Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pep Talks with Myself

Nothing like a lovely 12-miler to end your day. I was contemplating doing this run BEFORE work and then came to my senses that a long run mixed with a boring day would surely equal sleeping on my desk and possibly being fired. SO! After work, it is!

But let's back up a little bit here. Why on earth am I running 12 miles? For fun? Heeelll no. A while ago I decided to sign up for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon (my second year doing it), and though the road has been rough, I must honor my commitment.

I mapped out a new course for my 12 today, since my 10 last week just bored me to tears. This one includes some hills, so hopefully the use of different muscle groups helps out my knees a bit. I think the regular pounding on the pavement mixed with the constant use of the SAME muscles doesn't do me much good...and the Half will include some hills anyway so I might as well make this run as realistic as I can.

You would think today WAS race day the way my nerves are. I think I am just nervous to see my end time. I need to keep an 11:23 mile pace in order to meet my goal time of dropping 10 minutes from last year (it's on my dream board...I HAVE to accomplish it lol) and sometimes I find myself going too fast out of the gate, but at times it's so hard to slow down! Finding a good pace is difficult for me...I'm much more of a "get it over with" kind of girl and that's probably where most of my problems lie.

I could have quit a while ago, especially when I was sick with a chest cold for three weeks. I could have said that my knees were hurting and for the sake of them, I should backoff running, or I could give in to my sometimes negative attitude during my runs and just throw in the towel. But I've gotta honor my commitment.

The route does look like it will be challenging, though. Challenging - but something we will see how it goes. I will just be happy when this run is over (mainly because pizza awaits!) but also because then I start into my taper and my body really needs it. This training season has been difficult from getting sick multiple times to having this chest cold thing that likes to keep showing back up; the stress of work, school and moving; along with many other things. Now is especially difficult because with the move, because there is so much that I SHOULD be doing other than running, but what can ya do!

You don't give up. That's what you do. If you commit to a goal, you see it through. It doesn't matter how many times that goal tries to knock you down, you keep standing up until it is in your reach, and then you lunge until it is in your grasp..then you celebrate.
.I do think this might be my last Half for a bit. I say that now and I'm sure on race day I'll be looking for my next one to sign up for..that's how I found myself in this one, haha. I do have some fun runs to look forward to coming up between Color Me Rad and Ruckus, so that should keep me actively training throughout summer.

Once you get a goal in your mind, the only one stopping you from achieving it is yourself. If you work at it hard enough, you just might trick yourself into liking exactly what you say you hate doing (like running!) Would I sit here and confess my love for running? No! "I hate running!", yet I find myself continuously signing up for these darn races. Have I tricked myself into loving what I once hated?

Time to mentally prepare. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chocolate Shakeology Recipes

I don't know about you, but I love chocolate.  I was never that into it as a child. I'd enjoy a 3 Muskateer's here and there as a treat, but I never went crazy over the thought of getting a candy bar. As I have grown older, though, I find that when I am stressed out or it is that time of the month my brain immediately flips on its chocolate switch.

This was becoming a problem. I was guilty of keeping chocolate in my refrigerator in the far back to consume when the urge struck, but the problem was everything was "mini size"...which means you eat as many as you can to get to "full size" haha.  "It's so small...what's one won't kill me"  Such a downward spiral!

Now, to combat my chocolate cravings I turn to Chocolate Shakeology. Seriously, when I am getting to the point of NEEDING a candy bar, I drink this stuff and POOF! no more cravings. It is as if my body is saying, "Aahhhhhh" the moment I take the first sip.

That being said here are some of my favorite chocolate Shakeology recipes for you to try at home.

**These are all made with a handful of ice, 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and 1/2 cup- 1 cup water depending on how big of a shake you want**

Chocolate Peanut Butter (substitute for Reeses)

1 pack Chocolate Shakeology
1 TBS all natural peanut butter

Chocolate Vanilla (substitute for ice cream cone)

1 pack Chocolate Shakeology
1 TBS Vanilla Extract

Chocolate Strawberry (feel like you are being pampered, with the fresh zing of fruit included)

1 pack Chocolate Shakeology
4 large strawberries, chopped (and you can add one as a garnish!)

Chocolate Mint (goodbye Girl Scout cookies!)

1 pack Chocolate Shakeology
1/8 tsp mint extract

Pumpkin Pie (amazeballs...seriously..tastes like the real thing)

1 pack Chocolate Shakeology
1 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin, unsweetened
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Cinnamon Roll (Amazing for breakfast or in order to avoid Cinnabon!)

1/2 - 3/4  pack Chocolate Shakeology

10 oz unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS imitation butter flavor
2TBS light cream cheese
1 packet Stevia or Truvia

Do you have questions about Shakeology? Send me a message! Or click on the banner to the right to find out more information.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Fall Down Seven, Stand Up Eight

It's a bit un-settling that the first entry that I am posting is dealing with something so negative; however, my hope is that this post will breed positivity, motivation, determination, and new found strength into those that read it. April 15th, much like September 11th, is going to be a day in history that leaves you feeling a little bit heavier in the heart. As racers from all over got in the right frame of mind to finish strong and focused on the finish line at the Boston Marathon, tragedy struck as two bombs detonated just seconds of each other. This isn't a blog post to explain what happened, we all know what happened, but it's to look at it from the eyes of a runner. The whole country was shocked, and still is, due to this tragedy. How? Why? WHO? The same questions that are running through my mind, are mostly likely running through the rest of the country's.

Everyone mourned on April 15th, but for a runner, the feeling is much different. I'm not trying to say that anyone feels worse or better, but I know for me personally this definitely affected me, and still is. The running community really IS a community. It's an odd bond, really. I know me, personally, if I am out running and pass someone multiple times during a distance run I always make sure to comment on their run. I don't know these people, but we are like a small family. Someone commenting on a run you just did is not weird to a runner, it is pretty normal. We can be at a race, not know the person to the left or our right, and end up sticking together the whole time, crossing the finish line together, and creating a lasting friendship. The runner's community is a huge family - when something like this happens, it takes a toll on all of us. We may not have known those injured personally, but we still all grieve on a different level for them. It hits very close to home when "one of your own" is hit with such a tragedy.

As runners, running is our escape. It's what we do to get away from the crap that is going on in the world today. All it takes is two headphones, a trail or a roadway, some running shoes and maybe even some Gu, and we are on our way to a mental escape. Each footstep for us is a footstep of mental freedom. The day's worries, stresses, and wonders melt away with every pound of the pavement. Every bead of sweat, is one less thing that we have on our mind. Race days are especially fun as we get to meet other runners, motivate one another to the finish line, congratulate each other when all is said and done...and of course enjoy the free food.

Put very well by a blogger on Runner's World, "This is the closest that I will ever feel to being an Olympian". The Olympic dream is out of reach for most of us, but for those few moments as a medal is placed around your neck as you are breathing hard, feeling like you might collapse, but somehow still smiling ear-to-ear...that feeling makes it all worth it. It makes every shin splint, every time your IT band kills you, every cramp worth it. Running is an escape that makes us feel like we really, truly, honestly are something special and unique in the sports world. On April 15th, I'm sure I'm not the only runner who was angry inside that my little slice of serenity was now being tampered with. This year, as runners make their way towards the finish line at their races, I am sure many of them will be wondering "what if" as they cross. I know I will be...

But that's the point that I am trying to make. I'm still running, as are thousands of others in Pittsburgh. We are still running our race, and we will be running it harder, faster, and stronger than we ever have before. For ourselves? No. But for those who can't run. For those who couldn't finish Boston, and for all of those who were affected by this horrible event. Feelings continue swell within us of extreme sadness, anger, frustration, and confusion, but we are going to use those emotions to fuel us to reach personal records, and to encourage each other just a little bit more to reach that finish.

You see, the running community is very resilient. We live in a resilient nation that always seems to get stronger when we get pushed down, and the running community is the same way. You push us down seven times, we will stand up eight....and if we can't physically stand there will be two strangers on either arm helping us to stand. We don't give up. We don't abandon what we do due to fear. We use it as fuel to keep going to new levels, new heights, and overcome new boundaries. If you are running an upcoming race, run it hard. Dig deep, give it every ounce of energy until you absolutely positively can't give it any more...and then give it just a little bit more for those who no longer can. Do not allow this event to keep you down, allow it to be a force that lifts you up. After all, those involved would never want us to hang back in fear, but to proceed with courage and strength.

Imagine where we would all be, runner or not, if we never tried. You would not be walking if you never tried as a toddler. You fell seven times but stood up 8 then, why not now? You wouldn't be driving if you never tried as a teenager, you couldn't read, you couldn't write, you couldn't do anything if you never had the courage to try. So my question to you is: what is it that you want to do NOW that are afraid of trying? What is it that is holding you back?