It’s almost Christmas. Presents and gift wrapping paraphernalia is everywhere, Christmas movies are on rotation, the NSYNC Christmas album is on queue, and holiday parties have begun. My first Christmas party at my current job was great. I mean, wow. Even with the freezing cold weather, it was worth it. The food and open bar was great, the hubs got to meet all of my coworkers (we played a game where he had to guess who was who based on what I’ve told him), we won $100 for participating in the dance competition (yes that happened), and the view was phenomenal. I love my city.
And victory, I managed to fit into my dress that I scored on Black Friday. (I’ve been avoiding holiday treats like the plague). As much as I’ve hated to admit it, focusing more on my eating habits than counting how many miles I get in each day has paid off a lot more. Shhh…don’t let my Sauconys hear you.
I celebrated by drinking my weight in wine….I mean…I totally monitored my wine consumption. Yes, MyFitnessPal, I only had 2 6-oz glasses of wine…*cough. The hubs and I had a blast.
We got back home at around 3 a.m. and passed the hell out. We were supposed to go to the Bears/Packers game…but I have a rough time wanting to watch a whole game in the comfort of my warm home, so knowing that it was going to be the coldest game in NFL history. Both of us came to a consensus, “fuck that shit” and slept in. With how the Bears have been playing, I would have been tempted to charge the field and punch every player in the face with my frozen fists had I endured that weather only to see them lose. Again.
The hubs and I exchanged gifts already since we’re always so busy to have time to ourselves around Christmas Eve/Day. The guy totally outdid himself this year. He got me a new laptop so I can entertain the idea of my 2017 goal. Write a book. It’s happening guys. I’ve been thinking about it for so long, but I’ll be making it a reality in 2017. I’m determined to make 2017 the best year yet. I have the foundation already built, I just need to continue that path. From my boss telling me that I’m the best 2016 hire at the company to also hitting quite a few fitness goals I set for myself, focusing on the positive things will only leave more room for good things to happen.
There are many goals and aspirations I have for 2017, I’m determined. What are your goals for 2017? I’m all for several smaller, obtainable changes that still make a big impact. Sometimes celebrating the smaller victories are more satisfying and keep you on track. Thoughts? How are you going to make a splash in 2017?
So today was pretty significant. Why? Well, I officially hit my goal of running 1,000 miles for 2016. I’m excited. Stoked. Proud. Teary-eyed. Although something even more important to note, I am still INJURY-FREE. I didn’t start off the year too well. I fucked up my hamstring tendon in ways that will make you scream in pain even when I sat down for an extended period of time. After months of physical therapy and finally listening to my body so I could heal properly, I did. I got back on that saddle (slowly) and got back to my normal running pace. It took more patience than I thought I had in me, but I did it and I have sworn that I would never let myself be in that position again. Now I can say that I’ve hit my 2016 fitness goal.
Here are some tips that I’ve followed to help keep my body healthy and injury-free. Keep in mind, I’m not a doctor and these tips are just things that have helped me.
- Don’t run every single day. I’ve found that if I pack on the miles every single day without rest or a cross training day, that’s a fast recipe to getting fucked up (queue IT band issues, tightness in my hamstring tendon). As a fellow runner, yes I can see you rolling your eyes from here. Just promise to fit in some non-running days here and there. Your legs will thank you.
- Add strength training to your routine. Doing this will not only help prevent injuries, but it will really amp up your speed. It certainly helped me shave off minutes per mile, especially when I was recovering from my injury and was working my way up to my normal speed again. Also, workout your muscles evenly. Don’t just focus on one muscle group.
- Rest. No, I don’t mean resting bitch face like the one you’re giving right now reading this. I mean really letting yourself recover, especially if you feel like something is off. Believe it or not, rest days are just as important as the days you kick your ass at the gym.
- Stretch. I’ve known some runners to not stretch at all and they swear that they’re fine…yeah well I said the same thing until I fucked up my hamstring. Just give it some time. Now that I’m more prone to injuring that tendon again, that does require me to do more stretching than others. Slacking off in this area is absolutely nonnegotiable whether you’re still healing or fully recovered from an injury. My physical therapist gave me a set of dynamic stretches to do before I run. Check them out here.
- Listen to your body. When your stuck seeing your physical therapist for at least an hour, you tend to engage in a lot of conversation. One thing she mentioned was that if more runners just listened to their bodies more, she’d probably be out of a job. Why? Because runners tend to literally run themselves into the ground until they really injure themselves and get stuck going to PT. The key is to fix what might be wrong before a major problem occurs. Feel some tightness during a run? Stomach upset? Slow down a little! Or really, just stop running altogether. Pay attention to your form, breathing, and make sure you’re hydrated.
Sure as a runner, you just want to get up and go for a run, but if you want to stay healthy and keep up with training then you need to run smart. By learning to run smart, I was able to still log 1,000 miles for this year. Had I ignored my doctor, skipped PT sessions, and didn’t take their advice to heart, my running shoes would be collecting dust in the closet right now. Instead, I get to wake up, STRETCH, run, STRETCH AGAIN, and then enjoy taking post-run selfies. 😀
(This is my it’s really cold out, and my face is still thawing out face.)
And really these tips can benefit a runner at any age. I’m a 20-something and no, stretching doesn’t make you weak, it actually makes you stronger. Again, don’t be dumb. Listen to your body, and run happy!
So many good vibes this weekend. First, the weekend kicked off with a ladies day/night full of Christmas shopping and seeing Hamilton. I’ve been DYING to see this production and it was nothing short of amazing.
It was unlike any other musical I’ve seen. My sister, mom and I were laughing and crying by the end of the play. I love the city during this time of year too. Everything is lit up and looks so magical. And I must say, the Broadway tracks that I’ve streamed just don’t have the same swagger that this group had, although it’s still amazing. The mix tape version with artists doing covers of these songs has also been on repeat! Ugh can I PLEASE see this play again without spending a million dollars?
Going to dinner at the Walnut Room at Macy’s is another tradition that we had to fulfill. There’s nothing like dining around a beautiful Christmas tree to get you even more into the Christmas spirit!! I still can’t believe that the holiday season is officially in full swing. Sparkles are everywhere!
While the holiday season is defined by spending time with your friends and family, going to holiday parties, sharing laughs and making memories, the copious amount of calories that lurk around every corner is dreadful. There is absolutely no room for excuses when it comes to workouts during this time of the year. If I indulge in a fancy-pants holiday cocktail or a couple of homemade Christmas cookies, you bet my ass will be at the gym err’day.
Not to mention that I got my Christmas party dress in already and I have ZERO room for weight gain. It’s beautiful and it just might be motivation enough for me to turn down my mom’s snickerdoodle cookies. Maybe…
Since I’ve been on my A-game with Christmas shopping (celebrate the small victories) I’ve spoiled myself with a few goodies since I’m feeling like these holiday deals this year are just too good to pass up. This is the time of year where I usually stock up on some more pricey items or if I want to try something new (hellloooo Sephora holiday kits). I think I’ve finally found a winner when it comes to dry shampoo too, I’ll let you guys know how it is once it delivers. I decided to tryout Living Proof’s perfect hair day dry shampoo. My hair is always a mess after I workout so this will be a total game changer if it lives up to the hype. No one has time for two showers in one day. Also, those who are unaware of Nike’s rose gold collection…omg. I don’t know about anyone else, but I need rose gold everything. I fell in love with these Nike Free TR 6 trainers.
Although my feet don’t really like Nikes for long distance runs, they’re great for training and speedwork. Sunday marked Chicago’s first snowfall too so I have a feeling I’ll be spending more time at the gym working on weights. I always slack on my weightlifting during the warmer months because well….who wants to stay inside of a stuffy gym when you could be running around outside in the sunshine? The first snowfall also motivated me to finally breakout all of the holiday decorations. Nothing gets me in a better mood than decorating the Christmas tree.
What kind of fitness gear is on your Christmas list?!
Thanksgiving. I can’t believe the holiday season is officially here! Can you believe it?! I have so much to be thankful for..my friends, family, hubby, my health etc…this Thanksgiving I was especially mindful of everything I hold dear in my life. Forget the Black Friday deals and the buy 2 for 1 crap, I’m talking about the stuff that doesn’t come with a price tag. I.e. the calls you get from your parents to see how things are going, sitting down at the dinner table with family you haven’t seen in a little while, making memories with family and friends and holding onto those things for as long as possible. Last week, I lost my baby Apollo. He was pretty much even more popular than I ever was on any kind of social media platform. He was full of attitude as he was fluffy…I still can’t believe he’s gone. It was so sudden. One day he was fine, and then once we got a hint that something might be wrong, the vet told us that his liver was failing and that it was likely cancer. We had the most difficult decision to make…and that was to put him down. He was in pain and with tests, meds, feeding tubes…he might have been able to live another week. I know he would have hated living like that. It was a decision I didn’t even expect to make years upon years from now. He was still so young. Anyone who’s had or has a furbaby knows that they become part of the family pretty fast. They’re there for you through everything and just keep on loving unconditionally. I miss him so much. I don’t know what’s worse, losing him suddenly or having more time with the same outcome.
So in light of losing one of our beloved furbabies, Thanksgiving was a day where I really had to take some time out and count my blessings. You never know when someone/something really throws a wrench into your life and you lose something or someone so close to your heart. On Thanksgiving, I had the whole morning to think about everything I was thankful for and did just that during my long run. (In anticipation of the meal that was ahead of me, I threw in some extra miles for good measure). Lucky for me, it wasn’t too windy and the weather was quite nice. By the time I got back, full of sweat, and out of breath, it was time to hydrate and relax while watching the Macy’s Day parade (tradition). Luigi has been kicking it into high gear and making sure he’s been extra snuggly since we lost our Apollo. They were best buds, so it’s been hard for him too I’m sure. But really, how can one NOT laugh at how silly he is? He wins. My heart might be feeling heavy, but it sure is full.
Running and/or a hardcore gym sesh isn’t just about fitness, sometimes it’s about what it does for your head. It clears it up and kicks those negative thoughts to the curb. I’m a huge advocate of how running is cheaper than therapy. Sad? Go for a run. Frustrated about how a day went at work? Go for a run. Can’t figure out how to solve a problem? Go for a run. Ruined your favorite shirt in the wash? Run fast. Some of my best ideas have come from just sweating it out. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and had the chance to spend some time with their loved ones over some delicious turkey, stuffing, one too many dinner rolls and of course some pumpkin pie. I heard somewhere that the average person eats over 4,200 calories on Thanksgiving…just some food for thought, not the stomach. Spread the love and make memories.
There comes a time when this thing called life happens and documenting it from day to day just isn’t feasible. Especially when exciting things that haven’t happened in over 100 years HAPPEN. Yes, I’m going to start this October/November roundup with THE CUBS. It was a surreal game to watch. We blew the lead twice…and WON THE WORLD SERIES. Heart palpitations, high blood pressure, high anxiety, almost feeling like I just might throw up all over the hundred other Cubs fans that were around me at the bar we were at. BUT WE WON. Absolutely nothing could match the joy of waking up to this that morning.
Feelings of holy shit it happened, extreme happiness, jumping up and down, screaming the lyrics to the Cubs anthem….and flying that W! It was a night I’ll never forget. It was so emotional watching all of the older Cubs fans who have been waiting for this moment for so long. Just a couple days after their historic win, I also was cleared to attend the parade that reported to be the 7th largest human gathering in the world. I opted to go to Wrigley where the parade started. I needed to see this…
This made it so real.
While some bosses and HR departments were saying not to skip work for this day, mine was right beside me. Although it was nothing short of crazy dealing with all of the people on the train and getting a primo viewing spot, I have zero regrets. Seeing these guys bring that trophy home was priceless.
It was a perfect day all around. The only thing that did piss me off were the countless teens just looking to see where the “most epic party” was. Go back to school kids. The hubs has even rewatched the final game numerous times and all of the highlights. It’s just something a dedicated Cubs fan can’t get enough of. We did it. WE FINALLY DID IT. Oh and don’t even get me started on the cray-sauce people in line at Dick’s Sporting Goods after the win. The hubs and I went to see how bad the line would be…we couldn’t even see the end of the line it was so long. INSANE. Online shopping, you ridiculously convenient, sexy monster you. My heart will be full because of this Cubs win for quite some time. GO CUBS GOOOOO.
That Sunday I had a half marathon to run – the Milwaukee Running Festival. I just HAD to represent my Cubs with my race day apparel. Obviously. Although it was FREEZING out in the morning, it warmed up pretty fast. This sunrise was a precursor to how epic of a race this ended up to be.
Little did I know that Milwaukee is FULL of steady inclines and hills. The first half of the course was either up steep hills or a steady incline. My. Lord. The hubs and my in-laws came to cheer me on and man did I ever need them! Their cheers definitely helped me pull through each mile. Little did I know that I would end up with a PR by 8 MINUTES. I haven’t PRed since my injury late last year so I felt like I could cry. In fact, I probably did just because my glutes just took a horrific beating from those hills. I definitely worked hard for this medal.
This time of the year is my favorite. The holidays are right around the corner and the wedding is absolutely perfect for running around the neighborhood. With tensions so high about the election, I’m going to just leave that out and say that we need to love and come together as a nation. This roundup was short and quick and I’m leaving a lot out, but I hope everyone starts this week out right and make it amazing!
OCTOBER. I don’t know about anyone else, but fall is my favorite for several reasons…especially as a runner.
- You don’t feel like a sizzling piece of bacon after your long run
- All of the hard summer training FINALLY pays off as the fall running season kicks off
- Pumpkin everything. No, this has nothing to do with being a runner…just being human.
- The running gear I binge bought during the off-season at a steal, I can now wear. Holla!
- Runs are much more scenic. Give me all the pretty, falling leaves!
- You don’t have to worry about melting into a pile of sweat because you didn’t get up before the sun did
- Heat exhaustion after running a half marathon, not so much.
- If you stopped to catch your breath…you can actually catch it rather than being choked by the million percent humidity.
- New season, new playlists!
- Any time is a great time to run!! Early weekend wake-up calls? BYE, FELICIA.
I’m also super excited about joining a boxing gym again. Running is great for stress, but sometimes you just really need to smack the hell out of something am I right?! I’m so excited to support a local, non-franchise gym too. One of my old trainers decided to go for it and open up his own gym and I can’t sign up fast enough! My abs hurt even when I giggle just a little bit. Dude knows how to work his classes! I’m still recovering from our awards events my company hosted. It’s top-notch food, but also top-notch calories….and that’s not even counting the calories I drank. As they always say, you can’t outrun your fork…and fortunately these events don’t come around TOO often, but when the holiday season comes up and we’re hosting holiday parties or preparing dishes to bring, finding ways to cut out those extra calories is key. Instead of chips and dip, opt for a veggie tray or my favorite, cold veggie pizza for an appetizer.
- 1 cup Broccoli, fresh
- 4 Green onions
- green/red peppers
- 1/2 cup Mayonnaise, light
Baking & Spices
- 1 cup Red pepper, fresh
Bread & Baked Goods
- 2 Pillsbury (8 ounces/226g) cans reduced-fat pillsbury crescent rolls, reduced-fat
- 8 oz Cream cheese, reduced-fat
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, plain
I’ve also teamed up with Chobani to feature some of their favorite ways to switch up party platter dishes so they’re a bit healthier.
If you haven’t tried Chobani Meze Dips, I have to say, they’re delicious. They have a variety of flavors to pair with your favorite veggies you have to snack on. Back away from those chips and eat fresh! The roasted red pepper and the three pepper salsa are my favorites. My usual go-to before trying these out was hummus. The very sad, unfortunate thing about hummus is that it’s fat content is RIDICULOUS. So naturally, I avoided looking at the label. #ignoranceisbliss. Not really…SO I feel like this is a great option.
You want to know who else is a great supporter of Chobani products? Apollo. So…you know they’re good right? #Apolloing
Overall, if you snack healthy, you feel healthy. Just my opinion. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like slipping into a pair of skinny jeans after eating my weight in chips and salsa. Healthy snack options are always good to have in your back packet whether you want a little something for yourself or if you’re throwing a party. Don’t ask Apollo for any ideas though…he’ll just stare at you in his box.
Or….try to steal said healthy snack (not pictured). #Rude.
Cheers to eating fresh and getting your sweat on!
HAPPY FRIDAY!!!! Last weekend I ran the second leg of the Chicago half marathon series and man was it epic. Two things can totally make a race. 1.) Perfect weather 2.) Epic swag/bling. This race had both. Granted, it was really hot and humid halfway through, but it was much better than the rain they had predicted! Although my time was one of my worst (thanks whiny hamstring tendon), it’s officially one of my favorite races. I mean, it’s not everyday where you can run down the middle of Lakeshore Drive for miles.
It all started with the race expo being at Soldier Field. Helllloooo free samples galore. I met up with my fav running buddy after I picked up my packet and we went from booth to booth picking things up and buying matching “Run Chicago” bracelets…because…obviously. You can find them here!
Once we stocked up on our samples and race gear, we headed out to carb-load. Hellloooo Noodles & Co. We had to uphold tradition. Although races are always early, this one is particularly early. Brutal. Both of us were already envisioning that finish line and those HUGE medals.
We started in different corrals so after waiting in line for a last bathroom break, we split up and braced for the race to start! Luckily I remembered to switch up my playlist because as a runner, you eventually just want to claw your eyes out once you hear certain songs over and over again. Can anyone else relate? A playlist can definitely make or break my run. This time, I was totally spot on. Complete with The Weeknd’s new hit, some Katy Perry, Beyonce, Van Halen and others to mix up my run nicely…and you know…have that one super motivational song play right when you see the one guy loop around already and you’re only halfway through the course. #ImnotKenyan.
The last 5k was rough. I’ve been running a half marathon pretty much every other weekend for a little over a month now so my legs were just like, “girl…we’re about done.” Going around that last corner though only to see the finish line…oh it brought a tear to my eye…or maybe it was just more salty sweat stinging my eye…
There’s also so many perks spotting the camera dude right at the finish line. Flying race pic, HOLLLLLA.
Then…the medals….this race has the biggest medals by far. You can eat your dinner off of them. And this time, since I finished the challenge, I got to snag a second kick-ass medal.
I mean really, my neck was even starting to get sore. Epic and totally worth it. Both of us totally rocked that race and we vowed that we would enjoy every second on non-training in our near future.
The soreness didn’t even fully settle in before we could say that we were signing up for the 2017 half marathon series. I highly recommend this series. Registering right away also means getting early bird pricing. WIN. The only thing I don’t look foward to is the ride home. At least I got a seat all to myself on the train….I’m sure it wasn’t because I smelled like roses post-half marathon. I always feel so accomplished after these races too – not just because of the massive Flav-a-flav bling, but because my Garmin clocked me in at burning over 2,600 calories. Yes, that means I can justify consuming all the things that night. Give me pumpkin spice lattes, pizza, chocolate chip cookies.
Annnnnd one more medal selfie to close. By design, I’d say these are my favorite medals aside from my Chicago marathon medal….because well #marathon. Duh.
What’s your most coveted race medal or medal in general? Is there particular bling that shines above the rest?
Another start to another week! Let’s recap yet another race weekend shall we?! This one was really special and dear to my heart. #wearblue
Yesterday I had the honor of running the second leg of my half marathon challenge with Volition America. This second half was even more special because of remembering 9/11.
It’s always a reminder that freedom is certainly not free and it was a REALLY emotional race. By the second mile, an amazing organization, Wear Blue: run to remember, setup photos along the course of those who have lost their lives serving our country. I don’t know what came over me, but I was crying my eyes out looking at these photos. Then participants of the organization held American flags as we ran by. I felt like hugging each and every one of them. It was such a powerful few minutes to reflect…and understand that these men and women have sacrificed everything for our country. Also, running and crying…not so easy.
To rewind at the start line, my wireless earbuds decided to not work. So…that meant running 13.1 miles WITHOUT music. And while it was brutal, I took it as a sign that I needed to really pay attention and reflect on what this day meant…ESPECIALLY after taking in that line of photos. It made me attention to things that I normally wouldn’t down to each breath! The weather was perfect, but by the end of the race that sun was SO unforgiving. I was so happy to see that finish line! Give me ALL the salty things and electrolytes. My hamstring is definitely not happy with me so I’ll be taping it up and stretching it err’day so I don’t really injure it again. Another half is in two weeks! I know, I’m all sorts of cray.
The worst part about races is the long drive home. I feel like I need a hip replacement each time. #runnerproblems. But hey, medal Monday! Bling-a-bling-bling! I can’t wait to run with Volition America again. They stand for such a great cause.
I hope everyone else had a great weekend and Monday! As for me…helllooo recovery day, also I tend to justify eating like crap the day after because well…I DID burn over 2,000 cals….don’t judge. Give me all the carbs.
This weekend was nothing short of jam packed full of festivities. I feel like this will be the race that keeps on giving thanks to the hilly course. Sore everything. Can’t I just have a recovery day and work from my bed? Linking up with Biana today!
On Saturday the hubs and I went to a preseason game and while our Bears lost, we still enjoyed the sunshine and overpriced beer. Carbloading like a champ on game day.
It was supposed to be storming all day…but ummm…well the sunshine was out and I even got a sunburn to prove it. I really think if I were to have a career change, I would choose to be a meteorologist. You don’t have to be right. Ever. This was the “storm” we had to suffer through. LOL.
I can’t wait until the regular season starts! Although I’ll enjoy the warmer games while I can. December games in Chicago? YEESH. Frozen beer, frozen fingers. The Bears aren’t looking so great this year, but I still have faith!!
The only thing that got on my nerves were a bunch of other 20-somethings seat-hopping. The hubs and I got up during halftime to get some food and by the time we got back to our seats, some other dudes were in them. Zero time for that shenanigans. This happened at least four other times to people in front of us too. #annoying. We didn’t let it ruin our fun though. We didn’t even let the Bears losing ruin our fun. We scored ONE touchdown. That’s all I wanted bahaha.
After the game I realized how awfully dehydrated I was which is no bueno the day before an 11.5 mile race. The messed up thing was that pop was just as expensive as a medium pop….$5 for a bottle. Insanity.
Once we got home I followed tradition with a pasta dinner, polished my playlist, and went to bed super early for my 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. Why do I keep on doing this to myself? (I always end up asking myself this, and yes I keep on doing it). I don’t know about any other runners out there, but I tend to sleep like crap the night before a big race.
What was even more amazing though was my sister agreeing to tag along to cheer me on! I love my big sis. She’s the best. Really. The Fort 2 Base race is such a great experience though. Those who were running the 10NM race (equates to 11.5 land miles) started at Fort Sheridan and ran to the Great Lakes Naval Base. My granddad was a Marine so I OORAHED throughout that whole race, especially when I saw active or veteran Marines on the course. It was such an honor. They were even along the sidelines cheering us on throughout the whole race and especially when we got closer to the base. At the very end, they have what is called “Hero Hill” and let me tell you…it took EVERYTHING I had left in me. It was the steepest hill I ever ran up and after running through 10 miles of 100 million percent humidity…man it was brutal. But with the help and cheers of active service men and women….I pushed my hardest and crossed that finish line. Hallelujah!!!
Give me water, give me electrolytes, give me all the salty things. Seeing my sister there at the finish was the best. She’s my biggest supporter hands down. She ran up to me armed with my peanut-butter filled pretzels and water.
After I salted and hydrated up, a selfie session ensued (of course). I pushed my body SO hard during this race and I have zero regrets. The perfect way to end a race. WINNING.
I ended up burning 1,800 calories during this race so I equate that to me being able to eat/drink whatever the hell I want for the remainder of the day. Starbucks here I come!
Needless to say, the latte did not interfere with me totally passing out on the couch when I got home. Perfect way to end a Sunday right? One race down and a few more to go!! My next half marathon will be on September 11th honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in addition to those who are still active and veterans. It’ll be an emotional race, but again, I’m so honored to take some out of my day to stop and appreciate those who put their lives on the line for our freedom. Now it’s time to prep for the work week ahead. I can’t even believe Labor Day is right around the corner!! Let me tell you, I can’t wait for big sweaters, jackets and boots. Yep I said it. I’m still debating when it would be socially accessible to wear my new boots….tomorrow? Please say yes. 😀