Weekly Workout Recap and I Need a New Goal

Hey friends!

Since I’m not training for anything specific right now, I haven’t been great about posting my workouts. No one probably cares but me, but it’s my blog and I post what I want. And posting workouts is a good way to keep myself on track and accountable. So, here are the deets from last week (I said “deets.” I’m so hip.)

Monday: 3 quick treadmill miles before my favorite Muscle Works class. (Sad side note: I went to class tonight and learned that my favorite instructor, Carly, is taking some time off from teaching. Frowny face.)

Tuesday: 5 miles easy plus some quick core work

Wednesday: 1 hour lifting, 30 minutes spin bike intervals. I broke my run streak because my foot, calf, and hip were all feeling twingy, and as I’ve said before, streaking isn’t worth injury risk. The workout streak is what I really care about; it doesn’t really matter if the workout is running or not.

Thursday: 6 miles fartleks. Which is just a fun way of saying “treadmill run with some fast minutes.”

Friday: An hour of lifting and a 4-mile run. And this awful ab workout.
someday when I have 30 minutes just for abs...
My abs are still sore. And I did it only twice.

Saturday: 11-mile run. It felt good to get outside and run double-digits again. 

Sunday: 4 slow recovery miles around the neighborhood, checking out everyone’s Christmas decor. Also, I wore shorts. Last weekend, our temps barely topped zero. Silly Colorado. 
photo (2)
One of my favorite bloggers, Heather from Better with Veggies, put that picture on her blog today. I did not win this week’s Move Happy challenge, but I felt pretty cool. 🙂 

Did everybody see that I lifted weights THREE times this week?! Stop the presses; this is big news. 

In other big news (or not), I’m starting to miss training hard. This running what I feel like, when I feel like it bit has been nice (and will continue to be nice during the next couple of weeks of holiday busyness and travel), but I’m ready to train with a purpose again. I need a goal on the horizon…any suggestions?

What’s your favorite workout? Running, lifting, none of the above?

What race(s) should I do this spring? 

 

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Dear News Media: I Don’t Want to Know

This is not my usual health-and-running post. But this is weighing heavily on my heart and mind, and this blog is the platform I have for expressing my thoughts. Back to your (ir)regularly scheduled shallowness later.

 

Dear News Media:

Yes, there was another horrible school shooting in my state today. It was terrible for all who were impacted, particularly the injured. The gunman is dead. The rest of the students are home safe now.

Please, don’t tell me any more.

Last I checked, the gunman hadn’t been identified. Please keep it that way. I don’t want to know his name. I don’t want to know what he looked like — whether he had vacant, careless eyes or classic boy-next-door good looks. I don’t want to see his face plastered across the front page of the newspaper, filling every T.V. screen at the gym, staring out at me from my RSS reader.

Don’t unearth his yearbook pictures, the ones of him running cross country or posing with the debate team, showing them on the screen while you quote his teammates who “still can’t believe he did this.” Don’t find out why he had a vendetta against his teacher — and if you do find out, please don’t tell me. (I didn’t even want to know these things about him, but you already told me).

You see, I don’t want to know these things because if know them, so does everyone else in the country. And now you’ve publicized and glorified another killer. Once you’ve publicized and glorified him, another sad, mentally ill kid starts wondering if a similar act of violence will solve all of his problems and bring him that same glory.

We learned in my earliest education classes that students who act out are seeking attention. Acting out gets them attention — negative attention, but to them, that’s better than no attention at all. A school shooting is “acting out” on the largest, most horrific scale. When you, news media, constantly report on every little detail of it, you are giving that desperately-sought attention. (Don’t believe me? Then please tell me why Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are still household names 14 years after their attack. The answer is you.) So stop. Please stop.

These senseless acts of violence are becoming deplorably common. I’m not saying it’s all your fault, media. But you definitely play a role. So please, stop fueling the fire. Don’t tell me any more. Because I don’t want to know it.

Healthy Holiday Hosting (i.e. A Bunch of Links to Delicious Appetizer Recipes)

Happy Thursday, friends! I’m feeling very festive tonight, as we had our Secret Santa party at work. Secret Santas are so fun, and I had a great one this year. Not sneaky, but great. I got a lot of coffee and tea and three new mugs. Niiice.

Like most people, we’ve got several parties on the calendar this month. We hosted an Ugly Sweater party last weekend,  had this Secret Santa party today, and have two more parties next week. And of course, most of those parties are full of delicious…ly bad for us food.  The nice thing about hosting your own party is that you can make sure that there are plenty of healthy options (and some not so healthy. ‘Tis the season, and all that.)

Jordan and me looking good in our ugly sweaters.
Jordan and me looking good in our ugly sweaters.

Here are some links to the healthy things I served last weekend. All were tasty, and none were challenging. I fully intended to take pictures of the food once it was on the table and looking pretty, but naturally, I was rushing right up to the last second to get stuff done before people started showing up. But that’s ok; I stole all the pictures below from the original recipes, and they’re way prettier than mine would have been anyhow.

If you’re hosting a party or simply bringing a dish to one, I hope these recipes give you some inspiration!

  • Grinch kabobs.
    Grinch kabobs- layer: mini marshmallows, strawberry, banana slice and green grape on a tooth pick! Perfect Christmas appetizer for a party or family gathering
    You just get the link to the picture on Pinterest, because it doesn’t go anywhere else. But they’re grapes, bananas, strawberries, and mini marshmallows. I don’t think you really need a recipe.
  • Cinnamon butter pecan sweet potato bites.
    Cinnamon Butter Pecan Sweet Potato Bites Paleo and Gluten Free Side Dish
    These dudes were yummy, but I recommend that you roast the potatoes at 375 or so instead of 425, or do it for less than 20 minutes. Some of mine got too crispy. Also, if you use a mandolin to slice the sweet potatoes, and you can’t find the guard, take the extra 30 seconds to dig through the drawer and find it so that you don’t spend ten minutes bandaging your cut and disinfecting the mandolin and cutting board after you cut yourself. Not speaking from experience or anything…
  • Dates with olive oil and sea salt.

    Holy cow, this were amazing. And so easy. I don’t think I’ll ever eat another date that hasn’t been sauteed in oil and sprinkled with salt. Yummo.
  • Tuna-stuffed tomatoes. 
    picture
    Honestly, I did not follow this recipe at all. I just saw the picture on Pinterest and thought it was cute. I just mixed tuna with pre-made guacamole, then stuffed it in tomatoes. Easy, cute, and yummy.
  • Paleo cocktail meatballs.
    Paleoeffect_Meatballs_Cocktail
    Fun fact: I’m terrible at following recipes.  I didn’t follow this one very closely, either. And I used turkey. But they were good, even with all my substitutions, and I’m sure the original is good, too.
  • I also chopped up a bunch of different veggies — red and green bell peppers, carrots, celery, broccoli, sugar snap peas — and set them out with store-bought hummus. You can’t go wrong with veggies.
  • And because it was a holiday party, I made these festive cookies

    and some Rocky Road brownies (recipe from a The Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook. I don’t want to post it here because of copyrights, but it was basically sugar, butter, and chocolate, with marshmallows on top.)

 

What’s your go-to holiday party dish?

Any fun parties on your docket? Tell me about them! I always wish that we had a fancy party to go to, but teachers don’t really get those.

20 Things I’m Grateful For (Hashtag Elf4Health)

Although I’ve been probably the worst “elf” in the Elf For Health challenge, I’m still signed up. I keep failing at the challenges (except the easiest ones), but I’m trying to get back into it this week. And I’m already falling behind, because this was yesterday’s challenge, but my computer kept freezing last night, so I gave up.

The challenge was to make a list of 20 things for which I’m grateful. Some are silly and some more serious, but I’m legitimately thankful for all these things.

1. My husband.

aarghI know I brag him up in every thankful-type post, but seriously, the man is incredible. He never ceases to support me, make me laugh, and make me feel loved, cherished, and beautiful. I’m a lucky, lucky girl.

2. My mom.

Apparently I don't have a single picture of just my mom, so here's one of her and my dad from their vacation to Alaska. They're cool like that.
Apparently I don’t have a single picture of just my mom, so here’s one of her and my dad from their vacation to Alaska. They’re cool like that.

My mom has always encouraged me to be the best person I can be… both through her words and her own example. She always puts her family first, and always lets us know how much we are loved.

3. My dad.

(See picture above.)

So many girls and women my age grew up without dads, or with dads whom they saw only occasionally, or with dads who were just bad examples. I am blessed to have a father who was not only always there to support me, but also gave me an example of what a husband and father should be.

4. My brother.

Picture2 011Because I couldn’t leave him out. No, just kidding. I am very thankful for my big bro. He was my first friend and is still one of my best. And I’m thankful for his girlfriend, Shannon, for putting up with him. 🙂

5. Old friends (as in I’ve had them a long time, not as in they’re old).

all of usThese are my college roommates and the best friends I could ever wish for. Even though we’re spread out now and don’t see each other nearly often enough, we always pick back up right where we left off, and I know I can always count on them.

6. New(er) friends 

This lovely backlit picture is from the ugly sweater party we hosted Saturday night.
This lovely backlit picture is from the ugly sweater party we hosted Saturday night.

Making friends in high school was easy: we had all known each other forever. Making friends in college was easy: you met in a class or a lab, studied once, went to a party together, and were BFFs. Making friends after college is hard, and it took me a while. I’m thankful for the friends I’ve finally made here — they were worth the wait.

7. Internet friends.

Because I’ve virtually met some pretty cool people through this blogging thing.

8. My in-laws

(All the good group pictures of J’s family are on his computer, which is even slower than mine. Sorry.)

I’ve heard a LOT of women complain about their in-laws, which makes me feel even more lucky to have the ones I do. I basically won the in-law lottery: they’re nice, supportive, and accepting. Win.

9. My education.

Every day, I grow more thankful that I have a good education. From my elementary and secondary, to my bachelor’s degree, to my Master’s, each education experience was valuable in so many different ways.

10. My job.

Not only is it a steady (if not large) paycheck that keeps us warm, fed, and having a little fun, but I actually love it most days.

11. My colleagues. 

Every job is better if you share it with people you enjoy. I work with some of the best folks around.

12. Books.

(source)

13. My treadmill. 

millI’m especially thankful for this little dude when it’s below zero out and I don’t have to leave the house at no o’clock in the morning to work out. So, so nice.

14. Running. 

pic9

Duh.

15. My gym.

Though I love my own treadmill, it’s nice to have a clean, friendly, comfortable place to do non-treadmilly things.

16. Christmas break. 

(source)

This will be me in a mere two weeks!

17. Mistakes.

Not to copy Cori’s post, but I’m thankful for many of the mistakes I’ve made, because I learned from them, and they made me into who I am now.

18. Coffee.

19. Chocolate.

Because yum.

20. Challenges.

The things that challenge us make us grow. I’m thankful for challenges at work, in life, and at the gym.
These are only 20 things I have to be grateful for; there are definitely many more. Yep, I live a pretty blessed life!

(Also, I’m not proofreading this because I’m too lazy. Don’t judge the typos.)

What’s one thing you are grateful for today?

Other Elf-For-Healthers: How are you doing?

 

 

 

Christmas-Themed Random Things

Hello, friends! Happy Friday!

I’ve been a little MIA this week; life has been busy! Tonight, I’m hiding from the cold (sub-zero cold…gross), drinking hot chocolate (this paleo one…it’s actually pretty good!), and watching Fred Clause…and sharing with you all the random that has been in my brain lately. You’re welcome.

Random Thing 1: 

photo (24)Have you ever seen a cuter sheep in all your life? This lamb has been my favorite ornament for as long as I can remember. That makes sense, since he’s dated 1986 (and not just by the leg warmers), and I was born in ’85. Every year, he’s the first ornament up and the last down. I just love this little dude.

Random Thing 2:

On Wednesday, we took a group of students to see A Christmas Carol at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. It was so, so good. If you live in Denver and can get tickets, do it!

I think my favorite part of the play came from the audience, though. I sat in front of one of our kids — a massive, signed-with-a-D1-football-team senior. At the end of the play, when Tiny Tim came running out on his now-healthy leg, the boy behind me clasped his hands, let out a huge sigh of relief and said, “Oh, thank goodness.” It was adorable.

Random Thing 3:

When most kids are little, they leave cookies for Santa. Some even leave carrots for the reindeer. Not this girl. My brother and I were true country kids, and we knew those reindeer needed good fuel to fly. We set out hay.

Most kids’ parents eat the cookies they leave for Santa and maybe munch the carrots. Not mine. My awesome dad would go out in the cold night, move the hay, and make tracks in the snow with a deer hoof (Dad was a hunter; he’d save a hoof for this purpose). We would get up the next morning and see that Santa had been there and his reindeer had walked around our yard, and it was SO EXCITING.

Random Thing 4:

Today, I had to tell a student to stop sitting on his friend’s face. File that under “Things I thought I’d never say.”

Random Thing 5:

An instance of spell-check failure: A student wrote in his paper that a trip with his dad was “one of the most memorable thongs of my life.” Huh. You and your dad have a very unique relationship, don’t you?

 

Ok, pals, we’re keeping it short tonight. I got a new issue of Runner’s World in the mail today, and I still haven’t finished last month’s, so clearly I have very important things to do tonight. But here’s a whole slew of questions for you to answer:

Do you have a favorite Christmas ornament? Tell me about it. 

Do you like live theater? What’s the best play you’ve seen?

What unusual twists on Christmas traditions did/do you have?

How cold is it where you are?

 

 

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Target Practice

Hi, friends! How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was filled with family and food — as it should be. I hope yours was, too. We got to my parents’ on Wednesday afternoon and came home Saturday. While we were there, I got in a few good runs with some nice scenery,
photo (23)

a nice gym workout with my mom, and some quality time with the extended family (unpictured, because I was busy enjoying the QT).

On the way home Saturday, we stopped a few times and got the vast majority of our Christmas shopping done. (No pictures of that, either, as the recipients of those gifts read this blog). Winning.

Today, we did the usual boring Sunday stuff but also got our Christmas tree up, and J did the outside lights while I ran 8 miles. Also winning.

Today is December 1, which means it’s time to see how I did on my November Target Practice goals.

Target Practice

I tag along with Fit.Fun.Femme. for these posts.  I think I’m going to make Target Practice a monthly post, because my goals don’t change much from week to week.

These were my goals for November:

Life: Hang out with some friends. Call the ones who live too far away to hang out with. I went to a party a couple of weeks ago. And I haven’t called anyone, but I have exchanged some texts. Grade: C-. 

Blog: Post a minimum of three times a week, and regularly update Twitter and Instagram. Well. That was ambitious for a month as busy as November. Nope, didn’t happen… unless your definition of “regularly” is everyone else’s definition of “occasionally.” Grade: D.

Health: 
Finish the Whole30. Figure out what’s been bothering my guts for so long. I got half of this one. I finished the Whole30, but my insides are still messy. I’m not sure what to do next. Grade: B. Because it’s really not my fault that my experiment didn’t work. 

Fitness: While my mileage is decreased, I want to gain some more strength. That probably means actually going to the weight room instead of to the dumbbells in my basement. Hey hey, I actually succeeded at one of my goals! I’ve hit the gym — the grown-up weights section — three times a week for the past few weeks. Score. Grade: A.

And now, for December goals:

Life: Enjoy all the holidays have to offer, rather than letting them stress me out. We all know that there’s a lot of stress that comes in December — a ton of events to attend — some of which we’d maybe rather not –, the end of the semester at work, shopping, blah blah blah. But there’s also a lot of fun stuff  — the events we want to attend, the time with friends and family, shopping on the Internet from the comfort of my couch — and I want to focus on the happy instead of the stressful.

Blog: I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself here (see goal above). I’ll be satisfied with twice a week, but I want to take more pictures and be more active on social media when possible — without letting my online life take precedence over my in-person life.

Health: Indulge mindfully. Because there are some flipping delicious things that only come around once a year, I will eat those flipping delicious things. But I don’t need to eat ALL the things. For the most part, I want to stay Whole30 compliant even though the “official” program is over, and indulge in the treats that are truly worth it.

Fitness: Work out every day in December. That will help balance both the stress and the indulgences. I’d like to do a December run streak, but if anything feels twingy, I’ll cross train instead. No need to create an injury just because I want to go streaking.


Not that kind of streaking. 

Those are my goals. If you see me slacking, yell at me, okay?

 

Tell me about your Thanksgiving!

What’s your favorite December event/tradition, or what are you looking forward to most this year?