Monday, June 20, 2016

Healthy Hacks - Get Outside!

Hey Guys!

A few months ago I started a ‘Healthy Hacks’ series on my blog where I shared easy healthy changes to make to help guide y’all towards a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, when Cotopaxi reached out to me recently to help share some of my favorite healthy tips it was a no-brainer to partner with them. They’re a really awesome company that I recently discovered that focuses on encouraging people to get out, stay active and do something good every day.

Honestly, the minute I heard from them they immediately reminded me of a friend who recently passed away. He was all about getting out and exploring nature. He believed people should spend more time getting to know nature and that by living each day to the fullest, we can all become the best versions of ourselves. Following his adventures led me to realize how far away from my past I had gotten. I used to go camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking and more and slowly as I got older I spent more and more time inside.

Since starting this blog a few years ago, it’s been a great vehicle for me to challenge myself. I started with running because it was a lifelong passion of mine. It got me outside during the long, cold Michigan winters. I bought a SUP to enjoy those hot summer days. I started taking my dog on hikes in local parks (yes – you can hike even in flat states like Michigan! Tons of state parks and county parks have awesome trail systems to explore!). I learned to enjoy every season instead of complaining about the weather. I also returned to doing at least a few minutes of yoga every day.

The changes I’ve seen are nothing short of amazing. I’m happier, I have less of a desire to ‘keep up with the Jonses’ by buying material things that I cannot afford. My fiancĂ© have a 2007 Civic that we haul both our SUPs on instead of upgrading to a Truck. We’ve found ways to explore nature for virtually nothing and the benefits are truly priceless.

We joined a local CSA so we eat locally. It’s amazing how good food tastes when it was picked the same day you eat it! I’ve had so much fun exploring my local ecosystem and creating a more sustainable earth to leave to future generations. All of these changes truly compound on each-other and lead to me living such a happy, fulfilling life.

My best advice to you is to start by getting outside and enjoying the sunshine! If you’re caught in unhealthy habits, start today. Go for a walk after work, and stop to smell some pretty flowers. Go to a local park and simply relax for a few minutes. Find a local farmers market and buy some in-season produce – berry season has begun in Michigan if you’re lucky enough to live here!! Long story short, start living outside of your comfort zone. Try something new, or rediscover an old hobby and get back to nature.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bayshore Half-Marathon Training Catch-up

Hey Guys!

I know I've been absolutely terrible about sticking to my weekly training updates but I'm going to try to do better! Thinking out loud, I'm not going to recap every single run I've done since I've blogged last I'll give you a general week guideline and discuss some of my favorites. 

Monday: Track Day
Tuesday: Easy shake-out
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Easy morning run
Friday: Fartlek-style 3 mile run
Saturday: Long Run
Sunday: Off

My easy runs have ranged from 2-4 miles generally since I run in the morning before work. It's hard for me to fit much more than that in and still feel like I'm getting enough sleep. Mornings that I don't run I do strength training, and I try to fit in 10 minutes of yoga after every morning workout (running or strength). 

Track Day has been fun since I started up a running club in my little post-office of Holt (yes- the "city" I live in is technically classified not as a town, or village but a post-office LOL). I've generally kept those workouts fairly short, but effective since I have a lot of newer runners in the club. I've been hitting some awesome paces there of 7:xx minute miles (for 400 repeats) so it feels good to work on speed. 

My fartlek style run is typically where I run at a harder effort until a certain landmark, then so a slow jog for a bit & repeat until I've done 3-4 miles. I'll also add in the hill by my house on days like that.I view it as a workout so I make sure to get my heart-rate and effort level up.
last weekend long run was a cutback - thankfully! I would not have wanted to run 10 miles in that crap.

Long runs have been fun because typically someone from running club will join me for at least a few miles. I've been hitting between 10:00-10:30 on most of my miles (NOT in the snow though lol) and I've been doing the last 1-2 miles as a "fast finish". On my 10-mile run day this meant running two miles at race pace of 9:00 and on my 8-mile run I actually ran my last mile in 8:10. These fast finishes have been a fun way for me to see more progress and convince myself I can run that fast on race day. Personally I aim to do my long runs 60-90 seconds slower than race pace because it helps me avoid injury but I know that's not for everyone. It's also made it hard for my to share my times recently because I feel slow, and judged on social media even though I know that's not the case.

So, in summary I've been pretty happy with juggling my training while being fairly busy at work and making progress with my exams. I recently submitted my interim assessment on that front and if I pass that I'm only 1 assessment away from my first set of credentials. It's hard to see less progress running, but exciting to be making progress in other areas of my life. 

Have a great Thursday!!

Do you run long runs at race pace or do you slow down?

Do you enjoy speed-work?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Honeyed Goat Cheese Sweet Potato Salad

Happy Friday!!

A fun fact that not all of you readers may know is that I was a vegetarian for about 2 years in my younger years. I learned more about the meat industry and decided I didn't want to keep supporting that. Once I graduated I started eating meat again but all of the meat I buy is ethically sourced using sustainable practices (steps off soap box haha). It TRULY does not bother me when other people don't share my beliefs and when I go over to someones house for dinner I will gladly eat whatever they serve!

But anyways I still like to eat a few vegetarian meals a week - I certainly don't need meat every meal and will often order vegetarian options. So, earlier this week I made a new salad recipe that my whole household ended up loving so I figured I would share that with y'all!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Bayshore Half-Marathon Training Weeks 1 & 2

Hey Guys!

I promise I will be trying to do weekly training recaps but unfortunately it wasn't in the cards the last couple weeks so now you get 2 in 1! Lucky ducks.

Week 1: Monday:off

Tuesday: 3 morning treadmill miles - I'm aiming to keep easy runs easy and therefore not paying attention to the time. With my personality type if I wear a watch or look at the treadmill timer I will never truly keep it easy. So I covered the time and only looked at the distance.

Wednesday: Morning HIIT - I'm going to aim to do this once a week since I really enjoy it and it's a good form of cross training that may help with speed and strength.

30 minute easy run - was suppose to be speed work but it was icy out and my running club bailed so I just hit the trails and played it safe.

Thursday - 4 easy treadmill miles - I also posted a picture sipping out of a wine glass on insta and people actually believed me. Sorry y'all it was just concentrated cherry juice!

Friday - Off

Saturday - 6 mile long run - was supposed to meet with my running club again but AGAIN the snow scared everyone away. I got in a solid 6 miles even though I almost feel through the ice crossing a river and at one point was trudging through 5 inches of snow ha! My butt really hurt after all the now running too. At the end of the run I felt like I could keep going so I made a note to jump my long run the next week.

Sunday - 3 easy miles - a shakeout run after the long run. Just a little ice left on the trails but I remember really enjoying this run!

Monday - morning yoga - no run. Took the day off running and did some light strength training and yoga in the morning. really seemed to help any lingering soreness.

Tuesday - Fartlek 3 miles with Stormy!! Overall had a 9:15 pace and did fartleks by feel (ie run fast to the next mailbox then jog to the end of the street & repeat lol)

Wednesday - No HIIT since I stayed out late the night before - bummer but sometimes life gets busy!

4 miles with running club that night! Had a Mama join me to run her first mile in 4 years so I pushed off my full speedwork instead doing 1 mile warm-up, 1 mile with Mama, 1 mile @ 7:50, 1 mile cool-down. Felt really good!

Thursday - off - ended up having breakfast with my dad!

Friday - 4 morning easy miles.

Saturday - 8 miles with a running club member joining me for 2 of them. It was super nice to have some company but it was still a very challenging run. Ended up being an 11:10 pace which is a bit slower than I would like to see.

Overall, I'm happy with the runs i've gotten in the past couple weeks. I do think I need to start lunch-time fitness again to help get some more strength training in. However, I'm proud of myself for making running a priority again even with all the other madness I have going on so I'll take what I can get.

Have a great day!


Monday, March 7, 2016

Eat Better, You'll FEEL Better...

Hey Guys, 

Eat better and you'll feel better isn't that what everyone always says?? I remember when I decided to become a vegetarian in college and every blog I read mentioned how much better you feel when you cut meat out. The problem was I never felt better, I felt the same. My weight stayed the same, my energy stayed the same, and I didn't get that skin glow everyone mentioned. 
fondue is a great dinner party idea to serve tons of veggies & meat!

Granted, I ate like crap. I ate tons and tons of processed foods because what the eff else was I suppose to do? I literally grew up on brats, hamburgers and fruit salad with tons of processed foods as snacks. When you take out the meat I had to replace it with SOMETHING. 

Fast forward a few years and I was bit by the 'eat clean, train mean' bug. I ordered protein shakes and was ready to go. Problem was, I still never got all this energy I was suppose to. I still felt sluggish, had a hard time focusing, and struggled through workouts. Isn't protein the answer to everything?? What was wrong with me. 

I started thinking I'd never get there...then I started learning about how important whole nutritious food is for your body (think like fruits, veggies, meats, nuts, etc aka THINGS  WITHOUT LABELS!) and I've slowly been on a path to eat better and better. A lot of processed foods are filled with filler ingredients - this bumps up the calorie count but unfortunately not the nutrition. Now that I'm getting the calories AND the vitamins and minerals I need my body does really notice! 

Juice has become an important part of my daily routine

We've also been great about going to the grocery store and staying stocked up on fruits, veggies, & nuts which makes snack time so much healthier. I realized at some point late last week that I finally made it, I finally feel better. I'm not sluggish, it's been super easy for me to study for hours at a time without losing focus, and I feel happier and more energetic. I've been waking up at 5am for morning workouts without a crash later in the day. Turns out all I had to do all those years ago was Just Eat Real Food (JERF baby!). 

Have a great Monday!!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Bayshore Training Outline

Hey Guys!

My next half-marathon is May 28th. I'm actually super duper excited about it because it's in Traverse City (my favorite!) and runs along the water for most of the course. We rented a house right on the water since it just so happened to fall on Memorial Day weekend so I'm so so so excited to be able to SUP, relax, and drink wine after running 13.1. Since we rented a whole house my sister, and good friend are coming with (and there's still room! - great deal for being the same price as a hotel!) and since the house is right on the race course I'm excited to see my people along the way :) 

So anyways I finally decided I need to stop running whatever I feel like whenever I feel like and come up with a more formal plan. My goal will be to update y'all weekly on my progress. I'm looking at running 5 days a week starting around 20 miles a week and reaching 36 miles a week. I'm adding in hills, tempos, and track workouts because I really want to break 2 hours. Who knows if it'll happen but it's a good goal for me to shoot for. 

I'm also going to include a HIIT workout each week, 3 days of weight training, and yoga every. damn. day. (note: this will look like 15-20 minutes of yoga each day with 1-2 days being a fuller 60 minute practice). This will be the best way for me to improve while remaining injury-free which is always my #1 goal!

Here's to hoping for a good training cycle and a spring PR!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Healthy Hack #4

Hey Guys, 

My Healthy Hack series is designed to give you little tidbits of advice to begin  making small, healthy, lifestyle changes. I truly think the best way to improve health, lose weight, and have increased energy is by eating whole-healthy food, getting regular exercise and loving yourself! So, instead of jumping into some crazy routine or new system I recommend slowly changing bad habits into good habits and enjoying the journey. Eventually you'll  find the right balance for you!

So my fourth healthy hack is to add something healthy into your diet instead of trying to cut something out. As you add more and more healthy habits your unhealthy habits will begin to disappear (I promise!). Feeling good and having more energy is VERY addicting and soon you'll cut out all the processed crap that doesn't leave you feeling great. 

It doesn't really matter what you add - perhaps a salad 4 days a week, or 1 serving of vegetables a day, or a serving of fruit a day - just pick something and focus on attaining your goal. Then, before you know it you'll have days where you don't need that 2:30 ice cream run because you're still satisfied from a healthy lunch. Or perhaps you won't grab the sugar-filled cereal/meal replacement shake in the morning because you ate a more nutritious breakfast. 
Morning smoothie with a side of juice!

If you can't think of something on your own I recommend trying my Blueberry-Hemp Green Smoothie!

Here's the recipe:

1-cup spinach/kale/swiss chard
1 - frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 tbsp hemp seeds
1/2 cup almond milk 

Blend until smooth!

I've been drinking a green smoothie every morning for about 6 months. It's a great way to get more greens in your diet (and I think we can all use more of those!). It was a little hard to get used to not eating something but it's super quick to throw together so I have no excuse to not make one. Plus, there's protein from the hemp seeds and sometimes I add chia seeds or flax seeds for an even bigger nutritional boost. You can also swap out the frozen fruit to change things up and find a recipe you like. Occasionally I'll add a half an avocado for a fat boost. 

The options really are endless and I think it's such a great breakfast! I promise you cannot taste the greens at all. If you try it, let me know what you think :) 

Have a beautiful day!