Finding your pace


I think one of the hardest parts of starting a new fitness program is finding the right pace. More often than not we sprint out of the gate and wind up gassed and resentful of the exercise.

When I’m teaching class, I can always spot a new student over doing it. Sometimes this person leaves during class and sometimes they stick it out looking increasingly frustrated. Often when I see this, I give my running example to class.

Before I began running, I’d randomly hop on the treadmill and just start increasing the speed. After a minute, I’d think “I’m faster than this” and start increasing speed. Very quickly I was gassed and hated running. It was stupid, I wasn’t good at it and clearly, I wasn’t meant to run.

OR, my approach was totally defeatist! When I decided to truly give running a chance; I did a lot of research and decided to start with intervals. I walked for 2 minutes and ran for 1. In the beginning my run was too fast, but I was determined so I slowed down the run on the next interval and surprise – found a speed I could maintain. Who knew?

Over time, I learned how to find my pace. This doesn’t mean I didn’t get faster. My pace has certainly changed over time. I’ve been faster and slower, but I learned how to adjust and find where I need to be.

How does this relate to strength training? Almost the exact same way! It’s important to pick up a weight or choose an exercise that challenges you to start, but makes it hard on your last rep. If your first rep feels really hard, your tenth will be impossible and odds are you won’t like it. 

Whenever you enter a class or workout, look at the options and pick the right one for you. There is a lot of trial and error that goes into it and that’s ok. The idea is to not give up and find your personal sweet spot. It will make exercise that much more enjoyable because, yes – it should be mostly enjoyable!

Do you struggle with finding your pace? What helps get you on track?

Why I race!

Surprise, it’s not to win ๐Ÿ˜‰

I like goals

I do well with external motivation and races provide it in spades. You have to keep up some form of training. This becomes internal motivation as you go, but it is having a deadline and set distance that gets you started. There is also the group of people lining up with you at the start. Sometimes this gets you going a little too fast, but it often shows you what you’re capable of!

Sense of community

As you know, I love running with my husband, kids and friends; but we also see friends before and after running. As we’ve been doing it for a while, we now see many familiar faces and have made new friends along the way. At my pace, there’s always other people around and you build relationships along the course.

Accomplishment

There is nothing like crossing a finish line! Hopefully there are people cheering, and a nice big clock showing your time. This always fuels that last kick as you come across the finish. Knowing that line (and clock) are waiting for you really keeps you going. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small race or a big one, the finish still represents the end of a goal.

Celebration

Let’s be honest, a post race beer is extra delicious; but it doesn’t always happen. Many times we have obligations or the race is super early in the day. There is still plenty of celebrating at the finish line. There are high fives and lots of congratulating. Everyone crossing the finish has met a goal. For some it may not be the time they were hoping for, but crossing the finish is still something to celebrate!

Honestly, it’s fun!! I love everything about it. Sometimes I get a little cranky about it and then I get to the race and am re-energized immediately! If you’ve always wanted to try a race, go for it (with your doctors permission) and remember to soak in the whole experience ๐Ÿ˜Š

Have you participated in a race?  What’s your favorite part?

Hyannis Marathon, Half & 10k ~ Recap

I must admit, I don’t know where to begin with this recap – there are so many emotions and stories! I guess I should just start at the beginning. After running the trilogy last year, my husband placed in the top ten and qualified for free entry in all three races this year.  

After lack luster (to put it mildly) training for the last race in October, I wasn’t too sure about doing it again. In the name of support and having a goal, I decided to join him again.

As the race approached, I read my recap from last year and felt that my training was actually pretty good. The weather looked great again and I started to get excited for race day. We met up with our friend to collect out trilogy jackets at the race expo and the excitement went to a new level.The buzz around this race is contagious!! You can’t help but get pumped! You know this is true because my friend spontaneously signed up for the 10k! I was through the roof to have a friend run with me!!

We got to the race nice and early as parking can be a challenge and enjoyed amazing people watching (one of my favorite activities ๐Ÿ˜‰). There are so many different types of people at this race. It is one of (if not the) last qualifiers for Boston. This means there are a lot of serious runners looking for great times. There are also lots of half marathoners training for Boston or accomplishing New Years resolutions.

As we were sitting there, the Hoyt’s came in and started getting ready. I don’t think there can be anything more inspiring! It really is such a treat to see them in person and know how much running has done for them and others!

We met up with a few other friends and headed to the start. My friend revealed her “Roger That” t-shirt during pre-race photos and I can assure you it was a huge hit along the course. I’m pretty sure it must be what it’s like to run with a celebrity. One of the college kids volunteering along the course even threw her a football around mile 3. Of course, I wasn’t paying attention and almost took it to the face, but I didn’t and she made an Edelman catch ๐Ÿ˜‰.

My friend hadn’t had the opportunity to train as extensively – because life happens. We decided to have fun and take it all in. I know she was a little frustrated and wanted me to go ahead, but I reminded her that I had talked her into it. I was so happy to have company!!

We finished and found out my husband had his best time – he was pretty excited. The three of us had some water and decided to go grab lunch. After battling our way out and getting to the restaurant we discovered my husband had won his division and the awards ceremony was about to start. Back to the race we went and luckily made it just in time for the awards ceremony. Here he is collecting his trophy from Frank Shorter (who won the Olympic gold medal for the Marathon in 1972 and silver in 1976).

We were doubly lucky to have gone back as they held up a found car key. Yup, it belonged to our group! It had fallen out of an arm strap designed to hold your phone and wait for it, key ๐Ÿ˜‰. Luckily all is well that ends well.After collecting his award and the key, we went to the after party for a post run beer ๐Ÿ˜Š. It seems crazy to think I was considering not running. The day was everything I hoped for and I’m already looking forward to the next one!!

Why I’m loving crock-pot prep sessionsย 


We all know I love my crock-pot, but now, I might love it even more ๐Ÿ˜ณ. For a while I’ve seen the idea of freezing dinners and then simply cooking it when you need it. Somehow, this seemed like a lot of effort! Life has been busy and it seemed prudent to try! Now, I can’t stop! 

I don’t use them everyday, but I like knowing I have options. For example, I don’t need them this week, but made a few to save for a later date. Spring is usually nutty around here through the beginning of summer. Seems you can’t go wrong with some dinners ready and waiting.

A few reasons I haven’t prepped much in the past…

The mess, yup, I said it. I hate cleaning up a big mess in the kitchen. It takes away from any easiness if I’m spending a lot of time cleaning up.

Time, let’s be honest when you’re running from activity to activity all over the state for sports there isn’t a magical afternoon to prep away. It can be a feat in itself to get to the grocery store and laundry done.

Lack of options (this is a little more crock-pot specific). Don’t get me wrong, I like soups as much as the next person but I don’t need my freezer to be full of only soups.

The last thing I feel like doing after prepping is making dinner. I’m ready to call it a day!

How did I change my mind….I tried it

It really was that simple. I had been following Kelly from New Leaf Wellness for years and her post with several prep sessions (find it here) happened to come across my feed at the right time. The recipes looked appealing, easy and healthy.

I love that she uses frozen vegetables and broadened my horizon to different options such as pre-mixed bags, California blend and stir-fry blend. It doesn’t get much easier AND ITS CHEAPER.

You’re not spending a ton of time chopping vegetables and there’s no mess, win-win! I also love that at least one serving of veggies is done, I don’t have to think about it.

This week I threw one of the prepped dinners in the crock-pot so I didn’t have to cook dinner when I was done. It was so easy, I could have made dinner, but it was nice to have the option!

So far, everyone has eaten the dinners with minimal complaint and it has been a game changer for us!

Have you tried prepping dinners?  What’s your favorite recipe?

Pros and cons of fitness challenges

For this post, I’m going to talk about fitness challenges, but eating challenges/cleanses fall in the same category ๐Ÿ˜‰

Over the years, I have participated in a few different challenges. Everything from a set number of miles in a month to doing a yoga pose everyday. As I was participating in this year’s winter warrior challenge, I got to thinking about why I love these challenges. This also led me to think about the downside too. Here are the pros and cons I came up with…

PROS

Support

To me, this is one of the most important aspects of a challenge. It is pretty easy to get your family and friends behind you for thirty days. Think about it, everyone nods their head knowingly when you say “I have to get in my mile for the challenge I’m participating in”. There is general acceptance to a challenge.

Accountability 

Challenges often have built-in accountability. Normally, you have to log your miles somewhere or take a photo. This automatically makes you accountable to yourself and others. I often joke about the winter warrior shirt, but it truly gets me out there on the super yucky days.

Deadline 

There is an end in sight. It’s easy to convince yourself to do something for a set amount of time. There is nothing like counting down to the end. 

CONS

It ends

Yup, the deadline is a double-edged sword. We know there is an end and no matter how much we think we’ll keep that habit going, statistically it doesn’t happen. Last year I thought I’d keep getting a mile in outside – until it snowed. There was no external motivation. That’s why we have treadmills right ๐Ÿ˜‰

OK, every con I think of really comes down to the fact the challenge ends and we go back to our old habits. With that being said, I keep coming back to the idea we get great support for a challenge, but it’s difficult to continue that everyday. 

How do we change that? Why can’t we simply say, I go for a walk everyday and leave it at that? Truly, it comes down to our own ideas about what is ok. If we are confident in our need to walk everyday, those around us will accept it. It’s funny how confidence plays a major role in many aspects of our lives.

Most of us struggle in large social gatherings, talking about our successes in interviews and owning our choices. Perhaps the answer is taking the confidence from the challenge forward. Learning how to be unapologetic about taking time for ourselves to do what we need for our physical and mental health. 

Do you participate in challenges? What do you consider to be pros and cons?

5 Ways to Use Herbs

I love fresh herbs! I try to keep them in jars on the counter, making the house smell good as they wait to be used.

Marinades

I LOVE using fresh herbs in marinades, but admittedly I do this more in the summer when they are abundant in my garden. Recently, I’ve been trying to get in the habit of using them during the winter.

Here are two of my favorites:

Cilantro lime chicken (I added some minced garlic)

Garlic roasted chicken with rosemaryย – I often use this as a base for marinades too – sometimes I use thyme or oregano and then grill the chicken (no broth or wine for marinating)

Salads

Herbs are delicious on salads. I had seen people say this and actually tried it by accident. We love it! You can also use them to make salad dressing ๐Ÿ™‚

Toppings

Cilantro is always a go-to on tacos or anything Mexican. Of course you can sprinkle basil and/or parsley on many different dishes. You can even put them on your eggs!

Pestos

Basil is usually the king of pesto, but you can also use parsley or cilantro. I’ve even seen recipes that use a mix of herbs, as in whatever you have hanging around ๐Ÿ˜‰

Salsas

Here cilantro reigns supreme, but other herbs can be used too. I’ll throw bruschetta in this category too, just because it’s tomatoes and basil. This is another great way to add fruit or veggies and herbs to your meal.

Looking for ideas? Check out my Pinterest board with dressings, pestos and salsasย here

How do you incorporate herbs in your cooking?

Have a back-up plan!

One of the hardest parts about transitioning to healthier habits is recovering when life throws you a curve ball. We’ve all had days where our lunch is sitting at home or work ran late and we missed our class at the gym.

The key here is knowing it’s ok – life happens! It’s generally easier to feel that way when we have a back-up plan.

Maybe it’s as simple as making the better choice when ordering your replacement lunch. Another option is having healthy snacks stashed that can carry you through or at least fill you up a little before being tempted by the menu.

A tough one to plan for is exercise. To be fair, this is an area I can struggle with. It can be hard to rally when a friend cancels or the meeting at work runs long. This is another great time to make the better choice. Maybe it’s getting in a walk or using an online workout at home.

It’s important to remember anything is better than nothing and the more things you try – the more options you will have. It’s a lot easier to do an online workout in place of a class if you’ve found one you enjoy or stash healthy snacks if you’ve found one that you like.

On the other hand, it can also be an opportunity to try something new. Maybe it forces you to grab a new food or try that machine at the gym that’s always scared you (yet intrigued you ๐Ÿ˜‰).

Regardless of what you choose, don’t let an off day derail you!

Do you have a backup plan?