Healthy Living

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“It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at 29 than she was 10 years before” – Jane Austen

Don’t worry, I’m not 29 yet (getting close though!) but this popped out at me, and I felt so inspired to write about it! I don’t know about more beautiful… but I’m certainly more confident.  Does anyone else get that?

I’m halfway to my goals, rather than just starting out. I’ve slowed down enough to realize that it’s not about getting there as much as appreciating the journey. Unless I appreciate the journey, I’m always going to be looking to the next thing! Besides, it’s my training runs that are going to get me where I need to be for my next race, so I might as well embrace and enjoy it! It’s my yoga class that’s going to make sure I’m not too tight and help me avoid injury.

Maybe it’s my training runs, maybe the yoga, or maybe just growing up, I’m learning to love the moment I’m in. I spent my entire undergrad rushing through life to get where I thought I wanted to be, that I missed out on a lot of “in the moment” stuff. Once I graduated, ready to “start my life” I realized that some of my biggest moments had already happened, and I didn’t savor them like I wanted too because I was too busy. So I’m committing this year to learning to dedicate my practice or run to something that I’m super intentional about- like making a decision or processing big news, or loving my hubs in the way that he needs; in the moment. I might not be more beautiful at 29, but I sure want to be more confident, kind and intentional than I was 10 years before!

1/2 Marathon Training Plan

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I’m back at it. My half marathon is the first weekend in June, and I’m so excited! We (my husband and I) ran the Williamsburg Run for the Dream 1/2 Marathon last year, and it is by far my favorite route in the world. I’m always looking for an excuse to run in Williamsburg, and I always look forward to those glorious 13.1 miles.
We have a lot of changes potentially coming down the chute in the next couple months, so I started my training a little earlier than necessary… just in case there are some ‘set-backs’ to my long runs.

Last weekend I enjoyed my 7 mile run in my favorite park, it was about 40 F so I was bundled up for the first couple miles and discarded my gloves once I warmed up. On the first mile, I found a brand new smart phone! I called a few of the last contacts and left it at the running store I was running with. Hopefully it found its rightful owner.  295550_345102265606645_866713775_n

About a week ago I ran on the boardwalk during the sunrise. I paused to catch my breath, and looked like a total tourist to take some pictures. I tend to do my shorter runs on the boardwalk because it’s about a 6 mile loop, and it would just be the end of the world if I had to run a lap or something. How can I not love running when it gets me our in God’s beautiful creation every morning while the rest of the world is still asleep?

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Where do your runs take you? When is the best time for you to run?

Hill Training

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Try these simple steps to gradually increase strength, avoid injury and enjoy running hills.

Our favorite time of year… training.

If you’ve signed up for a new race, a course that you’ve never run before, it might be in your best interest to check the incline of the route. Running hills building strength better than any other type of workout, so don’t shy away from a hilly course. Speaking from experience, it takes much more out of you to run a hilly course compared to a flat course. In fact, my race in June is extremely hilly, and I’m already starting to dread one hill in particular!

According to Runner’s World, “Running inclines forces your muscles to work harder; as you grow stronger, your stride becomes more efficient and your speed improves” (UK 12/12).  If you are avoiding hills just because they are difficult, here are a few simple tips RW provides to gradually introducing hills to increase strength and reduce the challenges to boost your fitness.

1. Start easy
on your first hill workout, jog for 10 minutes to warm up, then walk two minutes to lower your heart rate. From the bottom of a gentle incline, run up at an easy pace for five seconds, then walk back to the starting point. Run up again for seven seconds, walk down. Finally, run for ten seconds, and walk back down. Repeat as often as possible. Cool down with a 15-minute jog. See step four for maintaining good form.

Running Hills
2. Progress Slowly-
Do step one several times, increasing times as possible. Once you are comfortable with that workout, ramp it up. Run up the hill for ten seconds, twice, followed by running up the hill for 15 seconds, twice. Follow this up with running up the hill for 20 seconds, repeat twice before rounding off the workout with a 30-second run.

3. Stick with it-
It’s easy to lose the progress you’ve made if you aren’t out there running hills… but you don’t need to run it every day. RW suggests scheduling a hill run every seven to 14 days. Once you’ve conquered step 2, add extra reps until you are running a total of 10 inclines. If you’re running a race with hills, try to find hills that mimic the course you will be running.

4. Maintain Good Form-
It’s easy to injure yourself on a hilly course, so make sure you are maintaining good form… As you ascend, shorten your stride and keep feet low to the ground. Keep your head, chest and hips perpendicular to an imaginary  horizontal line. On descents, take short quick, light steps (don’t pound the pavement), and keep your center of gravity over your legs (don’t lean forward).

So there are our tips; and if you are a runner, give us your tips on introducing hills into your routine. If you’re a beginner, feel free to leave questions if you have any!

It’s Goal Time

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Breathe Deeply

We are spending the first day of the year flying back to our home in Virginia. As I opened my email, I received a great email from “The Daily Love” talking about goal setting. Since I was excited to talk about goal setting, I wanted to include the most inspiring quote:

“Make New Year’s goals. Dig within, and discover what you would like to have happen in your life this year. This helps you do your part. It is an affirmation that you’re interested in fully living life in the year to come. What would you like to have happen in your life this year? What would you like to do, to accomplish? What good would you like to attract into your life? What particular areas of growth would you like to have happen to you? What blocks, or character defects, would you like to have removed?”

Who doesn’t just want to sit down with a clean sheet and pen and create a list of great goals for 2013? I like to set a list for the year and break it down by month and wrote it in my daily planner to keep me on track.

These are a few of my fitness goals for this year:

• Run 3 half marathons – one of the is going to be the Williamsburg Run for the Dream!
• Sprint triathlon- reeeeeally nervous about this one… guess that means I’ll have to start swimming, right?
• Run 700 miles – should be easy to do that, but with picking up some biking and swimming miles… who knows?
• Do an hour yoga set at least once/week – I just get so tight that I need a full set on the weekend to be able to move normal again
• Group trainer certificate – HUGE GOAL! (so scared)
• Expand Girls Run Faster – aka write better, more informative, blogs
• Take the time to enjoy every moment… where ever God has planted me

Those are my goals for now… I’d love to hear about yours! In fact, if you blogged about them, leave a comment with your link and I’d love to peruse your post!

Close of 2012

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What an amazing year… how can you begin to cover the highlights of such a fabulous year?

At midnight tonight, the gorgeous ball will drop in Town Square, and we will toast to a New Year! We’ve got the wine chilling, the treats tucked away in the fridge, and our bags packed to head back to Virginia in the morning. I love the holidays, but I also love the chance to a new beginning. I know that while 2012 was amazing, 2013 is also going to be phenomenal. One of the reasons is because I was able to graduate with my undergraduate degree this December, and I am truly able to begin afresh in January. So, while everyone is wildly excited about our new year: 2013, I’m still recovering from 2012!

So I’m gunna go ahead and brag (haha),  you can see why it’s been an exhausting year.

Here are a few highlights:

  • got a great promotion at work
  • ran two awesome half-marathons
  • did a little traveling
  • completed my undergraduate degree
  • ran over 500 miles (which was my goal)

Needless to say, I’ve spent my Christmas break sleeping! Regardless of all this, I still reached my goal of running 60 miles in December… Despite all my days spent traveling 🙂 They were mostly short runs, around three miles, and my longest run was five miles. Considering most people drop off the fitness planet in December, I’m pretty happy with it!

December Run Goal
I’m planning on posting all my New Years goals later this week, things like the races I want to run and PR’s 🙂 My goals aren’t just about fitness, but about keeping my life balanced… so keep posted for all of that!

Some of our New Years Resolutions

Some of our New Years Resolutions

Thanksgiving in the Rear View Mirror

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With Thanksgiving in the rear view mirror, and the few pounds we gained still hanging on for dear life (what’s a post thanksgiving week without running off the weight?), but in my case, and my co-workers case, there is no shame! Between the turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole and cranberry bliss bars, I had a delicious holiday and there wasn’t tooo much damage done!

Before our game. I was all smiles, having no idea how terrible of a game would ensue!

Later that weekend we went bowling and Black Friday shopping, (scored some awesome deals!), and of course, I ran. Not as many miles as I wanted to (I had these high and lofty goals of running about 20 miles. hah). Instead I did about 13.
I’m getting a little faster, this week it’s been about a 9:35 min/mile compared to last week, I ran about a 10:08 min/mile. I’ve been moving faster, breathing better, and feeling stronger! Granted, I had some longer runs last week (like 7 miles) compared to my longest run this week being 4 miles, and I generally take my longer runs slower. At this point I’m 12 miles away from my goal (of running 70 miles in November)- meaning I have 4 miles/day to run. Urg. It’s so cold in the mornings!! 😦 BUT I CAN DO IT!

On a non-running note, I am SO excited for Christmas! Because I work in higher Education, my office CLOSES for the week between Christmas and New Years so I’m lounging around (aka going on long runs) and relaxing!

I know this sounds strange, but I do more running on holidays than I do during regular life because not working actually gives me time to go on those long runs! Anyone else feel the same way?

This American Thanksgiving

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Since I do come from American roots, I have celebrated more Thanksgivings that I can count. Actually, I don’t really remember one that I missed! I come from a large dutch family that is loud and lively, and always up for a good time filled with chocolate pie, laughter and games (sometimes guns, with the season closing that weekend). And since I’m born Canadian, I was lucky enough to celebrate twice!

Here is my long list, to join all my friends spamming our newsfeeds, of things I’m grateful for:

1. Two glorious days off work. Well, with the weekend backed up, it’s 4 days in a row! Feel sorry for my overworked, frazzled brain!

2. I’ve been keeping up with the running. So the pounds won’t be sticking. BRING ON THE TURKEY and PIE! ❤

3. The temperatures are GLORIOUS for long runs. I’m not training for anything right now, so I suppose you could call me a ‘recreational runner’. Wait, you can call me that even when I am training for a half-marathon. Running is about being fun. Not a lot of seriousness involved… don’t judge. 🙂

4. Spending time with my amazing family. When I got married, I struck gold, because his family is wonderful! I’m more about the family than I am about the food. That’s what Thanksgiving is really about for me.

5. And the food. I can’t wait to try the gloriously unhealthy Cranberry Bliss Bars I made (yup, stole the recipe from Starbucks!) I spent the whole evening in the kitchen tonight making food, and I’m equally excited for the HEALTHY Sweet Potato Casserole I made from Dashing Dish! It’s going to be delicious, along with the Pumpkin Coffee Cake for first thing in the morning. Wow, I’m gaining weight just typing this.

What are you in charge of making? First time at this dish or are you a pro? I’d love to hear about your Thanksgiving food!

Excited about a 5 mile run in the morning! Enjoy your holiday!