Friday, January 29, 2016

Be Bold 2016 : Personal Goals

I think we all know by now I love a good goal post. I find them to be a great tool to hold myself accountable to the things I want to accomplish. Meanwhile, it forces me to look at how I will accomplish the more long term items on my list.

I'm linking up with GinaAllieKate, Christina and Catherine for their #BeBold2016 link-up to talk about some of my personal goals for 2016. I have a feeling 2016 is going to be a year of big life changes.  The BF & I are very serious, work has been talking about a promotion, big stuff happening here people. I kept these things in mind when I decided how // where to direct my energy in 2016.

So, without further adieu, let's take a look at some of my personal goals for 2016. I hope you'll share a goal (or two) of yours with me in the comments!

{bake more}
Let me toot my own horn for a moment. I'm a good cook & a damn good baker. I learned from my mother (who spent some years baking // decorating wedding cakes for a local bakery) who learned from her mother. Needless to say, a lot of what I do in the kitchen is based loosely on recipes I've read, or totally made up. But I've got a big ol' Pinterest board filled with things I would love to try. And a whole office full of people at work that devour anything I bring in. So, one recipe a month. Not too hard. Weed out the keepers from the ones I vow to never make again. January is a bust because I've been doing Whole30, but you best believe I'll be in action come February (uhh, which is Monday!?)

{find a church}
The BF & I grew up with (slightly) different religion philosophies. As a result, we both prioritize differently when it comes to finding the right church. Read : I think church should be enjoyable & he thinks you just pick one and go because going has nothing to do with enjoyment. We've yet to find one we both like & could commit to attending regularly. I won't even get myself started on the nightmare that is that man's schedule. Which makes it hard to dedicate Sunday mornings to church going. But, it's something I want to continue to make a priority.

{save, save, save}
I'm currently socking away a bit more than 50% of my take home pay each month. Not counting what I put into my 401K before I even see my paycheck, and I'm doing so effortlessly. While most people might think this is pretty good, I'm not quite satisfied. I have big dreams of retirement by the time I'm 50-ish & a good retirement, full of travel at that. The easiest way for me to sock more money away is to say NO. I say no to mindless shopping on my lunch break, I say no to that super cute new shirt that doesn't go with anything in my wardrobe & I say NO to the Dollar Spot at Target (though seriously it takes every ounce of my willpower, everything is so cute!) It sounds harsh at first, but in 2 weeks you will not remember the random $1 washi tape or the crazy print t-shirt you "had to have".

| side note | If you look at your credit card statement each month & are shocked at how much $$$ you spent, since you don't remember buying much, you need a (better) budget. Budgets do not have to be restricting in the slightest (if you're making enough $ to cover basic expenses). They are all about determining your priorities & how to spend your money according to those. I love to travel, so I am willing to forgo a new purse purchase or super fancy dinner if it means a plane ticket to somewhere new. If all of this baffles you, personal finance is a passion of mine. Leave me a comment & we can chat.

{read more books}
How's that for a vague goal? I've never truly tracked how much I read each year, unless it was earning me free pizza through our local summer reading programs as a kid. I digress. I usually churn out a book or two every few weeks. And I won't lie. 65% of what I read is trashy romance novels. #NoShame. But, as much as I love a good romance novel, I want to branch out. I love reading books based on true stories & I have my eye on some running related books that I think would interest me. The book I'm in now has been slow going, but I want to finish, finished today on my lunch break, so onward! And bonus points for me, because I get 99% of my books for free through the library!

{lighten the load}
I've lived in 4 apartments in 4 years. I never had any intention of moving that much & in fact, if I had my way I would probably still be in apartment #1, but life. You would think by now I would have gotten rid of lots of things I don't need or don't use, but I haven't. I've just been lugging it around from place to place wondering why I still own it & vowing to get rid of it. 2016 is the year for that. I want to dedicate these still cold winter months to getting rid of things. I have a whole closet full of clothes I never wear & more knick knacks than I care to mention. Thanks Dollar Spot. Getting rid of 50% of my stuff seems like a good place to start, though hard to quantify unless I decide to catalog my apartment, which I have ZERO intention of doing. But I can break it down by area. 50% of my clothes (the stuff I don't wear anyways) out the door, 50% of my office supplies -- out the door. You catch my drift.

| side note | if you know of anywhere that would gladly take donations of small stationary items, small arts & crafts items or knick knack type items, lay it on me. I hate to just throw those in the Goodwill pile.

{lighten the load pt. 2}
It makes no sense to spend hours getting rid of junk I already own just to bring more of it in. So, in conjunction with my goal to save more $ & lighten the load I will continue to buy items from a list of things I've deemed as "needs". Recently I needed a pair of winter running tights (though I think I found a winner) & a new pair of skinny jeans as mine are now too skinny (no bueno). If I go shopping that's what I am allowed to buy. Anything else I take a step back & realize if I go home & decide it's something that would go with absolutely everything I own, that I can always go back tomorrow.

What are some of your personal goals for 2016?
What's the last thing you bought from the Dollar Spot // Dollar Store?
Recommend a good book (preferably not a trashy romance novel)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thinking out Loud : Defining my Personality

I stumbled over to Kristina's blog for the first time in a while yesterday. She had written about a free personality test she took from 16 Personalities (and I am in no way affiliated or being paid to say this, it's just so darn neat). Naturally I clicked the link immediately to take a personality test of my own. But not before I picked out what I considered myself to be from the image below...& boy do I know myself. Haha

I find personality tests to be so interesting. This one took less than 15 minutes, compared to the more famous Myers - Briggs test which takes FOREVER, but yielded me the same result. Saying to me, that if you ask the right questions it's fairly easy to get to the core of someone. I read through my "Personality Profile" & it fits me pretty darn well.

^ THIS. This right here. Yup. I'm forever taking things a little too far or offending the sensitive people around me (without realizing it).

Based on this assessment I'm insensitive, impatient, unstructured & defiant. But on the flip side, I'm bold, rational, original, perceptive & direct. I would agree 100%. What does this mean? I'm the friend who will really tell you that dress looks bad & I'll do so without hesitation because there is not time to waste. You won't find me moving slowly unless I've just finished a marathon & slow walkers make me want to punch a wall. My friends have told me time & time again that I'm an "acquired taste". At first it's hard to know what to make of me, but then you find out I'm delightful. < --- wow that sounded super conceited. 

While I don't think a specific personality type defines me, it's interesting how correctly it pinned down some of my thoughts. The review at the end of the test talks about how your personality type fares in relationships, parenthood, the workplace & more. I have no plans to change, because I'm happy being me, but I do try to be aware of how I may be perceived by others, good or bad.

Have you ever taken a personality test? What was the result?
Any other ESTP's out there?

I'm linking up with Amanda today for #ThinkingOutLoud

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WIAW #6 : I'm so hungry

Hey hey there everybody, it's HUMP DAY WIAW so I'm linking up to showcase a day of eats.

One of my January goals was no workouts skipped for the month of January. While I am a little off base so far I was pretty pleased with myself yesterday. I had a hard workout on the schedule, 4 x 1 mile @ 8:30 pace & I got up & nailed it. Mile 4 was rough, and I stopped once for a breather so I didn't show the whole gym my breakfast, but I got right back into it & finished mile #4.

I think my tough workout had something to do with my insatiable hunger the rest of the day. I was a bottomless pit. Pre-workout I scarfed down 2 hard boiled eggs as has been my norm during Whole30.

Breakfast was a smoothie, Whole30 rule police can kindly exit now ;) I used frozen strawberries, pineapple & mango. Tossed a super ripe banana in there & used about 1/2 a can of coconut milk for my liquid. It gives everything a vaguely coconutty flavor, but more than anything makes the whole smoothie super creamy.

Lunch was eaten 10:35AM early. I held out as long as I could, but for whatever reason the smoothie just wasn't doing it's job. I had a massive salad, topped with chicken, HB egg, cucumber, tomato, carrot & AVOCADO. Look at that beauty. I may have gotten a little too excited when I opened this sucker up at my desk. I dressed the whole thing with oil, vinegar & sea salt.

Then, surprise, surprise, come actual lunchtime, I found myself  hungry again.  So, I sliced up an apple & topped it with Once Again Organic Almond Butter. I had never had this stuff before, but a co-worker who's not a fan of almonds passed it along to me & I was elated to see that the only ingredient was ALMONDS! Imagine that.

This stuff was absolutely delicious & the perfect texture. A little runny, but just the right amount to spread over the whole apple slice. Mmm. My only disappointment is when I checked this stuff out at the store that afternoon a jar was selling for $14. What? Do people really pay $14 for a jar of almond butter on the regular? Am I crazy for thinking that's expensive?

Let's ignore my hideously chipped nail polish

 Not pictured is the Coconut Cream Pie Lara Bar I inhaled at 2:30PM, nor the 2 handfuls of almonds I had at 3:30PM. And I was still so hungry.

Dinner came together in a flash, thankfully, because I was ready to gnaw my arm off. Pan roasted potatoes, broccoli & an Aidell's Chicken & Apple Sausage. I dipped my broccoli & potatoes in a new "mixture" I am obsessed with. I take spicy brown mustard & add hot sauce (equivalent to Frank's Red Hot). So good. It happened on accident once when things on my plate started touching. It was such a happy accident I've continued to make it.

After dinner was the rest of the potatoes that were meant to be saved for the next day as well as a grapefruit. And I'm still hungry.

POLL TIME : My BF says lots of people do not like sweet potatoes, I say he is crazy.

Do you eat almond butter? 
How much do you pay for a jar?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Thoughts on Thigh Gaps + Workout Recap

I'm scrolling through Pinterest last week, honestly, more to quiet my brain than looking for anything in particular. I've been hunting for some new Whole30 recipes so I was keeping eyes peeled for those, when all of a sudden I came across this. Umm WHAT? Luscious thigh gap...? I had to follow the link.

As someone who last had a thigh gap at the age of 13 or 14, while fairly underweight for my height, it can really be hard to keep a positive body image when articles like this are everywhere. No matter how ridiculous the information they contain.

Make sure to stick to a low weight / high repetition workout regimen though, so you don’t develop massive man-thighs.
Quotes // tips like this exist, indicating that using anything other than a 5LB weight will turn you into the hulk. And then I get mad. Hulk rage mad. WHY?

Because these thighs run marathons, climb mountains, bike across the country & catch snacks on the rare occasion I drop them. They carry me to the squat rack where I squat my bodyweight, or the roads where I put in miles.

I aim for strong, I aim for capable, I aim for confident. Lucky for me, none of those things require a thigh gap. Happen to have a thigh gap? Fantastic. You rock that shit. I'm sorry you don't have a built in snack catcher...but you run those marathons & climb those mountains. The point is, you do you girl, thigh gap not required. I won't be over here chasing that dream. If it happens, shrugs, if it doesn't, shrugs. In the meantime, guess I better tone down my weights, lest I develop those "massive man-thighs".

And now...rant over, back to my regularly scheduled programming workout recap.

Monday : Rest

Tuesday : Progression Run // 3 miles
Got to the gym late. Scolds self because I KNOW I need to stop pressing the snooze button, I just have to put the plan in action.

Wednesday : Strength Training // Legs + Spin
I really went hard on legs. It left me sore through Friday evening. I hopped on the spin bike for 10 mins at the end of my workout to keep things loose.

Thursday : Rest
Bad Jessie. This was unplanned since I had taken Monday off.

Friday : Treadmill Run + Strength
I did an "easy" 3 mile run. I was pretty sore still from my Wednesday lifting, but by the end I felt better. I rushed through an arm circuit, keeping rest breaks short so I could finish.

Saturday : Rest
Our group run was cancelled due to weather, so a few of us agreed to meet up anyways, which was also cancelled due to weather. I could have gone on my own, but I didn't. Womp womp.

Sunday : 4ish mile hike
This one was a doozy. While my friends Ryan & Rachael breezed through this hike, I huffed & puffed the whole way. Lots of uphill after a steep downhill portion to start. We hiked through about a foot of snow, which I assume slowed us down. We were out for about 2 hours. I would say we hiked somewhere between 4 & 5 miles.

So, I want to regroup this week. Get back to getting to the gym on time so I can get my full workout in. Not have to pick and choose which parts to complete. I've got this.

I'm linking up with MarciaPatty & Erika today for Tuesdays on the Run.

Thoughts on thigh gaps?
How was your week of workouts?
Use the word luscious in a sentence...umm, does anyone use this word?

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend Highlights : Walking in a Winter Wonderland

All week meteorologists had been calling for Winter Storm Jonas to dump feet of snow up & down the East Coast. Pittsburgh went from getting up to 2 feet to getting a few inches, to getting 4 inches to getting only an inch or two depending on what part of the city you lived in. It was never supposed to start before the Friday end of day commute.

20 minutes deep into cleaning off my car
It started snowing Friday afternoon around 2 or 3 PM.  It was super windy & just enough snow stuck to the ground to make my commute home a pain in the ass.  I hunkered down Friday night, and by 8PM or so our Saturday group run had been cancelled due to the weather, the roads were awful (per the BF who was out at work driving) & the snow was still coming down.

A few runners made a plan to meet at noon at North Park, as they're known for their quick snow removal efforts. But, come 10AM it was still snowing hard & the roads were not yet plowed, so that run got bagged as well.

Around noon I finally braved the outdoors to clean off my car (BTW, what a time to realize I do NOT own a snow shovel...oops) & head out for the day. My house got probably 6 - 8" whereas the BF, 20 minutes north got only 2 - 4".

Once I got to the BF's house we downed a pot of coffee & put on an episode of Making a Murderer on Netflix. Anyone else watching this? Don't spoil it. We're only 3 episodes deep. Dinner was with the "in-laws" & company before we headed out with a few friends to celebrate a birthday.

Sunday we met up with our friends Ryan & Rachael for some winter hiking. We met them at Duff Park, a new to me area. The trails were impeccably well marked, both at intersections & well blazed along the way. Something I very much appreciated. 

Ryan hiking at Duff Park

While the BF & I are not novice hikers by any means, and I would consider myself to be in fairly good shape, Ryan & Rachael put us to shame. As the BF & I wheezed our way up hills through the almost FOOT of snow, they each plodded along beside us talking like it was nothing.

After we got back to the cars we headed to nearby Pleasant Valley Park for another mile or two of hiking before calling it a day & heading to a late lunch at North Park Lounge, an originally local sports bar that has grown into a small chain.

While you'll still never hear me cheering when the forecast calls for snow, I definitely had a fun time traipsing through it Sunday. A reminder that it's not all bad.

Per usual, I'm linking up with HoHo Runs & MissSippiPiddlin for their Weekly Wrap, thanks for hosting ladies!

Did you get hit by Winter Storm Jonas?
Weekend snow storm, yay or nay?
What was the highlight of your weekend?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Friday Five #6 : Why I love Pittsburgh

I didn't grow up in Pittsburgh. I grew up in the "South". A term used loosely because my hometown is all of 5 minutes from the KY // OH border. But it was an important distinction to my southern raised Mother. So my Father conceded.

I moved to Pittsburgh in 2008 when I started studying at Duquesne University (pronounced Do-Kane, just in case you planned to try to say that Duke-wes-knee) I came here because it was new, it was exciting & it was just enough like the good parts of my hometown that I felt at home immediately. It took a year or three of learning backroads and street names & neighborhood names, but I feel now that this is home.

Pittsburgh is the proudest city I've come across. Sure, other citizens are quick to tell you what city they live in, but not always quick to tout how wonderful their city is. Pittsburgh on the other hand is proud & they want you to know it.

So, I'm linking up with MarCynthia & Courtney for their Friday 5 to share my five favorite things about Pittsburgh.

1. The people are friendly
I grew up in Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. It's a friendly area. People hold open doors, say please & thank you, make eye contact & make room for you to pass on the sidewalk. It's the feeling I miss in a lot of big cities. NYC, DC, Boston? No one gives it a second thought. They're all too busy to be friendly.

2. Each neighborhood has their gems & something special to offer
Bloomfield is Little Italy, Polish Hill is Polish (duh), Mt. Washington offers our famous city views, the Northside has history, the Mexican War Streets, and the Southside has beautiful old row houses & B&B's tucked behind Carson Street full of bars & tattoo shops. Each nook & cranny of the city has flavor, it's own personality & it's own people who are proud to tell you what part of the city they're from.

And as a whole, as the NY Times stated...we're the only city with an entrance. How could I forget to tell you about the view.

Source :

3. The Rivers...3 of them!
I spent my high school years on the rowing team & it's what finally brought me to Pittsburgh, a rowing scholarship. They run through the heart of the city yet are a peaceful respite in the middle of the hustle. So whether it's a 4AM wake up call for an eventual city sunrise, or a afternoon on a speed boat with the wind in your face & the cheer of the Pirates stadium behind you. If it weren't for the rivers we wouldn't be the City of Bridges after all. We have more than Venice, Italy. 446 bridges to be exact.

4. Low cost of living
While groceries are the exception (seriously, so expensive, as shown by Kayla here), Pittsburgh enjoys a pretty low cost of living for a city this size. Rent is cheap, houses are cheap, gas is fairly cheap. Case in point...while I don't live in a hip area of downtown (because I have no desire to) my rent sets me back $350 every month, which includes water, sewage & Internet. And this happens to be the most expensive place I've lived in years. This allows me to put the rest of what would be rent $$$ towards things like travel, retirement & wine.

5. Driving distance to lots of big cities
DC (even BIKING distance via the GAP trail), NYC, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Philly, Baltimore, Chicago. All are within a (short) days drive. It means easy access to more big races, museums, weekend getaways & visits with // from friends.

Pittsburgh, I'm proud to call you home.

Have you ever been to Pittsburgh?
Tell me something you love about your city!
Any exciting weekend plans? 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

My Climb to the Roof of Africa : Part 2

Last Wednesday I wrote about my climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I realized about halfway through the post that it was already ridiculously long, with much more to write, so I decided to turn this in to two posts. If you missed the first post you can find it here.

When I last left off we were camping at the base of the Barranco Wall. 

We were able to get a late start the next morning. We slept in until after 8AM, unheard of so far on our trek & ate a leisurely breakfast before breaking out an i-pod. Our porters (sherpas) & guides wanted to hear the original "Baby got Back" song by Sir-Mix-A-Lot, not the re-done Nikki Minaj BS, so I whipped out my i-pod & we danced, we danced until almost lunchtime.

We had an advantage the other hikers did not have, we were giving ourselves an extra day to climb the mountain. Our stopping point this day would be where most crews took their lunch break.

Once the other hikers were out of our way we  headed for the Barranco Wall. We had watched other hikers pick their way up it in the hours before, but now it was our turn. If you look closely in the picture below you can see TINY dots of people headed up the Barranco Wall. The climbing is so slow that a LINE of people will form. We were lucky enough to be able to wait it out. Our crew was the very last to leave Barranco Camp, save for an older gentleman and his small team.

 The Barranco Wall did not come easy, it was a lot of grabbing hands, helping each other up & slowly choosing the next rock to step on. So I was grateful to reach the top. The rest of the hiking was up & down & up & down again.We only gained about 1,500FT of elevation this day but I was oh so glad to reach our base for the night. Karanga Camp.

My brother & I
After our normal routine of dry clothes, snack, nap, dinner we were early to bed. The view the next morning could not be beat. I could get used to this. We dined al fresco enjoying the break in the fog & the view it yielded.

All of that came grinding to a halt when we heard an engine roaring up ahead. All of a sudden, in a flurry of Swahili all of our guides & porters began grabbing things that weren't tied down, others began rushing to a large flat area and setting up rocks in a large circle, clearing the middle from debris. A helicopter finally came into view, this was unheard of our guide Seth told us, Tanzania we were told did not own a helicopter. Nor were mountain rescues attempted this high. Someone with a lot of money must be having big problems.

Moments later the helicopter touched down, it was a Kenyan crew, having flown several hours from Nairobi, the capital. Just after they landed two guides ran over & after speaking rapidly to the co-pilot for a few minutes ran away just before the helicopter took back off. Engine sputtering.

We later learned the helicopter had landed at the wrong camp, the person they were attempting to rescue was an older gentleman stuck at Barranco Camp. The one left behind as we began our climb up the wall.

After quite the start to the morning we started our trek to what would be high camp. The last camp before our summit attempt. Our day was "short", only 3 - 4 hours of hiking. Once we reached our very rocky high camp we had an early dinner & discussed our summit logistics before heading to bed at 6PM. Alarms were set for 11PM that same evening to begin our summit climb.

Alarms went off at 11PM but instead of packing up all of our gear to move to our next camp, we got dressed & left with just our day packs as we would return to camp after we summitted. We quickly ate & grabbed a variety of snacks. The wind was biting and with no trees or vegetation to stop it, it was relentless. But I stopped when I saw this. Knowing just a few short hours later I would be looking down at our camp.

Following the lead of our guide Gunther we began plodding our way out of camp & towards the summit. I was cold, layered in every article of clothing I had brought with me, 5 upper body layers & 3 pairs of pants, I truly COULD NOT put my arms down.

Along the way we passed the merge point of another route, one that starts in Kenya and wraps it's way around towards the summit.

Pictured at the Tanzania // Kenya trail split with Gunther
I thought we would never reach the summit, it was starting to get light & it was nearing 7AM. Gunther decided it was time for a break. We sat down to have a snack & he told us all to turn around. And we saw this. The sun rising on Africa. 

As the sun began to rise we were able to see glaciers off to either side of our path. We were on a narrow path with little to nothing on either side.

After marvelling for a few minutes it was time to pack up & continue towards the summit. I was relieved to find it was just a few more minutes away.

Before I knew it, WE MADE IT!!!

Brother & I at the summit

RMI group at the summit
Our time at the top was short lived. Despite the sun the wind was still biting & the temperatures frigid. We headed back down to high camp. Our path looking much more steep in the light than I remembered climbing in the dark. The "climb" down was difficult as the path was made up mostly of loose rock and deep gravel. I skidded & tumbled my way back to high camp, where there were lukewarm pancakes waiting for me. Pancakes have never tasted so good.

Our day wasn't over there. We still had over 5,000 FT of elevation to drop to get to our camp for the night, Mweka Camp. I don't know about you, but down to me always seems harder than up. All of a sudden, our slow & steady guide Gunther took off, I swear he was sprinting down the mountain. I tried my best to keep up but it was quite the effort.

We celebrated that night in camp and our final morning was bittersweet. Our porters & guides sang us the traditional Kilimanjaro Mountain song in Swahili & it truly was an emotional experience. They were grateful for us, these crazy American's who wanted to pay to come climb their mountain, and we were so grateful for them, these crazy Tanzanian's willing to help us do it. 

Leaving Mweka Camp we still had about 4 hours of hiking to reach Machame Gate & our welcoming committee. The hiking was easy, a slight downgrade, and knowing we couldn't get lost, we split up, groups going at their own pace, based on how excited they were to drink a beer at the base.

We were greeted at the base of the mountain with beer & cold Coke & quite the lunch spread.

After lunch we piled back in the Unimog & headed for the hotel, ready for our first shower in over a week.

I'll be back in another week or two to share my safari experience, so I hope you'll check back in. In the meantime, I'm linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

WIAW #5 : Why I'm pretty sure Whole 30 is NOT for me

I'm currently a little past halfway in my Whole 30. I had previously attempted one in 2014, but fell face first into a whole pepperoni pizza on moving day. So, word of advice, don't try to coordinate moving apartments during your Whole30. I decided to try again this January for a few reasons. I felt like I had really let my healthy eating balance slip away in November & December. Too many mediocre office cookies, holiday parties & exotic cheese sales at the grocery store had me feeling a little blah.

Rather than try to steer myself back into a healthy eating balance I decided to go "cold turkey". Cut out the sweets, the junk, the booze (not that I was over the top). So here I am halfway through & I want to quit, I won't, because I need to prove to myself I can make it the 30 days...but so far, Whole 30 is NOT living up to the hype.

I ate some good food this week, and I'm linking up for WIAW to share my eats, but as I go, here are 3 reasons I don't think Whole 30 is for me.

1. I already know how many food groups affect me.
Part of what Whole30 is so good for is finding out how different food groups or even specific foods may be negatively impacting your health. Dairy is one such example.
Greek yogurt ? Love it & my body agrees.
Ice cream ? Love it & my body will pay for it later, so it's a conscious decision I make on whether or not it's worth it.

B-Fast : Steamed apples, almond butter, coconut flakes + cashews

2. Nutrient deficiencies
I've been told from an early age that due to family history, ample calcium is something I should be very focused on. While I'm not a fan of cow's milk I have always been able to supplement with things like greek yogurt, fortified almond milk, beans & calcium rich vegetables. However, in cutting 3 of those sources from my diet this is something that I've found concerning.

Lunch : Shredded chicken, mushrooms, bell pepper, avocado & sweet potato

3. Lack of energy
I go to bed exhausted, I wake up exhausted, paces during runs that used to be a breeze now take concerted effort. I keep waiting, hoping, believing I will get to a morning where I wake up with boundless energy, ready to tackle the day. Everyone says I will. But I'm still waiting. In the meantime craving things like oatmeal, homemade chili with beans, greek yogurt & rice. And a glass of wine too please.

Dinner : Chicken Apple sausage, bell pepper, avocado, sweet potato, mushrooms

While I don't think Whole 30 is for me some good has come of my experiment so far.

1. Tasty Food
Not that what I was eating before was not tasty, but a reminder that I genuinely enjoy the taste of many healthy foods. Vegetables specifically. It's been a friendly reminder to make sure to keep my veggie intake up up up.

2. Renewed awareness of ingredient labels
There really is some weird stuff in food that just doesn't need to be there. Like why does chicken broth have so many ingredients? It takes FOUR ingredients to make it myself. Chicken carcass, water, onion & carrots. Salt if I'm feeling fancy. For something that takes about 10 minutes of active effort on my part I can save myself some $$$ & a chemical shit storm & just make it myself.

3. Weight Loss
I feel slimmer and my belt buckle is a notch tighter in order to keep my pants up. I'm not certain if this is true sustainable weight loss, or lack of bloating from eating so clean, but I'll be interested to re-evaluate at the end of the challenge. I took progress pictures to start and I'll be doing the same thing at the end of 30 days..

While I know a lot can happen in 14 days and I'm over here fingers & toes crossed it will, I think next time I feel out of balance I'll handle it on my own, sans Whole30.

Do you have a positive (or negative) Whole 30 experience to share?
Anyone else look at ingredient labels in the grocery store?
How many avocados in a day is too many avocados? -- I'm asking for a friend. :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Workout Recap : 1/11 - 1/17

This week was the first week on my half marathon training plan. This was to be the start of my "build". I did okay. Missed a few parts of workouts here and there. I'm learning that I really do need to be up 10 or 15 minutes earlier in this cold weather to get my car warmed up & clear to drive. It's no fun, but neither is getting to the gym and already being short on time before I even get started.

So, I'm linking up with MarciaPatty & Erika today for Tuesdays on the Run as I recap my last week of workouts in training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 1st.

Monday : Rest
I made a conscious choice not to go to the gym in the morning, but my bag was packed & I was committed to going at lunch & getting my mile time trial done. And then, as I should know by now, going at lunch is a miserable experience that I wanted nothing to do with, so I didn't go.

Tuesday : Speed Pyramid // 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400
This one kicked my ass yet again. I did not yet add the 1600 to the top of the pyramid, which would mean an extra 1200 M rep in there. Nor did I do my 5 hill repeats at the end. I woke up to a decent dusting of snow so I was late to arrive once I finished dusting/scraping my car.

Wednesday : Strength training // Arms
I woke up. Exhausted. Started my morning routine...looking at the current feels like temp...-9 & then climbed back in bed. Joke was on me, because it wasn't any warmer when I woke up an hour + later. So, I sucked it up & went to the gym at lunch to get some strength training in. I still hate it. So, morning workouts it is.

Thursday : Treadmill Run // 3 miles easy
I was tired & I got out of bed anyways. 3 snooze buttons later, but it happened. I didn't get a chance to lift after my run, I prioritized stretching instead. But I did get my 3 miles in. Even my easy pace felt harder than usual. But I managed to bump up my pace a bit each mile just for some variety.

Friday : Strength training // Full body
Shrugs, not much to say. Got the job done.

Saturday : 8 mile run // 9:39 pace + 3 - 4ish mile hike
I was a little scared leading up to my Saturday run. My 3 mile run the weekend prior had been pretty terrible & I feared 8 miles would go even worse. I made sure to eat lots of healthy carbs Friday night & have a protein & fat packed breakfast early Saturday. While this pace definitely took more effort than usual, I'll chock some of that up to the relentless wind & take this as a W-I-N!

This elevation chart shows our 8 mile route from Saturday, but it looks pretty dramatic for a route that had no steep hills, just some gradual hills & bridges.

The BF & I headed out for a slow & easy afternoon hike. It was nice to get some more fresh air but we definitely loped along & took our sweet time, stopping to identify a few plants along the way & take a few pictures.

Sunday : 7 - 8ish mile hike
We roped the BF's sister into coming hiking with us. Since the BF & I had a fairly active Saturday we agreed to keep the pace slow & just hike until we stopped having fun. Well, we were having a great time, and kept hiking, only to realize about 2 hours in that we had hiked much further than we thought & still had a ways to go back to the car. Between all the #'s on different phones & fitness devices we're calling it somewhere between 7 & 8 miles hiked. Not bad for our leisurely pace. We made it back just in time before the weather started to suck.

What time of day do you like to work out?
Love or hate the treadmill?
What's your next workout going to be?