Sunday, June 29, 2014

A painful ride, a meal from our garden and some randoms

I finally took my bike out for a ride around the park. It was so much fun but two days later I was hurtin'..
I'll just say this: before I get back on that thing, I need a new seat.

I was a bit surprised at how easy it was to ride a road bike. I've never ridden one before so it was nice to see I could do it without a bunch of practice first. Other than some pain from the seat and a scratch on my leg from the pedal, I had a nice ride.

Last night we were kidless so I made something new (to us) for dinner.
Chicken Alfredo with spaghetti squash noodles! Our first spaghetti squash from the garden! It was delicious and very filling. I first saw the idea on Katie's page @ FromIcecreamToMarathon.
I googled the recipe and here's how it turned out:

This is obviously way too much food for one person so we ate about half. I want to change a couple things before sharing the recipe.

Since we didn't have the kids this morning we went out for a run together on a new route. We ran around the junior college which is where we ran our first 5k together. (His first, my 2nd)
It was already warming up by the time we got out there (8am) but we only planned a couple miles. He actually stayed with me for the first mile then I told him he could go ahead if he really wanted to. I felt good at an 8:30 pace. He's the speedy one in this relationship..

We're running a 2 mile race on the 4th of July and we want to wear shirts that say something funny on the back. He came up with "I'm with the girl back there" and I'll wear one that says "I'm with the guy up there". Funny but I'd like to keep thinking of something else.. any ideas?

The heat it up health and fitness blog hop giveaway is ending tonight at 11:59pm! Enter here.

Female cyclists: what kind of seat do you use? 

Have you tried spaghetti squash before? 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Mission Athlete Care EnduraCool Cooling Towel Review & Giveaway

How's that for a title?!

Look what I received in the mail today!

Last week I contacted Mission Athlete Care and told them about the blog hop giveaway that is going on. I simply asked if they would provide two towels in exchange for a review and to my surprise they agreed! They shipped them right out!

First off, let me tell you a little about Mission Care Athlete.

(Taken from their website)

They also have another mission. Aside from creating products for athletes, they make an impact in young athletes' lives through The M Foundation.

The M Foundation promotes the health and safety of youth athletes and recognizes and awards high school athletes who give back to their community.

To learn more about Athletes On a Mission, click here.

Now for the review!

My first thought upon opening the bottle and pulling out the towel was that it's very soft and light weight.

Today was the perfect day to test it out because I didn't get a workout or run in this morning so I waited until about 6:45 this evening. I ran just over 2 miles in about 90 degree weather. (On our treadmill on the deck) Most of you know I get horrible migraines whenever I run in the heat. It's been a long time since that's happened so I thought I'd take my chances. I thought the cool towel would help prevent a migraine.

As soon as I was finished I grabbed the towel, ran it under some water, squeezed out the excess water and snapped it between both hands holding opposite ends. I wrapped it around my neck and instantly felt it getting cold. I left it there while I stretched and cooled down.

It felt really nice after a hot run.

My kids really wanted to feel it too. They couldn't keep their hands off it! My 10 year old son said, wow! how does it do that? 
I was impressed by how quickly it cooled down. I really like the size (LG) because it draped nicely around my neck. I could've wrapped it around my head if I wanted to! (They make head wraps for that ;-)) 
The EduraCool Instant Cooling Towels come in different sizes and colors. I'm tempted to buy a couple small size towels for my kids during the summer and if/when they get sick and run a fever. I know these aren't typically used for things like that, but as a mom, it was one of the first things I thought of. "Athlete tested, Mother approved!" 
How to use:
1. Soak with water.
2. Wring out excess water.
3. Snap to activate.
*Patented technology cools to 30 degrees below average body temperature when wet. 
*Chemical-free, UPF 50 protection from the sun.
*Reusable and machine washable.
*When wet, stays cool for hours.
*When dry, soft and absorbent.

Overall I am very satisfied with this product. Would I recommend it to others? Of course! Which is why I'm giving one away to one lucky reader! Enter the giveaway here!

(Mission Athlete Care provided me with two towels in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for a positive review.) 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Garden update and a smoothie recipe

Hello there! How's your weekend going?
We've just been hanging out at home getting some yard work done and some much needed house cleaning done.

I also picked some weeds in the garden but gave up because I was out numbered.
Our garden is growing like crazy! Here are some photos from today:

This mammoth sunflower is almost ready to bloom!

 Bell peppers

 Spaghetti squash


 We also have cherry tomatoes, early girl tomatoes, green beans, pea snaps, broccoli, jalpenos, corn and lots of zucchini! We've had so much zucchini we've been sharing with everyone. That's one thing I love about gardening is sharing veggies.

I woke up feeling lazy and sluggish but I managed to do round two of Jillian's Killer Buns n Thighs. I also did some low and high planks just for fun. Haha Michael didn't know what a plank was so I showed him. Then he showed me up by quitting after 2 minutes and 15 seconds. He's never done planks before so I was surprised he held it for that long! He said he could've held it even longer..

 I've been seeing all kinds of delicious looking smoothies all over blog world so I decided to whip up one of my own today. It was just what I needed! I'm actually looking forward to having another one tomorrow. Here's what I made:

I don't have a name for it but it still tasted great!
I used a food processor because I threw out our blender when we moved.

About 1 1/4 cup frozen strawberries, 1 frozen banana, splash of milk and a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter.

I would've used almond butter but I ran out the other day. I also forgot I wanted to use some honey Greek yogurt I just bought but there's always tomorrow. :-)

Blend/process until smooth and enjoy!

This was so easy and delicious! My kids would even like it!

My husband finally got my bike seat down! I rode around the back yard for a few minutes and let me just say...ouch! That seat has got to go! Or I can get a seat cushion.. anything would be better than that thing!

Duathlon training, here I come!

Well it's almost bed time for this old lady so I'll catch you all tomorrow! Have a good night!

Don't forget to check out the blog hop giveaway! It's going on now until June 29th.

Also for those of you who wanted to see pics from our camping trip, click here.

What's the strangest thing you've had in a smoothie? I'd say wheat grass! My husband thinks I'm crazy for putting peanut butter in the mix today.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Heat It Up Health & Fitness Blog Hop Giveaway

Summer is here and It. Is. Hot! What better way to kick off the summer than with a blog hop giveaway?

So what is a blog hop?
A blog hop is an awesome opportunity to find new blogs and gain some new viewers and followers of your own blog.
It's a win-win!
The giveaway is the cherry on top. All of the blogs signed up will be giving readers a chance to win one or more items when you hop over to their blog. 
(Thank you Kristy @ RunawayBridalPlanner for hosting another great hop & giveaway! And thanks to her co-host @ NeonPrincesses!)

This blog hop giveaway starts June 20th and runs through June 29th.

What am I giving away?? 
This didn't require too much thought. Since this is summer and a lot of us are trying to stay fit or get active even through the crazy temps, I thought I should give away something to help keep you cool during and after a hot workout. (Whatever that may be for you)

While I was volunteering at the Merco Credit Union Half Marathon a woman told me about this cooling rag she brought with her. She said it's designed to keep you cool through out a run or after while you're recovering. She wrapped it around the back of her neck before heading to the start line. 

I Googled "cooling towel" yesterday and here's what I found:

Here's the description from Mission Athlete Care
"The Mission EnduraCool Instant Cooling Towel is made from a proprietary performance fabric that instantly cools when soaked with water, wrung out, and then snapped in the air to activate the cooling properties. The patented technology, powered by Coolcore, works by absorbing moisture and perspiration into the fabric core where the unique radiator-like fiber construction circulates water molecules and regulates the rate of evaporation to create a prolonged cooling effect."

I contacted them about this giveaway and they graciously agreed (and replied within less than 24 hours!) to send me two towels (one for review and one for a lucky reader) in exchange for an honest review. How cool is that?! 
(Review to come later)

How to enter:
Simply use the rafflecopter below and follow the instructions to enter. A winner will be randomly picked after the last day of the giveaway. I will contact them via email. If there is no response within three days I will pick another winner. 
You can share this giveaway by using #fitnessbloghop

US only. Color and size depends upon what Mission sends me.

Now hop on over to the next blog! If for any reason the link at the bottom of this post does not work, please go to RunawayBridalPlanner and use the list at the bottom of her page.
Happy hopping!

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Summer 2014 Camping Trip #1

We survived! Just kidding.
We had a great time but we're happy to be home. Camping takes a lot of planning and energy but it's all worth it once you get up in the crisp, clean mountain air! 
...And your kids didn't kill each other...

Here's a photo overload of our trip:

Just leaving the house.

Lake Don Pedro (we're in a drought here in Central California)

Going up.

Burned trees. Did you hear about the Rim Fire last year? It was one of the biggest California fires. We completely forgot about it and were shocked at how much was burned.

This was taken the second day but goes along with the previous photo. We were at the "Rim of the World". The fire burned as far as the eye could see behind us. 

We had no idea what an RV campsite would be like... we weren't very happy to find out how close together the sites were, but, it turned out ok. 

First evening.

Ginger aka guard dog. She protected my ankles from a Yorkie. Good thing we brought her along. 

Daniel's a good photographer. I'll keep him around. ;-)

First dinner. Salmon, rice, broccoli and watermelon.

S'more time!

First morning breakfast. 

Going to Yosemite to play in the river. (No, we didn't walk there)

Half Dome.

She didn't really need that floatie but we're those super cautious parents who really just want to bubble wrap our kids. . . just kidding. Or not. 

Daniel was hoping to find gold.

Another one of the cute couple. 

Snack time and the photo bomb king.

Hanging out by the fire. 

This is what happens when you're too lazy to put on shoes in the morning and too cold to take off your socks.

We cheated the last morning and went out for breakfast at a nearby restaurant. 
So worth it. 
See Ashley, I told you I had a St. Louis shirt! 

I went on a run around our campsite which was about a mile and a half with walking. The air at higher elevations is harder to breathe when you're a "flat lander" like me. Although we used to live in the mountains... It was so nice running with such beautiful scenery around. I took some photos of my run but they're on Michael's phone. So you'll just have to take my word for it. We had a great time and learned what to do next time to stay away from crowded "yuppie" sites: buy a generator and camp at a site that has large enough spots for campers but no hookups. 

This summer has gotten off to a great start! Looking forward to more adventures!
I hope everyone is having an awesome summer so far!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Gone Campin'

We're leaving today to go camping up towards Yosemite for a few days. I'm going to unplug from all things electronic and I'll share our adventures when we return!

(The kids are trying to convince us to let them ride in the camper on the way's tempting but it's not happening)

Enjoy your week everyone!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sweat It Out

Everyone has their own reason as to why they work out, exercise, run, do yoga, meditate...etc.

So why do I run/get my sweat on?
To fight depression.
Of course I lost over 40lbs through (mostly) running so I have a special bond with pounding the pavement. But for me it goes beyond physical fitness. I do it for mental fitness. I'm not sure when depression hit me but I've battled it for several years now. Unfortunately it's not something that can just "go away". Thankfully I've found one way (along with prayer) to fight against those dark times.

I'd like to encourage others dealing with depression, anxiety or any "mental illness" to find an outlet that works for them. Plug in to that outlet several times a week to prevent "flare ups". The hard times will come, but when you use a preventative, you'll come out of it quicker and even stronger. You'll feel more empowered and ready (in a sense) for the next struggle.

Here are a few things I like to do to relieve tension or stress (or when I start to feel "low")

1. Sweat it out! When feeling like I need a good rush of endorphins I'll hit the treadmill and run at a fast pace for about twenty minutes or until I'm drenched and I step off with a smile on my face and stiff legs. Here's a photo of me after one of those times:

2. Pray it out. When I don't feel like doing anything active (this usually happens if I get too low) the ONLY thing that will help is praying and meditating and asking God for peace. I understand that everyone has different beliefs but this is what works for me.

3. Stretch it out. I've recently started to do yoga alone in my room while listening to relaxing piano music. Not only does this do wonders for my body and running, but I feel so rested and relaxed when I'm done.

4. Let it out! I'm so thankful to have a husband who cares about my well being. He knows when I'm struggling and he always gives me opportunities to talk it out. It's never a good idea to bottle it up. You're more likely to explode on an innocent person when you hold everything in. Trust me. It won't be pretty. Find someone who is willing to listen and give some feedback. This person could even be a paid professional. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help.

As a mom and wife I want to always be a blessing to my family. I have my struggles just like many others. I'm learning every day how to handle the everyday stresses and better control the hard times that are sure to come.

Whatever your outlet, make sure you use it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What a weekend!

This post is obviously late but I needed a couple days to rest after a busy weekend.

Friday was Daniel's last day of 5th grade. :-( He had a friend over then we went to my mother in laws for dinner.
Saturday I watched my 2 year old niece and 8 year old nephew..4 kids
and one me = total chaos. The boys were ok but the girls were driving me nuts! Noon couldn't have come fast enough. I split as soon as their g ma got there. I had to rush home to get ready to help out at the gym for packet pick up.

Sunday morning I woke up at dark-o thirty (4am) so I could get to the UC for the Merco Credit Union Half Marathon.

Creepy pic of me before I left:

I arrived at about 4:45. Sprayed myself with sunblock, drank the rest of my cold coffee and walked about a third of a mile to the start/finish line.

I helped with packet pick up and set up the pacer table.

This was my first volunteer experience so I was a bit nervous about being the "pacer host". But the pacers were so friendly it made it so much easier to help them. They were very appreciative and so full of enthusiasm! I'm hoping to run the half next year so hopefully they'll be there again to pace me!

Running Addicts Pace Team:

Pace Team and I (can you spot me?)

Race bling:

Starting line-pace car taking off:

First place:

I stayed until about 12:45 and helped clean up. It was one of the hottest weekends we've had so far and I was exhausted afterwards! But I enjoyed every minute of my volunteering experience.

Monday we decided to escape the heat and take the kids to the beach. Best decision ever!  We went to Monterey for some lunch, dessert at dippin' dots, and a whole afternoon playing at the beach. Just what we all needed! I took photos with our camera instead of my phone so I'll share those as soon as I upload them.

Next trip for the summer: camping! Everything is ready in our camper so it's time to test it out up in the mountains!

How's your week going so far?
Have you ever volunteered at a race or event?
What is one thing you're looking forward to this summer?

Have an amazing Thursday everyone!