Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivation Monday - Good Things



What's something you've gone out and gotten recently?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fun for Friday - High Fiving the Polar Vortex

Happy Friday!

My friend Angela at Happy Fit Mama does a High 5 Friday post each week. I thought I'd do a version of that for my Fun for Friday post.

Here are the 5 things I'm High Fiving this week:

1. More Sunrises 

 

I am so glad I chose to head straight down towards the river Thursday Morning. The sun was still low in the sky, but you can see it peeking through the Clinton Bridge and casting a pink and purple glow. How can you not stop and take a picture of something like that?

2. Polar Vortex

Seriously, a Polar Vortex in July? First off, I had never heard of such a thing until this winter. But it's most definitely in full effect here right now. We are breaking records right and left this year with our unusually cooler weather with lowest lows and lowest highs.

Normally we would be in the upper 90s with heat indices in the 100s (like last week). Yesterday we barely hit 71 degrees, today it's forecast for 73. Um, that's the high not the low. That's just insane.

Now, Runner Heather is loving these cool temps (and getting spoiled). But Real Heather is a bit sad that the pool is now too cold to enjoy.

3.  Dining Outdoors (thanks to Polar Vortex)


Seriously, this time of year it's rare to be able to sit outside for dinner comfortably. But we took full advantage of the Polar Vortex and dined outside. I had grilled up tomatoes from our garden with bell peppers then made them into a grilled marinara type of sauce. I served that over grilled tempeh (which I had simmered in a garlic and tomato sauce) and grilled eggplants (from the garden). There is something so relaxing about dinning outdoors.

4. 10 Mile Midweek Run



Amy and I got in a 10-mile run Wednesday morning. The temps were hovering around 65 degrees with lower humidity. It was great not having a soupy long run for a change. I do wonder if she's trying to kill me some days though, we ended up with an 8:09 average. She "blames" it on the cooler weather.

5. Patio Reading



I took full advantage of the cooler weather by sitting out on the patio reading after work. Have I mentioned that we're having insanely unseasonable weather?

What have you been enjoying this week? 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thursday Things - Brown Rice Crackers


A couple of weeks ago I came home to a fabulous treat on my porch. The wonderful people at Food Should Taste Good had sent me a box of goodies to try out. I mean, who doesn't love to come home to a tasty surprise like that?

In the box, I found boxes of their new Brown Rice Crackers. Flavors included are: Peppercorn Blend, Roasted Red Bell Pepper, Sea Salt and Tomato & Basil.



I am admittedly a chip addict. I guess I tend to crave that satisfying crunch you get from a chip. Now, we all know chips aren't typically a healthy snack. So when you can find a brand like Food Should Taste Good that makes a more wholesome chip, you get pretty excited.

But now they're upping the ante a bit with their new gluten-free crackers. They are similar to their line of chips in that they're full of flavor, and fun flavor combos, and they're nice and crispy. While the chips make for awesome dipping, these crackers are great vessels for topping. Think wheat thin style crackers, only healthier and more flavorful.

Here's an example of the ingredients you will see (this was for the Roasted Red Bell Pepper crackers)
Whole Grain Brown Rice Flour, Brown Sugar, Rice Flour, High Oleic Canola Oil, Sesame Seed, Dried Red Bell Peppers, Corn Starch, Quinoa Seeds, Amaranth Seeds, Onion Powder, Dried Garlic, Sea Salt, Rosemary Extract.
As you can see, not too shabby of a list. I mean, you can pronounce all of the ingredients and can also recognize the ingredients. They are also significantly lower in sodium and fat than comparable thin crackers.

So, if you're like me and crave crunchy treats from time-to-time, I think you'll love these.

Do you crave crunchy snacks? What are your favorite chips or crackers?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tips for Adding in More Movement in Your Day


Let's face it, we all lead busy lives. Sometimes being "too busy" can be an excuse for many things like not fitting in exercise or making it a point to eat healthier meals.

In an age where there tends to be a glorification of busy - you know, almost bragging about how busy someone is - I think we are overlooking the bigger issues of being "too busy" especially when it comes to our health and well-being.

I think that there is often a misconception that when someone is getting in daily workouts, that they must somehow have extra time. My answer to that is that no one just has the time, they make the time. Somehow, some way, they figure out a way. And sometimes that means being creative.

Even when we have a jam packed day, there are  ways in which we can still add in extra movement throughout day. You might not have time to do a 30-minute workout, but you probably have 5 and 10 minutes of time here and there. And that time, those little bits of movement, they add up. There's no rule that a workout has to be a certain duration to be effective.

Grand things are built on the littlest of things. You can't have a home without nails, boards, wiring. You can't have a garden without starting with seeds and soil. So health and fitness are the same way. They start with the little things that can add up over time.

Here are just a few things you can do daily to add in more movement throughout your day:

  • Take the stairs
  • Stand up at your desk to work
  • Get up and step away from your desk every 20-30 minutes (if not standing)
  • Do pushups, squats, lunges and/or sit ups during commercial breaks 
  • Do 2 rounds of tabata for a 10-minute workout
  • Take your dog(s) for a walk around the block
  • Walk for 10 minutes during your lunch break
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot
  • Walk or bike to work (if you can)

How do you manage to add in extra movement during your day?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Eats, Reads, Sunrises

Happy Friday Eve (aka Thursday).

I wanted to do a round-up of some of the things I've been enjoying lately. I used to share a good deal more about my daily life - meals, workouts, even books I read. So, today I thought I'd go back to that and share a little insider info.

Eats

We've been enjoying lots of salads lately. I guess salads tend to go hand-in-hand with summer. 

1. Grilled veggie salad - pretty much any grilled veggie with either tempeh or tofu.

2. "Steak" summer salad - used Gardein Beefless Strips and mixed with corn, black beans, jalapenos, tomatoes, bell peppers, lime juice, apple cider vinegar and spices. Also great in wraps.



3. Green Bean, Potato, Tofu Salad with Dijon Dressing - I plan on posting this recipe next week. It was inspired by a friend who makes a similar salad for us.


Reads

I'm a big reader and love spending lazy Saturday and Sunday afternoons sitting outside reading. I typically read for an hour or so most evenings as well just before bed. My most recent reads have somehow all revolved around missing women ... Not intentional. But, I need some more lighthearted reading I'm thinking. 

1. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

2. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

3. Presumed Dead by Shirley Wells


Sunrises


I know, I am probably terribly redundant with my postings of sunrises most mornings. But they just never ever get old to me. Each one is so unique and it's such a peaceful way to start the day.

1. Sunrise from this morning's 10-mile run.


2. This was from Wednesday's 8-mile run with Amy. We had a stormy night and this was the tail end of the storms.


3. This was from last week. A front had pushed through with some cooler air and lower humidity.


What are some of the things you're enjoying lately?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Summer Runfessions



Marcia at Marcia's Healthy Slice periodically does Runfessions. As much as I do enjoy informative blog posts, sometimes I really enjoy something light-hearted too. Especially when it's a post that lets me learn more about the blogger behind the blog, behind the words.

I live in the south. It's hot. It's humid. It can make for some miserable running conditions. But I'm a trooper (aka stubborn), so I keep plugging away through the tortures of the summer heat. There are mornings when the "low" is 80 degrees and the air so thick it's hard to breathe. However, this summer, we're sort of having a mild one (knocking on wood right now).

We've had some typical summer conditions (77 degrees, 90% humidity, dew point at 73 all at 5:30 am), but then we've also had some very unusually cool days where it's been in the low 60s WITH low humidity to boot. That's fantastic and I've taken full advantage of those rare mornings. However, it also makes it harder for the body to truly acclimate when the weather is up and down and inconsistent.

After cooler temps over the weekend, it was back to a steamy, warm run this morning. I had planned to attempt a tempo run, but I just couldn't hang on to the pace I was shooting for. I could hang for about half a mile, then felt myself slowing, slowing, struggling. It just wasn't in the cards today.

I was disappointed at first. Last Thursday I had an amazing tempo run. Of course, that was the first cool down morning after some warm ones. My lungs and legs were happy. I didn't have sweat pouring into my eyes (visors and bands are no match for my sweat - ick I know).

In light of today's run I, I thought I would share some Summer Runfessions.

1. I have decided that I am officially a cold-weather runner. I love summer, I really do. But me, running and summer aren't seeing eye-to-eye.

2. When I am done with a run, my clothes are so completely soaked that it looks like I went swimming in them. Disgusting is not even the word for it.

3. Sometimes I'll stop when I'm really struggling and walk around in loopy circles, quite literally stewing with annoyance at the humidity. Very rational I know.

4. I hate carrying a water bottle, but it's simply not an option to not carry one at this point. It's amazing how heavy and cumbersome a water bottle can seem during a run. (Note, I'm afraid of fuel belts because of so many stories of rubbing and chafing.)

5. Speaking of chafing, I am knocking out a huge jar of Vaseline to try to prevent the dreaded chafing. Wet shorts and/or tops = painful chafing.

Even with all of my whining complaints, I will still get out there and try to prove summer wrong. Somehow the positives keep outweighing the negatives.

How about you? Summer running yay or nay? What are some of your Summer Runfessions?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

True Meaning of Running Like a Girl

I almost didn't post today. But have you ever been so inspired, so moved that you have to post? You have to share? That's what happened today. I apologize if it's a bit rambly - the biggest take aways are to watch the video and then check out my friend's blog post.

By now, most of you have probably seen the Always #LikeAGirl video. I have seen many bloggers write about it, I've even commented on some of those posts. If you haven't seen it, please take 3 minutes to watch it.



Growing up as a girl (obviously), I was lucky that I was never told that I couldn't do something because I was a girl. My dad taught us to pitch and hit baseballs, we played basketball with my cousins (all boys mind you), however, I never felt like I was supposed to do those things. Girls were and are called Tom Boys if they get out there and rough and tumble, play in the dirt, chase said cousins with a snake (yes, I did that).

For me, I thought that I could do things like gymnastics, ballet, cheerleading. Very "girly" things. The only time I ever ran was because we had to in gymnastic or cheerleading. I thought working out for women was Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons. I didn't have any female role models who participated in sports like running. And having asthma, I didn't think I'd ever run for that matter.

I didn't find running until my early 30's after it became almost impossible to find a decent (worthy paying for) advanced, adult ballet class. And when I first started running, I felt like I ran like a girl. And that meant slow. That meant in a non-athletic capacity. Now, I'm proud to run like a girl - a very strong, athletic, and kind of sort of fast, girl. I love to see the shirts or magnets that say: I run like a girl, try to keep up. Hopefully that means that the idea of doing something "like a girl" is changing. Slowly, but maybe?

What I've also seen, that I never saw or knew about before, through blogging I read so often about moms running with their kids, encouraging their children to run, seeing posts about their kids' first races, etc. It's really inspiring to me. I love this on so many levels.

So when I read my friend Tia's (Arkansas Runner Mom) post today, I knew I had to share. First of all, Tia and I met in real life at the RRCA Running Coach Certification course last year. I had read her blog here and there, but it was great to actually meet her.

Tia is a mom of four and an amazing athlete, like crazy fast. I know that she's doing a race tomorrow, the Firecracker 5K, so when I read the title of her post, "My Most Important Run of the Year," I was confused for a moment. I mean, Tia runs marathons and BQs for breakfast, so why was a 5K her most important run?

But the minute I opened up the post, I remembered seeing her post about her and her daughter running 10 miles together. The amazing part is that her daughter was running the miles for her birthday - 10  miles for ... 10 YEARS.

I don't know about you but I cannot fathom having done that when I was 10 years old. In fact, I didn't run 10 miles until about 4 years ago. I really hope you go check out Tia's post. I truly find it inspiring and I think that THIS is what Running #LikeAGirl means!