Scatterbrained

I am pretty scatterbrained as of lately. I go through my day, come across something that sparks an interest, make a mental note to blog about it (or update my status, or tweet, or instagram about it), then I go on to the next thing and forget. I thought I’d have more time come summer, but so far it is proving the opposite.

So, since I don’t set aside enough time in the day to write a thoughtful, inspiring blog post, here goes a post of random things that have sparked my interest over the past few days.

First of all, did I say summertime? It’s summer! Summer is totally, without a doubt, my absolute favorite season…time for some sunshine and smiles. I love summer so much that I feel like I should have had a grand countdown to its arrival.

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I said that I didn’t set aside enough time to write thoughtful posts, but that wasn’t completely true. You see, I’ve reignited my addiction to pinterest, which means that my blog-writing time has turned into searching for pretty (or yummy) things that I want to make, but actually don’t have time to make.

I love pinterest and I love the creativity it opens up in me again, but like I said before, there is still a love/hate aspect to it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to stop repinning cute outfits, yummy looking treats, or ideas for my dream home someday. However, you will never see me repin a “workout for your love handles” or a picture of a skinny girl as inspiration. A place where people with common interests to share their ideas and what inspires them is a great invention! However, some of these pins are degrading and aimed at making you feel bad about yourself.

But, I did repin this little gem…

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Word.

Did you know that I love Demi Lovato? Even if you didn’t know that, you probably could assume I loved her based on my background in eating disorder recovery and what she stands for. What an amazing (and real, might I add) role model to have out their in celebrity-land. Her song Skyscraper…pretty sure I could listen to it over and over forever and not get sick of it.

So, that’s what I’m doing right now. 🙂

Did you see she was on the cover of Cosmo? Love that. You know what I didn’t love, though? As I waited in line to pay for my groceries, I picked up this magazine (because this is pretty much the only place where I get any reading done) to try to flip through to see her article. I had to flip quickly because it was almost my turn in line, and I opened the magazine right to the article How to Get a Bangin’ Body For Summer (or something along those lines).

You know I’m all about fitness. I love being active, I love running, and I love anything that will give me a good workout. I love endorphins. However, I don’t love all these things because I think it will give me a “bangin’ body.” I love these things because they make me feel empowered. Confident.

Come on world. Come on magazine peeps. Let’s write an article How to Love Your Already Bangin’ Body that God Gave You This Summer. If I saw that article advertised in the grocery checkout line…I think I’d actually buy the magazine. (Cosmo…if you need someone to freelance write that article for you…)

So speaking of fitness, after taking a week off I went for a run yesterday.

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But today, these shoes were made for walking instead. Yesterday I felt fine for about two miles…and that’s when I should have stopped. The ol’ knee started acting up during the last two miles. I think it’s getting better, but I need to stay off of it a little bit longer. Better be safe than sorry. I’ve been hitting the weights hard, though, and I’m absolutely loving how strong I feel. If I see you in person I will probably have to show your my new guns. 😉

Did you like that last photo? Yeah, I discovered instagram. Love it. Find me, follow me.

Hey guess what? Joplin called. The hubs and I are going to jumpstart our road trip vacation by volunteering with Rebuild Joplin in July! Totally stoked. I hope I get to make my daddy proud and wear a hard hat.

And on that note, I think I’ll go make another cup of delicious coconut mocha coffee.

ang

Better Add Some Down Dog In There

I’ve redecorated my living room…

…with a yoga mat.

I’ve been wanting to get back into yoga for a long time now. However, my yoga mat has been sitting in the backseat of my car never being used for close to a year. Poor little thing. Finally, yesterday, I decided to let it’s pretty pinkness back into my life…in the middle of my living room nevertheless.

So far I’ve only stepped on it a couple of times, only for a few minutes each time…but when I do I choose a pose that I love (i.e. triangle pose!) and it feels so darn good to be doing it. However, since I’m in the pose while watching the blaring television at the same time, I’m not sure you can actually call it yoga.

I’m definitely not a yoga guru, although I pretty much wish I was. Let’s go ahead and add become a certified yoga instructor to the bucket list. I’ve only ever taken a few beginner yoga classes, but I’ve always loved the way yoga makes me feel. The problem is that there are no yoga classes in town (that I am aware of) and I just feel silly doing yoga by myself in my home. Sure I know a few poses and feel great about my technique, but I have no ability to come up with sequences, fluidity, or anything that makes sense. Warrior 1, okay good. Um, next? How about pigeon? Better add some down dog in there.

See. Silliness. No good. (Maybe I should rethink that bucket list thing…)

There are a few things that I do know about yoga, though. Yoga helped me become a runner. I was doing yoga consistently when I was training for my first half marathon. Yoga helped me learn how to control my breathing which helped prepare me for the long distance. Yoga is a good stretch. Obviously. And stretching helps prevent injury. Lastly, yoga is good for the mind and for the heart.

It’s time to go hit up my studio!

ang

P.S. Does anyone have any at-home yoga advice?! Please help!!!

Turn This Day Around

Well, all those pretty little endorphins finally wore off, and the post-marathon blues have set in. It’s crazy how a person can go from feeling on top of the world to feeling not so hot so quickly. If there is a secret to not letting that feeling go away, someone please tell me!

I’ve been endlessly searching through local race websites to find another race to do before Chicago. But my calendar is still raceless until October. Turns out there aren’t many marathons in the heat of the summer here in mid-MO. It’s not like it’s too hot or humid here in July. (In case you’re not from around here, that was blatant sarcasm.)

And, on top of the post-marathon blues, I have this inner thigh muscle that is giving me some trouble. I don’t think it’s serious, however, it’s just enough of a worry and a bother that I don’t think I should be on it. All that bottled up energy I-can-do-anything-I-want and I-can’t-wait-to-run-faster mentality has pretty much been shut down. I can count the number of times I’ve ran on one hand since April 21st, and that makes me pretty sad.

But I’m going to turn this depressing blog post, day, and mentality right around. It’s time to get back into the swing of things…fitness, eating better, and blogging. To start I’m going to take this pretty little thing for a w-a-l-k (I can’t say the word yet or she’ll go crazy!)…

…do some light strength training at home, and maybe, just maybe, a little bit of yoga. Then later I get to sit in the beautiful outdoors at a ballpark watching a high school baseball game. I think that’ll make for a pretty darn good day!

ang

School Week Two, Marathon Training and Eating Healthy Week Three

One week of nursing school down, only fifteen more weeks this semester to go. It sure feels good to be starting week two!

Not only have I completed one week of school, I’m also on my third week of marathon training!

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I still haven’t nailed down my training plan, but I’m loosely following one of the good ol’ Hal Higdon’s plans. When I say loosely I mean loosely. It hasn’t been the easiest thing trying to figure out when to fit in a good run in my newly acquired crazy schedule.

But again, I’m definitely up for the challenge. I’m going to have to get used to some pretty early morning wake up calls and long run dates with that wonderful treadmill…like the beautiful seven miles we spent together this morning.

I’m also into the third week of my making over my eating habits, and I think it’s definitely helping my overall stamina. I just feel healthier. This week my goal is to eat at least three servings of vegetables each day.

Vegetables are a little bit more difficult for me than fruit. I adore fruit, so three servings a day is simple. Vegetables, on the other hand, are something else completely. I’m going to have to branch out further than three servings of baby carrots or V8 Fusion a day.

Happy four day week everyone!

ang

It’s Basketball Season

Well, basketball season has arrived, which means one thing for me.

My husband’s life is now being taken over by about thirty teenage boys.

I’m sure going to miss him.

However, this leaves me with more time for some important goals to achieve. I have plenty of time to waste in the gym…I can even spend my evenings there instead of trying to fit it all in before noon. There is a much different atmosphere in the evenings at the gym…and I find it quite interesting. You see, I workout at the local university, and the early morning is not a popular time spend at the gym if you are a college kid. I mean, these people think an eight o’clock class is early.

So in the evenings, the gym is crawling with excited college girls be-bopping on the treadmills and big-headed, big-biceped fraternity boys taking up all the weight machines. I realize that I am over-generalizing the college atmosphere…but not by much.

I’m not sure if it’s funny or intimidating. Interesting for sure.

However, I just stick the pin in the weight machine at seventy pounds and make bench pressing look easy for a 5’3″ gal. I was pretty proud of those seventy pounds tonight. You boys ain’t going to intimidate little ol’ me!

And with the hubs being gone it also leaves me more time to get creative, do some reading, blog more, and maybe even participate in some fitblog chats again!

As for getting to spend any time with the husband at all? I’m going to have to suit up and become the Panther’s new number one super fan.

No problem there!

ang

Oh Lovely Pinterest

About two weeks ago I made a discovery that has changed my life.

I have spent hours exploring this discovery, and yet I still don’t really know what I’m doing. It has jumpstarted the wheels in my creative head spinning, so much so that everyone in my family should expect homemade Christmas gifts this year. I have ideas exploding in my head, yet I haven’t put many into action yet. It has made me become even more unproductive than I was before.

If you are at all familiar with it, I’m sure you have already guessed…

…and if you are not already familiar with it, get onboard! Join the bandwagon. You won’t even miss all the wasted hours browsing other peoples boards!

I like to think of Pinterest as a tool to create online inspiration boards. You can “pin” photos of absolutely anything to boards for your own personal account. Currently I have several boards…one for products I want, one for what my dream home might look like, but by far my favorite board is for things I want to try to make! (If you’d like to see my boards, just follow me here!)

Pinterest inspired me to get out a needle and thread yesterday and cut apart a couple of t-shirts. While I do consider myself a creative person, I definitely would not say that I’m handy with a needle and thread. Just ask my mother-in-law who I ask to sew anything and everything that needs fixing that comes from my home. (This would include sewing a button on a pair of pants…pathetic, I know. In fact, so pathetic that my husband decided to learn to sew a button himself, and he ended up fixing the button on my last pair of pants!) It’s not so much that I don’t know how to sew…it’s just that I don’t want to.

Or rather, that I didn’t want to.

But, Pinterest made me want to! The proof…

I made this scarf! The directions for this scarf did, in fact, require a sewing machine. I didn’t want to wait to find someone with a sewing machine and then have to drive to their house (which would at least be an hours drive from where I live), so my impatient booty threaded the needle and went to work!

I think it’s rather cute. (So family and friends, which of you would like a scarf like this one for Christmas?!)

But…I discovered something about this lovely website yesterday that made me think of it as not so lovely. I realized that you can search pins by categories. One of the categories that caught my eye, obviously, was the fitness category. Fitness equals loveliness in my book. So I clicked on it and began browsing. I found many lovely pins…many of which were inspiring phrases. I found this lovely pin called a runner’s prayer…

Lovely, right?

Then I found other images that I’d fit into the “thinspiration” (gag) category…images of women who do not look healthy or fit. I found phrases that expressed negative words about being “fat” and about what foods should be eaten (or rather, not eaten). There were phrases designed to make someone feel guilty about themselves.

Not so lovely anymore.

I do understand that on Pinterest, people can “pin” literally anything in the cyber world that they want. Therefore people can share these more or less tough-love (er, no love?)type of images or phrases. But how is the idea of thinness equals beauty ever going to change when so many people believe in it? How will this ever change?!

Little by little, it can change. We just have to believe in the good things. We have to remind ourselves what real beauty is. Not numbers. Not weight. Not what you look like.

Then, my faith was reignited in Pinterest when also in the fitness category I found this little gem…

(Image pinned from Operation Beautiful)

There is always going to be some negativity coming from somewhere in the world. It is just up to us to ignore it and look to the positive.

ang

Fitness, Mood, and Body Image

I have come to realize a few life facts…

is directly related to:

When I’m focused on fitness and loving what I’m doing, my mood is great. I feel strong and empowered. When I no longer have a fitness goal, my mood is no longer so stellar.

I’ve also learned that:

is directly related to:

When my mood is amazingly happy (like when I finished my marathon!) my body image is awesome. I can actually say that recently I’ve looked in the mirror and thought Wow, there is nothing here I’d want to change!

But when my mood is not so amazingly happy (like three weeks post-marathon) my body image is not quite as awesome. I find myself getting caught up in the comparison trap every now and then.

The funny thing about this, though, is that marathon training actually made me gain a few pounds. (I do not weigh myself regularly, but did so every few weeks throughout training.) And now, with my appetite being back to that of a normal person and not someone running thirty to forty miles per week, I’m actually back to a more “normal” weight for myself. (Again, I do not weight myself often <Mom>…marathon training was a long process.) Obviously a few pounds more or less on me is not going to make a physical difference…this is just an observation that proves the irrationality regarding body image.

But I can’t rely on the highs from marathon training to provide me with a positive body image. I’m not going to be going on twenty mile longs runs anytime soon, and ultimately that is not a healthy way to solely achieve some kind of happiness.

I need to learn:

I need a solid balance between fitness, happiness, mood, and positive body image. That is my mission!

What are your tips for achieving balance in life?

ang

Racing Spur of the Moment

I’m not usually a spur-of-the-moment kind of person.

But I did just register for a 10K on Sunday. Yes, this Sunday!

That’s just four days away. Or, um, three days, twenty-three hours, nine minutes and twenty-seven seconds…according to the countdown ticker.

Have I been training? Well, kind of? (It’s probably not a good sign when my answer to that question has a question mark behind it.)

Have I been training enough to reach my new 10K goal of sub-50 minutes? Uuuuuhhh…probably not, but I will surely try my hardest! Since I haven’t had this goal in sight for all that long, I’m not going to be too hard on myself. If I achieve my goal, then it’d be amazing (and I’ll have to treat myself to some sort of frozen yogurt treat!), and if I don’t, well, I’ll have a great time regardless (and hopefully talk someone into getting a sweet treat with me anyway!)

What better way to jump start my motivation again, cross off one of my September goals, and prove to myself that life does go on after my marathon. Hopefully this is the start of a new race season that will include at least two other 5Ks (I have my sights set on this one…sub-24 minutes?) and my second marathon next spring (anyone in?!)

Now, speaking of the motivation…it’s time for me to go hit the gym for some strength training (and now, maybe some speedwork…)!

ang

Stop and Smell the Honeysuckle

Last night during the fitblog chat on Twitter, we discussed tools that are used to help reach our goals. I use a printout of my training plan for my marathon, and I have it hanging on my refrigerator. Each day when I complete my workout, I put a star next to it and write down my run time.
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Unfortunately, it turns out that life doesn’t always fit perfectly into a standardized marathon plan. Plus, I usually like to “play” a little more on the weekend, which wasn’t working well with my Saturday long runs. I was starting to feel like I was slacking…crossing out my scheduled workouts instead of giving myself pretty little stars. So, I re-worked my marathon training plan around my work and social calendar, and today happened to be my long run…eight miles.

It was a beautiful morning…I love that the weather is warmer and the sun is shining…perfect for an outdoor run! I suited up and started running…and pretty soon, only a mile and a half into it, my lungs were a’burning and my silly hip flexors were tightening up. It probably had a lot to do with this:
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Hills. Me and hills are not BFFs.

It was a rough run. I ran slow, and even took a walk break. However, I’m very proud that I finished, and it only helped me realize I need more hills training and more training in the warm weather. Adios treadmill.

I didn’t allow myself to get down because it was a rough run, instead I reminded myself how lucky I am to be able to run and chase this crazy goal of completing a full marathon. I was also able to enjoy some new smells of summer for the first time this year:
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Honeysuckle! The smell of honeysuckle reminds me of when I was a little girl playing with my sister and aunt. It just makes me happy!

I also made a delicious little snack yesterday that hit the spot for my post run snack.
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It consists of cut up tomatoes and cucumbers, sliced onion, fresh squeezed lemon juice, a dash of olive oil, a dash of water, sea salt, pepper, and onion salt. It is a lot like an old recipe my mom makes, substituting the olive oil and lemon juice for vinegar. I’m not a fan of vinegar. 🙂 You should try it!

ang

What To Do With Those Funky Foam Sticks?!

A few weeks ago I asked you all about foam rollers. After hearing all your responses, I ultimately decided that I needed one! I made a trip to the running store in search of one.

Thirty-seven dollars. Thirty-seven dollars?!

My running shoes were already one hundred dollars, and the marathon I am signing up for in August is eighty dollars, not to mention the other various races I want to participate in this summer…this just seems like a lot of money, so why would I spend thirty-seven more dollars for something that I can make.

Yes. You read that right. I can make a foam roller. (I realize this makes me sound cheap…and I don’t really like the word cheap…so I’m going to prove that instead of me being cheap, that I am actually creative!)

Ingredients: 1/2″ by 24″ copper pipe (Lowe’s plumbing department), duct tape (Wal-Mart), 6″ funky foam craft sticks (Hobby Lobby), hot glue gun and glue sticks, and a towel (so you don’t get hot glue on your craft area.)

Step One: Start by wrapping one end of the copper pipe with duct tape to use as the handle for the foam roller.Step Two: Take a strip of funky foam and wrap it into a circle (it must be a little more than 1/2″ so that it will fit around the copper pipe). Use the hot glue gun to permanently glue the foam in place as you continue to wrap it. You will need to wrap at least 4 funky foam strips for it to be thick enough.Now you have one finished foam roll.Keep rolling funky foam strips until you have enough foam rolls to fill up the entire bar (only leaving room at the ends for the handles).

Step Three: Once you are finished creating your foam rolls, slide them onto your copper pipe.Step Four: After all your foam rolls are on the copper pipe, take the duct tape and wrap it around the other end of the copper bar to create the other handle. Make sure to wrap the handles with enough duct tape so that the foam rolls cannot slide off.And now you have a cute, finished, homemade foam roller!Step five: Roll all your muscle soreness away!

Enjoy!

ang