What I learned from my 30 Day Challenge

My 30 day challenge was to run/bike at least 2 miles every single day. Mid month I added walking.

This is just a list of the things I noticed. I starting writing these down after my runs, so some of them are really random, but I wanted to share my little realizations with you too!

  1. I am not an every day runner. My body needs rest and functions better with less but longer runs.
  2. I like running in the morning… Seriously. Who knew?!
  3. I need to figure out how to fix and maintain my bike on my own because I’m really really terrible about taking it to the shop. It’s been a month and it’s still languishing in the garage, flat and broken. Ooops.
  4. Despite running for nearly my entire life, I still have to work on my nutrion, electrolyte balancing, salt…. all that, since it still throws me off once in a while
  5. I think I want a running buddy once a week… I haven’t quite decided, but after running for so many days, sometimes I think it might be nice to have someone to chit chat with while I run. But then I think, I also love love love running alone because it brings me peace.
  6. When I don’t run for a couple days, I’m a huge bitch. I just have too much energy and I need to expel it into the universe in a positive way or I get cranky and needy, and I kinda bitch at everyone. Running = happy.
  7. I’m a super duper uber lazy walker. I walk SO SO SLOWLY. I need to work on picking up the pace and treating my walks like I treat my runs… seriously!
  8. I need to work on core fitness, weight lifting, and other all around body fitness. I think I am at the point where I can run forever and nothing about my body changes. I would like to firm up my core and work on muscle definition elsewhere in my body. I have super toned and defined legs, but that’s where that ends. Just my legs. I also think that if I were to improve core strength and upper body strength that I would be able to run faster. So I need to vary my workouts.
  9. For those of you curious about this – My weight is probably 1 pound different. I weigh just about the same as I did when I started, but everything on my body has firmed up just a bit. This goes back to my previous bullet, about how I am so accustomed to running that my body doesn’t change much, so if I want to see change I need some change in my work outs too
  10. I used to run exclusively in running tops that covered my entire back, shoulders, and most of my arms because I didn’t want sunburn, but as I have been running in very hot weather, I’ve been getting into running tanks and slathering on sun screen.
  11. I like running in spandex shorts more than regular shorts. I find that I like my clothing to stick to me so that nothing rubs, moves, or bothers me when I’m running
  12. Most running hats that are sold are possibly the stupidest and the worst caps ever. They don’t cover anything and they don’t shade enough of my face. It’s still my biggest irritation when I look for running gear. I have ONE hat that I love, and the rest I put up with out of necessity.
  13. I need to find a new running mix because the music I have right now is about 10 years old, and I actually know ALL the lyrics and for the most part could probably sing my entire playlist without turning my music on.
  14. I have a lot of running shoes

So. There you have it!! I hope that you had a healthful and productive June as well! Let me know what kind of “challenges” you have participated in the past and whether I should try them too!!

Running Headaches

Literal, not metaphorical.

Occasionally after I run, I suffer from horrible migraines. The kind where you need a combo of gatorade, a fistful of Advil, and an afternoon long nap. When I first started getting them, they weren’t terrible. I could just manage to get through my day… but recently when I do get a running headache, it seems like nothing will make it stop. Today I ran, and just like that the worst of the worst headaches visited me. I finished my run at 11:00am today, but after struggling through the better part of the day, I slept for the rest of the afternoon and just woke up a few hours ago.

I ate some dinner, ran some errands… and I have to tell you I still feel pretty shitty.

Anyone else suffer from these? What do you do to prevent them?

Scenes

I just noticed how terribly text heavy my blog has been for the last few posts, and since I am actively procrastinating I find this to be super, duper important to rectify right this very minute. Haha. SO. Here are some pictures!

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30 Day Challenge Revisions

So, I challenged myself to 30 days of running/biking at the beginning of the month as a way to kickstart my running again.

Thankfully, the challenge has gotten me back into my shoes and back outside running and running like I have in the past. However, I have had to make revisions to my challenge.

I knew from the start that with my bum knee and my wonky ankle that I wouldn’t be able to run every single day, so I included biking in the challenge. However, I just don’t feel like biking. I don’t care for it much… plus the uber lazy lazy part of me refuses to sack up and get that stupid tire fixed (again… seriously, biking is such a hassle, there are so many moving parts). So… last week I was rounding out a solid 10 days of consecutive running and another 3 days of consecutive running, when I decided I needed to make a change. The challenge is really about getting healthy and enjoying yourself… and when it comes to running, I don’t believe in beating yourself up physically or mentally. Last week was particularly tiring for me, and I spent a good chunk of the afternoons after my runs napping, sipping gatorade, and watching t.v. Behavior that completely defeats the challenge. So I made some revisions.

I will maintain my active 30 days, but on days that I need a break from pavement pounding, I’ll take my dog for an extra walk or chase her around the yard for an extra 15 minutes (she’s a weeny one, so 15 minutes and she’s normally pooped). So… I’m adding “walking” to my challenging. Because… it’s really just about moving your butt. Maybe I should call it the 30 day “Move Your Butt” campaign.

 

How to Pack a Paleo/Primal Friendly Care Package

How many of you have loved ones that are far away? How many of you have loved ones in the military and/or overseas? How many of you believe that FOOD is the best way to express your love? Yes, yes, and yes? Me too.

Since most of my loved ones practice paleo/primal eating habits, my care packages are tailored for their needs. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I am not, so it makes it a little bit of a challenge since I am not as nearly in tune with paleo/primal dietary restrictions. Plus, there are some things that are just SO good and worth breaking the rules just a little bit.

The most important thing that I do is READ the entire label and check the expiration date. Things that don’t expire until 2030 are OUT and things that expire within the next 6 months are out also. Often times these overseas care packages take over a month to find their destination, so I want to be sure the food lasts long enough.

After I read the entire package, I run through this little list. I try to purchase things that are a perfect fit, but it’s tough. I will purchase things that have the majority of these factors, but if the product only has ONE factor, I’m more hesitant to include it. Okay. Here’s my list:

  1. Made, manufactured, and sourced in the USA. I also try to support smaller companies over conglomerates
  2. Sustainably sourced
  3. Non-GMO
  4. Organic
  5. No added sugar (If the product MUST have sugar, I look for coconut sugar sweetened, agave, or something less toxic that corn syrup)
  6. Only intelligible ingredients (if I don’t recognize the 24 character word, I put it back)
  7. Gluten Free (I’m most on watch for wheat products)
  8. Healthful oils and fats
  9. Fiber content (I’m told that a little fiber is super helpful since many of the armed forces are stuck eating dense baked goods that don’t pass too well… and on that note, I think my list is done)

Occasionally some corn products slip into the boxes, but wheat almost never makes the list. For some reason, I find corn more forgivable than wheat (which may not be your preference).  I vary my boxes each time I send them, so this is only ONE of the many boxes I send. I’ll try to post the others as I send them to give you more ideas. As always, I used a USPS Large Square Flat-Rate Box. The box ships to any US address or FPO for $13.95 and for up to 20 pounds.

Alright? Ready? (Also. Please excuse the dark, middle of the night kitchen photos. I was trying to pack this all up and write a card before 11:00pm, but I guess that’s not happening!)

  1. Tanka Bars – These are Buffalo meat and cranberry bars. They’re good, filling, and come in a variety of different flavors. I packed a “HOT” one for fun. They come in the long whip or a bar. (For the skinny ones, $2/each. Bars, $2.89/each)SONY DSC
  2. TrueBar in Cranberry Almond and Hazelnut Chocolate – I haven’t tried these yet, but the ingredients were clean and it’s made in the USA. ($1.69/each)SONY DSC
  3. Coconut Secret – Mint Coconut Bar – This is amazing. It’s minty and coconutty all at the same time. It’s really yummy and a good dessert. (Dammit… now I want one) ($2.89/each)SONY DSC
  4. Artisana Nut Butters in Blue Algae and Phyto Plankton – I’m told that these are amazing despite their very strange physical appearance. I haven’t tried them, but I trust the reviewer. ($2.00-$3.00/each – I think the Phyto Plankton was 75 cents more)SONY DSC
  5. Inca Corn and Inca Chips – I know… I know… corn. However, the plantain chips are paleo! Both of these are crunchy, salty, and delicious. They are on the cleaner sider. The corn is non-GMO and the plantains are gluten free. ($1.49/each on sale)    SONY DSC
  6. Bear and Wolf Pink Salmon – I purchased this at Costco so I’m not sure the pricing. This salmon is pretty good for canned, and the cans are one serving size, which I think is good.   SONY DSC
  7. Bakery on Main Gluten Free Granola in Extreme Fruit and Nut – Also derived from corn products (since there is no oatmeal or wheat). I haven’t tried this before, but it looks promising. It is filled with delicious looking dried fruit and plenty of nuts. ($5.99/each) SONY DSC
  8. Peeled Dried Apricots and NOW Dried Mango – Just dried fruit. No sulfates or other nastiness, but again, I haven’t tried these two varieties so hopefully they are yummy! (Apricots, $3.99/each. Mangos, $5.49/each)  SONY DSC
  9. Seeds of Change Brown Rice and Quinoa – For a little variety, some precooked rice and quinoa. These packets aren’t particularly delicious. They are just plain Jane, but they heat up in the packet in the microwave or on the stove top in less than 5 minutes. For people on the go, I think this is a good option. Definitely needs some protein or flavoring, but it’ll do the trick. I bought these at Costco also, but I think it works out to about $1 a packet.  SONY DSC
  10. Traditional Medicinals Organic Peppermint Tea – This brand of tea is consistently good, so I snapped this one. ($3.99/each) SONY DSC
  11. Gingerbon  – Seriously. No words. Chewy. Gingery. Delicious. And made with only 3 ingredients – cane sugar, tapioca, ginger. ($1.00/each) SONY DSC
  12. Season Sardines in Olive Oil – Sardines! Good protein and calcium for people who don’t have access to vitamin rich food. Plenty of olive oil to keep you full with good fats. I also bought this at Costco, but I think it works out to about $1.50/box). SONY DSC
  13. Bagged Quinoa – I originally got this HUGE bag of quinoa from my older sister, but then she made the change to be 100% grain free, so I inherited this bag. I’ve been doling it out in 1 cup increments in my care packages, but after the bag is used up I will not be purchasing quinoa unless for very special occasions. More on that decision later (I’m still in the process of doing some research on the quinoa issue). With things that are bagged, I label them with instructions and specific measurements so that whomever receives them won’t have to make the extra step of measuring.SONY DSC
  14. Harry and David Mixed Nuts – I like to pack one serving size of nuts, but I’m an airhead and forgot to pick up extra packets today. I had this one so I’m adding it to the box, but normally I’d have a variety of toasted hazelnuts and lightly salted macadamia nuts.  SONY DSC
  15. Good Seasonings Italian Dressing – My older sister will be having a fit when she sees this, but I threw in a packet of salad dressing powder. It’s good to adding to quinoa before it’s cooked through, sprinkling on meat before grilling, and adding a little flavor to otherwise rather bland food. In the future, I’ll be sending Penzy’s Spices, but I didn’t have a chance to nip out there, so this commercial (probably GMO and chemical stuffed) packet has been included.  SONY DSC
  16. Finally, my personal favorite!! Chia seeds!! I love these always. I bought a giant bag from Costco for $10 and have been packing 1 cup at a time in my care packages. SONY DSC




So this is my final box: It’s still got some room. I’ll add some samples of cosmetics and other knick knacks before sending it out. 

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And don’t forget to fill out that awesome Customs Form for things leaving the USA!SONY DSC

 

I hope this little list helps you pack yummy things for your loved ones!

What do you pack for your loved ones? Any suggestions on things to add or subtract from my box?

 

Day 11 (minus 1 Day) – Fitness Challenge Update

I ran my usual 3 miles… I’m really having a hard time leaving my comfort zone when it comes to running short distances. I promised to run new routes, but I’ve only run 1 since I started my challenge this month. No matter… it’s more about getting out there anyway!

So yesterday, I woke up and looked out the window and immediately thought “NO.” So I decided not to run. I’ve been really into running everyday, so when I woke up and everything inside of me said “NO” I decided it was best not to. I did think about walking a bit on the treadmill before bed, but I decided against it since No means NO.

In terms of weekly mileage, I haven’t been surpassing anything I’ve done before, but I have been surpassing the number of consecutive days that I run, which has been much more mentally challenging than I anticipated.  I have experience with feeling burnt out after running, so I decided that a Day 10 rest would be alright.

So far, I really like running shorter distances every day, but it is quite a bit time consuming. I drive 20 minutes to my running path, run for 27-30 minutes, stretch and bop around for 30 minutes, drive home 20 minutes, shower, unpack my gear, and then get on with my day. It ends up being a 2 to 3 hour commitment depending on how efficient I am with packing my gear the night before and how quickly I get home and into my routine. I know that once I come up with comfortable routes to run closer to home that the everyday running will be less time consuming, but for now I’m finding it difficult to beat the shady, uninterrupted 3 mile loop that I’ve been running.

Anyway – that’s my little running update for today. I think I’m going to finish off my ziti and think about making knock-off Chipotle burrito bowls for the rest of the week.

What do you guys have planned?

(Oh… did I mention I had some AMAZING wine the other night? I took pictures of the label, so I’ll put up a review tomorrow)

Picking Up the Pace

Yesterday and today I picked up the pace for my runs. I’ve been running the same 3 mile loop around a nearby lake, but I can’t seem to drag myself to run anywhere else. The path is partially shaded, by the water, and easy to access from my home – so I naturally gravitate to the path.

Normally, I run with my Sony headset, my Nike watch, and occasionally I’ll drag my cellphone along with me… but I’ve really been enjoying the “electronic” free running. I stopped using my GPS watch a few months ago, instead choosing paths that I knew the mileage for so I wouldn’t drive myself INSANE looking at my watch. Since, I’ve been a little scattered and have been forgetting my music too… and that has been surprisingly nice. It’s nice to hear my breath and my feet on the pavement.

Since I am planning on running/biking every single day for 30 days straight, my priorities have shifted. I know that I can’t just decide to run 12 miles one day because it’s nice out, I have to weigh whether or not I’ll be able to run the next day. So… I’ve been strategically running low mileage every day and resisting the urge to just keep on going when the weather is agreeable. It has been an interesting challenge, and I have to have a certain degree of self control over my running whims. I’m often tempted to run extra mileage, but I have been resisting so that I can continue my 30 days of running. However, since I have been keeping low mileage, I have decided to pick up the pace on the days where I’m tempted to run more. Yesterday and today were absolutely gorgeous out and I knew that I would be tempted to do extra mileage, so I simply picked up the pace so I would be ready to be “done” at the end of my runs. It’s been a good exercise, since for the last 3 years I’ve been more interested in the number of miles instead of the speed.

Anyway – that is my update for the day. For some pictures of my gorgeous runs and the beautiful lake I run by, check out my instagram. I post the temperature, my shoes, and a scenic shot after each of my runs!

xoxo!

Week 1 Mileage Break Down (Fitness Fridays)

I know this is me procrastinating, but I figured I’d give mileage break downs for the week. I don’t normally concern myself with the speed that I run, but instead keep track of mileage and where I run. I tend to prefer paved running paths or packed dirt. The trail I run is covered in gravel, which I find is a little slippery for me. I have weak knees so it aggravates them if I run more than a few miles on the gravel paths.

  • June 1- 2 miles, evening neighborhood run (sun setting, humid)
  • June 2- 2 miles, 11:00am trail run (sunny, hot)
  • June 3 – 3 miles, morning lake run (sunny)
  • June 4 – 1.5 miles, mid morning trail run (sunny)
  • June 5 – 3 miles, morning lake run (sunny)
  • June 6 – 3 miles, morning lake run (sunny)
  • June 7 – 3 miles, morning lake run (rainy)

Week 1 total: 17.5 miles

This week the weather was quite mild. The first two days were in the 80s and humid, but nothing terrible. I wore my Brooks PureFlow running shoes. I recently purchased the PureGrit in green and another in bright orange, so we’ll see how those work out. So far, these Brooks have been awesome so I’m excited to try more in the Pure Project.

For this coming week, I’m thinking about upping my mileage on at least one run during the week. Maybe swapping out one lake run for a longer 6 mile road run. We’ll see how I feel.

Hope you all are having a wonderful Friday!! What are your goals for the coming week??

Day 7 – One Week!

Hello hello my friends!!

Today has been amazing so far!! I did wake up later than I normally do, but I made it to the lake at 10:30 and bopped through my 3 miles. It was raining pretty hard, but like I promised “RAIN OR SHINE” so I ran. I was the only person at the park, but I loved every single minute of it. I saw an adorable duck with her adorable ducklings crossing my path, I saw some deer grazing in the woods, a beautiful swan fishing, and a bunch of these beautifully colored birds flitting through the air. It was amazing to just get out and run on my own, without anyone else on the path.

I always thought that running with other people made me faster, and that I enjoyed the competition of spotting a person and passing them… but I think I actually prefer today. It was quiet and beautiful and I could really focus on my running and just enjoying the absolutely gorgeous nature happening around me. I even danced a little at the end!

After my run, I ate a little and headed to run errands before hitting the library. I picked up a couple treats for myself to reward myself for the 7th day of my challenge. I just got here (the library) and the rain doesn’t look like it is going to let up, so I’m actually kind of excited to run again tomorrow in the absolutely quiet park in the rain.

Oh… and today, I wore spandex shorts, running tank, and hat from Nike. I topped off with a new rain jacket from GAP, which I am absolutely in love with. I found a similar one online in case you want one… go HERE. I bought it in an XL (I know… I’m a little nuts) but I like my running gear to be long and the hoods to be big, so I usually buy the biggest size. This one has scrunchy pulls so I can make it work.

What have you gotten into today? Did you see anything amazing? Do you like running in the rain??

Day 6 and Pumpkin Scones

Hello hello!

I ran 3 miles today. I kept a little bit of a faster pace and got a good work out in. I was actually pretty tired after this run, which is atypical. I sat on the dock in the lake where I ran and chatted with my new found friend while I stretched before heading home.

I didn’t feel like making anything so I picked up a salad and headed to the library. I don’t know what was up with that salad, but I felt terrible afterwards. I drank nearly a gallon of water trying to get rid of that dry, weird taste in my mouth before I gave up and came home. I ate some carrots and downed an electrolyte drink before taking nap… apparently that did the trick because I feel better. Anyway, lesson learned. No more store bought salads.

I also just noticed that I gave myself a good sunburn on my shoulders from sitting out on the dock… so sunblock for tomorrow for sure. Though, I’m told it will be raining so we’ll see how my run shakes out tomorrow.

In the mean time, I want to share a new scone recipe that I tried out. I know… I know… I have so many of these types of recipes on my blog, but since I do spend a rather large portion of my day sitting in the library, I like to have good food that is portable. I’ll do a separate blog post on what I take to the library, but that’ll have to be another day.

So… these are almond flour scones (again) but sweetened with a bit of maple syrup and fluffy from the delicious pumpkin puree. I used this recipe from The Spinach Spot. I just found her blog today, and it’s totally awesome!

I tweaked (as always) and swapped the baking soda for baking powder, added a palm full of hazelnut flour, and skipped on the frosting. They turned out fluffy, moist, and absolutely delicious. I do have quite a sweet tooth, so next time I’ll add a little more maple syrup… maybe chocolate chips or some dried fruit…..

So… what did you all do today? Any weird food experiences like mine? What do you like to avoid??

 

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(Sorry for the crap photos, I have terrible lighting in my kitchen and I didn’t try…. O.o)