Thursday, November 01, 2012

Healthy November Goals

Happy Fall! Happy first day of November! (<---crazy, right?!)

I have unapologetically dived head first into fall this year. It all began Labor Day Weekend with a pumpkin spice latte from Whole Foods. No lie. I've been transitioning into fall mode for two months now. This could be considered insane considering our first cold day came this Tuesday- it was in the 50s when I left for work!!!  We even had a cold Halloween which was such a treat. Last year we were in shorts. No lie. Unfortunately, September marked a month of fitness grumpies: I didn't want to work out, I was tired of my runs, hungry all the time from increased mileage, and celebrating fall flavors. All that combined did not lead to weight loss, let me tell ya! I did most of my workouts, but my eating was out of control. I planned to start over again on October 1st....but never really got going. So I'm starting over today, November 1st. Trying to drag myself back on the healthy bandwagon. Admittedly, I didn't completely fall off it- just started sliding down the back. ;)

September and October were still  wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed months, however. And I exercised and ran A LOT, despite what my first paragraph may lead you to believe. I want November to be even more awesome. And here are my Healthy November Goals to help me make it a month of wellness:

1. Run 80 miles-- I've signed up for Pile on the Miles. It looks like a fun way to stay motivated. Go check it out! I didn't realize it at the time, but 80 miles may be a little over enthusiastic considering in October I ran a whopping 38 miles...*fingers crossed*

2. Practice yoga at least once a week-- yes, I am a broken record with this goal. I did better in October- 2/4. Not too shabby, but definitely leaves room for improvement!

3. Detox from sugar. This will be terribly difficult and is very self-explanatory.

4. Make time for myself by doing something fun with those I love (or by myself!) at least once a week.

5. Practice mental health by not stressing over missed deadlines, unmet goals, or anything else. ;)

Fall is my favorite time of year and I want to soak it all in!

<3 K.E.

Friday, August 31, 2012

My Amazing August Recap

Happy last day of August!

This year is flying by and I love it! I just read my comment in the beginning of August about summer ("By Labor Day, despite living in the Sunshine State, I will feel like summer is long gone.") vs. my comment this week about it lasting for many more months. Haha! Whoops...guess I'm a little indecisive on that issue. ;-)

Do you remember my list of ways I wanted to make August amazing? Let's see how I did...

10 Ways to Make August Amazing!

1. Celebrate Seasonal Produce. I'm going to keep checking out my local farmer's market and fill every meal with delicious fruit and veggies that scream summer like watermelon, zucchini, salads, etc. Check! My sister and I have a standing Saturday date at the farmer's market. We just discovered the kettle corn...O.M.G. It's fantabulous! Kettle corn is produce, right? Right?! Seriously, I have been using a lot of fresh, summer produce like corn, tomatoes, summer squash, watermelon, etc., and we have been loving it!

2. Take a new class. There are 3 new fitness classes at the Y that I've been eyeballing- Zumba, Bootcamp, and Kickboxing. I tried out Power Yoga last month and liked it much better than the other yoga classes offered. Maybe I'll find another class to add to the rotation this month! Whoops. I fully intended to try every single one of these classes...that didn't happen. I still want to try them out though because variety is the spice of life and it keeps me from getting bored! Moving this to next month's list.

3.  Host and Olympics-watching party! Not sure I'll be doing this...the hubby and I work (what feels like) really loooong hours so we don't socialize much during the week. I HAVE been glued to the tv every evening watching the gymnastics, beach volleyball, and swimming competitions! Love me some Summer Olympics! Like I said before, I didnt' host a party, but we did soak up the olumpics. I felt like a little girl again, enthralled by the gymnasts and their skills. :-)

4.  Engage in an act of kindness.  Hmmm...I've got some ideas, but I like to keep my kind acts a surprise for the recipient. It's so much more fun that way. :D Staying a surprise...

5.  Plan a date night. I have already planned a Sister date night...now I just have to plan a special date night with the love of my life...any great ideas? My husband and I had a lovely date night this week- dinner, wine, desserts, our favorite tv show on Netflix. It wasn't really planned out in advance, but turned out to be exactly what I needed and oh-so perfect! He makes everything wonderful.

6.  Change something.  I'm thinking about organizing my apartment for this one...what do you think? Pantry and closet overhaul! WOOT! I can't be the only woman who gets excited about organizing, right? Riiiight. I'm also contemplating an outlook change. I know this isn't something you just "change," but I'd like to work on being more self-affirming...baby steps. I did overhaul my pantry. It is a million times better! And of course, the pantry organization led to rearranging the kitchen too.

7.  Start a new book. I've read some great books already this summer. My favorite so far was "Bloom" by Kelle Hampton. LOVED every minute of that book. The August book list includes: Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz, Wild by Cheryl Strayed (if I can ever find it at the library), Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu, and I'd like to read Divergent by Veronica Roth, but that one has been MIA at my local library for months. I read Odd Apocalypse. It was fantastic!

8.  Invest in new workout gear! I'm dying for a pair of Sketchers Go Run! shoes...  I picked up new running tanks and shorts, and a couple awesome items on clearance at Kohls- running capris (that I'm mostly using as yoga capris) and a half-zip running pullover. The pullover is amazing. It has those thumb holes. I can't wait until I can pretend it is cold enough to wear it! ;-)
9.  Pick a race to do with a friend! There's a 15k I want to run in September. It isn't in August, but its close! I'm trying to talk my sister into running it with me, or at least running the 5k. My sis and I are running the race in September! I've been training for it and am so excited to finally run it!

10. Commit to strength training. After participating in the Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up 2012 and loving it, I decided to give it another round this month. Because I'm training for the 15k in September and my first (EEK!) half marathon in February, I had to modify to keep my running workouts on consistent days (Tue, Thurs, Sun). I'm hoping it is still as effective, but I also know there was no way I could manage the stress of having my runs juggled around right now. Less stress = the way to go. I finished up my second round of the Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up 2012. I loved it the second time around as much as the first! I also love the definition I've started to see in my upper body. I'm looking for something to challenge me again in September...hmmm.

Did you meet any of your Amazing August goals?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I want to live.

Have you ever hit a point in life where you felt burned out or worn out or just plain out of sorts? Yeah, me too. That's kind of where life's at right now for me. I have a lot of exciting things going on- upcoming races, travels, etc.- but I'm severely lacking motivation at the moment.

I'm bored of my current routine.

I don't want to run another mile (although if you ask me right after the mile I might sing a different tune ;)

My house is atrocious. (Yes, this may shock some of you who think I am a domestic goddess in my spare time.)

I would like a month off of life. To do anything. Everything. Nothing. Just to be and do whatever strikes my fancy in the moment.

I've planned, scheduled, and organized myself right into a messy, dirty rut.

Unfortunately, what I'd like and what is realistic don't always go hand-in-hand. But that's OK. It gives me another chance to practice being good to myself. Letting go of my need for perfection and embracing the perfectly imperfect things in life. That my house is cozier because there a few jackets slung over a chair or a few books piled up next to the couch. My legs are stronger because of all the miles I'm logging in preparation for my races (and please don't misunderstand- I'm very excited about these races.).

My life is very, very full. Abundant, even. I'm just learning to embrace the messes that come with abundance. To find little ways to fit hobbies and fun moments into the busyness. And most importantly, to learn how to let go of the things that don't enrich my life, the things that are maybe more about being perfect than about living. I want to be all about the living.

A snapshot of one of those moments of living.


<3 K.E.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Yummy Summer Dessert

It is still summer. For at least another month! It might start cooling down in September in other parts of the country, but here in the south it will be hot as hades for at least another month. At least.

So there is still time to make and enjoy this yummy summer dessert full of juicy, ripe goodness. Do it. You won't be sorry!

As soon as I smelled the sweet aroma of this cobbler baking in the oven, I knew- just knew- that it would be divine. It most definitely was. We devoured this baby in no time and I'm seriously considering making it again this weekend. So wholesome; so delicious. Mhmmm...


Peach & Blueberry Cobbler
The recipe can be found here at Fitness Magazine's website. Because I used healthier options for every ingredient, I'm just going to share my substitutes with you. If you prefer white sugars and flours in general or are craving them today in particular, feel free to use the original. It is still very low in calories and I'm sure it would still taste fabulous!

Here is a list of the original ingredients that I subbed, paired up with my healthier ingredients:

unsalted butter---->  Earth Balance soy-free
canola oil ---->  coconut oil
reduced-fat milk ----> unsweetened vanilla almond milk
sugar ----> coconut sugar

I think substituting spelt for the whole wheat flour would work out well. Unfortunately, I only have whole wheat in the house right now, so whole wheat is what I used!

The perfect summer dessert!

Serve up a generous portion with your favorite non-dairy ice cream and savor the last days of summer!

<3 K.E.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My Week in Workouts

Happy Hump Day!

I know I should be happy it is Wednesday, but in reality I wish it was Friday already. That isn't so surprising because, if I'm being totally honest, I was ready for it to be Friday as soon as Sunday night rolled around. I suppose that is the tell-tale sign of job burn-out, huh? That isn't surprising either... *sigh*

Let's back up and make this a more positive post, shall we?

Happy Hump Day! Aren't you thrilled the week is halfway completed! Woot! Woot!  (How's that? ;) )

I'm going to flirt with the possibility of using my blog as a workout diary of sorts. I feel as if it is already somewhat of a diary because I only write posts when I feel like it and I usually write them as if I were writing to myself or an imaginary pen pal. So, to help myself over the hump day (only 1 hour left!)- and hopefully help my lone reader out there as well!-here is a recap of my latest workouts:

S- I normally try to fit in a Power Yoga class on Saturday mornings right after the farmer's market...however, this Saturday I was more inclined to chill a little longer in bed with my handsome husband and then draw the farmer's market trip out a little more by grabbing coffee with my sister. Gotta love that kind of Saturday morning! That meant Sunday morning I was desperately missing my Power Yoga. I knew I had a looooong run (Hello, 7 miles!) scheduled, but decided I could abso-freaking-lutely handle a 1.5-hour Power Yoga class AND a 7-mile run. Yeah. I was that girl on Sunday. Needless to say, my yoga practice was so amazing. I felt really strong and finally was able to hold Crow pose. Yep. After years of yoga practice, I did Crow on Sunday! Whoop! Whoop! I was ridiculously fired up after that practice and tackled my run a few hours later after eating peanut butter and carob chips as a quick snack...let's just say I learned a big lesson that day. Peanut butter and carob chips don't get along well with my running stomach. Yikes! Other than stomach issues throughout my entire run, I felt very strong and capable the entire time. Seven, strong miles and 90 minutes of Power Yoga turned out to be a wonderful way to start the week!

M- HIIT Challenge for 30 minutes! My entire body was sore from yoga so I went easy today (following the calendar I created for August) and did HIIT on the recumbent bike. I wanted to do it on the elliptical, but some chick beat me to it and I didn't want to come back later. I felt pretty good and I could have pushed harder, but my legs were thankful for a break, albeit small.

T- Total body strength training (I think the routine took about 30 minutes, check it out here.) followed by a desperate attempt to make it to the voting booth before 7pm (made it with eight minutes to spare!) and then a 4-mile easy run at a 10:11 pace. In between voting and running, I made my starving husband dinner- my famous grilled BBQ chicken drummettes. Sure to please. :)

W-  Off Day to celebrate my sister's birthday!

T- I have another easy run planned for Thursday, 3 miles at a 10:43 pace. I might try to squeeze in a class at the YMCA, but I'm not sure what they have available or if I'll even feel like it then. There is also a chance I may combine Thursday's and Friday's workouts. We'll see.

F-  Another total body strength workout + Tabata!

S- Power Yoga!

So there you have it. It isn't anything fancy and I could do a lot more, but it's what I've been doing this month. I'm training for a 15k the end of September and the farthest I had ever run prior to this training was 6.2 miles. Sunday's 7 miler was only my second time running 7 miles straight. I am proud of my hard work and I hope that my dedication to training translates into a great race! *fingers crossed*

<3 K.E.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

August Already?!

Whoah. Time seriously flies by, doesn't it? I can't believe it is already August. I feel like the year just began! I guess that means I am getting old... ;)

There are several things I'd like to share with you guys, but I just haven't had the time to blog. I've been attempting to soak up every moment of summer before it disappears. I'm happy to report that I've had a lot of success in this endeavor! Farmer's Market meet-ups, discovering Menchies Fro-Yo, spending time at the beach and the pool, summer reading, grilling, Olympics...I think this list could go on forever! The one thing that has suffered terribly through all this is my poor apartment. I haven't been nearly as conscientious about cleaning as I was before the sun came out full force. It's just too nice to be inside! Now that it is August, I feel like things will slowly start to lose their "summery" feeling. By Labor Day, despite living in the Sunshine State, I will feel like summer is long gone. Therefore, I am still making the most of these all-to-short summer days and I found a post over on Fitnessista.com with 10 Ways to Make August Amazing! It is full of great ideas, so I quickly jotted them down and the ways I can make them happen. Here goes:

10 Ways to Make August Amazing! (from the Fitnessista.com)

1. Celebrate Seasonal Produce. I'm going to keep checking out my local farmer's market and fill every meal with delicious fruit and veggies that scream summer like watermelon, zucchini, salads, etc.

2. Take a new class. There are 3 new fitness classes at the Y that I've been eyeballing- Zumba, Bootcamp, and Kickboxing. I tried out Power Yoga last month and liked it much better than the other yoga classes offered. Maybe I'll find another class to add to the rotation this month!

3.  Host and Olympics-watching party! Not sure I'll be doing this...the hubby and I work (what feels like) really loooong hours so we don't socialize much during the week. I HAVE been glued to the tv every evening watching the gymnastics, beach volleyball, and swimming competitions! Love me some Summer Olympics!

4.  Engage in an act of kindness.  Hmmm...I've got some ideas, but I like to keep my kind acts a surprise for the recipient. It's so much more fun that way. :D

5.  Plan a date night. I have already planned a Sister date night...now I just have to plan a special date night with the love of my life...any great ideas?

6.  Change something.  I'm thinking about organizing my apartment for this one...what do you think? Pantry and closet overhaul! WOOT! I can't be the only woman who gets excited about organizing, right? Riiiight. I'm also contemplating an outlook change. I know this isn't something you just "change," but I'd like to work on being more self-affirming...baby steps.

7.  Start a new book. I've read some great books already this summer. My favorite so far was "Bloom" by Kelle Hampton. LOVED every minute of that book. The August book list includes: Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz, Wild by Cheryl Strayed (if I can ever find it at the library), Off Balance by Dominique Moceanu, and I'd like to read Divergent by Veronica Roth, but that one has been MIA at my local library for months.

8.  Invest in new workout gear! I'm dying for a pair of Sketchers Go Run! shoes...

9.  Pick a race to do with a friend! There's a 15k I want to run in September. It isn't in August, but its close! I'm trying to talk my sister into running it with me, or at least running the 5k.

10. Commit to strength training. After participating in the Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up 2012 and loving it, I decided to give it another round this month. Because I'm training for the 15k in September and my first (EEK!) half marathon in February, I had to modify to keep my running workouts on consistent days (Tue, Thurs, Sun). I'm hoping it is still as effective, but I also know there was no way I could manage the stress of having my runs juggled around right now. Less stress = the way to go.

How are you going to make August amazing?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Challenges

Happy Friday!

I just wanted to introduce you all to a few different challenges going on right now around the blog world. I've decided to jump on board to as a way to start my summer off on the right foot. I love challenging myself to live healthier each day!

Oh She Glow's June Salad-a-day Challenge. It's a great way to get in your leafy green veggies! I've been fairly consistent, eating my salad every day for lunch for the last two weeks (minus yesterday). I thought it would be more difficult, but I've actually really enjoyed it. A big salad is very refreshing in the middle of a steamy summer day!

The other challenge is Sweet Tooth Sweet Life's June Yoga Challenge. As you know, I've been trying to fit in yoga for a while. It seems like no matter how hard I try, yoga just keeps falling to the back burner because of one thing or the other. So when I heard about the June Yoga Challenge, I thought I would give it a shot.

Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life
Goal:
  • Do yoga once a week. 
Actual:
  • Day 1- 60 minutes, Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior. (This has to be my favorite yoga DVD.)
I felt peaceful and relaxed after my practice. I also was thrilled that I actually fit yoga in this week! WOOHOO! Did I mention my upper body is still sore and I did yoga Wednesday? Yep, It was that intense.

Moving onto the last thing I wanted to share with you today, the Fitnessista's Summer Shape Up! I've been a huge fan of her blog after discovering it last fall so you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that Gina puts together a Summer Shape Up program for her readers! It is a combination of weekly meal plans and workouts designed by the Fitnessista- it is like free online personal training, just without the personalization! I'm loving the workouts. One less thing I have to plan! I haven't really tried out the meal plan. My food sensitivities and allergies can make mealtime a little complicated so I'm opting to just follow healthy eating strategies and focus on mindful eating during the Shape Up. I will mention that the meal plans look FABULOUS though!

My summer is definitely going to be a healthy, fun-filled one which is just the way I like it!

Do you have any awesome summer plans?

<3 K.E.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things

I haven't been blogging lately because I haven't felt like I really had anything to say. And because I have been busy living! I'm finding a routine that I actually like and it doesn't leave much time for the blog. I'm not planning to give it up completely or anything like that, but I also am not planning to interrupt my life either. We'll just have to try this out and see how it goes.

I'm feeling random (what's new, right?) and thought I would share a few of my favorite things of the moment with you.

1. For my birthday, my wonderful husband gave me a Clarisonic Mia! He knew I'd been dying to try it out because I'd heard and read so many good things about it. My face is fairly sensitive so I'm always a little leery of trying anything new, but this little gadget blew me out of the water. I highly recommend it. It's gentle yet it deep cleans, it feels like a massage, it is simple to use and only takes a minute of your time, and last, but definitely not least, my skin is glowing and more vibrant than it has ever been. And I love it. L.O.V.E it. :)


2. I am in love (once again) with the ooey gooey stuff we know and love from our childhood, peanut butter. I will eat it on anything, at any time, any where. It is especially magnificent on Overnight Oats. Oh, and I had to try out PB Fingers' recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Cookies because they sounded like a cookie form of Overnight Oats. They didn't taste anything like Overnight Oats, but they were still delicious. I modified the recipe a bit to make it healthier and compatible with my food intolerances- I subbed spelt flour for the wheat flour, coconut sugar for the brown sugar, and olive oil for the canola oil (only because I didn't have any canola oil). They turned out perfectly- chewy and moist. My mom and baby sister agreed!


3. Speaking of Overnight Oats, they are my favorite breakfast of the moment. I actually branched out and ate some as a pre-yoga snack last week. Delish!


4. I don't have a photo to illustrate this one (although you can look at any of my recent posts to see it). But I'm a wee bit obsessed with Instagram. Ever since I discovered it, I've been using it for all of the blog photos. Not very professional I know, but it means you actually have illustrations to go with my chatter and it is sooo easy to use. Win-win in my opinion.

5.Our George Foreman Indoor/Outdoor Grill! We bought it a few weeks ago and are absolutely loving it! It sits on our balcony and beckons to me, reminding me that despite it being 96 degrees Fahrenheit there are still wonderful things about summer and grilling is one of them! I've also discovered that I love grilled corn on the cob. I sprinkle the corn with chili powder and then put it straight on the grill. YUM! The hubby loves it too in case you were wondering!

So there you have it. Five favorite things of the moment. I'm sure there are many more, but I can always save them for another day. Toodles!

<3 K.E.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan and Groceries

I know I've shared about meal planning before, but I want to elaborate as my meal planning style has changed over the last few months. As long as I can remember, I have loved everything about grocery shopping. Growing up, I went grocery shopping with my mom every week. If I wasn't able to go, I always felt like I missed out on something special. I also quickly became the coupon clipper/list maker for our family. I've may have grown from a little girl to a married woman, but I haven't lost my love for planning meals, writing a list, and perusing the aisles of a grocery store.

I've started to notice that we rarely cook on Fridays. We're so exhausted after a week at work that we just want to veg and end up chilling on the couch watching Lost and eating take out. I've incorporated that into our weekly meal plan so we don't end up with spoiled food.

I planned simple meals around the items on hand. I was lucky because we had quite a bit of chicken left in the freezer. Next week will require a bigger haul from Costco of staples like organic chicken breast and maple syrup. This week was a little different for me, I set a very strict food budget and actually came in well under budget at the register!

My meal plan:

Saturday- Hamburgers (on our new grill!)
Sunday- Crock Pot Chicken and Black Bean Tacos
Monday- Balsamic Chicken (from the April issue of Clean Eating Magazine)
Tuesday- Leftovers or Egg Sandwiches
Wednesday- Grilled Salsa Drumsticks (from the May/June issue of Whole Deal)
Thursday- Crock Pot Chickpea, Butternut Squash, and Red Lentil Stew (from Eat, Live, Run)
Friday- Salmon or Take Out (anything goes on a Friday night!)

The first half of my grocery haul. See the Cap'n Crunch in the background? haha!
I've found the shopping list from Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free to be a very useful tool. Amy created two lists depending on how you shop, a list for one grocery store and a list for four grocery store. This was actually my first week ever using the list for one store! I've been shopping at four store every week (no lie) and decided it was for the birds. So this week I only went to Publix and found grocery shopping was much more enjoyable. Click here for the the downloadable PDF lists from SS&GF.
My list looked like this:

almond milk
creamer
Greek yogurt
eggs
chicken drumsticks
Ben & Jerry's ice cream
Cap'n Crunch (by special request)
BBQ Popchips
salsa
canned black beans
canned chick peas
garam masala
diced tomatoes
carrots
butternut squash
tomato
jalapeno
baby spinach
bananas
sweet onions
3 sweet potatoes
2 Eat Smart veggie packs
Florida oranges
green pepper
blueberries
Grocery Haul Take 2

I made another run yesterday to buy more fruit- grapes, blueberries, and a huge watermelon. We had a quarter of a melon in the fridge and I didn't want to buy more until it was finished, but we devoured it Saturday night with our burgers. It was amazing and still on sale at Publix! Oh, and I still came in under budget!

How do you plan your meals and grocery shop? I'm always looking for great ideas!

<3 K.E.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Soreness and Yoga

Well, my first week of nothing but yoga comes to a close today. I didn't stick with it quite as well as I'd hoped too. Quite frankly, I found that my body was seriously craving down time after the race which surprised me. I knew I was worn out from the 10k training + new lifestyle, but I didn't expect to feel like I was rehabbing!

A few hours after the race, my legs stiffened up. I noticed just how stiff and sore when I tried to stand up after Avengers- ouch! But it was a good ouch, I knew I'd pushed my body (especially my legs!) very hard and they were reacting to that accomplishment. I opted to take Sunday off completely because I was still pretty wiped out when I woke up and because I was celebrating Mother's Day with my beautiful momma!



We had the best celebratory brunch: gluten free french toast with berries, chicken apple sausages, scrambled eggs, and strawberry mimosas. YUM!



My workouts for the rest of the week looked like this:

Monday: Jillian Michaels' Yoga Meltdown DVD level 2 (a quick, but intense 30 minute yoga session)
Tuesday: Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior DVD (an hour-long practice)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Yoga at the YMCA (I wasn't a big fan.)
Saturday: TBD ;)

I took Wednesday and Thursday off because 1) I was sore on Wednesday and 2) I opted to go to the chiropractor's on Thursday after work instead of practicing yoga. A worthy trade in my opinion.

My thoughts on nothing but yoga...I'm surprised because I don't enjoy it nearly as much as I assumed I would. I am becoming more flexible and believe it or not my upper body is looking more toned (yay!), but I find myself itching for a higher intensity workout. I want to run! I know the break was good and I definitely needed it. I feel healthier, stronger, and less exhausted. But I will be bringing back other forms of exercise next week if I keep craving it. So my plan might be changing, but what's new? We really can't predict where life will take us and my #1 goal is to listen to my body and what it needs.

After Monday's Practice


If you're interested in a great yoga DVD, I absolutely L.O.V.E Bob Harper's Yoga for the Warrior. It is a fairly fast-paced, vinyasa style of yoga. He leads you through various poses, including Sun Salutations. I don't know about you, but if my practice doesn't have a few Sun Salutations, I am always bummed out- they are my favorite.

Unfortunately, I don't love Jillian Michael's Yoga Meltdown. It feels more like body weight strength training than yoga. That isn't a bad thing, but it isn't what I'm looking for in a yoga practice either. I like to feel relaxed and stress free when I finish my practice and I find that happens more with Bob's DVD and I still get a great workout. I do love that I can fit in a practice no matter how busy I am because her sessions are 30 minutes each. And I will admit that the more I practice with her DVD, the more I warm up to it. Who knows- I might just convert after all.

The husband and I are members of our local YMCA and I was really excited to take a few group exercise classes. Thus far I have been pretty unimpressed. I love, love, love Sharon's classes (if you remember she teaches spinning and pilates). But both of the yoga classes I've tried leave much to be desired. I think they are a little too boring for me. I like a more upbeat, face-paced class (i.e., Yoga for the Warrior or Centurgy). Oh Centurgy, how I miss you! Anyway, I think I need to try out Power Yoga. I was intimidated by it because it is labeled as an "athlete" level class, but after two rather boring classes/instructors, its time to try it out before I throw in the towel on YMCA yoga.

So sorry the post is kind of all over the place. I've been a spaz lately and right now I'm trying to write this in between cleaning, laundry, Lost, and baking. I'm trying out PB Finger's recipe for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. Sounds amazing, right? Peanut Butter and oatmeal are two of my favorite foods right now. I could eat them all day every day and a cookie that combines both? Heaven on earth! ;)

<3 K.E.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

10k Wrap-Up

WOOHOO! 10k accomplished! ;)

I woke up bright and early this morning thanks to my husband's alarm clock- he was a volunteer at the race, coordinating one of the water stations (Mile 3 represent!), and had to be there at 5am!

Started off with my breakfast of champions and vanilla coffee- as a side note, I'm so thankful I discovered vanilla stevia!

recycled photo...but you get the idea. :)

Luckily the race was right down the street and I was able to get ready in time to ride with the hubby to the race. I'm so thrilled about that because I absolutely did NOT want to drive separate cars today. That's no fun. I did manage to forget my headphones and iPhone armband so I dropped him off and headed back home to pick them up. The good news is that was the only mishap of the morning!

After retrieving my missing gear, I met up with a few work friends for the opening ceremonies (Hi, Marcia and Molly!) and then I found my pace group. I opted to start with the 9:30 mile group because that was my goal time (58:00).

I wish I would have taken the time out to actually document the race so I would have photos to share. Unfortunately, I had such a bad case of nerves (I dreamed about bombing the race all night!) that it was all I could do to remember the absolutely necessary things!

During the week, I read several articles and blog posts about fueling for your race and pacing yourself, so I felt pretty prepared. I loved Tina's post on 10k Pacing Strategy. It helped me stay focused and feel like I had a plan! 

My planned 10k breakdown:
Mile 1- 9:20
Mile 2 & 3- 9:35
Mile 4 & 5- 9:30
Mile 6- 9:25
.2- as fast as possible!

My actual 10k breakdown wasn't quite what I had planned. I actually started the race at a 8:00 pace. Unfortunately, the "herd" slowed me down to 10:29 for a little bit until I could break away. I ended up staying at 9:00 pace for most the race (Mile 4 was a bit slower 9:30-9:40). A few times I checked my Nike+ app and noticed that I actually was running 8:30! I didn't even know I could run that fast! 

Focusing on my husband waiting at Mile 3 was my motivation for the first part of the race. He has never been at one of my races before and I loved seeing his proud face and hearing him cheer me on. Best. Thing. Ever.

Mile 4 was the most difficult. My breathing was heavy and labored and I started cramping up (too much water?). Because of my training runs, I knew it would pass and was able to work through it and keep going. There were definitely a few "Why am I doing this?!" moments during Mile 4.

After surviving Mile 4, the rest of the race was challenging, but bearable. I kept coaching myself through the hard parts. "You can do this!" and "You've got this, Kristina!" were my self-motivating mantras. ;)

Having run the race last year, I had a pretty good idea of when I was nearing the finish line and picked up my pace big time for that last push. I almost cried when I saw the timer and it flashed 55:55 as I ran under the finish line banner. The sign time alone was two minutes faster than my goal time. I'm still in awe. My d-tag registered 55:31:3 which translates to an average of 8:57/mile (according to the results post...I haven't attempted the math). WOW.


I'm beyond proud of my time and of how strongly I finished. Have I mentioned that I'm super motivated for my next race? I am! :D

The hubby treated me to brunch at First Watch to celebrate (The tri-athlete omelet is to die for!). And I treated myself to a luxurious body scrub,

My favorite brand for body scrubs.


painted my nails,
Coral Reef=Summer!

and ate Lunaberry Swirl coconut ice cream at home.

My new favorite flavor. YUM!


How was that for photo overload?  ;)

Now we're off to see The Avengers!

<3 K.E.

P.S. Tom is excited about my time too! :D
Say hello, Tom!



Wednesday, May 09, 2012

May Fitness Focus

This morning I completed my last run prior to the race on Saturday. I've learned a lot during this period of 10k training. I've learned I'm capable. That I can do anything if I give myself time to train for it. I've also managed to consistently run long distances at a faster pace than I had previously been running my 5ks. Running empowers me. It is a symbol of what I can do despite my doubts or physical limitations. With the 10k looming, I feel a sense of freedom, of completion. This was the first goal I set for myself this year. I wanted to race again. I wanted to improve my running. And I have. I'm ready for this race and for the next phase of my fitness journey- whatever that may be. 

I've been pushing my body hard for the last few months. I've enjoyed it, but I also feel a little worn out. I've been trying to do everything, run, weights/strength training, Pilates, cycling, yoga, and I honestly just can't do everything all the time. Once the race is over, I want t0 take some time out to try new types of exercise and figure out what works best for me.  While I try to figure out my next move (no pun intended!), I've decided to focus on one aspect of fitness for two weeks. I think the focus will give me a chance to breathe and truly evaluate myself and my goals.

One thing that has really stuck out is that my flexibility has decreased over the last few months. It isn't too noticeable, but I am definitely not as flexible as I was when I religiously practiced yoga every week. Weekly yoga also happens to be one of my 2012 Goals. The only one I haven't even come close to meeting.  So voila! My next fitness focus- yoga.

For two weeks beginning on May 13 and ending May 26, my goal is to practice yoga every day. I would like to invite you to join me. It doesn't have to be a full hour practice. It can be a 30-minute yoga DVD or even a few sun salutations in your living room before work. Just work on your practice. These two weeks are for centering ourselves. Finding balance in the midst of our crazy lives (you're going to start reading a lot about balance around here) and being kind and gentle to our bodies. I'm not banning other forms of exercise during these two weeks, not at all. I plan to continue to have a weekly run and to attend my Tuesday spinning and Pilates classes at the YMCA. I just want to make yoga my focus instead of the activity I didn't get around to. I want to work out the stiffness from running and increase my flexibility and decrease my stress. I hope to emerge at the end of these two weeks refreshed and ready for a new challenge!


<3 K.E.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Beach Day Recap

I would say our day at the beach was a huge success! As was the wonderful spread prepared by my amazing mother- no one makes chicken salad like she does! And the addition of birthday presents and carrot cupcakes (minus the icing for me!) were big perks too. :)

It also happened to be a beautiful day- nothing but sunshine!

And a stray cloud or two.

I did end up fitting my 5.5 mile run this morning. I was pretty happy with the results- 9:58 average per mile. That is my best time for a long run so far. I'm hoping to run the 10k in under an hour, but I'll be OK if that doesn't happen too. I plan to go out there, enjoy the weather and the excitement of the race, and run my best. I'll be happy with whatever the outcome of my best is.

Happy Monday, everyone!

<3 K.E.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Beach Trumps Run Any Day

Good morning, folks! 

Today is supposed to be my last long run before the race next weekend- instead I am going to the beach. I have mixed thoughts about this:

1. It was my idea and I am super excited about having a day to soak up the sun with my husband and family.

2. I didn't really think about fitting in my run until after we made all the plans and it was too late to change them.

3. Maybe I will just designate tomorrow morning as a pseudo-Sunday for my 5.5 miles? What do you think?

My mom is providing a scrumptious lunch of my favorite chicken salad (same recipe that she made for my bridal shower), veggies to munch on, and-hopefully- carrot cake cupcakes made with ingredients I can actually eat! YUM! My contribution was originally going to be the best peanut butter bars ever, but I've been pigging out like mad since Friday night and when I heard she was going to make cupcakes I thought I'd better pass on the Peanut Butter bars or I'd be walking around with a 9-month food baby all day- not attractive in a swimsuit let me tell you. Instead, I whipped up a batch of these beauties from Eating Bird Food

Instagram again...one of these days I will pull out my DSLR...just not today ;)

Baked Banana Oatmeal Cups. No flour, no sugar (sweetened with Stevia and banana) they were super easy to whip up and are the perfect easy breakfast to bring to the beach. I wish they were slightly sweeter, but that is probably because of my 36 hour sugar binge, because nothing is sweet enough right now. I also have a sugar hang-over headache and I am very much reminded why I never eat cane sugar and I eat other sweeteners in moderation. Oy vey! ;)

And what weekend morning is complete without coffee? This mug is full of Caribou medium roast (the giant k-cup pack from Costco!), 365 unsweetened almond milk, NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia, and topped with a dash of cinnamon. Heaven in a cup.  (Also in the best mug ever- a souvenir from my hubby's trip to San Diego. He's the best.)


Happy Sunday!

<3 K.E.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Overnight Oats in a Jar

Good morning!

I am obsessed with breakfast. Nothing sounds as good to me as breakfast from a bowl of Oh's to eggs to oatmeal. YUM!

All across the blogs you can find recipes or mentions of "overnight oats in a jar." Basically, you mix up oats and milk and a few other ingredients and leave it in the fridge overnight. I was beyond skeptical of this- who wants to eat soggy, cold oats for breakfast?! But I eventually had an almost empty jar of peanut butter (WF brand=YUM!) and thought I would give it a try.

Delicious!

Holy yum, Batman! It was incredible. And oh so easy. Its also kinda addicting...I can see why overnight oats in a jar are taking over the blog world one post at a time.

The inside of my first batch of overnight oats

You've probably noticed that I share links to other bloggers' recipes much more often than I share my own. That is because I don't really have time to experiment in the kitchen. I love to bake, cook, and whip up scrumptious goodies. Right now life is just too busy to create recipes though. And when I do come up with something original, I forget to document for the blog! I'm working on this oversight! AHHH!!!!

Today is a new day.  Without further ado, here is my recipe for overnight oats in a jar. I love it and after a few tweeks am satisfied enough with it to share with all of you. It is naturally sweet from the banana, chewy from the oats, and all around ah-mazing. A peanut butter jar is not required- a bowl or container will work just fine. ;)

Overnight Oats in a Jar

Ingredients:
1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
2/3 unsweetened almond milk
1/2 mashed banana
4 strawberries sliced in quarters
1 heaping Tbsp of ground flax seeds

Directions:
Mix all ingredients into jar/container. Cover and leave in refrigerator overnight. In the morning add yummy toppings and enjoy!

Topping suggestions:
sprinkle of granola
more berries
nut butter


<3 K.E.

Monday, April 30, 2012

10k Training Update

This won't be a very long post. I just wanted to share a little update on my 10k training.

The race is scheduled for May. It is a 5k/10k Walk/Run/Roll benefiting the Wounded Warrior Project. I ran this race last year. It was my very first 10k and I did pretty well...but I'd like to do better! I haven't raced since then...so I'm nervous and excited all at once.

I love racing because I always seem to push myself harder when I'm running one. I think it is a combination of all the adrenaline and the fact that I'm surrounded by runners who are going fast! I want to keep up! It was actually during a race that I discovered I could run. No joke. I signed up as a favor to a friend and then all of sudden ran a mile without stopping thinking, "WOW. I can do this!" This year I'd like to PR my 10k time. I'm not sure if that will happen or not and honestly, I'm OK either way. But a PR would be fun. Especially because this is my first race in 2012.

I have managed to run my fasted mile during my training- 8:51 according to Nike+. I feel silly sharing it because it is definitely not fast by most runner standards, but for me it is HUGE. As you know, I'm an asthmatic. I was diagnosed when I was nine, but the symptoms only resurfaced about two years ago. I also happened to try out running around the same time and I noticed that after a while, the more I ran, the less asthma attacks I had. I'm not sure what the medical science is behind that phenomenon, but I do feel like running "exercises" my lungs just as it does the rest of my body. I like the idea that there is a healthier way to help control my asthma instead of pumping my body full of steroids and other medications that all have devastating side effects. I do use a rescue inhaler before every run as a precaution. No one needs me passing out on the side of the road or anything! ;) This is why running a mile in under 9 minutes is such an accomplishment for me. I know I will continue to improve, and I hope to eventually run 9-minute miles continuously and, one day, an 8-minute mile, but right now I am thrilled to have finally broken the 9 minute barrier. Before, I'd easily lose my breath when I tried to speed up a run and once I'm out of breath (if its asthma-related) it can take a while to breathe normally again.

Here is my 10k training run schedule (I've been following the Hal Higdon 10k novice plan with adjustments to fit my needs and schedule):

Sunday- long runs (a gradual increase from 4-6 miles)
Wednesday- 5k
Friday- 2 miles (I try to run as fast as I can during the 2 milers because it is a short enough distance that I don't really worry about my not being able to finish due an attack.)

I'm cross training as well, but that is for another post!

This weekend I ran 5.5 miles. My longest run to date during the training. It was definitely a challenge and I learned a valuable lesson- it is no longer spring and I can't run after 8am in the summer. Way too hot! Yuck!

I only have a few more runs before the big race. I can't wait! I'll post updates and (hopefully) be able to share my PR story with you on the big day!

<3 K.E.

Friday, April 27, 2012

"Moo"ve over Dairy!

I have another fabulous recipe to share with you today! Having been dairy-free since I was a twelve-years-old, I've miss traditional milk, ice cream, and yogurt for years. I ate cheese for a while until I developed an allergy and now haven't had cheese (not a piece) for about 6 years. Crazy, right? I honestly don't miss it at all. At first it was very difficult because I was a cheese fanatic. The girl who would eat grapes, apple slices, and cheese hunks as a snack. Eventually, I adjusted and now the smell of cheese is repulsive to me. I can smell it a mile away. I do still keep our fridge stocked with cheese options because I am a good wife like that. ;)
SOURCE

Over the years, companies have realized that people with dairy and soy allergies still want and crave the foods they had to give up. First, the dairy-free milks became increasingly easy to find. I've tried most of them by this point: soy, rice, almond, coconut (in that order). Hemp, flax, and sunflower milks are still unknown to me, but maybe someday I'll give them a shot. I want to give you a really quick run down of my experiences with non-dairy milk and the variety of options available.

I was pro-soy when I first became dairy-free and I now have an entirely different opinion which would require at least an entire post on the subject. For now, let's just say I'm not a fan of soy for many reasons. The taste of soy milk is pretty similar to cow's milk from what I remember. 

Rice milk is incredibly runny and doesn't taste a thing like milk. It is like drinking water with a splash of milk. Yuck! Also, right now rice products are under scrutiny for containing high levels of arsenic so do your research prior to purchasing rice milk to make sure your brand of choice isn't implicated in the scandal.

Almond milk quickly became my dairy-free milk of choice. It is thicker and creamier than rice milk, but not quite as thick as coconut or cow's milk, however. The flavor is slightly nutty, but not strong, and I have found that it compliments everything from cereal to smoothies. When I went cane sugar-free six years ago, I was pleased to discover that most brands offer unsweetened almond milk varieties as well.  Unsweetened vanilla almond milk is amazing too! I recommend the Whole Foods' 365 brand unsweetened and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. I've found it has the best flavor of all the brands I've tried and is organic.

Coconut milk is a close second to almond milk with a creamy, fresh taste. There is something about the flavor or texture though that always seems a little funky to me. I haven't figured out what exactly that is, but it isn't a big enough deal to ban the beverage altogether. 

I would never trade my almond milk...(here comes the dreaded but), but lately my sensitive tummy has been just that- sensitive. So I've switched over to coconut milk for the time being. Hopefully not forever, because nothing beats the flavor of good almond milk,  but for now, coconut will do. <UPDATE: I wrote this post prior to meal planning, ended up skipping Whole Foods this week, and Publix only carries Almond Milk...so I'm giving it another try. Fingers crossed. I'm really excited!>

There is are two great brands of coconut milk ice cream that are also cane sugar-free, So Delicious and Luna and Larry's Coconut Bliss. Whole Foods has also started carrying a cashew ice cream that comes in several flavors, including pistachio!

I can also eat yogurt, thanks to Armande yogurt made with almond milk and fruit-juice sweetened. I wish my local Whole Foods had the large containers, but no such luck. Anyway, as you can see, there really is no reason for dairy-free individuals to not enjoy delicious alternatives (which I now think taste a million times better than the originals).

And thanks to the amazing people at Nourishing Meals, I was also able to eat a gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free "cheesecake" for Easter! It was amazing, rich, creamy, decadent. Even my dairy-eating mother loved it! The ingredient list was simple, it was a relatively uncomplicated recipe. I guess a little disclaimer is in order though, because it didn't really taste like cheesecake. It was its own thing with its own flavor. I highly recommend it. These cheesecake bites are easily one of my favorite desserts to make. Any dessert that is healthy, full of whole foods, and has great texture and flavor is a winner in my book. Head on over to Nourishing Meals and check it out!

The crazy photo I snapped after taking a bite and realizing this was the last one...oops!

Monday, April 23, 2012

And the weekend continues!

I have survived an entire month alone- except for the cat and he doesn't count! The hubby had to attend a month-long class across the country for his job. I was very anti as you can imagine. I haven't blogged very often during that time because, well, I didn't have much to say that didn't consist of whining about him being gone. And I didn't want to publicize the fact that I was home alone. So I went a little MIA. But that means I have loads of posts that I now feel like sharing. YAY! ;)

We took a couple days off this week to recoup from the trip (OK, OK, he needed time to recoup- I just wanted time with him!) and so our lovely, lazy weekend continues. Love days off!

First up, an amazingly delicious recipe from Daily Garnish, one of my daily reads. I'm not sure if you've figured this out yet or not, but I love food. I love to cook, bake, find and create new dishes. Since my hubby was gone for Easter, I was spending it breakfast-dinner with my family. That meant a very early morning drive for me and not much time to prepare breakfast as the kiddos wake up super early to find Easter baskets and hunt for eggs the Easter bunny left us. Knowing my mom has probably missed my kitchen creations since the wedding, I thought I would make up a loaf of banana nut bread for Easter morning. Can you imagine how excited I was to find a recipe on Daily Garnish for Blueberry Banana Walnut Bread? ECSTATIC! I love baking with blueberries. They are loaded with antioxidants and I always buy a giant bag of frozen organic wild blueberries at Costco. In my opinion, wild blueberries are the most tasty in everything from pancakes to muffins to bread. Not only do they have more flavor, but they also have more antioxidants than regular blueberries. Win!

The final product. This is the whole wheat loaf. Check out that gorgeous color!

To give credit where credit is due, I won't be posting the recipe. Instead, I'll link to it on Daily Garnish. Trust me: it is worth clicking through to make this beauty. The only changes I made to my first batch consisted of replacing the whole wheat flour with spelt flour for the sensitive tummies in my family and using 1.5-2 cups of blueberries instead of 1 cup. I think my oven temperature is off (my next project) because I baked this baby for almost double the time on the recipe and it was still a little doughy.

 I made this bread a second time to welcome home the husband Saturday and used whole wheat flour. It tastes just as good, but took even longer to bake. This time, I used 3 bananas instead of the recommended 4 and it was still uber moist and delicious. I also used more berries than the recipe called for, I always add more berries to every blueberry recipe- I just can't get enough! Honestly, I liked the spelt loaf the best, because I think the straight-up whole wheat irritated my tummy, but the taste was definitely still there with the whole wheat loaf. Use whatever flour you prefer, but definitely make this bread! You'll be glad you did.  Oh, and smear it with homemade Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter. A to-die-for combination!

<3 K.E.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Breakfast of Champions





Good morning!


I have a lot to share with you- two amazing desserts, an easy dinner, and a few other tidbits. However, I have a lot planned for today and there is just enough time to share my breakfast before this funfilled day begins. A sandwich round, smear of peanut butter, a banana, and, since I ran out of chia seeds, ground flaxseeds are sprinkled on top. It is my favorite pre-run breakfast. Speaking of which, it's time for that run.

<3 K.E.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Step One to a Happy Life- DON'T COMPARE!

Good afternoon, blog friends!

This topic is very near and dear to my heart. As someone who has struggled her entire life (literally since I was 9) with body image issues, I know how debilitating it can be when you become stuck in the comparison mindset. "Her legs are more toned than mine." "My butt is too big- it should look like hers." We've all been here at one time or the other!

When it comes to comparisons the truth is both painful and freeing. Painful because we will always be able to find someone with a body part, talent, job, etc., that is more of the "ideal" than ours. This is a fact of life. We can't have the perfect legs, perfect boobs, perfect butt, be the smartest, have the ideal job, etc. Especially not when we are looking at a standard that is outside ourselves. (Be patient, here comes the freeing part.) Freeing when we realize that there is no standard for anything. That the "ideal" can only be found inside ourselves because we are all unique, all built differently with different goals, hopes, dreams in life. If we're two, totally different people with different aspirations for our lives, how can we compare ourselves?! It just doesn't work!

It is extremely difficult to keep this mindset of no comparisons...but it is so rewarding and I promise your life will be a million times more joyful! To read a more in depth post that not only points out the new faces of comparison (Facebook status updates, anyone?), but also reminds us to avoid being a cause of insecurity in someone else's life, check out Carrots 'N' Cake's latest blog post: Comparison is the Thief of Joy: Thoughts on Social Media. It is a wonderful wake up call for those moments when we really need one!

<3 K.E.

P.S. I owe you an Easter weekend recap. I promise it is coming!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Happy Holy Week and Goals Revisited

First of all, let me apologize for neglecting you for the past week and a half! Yet again, I was traveling for business. These business trips are not typical by any means...the only two I'll go on all year, just happened to fall within two weeks of each other. Go figure! But now I am back and doing my best to cope...more on that later.

I haven't been making any special meals lately. It's clean out the fridge and pantry time over at my place. We have a lot of food already and I'm trying to eat it up instead of buying more. This means oatmeal, chicken, quinoa, tuna...you get the idea. Using the food I already have is one of my April goals. So far so good!

I will be getting a break from the boring food this weekend for Easter! I'm so excited! Not just for the food, sillies, but also because I will be spending the whole day with family. Breakfast-Dinner. And it will be wonderful. I have a few recipes up my sleeve to try out. If they are yummy I'll share them with you complete with photos and all- I promise.

I wanted to revisit my 2012 Goals as it is the beginning of April and three months have already passed us by far too quickly. If you remember, I shared five goals with you in January. Let's see how I'm doing...

2012 Goals Recap

1.  Practice yoga weekly. Although I dearly love yoga, it hasn't made it into my weekly rotation yet this year. I started strong that first month, but then between trying out a few new group exercise classes at the YMCA and getting back into running, Yoga fell by the way side. My plan is to start doing yoga Friday nights during April and see if that works well for me.

2.  Adhere to a monthly budget. The budget is always a work in progress. However, I think I am progressing! Eating the food already in my pantry comes directly back to this goal. I've been a little off track with my food budget (I get excited when I grocery shop, what can I say?!) and trying to cook and eat the food I've already purchased is really helping curb food spending. It isn't very exciting and I don't necessarily love the food I've been eating lately (which is probably why its been sitting in my freezer/pantry for so long), but I do love not spending money on food! First step, completed!

3.  Eat Clean 80% of the time.  I don't know for sure that I've met this goal, but I think I have come pretty close. Aside from the occasional dirty binge, I've been either making clean foods or eating at places that have relatively clean options (like the Hummus House!). So I'll go ahead a say I'm on track for goal number three. To ensure progress, I'm limiting eating out to once a week for the month of April.

4.  Move my body 4x week.  Now this took some time, but I gradually built up to it. With few exceptions (last week's travel being one of them- and even then I ran once and walked miles and miles all over DC) I'm doing pretty well with goal number four. Some things I've been doing- although incosistently- in March to meet this goal include Spinning, Pilates, running, and strength training. I'm amping it up a notch for April. Here is my workout plan for this month:

Sunday- Run 4-6 miles (I'm training for a 10k on May 12th so this will be increasing from 4 to 6 miles over the next few weeks.)
Monday- Core Performance (My strength training of choice.  Not too intense, but I always notice such a difference on it. It also really helps with my posture.)
Tuesday- Spinning and Pilates at the YMCA (LOVE LOVE LOVE the instructor! She's awesome!)
Wednesday- Run 5k
Thursday- Core Performance
Friday- Run 5k AM and Yoga PM
Saturday- Off

It is kind of intense to have a significant workout every day of the week and two on Tuesday nights, but I have some extra time right now and I really want to amp it up. If it gets to be too much, I have a back up plan that also gives me Wednesday as an off day.

And finally...

5.  Spend an hour each week doing something that is personally enriching.  I have been making a conscious effort to spend time doing things I enjoy. Mostly that has been fitting in my workout time...so maybe I haven't fully grasped the purpose of this goal. Some of my enriching activites in the last few months include, hosting a Baseball Draft party, trying local restaurants in Indianapolis and D.C. while traveling, reading the Hunger Games trilogy, subscribing to Clean Eating magazine, movie dates with my hubby,and last Sunday I went to dinner and a movie with my mom and sister. I have more reading on the agenda for April (finishing up the last Hunger Games novel), there are a few movies I want to see, and lunch dates to plan with friends. I'd also like to fit in a beach trip if possible. :)

As you can see, I haven't been 100% with any of my goals so far this year. However, I really think that is the point of a "goal." It is something you are striving for. As long as I am making steady progress I'm happy, because that means I'll get there. Its the stagnant times you have watch out for!

<3 K.E.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Finding Your Motivation

Good morning, fellow people!


As I'm sure you can tell by my greeting, I am in a very oddball mood this lovely morning. I was lucky enough to come into work later than normal and that always makes a happier-albeit stranger- mindset for me. :D

I went for a nice, invigorating run this morning. Invigorating because there is just something surreal about running for miles at the break of dawn. Breaking from tradition, I didn't listen to my typical Jillian Michaels' podcast during my run, instead I put on my favorite workout station on iHeartRadio: Spin Cycle. I broke with my normal podcast routine because I felt the need to ruminate on a few things. Often my runs are the only time I get to spend alone and today that meant I needed time to think freely- something I cannot do while focusing on a podcast.

Lately, I have been focusing on what my motivation to live a healthy life is. Its easy to run down the list of perfect body, flat abs, etc., but trust me when I say  that is not enough. I know it is cliched, but it truely will not get you through the long haul. It might work for a while, but when you have a significant change in your life it is far to easy to let go of your good habits unless you have strong motivation in the first place. Motivation is never stagnant either. It will change as you change and grow as you grow.

My current motivations are a mix of old and new. While many are still evolving into distinct, substantial concepts, I want to share what is currently near and dear to my heart.

As a single woman my focus was very "me" centered. And while I strongly believe that women should always take the time to care for and nourish their bodies, it is unbelieveable how challenging this is once your focus shifts to include a husband. I can only imagine how much more so once there are children in the picture. I have realized that I have to create the foundation now to continue exercising and eating clean, healthy foods for the long haul.

For me being physically active and eating healthy foods isn't an option (although I often act as if it were!). I have food allergies/intolerances that make it necessary to eat clean and avoid trigger foods. If I eat crap, I feel like crap. Its a very simple concept. I also have asthma that is only controlled through diet (eliminating sensitive foods/substances) and physically pushing my body through endurance training (mostly running). The healthier I live the less I have to fight to breathe.

I want to live a long, healthy life. Living to be 100+ is not unheard of in my family. Most of my grandparents and great-aunts/uncles lived will into their 70s or 80s. I've seen some of them pass away still leading an active, vibrant life while others withered due to inactivity, poor diet, and disease. To see someone turn into a shadow of the active person they once were is devastating. I never want to experience a decreased quality of life because of my unwillingness to strive for health and wellness.  Granted, there are illnesses and diseases that we cannot prevent or control. But I do not want the regret of wondering if I could have lived a happier, healthier life, but didn't because it required too much effort.

My thoughts feel a little jumbled right now, but I hope they are clear enough for you to understand them. Do yourself a favor. Take time out to really think about what your motivation is. Maybe you need to find something a bit more substantial or maybe you already have the best of reasons. Either way, having that motivation clearly defined, whether in your head, written down, or shared with a friend, is a great first step on the road to wellness.

<K.E.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Indy Eats

I spent all of last week in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana. It was my first time in Indy and despite being there for job training, I was determined to see some sights and eat some authentic, local food. I didn't really have a chance to sight see- I blame the weather and the Big10 conference championship!- but I did enjoy some local fare that you just can't find  here at home.

 
The first stop on my way to the hotel was Traders Point Creamery.

Traders Point Creamery

This place was adorable. A functioning dairy farm (you can actually find some of their products at Whole Foods!) with a restaurant called "The Loft." The restaurant is a converted barn with a very rustic, authentic charm.

"The Loft"

The grass-fed burger was highly recommended online, so I trusted the people and ordered the it with a side of roasted vegetables. The burger was massive, but it was late and I was starving so I devoured it! It was delicious, but a little dry. That would have been remedied, I'm sure, by a slice of their made-in-house cheese...unfortunately eating dairy-free got in the way of enjoying any of the creamery's products other than the grass-fed beef. *sigh* This was one of those times when I am envious of people who can enjoy dairy with no negative effects!

The delicious, 100% grass-fed burger and roasted veggies

While my breakfasts and lunches were nothing to write home about, I did manage to visit two other restaurants that I stumbled upon online and on the "Visit Indy" channel in my hotel room: Late Harvest Kitchen and the Canal Bistro.
 
Late Harvest Kitchen is a fine dining restaurant that features local, seasonal fare. It was quite pricey, but worth the experience. I chose the Olive-Crusted Mahi-Mahi and Roasted Root Vegetables (Notice the trend? I'm into roasted vegetables.) which I enjoyed with a fabulous glass of vino. :D


Late Harvest Kitchen. Can you see the massive bowl of veggies in the back?

The photo above is the one that really makes me cringe...not only because it does a sub par job of capturing the essence of the meal, but also because every time I see it I am reminded of the waiters glaring at me as I snapped it...

The last restaurant I enjoyed was the Canal Bistro, a Mediterranean restaurant whose owners are from Egypt and Lebanon. You can't get much more authentic than that! The highlight of my meal was the hummus. I was craving hummus all week and finally was able to enjoy some at the Canal Bistro. I also enjoyed dipping the warm pita bread into a blend of olive oil and Mediterranean spices- soooo good! I managed to save some hummus for my Lenten Friday lunch the following day. Yay me!

Hummus garnished with tomatoes, olive oil, and Mediterranean spices!
All in all, I think the trip was a success. I learned a lot at the training course which I can bring back to my job and I enjoyed some wonderful, local restaurants. Win-win.

AND I was in Indianapolis when the Colts cut Peyton Manning. I listened to him tear up on the radio; I was there when the mayor declared Friday, March 9th as "Blue Friday" in honor of Peyton Manning; and I witnessed everyone wearing their #18 jerseys. Wow. Talk about heartbreaking- that city will certainly miss their quarterback! I certainly hope Andrew Luck lives up to his reputation! ;)

<3 K.E.