8 Down, 40 To Go!

Last Friday I hiked Mt. Lincoln & Mt. Lafayette with my dad.  It was much more challenging than I think either of us expected.  It was very steep, especially on the way up.  We passed several waterfalls along the way which were beautiful, but not always easy to cross.

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We took several short breaks to catch our breath and refuel with gatorade and snacks and eventually made our way up.  Before reaching the peak of Little Haystack we took a short detour to Shining Rock  which we had both read and heard about from others.  It was basically a gigantic rock glistening in the sun along with a nice view.

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As we hiked up Haystack I turned back many times to admire the views.  This kept me going as I imagined the top to be even better and it was!  The views from Little Haystack and all along the ridge were incredible!  We lucked out with a perfect day – sunny and clear skies.

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After eating our lunch we continued on along the ridge to Mt. Lincoln.  It started off as a pretty flat walk but soon turned out to be similiar to the hike up Little Haystack – lots of rocks and several steep parts.  We took a few short breaks to catch our breath, sip some gatorade, & take pictures.  We took one longer break when I was able to lay down on a giant rock and rest my head on my packs & my Dad sat against the rock.  It was amazing to lay down and stare out at the cloudless skies and what seemed like 100’s of mountains.  Sometimes we rush through life, not paying attention and are too busy to take a minute to stop and really breathe in what’s happening around us.  I’m so grateful that we decided to take this longer break and not rush through the hike.  It was so relaxing and peaceful!

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By the time we got to Mt. Lafayette we were pretty tired.  We took pictures at the sign and were admiring the views at all angles, taking more pictures, re-hydrating, and enjoying ourselves…not paying much attention to the trail sign…and we accidentally continued along the ridge and not down the correct trail.  Dad eventually figured out that we were getting further away from the hut and we turned around to head back toward Lafayette and down toward the hut.  It was very hot as we were completely exposed to the sun from the time we reached Haystack until we were past the Greenleaf Hut.  After checking out the hut, filling up on water, and getting out of the sun for a few minutes we headed back down the mountain.  We were both exhausted, legs shaking, but were determined to get to the truck and even more determined to get to the Woodstock Inn and enjoy a refreshing beverage.  We completed the descent quicker than expected, cleaned up a bit, changed out of our boots, and almost immediately headed to the Inn.   After dinner we headed to camp and neither one of us did much other than to relax at the lake for the remainder of the weekend (even walking was painful!).

Overall, it was a very challenging hike, but well worth it!  I made a great memory with my dad, the views were incredible, and I got back the invigorating rush I’d been missing for so long.  I’m so thankful that my dad suggested this hike.  It was the perfect one to motivate me to continue on with this journey!

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Goal: Accomplished!

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As I came into the new year I decided that this year would be different.  I would stop dreaming and start doing.  I made a list of goals for myself and on that list was to run a 10K.  I knew if I was going to accomplish this I’d have to start running more often and to make sure I’d do that I signed up for the Seacoast Race Series.  To complete the series you must run 6 of the 8 races offered, with two exceeding 5K in length. I noticed the first 10K of the series was the Market Square Day 10K which was on June 9th, so I signed up!

Race day arrived and my mom, who signed up as a walker, and I headed over to Portsmouth.  Both of our stomachs were in knots.  We were feeling anxious but excited.  Adding to my butterflies was the “secret” goal I set for myself of running the 10k in under an hour.

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The race started off very slowly as there were 2000 runners crowded into narrow downtown streets.  When I saw the first mile marker and my time was over 10 minutes I was a little disappointed.  I wouldn’t make it in under an hour if I kept that pace and I didn’t feel like I could move too much faster for another 50 minutes.  Luckily I had my iPod blasting which helped me to pick up my pace a bit and I’m pretty sure the kids who were spraying hoses and holding sprinklers saved me from passing out along the way.

I came to a point in the race around the last mile or so where we had to run up a dirt hill which I was dreading.  My legs were feeling like jelly and my body was begging me to stop but I kept telling myself to just keep on going, to not stop.  As I was wrapped up in my own self-pity I noticed a woman running toward me.  I turned down my music and heard her ask us to move to the other side of the road because an ambulance was on its way.  I then looked behind me and watched her run more frantically down the road yelling to people to move to the opposite side of the road.  I looked ahead and saw a man laying on the side of the road with several people kneeling around him, pouring water on his face and yelling desperately.  Suddenly several of the by-standers stood up and began screaming at runners to move so that the ambulance could get through.  I realized this was serious as the man was not moving and those surrounding him looked very concerned.  I shared a look of fear and hope with the woman running next to me, said a prayer, and from there on out I don’t remember a whole lot of the race.  I did a lot of thinking and realized that there will come a day when I wont be able to do this anymore and I better run as best as I could and not stop until I reached the finish line.  I had no excuses and realized I was lucky to be alive and to be running this race.

I ended up reaching my goal and ran the race in a time of 59:29.  My mom and I agreed before the race that we’d meet at the finish line and I would be there at the 1:30:00 mark as that was her goal.  To my surprise as I was catching my breath and stretching in the shade, I saw my mom walk past me.  I got her attention and she walked toward me with her beautiful smile shining across her face.  I asked how she had finished so fast and she told me that she ran a lot of the course.  Her time was 1:13:12!  She did amazing and I’m so proud of her!  We both felt great and were grateful that the race was over.  We did what we set out to do and we both reached our goals!

I realized a lot during that race.  You can truly accomplish anything you want to, no matter how difficult the task may seem.  Through an unfortunate event I was able to feel appreciation for this life and the fact that I am able to run and do whatever I wish to do with my time here on Earth.  I later found out that the man who had collapsed went into cardiac arrest but was later revived, thank God!

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Now that I can cross “run a 10K” off my to-do list of 2012, it’s on to the next.  I’ve set a goal to climb all of the 4000-foot mountains of New Hampshire.  I’ve always thought of doing this but have never taken any steps toward accomplishing it.  The last time that I was staying at my parent’s camp I discovered a book my dad created of his adventures in climbing the 4000-foot mountains and I became inspired.  I decided it’s time for me to continue my own goal of conquering the 40+ mountains.  I’ve already climbed six of them with my dad years ago and I’m continuing my journey this Friday when my dad and I will hike two of the 4,000+ foot mountains and I can’t wait!

What goals do you have?  Are there things you’ve always thought about doing but never have?  What are you doing to accomplish these goals?  We only live once.  Don’t take your time for granted!

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Sunday Snacking

The weekend is when we tend to struggle the most with snacking.  Especially in the summer at BBQ’s and even at home when you’re surrounded by food, it’s sometimes hard to eat your usual six meals and not just snack all day.  If you’re struggling and are in a snacking mood, here are some delicious, healthy snack ideas.

When I feel the need to snack I usually try to go for fruits and veggies with hummus.  I don’t limit the amount I can have because…it’s fruit & veggies!  Since I’ve eliminated most of my sugar intake I find that fruit tastes much sweeter and even more delicious than before.  Cutting up fruit and making a fruit salad along with chopping up veggies with some hummus is an easy, healthy, scrumptious way to satisfy my need to snack.

Get Some Sleep!

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Everyone’s sleep needs are different.  Some people might be able to function on 6 hours of sleep.  Not us!  We both need and treasure our 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

Not getting the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night every once in a while may not be a big deal, however, if you are consistently not meeting your body’s need for sleep, you may be putting your health at risk.

Personally, I NEED at least 8 hours of sleep each night.  If I don’t get that, I’m a big grouch.  I wake up knowing I haven’t gotten my sleep and that the day ahead has the potential to be a disaster.  I’m tired and have no energy which makes for a long day.  I find it hard to concentrate and make simple decisions.  Lack of sleep definitely affects my healthy lifestyle.  When I’m tired, I’m much more likely to make unhealthy decisions when it comes to eating.  If someone puts cupcakes in front of my face and asks if I want one, I’m much more likely to say yes than if I’ve gotten a good night’s rest.   I’m too tired to workout so I tend to either give myself the day off or have a lazy workout and end up leaving the gym 15 minutes after I get there.

What can a lack of sleep lead to?

There are several ways that losing sleep can affect your mind and body:

  • You’ll feel fatigued and lack motivation: Eh, I’ll skip my workout today.
  • You’ll be Oscar the grouch: you’ll be irritable, impatient, & have trouble concentrating.
  • Difficulty making decisions/problem solving: Sure, I’ll have a cupcake!
  • Your weight: Along with being more likely to eat something you would typically avoid, losing sleep can affect your metabolism which affects your weight.  It may even lead to an increase in your appetite.
  • Lack of sleep affects your immune system which can lead to disease and frequent colds.
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Ages you: Not getting enough shut eye can lead to dull skin, fine lines and dark, puffy circles under your eyes.  Not pretty.

Getting enough sleep every night can improve your health, mood, and the overall quality of your life.  If you want to live a productive, happy, and healthy life, make sure to get your sleep!

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For more information, go to:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/importance_of_sleep_and_health

http://www.helpguide.org/life/sleeping.htm

Run Baby, Run

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Yesterday I ran my first 5k of the year.  I signed up for the Seacoast Road Race Series a couple of months ago which is a series of 8 races in the seacoast area.  In order to complete the series you must run 6 of the 8 races, with 2 of them exceeding a 5k.  I signed up because I thought it would be a good way to motivate myself to keep running and to stay active. I’ve never run anything longer than a 5k and have never trained to run. I usually just show up at a race, run my best, and feel sore for the next 3 days, not to mention feeling like I’m going to vomit and die immediately after the race.

My friends & family know that I’m your typical nervous nelly who struggles when my routine gets off-track.  Knowing that little tid-bit, you wont believe the morning I had yesterday… it was the first race of the series and I was running a course I’ve never run before, all by myself.  I had my Garmin all set up as I drove to the race and of course right as I was turning off the highway onto the exit, my Garmin let out a loud beep letting me know that the battery was about to die.  At the first stop sign I rustled around for the charger and plugged it in, as I knocked my iPhone onto the floor.  I took a deep breath and just kept on driving.

When I reached the address of the race, I saw a sign for event parking and found a spot.  I had no idea where I was supposed to go to pick up my bib as I didn’t see any signs for the race.  I awkwardly interrupted a group of women to ask if they knew where I was supposed to go.  At this point I knew I needed to use the restroom but figured that’d be my last stop right before the race.  After getting the most general set of directions I’ve ever been given, to “cross two streets and you’ll see some sort of sign,” I started walking toward the direction the woman pointed.

I saw a sign for registration and approached the table.  Of course, I was at the registration for the kids fun run.  When I asked where I was supposed to go for the 5k, I was given directions guided by landmarks such as the pool and “the big set of stairs,” neither of which I knew the location of.  I smiled, walked away and began walking toward a crowd of people.  I finally found the registration table and got into line.  When I reached the table a woman asked my bib number to which I replied that I didn’t know and gave her my name.  I was then told I had to get out of line and go to another table to find my bib number and then return to the line to get my bib.  I took another deep breath, kept some choice words that I was thinking to myself, found my number and got my bib.

I then had to run back to my car, drop off my jacket and keys, and grab a quick bite of my Larabar.  I quickly jogged back to the race area carrying my iPhone, headphones, bib, & 4 safety pins, in search of bathrooms.  I saw a never-ending line and my immediate thought was that I would either have to hold it in & take a chance of peeing my pants on the course (which would make me run faster) or use the bathroom and start the race late.  I got into line, hands sweating and shaking, like the stress ball that I occasionally am, and took more deep breaths and tried to calm myself down.

I asked a woman behind me where the start line was and she kindly  pointed to the direction and then thought it would be a good idea to tell me that she does not like this race; that it was the “worst of the series…so many hills…I don’t know why they do this to us!” and proceeded to laugh in my face.  At that moment, all I could think of was ‘I’m on the verge of peeing my pants and that is NOT what I want to hear right now.’  Eventually I made it into the bathroom and to the start line with 3 minutes to spare.  I put my headphones on, started my playlist, did a couple last minute stretches in the cramped amount of space that I had, and took one final deep breath.  I reminded myself that although the entire morning was a disaster, I made it to the start line with time to spare and now I just had to run.  I had originally set a goal for myself to run the 5k in under 29 minutes but before the gun went off I decided I’d shoot for under 30 considering the day’s events, the fact that it was my first 5k of the year, I didn’t know the course, and it was “the worst of the series” from what I’d heard.

I’m not sure if it was the frustration of the morning’s events or the adrenaline rush that I get when running a race, but I ended up running my personal best with a time of 26:18.

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I realized a lot about myself yesterday.  After that disastrous morning, and after driving to the race on my own and running it by myself, I feel proud, strong, independent and confident.  I didn’t let a bump in the road (or 8) set me off track and ruin my day.  Sure, it was a crazy morning, but I was able to bite my tongue, suck it up, breathe, and focus my attention where it needed to be; and I came out of it with my best time and a feeling of pride.   I think that sometimes, things happen in order to show us that we are stronger than we think we are.  I’m so glad that I signed up for the Seacoast Road Race Series and committed myself to a healthy, active lifestyle!

Next race: the Kittery5k on May 20th.  Hope to see you there!

To sign up for the Seacoast Race Series, go to: http://www.proportsmouth.org/seacoastseries.cfm

To sign up for the Kittery5k:  http://www.kittery5k.com/

Naked Time Challenge

Warm weather is rapidly approaching and with the warmer weather comes the removal of those winter layers. Time to bring out the shorts, dresses and that nasty 6 letter word: BIKINI. Recently, Rachel was sharing with me a funny excerpt from one of her favorite blogs: TheSweatyBetties.com, who asked if a person constantly enjoys being naked, is that a problem? I started to think about being naked more and more. Coming from a single woman looking for love, my thoughts are this: If I can’t stand being naked or seeing myself naked then I am pretty sure my future husband might not want to see it either. I know, find the right person and they will find all my flaws beautiful and I can be who I want to be… Who I want to be? A woman who is hot, sexy, confident, and can drive a man insane, to the point of salivating with anticipation of touching such a fine ass. With that goal in mind, I am going to start a new challenge to start “naked time.” Get comfortable in your own skin.  It’s your body and it will be along for the ride as long as you are. While getting ready in the mornings and putting on make-up, why not be naked? Fixing your hair? Do it naked. Another benefit to the “naked time” challenge is seeing the results.  If you are trying to lose weight or tone up; I offer you a front row seat to your own body transformation.

Maybe being naked is too much or your roommates might be a little freaked out, then I say break that bikini out early. Start strutting your stuff and if that bikini body is not ready for a beach debut, change it and work harder! We can do it!! 🙂

Keep on Truckin’

Bad news: I’ve had a few “slip-ups” this week as far as eating healthy goes.

Good news:  I haven’t allowed those slips ups to ruin my entire day or to throw me into a downward spiral of over-eating unhealthy foods at every meal and not exercising.  I have been consistent with working out and it’s finally starting to feel like a routine again.  I’m starting to enjoy heading to the gym and going for runs again and that feels good!

 

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Do something today to make yourself proud.  Eat a healthy breakfast, go for a long walk, drink a glass of water instead of a can of soda.  Small steps add up and we have to be proud of those small efforts and move past the little mistakes that are going to happen.

 

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Are You Eating the Most Important Meal of the Day?

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Do you eat breakfast every morning?  We do, and if you’re skipping this meal, it’s time you seriously consider the effects.  Breakfast literally means “breaking the fast.”  When you wake up in the morning, it is important to give your brain and muscles the fuel they’ve been without for the past 8+ hours and to get your metabolism going again. If you skip breakfast, you’re also more likely to make unhealthy choices later in the day.  You’ll lack energy and feel hungry.  I don’t know about you, but the teacher’s room where I work is constantly filled with tempting goodies and I’ve learned that my daily, filling bowl of oatmeal and scrambled egg whites helps me to say no each day.

Why eat breakfast?:

  • Eating breakfast breaks your body’s fast and can reduce hunger later in the day which makes it easier to say no to the delicious treats in your office or to your favorite fast food restaurant.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast will encourage you to make healthy choices throughout the day.
  • Jump starts your metabolism!
  • A healthy breakfast gives you energy and starts your day off on the right foot.
  • Some skip breakfast & think that they’re saving calories, however, by lunch, that person is usually starving & will be more likely to overeat throughout the day.

Healthy breakfast options:

  • Oatmeal and scrambled egg whites or hard-boiled eggs (our staple breakfast)
  • An egg white omelette filled with your favorite veggies (spinach, mushrooms, peppers) and a side of fruit
  • Whole grain toast with natural peanut or almond butter, topped with a sliced banana & cinnamon
  • Plain greek yogurt with granola and fruit
  • Tone it Up protein pancakes (recipe:  https://littlechangesbigdreams.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/tone-it-up-protein-pancakes-2/)

What’s your favorite breakfast meal?

Happy Easter!

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We hope you all have a great day with family and friends!  Try to make healthy choices but make sure to enjoy the day.  It’s okay to have a treat every once in a while 🙂

When I’m headed to a gathering I make sure to do a few things in order to help me be successful.  First, I make sure to bring a healthy dish to the party. That way I know that there will be at least one healthy option for me to rely on and to munch on throughout the party.  Today I’m bringing fruit salad to my cousin’s Easter party – one of my favorites!  

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I also eat healthy meals right up until I leave.  Today I’ll be eating my daily oatmeal for breakfast, a protein shake, and two spinach burgers with plain greek yogurt and an ezekiel english muffin.  I never leave the house hungry; that way I don’t arrive at a party starving and surrounded by unhealthy, tempting foods.  I also got up early today so that I’d be able to fit in a run before heading to my cousin’s house.  I know myself and that I will not be motivated or desire going to the gym after traveling and spending the day relaxing with family.  I’ll definitely be enjoying a few goodies today with my family but I’ll be making a more conscious decision than I have in the past to stick to the healthier options and to not go overboard with the treats.

Enjoy your day and be thankful for all that you have: family, friends, health, & happiness.  Happy Easter everyone!

 

Mint Chocolate Protein Bars

Here’s another protein bar recipe from http://www.littlebshealthyhabits.com/.  If you like thin mints (which we LOVE but have avoided this year), you’ll like this bread!  We hope you enjoy the chocolatey-minty-deliciousness!  Let us know if you’ve tried any of the recipes we’ve suggested & how they turn out.

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 scoops chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup Stevia, 1/4 cup Xylitol
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 4 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 3 tbsp non fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp mint extract

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Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Mix dry ingredients separately from wet, then whisk together.
  3. Place in a prepared 8×8 Pyrex dish and cook for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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