Sunday, June 30, 2013

July is Going to be a GREAT Month!

Before I get into all the exciting things I have planned for July, let's do a quick recap of June...and my 2013 goals. :-)

June goals:
1. Continue streaking - Still going strong on this one. I've got four more days to go, and then I'll do a full write-up with all my thoughts on streaking. :-)

2. Push-up challenge - Another successful challenge. Ok. I missed one day. But I'm still totally calling it a win!!

3. Enjoy summer - Hard not to call this a success as well. I do think I spent some time each weekend at the pool or on the patio. This might also be due to the fact that it got HOT in Vegas, and we're super cheap and avoid turning on the chiller unless absolutely necessary.

The final two days of June...

DateCardioPush-upsStrength TrainingCommute
2.25 Mile Run
3.1 Mile Run

2013 goals:
1. Run faster - I'm getting there. I've managed a couple sub-8:00 miles now, but I've been unable to maintain that pace much longer than a mile - let alone 3. I haven't really been working much on speed with the streak, though. And the heat.

2. Eat healthier - I'm feeling really good about eating healthier - not so good about posting recipes, though. There are definitely people that eat better than me, and I definitely still occasionally go to McDonald's when I don't feel like making dinner, but overall, I'm loving my progress and the choices I've been making.

3. Train harder - Definitely need to bring this up at notch. If I flex super hard, I can see some definition in my biceps, but my triceps are still driving me crazy. It's so much easier to find time for a run than to do strength training. Booo!!

4. Read more - Um. I don't think I've cracked a book or turned on my Kindle in months. Oops!

5. Serve more - This one has been a bit of a bust too. I haven't even really been doing Charity Miles lately.

I can hardly believe that half the year is already over. Where does the time go?

Well, I'm kicking off the 2nd half of the year with some exciting challenges.

You already know a little about my Core/Balance Challenge.

I really wanted to do something to focus on my core. It is definitely an area I want to strengthen. Everyone usually says how great planks are for core and overall strength, but I wanted something more, so I asked in the FitFluential Yoga group for favorite core positions in yoga. I got a resounding BOAT POSE! I think in other circles it might also be called a v-sit. If you're unfamiliar with this pose, here's a link with step-by-step instructions for how to get into the pose.

One of my favorite poses is the Superman, so I decided to alternate this with the boat pose to further strengthen my back. You can find a description for how to do this pose here.

Lastly, I decided to throw in one balance pose to focus on each week - starting with something relatively easy, Tree Pose. Headstands scare the devil out of me, so I decided it was time to conquer them!

I'm really excited about this challenge, and I'd LOVE for you to join me. Feel free to post pics or videos and use the hashtag #corebalancechallenge.

This leads me to my 2nd challenge in July - 31 Days of Yoga. A few weeks ago, I decided that after finishing this run streak, I would take a few weeks off to allow my legs and mind to recover from running every day. When I stumbled upon this yoga challenge, I knew it would be perfect!

My 3rd challenge for July is to spend some time in the pool every single day. It's hot here (hello, Vegas!), and I have access to three outdoor pools at my apartment complex, so I decided to take advantage of them - especially since I'll be on a bit of a running hiatus. I'm not much of a swimmer, so I'm hoping to put together some non-swimming workouts to try out in July. Stay tuned.

The best part about this 3rd challenge is that I'm pretty sure I'll be able to do all 31 days with Jeff. He is truly a water baby, so I don't think it will be too difficult to get him to join me in the pool.

What do you have planned for July?

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What's for Dinner? Week of 6/30

This week, I'm going to try leftovers every other day, so that our fridge doesn't get out of control during the week. Nothing too creative on the menu this week. It's simply too hot to be creative about food right now. :-)

I'm loving my new toaster oven. It's like a magically mini oven that doesn't heat about the entire house and doesn't take nearly has long to cool down. I've definitely been putting it to good use!

And also, my slow cooker is pretty much a godsend.

Sunday - Enchiladas

Monday - Leftovers

Tuesday - Slow cooker pasta bake

Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Leftovers/TBD
Not quite sure what our plans are for the 4th yet.

Friday - Butternut Squash and Spinach Strata
We'll give this another shot this week. 3rd time's a charm, right? Last week, I ran out of shredded cheese. :(

Saturday - Bean burritos

What are you eating this week?
How do you deal with cooking in the heat of summer

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Working It Recap:: June 22-28

Before I get into my weekly recap, a little conversation with my supervisor at work, who has been doing the push-up challenge with me in June.

The other day...

Her: So, what's our challenge going to be in July?
Me: I don't think I'm going to do one.

The following day...

Me: Ok. Maybe I'll design my own challenge. I'm thinking a core challenge. Planks, etc. How does that sound?
Her: Like fun.

And so... here's what I came up with. Planks. Boat Pose. Superman. And a different balance pose each week. I'll go into more detail on this and other things I have planned for July on Monday, but I wanted to give you all a sneak peek - in case you feel like joining in the fun!

Now, on to my recap...

DateCardioPush-upsStrength TrainingCommute
1 Mile Run
2.35 Mile Run
1.85 Mile Run
1 Mile Run35
1 Mile Run
3.1 Mile Run40
1.26 Mile Run45

I'm sure you didn't miss the glaring frowning face in the push-up column. It's the only day I missed in all of June, so I'm still feeling pretty good about it.

#RWRunStreak is still going strong. Woot woot!! I love the new Wave Sayonara's I received as part of a sponsored campaign through FitFluential. They are my lightest and brightest shoe ever, and I love them! More to come on that in another post.

I'm not even going to talk about all those frowny faces in the last two columns. Good news is that it's nearly a new month.

How were your workouts last week?
What will you do to finish June STRONG?

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Thursday, June 27, 2013

3 Things Thursday - 6/27/13

1. Today is my niece's 17th birthday. Can it really be that long ago that I held her for the very first time?


Isn't she beautiful?!

I live very far away now, so I had to steal some current pics from Facebook and Instagram. Hope she doesn't mind. LOL.

2. Remember how I mentioned that I had to go into work this past Sunday? Well, my supervisor offered me a comp day in exchange for working. Now, I'm going to have July 5th off!! I'm super excited. I'll probably miss out on a little bit of pay since I would have gotten overtime for working Sunday, but I think it's totally worth it to have a super long holiday weekend. Whoo hoo!!!

3. I'm down the the home stretch for the #RWRunStreak. I can hardly believe that I've been so diligent with this. Most days it's just been the 1-mile minimum, but I haven't missed a single day! Only 8 runs left to go... Wow!!!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tips for Monitoring Your Hydration Levels

In my last post, I blogged about the importance of staying hydrated and avoiding overhydration.

I know that at least a few of you out there are currently in the midst of training for a fall marathon, which means long training runs out in the hot heat of summer. During training, what are the best ways to know if you're staying properly hydrated?

Peek at your pee

I think we all know this one. Your urine should be light in color, like lemonade. If its darker, like apple juice, it's a good idea to grab a glass of water. :-)

Learn to love your scale

What?! I'm not really a scale person. I don't define myself by that number, but I think I'll really find this helpful when I do start going for longer runs.

Before you get dressed for your long run, hop on the scale. Then, hop back on when you've finished your run. Your goal should be to weigh roughly the same both before and after. During activity, you really shouldn't lose more than 2% of your body weight. If you weigh more than when you started, you likely drank too much; if you weigh less, then you didn't drink enough.

This can help you on your next long run, but it can also help you with recovery.

After that long run, I think it's common to try to just down a bunch of water, but these two tricks might be good to help you better know exactly what your body needs after a few hours of hard work in the hot sun.

If you find yourself out on a long bike ride or a hiking trek, this applies to you too! Generally, for any strenuous activity out in the heat for longer than an hour, you should probably monitor your hydration levels.

And remember, like so many other things, this varies from person to person. What works for your training partner might not be the perfect solution for you. :-) Try these tips. Experiment with different fuels. Most importantly, get to know your body and what feels right for you.

Happy training! 
Remember stay safe, stay hydrated.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Stay Safe, Stay Hydrated

Summer Solstice really snuck up on me. Maybe because it's been very summer-like here in Vegas for awhile now. :) Maybe not. Really, June is just flying by! I thought the Solstice was still weeks away until I saw a flurry on my social media feeds. Oops!

Now, that summer is officially here, let's talk about staying hydrated.

Ever ask a runner (or any athlete, for that matter) for tips on beating the hot heat of summer? If so, you probably heard choruses of STAY HYDRATED!

What does that mean? Is it really as simple as drinking lots and lots of water? Unfortunately, I don't think so.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

What's for Dinner? Week of 6/23

Well, I did a fairly decent job of sticking to my menu plan for last week. And by that I mean, I stuck to it Sunday and Monday.

Tuesday night, we had to have huge salads because our salad mix was on its last legs.
Wednesday night, we went furniture shopping and stopped at Jack in the Box on the way home.
Thursday night, I made the Mexican Lasagna that was on the menu for Tuesday.

And then back on track for Friday and Saturday.

Saturday was kind of leftovers, but supplemented with brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes. So yummy!

So, let's see how well I do this week. :-)

Sunday - Grilled cheese sandwiches and steamed carrots
I have to go into work today, and I'm not sure how late I'll end up working, so I'm keeping it simple.

Monday - Leftover pasta bake
I made this several weeks ago and froze some for future use. Perfect!

Tuesday - Bean burritos
I've never posted the recipe before, but it's one of our tried and true dinners. Rice + Beans + Refried Beans = Yum!

Wednesday - Butternut Squash and Spinach Strata
We'll give this another shot this week. Not too hopeful Jeff will like it, but sometimes he surprises me.

Thursday, Friday, and probably Saturday - Leftovers
Between the burritos and the strata, I imagine we'll have at least 3 nights of leftovers ready to go.

We didn't get a Bountiful Basket this week. Probably not next week either. Instead we bought a crazy couch/sofa/recliner thing.

Dinners will be a bit boring for the next couple weeks as we eat out of the pantry instead trying fun new recipes with fun new veggies.

What are you cooking this week?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Working It Recap:: June 15-21

After a great week last week, I kind of fell off the wagon a bit this week. This run streak is really taking it out of me. Less than two weeks left...

Here's how it looked.

DateCardioPush-upsStrength TrainingCommute
1 Mile Run
1 Mile Run

1 Mile Run
2.35 Mile Run23
1 Mile Run 24
YAY!! (One way)
1 Mile Run25
1 Mile Run28

Yeah. I didn't even make it to yoga last week. I just didn't feel like going, and now I have to work on Sunday (preparing for testing that starts on Monday of a big project I'm working on), so I won't be able to do yoga this week either. Bummer.

I am hoping to at least ride my bike tomorrow to work.

I've been super tired the past couple of days. I'm talking in bed by 8pm Thursday night. Ugh. This can only mean one thing. My period is coming. Ok. It could mean other things as well, but I'm hoping it's just as simple as that. Plus there have been other signs, too.

My supervisor at work said I should join Gold's Gym, and I could go with her to the gym over lunch. As fun as that sounds, I just don't think I could afford a gym membership right now.

Well, there was a lot more in this post than a work-out recap. It was a pretty boring work-out week, I guess.

Oh, I almost forgot! I took the Sallie-girl with me twice this week. Last Saturday, I didn't end up going for my run until 10:30 pm. Even though she's a small dog, I still  (and Jeff, too) feel a bit safer with her running with me. I took her with me again yesterday morning because she was being weird. I figured burning some energy might help. She had lots of fun chasing the birds. Silly girl!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway for an FRS trial pack! It ends tomorrow and the winner will be announced on Monday!

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Monday, June 17, 2013

FRS - Review + Giveaway

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of FRS.

Does the afternoon ever come around, and you feel yourself drained of energy? FRS to the rescue! I'm not usually a huge fan of energy drinks. They just seem so unnatural, so I was very excited to give FRS a try.

Originally developed as an effective way for chemotherapy patients to have more energy (love this!), it is now used by athletes, nutritionists and anyone wanting the energy for a healthy, active lifestyle.

Don't we all? :-)

FRS is chock full of antioxidants, vitamins, and green tea extracts. One of its main ingredients is quercetin, which can be found in the skins of blueberries, apples, and grapes. Three of my favorite fruits. :) Quercetin has been found to provide sustained energy, increased endurance, and immune system support in multiple clinical trials.

By avoiding lots of caffeine and sugar, FRS helps kick start your body's own energy-producing mechanisms. I'm all for that.

You can find out lots of other great info on their website, but I know what you really want to know... HOW DOES IT TASTE?!

FRS offers a variety of products. I was sent a sample of ready-to-drink beverages, chews, and powdered drink mixes.

I LOVED the powdered drink mix.

I tried the Orange flavor, and it was SO GOOD! Reminded me of Tang®. Drink of Astronauts! Made me feel all powerful and stuff. Bonus that it mixed really well, too. Oh, and it only adds 10 cal to your 8-oz bottle of water. Yum.

Speaking of YUM, the chews were excellent, too.

I tried the Pomegranate Blueberry. Very flavorful and great texture. Think Starburst®. But with lots of healthy vitamins. Whoo hoo!!

Lastly, the ready-to-drink beverages. Honestly, the first couple flavors I tried weren't my cup o' tea. The flavor was ok, but I didn't care for the aftertaste. AND THEN I TRIED the Apricot-Nectarine.

LOVED IT! So tasty. :)

Next time you're feeling that afternoon slump it happens. even to us active, healthy folks. why not give FRS a try? It's available at GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Kroeger, Whole Foods, Rite Aid, Meijer, Walgreens, Harris Teeter, and, of course,

Click here for a downloadable coupon. Whoo hoo!!

FRS has also been so generous as to offer YOU a chance to try out FRS for free. :) Can't beat that, right?

Just enter below for your chance at an FRS trial pack.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

What's for Dinner? Week of 6/16

After picking up yesterday's Bountiful Basket, I was left a bit overwhelmed on how to use all the delicious produce we received. Pinterest to the rescue!

I spent hours yesterday searching for fun recipes to try out. Better than simply pinning the recipes, I decided to actually do a little menu planning as well. So, here's what I decided for dinners this next week. I hope everything turns out as delicious as these pictures! Be sure and stay tuned to my recipe blog to see how these turn out. I hope to share my version of each of these recipes over there.

Sunday - Black Bean Lettuce Wraps

Monday - Spinach-Pasta Toss

Tuesday - Mexican Lasagna

Wednesday - Butternut Squash and Spinach Strata

Thursday - Burritos (no pic)

Friday - Leftovers

Saturday - TBD

Obviously, I eat more than just dinner, so here are are few ideas for breakfast, lunch, and snacks.

Breakfasts - This morning I tried banana pancakes (recipe here), but I've really been on a smoothie kick lately.

Lunches - Salad and/or leftovers.

Snacks - Celery/carrot sticks. Fruit. Plantain chips with guac. Mint choc-chip cookie bars.

I hope to do some prep today, so that the weeknight meals are a bit easier and the snacks are ready to go.

Sunday prep:
  • Cook black beans (they already soaked overnight)
  • Roast butternut squash
  • Cut carrots and celery
  • Bake plantain chips
  • Bake cookie bars
  • Make dressing for salads

Looks like it's going to be a busy day. :-)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Working It Recap:: June 8-14

Today totally got away from me! I even worked on this post throughout the week, so it would be quick and easy to post on Saturday.

And then it was suddenly 10pm, and I still hadn't run for #RWRunStreak or published this post. I'm not even sure what all I did today.

Anyway, enough of all that. Check out this awesome breakdown!!

DateCardioPush-upsStrength TrainingCommute
1 Mile Run
3 Mile Run
1 Mile Run
15Triceps & Thighs
1 Mile Run17
3 Mile Run 17
Antigravity Yoga at Shine Fitness
YAY!! (One way)
1 Mile Run18
Core & Glute Kicks
2.22 Mile Run19

Yoga last Sunday was a lot different from the week before. Not necessarily different bad. Well, except my non-attempt at a headstand that nearly brought me to tears. It was still a great start to the week.

The major highlight of the week was trying out antigravity yoga at Shine Fitness. You can read all about it here. It was different from any other workout class I'd ever tried.

I really wanted to bike more, but Thursday morning I was tired from Shine the night before and Friday I simply couldn't seem to get moving in the morning. Seriously, I think it took me like 30 minutes just to prep my lunch! And it wasn't really anything complicated. *sigh*

I'm still very, very pleased with my workouts last week. How were yours?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Shine Fitness

A few weeks ago, Wicked Creative PR contacted one my local blogging friends with an opportunity to try out Shine Alternative Fitness. I was beyond excited to check it out!

With classes from Aerial Arts and Antigravity Yoga to Pole Fitness and Xtreme Boxing (plus lots more), it was hard to choose just one class.

I finally decided on Antigravity Yoga.
Description from their website:
Combines traditional yoga poses, aerial arts, calisthenics, pilates and dance while promoting agility, flexibility and muscular strength. Using a silk hammock as a soft trapeze for resistance and support, participants are suspended in the air for a full-body workout without the stress of holding and balancing challenging yoga poses.
Both nervous and excited, I entered the studio ready to fly.

Turns out a lot of other people had the same idea as me. :) With 10-12 students, the class was near to capacity - and nearly all of us were trying Antigravity Yoga for the very first time.

Suwasit, our instructor, was awesome! He started the class with a brief introduction to Antigravity Yoga - who invented it, where it was used, etc. Of course, I don't remember any of that. Only that the hammocks can sustain 1,000 lbs of weight. Phew!

Due to the large number of newbies, the class moved really slowly because Suwasit had to stop by most everyone to offer assistance and spotting. I, for one, had to hold inversions a bit longer than comfortable at times because I was too scared I would hurt myself getting out of the pose. O.o

Since there was so much spotting and the class was real slow, I feel like it was kind of a teaser class. It would have been nice to have fewer students an additional instructor to help with the spotting. Of course, that would be difficult to plan for.

I'd love to go back again and experience a real class. It ended up not being nearly as intense as I'd imagined - which I'm not complaining about at all today. :-)

This workout definitely works your core and ass - two things I'm always working on, of course. Plus, it's super fun to push yourself in ways that are unlike any other fitness class.

Vampire pose
I stayed a few minutes after class to get the pictures you see in this post. Suwasit was very kind to help me get into the poses again, take some pictures, and then help me get back out. He really was great and helped all us newbies feel comfortable.

Everyone I met at Shine was super friendly. I talked with Sunni for a few minutes after class. She was working the front desk, but she's also one of the dance instructors there and has been at Shine from the beginning. She seems to love working there. She apologized for it being so busy when I came in that I had to wait a few minutes. No apologies necessary! I think it's a great sign for Shine, which has only been open for about a year and a half.

With such variety of class offerings, there is certainly something for anyone looking to spicy up their workouts. You can register online for classes or just drop-in. They also have packages you can buy, but the most fun is that they offer private events. I told my boss we should have a team building event there! She just laughed, of course.

If you live in Vegas or are just here for the weekend, I'd definitely recommend Shine if you want to workout in a completely unique way.

Thanks again to Wicked Creative and Shine Fitness for the opportunity to try Antigravity Yoga for free.