November Photo Challenge

Back in September, Candice, from I Have Run, hosted a photo challenge. I loved this!!  I didn't get a chance to participate EVERY day, but it did get me snapping and sharing more pictures than normal.

I missed this in October.

There were a couple other photo challenges for October that I saw floating around, but none of them quite spoke to me like the Runnerd Photo-A-Day Challenge.

Since I missed this so much in October, I thought I'd create my own challenge for November. You're, of course, more than welcome to join in the fun! I know it's late on the 31st already. I've been toying with this idea for a couple weeks, and I really meant to post this earlier, but, well, honestly, I really have no good reason for not doing it earlier. #procrastinatoratheart

Here's how to participate:

  • Leave a comment letting me know you want to join in the fun. 
  • Post a photo that reflects the word of the day somehow. Ideally, your posts should be related to health/fitness or running or training, but since it's November, if you're stumped on the word of the day, just use gratitude as the default word of the day. You can post on Instagram, Twitter and/or Facebook. 
  • On Instagram, become my friend (enjoyingthecourse) and include the hashtag #EtCphotoaday and/or tag me @enjoyingthecourse in your comment.
  • On Twitter, make sure you include the hashtag #EtCphotoaday with each post and/or tag me @EnjoytheCourse
  • On Facebook, follow the Enjoying the Course fan page and tag me in the comment of your picture. 

There likely won't be any prizes or anything - other than enjoying the fun pictures from old and new friends. :-)

Be creative. Seeing everyone doing the same thing would be boring. ;-) I'll try to do a recap of my favorite posts each Thursday. Don't worry if you miss a day or don't start on day one. I just want to have fun with this...and I want you to do the same!

And now for the list:

November 1 - Sweet
November 2 - Eat
November 3 - Run
November 4 - Sunshine
November 5 - Orange
November 6 - Power
November 7 - Crazy
November 8 - Inspire
November 9 - Perspire
November 10 - Rest
November 11 - Serve
November 12 - Nature
November 13 - Strong
November 14 - Fit
November 15 - Beauty
November 16 - Friend
November 17 - Family
November 18 - Go
 November 19 - Fun
November 20 - Happy
November 21 - Food
November 22 - Thankful
November 23 - Care
November 24 - Wonder
November 25 - Bright
November 26 - Warm
November 27 - Love
November 28 - Chocolate
November 29 - Looking Back
November 30 - Enjoy

I'm looking forward to doing this challenge with old and new friends. Will you join me? 

Wordless Wednesday - Half Marathon on 11/3


A List of Firsts

The topic for today's Monday Listicles was firsts. I probably have a lot more firsts than 10, but here are 10 I thought I could tell a story about. ;-)

1. My first dog, Mitzy

Ok, she was the family dog, but she was definitely the first dog I ever loved. She was a pomeranian/poodle/chihuahua mix. Or so we told everyone. She was loads of fun. I loved when she would snuggle up by my legs when I'd sleep at night.

I even made up a song that I would sing to her.
♫ Cutest little pup in the whole wide world. Cuter than anything. She may be full grown. She may even stink, but she's still the cutest little pup in the whole wide world. ♫ 
Or something along those lines.

Now I have another cute, snuggly, adorable pup that I LOVE. She's definitely my baby girl.

2. My first kiss
This was well before the days of instagram, and Facebook, and Twitter, so no pictures. :) I was 16 (old, I know!), and it was in the hallway of the apartment building of my boyfriend's brother. Did you catch that? I'd gone over for dinner, and we kissed in the hallway as he was walking me out to my car.

I have since had many, many kisses. I am married, afterall. LOL.

3. My first ever cruise
If you can call it a cruise. It was just from Ft Lauderdale to the Bahamas. It was only a few hours, but it was rocky, and the ONLY song they played was Who Let the Dogs Out?. Granted, it was played in several different variations. ;-) No pictures from the cruise. Probably, because we were trying our best not to lose our cookies. The cruise was part of a whole buy-a-timeshare package. Overall, it was a fun vacation with my stepmom and sister, but the actual cruise definitely was not the highlight.

I have yet to go on another cruise. One day.
Hopefully with a lot less annoying music and rocky waves.

4. My first time parasailing
I did this during the same vacation as the cruise. My step-mom, who hates all kinds of rides, had gone parasailing in Jamaica several years earlier. If she could do it, certainly I could do it. I was so scared! And I'm a girl who loves roller coasters. It took me forever to actually commit to doing it. I was so nervous while being secured to the sail. And then the boat took off. I won't say I was disappointed, but it definitely wasn't thrilling. It was beautiful and relaxing, but I'd built it up so high in my mind, that it turned out to be a bit of a let down. I do have pictures of this, but sadly, they have not been scanned into a digital copy and they are currently being stored at my sister's house in MN.

I'm not sure if I'll ever pursue doing this again. Like I said, it was beautiful and relaxing, but it was also a little boring.

5. My first crazy adventure after getting married
About 8 months after getting married, we decided to move to NYC. We didn't know anyone. We didn't have a place to live. We didn't have jobs lined up. And then everything started to fall into place. When I told my work I was moving there, it turned out there was a job available in the city. I wouldn't even need to change companies. We found a fantastic apartment in Brooklyn! Brand new construction. We were the first tenants. EVER! It was just fun how everything came together. We were only there for about 10 months, but we really enjoyed it.

I could definitely see myself living in NYC again someday. But as of now, we haven't even been back to visit. :-(

6. My first drag race

This was just yesterday. I've been to other races - stock car, junk car - but never anything through the National Hot Rod Association. It. Was. So. Fun! Of course, we weren't dressed very appropriately. Jeans and t-shirts, but we should have opted for shorts at least. It was super loud and when the Top Fuel cars were racing, you could feel the vibrations through your entire body. We kept saying to each other how much we could really get into this sport.

Yes, this is something that we definitely hope to do more of!

And now, since this is primarily a running blog, here are some running firsts.

7. My first 5K

Somehow in 2001 I convinced my sister to sign up for a 5K the day after my 24th birthday. This probably wasn't the wisest idea. Or perhaps the partying the night before wasn't the wise idea. Either way, we ended up walking most of the race. Like I said, I wasn't exactly feeling 100%. Still, it was something fun to do with my sister. Yes, she'd been right there celebrating with me the night before. It was a beautiful race walk around Lake Nokomis.

I don't think I could even count the number of 5Ks I've done since this one. Not because the number is so large, but rather because I simply can't remember.

8. My first half marathon

My sister didn't do this race with me. I'm not sure why. It was kind of far away. I was working at the Running Room at the time and had become friends with some runners going through one of the running clinics or running groups. We all drove the hour or so to get to this race together the night before and stayed in a hotel room. It was so fun! Seriously, even 10 years later, nothing tops this race experience. I ran this with a random girl. Well, not totally random. She was a part of our group, but I hadn't really met her before this race. We were the perfect pace for each other. We talked the entire time! We didn't care about time or anything else. We just had fun talking and walking and running. I don't remember her name or anything about her. We never ran together again. But, she was just what I needed that day.

I have since run a few more half marathons. My current goal in life is to be fit enough to always be ready to run a half without having to do any extra training. My next half is in only 5 days!!

9. My first marathon

I wish I could say this was as great of an experience as my first half. This was another one of my brilliant ideas that I convinced my sister to do. We both ran this, but we didn't run it together. We had joined Team Diabetes and had hoped to run Kona Marathon, but we weren't able to even come close to fundraising the $9000 ($4500 each) that would qualify us to participate, so we opted for TCM, which was much, much closer, though not nearly as exciting as, Kona. My dad and stepmom came out to show support. They even met us along the course a few times. My uncle, who had run many marathons came out as well. That was very encouraging - especially when they would jump onto the course and run with me for a short while. At the end, I was so happy to be finished. I vowed to never run another marathon again. It was really hard!

That vow lasted until the next year when my sister and I received a flyer in the mail to run it again. Suddenly, it seemed like the greatest idea! One day, maybe I'll run a 3rd.

10. My first Ragnar Relay

This was just pure awesome. You can read all about it here. I joined a random team. Well, not entirely random, as it was the team of a girl I went to high school with. Of course she wasn't in the same van.

I'm running my 2nd Ragnar in just 11 days!! I don't know a single soul on my team, but I am getting to know them via Facebook, and I have met one in person already. We're donning 80s workout gear, and we're going to have a blast!

I don't always have a very good memory - even for things that should be quite memorable. :-)

What are your most memorable firsts?


Learning New Tricks

I feel like I haven't blogged in awhile. LOL. It was just yesterday. :) Guess I'm going through a slight blogging addiction at the moment.

Jeff and I attended the NHRA Nationals this afternoon for a few hours. It was a lot more fun than I'd expected. Post and pictures coming soon.

In the meantime, I thought I'd do a little SOC Sunday.

Today’s (totally optional) prompt: What new tricks would you like to learn or have you learned?

What do I want to learn? As I recent MAT graduate, you'd think I'd be more enthusiastic about learning. *shrug*

There are a few things I would love to learn, though.

First, focus. I wish I had more when it comes to learning. Too often, I want the easy way out. Research is hard sometimes.

Second, I'd really love to learn more about the history of Vegas. This is for personal reasons, of course, but I also have an idea of how to take this learning to the next level. We'll see... I've just got to find that focus to really motivate myself to hunker down and research some really exciting facts and resources.

I'd also like to learn how to write better and express myself more succinctly with words.

I'd love to learn to menu plan. I don't know why I struggle with this so much. I love to try new recipes and foods, but I end up making the same things over and over again because I run out of time/ideas of what to make once dinner time rolls around. This, of course, also leads to eating out or ordering in WAY too often. Lame.

I'd also really like to learn some blogging tricks.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes. 
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible. 
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar).
  • Link up your post over at Jana's Thinking Place
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love. 
What new tricks would you like to learn?
Did you do anything new and fun this weekend?


Thoughts on ... #InspireLV12 Workshop

I'm not sure how to write this post. I want to be as honest as possible. This is my blog, after all, right? I shouldn't be concerned about offending anyone. Still, I am reluctant to post this. It's rather negative, but I think I need to write it, publish, and then move on from it.

Last weekend was the much anticipated Inspiration & Perspiration Workshop. If you remember, I won tickets to this workshop by writing this post. For several weeks leading up to the workshop, there was a lot of interaction in a private Facebook group. I'd interacted with a lot of the women, so I felt like there was some connection. Despite my shyness, I didn't really feel nervous about going. 

It was going to be an awesome weekend!

But it wasn't.

There were definitely some positive, eye-opening experiences as we talked about body image, our relationship with food, and the power of thought. There were some amazing women with powerful, inspiring stories. On Sunday, there was a crossfit session that left me with incredibly sore inner thighs (among other things) for several days. Who doesn't love a good workout that leaves you walking funny? :-)

I did walk away with some new insights, but overall I was disappointed.

I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting from the weekend, but by the end I was left feeling emotionally drained - not emotionally charged. The connection I was anticipating didn't actually materialize. I realize some of it was my own doing. I chose not to meet up with everyone Friday evening before the workshop. I think a lot of friendships were forged during that initial meet & greet. I'd planned on going out to dinner with some of the women after Saturday's workshop, but unfortunately, I didn't feel like anyone really wanted me to go with them. I didn't want to force myself to be social with people I barely knew who didn't seem to care if I was there or not, so I made the excuse that I was tired and the hot tub was calling my name. I realize that this may have been a misconception, but it was how I felt.

It was a difficult decision to return the next day, but I forced myself to go. I donned my neon orange leggings, one-piece swimsuit, and cut off the toes of a pair of socks to make leg warmers. It was 80s workout gear day!

The day started with just about everyone saying how wonderful the workshop had been so far, and how they all felt so connected to, and inspired by, all the other women there, and how they'd never attended anything like this before, and how their lives were forever changed. What was I missing? What happened Saturday night after the workshop to so securely bond these women together?


Fitness Friday: Post-Run Routines {Part 1}

After taking a running hiatus for most of July and August due to some minor knee pain, I started doing some specific things after each run to help prevent this from happening again.

Now, I'm no expert. I just wanted to share what has been working for me.

First, I found this on Pinterest.

It's an article from Runner's World, so it must be good advice, right? :-) Basically, do legs lifts.
3 different varieties.
Each variety 10 times per leg.
Honestly, I think this feels quite amazing, so I'm sure it's doing lots of good. These legs lifts really focus on strengthening both your hamstrings and quads, which, in turn, helps protect your knees.

Several weeks later, I came across some very helpful advice over at RunToTheFinish.

From Amanda, I decided to incorporate 3 more exercises - single leg squats, back lunges with knee raises, and hip bridges - to my post-run routine. The video in her posts breaks down these moves very nicely in an easy to follow manner. These 3 exercises focus on strengthening to your glutes in order to help prevent IT band issues.

Isn't it funny great how interconnected the body is? When something is out of whack, it's likely not the whole story.

After doing these exercises, I do a few stretches. I don't know the names of them and couldn't find any perfect pictures with a cursory Google search. My goal for next week is to snap some pics of me doing these stretches and do a follow-up post next Friday.

In the meantime, today marks TWO WEEKS UNTIL RAGNAR!!

Most of my teammates are Ragnar-newbies, but there are a few veterans. Am I considered a veteran if I've only done one?
- I've nearly got my all my awesome 80s workout gear ready.
- I feel relatively prepared for the running.
- I'm getting to know some of my teammates via Facebook.

Everything seems to be coming together, so we've decided to up the ante of this race. In addition to the challenge of running 3 legs around the Vegas Valley, we've decided to join the ranks of the inaugural Balderdash teams. As a team, we have committed to raising at least $840 to assist in the fight against childhood cancer.

We are raising money to help 2 great charities -- It Ain't Chemo and Climb For Five. To learn more about It Ain't Chemo visit their website www.itaintchemo.com. Or check out Climb For Five at their site www.climbforfive.com.

If you'd like to donate, you can visit my fundraising page and click on the big orange button on the right. If you're unable to donate at this time, please share this post or my fundraising page to anyone you feel might be willing to help make a difference in the lives of those suffering from childhood cancer (or their families). Thank you in advance for your generosity.

What are your post-run routines?
How are you celebrating fitness today?

Click the picture below to see who else is celebrating Fitness today.


Liebster Blog Award! Yay!!

As you might recall, I spent this past weekend at a workshop/conference called Inspiration & Perspiration. It was a great weekend - filled with a little of both. There are a lot of amazing women out there, and I was delighted for the opportunity to meet so many at once. I'll do a full recap of the weekend later, but first Heidi from BananaBuzzbomb nominated me to receive the Liebster Blog Award. I am beyond honored to be included. Thank you, Heidi!!

1. What’s your favorite dish? Do I have a favorite dish? For being a super picky eater growing up, there are *surprisingly* so many dishes that I like now. If I had to choose, I guess I'd go with Spaghetti Pie for a few reasons. 1) It's relatively easy to make but also kind of special twist on boring old spaghetti. 2) It's super tasty, of course! How could a favorite dish be anything other than delicious? and 3) It reminds me of my mom. Awww...

2. Why did you start a blog? I started a blog waaaayyyy back in 2006 because I wanted an easy way to connect with my family who lived far away. It's evolved a lot over the years. You can read more about that in this post, "Why blog?"

3. If you changed your name, what would you change it to? I really didn't appreciate my name growing up. Teachers would stumble over pronouncing it. No one else ever had my name. I wanted something a little more common, but not necessarily ubiquitous, y'know? I also wanted to be able to shorten it to something fun. Not Clare. Or Clara. Now that I'm older, I love my name!

4. Why did you choose this name for your blog? I've blogged about this before, too. :) You can read it here, but basically I chose it as a reminder that I should just Enjoy the Course/Life/Etc. Don't worry about being fast (as a runner) or comparing myself to others. Embrace myself and my life.

5. What makes you crazy? Oh, this could take awhile. Seriously, though, not a lot makes me crazy. Probably #1 is drivers. In general, people drive too fast and too carelessly. This has really been driven (haha!) home to me lately as I've embraced bicycle commuting.

6. Which book are you reading atm? (or which magazine?) I wish I could say I was reading something fun and exciting or inspiring or ... anything. Most of my free time is spent blogging or on FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. Damn you, social media! J/k. One day I will read again. Need to charge my Kindle. Maybe that will motive me.

7. What inspires you? Honestly, I think I find most of my inspiration from within. Corny? Solipsistic? Maybe. Lately, I'm also inspired by the glorious mountains that surround the Vegas valley. And, of course, all of you!

8. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I always wanted to be a teacher. In fact, my younger brother and sister can attest to playing school with me where I would give them homework and pop quizzes. Yes, I was a strange child. Now that I've received my Masters in Teaching, I'm not sure I'll ever actually become a teacher.

9. What is your favorite part of blogging? Hands-down my favorite part of blogging is interacting with my readers and other bloggers. Comment Love is the best kind of love. Okay. Maybe not, but I do really enjoy getting to know others through my blog and the blogs I read.

10. What is your dream career? I'm not sure I really have a dream career. I would love something that had super flexible hours. Perhaps something with social media. Or maybe something that I could do with my husband. I actually came up with a brilliant idea (ok I stole it from someone else) that I'd really love to pursue. It would likely just be a part-time thing, at least at first. It's really just an inkling of an idea right now, but maybe within the next year or so there could be a launch of some sort. That's all I'm going to say about it right now. Stay tuned...

This literally just popped up on my FB wall, and I thought it was quite fitting.

11. If money was no object, where would you live and why? My husband would answer Gozo in the Mediterranean or an island in the Caribbean or simply on a catamaran. Me? I'd be happy living anywhere as long as we were together. And it was some place warm.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about ME! Now, it's my turn to pass this award onto a few other bloggers.

Ally at Just a Normal Mom
Hiker Mom at Livin the Fit Life
Rachel at How Now Brown Cow?
Suzanne at Cows and Lasers and Everything in Between
a.eye at Shouldn't Life Be More Than This?
Meyser at A cat on the windowsill
Katie at From Icecream to Marathon
Kat at Sneakers and Fingerpaints
Kate at Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine with My Morning Quiet Time?

I'm not sure how many I'm supposed to give this to, but I'm going to stop there. Go check them out! I've linked to their Twitter (if I had it) and their blogs. Please tell them I sent you, if you stop by.

To those I've nominated: I'm going to borrow some questions from Heidi and throw in a few of my own.

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. Why did you choose this name for your blog?
3. If money were no object, where would you live and why?
4. When you meet someone for the first time, what's the first thing you want to know about him/her?
5. What's the most unique thing about you?
6. What inspires you?
7. What's your favorite dish (to eat or prepare)?
8. Describe your ideal weekend.
9. What did you want to be when you grew up and how does it compare to what you do now?
10. What is your dream career?
11. What is your favorite song or who is your favorite artist to dance to?

Don't forget to pass the award along!


Healthy Halloween Tips

It's time for Monday Listicles. Today, I'm going to break the rules a little. Our topic was to be Halloween costumes, but since I don't plan on dressing up nor do I have kids who would want to dress up, I thought I'd share some tips on how to make Halloween a bit healthier than the normal candy-filled chaos.

1. Give out alternatives to candy. How about juice boxes, glow sticks, play dough, fruit snacks, etc?

2. If you do want to give out candy, wait until the last minute to buy it. That way it won't be tempting you while it sits. Also, buy the candy that you don't like. Even easier to resist. :-)

3. Instead of a candy dish at the office, why not a dish filled with roasted pumpkin seeds or almonds or celery sticks?

4. If you're hosting a party, make healthy creations.

Like a veggie skeleton.

Or Apple Bites.

Or Eyeball Caprese.

5. If you usually stay at home to hand out candy, how about grabbing a water bottle and go for a walk around the neighborhood instead?

6. Maybe not on Halloween, but there are a lot of fun ways to celebrate the season. Haunted houses, corn mazes, or pumpkin patches.

7. Serve food inside other food.

Like apple cider in an apple vessel.

Source: imgfave.com via Sophie on Pinterest

Or a stew in a pumpkin.

Or maybe some oatmeal for breakfast.

8. Host a scavenger hunt or play a different Halloween game.

9. Let your kids trade in their Halloween candy for cash or a new toy. Let them enjoy some candy Halloween night and maybe let them choose a few of their favorite pieces for later.

10. Donate extra candy to a food bank or talk to your dentist about participating in the Halloween Candy BuyBack Program for an easy way to ship your extra candy to troops overseas.

Now, head over to Stasha's to see what costumes might be fun to go with these healthy celebration tips. And if you're interested in seeing a few of my past Halloween costumes, you can read this post.


Fitness Friday

Yesterday's run kicked my a$$! It was a perfect example of not knowing my limits. It's all fine to push yourself but you still need to listen to your body and know what you can handle.

I attempted to do this workout.
Source: via Clarinda on Pinterest

I honestly don't know what I was thinking. My average pace is 6.0 mph on a good day. I've pushed myself on the treadmill before by going to a 8.5 mph for short stints. That speed nearly killed me.

So like I mentioned, this HIIT Treadmill workout really needed to be modified for my level. It went something like...

MILE 0.50: Thought I was going to DIE!

MILE 0.75: Decided I definitely needed to modify this workout.

MILE 1.00: Changed the plan to intervals of 1 min @ 6.3 mph and 30 sec @ 9.1 mph

MILE 1.10: Paused the treadmill for a breather. After 30 seconds was back up to the above interval plan.

MILE 1.25: Getting much more difficult to breath. Paused the treadmill again for 30 seconds. Lowered the higher speed down to 9.0 mph.

MILE 1.45: Couldn't take any more. Decided to take a walk break instead of just pausing the treadmill. Slowed down to a 4.0 mph.

MILE 1.75: Feeling a little better. Sped up to 5.0 mph. Decided to change this to a 3 mile run instead of 5. I know this workout plan was only for 4, but I'd intended to add an additional mile at 6.0 mph to the end.

MILE 2.00: Sped up to 6.0 mph. Yeah, I can do one mile at 6.0 mph, right?

MILE 2.90: I've almost gone 3 miles! Why not make it a full 3.1 and do it for the Cupcake Classic?

MILE 3.05: Sped up to 6.5 mph. I guess I'm a glutton for punishment!

MILES 3.10: IT'S O-V-E-R!!!

And now for a little fun. :-D
I saw this little survey going around Fitness Friday last week. I'm a little late to the party - but thought it would be fun to still play along.

1. Fuel: Shot Bloks, GU, Energy Chews, Candy or Other? I'm kind of a cheapskate, so I've don't usually use a lot of fun. I have enjoyed Shot Bloks in the past. GU is usually too difficult for me to open with my sweaty hands. Most recently, I've enjoyed using gummy bears for fuel. Yum!

2. Race Length: 5k, 10k, 1/2 Marathon, Marathon, Ultra or Other? My favorite lengths are probably 5Ks and 1/2 Marathons. 10Ks are okay depending on the course. One day I hope to run my 3rd marathon. Maybe. Ultra? Probably not.

3. Workout Bottoms: Skirts, Running Shorts, Capris, Pants or Other? I prefer shorts or skirts. Pants when it's cold. :-)

4. Sports Drink: Gatorade, Powerade, Cytomax, water or other? Water. Again, I'm a cheapskate!

5. Running Temperatures: HEAT or COLD? Um...? Something in between? IF I have to choose, though, I'd go with HEAT. Cold requires wearing too many clothes. Plus, living in Vegas, the humidity is relatively low to where I don't die in the heat. Sweet. ;-)

6. Running Shoe Brands: Saucony, Mizuno, Nike, Brooks, Asics or Other? I think I have Nikes right now, but I've never been loyal to a particular brand.

7. Pre-race meal: Oatmeal, Bagel, Banana, Eggs, Cereal or Other? I haven't raced in FOREVER! Perhaps a PB banana roll-up.

8. Rest Days: 1x per week, 2x or more per week, never ever ever or Other? Depending on the week and how I'm feeling 1-3 rest days per week.

9. Music: Have to have it or go without it? I can do either. Depends on my mood and how aware I want to be to my surrounding. If I'm on the treadmill, though, I generally need music much more than if I were outside.

10. #1 reason for running: stress-relief, endorphins, you love to race, so you can eat all the cupcakes you want, weight-loss, love running for social reasons or other? BRAGGING RIGHTS!

This post is LONG! Sorry about that. Congrats for making it through. I have just a bit more fitness news.

Tomorrow and Sunday, I'll be attending Inspiration and Perspiration 2012. I won tickets to this workshop/conference by writing this post. I've been anxiously awaiting this weekend for a LONG time! I can hardly believe I'll be meeting so many amazing women tomorrow!!

Stay tuned to Instagram and Twitter for updates throughout the weekend. I'm sure it will be tons of fun and very informative.

Plus lots of goodies! Gotta love free stuff!!

What are your fitness plans this weekend?

Click the picture below to see who else is celebrating Fitness today.


{review} Awesome Bars

Because you can't fake awesome.

Seriously. Their web address is: www.youcantfakeawesome.com. How cool is that?!

A little over a month ago, I won a contest over at Naturally Fit Sisters for a sampling of some Awesome Bars. I was beyond excited to try these out.

From their website:
Healthy + handcrafted + natural ingredients + biodegradable wrapper = Awesome Bars.
In our little granola factory, we believe that food can only be as good as its ingredients. Which means, no fake “stuff” is added to our wholesome bars. Only real ingredients from real people; because really, you can’t fake awesome.
Sounds good to me!

These arrived at my home just days before I started my new job. Perfect timing! Now, I would have some deliciously awesome snacks for my first week. :D

I was given 1 of each their 5 flavors to try - Blueberry Almond, Cherry Almond, Coconut Pecan, Cranberry Trail Mix, and Salty Peanut.

All were so delicious! All had a dark chocolate coating on one side. *heaven* The flavors all mixed really well. I don't normally like anything cherry, but I even enjoyed the Cherry Almond. There was not one bar that I had to struggle through eating. No, I had to forcibly pace myself, so I wouldn't sound/look like a pig.

They were that good.

I also loved that each bar was packaged in a biodegradable wrapper. I'm not always very good about it, but I try to do my part. The idea of biodegradable packaging made me smile. But, unfortunately, it was also my biggest complaint. If you can call it a complaint.

The packaging is very noisy. 

I definitely would not recommend slipping these into your purse to sneak a snack in during church or a meeting or anywhere quiet. I sometimes felt awkwardly noisy while trying to nibble on these at my desk.

Despite that, if you're looking for a yummy healthy snack, you can't go wrong with these granola bars. They are awesome. 'Nuff said.

I received these bars for winning a giveaway. I was in no way compensated for writing this review. All thoughts/opinions are my own. Pictures were swiped from the Awesome Bars website.


That wasn't so bad

If you read this post, you know that I am a heat person. I like hot sun, hot water, hot sandwiches. Okay, not really on the sandwiches. But sometimes I will get my Subway toasted. ;-)

Everything is better hot. Imo, of course.

As a runner, I've read numerous accounts of crazy-ass runners doing something unthinkable to me - taking an ICE BATH!


No way, am I ever going to voluntarily sink my body into a pool of ice. Unh-unh. But there are all these benefits... blah blah blah.

And then I read Ali's post about her first experience taking the plunge.

*cue over-dramatic music* THIS CHANGED MY LIFE! An ice bath can consist of cold water? No ice? Maybe that won't be so bad...

I couldn't get that post out of my head. When I went for a 12+ mile run on Sunday, the *gasp* thought of an ice bath really. kept. me. going.

Say, what?!

Yes, I kept daydreaming about sinking my legs into a bath tub filled with COLD water. Who is this girl??

When I got back, I started filling the tub with cold water while I did a few stretches. Now, our hot water had been turned off for some repairs the day before and had only been back on for a few hours. As the water was running, Jeff called to me.
Him: Don't you want to make sure there's hot water first?
Me: No, I'm just using cold water.
Him: Why?
Me: I'm taking an ice bath. Well, without the ice.
After stretching and once there was enough water in the tub, I slowly lowered myself down, down, down. I only cringed a little. It actually felt kind of good.

Seriously, who the hell is this girl?

I posted this to Instagram as proof.

First ever ice bath. Feels better than I'd have ever guessed. I might be sold. Next time I may actually add ice. Lol.

I was surprised how quickly I got accustomed to the temperature. Until I had to readjust my legs. Then the shock of the COLD would course through me again. BUT I LIKED IT!

Ok. So, maybe now I'm a *real* runner. I can foresee lots of ice cold water baths in my future. One day, I may even add ice...

I really do think it helped in my recovery, and it simply just felt good on my aching muscles.

Do you prefer Hot or Cold...anything...?
Have you ever taken an ice, or cold water, bath?


I'm Still Me!

Today's Monday Listicles challege comes to us from Christine. List 10 WAYS YOU ARE THE SAME OR DIFFERENT THAN YOUR YOUNGER SELF.

I've changed a lot over the years since high school, but there are still a lot of things that are the same.

1. I still get acne. One day I dream of waking up with clear beautiful skin.

2. I'm still shy and quiet. Unless I'm talking with a good friend. Then I end up talking a mile a minute in a super excited way.

3. I still love to dance and sing. In front of no one but me. Yep. Rarely even my husband.

4. The best time to dance and sing? While cleaning the house. Of course! Still makes the chores go by so much faster.

5. I still like to read. Though I don't do it nearly as often as I did as a teenager.

Source: via Nicole on Pinterest

6. I still have little to no fashion sense. I dress to the beat of my own drum.

7. I still prefer being hot over being cold. The adage of "You can always put on more clothes" still holds no truth for me. Unfortunately, my fair skin still tries to thwart my sun-loving nature.

8. Though I accept who I am and don't really compare myself to others, I still crave acceptance and validation.

9. I still hate making phone calls. Thank god for the invention of the Internet and email!

10. I still love to play and bake in the kitchen.

How are you the same or different than your younger self?


Fitness Friday - Upcoming Races

Last Thursday, I randomly wrote on the event page for Ragnar Las Vegas that I was looking to join a  team. I didn't really think it would go anywhere. I wasn't really expecting to hear from anyone.

Imagine my surprise when someone actually contacted me to say they had a couple open spots. This led to a flurry of FB messages with the team captain and a rising level of excitement from me.

This team sounded so awesome!

Team name: The Fanny Pack
Team theme: 1980s.

I could hardly wait to talk to my husband about doing this, and then, of course, I'd also need to take a day off from work. I'm too new at my job to have any vacation time, so it's time off without pay...

But Ragnar is totally worth it, right?

By Monday afternoon, it was official. I am now runner #4 of the Fanny Pack.

If you saw my Wordless Wednesday post, then you've seen what I'm up against. Are you jealous? Check out those lovely downhills. Ah, it should be perfect. And hopefully fast.

I. Can't. Wait.

But first... I have a half marathon to run. The weekend before Ragnar. Am I crazy? Maybe. I'm totally okay with that, though.

I registered for this 1/2 back in June.

Really Big Free Marathon 2012

I'm mostly pumped for this race because once I start, I'll be 50 bucks richer. LOL. Seriously, though, I think it will be a lot of fun. Bonus: A few of my Ragnar teammates are running it, too. Perhaps I'll have a chance to meet them before spending two days in a smelly van with them.

These two races will be my first since the Get Lucky 1/2 Half Marathon in March.

Have a mentioned how excited I am?? :-)

Three weeks until the Half.
Four weeks until Ragnar.

Have you ever run a Ragnar (or other relay race) before? This will be my second time. You can read about my experience running Ragnar Great River 2011 in this post.

What races do you have coming up this fall? If any of you are running either of these races, please let me know! I'd love to meet you. :-)

Click the picture below to see who else is celebrating Fitness today.


{review} Premier Protein

A month ago, I was a Premier Pop winner on Twitter. I love trying new products for free, so I quickly shot them off my address.

You should have seen my face when the FedEx guy dropped off a whole lotta protein fun.

I was so excited I posted this to twitter the next morning!

After returning from my super long 3 mile run, I couldn't wait to dive in. I started with the Vanilla shake. It was super tasty, and it went fast! I was generous enough to let my husband try a sip, too.

He even thought it was good!

Next up to try were the bars. I was given 2 of each flavor: Chocolate Peanut Butter, Double Chocolate Crunch, and Yogurt Peanut Butter Crunch

My favorite was the Yogurt Peanut Butter Crunch, but I thought they were all good for protein bars. This is not to say that I didn't like them. I did, but they ain't no snickers. :-)

The chocolate shakes were just as good as the vanilla!

I'm sad to see my fridge empty of these delicious getmethroughtheworkday post-run treats.

If you're not a huge fan of protein bars, I'm not sure these will be tastier than anything else out there, but I would highly recommend the shakes. For sure! I think I definitely will be adding these shakes to my shopping list.

Have you ever tried Premier Protein?
What's your favorite way to refuel after a grueling workout or long run?


Wordless Wednesday

More on this to come...


You're so...

Today, our Monday Listicles challenge is ... 10 Compliments. This is kind of a tough one. I don't necessarily accept compliments very well. I have gotten better during the past few years, but it's still something of a struggle. I broke this list up into two, because I think it's important to both accept compliments from others as well as compliment ourselves.

Five Compliments I received during my first two weeks at work:

  • I'm glad we hired you. You're catching on really fast.
  • You're very efficient.
  • I love your shoes.
  • You're in great shape. Really great shape.
  • You eat so healthy.

Five Compliments I gave myself in the past two weeks:

  • This bikini is fitting you so much better.
  • Wow! You've really improved with your bike riding in the past two years.
  • You look really great.
  • You totally rocked that workout.
  • You are awesome!

How have you have been complimented recently?
Do you compliment yourself?


Comfy Cozy

After two months of posting nearly every day (sometimes multiple times a day), I took a full week off. I'm not going to lie.

It. was. nice.

But I'm back now, and hope to be able to post 3-5 times each week for the remaining weeks of October. I'll start out with a quick Stream of Consciousness Sunday.

Today’s (totally optional) prompt: What makes you feel cozy and safe?

A hot beverage. A warm blanket. A good movie. Or maybe a good book.

Definitely some snuggle time with my guy (Jeff) and my girl (my pup, Sallie). 

Oh, yes! And soup. Definitely soup from the crockpot. Throw in some freshly baked bread. Mmmm...

Why does cozy and safe equate to fall and/or winter? Don't I feel cozy and safe in the spring and/or summer?

I do, but it's a different kind of safe, I guess. I more like freedom and exploring and trying new things. Fall and winter means coming back to a safe place. Recuperating until spring comes around again to try and explore and escape. Weird. I never really thought of it that way before at all.

I've always been a girl who enjoys all 4 seasons. Growing up in MN, there were 4 very distinct, almost picturesque, seasons. I loved them all, but as I've gotten older, I've really come to love and embrace fall. Spring was my fave growing up, of course.

Never been a huge fan of winter, though. Hence the move away from the cold MN to the warm weather of the Vegas desert.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…

  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes. 
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible. 
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post (in the sidebar).
  • Link up your post over at Jana's Thinking Place
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love. 


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