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Marathon training – Week 8: Halfway There!

This cutback week came at the perfect time.  After last week’s awful race (I’m totally over it now, really), this was a much needed break.  It gave me a little time to relax and enjoy each run and get my mental focus back.  I wouldn’t say it was an ideal week since I started having some knee pain but I was able to take care of that with minimal impact to my training.

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So here’s how my week looked:

Monday:  I took Monday as a rest day.  Or a mental day.  Or whatever.  I just didn’t want to run.  Or do anything.  So that’s what I did (or did not do, depending on how you look at it).

Tuesday:  Today was a great 7 mile run.  Everything was good, including my attitude.  I even did Pilates after I got home from work that evening.

Wednesday:  The plan was to run 8 miles this morning but a couple of miles into it, my knee was really hurting.  Rather than push through it, I decided to go home.  Fortunately, I already had a chiropractic appointment scheduled so I got that fixed.

Thursday:  Today I was still pretty sore from yesterday’s adjustment and massage so I took another rest day.

Friday:  Since yesterday was a rest day, I needed to get my speed work done.  So that’s what I did, 8 miles DONE!  Probably not the best idea to do speed work the day before a long run but this is a shorter long run so hopefully that works out okay 🙂

Saturday:  It’s kind of funny that a 14 mile run doesn’t seem like that big of a deal anymore.  It’s definitely a beautiful thing to see on your schedule when you’ve been running high mileage weeks.  The problem with today’s run is that it was freezing and kind of rainy.  Yep, one week after it was 80 degrees.  I’ll admit I kinda had a bad attitude about doing this run.  It was WAY warmer in my bed!  But the nice thing about having training partners is that they motivate you when you don’t feel it yourself and that’s exactly what happened.  I got it done with a little pushing.  But done is done, regardless of how you look at it!

Sunday:  Today was a nice, easy 10 miles on the treadmill.  I know that sounds awful to many (or all) of you, but I was able to listen to some self-improvement podcasts and that really kept me going.  So, all in all, I had an up and down week but ended on a high note, ready to face the next block of training.  I can’t believe we’re halfway done with this training already and the race is only 8 weeks away!

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My eating has been better this week.  I don’t remember the details, but I generally don’t if I’m eating well since that’s common practice.  The next 8 weeks will really be a time to focus on making good food choices and staying healthy during the holiday season.

How is your training going?  What do you listen to on the treadmill?

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Marathon Training – Week 7: The ideal running temperature

Well….seems that I’m a little late again getting this post out.  I could make all kinds of excuses (race on Sunday, too tired, etc) but the truth is that I had a pretty bad ending to the week.  The rest of the week was great but one day seemed to overshadow the other 6 days.  Even the one “bad” day wasn’t that bad.  It just wasn’t what I expected and I let that get to me.  But that’s one of those things that I really need to accept and move on.  I’ve analyzed the day and know what I could have done differently and the things that were beyond my control.  More about that later.

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Here’s how my week looked:

Monday:  I was feeling pretty beat up after the 5k and 19 mile long runs from the past 2 days so I decided not to run today and give my legs a break.  Since I was off work for Veteran’s Day, I decided to check out a local yoga place.  I went to a strictly core class.  It was pretty tough!  I’m not sure that I’ve ever sweat during yoga (this wasn’t hot yoga) but I did here.  Can’t wait to get to another class.  From there I headed to my gym for Body Pump.

Tuesday:  I’ve often heard people talk about tripping and falling during a run but it had never actually happened to me.  Well, my 7 year streak ended today.  Somehow I tripped over a rock hole in the street or something and fell hard.  Luckily, it was dark and there was no one to witness it.  I don’t even know why I’m admitting to it since there were no witnesses.  Oh well, it happened.  But fortunately, I wasn’t really hurt and just ended up with a bruised knee and scraped up hand and shoulder.  Obviously that was my slowest mile but it ended up being a great run otherwise.  I finished 7 miles in 1:01.  Not too bad for an easy run!

Wednesday:  I am so loving the cooler temperatures.  Capris and a long sleeved shirt and I’m good to go!  These 7 miles felt good….finished in 58 minutes.

Thursday:  I didn’t have a specific plan for doing speedwork so I decided to do 800 meter repeats on the road.  I figured out how to set my watch to beep every half mile so I didn’t have to keep checking (or find a track that was open at 5 AM).  I was able to hit every half mile between 3:37 and 3:43!  Adding a half mile easy run between each interval, I ended up with 10.5 miles at an overall 8:18 pace.  The cooler temperatures are really, really helping!  At this point, I have no doubt that I’ll be able to PR my half marathon on Sunday.  I was only 2.5 miles short of the distance here and faster than I need to be.

Friday:  I ran a nice, easy 5 miles in the morning and felt great!  After work, I went to Body Pump.

Saturday:  Decided to take a rest day today to relax before tomorrow’s race.  That will leave me with miles to make up some other day, but that’s fine.

Sunday:  After running in the mid-30s – low 40s all week, the temp at race time was well into the 70s.  Ugh!  Not at all what I had planned for.  Then, 15 minutes after leaving my house, I realized I had left my watch at home.  Double ugh!  So I downloaded a running app to my phone so I’d be able to monitor my times.  Unfortunately, the race started without much warning so I wasn’t able to start the app.  This is the first race that I carried my own water bottle with Generation UCAN.  My plan was to drink it around mile 6 or 7.  I have no idea how fast I ran the first mile but it was pretty quick and much faster than I should have.  Near the end of mile 2, I was really feeling it and had to slow down.  The temperature continued to rise and the course was not shady at all.  That water bottle was gone before mile 6.  I took water and gatorade from the other water stations after that but was still hot and getting dehydrated.  The rest of the race was a combination running and walking, finishing in 1:57.  It wasn’t a bad time but it’s not what I had trained for.  It was enough for 2nd place in my age group though!  That afternoon, I really felt like *@%! from dehydration and tried to rehydrate and rest.  It was kind of a bummer day and I let it overshadow the rest of the awesome week I had.  But next week is a cut back week so that will be a time to reassess and get over this race.  I’ve got one more half marathon scheduled for the year.  Surely it won’t be 80 degrees on New Years Eve, right?!?

My eating this week wasn’t ideal but since I waited so long, I can’t remember the details.  I’m going to say it was at least 80% clean but I’ve still got some work to do to get where I want to be.  So on to next week and a whole new attitude!

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Have you had any bad race experiences that overshadowed your training?  How did you get over it?

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Healthy Eating Highlight #4

Hope you guys all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We’ve been visiting my brother in Arkansas for a few days and loving the relaxing family time!

This week’s featured healthy eating highlight is Jungling from Living Natural Today.  Like many people, Teresa’s transformation was the result of health concerns.  She offers some excellent advice that will help you make healthy choices in your own life.  Be sure to check out her website and follow her on social media to learn more!  If you’d like to be featured on upcoming healthy eating highlights, email me at aprilmims72@yahoo.com.  I’d love to share your story with others!

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Tell us a little about yourself.I am happily married to my best friend.  I have a business degree and used to work in Corporate America.  Currently, my husband and I own our own business in digital marketing.  Seven years ago, I began experiencing different symptoms which started me on a long health journey trying to find answers.  I have had problems with my adrenals, thyroid, hormones, immune system, digestive system and a condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity.  Due to these health challenges, I started a blog called Living Natural Today.  In addition, I am a Mission Marketer with Beyond Organic, founded by NY Times Best Selling Author Jordan Rubin, which offers some of the healthiest food and beverages delivered to your door.

What do you consider to be a healthy lifestyle?  Since I experienced poor health for so many years, I have had to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.  The healthy lifestyle that has worked for me is one that incorporates a whole food, organic (as much as possible) diet, exercise, limits stress and reduces toxins.

What does your typical day look like?  Being involved with 3 different businesses stretches my time.  However, owning your own business allows for flexibility and freedom.  Because of that, each day is different for me.  Some days, I work from home.  Other days I go into our office.  Other days I’m out meeting with clients, or networking.  I try to work during regular business hours, but with the flexibility of time, I can run to the store throughout the day and work some after dinner instead.  Speaking of dinner, I try to make whole food meals for my husband and myself at least 4 days each week.  Other things I try to do each day are exercise and daily devotions (reading the Bible and prayer).

What is your biggest challenge to living a healthy lifestyle?  Since I wanted to get better, I had to make changes to my diet and reduce toxins around the house.  Those were a little challenging at first, but now it is just my way of life.  Some things I am still challenged with are exercising consistently on a daily basis and taking time to relax and eliminate stress.  I need to make both of those daily priorities.  If I don’t set aside specific time to do them each day, they sometimes get overlooked.

What motivates you to choose a healthy lifestyle?  My health.  I know what it’s like to be bedridden and extremely ill.  I don’t ever want to go through that again.  I also want to help others choose a healthy lifestyle.  If I’m not healthy, how can I help others?

What advice would you offer to someone struggling to get started?

Don’t get overwhelmed:  allow yourself room to take one step forward and two steps back because it will happen.  Start by making small changes.  One of the first things I eliminated from my diet was pop.  Then I began reading food labels and eliminating high fructose corn syrup.  It snowballed from there!  In regards to toxins, I began by looking into healthier alternatives for cleaning the house instead of using cleaning chemicals.

Research online:  there are many great blogs from people who offer stories and suggestions of what they have done to make changes.  Follow their suggestions.  Also, look for recipes from whole food bloggers, like this one from April!

Remember:  by beginning to make a change, your health will ultimately improve.  Some results will be immediate and others will take a while, but in the end you will be so much better off!

How can readers contact you? 

Living Natural Today (http://www.livingnaturaltoday.com)

Twitter: @livenatural2day

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/livingnaturaltoday

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/livenatural2day

MyRealFoodFamProf

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Healthy Eating Highlight #3

I can’t believe this year is almost over!!  How can it be Thanksgiving already and December?  I hope you and your family enjoy the holiday and your time together!

For this week’s healthy eating highlight, I am pleased to introduce you to Angie Reay!  Angie is an incredibly inspiring and encouraging person committed to helping others achieve their goals and get healthy.  I love seeing her workouts that she posts each day….even being extremely pregnant hasn’t stopped her from working out every day!  I also love seeing all the pictures she posts of her beautiful daughter….I miss my kids being that age!  I hope you enjoy getting to know her too!   If you’d like to be our next featured healthy eating highlight, comment here or email me at aprilmims72@yahoo.com.  I’d love to share your story too!

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Tell us a little about yourself.  My name is Angie Reay. I’m a wife, mother of a 2 year old and expecting baby 2 in January.  I’m the Assistant Director of Housing & Dining Services at Midwestern State University.  My husband is the Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach at MSU.  We both received our undergrad and Master’s degrees from MSU!  I’m also a AFAA certified, spin instructor, Insanity instructor, & Turbo certified.  I love helping others in all of my area. I’m also a Beachbody Coach. I love being able to share my love of fitness and healthy lifestyle with other people. I’m a small town girl from Kansas, but I got to Texas as quick as I could :).  I’ve been here since 2004 and love it!  I’m an avid runner, cyclist and love doing Beachbody workouts (T25 & Insanity for the most part).

What do you consider to be a healthy lifestyle?  I consider being able to make sound choices with everything you do from eating, working out, resting your body, and challenging your mind.  You must be able to be both mentally and physically sound of mind to lead the lifestyle you want.  Remember that it is a lifestyle, not a fad or diet.

What does your typical day look like?  Alarm goes off at 4:40a every day.  Yes, that’s early, but I know it’s the only time I can work that my family is still sleeping and I’m not taking time away from them.  I work out, come home, get ready for the day, get our daughter ready for school and then head to work.  After work, I pick up our daughter, cook dinner, play with her, bathe, and put her to bed.  Then it’s a small time, but quality time with my husband.  Weekends we are all about family!  Especially since my husband is a coach, we take advantage of all of our time together.  Family is my number one reason why I do anything.

What is your biggest challenge to living a healthy lifestyle?  Food!  I love to eat!  Making sounds choices is my best option.  Small changes like wheat pasta ( I don’t remember the time I ate white), whole wheat bread, turkey, chicken (we don’t eat beef often), etc.  I could probably eat my weight in sweets!  I have sweet teeth, not a sweet tooth :).

What motivates you to choose a healthy lifestyle?  Most of my family is overweight and struggle with diabetes & other health issues.   I don’t want to end up like that.  I want to be here on this Earth with my children and husband as long as I can until we reunite.  I love being able to help others.  I get told I’m intimidating because of the things I do.  I want you to know that you can be at any level and do this!  You working out is more than those sitting at home on the couch eating junk!  I want others to lead healthy lifestyles, so I feel I must be a role model and show them they can do that.

What advice would you offer to someone struggling to get started?  Find an accountability partner or group.  Making someone do it with you will keep both of you motivated.  Those days I don’t want to get up, I know I have my class participants that need me there!  I’m always here to help you get going!

How can readers contact you?  You can contact me at angie.reay@mwsu.edu Facebook, Twitter (AngieReay), Instagram (areay22), and Pinterest.  I’m on Google, but not often.

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Tofu Sausage and Rice

I didn’t actually have a plan for this dish.  I hadn’t been to the store yet for our weekly groceries so I just dug through the refrigerator to see what I could throw together and this is the result.  It was actually surprisingly good too!  Mr. Real Food and I both agreed this was a keeper dish.  While I’ve really tried to limit the amount of meat I consume, he’s still a meat eater so this was a good compromise that we were both happy with.  If you want real meat, just substitute regular sausage.  But if you haven’t tried tofu sausage, you might consider that…it’s actually quite good.

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Tofu Sausage and Rice

Ingredients:

1 cup texmati brown rice

2 medium yellow squash

broccoli

1 medium onion

Tofu sausage

4 tablespoons tamari

Directions:

Cook rice according to package directions.  In a separate pan, saute squash, broccoli, onion, and sausage together.  Add tamari and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Combine rice with veggies and serve.

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7 Tips to Make Better Fast Food Choices

People often ask me about making better choices when eating out. After all, we are a fast food nation with a different restaurant on every corner.  While it is almost always a better choice to eat at home, the reality is that that is not always possible. Sometimes it is just unavoidable (like when travelling) and your only options are less-than-desirable. But a fast food meal does not need to sabotage your healthy eating! A few simple tips can help you make better choices and keep you on track.

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1. Don’t supersize. Employees often try to up-sell your meal and it seems like a good value. But the calories and fat are not worth it!
2. Think grilled, not fried. While grilled foods are not always ideal depending on how they are flavored, deep-fried breaded foods are generally always fat bombs.
3. Hold the mayo and dressing on the side. Choose carefully when adding mayo and dressings. Even a healthy, low calorie salad can be ruined by the wrong dressing. Instead of mayo, opt for mustard or avocado. Avocado adds heart healthy fats.
4. Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants. While it may be cost-effective to be able to load up multiple plates, there is no need to eat that many calories in a single sitting.
5. Balance fast food meals with other food choices. One meal will not make or break your overall healthy eating. Sticking with the 80/20 rule of eating healthy 80% of the time is a good rule to follow.
6. Split your order. Most portion sizes at restaurants are huge, way too much for a single person. Split your meal with a friend or ask for a to-go box and box up half your plate.
7. Bring your lunch. Many people eat fast food for lunch during the work day. Bringing your lunch at least a couple of times a week allows you to control the food you eat and will save you a bunch of money and calories.

How do you make healthier choices when you eat at a restaurant?

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

I had never actually cooked an acorn squash before today but we got one in our co-op basket so I figured I’d give it a shot.  Now I’m left wondering what took me so long to discover the amazingness that is the acorn squash.  And I always think it’s especially cool when you can use food as a serving dish.  I mean, that’s just practical, right?!?  This is another super simple meal to prepare.  It takes a little time because the squash takes a bit to roast, but I don’t really count that time as active cooking time since I can do other things around the house.  Mr. Real Food wasn’t a huge fan of acorn squash.  He said it was a little too sweet for his taste (but he ate a big serving of it so you be the judge).  I thought it was perfect though and the flavors really worked well together.

stuffed acorn squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients:

1 acorn squash

1 cup corn

1 tofurkey sausage link (or whatever kind of sausage you like)

1/2 cup uncooked quinoa

Directions:

Cut the top off of the squash and roast in 375 degree oven for about 30 minutes, until the squash is tender.  Cook quinoa according to package directions.  Saute sausage and add corn until heated.  Combine sausage and corn with quinoa and fill the squash.  Be careful handling the squash as it will be very hot.

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