Operation Nutrition

nutrition, fitness, motherhood, & everything in between

Tag: running

Fitness Now & 2017 Goals

Hi everyone! I hope you had a nice holiday. Our Christmas was wonderful. I’ve always loved Christmas, but I love it even more since having my daughter. Seeing Christmas through a toddler’s eyes is truly magical.  As 2016 winds down, I wanted to share my personal fitness goals for the upcoming year.

In 2016, I was fairly consistent with my workouts. A typical week consisted of 3 full body strength training days, and 2 or 3 days of cardio. My cardio workouts were a combination of Zumba, running (not as much as I would’ve liked to do), LISS, and HIIT. Some weeks I got 5-6 workouts in and other weeks I would only manage 3 days. Even though, I stayed pretty consistent, I haven’t reached my personal fat loss goal. I don’t really focus on the scale that much, but I do weigh myself every few weeks. I mostly take my measurements and gauge how my clothes fit to determine how my body is changing.

This past year, my body has been fluctuating due to hormonal imbalances. When I was nursing my daughter, my body fat was lower and I was losing inches. As soon as I stopped nursing, my body stored every ounce of fat (as if a switch went off). Despite my healthy eating and exercising, my body continued to hold on to the unwanted body fat. This upcoming year, I am determined to lose it. So, I thought I’d share my goals on here as a way to hold myself accountable.

Here are my 2017 fitness goals:

  • Run at least once a week (preferably outside)
  • Exercise 5-6 days a week
  • Strength train 3 times a week
  • Zumba once a week
  • Lose body fat

I have some really fun (and new) things that I’ll be doing in 2017 to help me reach my goals.

First, I’m taking part in Young Living’s 60-day Slique Challenge.

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Young Living has an incredible product line called, “Slique”. The Slique Essence  (which is the supplement that I’ll be taking) combines the following essential oils: grapefruit, tangerine, lemon, spearmint, and ocotea.

Some of these oils help to:

  • support healthy digestion
  • control craving
  • provide powerful antioxidants

For 60 days, you pair your Slique supplement with a nutritious diet & regular exercise. Young Living will be giving away fun prizes to everyone that participates. In addition, they are offering some amazing prizes to people that have the biggest transformations. You can read more about the challenge here.

The other fun thing I’m going to be doing is the 2017 Tone It Up Challenge.

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The Challenge starts on January 1st and it will run for 6 weeks. Karena & Katrina from “Tone It Up” will be providing a meal plan & workout plan. I’m really looking forward to trying something new (as I am getting bored with my own workout routine).

What are some of your 2017 Fitness Goals? I’d love to hear them!

Bikini Series Week #2 Completed

Happy Sunday! Today marks the end of week #2 of the Tone It Up Bikini Series. Here’s what my workouts looked like:

Days 7 & 12- “Rest Days”

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I really loved all of the workouts this week! My favorite was “Mommy and Me” yoga because I was able to take the little one with me to class (she loved it)! It was also great connecting with other mothers and meeting their babies. I also really enjoyed the Caribbean Kettleball & Beach ball workouts. After doing 2 weeks of this Bikini Series, I’m already feeling stronger. 

My workouts and meals are all planned for Week 3. I’m looking forward to this upcoming week. Smile

Weekend Re-cap

Happy Tuesday! I hope you’re having a great start to your week. We had a very busy weekend and so far this week has been pretty busy too. I’ve been really busy putting some final touches on the meal & fitness plans for the Fall Fitness & Nutrition Challenge. There’s still time to sign up if you’re interested! It is going to be such a fun challenge.

The weather was beautiful on Saturday morning, so I went for a run. Fall running is my absolute favorite. I decided that I wanted to go for a longer run because I haven’t been going far since my IT Band started acting up. My run was going so well and my leg felt great. Then around mile 3, as I was about to run across an intersection, a car decided last minute that it wasn’t going to wait for me to cross.

I had to come to a quick complete stop and at that exact moment I felt it. The side of my knee was killing me. I stretched and tried to “walk it off” but nothing was working. At this point I could barely walk. Luckily, I had my phone on me and called my husband to come get me (I wasn’t close enough to home to hobble back). I was a sobbing mess by the time he picked me up. I was partly sobbing because the pain was pretty bad, but I was also upset thinking that I’d have to start the entire leg healing process over again.

The rest of the weekend was spent stretching and soaking my leg. I swear Epsom salt works wonders!

On Sunday, I made some goodies (not healthy, but good) for our first Ravens game tailgate of the season. Every tailgate party has a theme. This week’s theme was “small plates” so we had lots of finger foods:

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Then yesterday I did something I’ve never done before. I spoke to a group of moms about nutrition and fitness. A few months ago, I was asked to be a guest speaker at a Moms Group to talk about healthy living. I was so honored to be able to spend my evening with some great women. They asked some great questions!

The weather was beautiful today, so I decided I’d try to attempt another run. This time I taped up my knee and headed out. Slowly, but surely I finished my run and had no pain. Smile

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Although the past week has been a busy one, it’s been a good one.

Do you find that this time of year is a busy one?

Runner’s Pain

Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. Ours was a mix of getting stuff done around the house and visiting with family. I also made this little treat over the weekend (White Chocolate Key Lime Pie):

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This would classify as a “cheat meal” food…definitely not a healthy recipe, but it was delicious!

My workout routine for the weekend consisted of upper body strength training (using heavy weights) and running on Sunday (which ended up being a disaster…more on that in a minute).

Last Saturday when I was at the end of my run (at about mile 3), I noticed a sharp sensation on the side of my right knee. I immediately stopped running and began stretching. I just assumed that it was some kind of muscle cramp. It wasn’t until I got into the house and tried to walk up the stairs that I knew something just wasn’t normal. The pain was now radiating up the side of my thigh. I continued to stretch and the pain subsided. As the day went on, my knee and thigh felt much better. I just chalked this up as my muscles not being warmed up enough. So, this past week I was able to go about my normal fitness routine that consisted of strength training, HIIT cardio (running intervals on the treadmill), and Zumba.

Yesterday, my friend and I went for a run and at about 2.75 miles that awful side of the knee pain was back. We stopped running and began walking. After hobbling home, I put ice on it, stretched some more, and soaked in an Epsom salt bath. It felt a little better as the day went on, but I could not bend it without feeling pain. Two friends recommended that I use a foam roller to help with the pain. They both said that it definitely sounded like an IT band issue. After doing some research (and based on my symptoms), it appears that it could be an IT band issue. Everything I read said that a foam roller was a great way to help stretch the IT band (my friends gave great advice).

To be honest, I didn’t know much about the IT Band prior to this experience.

Here’s what I learned:

The IT Band (full name: iliotibial band) is a layer of tissue that runs from your hip to the knee and links the gluteus maximus to the tibia.

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IT Band Syndrome is generally associated with the following activities:

  • Running
  • Cycling
  • Strength training
  • Hiking

Here are some of the most common causes of IT Band Syndrome:

  • Overtraining/Overuse
  • Tight tissue
  • Weak hip muscles
  • Poor running form
  • Wrong kind of athletic shoe

Here’s what you can do to treat it (this is what I was desperate to learn): (source)

  • Rest
  • Ice massage
  • Take vitamin C
  • Check to make sure you have the correct running shoe
  • When you return to running, run on a level surface
  • Massage
  • Stretch

What kind of stretches are best?

I’m happy to have learned more about IT Band Syndrome, but just bummed that I had to learn about it this way.

Today’s plan involves: an unwanted rest day, foam rolling, stretching, ice massage, and possibly some couch potato time.

Have you ever had IT Band issues? Please share with me what worked for you!

Anxiety Before A Race

I woke up this morning feeling anxious, but couldn’t pinpoint why. Then, it hit me….tomorrow is my Firecracker 10K race. It’s not like this is my first 10K race, in fact, my first 10K was a great experience. So why the anxiety?

I think I’m anxious for a few reasons:

  • I’m worried I’m going to have a tough time breathing due to the humidity. I don’t run well in the humidity as seen here.
  • I’m worried that the hills are going to be brutal.
  • The starting point of the race is a place that has some not so great memories for me. The race starts and finishes where I went to middle school.
    • This was a place where I was bullied during my 7th grade year (mean girls threatening to hurt me on a daily basis…for and entire school year). It is also a place where I would literally fail the 1-mile run in P.E. because back then I was not a runner (I’d always end up walking). While it is many years later, I think these memories are still in the back of my mind.

Instead of feeling anxious all day today, I’m going to try to look at things a little differently and address each of the bullet points above:

  • The humidity outlook for tomorrow doesn’t look too bad. Yay!weather
  • Yes, the hills might be a challenge, but I’ve been training on a slightly hilly course.

 training elevationcourse map

  • Even though the starting point of the race is a reminder of some of the toughest years of my life, I know I’ve become the woman I am today because of it. I can’t change the past (nor do I want to). I  forgive those mean girls who bullied me. I also thank them because they made me who I am today.

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To my P.E. teacher: I wish you could see me now. I am a runner.

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Tomorrow, I will remind myself of this if the doubts start setting in:

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I somehow feel a little less anxious now, so thank you for reading. Wish me luck!

I know today’s post is a little deeper than normal, so I will leave this on a lighter note.

I truly believe that this is what I look like when I run. Smile

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Do you feel anxious before a race? What do you do to feel less anxious?

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday! How is it Monday already? The weekends sure do fly by quickly. My weekend was a balance of getting stuff done around the house and hanging out with friends.

On Sunday morning, my friend and I went for a 6-mile training run. This training run was the last one before our upcoming race (Fourth of July 10K). To say our run was brutal is an understatement. We tried to beat the summer heat by running at 7:00 am. Even though we were successful in beating the heat (it was only about 73 degrees at the start of our run), we were not able to beat the humidity. The humidity was 87% and our bodies felt like we were running in water. I seriously would have thrown in the towel and walked home if it wasn’t for my friend. We took some walking breaks (per my request…she probably could’ve kept going because she’s a running rock star). I think the walking breaks helped a bit, but I felt defeated. It never ceases to amaze me how some days are easy run days and others are so challenging. I never know what kind of day it will be when I go out for a run.

Here are my stats: (Walking breaks are definitely reflected in that slow average pace.)

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The weekend also consisted of a cookout with friends. We enjoyed some Maryland steamed crabs. If you’ve never had these before, I highly recommend you try them. Here in Maryland, steamed crabs are a true indication that summer has arrived. Your table is covered with newspaper and your fingers are covered in Old Bay. Yum!

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I also spent time planning out my weekly workouts.

Planned workouts:

  • Monday – Strength Workout (Lower body)
  • Tuesday – Cardio (HIIT-30 minutes)
  • Wednesday – Strength Workout (Upper body)
  • Thursday – 10K Race day
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – Strength Workout (Full body)
  •  

    The weekend concluded with watching the Season 8 Premier of Dexter. Not a bad way to wrap up a nice weekend (pun intended).  Smile

    dexter-season-8-posterphoto source

    How was your weekend? Do you have any fun plans for July 4th?

    Catching Up & Summer Shred

    Hi readers! It has been way too long since I’ve posted on here. While this website is my passion, it is something that I do in my free time. The lack of posts isn’t because I didn’t want to write, but because I haven’t had much free time lately (side note: I admire bloggers that have full-time jobs and still manage to add daily posts).

    Let’s catch up! So, what have I been up to?

    Well, this school year has been extremely busy for me because I switched teaching positions. I’ve spent the majority of the year learning new curriculum and teaching almost 200 students. In addition to that, I had to take 2 grad classes in order to maintain my teaching certification. Now that grad school is over and the school year is beginning to wind down, I plan to post here more regularly. Smile

    I’ve also spend the last couple of months running (and love it)! Never in my life can I say that I’ve genuinely loved running. Even when I started running on a regular basis, I never actually loved it. I think I  didn’t enjoy it because it was hard for me (like to the point where I felt like I was going to puke and every muscle was screaming at me). But, I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. No longer does it feel painful and no longer do I dread the entire process. Instead, I look forward to going out for a run and I actually love it(granted some days are easier than others). I’m definitely not a fast runner and I know that I’ll never actually win a race, but I don’t run for those reasons. I run because it makes me feel good, gives me a personal challenge, and I enjoy it. I really enjoyed my first experience with running in The Color Run a couple of weeks ago. It is definitely one of the “Happiest 5Ks on the planet”.color runme color runMessy, but fun!

    I’ve also been participating in a Summer Shred! Even though I exercise regularly and eat healthfully 95% of the time, I wanted to step up my game. I was falling into a food/exercise rut and just needed a change. That is when I decided to sign up for Bobbi’s Summer Shred.

    Before I tell you about the shred, I want to first start off by saying that I’ve been reading Bobbi’s blog nHerShoes for about 4 years now. Her blog is very encouraging and has great meal and fitness ideas. She is one of the fitness/nutrition bloggers that inspired me to write this blog.

    What is the Summer Shred? It is amazing, that’s what it is. Smile

    Bobbi provides you with 4 weeks worth of workouts that can be done right in the comfort of your own home. In addition to the workouts, she also provides you with 4 weeks worth of meal ideas (breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks) and a shopping list. And if that isn’t great enough, she also created a private Facebook group in which all of the members could ask questions and help motivate each other. 

    For the past 3 weeks, I’ve been following her workouts completely. They are very challenging and that is what I love about them. As far as the meals go, I’ve incorporated some of her meal ideas. She recommends to eat “clean” and healthy foods and I’ve definitely been doing that (with the exception of my chemical laden coffee creamer…something that I’m not ready to give up just yet). Bobbi also recommends that we track our food into “My Fitness Pal” (a free website and app) in order to see our caloric intake. I’ve been logging my food religiously.

    My results on the Summer Shred:

    We still have one week to go, but since beginning the shred I’ve lost weight and gained muscle! (I will do a full numbers re-cap at the completion of the shred).

    The most important thing that I can take away from this shred is what I’ve learned about myself while on this journey. I learned that:

    • I’m stronger than I think.
    • I like avocados (didn’t know I was a fan of them because I never really ate them much before).
    • You should have “cheat meals” not “cheat days”.
    • I am more motivated when I have others doing a plan with me.
    • Healthy eating is not about restriction, it is about feeding your muscles and giving your body the nutrients it needs.
    • Anything is possible if I set realistic goals for myself.
    • Clean eating makes me crave clean eating (sugar/junk food cravings are gone)
    • One “bad day” of eating does not derail an entire plan.

    Bobbi says not to focus completely on the end/outcome of the challenge, but rather focus on our journey. This has been an incredible journey for me and I’ve learned so much about myself. Bobbi, thank you for this amazing experience!

    If you’re interested, she’s hosting another summer shred starting June 1st. Go here to learn more!

     

    “The journey is the reward” ~Chinese Proverb

    My First 10K

    Hey there! I hope you’re having a nice weekend! Mine started off with my very first 10K.  I thought I’d do a race day re-cap for you.

    Let me begin by first saying that I have never been a runner. I’ve always been a wannabe runner. I remember despising having to run the 1 mile in elementary, middle, and high school. In fact, this was the 1 area that I never did well in when it came to physical education. I remember actually walking the mile in high school (only to receive a failing grade for not running)…oops.

    Now as an adult, I researched the best way to train yourself to become a runner and I found the Couch to 5K program. After completing the program, I ran in a bunch of 5K’s. I’m not a fast runner and I will most likely never win a race, but I can now run the entire time without walking breaks and get this, I actually love running now.

    A goal I set for myself (on my inspiration board) for this year was to run my first 10K. Well today I did it!!! I ran in the Zooma Annapolis 10K.

    ZOOMA-ANN12-10K-map-PROOF(source)

    In training for the 10K, the furthest I ever ran was 5.5 miles, so as you can imagine I was really nervous to attempt 6.22 miles today without ever going that far. My goal today was to finish, even if that meant walking.

    For me, running is a mental thing, so I told myself that I could do it (positive self talk is a powerful tool). I just tried to focus on 2 things: my breathing and my playlist.  By focusing on both of those things, I found myself enjoying the distance (not to mention, this was the most beautiful course I’ve ever seen).

    We started at the United States Naval Academy Stadium, ran through historic Annapolis with a beautiful view of the Annapolis harbor, ran over the Naval Academy Bridge, and back to the stadium.  I found myself enjoying my music and the scenery so much that I never focused on the fact that I was running.  Smile

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    Here’s a snapshot of race day:

    • 4:00 am: Wake up time (alarm sound set on “boing” to mimic springs in my shoes…I needed to entertain myself at this awful wake-up time)  Smile
    • 4:30 am: Coffee
    • 5:30 am: Bagel with cream cheese
    • 5:45 am: leave for race (thank you to my wonderful husband for being such a good sport and coming with me)
    • 6:15 am: arrive at the stadium
    • 6:30 am: eat a 1/2 of a pack of Honey Stingers (I love these things)
    • 6:55 am: line up
    • 7:00 am: “Racers, are you ready!?!?! Go!”
    • 8:11 am: Finished! Crossed the finish line with tears in my eyes because I proved to myself that I could do something that I never thought I’d be able to do!

    Highlights of the race:

    • My husband standing beside me telling me I could do it
    • I ran the entire time with no walk breaks
    • My awesome Sweaty Band doing an amazing job keeping my hair out of my face
    • I tackled the Naval Academy Bridge…this was a fear I had leading up to the race. (It’s pretty steep)
    • I didn’t run the half-marathon course by accident (yet another fear that I had…I was worried I’d take a wrong turn and end up in the wrong race)
    • Seeing families and so many spectators on the sidelines with signs reminding us that we could do it
    • Running down Main Street and seeing the Annapolis Harbor at the end of the street
    • Discovering I have 2 race pet peeves: the most disgusting spot-a-pots and people taking pictures while they are running (like literally almost stopping right in their tracks while they are in front of you to take a picture) Dear picture taker racer: please move off to the side to do that. Someone could get really hurt!
    • Finishing
    • Finishing with a time that I’d never imagined possible 1:11

    What I learned today: You can do what you dream!

    Post race: Chocolate Malt Green Monster & being lazy Smile

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    Have you always been a runner or are you a wannabe like me? 

     

     

    When Can I Call Myself a Runner?

    Hey everyone! I hope you had a nice Tuesday. I started the day off with a delicious cup of coffee in my favorite mug. Some mornings I use my Keurig (usually when I’m in a hurry) and other mornings I use my regular coffee maker. I love the Keurig’s speediness, but I don’t like how weak the coffee is. I love my coffee STRONG. Today, I needed a strong cup of coffee with fat free vanilla creamer:

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    Breakfast was a new creation: a pumpkin pie green monster. I made my regular green monster shake, but added pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. It was delicious & filling!

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    My snacks were the same as yesterday: an orange, string cheese, & 1/4 cup of almonds. 

    I was in such a hurry to eat my lunch today, that I forgot to take a picture of it…oops. It was a turkey sandwich on Arnold’s Thin Wheat Bread with a little bit of mayo.

    For dinner, I attempted a new recipe (Chicken Sausage, Mushroom and Potato Gratin with a salad) It was delicious (it’s comfort food that is perfect for a fall day). I will post the recipe for you tomorrow!

    Exercise today was a practice run. Garmin on. IPod on. Best headband ever (it NEVER slips).

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    I didn’t mention this on here, but I signed up for a 5K race this Saturday. I have completed 2 previous 5K’s, but never actually made running a part of my exercise routine.

    I think this is because I have never been a runner (even though I was athletic in high school, I was never able to get a passing grade when it came time to run the mile). I would just start running as quickly as I could and then after 1/2 of a lap around the track, I’d feel like I couldn’t breathe and the panic would set in. I hated running! I mean HATED running! I think I never really understood how to pace myself and how to breathe normally (not panicky) breathing.

    Since I started training for this 5K, I have come to LOVE running! While training for this upcoming 5K I learned a few things about running and myself. I learned:

    • to pace myself and not focus on running as quickly as possible
    • to breathe normally (I think I learned this from Vinyasa yoga’s Ujjayi breathing style)
    • not to compare my running time to others…I’m a slow runner, but I’m running..so it doesn’t really matter
    • I need music while running
    • running is mental (it’s all in what you believe you can do)
    • I enjoy taking in all of the sights and smells of nature while running
    • running in cold weather was hard for me at first
    • I come up with some of my best ideas while I’m running
    • speed doesn’t matter to me…finishing does
    • some days (like today) you might come home from a run with a dead gnat on your forehead just like a windshield on a car (ewww)
    • I don’t like running in the dark
    • I LOVE running

    The most important thing that I learned was that I can actually run (and really enjoy it). Here are the stats from today’s run: (it’s only showing 3.02 miles because I must not have pressed the start button immediately when I started, but I did run my training route of 3.11 miles)

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    So my question is:  when can I officially call myself a runner? Do you have any encouraging words (or advice) for my 5K on Saturday? I’d love to hear from you.

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