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. ūüėČ

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!

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Are you happy and healthy?

“If you don’t take care of your body where are you going to live?”

I don’t care if you are a healthy weight, overweight or obese… are you happy with your body?

If not, you need to figure out why and what makes you unhappy and take steps to change it. People of all sizes can be happy with their body, or unhappy. The above quote puts it well, you are the only one who can take care of your body. You are the one that has to live in your body every day. Why wouldn’t you want to take care of it?

happy
I used my leave time to jump start my running.

I have struggled with being happy and taking care of myself. I think we all do. I’ve talked about my celiac diagnosis before. I’ve mentioned I have gained weight since my diagnosis (a common occurrence¬†when celiacs go gluten free). Before my diagnosis, I was losing fairly quickly and was down to 140. I was happy there and wanted to work on building strength. I am now 157 and miserable. I feel flabby. My clothes are too tight (and a few pants no longer fit). I am struggling to lose weight.

I also went through a period of stuffing my face with all those gluten free cookies and cupcakes. I wasn’t happy. I was stressed. I ate my feelings. I was caught in a cycle of feeling stressed and unhappy, stuffing my face to feel better, and then feeling more unhappy because I just ate a million calories.

I know what I need to do. I think most of us know what we need to do. The struggle is to actually follow through and do it. I keep starting, giving up and starting over. It’s time to end that cycle. I am not sure who the following quote is attributed to as I’ve never seen a name attached to it but it is something I keep telling myself…

“If you are tired of starting over, stop giving up.”

I need to tell myself this every day. I am tired of starting over, of not changing, not moving forward. I want to feel healthy and happy. I am the only one who can keep going. I am the only one that can change my actions.

As of last Thursday (who needs Mondays or the first of the month), I have been working hard to make sure I track my food. I know tracking my calories helps me lose weight. It’s worked before and every time I stop I overeat. I also know I can get obsessive so I have adopted a more loose style of tracking food. I’m not worrying if I go over calories. It is what it is. But I might think, was I really hungry? Was I stressed? Reflect and move forward.

I am trying to hit my 10k steps each day and workout. I am currently doing a Nike Training Club program, which includes running. But being back in Phoenix heat I am struggling to run but am trying to do cardio on those days if I don’t run. I feel better when I workout. I am also working on shoulder and hip mobility so when my 6 weeks rest is up I can get back to New Rules of Lifting for Women. I enjoy lifting weights. It gives me a different level of satisfaction than running. I need both.

July 7th was my new year. I am starting over but this time, I am sticking with it. I want to happy. I deserve to be happy. We all deserve to be happy. It will be hard. There will be struggles, but I am ready for the challenge.

Yes, taking care of yourself is hard work. Everything worth fighting for is hard work.

You are worth fighting for.

What quote gets you through the difficult times?

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Glukos Energy Tabs

Do you remember eating the giant sweet tarts as a kid?

All the sugar.

All the sour.

All the yum.

How would you feel about an adult version? A giant sweet tart that gives you a nice energy boost?

glukos energy tabsGlukos energy tabs do just that. I use them before an evening run or weight lifting session, after a long, tiring day at work. The tabs give you a good energy boost fairly quickly but it is subtle. There’s no jolt. No shaking. Just a quick boost. I also haven’t had a crash from Glukos energy tabs. I usually end up feeling just as good at the end of a run or weight lifting session, if not better.

The positives:

  • Easily dissolves in mouth
  • Easy to chew
  • Good flavor
    • I had fruit punch and it was a bit on the tart side, which I love. If you aren’t a huge tart person it might deter you
  • Local company
    • They are based in Scottsdale, Arizona.
  • Gluten free

The negatives:

  • Wouldn’t dissolve in water
    • The package claims you can dissolve it in water. I tried. I waited about 5 minutes and nothing. I chewed it instead. I use Nuun a lot, which starts dissolving immediately and only takes about a minute.
  • Not enough of an energy boost to use first thing in the morning
    • I need more to get me going. Maybe this would be better for others.

glukos energy tabsI really wish the tabs would have dissolved in water. I would have loved to taste it as a drink. The tabs come in fruit punch, orange, and lemon. I was given the fruit punch to try.

Bottom line: I will continue to use the Glukos¬†energy tabs I have and will purchase them when I’m out. I think the flavor is on point and I like the energy it gives me.

They do offer an energy powder as well and I will give that a try as well.

If you have run a Rock N Roll event you have probably used or at least seen Glukos. Glukos gels and gummies are available on the course.

I will be reviewing additional Glukos products as I gear up and train for my first marathon. I am currently in what I am calling “pre-training” (basically getting myself back on a workout schedule) and will be officially in training on August 29th. EEK!

I was given the Glukos products by my local running store, Fleet Feet Scottsdale to review. Everything in this review is my opinion. If I didn’t like the product I would tell you.

What is your favorite pre-workout energy product? Let me know in the comments.

Are you following me on Instagram? Be sure to head over and follow to see my journey to my very first marathon!

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Korean Beef

I like to think of myself as someone that likes to cook and try new recipes.

In reality, I’m lazy.

I have a stack of recipe books, and keep buying more, all of which I have made one or two recipes from. I like quick and easy. I like things I can just throw together with stuff I have on hand. I like recipes I can easily remember and pull together in a short time after a long day at work.

One night I was looking for something quick, yet different to do with our ground beef. I was tired of tacos and hamburgers, which are pretty much our go tos. I love hamburgers and tacos but I was in the mood for something new. I googled and eventually stumbled upon a Korean beef bowl on Damn Delicious. I have since made this recipe several times and tweak it each time.

korean beef

We are a gluten free house thanks to my celiac disease which means no soy sauce. I substituted tamari for the soy sauce. We like our food to bite us back so I added more crushed red pepper flakes¬†and more ginger. I also toasted sesame seeds and tossed in the sauce. I did not have garlic or onions on hand and used garlic and onion powder to flavor the meat. We also use avocado oil instead of olive and brown rice instead of rice. Lastly, I cooked some fresh broccoli and tossed it with the beef. I used only one cup but it wasn’t enough. I would recommend going to at least two cups broccoli.

Korean beef

My modified Korean beef:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 tsp garlic and onion powder
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Cooked brown rice, for serving

In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and ginger. Toast sesame seeds for approximately 5 minutes then add to sauce.

Boil water and add broccoli. Cook for about 5 minutes, just until tender. Drain. Set aside.

Heat avocado oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground beef and season with garlic and onion powder. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Mix in broccoli. Stir in sauce mixture until combined, allowing to simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa. I’ve also used ramen or rice noodles. If you are grain-free I am sure cauliflower rice would work just as well.

What is one of your easy go-to recipes? Leave it in the comments.

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Earn those booty shorts

I have a problem.

I can’t stop buying workout clothes, gadgets, shoes, and gear. My dresser is exploding with compression shorts, tech t’s, and sports bras. My gear box is spilling out visors, headphones, and sunglasses. I am always going to want new gear so I needed to find a way to reign in my spending. I also thought it might be motivating to know I have to earn booty shorts and can’t just grab a cute pair when I’m at the Under Armour outlet.

I also thought this might be a good solution to get and keep me motivated to work out. I go through stages when I do really well, work out every day, and then I fall off the horse and completely stop working out.

I am trying to find some consistency.

At the beginning of this year, I started a reward program for myself. I decided for each yoga session and weight lifting session I would receive $1. For every mile I run I earn $1. For the first quarter, I gave myself $1 for each pound I lost but that became complicated if I lost .4 one week, gained .2 the next, then lost .6 the next. I dropped that when I started the second quarter.

I also was taking away $1 for every missed workout but decided not to do that for the month of June. It wasn’t really a deterrent¬†for me. I still skipped my workout and justified it as¬†“if I’m not working out I don’t need new clothes”. For June, I have just paid myself accordingly for each workout. I think it is best to just keep it as simple as possible.

I track it on a Google doc sheets. I have a tab for each quarter and track three months on each sheet. I have four columns for each month. The first is the¬†day of the week, the next column is the date, then the amount, and finally a column for notes. In the notes, I indicate which workout¬†I did or if it was a scheduled rest day. If I didn’t work out I may fill in the reason. Most recently I noted the days with high temperatures and high pollution advisory.

Here are screenshots of the spreadsheet I put together. It is not advanced or fancy but it does the job. I have them separated into weeks but now that I am not using my weight I could take the row out. I weigh myself on Sundays and left a gap to enter my weight. As you can see, I have spent some of the money. After I made the screenshots I moved the quarter 1 balance to quarter 2 and then subtracted the new headphones I bought.

I need to get in a few more workouts, my balance is down to $29!

Do you reward yourself for working out? How do you stay motivated?

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Pushing through to keep a routine

How many of you struggle with finding the motivation to find a routine?

routine
Getting up early for runs can be hard

I know I do. I struggle each day, week, month, year to establish a workout routine. To find a grove. To keep going. I have no problem with other routines. I have my morning routine down to a science. I know exactly how long it takes me and how long I have to do each task. Yet when it comes to working out I struggle.

I know I need to and should work out. I know I feel better physically and mentally when I work out, so why can’t I easily get into a routine?

I start off each week with good intentions. This will be it. This will be my week! But, as I’m sure you know, stuff happens. Work stresses me out. I don’t sleep well. Soon, I am just too tired to do a workout.

What works for me in these slumps?

Pushing through.

Just get up. Put on your running shoes. Go.

There are three ways I think of as pushing through:

  1. Tell yourself you only have to go for 15 minutes. If after 15 minutes you want to give up? Ok because you tried. You made the attempt. More than likely you will just keep going and finish your workout because once you start it’s easier to keep going. You realize what you were dreading, or too tired to do, is actually energizing you.
  2. Don’t allow yourself more than one day off in a row. My biggest momentum killer is two or more days off. It is like a downward spiral you will get caught in almost every time. Need a rest day or too busy? Take a break but be sure to get back at it the next day or it gets too easy to keep pushing off.
  3. Have a backup plan. You usually do yoga on Wednesdays but class is canceled? What are you going to do? Nothing? Find another class? Find workouts you can do when something comes up with your regular routine. Maybe you have a 10-minute Tabata workout you can do on busy days. Maybe you have a gym membership for the hot summers (or cold winters?).
routine
But also rewarding

I struggle with this. I had wanted June to be the month I got back to my routine. I started off great… for the first 4ish days. What happened? 118 degree days with high pollution advisories. I couldn’t run outside. I didn’t have a backup plan. So I took a break. And then another. And then I didn’t do my weights. And downward spiral commenced.

A few more thoughts on the topic:

How to Establish Gym Routine Tips for Beginners

How to Make a Workout Plan

Starting & sticking with an exercise habit

Make a workout plan & stick to it

How do you stick to your routines? How do you get yourself back into the habit?

Do you follow me on Instagram? If you want to see if I am sticking to my routine be sure to do so!

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Gluten free challenge

Eating gluten-free is hard.

gluten free donut
In order to have donuts, I need to make them. Or drive 30-40 miles.

I am not talking about a gluten-free diet, where you avoid gluten. I am talking about eating 100% gluten free. No, “it’s ok, I can have this bread just this one time”. No, “even though the fries are cooked in the same oil as the flour coated chicken I can still have them”. I mean truly no gluten.

People have told me gluten-free is easy, but they are looking at it from the diet point of view, where it is ok if you slip up or cheat or if you don’t realize that¬†salad dressing contains¬†some form of gluten.¬†If I slip up or cheat my insides feel like they are on fire. I want to rip out my digestive system. I want to throw up my insides to stop the pain. If I slip up, there’s bloating, migraines and fatigue.

I want to issue a seven-day gluten-free challenge. Seven days, that’s it. I have to do this for life and am only asking you for seven days. One week. But it has to be truly gluten-free, no slip-ups and no cheating. You will have to read labels. If you eat out, better do some research or ask some questions.

It may be hard and it will probably be more expensive unless you stick to naturally gluten-free foods. Fruits, vegetables, most dairy products (watch those flavored yogurts and cheap cheeses) and most meats (be careful with sausages and processed meats) should be gluten-free.

Baked goods, fast foods, and a lot of packaged foods will be off limits. Want to bring bagels to the office? Good luck finding some on a moments notice and be ready to spend a pretty penny! I have to order my bagels or travel 30-40 miles out of my way to get them.

Maybe a challenge like this will make you think next time you bring food to the office or a party. Maybe there is someone in your office or at the party that would love to feel included but can’t because of celiac, or a peanut allergy, or any number of other allergies. We want to feel a part of the office or the party and our society revolves around food. Not being able to eat can make one feel left out.

Try a gluten free challenge next week. It may just open your eyes.

Here are some guidelines:
Read labels – gluten hides in a lot of things you wouldn’t expect.

Here are some links:
7 day meal plan from Celiac Disease Foundation
Dining out guide from Celiac Disease Foundation
Eating at restaurants from Gluten Free Living
Meal plans & shopping List from $5 Dinners

Feel free to ask me questions in the comments or on twitter and facebook.

Try the challenge and then come back and let me know in the comments how you did. Did you make it all seven days? What was easiest for you? What was most difficult?

 

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Find Your Confidence

Confidence: how do you find yours?

confidence
I felt confident this day because I was wearing a very “me” outfit & mascara.

Confidence can be a fickle thing. One day you feel on top of the world, the next you want to crawl under the covers and never come out. What do you do on those bad days? The days you feel like the worst person on Earth? When you feel stupid or fat or unworthy? How do you get back on top?

I have days where I have to “fake it until I make it”. The days you just have to slap a smile on your face and get through the day. But how does one work towards having self-confidence on more days than not? For me, I like to look good. I feel that presenting a good face helps build you up.

Confidence comes from within but I firmly believe you can help boost it from the outside. When my confidence is up, I wear different clothes, shoes and actually put on makeup. When it’s down, I put on comfy clothing, flats, and no makeup. My outside is matching my insides (and it isn’t always pretty lol).

You don’t have to be a fashionista or makeup artist either. Wear what you feel best in. If you prefer flats to heels, wear your favorite flats. If you only like lipstick, put on your favorite color. On your high confidence days, notice what you are wearing. Notice what you did (sometimes a hobby can give us a boost). Take note and when you have a bad day, put on that favorite outfit, swipe on some mascara and walk out the door with your head held high.

What tips do you have for when you need a confidence boost? Leave them in the comments.

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Start Small

start small

Start small… go back to the basics.

I’ve been struggling to get back into the habit/routine of working out. I haven’t been fully committed to my workouts, especially running, over the past several months. The problem is I want to be at the level I was when I fell off the wagon. I’ve said it before… I know what I’m capable and it is frustrating to feel so far from my best.

When you haven’t been consistent you need to go back to the beginning. But it is so hard!

I want to just be great at eating healthy and making good diet choices. I wish I could go out and run 10:30 miles. But I can’t. I have to take it slow and steady. I have to start small and build on the healthy habits.

I am lucky I don’t have to start at the bottom, but I am close. Instead of just running six miles I am run/walking. I do get frustrated but I know I will be better off in the long run.

start small
Getting back on the horse with run/walks

My diet has been off the rails. I’ve been eating a lot of sugar for energy and to make myself feel better. I know sugar fixes these things temporarily. I am not quitting sugar cold turkey. I am cutting back. Instead of the entire box of Milk Duds, I am having a handful. Instead of getting a Snickers and Reese’s peanut butter cup from the vending machine I get one or the other. I am making sure I am getting my fruits and vegetables. I am working hard to eat all the protein!

Start small.

If you want to start eating better or working out pick one thing and focus on it until it becomes second nature.

Looking to improve your diet? Start small and make sure you are drinking enough water. Once you have water intake as a habit add something else. Want to eat more fruit and vegetables? Add one serving to each meal. Eat too much chocolate? Cut one serving from each day.

Want to start working out? Look at where you are now and add something. Do you sit at a desk all day? Get up and take a 15-minute walk break twice a day (once in the morning and once in the afternoon). Stretch each night after dinner. Once these feel like second nature add another walk after work. Or at lunch.

It doesn’t have to be¬†complicated. It doesn’t need to be difficult. It just needs to be something you can do. You just add more as you get comfortable with the last step.

Just start.

And keep at it. You will stumble. You will fall but what matters is how you react. Do you get back up, dust yourself off, and start again? Or do you give up and start surfing the couch?

How do you start small when you get off track? Leave your ideas in the comments.

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Celiac Awareness Month

Celiac Awareness Month is May.

Officially a year has passed since I was diagnosed with celiac disease. I am not going to sugarcoat it, the past year has been rough. I struggled to adjust to a new diet. Giving up gluten is hard. Gluten is in more than you can even imagine. Things you wouldn’t even think of. I had to spend more time reading every single label in the grocery store. Grocery shopping, a chore I hate, suddenly took twice as long. I had to give up all my favorite fast foods. No more McDonalds. No more french fries almost anywhere. I started stuffing my face with dark chocolate and Talenti. I couldn’t stop shoveling in the sugar trying to appease my loss.

2015-08-06 12.47.00
Gluten free grilled cheese & fries from Jewel’s, a local all gf place.

I gained weight. I saw the scale go up nine pounds by August. Nine pounds in four months. I knew weight gain was probable but I wasn’t mentally prepared to gain so much in such a short time.

I fell into a depression. ¬†Eventually, I stopped working out. It all seemed too much. I didn’t want to run. I just wanted to sink into the couch and never leave. I was wallowing in self-pity. I knew I needed to pull myself out but I couldn’t.

Of course, I was thankful to have finally gotten a diagnosis. I felt better almost instantly. The bloating and brain fog were gone. I stopped getting migraines. I hadn’t felt “right” for many years. I had almost forgotten what it felt like. It was amazing. I didn’t know I could physically feel this good. I just had to get back to feeling mentally “right”.

I went through all the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression,¬†and acceptance. Not necessarily in that order but they all came around. I still get angry now and then but not like I was in the first few months. I have *mostly* accepted it. I have accepted the diagnosis and not having gluten for the rest of my life but I haven’t fully accepted that others don’t have to make gluten free options. I still want McDonalds to be gluten free. I still want places to put the burger on the bun for me. I am slowly accepting that places don’t get celiac and gluten but I am hopeful.

I hope that my voice can bring about change. That restaurants and servers will understand this isn’t an allergy¬†and proper prep is important. Cross contamination is a big deal. You may not see it but I will be affected. Celiac disease is an invisible illness. I won’t go into anaphylactic¬†shock like a peanut allergy. You may never know that your carelessness made me so bloated I had to unbutton my pants at a baseball game. That I woke up the next day with a migraine. That I struggled to stay awake for the rest of the weekend. That I couldn’t get anything done for a few days. Celiac disease does not have a visible reaction. I suffer in silence.

I will speak for those who struggle to speak for themselves. I want to be the voice of celiac disease because¬†it is important for people and places to know it isn’t an allergy. It isn’t being a hipster. It isn’t about a diet. Or trying to lose weight. It is about my health. My life.

May is celiac awareness month and I hope that my blog has made you aware of an often misunderstood auto-immune disease. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me. I try to be as open as possible about my diagnosis and struggle.

Helpful Links:
What is celiac disease?
Symptoms Checklist
7 Diseases Doctors Miss

I included the last link because for 10+ I thought I had IBS. I was given that diagnosis while I was in college but never had any testing. I finally had enough of the symptoms and wanted to know if it was something more or if I should adjust my diet. My symptoms started long before that but I just thought it was normal. I had no clue about celiac disease or even what gluten was!

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