Wednesday, June 06, 2012

National Running Day!

Image from:

As many of you recall, I completed a half-marathon in November 2011.  Set a goal, got off the couch and made it happen.  It was like my personal couch-to-13.1 miles program.  It was an amazing accomplishment and I'm so proud of myself for doing it.  Since then, I haven't given a second thought about doing another one.  Yes, it was great, but I feel like I did it, so I don't need to do it again... until this last week or so.  I got to talking about my previous experience a bit and I realized that I need another goal and why not do it again!!  I'm working on a few things and planning to register for a couple events near the end of the year.

Since it is National Running Day, I thought I would share a few different event options for you that might get you into running/jogging/walking.  This worked for me (registering for an event and training for it), and got me motivated.  I still walk regularly (at least 3-4 miles per week) and I'm looking forward to building my mileage again to train for some events!

Side note:  I'm a walker.  I don't run.  I don't like running.  I have no desire to run.  I will, however, walk.  I very much enjoy it and did walk the entire 13.1 miles of the aforementioned half-marathon.  I'd love to do a post with some training suggestions/programs that I've used/looked into/researched but we all know how flaky I am about posting (sorry!) but here is one for walkers that I just came across today.  Looks to be a great resource!

Charity Walks:  These are great!  There are tons and tons all over the country that are available all year round.  Usually these walks are 3-5 miles, but I've seen some that are 10 or 30 - 60 miles over several days.  An wonderful way to get yourself in shape while you train, possibly raise money for a good cause, and have a great time! 
Example:  American Cancer Society Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk events - There are tons more!  Check with the charity of your choice or search online.  I'm looking to participate in a local charity event that is 3 days / 30 miles total in September.

5K or 10K races:  Once you are ready to get a little more distance or a little more speed, check local running groups / sports shops for 5K (3.1 miles) or 10K (6.2 miles) races.  Many cities have races like this around holidays or festivals.  You can usually get a t-shirt and sometimes a medal too (you know I love free stuff!)
Check out the Runner's World Race Finder (lists all types of races!)

Half and Full Marathons:  A half-marathon will cost you 13.1 miles of your life.. double that to 26.2 for the full.  Guess what?  It's not that horrible.  There are tons of races available all over the country for marathoners.  They usually have entertainment along the course and some fun event to celebrate at the end!  I found this a great way to train.  13 miles might seem like a lot, but it's so easily doable - walking or running!  Do watch out for time limits when you enter these events.  Know your pace per mile and understand what pace you have to keep to stay on the course.  Most that I have seen are 4 hours for the half and 7 hours for the full.  That means you need to keep an 18:30 minute mile for the half and 16 mins for the full.  You can do that!!
Example:  Rock 'N Roll Marathon Series (this is the race I did last year in Savannah - sign up today to save $20!).   Haven't decided if I will do this one again or if I will do the Lady's Speedstick Half that some friends are also doing.  Also, use the Runner's World Race finder listed above to find events.

Obstacle Course Races:  Need some stuff to get in your way while you run?  Try an obstacle race!  These races usually combine a 5K with various obstacles along the way.  Obstacles are usually designed based on military training and could be a challenge.  Full of dirt, mud and fun, seems like an awesome time.  I've been thinking about trying one of these, but don't have the guts (yet!!). 
Example:  Tough Mudder  Oh and there are ones with zombies too!

Triathlons:  Need more than just a run?  Want to swim and bike too?  You are ready for a triathlon.  With various distances, the triathlon includes a swim, cycle and run portion of the race.  Some are in open water near a lake, river or ocean and some are held at a pool.  These take lots of training but looks like lots of fun (I've spectated / volunteered a few, but haven't done one myself). 
Search online for triathlons here:  TriFind

So find a race and get registered and start training!  There are tons of options online for training programs.  There are APPS for that too!  Check out a local running group.  Oh and above all... get GOOD SHOES!  Find a store that will fit you and purchase good shoes.  It is totally worth investing $80-$100 for shoes that will support you and help you not get hurt!  Don't slack on that part.  GOOD SHOES!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Five

I'm going to try something new this Friday that hopefully I'll be able to stick with each week (no promises, but I'll try!).  I read a lot of articles every week about tons of topics like fitness and food and sustainability and technology and whatever else I might come across in a week.  I always want to share this info with everyone, but it's not usually a whole-post sort of thing.  So why not combine them together, right?  Here is the first installment of the Friday Five.

Five Packaged Foods You Never Need to Buy Again - A great article that I came across actually last week and I made stock last week too!  These are five items (soup, stock, hummus, canned beans, and cereal) that are super easy to make at home so that you will save a few dollars and lots of nutritional benefits (like less to no chemicals!).  It's a great starter list for anyone that is interested in more homemade options (like me)!

Save Vegetable Scraps for Stock  - In conjunction with making homemade stock last week, I did a little more digging and research.  I came across this post that has a great list of veggies and how to save scraps in the freezer.  I actually went out and bought brand new veggies to make stock, but now that I learned this method, there for sure is a freezer bag in my freezer!

Olympian Natalie Coughlin on food: Eat healthfully, but enjoy it - So happy to find this article, and super excited that it features Natalie Coughlin.  This is my take on eating in a nutshell.  Am I working hard at eating right and healthy?  Yes.  Do I splurge sometimes and get 'bad' foods?  Yes.  I'm not going to restrict myself so much that I'm miserable, but I'm sure paying attention to what goes in my body always. Lots of good foods... always!

Cage free vs. pasture raised - A quick article that talks about eggs.  We've covered these options before and I really like the 'pasture raised' option.  Oh.. and the pictures are awesome.

The 5-Step Plan to Success after Failing - I've recently discovered the Nerd Fitness website and it's really cool.  To me, it seems like real info, with a bit of humor, but not bullshit.  Straight-up, here is how it is.  They have a large community base too so it might be something you will be further interested.  This article is awesome.  Everyone fails and everyone needs a pick-me-up.  These are great tips on how to get back on track and succeed.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Chickpea Stew

Mediterranean Chickpea Stew

I posted this a couple weeks ago on my personal Facebook page, and since, I'm back into the blogging world, wanted to share with you.  This has become an almost weekly staple meal at our house. This is another easy, almost one pot, meal that makes enough for a feast and only takes about 30-40 minutes.  Swing by the grocery store on your way home from work and pick-up the ingredients for dinner tonight.

Bonus:  It's vegan!
Recipe here:

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Fitness Recap and Reflections

When I changed my diet to pescetarianism in January 2011, it only took a few months for me to realize that there were other aspects of my life that I could change as well.  Since April 2011, when I got off the couch, my fitness regime consisted of stepping and other small exercises on the Wii Fit, work outs on the iPhone app Nike Training Club (NTC), and then weekly power walks in preparation for a half-marathon.  Combined with my pescetarian diet and calorie counting (thanks to the LoseIt! iPhone app), I was able to lose about 25 lbs from April through August.  August through November, I didn't do too much exercise except for those weekly training walks.  I still watched my calorie intake and kept mainly with the pescetarian diet, but I wasn't pushing myself physically.

I mentioned a few months ago that a friend and I were going to complete the Savannah Rock 'n' Roll Half-Marathon in November... well we did!  It was an awesome experience, but torturous at the same time.  We walked the entire 13.1 miles and I won't lie, it was rough.  The day was great as a whole though.  The race started on Bay Street downtown Savannah and at 530 am in November, it's not warm.  We froze our asses off until it was our corral's turn to start (corral 25 mind you.. the last one).  Then we were off.  We kept our pace the entire way and finished right where we (well I at least) had expected at just under 3:30.  My body for sure knew that it had never walked that far before (10 miles was the longest training walk we did in advance) but we held in there and finished!  I was so proud and exhausted and hungry!  Still not sure if I ever want to do it again.... but we'll see.

The following week, I got back into swimming.  Possibly the best decision I could have made on my continued journey for health, fitness and weight loss.  I started swimming competitively at the age of 6 and did so through 18. And then I stopped.  As soon as I graduated high school, I never got back into the water, until November.  A friend (who happens to also be my boss) invited me along to swim with her and some other friends (all amazing women and triathletes) to swim at the US Masters swim practice one morning at 5:30 am.  As soon as I got back in the water, I felt at home.

Well, ok, not immediately.  The work-outs are generally about 3000 yards and it took me just about a whole month to get to where I could finish them.  It wasn't until the first week in January that I was finishing them successfully (watching my intervals, actually building, etc).  It was that moment when I felt like I was an athlete.  I've been swimming 3 days a week and just love it.  I'm so glad I got back into the water.  I joined the Master team and I set a personal goal for myself to swim at least 250 miles this year.  My new swimming friends have also almost got me convinced to compete in a triathlon (the swimming leg of a relay) in March. Wow... never thought that I would ever be at a place in my life that I would say that.

I described myself the other day as a recovering couch potato.  I've also told people that I don't take for granted that there is still a fat kid inside me (I powered through two.. yes.. two.. Krispy Kreme donuts on Wednesday).  Although not the most positive outlook, those too ideas keep me moving and motivated.  There's no short cuts or excuses and only accountability, consequences and successes.  I'm looking to beef up my workouts (more swimming and additional land training in between) in the coming weeks and hopefully make 2012 just as successful.

Friday, February 03, 2012

More Apps!

Image Source: The Next Web

In a sort of mind reading (or blog reading) move, The Next Web published an article that goes hand in hand with my previous post!  Ohh, I'm a trend setter apparently.

Sacarsm aside, the article from the Next Web covers 10 fitness apps that will reshape your workout and shares some really great apps.  They've got LoseIt and Nike Training Club and a bunch more that I'm excited to check out.  Do make sure before you pay for any of these apps, that you look at the images in iTunes and read the reviews.  It appears some aren't as awesome as they may initially seem (in some people's opinions). 

I'd love to hear your feedback on any of these apps if you have tried or when you do try them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...