Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I Did It!

I finally did it and I'm nervous as heck.  Every little ache or pain is going to send me into a tizzy.  And believe me, that's easy.  I finally registered for my spring marathon - Maine Coast Marathon.  I talked about it, created my plan, but didn't truly commit until last week when I finally officially registered.    



I will not be doing the 39.3 Challenge.  While it sounds enticing, to me it sounds like paying for another injury.  I'd like to get through this marathon without injury as I have some pretty big plans for the rest of 2015.  



Last Sunday was the official kick off for training - with a 12 miler with Carrie, my fellow Mainer Team Spandits training partner.  We even did something that doesn't happen a lot in December - we ran on the Kennebec River Rail Trail!  Usually by now I've sworn off the rail trail as it's not maintained very well during the winter and it is plowed, then the melting/reicing action happens that makes conditions incredibly dicey.  Thankfully we only came across one section of ice and it was quite visible so there were no falls.  


screen shot from 2 days ago...
which means marathon is in 129 days!


I have quite a few components to my marathon training plan - one of them is to train smart.  The other one is to take care of myself.  Any aches and pains are going to be treated immediately and most of the time, I'm going to be more proactive.  Like relax and rest.  Some of you who know me may be laughing right now.  I definitely need help in that department as I have a problem taking on too much.  But this forced rest has started during my break and I've been doing a lot of this:


On my Bed of Nails.  


Kind of looks like a small yoga mat with plastic spikes on it but it is so much more.  It's going to be my bff.  Not really, but you get the idea how much I love my Bed of Nails!  This little mat is by my bed so when I'm winding down at night, I just put it behind me and lean back.   Best of all, it's portable, so I will take it to the couch with me too.  

The website says it is good for: 
*increasing circulation*increasing energy levels*reducing blood pressure*reducing stress 
and anxiety*alleviating headaches*improving skin complexion*improving constipation *relieving tension and muscle aches*improving sleep*reducing insomnia*relieving chronic neck and 
back pain*reducing cortisol levels (which is said to help with weight loss)
*improving heart rate variability*

So far I've noticed less stress, less back pains, less leg pains (yes...I've put it under my legs too!).  How does it work?  Check out this video!

Here's to treating my body well while training for marathon #4!  What plans do you have for 2015?  Mine are much bigger than this....more to come!  



Monday, December 29, 2014

Special K Snack Bars Review

It would be an understatement to say we are a busy family.  This year seems to be a new level of crazy - basketball for both children, dance for Izzy, marathon training, track practices, and many more work commitments. I am always thankful for a healthy snack I can toss in my bag for those times we are constantly on the go, so I know I have something healthy for myself and the kids.





What's equally nice is having an assortment of snacks the kids can grab from on the way out of the door in the morning for their snacks at school!  


Special K has recently released a new line of snack bars -  Special K Chewy Snack Bars - made in four delicious flavors: Berry Medley, Blueberry Bliss, Salted Caramel Chocolate, and Salted Pretzel Chocolate.  Each snack bar only contains 100 calories and each box of 6 bars costs $2.69.   


In our house, the Salted Pretzel Chocolate was the first to disappear.  Next in line was the Salted Caramel Chocolate.  With all of us really liking the Special K Chewy Bars, they will be making an appearance in the shopping cart and pantry the next time I head to the grocery store.  

When life gets busy, do you travel with snacks?  What are some of your favorite go-to snacks?  Have you ever tried the Special K line?  



This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Special K Snack Bars.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Cheer with Zevia

I am quite thankful the school district I work for has two full weeks of school off.  It's just enough time to regroup and come back ready to kick off 2015.  Christmas is nearly here and I am just about ready.  The last couple of weeks have been nuts and I really was feeling quite overwhelmed - forgetting appointments/work shifts at the gym.  I don't forget things like that.  So for me to forget commitments definitely tells me that I need to scale back.  And that's what I'll be doing these two weeks....scaling back and enjoying time with the kids.  No commitments.



Now that I am finally feeling somewhat sane again, let me share with you a sweet and simple drink I've enjoyed the past couple of weeks.  I'm not a fan of drinking my calories.  Never have been.  I'm also not a soda fan.  But since Zevia has entered my life (and why can't it enter my local grocery store? please!!!) - I've been so happy.  Zevia has zero calories, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners.  


Another thing I do not do a lot, is drink alcoholic beverages.  I do find that around holidays I enjoy them a lot more, but again, I don't enjoy drinking my calories.  I'd much rather save those calories for pizza and chips.  One drink I absolutely love is Captain Morgans and Cola.  My guilt-free Zevia twist on my fave is a cola flavored Zevia with a shot (or two) of Captain Morgans Spiced Rum.  The results? Smooth and perfect for this holiday season!  


not a cola fan?  Zevia has other great flavors that taste delicious with captain...Black Cherry for example!



Let's spread some holiday cheer with Zevia this season.  You can follow Zevia on twitter and Instagram and share the little moments that mean the most to you with the hashtag #CheerTo for a chance to win great prizes now through 12/31.  Check out the great ones posted on the gallery here!  





Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Workout Wednesday



How's the week going for you so far?  We're closing in on Christmas and things couldn't be any crazier!  I don't know how people with more than 2 children handle things, because I'm barely staying afloat right now.  I've feeling incredibly overwhelmed with the list of things that need to get done and our commitments.  I keep reminding myself....just 2 more days of work and we're home-free.  I think I can.  I think I can.  

if I can do this in the wet snow, on a rock wall - I can survive the rest of the week!


Today, I had a little bit of a break because about 10am, my classroom phone rang...and it was the middle school nurse.  I had a very sick son sitting in her office.  Sadly, I was in the middle of a class.  However, as luck has it, my assistant principal was walking past my room at that exact time.  She said she would take care of me and notified the office so they could find coverage for me.  I am incredibly thankful to work in such a fabulous school.  

after 4 soaking wet miles - I think Pepper is mad at me here


Because of this little snag in my plans, going to the gym to run on a treadmill was not going to happen.  Oh, did I mention it was pouring outside and 38F?  Yuck.  I couldn't take him to the gym with me when he was feeling so badly.  Poor guy.   But I did figure out how to get in a run.  I did what I do best...run back and forth in front on my house - checking in on him everytime I passed by.  I lost count of how many times I ran past my house, but I was able to get in 4 miles.  Pepper came with me...and I think she regretted making that decision about a mile into the run.  She was soaked and hasn't left the carpeted area in front of the wood stove since.  

I changed quickly and did my PiYo...note the sick boy on the couch behind me?  


Today's run was monumental.  Not in the fact that it was just gross outside.  But today I surpassed my 1600 mile distance (the most mileage I've previously run in a year).  Today I made it to 1601.59 miles.  Yippee!  I'm excited to see what my final 2014 mileage will be!  

This is really pretty!  It was a perfect winter run...32F and big wet snowflakes.  I love this kind of run!


Let's talk workouts for my last week...

12/10: 4.53 miles - a random mileage I know.  It was one of those running back and forth in front of my house sort of days again.  
12/11: 6 miles 
12/12:  5 miles 
12/13:  4 miles w/ PiYo Butts 
12/14: 6.8 miles
12/15: 3.75 with indoor track again with strength/core 
12/16: rest 
12/17: today! 4 miles w/ PiYo Core. 

I've been loving my PiYo workouts!  I feel much stronger doing them and they are not boring at all!  I highly recommend them.  

On a super excited note....my photo has been featured on the Spandits Facebook page!  Go check it out for yourself...and then, buy some Spandits for yourself.  You know you want to!!  (tell them Jen sent you!)




Sunday, December 14, 2014

5 Tips to Stay Hydrated

There is no surprise we need to keep our bodies well hydrated.  I find as the air gets drier with winter air, I feel like I need to hydrate more often.  

1.  Carry water with you.  
When I go to school, I have a water bottle with me that I fill several times a day.   Going to dinner at my in-laws?  I bring my water bottle.  Heading to the grocery store?  I bring my water bottle with me.  Target?  Yes, water  bottle.  Playdate?  For sure.  Going to the gym?  Well, that's a no brainer!  

Most of the time I have a water bottle with me, but when I have Phenoh 7.4 in my refrigerator,
I bring that with me to the gym instead! 




2.  Start your day off with water.  
Yes.  Before coffee.  You know you want that coffee or tea, but quench your thirst with water first.  You can thank me now.  

yes...I wake up so early it's still dark!  



3.  Have a hard time remembering?  
Use an app.  There are apps for everything...even tracking and reminding you to hydrate.  ideated.  Waterlogged.  WaterMinder.  Are all good ones. 





4.  Not sure how much water to drink?  
Try this cool calculator.  I on the other hand tend to go for the gallon/day goal.  It's a habit I got into a few years ago and it works for me.  





5.  Not a fan of water?  Try a sports drink like Phenoh 7.4.  
Other sports drinks are loaded up with simple sugars and chemicals.  Which, for obvious reasons, are not good for you.  But Phenoh 7.4 is the first sports drink that focuses on balancing your pH and only uses natural ingredients: organic Aloe Vera and low glycemic organic agave nectar.  






It is also high in potassium and has no added sodium.  There are only 30 calories per 8 oz as well. And it tastes amazing.  So amazing, I drank my entire case and am anxiously awaiting my new shipment.   Click here to purchase




They are so good, you won't really want to share...but you might.  If you like them enough. Good thing for these girls, I like them....so I shared.  (and they liked it!)  


What are your hydration hints?  Have you used an app to track or motivate yourself to hydrate?  Which one is your favorite?  Have you ever tried Phenoh?  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Saturday, December 6, 2014

Simple Snowy Saturdays


Another snow storm (yes, 4th since the start of November!) and it isn't even "officially" winter yet! Tucker's basketball game has been cancelled this morning, so I'm actually enjoying a quiet morning, sitting by the wood stove, drinking some coffee, after actually sleeping in.  It feels rather weird...but incredibly nice.

I will run today.  But later.  This relaxing time is so nice!  While I sit here, in my cute Pure Simple tights I received from JD Sports, a pretty cool UK Company, I think to myself..... why can't I have a job where I can just wear running clothes all of the time?  I come home from school and change as quickly as possible into running clothes.  When Ward and I go shopping, he says "no running clothes!  try for some regular clothing for once!"   I don't know about you, but I absolutely love the feel of running clothing.  It is so comfortable and I don't feel constricted like when I wear jeans.  My calves and thighs feel so tight in jeans.  Not very comfortable!



So, here I am, loving these cute tights.  Comfortable, simple yet super attractive.  I love the detailing on them.  While they are black tights, the small designs add a certain little pop that make me love them.

obviously NOT from today....since we have ice and snow out there!  

In terms of running tights?  While I tend to wear them for comfy times rather than running, they do make great running tights.  Very forgiving, no rubbing.




And while we're at it with comfort and what I wear to work and at home...let's talk about shoes!  I hate dress shoes.  With a passion.  I am not sure how women can wear heals to work.  Ever.   I have one pair of heals and I think Izzy has them somewhere.  She walks in them better than I do!   I will wear LL Bean boots, Bobs by Skechers, Merrill or Keen shoes to school, but then when I get home, I'm taking those off as fast as possible and changing into some comfortable shoes.  Not my running shoes though!  I save those for running.  But I do have my collection of comfortable, casual sneakers that I'll wear.



My newest addition to the casual sneakers are these Asics Gel Lytes III.  My first impression was "those are retro cool'!  I love the colors as they are unlike most of my other shoes (i.e. no purple or pink).  They have a classic, old school suede material upper which I loved growing up.  Since my parents never splurged on shoes like that for me as a kid - I'm loving these now!




And now, let's talk about the lacing and the tongue of the shoe.  I have never seen shoes that lace like this.  I love them!

What about you?  Do you wear your running clothes all of the time?  I am guilty of going out for a run, coming home to shower, then change into some clean running clothes.

Let's talk shoes?  What do you wear on your feet when you aren't running?





Monday, December 1, 2014

Move It Monday!

Hello December 1st!  Here in Maine, it feels and look like winter is in full swing.  

Looks like it should a Christmas photo?  Nope.  This would be a Thanksgiving morning photo!  Craziness.  


On Saturday, I met up with Carrie and Leslie for a 12 mile run.  It was a very chilly run - started out in the upper teens and was mid 20's by the end of the run.   

photo courtesy of Leslie!


I'm rather thankful it was sunny and there was very little wind, which made the weather conditions much more bearable.  However, the company was fantastic!  Looks like Carrie and I love Spandits?  Right?  Well, we do.  You should buy some today.  (Cyber Monday - in stock items at Spandits are 25% off!!!)  -- tell the ladies that Jen (and Carrie) sent you.  

photos from Leslie and Jen 


Then Sunday, the temperature was warmer, but it was overcast and raining in the morning.  I started out by trying to get to the gym for my shift, but lost control of the car less than a mile from the house and went off the road.  Luckily there were not any cars in the vicinity, neither Izzy or I were hurt, and the car is fine.  I was able to turn around and get home safely...and that is where I stayed for the rest of the day.   Later in the day,  when the temperature was about 38F, I decided to get out for my run.   I had planned on 4 miles, but when I noticed I had 4.68 miles to go to make it an even 160 for the month, I just went with it.   

Oh look, MORE Spandits.  I am addicted!  


On another happy note, I see that I'm already at 1534.46 miles for 2014.  My highest yearly mileage to date is 1600..... so let's see where December gets me!  


As my mileage increases, my need to refuel with protein continues to be important.  I have been using My Protein's Muscle and Strength protein powder, which packs in 20 gram of protein and has a rich, smooth chocolate taste.   I have been enjoying Muscle and Strength for meal replacement (breakfast and/or lunch) and even as a recovery shake.    



I sometimes get creative with my protein shakes, but tend to go back to my simple favorite combination - Almond Milk and a scoop of chocolate My Protein.  It always makes for a delicious shake.  My Protein has a large selection of protein blends to choose from as well.  Check them out!

Are you a protein shake/smoothie fan?  Have you ever tried My Protein?  

My plan for today is to get out for 4 miles (or more if time allows) after school.  
Let's go!  Move It!!!  

How did you MOVE this weekend?  Are you moving today?