Welcome 2012!!!


I am looking at 2011 as my year of a starting point so now its time to take 2012 to the next level!

Here are my fitness goals for 2012.
  • Running my first half marathon in March.
  • Work with weights at least 3 times a week.
  • Be able to hold my plank for 3 sets of 60 seconds.
  • Run 1,000 miles for the year. Yes that’s right!!! Roughly 21 miles a week.
  • Have time management down to a science!
  • Take my lunch to work at least 4 times a week. Stay away from fast food!!!
  • Stick to a weekly plan on meals for dinner that I will make at home so we can stay away from fast food!
  • Would love to run at least two more half marathons in 2012.
  • Stick to a meal plan on the weekends!
  • Have my meals laid out and planned the night before.
  • Attend a Zumba class at least once a week.
  • Yoga once a week to allow for a great stretch.
  • Add some form of fitness to everyday. Even my off day will have a brisk walk in it..
  • Help my family reach their fitness goals.
  • Loss 15 pounds………
  • And just added at the last hour I will be joining a relay team to run in The First Light Mobile Marathon next weekend!!
I of course have more personal goals also laid out but I believe they will be much easier to accomplish when you have the above laid out. There is just something about the discipline it takes to train and run that helps you with all other factors in life. Its an unbelievable stress reliever also. I love it!
One last note........this one is for my sweet husband. I love my new Nike hat. It will come in handy has I stick to my hat rule for 2012 so my bangs dont cross the finish line before I do! :)


Here’s to 2012!!!!
Erica

Year Review for 2011

My 2011 Year Review on Running……………
I officially started running in the late summer of 2011 so I would say I am very pleased with my results. My first run was in September and was the USA Go Run which wrapped through the University of South Alabama Campus. From this race I learned that I had to start training on hills. My daughter ran in this one with me. My husband was on the sidelines giving cheers and words of encouragement along with taking photos. I love when my family is involved in the runs with me! Oh and most importantly I learned from this race I will always wear a hat to run in. I will not be sharing the photo but my bangs actually crossed the finish line before me and the photo was crazy!

Then in October I ran in the Guns and Hoses since my husband is a Police Lt. This was a great flat race. My husband, daughter,  and son ran with me. My son and I finished together at my PR time. I was very pleased. I was also very proud of my daughter for having a great race.




I love this photo because we just crossed the finish line and we were worn out!!!

Then my favorite run was the Causeway Battleship 5k. This race was so exciting. The view was great and running on the bridge was so much fun. My son and husband took part in this one and did a great job!





Then I took part in a 5 mile walk fundraiser event. This walk taught me to be better prepared for cold weather!!! Layers are very important and layers that you can easily wrap around your waist instead of having to carry a big bulk jacket....which I didn't have anyway but say others having to do. This walk had over 25,000 participants.




I finished my year with the Jingle Bell 5k run. This was one of my favorites when it comes to the after party. The music was awesome and the food was great. My son went back for 3 bowls of grits and the cupcakes were pretty yummy!




I dont know why but when I run with the kids I love to snap a photo when we cross the finish line. Its proof that we did it and to remind me of the excitment!!!

Over all I am very pleased with the start of my running journey. I am now laying out which races I want to take part in for 2012 but I do know I want to focus more on half marathons. I love the idea of traveling to different states to take part in the runs.  Just make a fun weekend out it! I also plan to run 1,000 miles in 2012. Cant wait to see what 2012 holds!!!


Erica

My Food Healthy Menu Plan

The number one question I get everyday is how is my diet set up? So I hope this helps!


I promise its not full of cupcakes but that would be a dream come true. This was from a recent 5K race and after they handed out cupcakes....yummy!
 The real food plan....

The idea is you want three meals and two snacks and to have them 3 hours apart. They need to have a protein, a carbohydrate, and a good fat. I am going to give you ideas under each category and the you will just want to make sure you have your protein, carb, and good fat. So here we go!

Breakfast:
Protein and carb and my good fat is 5 almonds.

Remember that fruit is a carb
1/2 cup fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, watermelon, melons, apple are just  few ideas.


A few ideas from what  I eat:
Yogurt and 2 eggs or
Yoplait smoothie with a scoop of whey protein powder(buy smoothie in freezer section) or
yogurt and 4 pieces of lunch meat or
1/2 cottage cheese and fruit or
1/2 cottage cheese and yogurt or
Oatmeal with a scoop of protein. This would be your protein and carb.
Protein waffle

I love a protein waffle. Its 1/2c of uncooked oatmeal, 1/2 cottage cheese, 1 tablespoon of whey protein, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of splenda, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, and you blend it. Then cook in waffle maker and I use spray butter and sugar free syrup. This is your protein and carb. Then just eat 5 waffles and you have your good fat.


Snacks. You will need two of them for the day.
Ideas are:
Anything listed above in the breakfast area.
Cheese sticks are full of protein and add 1/2 c fruit
Muscle milk- buy this at any target or WalMart. If you drink it you only need it.

Lunch-
Can of tuna with fruit
can of chicken with fruit
grilled chicken breast with sweet potato
grilled turkey burger with no bun
salad with chicken light dressing
any left overs from good meals cooked the night before
You get the idea 4 to 6 oz of protein and a good carb. (fruit, sweet potatoes, salad)

Dinner
Again we want our 4 to 6 oz of protein an a carb
Grilled or baked fish with a sweet potato and a veg
grilled or baked chicken with carbs
turkey burger with no bun
tacos with turkey meat and lettuce wrap
any listed lunch items

I have my husband and daughter eating this way. My husband has loss over 30 pounds so yea!!!! He has been doing this since this summer. By the way this photo was recently taken after a hike and then a stop at Starbucks. We did stick with the skinny drink!!!


My daughter is joining on it this week!


There has never been anything easier than following this plan. Don't call it a diet because its a change of life style. What diet do you know that you get to eat 5 times a day every 3 hours! I wish you all the best and feel free to ask me any questions!!!
Erica

My 21 Challenge to Form a Habit

I read that 21 days make a habit so …..

I recently read an article that shared it takes 21 days to make a habit so I am putting this to the test starting today.

Today I am starting my 21 day challenge. To fit in a workout everyday of the week and on my off day it will still consist of a brisk 3 mile walk. I would like to fit a handful of my workouts early in the morning but if time requires it will be done in the evening which is still a win for me! There will be some days that I fit a small morning workout in with a heavy calorie burn in the evening.


The good thing about working out in the morning:
  • To get my metabolism going first thing.
  • To feel those endorphins all day long. It’s a great feeling to know you started your day off burning several hundred calories.
  • To get the workout out of the way so it's not hanging over me all day. Some days I love an evening workout and sometime it’s the only free time.  
  • To help me eat better (I've always found great results when I work out because then for the next 24 hours I don’t want to zero it out by eating badly.)
How I'm planning ahead to make this happen:
  • Go to bed at a good hour to allow for 7-8 hours of sleep.
  • If it’s a weekday and I have work I will pack my gym bag, work clothes, and lunch the night before. I find this makes a world of difference for me.
  • If it’s the weekend I find it helps so much to still lay out my workout clothes so they are looking at me as I start to plan my day. Also the night before I make sure I have the right food items to plan my meals for the day. I find this helps not open the door for me to snack. I'm not one that eats a large meal all at once, I’m the person that would snack during the day. If my meals are planned the night before I know and have a clear plan.  
Part of my workouts will be running at the park, the track, and the Mellow Milers. The Mellow Milers will be my 5k weekly run that I test for any improvement on time. The track is my core, hills, and speed drills that I will do once a week. Sunday will be my long run day. I will have weight lifting at the gym a few times a week.
 I am mixing it up by adding Zumba classes. I’m actually hitting a Zumba class this evening. Olivia Garrett teaches an awesome class. Maybe I can grab a couple of pictures to share with you! I also want to fit in yoga to help on my core strengthening.
I might add that this challenge is on top of working 50 hour weeks, husband, son and daughter with school activities and home work. Cooking, cleaning, and life! I can so do this!!!! We recently took a family vacation in the mountains that focused around hiking and getting out and doing. That’s how I am going to look at this 21 day challenge with the end result helping turn everyday into a workout day without a 2nd thought. I have to share one of my favorite pictures that was taken after we had a healthy picnic and a day of hiking.

After a day of hiking and calorie burning activities we would return to the room and head out for dinner. You felt so great you only wanted to eat the best. Good protein, vegetables, and salad. It was so easy to say no to the fresh baked bread. This is how I want to feel everyday, ready to say no to bread!!

I would love to hear what new workout plans you have!

Erica

Christmas Eve 4 Miles

Went for a Christmas Eve run.............

I went to the track today to try out my new shoes and work on speed drills. Today was a good example of why every week can not be a holiday week. This was a hard run due to stops yesterday at  O'Charleys for a cheeseburger during an afternoon of shopping with my husband and then later two regular sodas which I haven't had in over a year. This week I have said multiple times I am back to training hard after Christmas.................so that's one more day!!!



The weather was great and another example of why layers are so important in Mobile. I have learned that 45 or below I need to run in a light jacket on top of my shirt. I like the half zip Champion jacket/shirt. In 50-60 degrees within the first mile or two my jacket is being tied around my waste. With 60 degrees and warmer its shorts and short sleeves for me.


It was my lucky day on the track today because the girls track team members were practicing. I felt like I had a private coaching session. I saw their warm up and learned some new warm up tools. Their coach was standing on the side calling out times and telling them to either speed up or giving a tip. My favorite was one of the girls that was practicing core, hills, and speed drills. To think I would take these three different techniques and make three different days out of them. This is going on my new "after the holidays list."



One of the best things about running is after a hard run it helps remind you that food is fuel so for at least the next 24 hours it helps me stay on "track" and eat the right things. I can tell the longer I go without running the greater my chances are to snack. Also when you run you can tell if you used the right fuel to help you run.

A very Merry Christmas to each of you!
Erica

My Polar FT7

My Polar FT7

Remember I told you I love running gadgets so here is today's review. I recently purchased the Polar FT7 Heart Monitor Watch. The Polar remembers ninety-nine workout files, provides you with a once a week history, and has the great feature of helping you keep your heart in the fat burning zone.


The monitor has two pieces, the watch and the chest strap. The chest strap is comfortable and adjustable. I have never had any issues and it goes on with no problems. Even during a sweaty workout it stays in place. Below you get an idea of what it look like.


 Let me give you an example of the great benefits. I was very proud of myself because last night at 8:00pm after a full day of working, a little Christmas shopping, cooking dinner and getting everyone settled I went for a workout. I took one of my gummy energy pieces that I love and I was off to the gym! I recommend the gummies to help promote energy for a run or hard workout.



As you can see my heart monitor is on and ready to go to work for me......or I should say ready for me to go to work so it can judge my performance! When I get to the gym I start it up and just seeing a zero is enough inspiration to get going.



Thank goodness the gym is empty tonight and I don't have to wait my turn for any pieces of equipment. I love a quiet peaceful gym!


As you can see from my watch a little more than an hour into my workout I burned 367 calories. I must tell you how much this helps during the day when you think about eating something not so good for you and you think back that it took over an hour of hard weights to burn 367 calories.




With the holidays my office has been flooded with goodies every calorie counts. Just today look at my yummies!!!


To sum it up.....I would highly recomended the Polar Heart Monitor. Helps you make sure every calorie you take in is worth it!!
Erica

My Favorite 5k for 2011 As Far As Route

This year I ran in several different 5K events. One reason was to test each event to find the ones I liked the best and the other reason was out of pure excitement. After each race you leave excited and  ready to improve your time. With my first few races it was exciting to see what new shirt I would receive. Now the shirt is my last thought as I am really pushing to improve my time and going for a medal. I think the medal is one strong factor that is really pushing me to cross the finish line after 13.1 miles!!!


After looking back over the 5K events I attended in 2011 The Causeway Battleship Run was my favorite as far as the route. I loved the early morning line up and the fog that covered the water.



The race started off just in front of the Battleship and we took off to head towards the Causeway Bridge. One lane was closed but the traffic still drove beside you. I must say that running with traffic helps me run my best pace. I was very impressed with the Mobile Police Department as they made sure all runners were well protected.


Look at that hill on the bridge ahead!

A few weeks before running this one I started training and adding hills to my weekly program and was I ever thankful I did!!! The hill on the bridge was really something and as soon finished and went for a long stretch Eastbound it was time to turn around and go back Westbound.
The view was great with the water and the sun coming up over it. On the way back the Battleship was amazing!




The only area that needs a small amount of improvement is the after party. Once the race was finished they had a container that held ice creams and a table with a small amount of fruit. There was no entertainment and once awards were called everyone went on their way. Next year I would love to see a live DJ or band with a few sponsors that host food stations. Nothing of great expense but something a little more than ice cream.



And a very special thank you to April who helped me run my best 5K. I found her in the crowd while running  and paced myself with her for the complete race. Afterwards I told my husband I had to find the girl that I paced myself with so I could tell her "great race!" When running its always a great race when you can find just that right person, you push them and they push you! Thanks April!!!!

No more 5K until The Azalea Trail Run because I really want to focus on half marathons. I plan to sit down after the Holidays and lay out a 2012 schedule of half marathons I plan to run so I can allow for training and breaks! My first will of course me the New Orleans Rock n Roll on March 4th!!!!
My husband, son, and I did stay longer then everyone else and looked at the planes and ship so we made our own fun! Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Erica

Sunday Long Runs


Since I am training for my half marathon I committed to every Sunday as my long run day. Yesterday I ran 10 miles for the first time. I was really pleased with my pace and time but today wow I am so sore. I have found that ice cold baths for 10 minutes after a long run helps so much.



For recovery after a long run, tough workout or race, nothing beats an ice bath. Soaking in a tub filled with water and ice will help reduce inflammation of tissues and joints, relieve soreness, and speed up your recovery. The first 30 seconds are a little painful but after that I sit for 10 minutes and its amazing how well it works. You can sit in your running clothes to help keep your arms warm. Try it!
Back to my run, yesterday I took a GU gel and found that this is a energy enhancement that I can not take for future runs. This packet had 2x the normal amount of caffeine and my heart was busting out of my chest only in miles 1-3 and it took all I could do to keep my legs up with my heart. Once I hit mile 6 and above it slowed down but those first few miles were hard due to my speeding heart.


I have found that the gummies work so much better for me because at each mile I can eat another and I'm not loading my system up all at once. The flavor of the gummies are really good and no bad after taste. The flavor on the GU is very different. I might try them again when I carry my running back and can keep half the packet in a sandwich bag to eat along the route.


I did a really good job drinking my Gatorade during my run and managed to take in 7 oz over my 10 mile run. It really takes training to run and take in fluids at the same time. Once you learn how much to sip as you run you find that it really does help.Nutrition during a run....yes consuming carbs really does improve your performance.


Ok.........just kidding but I promise it really does help!

My advise is pick one day a week as your long run day and stick to your plan! Remember there is no such thing as a bad run as long as you learn something new that can help you be a better runner! So lets hit the track!

Erica

My Favorite 5K As Far As Outfits and Theme!

I want to share photos from a recent 5K Jungle Bell Holiday run that I participated in. I really enjoyed this run for three reasons. The view was pretty because of the hills involved and the neighborhood setting. I really enjoyed the outfits the people ran in......I haven't built the courage to dress up yet! The final reason was the after party. The food and music were great.


My son ran in this one with me and did a great job keeping up with me or maybe I should say I did a great job keeping up with him! This was the only race where I could not match myself up with someone to pace myself with. There were so many hills involved that everyone was just every where. I stated in previous post that there is no such thing as a "bad run" so my lesson learned in this event was no matter what my surroundings are I must keep my focus straight ahead and in my own settings. My focus must stay on the end result which is to cross the finish line. As you can see from the photos it was such a fun time!
Erica









Hope you enjoyed todays post!


Erica


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