4.30.2018

Stepping up the Steps

How many steps do you take each day?

When I first got my Fitbit ages ago I stuck to the predetermined 10,000 step goal. I didn't think much of it and many days I surpassed it as I was deep into marathon training. But as time went on I realized, I did not always hit the 10,000 goal and me being an overachiever in so many ways, I changed my goal to 12,500. This happened maybe 6 or more months ago. I really don't know when or why I picked that number except it was greater than 10,000 and I felt I should be able to do it....especially when training hard.

But life changes, things change...and my steps suffered. I will get back to that in a minute but want to focus on 10,000 steps.

Why 10,000 steps? 

Well, most sedentary people hit maybe 3,000 steps a day. My research revealed a number as low as 1,000 but I want to say 3,000. We do not want to be sedentary. 10,000 steps is about 5 miles based on the average stride of people. Reaching this goal also means you have most likely nailed your at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day healthy heart goal.

Personally, I see the connection as when I was deep in my rut I was not nailing 10,000 steps a day. In fact, I went too many days in the 5,000 to 7,000 range and I was feeling the negative impact of that. I was feeling blah, moody, and just not me. My energy levels were plummeting making working out harder - a vicious cycle. My food choices also suffered. In the past few weeks I have said enough is enough and refocused on getting those steps in, getting those running miles logged, and I am already reaping the benefits. I am feeling more like me and much happier. And eating better. Ironically less mindless snacking and more wholesome eating --- like homemade cream of broccoli soup! Yes, you can make it healthy and good for you. It is easier than you think!

For me, 10,000 is still not a good enough goal and I think it is time to challenge myself from 12,500 to 14,000 steps a day. This would be about 6.6 miles a day and that seems like a healthy challenge for me as it will push me to keep moving even after my daily run - which now ranges between 3.6 to 5 miles most days.

I have set a move reminder on my Fitbit mainly for those in the office days to remind me to move around and not just stand in place entering data. This is set for 6 days a week but not Sundays. Sundays will be my rest day. A day that less steps is okay but I honestly believe it is important to have a down day at least once a week. God thinks so too! I love that He suggests a day of rest. A day to do no work. I try my best to honor that day. That too is easier said then done when you have a household to manage and a full-time job but I do the best I can.

But back to steps....

Today was a great day. Today I am at 23,554 steps so far and won't log too many more as I am already settling in for the night. Today I ran 8.4 miles and did 12 rounds of MMA plus moved about cleaning house and more. I am excited to see what tomorrow and the rest of the week will bring as today I had a lucky break - working from home makes it easier to move and log more miles!

Do you have a step goal? What is it?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for active and productive days.

Daily Bible Verse: They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. ~ 1 Timothy 6:18-19

4.27.2018

Hula Hooping for Fitness

I recently purchased myself a weighted hula hoop as a reward for another 100 days added to my running streak. It came with a workout video and to be honest, I had no interest in the video. I thought I would just hula hoop alongside darling daughter. Her riding instructor suggested it as an exercise to help loosen her up, etc. to enhance her riding.

However, one day I thought, I will just put in this video and see what it is like. I decided not to be biased and assume the workouts would not be any good. It had some really easy stuff to it but some of those really easy moves were great for stretching my ever tight hamstrings and my tense shoulders. In fact, it is my shoulders that burn out first when I do the hula hooping routines. Go figure!

After 26 minutes of hula hooping, stretching, and do upper body moves today I felt I had a pretty good workout even if it wasn't as intense as many more of my workouts.

My 5 mile run today burned about 483 calories with an average heart rate of 158. My 26 minutes of hula hooping and more burned 128 calories with an average heart rate of 111. So obviously, hula hooping isn't a big calorie burner for me but does it have any health benefits?

Yes!

First, hula hooping keeps my heart rate in the fat burn zone. That in itself does indeed have benefits and trust me y'all, it is better than sitting on a couch. You can even increase the benefits by increasing the work efforts with a weighted hula hoop. Mine is 3 pounds can be changed from an easy to medium to hard configuration. Right now it is on easy but I think I am ready to move it up the spectrum since the actual hooping part is easy for me. The arm workout won't be impacted much by the change in configuration as it is more of a range of motion, keeping arms raised, mobility thing for me.

Second, hula hooping is a good low intensity all around exercise. After miles of hitting the pavement, or the treadmill, it may be good to switch things up. When you hula hoop you will definitely work your core muscles - abs and back - as well as your hips, thighs, glutes, thighs, and obviously arms. How you position your legs can change how you work your body and one thing I like is trying to hoop in a squat position to totally engage my quads and lower body more.

Third, hula hooping can help loosen you up. Think about the rotational movements of hooping and how those will improve flexibility along your spine. This is the primary reason why darling daughter's trainer recommended hooping. To loosen her up! To help her separate upper body movements from lower body movements. Teaching yourself to move one half of the body one way and the other half another way....or not at all! I wonder if this will help with my pesky left hip that tends to be tight.

Fourth, hula hooping can aid in your coordination. The biggest way is by trying to hoop in your not dominant direction. Yes, you will have a way that feels more natural. Now go backwards. I naturally hoop counter clockwise. Changing foot position and more while hooping helps coordination but go wild, hoop the other direction! Hooping clockwise takes a lot of focus for me. I cannot do as many tricks but I am getting better at it.

Last but not least, hula hooping is fun! So many of us can take life way too seriously, including our workouts. We need to be able to chill and have fun and when you can have fun and burn calories, that is a win-win. Plus moms, it is a great way to play with your kiddo's and engage them in the fit life too.

Daily Gratitude: I am so glad I invested in a hula hoop and would love to get the 5 pounder too!

Daily Bible Verse: For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ~ 1 Timothy 4:8

4.17.2018

Running Streak day 2300 and beyond

If we are friends on facebook or twitter you may have seen this yesterday....


Yes! Yesterday was day 2300 of my running streak and a day worth blogging about. I shared a bit of my story on social media but kept it short and sweet. But honestly, there is so much more!

2300 days of running at least a mile a day. Running outside, running inside, running in sun, running in rain, running on streets, running on paths, running on the beach, running in airports, running in Texas, running in Illinois, running in Nebraska, running in California, running in Hawaii. I have also run in Spain but unfortunately, that was pre-streak days so does not count much today but that was a fun run. I kinda got lost. Kinda. I did not have to resort to my GPS map to guide me home but almost had to. But shhh....I don't think I told my mom I almost got lost in Spain.

Those 2300 days also represent fast days, slow days, so-so days, painful days, running on pure joy days, and I don't wanna days. Yes, there have been I don't wanna days...more than I would like to admit but when it got down to it, when I looked at my reason for not running it did not seem to be the reason I would like to have to use every time I said I ran every day until x happened. That x needs to be a good reason. Not a lazy, pathetic reason. Not a weak mind reason. And I am thankful for this experience as it set me up to be a better support for my daughter when she recently struggled with a similar feeling as it relates to horseback riding. Y'all, whatever sport you choose, there are going to be bad days. Hey, there are bad days in life! We just need to learn to roll....or run....or ride....or JUMP with them!

And don't forget to reward yourself for your achievements and you know what, I need to set up a reward system for darling! Her sport is hard! I just need to put one foot in front of the other. She is a heels down, toes up, leg on, close the hip angle, stay focused, type of sport. PHEW! I wonder if she knows how proud I am of her? I will need to tell her....again...and again, and again, and again.

Celebrate those milestones!

I set up just a thing for myself about 100 days ago. For every 100 day increment in my streak, I get to treat myself to something! My idea was a new running outfit. Bondi Band has a new Bondi Wear line with awesome stuff and hey, I do like to match and maybe look a bit stylish when I workout. I am in my workout gear a good chunk of each day so it matters. By the way, you can get 10% off when you shop at Bondi Band with my friends and family coupon code EGFITNESS. You can also get a 20% discount at SOS Rehydrate for an amazing electrolyte drink with the some code - EGFITNESS. But I am getting distracted in telling my story. Hey! I love sharing deals and products I love! If you have any affiliate links that don't compete with mine (sorry, no competition zone) enter them in the comments below, okay? I would love to support you if it is something I could use! And if I can't, maybe one of my readers can!

Anyhow, my 2300 day treat ended up not being a new outfit but this....


Yes! A hula hoop! It is a weighted hula hoop and the segments can be moved around to make it easy, medium, or hard in effort levels. And y'all, I tried a couple workouts yesterday and it made me sweat! Who knew hula hooping workouts could be hard! And who knew it would work your arms and shoulders! I have really tight stressed out shoulders so some of the moves really worked, and stretched, those areas and this is a good thing to return to time after time. Did anyone else sing time after time? If you did you may also like this song that popped up when I was running today.

Run like James Bond!


I really do need to "run" now and get to work but I have one final thing I want to share. When I run before work near the office I don't get to shower. There is no hot water. That is a story for another day but I am not a cold shower type of gal. I have used athletic wipes more than once in the past but found these that are biodegradable (win!) and have peppermint and tea tree oil in them (another win!). There is also one with lavender oil! No affiliate link for these but I found them on Amazon and just wanted to share.


Have a great day!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for an amazing 4.2 mile run today --- outside in the wind! 

Daily Bible Verse: These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. ~ John 15:11

4.11.2018

Virtual Run across Alaska

When you are running and racing on a budget sometimes you need to get creative to keep the momentum going.

One thing that has motivated me over the years is virtual races --- some I have paid for, some where comped, some were free for all, and some I created on my own. Like my current mission - running across Alaska for my buddy.

Through the I Run 4 Michael program I signed up to be a runner for someone who signed up for a runner. It is a mutual thing. A runner signs up, a buddy signs up, and you are eventually matched. Buddies are matched FAST! Runners, you gotta wait but hey, you are used to training and waiting for results so this is no different.

On July 27, 2014 I was matched with my beyond amazing buddy, Toby. He has Down syndrome and is very close in age to darling daughter. A match made in Heaven! Since then, I have grown to know and love him more along with his mom, family, younger brother, and his brother's runner. Both Toby and his younger brother have Down syndrome and were adopted! How cool is that?! Seriously, this is way cool!

I try to keep things fun and different with my running for Toby. When we were first matched I did more road races as it was in the budget but things have changed so now I try to do things with little to no budget. The virtual runs I set up through My Virtual Mission are a cool addition! I have run from Hawaii to Nebraska, Hadrian's Wall, Land's End to John o'Groats, and now across Alaska for Toby! Some have medals (if they are organized by My Virtual Mission and have a fee) and some don't but that is okay.

One thing I have realized in my current Alaska mission is this one is harder with less landmarks and a lot of icy conditions. It makes sharing cool updates and information harder. When I ran from Hawaii to Nebraska that was different. I was able to share more about landmarks. Now I feel I am running through frozen nothingness but still, it is something to share.

I am 439.2 miles into my 719.2 mile mission, a mission that started 167 days ago on October 25, 2017. Out of all the missions I have done for Toby, this is the first where I started and continue to be ahead of the ball in mileage and that is really cool! I was also kind to  myself and gave myself 473 days to complete this mission which means I was expecting to average 1.52 miles a day. A reasonable and realistic goal back in October when just a mile took all my heart and soul to complete. As of now I am averaging 2.63 miles a day. May that average increase over the next 279.9 miles!!!

This is also the first mission I did with a fundraising goal but to be honest, I have not been sharing or asking for support....until today. All funds raised will go to Catholic Charities and I appreciate your support. I have to manage this through my Paypal account because it was not one of the charities linked through the My Virtual Mission website. The linked causes were not near and dear to my heart...just being honest.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for virtual runs and the help of volunteers.

Daily Bible Verse: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:13-14

4.09.2018

Hello Smoothie! - Getting back into the protein powder groove

Fitness is a journey, like all else in life, and recently I have been not drinking the daily protein shakes like I was for the bulk of the 2017. To be honest, it was financially motivated but I do feel not drinking the shake has had another cost factors. 

My overall health and energy. As odd as it seems, that almost daily protein shake shapes my food choices all day as it gets my nutrition on track....and perhaps prevents me from snacking mindlessly as I feel famished. 

The benefits of a protein shake is that they can help fuel your body and replenish muscle stores after a workout. The thing is, if you load that protein shake with add on's, or drink it at the wrong times, it can also lead to weight gain. It all comes down to the basics - calories in should not exceed calories out as it will result in weight gain no matter what you are eating or drinking. And some people may be tempted to drink their protein drink alongside a meal doubling up their meal intake without realizing it. This is not good.

And this is not, or has not been, my mode of operation. Initially my shake was to replace afternoon snacking but in time I realized this was not ideal as I could be mindlessly snacking throughout the day. It kept me from not snacking during food prep for dinner and the next day lunches but there is a better way...at least for me...and I think for many depending on your fitness routine.

I am a morning fitness gal. I start my day with a workout; therefore, starting my day with a protein shake makes sense. It is my first meal of the day...a meal that comes after working out. The best time for my body, and most importantly my muscles, to benefit from the protein shake. And yes, I add some fruit and maybe some instant coffee to my shake to liven it up. It makes it a good, wholesome breakfast.

I also go for vegan shakes.

I want a non-dairy choice and I love that the vegan shakes often increase the veggies in the shakes and this means a lot to me. The added veggies add fiber which can aid in digestion. A win-win to me when compared to just whey based powders that will irritate my stomach and give me little in addition to protein. I am looking for a wholesome breakfast that is easy to eat, or shall I say, drink on the go. 

And it sets a great example as darling daughter models what she sees and today wanted a shake for breakfast. She drinks one formulated for kids and added a banana for creaminess and blueberries to hers today. This is a much better choice than a carb-based breakfast. I am glad she is nourishing her body well because she is growing and is quite active with her equestrian sport and cross training with me. Yep, she rides three days a week and now cross trains twice a week!

Gotta love support and having a workout buddy!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for an affordable vegan shake choice. 

Daily Bible Verse: And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food. ~ Genesis 1:29

4.05.2018

March 2018 Training Report

Any thing you do in life is worth working for but that also means, what you get out of anything in life is dependent on what you put into it.

March was an amazing month. A hard month, but an amazing month.

March was Lent and I was focusing on a lot beyond physical training. I was focused on my spiritual life and the relationships around me. I would love to say all is AMAZING but it wasn't but yes, March was amazing.

Why?

The last quarter of last year sucked. I felt like a ton of bricks. Then Christmas came and I received the gift of the lead falling off my legs and being able to run again without pain and overwhelming sadness. The veil of depression was lifting but it was still a struggle. I had many low mileage days and that is okay. At least I was running. I was moving forward.

The end of Lent, those last two weeks of March, had a similar unveiling. My running mojo was improving more. Running was becoming fun again. I was logging more miles and I thank God for this gift. But I also realize I needed to be able to see and recognize the gift in order to accept it, to benefit from it.

I also spent March reading The Love Dare and have now started the parent version of the same book. It is opening my eyes to things I already knew but maybe did not fully embrace. Love is a choice. I can't make people love me or act in lovable ways but I can choose love.

All my life I have struggled with wanting to be accepted, to feel lovable, to feel like I am doing good. I thrived on affirmation from others.

This left me in a not so good place and now I see it is kinda a selfish way of living. Way too much focus on me and what I get in return. I needed to learn to love even the unlovable. I needed to learn to love even when I was not being praised. YIKES! That "love your enemy" was hitting home....not that I am calling those around me enemies but you get the point.

And for the first time that I can ever remember, when I was being told off, brought down, and in the face of pretty much being told "you suck", I remained calm and peaceful in God's love....and was mocked for it....but inside I was doing the biggest happy dance ever! I was not being provoked to be mean and unloving. I was being love.

I could not get to this point without all the up's and down's in my life and those training/running hurdles, they helped me get to this point. If you never experience the down, how can you fully appreciate the up?

Darling daughter is learning a similar lesson in her riding right now. I am glad I had the experience of running ruts and struggles to relate to her. To have empathy. To help her through the rough patch and hearing her happy voice after a good lesson (kinda like a good run for me) was the best thing in the world!

Seriously.

It was better than winning the race!

And to really feel that, to appreciate that, I need to embrace the struggles in my life and invest in myself, in personal development, and to focus on my actions...not theirs. Y'all, you can't make anyone or anything in the world go the way you think it should. Sorry, you can't. But you can control how you act, how you train, what you do. Do that. It matters. It will bring you the calm in the storm you may need...sometimes more often than you think.

So by embracing the training storm, checking in and looking at what I am doing, looking at my stats, beginning to record how the running is making me feel each day, adding mood to miles, I was able to crank up my training the second half of March and that is pretty cool!



I ended up with 100 running miles and 29 hours of working out. I do well emotionally with an hour a day of working out and I was pretty close to that with just over 56 minutes a day. That is exciting news!

My 2018 goal is 1,170 miles. I am at 254 miles with 85 in January and 69 in February. That makes 100 this month even more exciting! The best month this year...even if not the best in my life. And I need to average just under 102 miles a month for the rest of the year to hit my goal. That seems completely doable, doesn't it?!

By the end of March I also completed 18 new workouts! I had 10 by the end of February so once again, I am happy with my progress. My goal is 70 in 2018 so to achieve this I need to do about 6 new workouts a month. Again, I can do this! I just need to find a new program and get going. Ready, set, sweat!

With more running time it may be a struggle but I am up for the challenge. After all, you get out of life what you put into life. You can't expect to be better, do better, live better if you aren't willing to put in the work and change yourself. I am ready to continue to grow, how about you?

I believe April will be another AMAZING month and I am excited to hit running streak day 2300 because for each 100 day mark, I get to treat myself to a running and working out treat...maybe a treat from BondiBand - you can get 10% off your BondiBand purchase with EGFITNESS. :)

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for a great March! And for personal growth due to the grace of God.

Daily Bible Verse: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ~ Isaiah 41:10

P.S. Get 20% off of SOS, the hydration I love, with coupon code EGFITNESS