Friday Five: Staying on Track During the Holidays

It’s always challenging for me to stay on track with working out and not eating all-the-things during the Holidays. It’s dark when I leave the house, it’s dark when I get come. It’s cold. There is snow. And that’s all before we get to Christmas. Then there are cookies. And wine. And more food in my eyesight than I should ever considering trying to consume in one sitting.

Every year I go into the holiday season with good intentions, and come out feeling like I ate my weight in cookies (which is probably because I did). This year is a little bit different though. I’ll be entering the holidays coming off half marathon training (three days to go!), and not to toot my own horn, I’m in pretty decent shape right now. I’d like to keep it that way instead of backsliding like normal.  And on top of that, this girl is getting married come spring, and I don’t want to be working on losing Christmas-weight (yep, it’s a thing) while I’d really like to be working on toning up for my wedding.

My half marathon is this Sunday, and I’ve been catching myself thinking how nice it will be to not have to run all the time. Of course I will have to give myself a break, but I just need to make sure it’s not a 2 month break. I’ve been thinking about ways to not fall of the wagon after my race, so this weeks’ Friday Five link up with Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run has come at a perfect time. How to stay on track during the holidays!

Staying on Track

1) Yoga! My favorite yoga class meets on Wednesdays, and I haven’t been able to go because that’s when my half training group met. I’m excited to get back to the class after the race.


2) The treadmill. I mentioned on Instagram how much I hate the treadmill. How does it make 2 miles feel like 8? But it’s a necessary evil for an Illinois resident who will not run outside if it is a million below zero. I did the first few months of training for my first half on a treadmill and I’m still here to tell the tale. (Barely)

3) 7 Minute Workout app. I mentioned before how much I like this app, but I tend to forget about it. I’ll have to work on remembering to use it. I know there are similar apps out there, so I’ll have to investigate those, too.

4) Keep the focus on good food. During the winter the last thing I want to eat is cold veggies. I need to work on finding food that is comforting in the winter, and still fuels my body with good things. However, there will still be cookies to eat and cocoa to drink, just with a side of some veggies.

5) Weight training. I like to do weight training at the gym with the fiancé. One, so I don’t drop the bench press bar on my head, and two because I’m kind of new to free weights and still don’t know what I’m doing. I used to avoid the free weight section like the plague (the men over there have biceps bigger than my head!), but I’m getting better provided I have an escort to tell me what to do. And it’s a fun opportunity to get to do something together, which is always a plus.

As a bonus item… setting a plan. I need to focus on actually DOING all these things. During the winter I never want to do any of the above wonderful things. I put it off for “one more day” and the next thing I know it has been 3 weeks since I did any sort of physical activity. Though trying to keep warm during polar vortex time has to add up to some sort of calorie burn.

What do you do to keep on track during the holidays?
Do you have any favorite work out apps? I need more! I like the 7 minute workout app like I said before, and my Fitbit app! Wanna be friends?

Friday Five: Bloggers!

Happy Friday!  And can I say FINALLY?  Wowza this was a long week.  Work was hectic…  they’re rearranging our cubes at work so I was evicted to a conference room with a couple other ladies.  Which hasn’t been too bad, it’s just a little extra stress.  Ah well. Weekend!  And there is FUN in store! Yay!
But before we get to the weekend, here is some fun for Friday.  This week’s Friday Five hosted by the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run is all about bloggers!  It was SO HARD to narrow it down to five!  So without further ado… in no particular order… some new blogs for your feed!
1) Back to Her Roots.  I first started reading Cassie’s blog back in 2011 when a friend sent me a link to one of her A Day In My Life posts.  After that, I never looked back.  I’ve been an avid reader of not only her blog, but it was a gateway into all of my blog reading (and eventually blogging myself!)  Cassie shares great stories about her adventures living in Southern Indiana with her family, growing her own food and taking gorgeous photographs of all of it.  She introduced me to overnight oats!  On her blog along side her delicious recipes focusing on real whole foods, she shares fun DIYs and has great thoughts on life.  She is all about seasons of life, and understanding that priorities and goals change along with these seasons.
2) Pearls & Scissors.  Hanna’s blog is on a completely different note!  I also quite enjoy reading DIY blogs.  Hanna lives in Estonia and sews and refashions adorable clothes like this.  And this.  Also, she just got married and you can read about Estonian wedding traditions (which was really cool).
3) PreventionRD.  Nicole blogs about food.  Lots of it.  My love of baked donuts is because of her blog.  She always shares nutrition stats, and I love it when she gives a “husband approval.”  Some of my favorite recipes of hers are Spicy Thai Noodles with Shrimp and Parmesan Lemon Orzo which we made along with chicken.  Seriously, I will never run out of recipe ideas with her site.  She has published two cookbooks; I have the Everyday Healthy Cooking and love it.  Also, she is currently adorably very pregnant.
4) Olives’n’Wine.  Becky both cracks me up, and motivates me.  She is basically a rock star.  She’s training for the Chicago Marathon, just completed Body Pump training, and has the cutest wardrobe.  Her antics running around Chicago (soon to be Florida! Jealous!) are never ending fun.
 5) Life Half Full.  Katie’s blog’s tagline is “living a balanced life with a positive attitude” and she strives each day to live this out.  Throughout each post she shows how she works towards balance in her life.  She posts Weekly Refresh posts, to reset and set goals for the week, which has inspired me to set mini-goals each week as well.  She has a lot of fun in Chicago too, and I enjoy reading about here new adventures and new workouts!
Fave Blogs

Goals: September Update!

Last month I redid my 2014 goals. The original goals had fell a little bit by the wayside, so I re-planned and refocused!

How did August go?
1) Meal planning. Um…. This went a little bit better. I tried to do some grocery shopping on Sunday evenings to relieve some of the Monday morning I-have-no-lunch panic and the Monday evening stop-at-the-grocery-store-for-dinner panic. Less panicking is always good. Speaking of lunches… I did do better with packing my lunch for work the night before and actually having things to put in my lunch! There’s plenty of work to be done here, but I did ok!

2) Vary my work outs. There were some new adventures in August, but I can do more! I tried out a spinning class and helped out with a softball game, but also only made it to one yoga class.



3) Half marathon number 2. This went pretty well! I was running on my own, and then mid-month started running with a running group. I’m getting in about 3 running days per week, which I’m pretty ok with.  Here’s the first month, and then weeks 5 and 6.

On to September.
1) Meal planning. There is work to do! I’ve been eating pretty decent meals, but I’ve been eating A LOT. Portion control… it’s so hard! So in addition to working on buying food ahead of time (rather than on the way home from work), I want to work on eating a more proper amount of food.

2) Vary my work outs. I want to try to fit in at least one spin class. Baby steps, people. And maybe a yoga class? My old favorite yoga class is at the same time as my half training group, and I haven’t found a new class I love. I thought I had one, but now I’m not so sure. At first I thought it was just a faster pace than I was used to, and that it was a good work out. Now I’m starting to think that it’s a faster pace, I can’t keep up, and I hurt myself by trying to rush through poses. I am STILL sore from a class on Friday. That cannot be normal. Or good. Might have to try another class…

3) Half marathon number 2. I want to keep on going along with my training group! I’m having a lot of fun with it. The runs are challenging, partly because if I’m by myself I walk a lot more. So it’s a good thing that there are people to drag me along. Or, people I don’t want to look lame in front of and ask for a walk break. Either way. 🙂 I also need to figure out the dang plan. I’m using two. Or something. I had a plan that I started a month before the group plan. Then I had the group plan. So now I have this giant excel spreadsheet that has it laid out by week showing the original plan, the new group plan, then on Mondays I put down what is actually feasible (get the miles in, around other commitments), and then I fill in the actual mileage as I go. It’s a little excessive. I need to whittle down this super-plan into an actually manageable thing. People always do that week 7 of their plan, right?


So there’s that.  Let’s go September!

How are your goals going?  Did you need to refocus like I did?

Half marathon Training: Weeks 5 and 6

Last time I recapped the first month of my half marathon training, but now I’m hoping to break it into two week segments.

Week 5
After the vacation fiasco of zero running during the whole week, I got back into it right away when I got back. And by right away I mean in Tuesday. I was tired on Monday and my apartment was over run with dirty clothing and other just-got-home-from-vacation mess. It was a slower run, but that’s to be expected when you take a week off. I took a new 2.4 mile route and found a disc golf course! I may have to go try sometime…


Wednesday I was nervous and excited for! I joined a training group to train for this half. I ran nearly all of the last training by myself, and 12 miles solo is long. I was excited to meet people, and scared to meet people. Ever have that feeling? I find people scary and intimidating, which is no offense to any of you, I’m just pretty introverted around new people. But it was fiiiiine! Better than fine! There are quite a few people around my pace, so we ran and chatted. Fun times!

Running Group #1

Saturday I met with the group again for our long run. And WOAH was it humid. Yuck. Hopefully this won’t happen again.  I was having issues with water.  I didn’t want to drink to much and have a sloshy stomach or have to pee, but I didn’t want to end up totally dehydrated.  By the end I definitely concluded I could have drank more water.

Total for the week was about 11.5 miles!

Holy Humidity!

Holy Humidity!

Week 6
I busted out three miles after work on Monday, exploring some more new routes. Not to far behind my office is a few parks, and a bunch of intertwining trails. I run back there regularly and can make up new routes ever time! It’s great, I live new paths.

Flowers run

Wednesday was back with the group and it was muuuuch less humid this time. But it’s starting to get darker sooner and I’m not a fan! When our runs get longer and the sun sets earlier we will be coming back in the dark for sure!

Wed Trail

Friday I finally got to go back to yoga! I haven’t been in a while because my regular class was Wednesday evenings. Which is the same time as my running group meets. But I had Friday off work, so I was able to get to yoga mid morning on Friday. Honestly? I was in a funky grouchy mood and it wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had. My legs were apparently tired and my muscles were shaking while I was trying to hold poses. Not the relaxing experience I was looking for.


I work up for Saturday’s long run and everything hurt.  My shoulders, arms, abs, legs… all of it.  What on earth happened during that yoga class?  Ouch.  I met with the group, and we set off for one loop around the trail, or about 5.5 miles.  Considering the weather we have had lately, this weather was beautiful.  The wind did pick up part way through which made the up hills a pain.  But we did it!  5.5(1) miles in nearly 1:00 on the dot!


Half Training, Month 1

The first month of my half marathon training has come and gone. Unfortunately, this month of training only held three weeks of running.  Whoops.  More on that later.

My training plan starts out slow.  I mean really slow.  But that’s just how I like it.  I’m using the same training plan I used for my last half; I liked it and it worked well.  By that I mean, I crossed the finish line.

The first week of the plan calls for a total of 3.5 miles in the week.  Woo!  Got that in the bag, plus a day of weight training and two yoga classes.  Two yoga classes in a week almost never happens, and it was a treat.


Week two called for weekly mileage of 4.5, and I snuck in 6.85, plus one day of weights and a day at the driving range (that’s cross-training, right?).  What put me over mileage goal was a run with a friend.  There are some trails near my work’s office, so  she met me there after work and we took off.  We were chatting and running and ended up with a nice round 5k.  Saturday night was a friend’s wedding… dancing is cross training too, right?

Week three the plan says 6 miles, and put in 6.1.  For cross-training I had, a day at the gym with rowing and weights, a day with a yoga class and then the softball game I subbed for.  I also ran the Watermelon Virtual 5k hosted by Jess of Run With Jess.

Week four… I fell off the train.  Plan said 7 miles…. I ran a whopping zero.  Yes,  zero miles.  One should not run zero miles during half training, but I did.  I did do a spin class on that Monday, though.  Then I left for vacation immediately after work on Wednesday.  I hauled all of my workout gear up to the north woods of Wisconsin with the best intentions.  Alas, I never used it.  We did some hiking and lots of fishing, so I didn’t have zero physical movement on vacation, but no runs.  When I ran on vacation last year, I got up before everyone else and got my runs in.  However, this time when we were fishing we were getting up early.  It was all I could do to drag my butt out of bed to go fish, let alone up earlier to run and then go fish.  Excuses, excuses, I know.

So there’s month one! 3 months to go!