Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Prepping for the Disney Parks

Running a race takes planning and preparation. You choose the location, time of year, budget for the registration fee, then train for it. Kind of like a trip to Disney World. 

We made a second pilgramage to The Happiest Place On Earth in February.  

 


I prepared for our recent trip to the theme park as I would for a half marathon: starting with our feet. I made sure each member of the family had on their Brooks, Asics, New Balance or Nike sneakers. Since "cotton is rotten," we paired them with a synthetic weave sock to keep our feet cool and dry. Instead of my Garmin, we took turns wearing a pedometer to track our steps each day. Nutrition was very important; at any sign of fatigue or crabbiness, I had water and granola bars ready for consumption. My sister's bunion started to give her trouble, so I handed over a blister bandage. 
 
During longer races, I tend to watch the feet of the runners around me, to see what shoes they wear or how they run. On longer waits for rides such as Space Mountain, I caught myself doing the same thing. I would point out that one person wore a particular shoe because they were stable on their feet, another because the person probably overpronated. My husband did roll his eyes from time to time, so when I noticed that one woman's shoe was too big for her, and she would probably end up with blisters, I kept the thought to myself.
 We even dealt with injury when my husband broke his toe on the ottoman in our room. But he soldiered through the pain for one last 9 hour day at the parks.
 At the end of the trip, we logged just over 100,000 steps. I decided to reward myself not with a medal, but with a pair of retro Mickey Mouse socks.

 



 And they're not even cotton.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Find Your Spark!

Well well well, what do we have here? A blog post????
Six months ago I started working at a fantastic place......a running store! My co-workers are athletes, I help people find just the right shoe for their feet, work on securing race sponsorships, and write for our newsletter.  
I'd like to post regularly here again, but I thought I would start by sharing some of the pieces that I've written for the store.  So I'll start with the story of how I found my running spark.......

Every once in a while, due to my footwear, someone will ask me if I'm a runner. Last week it was when I was in the dentist chair getting a cleaning - a time when it's particularly hard to answer due to the suction thing stuck under your tongue. I most often hear the runner question while I'm fitting someone for new shoes, which was the case yesterday. As I helped a woman who had recovered from foot surgery, she asked "Do you run? I can't run, I could never run. I would like to run, but I can't run." My answer? "You'd like to run; you've got new shoes, so you must think you can run."  


There are so many reasons why it's hard to try something new, but when you find that motivation, you never know what can come of it. I used to be a gym rat, when the number of calories burned was my focus. I wasn't on a journey to a goal. That is, until after I had my children.  


I had a different sense of motivation after they were born, partly because I wanted to be a good example. However, I also felt a sense of empowerment (making it through 36 hours of labor will do that to you I guess.) I thought, "What else can I do?" So when my daughter was six months old, I started to train for the Boilermaker 15k. That went well, so I figured "Why not try a half marathon?" Which turned into a marathon, then the Iron Girl. Before I knew it I had gear, clothing and accessories for every season and every activity.  


Since I started, I haven't stopped.
 If you can find your spark, light it up, and keep it burning. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Review Time: Reds All Natural Burrito's


RedsAllNaturalRedPackaging.jpg

When I eat lunch, I'm usually starving after a full morning of various activities. Half the time I eat leftovers, and if I'm at work, it's a turkey sandwich. Which gets boring after a while, and when it's freezing cold out (hello polar vortex) a hot lunch is comforting.




I recently had a chance to try "clean" burritos by Red's All Natural. What makes them clean?  Their products are 100% natural, preservative free, non-GMO, made with antibiotic and hormone free meat, and rBGH-free cheese.

Mike and I love Mexican food, but it's not the healthiest choice, and when I think of frozen burritos I'm reminded of the kind they used to sell at the convenience store in my college town. They get hard in the microwave and are pretty much the worst thing you can eat. So we were happy to give Red's a try.

They have several varietes, including chicken, steak, bean and cheese, even BBQ, in 11 oz burritos, and a
5 oz snack size. There is also a line of Quesadilla's, made with buffalo chicken, pulled pork, and steak.





The first one I tried was bean and rice, which I had for lunch on a No Meat Monday.  You can microwave them, but since I had time I put it in the oven, which I made the tortilla crispy. 





As you can see, the beans were whole, and not mushy, with a nice mix of corn, onion, tomato, cheese and brown rice.  I usually put a side of salsa on mexican food, but I didn't need it here. 

Mike had the chicken, then steak burritos for lunch two different days while he was at work. He didn't take a picture, but he said it was quality meat, not like the mystery meat you usually find in frozen products.

Next up was the Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas. 



Once again the quesadillas were filled with real, quality ingredients. This time I added some salsa for dipping, and paired it with a salad to complete my lunch.  

The verdict? I shy away from frozen convenience foods, but I'll keep a supply of Red's in our freezer for when we need a quick lunch that is actually good for you, and tastes great too!

You can find Red's in most major grocery chains, including Target.

*Note: I was sent samples of Red's products for the purpose of this review. The opinions of the product are my own. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Rewind, Rehash, Reflect, Renew

I was doing the dishes earlier, amid the noise of two televisions, one turned to Lilo and Stitch, the other to the local news, with one sick kid, a barking dog, all of us still in pj's, and thought how I haven't had a time to reflect on the past year, much less set goals for the new one rapidly approaching.

Then out of nowhere, I heard Joni Mitchell's River, which is the type of song that perfectly fit my mood. I located it's source, an ipod sitting under a book on the kitchen table that someone forgot to turn off, listened for a bit, took down the calendar, then sat down to think about 2013.

I feel like we've come a long way since last January, Mike and I were both unemployed, but happily, we are ending the year in jobs that we both enjoy, and hope to stay in for a long time.

I got out of the habit of writing down how many miles I run on my daily calendar, it seemed like since I had different races going on throughout the year, I didn't need to keep doing it. But now I'm curious as to what the final total was, so I'm going to start keeping track again.

There was the Shamrock Run:





Then I fell down some stairs and wrecked my ankle.






During the summer, I made some great new friends and we ran in the early morning, training for The Boilermaker.




Then came the Empire Half:





I tried Cross-Fit, and my arms blew up.





My fitness goal for 2014 is to get planking again, and I want to add more half's to my schedule. I really like that distance, the training is manageable, and it's long enough to feel accomplished at the end.


We spent lots of time in the Adirondacks, a place we truly feel like we can escape to.




Although there is a bench on the lake where you can get WiFi, just for a minute or two.





We were reminded again of how life can change in an instant, and how fortunate we are in so many ways.





Although I got tired of picking rubber bands up from every corner of the house.




I loved watching the kids challenge themselves in different ways this year.






Luke flipping off the high board:





Frank thinks he's the third child.




Every night at 7:00 he brings his bone into the kitchen, and drops it at my feet, which means he wants me to put peanut butter in it.  Every. Night.

Speaking of the kitchen, I once again cooked Thanksgiving dinner, and Mike mastered the art of deep fried turkey.





In 2014 I want to finally master marinara sauce.
                                                                           ~

I really can't ask for a better ending to 2013.

I haven't made any major resolutions, aside from dropping some more un-wanted pounds before our next trip to Disney.

I'm going to keep moving forward, staying positive, hopeful, and grateful.





Wishing you a happy, healthy 2014.....
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!





Saturday, December 28, 2013

Putting Out The Reindeer Food





I hope your season was Merry, 
and that the New Year brings you joy!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cinco por Sunday

1. I'm a fan of cooking double batches of certain foods, like soups and stews, then freezing the leftovers. It makes a crazy weeknight that much easier when you can pull something of the freezer in the morning, put it on the stove at the end of the day, and you're all set. We even do it with certain meats, like grilled sausage, that you can add to pasta. Although it's probably a good idea to label the freezer bag, so you know exactly what you are defrosting.

Case in point, the other night Mike and I decided to have angel hair with marinara, mixed with a bit of a sausage patty which was already cooked, and frozen.  I was on the phone when he was putting the meal together, and when I looked at my plate, I thought the sausage looked a little, soft.  As we started eating, it reminded me of a salmon and pasta dish that I had once when we were in Amsterdam.  It was good, just, weird.  Until I realized......we had mixed a salmon burger into the sauce.

Not sausage.


2.The Christmas season is in full swing, and I have fully embraced the festive spirit.  Although it seems like as soon as I cross one thing off my To Do List, another thing gets added.  While I was shopping yesterday, I found a shirt to wear to an upcoming "Ugly Christmas Sweater" party:




Yeah, it's pretty sweet.


3. Look! I have new running shoes!






I'm so excited that Brooks decided to mix it up and add pink to the new Adrenaline, my last few pairs have been blue.




I have others in my closet, some Asics, Nike, and Mizuno, but the Adrenaline have been my favorite.  Mike has been hounding me to toss some of them, but I like to keep them around, and literally see the miles, sweat, dirt and even some tears that those shoes have witnessed.


4. Tonight Eliza had a pajama party fundraiser for her Girl Scout Troop, it was held in the same place where she and Luke went to preschool.





I was feeling a bit sentimental walking out of the building with her, like we did so many mornings three short years ago. I asked E if she remembered those days, but she was more interested in finishing her leftover popcorn.



5. I apologize for not posting the winner of the Spartan Race giveaway sooner, but Congrats to Teresa, shoot me an email and I'll get you set up!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

I'm using the Wii Fit U and Fit Meter, and you can too!




My kids, as well as Mike and I, are no strangers to video games.  

Luke has had his fill of Minecraft, but is still a fan of Mario, Eliza plays various games on the computer, Mike plays an online chess game with friends, and I have a slight addiction to Candy Crush.  I limit screen time for the kids, while Mike and I might play when we have a few minutes to kill, like on a long line at the grocery store, or in a waiting room. 

A few years ago we invested in a Nintendo Wii for Christmas, along with Wii Fit, and it was a fun way for me to stay accountable while working on my New Years Resolutions.  We've been happy with what we've had, but a couple of weeks ago we were given the opportunity to try out the new Wii U, Wii Fit U, as well as the new Fit Meter!





Wii U is a High Definition Game System, the GamePad controller is a new way to play, by creating a second window into the video game world, the controller has a LCD touch screen, along with the traditional button controls and two analog sticks.





The GamePad includes motion control, a front-facing camera, microphone, stereo speakers, rumble features, a sensor bar, a stylus, and is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.  The GamePad allows you to connect to the Internet, where you can download games from the Nintendo e-shop, which is where we downloaded Wii Fit U.  

I will share more about Wii U, but for this post I will focus a bit on the Wii Fit U, and the Fit Meter. 

The first thing we needed to do for Wii Fit U, was to create a Mii Profile, step on the balance board, answer a few question, let it do a body analysis, then look at our results.  Mike and I knew we each needed to drop a few pounds, so it was no surprise when that was confirmed by the Wii. The Fit Meter is a pedometer, which records the number of steps you take, the calories you burn, altitude and temperature.  We then linked each of our Fit Meters to our Mii Profiles, and were ready to go.





The next day we clipped the Meters to our waistbands, and went on with our days.  I had a full day of Christmas Shopping ahead of me, (I know, I know, but I have to go when I can) I wanted to hit my goal of 10,000 steps, and throughout the day, I would check on my progress.  At the end of the day, I simply held the Fit Meter in front of the Wii U GamePad, and my information was automatically linked to my Mii profile.




You can see I went over my goal!




Mike's job has him at his desk most of the day, but this is a sample of one of his workdays:




I especially like how user friendly the Fit Meter is, with just three buttons it's easy to scroll through each screen. Plus when you sync the info to the game, it's fun to compare what Mike and I both accomplished in our walking day.  There is a section on the game that allows you to choose a walk or climb from a part of the world, and "walk" it through the Fit Meter.





 

Do you currently have a Wii U and a Wii Balance Board? If you download the game from Nintendo eShop on your Wii U between now and Jan. 31, 2014, enjoy the game for a full month, then go and purchase a Fit Meter ($19.99 MSRP*), then sync the Fit Meter with your free version of Wii Fit U at any time, you can keep using Wii Fit U forever, at no additional charge. Click here to learn more!


I will share more of our whole family's experience with Wii Fit U in another post this week, so stay tuned!


*Note, I was sent a Wii U, Wii Fit U, and Fit Meters for the purpose of this review. My opinions, as well as those of my family, are our own.