Fitness Adventures for the Soul

Long time no see! I have been a little MIA lately since the Holidays are a busy time of the year. All of you can relate I am sure. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas with friends and family.  Mine was fabulous! The Bear and I kicked off the season with a quick trip up Mt. Wilson to see the city lights.
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It was beautiful!!!

On Christmas Eve my mom and brother came up to Pasadena for dinner. The four of us walked around The LA Arboretum to burn off a few of the calories we were about to consume.

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We even saw a few peacocks. They are a common sight at The Arboretum.

The Bear and I have a tradition to open gifts on Christmas Eve instead of on Christmas morning. It’s great and makes Christmas morning a little less stressful prepping for the day. I received a LOT of fitness gear this year!!!
imageIf you have been following me on Instagram, you know I have been putting my new fitness gear to good use lately.

There was running…
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image and cycling!
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imageA funny thing happened since my first triathlon! For some reason my Instagram followers tripled and I am not complaining! I have gotten a ton of triathlon advice and even met a few new friends. I might be the only weirdo who meets people from IG. Though I am glad I did because I now have a new triathlon Jedi Master, who shared with me a ton of new tips and tricks! (Be smart! If you meet a stranger from the internet, do it in a populated area!)

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Finally, the Bear and I went shooting for the first time. About a year ago, I finally gave in and let the Bear get a few guns. Don’t worry, they are safely taken care of and properly locked up.
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No animals were hurt in the making of this photo. :)

Questions: How were your Holidays? Did you try anything new this season? 

 

Merry Christmas & Jen’s Vanilla Extract

Hello my fabulous friends! I hope you all are enjoying a little time off work and are surrounded by family and good friends. Tonight will be the first time I make Christmas Eve dinner for my family! Obviously I am super excited as we have already established that I get excited over the small things in life.

Well I have nothing worthy to blog about today, so I thought I would share with you a recipe from the talented Jen Montgomery, you may remember Jen from my website logo redesign. I was fortunate enough to receive homemade vanilla extract from Jen and her husband for Christmas. Let me tell you… I have not been more excited about a gift in a long time.  There were so many recipes rolling through my head when I received the gift.

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Be sure to check out her recipe here!  Being the graphic designer that Jen is, she created lovely labels that you can print from home too! These little bottles make the perfect gift for any time of the year and it turns out vanilla extract is actually simple to make!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Target Practice Friday #23

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

Woo! Lucky number 23! Hopefully this is a good Traget Practice because that is my favorite number. Why is 23 my lucky number? Well first off, I was born on the 23rd. Though I also like all combinations of 23. For example, 5 (2+3=5) was my jersey number in lacrosse and softball. But mostly I just like the oddity of it! Enough about numbers already… let’s dig into Target Practice.

Marathon – Saturday started with an 8 mile run that was somewhat on the slow side for me. I was super sore from my workout the Thursday before, so I took it easy. Luckily I met a very nice girl at Team NutriBullet who I chatted with for the entire run.  I also ran 3.5 miles on Tuesday, 3 miles last night, and hopefully I will get another 3 miles in today before our long run tomorrow.  Total miles this week: 17.5… not quite my 30 mile goal!

Improve Pace - One of the 3 mile runs was on the treadmill, so I worked on interval training. I really need to start experimenting with hill drills and tempo runs though.  Megan  posted a speedwork routine that I really want to try out next week.

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Handstand – Just working on those abs so that one day I will move this away from the wall… oh the longing!
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Crow poses might help with handstand training!

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Thing 2 thinks she is helping, but she is pretty freakin adorable!

Eating Clean - HA HA HA my eats were horrible this week. I had three holiday parties, so there was pizza, cookies, Chinese food, and cupcakes.  I tried to make up for the unhealthy lunches with very clean breakfast and dinner meals. All week I started the day out right with a NutriBullet smoothie and ended the day with veggies and protein. My body hasn’t completely revolted, so I think this strategy is working!
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Happy Holidays!!! :-)

Chocolatey Peppermint Protein Bark

I must admit that I have been somewhat of a scourge this season. I am probably the only person who doesn’t have a Christmas tree yet. For some reason I haven’t gotten into the holiday spirit, but I am trying! I even whipped out some of the decorations last weekend! The stockings are hung but the chestnuts are definitely not roasting. However, I did make chocolate peppermint protein bark!

IMG_6687-pOH MY GOSH!!! This recipe is so simple yet oh-so-delicious. Instead of giving out cookies, I might have to give out protein bark. Is that weird? Probably. It’s just that good!

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Chocolatey Peppermint Protein Bark
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 16
 

Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup vanilla protein powder (I used brown rice)
  • 2 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips
  • 8 crushed peppermint candies
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 drops of stevia

Instructions
  1. In a small bowl whisk together all the ingredients.
  2. Taste for sweetness and flavor. You may want to add a few more drops of stevia or a teaspoon of cocoa powder.
  3. Pour the mixture into a 8×8 inch square baking pan lined with cling wrap.
  4. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  5. Once frozen, break the bark into chunks and enjoy!
  6. Store the protein bark in an airtight container in the fridge.

IMG_6675-pI made a batch of this protein bark on Friday while the Bear was at work. After settling in after arriving home from work, the Bear went to the fridge for a pre-dinner snack. From the kitchen I hear, “Hey babe, this peppermint bark is really good!” Even the Bear, who absolutely despises protein powder, loved this recipe!!! He couldn’t tell there was protein powder in it! I knew I had a winner! (I get excited over the small things… pardon the exclamation marks!)

IMG_6681-pSometimes when I am unsure of a recipe it turns out to be one of my best, yet when I am pumped about a recipe it turns out to be a disaster. It’s funny how that happens…this recipe was a happy surprise. I hope you enjoy it!

Question: When was the last time you were surprised by how a recipe turned out?

 

Breaking News: All Victoria’s Secret Sport Bras are $25!

Yes, you read that correctly! All of Victoria’s Secret Sport Bras are on sale for $25 in stores right now!
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My evening went a little something like this…

7:00 p.m. – My friend Brittan sent me a text about the must-go-to sale.

7:30 p.m. – Texted all my friends about the sale.

7:45 p.m. – Jumped in my car to the nearest VS.

8:00 p.m. – Tried on about ten different bras

8:30 p.m. – Bought a few fabulous sport bras and one kissable sweater!

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This is definitely an impromptu post as I don’t normally write about sales of any kind (maybe Lulu Warehouse Sales), but Victoria’s Secret makes some of the best sport bras in the business. Seriously, they are the best maximum support bras out there!

I asked three different VS reps about how long the sale would last and received three different answers: (1) I don’t know (2) All week (3) Possibly until Christmas Eve. So I’m saying there is a chance… this sale will last for a while!

Happy Shopping!

Team NutriBullet LA Marathon: Running Form ABC’s

Guess what?! I was offered a spot on Team NutriBullet to train for the LA Marathon. During this series I will share my running progress and nutrition until race day on March 9. I hope you follow my journey to my first full marathon!
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Ever since I started running back in March, I have been worried about running injuries. Being the Type A girl that I am, I quickly researched YouTubed correct running form. Now that I am running a marathon with Team Nutribullet, I am thankful our running coach, John who founded the West LA running group Shaka Runners, reinforces correct form.
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During Team NutriBullet’s orientation two weekends ago, John showed us the ABCs of running form – Align your posture, Balance your foot landing, and Count your cadence. I absolutely loved how John broke it down into something so easy to remember.

Align your posture: One trick that John showed us to eliminate bending at the waist while running is to center your body over your feet and interlock your fingers while raising your arms above your head. Another tip that John suggested was to keep your chin parallel with the ground while keeping your eye on the horizon. One problem I tend to have is looking down on the ground, which causes me to bend at the waist. I also swing my arms across my zipper line which is a big no-no when it comes to keeping good posture.
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Balance your foot landing: To prevent injury it’s important to balance your foot landing. You want your foot to land flat on the ground beneath your hip to diffuse the shock of impact, this is called a mid-foot strike. John suggests one way to familiarize yourself with balancing foot landing is by marching in place. This is probably the best advice John has given us because I have seen many runners miss races due to heel strike injuries.

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Count your cadence: The ideal cadence, the total number of steps that you take per minute, is 180 which is about 3 steps per second. You want your strides to stay short and quick to avoid unnecessary impact on your joints. John used a metronome to set a 180 BPM while we ran during orientation. However, you can count your cadence easily by counting how many steps your right foot takes in 15 seconds. Then multiple that number by 4 to get your total number of steps per minute. I recommend doing this during treadmill running.

Since most of you are runners, you probably already know a lot of these tips and tricks but I just love the way John broke down each of these rules. While running 8 miles with the team last Saturday, I found I kept reminding myself of John’s ABC’s, and I am sure that I’ll be grateful once I hit the 20 mile mark!
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 Apparently running form is funny too!

 Question(s): How do you maintain running form? What’s your favorite running tip?

Target Practice Friday #22

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

Welcome to Friday my friend! Normally I don’t talk much about my strength training on Target Practice Friday because it’s typically a normal routine two or three times a week. However, last night something happened that hasn’t happened in a long time. I lost my motivation! I struggled through my personal training session and it’s not because the routine was any more difficult or challenging. I was just in a funk! I knew I would feel better after the burpee-pushups, squats, lunges, sprints, etc. but the hour could not be over soon enough. This just goes to show that even self proclaimed “fitness addicts” have bad days too! The important thing is to not let this attitude become a regular and jump right back on the bandwagon. :)

Triathlon - I completed my first triathlon last Sunday and it was one of the best experiences of my life. You can read about it here! While I foresee hundreds of triathlons in my future, I am crossing this one off the list for now because I need to focus on marathon training. :)
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Marathon - As you know, I am now training for the LA Marathon with Team Nutribullet. I am still nervous about running 26 miles, but I couldn’t be more pumped about it either! Training started on Saturday with a 6 mile run in the rain.  I also ran 3 miles on Tuesday and 2 miles on Wednesday.  My goal for the next three months is to increase my running days during the week.  My half-ironman/half alien marathoner friend suggested I run 6 times a week for a total of 30 miles a week, so that means a lot of short runs and one long run! Time to step it up!

Improve Pace - While I didn’t do any speed work this week, I feel like my comfortable pace has improved! I may not be a 10 minute miler anymore!!! Time will tell…
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Handstand - I feel like this is the longest target I have had on the list besides improving pace. Why are handstands so hard!!! I am still determined to move away from the wall with handstands, but I did experiment with a new V handstand this week. Fun stuff!
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Eating Clean - With all the Holiday parties this week, my eats were questionable.  There were a few cookies and chocolate and breakfast potatoes! Eeek! I made up for all that badness with some Nutribullet goodness! Recipes should be coming soon!

Have a great weekend!!!

Tinsel Triathlon

So I did my first Triathlon on Sunday!!! It was oh-so-much fun! Naturally the Bear and I arrived 2 hours before the race. I always like to get to races bright and early to set up the transition area and reduce pre-race stresses.

IMG_6650-s(Race photos are thanks to the Bear once again!)

Sunday morning was literally freezing in the low 30s! That’s ice cold for this Southern California girl. Since it was so cold, I had a last minute wardrobe change from my tri shorts/tank to tri shorts/sports bra/jacket. I was so thankful for the jacket!

After setting up my transition zone, I waited patiently (Instagramed) for an hour before the speed skaters started their race. Oh! Did I mention there was a half marathon speed skate!? It was so cool to see all the skaters. Before you know it, I’ll probably be doing that too!

IMG_6561-sThirty minutes after the speed skaters, it was tri time! As I mentioned when I signed up for the race, this was a reverse sprint triathlon, so it started with a 5k run, 12 mile bike (really 14 miles!), and 150 meter swim. The race started out strong with my second fastest mile ever (8:09) and my fastest 5k (26:53)!

IMG_6578-s IMG_6598-sThe transition almost went smoothly from the run to the bike, but my gears slipped as I got on the bike. Total amateur move for not checking this beforehand, but I had everything under control within 5 seconds. The bike ride was long and hard for me. I hadn’t been focusing on cycling since my last duathlon in September. BIG mistake! I struggled through the 12 mile ride, which really turned out to be 14 miles. Not to make excuses but I was having serious runny nose problems (TMI?) due to the cold. Note to self: always have tissues or a rag at the transition area. I could hardly breath during the bike ride. Lesson learned for next time.

IMG_6607-sTransition two went well. I quickly dismounted from my bike, ran to my swim gear, and removed my jacket and shoes. I threw on my cap and goggles as I ran to the pool. The swim went so quickly. (I should have picked a triathlon with a longer swim but to my defense, there aren’t many triathlons in the winter). All I remember about the swim, is that the pool was really, really warm. It felt amazing and was the perfect way to finish the race! My total, unofficial, time for the race was 1:27:19! Not bad for my first triathlon!

IMG_6636-s IMG_6669-sDuring the race, I noticed a few things: (1) I was passed by two kids under the age of 8 and a lady with only one foot during the 5k run. (2) There aren’t enough young females doing triathlons. I am making it my mission to get more females involved in triathlons. At first I was intimidated by the three sports, but they aren’t scary at all. ANYONE can and should train for a triathlon. They are so much fun! (3) You don’t need a triathlon bike to get into this sport, or even a road bike. I saw hundreds of mountain/hybrid bikes on the course.

I definitely have the triathlon bug! The next race cannot come sooner, but now is the time to focus on my first full marathon. Not to worry though… I have a list of summer triathlons planned out. And I am most definitely doing a 70.3 Ironman in the future!

Team NutriBullet: LA Marathon

Surely all of you are on the edge of your seat waiting to hear what my big secret is! ;) Hah! I decided to spill the beans before my triathlon recap because I can’t wait anymore! I was offered a spot on Team NutriBullet to train for the LA Marathon! I KNOW! I must have lost my frakin’ mind! 26.2 miles, here I come!

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It all started after the Las Vegas half, when my friend Gaby, who you may remember from my first half marathon, contacted me to join the team with her. I thought about it for maaaaaaaaybe an hour and decided I had to throw my name in the hat. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity after all! Plus, I love the NutriBullet brand.

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Last weekend I found out that my friend Gaby and I were picked for Team NutriBullet, who is sponsoring more than 70 people to run the LA Marathon while taking part in a NutriBullet-a-day diet. For the next three months, we will meet every Saturday to train as a group. Team NutriBullet, affiliated with the running group Shaka Runners, also offer Monday recovery runs, Tuesday and Thursday strength training sessions, and a free NutriBullet. I was joking with my friend Gaby that I am only running 26 miles for a free NutriBullet… that’s only half true… I’m also a little nuts.

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Last Saturday Team NutriBullet met for “orientation.” We had a quick health check, learned the correct way to run, and ran our first 6 miles (in the rain) to kick off training!

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I must admit that I got a little emotional thinking about my running journey.  In March of 2013, I started training for my first race ever, the Pasadena 10k, and now I will be running my first FULL marathon in March of 2014.  It has been an amazing year filled with all types of races, but I cannot think of a better way to celebrate my RUNiversary than by running the LA Marathon! I am just so happy and thankful and excited and filled with emotion.

I hope you join me on this new journey as I plan to post my progress in a new series: Team NutriBullet LA Marathon!

Target Practice Friday #21

borrowed stole the idea for the Target Practice Friday series from the ladies over at Fit.Fun.Femme.  I do things a little differently, but ultimately it’s where I share my progress on my short term goals, a.k.a targets.

We made it to Friday! Score! Something has been eating me alive that I really want to share with y’all. I have been dropping a few hints here and there but I have decided to wait. I want it to be a big surprise! So stay tuned!

Triathlon - Swimming is going really well. I swam an entire mile while counting laps. It turns out I am definitely not as fast as my watched claimed.
imageThat’s okay because I swam a respectable 35 minute mile. (Ignore the crazy hair below!)
imageI also got in some brick training with a run/bike combo last night. I am feeling ready for the triathlon this weekend! Actually, I sort of wish I picked one with a harder swim. Next time!

imageImprove Pace - There wasn’t much interval training this week but I did get in a 30 minute session on the treadmill.

Handstand - I am still working on my abs so I can hold a handstand away from the wall. One day I will hold it and it will be glorious! Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit!

Eating Clean - My eats have been pretty clean this week. Since some Canadian air decided to come to town, it has been freezing in LA this week. Perfect weather for lots and lots of soup! And maybe a salad or two.

imageSalami and Kale salad from Tender Green’s. I am obsessed! And yes, it does look like a salad hat!

I have a big weekend ahead of me! My excitement can’t be contained for my first triathlon and one more thing…more on that later. :)