Thursday, December 20, 2012

Playing catch-up: Dec. 10-16th

As Christmas approaches, school gets busier and busier.  After my conference in St. Pete, the grading and school work piled up.  I also committed to lots of after-school things last week, which pushed blogging to the end of the to-do list.

Here's a quick recap of last week (Dec. 10-16)

Monday 12/10
Got caught up at school, then went to Bodypump afterward.  I usually run to the gym for Bodypump, but the weather was a bit threatening, so I drove!  I come home to some delicious chili that Joe made, and he used ground turkey to do so.  Ground turkey is so much more lean, and the chili was quite tasty, too!

Tuesday 12/11
I agreed to lead a workshop after school about encouraging students to complete their homework.  I was incredibly nervous for this, but luckily it went very well!  I had some chicken cooking in the crock pot, so Joe and I were eatin' good when I got home once again.

Wednesday 12/12
I went straight to the gym after school, and I ran 2 miles and did a strength training workout (these moves for the HBBC workout of the week, plus some bicep and hammer curls and another core exercise).  My weights even matched my outfit:
Blurry cell phone pic
Afterward, Joe and I tried a new restaurant called The Garlic in New Smyrna Beach, which was DELICIOUS.  As the name suggests, the smell of garlic hits you right when you walk in the door. They bring a roasted garlic with the bread and pour oil and balsamic vinegar on it.  We were stuffed when we got home, and we had a great time socializing with some of Joe's classmates.

Thursday 12/13
To be quite honest, I can't even remember what I did on Thursday.  I think it was an evening spent on the couch, since I do recall watching some Grey's Anatomy.

Friday 12/14
After school on Friday, I took about 10 students to the Embry-Riddle basketball game as a part of the club I sponsor for under-privileged kids.  Before the game, Steve Lochte, swimmer Ryan Lochte's dad, spoke to the group about achieving your dreams and hard work.  Good message, and the kids really enjoyed asking him questions about Ryan, since he graduated from the high school they go to!  We had a great time at the basketball game, and although it made for a really long day, I'm glad we went.  I came home and Joe and I watched a movie and just relaxed.  Great Friday!

Saturday 12/15
I attempted to run a great trail nearby, but the sand didn't make for an easy go.  After I got back, Joe and I got ready and went over to another couple's house to make pizza!  We made barbeque chicken pizzas and had some delicious appetizers of salad and apples with marshmallow fluff.  It was a great time with good friend and great food.

Sunday 12/16
Church in the morning was just what I needed to get in the Christmas spirit!  This being my first Christmas in Florida, I haven't been able to get in the mood for the holiday because it still feels like summer.   But, after the service, I was reminded what this season is all about, and I didn't need it to be cold outside to feel the love!  After getting ready for the school week, I attempted my 8-mile run.  I made a route plan and told Joe to come find me if I wasn't back in an hour and 45 minutes.
8.01 miles in 1:24:42!  Average pace: 10:35
Well, I did it, and had 20 minutes to spare!! I almost gave up around miles 4.5, but I kept on going, and I'm really glad I did.  I felt so accomplished afterward!  I definitely need to get some gels or something during my long runs, because I was running out of energy around mile 6.5.  Getting on that this weekend.

Overall, a pretty good week!  I need to make exercise more of a priority, but hopefully after the holiday busy-ness and traveling I can get more in to a schedule.  I'm working on it.

I owe y'all a recap of THIS week, which I will take care of tomorrow or Saturday :)  I'm traveling tomorrow, so it just might happen on Saturday.  Have a great end of the week, and I'll see you in a little bit!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Unhappy Trails

I learned something about myself today.

I do NOT like trail runs!

More specifically, I do NOT like trail runs in Florida!

To catch up on my half marathon training plan, I was attempting a 7-8 mile run today.  I decided to try out the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve near my house, which has a 7-mile trail, as well as many other loops.  It was the perfect place for me to run 7-8 miles in a new setting.
Pretty scenery
The trail was beautiful and very well marked.  There were many different loops to choose from, and I went with the 7-mile loop, which was one-way and hit all the view points.  It also had "Bail out" trails along the way that met up with other trails in the park.

I was rockin' and rollin' for the first mile, as the trail was very solid.  There were twists, turns, and roots, but I was not bored.

I began struggling around mile 1.4 where the trail turned in to the usual dirt in Florida: sand.  As I mentioned last week, I find sand very challenging to run on.  I like my feet to hit a solid surface, but I feel like I'm sinking when I'm running on sand.  I tried and tried to push myself, but it just wasn't happening.

I took bail-out trial C, completed the Inner Loop trail, then headed to the parking lot.  I ran when the ground was solid and walked briskly on the sand.

Overall, I completed 3 miles.  I was walking for most of the time, hence the slow time.  I was a little disappointed to not get in my long run for the week, but at least I got outside and enjoyed the nice weather.

Since the trail run didn't work out, I'm planning on doing my long run tomorrow by running on the sidewalks around where I live.  Considering the fact that my half marathon will be on roads, I think that's the best way for me to train.

Back tomorrow with the week's recap, an update on my long run tomorrow, and a recap of the last two sermons in the Climate Change series!  Happy Saturday!

Prayers in Connecticut

Hey everyone!  It's been quite a while since I've been on here, and I'll do a week recap later this weekend.

But today, I have a heavy heart over yesterday's events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  Since hearing about it after school from one of the janitors, I haven't been able to get it off my mind.  How someone could kill their mother, then 6 other adults and 20 children at an elementary school is just unfathomable.  I have been praying incessantly for that area and all those affected since then.

As a teacher, this hits so close to home as I think about what I would do in those situations.  It also hits close to home as I was at Virginia Tech in April 2007 when another unimaginable tragedy like this occurred.  Having class in the next building over, I witnessed many of the survivors escaping the building, and many of the injured and dead being taken away by ambulance.

Whenever I hear about things like this (which is unfortunately often now, it seems), I flash back to that day and how my university was affected by the death of 32.  A friend of mind on Facebook posted this, and it really made me think:
"As tough as it was to be 19 and try to fathom what had happened to my friends and school I can't imagine what it is like for a 5 year old... Praying for all those babies and their parents .."
Re-reading this just brings me to tears.  At 25, I still can't understand what happened that day in April, and I still deal with the horrible memories of what I saw.  I cannot imagine being an elementary school aged child and being this scared and devastated.  I cannot imagine having to witness something like this at the age of 5 or 6.  I could not imagine being a parent of one of these children and having to explain to their son or daughter that their best friend won't be able to come over anymore.  

I saw this image on the Washington Post article, and it just really broke my heart:
After the VT shooting, I had to run from the building I was in to another since they thought another shooter was on the loose.  This picture reminded me of that and how scared and confused and upset I was at that time.  These children don't deserve that, and knowing that they have to deal with this just brings me to tears.

I would never, ever wish the pain my university had to deal with upon anyone in this world, much less these innocent children who haven't done anything to hurt another soul so deeply.  These people in that community need our prayers more than I can even understand.  We need to pray for the families of these children, that they would be able to find the words to say to comfort their child and make them feel safe.  We need to pray for the families who didn't know that last Christmas was the last they'd spend with their precious son or daughter.  We need to pray for the teachers, administrators, and other adults in the lives of this school that will be dealing with their pain while helping their children cope, as well.

As weird as this sounds, we need to pray for the family of the shooter.  They will going through unimaginable emotions after losing a wife/mother/daughter/sister, but also dealing with the fact that their brother/son/nephew/grandson brought this tragedy upon their community.  We also need to pray for others out there who contemplate committing tragedies like this, that they would think of how their last act on earth may effect hundreds to thousands of people forever.

My thoughts and prayers will be in Connecticut today and beyond.  I hope you will join me in lifting them up so that we can try to help them through this horrible event.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Productive Conference

Hello from St. Pete Beach!

On Wednesday, I left straight from school to head to St. Pete Beach for an IB training conference.  It's quite hectic to pack, plan for a sub for two days, and head out of town, but I am quite relaxed and really learning a lot.

I was not expecting this when I walked in to my room on Wednesday
The school hooked me up!

I've really learned a lot about IB math, and I have so much great material to take back to my students.  I'd say it's been one of the most beneficial conferences I've been to.

Not only has it been productive as far as school goes, but I've made it a priority to be healthy while on my trip.

After our sessions ended on Thursday, I decided to go for a run on the beach.  What a relaxing setting to go for a run!  While I was running without music and the terrain was a bit rocky, this was just what I needed to clear my head and let go of my stress from the week.
I'm pretty happy that I got out there and ran instead of vegging out in front of the TV.

Speaking of vegging, I've also been making it a goal to eat lots of fruits and vegetables while I'm here.  Let me tell you, the food here is GREAT!  I got lots of fresh fruit at breakfast, a delicious Mexican-themed salad with guacamole, and opted for the veggie tray at the evening reception.  Definitely got in my fruits and vegetables for the day.

I continued to complete a workout during my free time.  I went for a half mile walk on the beach after reading in one of the little huts the resort provides for the guests.  Then, after dinner, I completed this tabata round for the Workout of the Week for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge:
What a great workout!  I did 5 rounds of :30 on, :10 off for each exercise.  I was SWEATING, and it didn't even last that long.

I also got to watch the gorgeous sunset from my room.
I'm telling you, I really lucked out with this set-up.  What a great location for a very helpful conference.

Well, I'm going to go get some work done (yes, on a Friday night...I'm so cool!).  I'm heading home tomorrow, and I'm planning on doing a 7/7.5 mile run when I get home then spending some time with Joe.  I've missed him these past few days!  Have a wonderful weekend :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday + Indulging + Stormy Climate

Well, the opposite has happened this week.  I've seriously lacked motivation at the beginning of the week to do the things that I need to do!

I had muchas margartias during while Joe and I hosted an SEC Championship watching party, so Sunday was quite rough.  A really bad day at work led to a severe lack of motivation yesterday afternoon, so I just sat on the couch and wallowed in my sorrows.  Today, I have so much to get done before I head to St. Petersburg for an IB training for the rest of the week.  That didn't stop me from getting a workout in tonight!

Today's Training
After accomplishing my goals and before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (the annual girls-, I decided to continue my Treadmill Tuesday tradition!
I warmed up on level 4 for 2.5 minutes, ran for 20 minutes, walked at 3.5 for 2 minutes, ran for 10 minutes, then walked at 3.5 for 2.5 minutes.  As stressful as this week has been so far (and it's only Monday!), this run really helped me clear my head and motivate myself to get things done the rest of the evening.  Yay exercise!
These are my first workout points for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge for the week.  I did get in my 7+ freggies (fruits + veggies) today and yesterday, so add 2 more points for that!

Diet Tip of the Day
This weekend was a big weekend for sweets, as I baked some of my favorite cookies (red velvet chocolate die for!!) and bought the Mint Truffle Hershey's Kisses that are only around at Christmas time.  I found that I splurged for two reasons: the sweets were easily accessible and I hadn't eaten sweets in a while.
Seriously, if you haven't tried these things, you NEED to!

While it's great to not keep sweets in the house so I don't eat them all the time, I find that I gorge myself.  That's why it's so important just to moderate rather than eliminate.

I plan on allowing myself 2-3 sweet items per week now, so that when I have access to them, I don't eat 20 Hershey's Kisses in one sitting (no lie, this happened.  And probably more than that).

Faith Find
It's interesting that I'm listening to a sermon series on Climate Change and dealing with our relationships with others as I am dealing with a tough situation at work.

I have a co-worker that is really difficult to work with, and I can't figure out why.  To me, she always seems to carry around a "stormy" climate with her, and honestly, that affects our interactions.  I always feel as thought she's being hostile toward me, even when she may not be.
Screen shot from the video introduction to the sermon series
I've started to realize that maybe I give off a certain climate that I don't intend to give off.  These climates to impact the forecast of my interactions with this person, so I need to consider how I may come off to her.

There is a lot of miscommunication and assumption going on between the two of us, and I am praying for a solution to our issues so that the second half of the year is not as tumultuous (i.e. me coming home crying all night after our attempt at collaborating).  Your prayers for me in this situation are much appreciated!

Question of the Day: What do you do to collaborate with someone isn't so receptive of you?  How do you work with someone in a team that isn't being a team player?
I can use all the help I can get!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

My first 10K

What a way to start a Saturday!  I woke up at 6:45, ate some Cherrios (breakfast of champions!), then headed to New Smyrna Beach for the Ed Root Memorial 10K.  This was my first 10K, and my goal was to run a mile, walk .1 in order to finish with under a 11:00 minute/mile pace.

When I arrived, I started getting in to the competitive atmosphere.  I'm not usually really competitive, but it was a small crowd so I got in the mood to run my best.

The course was absolutely gorgeous!  We started on Flagler Ave, one of the main roads in NSB, ran through a nice neighborhood right next to the beach, then on to the boardwalk in Smyrna Dunes Park.
This was my favorite 1.5 miles of the run.  We ran over the boardwalk through the dunes, got a great view of the ocean, and even got to see the beautiful Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.
I really hate that I don't have a smart phone/mp3 player with a camera on it so that I could actually use my own pictures to show y'all the gorgeousness!

My official time was 1:04:30, which was a 10:30 pace.  I was really pleased with this, as it met all of my goals for the race.  My Garmin told me something a little bit different, which is probably due to the fact that it also told me I ran 6.35 miles:

I went there by myself (I let Joe sleep in and get started with our party preparations), so here's a selfie of me after finishing.

Not a large post-race selection, but I grabbed a cinnamon raisin bagel, which was quite tasty

This makes me really excited for the half marathon in February.  Plus, it earns me 6.2 points in the HBB Challenge!  I should get all my 7+ freggies today as well :)

I also got this adorable package in the mail when I got home!
I LOVE the idea of sending a gift to ask someone to be a bridesmaid.  This is from my friend Valerie, and I am so honored to be up there with her in August!  Congrats to Valerie and Nick!!

Joe and I are hosting an SEC Championship watching party, so it's time to get cooking/baking.  I guess for the day, I will be a full-fledged Georgia fan since my Hokies aren't playing today.  Hope everyone has a great Saturday, and Go Dawgs!!  Sic' Em!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Cheer + Post-Wednesday Slump

Well, hey there, everyone!  It's been a while!  I had a really long day on Wednesday (gone from 6:30am to 8:00 pm), I didn't sleep well at all on Tuesday and Wednesday night, and so all I did on Thursday was lay around all evening and go to bed early.

Joe and I got our Christmas tree yesterday, and we spent the evening tonight decorating.
I'm a very sentimental person, so I really cherished decorating our first Christmas tree as an official family!  The first ornament we put on the tree was this one that my grandparents gave us while we were there for Thanksgiving.
I guess I should get a picture of us to put in there.  Or, we could just leave this random couple in there.  That's special :)

I love the Christmas season, but it's been really hard to get in the spirit living in Florida.  I associate Christmas with colder weather, and for some reason these highs in the 70s just aren't putting me in the mood.  Hopefully the tree, the rest of the decorating we'll do this weekend, and the Christmas radio station I found today will bring me some holiday cheer where the weather is lacking.

Today's Training
Friday is usually my rest day, and I continued that today as I'm running my first 10k tomorrow morning!  I didn't want to run or do any strength training the day before the race, as I'm going to try to run a mile, then walk .1 miles, run 1 miles, walk .1 miles (etc.)  I'm looking forward to it, and I'll let y'all know how it goes tomorrow!

On a related note: Is it just me, or is it so much easier to work out at the beginning of the week, and so much harder to motivate yourself after work on Wednesday?  
This is me Wednesday through Friday
I don't know what it is, but that happens to me every single week. I know I need to get my workouts done before I get home (sitting down on the couch = death sentence to my workout), but it is so hard to get myself to the gym when I am just ready to get home.
Weekend Plans
-Complete 10k tomorrow and the WOW Week 2 Circuit workout and an easy 2 mile run on Sunday
-Host an SEC Championship watching party on Saturday for some of our friends (Go Dawgs!)
-Get the whole week for school planned and ready to go
-Finish reading The Happiness Project for PBFinger's Book Club 
-Have some time to RELAX

After writing all of that out, this sounds like a pretty busy weekend, doesn't it?

Question of the Day: Any ideas to stay motivated for working out during the second half of the week?  
I can certainly use them!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday + Snacking Success

Whoa, lots of alliteration in this posts' title!  What can I say, it's on of my favorite literary devices :)

Today's Training
The plan was to head straight to the Y after school, but after leaving at 4:30 due to a math department meeting, I went straight home.  That's usually the kiss of death to my after-school workouts, but I was determined to get my run in for the day.

I followed this treadmill workout, but cut the times in half since I only wanted to run for about 35 minutes.  Since cutting the times in half led to a 32:30 workout, I added 2:30 to the last running section.

I did this workout before, and I'm really surprised at how well I did with the speeds on this!  Now, I was still a sweaty hot mess at the end, but I didn't want to quit!  I love seeing the improvement since the first run I went on :)

HBBC Update:  I earned 3.35 points for my run, plus 1 point for 7+ servings of fruits and veggies (salads at lunch really help) for a total today of 4.35 points!  I plan on completing this weeks' Workout of the Week by using this circuit workout that I came up with:
I'm looking forward to it!  I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow :)

Diet Tip of the Day
Each time we have a department meeting at school, there are ample sweets available.  I always grab a cupcake even when I have my usual Nature Valley Peanuts and Dark Chocolate Protein Bar after school.
Seriously, who can resist this?
I planned ahead today, and I brought my protein bar, as well as a bag of baby carrots, to the meeting and ate them instead of the sweets.  My planned snack helped me stay away from the sweets but still satisfy my growling stomach!

Well, I'm pretty brain dead right now, so that's all I've got for the day.  Tomorrow, I'll talk about the second sermon in the Climate Change sermon series I'm listening to.

Question of the Day: What's one food you have a hard time resisting?
I'd say my #1 temptation is baked goods (easy way out because I couldn't decide between brownies and chocolate chip cookies).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sassy Run + Climate Change + Eat More Freggies

I don't know about you, but it was REALLY hard to get up and go to work this morning!  I could tell my students weren't feeling it, either.  Surprisingly, I had a good day and think I actually taught my kids something.  Always a plus!

Today's Training
I ran 2 miles today to and from the gym.
Bottom number=pace at the moment I hit "stop" on the timer
I'm pretty sure that's my best time on this Monday run.  Good for me!  I'm going to attribute it to the album I was listening to during my run.
Anyone remember this album?  One of my favorites when I was in middle/high school.  I was feelin' sassy during my run, especially during "Bootylicious" and "Survivor."  I was that girl that was singing and dancing while running.

I also attended BodyPUMP tonight.  My least-favorite instructor was leading today, so I just kind of went by the rhythm that I know we were supposed to be doing.  She was better than usual, but still messed up a few times.  Oh well, no judgement!

HBBC Update:  2 mile run + 1-hour low impact BodyPUMP class (4 points) = 6 points.  I also easily surpassed 7 fruits/veggies (henceforth FREGGIES as some of the HBBCers are calling it), so I got another point!  7 total points for health and fitness...not too bad!

Faith Find
Yesterday on my 6.5 mile run, I started the next sermon series from North Point Community Church.  This sermon series is called Climate Change and is from Jeff Henderson, the lead pastor at Buckhead Church which is another church that shares sermons with North Point Community Church.
The first sermon was very interesting and talked about the fact that we all bring a climate to each and every relationship in our lives.  The climate of each relationship predicts the forecast.  Jeff talked about how we often focus on the climate of the other person, but he challenged everyone to think about what climate they give off.

His challenge for the week was to ask 3 people in different areas of your life, "What's it like to be on the other side of me?"  He said if people wanted to go further, to ask God what it's like to be on the other side of me.  The rest of the series was going to deal with the responses people got to the answer of that question.

What an interesting challenge!  I'm going to do it (even though I already listened to the second sermon in the series), but I'm still debating who to ask.  I'm also kind of nervous about the results, so I'm going to pray about it tonight/tomorrow to prepare myself for the information I receive.  I generally don't take criticism well, but I think this exercise is a great way for some self-reflection and seeing if I'm putting off the climate that I think I am!

Diet Tip of the Day
One thing I've been working on is making sure I eat at least 7 servings of fruits and vegetables each day as part of the HBB Challenge.  At first, I thought this was going to be very easy.  I was surprised when this took a lot of effort in order to do so.

Here are some suggestions to help you increase your fruit and vegetable intake:
  • Planning-It takes meal and snack planning to make 7+ servings of freggies.  This helps you make sure you get what you need at the store, as well as have an idea about how you're going to reach this goal.  There's no way you're going to increase your freggie intake without setting that goal and planning to reach it.
  • Food Prep-You're going to have to slice some fruits and cut up some veggies on the weekend if you want to be able to make eating fruits and veggies easier for yourself throughout the week.  That way, you can just grab a pre-made bag of apple slices or throw some diced tomatoes on a salad in the morning before you head out to work/school/wherever you go during the day.
  • Smoothies-Make yourself a smoothie, and you're getting 3-4 servings of fruits and vegetables AT LEAST (depending on what kind of smoothie you make).  While I tend to make a lot of fruit smoothies, green smoothies are a great way to combine fruits and vegetables.  Sadly, my blender broke last week, so no smoothies for me for a while.
  • Eat a salad for lunch or dinner-A salad is a very easy way to get 3-4 servings of vegetables (and sometimes fruits) in one meal.  A cup of leafy greens, a handful of a few diced vegetables, and a source of protein create a healthy, tasty meal that can also be surprisingly filling!
Those are some ways I try to increase my fruit and vegetable intake.  Hopefully those are helpful to some of you!

Question of the Day: What do you do to increase the number of fruits and vegetables you eat each day?

Share some tips for everyone in the comments!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

After a few days in Virginia with family, it's nice to be back in Florida!  My grandparents live in a very small town in southwestern Virginia, and it was nice to get away for a few days, see family, eat a lot, and go to a Virginia Tech football game.  Sadly, I don't have many pictures, but here's a little recap.

Thanksgiving day!  Since both of my parents' parents live in the same town, we do Thanksgiving meal with my dad's family at lunch and my mom's family at dinner.  Yes, that is a LOT of eating!

Lunch consisted of turkey, a mixed veggie casserole, corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole, and a roll.  Everything was delicious, especially the mixed veggie casserole!  My aunt Susan makes it, and I don't know what she does but I always go back for more!  My grandmother got some red velvet cake for dessert (it's my favorite!), so I had a slice of that for dessert.

After lunch settles, my dad's side of the family heads to the local park for the annual Older Siblings vs. Younger Siblings family football game.  Joe joined the Older Siblings team this year and experienced just how competitive this game can get!  Unfortunately, the Older Siblings 2-year win streak came to an end when the Younger Siblings beat us after 4 overtimes.  My uncle at all-time QB didn't throw any interceptions, which led to a tie as each team scored each time we had the ball.  While we didn't win, I had a blast as always!

Dinner at my mom's parents consisted of turkey, sweet potato casserole, green beans, stuffing, creamed potatoes, and a roll.  I went back for seconds on sweet potato casserole...I'm obsessed with sweet potatoes right now!  My mom's mom always makes from-scratch cakes and had my favorite: Sock-it-to-Me cake.  It's like a cinnamon coffee cake, but it is TO DIE FOR.  Our tradition at my mom's parents house is to go around the dinner table and say what we are thankful for.  Pretty standard, but it's always good to share with everyone.

Overall, a happy Thanksgiving as always!
Adorable little treat from one of my students!
A day of leftovers.  To be honest, I much prefer the vegetables served on Thanksgiving than the meat/bread.  I loaded my plate at both houses with the leftover veggies and was quite content all day.  We caught some football games, played board games, and just enjoyed spending time together.

I'd been waiting for Saturday for a long time.  As a die-hard Virginia Tech football fan who attended every home game since November 2004 (until this season), I was SO EXCITED to head up to Blacksburg, VA for the Virginia Tech-UVA football game!

It was a high of 35 degrees with a wind chill in the 20's, but I could have cared less.  I was happy to be back in Lane Stadium cheering on my Hokies!

Our tailgate, while we were sitting in the van, consisted of Subway breakfast flatbreads and Subway subs after the game.  I had my mom bring baby carrots so that we had something healthy to munch on as well.

The Hokies won the game 17-14 (thank goodness!), and I got to see some of my favorite people (yes, that's you Amanda and Krista!!).

We got back to my mom's parents house, and my grandmother had a huge pot of homemade vegetable soup on the stove.  It was AMAZING.  I'm telling you what, it was full of vegetables and was incredibly tasty.  I asked her how she made it so that I could make it later!  We hit the hay early so that we could wake up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport.

...and that brings us to today!  I started the day at 4:40 a.m. in order to get to the airport, and spent the day traveling, running errands, doing laundry, running 6.5 miles, and catching up on the blog!  All thanks to this wonderful cup of Dunkin Donuts coffee to get my up and running for the day.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I'm ready for the Christmas season!!  I was so happy to see this Christmas themed coffee cup and can't wait to get the house all decorated sometime this week :)

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, traveled safely to/from your families, and is looking forward to the next holiday season.  Check out my recap of the HBBC Week 1 if you want something else to read.

Question of the Day: How was your Thanksgiving?  Share something fun you did with me!

Post-Holiday Run + HBBC Week 1 Recap

While I didn't get in a run while I was at my grandparents, I made it a priority to complete my long run for the week when we got home today.

I needed to do 6.5 to keep up with my half marathon training.  I set out with a route in mind, and at about mile 2. 5 I was ready to be done.  I went a different way in order to cut my run down, but at about mile 3.1, I decided to power through and finish the 6.5 miles.
I finished in 1:10.18, and I'm very pleased with that!  It's an average pace of 10:49, and for a run that I wanted to cut in half, I'd say that's pretty good!

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge-Week 1
While I didn't exercise Friday and Saturday, I did get in my 7+ fruits and veggies on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Here's my weekly log for the challenge:
33.5 points for the week isn't too shabby!  Add in the 3 bonus points I earned for some pre-challenge social media posts, and I've got 36.5 points so far.

Week 2 goals:
-Eat 7+ servings of fruits/veggies for 5/7 days (ideally, it'd be 7/7, but I'm giving myself some wiggle room).
-Go straight to the gym after school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
-Complete at least 3 runs this week for my half-marathon training schedule.
-Complete the WOW for Week 2

I'm really enjoying this challenge, as it provides great motivation to stick to an exercise routine.  It's also great to have so many people involved that keep me accountable via the Facebook group and by looking at their points.

Well, I've got to get some more planning done for the week.  Enjoy the last of your holiday weekend, and have a great Monday!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Weighted Wednesday: HBBC Workout of the Week Circuit

Well, even though I woke up at 6:30 on my day off, I've been very productive today!  I cleaned our kitchen, bathrooms, and living room so that we have a clean apartment to come home today, I dropped off some mail, bought a sewing machine, packed, and went to the gym!  Just woke up from a nap, and now we are getting ready to head to Virginia to see my family for Thanksgiving.

Today's Training
I parked at the gym, then ran around the lake by the gym twice for a 1-mile warm-up.  Then, I completed the HBBC Workout of the Week (WOW) and included some other exercises in this circuit created by Katie at Fit Butt Fabulous
I did all the exercises right in a row and took about a 90 second break between sets.  Let me tell you...if you want to sweat, do this circuit!  After the jump squats straight in to a plank and mountain climbers, I was literally dripping sweat onto the mat.

Weights used: 25 pound bar on the bent over row, 5 pound hand weights for the shoulder raises, and a 10-pound weight for the plie squats.

My muscles didn't feel too much work during the circuit, but my core feels like it is toning as I type.  I LOVE that feeling, and I really enjoyed this workout.

Check out Amanda's video of how to do the Curtsy lunge, push-up with rotation, and the Stars (a new favorite of mine).

This workout earned me 3 points (1 for the mile, 2 for the weighted workout that took me 30 minutes to complete all 3 sets).  I should fit in my veggies and fruits today (4 servings so far!  Apple in my oatmeal, an apple for a snack, and 2-cup salad for lunch) after dinner and a snack later, but I'll post that later.

That's all I've got for you for today.  I most likely won't be able to blog while I'm away, as my grandparents live in a small town and still have dial-up internet!  I will do a full update when I return, including what exercises I was able to do while up there!  My goal is to go on a 3-mile run either tomorrow morning or Friday morning (or both!)

Question of the Day: Tell me some things you are thankful for!
In no particular order: I'm thankful for God's love for me, housing, food, my job, my family, my husband, my friends, my students, and, in general, my life!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Safe travels, and enjoy the time with your families being thankful for your blessings!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

(Terrible) Treadmill Tuesday

First off, I wanted to share a giveaway that you can enter!  Click here to enter to win some compression socks from Kids Running Wild.  I keep hearing how great compression socks are for recovering and soreness, so hopefully I'll win!

Today's Training
As you may have noticed from the title, this Treadmill Tuesday was a little rough!  I went directly to the gym after school (goal met!), ran 3 miles in about 30 minutes, and did a five minute cool down.  Sounds good, right?  Well, here's the "terrible" part:

1. Apparently, I forgot to pack a hair tie.  AGAIN.  This time, I didn't let it deter me and ran with my hair down.  I looked like a wet mop when I was done!

2. I didn't eat my protein bar after school as my snack, and when I left, I didn't grab it.  My stomach was growling, and all I had in my purse was a chocolate bar.  I ate 3 pieces of the chocolate bar to tie me over, but that was not the best pre-workout snack!

3. The gym has a row of about 20 treadmills.  I was probably at Treadmill #9 in the row, and there were some people using Treadmills #17 and 20.  That leaves #1-8, #9-16, and #18-19 completely open.  So why, then, does a man come and get on Treadmill #8?!?!  I'm sorry, but isn't it unspoken rules to leave a machine between you and another person if it's possible?  It really shouldn't be that big of a deal to me, but it makes me feel uncomfortable for some reason.

The combination of those three really threw off my run.  But hey, a bad 3-mile run is much better than no run at all!

HBBC Points today: 3 points (1 per mile I ran) + 1 point for having at least 7 servings for fruits and veggies (apple in oatmeal at breakfast + dried tropical fruit for a snack + salad (2 servings), green peppers and guacamole for lunch + enchiladas with vegetables in them and broccoli on the side).  Also, I met both of my goals for the day!

Goal for tomorrow: Complete the HBBC workout of the week (WOW) in a circuit, potentially run (depending on how my shins feel), and have 7+ servings of fruit and veggies.

Faith Find
I saw this eCard on Facebook today.  These are usually hilarious, but this one, while still funny, kind of reminded me of my issues with the holiday season.
I know, right?
I was appalled at the fact that Christmas commercials started the day after the election.  All these commercials do is encourage people to spend, spend, spend and buy new things for the holiday season. (Target's commercials make me the most angry)

I was even more disgusted when I found out that Black Friday sales are beginning at 8pm on THURSDAY.  What?!?!? It's called Black FRIDAY, not Black Thursday.

Thanksgiving is a day where we are supposed to pause and be thankful for our lives, our loved ones, our situations, and our possessions.  We share a meal together, we spend time with family, and we reflect on our blessings.

Now, retail stores want to make retail workers come in ON THIS DAY, miss time with their family, so that they can sell things??  This is just going to turn in to another day that many people dread because of how much they have to work.  Come on, retail industry, keep Thanksgiving sacred!

AND they are turning Christmas, the holiday where we celebrate the birth of our Savior (you may not believe that, but that's why the holiday came about),  in to just another way to market products and make people more greedy.

I just wish that our society would recognize that there are some things that are sacred.  Leave the holidays alone.  Let people be able to spend time with their families or just have a given day off work.  Let Christmas be celebrated AFTER Thanksgiving.  Encourage acts of kindness for others rather than make everyone feel that they have to spend thousands of dollars in order to have a good Christmas.

Ok, I'm done with my rant.  Question of the Day: How do you feel about the Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day?  Do you wish they would save the Christmas commercials until after Thanksgiving?  Or do you want that season to come as soon as possible?

Don't be afraid to share your opinion.  Even though you can clearly see how I feel, I'm an accepting person :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

HBB Challenge: Day 1

Today is the first day of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge!  I'm looking for to a little competition to help me stay motivated to work out, eat healthy, and stick to my half marathon training schedule during the holidays.  I'm going to combine the Today's Training section of my blog with the points I earned for the challenge.

Today's Training
Mondays mean time for BodyPUMP!  Just like last Monday, I ran to/from the gym.  Before class, I ran once around the lake nearby for an added warm-up, then on the way home ran to a different entrance of my apartment complex for a total of 2 miles.
How do you take a good picture of your Garmin?  I clearly fail!
That says 20:16 for my time.  You can see my 2.00 miles and 10:09 average pace.  I'm happy with that!

BodyPUMP went very well today!  I think I've finally found the right amount of weight for each body part!  It's tough with the weights beign in KGs when I'm used to pounds.  I did up my chest/shoulder weight today, and I am sure to be feeling those tomorrow!

My workout today earns me 6 points in the HBBC challenge! (2 for the miles I ran, plus 1 point per 15 minutes of class = 6!).  You can also earn points for eating a minimum of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, I didn't quite get there today!  We're out of salad materials for lunch (and not getting any more this week due to Thanksgiving travels), which greatly decreased my veggie intake for the day.

Challenge goal for tomorrow: Go straight to the gym after school for Treadmill Tuesday and get my 7 servings of fruits and vegetables.

Faith Find
Atlanta's Christian radio station 104.7 The Fish posted this photo on this Facebook page today.
What a great perspective!  I know that things get tough in life, but just think about that heart monitor.  Your heartbeat is displayed with peaks and valleys, so shouldn't life be that way, too!  

This really came at a very appropriate time.  Many people in my hometown are dealing with the sudden loss of a young man, and I feel as though they needed this reminder.  Please pray for those people who knew Reid McGarity: his family, friends, teachers, classmates, and everyone else who his life touched.

If you are going through a tough time, remember that God is always with you.  It may not seem like, but you're still breathing.  That's your sign that He's there, and He'll bring you through.

Diet Tip of the Day
Joe was craving McDonald's tonight, and since he was in charge of dinner, that's what we got!  I had him get me the Southwest Salad with Grilled Chicken on top.

I had about all I wanted of the salad--I tried to save enough for lunch tomorrow--but wasn't quite full.  We had a green pepper in the fridge and I wanted to eat that before it went bad.  I sliced it up, ate about half of the pepper today, and put the other half on top of the salad for lunch tomorrow.
I <3 green peppers!  Fun fact: Joe HATES them.
A diet tip I will suggest in trying to increase your fruit and vegetable intake: Do some prep work the night before!  I sliced up that pepper for tomorrow, and I'm also going to slice up an apple to add to my breakfast tomorrow morning as I watch Dancing with the Stars.  

Question of the Day: What are some things you do to encourage yourself to eat healthy?

Tomorrow is my last day of school for the week, so I'm very likely to actually complete my workout (and maybe even a little bit more!).  Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Book Review: The Pact

My Sunday was spent reading.  On the weekends, I love to brew coffee and read right when I wake up.  It's my thing!
Old picture, but that's my view on Saturday and Sunday mornings
I told one of the ladies that works in the library about reading and enjoying Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and she suggested I read The Pact by Jodi Picoult.
I'd read a book by her before (House Rules...highly recommended!), so I though I'd give it a shot.  The book begins a 17-year-old couple, Chris Harte and Emily Gold, arriving at a hospital after an apparent double suicide attempt.  Chris and Emily were born 3 months apart and have grown up together, due to their parents being very close friends and the fact that they live next door.  Emily dies after arriving at the hospital, and Chris is left to explain what happened to his and Emily's parents, as well as the police.  After a bit of investigation, the police take Chris in to custody for the alleged murder of Emily Gold.  The book follows the aftermath of Emily's death, as well as the trial and its effect on all parties involved.

 The drama at the beginning of the novel drew me right in.  I was engrossed and invested in the story, and I really enjoyed how Picoult switches between "Then" and "Now," giving us the back story on Chris and Emily's relationship, while also giving each character a voice in the current situation.

I got a little bored in the middle.  Chris was just sitting in jail awaiting trial and his family, Emily's family, and the attorney were all trying to get the pieces of the story/trial put together.  You could feel the stress and anxiety of the characters, and as someone who is very empathetic, it was making me uncomfortable!

But, as soon as the trial began and the "Then" sections of the book were talking about the day before/of the double suicide attempt (last 200 pages of the book), I was sucked in!  I couldn't put the book down today as twists and turns kept me guessing about how the trial would end and what really happened on the day of Emily's death until the very last page.

I love Picoult's style of changing the narrator of the story, because I think it gives you a great insight into each character and their side/perspective of the events in the novel.  Overall, I enjoyed The Pact and would recommend it to anyone interested in murder mysteries, love stories, and someone who is looking for an interesting fiction read!

Next up on my reading list: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin for Peanut Butter Finger's book club.  I'll have plenty of time to read during our Thanksgiving travels!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

6 miles + Slow Cooker Cheesy Chicken and Rice + Loopholes

Y'all, I am horrible with keeping up with my exercise schedule/blog from Wednesday evening on.  I just let the stress of the school week get to me, and I put everything else on hold for some rest and relaxation time.  My goal for next week is to actually go work out right after school on Tuesday and see how I like it!

On to today's post...

While today has been pretty low-key, I've had a great Saturday!  After a fun night at our favorite country line-dancing bar, Joe and I woke up with lots of energy and laughs from last night.  I got to watch the Virginia Tech game with another Hokie, and we pulled out the win!  Now, I'm just hanging out at home watching the other college football games (and blogging, of course).  I am a happy gal :)

Today's Training
Today was a 6-mile run in my half-marathon training schedule.  I was REALLY excited to go running today because my Garmin Forerunner 110 with heart monitor arrived in the mail yesterday!  I couldn't wait to try it out.

I got kind of nervous before running, as this is the longest distance I've done at one time.  My goal was to finish the 6 miles in 70 minutes (I knew I could for sure do that!), and I decided that I'd run 0.5 miles then walk for a minute.  Here's how I did:

That's an average pace of 10:45!  I loved running with the Garmin--it's very easy to use and much easier to read than my iPod timer on my arm.  I felt GREAT during these 6 miles, which really comforts me for the future long runs I'm going to have to complete.  Now it's time to throw some ice on my shins and get ready for next week!

Diet Tip of the Day
On Thursday, I tried a new slow cooker recipe I found via Pinterest.  Can you tell that I love that site?  The original recipe is from this site, but here's what I did, along with the review.

Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken and Rice

  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of Whole Kernel Corn
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 box of Zataran's yellow rice (will need butter to prepare using the directions on the box)
1. Put the chicken breasts and onion in the slow cooker.  Spoon the cream of chicken onto the chicken breasts/onion.  Cook for 3-4 hours on high, 7-8 hours on low.
It looks like this after 8 hours on low
2. About 45 minutes before you are ready to serve the meal, prepare yellow rice as directed on the box (takes about 20-25 minutes).
3. Once rice is prepared, shred the chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
4. Drain corn, then add corn, prepared rice, and cheddar cheese to the slow cooker.  Mix everything together, then heat on low for about 3-5 minutes.

That's it!  This meal was yummy and filling, but for some reason it was lacking the flavor of the yellow rice and cheese.  I think it's because I didn't drain the slow cooker before adding the corn, rice, and cheese.  Next time, I'll probably drain about half of the liquid to bring out the flavors I was missing.  Also, this recipe makes enough for 3 generous helpings, which could easily feed a family of 4 with another vegetable as a side dish!

Oh, and this recipe is husband-approved :)  Tasty, easy warm meal that will definitely be added to our dinner rotation.

Faith Find
On my 6 mile run, I was able to finish the two sermons I had left in Andy Stanley's Christian series.  While the last one was a summary of the previous sermons and a challenge to live them out, the 7th sermon of the series really hit me.
It was called "Loopholes" and discussed the fact that we can find a Bible verse to support/refute just about anything that we agree or disagree with.  Christians find loopholes in the rules spelled out in the Bible, but Andy Stanley said that followers of Jesus do not look for loopholes in the command "Love one another."

One thing that Andy said really hit me: "What if God looked for a loophole to get out of loving you?"  WHOA.  Who would want that?  So why, then, do we look for loopholes loving others when the One who loves us does so despite all the loopholes that He could find!  This really hit me as a great reminder that our love for others is a response of God's love for us.

Question of the Day (to ponder--this is very personal, so don't feel like you need to comment to answer this): What rule(s) do you try to find loopholes for?
To be honest, I look for loopholes on the whole gossiping thing.  I rationalize it as stress release, but I don't know that there's a Bible verse encouraging judging/talking about others to relieve your stress.  It's  something I constantly try to get better about.

That's it for today.  Time to pick up my book again (I'm reading The Pact by Jodi Picoult and I'm at a point where I really want to know what happens)!  Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and I'll be back tomorrow for the usual stuff!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips + Answered Prayers

Hey, everyone!  I hope you've had a fabulous Wednesday.  I had a pretty great day at school today, caught up with a good friend of mine on the phone, and now I have a glass of wine while watching ABC comedies.  Can't complain :)

Diet Tip of the Day
This summer, my aunt, who shops at Whole Foods quite often, introduced me to sweet potato tortilla chips by Food Should Taste Good.

I found them in Wal-mart last week and decided to pick those up, along with some 100-calorie guacamole packets.

I brought that for lunch today, and boy, was it delicious!  These chips barely taste any different than regular tortilla chips (if anything, they taste better!), and the guacamole was quite filling for 100 calories.  I highly recommend these chips!

Faith Find
I've prayed about it, and I really do feel as though God is calling me to give to the Christian radio station I listen to!  I'm excited to give to a ministry that benefits so many across Central Florida, as well as others who come to visit the area.  I'm not saying this to make myself seem all holier-than-thou and all high on myself (I can be quite the opposite, actually), but I just wanted to share that I did hear an answer to my prayer.  It's quite a great feeling to know that God is speaking to you, which can be so hard to realize sometime.

Today's Training
My shin splints have returned :(  I was planning on strength training (Weighted Wednesday seems like such a distant memory!), but I decided to take a rest day so that my shins can heal.  They already feel better and ready for a run tomorrow!

Training goals for the rest of the week: 35 minute run tomorrow (going to go as soon as I get home from school), Strength training on Friday (going to use a workout from Run, Eat, Repeat designed for runners), and a 6-mile run on Saturday.  Looking forward to it :)

Question of the Day: Any healthy food you've tried lately that you love?
I'd love to hear about them!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday HIIT Workout + Thanksgiving Ham + Abundance

Hey, everyone!  I don't know if you caught it earlier, but I posted about why I run.  If you read that post, you can find out a way to win a cool running t-shirt from ZOOMA.

Diet Tip of the Day
With Thanksgiving right around the corner comes cooking traditional Thanksgiving meals.  Joe's classmates and teachers are having a Thanksgiving meal, and Joe signed me up to cook a ham up to bring a ham for the festivities.

This is my first ham, and I really didn't know what to do!  Joe purchased an 8-lb. Smithfield ham that came with a glaze, so I'm just following the instructions on the label and hopefully it turns out fine!

Here's the finished product:
Joe went to carve it, and the meat just feel right apart.  No knife needed (which means, one less dish to clean)!  He sampled a few slices (and gave a few to Wewii, too) and said it tasted great.  Hopefully it won't dry out overnight in the fridge and stay tasty tomorrow for his lunch!

For those of you interested in another way to cook a ham, my mom usually gets a small pre-cooked ham and put it in the Crockpot with a 2-liter of Coke poured over it for about 2 hours on high.  After it's done, she slices it, put a little bit of the Coke over it, and puts it in the fridge and serves it chilled.  I don't really like ham, but everyone who has eaten my mom's ham just loves it!

Today's Training
Treadmill Tuesday is back on it's correct day!  Yay!  Here's the workout I did that I found from Annette @ Fitness Perks' blog:
I subtracted 1 from each of the running intervals since I'm not really going for speed while training, just the endurance to last for 13.1.  I went 3.68 miles in the 45 minutes, and I went the highest I've ever gone on both the speed and the incline settings.  I'm proud of myself for sticking to it despite being a sweaty mess during the entire workout.  I feel great after it!

Faith Find
The daily devotional I read each morning is talking about abundance this week (they change devotional themes each week).  Today's devotional was based on the verse Mark 12:41-44, which reads:

41 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 42 Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.[a]
43 Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions. 44 For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.”

I was again struck with the importance of not just giving out of abundance, but making giving a priority.  I read that in the book Weird, I heard it during the sermons at church (they are in the midst of their commitment campaign), and I'm reminded of it again in my daily devotional.  Gee, I wonder if God is trying to say something to me!

The Christian radio station I listen to is in the middle of their fall fundraiser, so I feel as though I'm being led to give to that ministry.  I'm going to spend some time in prayer today over that today as to what all of these messages mean.

Also, if you pray, would you lift up a prayer for one of my students?  They told me today that they are struggling with an eating disorder, and I figure she can use all the prayers that can come her way.  Her parents know about it, and she is getting help, but I really pray that it will actually work and that she will find worth in herself and know that she is loved by God no matter what she looks like.

Question of the Day: Have you cooked a Thanksgiving ham/turkey?  Any recipe you'd like to share with a first-timer like me?