Where have I been?

I have been MIA for the last few months.

I fell behind on everything! I did finish my 12-week weight lifting challenge, although it was not perfect or pretty! I struggled toward the end and missed a few workouts but overall did pretty well. I also stopped tracking my food for a few weeks, which is never a good idea. I gained a little weight and started feeling fluffy towards the end.

I have always had trouble gaining strength in my upper body. I struggle to even lift heavy when it comes to arm work. It’s just very hard for me and I often want to give up. But I pushed on and did all the arm workouts. I even tried to keep increasing weights; it’s just so hard when you feel you can’t do it. I worked hard the last 12+ weeks and it is starting to show in my arms and back.

weight trainingI am pretty damn proud of those gains! You can see little bumps and definition in a few spots.

I have decided to continue on with weight training but with a slightly different program. I liked the Home Edition I started in January but I want to try something new. I started Bikini Body from Jessie Hilgenberg Monday. It started with biceps & abs and my arms were like spaghetti by the time it was over. I struggled with 8 and 10-pound dumbbells on a few things but a few others I need to push harder next time.

I also did negative chin-ups which were more like drops than negative. HA

Tuesday was booty and is always my favorite day! I love me some squats. Although I hate lunges. Make the lunges stop!!!!!

So for the next 12+ weeks, follow along with my Bikini Body training on Instagram. I post something from *most* workouts.

As far as running, I tried again in April and still had the vertigo-like feelings. It happens about 20-minutes in. I will have to make an appointment and see if there is anything that can be done. It has to be something with my inner ears from when I was sick in January. Hopefully, it is something that can be fixed because I really miss running and feel that I still have a lot to accomplish there.

We just got back from the Big Island of Hawaii, so look for some photos on Instagram and check back here for a blog post in the near future.

So smooth move of the last few months? I decided I wanted to start wearing heels again at work. I love heels and feel they add to your outfit (plus it makes your calves look killer). I had them on for about an hour and went to pour myself some coffee. I was standing by the coffee maker, reaching for the pot and I rolled my ankle. Luckily, I had flats with me and I switched out. I get to work before everyone else so no one noticed my switcheroo!

Tell me in the comments what you have been up to recently?

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Marathon Troubles

The Marathon: is it the ultimate runner’s goal?

I pose this question because for several years it has been my goal. After I ran my first half I thought, I could do a full. I didn’t set it as a goal at the time but it was in the back of my head as something I wanted to do. I ran three more half marathons and then set my sights on a marathon.

marathon
Bundle up to run long in Wisconsin

I started planning to run a marathon in January 2015. I had run my best half, shaved nearly 10 minutes off my last PR, and felt really confident in my running. In the fall I began training but struggled to get runs in, weekdays and long runs and eventually dropped down to the half in November. When I went to the expo in January 2016 I signed up for the marathon again for 2017.

I started getting into the swing of marathon training during the summer. I wanted to get into a routine and make sure I was prepared. My “official” plan started on August 31st. I worked my butt off during the summer/fall when Phoenix was having highs off 115+. I dragged my butt out of bed at 4 am to beat the heat.

I ran through the “winter” here and even put in my longest run on Christmas eve in Wisconsin. I had to wear my trail shoes because of ice and snow. I was bundled up in many layers. I put in my time. I put in the effort, for six plus months. I was determined. I was going to finish this marathon, even if it took me forever.

Then I got sick.

I came home from Christmas in Wisconsin with a cold, which turned into a sinus infection. I had hopes of still running the marathon, though. I had about 15 days to recover and get better. By the time the marathon date came, I was feeling better. The nose was feeling good, the cough was better, and I could sleep through the night.

So I went out for a test run.

And I got dizzy. At around the two-mile mark, the world started to look like I was in a funhouse mirror situation. Trees were getting bigger and smaller. The ground was going up and down. I stopped running and tried to walk but I was all over the sidewalk. People driving by probably thought I was drunk. I couldn’t walk in a straight line so I stopped. I sat. I waited until I felt better and walked home. I wasn’t pushing myself. I wasn’t trying too hard. I was actually going slow to test my breathing and cough.

I think, so this isn’t a usual issue, that it has to do with my cold and sinus infection. I have always had a lot of inner ear problems so I am guessing it is something like this. Because it feels like vertigo when it’s happening. I also made sure I’ve been well hydrated and fed before heading out (trying to eat pretty nutritious foods). My heart rate wasn’t super high, in my normal run range. I don’t feel any strain in my heart or lungs. It all seems to be in m head, literally and figuratively?

I waited a few days and tried again. The exact same thing happened. This was just days before the marathon.

I didn’t run my marathon.

And I am depressed. I put in so much work towards a goal and couldn’t complete the goal. I don’t know what to do with myself. I don’t know if I will ever reach my goal of running a marathon. I haven’t run in about two weeks. I am afraid I won’t ever be able to run again. I haven’t been able to bring myself to run again. I am afraid it will keep happening. I have been able to do other cardio and strength training without issue.

Next week. I will try again next week.

Tell me about a goal you feel you might never reach and what you are doing (did) about it.

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Proyo and Getting Strong with a 12 week Challenge

12 weeks to buff and I’m doing it with ProYo.

ProYo

I wasn’t able to complete my marathon this month (I’ll post a separate post about this later) and decided to participate in a strength training challenge instead. I purchased Jessie’s Girls Home Edition before Christmas and had started it as cross training for my marathon. Jessie’s training is basically 6 days a week and I was doing it 2-3 days a week, so I hadn’t gotten very far into the plan by the holidays.

When the 3k challenge was announced I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to do it since it started the day after my marathon. I knew I wouldn’t be able to commit to six days a week right after a marathon. The Jessie’s Girls facebook group (which you get access to when you purchase a program) encouraged me, and others, to sign up even if you couldn’t commit to the exact program. I signed up.

And now I am doing the program as it is written because I did not run 26.2 miles. I just started week two and am feeling pretty good. I am trying to push myself in the workouts and really increase my upper body strength. But how do you keep muscle soreness to a minimum and increase those muscles?

Protein. Lots and lots of protein.

I love meat but there’s only so much meat one can eat before wanting to get protein from a different source. I try protein shakes but they make me incredibly thirsty and therefore I try to avoid them. So how do I get a big hit of protein without meat or protein shakes? I have a ProYo.

WTF is ProYo you ask?

ProYo is a sweet (pun intended) way to get a good dose of protein. ProYo is protein packed frozen yogurt and it is DELICIOUS. ProYo comes in several flavors: banana, chocolate, vanilla, and blueberry pomegranate. My favorites are the banana and vanilla. Each tube has 20g of protein. That’s quite substantial. Trust me. I’ve been trying to get creative in how to up my protein intake.

proyo
ProYo was busy every time I went by at the Gluten Free Expo but I stopped by three times. It was my favorite booth! Not kidding when I say I stalked them

I will be the first to admit I am not very creative in the kitchen. I make pretty basic meals. I follow recipes because I can’t create them on my own. So I eat my ProYo as is. Frozen yogurt. Yup, I am boring. But… so many people get creative with their ProYo. ProYo has an entire collection on their website of fun ways to use their products. I may have to try a few out someday.

My favorite time to enjoy a ProYo? After my long runs when it’s warm out (which is almost always in Phoenix).

ProYo

So while I am over here doing my 3k challenge, trying to get all swole, eating my ProYo, you can enter below to win some of your own! Use the rafflecopter below to enter to win a mixed case of ProYo – four full boxes of ProYo, one of each flavor! I am a little jealous, I’d love to win this sweet prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: I did stalk the ProYo booth at the Gluten Free Expo and they reached out after to ask me to work with them on this giveaway. I received product from them but all opinions are my own. I loved ProYo when I tried it, hence me stalking the booth for additional samples. I may have tried all the flavors but chocolate at the Expo alone. I truly believe in this product and hope you will love it as well!

Be sure to comment with what flavor you’d love to try! And use the buttons below to share with others!

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Cleaning out my closet

Recently I made a rash decision and started cleaning out my closet

cleaning-out-my-closetI was struggling to get dressed quickly in the mornings for work. I was tired of not having clothes that went together. I was annoyed at clothes that were too small taking up space. I wanted a cohesive closet that would make getting dressed much easier. My style was too eclectic and nothing ever seemed to look right.

So clothes got tossed.

I didn’t even bother folding them neatly. I pulled them off the hanger and tossed them on the bedroom floor. I needed to do this. I wanted it done sooner rather than later.

What were my guidelines when deciding what stays and what goes? I had a few very simple ways to decide:

  • For the current season, if I haven’t worn it in three months.
  • For next season, if I didn’t wear it during last winter.
  • Anything that was too big, small, long or short.
  • Anything that was no longer my style.
  • Anything that was too sheer.
  • And anything that doesn’t go with my other clothes.

I made the conscious decision to move my style in one direction. I am drawn to rock n roll and boho styles. My wardrobe was becoming a mess of random pieces from genre. I decided I love the rock n roll style more and am paring down my wardrobe to those pieces. I saved a few boho pieces that fit in with a more rock n roll style but the rest were tossed. Now when I shop, I have a single style in mind and I know if I stick to my color palette and patterns that everything will go with each other.

I decided to get rid of anything that doesn’t fit right now. I am trying to lose weight but there is no guarantee I will (or how long it will take). It gets depressing looking at clothes that are too small just hanging in my closet. Also, items that are too big don’t do anything to make me look good so they had to go as well.  I want to look good in my clothes. I want to be confident when I walk down the street.

I want to be my bad ass self.

What will I do with all my old clothes? I will have Goodwill come and pick them up. Just because I no longer get joy from these pieces doesn’t mean someone else won’t.

I find that less clutter makes me happier and stress less. It is so much less stressful to be able to get dressed quickly and easily for work, which leaves a few more minutes to sleep or workout or just relax.

And being happier with my wardrobe makes me more confident.

Have you cleaned out your closet lately? If so, how do you decide what stays or goes?

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Gluten-Free Expo

expo

The Gluten-Free Expo is coming to Phoenix on November 12th and 13th!

I am excited to finally be able to attend a gluten-free expo. The last expo was right around the time I was diagnosed and I found out too late to attend. But this November I will be in Glendale finding all kinds of yummy gluten-free goodies! The expo main sponsors are Glutino and Udi’s, who have many products that I love! A full list of sponsors is available here.

The expo will be held at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale, you know, the big one in Westgate. If you are traveling a distance, the expo has reserved a block of rooms. Click here to check it out.

I cannot wait to see all the vendors and find new brands and foods I can enjoy. I also plan to share all my new found knowledge with my readers and social media followers. I am all about raising awareness and sharing resources with fellow gluten-free friends. I think it is important people know that gluten-free is not a fad diet or lifestyle choice. For some of us, it is medically necessary to follow a gluten-free diet.

What all does a gluten-free expo entail? Well, samples obviously, but what else? There will be a ton of exhibitors, check out the full list here. I saw a cupcake vendor on that list so that will probably be my first stop! There are also classes you can attend. I have my eye on two classes, one each day. Saturday I’d like attend Gluten: Beyond the Gut and Sunday I want to hit up Simple, Quick and Easy Gluten-Free Desserts. I am always down to learning more gluten-free desserts!

As an official expo blogger, I will be posting from the expo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook so be sure to follow along!

You can also follow the gluten-free expo on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as well!

expo-winAnd now… some fun stuff for those that have stuck around!

I have five tickets to give away! I will give one away to one random person who comments on this blog posts. The other four will be given to a random person that comments on a specific post on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (so be sure to follow my accounts and watch out for those posts.

But… that’s only four tickets. What about the fifth? Sign up for my monthly newsletter and I will select one random subscriber for the last ticket!

I will be selecting all five winners on October 9th!

If you don’t receive on the of the free tickets, you can receive 30% off your tickets through October 11th with code EARLYBIRD and 20% off through November 11th with code ADVANCE. Just use my affiliate link and enter the code at checkout!

expo-blogger

What vendors and classes are you most interested in? Let me know in the comments and you could win a free ticket!

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Book Corner: Harry Potter

Harry Potter has always been popular.

And I was a Potter virgin.

Somehow I avoided it all these years. Not because I wasn’t interested but when the first movie came out I was 21 and in college. I hadn’t read the books and during college didn’t have much time to read for fun. I refused to watch the movie. I wanted to read the books first.

I am weird like that… I always want to read the book first. More often than not it never happens. I would never watch movies if I waited to read all the books.

harry potterBut I refused to watch the first Harry Potter movie, which meant I couldn’t watch any subsequent movie. I would look at the book box set at least once a year, but never bought them. Then it seemed *most* of the hype died down. I’d still check the price on Amazon but never ordered them (although, the box set ended up in my cart a few times but never purchased).

I bought the movies for Justin one year, as a present. He wanted the DVDs for the collection. He loved the movie. I still refused to watch. I wanted to read the books. When Potterland opened at Universal in California, he said we had to go.

Recently Harry Potter was everywhere again. A new book was out and so were some Hogwarts books. The Coyotes schedule came out and there was a game in Anaheim in January Justin wanted to go to, which meant going to Universal. To Potterland.

I was on Amazon one day and saw the box set. I hemmed. I hawed. I gave in. The books were in my cart. I just had to press the button. I had to read the books before going to Potterland. It didn’t make any sense to go and have no clue what any of it meant. Thank god for Amazon Prime. I had those books in just a two days.

I started reading immediately. I was hooked.

Why didn’t I read these sooner?

Then the other debate happened. Do I watch the movie as I finish each book or read all the books then watch all the movies?

It was a conundrum. I debated with myself for days and weighted pros and cons on Facebook with others.

After I finished The Sorcerer’s Stone I watched the movie. I had to.

I am still working my way through. I just started The Half-Blood Prince on Friday. But I will have all the books and movies done when we go to Anaheim. I have already checked…. Butterbeer is gluten-free (as are many items at Universal so YAY!). I haven’t even finished the series yet and I am looking forward to this trip and Potterland so much!

I don’t know if I would say I wish I read these sooner. I kind of like that I waited and avoided spoilers. I mean, how often does that happen?!? And it’s been fun to work through them and discuss them with people who read them previously.

I cannot wait to finish the series!

Do you follow me on Instagram? I post my workouts, current books, and yummy food so you don’t miss out!

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Marathon Training: Week 1 & 2

This year is different. I will complete my first marathon.

How do I know this after only two weeks of training? It is all completely mental. I am in a much better space mentally this year than last year. I have good and bad days. I have doubts but it is so much different than a year ago. A year ago I didn’t think I would ever run again. I was still struggling to accept my celiac diagnosis and figure out how to fuel my body without gluten.

I have now been gluten-free for about a year and a half. It is almost second nature to me. I still miss certain foods and the freedom to order anything but I am used to it now. I know what is safe and where I can eat. This has been a huge help in my mental running game.

I do struggle a bit with the heat and the early wake-up calls. I have been getting up at 4 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and 5 AM on Saturdays. It’s tough but I actually enjoy getting my runs done and not having to worry about it after work. I might even keep this up after the marathon.

training

I am trying a new approach to training this year. I have written my entire training plan on a calendar but am not looking too far ahead. I did an overview and have an idea of dates I need to adjust and plan for but I am taking it a month and a week at a time. At the start of September, I looked at the schedule but I only start planning on Sunday for the coming week. I make adjustments as needed for the week. If things come up during the week, I change it accordingly.

For example, I didn’t take a full rest day this week but instead of doing 30-45 minutes of cross training on two days I did three days of 20 minutes each. It was what felt right and fit with my schedule. I also swapped my long run from Saturday to Sunday because I got home late Friday and knew running on less than 6 hours of sleep was not optimal. I could have slept in Saturday and then ran but it would have been hot and there wasn’t much cloud cover. Sunday morning before sunrise was much better.

Two weeks are done and just 18 more to go! I know I can do this. I am ready.

Do you want to see more on my journey to 26.2? If so, be sure to follow me on Instagram!

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Flying While Celiac

celiacCeliac disease can be tough. Flying can be a pain. Combine the two and it can be a whole lot of joy.

I flew twice in July and was reminded of how difficult flying with celiac disease can be. Luckily, this time, I didn’t have any peanut free flights and was able to enjoy the free peanuts (and my trail mix). I have been on flights with a peanut allergy, which limits what I can eat even more. Most of my snacks involve nuts or nut butter because they are portable and have protein but I also have to make sure to bring something without nuts.

I am glad the airlines take nut allergies so seriously. I wish they could do a bit more for those of us that require a gluten-free diet.

Besides the peanuts, there is little I can get on a plane. Most airlines don’t have a meal I can purchase. They are all wraps or sandwiches.  The snack packs have some gluten-free items in them but no pack can I eat ALL the treats. Why would I pay $8.99 when I can’t eat everything?

Then there are the airports. I had a layover in Minneapolis. I tried to find options for lunch before I left. I got nowhere on the airport’s website or google. Maybe if I had more time I could have researched more. I walked from one gate to another (no shuttle or moving sidewalk) in order to look for something I could eat. I stopped a few times to check out some restaurants. I saw a Pei Wei but they had a limited menu and none of their gluten-free dishes.

And then…

A Chik-Fil-A just before my departure gate. I was never so happy to see a Chik-Fil-A.

There were almost tears of joy.

Whenever I fly as a celiac, I take snacks with me. It seems every other time I fly, my bag gets flagged by TSA. Food apparently sets off the red flags because people use food to sneak in things. The agent didn’t specify but I would assume drugs mostly. Maybe some weapons. It’s always fun to hear, “Is this your bag ma’am?”

You can’t help but laugh about it. I talked with the agent while she checked my bad and let her know that traveling with food intolerances was always exciting.

What is your biggest hassle when traveling?

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July Wrap Up

My goal for July was to get back into an exercise routine and start eating better.

Did I smash both goals?

Nope. Not even close.

July ended up being a bit of a whirlwind for me. It started with the death of a family member and a quick trip home and ended with a vacation, back home. We had planned the trip back home months ago so I had two trips in one month. Needless to say between travel and work I struggled a bit this month.

The first and last week I ate pretty badly but those two-and-a-half in the middle? I rocked them! I followed my calorie goals. I aimed to keep my protein intake up and tried to get fruits and/or vegetables at each meal. I stayed away from sweets. Now I am back on track after vacation. More water. More protein. Fewer sweets.

I worked out the first two weeks of the month and then life got busy. I tried to get in my 10k steps at least but even that was difficult. I was busy at work catching up after my first trip and trying to complete everything before my second. Yup, I got tired. I got stressed and I let my workouts fall away.

I’m human. I’m not perfect.

I am not going to let my July get me down. I came back from vacation and started right back at it. I restarted food tracking. I went for a walk yesterday and a run today. I’ve got big plans and I can’t let the bad dwell. August is a new month. I will keep trying to hit my goals, to eat better and fit in workouts.

I am in pre-marathon prep. I start actual marathon training on August 29th. Yikes! I hope to have more posts about training once I actually get into it more. Hopefully, this is my year. I really want to say I’ve run 26.2 miles.

How was your July? Did you smash any goals? What did you struggle with?

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2016 Firecracker 4 Mile

Last Fourth of July I ran the inaugural Firecracker 4 Mile in my hometown.

I was home for a happy time, a family reunion with relatives from Norway. I was able to run with my dad. I love running races in my hometown because I get to see it from a new point of view. When I lived there I only ran in my neighborhood. Races allow me to run by the Mississippi, my college and downtown. Downtown definitely looks different while running than it did while drinking. 😉

I wasn’t planning to run this year and neither was my dad. I wasn’t supposed to be home for a visit until the end of July, well after the race was done. Unfortunately, I had to go back early due to a death in the family. Once I knew I would be home my dad asked if I wanted to run. I said, of course! He signed us up and that was that.

I was so out of it after I forgot to take a selfie! This was on the way to coffee (and breakfast).
I was so out of it after I forgot to take a selfie! This was on the way to coffee (and breakfast).

For this year they updated the course a bit. I liked both routes but this year was a tad nicer. The start and finish were in the park, instead of the access road. The start both years included up a hill, but this year was through the river trail instead of downtown. I was worried about how narrow the trail was with all the people going through but, surprisingly, people were incredibly polite. I was a bit shocked. In Phoenix, people make rude comments rather than just saying excuse me or on your left.

The loop through town was a bit different but it was still residential streets. The ending came through downtown, into the park and then down the pier. The bad thing about running down the pier was having to go back up. I was hitting the wall and not sure I would make it and then had to run up the pier. I would have given up had I not seen the finish line coming up. As I ran through the park, my dad was waiting and had his phone ready to capture my run past. I made it through the finish line and had never been so happy to stop running.

I learned an important lesson or two this race. One: you need your inhaler when running somewhere with humidity. And two: food and nutrition do make a huge difference. I might make this a separate post as I have already gone on quite a but here! Overall, though, the race was great and I didn’t do too bad, especially considering my sporadic summer running.

2015: 40:52 total, 10:13 pace

2016: 41:20 total, 10:20 pace

My dad did much better than me:
2015: 34:59 total, 8:45 pace

2016: 31:39 total, 7:55 pace

He has gotten so fast! I definitely do not take after him here but I do try. I’d love to be that fast.

Have you done any summer races? Let me know how you did in the comments!

Are you following me on Instagram? Follow all my fitness adventures there!

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