Posted in: Bike Chronicles, Daily Life

This week has been filled with holiday things.  We had our run group Secret Santa on Monday and tonight we had the Christmas Light Bike Ride.  I was a little worried that it was going to rain tonight and we wouldn’t be able to ride.  It was misty, but I still made it.  It was really hard to see.

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It all started with Sainta Clause.  Who Dat!

Dancing #santas!

A video posted by Angela (@angelabeatfat) on

And then there were dancing Santas.

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I had to get my picture taken with one of the dancing Santas.

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I had a good time talking with Crystal on the ride. I never ever get a chance to talk to her so it was a good time. She’s a cool chick!

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I enjoyed riding and looking at the Christmas lights! Some people really went all out with the lights. The photo above is courtesy of Karen Bourdier!

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When I tried to take pictures of the lights, this is what I got. I’m not good at moving photography.

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I had a good time with my friends!  The bike ride is always a highlight of the year.  It’s becoming a Christmas tradition for us.  I really love doing it.

Posted in: Personal Goals, Race Recap, Running

My double header weekend ended with the BCS Marathon in College Station, TX!  We literally finished Brazos Bend and jumped in the car to get to College Station for packet pick-up!  I hate that we didn’t make in time for the expo, but we did make it there in time for the start of late pick up.

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Everyone was eyeing us because we already had medals on.  It was kind of awkward but funny.  We decided to take a picture by the tree.  At this point we had been in the car for almost two hours and we were starting to stiffen up.  That was the only thing that had me worried about running another marathon.

We checked into the hotel and grabbed some grub but we had to prep for the race the next morning.  I always have a hard time sleeping after marathons but I was forcing myself to sleep that night.  BCS Marathon started at 7am but it was a mile from the hotel and there was plenty of parking.  We didn’t have to get up too early but I did anyway.

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We arrived early and used the portolets.  I’ll spare you a very nasty experience from Jes.  Just know it wasn’t awesome.  Jes seemed really nervous about running the race.  I tried to calm her nerves.  My mind set was we were already there and committed to do so there wasn’t really much to worry about.  We just needed to get it done.

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I met up with some old friends from high school which was pretty awesome.

And then the race started.  My hamstring had been bugging me but it wasn’t hampering me from running.  Other than that I felt fine.  I was ready to run, until we started running and it was extremely humid.  After the first mile, I found the 5 hour pacer and I told him I was going to stay with him.  But he looked like he was moving slower than I wanted to move, but I stuck with him for a few miles.  But when we broke away from half marathon people at mile 3.5, I decided to leave the pacer and just do my own thing.  At this point, I was wishing it would rain so the humidity would back off a bit.  I wasn’t prepared to run in conditions like that. I was worried it was going to be like that the entire race.

The streets of Bryan were not my favorite.  The streets were a little torn up but I just watched my step and kept pushing.  I had to turn my timer on pretty early on in the race because I didn’t want to struggle.  I thought it was the best option for this race.  I was armed with my fuel, GU every 40 minutes and a salt tablet every hour.  I was feeling pretty strong.  I was finding people to pace with along the way and thought I was doing great until I realized the two guys I was trying to keep pace with were MARATHON RELAY people.  That’s not a bad thing but they didn’t quite as long to go as I did.  I was kind of cursing myself for that but I didn’t know and I didn’t think to look at their bibs after the split.  I didn’t even know there was a marathon relay.

I crossed the half marathon mark at 2:25 which is 11 minutes slower than my Memphis time the week before.  I wasn’t shooting for a PR and at this point I knew I wasn’t going to come close to it. I didn’t expect to run anything less than a 5 hour marathon.  I really just wanted to reach the end without being dead.  The timer was working well for me but the wind started to pick up.  The wind gusts were pretty gusty.  I would take that instead of it being humid.  We began the run on some country roads which were my favorite parts of the run.  I really enjoyed it.  I felt at peace in those moments.

I don’t remember much about what happened after that except it was WINDY.  The course took us through Texas A&M University which was nice because this was all stuff I hadn’t seen before.  We had to run over a couple of curbs and I thought I was lifting my feet but I guess it wasn’t.  The race was filled with some rolling hills but nothing major.  I was kind of worried about the downhills because of my Revel Rockies experience.  I just tried to control my speed on the way down.

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I finished the race in 4:57:25 which was fantastic.  If it wasn’t windy I know I would have came in at 4:48.  I just got lazy and didn’t want the fight the wind.  In the last 4 miles, I walked a little too much because i was kind of getting knocked over by the wind.  The miles from the day before were starting to hit me and I just couldn’t fight it anymore.  I let it get the best of me!  It was still a great time for me.  It was 2 minutes off my PR from the week before which made me feel great.

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This race was really great.  It was my first time running this race.  The swag was great.  We got a cotton long sleeve shirt and swiftwick socks.  When we finished the race we got a technical finisher shirt and a great large medal.   The aid stations were great and fully stocked with everything a person would need. The people were friendly and the course was excellent.  I am definitely coming back to run this race.  It was great!  I recommend this race to everyone who wants to run a fast course.

With this race came the end of my 2014 racing season. This was my 13th marathon of the year! I can’t believe I ran my first marathon in January and here it is in December and I ran 12 more marathons. I leveled up in my Marathon Maniacs status in one weekend. I had been working all of the fall season to make it level 3 but in one weekend I made it to level 4. All I can say is I am happy! I’m proud and I can’t wait to see what the 2015 holds for me.

Posted in: Foodie, Health, Tips, Working Out

Next week is Christmas.  Have you done your shopping?  I haven’t done much shopping at all.  I should probably get on it.  Just in case you’re still searching for the perfect gift or stocking stuffer, I thought I would go ahead and put my list out there.  All the lists out there seem to be the same: running shoes, running fuel, blah blah blah.  Here is my list of great gifts for your fitness/health junkie friends:

The price buster:

An iPod.  I know you can listen to music on  your phone and most people do.  But I think it’s great to have something that is just dedicated to the workout.  That way the person isn’t getting interrupted with phone calls or text messages when they are working out.

The stocking stuffer idea alternative for the iPod:

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Fitletic Armbad for $23.99.  I see people carrying their phones/iPods all the time and I think that’s nuts.  Put it on your arm and get your workout on without worrying about dropping the phone or whatever.

Gift a Spotify account for your buddy.  It’s $10 a month and access to unlimited music (that’s available).  That way a person can get access to all the music they like without being hit with a download restriction.  And of course, there is always an iTunes giftcard for music!

The useful gift:

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The Isobag cooler.  I’m going to do a full review of this cooler very soon for a video so i won’t spend too much time talking about it now.  But it’s a great gift for people who carry food with them often.  This cooler will be a meal preppers dream.  The coolers are a little on the expensive side but totally worth it.  The 3 meal edition is $65, but it comes with a lot of useful stuff.

The stocking stuffer addition to the cooler:

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Health Warrior Chia Bars are the greatest. I definitely hope I can get some of these in my stocking.  Chia seeds are a superfood and these bars taste so great in all flavors.  These are great snacks and excellent pre-workout!  The health minded are always looking for good snacks that are portable and these bars are pretty amazing.

Random gifts most would love:

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The Keysmart 2.0 organizes all your keys into something manageable.  I think this is a good gift because when I go to the gym or out for a run I’m always wondering about my keys and where to put them.  This little thing organizes the keys which will be able to store in a pocket with all the jingle jangle.  This retails for $19.99 in a variety of colors.

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Pro Compression socks are my favorite compression socks ever!  The motto is keep it tight and they definitely do!  The avid workout person would love to have these help with recovery.  The socks comes in different colors and designs and retail for $50, but right now you can enter promo code 2014 and get everything for 42% off.  That’s a great deal.

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The Skinny Taste cookbook is a must!  I love skinnytaste.com and found it very helpful for recipes when I wanted to try out some new stuff.  Now Gina has a cookbook and it’s taken the world by storm.  It’s a great gift that will keep on giving.

I hope you find the list helpful for finding some good gifts.

What is on your Christmas list this year?

Posted in: Race Recap, Running

This past weekend I committed to running the Brazos Bend 100 Marathon.  I orginally signed up to do the 50 miler but then decided that being an ultramarathoner wasn’t for me.  Then after running another ultra, I decided I should try the 50 miler and signed up again…but then I decided to drop down to the marathon. This was my 12th marathon of 2014!

I’m not a stranger to the trails.  I know trails are difficult.  I know they can mess with your mind.  But I also know running the trails can be peaceful and beautiful.  Willie was playing chaffeur for the weekend double which I’m glad that he did.  It was nice to have him there to drive us (Jesica and I) wherever we needed to go.  Big thanks to Willie for waking up at 3:00 am on Saturday to drive us to Brazos Bend State Park!

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A large number of our running group was doing this race.  We pretty  much covered every distance out there for this race: 100 miler, 50 mile, marathon and half marathon.  We even won running group of the year! This was the group of people running the marathon! We all had royal nicknames.  I was the Countess of Marathon.  It seemed fitting, right?

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I was excited to run with my friends! This was the first time Mel, Jes and I ran the same marathon. We all were training for our first marathon in the fall of last year which made us sole sisters for life.

Brazos bend

The race started at 7:45am with a 28 hour time limit. I started running with Jes and I fully intended on running the entire marathon with her. I was a little worried about seeing alligators on the course. I knew I would be fine but that still worried me. Safety in numbers, right?

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The course was pretty muddy in some parts but it didn’t seem like a big deal.

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It started off being one of the prettiest and easiest trails I’ve run this year. When it was pretty, it was great. We were having a good time, but I decided that I needed to leave Jes. The trail was starting to wear on me and I didn’t know how long I was going to be mentally checked in to the whole thing.

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And then I got into some of the worst loops on the trail. It was muddy. I got my foot stuck in the mud so many times. I lost my shoes a dozen times but luckily someone was always around to help me. With mud came mosquitoes and no amount of bug spray could ward them off. When I got to these points in the trail, I wished that I would have stayed with Jes. It was mentally draining. I couldn’t imagine having to do another loop of this. But I wasn’t beat down. Trails usually kick my butt but I was hanging in there with this one.

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There were definitely parts of the course that I just couldn’t run. I walked and dodged the parts I needed. I was a little disheartened when I arrived at a couple of water stations and there was no water. It wasn’t super hot but it was warm. I had my hydration vest on sometimes I just wanted some cooler water. I felt bad for people who had no water though because the aid stations were kind of far apart and I went to the 3 stations in a row that had NO water.

My watch lost signal around mile 20 so I just cut if off. I had no idea how much more I needed to do. I just knew this race was a little tough due to the mud and horse tracks. There were honestly times during this race I said to myself, “I really just want to run.” I was waiting for the moments when the trail cleaned up a bit so I could run safely. That moment came towards the end.

Finished the marathon! It sucked but I finished! On to the next marathon stop! #marathonmaniac #fitfluential #teamchocolatemilk

I was happy to finish! I’m usually no good on trails but I felt like I had accomplished something big on Saturday. I finished a marathon on a trail. Talk about something I didn’t think I was going to be able to do. I finished the race in 6:07:55 which is a time I’ll gladly take.

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Everyone thinks trail races are walk in the park, which sometimes they are but they are tough on your legs…and your mind. I was just so happy to finish. I was ready for the next day to run the BCS Marathon.

Would I run this race again?  The jury is still out.  Trail running isn’t my forte but I did like the whole group atmosphere with my running group.  I wasn’t as afraid of this trail as I had been in the past trails.  I just don’t love trail running as much as road running.  But I like looking at nature and there was so pretty stuff to see.

Posted in: Daily Life

I have a little bit more free time.  Things have settled in our house.  Willie is officially a marathoner and I’ve run my last races of the year.  Those recaps will be coming soon but for right now there is something else to talk about.

Now that I’m not running I have a little bit of time to clean shop around the blog.  It’s been a hard trying to find a balance in life.  I have my day job, my part time job and my blog job.  It’s been a whirlwind and I think I did a pretty good job of keeping up with it all.  I just want to become a little bit more efficient.  I’m excited to be bring some video content to the readers by the end of the year.

Also, I will be answering more questions.  So if you have any questions, leave a comment on the blog or contact me through e-mail or social media.  I want to spend more time connecting with you guys.  It’s been so great meeting many of the readers while I’ve been out and about this year.  I’m looking forward to going more places and meeting new people.

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I’ve been behind in life because we’ve been gone a bunch but yesterday I had some time to regroup.  First stop was the grocery store. I usually don’t shop the middle aisles but yesterday I was feeling lazy and wanted to get a packet of taco seasoning.  I was going to take the sodium hit but then I stopped Mrs. Dash TACO seasoning.  I was so happy.  No sodium hit!  I was so happy.  I wasn’t happy about the price being $125 but I thought it was worth it. Mrs. Dash seasoning packets come in taco, meatloaf and chili.  I will try out the rest of them to let you know how it turned out.  I was impressed with the taco seasoning though!

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I haven’t done a proper meal prep in awhile.  It’s always been going with the old staples or a healthy choice meal.  The past two weeks we’ve been living on healthy choice steamer meals.  I felt so bad that we were having them twice a day but I didn’t have enough to get anything together.  We’ve just been so stinkin’ busy. Yesterday I finally got to the store so I’m ready to get on track for the new year…until it all starts up again.

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And then I had to take an ice bath.  Two marathons in two days was brutal but it was also Three marathons in 8 days which was pretty rough.  I’ll probably have to take another ice bath today.

I just wanted to check in and say I’m ok. I’ll be doing race recaps today and filling you in some of the Christmas festivities we’ve been doing lately. I can’t wait to share some holiday stuff with you.

What is your favorite holiday song?

Posted in: Daily Life, Motivations

Yesterday was a pretty bad day.  Things has progressively gotten better throughout the day but it had taken a toll on me mentally.  A series of unfortunate events finally led me to the road.  I needed to burn off some of the stress that had been building all day.

Can't get over how early it gets dark. Had to pull out the headlamp. Took my #run a little too fast today. Oh well, how did u get active today? #fitfluential #ffcheckin #sweatpink #tiuteam
I hit the road to clear my mind. I felt really good when I was done. I was back in a better head space and I was ready to relax!

The bus got a flat! No exactly how we wanted to spend our Thursday night. #sequoia #Toyota #flattire
But then this happened! The bus aka The Sequoia had a really bad flat. When I got out of the car I could hear the air pouring out of the tire. The culprit: the largest nail I’ve ever see in my life. Ok, maybe it was a screw! This took up a lot of our time and at this point I was on the verge of having a really bad moment! I just wanted to relax. Learn how to use the Go Pro camera and watch Top Chef. None of that happened.

These are the people who inspire and motivate me to be better everyday! I love these people so much! Thank you for waking up to workout with me at 5am! #fitfluential #ffcheckin #exygon #sweatpink #mossa #whyimove

But last night before I bed, I took a reflection on the day. Yes, it was not the best day of my life but it was filled with some really great people. My husband did everything he could to help diffuse the situation, my mom came through with a big help in the end…and I taught a really great spin class yesterday morning with people I absolutely adore. Life may not have gone the way I wanted it to yesterday but I was still rich with love and happiness from other sources. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that when you’re going through the rough parts. My biggest advice is to stop, breathe, reflect and move on. Here’s to a better, brand new day!

What was a shiny spot in your day yesterday?

Sleep evades me

Posted in: Daily Life

I wish I had something more exciting to talk about but I don’t.  I have been desperately searching for sleep.  I haven’t had good sleep since Friday night.  After the marathon, I thought I was going to sleep really good but I didn’t.  I spent the majority of the night watching Willie get the best sleep of his life.

I went to sleep in the car on the way home Monday, but that was only for an hour.  Monday night I got absolutely no sleep and I had to get up to teach my 5AM cycle class.  I was hoping teaching that class would make me sleepy.  Maybe that worked a little bit though.

I left work early yesterday and I took a nap around 2pm for almost 3 hours.  It was great sleep because I didn’t even hear the phone ring.  I needed that rest.  I woke up to do some errands but I was still tired.

Melatonin

I went to the grocery store and spotted some melatonin. I wanted to buy some but man that stuff is EXPENSIVE or I’m just cheap.  You can choose whatever option you like. I’ve never done the melatonin thing before but I heard it works.  I guess I don’t want to become dependent on things like this, but I guess it was better than my other option of a Tylenol PM! Yes I considered it but the above argument forced me to put the bottle down and try to sleep.

I'm a #tea drinker! Green, black, chai, herbal...I love it all.

I was able to sleep last night after two cups of sleepytime tea! After drinking it, I started to think about the time I visited celestial seasonings.

I took the #tea tour and learned a lot. I'm so happy I got to do this. Guess who is in a good mood with a new favorite tea flavor? #celestialseasonings #boulder #travelgram
So that gave me some good dreams. The only bad thing about drinking that tea was the constant need to use the bathroom throughout the night! But I did get some sleep so I’m looking forward to another good night.

When you can’t sleep, what is your remedy?

Posted in: Personal Goals, Race Recap, Running, The Quest, Travel

Please excuse me while I talk about this race with great emotion.  This race was supposed to be my first race last year but we all know what happened.  This year it was Willie’s first marathon!  When we arrived in Memphis, I felt like I was running a marathon for the first time.  I was nervous.  I was excited.  I didn’t know what to expect.  There was only one thing I was interested in: watching Willie cross the finish line.

Willie has a strict “no running with me” rule and I had to abide by it.  It’s probably a good thing because I would have been shedding tears the entire race.  I was nervous for him.  I was excited for him.  I wanted him to do the best he possibly could.

St Jude Marathon 2014

We arrived Saturday morning very early because we didn’t know what the parking situation was going to be.  It was nice to have some time to relax and act stupid.  What we weren’t expecting was the hella long line to check the bag.  When I finally made it through the medal detectors and checked my bag it was 19 minutes to start.  That was cutting it too close for me.

We decided to start the race together in corral 8.  I thought this would give Willie a little bit more time to finish if he started up front.  There was a six hour course limit with some weird actual time of day restrictions so I didn’t want him worrying about that.  The weather was cool but very windy! It was actually a perfect running day besides the wind tunnel that went on the entire race.

St Jude Marathon 2014

We started the race at 8:14 am and that was the last time I saw Willie until he crossed the finish line.  I knew he didn’t want me worrying about him and I know he wanted me to run my race.  There were a lot of people running the half marathon and marathon relay, but there was also a good amount of people running the marathon.  I planned to run with the 4:40 pacer for a bit but I never saw a pacer the entire race.  That kind of bummed me out because I wanted to push my pace just a little.

St Jude Marathon

I enjoyed running down Beale Street.  I enjoyed seeing the sites of Memphis.  This is the city where I met fell in love with my husband.  I always love being here.  We ran past the zoo and around Overton Park.  That part got a little tricky because it rained so bad the day before.  And they have seasons here, so there were leaves on the ground.  Wet leaves is a perfect opportunity to slip especially while running a marathon.

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The miles passed very quickly for me.  I felt good.  I finished the first 13.1 in 2:14:05 which was a little faster than I anticipated but I didn’t mind because I knew I was going to need the time in the back half.  When I hit mile 13 I was feeling good.  My plan before the race was to turn my timer on the last half of the marathon to stay with a steady pace.  Remember, I didn’t want to fall apart in the back half.  When I reached 13 miles I almost talked myself out of turning it on.  The first half was steady climbs and I knew the second half would have more of the same.  So I cut it on and I’m glad that I did.

My intervals were set to walk 40 seconds and run 2 minutes.  If I needed more time in a walk break, I took it but I would at least try to pick up a run interval about halfway through.  It worked for me.  The climbs and the wind were coming strong but I was having the time of my life.  At mile 19.6 I stopped at a Subway to warm my hands.  The nice lady stood in the bathroom with me for 8 minutes just punching the button for me.  I was so thankful for that.  I debated whether to stop or not.  I knew that if I stopped I would abandon my goal of running a 4:45-4:55 marathon but I knew if I didn’t stop I would have had some problems.  I accepted that fact and stopped.

After leaving the subway, a funny thing happen.  I stuck to my run/walk intervals and I ended up catching up with the people who left me behind when I stopped.  I was so glad to see that I caught up to them.  That meant I was doing something right.  I didn’t really cramp up but that’s because I was taking salt tablets.  My legs were kind of seizing up for being cold but I was able to push through that because of the salt tablets.  I’m glad I finally learned about them.

We ran through the St. Jude campus twice; once at mile 5 and again at mile 24.  It was nice to see the families out there cheering for all the heroes.  It was a touching moment.  That’s the reason we were all out there running!  It was so great!  And just like that, I was done.  I had no idea what my official time was until after I finished.  My watch miles were off and I didn’t even bother to look at the time.  I could kind of feel my hands but I didn’t want to bother with reviewing my watch history.

St Jude Marathon 2014

When I finally got a chance to sit down, I found out I finished the marathon in 4:55 which was my goal.  I couldn’t believe it!  I thought for sure that I wouldn’t get that when a stop.  I was overjoyed.  I PRed my marathon!  I’ve been chasing a PR since August. AND I knocked off another state in my quest to run all 50 states!  It was a great day!  After I was done, I waited for Willie to come in but that isn’t my story to tell.  You’ll have to wait for his blog! All i have to say is, I cried like a big baby when I saw him coming on the finish line.  I was a VERY proud wife!  It was definitely a life changing moment!

St Jude Marathon 2014
So let’s take a look at my goals:

A goal: To finish the marathon in 4:45 – 4:55. Done!
B goal: To not completely fall off the wagon in the last 10 miles. I tend to die toward the end and I’ve been working on trying to do better at this. Done!
C goal: Just finish and have a good time. Done!

St Jude Marathon 2014

This was just a great race.  It’s a great moment when all your training comes together to give you the result you really wanted.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s the best feeling in the world.  I’ve got my last two races of the year next week.  It’s a marathon double header on Saturday and Sunday.  Finally getting a marathon PR means I can just have a good time next week!

Posted in: Goals, Running

Willie and I hopped in the car to drive to Memphis for the big marathon.  Willie will be running his first marathon and I’ll be adding another state to my marathon quest.  It’s a moment for me but it’s a BIG moment for Willie.

This is what we look like while driving to Memphis listening to #serialpodcast! @thisamerlife #stmmw #runstjude

That’s why he drove the entire 8 hours.  But we didn’t listen to Serial which an incredibly addicting podcast.  It’s so good!

This morning we went on short shake out run. Riding in the car for 8 hours will kill your legs. Plus, I had a less than desirable run on Wednesday. No one wants to have a bad run the week of a marathon. It was our own flash back friday because these are the same streets we still ran after this marathon was canceled last year. I’m glad we won’t have to do that this year.

St Jude Memphis Mararthon
We headed to the expo this morning to pick up our stuff. It was a happy moment. Willie is running a marathon.

St Jude Memphis Mararthon
We found our names on the pace car! Every St. Jude hero gets their name on the car. There are a lot of names on that car. Thank you to everyone who donated money for the children of St. Jude! You donation will go a long way!

St Jude Memphis Mararthon
I played around at some booths. My favorite was the Little Rock Marathon booth. I can’t wait to run this race again in 2015!

My goals for this race:

A goal: To finish the marathon in 4:45 – 4:55.
B goal: To not completely fall off the wagon in the last 10 miles. I tend to die toward the end and I’ve been working on trying to do better at this.
C goal: Just finish and have a good time.

If you’re running the race tomorrow, scream my name! We can be running buddies!

Follow my twitter to find out my status on the race. And definitely follow Willie’s twitter to find out his progress on the race.

Posted in: Weight Loss, Working Out

It’s time to change up those workouts people.  When I feel like I need a change, I take a HIIT.

HIIT = High Intensity Interval Training.  It burns A LOT of calories and gets in everything that you need.  Cardio and strength in one killer workout so it’s one of the best.  I have a love/hate relationships with HIIT workouts because I know the workouts are going to be intense so I hate them.  I love them because I definitely see improvement in my body and fitness after doing these workouts for a while.  The key is to stick with the workouts.

A HIIT workout combines high intensity periods of workout with moderate periods of rest.  This keeps your heart rate up and the blood pumping for a great workout.

Benefits of HIIT workouts:

  • If you don’t have a lot of time in the day, this one way to get in a productive workout in a short amount of time.
  • It’s a total body workout.
  • No equipment needed.  It’s a workout you can do at home or at the gym in a class format. (You may decided to add weights or other equipment though.  It’s up to you.)
  • Increases your metabolism.

I wanted to provide you with some samples of HIIT workouts.  You can find most of this stuff free on YouTube and other places on the web.  I regularly do Tone It Up and Fitness Blender HIITs so I stand behind these workouts.

From Tone It Up:

From Fitness Blender:

And there are always some Pinterest HIITs too: