Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stretching + Simple Pot Roast

Due to two special posts yesterday recapping my half marathon and my fun Orlando weekend, I held off on the "usual content" until today.

Before I get started, I just wanted to point out my Contact page up above!  I now have my e-mail address listed, as well as a link to my Pinterest.  Twitter and Facebook links are coming soon!  I was inspired to create this page thanks to Katy's 28-Day Blog Challenge for the month of February.  Please contact me with any questions, comments, or suggestions!  I'd love to hear from you :)

Now, on to the post!

I wanted to share a Crock Pot recipe with y'all today!  This is new recipe #8 for me in Julie's Crock Pot Challenge.  I must say, I've enjoyed using my slow cooker a lot more this month, which has really made dinner very easy and low-stress on some days (tasty, too!).

Today's recipe is something I came up with on my own after seeing Cream of Potato soup in the store on Monday.

  • 1.5 pounds of Chuck Tender Roast (or whatever roast you'd like to make)
  • 1 can Cream of Potato soup
  • 1 packet Onion Soup mix
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • About 1-2 cups of beef broth (enough to make the Cream of Potato soup a little runny)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 red onions, sliced
1. Slice potatoes and peel/slice carrots, then place roast, potatoes, and carrots in the slow cooker.

2. Mix together Cream of Potato soup, worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, and beef broth.  This should have a pudding-like consistency.

3. Pour soup mix over the roast, potatoes and carrots.  Spread it out so that it covers everything in the slow cooker.
4. Cook on low for 8 hours.

I served this roast by itself, since the veggies and a starch were already in the mix!
I was nervous about this dish since I didn't follow a recipe and just winged it, but I must say, it was very, very tasty!  The roast just fell apart with the fork, and the flavor was just enough without overpowering the carrots, potatoes, and meat themselves.  It was husband-approved, too!

Let me know what you think if you try this recipe!

My half marathon training taught me an important lesson: STRETCH!!  Stretch before working out, stretch after working out, stretch if something's hurting...just stretch!

I found when I didn't stretch, I would be more sore and/or injure something after a tough run or workout.  When I did stretch, my muscles would recover faster and I wouldn't feel as many residual aches and pains.

In an effort to recover from Sunday's 13.1 miles, I decided to just stretch on Tuesday.  I found a video on YouTube I wanted to share that's a good full body stretch routine.
I love this girl's accent!  The moves are pretty basic, can be done anywhere, and make you feel relaxed and loose.  I plan on using this on days when I don't work out, just to keep my body limber and injury-free.

Question for you: What's your favorite stretch routine?  Are you good at remembering to stretch, or are you like me and don't stretch with much regularity?

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Disney Princess Half Marathon Recap

As I shared with you briefly on Sunday, I successfully completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon on Sunday morning!

Here's my complete recap of the race.  I had my non-smartphone camera with me during the race, so I will just warn you now: the PICTURES ARE NOT GOOD QUALITY!  I apologize for the blurriness, but it was the best I could do to share the experience with y'all while trying to run in the time I wanted.  Regardless, I hope you'll enjoy my tales of the Disney Princess Half!

After a fun weekend in Orlando and checking in at the expo on Saturday, I woke up at 3:30 am to get to Epcot for the start of the race.  Disney doesn't delay the park openings when they have marathons on property, so they have to start at 5:30 a.m. and enforce a 16-minute pace.
Joe dropped me off at the entrance of the family area (like my sunburn from the Braves game the day before?), and I made my way to my corral.  There were a total of 26,000 runners for this race, and they did a wave start based on predicted finishing time.
Well wishes on the way to the start
I was in Corral F out of H, so I didn't start until about 6:10.  There were Emcee's for the race displayed on big screens, which provided lots of entertainment before the race.  Also, pretty much everyone dresses up in costume for this race (I was going to, but never put my outfit together in time to train with it), so I was really enjoying looking at everyone's creative running wear!

Each time a corral started, they shot off fireworks!
It finally came around to 6:10, and it was time to get going!
My corral's fireworks
The starting line 
I made sure to start slow and steady so that I would make it for the whole race.  There was lots of entertainment along the way to keep me interested!  Not only was I running through Disney parks, but there were Disney characters along the way taking pictures with the runners.
Pirates of the Caribbean ship and Jack Sparrow
Even with the wave start, I still ran in to some back-ups with people walking all across the path.  I spent a lot of time dodging walkers/slower runners, but I tried not to let that get to me too much.

The course took us around Epcot and right past the new Test Track experience, then in to the Magic Kingdom!
The Disney villains were there to welcome us
This is horribly blurry, so sorry!
Around mile 4.5 was where the first group of spectators were.  They came at a great time and provided some much-needed support.  I was able to find Joe on the sidelines, and he took this picture of me.
I had to do some backtracking to find him, but I wanted to make sure I saw him since he woke up really early to support me.  I saw him right before the part of the run I was most excited about:
The run through Cinderella's castle!  I don't know why that's so exciting, but I was looking forward to running through this Disney landmark.
So blurry, but under the castle!
I also got to see some of my favorite Disney princesses while running through Magic Kingdom
Belle (with random people)
Aurora aka Sleeping Beauty with her prince
I didn't stop for any pictures with the princesses.  The lines were very long for most of them, and I knew my camera phone would just cause problems in getting the pictures.

They also had really cute mile-marker signs along the way, and I got pictures of some of my favorites:

One GOOD PICTURE from my phone, finally!
Too bad Princess Jasmine wasn't there, or else I just might have waited in line for a picture with her!  The time you see next to sign is the "gun time."  I started about 35 minutes after the official start, so this was not the time that I hit each mile.

I was feeling great until mile 7.  We'd just left Magic Kingdom, there was really nothing to look at, and this was about the time in training when I started hitting a wall mentally.  I took a few walking breaks (other than the water stations), and my right knee started hurting.  But, I told had Joe waiting on me at the finish, so I pushed myself to keep going.

Surprisingly, once I got to mile 11 (even though my knee was really hurting at this point), I was ready to run the rest of the way and get to the finish line.  Once I saw this, I knew I was going to make it:
The finish line was just on the other side of the Epcot ball, so I knew I had a mile left!  This sign was even more of a welcome sight:
I only had .1 miles left at this point and picked up the pace 'til the finish line!

My Garmin timer matched up with the official time on the runDisney website.  Why did I run 13.45 miles?  Well, as I said before, I backtracked a little to find Joe.  That took about 3-5 minutes, so if I'd just kept going, I would have been under 2:30 like I originally wanted.

After the race, I got my medal, went to the ice station and got my knee wrapped up, and finally grabbed my bottled water, Powerade, and snack box.  I've gotta say, this snack box was DELICIOUS!  Lots of protein and healthy carbs, plus a little chocolate!  My favorites: Perry Seed Orchard Seed Mix (red package) and the Crunchmaster Multi-seed Crackers.
I made it through the crowds and found Joe.  He saw me finish on the Jumbotron and took my picture with my medal once we met up. 
Joe was such a great support for me throughout my training and during the race.  Great Husband Award!

I'm am INCREDIBLY proud of myself for running this race!  I did walk some, but I ran at least 11.5 of the 13.1 miles.  What an accomplishment for me!

My overall experience at the Disney Princess Half Marathon was very positive!  For 26,000 runners, this race was very organized with minimal craziness.  This is a great race to just enjoy the experience in a very supportive and fun environment.  I will say, I was expected more time running through the parks.  I wish there was more time spent running through Epcot, but I guess that would require a lot of volunteers.

The date for next year's race is February 23, 2014.  As of now, I think I'll plan on running the race again!

Up next: I think I'm planning to run the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach Labor Day weekend.
Image Source

Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo + Orlando Weekend

After about 7 months of training and anticipation, it was time to head to Orlando last Friday for the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I was excited about all the fun that Joe and I had planned, as well as attempting my first half marathon.

We stayed at the Disney All-Star Sports Resort.  I've stayed there before, and it's a neat resort!  The price is reasonable for Disney, it's well kept, and the theme is lots of fun.  We were in the Touchdown! building, which featured a large football and football helmet on the opposite stair wells.  The building was also surrounded with pennants of football teams, and guess who I found?
My beloved Virginia Tech Hokies!

After getting to the hotel late on Friday, we just hung out in the room, watched TV, and fell asleep early.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early and grabbed breakfast.
Of course I HAD to get a Mickey waffle while in Disney!  So cute, and tasty, too!  After breakfast, I let my sleepy husband stay in bed while I took the shuttle bus to the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo.
It was held at the Coronado Springs Resort on Disney property.  One thing I love about this race weekend is the shuttles provided.  If you were staying a host resort (which was about 11 different Disney resorts), they provided buses to and from all of the events throughout the weekend.

When the bus dropped me off at the expo, there was a HUGE line.  I thought it would take forever to get in and that the expo would be crazy insane inside.  Fortunately, the line moved fast, and there were not many long lines once inside.

I thought everything was set up very well.  The line to get my bib and shirt was not long at all!  I waited about five minutes, got my bag of goodies, then headed over to get my shirt.  That took maybe two minutes to get, and I was ready to check out the vendors.

Now THIS was the insane part of the expo.  There were so many people trying to look at so many different vendors that it was hard to see what all was there.  I picked up some Gu Chomps in Watermelon for the race and some KT tape to try out for my knee.
Old picture, but that' what I got!
There was also a huge wall with all 26,000 runners' names listed.  I found mine!
There was also an Amy Herrington running, which I thought was funny.

All in all, I had a good time at the expo.  Lots of great energy, some fun things to check out, and an organized check-in process.  Yay runDisney!

After making it back to the hotel, Joe and I hopped into the car and drove to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Atlanta Braves spring training game!
They were playing the Yankees, and even though Orlando is the Braves' home stadium, there was a TON of Yankees fans!  Joe blames it on all the Snow Birds (Northerners who live in Florida during the winter).
We had lawn seats, so we sat in the grass and enjoyed the game (despite the Braves' loss).  They even had the Home Depot Tool Race that they do in Atlanta!
Joe and I love to try to pick the winner and cheer our tool on.  I picked the Paintbrush, Joe picked the Bucket, and he won. 

Our baseball afternoon led to a cultured evening!  We got back to hotel, cleaned up a bit, then headed to Orlando for the musical Wicked. 

Before the musical, we ate dinner at the Sheraton across the street.  I got a plate of penne alla vodka with grilled chicken to carb load before the race (sorry, no picture...I was too hungry to wait before digging in).

The Bob Carr Performing Arts Center is beautiful!  We had balcony seats right in the center and had a great view.  I snuck a picture of the stage before the usher could tell me that no photography was allowed.
I absolutely love this play.  The actress who played Elphaba had an incredible voice!  I was so impressed with her, as well as the rest of the cast.  It seemed that Glinda might have had a little cold because you couldn't hear her as well, but she was still entertaining. 

Poor Joe is not a musical guy (he doesn't like the talking, then randomly breaking in to song), but I very much appreciated him coming to the play with me.  What a good sport!

We left before the finale (I'd already seen the play and Joe was ready to go) so that we could get back to the hotel without traffic.  We had to wake up at 3:30 AM for the race, and it was around 10:45 when we left.

Overall, we experienced a lot of fun in Orlando!  Surprisingly, we didn't go to a Disney park.  But, we live an hour away, and I'm sure we'll go back at some point in the next year.  Right now, I've got to go because it's time to teach (I get to school early enough that I had time to blog!).  I'll be back later with a full recap of the half marathon (FINALLY!).

Monday, February 25, 2013

Best Body Bootcamp Week 7 Recap

Hey, everyone!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend.  I'm here now to recap my Week 7 of Best Body Bootcamp.  We began Phase 4, which focused on power sets (one strength move + 20 seconds of cardio).

This week had some different types of workouts.  With the half marathon on Sunday, I wanted to make sure I wasn't sore .  Therefore, I did one strength workout on Tuesday and that was it.  I also ran on Monday and took walks on Thursday and Saturday to keep my legs loose.  Then, on Sunday, I ran 13.1 (well, probably 11.6 and walked 1.5).  I'm so proud of myself!

I LOVED the power sets and look forward to those workouts this week!

I actually stretched 5 days this week!  I really focused on that this week, as I wanted to prevent injuries and keep my body lose for the race.

As for goal 2, well...not so much.  With all the moving and going out of town this weekend, I just didn't get it done.  Oh well, going for it this week!

Highlight of the Week
My highlight was FINISHING MY FIRST HALF MARATHON!!  While I didn't quite get the time I wanted, I ran most of the way, except for at the water stations.  I'll post a race recap later today/tomorrow, but I had a great time.
Repeat from yesterday, but I'm proud of myself!
Goals for Next Week
-Recover from the half marathon by doing 2 easy runs.
-Meeting BOTH goals at least 5/7 days
-Enjoy the last week by doing all three strength workouts.

I'll be back either later today/tomorrow to post about my weekend!  I've got a pretty long to-do list with all the unpacking and some grading to do, so a post later tonight is unlikely.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I did it!

Guess what y'all?

I finished my first half marathon!

I'm just exhausted right now, so I'll post a full recap tomorrow.  I just wanted to share the good news this evening!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Healthy Living Survey

Hey, everyone!  For a short work week, I have been insanely busy.  Moving has taken up A LOT of my time this week, and since we transferred our interent/cable on Wednesday, I haven't been able to catch up with the blog.  Kinda hard to do without internet :)

Well, the weekend of the Disney Princess Half Marathon has finally arrived!  After school today, Joe and I are packing up and heading to Orlando for a fun-filled weekend of Braves spring training, Wicked the Musical, and the half marathon on Sunday morning!  I'm so nervous/excited/anxious about everything.  Look forward to a post (or two) on Sunday all about my first half marathon (and the rest of the weekend!).

In lieu of a regular post today, I found a survey on Amanda's blog that I thought would be fun to post!  I hope you enjoy it!

1. What did you eat for breakfast?
A bowl of Honey Nut Cherrios!  I love cereal, but I'm starting to want to go for a more protein-filled option sometime soon.  Cereal is just so convenient, though!

2. How much water do you drink each day?
I get between 32-64 ounces per day.  This week, though, has not been good as far as hydrating goes.  Probably not a good thing considering I have to run 13.1 miles on Sunday!

3. What is your current favorite workout?
Tina Reale's workouts for Best Body Bootcamp!  I loved the pyramid sets from last phase, and the power sets from this phase are lots of fun and work the whole body!

4. How many calories do you eat per day?
I don't really count.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?
Clementines, carrot sticks, and pretzels and hummus.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?
On a normal school day, I usually pack a salad with spinach, tomato, onions, cucumbers, cheese, green peppers, and matchstick carrots.  Sometimes I'll add tuna for protein or bring a Greek yogurt.  I try to eat some sort of fruit, and I usually also have pretzels or some sort of chips.

7. What is your favorite body part to train?
My abs and my legs.  I love the burn I feel after those exercises!

8. What is your least favorite body part to train?
My shoulders and arms.  I have very upper body strength and am embarrassed at the weights when I train my upper body.  I know I need to do it more and it would improve, but I tend to focus on other things that I like better.

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?
Sweets.  Ice cream, cookies, brownies, anything sweet.

10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?
Occassionally.  I know I need to take a multivitamin daily, but I only do it sporadically.

11. How often do you eat out?
At least once a week.  I can't help it, I get lazy and don't want to cook!

12. Do you eat fast food?
Sometimes.  I haven't eaten it much recently!

13. Who is your biggest supporter?
My husband and this blog.  My husband is very encouraging in living a healthy lifestyle and provides me with suggestions and reminders for living a healthy lifestyle.  It helps that he lives a healthy lifestyle, too!  He's the workout enforcer and I'm the food enforcer :)  This blog also supports me because of your encouraging comments, as well as holds me accountable.  I always feel bad/embarrassed posting on here if I haven't had a healthy day.  Even though y'all don't judge, I still feel bad about it and am encouraged to make better choices the next day.

14. Do you have a gym membership?
Yes!  I get a free membership to the Y with my health insurance.  Pretty nice perk to working for the school district.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get at night?
At least 7.  I can't function on anything less!

16. Do you have a cheat day?
Nope.  I usually just eat what I want when I want it because I find I have fewer cravings that way.

17. Do you drink alcohol?
Maybe once or twice a week.

18. Do you have a workout buddy?
No, but I would really like one!  I do have my husband to hold me accountable, as well as the Best Body Bootcamp and Bootie Buster Challenge communities to keep me on track!

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?
The way I feel, both about myself and health-wise.  I've never considered myself fat or thought I needed to lose weight, but I just feel healthy and that my clothes fit better.  I have more energy when I work out (ironically) and I feel less stressed.  It's really exciting and encouraging!

20. What is the last healthy thing you did?
Made sure to drink water during my morning classes. 

Question for you: Pick your favorite question from the survey and answer it for me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Alligator Walk + Worrying

Oh boy, today was a long day!  I had a professional development meeting after school, Joe had dinner ready for me, we ate, then I headed to the gym.

And now, here I am writing to y'all!  Someone else is here to help me blog....
A sleepy Wewii resting on my knee/laptop.  He's got a bum leg right now, so I'm encouraging him to take it easy.

Ok, on to the usual stuff!

I began the 4th and final phase of Tina's Best Body Bootcamp today with Workout A.  This workout combined strength training with short bursts of cardio.  The strength exercises worked the whole body, and the cardio kept my heart rate up and the sweat a-comin'.

One of my favorite moves of the workout was the Alligator Walk.  It was a great way to work the core without just holding a plank.  Luckily, I was the only person at the gym at our apartment complex!

Any other worry warts out there?  After a bit of a strange weekend and my half marathon coming up this weekend, I've been worrying about a lot this week.

I wanted to share a verse with you today that may help with worry:
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:33-34

This is SO HARD to do, I know!  It's also very true.  What good does worrying do?  You just sit there, work yourself up, and nothing happens for the situation.

Why not just pray about your worries?  Some people may say that that's just as good as doing nothing.  I disagree.  Your prayers will be answered one way or another, and who better to handle your worries than God!  That's what I'm going to work on this week.  Hopefully everything I'm worrying about will just fall into place this week and next.

Question for you:  What are you worried about right now?  Anything you can do to reduce your worries?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sub-9 Pace + For Us

What a great day off!  I didn't have to teach today, and I just feel so refreshed and ready for the rest of this week.  I didn't just sit around all day.  Joe and I finished getting some packing done and started settling in at the new house!
All packed up and ready to go!
Don't get me wrong, I still spent some time lounging with a cup of coffee and a book this morning on my make-shift "couch".
Ok, on to the usual stuff....

With my half marathon coming up on Sunday, I want to take things easy this week!  I decided to go for a two mile run today with the dog.  Afterward, I decided to get in some stretching to help prevent some soreness/injuries.
I was really pumped about the average pace!  Under a 9-minute mile the whole time!  I think Wewii helped me attain that pace, but I also think that I could hang with it the whole time is also a testament to all of my training.

I wasn't the only one tired at the end of the run....
This little guy made a bee-line for the tub and hung out there for a while to cool down.  Smart guy, it is the coolest room in the apartment!

Plan for tomorrow: Best Body Bootcamp Workout A after school and a professional development session.

How are your Lent commitments going so far?  I've been doing pretty well with my nightly devotional/Bible reading.  This weekend threw me off a little bit, but I'm hoping to get back to the Word today.

I wanted to talk about the sermon at church yesterday.  My church is doing a series called "Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus" for Lent, and it began by talking about Jesus' baptism and temptation (Mark 1: 9-13).  
Image Source
The minister began by asking why Jesus would get baptized or have to be tempted by the devil.  I'd never thought of it before, but that is kind of weird.  Why would the Son of God need to be claimed by God, and then prove that he could resist temptation from the devil?

The answer: for us!  

Jesus came to show us the way to commit ourselves to the way of the Lord, as well as resist temptation.    He gives us the example to follow to walk in His footsteps.  But not only that, he came to be fully human and understand what we go through every day.

It was a great sermon, and I'm really looking forward to the rest of the series.

Questions for you: What's your best run lately?  Doesn't have to be a great time, just one that made you feel really good!