Friday, August 29, 2014

Who shares some NYC pictures ...

I want to share a simple idea with you in honor of Fitness Friday - go on a run or a walk somewhere new and fun! Summer is coming to a close, so take advantage of the amazing weather and go explore a new area. I run the same running routes around my house every morning and they can get boring and can make running seem like a chore. Something as simple as picking a new path or running route can really freshen up your routine and remind you why you love running and working out so much!

I travel for work, and when I am in a new city I LOVE exploring new places to run!!

I was in New York for work this week and I wanted to share some pictures. New York City is unlike any other city in the USA (and I mean that mostly as a compliment). It can give you so much energy, but it can also make you feel very small too. NYC is a concrete jungle, but there are many beautiful things about it too - especially my favorite place ever .... Central Park!
Early morning flight lets me watch the sunrise ABOVE the clouds!
SO many buildings and high rises!
The cutest store front ever - look at the hanging ball jars with flowers
Cute shops around ever corner
My trip was really quick, but I was staying close to Central Park, so I had the chance to take a long walk around it one evening and then do a tempo run through it one morning too. Here are some of my favorite views of the park. I love the high rise building contrasting against the green and the water of the park!

Ahhh!! So pretty!

Also - I feel very lucky that I get to travel with my job and explore new cities, but sometimes traveling for work is not as sexy as it seems.
Eating Chipotle in my hotel room, while studying - not super glamorous (but delicious!).

So --- I will end this post by encouraging you to go explore a new running path, or even a new fitness studio! Freshen things up and energize yourself!!

Where do you want to explore?? And what is your plan for Labor Day weekend?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Who is sharing the easiest chicken recipe ever!

Good Morning! Good Morning! 

(someone at work pointed out that I like to say a lot of thing in twos - "good morning, good morning" or "hello, hello" - not really sure why? Just want to sound upbeat maybe?)
Since this blog post has no pictures - thought I would add one of Yosey =)
On Monday I mentioned I was going to share about my weekend today ... but I have to admit, I just did not get to it (and I did not take enough pictures ... need to get better about that!!).

I never want to "glorify busy" and make it seem like I am important because I am the busiest person in the world... but since I did start my Human Anatomy class and lab this week, I have been a little bit out of the loop - but hopefully I will find my groove soon and can get into a schedule.
Also, as you read this - I am probably in the air on my way to NYC for a work trip. Short trip, but get excited for some Central Park running pictures =)

I wanted to pop in today to share the easiest recipe in the world!

On Mondays and Tuesdays I will have about 10 minutes to eat dinner before my 6pm classes and I also want to be a good wife and have dinner for my hubby ... therefore, the crockpot will become a good friend! One of my favorite crockpot recipes is ....


  • 1 big chicken breast or 2-3 small chicken breasts
  • 1/2 a packet of taco seasoning (reduced sodium!)
  • 1 can of black beans (reduced sodium and drained)
  • 1 can green chilies 
  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa (Have an extra jar or a bigger jar for chips or to use if needed)
  1. Put your chicken breast into the crockpot and sprinkle the taco seasoning on all sides 
  2. Pour in the black beans, chilies and salsa
  3. Stir the ingredients and make sure the chicken is completely covered and there is some liquid in the crockpot, if the chicken is not covered - add more salsa (or if you are going to have the crockpot on for more than 6 hours - add more salsa to insure it does not dry out)
  4. Turn the crockpot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6 hours. (You can use frozen chicken too - but allow for extra time)
  5. Once the chicken is cooked, it should fall apart easily and shred it with 2 forks 
This chicken is very tasty and moist and you can use it in so many different ways!
You can make chicken tacos, big taco salads, or I have used it in casseroles too.

A tasty, easy casserole can be made as follows: take the cooked, warm, shredded chicken and put it into a 8 X 8 pan and then top the chicken with corn bread batter (Jiffy is the best!) - then bake the 8 X 8 pan according to the directions of the corn bread. Once the corn bread is cooked, you can dish it out! Yummm  ....

Now it is your turn - help me out and share some of your favorite healthy crock pot recipes?!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Who participated in a CSA

Hello Everyone!
Rise and Shine and get ready for the week ahead! Last week of August ... wow... and then it is September (great month by the way .... birthday month!!) ... and then it is Christmas before we know it.

I had an AMAZING weekend with family and friends in Indianapolis, but I am going to post about that on Wednesday ... so I can have more time to write about it.

For now - I wanted to pop in and share about my experience participating in a CSA.
I shared a bit about a CSA in this blog post, but in summary CSA stands for Community Support Agriculture.
Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.

CSAs help the farmers because they receive payment early in the season, which helps with their cash flow. The consumer benefits because they get exposed to new produce and get to eat ultra fresh, local veggies.

Ann Arbor has a lot of different farms that do CSAs, so it was hard to choose, but B and I chose a lesser known, smaller farm that had a very affordable price and an easy pickup location.

We have been getting our produces boxes for about 8 weeks now and I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the process!

Lessons Learned and Thoughts About Participating in a CSA 

  • Kale is very good for you ... but there is such a thing as too much kale
    • B and I got kale in our box for about 5 weeks in a row, and man... we were both pretty sick of kale! We sauteed it, massaged it, baked it, made kale chips, and froze it for soups. I won't be picking a kale salad at any restaurants for awhile.
  • A lot of kale (and veggies) can wreck havoc on your stomach
    •  B and I have always been pretty healthy eaters, and before the CSA, we usually ate a salad with most of our dinners ... but once we started our CSA, a large portion of our dinners were veggies - and very fiber-filled veggies. This sudden influx in fiber did not go over well with my stomach.
Squash and green beans galore!
  • You get weird ingredients and then you make weird things?  
    • This part has been pretty fun! I like when we get "new to me" ingredients like kohlrabi (after trying it a few ways ... gross!), garlic scapes, turnip greens, and more. We had no idea what to do with the garlic scapes, so after a little research - I decided to make garlic scape pesto. Actually - it was pretty good. The baba ghanoush I made with eggplant ... not so much.

  • You can roast basically anything ... and it usually tastes pretty good!
    • When we got anything unusually - I just chopped it up and sprinkled it with olive oil and garlic and stuck it in the oven to roast ... and after being caramelized - it was usually delicious! Exception - radishes ... always gross.
  • You will google image search leafy greens to figure out what you are eating!
    • Each week we pick up our box of veggies with no other information. I wish our CSA farm provided us a list of all of the veggies that are in our box, because there has been a few times that we get something and have no idea what it is? We are google searching images of green leafy veggies to figure out what we are putting into our mouth (and the best way to cook it).

We still have a few weeks left in our CSA, and I hope to get some fall squash, like butternut or acorn! Overall, I think it has been a really fun experience, but it does add a little pressure to dinners every week because you want to make sure you use all of the veggies that you get.
I am not 100% sure we will do it next year, but I am glad we did it this year!

Have any of you done a CSA? What is the weirdest veggies you have ever eaten? 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Five Things Friday 8.22.14

I absolutely loved participating in Clare's Five Things Friday post last week ... so I am back to do it again this week!

I think I will do Fitness Friday two Fridays a month and Five Things Friday the other two.

Before I jump into my Five Things ... I wanted to say I am super excited for this weekend! B and I are heading down to Indianapolis to see family and good friends, go to an outdoor concert, eat ice cream, play with babies, and more. It should be a great time and I can't wait to tell you all about it next week!

Five Things I Ate

  • Collider from Roy's Diner
    • If you are from Ann Arbor (especially if you went to school at UofM), Roy's Diner is kind of famous. It is a hole in the wall restaurant that has frozen yogurt and Korean ... random! I went there for their frozen yogurt! They make a blizzard like concoction with fro yo and you can add anything you want. So delicious! I got strawberries, bananas (healthy!?), Golden Grahams, and real cookie dough.
  • Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt Guacamole
    • This guacamole is amazing! So good -- you have to try it! 
  •  Fresh Green Beans
    • We have gotten green beans in our CSA the last couple of weeks, and I have been loving it! I love them steamed, but I also love to roast them. They get a little charred and I eat them with my hands like french fries.
  •  Oatmeal, Pecan, Chocolate Chip Cookies 
    • Made these tasty cookie to take with us this weekend to share with family!
    • Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Around |
      Recipe is from Half Baked Harvest Blog (Source)
  • Soy Marinated Cod (from Trader Joe's also)
    • My sister in law made cod for us when we went camping in Northern Michigan and I loved it (I usually stick with tilapia). Since I loved it so much, I decided to go out and buy some and we just baked it in the oven and it was pretty good.

Five Workouts 

My workouts are pretty similar from last week ... run and run some more.

- 6 mile morning run with my running buddies (legs were heavy because I did my long run on Sunday)
-Taught my last barre class!

- 8 mile morning run

- 800 WORKOUT - 6 X 800 meters  - 7.5 miles
Tried to push it pretty hard, but felt pretty good (new shoes made my feet feel like they were on clouds)
I am very grateful for the company I had on the run! (thank you Laura!)

- Day off (Unless floating in a pool with a cute baby counts as a workout)

- 9 miles

Five Pins

Drunken noodles with sausage, veggies, and fresh basil - I love drunken noodles! (Source)

TOO CUTE! (see a theme of Golden puppies pinned??) (Source unknown)

Pumpkin Chocolate Brownies ... it is almost pumpkin season!! (Source)

I need this quote right now ... about to start my first prereq class on Monday and it sure seems like a LONG road ahead! (Source unknown)

I am a sucker for Kate Spade (but too pricey for me) - but this coat is gorgeous!! (Source)

Five Things Making Me Happy

  • Making friends in Ann Arbor and settling in! 
    • It has taken a while for Ann Arbor to truly feel like home, but I am really grateful for some close friends I have made and some new, fun friends I have met recently!
  •  Starting my Human Anatomy Class on Monday!? 
    • I think this will make me happy... I am really nervous, but at the same time I am also very excited to take the first step. I declared this week my last week of freedom, so I do know things will change ... but I will be working towards a big goal. 
  • Soggy Cereal
    • As a blogger I want to be transparent - so I want to admit, even though it may be gross to some, I love my cereal really soggy! Like I put milk over the cereal and put it into the fridge for a while soggy.... Any other believers? 
  •   Catch up time with B and Yosey
    • Recently I feel like B and I have been on totally different schedules (it does not help that he worked over 100 hours last week). On nights he gets home early I have had things going on and vice versa ... so one night this week we just got to sit down and catch up and chat and be a big happy family (yupp ... corny). 
  • The book Fault in our Stars
    • The book actually makes me sad and grateful, but I love it. It is a young adult book, which makes it a very easy read. I hope to finish it this week and then I will go see the movie. I love that it is set in Indianapolis too and talks about a lot of familiar sights.  


 Now your turn!!?? What have you eaten this week and what has made you happy? And most importantly ... anyone else like soggy cereal?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Who Wants to Share her Favorite Blogs

Kidding Kidding ... but this blog is about finding a happy balance right!?!

I started this blog because I love the healthy living blogging community - there are some amazing blogs out there that are so interesting and inspiring and some that I love because the blogger seems so real!

I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite blogs, because they are the reason I decided to take the plunge and start on my own blogging adventure. You can click on their name to take you to their fabulous blogs!
  •  Julie at PBFingers
    • I have been following Julie's blog for a few years now and I just LOVE it! She blogs twice a day and basically just shares about her life - but she writes in such a way that draws you in and is also very real and approachable. I kind of think of her as a celebrity ... I tweeted at her once and I got SO excited when she tweeted back at me (dork!). 
  • Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean
    • Lindsay is a Registered Dietitian, but she went back to school after working for a few years and realizing she was not in the right field. I will say that she was one of the biggest inspiration for me to take the leap and go back to school - seeing that she did it and was successful was really helpful! She is currently expecting her first baby! Check her blog out on Mondays when she does "Bean Bytes" - sharing interesting articles from all over the internet. 
  •  Kath at Kath Eats Real Food
    • Kath is another Registered Dietitian who went back to school and she shares some good recipes and shares about the daily musings of her life. Also, her husband owns a Great Harvest Bread Company, which is one of my favorite small business food chains!
  •  Nicole at Pumps & Iron
    • First - most creative name ever! Nicole is goofy and can make me laugh out loud. She shares some great workouts that you can do at home or in the park with very little equipment!
  •  Shay at Mix and Match Family (family blog) and Mix and Match Mama (foodie/recipe blog)
    • I am embarrassed to say that I found Shay's blog because of the the TV show The Bachelor! Her brother was Sean Lowe (who was the bachelor who "found love" with Catherine), and I think I googled him (sorry B =) and I ran a cross her blog and got hooked. On her family blog she talks about how to balance family life and gives some great tips on her weekly posts called "50 Shades of Shay." On her foodie blog she shares really easy recipes that make feeding a family and cooking on weeknights easier. 
  • Meredith at The Mitten Wife
    • Meredith is actually a good friend here in Ann Arbor. It is a long story, but I actually found her blog before I moved here and reached out ... and now we are friends! Her blog touches on many different aspects of her life - expected new baby! photography, home improvements, and the life of a doctor (resident) wife. Her husband is in his 3rd year of ENT residency.
I could go on because there are some wonderful blogs out there - but these are the ones I read the most often and have hooked me!  (and I do not want to list too many and have you think all I do is read blogs ...)

Let me know what you think and what other blogs do you read??

Monday, August 18, 2014

Who shares about barre classes ...

Good Morning to you!
I hope you are waking up refreshed and ready for the week.

I am waking up a little groggy because of a weekend away, but nothing that a morning run can't fix!
I had a great weekend in Chicago with a lifelong friend and her 2 kids! We played at the pool, played at the park, and sang Disney songs at the top of our lungs. Such a fun weekend, and so glad we have stayed close all of these years.

Last Fall I decided to take the plunge and start teaching Fitness Classes at a local Ann Arbor gym called Vie. (Ann Arbor readers - great gym, owned by 2 great, local ladies!)

I have always LOVED taking group fitness classes because they expose me to new things and new moves - and being part of a group pushes me and also allows me to bond with other active ladies (or men).

Since B was so busy working, and I did have some of my evenings free - I decided it was a perfect time to add Group Fitness Instructor to my list of hobbies (And full disclosure - as an instructor, I get to take other classes for free, HUGE PERK!)

I got certified and started teaching Barre classes and fell in love with the class.
Since I am taking Human Anatomy this Fall and 2 of my evenings are filled to the brim with the class -  I have decided I need to cut back on my fitness classes and tonight is my last Barre class that I am teaching for a while. I am sad because I love teaching (and just doing) the class - and I will miss some of the regulars that come every week.

BUT - in honor of teaching my last class ... I thought I would share some thoughts/tips about barre classes. I know coming to a group fitness class can be a bit intimidating if you do not know what to expect - so hopefully these tips will help and push you to take the plunge and sign up for a new class! (For readers in Ann Arbor - first class at Vie is FREE!)

Barre Class Tips and TidBits 

  • Barre is a generic term 
    • Barre defines a class that uses a ballet barre and uses small, isolated movements set to upbeat music. There are certain types of barre that have their own format - such a PureBarre - and then there are certain nationwide studios that teach different types of Barre classes - such as The Barre Code - and lastly there are gyms that teach barre classes, along with other classes - such as my gym Vie.
    • I was certified by a local gym in Detroit that has its own Barre format - but gives the instructors a lot of flexibility in class
  • Barre uses lighter weights but more repetitions
    • In my first barre class, I thought it was silly we had 3 pound weights  - but as we were doing what felt like our millionth arm exercise in a row, I understood why we had 3 pound weights!
    • For your first class - use the 2 or 3 pound weights and if needed, stop and shake out your arms in the middle of a series
Vie's downtown studio
  • Because Barre uses more reps and longer holds - you need to focus and breath
    •  Your muscles are going to shake - but try to focus and push through! Always listen to your body and take breaks when needed, but if your muscles start shaking (totally normal), you do not need to break right way ... keep pushing a bit longer!
The infamous "Chair Pose" - hard but great!
  • Barre can help your flexibility
    • Barre class helps tone your muscles, but it also involves a lot of stretching! After you rip your muscles holding the "chair pose" for a few minutes, it is important to stretch those muscles you just worked to help them lengthen
    • BUT  - you do not have to be a flexible ballerina to take a class. I am an instructor and I am very inflexible ... but working on it
  • What to wear:
    • Yoga half tights - they are better than shorts, because it will prevent sneaking anyone a peak when you bend over and get in different positions
    • Sleeveless workout top - gives your arms more range of motion
    • Barefoot or grippy sock 
  • Form is really important 
    • Listen to the instructor and make sure you understand the position. This will help prevent injury and also get the most out of the workout.
    • Let your instructor know you are new
  • Get excited to see results! 
    • I can honestly say that since I have been teaching I have noticed that my arms are more toned and my booty is more lifted
Please let me know if you have any other barre questions or group fitness class questions in general! If you are feeling nervous about attending a class - ask a friend to join you and take the plunge!!

How was everyone's weekend?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Five Things Friday 8.15.14

Whoooo Friday! 

Instead of Fitness Friday (see Monday's post for some running inspiration), I decided to participate in Clare's "Five Things Friday." Clare has a really successful blog called Fitting it all In
that hits on living a balanced and healthy life! Clare just made a career change too - she is going back to medical school! Funny to think that she will be a doctor before I finish my crazy long path to becoming an RD.

"Five Things Friday" serves as a quick recap of my favorite eats and drinks, favorite workouts, and happy moments of the week! I thought it would be a great week to participate, since I just posted about remembering to stop and be grateful for the happy things! 

Since this is my first week participating ... I have to admit ... I did not do very well remembering to photograph everything from the week. I will get better and have more pictures on future "Five Things Friday!"

Five Things I Ate: 

  •  Homemade chicken curry 
    • I was sick of the traditional Mexican and Italian dishes I was making, so I decided to spice things up a bit and made chicken curry! With red chili paste and coconut milk and tons of veggies ... it was pretty tasty! It will be something I keep tweaking - but B liked it too. 
  • Corn on the Cob 
    •  I LOVE fresh corn on the cob, so when it is in season ... I always try to take advantage! B bought 12 ears at the Farmer's market on Saturday, so we have been enjoying it boiled, microwaved, and grilled. So good and fresh - it does not even need butter!
  • Baba Ganoush  
    • Baba ga WhAt? Baba Ganoush is a Mediterranean spread that is made with eggplant. I would compare it to hummus, but with eggplant. We (ok ok, it is B's garden ... I do very little to help out) have a little garden on our patio, and we B harvested some eggplant recently. There is only so much roasted eggplant that you can eat ... so I decided to use it to make homemade Baba Ganoush! Since it was my first shot at making it, I would say it is not bad -- but the recipe is definitely not ready to share on the blog yet.
  •  A Fruit Baby
    • I went to a baby shower on Saturday and the amazing host made the below fruit baby. How cute is that?!? And delicious!
  • Greek Yogurt & Cereal & Granola
    • This is not exciting, but it gives you a peek into my everyday eats! I am the type of person that could eat the same thing everyday ... so I do for breakfast. Greek yogurt, half a frozen banana, and whatever other fruit I have around. I top it with Honey Bunches of Oats and sometimes a little granola for added crunch (usually not too much granola because it has a lot of added sugars and calories ... I know Honey  Bunches of Oats has added sugar too ... balance?). 

Five Workouts:

 - 8 mile morning run (great way to start the week and great company!)
 - Taught Barre Class in the evening - had almost a full class! Great class and was extra sore?

- 6 mile morning run (hilly!)

- HILL WORKOUT - 5 LONG hill repeats - 7 miles total (thanks to Laura & Kristy for joining)

- Rest Day from running
- Walk around the Arb with a friend and her cute baby

- 9 mile morning run

Five Pins:

I love polka dots, I love full skirts and unique details - this outfit is so perfect and fun! (Source)
Too cute not to share - but also reminds me that Yosey is not a puppy anymore =( (Source)
So true! Especially for B! (Source)
How delicious does this look! (Source)
Need to remind myself too! (Source)

Five Things Making me Happy: 

  • Tim Riggins from Friday Night Lights (the TV series) ... he makes me happy =) I LOVE the TV series Friday Night Lights. I have already seen all 5 seasons, but B has not ... so it has become the show that B and I watch together to relax every once in a while. Curling up on the couch with B and watching my favorite show -- that makes me happy! 
  • Michigan summer weather! Nice and cool in the morning for an amazing run, and then warms up to that perfect high 70s (low 80s) temperature during the day! (Ignore the floods that recently just hit Detroit this Monday ... that was rare). 
  • Noonday Trunk Show I attended on Wednesday evening at a good friend's house.
    Noonday Collection is an accessory/ jewelery line with some amazing items. Noonday's mission is to create economic opportunity for the vulnerable. They partner with artisans in the developing world, empowering them to grow sustainable businesses. By creating a marketplace for their goods, they create dignified jobs at living wages. The thing that I think makes Noonday unique from other impactful jewelry lines - their stuff is amazing and SOOO cute! Therefore, you are making a difference and getting something that is gorgeous and well made. Check them out for Christmas gifts??
  • My weekend plans to go to Chicago to see my best friend from childhood. We have plans to hang out at the pool all weekend with her 2 kiddos ... could not be more excited! (long run on Lakeshore ... yes please!)
  •  Bulk Bins! I get way to excited when a store has bulk bins! I love to control the amount I get and I love to sample (don't act like you have never sampled from a bulk bin!). If I bought a whole pre-packaged bag of plantain chips or trail mix, I would eat it all and be sick (self control issues sometimes), but a bulk bin allows me to get a single serving that I will most likely eat in the car on the way home.
    YOUR TURN! What has made you happy this week? Or what delicious food have you eaten?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Who defines her happiness ...

Hello Everyone!

I hope you are all having a good week! Did you guys see the SUPER moon this weekend. It was so bright and completely lit up the sky. I read that is was the brightest moon of the year - meaning it was the closest the moon will get to the Earth in 2014.
That is your Fun Fact of the day ... maybe that will help you get a question right at a trivia night!?!
(I love trivia nights!)

Got side tracked there for a second ... back to happiness ...

There has been a lot of things roaming the social media world about happiness and gratitude ... 100DaysofHappiness and more.
I think the topic of happiness is very interesting because essentially we are all in search of finding happiness everyday - but I think one of the biggest things that helps you, me and everyone find this perplexing emotion we call happiness is our own attitude.

You might not know, but my College major was Political Science, and one of my favorite politicians (or Americans in general) is Abraham Lincoln - and he says it best:
"Most folks are as happy as they make their minds to be."
- Abraham Lincoln

I am not writing this post as a lecture at all, because I constantly need to work on remembering to be grateful and to remind myself that my attitude and approach to different situations is up to me. 
Don't get me wrong - there are days that are just "blah" and wallowing in self pity seems like it will help - it never does ... but sometimes grumpiness happens. 

I do not want to over analyze this subject, because ironically, discussing happiness can sometimes cause others happiness levels to increase or decrease ... and I only want to help others increase and choose positivity! 

Today, I am going to use my little corner of the internet list just a few things I am grateful for and that make me happy! I encourage all of you to do this every once in while too because it is amazing how much you have to be grateful for when you focus on looking for the best! Tying this back to fitness ... I LOVE thinking about happy things and grateful things on runs ... great way to start the day with a positive run. 

"Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life"
- Omar Khayyam

  • My family
    •  I am very thankful for my loving family  ... I always can feel their support and know they are there for help and for fun adventures too!
      Missing the twin girls that were not born yet - almost a year old!
    • My married (in law) family also makes me so happy. They are so helpful and gracious and they have an admirable relationship with God that I hope to learn from.
  • My husband
    • B's support and love makes me happy everyday and I am so grateful that we both try to put each other first and are constantly trying to remember the others happiness. I could go on and on ... which also makes me happy =)
  • Yosey
    • She is the perfect example of happiness - She is constantly positive (tail wagging) and showing her love. She does not need fancy toys to make her day, she just wants to be played with and loved on. She always can make me smile and makes me feel so special. 
  • Traveling
    • Exploring a new city and finding fun restaurants, interesting shops, talking with new people ... so much to be happy about! I am lucky and have a some amazing trips coming up too!
  • Watching someone accomplish a fitness goal
    • I am not a crier ... I have actually been called "cold and heartless," because I do not cry in movies, but watching any sort of race or physical goal can make me sob! I love watching someone cross a finish line and be overwhelmed with pride. At my mom's swimming race on Sunday, there was a girl who was almost last place in the 10K swim, but when she crossed the finish line - she was hugged by so many loved ones and she just started crying because she had accomplished her huge goal.... and.... I started crying.
  • Farmer's markets
    • I know this seems small compared to the other points - but they make me happy!
  • Beer gardens
    • I love discovering new microbreweries and trying new beers and I love drinking outdoors - therefore, a beer garden is one of my happy places =)
  • Bike rides with fun destinations
Bike riding around Napa Valley - about to drink some bubbly!
  • Cooking dinner or baking in the kitchen with trashy TV on in the background
    • I will fully admit that I am bad at relaxing and resting (always have to feel productive)- therefore, when I am cooking in the kitchen I feel like I am accomplishing something, but I am also getting to relax and watch some mindless shows.
  • Finding the perfect gift for someone
    • My language of love is gift giving - and I find soooo much happiness in giving someone a thoughtful gift!

Share some things that makes you happy?!? It might make someone smile and say ME TOO!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Who runs fartleks ...

The word fartlek is just kind of funny ... so I wanted to use it in the post title! 

As the picture says ... it is Monday - so take the week by the horns kick ass and take some names.

I have been talking a lot about biking and swimming on the blog, and running was starting to feel left out ... so today's post is all about running!

To hold myself accountable, I thought I would give you a little update on my Detroit Marathon training.
It is still pretty early in the game, but things are going pretty well. I originally said I wanted to take this marathon training super serious and hit every workout and long run - but I forgot that running is not my career and life happens. For example, the next 3 weekends I am either traveling or have guests - so I have to be strategic about getting my long runs in ... and I am ok with it!  I am trying to plan ahead and squeeze them in during the week (hard to do), or break them up into 2 "longish" runs on the same day. I would rather run 16 miles straight, but this weekend I did 8 miles in the morning on Friday and 8 in the afternoon - it is just what worked best and I am still getting the miles on my legs.

I have done a few speed workouts, but I want to focus more on this aspect. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can do some hill workouts, intervals and fartleks. I always feel so accomplished after a workout and I know they can REALLY help - I just need to do it.

I use the words interval and fartlek on the blog, and I wanted to make sure you knew what they meant and share an example workout for each term!

Interval Workout

As defined by Runner's World - Interval training, also known as interval workouts or interval runs, are short, intense efforts followed by equal or slightly less recovery time. An interval workout is more structured than a fartlek and in an interval workout - you want to push above your red line (aka - really push yourself), because you will get a recovery. 

An interval workout can be on a track or can be on the roads, but you will usually be running a marked, specific distance. 

I am going to share a traditional track, interval workout that is hard, but awesome! I got this idea from my awesome running group - PR Fitness.
First ----- Make sure you properly warm up - I usually run 2 miles to get sweaty and get the blood pumping!

Another difference between an interval workout and a fartlek run is that in an interval workout, you normally stop after the warm up run and do a little stretching before you jump into the workout. 

The workout is a series of 800 meter repeats - I would recommend either 4 or 6 repeats depending on your fitness level and desire to really push yourself.

Instead of just the traditional 800 meter repeats with equal rest ... there is a twist =)
The recovery (either jogging or static) between each 800 meter repeat starts at 1 minute and 20 seconds, and then decreases by 10 seconds every repeat. The idea is to hold the pace from you first 800 meters, even though you are getting less rest time. 

Just like you need to hold the pace in a race, even when you are tired! 

After the 800 meter repeats, make sure you cool down - I usually run 1 to 2 miles. The warm up and cool down help you reach you mileage goals. 

Fartlek Workout

As defined by Runner's World - Fartlek is Swedish for "speed play," and that is exactly what it’s all about. Unlike tempo and interval work, fartlek is unstructured and alternates moderate-to-hard efforts with easy throughout. A fartlek helps you work on stamina and helps you work on pacing and knowing your different paces. 

Fartleks are very easy to incorporate on normal road runs. If you are heading out on a 6 mile run, you can use the first 2 miles as a warm up and run them at your normal "everyday" pace. Then, you can play with speed and pick up the pace for a certain time period (or even pick a tree to run hard to) and then bring the pace back to a jog to recovery. During a fartlek, you want to be running hard, but you do not want to be killing yourself. It is about stamina. 
Here is a simple pyramid fartlek run:
  1. Pick a 5 or 6 mile running route, and run the first 2 miles as a warm up pace.
  2. Run hard for 2 minute and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes (slower than "everyday" pace)
  3. Run hard for 3 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
  4. Run hard for 4 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
  5. Run hard for 4 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
  6. Run hard for 3 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes 
  7. Run hard for 2 minutes and then run at a slow jog for 2 minutes
This workout is stated easier by calling it a: 2, 3, 4, 4, 3, 2, with 2 minute recovery. Therefore, you will be running hard for 18 minutes.

These times can all be alternated and you can make it less structured too by just running hard and not always timing every detail. The awesome thing about fartleks are their flexibility and how easy they are to incorporate into your weekly runs!

I hope this information is helpful! When I start talking about running ... I can get long winded!

I want to close by saying that incorporating a little speed work in your runs is good and appropriate for everyone. Sometimes I find myself thinking that since I am not an "elite" runner, doing workouts is silly -- but that is not true! Interval runs or fartleks can be good for everyone - it gives you variety and can help you improve too.

Are you training for anything - and how is your training going?
If you are not training for anything, how was your weekend??


I am not a registered dietitian (yet). My blog is simply a snapshot of my everyday life. The views I express are mine alone, based on my own experiences, and should not be taken as medical advice. Though I am a certified fitness instructor, the workouts I post may not be right for you. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.