Small Changes for a Big Impact

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I like to continuously work on improving my mind, body and health. Drastic changes are often hard to stick to but little changes can easily become a habit and have a big impact over time. Here are 5 small changes I’ve incorporated into my life.

Push -ups everyday 

Outside of running, I don’t really have a set routine of strength exercises that I do regularly. I try my best to foam roll and stretch, especially right after my run. I also may do a few lunges for warm – up pre-run. However, about a month ago I started doing push-ups everyday. I used to do push-ups here and there when I felt like it, and they were usually always done on my knees. I really hate push-ups so I was unmotivated to do them. They are hard and they hurt, but it’s often the things that we don’t like to do that we probably need to be doing. So I told myself I was going to start doing 3 sets of 10 every single day and gradually work up. I have not progressed to 4 sets of 20 push-ups ALL on my toes. I will keep increasing until I get to 100 total push-ups a day, and I may not stop at that. I can tell I am stronger in my core, arms and back, but more importantly setting aside a few minutes a day to accomplish this goal has made me feel better not only physically but mentally.

Switched out Cereal for Oatmeal 

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I love cereal. Frosted Shredded Wheat is my jam.  I also love Lucky Charms, Life, Cheerios, Cocoa Crispies, oh and the Annie’s Brand of Frosted Flakes are amazing…I love cereal in general. The problem is I can’t eat just one bowl of cereal. I always knew oatmeal was a healthier option, and I should give it try. But there was just one problem, I do not like oatmeal. It’s not so bad in the winter month’s but in the summer it does not appeal to me! However, I knew this was a simple change I could make that would have a big impact on my diet. I stumbled on a brand that I actually do not mind (Better Oats 100 Calorie packets). I miss cereal but I like the way my body feels from the oatmeal. I try to eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast 4x a week, and then give myself another option the other days. My other go to breakfast meal is a slice of toast with PB and half a banana.

Saying no to Seconds (& 3rd’s) at Dinner

Dinner is probably my favorite meal of the day. I used to think it had to be the biggest as well. Who wants to stop at one bowl of pasta? However, overeating at dinner was a huge problem for me. Second helpings and even thirds were not uncommon, and neither was going to bed stuffed and waking up full. Once I made the decision to stop at one serving, I  started to feel tons better. I left the dinner table just satisfied, which is not always easy, but at least I wasn’t bloated, uncomfortable and lazy for the rest of the night. Now I wake up hungry which is a good thing!

Becoming a Minimalist

I am a planner by nature due to my Type A personality. I like to meal plan and have a rough plan of what I want to accomplish during the week. That doesn’t mean I’m always efficient in the way I do things, and I can get caught up in daily activities that waste a lot of time.  Quite a few months ago I watched a documentary on Netflix called The Minimalists. I highly recommend it if you haven’t already watched it. It really got me thinking about small changes I could make in my life. Since then I have slowing been transitioning into a more minimalistic lifestyle by eliminating so many unnecessary “things” that are essentially just distractions from what I really care about. By doing this I can spend more time focusing on things I really love and care about! One area I have started minimizing is my wardrobe. I spend less time fussing over what to wear now that my options are narrowed down and organized. The less options the easier the decision! Hard to believe but true.

No Alcohol 

Yeah that’s right, I stopped drinking alcohol. Gasp! And I’m not committing to never having a drink again, but for now I am content without drinking. I’m not suggesting you should quit drinking. I just feel better by eliminating it. I used to drink a glass of wine on most nights, and maybe a few drinks on the weekend. I never felt sick but I didn’t feel amazing either. Life should be fun and enjoyable, and there should be something to look forward to each day. If a glass of wine each night is your treat than that is perfect. My treat is an iced-coffee. I have one almost every afternoon. You can’t eliminate all joy from life so find what really makes you happy and gives you the most satisfaction and enjoy it!

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I’d love to hear what changes you have made in your life that have had a positive impact?

What I Ate Today

Tuesday August 15th, 2017

7:30 A.M. {Morning cup of Joe} with splash of coconut milk

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8:15 A.M. {Breakfast}  Oatmeal

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10:00 A.M. {Pre-Dog Walk & Park with Kiddo} 1 slice of toast w/ PB & 1/8 banana

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The entire banana was bad, this was all I could salvage, usually I would eat half a banana.

11:15 A.M. {Post-Walk / Park} Protein blueberry muffin & Iced-Coffee with Coconut Milk

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I was starving when we got home from the park! I’ve been making these muffins once a month with very ripe bananas. I use the muffin recipe on the Kodiak Cakes box of waffle mix. I substitute out butter and use coconut oil instead. I also use honey or maple syrup instead of brown sugar, and I add in blueberries.

12:15 P.M.  {Snack}  Cottage Cheese 

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Normally I would wait and have lunch around 1 p.m, but I had an appointment today, and then some errands to run. I was already feeling a little hungry and knew by 2-3pm I would be HANGRY if I didn’t eat a snack now.

2:45 P.M. {Lunch} Salad topped with Veggie Burger 

Later lunch than usual, but still my usual go-to salad for lunch. Lettuce blend topped with carrots, beets, avocado, tomato, blue cheese crumbles, raw pumpkin seeds, and a veggie burger. Salad dressing is homemade from the Eat Fast Run Slow Cookbook.

5:30 P.M. {Pre-Track Tuesday Snack} 

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Let’s not pretend, I may have eaten half the box. I also had protein bar. My go to bar before workouts is Health Warrior Chia Bars, and my favorite flavor is Chocolate Peanut Butter. FYI you can use discount code chasing_prs30 for 30% off all products on the Health Warrior Website

9:00 P.M. {Post-Track} Protein Shake

 

Today’s schedule made the time’s I ate at a little off, but I still ate the same food that I typically eat every single day! I keep my diet simple, and like to keep my food options to a minimum. Spending less time worrying about what I’m going to eat and more time focusing on other things. The food I do eat is food I love and actually crave. If I start to feel bored or stop liking the taste of something I bring something new into my routine. By keeping it simple my body knows what to expect. There are no surprises, and I have less stomach issues and discomfort! I love to eat smaller portions more times thru out the day.

Do you follow a routine for meals or do you mix up what you eat each day? What are your favorite snacks, and meals? I love knew ideas!!!

What’s in My Gym Bag

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My gym bag has become my running security bag. It’s where I keep all my essentials to get me thru my run. I keep it stocked with my go-to products, and hang it in the closet next to the front door for easy access. As I head out the door it’s ready for me to grab and go. I’ve come to realize the more prepared I am BEFORE my run, the easier it seems to go. I spend less time stressing about where all my running stuff is, and I can just concentrate on the actual task.  Currently I have to drive to my running spots, so I actually bring my bag, but even if you aren’t going to bring a bag out the door with you, it can be helpful to keep everything you use regularly in one spot.

Here are my gym bag essentials:

• Ipod and Bose Headphones – these two items have recently become a staple on my easy run days. I’ve ipoddiscovered a few podcasts that I really enjoy listening to, and this has been a great motivator on those days that I’m not jumping out of bed to get my run done. I love these Bose headphones because they actually stay in my ears, and the sound is great. A bonus is the case that I can attach to my gym bag so I never forget to bring them.

•  Ultimate Direction Handheld Water Bottle and NUUN Hydration Tablets – This water bottle has been with me for so many runs this summer. I DO NOT like to carry water with me on a run, but this handheld is the best one I’ve found when it comes to comfort. It is super light weight, and breathable because of the mesh. The bottle is a bladder rather than hard plastic, so it collapses as ultimate directionyou drink and it is super light weight. The zipper pocket is another added bonus for keeping keys or a gel. NUUN tablets are my go to for electrolyte replacement during longer runs. I personally like the NUUN Energy with caffeine for an added boost.

• Health Warrior Bars have become my staple snack bar. I not only carry them in my gym bag but I always have one in my purse. These bars are not only great tasting but they are packed with chia seeds and healthy ingredients. Chia seeds are a superfood that have many health benefits! Bonus: on a long run health warrioryou will stay busy picking chia seeds out of your teeth! I love the size of the bars which makes them super convenient to take on a long run.

• HoneyStinger Gel has been my go to gel for quite a long time now. It just works for me. It doesn’t upset my stomach, and it consistently gets me thru my tough speed workouts and long runs. I love the Ginsting with caffeine flavor. It basically tastes like honey with a very smooth, thin consistency. It goes down very easy! honeystinger

 

 

A few other items I often throw in my gym bag, especially during the summer months :

• Sunscreen – I like the spray kind  because it makes for quick application

• Towel – and now that I live in a humid place this is even more essential.

• Water – I like to keep a few extra water bottles in my bag, in case I need to refill my handheld or for drinking on the drive home, it’s never a bad idea to have extra water

• Body Wipes – Never know if I’m going to run a few errands or grab a few groceries after my workout

Having a prepped and organized gym bag helps to make my run go smoother. I know I will have all my essentials ready, and the only thing left to do is run! Do you have a gym bag? What are your running essentials?

 

 

Road Runner’s Craft Classic – 5k & Half Marathon

Here is a link to the October 15th Roadrunner Craft Classic in Fountain Hills, Az. Use code Chasing5k- $5off or Chasinghalf – for $10 off the half marathon.

The San Diego race was a huge hit! The race medal is awesome, and free beer after is always great!

If you are thinking of running a fall half or just need a training run with some hills, check this race out!

http://www.craftclassic.com/phoenix/?doing_wp_cron=1501690302.3608479499816894531250

AZ to TX. I’m moving!

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After almost 14 years of living in The Valley of the Sun my time here has come to an end. My family is relocating to the Houston area this summer. They say change is good so I’m excited to start a new adventure in a new city.

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Arizona has a huge chunk of my heart. This is where I became a wife, mom, and runner. My son’s home state, and many of his firsts were in Arizona. I feel like I know Phoenix like the back of my hand. I’m so comfortable here, and it will be a big adjustment moving to a city I’ve only visited twice!

I’ve met so many great friends while living in Arizona. My bootcamp babes, the Carlson moms, and my Looper family.

I started running because of my bootcamp babe friends. The Scottsdale Women’s half marathon was my first half with those women.IMG_3473

All of my Ragnar and trail running adventures are so special to me and I’m so grateful I have those memories!!

Team DeLancey loopers will be missed so much!! I can’t even think about how I will manage my long runs without the loop. I will still have my running coach, and be a looper and part of the DeLancey team. I will just be looping in another state, and it will certainly take some time to adjust.

The place that captivated me is the Grand Canyon. Out of all my adventures in Arizona this is the one that has my heart. It is such a special place, and I cannot wait to come back and hike the Canyon again. Rim to Rim to Rim is still on my bucket list!

I have so many special memories in Arizona, but I’m excited to start a new journey. If there are any Houston runners out there with tips or advice let me know!

 

My Favorite Nutritional Bars

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I love nutrition and protein bars. I have a box in the pantry dedicated to bars alone. When I need a quick snack, convienence is key for me. If I have a bar handy it will often keep me from making a poor eating decision, like driving thru McD’s and ordering some french fries, which I absolutely love! For this reason, I keep at least one if not two bars with me for when hunger strikes.

I wanted to share a few of my favorite nutritional bars. I am not a nutritionist, and I’m not recommending these for any certain health purposes, these are just some of the bars I eat and really love!

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Luna Bar

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This is the very first nutritional bar I ever purchased. I think I started buying these about 10 years ago, and I STILL love them. They taste amazing, come in a zillion different flavors, and are packed with vitamins and minerals geared towards what women need. I love that they are gluten-free, have a good amount of protein, and are low in sugar. If I need an afternoon snack I will often grab one of these bars. The Nutz over chocolate just happens to be my favorite flavor.

Kind Bar 

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I recently tried a Kind bar for the first time, and now I am constantly buying these bars, even my son loves these. They taste amazing, have a good amount of protein,  and are low in sugar! Not to mention gluten-free and dairy free, what is not to love about these? Plus Kind bars come in a ton of different flavors.  I love these bars because they are packed full of almonds and other nuts. I find these fill me up for a long time, and the salty sweet combinations are so yummy!!

R Bar

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Healthy and minimal is how I describe these bars! Most of the flavors have 3-4 ingredients total with absolutely no more than 7 – the company guarantees it!  These bars are actually made in Tucson, AZ, and I love supporting local companies.  These may seem high in sugar but the sugars are all natural. These bars are highly satisfying because of the whole some ingredients!! All natural real food, gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, these bars are simple and pure!

Protein Bars

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These are two of my favorite protein / meal replacement bars. They are packed full of protein with 20g in each bar. I don’t eat this type of bar as often as the other nutritional bars, however, these are great if I’ve had a hard workout and need the extra protein. I like to carry this type of bar with me just in case I need a meal replacement. I love that these are gluten-free, high in fiber and are not loaded with sugar.

Rx Bar

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I’ve seen so many people rave about these bars. I’ve wanted to try them for so long but could not find them anywhere. I finally found them!  I have a tried a few different flavors, and I love the simple ingredients similar to the R bar above. These bars have more of a dense chewy consistency. My only complaint is they do get stuck on my teeth when I bite into it! Not sure if this is just me. However, I do really like them because they are super filling, and made with natural ingredients. Because they are so filling, I usually only eat half a bar at a time.

Pure organic

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A dessert bar! This bar is pure healthy indulgence. If I’m craving a brownie or a chocolatey treat this bar is my go to bar. Dark chocolate, omega-3’s, and antioxidants make this a healthy alternative to a sweet treat. Vegan, gluten-free and made with natural ingredients this is definitely a treat you won’t regret eating.

I love browsing the bar section when I go shopping! Do you eat protein / nutrition bars? What are some of your favorites?

Running & Pilates

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It’s been almost a year since I’ve taken a group fitness class. Last year I became really dedicated to running. I found an awesome running coach, and I’ve been on a pretty intense (for me) running schedule. I haven’t had much energy or time to incorporate any other fitness routine into my schedule. Now that I have a break from marathon training, and have gotten somewhat used to my running schedule,  I have the itch to incorporate some other activity into my week. I can tell I have a few areas that need some toning and strengthening.  A Club Pilates studio opened a few miles from my house, and I thought I would give it a try. The combination of stretching and strength exercises is just what I am looking for in a class.

I’ve tried two classes so far and really like what they have to offer.

The TRX/Reformer class: The first half of this class was spent doing exercises on the pilates machine, which was something I had never used before so it was fun learning how to use it! Most of the exercises we did were leg and glute focused along with some stretching. I could tell I was working muscles I definitely hadn’t worked in a long time. The pilates machine is spring loaded, and you can adjust the resistance either by increasing the number of springs or reducing the springs.  We also did planks on the pilates machine which was interesting! They were super challenging and fun.

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The second half of this class we used the TRX straps to do many different exercises. I think we hit all the major muscles with the TRX exercises–bridges, planks, push ups, rows, bicep curls, etc.

Restor-ilates: This was literally a 50 min class of foam rolling. I try to stretch and do my standard exercises (mainly hip exercises) after every run. However, I do get crunched for time, and can slack on foam rolling. I was super excited to take this class because as much as I don’t want to foam roll for an hour. I needed to foam roll for an hour. We also used a trigger point ball to massage our feet, and really dig deep into certain areas of the body. This class was torture but good torture.

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For me, Pilates/Yoga type classes really compliment my running schedule. I love the stretching and low impact strength training these classes offer. I’m excited to try other classes, and fit them in around my running schedule!

I’d love to know what cross training you love to do if you do any!