Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekly Recap

Heeyyyyyyyyyyyyy SUMMER!!!  One of the things I've been most excited about for summer is the ability to try the classes my gym offers during the day.

But the one thing I am NOT loving about summer is running in this heat!!!  It's seriously awful.  I run in the morning or evening and stay extra hydrated to try to combat the heat a bit.  Anyone have any magical tips for running in heat and humidity?

Another cool opportunity I had last week was to attend a free session of Gruver Fitness Outdoor Bootcamp. Gruver Fitness is run by Jeremy Gruver, who was a friend of mine in high school and my 11th grade homecoming date!  After losing over 100 pounds, Jeremy started his Outdoor Boot Camp with just 2 members.  He now has 7 sessions during the week and over 80 members!  We "ran" into each other at a race in January.  As you can see, we've both changed a lot since 1997!


Workout Recap:
Monday: strength program + boot camp at the gym
Tuesday: run + Gruver Fitness boot camp
Wednesday: "Got 15 Minutes?" (high intensity interval class) at the gym + strength program
Thursday: run (30 minutes + 15 minutes hills) + 1.5 mile hike + WAR class at the gym
Friday: Blended class at the gym (20 minutes each of Zumba, Step, and weights) + strength program + yoga
Saturday: Rest (sort of - I did a half hour of yoga and took a 45 minute walk)
Sunday: 5 mile run

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Berry Cobbler


On Thursday morning, my friend Laura and I met at a local orchard to do some berry picking!  I picked the strawberries and blueberries, and then stopped at the orchard's market for some sweet cherries.  Oh how I love this time of year!!
 

When I got home with all of my berries, I decided to make some berry cobbler.  I had made this recipe from Delighted Momma last week and I loved it!  However, because Lindsay is paleo, the recipe uses all almond flour.  Almond flour isn't necessarily bad for you, and it's a great option for those looking to eliminate gluten products.  But - the original recipe calls for 1.5 cups of almond flour.  That's 135 almonds - and almonds, while nutritious and awesome (I eat them a lot!) are high in calories.  

So I tweaked the recipe a little.  What I LOVE about this recipe is how low in sugar it is.  2 tablespoons of sugar in the whole thing!  Lindsay used honey, and I did that too when I first made it.  This time I chose maple syrup.  The lack of sugar in the crumb topping lets the berries really shine through.  And with 4 cups of delicious, fresh, ripe berries - that's what I want anyway!

 

The recipe is super simple and I'm fairly certain it is healthy enough to eat for breakfast.  I know this because I've done it.  Twice.  This would also be amazing warm and topped with some vanilla ice cream! 

 Summer Berry Cobbler
(adapted from this recipe)

Ingredients
4 cups mixed berries (I used blueberries, cherries, and strawberries this time)
1/4 cup almond flour (I but it at Trader Joe's, but you can make your own by processing almonds!)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup quick cooking oats (I tried rolled oats and they didn't work as well)
1 tbsp melted coconut oil
1 tbsp melted butter (use grass fed - it's SO good!!)
2 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
cinnamon to taste

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Place berries in the bottom of a greased 8x8 or 9x9 pan.
3. Mix together the flour, oil, butter, cinnamon and syrup. 
4. Spread the crumb mixture over the top.
5. Bake 30-35 minutes

Isn't that EASY?!  You could use all butter or all coconut oil if you want, I just like the mix of both.

Nutritional Info
(per serving, 6 servings per recipe)
Calories: 216
Fat: 7.9g
Carbs: 29.5g
Fiber: 5.5g
Sugar: 9.9g
Protein: 4.2g


Check out more great recipes (like this and this), skincare tips, and good advice from Lindsay @ Delighted Momma!


Friday, June 28, 2013

Back At It

 I wrote a few weeks ago that I was taking a break from the calorie counting and my BodyMedia armband tracking for the month of June. 

June's not over yet, but I'm back to tracking!

 

In my previous blog, I said I wasn't stepping on the scale until July 1.  Well, clearly, I made the leap a little early.

Last week, I started feeling ready to get my focus back.  I started by simply recording what I ate. Nothing fancy, just jotting down what I ate and when. 

Then, on Monday I knew I was actually ready to jump back into things.  Since Wednesday has always been my "weigh in" day so on Wednesday I hopped on the scale to see where I was at.

I was pretty please to see that with a solid month of no calorie counting, my weight basically stayed the same!  I went up 2/10 of a pound - nothing major.  That was a great feeling - to know that I maintained for a solid month without really working "too hard" at it!  

The break felt great - and I didn't fall off the wagon.  I didn't go back to my old habits. No stops at fast food when I was hungry, pizzas when I didn't feel like cooking, or buying myself pieces of cake as a "treat". That is priceless!!

I've got my eye on the prize and I'm excited to buckle down and get rid of these last 20 pounds!

 


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rocky Mountain High

The last school day for teachers was Thursday, June 6th - woohoo!!  The next morning I hopped on a plane and headed WEST! (and here's a REALLY long post about my trip!)

 
The paparazzi caught me arriving at the airport!

My parents' RV was stationed in Estes Park, Colorado - just minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park!  
The day of my arrival, we did some very outdoorsy things like stopping at Costco and visiting Starbucks!
 
 
This Starbucks boasts the best view of any my parents have visited - and trust me, they've visited just about every one in existence.  The Estes Park Starbucks sits along the Big Thompson River - though it looked more like a creek, it was very nice to sit beside and sip coffee!
 
DAY ONE
Since Estes Park sits at an elevation of 7,500 (a slight change from the 400 feet above sea level where York, PA sits!), we decided it would be best to give me a day to adjust to the altitude before we went on any big hikes. So, we spent my first full day in Colorado exploring Rocky Mountain National Park by car along the Trail Ridge Road.  This road winds from Estes Park on the East side of RMNP about 50 miles to Grand Lake on the park's West side.  We stopped along the way to get out and explore the beautiful scenery a bit!

The road winds through the park and eventually gets up above 12,000 feet and enters a new habitat - the Arctic Tundra.
 
(I'm pretty sure this kind of snow would have at least given us a 2 hour delay in PA!)
 
 
(stepping in snow on the 2nd day of summer vacation!)
 
 
That's pretty high up there!
 
The Trail Ridge Road also passes through the Continental Divide, which as you can see, has not quite thawed out yet!!

Check out my first day according to my Dad here!

 
 DAY TWO
For my 2nd day in Colorado, we decided to hike the Wild Basin area.  We took a hike towards the Calypso Cascades. Our total hike distance was over 6 miles and went from 8,500 ft to 9,600 ft! I did notice my heart rate went up more quickly and I got tired a easier, but overall the change in elevation didn't give me near the trouble I had thought it might - or that it would have 80 pounds ago!

You can read a detailed description of our hike here - but I'm just going to share some pictures!
 
 

 
So Colorado!



 
I considered these stairs training for the Urbanathlon this year!

 
The Calypso Cascades - roaring with spring snow melt!

The view from near the top of the trail - blue, blue sky and snowy mountains!

DAY THREE
My third day in Colorado dawned with more beautiful blue skies!  We decided today we'd hike to Gem Lake.  As you can see, this hike is "only" 1.7 miles (one way).  Seems like a short distance, however, in that 1.7 miles you gain 1,000 feet of elevation - so it's 1.7 miles of up, up, and more up!


 
I stopped along the way to do a little yoga.

Reflection in Gem Lake.  (which, to be honest, was more like Gem Pond to me - but it was beautiful!)

 This rock almost got in our way on the way down, but I moved it - don't worry.
(more on the Gem Lake hike here!)


DAY FOUR
Day four's hike was my favorite of the trip.  We got an early start and headed for the Loch Vale - a beautiful lake nestled in between snow covered mountains.  

Alberta Falls is one of the beautiful sites you see on the way up the trail!


 
My lunch view - that's a whole lot better than the school faculty room!!
 
 
Mom and I after lunch
 
Looks like a postcard, doesn't it?

It took us a little over 3 miles to get to the lake, and the lake is at over 10,000 feet above sea level!

On the way down, I paused to do a few mountain climbers in the mountains.  And by a few, I mean 1 just for this picture.

Since I typically share what healthy meal I'm eating, I figured it only fair to share this.  The "Not-So-Teeny Wahine" feast at Smokin' Daves BBQ.  The 3 of us shared this platter of smoked deliciousness! 

More on the Loch hike here!

DAY FIVE
Day 5 dawned a little slower for us.  The previous night had been really windy, and wind and RVs don't go together very well.  It was quite loud and shaky - so none of us got the best night of sleep!  We decided to take it "easy" and hike to Cub Lake.
This hike was still a nice distance (over 6 miles), but didn't have quite as dramatic of a change in elevation ("only" 500 ft), so it was flatter.  

The unique thing about this hike is that the Cub Lake trail connects to the Fern Lake trail, and there was a large wildfire in that area just last year.  Hiking through the burned out trees was like hiking through a scene in some post-apocalyptic Hollywood movie.  It was strange!

Cub Lake - surrounded by burned forest.

Pausing to check out the scenery.
(more on Cub Lake here)

DAY SIX
Thursday was my last day in Colorado.  My plane didn't leave until 5:25 (which turned into 6:45!), so we had some time in the morning to catch a few final sites.
Dad and I checking out some falls - one last beautiful view (the falls, not you Dad - haha!!) in Rocky Mountain National Park.

One of the things I'd been looking for during the trip was a t-shirt that said Rocky Mountain National Park.  Estes Park is a typical tourist town with about 20 t-shirt shops.  I checked every single one and didn't find "the shirt" - there were some I liked, but none that I liked enough to get.  The last day though, we stopped at one final visitor's center and I found "the shirt".  It was pink, my favorite color, and had the most fitting saying on the back.
 

Thanks, Mom and Dad, and Rocky Mountain National Park, for a fantastic week!!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Run or Dye Recap

I arrived home from Colorado at about 2:00am on Friday morning.  12 hours later, I was on the road again!  This time I was headed to Philadelphia with Melody, Stacey, and Michelle for the "Run or Dye" color run.


Friday night we grabbed our packets (bibs, white shirts, drawstring bags, a rubber bracelet, and a dye packet) and then headed to the Continental for dinner with Kristi - who is a long time friend of Melody and graciously hosted all of us at her house in Jersey for the night!  (Dinner, btw, was AWESOME - seared tuna with mushroom risotto - yummy!!)


The race took place at the Philly sports complex, where the stadiums for the Phillies and the Eagles are. Saturday morning was beautiful - low 80's and "abundant sunshine" (according to The Weather Channel).  This is great, unless you're standing in the middle of a parking lot in a start corral with a few hundred people. In that case, this weather is really hot.  Since we'd read that Run or Dye sends waves of a few hundred runners every 5 minutes following the 9:00 start time, we got into the corral around 8:40 so we could be towards the front.


By "9:00 start time" they really meant 9:10.  And by "every 5 minutes", they really meant almost every 10.  We were in the 3rd group to be released, so we left at 9:30.  The start was chaotic and hot, and we really just wanted to get going!

The color used at these types of runs (The Color Run, Color Me Rad, Run or Dye, etc) is a colored, nontoxic, cornstarch based, powder.  The first "dye station" was immediately after the start and it was pinkish purple, and we completely missed it.  If you ran in the center, you could easily run the whole race without getting any color on you at all. 

The course wound through the parking lots of the stadiums - yes, the PARKING LOTS.  Seriously?!  The course never even went on any "real" roads.  It just wound its way around the parking lots and the stadiums. 

There were 2 dye stations on the course - yellow and orange.  They were poorly manned by volunteers (including a lot of kids) who simply grabbed colored powder from buckets and threw it at you.  If you wanted any color, you actually had to stop running and wait in line for them to throw it on you.  Or, you could be like a surprising number of people and simply ROLL AROUND ON THE GROUND.  Yes, that happened - a lot.
 

The last dye station was green, and it was right at the finish.  Speaking of the finish - it was really crowded and there was no official "line", just a lot of flags.  (And my RunKeeper said  3.01 at the end of the flags, so the course was short!!)


This was supposed to be a super fun, laid back race.  I wasn't running for a PR, but this ended up being an annoying race.  There were a LOT of walkers on the course.  This is totally fine, and I love that people are out and moving.  But I'm not referring to just any walkers - the annoying walkers were those who were walking 5 and 6 across, completely blocking the course, and strolling along like they were at the mall.  The absolute worst, though, was someone SMOKING on the course.  I'm not even kidding.  Who smokes in the middle of a 5K course?!



Overall, I have to say - the time spent with my girlfriends was awesome and so much fun!  I was super proud of my BFF, Michelle, who ran her first race - check out her thoughts about her first race!  I'm glad I did it, but I wouldn't do a color run again.  I would, however, gladly spend another 24 hours talking, laughing, eating, shopping, and running with these girls!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Gain

This week I had a significant number gain. 

It wasn't on the scale though, I haven't stepped on that in 2 weeks. This gain was in elevation!

Living in Pennsylvania, I spend my days at a few hundred feet above sea level. But Friday, I flew into Denver (5,000+ feet) and met my parents, who are currently parked in Estes Park, Colorado (8,000+ feet). 

Making an 8,000 foot change in altitude can be really hard on your body. It can cause headaches, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and more. 

My parents decided it would be a good idea to give me Friday and Saturday to adjust. Saturday we did mostly driving around Rocky Mountain National Park, stopping here and there for a few short walks to test my lungs. 

This was a half mile path up and back, above 12,000 feet. It was freezing up there, and I definitely felt more tired and my heart rate as up more than usual. But overall, it wasn't bad. 

The real test came yesterday when we hiked starting at 8,600 feet and went up to 9,600 feet. The views we were rewarded with were spectacular. Pictures don't do them justice. 

How'd I do with the altitude? I hardly even noticed it. Once again, that's a change that tells more than the number on the scale ever will! 

For more about our hike, check out my parents' blog at http://ohtheplacestheygo.wordpress.com!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

An Annual Picture

For the third year in a row, I snapped a picture of myself on the first day of summer break. 

It was 2011 when I left school determined to start making small changes toward health.
(Ignore the mess)

By 2012, I was down 40 pounds and feeling stronger and healthier! Not long after this picture, I ran my first ever nonstop outdoor mile. 

Today, in 2013, I'm now 80 pounds lighter. I've run a half marathon, 2 10k races, and several 5k races. 


I don't care what the scale says when I look at these pictures. The pictures tell me more than any number on a scale will. Not even just the size and shape of my body, but the size of my smile...the look of pride and peace in my eyes. I am happier, stronger, and more confident. 

The last 2 years haven't been easy. I am not hurrying the process or taking any short cuts. I'm thanking God for the slow and steady journey I am on because I'm learning so much each day, about Him, myself, and my health.

I can't wait to see the 2014 shot!