2014 A Year In Review

This past year has been a whirlwind!  Let’s take a moment to look back to my Fit Goals of 2014 and see what I’ve accomplished!

2014 Fit Goals

  1. Run the entire Walt Disney World Marathon on January 12, 2014
  2. Sign-up for and complete either the Wineglass or Empire State Marathon.
  3. Sign-up and complete a Tough Mudder or similar obstacle race.
  4. Sign-up and PR in at least one Half-Marathon.
  5. Complete at least one unassisted pull-up.
  6. Run faster/more frequently (aim to triple mileage).
  7. Complete 1 round of p90x3.
  8. Sign-up for and complete a few 5k races.
  9. Eat cleaner!  I struggle with this one and often fall off into old habits.
  10. Start biking during the warm months.
  11. Sign-up for the 100 mile Ride for Life
  12. Lose the weight/lose inches–ideal weight=150lbs, size 6/8
  13. Sleep more!
  14. Blog more about fitness! (not really a fit goal, but related–I’d like to make sure to keep you updated on my progress and struggles)

I didn’t get through them all, but I am very proud of the goals that I did accomplish!!

Completing my first marathon is by far my biggest accomplishment of the year!  It wasn’t easy and I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but I did it and was brave enough to sign up for this year’s marathon (which unfortunately I had to back out of in December).  It was a great year of increased mileage, strength, and fun races to boot!

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WDW Marathon 1/12/14

It wasn’t a Tough Mudder, but I did manage to run in 2 obstacle 5ks! Both were a blast and I’m definitely eager to try my hand at something a bit more challenging in 2015.

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Tough Turtle-Ithaca,NY
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5K Foam Fest-Batavia, NY

I also did fairly well at picking up my pace and increasing my mileage throughout the year (thanks to my months of ill-fated marathon training).  Longer runs became easier and shorter runs were faster.  I was also happy to have completed more 5ks than the prior year, but missed out on many races due to our hectic wedding schedule.

My favorite race of the year might have to be the Trick or Trot 5k because it was the first race that my little nugget ran.  I’ve been counting down the days until this little dude could run with me and it was ridiculously cute to see him wearing his first race bib.
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All in all, it’s been a great year! I didn’t complete as many goals as planned, but I didn’t gain back any of the weight I lost in 2013 so I feel proud and accomplished.  I do have big goals for 2015 and hope to keep moving forward with this healthy life and am grateful for all I’ve gained in 2014.

What did your 2014 look like?  Do you have big goals for 2015?

Finding Your Motivation And Fighting The Motivation Monster

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Let’s talk about motivation.  Motivation is a powerful thing, but being motivated can only get you so far.
Over the past year I’ve spoken with many people who struggle with the motivation monster.  The monster that eats up every ounce of motivation you had when you decided to start your journey.  The monster that creeps in when results and progress slow down.  The monster that sometimes holds you back from starting at all.

Do you know what I am talking about?  It might be an all too familiar scenario for you.  I know it was for me.  In the past year I’ve definitely faced my monster multiple times, but the one thing that really kept me going was my determination to stay motivated.

I know it sounds crazy and you might say, well isn’t and shouldn’t motivation be enough?  It would be great if that were the case, wouldn’t it?!  Let’s break it down into terms and compare a few.

The dictionary defines motivation as:

motivation- n
1. the act or an instance of motivating
2. desire to do; interest or drive
3. incentive or inducement

We can all come up with a reason of why we want to get fit and be healthy.  The why is all too easy.  I wanted this life for me because I wanted to be the healthiest and happiest person I could be for my family.  I didn’t want to feel trapped and hidden in a body I didn’t recognize.

But what happens when your “why” changes?  What happens when your motivation isn’t clear anymore?

That’s when determination comes into play.

The dictionary defines determination as:

determination-n

1. the act or and instance of making a decision

2. condition of being determined; resoluteness

Being determined is what will ultimately keep you going.  Everyone can have the motivation to want to do something, but having the determination to stick it through when times get rough is the hard part.

For me my motivating factors are constantly changing.  At first it was training for the marathon.  I was motivated by the goal in sight, but there were days where I began to question my motives.  Why was I doing this?  Well, because I had made the decision to dedicate the time and energy and to complete the task at hand.  This is why I am a firm believer in setting goals.

A goal can provide motivation and the act of commitment will provide the will and determination to keep that motivation alive.  Does that make sense?  They go hand in hand and together create an unstoppable momentum that will keep you going.  Much like a rolling stone won’t gather moss, a person who is striving for new goals will be less likely to lose their motivation.

For me, starting new beachbody programs is what helps me keep my motivation alive.  I am setting mini-goals through the course of each program.  The end goal is always to follow the program and complete it.  Earning my free shirt and sharing my results at the end are things that help push me forward.  Much like collecting race bibs, completing these programs and earning my shirts are my badges of honor.  They show that I stuck it through and met my goal.

What keeps your motivation alive?  What goals are you setting for yourself?

 

Recipes: Turkey & Black Bean Stuffed Dino Kale

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The creation of this tasty recipe came about due to an over abundance of kale from our CSA share.  Staring down 3 varieties of kale at once was a bit overwhelming and my standard method of preparation began to lose its excitement.  So I went the route of trying something new!

Ingredients:

  • 1lb Lean Ground Turkey (can use any ground meat variety here)
  • 10 Large Dino Kale Leaves 
  • 1 can sodium free black beans

**Add green onions, fresh garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste

1. Prepare your leaves for stuffing:

Blanch the leaves in boiling water until pliable (soft enough to chew, but firm enough so they don’t break).  De-vein the leaves (I cut mine in half since they were so large).

2. Prepare filling:

Sauté the green onions and garlic in a pan with a small amount of olive oil.  Brown the turkey in the same pan and season with salt, pepper, and cumin to preferred taste.  I also added some fresh basil to mine!  While the turkey cooks add the can of black beans so that they can absorb the flavors.  Allow to cool so that you can handle the mixture with your bare hands.

3.  Fill the leaves:

The black beans act as the perfect binder for your turkey filling!  Use your palm to make a small cylindrical formed ball and wrap with the prepared kale leaf.  The amount of filling you will want to use will depend on the size of your kale leaves.  I used a similar amount in volume as you would use for drop cookies, but you can fill them accordingly.  If you find the kale to be a little bit too chewy, line them up in a steamer to cook the leaves more.

 

 

A Fit Family = A Happy Family

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It might sound cheesy and cliché, but for us it’s the truth.  When I was out of shape and severely over weight, I was not happy. I was a miserable mess of a person and it spilled out into our family life.  Looking back I see that I judged more, I snapped more, and I was flat-out negative about everything.

I picked apart people’s weaknesses because I didn’t want to face my own and it wasn’t healthy.  Nothing in my life was healthy at that point.  Nothing in our family life was healthy either (aside from our beautiful healthy and happy son).  Both of us would come home and melt into the couch with our bags of take out (or fast food) and sink into a Netflix coma.  We didn’t connect with one another very much, we cohabited just fine and loved each other, but we were like two passing ships fighting our own battles.  We’d drown our boredom by stuffing our faces and watching our shows until it was time for bed.

Intimacy took it’s hit too, neither of us were particularly fond of our new bodies.  I had trouble accepting my post-baby body and any loving compliment doled out by my husband was easily brushed off.  How on earth could this man think I’m beautiful when I look and feel the way I do?  My insecurities got the best of me and I could not fathom that he was being honest.  In short, there were a few months where things were rough.  I’m not one for hiding the truth and in all honesty I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a healthy relationship that didn’t face trying times.

For us, this period of being unhealthy left us both with a lot of self-reflecting.  It turns out a lot of our unhappiness was because we weren’t taking care of ourselves.  Like many new parents, we put our son’s needs ahead of our own and our focus was constantly on him.  We lost sight of ourselves and each other and it became apparent that the major problem in the equation was our inability to tend to our own needs.

Outwardly, these problems weren’t obvious and I didn’t even awaken to the problem until my husband expressed his concern about the life we were leading.  He could feel the lifestyle of laziness taking hold and didn’t like where it was going.  I was still in denial and didn’t want to accept the fact that I had lost touch with a healthy way of life.  After all, I was only exhausted all of the time because I was busy caring for our baby into the wee hours.  It clearly had nothing to do with my poor diet choices and lack of physical activity.

Fast forward to today, I’m feeling so much more confident and I can now better accept a compliment.  My husband and I do our best to make time each day to focus on ourselves and each other.  We have gym dates where we push each other to be better and work harder.  We get out more as a family and do our best to be active together by hiking, jogging, or running around the playground with our son.  Our overall moods are better, we have more energy and we’ve found a common ground once again.  We share in each others’ successes and support each others’ goals.  Hell, I even convinced my husband to buy running shoes and compete in our first race together!  Now, that’s a big deal!

RICE: The End of an Ice Age

Wow! I was just suggesting that a friend of mine be sure to ice her shins after going out on her first run in years. Maybe it’s not the best idea anymore? This is a very interesting read on the standard of using RICE for sports injuries. I don’t know about you, but that and NSAIDS were my go to fix for sore shins and tired and achy muscles. In retrospect, I haven’t been so diligent on icing this past year and haven’t faced any serious injury. Hmmmm. A lot to ponder about how we treat our bodies and how they can recover on their own.

***Athletic Medicine HAS MOVED***

Coaches have used my “RICE” guideline for decades, but now it appears that both Ice and complete Rest may delay healing, instead of helping.” – Gabe Mirkin, MD, March 2014


In 1978, Gabe Mirkin, MD coined the term RICE. Health care practitioners to laypersons are quick to recognize RICE as the ‘gold standard’ treatment option following injury. Followers of my blog know my stance against ice and now there is support from the physician who coined the term. Yes, the very same physician, Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who coined RICE, is now taking a step back. I reached out to Dr. Mirkin and asked for permission to share his story. As you will read below in Dr. Mirkin’s full post, the lack of evidence for cryotherapy is something we must listen to.

ice-for-injuriesThis is a controversial topic. My blog Why Ice and Anti-inflammatory Medication is NOT the Answer sparked a lot of debate. I had…

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Race Recap: Empire State Half Marathon 10/20/13

I DID IT!! I finished my first official half marathon in 2:34:42 (The Empire State Marathon) and I could not be more proud of myself.

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This little “runner” who could barely run a 5K in February of 2010 finished her first half!

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The race took place in Syracuse, NY and the course ran through a familiar path, the Onondaga Lake Park, home to my first (and only) 5K race.  As I pressed through the park passing mile 3 I had such a sense of euphoria and accomplishment.  Just 3 years prior I ran this same path full of jitters and a similar eagerness, but with no sense that I would be capable of conquering any distance greater than that.  And yet there I was, I was in it with 10 miles left to go and I felt great.

I was pacing ahead of my normal training pace and was carefully monitoring my HR to settle at 160-165 BPM.  Based on my prior training runs I knew that I could comfortably maintain this HR for this distance and was letting my body set the pace.  The first 2 miles of the race were slightly uphill, but the majority of the course was flat and very similar to what I had been training on.

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At the halfway point, my body began to feel the stresses of racing and my HR hovered between 170-175 BPM.  I tried to slow down a bit to get back down to the 160’s, but found that it REALLY brought my pace down so I change my plan and aimed to keep my HR as close to 170 BPM for the remaining distance.  I was able to speed things up a bit towards the end, but when I hit mile 12 my feet began to ache.  I could feel it with each step and was looking forward to finishing the race so I used the cheers from the crowd and every ounce of adrenaline I had to push myself through that last mile.

Soon enough, the stadium was in sight and I could see the finish line.  I was greeted by my biggest fans, my husband and son and they cheered me on in that last stretch.  I sprinted to the end and crossed the finish line with dead legs and a pounding heart.  I DID IT!  I ran a solid 13.1 miles at my fastest time yet.

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I still get excited thinking about what I had accomplished and what I still have to accomplish.  The full marathon still intimidates me a bit, but I am miles from where I was and I have faith that I can make my way through it.