Tag Archives: running

Favorites of Fall with Lydia

I’ve loved this Fall season with our little girl! Once she hit the 3-month mark, she became so alert, interactive, and responsive to the things around her, which makes everything more fun!!

We went to the pumpkin patch with my family one evening and she was fascinated at all the people and pumpkins.
After picking out some fantastic pumpkins, we went back to my parents’ house to eat IMO’s pizza, the best!!


For my birthday on Oct 18th, Rob planned a fun day of surprises for me!! He let me sleep in (what a treat that is nowadays! 🙂 ) and I came downstairs to him cooking an amazing breakfast: omelets, bacon, fruit, OJ, the works!! Then we went and worked out (he knows me so well, haha!) and then he told me to pack up and we headed off to apple picking!! It was such a beautiful day for it, and even though we were near the end of the apple picking season, we managed to come away with a great haul. Lydia’s favorite part was riding behind the tractor through the orchards.

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That night, Rob had arranged for his parents to come babysit for us and we went on an awesome date night to a new-to-us place called The Rack House Winery in Cottleville! Our meals were amazing, and when Rob mentioned it was my birthday they brought out an incredible dessert: homemade brownie with caramel ice cream, bourbon whipped cream, and a sprinkling of bacon on top! We weren’t too sure about the bacon at first but it actually went really well with the sweetness of the brownie. Overall we loved this restaurant and definitely want to come back sometime!!

We ended our date night just chatting at Starbucks… it’s crazy how special those times are now since we have a little one at home! Having some time to just sit and talk without distraction is something we never take for granted any more! 🙂
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Speaking of time to chat, Rob’s mom came over on Wednesday so Rob and I could get out for a little date-time in the afternoon! We went to a park just a few minutes away with a blanket, some coffee, and a deck of cards. Loved getting to enjoy this beautiful fall weather with my guy.

For Halloween, my mom got Lydia an adorable little butterfly costume! We went to a party at a friend’s house and Rob and I threw together some last-minute costumes when we heard our friends were dressing up. (Cowgirl and Crocodile Hunter, in case you were wondering!! 😉 )


We’ve been trying to spend as much time as possible outside with Lydia before the weather gets too chilly! Pretty much every morning, she and I go out on the patio for a bit; she loves to watch the falling leaves, and I get some work done while we sit there together. When Rob gets home from work, he’ll often take her for a run at the park; being outside is her favorite! Yesterday I took her for a run at Creve Coeur Lake, and she stared at me almost the entire time with one finger in her mouth. Never fails to make me laugh, this one. 🙂
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She’s been waking up earlier and earlier these days, which makes me a tad bit terrified about what’s going to happen tonight with Daylight Savings!! I got spoiled because for the first couple months of her life she would sleep til 8:30 or 9am. We’re doing great now if she sleeps til 7! Thankfully her naps have gotten longer, though. They used to only last 30-40 minutes but recently we’ve had a pretty good streak of 1-2 hour naps going!!

Rob and I are loving this stage of life with Lydia. It’s amazing to watch her taking in everything around her. She’s so curious and fascinated by the simplest things. We love her to death and can’t believe how fast she is growing!!! I’ve never felt like time was flying by so quickly until I had a baby.

Can’t wait for the fun of the holiday season with our little cutie!! 😀

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Fall Favorites, in pictures

Favorite highlights from fall 2014…

Decorating with mini gourds, pumpkins, and pumpkin candles. Love adding simple touches around our place to make it feel festive.

Decorating with gourds, pumpkins, and pumpkin spice candles!

 

Baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies at 7am on Halloween. May or may not have eaten cookie batter for breakfast that day. 🙂
Baking pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for our neighbors

Visited the beautiful mountains in Virginia for a friend’s wedding and went on a sunrise run one morning. So peaceful and quiet out there. The cows seemed rather annoyed that I was disturbing their morning solace.

Visiting Virginia for a friend's wedding and soaking up the beautiful country scenery

A sweet client brought me pumpkin spice cupcakes one day!! Rob and I demolished these in no time.

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Loved the pumpkin spice coffee at Nadoz this year. Since I drink my coffee black, it’s fun to try various flavors to mix things up a little bit!

Drinking pumpkin spice coffee at Nadoz... (are you picking up on a pumpkin theme yet?)

 

Took our pup to the pumpkin patch – she wasn’t at all interested in the pumpkins, but loved trying to eat the hay!

Taking our little puppy to the pumpkin patch

 

I love dry erase boards on refrigerators because they give me an excuse to doodle. 🙂

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Roasted the seeds from our pumpkins and they turned out really well! I just followed a recipe I found on Pinterest and they were delicious.

Roasting pumpkin seeds from our pumpkins!

We spent lots of the warmer days at the park with Peyton, trying to burn off some of her endless energy!

Playtime at the park with Peyton

Cooked up some homemade butternut squash soup one day when I was nursing a head cold. So soothing and comforting – at least as much as soup can be. 😉

Homemade butternut squash soup - delicious!

Ran a chilly 5K race with my hubby in Kirkwood and placed 1st in my age group! The race was even called the HOPE 5K so it felt like destiny for me.  🙂

Ran a 5K race and placed 1st in my age group!

 

Lots of warm bowls of oatmeal for breakfast lately, topped with banana and peanut butter.

Lots of hot bowls of oatmeal for breakfast, with banana and peanut butter on top

 

One of my birthday presents from my parents – 3 new kinds of tea to try! My favorite is the Vanilla Caramel.

Birthday present from my parents - 3 new kinds of tea. :)

 

One of my husband’s favorite meals that I’ve been making lately: BBQ Chicken and Gouda Cheese Pizza. YUM.

One of Rob's favorite meals: BBQ Chicken and Gouda Cheese Pizza!

 

Chicken and rice soup with hearty, whole grain bread; from a cafe in Nashville.

Soup with bread...one of the best things about colder weather.

 

Hiking at Castlewood State Park with my hubby and puppy on a beautiful day!

Hiking with my hubby and puppy on a beautiful day!

Fall has been fantastic in so many ways. I’m excited to see what winter holds! 🙂

The Place I Go to Get Away

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The family dog and me, circa 1999

Have you ever had a special place of solace, somewhere you could go to think, or get away? It could be a quite coffee shop with comfy leather armchairs, or a wooded trail with scenic overlooks. Mine is a quaint, little park, just up the road from the house where I grew up.

My memories at this park go back to my early childhood, before the park was even a park. My siblings and I used to walk the two-tenths of a mile up the road with our friends to explore what seemed to us like a HUGE expanse of land at that very young age. The owner of the land lived in a sprawling one-story home on the property, and let the rest of it pretty much go wild. As wild as you can be in the middle of the suburbs, that is. There were a few unique features about the property, primarily the stable building and carriage house that sat a couple hundred yards away from the house, which had several actual stalls for horses – a novelty to a bunch of kids from the suburbs! And, as if that wasn’t cool enough, there was also a historic log cabin on the property that appeared unoccupied and abandoned, making it quite mysterious to our group of young adventurers.

When I was around the age of 10, the lady who owned the property passed away and there was a big uproar about what would be done with the land. I don’t remember much about it all, except that people were debating whether the land should be turned into a park or used for a new housing development instead. My siblings and I were rooting for the park to be built – a playground sounded much more fun to us than just a bunch of new houses. In fact, my entire family was pretty deeply invested in the park idea, to the extent that my mom took my sister and me to some of the city hall meetings regarding the outcome of this land. I felt pretty grown up, listening to the aldermen and townspeople discuss what should be done.

Eventually the decision was made: the land would be turned into a park. We were ecstatic. After waiting for what seemed like forever, the land was cleared and the park built, and our town held an official ribbon cutting ceremony on a hot and humid day in June.  It wasn’t long before we were up there all the time – taking the dog for walks, playing cops and robbers with our friends, and just reveling in the excitement of having our own little park. It was a pretty big event in the timeline of my childhood, to say the least.

Fast forward a few years, and the park had sadly lost its shiny new allure and become just another landmark on the drive home every day. I was about 13 years old, and was beginning to go through one of the most confusing times of my life – that terrifying transition known as “puberty.” I’m pretty sure every girl can relate to this in some form or another. All of a sudden, it seemed I’d lost complete control of my emotions and fallen prey to things like mood swings, random crying spells, and other unexplained behavior. My brother joked (years later, when I was able to laugh along with him) that he could have said “Pass the butter, please,” and I would have broken down in tears. It wasn’t quite that bad….but close.  😉

And so, I returned to that park on those days when I just didn’t want to be around anyone. On my toughest days, I would go up there just to cry, where no one could hear me.  I didn’t even know what I was crying about some of the time (oh the joys of being a girl!), but it felt good to cry it out. On the better days, I would take my journal and sit on my favorite bench to process things in my favorite way – with paper and pen.

This park was my spot. My place to get away and deal with all the crazy things I was feeling at the time. Somehow it was comforting, just sitting on my bench and being there.

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Senior year of high school

A few years later, it was my senior year of high school, when I had taken up running as a form of exercise. That park became part of my usual route. The path around the perimeter of the park was only ½ mile long, but I loved running up there, doing a few laps, and heading home. Altogether, it was about 2 miles. As I became a more proficient runner, I abandoned the park for longer routes and busier roads. I’d run 7, 8 or 9 miles at a time, sometimes to the Walgreens on Manchester Road or the seminary a few miles away, but as I ran out of my neighborhood, I always went past that little neighborhood park.

Then again, during another crisis in my life, the park reappeared as a place of solace and comfort. It was 2011 and I had moved home suddenly from India and begun treatment for my eating disorder. This park was there for me (not that the park had a choice, really…) during my recovery from anorexia, when I woke up daily at 5am to run. Obsessed about hitting at least 6 miles before I would allow myself to head home, I would often stop in to this little park to finish out my quota for the day. I remember running along that ½ mile path, thinking about my meals the day before, trying to count my calories and make sure I hadn’t gone over. I remember pushing myself to do one or two more laps, because I knew it would quiet the voices in my head and make up for any calories I’d missed from yesterday’s tally.

Months later, after many sessions with a counselor and a lot of hard work, I begun loosening up on my restriction and extreme exercise habits. But now, my battle with food took on a whole other twist. I couldn’t STOP eating. I began eating in secret, bingeing on large amounts of food, making myself sick, and being afraid to leave the house because of how “fat” I felt. In reality, I’d only gone up about 2 sizes in pants, but it happened so quickly that I was sure everyone had noticed and I felt embarrassed to even leave my house. I wore t-shirts and sweatpants whenever I could get away with it, and baggy tunic-style tops the rest of the time. I was so mad at myself for “losing control” with food and didn’t know how to stop the bingeing and weight gain.

Overnight it seemed, I’d become lazy and unmotivated. I’d completely lost my interest in any kind of exercise. It was all I could do get outside and go for a walk, but when I did, I would go up to that park, often in tears, and slowly make my way around the trail. I would mourn the long-gone days of 5am morning runs and the “high” they gave me. I missed the sense of control I used to have and the way I made my body obey me. But, looking back now, I can see that this was an important time in my recovery. During those months, I learned to exercise because I wanted to. I learned (slowly) to give up my compulsion and obsession with working out, and I gradually won the battle over binge eating. As my eating balanced out, so did my exercise routine. Now, I looked forward to those walks in the park and always felt refreshed and content as I soaked in the beauty of nature. Being outside filled me with hope, even on my toughest days. I began once again taking my Bible up to my favorite park, to read, journal, and think. I would talk to God as I walked, sometimes thanking Him for recent baby steps of progress in my recovery, other times begging Him with tears to get me through this hellish struggle. So many ups and downs, but many of them spent at that same park.

By the fall of 2012, I was in a more stable place in my recovery. I had begun to find myself again, learned to relax about my weight and diet, and found new hobbies to enjoy, now that I wasn’t obsessing about food all the time. I’d recently broken off a toxic relationship that had been feeding into my poor body image and insecurity, and I was feeling alive and free. Exercise was a part of my life, but it wasn’t my whole life. I ate a balanced variety of foods and stopped counting calories altogether.

My sister (left) and me, at her wedding

My sister was getting married, and I was the maid of honor. For once, I didn’t diet in order to feel comfortable in my dress. This was a huge step for me, and I felt the gravity of it and the progress it signified. The morning of my sister’s wedding, I woke up and realized I had about an hour until the day began with the arrival of the hairdresser and bridesmaids. I decided to walk up to my favorite park, and just enjoy the brisk, November morning. The temperature was perfect – the sun was out but the breeze made things just a little bit chilly. As I walked by the playground, I stopped to swing on the swings and go across the monkey bars, reliving all the times I’d done those things years ago.

As I left the park, I decided to run the two-tenths of a mile back to my house, but not because I wanted to burn calories; I actually just wanted to run because it felt like the best way to express the peace and happiness in my heart. As I sprinted down the road to my house, I felt like a little kid again, and the excitement of the day ahead made me giddy and free.

A year later, in 2013, I found myself in a new, much healthier, relationship with a guy. He and I went up to the park together in the evenings and made our way around the trail, often with my family’s dog in tow. We’d enjoy the sunset as we discussed our plans for the future, places we wanted to see together and things to check off of our bucket lists.

This is right before I started jumping...

This is right before I started jumping…

By the fall of 2013, he was down on one knee with a ring in his hand, and I was jumping up and down. (Literally, I started jumping and waving my hands around like a crazy person when he proposed… I’m fairly open about expressing my emotions…)

As we’ve made plans for our wedding and future life together, I’ve continued to visit this park from time to time, just to walk and think about everything happening in my life. I’m a very internal processor, so I need those times of solitude to sort through all the swirling thoughts in my head. Being outside, at that park, calms my heart and helps me relax. There are usually kids playing on the playground, who often ask to pet my dog. It feels comfortable and right, being there at that park where so many landmark moments in my life were spent.

A few weeks ago, I woke up on a Thursday morning and got ready to move my fiancé into our new place. We had an appointment to sign our lease together at 10, but I was wide awake at 7 because I was so excited. I leashed up the dog and walked to my park once again, enjoying the morning sunshine and spring breeze that felt just right. As I meandered along the path, I saw the big open field where we used to play catch or kick the soccer ball, or just run around with our childhood friends. I hollered at my dog and the two of us set off in a sprint across the field. We finished with a collapse on the other side of the field, and as I lay there in the grass, I realized how much this park has meant to me throughout my life, and the idea for this blog post was born.

Friends that know I’m into fitness have asked me if I plan to run on the morning of my big day…some even mentioned they’d heard of brides who run a race on their wedding day, which made me exhausted just thinking about it. Who knows, maybe I’ll take a quick run around the neighborhood, or maybe I’ll opt to sleep in and sip coffee on my parents’ screened-in porch. But at some time that morning, before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, I know I’ll make my way up to my little park that holds so many memories for me. Maybe I’ll be swinging on the swings or sprinting across the field. Or maybe I’ll just be sitting on the bench with my journal in hand, soaking in the excitement of the day.
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That Time I Ran a 5K in a Tutu…

Last weekend, I crossed another item off my Bucket List – Race Edition:

– Dress up in a costume for a race.

On Sunday morning, I donned a purple tutu and set out to conquer 3.1 miles on a lakeside trail at a local park.

This all began when my bride-to-be friend messaged me a few weeks ago with a link to a Groupon deal: half off the registration for The Bride’s 5K.

The race – as the name suggests – is for brides-to-be and their bridal parties.

I’m always up for a fun 5K, and after doing some poking around on the race website, I discovered that runners were encouraged to dress up in costume – done deal! I replied to her message with a very enthusiastic “let’s do it!” and so the adventure of the tutu began.

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As a bridesmaid, I felt it my duty (and pleasure) to be in charge of our outfits for the race. I’m not usually a procrastinator when it comes to these kinds of things, but somehow I found myself in Walmart the day before the race, buying yards of tulle and googling “how to make a tutu” on my phone.

In case you’ve never made a tutu from scratch before (I sure hadn’t), there are many different options suggested online (and countless Youtube tutorials) and each one claims to be the best. I settled on the one that looked the simplest (considering I had less than 24 hours til race time) and picked out some $3 Walmart tank tops to go with our tutus.

The bride, of course, would be decked out in white: a white tutu and veil, accompanied by a matching tank top with some glittery fabric paint proudly announcing her status as the bride.

I, on the other hand, chose purple for my tutu and a turquoise tank to go with it.

The tutus didn’t turn out as ruffly and obnoxious poofy as I would have liked, but I consoled myself that this was my first tutu endeavor and each one from here on would be much better. (If you ever need a tutu, let me know… the next one is sure to be a huge improvement)

We showed up at the race on Sunday morning and mingled a little bit with the other bridal parties. They were apparently very intent on winning the award being given to the best dressed bridal party…one group was decked out in redneck gear, camouflage viels, overalls, and carried a huge sign that said, “My Big Fat Redneck Wedding.” We passed them halfway through the race, mopping the sweat off their faces with red bandannas. I’d be sweating too, if I tried to run a 5K in overalls.

This race definitely got me thinking about other ways I could embarrass myself costumes that would be fun for a race… (I’m kicking myself now for not getting a picture of that redneck bridal party)

My friend and I set off in a flurry of excitement, as she had arrived late (GPS glitch sent her to the wrong side of the park) and it was well past the starting gun. It didn’t matter, though, because we were definitely just running this for fun. (Is it even possible to race competitively in a tutu?)

1149101_10100108489433266_1615179197_oThat being said, we did keep a good pace and even passed several brides that had started way before us – score! After a quick water break at the turnaround point, we finished strong and crossed the finish line with a cheer. Post-race pictures followed, of course. 😉

I’ve heard of women running half or full marathons on the morning of their wedding, and always knew that was NOT kind of my thing. (I’ve only run a half marathon once, but I definitely did not feel up for getting married afterwards! I spent the day watching movies on the couch and eating copious amounts of chocolate covered almonds.) However, after my tutu experience on Sunday, I think it would be really fun to do a casual 5K with my bridesmaids (when that time comes) and burn off some wedding stress a few months before the big day.

Plus, it would give me chance to perfect my tutu-making skills.

One Simple Change to Get More Out of Your Workout!

When it comes to fitness, more isn’t always better.

Simply put, the QUALITY of your workout is more important than the amount of time you spend on it.

For years, we’ve been told that the best way to burn fat is through long, aerobic workouts, such as long distance running or hours on a similar cardio machine. In recent studies, though, we’re learning that shorter interval workouts are actually just as effective for burning fat, increasing your metabolism, and lowering insulin resistance.

Here are some other benefits of interval workouts:

– simple to create using any kind of exercise, which keeps you from getting bored!
– easier to fit into your schedule because they can be done in less than 30 minutes and still give you a great workout
– they can be done anywhere – I’ve done them at parks, in my basement, and in hotel rooms
– increases your RESTING metabolism rate – meaning, your body will burn more calories throughout your day, even when you’re resting. Long aerobic workouts might burn a lot of calories DURING the workout, but interval workouts cause you to burn more calories overall because you continue burning throughout the next 48 hours

Without further ado, here are the simple steps to creating a great interval workout:

Creating an Interval Workout

You can make your intervals as long or as short as you want, but a good rule of thumb is somewhere between 30-60 seconds. So, following the 2:1 ratio, if your intervals are going to be 30 seconds, your rest periods will be 15 seconds. The short rest period keeps your heart rate elevated and is guaranteed to give you a great workout!

A couple years ago, I started incorporating intervals into my running workouts and saw a noticeable increase in my speed. Lately I’ve been using intervals for various exercises on the floor or with weights, primarily using movements that work multiple muscle groups.

Here are some of my favorite exercises for intervals workouts:

  • Burpees – Everyone hates them (myself included) but they are one of the best total body exercises you can do without any equipment
  • Push-ups – If you can’t do military-style push-ups, put your hands on a bench, or just do the push-ups on your knees
  • Squat jumps – squat with your feet shoulder-width apart; as you rise from the squat, jump off the ground with both feet
  • Lunges – many variations you can do on this one! Lunge forward, backward or sideways and add an overhead press with dumbbells if you can
  • Plank – if you’re able to plank easily, add in an alternating leg lift or other variation to make it more difficult!
  • Scissor Legs – you can use ANY ab exercise in your interval workout, but scissor legs are one of my favorites. I also love doing Russian twists and In-and-Outs
  • Tricep Dips – all you need is a bench or chair
  • Bench Step-ups – exactly what it sounds like: find a bench or flight of stairs and step up and down, alternating your leg each time
  • High Knee Sprints – great exercise to get your heart rate going!
  • Jumping jacks – simple and old-school!
  • Side shuffles over a step
  • Mountain climbers – this one targets your abs and also hits your shoulders, glutes and legs

Those are just a few of the exercises you can incorporate into your interval workout.

Here’s a sample routine that I created for myself a few days ago:
Full Body Interval Workout cropped

This circuit will give you a great full-body workout in less than 20 minutes!

I’ll leave you with a little workout humor that made me laugh today…

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The Happiest 5K on the Planet!

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Generally speaking, I go into most 5K races with few expectations, simply looking to have fun and perhaps hit a new personal record. I don’t expect the race itself to “give” much to me…except the opportunity to run a few miles with a bunch of strangers other runners and get a t-shirt out of the experience. Free coffee at the finish line is a plus, too.

However, when I headed downtown for the St Louis Color Run 5K last Saturday, I will admit that I had some expectations. This race is marketed as “the happiest 5K on the planet” so I felt justified in expecting it to be…well, HAPPY!

You’ve probably seen some of the posters and pictures from this nationwide 5K race series…people covered in rainbows of color splatters, huge smiles on their faces, waving their arms in the air or riding triumphantly on the shoulders of a friend. It’s hard not to feel happy when you see the glossy displays of color and the sheer pleasure and triumph on every face.

On Saturday morning, I headed downtown with my boyfriend to see what this gloriously happy 5K was all about. The day didn’t start out on a particularly happy note as we drove down Highway 40 with a steady drizzle of rain falling on the windshield. I don’t have a problem running in the rain (I enjoy it, usually!) but when I think of a HAPPY race, I think of sunshine and butterflies…not puddles and ponchos.

It was pointless to worry about the rain, though – rain or shine, I was going to be a mess by the time I reached the finish line – what’s a little extra water? After several minutes of navigating the one-way streets downtown, we found an open parking garage and quickly made our way to the start line. It took about 15 minutes before I was able to start, as they were sending out waves of people in 5 minute intervals. I wasn’t able to connect with any of my friends before the race (it’s hard to find people in a sea of 1,000 white t-shirts) but I just told myself to enjoy it and have fun regardless.

After about a quarter mile of running past tutus and tiaras (apparently it’s popular to dress up for this race) I heard someone calling my name and turned around to see two of my good friends. I stuck with them the rest of the way and we talked the entire time, which was so much fun!

color run collage

The color stations weren’t exactly what I was expecting… I didn’t realize we would have to go up to a volunteer and specifically ask them to spray us with color. For some reason, after ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the awesome posters on the Color Run website, I pictured “color machines” showering color all over us as we ran by – or a similarly innovative method. But nope, volunteers with plastic bottles of colored powder! It was still a lot of fun, though!

Three miles have never flown by so quickly for me. Because of the color stations and the distraction of good conversation with friends, I was shocked when the finish line came into view. We coasted in at a nice, easy pace and then evaluated the damage. 🙂 I was pretty covered with color on my face, arms, and t-shirt, but thankfully I didn’t get too much in my hair. I’ve seen some horror stories posted on the Facebook page…people that have been showering up to 3 times every day since the race, in an attempt to get the blue and green highlights out of their hair. Yikes. The color came off of my skin with some good scrubbing and a bar of soap, and it washed completely out of my shorts, which was a pleasant surprise.

We hung around downtown for a little while after the race, taking pictures and shivering in the drizzle of rain. All in all, this 5K was a great time and definitely a fun race to put in the books. We could have used some “happier” weather, but the rest of the experience was a lot of fun!

The Color Run is quite expensive for a 5K (almost double what I’m used to paying for smaller, local races!) but I guess someone has to cover the cost of all that pixie dust powdered color they’re spraying all over us! I don’t think I’d pay for it again, but it was definitely a good one-time race and I’m glad to check it off my “Bucket List: Race Edition”. 🙂

Slush and Mud

In case you didn’t know, St Louis got quite a lot of snow this past Sunday! I’ve been told the official measurement at the airport was 13 inches, although some areas got as many as 16!  Regardless of the exact amount, snow on the ground turns running into a whole new ball game.

I’m not one of those maniacs hard-core runners who sees that a blizzard is coming in and decides it’s the perfect time to tie on the running shoes and head outside. No. When I hear there’s snow coming – be it 3 inches or 13 – I start to plan what kind of delicious foods I will enjoy on my warm couch while watching a movie…in my warm house. (cue popcorn and chocolate)

The day the snow arrives, and usually the day after, I take to the treadmill to knock out my miles. I’m not particularly fond of treadmills (except for speedwork) because I get incredibly bored after .3 miles, but it’s better than twisting my ankle on a patch of ice or face-planting in front my neighbor’s house. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and for me that means the treadmill.

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Sunny Day at Forest Park

Monday morning, with somewhere between 10-13 inches of snow outside, I headed to the basement and completed 4 miles of HIIT.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to sunshine and seemingly warmer temperatures. I debated about whether or not the snow would have melted off my favorite running paths by now, and decided to chance it. I was heading to Clayton for a meeting that morning so I threw my running clothes in the backseat and headed over to Forest Park when I was done.

Although I did encounter some pond-sized puddles at several points, most of the 6-mile outer loop was clear – at least from snow and ice. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run. I listened to a couple podcasts as I made my way around the park, and debated a short stop at the zoo as I passed it. I wish I lived just a little closer to Forest Park because I would definitely run there more often!

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Wednesday, I decided to venture to yet another park and test my luck on its more “primitive” path. Sure enough, it was clear of most of the snow, but lots of slush and mud remained. My favorite. 😉 As I made my way around the loop, and noticed my shoes getting more and more soaked, I realized that running in mud and slush can actually be quite enjoyable. Or, maybe not enjoyable, as much as adventurous.

Something about hopping over puddles and strategically trying to avoid large patches of slush makes me feel like I could conquer the world. For a moment, I forget I’m 5 minutes from my house, at a small park in the middle of the suburbs, and instead I’m just out in nature, trying to survive keep my shoes as dry as possible.

There’s something satisfying about finishing a run, panting and sweating, and looking down to see mud caked all over your shins and shoes. Usually this is accompanied by soaked socks – which can be annoyingly chilling – but then I remember that I’m just a few minutes from home…complete with hot tea, dry socks, and a warm shower.

Happy Running!

Footprints in the snow

Baking Adventures…and Other Highlights of the Past 2 Months

As I type this, I’m sitting at a window table at a Starbucks in Springfield, MO, sipping a passion fruit iced tea and wondering how in the world it’s been so long since I blogged!

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Initially, I decided to take a couple weeks off this little blog to focus on school because things were getting kinda crazy as graduation approached and I didn’t want to fall behind. Those “couple weeks off” quickly turned into almost 2 months away, but I’m finally back today with plans to be more consistent with my writing.

This blog is primarily just a personal creative outlet for me and a way to express (in writing, at least) the thoughts flying around in my brain. 🙂 I don’t claim to be any kind of exceptional writer or attempt to impress anyone with my fitness or healthy living. I just love to write and journal and share the random musings that come to mind. And it’s fun to have a place to do that!

The past couple months have been a blur…as of March 1st, I am officially a graduate of IIN (the Institute for Integrative Nutrition) and I’m now a Certified Holistic Health Coach! I’m so excited to be officially graduated, but it also means I really need to kick it into gear with my marketing and business development! I started coaching my first client a couple months ago, while still finishing up school, and that has been going well!

I have lots of ideas about how I want to develop my coaching business and the demographics I hope to work with…now it’s all about translating those ideas into ACTION and making it happen! 🙂 I’m excited! …and a little nervous. 😛

In my free time, I’ve been running a lot (for me), spending lots of time with my family, and eating a lot of dark chocolate. Especially the chocolate part. 😉

I’ve also made some really fun desserts that have garnered good reviews from my guinea pigs family.

Most notable were the Superbowl-themed desserts I made for a party at my sister’s house. I’ve never done much intense decorating of baked goods so the fact that these turned out was a huge win in my book!

Yard-line chocolate cupcakes:
This is a great step-by-step recipe, which is exactly what I need when special icing decorating is involved. 😉 Those little “footballs” on top are chocolate covered almonds!!

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Football brownies:
(I used this recipe, but made my own from-scratch brownies instead of using the mix)

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Also of note were the cinnamon crescent rolls I whipped up one night which were highly reviewed by my 19 year old brother. After eating 3 of them, he mumbled with his mouth full, “dude, these are legit!” …These wonderful cinnamon pastries are not really what most people would consider “healthy” but hey, everything in moderation! We had a tube of crescent rolls in our fridge that were going to waste so this was the perfect way to put them to good use.

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This post has already gotten annoyingly long, I know, but I’ve saved the best recipe (in my mind) for last… homemade chocolate peanut butter cups!! This is truly the most simple and easy recipe imaginable and only requires two ingredients, but the idea is ingenious! I found the recipe on this blog and went to work. I made simple chocolate peanut butter cups (I did add a little sea salt on the top of mine) but she offers all sorts of delicious toppings suggestions if you want to get a little creative.

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I brought these to a family dinner one evening and they were definitely a hit! (as if it’s possible for ANY combination of chocolate and peanut butter to not taste amazing…)

I promise I haven’t ONLY been baking and eating delicious desserts for the past 2 months. But yes, that’s been a huge part of my life of late. 😛

I’m in Springfield for a quick day trip with my brother and a friend of his who came in town to visit a university here. While they sat through a few seminars and informational sessions on campus, I donned my running shorts and did a little exploring of downtown Springfield on foot. It’s a warm, gorgeous day today and I had a great 4 mile tempo run in the sunshine. I’m hoping spring has finally come to stay for awhile!

Enjoy your weekend! 🙂