Races of 2016

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Another year of running races has come to an end.

The races of the year included three 5Ks, two 10Ks, and 2 Half Marathons.

The year started with Best Damn Race – Safety Harbor in February.

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Then there was the Promise Run 10K  in Lakeland FL in February.

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Next was another 10k, the USA Beach Running Championships in Cocoa Beach, FL in May.

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I continued with the Summer Sunrise Watermelon 5k Series in Lakeland which runs from June-August.

Then the final race of the year, the Fort Myers Half Marathon in November.

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Highlights of the Year

I ran two personal records for my 5K races. I ran in new places, including the mountains of Arizona, the beach on the east coast of Florida, new parts of town, and beautiful parks in the state. My dog was often my training buddy, as usual, but we ventured more confidently this year. I added in strength training and felt a huge difference. My breathing has improved immensely since last year. My body is stronger and I have greater endurance. I am thankful for continued improvement.

My Support

My husband is my greatest champion. He supports me in everything I do and encourages me along the way, including these races. He ran the two half marathons with me and always has me cross the finish line before him. When he wasn’t running with me, he helped me train and cheered me on. I am incredibly grateful for such a wonderful partner in life.

Plans for Next Year

I am playing with ideas for next year of how to continue with athletic events. Two things are for sure, I plan to do the Promise Run in March and Watermelon Series in the summer again because they are both important races to me that support my local community. I am thinking about training for a triathlon in the spring and completing one of the National Park Half Marathons in the fall of next year. Exciting things to come. Improved health is always exciting, no matter what the circumstances. I have found that having things to look forward to is an effective way for me to stay motivated and active. Find something you enjoy that improves your health and go for it!

ONE3: Urban Gardens Fall 2016

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The gardens for our first season for public sale have been planted. We are profoundly grateful for supportive friends and generous donors who have made this a reality. There are a couple special shout outs that need recognition.

Thank you to…

Our incredible Corporate Sponsor, Celebrate Birth! The support of the Morrow family has been undying and we are so grateful.
The Fee family for donating and delivering soil for our beds.
BS Ranch & Farm for donating a truckload of compost to top off our garden beds.
Urban Roots for providing the beautiful organic plants.
Craig, Brian, and Matt for helping with moving soil and getting the beds prepped.

What is growing?

We have planted some wonderful vegetables and herbs to get us through late fall and winter. Three types of lettuce, swiss chard, kale, squash, golden sun ray tomatoes, bush beefsteak tomatoes, cherokee tomatoes, chadwick cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, sweet chili peppers, bell peppers, mint, oregano, cilantro, parsley, chives, basil. Soon we will also add strawberries. Full beds and soon to be full bellies.

What is this all for anyway?

All produce purchases will go towards funding our future programs for youth and families. We invite the youth of our community to gain knowledge and experience that leads to prosperous lives. Family members are encouraged to participate alongside their children to grow together in leading healthy lifestyles: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. To learn more about our organization, visit one3.org

Learning New Things

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I have always loved to cook. I can remember mixing cookie dough by hand with my family, stirring the pasta sauce, making traditional dishes with my mom and grandma. I may have experimented a little too much in the kitchen which resulted in some not so delicious concoctions. I have never been a clean cook, there are always messy counter tops and usually more dishes used than necessary.

I took a few culinary classes in high school which were my favorite classes. I have very wonderful memories of cooking up some delicious food with my close friend, Gloria. We took a Basics, Intermediate, Baking, and Worldwide Cuisine. We had so much fun learning new things and creating memories based around food.

Since high school, I have always wanted to go to cooking classes but never signed up and went. My sweet husband surprised me with two weeks of hands-on cooking classes with Publix Aprons Cooking School. If you are located in Florida, learn more about their classes here. I was so excited to be there and learn more to improve my cooking. The fact that I get to return next week is awesome.

We had a Chinatown theme for the class. We cooked up the following:

IMG_20160727_195312077Wonton Soup

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Pork Fried Rice

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Spring Rolls

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Kung Pao Chicken

The chefs leading the class were Brian and Ryan. There were kind a patient even though they teased me about my love for gardening and not wasting. I enjoyed their positivity and enthusiasm for cooking. They taught me some better knife skills and gave me ideas on how to cook things better than the ways I previously knew. I am looking forward to returning for more classes in the future.

Comfort or Stress Relief

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I have come to realize that I am a comfort eater. Food is great for nourishment, enjoying at celebrations, sharing moments with friends, learning something new, the list goes on. Food is something that is associated with so many emotions and life events for many people.

I fully enjoy sweets and after a bad day I think about how much I would enjoy a brownie with ice cream, a cinnamon bagel for breakfast, a thick ice cream shake, or fresh baked cookies, just to feel better.

The truth is, the food does NOT make me feel any better. It may taste nice for a few fleeting moments, but afterwards I often feel bogged down, guilty, like I lost self-control, regretful, or just not any better.

 I do not support negative thought or self judgement. I do however support caring for oneself in the most positive and uplifting way. This is why I have taken a look back at my list of stress relievers and have been implementing those in my life instead of reaching for food. Lately I have been enjoying the beach with friends and family. 

STRESS RELIEF TIPS 

  • Listen to Music
  • Drink Tea or Milk with Honey
  • Take a Shower or Bath
  • Call a Friend
  • Go on a Walk or Run
  • Go Out with a Friend
  • Read a Blog, Book, or Magazine
  • Get Out Into Nature

Remember to check in yourself emotionally and physically and never feel guilty for doing what is best for you. Take care of your heart and body and flourish in life. 

Favorite Exercises

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I love to run. Sometimes I love it less, like when it is 90º and 100% humidity. It is energizing and freeing and makes me feel incredibly strong. Being outdoors brings me so much joy! My husband and I will be running our second half marathon this November so we need to be training. My favorite training programs are a Couch to Half Marathon 14 Week Training program which can be found here and a 20 Week Couch to Half Marathon program found here, both are from Women’s Running. They are definitely worth checking out for some inspiration and education.

I love to paddle board and will be doing so in the ocean for the first time this weekend. I am so looking forward to it and will be sure to share some photos. Hoping for some calm weather and gentle waves, otherwise I’ll be getting beat up by the ocean.

I love going to the gym. I utilize the equipment there to complete workout routines I have posted on my Pinterest Boards. I also like to peak at the boards used for classes that I am unable to attend and follow some of those routines. My favorite equipment is the row machine.

I love the new and improved NTC App (Nike Training Club). Since I will not be able to visit the gym for the next few weeks, I will be completing a body weight training program through NTC. I love the updates to the app, it is more user friendly which I didn’t think was possible and more visually appealing. I love the plans and routines. I am always sweating and feeling good after a NTC workout. I will share my thoughts on the particular program once completed.

I love playing soccer with my husband. We run drills up and down the field. He works with me on dribbling and defense. He teaches me how to successfully kick a goal or confuse my opponent. I always get home with a tan and my clothes are dripping with sweat. We laugh and I hurt myself because I am definitely uncoordinated but it is so much fun to do together.

What are your favorite ways to get in some exercise throughout the week? I am a huge proponent of switching things up and keeping your body confused. It’s more fun that way anyway!

Military Style

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As you know, I am in the process of losing weight. My husband and I are taking the journey together. I have lost a total of 15 pounds thus far and have a goal to lose 10 more pounds over the next 6 weeks. Whenever we make changes to our diet, we try to remain true to eating clean.

We have decided to try the Military Diet which is essentially high protein, low carb. The diet works as 3 days on and 4 days off. On the off days, we will continue with simple clean eating meals. For more information, visit the link within this post and check out the graphic for an easy to follow meal plan.

We already had some items on hand and we plan to do the diet for two weeks so this was our

Military Diet Shopping List:

2 Grapefruits
4 Bananas
Whole Grain Bread
Eggs
6 Cans Tuna
Hot Dogs (all beef)
Lunch Meat from the Deli
Green Beans
2 Heads of Broccoli
Carrots
Saltine Crackers
Cottage Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Vanilla Ice Cream

I will continue to share our progress. I am looking into more recipes, ingredients to have on hand, and easily portable clean snacks. Any brands or favorite product suggestions would be very much appreciated.

Thanks for following the journey. Health and happiness!

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Whole30 Favorites

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This week ends my Whole30 experience while I transition into my new regular diet. This was such a learning experience. I definitely recommend it to anyone but specifically people who suffer from bloating, feeling gassy, upset stomachs, appetite issues, basically anything that you have not been able to find the culprit.

Results

I have found that pork makes my stomach upset, dairy products leave me feeling gassy and bloated, chicken is just not that appetizing to me, carbs make me feel weighed down, I am sensitive to sugar spikes, and I do not crave many of the same foods at all as I did before starting Whole30 (except for burgers and chocolate).

I feel so much better in my body. I have more energy. I feel stronger. I do not have an upset stomach after eating and I no longer feel bloated. I have lost 13 pounds over the 30 days. My clothes fits better. I have been feeling less moody (though not sure my husband will agree) and I can better recognize when I am feeling down or stressed and quickly turn that around.

All About the Food

I took this time to learn some new recipes as well and it has been wonderful.
Here are some of our new favorites:

-Proteins-

Salmon (great source of omega 3s, baked in the oven for a main dish)
Tilapia (for tacos or pan fried for a simple main dish)
Ground Turkey (for tacos, chili, and gumbo)
Eggs (boiled, fried, scrambled)

-Veggies-

Sweet Potato (baked and topped with bacon fat)
Heirloom Tomatoes (great in salads and salsas)
Snap Peas (so good fresh)
Avocado (topped with some garlic, sea salt, and pepper)

-Fruits-

Apples (with a side of cashew butter)
Oranges (great source of healthy, natural fruit juice)
Pineapple (diced and put in a bowl in the fridge for easy snacking)
Watermelon (lots in season right now, yum)
Lemons and Limes (added into my water during the work day)

-Treats-

Banana with Cashew Butter
Mixed Nuts (cashews, hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans)
Almond Milk Treat (recipe below)

-New Recipes-

Corn Salsa
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 cup sugar
¼ cooking onion, finely chopped
1 cubanelle or green pepper, finely chopped
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (OR some heirlooms diced, sweeter is better)
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
⅓ cup fresh lime juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper

Boil corn in sugar water until cooked through. Let corn cool. Cut corn off of cob and mix with all other ingredients. Feel free to add in a splash of olive oil or some diced avocado.

Sweet and Savory Almond Milk
8 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/2 – 1 T. local honey (orange blossom is my preference)
1/2 – 1 t. cinnamon
1/2 T. raw cocoa powder

Bring milk to a simmer on stove. Remove from heat. Add in other ingredients and whisk until well combined and smooth. Enjoy! Feel free to add in any other favorite spices for a bit of a different take on this alternative to sleepy time tea.