Monday, December 3, 2012

Elf for Health

The eating season has officially arrived and I think I have a pretty good plan for how to survive the holidays.

I definitely splurged this Thanksgiving, but I have done a lot worse in previous years and even got in a workout on Thursday and ran once will at my mom's. So, I'm calling it a win! Now onto the hard part...surviving the weeks of temptations leading up to Christmas!!

So, I have signed up for a healthy living challenge for that began on last week. Elf for Health is the brainchild of bloggers Nutritionella and Lean Green Bean. Everyone gets paired up with another "elf" to help support them during this season. If you are interested, I think signup opens back up for the last four weeks!

Last week's challenges:

Monday: Go meatless (Easy and did it Tuesday as well! One of my go dinners to take to work has become a burrito bowl with black beans, brown rice, veggies, salsa and sometimes guacamole.)
Tuesday: Send a handwritten note (Sending a note to my grandma.)
Wednesday: Try a new workout (While my husband was playing volleyball, I tried a tabata-like ab workout from Hard, but good!!)
Thursday: Meditate for 10 minutes in the morning (It was nice to take a few minutes to chill and stretch before my run.)
Friday: Make your food colorful (i.e. all different kinds of veggies... I did the best I could with what we had at home. Make a veggie-tastic salad with spinach, peppers, mushrooms, beans and tuna. I also worked in a banana in my oatmeal and apple as a snack.)

The weekend challenge was to clean out your closet. I have already done that since most of my clothes are too big for me now. I have finally hit my goal weight (58 pounds down!) and have moved on to maintaining now. Anyway, I have a bag of clothes set aside to give to family or a friend who can wear them.

So, far this week we have been focused on fiber... 42 grams on the docket today!! Click on the Elf for Health logo if you are interested in joining for the last two, two-week sessions.

Wishing everyone a healthy holiday season!!!

Beth :)

Pumpkin crazy

Baked oatmeal!!
So, I have been meaning to share my pumpkin baking adventures in several posts, but times has gotten away from me. I think pumpkin things are seasonal even through Christmas or you guys can at least get ideas for next Thanksgiving!!

Pumpkin baked oatmeal

I took a recipe I found via Pinterest and tried to make it lighter. I think I succeeded! The recipe was for Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal... yum! I eat lots of oatmeal for breakfast and I was looking for a way to try something new and pumpkiny.

I changed the recipe in a few ways:
• Used unsweetened applesauce
• Egg whites
• Light soy milk
• Reduced sugar craisins
• Cut it up into six servings

My only complaint is that it wasn't pumpkiny enough. It tasted just fine - and I ate it all week - but a tad on the bland side. The second day I ate it for breakfast I sprinkled some extra cinnamon and nutmeg on my serving that helped. I made the whole thing on a Sunday evening and just reheated a piece each morning to have a nice warm breakfast.
Click the link in the title for the recipe I used!

Pumpkin oat bars!

Pumpkin oat bars

Recently, I also made some pumpkin, oat bars from

Next time I will grind up the pumpkin seeds... they were two big and chewy. I may have gotten the wrong kind of seeds. The blogger used pumpkin seeds that were called pepitas and look smaller than what I got. Also, make sure to freeze what you may not eat in a week. Mine started to get a little moldy after a week. That is the price you pay when you are making things from scratch!


Pumpkin bread (Also from

Very simple and very tasty! Three ingredients: Spice cake mix, can of pumpkin and two egg whites. (Note: I buy the carton of liquid egg whites for baking and cooking.) The batter was quite sticky so be prepared for that. I baked it in a bundt pan instead of loaves and used the cake box instructions as a guideline for time. Be sure to check often you do that...mine was done early!

Not exactly health food, but it was tasty and hit the pumpkin spot. I think once a year I can handle that!!


No-bake Pumpkin Cheesecake (

This turned out great! I had some pumpkin leftover from my other adventures and didn't want to let it go to waste. I had plans to make this for Thanksgiving, but that was three weeks away. So, I took a chance, made it and stuck in the freezer until I needed it. I think the crust was a little soggy due to the defrosting process, which is my only minor complaint. The taste was great though and the filling was very light... not sure if the texture would've been any different without freezing involved.

Happy baking!!

Beth :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

5K training

Before I ran the Wicked 10K, I registered for a 5K in December. Now I have a plan to help me get ready for my fourth race (third 5K). I am determined to have a good race and improve from my last 5K in May.

Mondays: Strength training (sometimes with cardio)
Tuesday: 1-hour spin class
Wednesday: 3-mile race pace run (ugh, not my favorite)
Thursday: Strength training plus V02 max training. V02 max training is basically high intensity interval workouts that help expand your cardio capacity. It should leave spent at the end of it. (Also not my favorite.) It usually involves jumping jacks, rowing machine, running sprints, burpees, etc.
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Speed work
Sunday: Longer runs (starting at 4.5 miles and topping out at 6.5 miles before the 5K)

Yoga as I can fit it in and the rest day gets changed some to fit my schedule!

What is your favorite workout?

Friday, November 23, 2012

Race recap: Stupid running

Me quite wind-blown post race.
I ran the Wicked 10K that I have training for since August. It was my first race that longer than a 5K.

I hear there is such a thing as having a good race or having a bad race. My first two 5Ks went relatively well... I finished them and my time improved pretty dramatically. This 10K was not like my previous two races. Let's just say I was asking my husband after the race why I actually paid to do that to myself. I definitely didn't feel like a runner afterward.

My goal was 1 hour and 15 was a little ambitious for me. I am not speedy runner, but I thought I could do it and maybe even be a little faster than that. Well, I didn't reach that goal. My time ended up being 1:21:55.

There were several things working against me:

Weather: I was worried about it raining, but we were actually spared a drenching. Hurricane Sandy was heading right toward us on the coast of Virginia. The one thing I didn't think about was how wind could affect my race. The 10K was at the oceanfront at Virginia Beach. The beach is already a windy place to be, but add Sandy to the mix and the winds were approaching 20 mph. Running into the wind was not fun. A few times I felt like I was running in place! The craziest thing was in between the hotels or on the boardwalk I felt my feet being pushed by the wind. And the stupid wind blew off my hat!!

Nerves: I was so nervous and I am not really sure why. I have run over a mile longer than the distance of the 6.2-mile race. But I couldn't stand still while waiting in my corral at the start line and my stomach was doing summersaults.

My medal!
My body: I was determined to not be dehydrated and to make sure I had enough water. Well, I think I had enough to drink. I had to waste about five minutes waiting in line for a port-a-potty between the 1-mile and 2-mile markers. That was a frustrating delay, but I did feel better afterward. But that feeling only lasted until about mile 4.5 to 5. The side stitch of all side stitches arrived. I tried to run through it, but it would not go away. The pain became so severe at the end that I ended up walking over the finish line.

Positives: I finished! I did complete the race. A year and 58 pounds ago I never thought I would be running a race let alone a 6.2 mile race. I did actually run most of it even when you count the walking I had to do toward the end of it. And I got race bling... my first medal!! Actually, my first medal for any athletic achievement.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall running

A fast 3-mile run for me!
I have had a pretty good running week. The awesome fall weather certainly hasn't hurt.

Sunday's weather wasn't as awesome. It was chilly, which was nice, but overcast. I was feeling great and running faster than I normally do. I was attempting to run 6.5 miles (the longest I have ever run) for the first time. About half way through the run, I heard the rain hit the trees first and then the bottom fell out. Not just sprinkling, but a full on downpour. I took a shortcut back to the house and figured I might as well continue running till I got back. I was soaked!!

On Tuesday, it was speed work day...which I am not a fan of. The fastest I have ever run 3 miles in a non-race setting is 36 minutes. I am not a speedy runner by any means, but I have gotten faster. This time my goal was 34 minutes...eek! I was a little apprehensive. My comfort zone is running slow and steady, if you will. But I finished in 34:19... woo hoo! Didn't beat my goal, but I came pretty darn close. I will count that as a win!

I still had that pesky 6.5 miles I needed to get done for my 10K training. So Wednesday, it was on again. It sprinkled again and I was afraid I was going to get drenched but the rain held off! My time goal was 1 hour and 30 minutes. The last half mile was definitely the hardest, but I finished in about 1 hour and 23 minutes. 6.5 miles... check!

Now my next long run is 7 miles (double eek!) and only two weeks until the 10K! I am accepting all thoughts, prayers, meditation, etc. as I go into unchartered running territory!

Beth :o)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Healthy tips

I have lost over 50 pounds now and have made some lifestyle changes to get to that point. I thought it might be good to share some of those changes with you guys.

Here's my top 10:

1. Limit my Starbucks addiction: This had financial and waistline benefits. I was good about getting nonfat or skinny lattes. I even got the tall (or small in Starbucks lingo), but it was things like a pumpkin scone that would drag me down nutritionally from time to time.

2. Make working out a priority: Wake up, eat, change clothes and then work out. That is how my mornings typically go. If I don't workout shortly after breakfast than there is a good chance it won't happen. The same thing happened when I worked a "normal" schedule. I packed a gym bag and went directly to the gym from work.

My food so far today.
3. Keep track of my food intake: It first started with just typing up my food diary for a personal trainer that I had for a couple months. Then my resolve to do it waned after I stopped paying for the trainer. Then I wanted to ramp up my weight loss and I knew I needed to fine tune my diet. So, I found a free app My Fitness Pal which also syncs with a website (click here). You can track your food, exercise and weight loss. It helps a lot... I still use it. It helps you figure out a calorie goal and I use it to plan my meals for the day.

4. Splurge: I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but it is true. Having a piece of cake every now and then won't hurt you, but the key is going back to eating healthy. Don't just say screw it and continue to eat badly because you have "screwed up" your diet for the day/week. I also say make sure your splurges are for a good reason or at least good quality. If you are craving a hamburger don't blow those calories at a fast food joint... make it worth it by getting a really good burger. Or I chose to eat a tasty mandarin orange cupcake with cream cheese frosting and eclair cake for my birthday (thanks Janet and mom!) made from scratch. I am not going to splurge on store bought sheet cake. I think splurging makes eating healthy feasible for a lifetime.

5. Healthy swaps: I eat brown rice, wheat pasta, light soy milk, ground lean turkey and use plain greek yogurt in lieu of mayo. Simple swaps in recipes make things healthier.
Overnight oatmeal!

6. Measure, measure, measure: Portion control is key - especially with calorie dense items like nuts. Almonds for instance can be a healthy snack option. I can eat several portions easily in one sitting and that is approaching 500 calories instead of the better 150 calories for a snack. Now, I break out the measuring cup every time.

7. Trying new things: My husband and I are somewhat picky eaters but we are trying our best!! I have seen recipes for overnight oats on several websites and have tried it out. I am a fan! We bought a box of Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) from Trader Joe's it is on our list to make soon.

8. Food quality not quantity: Go for whole, unprocessed foods when you can. Making it from scratch may take a little longer sometimes but it is so much better for you. And you can always make ahead and freeze to make it easier on work days.

My food for one evening at work.
9. Eat more often: I eat all of the time. I am sure my family and co-workers may think I am    
ridiculous. When I leave for work I pack one meal and 1-3 snacks. It is not unusual for me to eat at least two snacks (in addition to my three meals) a day. Sometimes three if I am hungry.

10. Drink water: I don't drink enough, actually. But I always have it with me in my re-usable water bottle. Water is also calorie free!! You can definitely torpedo an otherwise good diet with sugary drinks and soda. My next food goal is cut out my one diet soda a day.

I hope this tips hope those of you out there who are trying to eat healthier and just live a healthier lifestyle in general!!

Beth :o)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Overnight oats

Night before
 I have been following other healthy eating blogs over the last six months or so to get new food ideas and exercise motivation/tips. One thing I have seen in a couple of places (Fannetastic Food and Hungry Runner) is overnight oats. I was intrigued and finally decided to try it last week.

Overnight oats is basically oatmeal from scratch where you just mix it up the night before and put it in the fridge so the oats soak up the liquid. Some people just eat it cold the next morning, but that kind of weirds me out. So, I just heat it up in the microwave the next morning.

The key I have found is finding the right amount of liquid so it is the right consistency to your liking. I first did it with 1 cup of milk, but that was too much liquid and a little too milky. So I went with 1/2 cup soy milk and 1/4 cup water... pretty good. I have done this a couple times. I did make the mistake of doing it too early one night and the liquid had too much time to soak in (7-8 hours in the fridge is good).

The next morning!
I think it has turned out pretty well and without all the sugar that comes in instant oatmeal! I am looking forward to trying new combinations... the possibilities are endless!!

Here is what I have been doing:

1/2 cup of Silk's light vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup of rolled/quick oats
1/4 cup of water
1 ripe banana sliced
Healthy sprinkling of cinnamon
Little bit of nutmeg
1/8 cup of raisins
1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Microwave for about 2 minutes in the morning and done!

Does anyone else have any tips or other good overnight oat combos?

Beth :o)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back in the game

I am happy to be done running!!
Stitches are out and I am off the injured/reserve list!! I ran 3 miles Tuesday and 4 miles Wednesday. I definitely wasn't speedy, but I did it!

I struggled a little bit...more than I thought after being sidelined for a week and a half. My cardio capacity was fine, but my legs were tired and knees ached. I think my legs just aren't used to running and I have lost my comfortable running pace. I had gotten used to doing a sort of running shuffle that took some of the pressure off my knees and didn't use my calves as much.

Rest tomorrow and running 6 miles on Saturday. I have to keep preparing for my 10K on Oct. 27!!! My husband is running 17.5 (holy crap!) on Saturday in preparation for a November marathon... I think we will both have earned a relaxing Saturday!! :o)

Beth :o)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Walking around

Almost a week being a little gimpy since I got 12 stitches (on my birthday of all days). I am feeling better with less pain and moving easier. I am covered in residual bandaid sticky, but at least I finally was able to shave my legs!! The world should collectively grateful for that! ;o)

Anyway,  I am trying my best to keep active and healthy. I have been watching my carbs and calories to try to avoid a weight gain while I can't run. Here is a little play by play on how I am handling my 10 days on the sidelines so far.

Day 1: Does getting around the house and in/out of cars count as exercise? I decided to let things heal some before I try to start walking. Splurged on a iced latte with a birthday gift card (thanks Janet!)... at least it was sugar free! ;o)

Day 2: Slightly less than a mile walk (1 small loop) around the neighborhood. Not bad... better than I thought actually. My husband and dog, Lucy, walked with me. And my mother-in-law made me crab cakes for my birthday... sweet!

Day 3: 4.5 miles!! (3 bigger loops around the neighborhood) It went pretty well. My knee started hurting a little, but I think the joint just might have been stiff from lack of movement. I had hubby and puppy for company again. I think I made pretty good food choices.

Day 4: 4.5 miles on the treadmill. I started out slow and increased the speed somewhat slowly. I topped out at 3.4 speed. I tried 3.5 for a bit, but then my leg started to hurt. Packed snacks and dinner for work, but fell victim to a mini cupcake. At least I didn't also try the chocolate frosting covered brownies in the break room!

Day 5: 4.5 miles around the neighborhood... part of the time with the hubby and puppy. Legs felt pretty good. It was nice to enjoy the cooler weather... it almost felt like fall!! A Clif bar snack and pasta with dinner may not have been the best decision for keeping my carbs on the low side... oh well. The rest of the day was pretty good nutritionally.

Day 6: 30 minutes (1.5ish miles) on the treadmill a little faster than I did earlier this week. And I added 30 minutes on the elliptical... it was a nice change of pace and I actually got a little sweaty!! My leg feels fine. Making my own caprese salad for lunch...yum!

Day 7: 31 minutes (1.8ish miles) on the treadmill and 31 minutes on the elliptical. I went a little faster this time. Fixed a salad for dinner. Very excited to get the stitches out on Monday!!

Beth :o)

Sunday, September 16, 2012


So, it has been a long time since I have updated the blog. Life gets in the way, but I am determined to make this a weekly place to commiserate with your running struggles by sharing mine and see how I am trying to live a healthier life! That is my goal from here on out.

My healthy living goals got a little sidelined this past Friday. Just after I got out of the shower, I felt overheated. I was already feeling a little dehydrated (gotta drink more water!). I went to leave the bathroom with a glass of water in my hand and I blacked out for a few seconds. (Note to self: No more glassware in the bathroom!!)

I woke up to my husband at the bathroom door asking if I was OK. I apparently fell, hit my head and the glass broke cutting me in a bunch of places. A bump on my head, a bruised ego and 12 stitches later I am healing. Friday was actually my birthday... not the best way to start off my 31st year!!

And apparently, running is frowned upon when you have stitches on your leg. Weights apparently also not a good idea when your other stitches are on your shoulder. Hmm... sidelined for 10 days. I never thought I would be upset by not being able to work out!!

So here's my plan: Walking as much as I can and make sure my eating is on point this week. I don't want to lose muscle or gain any weight if I can help it!

Beth :o)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It's not the heat...'s the humidity. Or something like that.

I hate the heat. The hottest July on record does not help either. I am so looking forward to fall's cooler temperatures and lower humidity. We may be past the worst of it, but unfortunately those fall temps are probably still a couple months away for me.

I just came back from a three-miler and I am soaked with sweat. It wasn't that hot, even a breeze every now and then, but it was quite humid. Humidity is like a straight pin popping a balloon... it seems to take all the air out of a run. I am slower, crankier and sweatier (which I didn't think was possible.) Running definitely does not come naturally to me and humidity just makes it harder.

But I don't think there is much I can do about it - with the exception of leaving the United States' sauna... a.k.a the South.

I hear about dedicated runners getting up at 5 a.m. or before to beat the heat/humidity. This is so not happening. Besides the fact that I am not a morning person, my work schedule does not allow for me to be up that early. I get home from work about 11 p.m. every night and about the earliest I can get up is around 7 a.m. And then I always eat breakfast, have a cup of coffee, etc. before I run. Usually it is about 9 a.m. before I get on the road, but hey at least I am doing it!

Well, there is my rant/whine about the heat and humidity. Any runners with any summer running tips?

Beth :o)

Friday, July 20, 2012

So close I can taste it...

I am not sure how much I have talked about my weight loss journey on here. I started the blog toward the end of it. I used to weigh myself every week. As my weight loss slowed I have only weighed myself every few weeks or so. And let's be honest, I put it off sometimes when I know I ate too much the weekend before. Anyway, I just weighed myself recently and I am less than two pounds away from my goal!!! A goal at one point I thought was unattainable... a long shot if you will.

I am the lightest I have been in my adult life and probably in the best shape I have ever been in. I am also almost at the 50-pound weight loss mark. Hard to believe I have come this far. It has taken a lot of work and dedication. It does help quite a bit that my husband has been a huge supporter and going along the journey with me. He has lost almost 100 pounds now!!

Our before picture... April 2011.
A little history... from college up until I was about 23 I was heavy. Looking back on pictures, I was not just overweight, but fat. In January of 2005, something clicked and I started working out for the first time in my life and really focusing on eating more healthy. I curbed my soda, fast food and candy addictions, and managed to lose almost 60 pounds. I pretty much kept that weight off until my husband and I started dating. Let's just say his love of burgers, wings, fries and beer rubbed off on me and I gained back about 30 of the pounds. But I can't just pin it on him either... I was making worse and worse food choices on my own and my workouts had become few and far between.

In August 2011, my husband got a wake-up call from his doctor. At 29, he was put on a statin for high cholesterol. My husband was determined to get off that medication - and he did. That wake-up call spurred his weight loss and mine. None of my clothes were fitting and I was unhappy with my weight. I was determined not to go back to shopping in the plus size section, but those were really the sizes that fit me. I just couldn't bring myself to buy those 18s to have something to wear. Now, I am wearing a 12... sometimes even a 10, I think.  To be honest, I am not sure what size I wear these days. I have been putting off buying new clothes until I get close to my goal. Well, I think it is safe to say that I am there.

Anyone ready to go shopping?! 

Beth :o)

Friday, July 13, 2012

Back in black

Heat wave over... yay!!

I didn't run at all last week. I didn't want to risk it in triple-digit heat and running on treadmills doesn't agree with my knees.

But then there was rain, rain and more rain. I can't win!! But finally, Thursday after almost two weeks since my last run, I had an opportunity and I grabbed it. The weather was not too hot and finally no rain.

It was actually a good run. I ran two big loops around the neighborhood for about 3 miles. I even had a little milestone. I actually ran 1.5 miles without taking a walking break! I know that is not much for some of you serious runners out there, but it was huge for me. I am sure I could have done it previously, but I think my brain has finally gotten caught up with my physical abilities. I am sure my extra spin classes and elliptical time have helped my cardio capacity as well.

Anyway, it was nice to get back to running and to have a good run at the same time. I actually don't hate running any more... hard to believe, I know!! Hopefully, the heat this summer won't keep me from running.

Happy running everyone!!

Beth ;o)

Sidenote: Even after losing almost 50 pounds, I hate bathing suit shopping. I tried on quite a few. I am convinced that none of the cute ones are made for anyone over the age of 20 or bigger than a size 6. Boo on that!! I found something that I think will work, but not before getting annoyed in the process!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Kitchen adventures

This blog has typically about running and weight loss, but both of those things are fueled by good nutrition. So, I will be posting occasionally about food. Enjoy!

I am not really one for experimenting when it comes to cooking. I have certain things that I know how to make and family recipes that I have written down. The problem with some of the recipes I know and love is that they are not all that healthy. I decided last week to try out a healthier recipe for pasta salad via one of my favorite healthy eating blogs, SkinnyTaste.

The July Fourth holiday and the heat wave got me in the mood for food that was not hot! ;o) Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the pasta salad that I made but to the right is the pretty picture of what it should look like from!

I took the opportunity to try it out on my in-laws and I think it turned out pretty well. A serving is only supposed to be about 115 calories, so that sounded great to me.

I did make some adjustments to the recipe and have ideas for what I want to do next time. I bought all of the ingredients according to the recipe except I used rotini wheat pasta which we already had at the house. I think the wheat pasta worked great in it.

The recipe called for red wine vinegar, but I think next time I will use balsamic vinegar to add a little more of a punch to it. I always have that around (had to buy the red wine vinegar). And I think less mayo and more greek yogurt would taste just fine.

We had it as a side for pork, but I think it would great for a cookout as well. Leftovers were just as tasty - if not more - and I made it a whole meal out of it by adding a pouch of Starkist tuna one day for lunch.

I count this experiment a success!!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Summer reprieve

I think summer - its heat and humidity - is going to be the bane of my running existence. Last week was quite hot and I only ran once. Running on a treadmill does not agree with my knees, so I have been trying to avoid that when I can.

I just hate the sticky feeling while running. I sweat a lot... kinda like a large, hairy man. The super hot N.C/Va. summers do not help. My clothing - and hair - gets soaked and I end up sweating into my eyes. Not fun people! I came back from a run the other week and my father-in-law asked if I had jumped in the shower with my clothes on... sigh.

This week, however, I have gotten a reprieve. Typically, I have been doing two short runs (3 miles) and one long run (6 miles) a week. Keep in mind my "runs" do involve some walking breaks... I am not quite up to running the whole time yet. We have been lucky to have two days with only highs in the 80s and I have taken advantage by running two days in a row. This weekend, however, looks like the triple digits will keep me from running my long run. Guess, I will have to stick to finding ways inside the gym (i.e. spin) to get my cardio time in.

Any tips to running in the heat? I have been trying to wear cool clothing, sunscreen and making water available. I really could use some sort of headband to keep try to keep sweat out of my eyes.

Beth :o)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A hummus problem

I am slightly obsessed with hummus. Some people (i.e. my hubby) might even say I have a problem!

There are much worse foods I could be stuck on. Chickpeas are good, but the tahini does add quite a bit of fat to the dish. But my main problem is what I like to dip in the hummus. These little things called Pretzel Crisps. All well and good if you can stick to the serving size - which I can do, sometimes. I think they are part wheat and part crack! ;)

One thing in my diet that I need to work on is more whole foods like veggies/fruit and less Pretzel Crisps. Maybe my hummus problem wouldn't be that bad if I was dipping cukes or green pepper strips in that hummus (I am partial to the roasted red pepper variety.).

This post is making me hungry! Off to go find some food...

-Beth :)

Everyday I'm shufflin'

Running is not easy for me. Never has been. I can't run for more than a mile without a walking break. I have been doing run/walk intervals when I run. For the longest time, I have been stuck at running for three minutes and walking for two. Part of it is mental, I think. Going up to that four minutes of running just seemed so hard - and my calves burned a lot.

My husband (who is a trainer and soon-to-be marathoner) suggested I change my gait. I had him watch me run and we talked about the running shuffle. Basically, not making my stride so is apparently more efficient and more of the strain is on bigger muscles like the quads and hamstrings.

So far, I would say it has worked great! Although it has initially slowed my running down a little, I can run for a lot longer distance. My first "shuffling" run I ran for 10 minutes straight!! That may not seem like much to some natural runners, but it was a huge milestone for me!!.

I think I will keep shuffling along!! ;)


Friday, June 1, 2012

A bright night - race recap

The weather was ideal for the Bright Night 5K. It doesn't get much better than the 70s with low humidity in N.C. in May!! We got there super early and had time to make sure our race bibs were on right, get the chips tied into our shoes, get water, go tot he bathroom, etc.

The race was a pretty big one with 300-400 runners and walkers. I was definitely nervous as I found my spot in the middle of the crowd behind the starting line. At this point I wondered again why I decided to do this... I seem to always second-guess myself right before the gun goes off.

Started off pretty well ran nonstop for a pretty good while at the beginning of the race. The first water stop was early.. around the first mile. The side stitch from hell was starting at that point, but it was nice to hear a "Go, Beth!" from my friend Christie at the water station.

For awhile there I ran less than I wanted because my side was hurting so much. I tried taking walking breaks, massaging my side and breathing to help.

I pushed was definitely hard. I felt like it took forever to get to the halfway and two-mile mark. I accidentally left my stopwatch at home, so I had no idea how I was doing.

I dealt with the side stitch through the end of the race. (My husband says better breathing and potassium-rich foods before the race may help next time.) I got re-focused and picked two women ahead of me as people to keep up with.

At the last water station the ladies did not stop, but my mouth was desert dry. I drank two sips of water, dropped the cup and kept trucking. Shortly, after the stop the two ladies started walking and I actually felt like I passed them.

I ran for a bit more, took a brief walking break and was surprised to realize I had pulled ahead from the group around me. One thing that was great about the race was the volunteers cheering on the runners/walkers at each turn!! It helped there at the end.

I turned one of the last corners and decided to run the last bit of the race nonstop. I wanted to stop MANY times, but then I saw the finish line in the offing.

Before I could see the time clock, I saw my husband on the sidelines giving me a thumbs up so I knew my time was good. A smile lit up my face and that only got bigger when I saw the clock. It said 36:10!!! My goal was between 35 and 37 minutes...success!! My chip time was even better...35:53! :)

It was a great feeling that I reached my goal and my hardwork was worth it. My time in February was 39:48...pretty good improvement, I think.

Now onto the next race/challenge. My husband wants me to do a 10K in September...we shall see!

Beth :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Moving target

Moving counts as exercise, right?! I have changed jobs and moved...not just moving across the street, but out of state. There has been so much to do... no time... not much sleep... not eating like I should.... not working out as much as I can. Can I have a giant glass of wine on the beach?! Like right now!

I don't love the process of moving. There is still stuff to be moved, but I am starting to get settled in the new job with a new routine. It has been a little hard adjusting since I had been at the same employer for eight years.

Moving didn't really help with my 5K training. But I made it through and the 5K went great! (Race recap and pictures to come.) Somehow my weight has still gone down (not much, but still!) throughout the moving process and I am figuring out a workout routine at my new gym.

Update: Running in shorts is not for me, yet. I tried it and they started riding up within 30 seconds of running on the treadmill... sigh.

Beth :o)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To drink or not to drink

I hate working out sans water especially as the summer heat approaches. Recently, I complained about running for an hour in about 80 degree weather without water. My husband then picked out for me a spiffy water belt. It comes equipped with a bottle, holster for said bottle and a zipper pocket (for keys, chaptsick, whatnot).

On Sunday, I had the first opportunity to use the water belt. My husband and I went to a canal trail for our workout. He ran 10(!) miles while I was just focusing on time. I am doing running/walking intervals and trying to increase my running times ever so slowly.

I was even somewhat color coordinated (actually unintentional!). Note the shirt, it is a somewhat slick workout shirt material. Bad move to use this with the belt. Also, note where on my hips the water belt started.

My first two running bursts I wanted to rip the belt off and throw it in the woods. It kept sliding up and spinning around. The belt would end up about where old men put theirs and the water bottle ended up somewhere unreachable. I tried tightening it twice. Finally I gave up and tightened it as much as could around the smallest part of my waist. Maybe not cute, but it was bearable. The water bottle/holster still slid to the back, but that was ok... since it was so high my arms would have knocked into it otherwise. And there was the swishing sound every time I ran...

But, the belt and I reached some sort of equilibrium and I was grateful to have the water.

Any suggestions for hydration while running?!

Beth :o)

Friday, May 4, 2012

The long and short of it

Yesterday was the first time I have EVER worn shorts to the gym. Somewhat of a mini milestone for me in my weight loss.

My 5K in a couple of weeks has the potential to be a quite humid and hot N.C. evening and I figured shorts might be in order.

But, there is no way I am wearing shorts for the 5K without first trying them out. I don't want to be miserable midway through the race. For all you ladies, I am sure you have experienced the annoying shorts that ride up. It doesn't help either if your thighs are rubbing together and there is chafing involved!!

Test 1: Walking on treadmill, elliptical and arc trainer all good. No riding up or anything. (Note: No shorts on spin bikes!!)

Next week I will try them out actually running!

Beth :o)

All in my head

Running is very much about your physical abillity and getting/staying in shape. But so much of it is mental as well. Your body wants to stop, but you have to force yourself to keep running until the next driveway, finish the next minute or mile.

I always thought it was just me who struggled with these things. It takes a lot for me to stick to my training schedule and I am not even running the whole time.

A lot of regular runners just make it look easy... they are just glowing and bounding along. I always feel like I look like I am on death's door — dripping sweat, out of breath, annoyed and just want to stop.

Apparently, I am not the only one feels this way about running. I have talked about trying to convince myself to run to that next mailbox or finish the block. A couple of people have said to me, "That's running." I guess it is not just me.

I don't think my brain has caught up to what my body can do. That is going to take some adjusting. That is part of the reason I am slowing down my training slightly. I hope my brain will hurry and catch up to the rest of me!

Beth :o)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Off track

The past week has thrown my training schedule off. Life does get in the way sometimes. Running was just not a priority and I haven't had the energy. (That may have had to do with not eating the best either. Is trailmix considered a health food?!)

Oh yeah, and just stress in general.

I am determined to get back on track and not let one blah week get in my way!

So, this week I am making a bit of a tweak to my training schedule. To get myself mentally and physically back on track, I am re-doing last week's running plan. Basically I am sticking to my run 3 minutes and walk 2 minutes intervals. If I feel up to it, I will go to 4 minutes running.

Today, I did Zumba, weights and 30 minutes of extra cardio. I am getting in some running tomorrow along with some Turbo Kick... wish me luck!!

Beth :o)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The right stuff

When it comes to running - or working out - having the right "stuff" is very important. (And yes, I meant to get a New Kids on the Block reference in there!)

Shoes are probably the most important, but having the wrong clothing can be quite annoying.

As I have lost weight and started running, I have picked up some new workout capris that are more fitted and a few new tops. The bottoms I have gotten have turned out great... no problems there. The tops, on the other hand have given me some issues.

Some tank tops slide after I get hot and sweaty. One in particular, I was quite excited about. It was cute (light blue bubble tank top) and easy on the wallet (under $20).

Then, I ran intervals in my new top. Every time I ran, up rode the top and I would have to pull it down every time I walked. It got quite annoying after 30 minutes of that. I decided try out the top in Zumba and then Turbokick. Unfortunately, jumping of any kind produced the same results.

I guess that shirt is resigned to the elliptical machine and other tame workouts. Sigh.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Welcome to my new blog! My hope is to discuss running tips, struggles and life as it happens.

I have never been a runner. I dreaded P.E. growing up and was that kid picked last for teams. One thing I don't come to naturally - among many things - is athletic ability.

My weight has fluctuated over the years and my husband I decided to start getting healthy in August 2011. It has been a struggle, but I have lost more than 40 pounds now and am just shy of reaching my goal weight.

Training and running races has become a major motivator for my husband. I decided, despite my distaste for running, to give it a try. Around Thanksgiving, I ran an informal Turkey Trot 5K. Finish time was 43ish minutes. Next was the Cupid Crawl in February. Finish time of 39:47!! A good improvement and no actual training beyond my normal workouts.

This time, I have a training regimen. On May 19 I will be running the Bright Night 5K. My hope is to improve my time to around 35 minutes. Week two of training and so far, so good!