snowballed into pure exhaustion, due to poor eating habits along the way.

I have promised myself to get back on the wagon, eating better, no more comfort foods, and getting back into the toning workouts.

Did the time change make you feel as tired as me?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trenton Half Marathon

Yesterday I returned to Trenton to run the Half Marathon! Last year was the inaugural event and I ran the 10k, but I knew right away that I wanted to run the half! 
I must say, at this point, that the 10k was fairly flat, so I told some people that the Half course was fairly flat. Yeah.... Not so much!
But I digress! Colleen and I headed out fairly early for the race. We had a Half Fanatic  photo meetup at 7:30 and I didn't want to be late! I was having some tummy issues, like most runners do on race morning, but was otherwise very excited to complete my 13th half marathon in 2013!
We got to Trenton with no problems, and passed the lot where we parked last year. I almost just pulled right in, but decided to follow the directions that the site gave us.
Yeah. We got lost. We backtracked to a lot that was charging, figuring it was quicker and worth the $8. It was for cheerleaders only. The attendant directed us to another lot. Again, cheerleaders only. Really?!? Now I am frustrated and follow the next guy's directions. To the lot where we parked last year. Ugh. 
So we missed the meet up by about 2 minutes. We checked our bags and headed to the starting line, where the potties also were.
This is where I noticed that my gps watch    was dead. Oh, and I left my KT tape in my checked bag. Too late to go back, we used the potties and got a "before" picture.
I am still wearing my throwaway sweatshirt from one of last year's races. We entered the corral, which had porta potties flanking both sides. The smell was nauseating. I had to move way up to get away from it, it was making me gag. So gross!
The race started about 10 minutes late. Last year it was about 30 minutes, so it was progress! Shutting down major highways takes time, and they needed a little extra. They had a great trio playing drums and ?flutes? A la George Washington, in full dress. The Trenton mascot, aptly called Trent, was giving us five, and we rounded the corner to run up our first hill. Colleen and I maintained a pace of about 11 minutes for the first 6 miles or so with no problems. The scenery was beautiful, the water stops plentiful, and porta potties every few miles. I finally had to stop to take care of those tummy issues. The line was short but some ladies (I use the term loosely) cut in front. They were bigger than me so I just sucked it up and waited a little longer. We probably lost 10 minutes, but we ran into my friend Lisa and got more pics!
She even gave me a red rubber bracelet saying that I was a perfect 10. I love my running friends! So sweet!
Off we went, and the miles ticked by. We ran through a very hilly area around miles 8-10 and that is where I started to lose steam. My knee pain was minor, almost non existent, but the exhaustion I have been battling all week just kicked in and knocked me flat. Around mile 9 Colleen pulled ahead and I didn't see her again until the finish. 
I met up with a poor guy having hamstring pain and hung back a bit showing him some stretches.
Then I ran the last mile or so with a woman in a Disney ToT shirt who was running her first half. We talked about running and Disney and when we approached the stadium for the finish I pulled ahead of her. Her family was there cheering and taking pics which was so nice! They had finished ahead of her and were waiting.
I zipped around the Trenton Thunder warning track and as I crossed Home Plate they tried to announce my name but mangled it. So funny. Colleen was waiting right there and laughing with me as they attempted my last name.
We collected water and medals and ran into Lisa and posed for more pics!
 We hung with the mascot for a bit and then made our way up three flights of stairs to the food. Which was gone. No more soft pretzels. I am thinking some family members ate very well. There were bananas but they make me gag, so I ha to wait until we got back to the car to eat. 
We got our Mylar blankets and posed for more pics.
A cute little boy took these for us.
#13 is done! We collected our bags and hit the porta potties nearby, which were out of toilet paper so we went back up three flights of stairs to the stadium restrooms. Much roomier but quite stanky!
We skipped the after party and headed home instead. My knee aches a little today but it will heal with a little rest! 
I will definitely return in 2014, I love this race and each year they will work out more kinks! 
Today I am a spectator at a different kind of race: Enduro. The hubs is a dirt bike rider, and this is his second Enduro. I don't really get it, it isn't a race, it's a timing event. You can't go too fast or too slow, it gives me a headache just thinking about it! I love that I can go and cheer for him, he does it so often for me!
Have you ever attended a dirt bike race??