Friday, June 12, 2015


While I haven't been consistent about blogging Sundays, I have been consistent about blogging once a week. This week's blog is brought to you at Sip Coffee & Beer House in Scottsdale, AZ. One of the best parts about being "off" in the summers, is that you can work remotely for a large majority of prep work. I'm not really "off." We might not have school in session, but I'm working and prepping for next year like a mad women. Music selection, travel plans, outfit selection...sometimes it feels like I have more work in the summers than I do during the school year. Haha, just kidding.

I love a good coffeehouse. Probably goes back to the many hours I spent avoiding the snow and studying at Larkspur in college, which apparently is now Lola-An American Bistro. Pair a good coffee with free wifi and I am a happy girl. Add on the fact that it's also a beer house and you'll have a difficult time getting me to leave. I found this little gem on Google, gave it a try, and it's starting to become my goto place to sit and work. The mornings are pretty quiet, but the traffic definitely pics up around noon.

Lots of blogging topics have been swarming my mind these days. As the mileage starts to increase, so does the amount of time I have to just think. Three quick thoughts on the blog today. Race recap, minor injury, and goals.

Race recap: FroYo5k
Both the 5k and the 10k were offered, with the 10k just looping the course twice. Overall, I was fairly happy with my performance. I set my fastest 5k time in a long time during the race. The froyo treat at the end was AMAZING. While some people were commenting about how they were going to get sick from the froyo at the end, I thought it was a fantastic treat after a very hot race. Heat was probably my only complaint about the race. Race officials were late in starting the race, which in the AZ heat can really kill ya. My runs outside I try to start around 5:30am. Scheduled at 7am, this puppy didn't start til almost 7:15am! But one under my belt. Huzzah!

I sidelined myself for two days this week. After my interval training on Tuesday, I experienced some pain in my right calf starting Wednesday. When I woke up and it was still present on Thursday, I decided a trip to my local running store was in order. The pain was in the same leg that I pronate on, and suspected that I might be having a cause and effect situation going on. After telling my life's running story to Flash at Sole Running Sports Zone, we determined that is was probably time to retire my pair of shoes. Lighter shoes=less mileage available on them. I tried on a new pair and holy cow...night and day difference. It was like running on clouds of air verses flat pancakes. The hardest part of the process was deciding what color to get. Kinda in love with these new turquoise Saucony Kinvara 6s. I spent the rest of the afternoon Thursday doing an easy pool workout and Thursday evening bonding with the heating pad. This morning I woke up to a calf that felt MUCH better, but still could use a little more time off. Since tomorrow is my long run, I figured an extra day off wasn't going to hurt. Swimming again this afternoon.

Weekly Goals!
1- Drink more water. Yeah. I still suck at this.
2- Keep interval training and lifting a regular part of my schedule.
3- Do a better job meal planning. I'm starting to fall into the habit of going to the grocery store every other day and that is not good for the budget or the balanced diet.

Keep running everyone! Live. Laugh. Love.


Friday, June 5, 2015

What's your recipe?

I love to cook. (As is evidenced by the fact that I had to pause Chef to write this blog post.) In my past life I have worked in two bakeries and a deli. Days of cleaning up and prepping food gave me an insatiable love of both cooking and baking. I often get asked which one I love more, and I don't have a good answer. Both present unique and different opportunities. To me, the love of standing at the farmer's market picking out fresh veggies is just as wonderful as pulling my latest creation out of a hot stove.

My most recent cookbook purchase was Racing Weight Cookbook. (The picture to the left is the Nectarine Stuffed French Toast from the cookbook. It was AMAZING.) As I prepare for my upcoming marathon, and to just improve my health overall, I've taken an extra interest in the type of food I'm putting into my body. I'll admit it, a few sour gummy worms somehow manage to make their way past my lips from time to time. But I like to think that the majority of food passing through the gums are good food choices to fuel me in my workouts.

Cookbooks aren't the only type of books that I manage to collect. One of my dreams is to live in a large enough space where one room can be simply lined with bookshelves and books. When I moved to Arizona, the guys who were kind enough to come help me unload the moving truck jokingly asked if I brought anything besides my bed, papasan chair, and my books. (I don't think they were really joking though. The amount of boxes that had "books" as their label was a bit ridiculous...or awesome depending on how you look at it.) There are three bookshelves devoted to books in my small one-bedroom apartment right now, and I'm rapidly running out of space.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, or were at least paying attention in the first couple paragraphs of this post, you might have already caught that I'm planning on running a marathon. (If you haven't caught that by now, well then you might have the same attention span as some of my high schoolers.) Most of the time when I mention my marathon training to a fellow runner, they offer their favorite book of choice that has helped them reach their goal. Currently on the shelf sit:

Shout out to all my fellow runner friends for their recommendations. Daniels' Running Formula is the latest and greatest to grace my bookshelves. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming to consider all of the different options and opinions. But one of the reasons that I love being somewhat obsessed with my training is the same reason that I love cooking and baking.

Go to the bookstore. (Or Amazon...let's be real.) Pick out five different cookbooks. Look up the recipe for chocolate chip cookies. I'm willing to bet that while all five are fairly similar, each cookbook will have their own spin or variation on the recipe. However, you'll always end up with chocolate chip cookies. You personally might be drawn to one recipe over another because of your preference, but it doesn't make any of the other recipes better or worse than the one you like.

Each person is their own recipe. What might work for one person to lose weight and prepare for a marathon might be quite as "tasty" to another. Which is why I'm glad that I have different options and schools of thought to consider. But here's the flip side. You could drive yourself batty finding the "perfect" training program. It's almost like the dangers of online dating...there's always another person/recipe/training plan out there (we're going for the triple analogy here, folks). At some point you have to go with your gut and what you think is going to be the best for YOU. It's all trial and error.

Here are a couple of things I've learned so far:

1) If I'm going for weight loss, I have to take my fish oil regularly. It just helps me maintain a better balance in my body. Check out this article if you're interested in learning a little bit more about fish oil supplements.

2) I need to surround myself with like minded individuals to be successful in my weight loss. I can't be around people who don't respect my dietary choices. And as stupid as that sounds, you wouldn't believe the amount of people who give me a hard time when I opt for the salad or to skip the beer. (Ok, I am a Wisconsin girl who loves her beer. So maybe I don't always skip the beer, but I like to have the option.)

3) Right along with number 2 (somewhere Chandler Bing and Joey Tribiani are laughing right now...), I need people who are going to encourage me in my goals and choices. I want people around me who are going to ask me about my training and be genuinely interested. One of the worst responses that someone had when I told them I was going to train for a marathon was, "Are you crazy? I would NEVER want to do that! Who would ever want to run that far?" The snarky self inside of me wanted to respond with, "Well, no one is asking you to do it, but I am going to run it." But alas, my filter was kicked on that day and instead I'm now sharing it with all of you.

4) I love to make lists. Oh, wait. I knew that one already...onto number 5...

5) Interval training is where it's at if I want to slice time off of my mile. This is what I struggle with because I want to be faster, and yet I love settling into that easy, long run pace. I know those bad boys are good for me though.

6) Ice the knees, heat the calves, quads, and hammies. (Ice cream optional.)

7) You have crappy knees, so strength from other areas is key. Hip flexors need attention and loving too.

8) There is no substitute for a strong core.

9) Instagram is an amazing place to surround yourself with strangers that are as encouraging as your best friends. And many times, that stupid picture and the likes I get from other runners and triathletes is the thing that gets me out of bed and running in the morning. #hashtageverything

10) Running on an empty stomach makes me really hangry the last ten minutes of my run. Cinnamon raisin english muffin it is.

11) Running from 5-7am in Phoenix is the only sane time to run outside in the summertime. Thankfully I'm a teachers and have the flexibility to make that my run time in the summers. The only ones subject to my non-morning person lovely self are my running shoes.

12) Having pretty running shoes helps. If you're not looking forward to putting them on, you're not going to like what you're doing in them either.

13) I get bored. It's important to be training for something specific and to change it up. Right now I'm aiming for the marathon, but I'm also planning on doing a sprint tri about two months before. The swimming and biking help to break it up and give my mind some other things to think about. Plus the low-impact cardio certainly can't hurt!

14) Hit the gym. Regularly. And not just the cardio side. (See number 8).

15) Heathy people are happy people. I challenge you to go to any sort of run or multisport event. You will not find angry or frustrated people there. (Unless of course there's the occasional keys locked in the car or cell phone water injury.) Isn't it better being happy? Plus all that health stuff helps boost your immune system too.

16) It's ok to splurge. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to make a habit of eating pizza and beer every night. But I'm a realist about it too. I'm not an elite athlete. It isn't my job (although I'm currently acting like it) to run races. So it's ok if I indulge in a treat every now and then. This is one that I have a hard time with many times. As someone who has struggled with her weight the better part of her adult life, there is a lot of guilt associated with treats. I'm working remembering that they are "treats" and not "habits" and moving on with my life.

17) There's a difference between a quality workout and a mediocre workshop. I need to continually strive to make them quality workouts.

18) I need to drink more water. Come on people, I live in the desert. But even if I didn't, I am constantly working on upping my water intake. Everything (and I mean everything) just functions better when you're hydrated.

Oh boy, once I got going on that list I had a hard time stopping! That's the power of the list, people. And on that note, I'm off to hit the swimming pool...that is if the thunderstorms can hold off. (Yes, thunderstorms in Phoenix today. CRAZY. Cue the crazy driving...I mean crazier than normal driving.)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

This one's for you...

This one's for you.

This blog post is for all the people who are unhappy.
...for everyone who is scared to go to the gym.
...for everyone that thinks it is hopeless.
...for anyone who is sad, lonely, or depressed.
...for the person who wants to feel good.
...for the 8 year old inside of you that loved to swim, but you're not sure if they're still there.
...for the kids who loved to ride bikes outside in the summer, but haven't in a long time.
...for the person that doesn't think they can run, but desperately wants to.
...for the person that is on their journey.
...for the person that has journeyed before.
...for every person.

This blog post is for you.

I've found on my weight loss journey that there have been many ups and downs that I go through. But there is always a similar pattern. I want to share something with you from about 17 years ago.

When I was 14 our eighth grade class trip was to Washington D.C. Growing up I was very insecure about my body. We were required to wear nice clothes on the trip and I can remember going to Kohls and getting a pair of black khaki pants that were size 7. And I felt larger than any of the other girls in my class. I don't know that I felt fat or even overweight, I just felt like I didn't fit in with everyone else. And I proceeded to feel not good about my body right into college. And then I decided to do something about it. So I got moving. But the midst of my collegiate healthy awakening, I came across the picture of me in eighth grade and I remembered how I felt at the time. And you know what? I looked at that picture in college the same I view it today, I look like a pretty standard 14 year old girl.

But isn't that one of the huge hurdles in any sort of weight-loss or fitness journey? It doesn't always matter what the reality looks like if your head is some place else.

Here's the truth. First and foremost, who you are is beautiful, regardless of the size that you are. You are where you are in life right now because that's where God needs you to be. You are beautiful and special because God made you who you are and He doesn't make mistakes.

Do you remember the TLC show What Not to Wear with Stacy and Clinton? Many of the participants said they dressed the way they did was because they were planning on losing weight and were just biding time. The thing that Stacy and Clinton always responded with was that it is important for you to dress your body as it is right now, not as it could possibly be six month from now. I always thought that was good advice, but I think there's something more to it now that I didn't understand before. You dress your body now for success because it makes you feel better, which puts you in a better position to be successful in other aspects of your life (health, relationships, work, etc.). If we live in a state of constant self loathing, it is very difficult to take any steps in a positive direction.

So stop criticizing yourself! That's not going to get you anywhere besides BummedOutsville. (Go back up two paragraphs and re-read.) So now you feel good about your insides, but you want your outsides to match? Here's my encouragement to you...take a step. Take one step forward. Steps forward don't have to always be big steps. Make your big goal, and then put several smaller goals in between where you are now and the larger goal laid out in front of you.

You want to run? Start tomorrow with a walk. It's the same as running. Just one foot in front of the other.
You want to swim? Buy a suit and don't get a rat's patootie about what other people think because you're there and we're all a work in progress.
You want to bike? Find a place to rent one in your city for a day so you can fall back in love with the freedom that those two wheels can offer.
You want to go to the gym? Go. The only person stopping you is you. They will be happy to have you (and your moola).
You want to feel good? Turn on the 80's cardio station on Pandora and have your own private dance party at home. I have yet to find anyone who doesn't feel awesome after rocking out to Livin' On a Prayer.

Life is too short to deprive ourselves of everything it has to offer. Make tomorrow a great one!

Live. Laugh. Love.

*Editor's Note: The author of this blogpost also has to give herself this pep talk on a fairly regular basis. Nobody is perfect. We're all a work in progress trying to make tomorrow better than it was today. High five, fellow people. Go forth and be awesome.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Reading to hit the ground running...literally.

After listening to this little gem on repeat for the last couple days...

...I was anxious to get back to the workout grindstone. The last month has really just been garbage for me when it's come to consistently working out. It wasn't until about the last two weeks that my eating habits started to tank right alongside them. So, now that I'm done teaching for the summer, and I'm moving into "prep for next year mode" I can start to work some normal hours again and get myself back on track for the marathon.

My first race of the season is coming up this Saturday. I'm not out to write any records, just finish, get my mileage in, and get back into the race mentality. This last week my local RoadRunner hosted a free Adventure Run which was a lot of fun, and helped to get me back in the mindset.

As a side note, for anyone who is intimidated by doing some sort of run (because I was even a little nervous for this one), listen up. Every run will have all different kinds of fitness levels. Yes, I set goals for myself when I do my races, but I am far from a professional athlete. I do them because healthy people are happy people, and those are the kinds of people with whom I want to surround myself. Happiness is infectious and am trying to do all I can to help spread the disease. And my ultimate goal is always just to finish.

This is my current race plan for the next four months:

Saturday, May 30 FroYo 5k in Scottsdale, AZ (actually a 10k for me)
Thursday, July 9 Storm the Bastille in Milwaukee, WI
Sunday, August 2 Solana Beach Tri in San Diego, CA
Sunday, October 4 Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, WI

This next month I am going to focus on eating healthy, strengthening my body, and striving towards my ideal race weight. If you're looking for a great resource on heathy eating, check out Racing Weight Cookbook. There are a variety of different cooking ability levels, and the recipes are easy enough so that you aren't intimidated. Plus the writing is done in a conversational way which makes for an easy read.

Goals for the week:
1- Drink more water.
2- Stay the course on my plan for each day for the entire week.
3- Make sure I log 10k steps everyday.

Here's my plan for the next week:

Fuel -
Pre-Run: Toast w/ peanut butter
Breakfast: Peanut Butter granola w/ greek yogurt, fruit
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, egg, lite ranch dressing
Dinner: Lean Turkey Burgers

Fitness -
Cardio: Run 3mi, Swim 30 min
Lifting: Core, Upper Body

Fuel -
Pre-Run: Toast w/ peanut butter
Breakfast: Peanut Butter granola w/ greek yogurt, fruit
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, egg, lite ranch dressing
Dinner: Lean Turkey Burgers

Fitness -
Cardio: Run 3 mi
Lifting: Core, Upper Body

Fuel -
Pre-Run: Toast w/ peanut butter
Breakfast: Peanut Butter granola w/ greek yogurt, fruit
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, egg, lite ranch dressing
Dinner: Rosemary Garlic Chicken w/ brown rice

Fitness -
Cardio: Run 3 mi, Bike 45 min
Lifting: Core, Legs

Fuel -
Breakfast: Peanut Butter granola w/ greek yogurt, fruit
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, egg, lite ranch dressing
Dinner: Rosemary Garlic Chicken w/ brown rice

Fitness -
Cardio: Swim 30
Lifting: Core, Upper Body

Fuel -
Pre-Run: Toast w/ peanut butter
Breakfast: FroYo
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, egg, lite ranch dressing
Dinner: Steak from Sprouts

Fitness -
Cardio: Run FroYo 10k, leisure swimming
Lifting: Rest Day

Fuel -
Breakfast: Nectarine & Sweet Cheese-Stuffed French Toast
Lunch: TBD
Dinner: TBD

Fitness -
Cardio: Walk 30 min, Bike 30 min
Lifting: Core

Fuel -
Breakfast: Peanut Butter granola w/ greek yogurt, fruit
Lunch: Salad w/chicken, cucumber, mushrooms, carrots, egg, lite ranch dressing
Dinner: Spaghetti and meat and veggie sauce

Fitness -
Cardio: Rest, leisure swimming
Lifting: Core, Upper Body

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram!

Live. Laugh. Love.


Friday, May 22, 2015

One week

I had such good intentions.

Then I drove to California. Oops.

My brother, sister in law, and niece we in CA for some testing on a bike that my brother designed the engine and exhaust system for. How cool is that? They are working at Roland Sands Design in Los Alamitos, CA. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures, but they've released a couple on their Facebook page now.

While the boys were "thrashing on the bike" the girls hit the beach for a little bit on Saturday. I was due for a run over the weekend, but I get to spend such a small amount of time with my little munchkin that I just wanted to soak in all the time with her possible. I mean, look at her! How could you not?

And then came this week. The last week of school for me, which is always crazy. And honestly I am just so exhausted from this school year that I really have a hard time finding the motivation to run. I should also mention that I live in Arizona. Now that might not seem like a huge deal, but the temperatures are rising (although this spring has been pretty mild, only flirted with 100 so far) and that means you either run in the morning or in the evening at dusk. 

Generally speaking, I'm not really a morning person, so the idea of getting up and running in the morning is just really rough in general. However, I think once school is out and I can get up and I don't have to be on my way to work by 6:30am, I'll be more inclined to run. I'm a fan of the 6am workout, I used to do that all the time at my last job. But the idea of a 5am workout...yeah, not so much.

I'm honestly really looking forward to the next month of working out. I have about four weeks before I head up to Wisconsin for a little visit. Looking forward to seeing some family and friends that I haven't seen in awhile. REALLY looking forward to seeing my Ironman-in-Training, Jacque B. I haven't see that girl in over 14 months and we are LONG overdue for a catchup session in real life. Anyway...

I'm planning on spending as much time at the gym as humanly possible until then. I LOVE my gym. It is huge and beautiful. It has indoor and outdoor lap pools, as well as regular indoor and outdoor recreational pools. So my plan is to get my running in, then either bike or swim, and then enjoy some time poolside reading and getting my tan on. It's going to be glorious. Don't get me wrong, there will be plenty of schoolwork to do for next year as well, but workouts get to by my number 1 priority again which is wonderful.

Last week went pretty well for goals. I hit the green smoothies four out of five days. I missed the last one trying to get my car packed and ready to head right to LA after school and still make the morning faculty meeting. The watering went great! Well, the plant watering did, the person watering not as much. The squash is starting to sprouts, which is really exciting. I also got a couple flower plants too. I'm really starting to love my patio area. Didn't get all the miles logged, but we have a new week coming to get back on the mileage horse.

Goals for the rest of this week:

- DRINK MORE WATER. Seriously Andrea, you live in the desert. Drink some more water.
- Get the rest of the runs in for this week. LOG YOUR MILEAGE.
- Finish writing out my training plan for the next four weeks, including lifting.

Live. Laugh. Love.