Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Slow-Cooker Jambalaya + Cardio/Strength + Prayer

Thank goodness it's Wednesday!  I don't know what it is lately, but I've just been ready for the weekend earlier and earlier in the week.

Diet Tip of the Day
I have another Crock-pot recipe to share with you!  As you may know, I'm participating in Julie @ Peanut Butter Finger's Crock-pot challenge and am on new recipe #3 out of 10.  I need to step it up if I'm going to get in 7 more new recipes before March 4th!

Tonight's new recipe came from an interesting source.  As y'all know, I am currently enjoying Sean's season of the Bachelor.  His sister Shay actually has a blog called Mix and Match Mama, where she posts lots of recipes (and some insightful recaps of the show).

After reading one of her Bachelor recaps, I found this recipe for slow cooker jambalaya and just had to try it!

I only changed one thing about the recipe: I used chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts (hey, they were cheaper!  Can you blame me?).
As someone who isn't a big fan of spicy food, I was nervous about how I'd like this.  Let me tell you, this recipe is AMAZING!  I loved it, Joe loved it, and Joe's friend that came over to help us eat it loved it.

This is definitely a recipe we will have again!  If you like spicy food or just want a recipe out of the norm, you should definitely try this.

Today (and yesterday)'s Training
Yesterday, I went to the gym for the core workout for BBB Phase 2, as well as Cardio Interval B.  I was gutsy and tried to run on the treadmill, but after a minute, my heel started to hurt.  The pain returned after 5 minutes on the elliptical, so I nixed the cardio and just stuck with the core workout.

For this phase, the core workout is a 4-10 minute circuit with just two exercises.  I completed four rounds of the two exercises, and my abs are FEELING IT today!  I love the burn, though.  It makes me feel athletic :)

Today, I completed Tina's strength workout B from Best Body Bootcamp.  I didn't get around to this workout last week, and I can't share the entire workout, but I really, really loved these moves!  They focused on the "push" muscles, and I was really feeling it after 30 minutes!

I also got in 20 minutes of cardio while I watched the ABC Wednesday comedies.
It felt great to do some speed intervals on the treadmill, but now my heel is hurting again.  When will this go away so that I can be active again?!?!

***Side note: While doing my workout, I saw a live feed on ABC from the shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral.  I ran outside, looked south, and sure enough, I saw the shuttle flying through the air!!  It was quite a cool site, and I'm kicking myself for not having my camera on me.  I can now check off half a bucket list item: See a space shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral!***

Faith Find
My morning devotional was about the power of prayer.  This came at a great time, as I have really been slacking on praying lately.  I know it's something that I need to work on in order to deepen my relationship with God, and I've been trying to make it a priority this week.

My efforts have focused on filling "empty" time with prayer.  When I'm walking somewhere, I'll try to pray about what's going on during my day or a friend or family member that  I'll randomly think about.  It's been a great way to get myself praying throughout the day.

I'm hoping that after doing this, talking with God will become an integral part of my day instead of something I have to "set a goal" to do.

Sorry for the long post, but I just have say much to say after not blogging since Monday!  See you this time tomorrow for the same ole', same ole' (and hopefully another crock pot recipe!).

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From Monday: Back in Action + Sauted Green Beans

Well, I wrote this post yesterday, but my camera battery died and I couldn't post the pictures!  Better late than never, I guess :)


Happy Monday, everyone!  Apparently, when I took a break from exercise, a break from the blog unintentionally followed.

Quick Update on my Goings-On: 

I rested on Wednesday and Thursday to try and get my heel back to normal.  

On Friday, Joe and I headed to Tampa to visit some friends. We had a great night just talking and catching up!(no pictures, sadly)
On Saturday, we headed to Orlando for Monster Jam.  After an all-day tailgate, we saw some very loud trucks doing all sorts of crazy jumps.

On Sunday, we slept in, got stuff done for school this week, then went to Winghouse to watch the WWE pay-per-view.  Joe is a huge fan, so I inevitably watch it with him.  I wound up predicting all the winners (except one, sort of).  Go me!

Joe and I referred to this weekend as the "redneck" weekend.  Not quite my cup of tea, but it's fun to try out some new things!

Ok, now on to the usual stuff:

Today's Training
I decided to use my TV time wisely again tonight and completed Workout A from BBB 4, Phase 2 during The Bachelor.  Before completing the strength circuit workout, I did a 20-minute interval workout on the treadmill.  It felt great to get back in to the gym.  And, a bonus was that my heel didn't hurt!  

Diet Tip of the Day
I had some fresh green beans that I wanted to incorporate in to dinner tonight and tried a new cooking method to make them!


Here's what I did:
  • I started by cutting the ends off the beans and cutting them in half.
  • Then, I boiled the green beans in salt-and-peppered water for about 10 minutes.
  • Afterward, I put them in a pan with enough EVOO to barely cover the bottom of the pan and some minced garlic for about 5-7 minutes.
I served them with lemon pepper chicken and a pasta side.

What a tasty way to cook green beans!  They were so soft and very flavorful.  In the future, I think I'll use less olive oil, as they were pretty well-coated with it.  Definitely a cooking method I'll use again.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Best Body Bootcamp Week 3 Recap

Well, Week 3 of Best Body Bootcamp was a rough one for me.  My heel injury scared me, and I didn't do any of the workouts after Tuesday.  I learned that one thing that may be causing the injury is my running form--I may be striking on my heel too much instead of a flat-footed strike.  Good news is that my heel is rarely hurting, just an occasional pain when I'm standing too long.  I just don't want to aggravate it again!

I only did Workout A and the Cardio Workout this week.  For the first time, I actually wanted to exercise on Wednesday and Thursday, but I sat myself down and iced my heel.  I really hated that I actually had the motivation and couldn't follow through.

Joe and I went out of town this weekend, so workouts Friday-Sunday didn't happen.  Luckily, it gave me some time where I could also rest my heel, so I think the out-of-town thing worked out to my advantage.

Goal for Week 4 in the Activity area: Try all of the strength workouts, and use the elliptical for the cardio workouts.  This is keep me active but reduce the strain on my heel (hopefully).

My two goals this week were successful!  I met each goal 5/7 days, and I'm very proud of myself.  I'll share those goals next recap, since they're still applicable for another week.

My previous goals from phase 1 took a bit of a dive this week.  I did not get as much water during the day as the previous two weeks, but I'm making an effort this week.  I did, however, continue my good streak of brushing my teeth/washing my face before bed.  I'm glad I at least kept up with one previous goal, too!

Goal for Week 4: Meet my new goals at least 5/7 times and make more of an effort to meet my old goals, as well.

Overall, I'm still loving BBB.  I really love that I wanted to work out this week, even when I told myself I needed to rest.  It's also great motivation to stick to my plan and meet my goals.  I love being able to fill in an "x" on the spreadsheet when I accomplish something for the day.  It makes me happy!

I'll be back later with a recap of my day, including sharing a new-to-me way to cook green beans and how it went!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Injury + Chicken and Dumplings

Good evening, everyone!  It's Wednesday already!  This week is flying by, probably because of the day off on Monday.  I've got a recipe to share with you today, as well as tell you about a little set back in my training.

Today's Training
Yesterday was Treadmill Tuesday, and I got in a 40 minute run on the treadmill.  I felt great during my run and was really excited about how much progress I'm making in my running.

Then, my heel started hurting when I got home.

It was hurting after my 11.5 miler on Sunday, but it felt fine during the day on Monday and Tuesday. After last night's run, though, it was not happy at ALL!

I wore some cushioned shoes today to teach and tried to sit as much as possible, but it just felt so painful still.  I asked some of my more athletic students if they'd experienced this before, and one of the told me that it happens to her mom.  She also told me its called plantar fasciitis and that her mom usually rolls a golf ball under her heel and ices it.
My recovery tools
I used those at-home remedies and it feels much better.  Unfortunately, it seems that this may flare up from time to time.  It also seems that running and standing on hard surfaces makes it happen.  Sounds like my exercise routine and my life during teaching.

Needless to say, I'm sidelined for a few days to try and heal this heel (hehe).  I do plan on a strength workout or two for the rest of the week, but I think my running is going to have to hold off (or I'll have to try a trail or run on the beach for softer surfaces).  I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Diet Tip of the Day
Enough about my foot!  Time to share a yummy crock pot recipe with y'all!  As a part of Julie's Crock Pot Challenge, I'm trying to use my crock pot more.  Look for more crock pot recipes in the near future, as well :)

I'm a big fan of Southern cooking, and chicken and dumplings is one of my favorites.  I found this great website called Crockin' Girls, which has a great recipe for chicken and dumplings.

Here's the recipe they wrote and how I modified it:
Find the recipe here, but here are the modifications I made:

  • I actually diced a whole onion and put the whole onion in the crock pot.
  • I used two handfuls of baby carrots, chopped instead of 1 cup of carrots.
  • I chopped two stalks of celery instead of 1 cup.
This was very easy (pretty much a "set it and forget it" meal), and very tasty!  Perfect for this "chilly" Florida day (ok, it was about 60 degrees outside, but that's cold for around here!).  There was plenty of food, so we invited one of Joe's friends over to eat with us.  We all really liked it, so I think this will become a regular meal for our household!

Next crock pot recipe to try: Beef Burgundy, also found on Crockin' Girls.

Question of the Day: Any experience with plantar fasciitis?  Any great Crock Pot recipes I need to try?
Suggestions/ideas in each of those areas would be much appreciated!

Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK + Circuits

Good evening, y'all!  Hope you had a great day, whether you were working today or you were off like I was.

I had a relaxing morning of reading and laundry, then I finally went to go see Les Miserables!!  This is my favorite musical of all time (I'm a musical junkie!), and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  I thought it was really well done, there was a lot of great acting, and the songs were awesome!  If you like musicals, I highly recommend it :)

On to the usual stuff!

Faith Find
I'm starting my post off with the Faith Find today since I want to share a quote with you from Martin Luther King, Jr. on MLK Day!
Taken at MLK Memorial this summer
Last summer, I visited the MLK Memorial with my aunt, uncle, and brother.  Around the centerpiece of the memorial (shown above) are various quotes from his speeches.  I took pictures of my favorites, and here's one that I think ties in very well to the sermon I heard yesterday:
To me, this means that the only way we can make our world a better place is to love others and help them in their times of need.  This was exactly what I heard yesterday at church, and I feel like our world really would be a better place if we would all bring love and light into each of our days instead of hate and darkness.  Great words, Dr. King!

I'm going to strive to focus on ways that I can help others rather than what I can do to help myself.  I think that in helping others, I will in turn help myself and bring myself happiness.

Today's Training
Today was the first day of Phase 2 of Best Body Bootcamp.  This phase focuses on circuit and endurance strength training, andd today we did 2 circuits of 3 exercises.  Today's focused on the "pull" muscles, and Wednesday's will focus on the "push" muscles.

I was concerned about not resting today after my run yesterday, since my knees are a little sore.  They didn't bother me during this workout, which I was very happy about.

Well, it's time for me to finish watching the Bachelor!  Hope you have a great start of the week!

Best Body Bootcamp Week 2 Recap

Another week down in Best Body Bootcamp, another recap of the week!

I got in 5 days of activity, which included 2 days of strength, 2 days of cardio, and 1 day of cardio/strength.  My goal for the week was to get in 5 days of activity, so I'm happy with myself that I met it!

I could see a difference in my balance from Week 1 to Week 2.  I also wasn't as sore this week after the workouts, which shows me that I am a.) strengthen my muscles or b.) in need of some heavier weights.

I never did Workout C in Phase 1, which I'm sad about.  I loved all the moves that Tina put together, and I"m sure it would have been a great workout.  I'll hold on to it for when BBB is over and I'm in need of a good workout :)

I kept the same goals for Week 2, and I met both of them 6/7 days.  Goal #1 was to brush teeth/wash face each night (as gross as this is, I often just get in bed without doing this), and Goal #2 was to drink at least 72 oz of water each day, including at least 3 of my tumblers while teaching.

I'm switching up the goals for Phase 2, but I'll share those at the end of Phase 2!  I'm also going to make an effort to continue my success with these first two goals

Highlight of the Week
Got to be my 11.5 mile run yesterday!  Although my knees are a little sore, I feel great and am excited for the rest of my training before my first half on Feb. 24th!

Goal for Next Week
I want to get in the 3 strength workouts this week.  I'm going to start TODAY with Workout A of Phase 2, and will try and do the other two strength workouts on Wednesday and Friday.

Are you a Best Body Bootcamp participate, too?  Share you Week 2 recap here so that we can all see how you're doing!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

11.5 Miles + Gu Chomps + The Door

I'm just going to jump right on in to this post, as I have a lot to say!

Today's Training
I got in my 11.5-mile long run for the week today!  I mapped out my route yesterday and was pretty excited to tackle the challenge.  My Garmin didn't charge yesterday, so I went out GPS-less but had my timer on my iPod going.

One of my obstacles around my 3rd mile was the Dunlawton Bridge.  It connects the mainland to the beach and is quite a hill.
Image Source
As I told Joe when I returned, I beasted that bridge!  I had about a 10-minute mile pace going the whole time, which I was pretty impressed with considering the incline.

Overall, here's how I did:
I wanted to average an 11-minute mile pace, and I clearly did better than that.  I'm really pleased with myself, and it makes me feel confident with the half marathon just over a month away.  My body is kind of achy, but I've got some ice on my knees and compression socks on.  Hopefully I'll be good to go tomorrow!

Diet Tip of the Day
This goes along with training, but I tried some running fuel today that I wanted to share with you!

Gu Chomps in Watermelon
These are a lot like fruit snacks, and the flavor was great!  I ate two chews every 20-25 minutes during my run, and I could see a difference in my energy level throughout the run.
One pack is good for 1.5-2 hours of activity, which was perfect for my two-hour run!  I will definitely need another pack during my half marathon.

Overall, I liked the taste, I liked the energy they gave me, and I had no stomach problems during the run.  My stomach has been a little off since getting back, but I could attribute that to what I ate before the run (I had some Cheetos...they are definitely my weakness!).  I'm definitely going to use these again, and hopefully they weren't the reason for my stomach problems.

Faith Find
Today's sermon was given by Troy Ray, the director of Halifax Urban Ministries, an organization that helps the homeless in Daytona Beach and surrounding areas.  He shared a writing by Sam Shoemaker called "I Stand at the Door," which I found very interesting.  Here is a link to the whole writing, but I'll share the first part with you:

"I stand by the door.
I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out.
The door is the most important door in the world -
It is the door through which men walk when they find God.
There is no use my going way inside and staying there,
When so many are still outside and they, as much as I,
Crave to know where the door is.
And all that so many ever find
Is only the wall where the door ought to be.
They creep along the wall like blind men,
With outstretched, groping hands,
Feeling for a door, knowing there must be a door,
Yet they never find it.
So I stand by the door."

Shoemaker goes on to talk about how he stands at the door for those who get scared and want to get out of the door again.  He talks about wanting to help them remember what it was like to go through the door in the first place.

Here's a section toward the end of the writing:

"I admire the people who go way in.
But I wish they would not forget how it was
Before they got in. Then they would be able to help
The people who have not yet even found the door.
Or the people who want to run away again from God.
You can go in too deeply and stay in too long
And forget the people outside the door.
As for me, I shall take my old accustomed place,
Near enough to God to hear Him and know He is there,
But not so far from men as not to hear them,
And remember they are there too."

This writing is such a challenge to me to be more like Jesus.  Jesus knew that it was important to listen to God, to love Him, and to follow His commands.  But he came to Earth to meet the needs of people.  It's so easy to stay in the "Christian bubble" and spend time with those who believe what you believe and who agree with you.  

But that's not what we're called to do.  We're called to love God and love others.  We're called to go where we see a need.

This sermon really spoke to me, and I feel like I have some things to pray about.  I felt called in a certain direction during the sermon, and I want to see if that's what God wants or if that's just something I want.

Whoa, long post!!  If you stuck with me the whole way, thank you!  Enjoy your MLK Day holiday tomorrow (if you have one), and I'll see you back here tomorrow evening.

Question of the Day:  Have you accomplished something this week that you're really proud of?  
My run, as well as realizing this potential change I might make, have me feeling pretty proud of myself.

From Saturday: 9-minute pace

It seems that I always type a post on Saturday but never post it.  Oh well, better late than never!

Happy Saturday everyone!  Today's post begins with two pictures!  The first is a funny picture of Wewii Joe sent me yesterday afternoon:
That is one relaxed pooch!  Wewii is so funny when he sleeps--he'll dream pretty often and move his paws, jaw, and makes sounds.  What a cutie!

Next, here's a picture of the prize I received after Holiday Bootie Buster Bootcamp courtesy of Amanda at Run to the Finish!
I'm excited to try out the gear and the workout DVD!  Thanks, Amanda!  I've already signed up for the Spring Bootie Buster Challenge, and I'll be sharing information about that with you as soon as Amanda has it all finalized and posted.

Joe and I started things off this weekend by picking up our bedroom!  We can really be slobs during the week, leaving dirty clothes and outfits we ruled out just laying around on the floor or on the bedpost.  I continued to be productive by getting a workout in and running some errands.

Today's Training
Wewii and I went on a run this afternoon.  I wanted to do something short since I'm planning on 11.5 miles tomorrow, so we did 2 miles right around my apartment.
Great scenery on this run, and we kept a great pace!

When we got back, I decided to try out one of the goodies I received as a prize from the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.
The Beach Babe by Tone It Up DVD!  There are 7 different workouts on this video, and I tried the Arms workout.  It lasted less than 20 minutes, and even without weights, my muscles were feeling a burn!

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's run for two reasons.  First, it'll be the longest distance I've ever run.  Second, I bought some mid-run fuel to test out.

When I was checking out at Dick's today, the cashier said, "Out of everything in here, this is all you're getting?"  So, I explained to him my training and that I knew I needed to try some of these out.  Hey, at least I bought something there :)  I'll let you know which one I decide to try and how that works out tomorrow!

Question of the Day: What kinds of fuel do you like during your long runs?

Back later with an update from my run today, as well as an interesting writing from the sermon today at church!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Home Workout + Blood Orange + Slacking

I don't know about y'all, but I have been EXHAUSTED this week!  Yesterday, I was incredibly lazy and napped on the couch for most of the evening.  You know, sometimes you just need to relax!

I actually got things done this afternoon, so I actually have something to post today :)

Today's Training
To be honest, I almost skipped out on a workout today.  I wanted to complete Workout B for Best Body Bootcamp right after school, but I went straight home instead of going to the gym.  After thinking about it, I realized I could complete the core exercises at home!

I finished Workout B while watching TV and sweating it out in our living room.  These were the same exercises from last week, and I noticed that my balance had improved!  I'm so happy!

Doing the scorpions was made extra difficult when Wewii climbed under me and started licking my face.  It was hilarious!  Too bad I was the only one home to see that!

Overall, a great workout!  Goal for tomorrow: Go straight to the gym and work out before the long-weekend fun!

Diet Tip of the Day
I tried a new-to-me Chobani flavor today: Blood Orange!
Image Source
The fact that this citrus has "blood" in the name has turned me off in the past, but I need to get me some blood oranges.

This. yogurt. ROCKED!

You could taste the oranges, but there was a little twist to the flavor.  I can't describe it exactly, but I was all about it!  I commented to my coworker I was eating with that this was the best yogurt I've had in a while.

Definitely going on the grocery list for the next shopping trip!  I highly recommend you try it, too, if you like oranges

Faith Find
You know what?  Since returning from the holidays, I really haven't made my faith a priority.

And I hate that!

I hate that it seems that it's something that I have to "schedule" to actually pursue.  I really want faith to be an integral part of my life and intertwined in everything.

I'm making a commitment right now to pray throughout the day tomorrow.  I hope that the prayer will help me get through the day (as I am teaching some kind-of challenging lessons), and I also hope it will be the start to my faith being involved in my life each and every day!

Question of the Day: Do you ever do any workouts at home?  Have you tried any new foods lately that you are just loving?

Well, that's that!  I am so ready for this weekend.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Friday, and I'll see you back here tomorrow :)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Treadmill Tuesday + Sausage and Bean Slow-Cooker Supper

Hey, everyone!  Does anyone else feel like it should already be Thursday?  Giving a test is so much work for me getting everyone's test graded, catching up the people who were absent, and keeping up with all of the papers.  I'm exhausted!

I still got in a good workout and tried a new recipe!

Today's Training
Today's Best Body Bootcamp workout was a cardio interval.  This ties in perfectly to my half marathon training schedule, as well as my own enjoyment over running on the Treadmill on Tuesdays!  Alliteration just makes everything better.
After a 5 minute warm-up, I ran for 30 minutes with varying speed for a total of about 3.0 miles.  I then did a 5-minute cool down at the end.  Good workout!

Diet Tip of the Day
Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers is holding a Crock Pot Challenge to try 10 new crock pot recipes before the beginning of March.  I love my slow cooker, and this is great reason to use some of those recipes I've pinned and forgotten about!

I found the recipe for Sausage and Bean Slow-Cooker Supper on this website that I pinned long ago.  There are a few other recipes on there, but this one caught my eye as a different kind of meat than Joe and I usually eat.

Here's what I used based off of the linked recipe:

  • 1 package chicken sausages
  • 1 can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles (I used Rotel)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1.5 tsps dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Cook chicken sausages about half-way.  This reduces the grease in the meal.  Cut up the sausages to  bite-size pieces.  Then, combine all ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Serve over rice and enjoy!
I thought it looked kinda pretty in the slow cooker
I was pleasantly surprised by this recipe.  I wasn't sure if there would be enough flavor, but I actually enjoyed the taste!  I made sure to put some of the broth over the rice, as well, and I think that added to the taste.  It's not my favorite recipe I've ever tried, but I think it'd be a nice every-now-and-then meal when we get tired of the typical chicken and beef meals.

In other news...
I decided that I"m going to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon in costume.  I'm not sure exactly who I'm going to dress up as yet, but I do know that one of these sparkle skirts will definitely be involved!

Question of the Day: Any must-try crock pot recipes?  Have you ever worn a costume for a run?
Any suggestions (for both questions) would be helpful :)

From Monday: Strength Workout + Devotional book

Another post I started and never finished!  My computer started acting up, and I had some food prep to do for tonight's dinner, so I gave up.  Here's what I wanted to share with you yesterday:

Today's (Monday's) Training
It's Week 2 of Best Body Bootcamp, and today's workout was a strength workout focusing on slow, controlled movements.  I can't share the exercises with you (you have to sign up for BBB to get that), but I will say that each movement had a hold count.  2 counts contract, hold for one, 6 counts relax was the pattern, and I found it easier to actually do the longer counts when relaxing the muscles as opposed to during contraction last week.

The workout was made easy as I was watching the first hour of the Bachelor in the gym :)  Up tomorrow: Cardio Intervals on the treadmill!

Faith Find
One of Joe and my Christmas presents from his grandmother and grandfather was this devotional book
I was really excited about getting this, because I love to mark in books (especially books about faith).  It's a great substitute for my online devotions I was doing.  I was also excited about getting this because both Joe and I can read the day's devotion and then discuss.  I really liked today's devotion:
You can't read it, but that's probably good because of copyright laws :)
It talked about how when we are mean to someone, we remember every gory detail.  But, when we really make a difference to someone, we can't really get the specifics down.  The challenge was to make compassion and kindness for others the norm rather than a surprise.

It's very true that in our world, it seems like "bad stuff" is normal, and we are so taken aback by the "good stuff."  Let's all try and be kind to one another instead of trying to hurt others, and maybe one day we can make the "good stuff" the norm.

Back tomorrow (actually, later today) with a Crock Pot recipe!  I'm going to participate in PBFingers' Crock Pot Challenge and try 10 new slow cooker recipes before March 3rd.  I will, of course, share those with y'all as I make them, as well as summarize the whole challenge closer to the end.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Best Body Bootcamp Week 1 + Manatees!!

I want to recap my first week of BBB, and I want to share what Joe and I did today!

BBB Week 1 Recap
Even though it's only been a week, and I am LOVING Best Body Bootcamp!  The workouts that Tina gives us are challenging but doable, and some of the new-to-me moves are some of my new favorite exercises!  I also love that there are different things that each phase focuses on, and this phase focuses on controlled movements and balance.  I really need to work on balance, so I really enjoyed Core Workout B that included lots of balance moves.

As far as Activity goes, I got in 4 days of activity (Strength Workouts A and B, Cardio Workout A, and Cardio of Choice day).  I'm pleased with that, although I didn't earn an entry toward the weekly prize.  I'd only been having about 3 days a week of activity, so that's an improvement!

There are also two Goals to set for the week to improve your health, and I met those goals 6/7 days for Goal 1, and 5/7 days for Goal 2, each earning me prize entries.

My goal for the upcoming week: get at least 5 out of 7 days of activity!  I also hope to meet each of my goals for the week, as well.

Today's Activity 
I have to tell y'all something.

I am obsessed with manatees.

It started in 4th grade with my teacher who loved dolphins.  She had us do projects on anything that interested us, and I decided to do one on manatees.  I thought they were the cutest marine animal, and after my project, I knew I wanted to see one in the wild.  Any time I've been in Florida and I've seen a "Manatee Area" sign, I've been on the look-out.

Well, today, I got to see one!!!

Joe and I went to Blue Springs State Park, which is a manatee refuge during the winter.  The water is always 73 degrees, so the manatees come there for warmer water from November to April.

The first thing we saw was a gator.  Joe is a native Floridian, and told us at first that it was a 6-foot gator.  Then it moved out of the water and on to the bank.

That was my first gator siting in Florida!  Close by, we saw some dark spots in the water that looked like manatees.  Finally, one surfaced and we knew for sure that we'd seen our first manatee of the day!
Look at that little nose!
Here are some other pictures from the day:
All 4 manatees in the Springs today 
Joe and I with the manatee sculpture 
Me and a manatee
Next up on the manatee bucket list:  Swim with them!!  Apparently, you aren't really allowed to in the wild, but there is a place in Crystal River, FL (about 3 hours from us) that has a program where you can swim with them.  I think that'll happen sometime this spring or summer :)

When we got back, Joe and I took the dog for a 2.2 mile run.  I didn't get in my long run for the week (thanks to Workout B of BBB...super sore hamstrings!!!), but we did run under a 10-minute mile pace.

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and have a great start to the week!  See y'all tomorrow with a recap of my day/the start of BBB Week 2.

Simple Saturday

Well, Saturday was pretty exciting, yet relaxing at the same time!

Today, Joe and I put down a security deposit for a house we're going to rent!  I'm so excited!  The landlady lives next door, and she is just so much fun.  We've already met the neighbors, and they're great too.  It's further away from both of our schools, but the rent is cheaper and we get a big back yard!  Here are some pictures:
Front of the house 
Back yard (including a fire pit!)
I also Skyped with some of my college girlfriends today to be a part of a bridesmaids dress appointment!  My friend Valerie is getting married in August and asked me to be a bridesmaid in the cutest way:

All the other girls are in Virginia, and it was really tough for me to make it up there for the dress appointment.  Aft some technical difficulties, I was able to be a part of the appointment using my iPad!  All 6 of us (7 including the bride) loved this dress, and it's going to be ordered in plum.  So cute!  And, it has pockets :)  Bonus!

After all that excitement, I spent the afternoon relaxing.  Joe and I did some grocery shopping, then got take-out from Carraba's, and watched football all evening.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday Afternoon Workout

Hey everyone!  Sorry for my absence all week.  After a two week break from teaching, I forgot how exhausting it can be!  I've been coming home each day not feeling like doing much of anything at all.

Today's Training
I went straight to the gym after school to complete Workout B of Best Body Bootcamp.  I did Strength Workout A on Monday and Cardio Interval A on Tuesday, but I took Wednesday and Thursday off due to complete laziness.  It happens to the best of us, right?

Workout B was a core workout that worked on balance and stability, as well.  There were so many exercises in plank position, so I know I'll be feeling it tomorrow!

Despite my mid-week laziness, I'm pretty happy with myself for getting a workout in on a Friday afternoon.  Not something that I usually do, but I feel like it was a great way for me to shake off the stress of the week and head in to the weekend feeling worry free.

Weekend Workout plan: get in Workout C tomorrow, then run 11 miles for my half marathon training on Sunday.

Diet Tip of the Day
I found a new-to-me tasty snack at the grocery store the other day!
Veggie Straws from Sensible Portions!!  I've always wanted to try veggie chips or something like them, and these caught my eye in the store.  I picked them up, and boy are they delicious!  I couldn't stop eating them.  They're light, crunchy, taste like chips, but they're made with tomatoes and spinach (in addition to potato).  I happened to pick up the bag with the Zesty Ranch flavoring on them, which made them that much better.

Definitely a snack I recommend, and one that I will continue to add to my grocery list!

Well, time for Joe and I to head to our favorite little Mexican restaurant for our Friday dinner tradition.  Have a great start to your weekend!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Goodbye HBBC, Hello BBB!

With the end of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge fast approaching, I knew I needed to find another fitness contest/program to keep me motivated, especially when it comes to strength training!

A lot of people doing the HBBC recommended Tina Reale's Best Body Bootcamp.  I'd heard about it from other blogs I read (like Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers), and Tina was offering a discount to HBBC participants, so I thought "What the heck!"
Image Source
BBB started Monday, and it last for 8 weeks.  There are four phases of workouts, featuring 3 days of strength training and 3 days of cardio.  There is an incentive component to the bootcamp, as you enter your days of activity in a Google doc.  If you get 5 days of activity, you earn one entry in the weekly cash prize!

Yesterday's strength workout was really great.  I can't share the exact workouts, but this phase is all about slow, controlled movements.  It really got my muscles firing!

My half marathon training fits right in the schedule, which means that Treadmill Tuesday is still happening.  I'll just do the cardio workouts on the treadmill and extend them if needed.

I'll be sharing about my BBB experiences throughout the next 8 weeks, and I hope to encourage some of you to try it with me the next round (since it's too late to sign up for this round)!  Check out Tina's site if you want more information about the program.

Monday, January 7, 2013

From Saturday: Long Run + Recovery Tools

Oops, I realized I never posted this from Saturday!!  Here's a belated post about my day :)

Today (Saturday) is the last day of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, which was put on by Amanda at Run to the Finish.  I really enjoyed this challenge, and I plan on reviewing it for y'all tomorrow.

As for today, here's your usual stuff!

Today's Training
It was a scheduled long run for me on my half marathon training schedule, and since I'd skipped my long run last week, I decided to complete that distance.  I can still stay on track with the plan, since they usually throw in a 3-mile "long run" every week.  I've been increasing by a mile or so each week so that I'll be able to run more than 13.1 miles come half marathon day!
I can really tell that I took two weeks off!  I was struggling for the last half of the run, but I'm really proud of myself for pushing through.  A 11:30 average pace isn't bad, especially since my goal is just to finish!

I tried some mid-run fuel today.  I meant to swing by a sporting goods store and pick up some gels, but I didn't do that.  I used what I had around the house, and that was these Nature Valley Protein Granola Bars.
Image Source
They are quite tasty, and they worked pretty well for mid-run fuel.  They're kind of sticky, so it was hard to eat the bar quickly and keep going.  I'm going to start experimenting with some gels so that I can keep up my pace without having to walk for a mile to get the bar down :)

Diet Tip of the Day
I've already talked on here about my love of smoothies, but they really are a great recovery drink after a long run (especially down here in Florida where they cool you off!).  Unfortunately, my blender broke and I haven't replaced it yet.  I sought some smoothie after my run this morning.

While running some errands, I stopped by Smoothie King and got their Pineapple Surf smoothie.
Not the best as far as limiting sugar, but I was looking for something with fruit in it, and I sure got what I was looking for!  I didn't know you could ask to make it skinny, so I could have save on that a bit.  Oh well, still very tasty!

My other recovery tool is my ProCompression socks!  You can see them in the photo, and they really help my shins recover after my long runs.  Nothing like laying on the couch in my compression socks, drinking a smoothie, and reading a book to heal after my run!

I hate to cut this post short, but Joe and I are off to Medieval Times for dinner and a show tonight!  I'm looking forward to watching some jousting and eating with my hands.  Have a great weekend!

Question of the Day: What's your favorite way to recover from a run/workout?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Back on Schedule + Grilling + Book of Sirach

I'm just posting up a storm today, aren't I?  Gotta make up for lost time :)

Today's Training
Tomorrow is the last day of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, so I wanted to make sure I got in a run today to rack up some last-minute points!

I took a 3-mile run with Wewii this afternoon, and my time was under 30 minutes!  This included stopping at street crossing and a few potty breaks for the pooch.
My running buddy
I cooled down for 0.3 miles, then stretched out.  My legs are quite tight after taking about two weeks off of my regularly-scheduled runs!

Diet Tip of the Day
As a wedding gift, Joe and I received a George Foreman electric grill from my awesome brother.  It can be used indoors or outdoors, and tonight we used it to make dinner.
Image Source
I love it when we grill for dinner because it keeps the meat tender (if you cook it the right about of time) and adds a little bit of the grilled taste to it.  It's also a pretty healthy way to cook food!

Since this grill can be used indoors or outside, it is really convenient for those of you who live in a colder climate.  We've never tried it inside, but we use it on our screened-in porch and we've never had any problems.  If you are looking for an easy-to-use grill, I highly recommend this George Foreman Electric Grill.  We love it!

Faith Find
During our trip to New York, we visited a Catholic church.  I've grown up going to Protestant churches and have never been to a Catholic church before.  When I went in, I didn't want the differences in theology to get in the way of worshipping.  I just took in all of the traditions and followed along when I could.

One big difference I noticed was the fact that we read from the book of Sirach during the Scripture reading.  I had no idea what that book was, and after doing some research, I saw that the book is also called the book of Ecclesiastes.  I looked up Sirach 3 (which I know in Ecclesiastes is the "There is a time for everything..." chapter), and it wasn't the same.  If anyone is Catholic, can you help me out with this book of the Bible?  I also wonder why it's not in the Protestant versions of the Bible.  Please let me know if you know anything about this book.  I like to be an educated individual :)

That's all for today!  I'm planning a 9ish mile run tomorrow morning, then going to Medieval Times in Orlando for dinner with Joe to use our groupon.  Should be a fun Saturday!

Book Review: What Alice Forgot

During my holiday travels, I decided to read the book What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty.
This was the book chosen for PBFinger's December book club, and I checked it out at the library before heading out for the holidays.

The main character, Alice, falls and hits her head during spin class at the beginning of the book.  She wakes up thinking she's 29, happily married to her husband Nick, and pregnant with her first child.  Turns out, she's really 39, has three kids, and is going through a nasty divorce.  The book follows Alice's journey to remember the last ten years of her life.

The book is set in Sydney, Australia, which means there are some different words used throughout the book (i.e. "pram" instead of "stroller").  I have an obsession with Australia, so I really enjoyed the setting and learning the Australian terminology.

I found the book to be a little slow-moving.  The first 200 pages were Alice in the hospital or Alice by herself trying to remember things.  I got frustrated because her family didn't fill her in on anything while she was at the hospital.  For example, her sister didn't warn her that she was getting a divorce before Alice called her husband and he proceeded to cuss her out.  I felt so bad for her!  If I was in the same situation, I would DEFINITELY want my family to let me know what was going on.

After she got home and started "meeting" her children and her new friends, I was really wrapped up in the book.  I wanted to find out why she was getting divorced, how she was going to get to know her kids, and if she would ever remember anything from the last ten years.  I was really engrossed in the story and read the last half of the book very quickly.

I don't want to spoil the ending, but I would say that I was relatively satisfied with how the book ended.    I did enjoy this book, but I wouldn't say it's the best book I've read.  The premise is interesting, but I did find parts of the story slow-moving and frustrating.

If you've read this book before, what did you think of it?

How would you deal with forgetting the last 10 years of your life?

I'm starting a novel by Janet Evanovich called Twelve Sharp.  It's part of a series (the first book is One for the Money, which was just a movie starring Katherine Hiegel) and I'm starting in the middle of it.  Books 12-17 were on sale on the iTunes store for $3 each, so hopefully I'll be able to understand and enjoy it!

Holiday Travels Hiatus

Happy 2013, everyone!  I haven't posted on here since last year ;)  Sorry, favorite New Year's joke!

After a long hiatus due to lots of holiday travel and lack of computer access, I am back home and ready to get back to blogging.  I've very much missed blogging each day, and one of my goals for the new year is to post to this blog 5 times a week (at least!).

I'll get back to my usual format, but first I want to share with you my travels!  I went a lot of different places and had a lot of fun times this holiday season, so let me recap!

Dec. 21-24: Christmas in Richmond
Joe and I spent Thanksgiving with my family, so we decided that we'd both be with his family for Christmas this year.  Since I hadn't seen any of my friends since my wedding day, I flew up to Richmond and spent a few days with my family and friends.

My time there was spent seeing many of my friends from high school at various Christmas gatherings we had.  I also spent a lot of time relaxing with my family (also known as napping for three hours while the TV was on in the afternoon).  We exchanged gifts, and a present from my parents to Joe and me was tickets to the Virginia Tech bowl game!  I knew that was going to happen, but I was still so excited to be able to go to the game.

It was hard to leave my family on Christmas Eve, but I really enjoyed getting to see them around the holiday time.

Dec. 25-27: Christmas in Gainesville/Tifton
It was different but exciting to wake up on Christmas morning with Joe at his mom's house.  I'm such a traditional person that it was hard to not partake in my family's traditions, but I was looking forward to joining in on Joe's family's.

We went over to his sister's house, exchanged gifts, then headed out to his grandparents' horse farm for lunch and some family time.  We then drove to Tifton, GA for Christmas with his dad's side of the family.
First Married Christmas!
There were lots of people, lots of food, and lots of great family times.  When they open presents, everyone goes at once.  At my grandparents, we all go one at a time.  It was interesting to see all the chaos and to try and see what everyone got.

Dec. 28: Virginia Tech football in Orlando
Next stop: Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando!  We met up with my parents, had lunch at this delicious Mediterranean place (wish I had taken a picture of the Lemon Chicken wrap...sooo good!), then headed to the stadium for the game!
Me, Joe, and my mom (Dad was back at their seats)
This game was particularly special because it was my brother's last performance with the marching band.  I was so glad we could all be there to support him and cheer him on.  He's been the captain of the drum line for the last two seasons, and he's pretty awesome at it!
(He's the circled one)
Luckily, the Hokies were able to pull out the win!  I'm was so happy, especially because it started raining about halfway through the game.  I would have been pretty miserable had we lost.  Go Hokies!

Dec. 29-Jan 1: New Year's in New York City
Our last stop of our holiday trip was New York City!  Joe's brother lives three blocks away from Times Square, so he invited us up for New Year's
In Times Square...windy and cold as you can tell!
Some highlights from the trip:

I went to see Avenue Q off-Broadway, which was HILARIOUS!  It's a musical featuring puppets (as well as real people) that documents life on a block in New York City.  With such songs as "It Sucks to Be Me", "The Internet is for Porn," and "Everyone's a Little Bit Racist", you can imagine how much fun this show was.

I got to see the window displays in the department stores, as well as the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

We attended a church service on Sunday at Holy Cross Church, the beautiful church just down the block from Joe's brother's apartment.
And Joe and I actually got to see The Ball drop at midnight to ring in 2013!!
Taken the day before
Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of the ball dropping on New Year's Eve because I didn't have time to go grab my camera!  Joe and I ran out of his brother's apartment at 11:50 and were able to see the ball from the street in front of the building.  It was a really cool experience, and I'm glad I got to be there to see it!
This is the only picture of Joe and I from New Year's Eve...what a shame, too, because I loved my dress!!
We also got these awesome 2013 light-up glasses for free after midnight.  The street vendors just handed us a box, so we all got rock these for the rest of the evening.

One thing I didn't get to do was go for a run in Central Park.  I planned on doing it New Year's Day before we left, but I was feeling a liiiiittle rough after our NYE party in the city.  I guess that just means I'll have to go back some day (when it's warmer, preferably) to complete that run :)

Overall, we had a busy but fun Christmas/holiday season!  I was quite lazy when it came to exercising, as I only ran one time during these travels.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to continue running, even after my half marathon in February.  I definitely intend on getting back in to my exercise routine (starting today).

I'll be back later with a book review, as well as a regular post about today.