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Namaste November: Thankful for Friends

November 3, 2011

I’m loving this trend going on on Facebook and twitter of “30 days of thanks.” If you haven’t heard of it, for the month of November people all around the world are focusing on one thing each day for the next 30 days they are thankful for. It can be anything big or small. I love how this goes in line with my plan for Namaste November. In focusing on one thing we are thankful for at the start of the day it can put our priorities and worries throughout the day into perspective.

So in light of Namaste November, thankful Thursday, and 30 days of thanks (dang this post covers everything, huh?) I’d like to express my gratitude I have for my friends.

My friends are so important to me. Without them I wouldn’t be who I am today. I have such a variety of friends:

friends from elementary age…

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friends from high school…

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friends that live near… and friends that live far…

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blog friends… and blog friends turned real life friends.

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Having a support system of friends who are always there to lift you up when you’re having a bad day or be proud of you when you accomplish a big goal is AWESOME.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized just how valuable friends are to me and how important  it is to surround yourself with friends that only lift you up and help you to achieve the best you you can be.

Tell me about a friend you are thankful for.

brittsig

October Goals Recap

November 2, 2011

I already talked a little bit last night about the goals I’m setting for myself in November which are a little bit different than concrete and traceable goals. I’m taking some time out for myself this month called “Namaste November” to really reflect on the things most important in my life and to stop stressing. Read about it here if you’d like.

I’d set myself some goals for October and I wouldn’t be accountable for them if I didn’t check in and let you guys know how I did. The basic consensus for me is you win some you lose some.

Goal #1: Run the 10 for TX and have fun. I did run this race and I did have a good time. I left feeling like I could have given the race a little more effort, but all in all it was enjoyable. Read about it here.

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Goal #2: Cook 2 new recipes per week. This was a big fail. I think I made one thing- Jenna’s No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. They were delicious. I haven’t been grocery shopping in ages and when I go I usually pick up just enough things to make something to take with me for lunch and some snacks. Cooking more in a roundabout way is a goal I have for November. I love cooking and trying new recipes, but with a busy schedule whipping up a lavish meal is the first thing to go.

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Goal #3: Chew Less Gum. I actually fared pretty well on this challenge. I probably in total had about 3 packs of gum the whole month. And, yes, this is an improvement from the 3 packs a week I was chewing. I find that if I don’t buy gum to hang around my desk then I won’t (and can’t) chew it all day.

Goal #4: Do 2 cross training videos per week. I kind of stuck with this goal. Some weeks I did 2 videos and some of the weeks I think I only got in one (mostly yoga though). I wrote this post the other day though that Rachael and I are keeping each other accountable for getting those strength sessions in during marathon training.

Goal #5: Blog More. I didn’t get to stick with this goal as much as I wanted, but life gets in the way sometimes. Here are some of my favorite posts from the month:

I tried something new and got my eyebrows threaded

I made a homemade sports drink

I exposed my most horrible race photos

I admitted I wasn’t having the best race season

Did you make any goals for October? Did you stick with them? Share with me your favorite post from October!

brittsig

Namaste November

November 1, 2011

I woke up this morning in a lousy mood. I was annoyed that I once again was going through the same daily routine dragging myself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. And even though he doesn’t have to Hubby got up at the same time I did so he could spend time with me before I had to leave to work. Honestly, I was annoyed with this- I wasn’t in the mood to have conversation or be all “huggy.” READ: I am not a morning person.

I sulked on the couch without getting ready to leave until 6:35 (I leave before 7). Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed. Frankly, I’ve been waking up on the wrong side of the bed nearly everyday lately. I allowed my grouchy mood to follow me on the way to work in the car and even as I walked into the office. About 30 minutes later I saw Rachael post this on twitter.

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Hmph. In the midst of my terribly disgruntled mood I hadn’t even taken note it was a new month and it dawned on me that I’d started the morning, or rather the month, off on the wrong foot. It was then I reminded myself.

I am the only one in control of my attitude.

I’ve spent a lot too much of my time being overwhelmed lately with  my schedule. Between all the things I need/want to get done like working, working out and reaching fitness goals, being a good wife, dealing with household chores, tasks, and errands, cooking, blogging (or at least attempting to)- I stress a lot. I’ve come to realize that stressing actually causes me to lose productivity and lose focus on the things that are actually important. When I’m stressing or in a foul mood because my plate is too full I actually accomplish less.

Life is too short to be overwhelmed and to feel stretched too thin. That’s why I’m declaring this November Namaste November.

I’ve been practicing more yoga lately and I have fallen in love. For those of you that don’t know at the end of each yoga class most teachers, bow their head and say “Namaste” and the students bring their hands together and respond together the same. I’ve always wondered what it means and the best definition I’ve found is this.

“A good definition of Namaste would be "I bow to your true self". The true self might be seen as the deeper, more essential you, less connected to ego, social expectations and pretensions.” source

After some reflection and thought  (and telling my Hubby sorry for being a grouchy bear this morning) I think I need to devote some time to myself and getting back to my true self. Although I do a good job taking care of my self physically and nutritionally I have allowed my social and mental health to slack. Healthy mind and spirit are just as important as physical health.

Our “health triangles” aren’t complete unless we can balance mental, physical, and social health and our over-all well being can suffer if we aren’t in balance. Just as we have to re-evaluate our diets and recommit to exercise at times- we have to re-evaluate and recommit to ways to reach mental and social health as well.

I’m going to spend the month of November working on myself and fixing the areas in my life where I stress the most. I’m going to devote each day towards making another stride towards this goal by:

  • Recapping and reflecting on the things I’m grateful for
  • Getting organized with tasks
  • Practicing better time management
  • Planning time with loved ones
  • Practicing only a gracious attitude, no complaining, no negative self talk
  • Reading daily devotionals from my bible
  • Determining goals for the future
  • Continuing to practice yoga

Honestly I’m not 100% sure where my Namaste November is going to lead me, but I know I’m sure ready for a new month and a new attitude. I’m looking forward to getting my daily tasks and long term goals organized and focusing on my mental health.

Feel free to join me in Namaste November and follow in your own version of self-reflection or to read along as I unfold what the month really means for me. I’m determined to finish out a great last and un-stressful 2 months of 2011.

brittsig

Workout Wednesday: Jillian is Back

October 26, 2011

Around 2:00 this afternoon I was bursting with energy to get home and do a strength workout. Rachael and I made a decision and a pact that we were going to start committing to at least 2 weekly strength workouts because of this:

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It’s true… I have sorta fallen out of strength training shape because, well, I’ve abandoned it for run and tri training. I know in my head this is a bad decision, but when I have specific goal in mind to run a marathon I tend to focus on just running. Even though I know strength training is so importing in staying a healthy and injury-free runner.

By the time 6:00 rolled around this about sums up how I was feeling about making the hour trek home and then spending another hour working out:

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Honestly, plopping down on the couch wine in hand sounded more appealing than anything, but I did what I had to do. As soon as I walked in the door I put my workout clothes on.

 

pink_cartoon_bird_or_chick_0515-1003-1906-0318_SMUFit Chick Britt Fitness Tip: When getting home for the day head straight to changing into your workout gear. If you sit down on the catch or procrastinate your workout you are more likely to cancel it all together or lack motivation once you finally get going.

Tonight I had a killer workout further proving the theory that I’ve never regretted a workout. Here what went down:

  • 20 minute treadmill speed intervals
  • 15 minute Jackie Warner Abs circuit
  • Jillian Michaels 30 day shred Level 1

This video is my all time favorite workout video and I’ve been bummed because I misplaced it a long time ago. After some begging asking around twitter I found a friend (Thank you Tiffy!) who offered to lend me a copy. Needless to say I was stoked when a package containing this arrived on my doorstep yesterday.

As soon as I turned the video on today I was pumped. There’s something in the music and the motivation Jillian gives that I just love about this video. I started doing this video when I very first fell in love with exercise and taking care of my body: I think it remind me of that time and makes me feel extra motivated and enthusiastic.

I ended my “workout Wednesday” thankful to once again be doing strength training and wondering why I ever abandoned it in the first place. I’m sorry strength training I will try not to forget about you again.

How do you fit in strength training?

Do you have a favorite workout video?

brittsig

14 Mile Run and Homemade Sports Drink

October 24, 2011

Here’s the rundown on yesterday’s long run. I’d like to start keeping track of each one.

What: 14- mile training run

Where: Familiar neighborhood run

How: Stopped for water/fuel at mile 4.5 and 9

What I ate before: 1 piece of bread with peanut butter and a banana

What I ate during: homemade sports drink

What I ate after:  Muscle milk

How I felt: When I took off this morning I realized my Garmin was not working (won’t turn on and it said it was fully charged). I wasn’t really in the right mindset when I started this run; I was annoyed about my Garmin, annoyed it was humid, annoyed I was getting started 2 hours later than planned, and annoyed it started raining on me only one mile in. I decided to finally snap out of it after 3 miles. I trekked along at about what felt like a 9:00/mile pace. Everything felt good and I actually started to feel progressively better as the run continued. I stopped for fuel at mile 4.5 and 9 and then finished another 5 miles after that. According to USA Track and Fields Map It I was spot on at 14 miles and finished a little over 9:00/mile. I drank some muscle milk as soon as I got home. I’m trying to make sure I have something to refuel right after a long run and I’ve been really trying to focus on recovery.

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Along the lines of trying to recover right, I’m also trying to figure out how to fuel right. I’d been struggling with being sluggish on my runs and then feeling completely wiped out for the whole day after a long run, almost to the point where I just wasn’t functional anymore. I’ve never been set on one type of fuel I’ve tried clif shot blocks, clifshots, and Gatorade interchangeably, but never stuck with something I felt really worked. I decided to take matters into my own hand and make homemade sports drink. 

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The recipe:

  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 3 TB sugar

What you do:

You need a liter size bottle to mix in. Pour in and mix together the orange juice, sugar, and salt. Fill the rest of the bottle with water. Easy enough right?

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I made this last week for my 13-mile run and it worked great. To be honest the taste is just ok and I think in the future (when I run out of OJ) I’m going to use lemon juice instead, but the sports drink kept me very hydrated and energized through my run and I didn’t leave the run feeling depleted of salt like I usually do.

I also used the same type mixture for today’s run with the only difference being that I switched out 3 T sugar for 3 T agave.I had the same results today- I felt hydrated and energized during my run. I actually felt better post-long run today than I have felt this whole training season. I finally feel like I have a grasp on fueling and recovery and I’m looking forward to the long runs in the weeks to come.

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What I love about making a homemade sports drink is not having to spend $1-$2 for a bottle of Gatorade, and I also love knowing exactly what it is that goes into my drink. None of those chemicals I can’t pronounce are in there.

You should give homemade sports drinks a try. Next up for me will be an attempt at homemade sports gels.

What is your preferred type of fueling for a long run? What’s your favorite flavor sports drink?

brittsig

My Weekend

October 23, 2011

This weekend has been very kind to me. It’s been the perfect mix of relaxation and activity with a side of family and friends.

Friday I met up with Amanda, Marg, and Kim at Merlot 2 Masterpiece. It was lovely to meet some of the #htownbloggers I’d never met before and catch up with Kim who I’d met once at a 5k.

We had wine and painted the “Cherry Blossom Lovers.” I find painting relaxing and therapeutic. and the wine helps my creative side come out Winking smile The instructor was wonderful and the atmosphere was fun. I’m actually quite proud at how my painting came out.

merlot 2 masterpiece

Saturday I meandered around the house, slept in, had tone it up protein pancakes, cleaned and made a batch of juice. I find that juicing is honestly quite a pain. The process of actually juicing and cleaning the juicer is time consuming and not a small task, so I prefer to make it in a batch and that makes it worth it.

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In the juice:

  • 2 red apples
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 orange
  • 5 carrots
  • 1/2 bag spinach
  • 1 bundle of red grapes

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Yum!

Saturday night I went to my sister Beth’s play. She is a stage manager at a local college. She’s been doing theatre for years and now she’s studying it in college. I’m so proud of her for working so hard and following her passions.

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The play was called “The Haunting of Hill House.” It was really good and kind of scary! After the show my sister showed me around the stage and the backstage area. I’d never gotten to see the behind the scenes and it was really cool to see the work that goes into building the stage, the prop set up, and the costume dressing rooms.

Today I went on a 14-mile long run, attended a friends baby shower and got a much needed pedicure. Life is good!

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What have you done this weekend?

brittsig

Putting My Cards on the Table

October 17, 2011

I write this blog to share my life and goals with the world the dozen or so readers I have to hopefully inspire and show that if I, an ordinary girl who never dreamed of being a triathlete or running a marathon, can do anything I put my mind to that so can you. As much as I like for my posts to be all rainbows and butterflies and to keep a positive attitude I am also human and sometimes I need some inspiration, support, advice or encouragement like I strive to give, and sometimes I just need to vent.

So it’s time for a bit of truth and I’m just going to lay it out there:

I’m having a crappy race season

Despite my somewhat positive race recaps I’ve written from the past few events I can’t help but beat myself up a bit because I haven’t performed like I’ve really wanted to. Warning: I am very competitive with myself. I feel like I put so much time and energy into training and working out and I should be getting better, but it’s just not happening. I’ve been stuck in a running rut and running the same paces for nearly 2 years. Shouldn’t I be getting better?

When I used to sign up for a race I’d train and I’d go out on race day and I’d usually have a killer race where I surprise myself. I seem to be lacking that new-found-love-of-running race day energy and excitement that helped me perform so well.

I know running is not my job and maybe some of you think- “who cares, it’s just running,” but I am one to believe that if we work hard enough at something we can accomplish any goal and I put a lot of effort into training, but I’m struggling to reach some of those goals. So, what gives?

In my last 10k I had high hopes to set a PR, and PR I did, but really I had only run one prior 10k in the first year I had started running and there was no way I couldn’t PR. What I really wanted was to come in at under 50:00. Well, that didn’t happen even though I’ve run countless 10ks in times under 50:00 when I’ve been in peak running shape, like while training for last year’s marathon and just recently I busted out a 48:00 10k at the gym. It’s disheartening to be able to do something and push yourself during practice on a regular day, but not be able to recreate it on race day. On this particular race I was on pace easily for a 50:00 10k through miles 1-4, but something happened in miles 5-6 and I mentally gave up and told myself it was too hard and too humid outside and convinced myself to be ok with a 52 minute PR.

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My next race was the Olympic triathlon. When I got to this race I was so excited and ready to push myself in all 3 events to see what I could do. I felt like I worked my tail off swimming, biking, and running. When I got done with the swim 2 minutes faster than goal time I was elated. When I got done with the bike portion over 5 minutes faster than goal time I was elated. Then came the run- my strength, my best event, you’d think I would have killed it, right? Wrong. Somehow in my head I convinced myself that I was really proud I was actually doing an Olympic triathlon and that I didn’t care how fast I got to the finish. I was convinced I was tired, it was too hot, and I had made up so much time on the swim and bike I could just cruise pretty leisurely (In the moment this made perfect sense to me). I knew I was going pretty slow, I was walking the water stations and strolling along doing something that I’m sure looked like a sorry excuse for running. I later saw on the results that it took me 1:07 to finish the 10k. ONE HOUR and SEVEN MINUTES. That is the longest it has EVER taken me to run a 10k. My marathon pace was 2 minutes per mile faster than this!! In practice runs off the bike I usually stick to a 9:00-9:30 pace and all my previous triathlons had been completed between an 8:15-9:30 pace. At the time of the race I had no problem with how slow I was running- I was enjoying myself and proud to be doing my first Olympic triathlon. I am still proud I finally mustered up the courage to try that distance, but in hindsight I’m just wondering why I didn’t even try to race the run and why I was basically running slow on purpose.

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The last race I did this season was the 10 for TX, which was probably the better of the 3. I trekked along at a decent pace making sure to save some energy (I thought) for the end. Through the 10k I was actually on pace to match my PR from last year then something happened after that. My pace started to slow at each mile, and I just couldn’t get it back. I, again, told myself it was just too humid to run really fast and took the last two miles around a 9:00 pace. I still finished at a decent pace, but it frustrated me that just the week before I’d ran 8.5 miles at a faster pace than this race and the year before I’d finished 4 minutes faster.

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Of course it’s easy to say you could have done better when the race is done when you’re not struggling in the heat of the moment, but I can’t help notice that all of the races have something in common- I seem to make it near the end and then give into the mental “this is too hard” battle and stop pushing myself.

I’m just ready to get over this mental block that comes over me during a race and I’m ready to see my hard work pay off in something. I also think lately I’ve been using the weather as an excuse. Sometimes weather conditions do affect performance, but I can’t let it define my whole race and race-mentality. It has been hot and humid, but it’s the same weather I’ve been training in.

I know I’m being really hard on myself; I always am. I am truly proud of myself for getting to any finish line and taking the time to train to get there and I never regret a race I’ve finished. I guess I’m just struggling somehow mentally and I’m not really sure how to change that.

So… there you have it. Feel free tell me how stupid it is to get a 10k PR and finishing my first Olympic Triathlon and still slightly disappointed. I’m putting all my cards on the table and I’m ready for ANY  advice/encouragement/motivation/ whatever it is you can provide about getting through the mental battle and struggling to have a good race season.