Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Goals - How'd I Do?


Are you sick of my recap posts? This is my last one for 2013. Promise.

You probably already know from this post that I had a pretty great year, but in relation to my 2013 goals, it was a bit of a failure of a year.

2013 Goals

Here were my goals.

Run faster, conquering a sub 25:00 5K --> NOPE
About halfway through the year, I ditched this goal in favor of running my 3rd marathon. At the start of marathon training, I'd hoped to continue working on speed as well, but that simply wasn't in the cards.

Eat healthier, trying at least two new recipes a month --> SMH
I may have eaten a bit healthier, but I didn't try two new recipes a month. Sticking with what I know is so much easier!

Train harder, achieving strong, beautiful arms --> Not so
My workouts were OK throughout the year, and I tried to focus on my arms and upper body, but there is no measurable difference today.

Read more, finishing at least 12 books --> Not even close
I read a grand total of 3 books this year. In January. Oops!

Serve more, including CharityMiles and community service with my husband --> So sad!
I wasn't even consistent with using CharityMiles!

Like so often happens, our New Year's Goals drop off after a month or two. I fell victim to this in 2013. I even stopped doing monthly recaps after March. :(

Even though I didn't accomplish stick with my goals for 2013, it's only a complete failure if I don't learn something, right?

So, now I can will hopefully make better goals for 2014!

Sorry for the downer post. I probably shouldn't have kept this one for last. LOL. For cheerier end of the year posts, be sure to read about my #yearofrunning13, my Top 13 of 2013 posts, and, of course, my 2013 Year in Review.

Oh yeah! And I almost forgot, but I DID ACCOMPLISH ONE GOAL - 365 days of Happy Moments! Well, I WILL accomplish it after I post today's happy moment. :D

Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve tonight!! See you in 2014!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

How to: Sun & Moon Salutations

Prepare for the day with Sun Salutations.
Prepare for bed with Moon Salutations.

In case you're unfamiliar with these yoga sequences, I thought I'd break them down for you a little.

Sun Salutations
This sequence is meant to create heat and warm you up for the day. Each pose syncs with your breathing - inhale to extend and exhale to bend. This flow focuses more on forward and backward bends, and can be a great warm-up for your regular workout or probably towards the end of the month a workout on its own.

Here's what it looks like.

Yoga Outlet does a good job of breaking down each pose - How to Do Sun Salutation A in Yoga.

If you prefer video, I know I do! here is a link to my favorite. Esther from Ekhart Yoga really walks you through the sequence and goes slow enough in the beginning, so you can get a real feel for the flow. She repeats the salutation 10x, which is helpful for me because I tend to lose count.

Moon Salutations
Unlike the sun salutation, the moon salutation is a cooling and quieting flow. It's used to calm your mind and draw your awareness inward. Instead of forward and backward bends, it focuses more on side-to-side motions.

Here's what it looks like.

moon salutations yoga
Though for the full sequence, this should be repeated by starting with a left side bend.

Again, Yoga Outlet breaks it down well - How to Do a Moon Salutation in Yoga.

Ekhart Yoga has a video for the moon salutation as well. This time she only goes through it once, and it's a bit slower than her video for the sun salutation, but it's great for a beginner.

And here's another video I found that flows a bit faster.

The faster flowing video takes about 3 min for the full sequence.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Year in Review 2013

Yesterday, I posted my Top 13 (most viewed posts) of 2013, and Friday, I posted my #YearofRunning13. To continue recapping 2013, let's take a look month-by-month at how this year went down. Bullet-style.


  • The month started out with a 5k PR. Whoo hoo!!
  • It's the month of love, and I professed my love of my bike, running, and a few other things.
  • I didn't cut my hair, but I go a bit more reddish. :)




  • And I went blonder.


  • We bought a crazy new sofa.






  • Um. I ran my 1st marathon in 10 years! And haven't really run since.
  • Registered for the RnR Las Vegas Marathon next Nov!
  • Gave my blog another face lift.
  • Got my first celebrity follower on twitter.
  • Dressed up to go and pick up pizza on Christmas Day. 

I also spent countless hours running and many hours in the hot tub. Of course, there was plenty of time spent snuggling with Sallie and watching TV/Movies with Jeff.

All-in-all, I'd say it was a pretty great year! Can't wait to see what 2014 brings!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Top 13 of 2013

I saw this over at Running with Ollie, and simply knew that I needed to do, too, so here's a look back at my top 13 posts from 2013 (by pageviews).

13. I'm a Top Health & Fitness Blogger!

12. 10 Things that Make Me Happy

11. Ragnar Zion - The Experience

10. Diet-to-Go Really Delivers

9. Happy Spring!

8. Marathon Monday: Tri-States Marathon Recap

7. Weighing In - A Bathroom Scale Review

6. Simply Snackin'

5. So, You Want to Start Running?

4. Factors of 36 Virtual Race

3. 10 Random Movie Quotes

2. Happy April!

And the #1 Most Viewed post from 2013...

1. Busy College Student? Tips for Staying Healthy

THANK YOU so much for reading along through 2013 and I look forward to seeing more of you in 2014!

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Year of Running 2013

Where did 2013 go? Seems like just the other day I was making my 2013 resolutions. I didn't do a great job of sticking to them this year, so I'll probably not do a full recap post.

My running goal for 2013 was to run a sub-25 min 5k. About halfway through the year, I decided to change the goal from speed to endurance. 5 months later, I ran my 1st marathon in 10 years.

Though my goal changed, I think I had a pretty great year of running.

I'm a little late to the party but the linky is still open! yay! but I thought it would be fun to link up with Miss Zippy for ...


Thursday, December 26, 2013

January Challenge - Sun & Moon Salutations

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas yesterday! I had the day off work, but otherwise didn't do anything special. In fact, I battled a nasty headache most of the day. Booo.

We had the most delicious pumpkin pancakes for breakfast! But since I had a headache the rest of the day, I didn't feel like being in the kitchen at all, so we ordered Papa John's for dinner.

And watched 2 Batman movies. Kind of nontraditional, but it was a good day (despite the headache, which is still lingering by the way).

I've got a few end-of-the-year type posts coming at you, but I wanted to invite you to join me in January for a little New Years Challenge.

Starting Jan 1st, I'm going to challenge myself to begin and end each day with a little yoga - prepare for the day with sun salutations; prepare for bed with moon salutations.

Each day, I'd like to increase the number I do. I'm starting with 1 because I want to realistically be able to get to the end of the challenge.

So, Jan 1, I'll do 1 sun salutation in the morning and 1 moon salutation before bed.
Jan 2, I'll do 2 suns and 2 moons.

You get the idea.

If you're a more experienced yogi, and you still want to join the fun, just choose your starting number and then increase by 1 every day.

Right now, this is purely for fun, and because I want a little more yoga in my life. I might try to wrangle up a prize. I'll keep you posted, but I wanted to extend the invite now while you're thinking about the New Year.

UPDATED: I was able to secure a prize this challenge you're welcome, and I've amended it to only doing at least 1 sun and 1 moon every day. Check it out here.

Not sure what a sun or moon salutation is? I'll post some examples for you on Monday!

How was your Christmas?
What other January challenges are planning on to ring in the New Year?

Sunday, December 22, 2013

What's for Dinner? Week of 12/22

Wow! I can't believe I haven't done a meal planning post since the 2nd week of November!? And, of course, my dinners have been a bit lacking.

No time like TODAY to get back on track.

menu planning

Sunday - Beef Kebabs with Veggies and Mashed Potatoes

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen our new kitchen toy.

Our breakfast of pumpkin french toast and sausage was delicious. Can't wait to see how the kebabs turn out. I've got the meat marinating right now.

Monday - Black Bean Enchilada Casserole

I got this recipe from Angie over at A Mother's Pace. If you go to this post, and scroll through the comments, she posted the recipe just for me - and all of YOU!

Tuesday -  Pasta with Grilled Veggies

I know there will be some leftover veggies from our kebabs tonight, so I thought why not use them for a pasta dish.

Christmas -  Since I won't be working on Wednesday, I figured it would be a good excuse to plan a whole day of eats.


Chili dogs and edamame 


Thursday - Homemade pizza

Since we aren't really doing anything on Christmas Day, I'll take advantage of the day at home to make some homemade pizza dough and sauce.

Friday - Soup and Sandwiches

Most likely, we'll have some canned soup and some kind of grilled sandwich. Or something from my Sandwiches board on Pinterest.

Follow Clarinda's board Sandwiches on Pinterest.

Oh, it feels good to have a plan!

What are you eating this week?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Three Things Thursday - 12/19

Here's what on my mind today.

1) This has got to be the SLOWEST week ever. Seriously, it seemed to take FOREVER for Tuesday to get here, and now it's ONLY Thursday. When will this week end? Of course, today has been one fire after another at work, but at least today is moving quickly. Yay!!

2) I get a lot of junk email. So much that I created a separate email address just for when I sign up for newsletters or mailing lists.

One of the mailing lists I'm on is for H&M. Usually I just ignore them, but when I checked my email this morning while lying in bed Tell me I'm not the only one who does this! I couldn't ignore the UP TO 70% OFF email I had staring back at me.

Plus there's a shopping app for my phone? Ok!

So, yeah. I downloaded the app and went to browsing the Sale items.

$100 later...

I did find some really great deals, though.

3) Do you get stressed out over the holidays? I do okay, actually. Mostly because it's just me and my husband, and we don't do much to celebrate. Even though we don't celebrate the holidays, I still enjoy a little pampering all year long!

I received this Water-Resistant Professional Skin Care Face and Body Brush System from ToiletTree Products to review awhile ago.

It's fabulous! So easy to use, and it's like getting a mini-facial every morning.

It comes with 4 interchangeable heads - 2 for your face, 1 for your body, + a pumice stone. They are extremely easy to change - even the hot steamy shower.

Definitely one of the best features of this is that it's water-resistant. I keep mine hanging in my shower for everyday use.

It's also nice that you just use your favorite facial cleanser. I love that you don't need to buy anything special.

NOTE: I wouldn't really recommend using the Apricot Facial Scrub with this. I find it a little hard to clean out of the bristles.

The pumice stone is a very nice touch. Makes giving myself a pedicure a bit easier.

When I use it, I feel like my face gets a little more love and my skin is a little bit happier.

It's on sale right now at Amazon for only $39.95, so give yourself (or someone you love) the gift of pampering and relaxation this holiday.

How's your Thursday? 
Has this been slow week for you or is it flying by?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Koss FitSeries - The Perfect Gift for Active Women

This post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Koss.

Less than 10 days until Christmas. Is your shopping done? No?

Are you still looking for that perfect gift for yourself the active woman in your life? I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Koss FitSeries headphones as a FitFluential ambassador. They come in two styles - FitBuds and FitClips.

Koss headphones

Personally, I preferred the FitClips. They fit easily around my ear, and I barely noticed them during my 5-mile run. I meant to try them out during my marathon, but ended up not listening to any music with headphones.

Unfortunately, I had some difficulty with the FitBuds. The left one always seemed to pop-out. Could have been user error.

I'm not really much of a headphone aficionado. I usually just use whatever comes with my phone. :-) That said, I really thought the sound quality was good. I didn't have to turn the volume up nearly as high as with my other ear buds. Score!

Koss FitClips

Both styles of headphones come with 3 different sizes of cushioning, so you can customize the fit to your ear.

Koss FitSeries Headphones
See the difference in sizes of the two headphones without the cushioning? I think is this partially why I liked the FitClips better. So much smaller. :)

They're designed by women, specifically for women.
The FitBuds are 33% smaller than other Koss earbuds.

They're sweat resistant and come in a variety of colors.

Koss FitSeries Headphones

But the best part is that they are totally affordable! Normally $29.99, they're on sale at several retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Walgreens, Kmart and Sears for $19.99. Or less!!

Sounds like a pretty great deal to me!

You can also check out Koss at the following:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/koss
Twitter: @KossHeadphones
Instagram: @Koss
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/KossHeadphones

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What's Next?

My marathon is over. What? You haven't read the recap yet? Go read it here. I'll wait.

It was an amazing experience, and I'm glad that I decided to get out there and claim the marathoner title once again.

Will I run another one? I hope so. Maybe even in 2014. Maybe even twice in 2014. Who knows?

The only race I actually have scheduled right now, though, is the Mustang 50th Half Marathon in April. Who else running it?

Ideally, I think I'd like to do another marathon in May or June and then *maybe* Tri-States again in Nov (they moved it earlier in the year, so maybe it won't be so cold) or something. Do you have a favorite race I should check out?

Anyway, I attempted a run yesterday morning. It wasn't pretty. My shins were screaming by 0.35 miles, and I knew I'd be lucky if I got in a full mile. I did! But I decided that was enough.

A little disappointed, I posed the question on Twitter.

So I guess now is the time to step back a bit from running.

I think I'll take at least a week off entirely, and then start doing short, easy runs. I plan to increase my yoga and do some of the many, many workouts I've pinned to my Workouts board. And maybe I'll start biking to work again. Cold, cold GO AWAY!!

Ultimately, there are a lot of things I wish I would have done differently in training for Tri-States, and I really believe that strengthening my core and cross training will help immensely in making me a stronger runner.

And I want to be a stronger runner before I start training again for another Marathon.

What's your favorite way to cross train?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Long Weekend Recap

Well, my long weekend has come to an end. :( Back to a regular routine this morning. It's okay. The memories from this weekend will last a long time. And if not, they'll be recorded here, for good measure. ;)

Obviously, the biggest highlight of the weekend was running the Tri-States Marathon with Katie.

Tri-States Marathon Start Line
Katie and me at the Start Line

Missed my recap of the race? Check it out here.

Besides running a marathon, the weekend was filled with delicious food and drinks.

And walking around the Strip.

Katie had never been to Vegas before, so we had to do at least something Vegas-y. But it was so cold! And we were both tired from a day of travel Thurs - Katie flying from KY; me circling the McCarran Airport for 20+ miles - that we just grabbed dinner at FIREFLY and called it a night.

So, before heading to Mesquite for the marathon, I had to at least show her the Vegas Strip. We parked at Fashion Show mall. I got some nail appliques on my ring fingers; Katie got her hair straightened AND bought the hair straightener. I decided that maybe it hadn't been the best idea to stop at the mall first. LOL.

We walked from Fashion Show to Aria, popping in and out of the casinos to hit the tables warm up.

Since we went during the afternoon, none of the free shows were going. I, at least, wanted to show her the Conservatory at the Bellagio.

It was between shows. #thwarted

It was still fun to see glimpses of the holiday show.

Bellagio Conservatory Holiday 2013

After walking around for a couple hours, we were both getting hungry! I saw I had a Starbucks reward for BOGO food, so we decided to grab sandwiches at Starbucks.

Unfortunately, we had to go to THREE locations before I could redeem my reward. Apparently rewards don't work in casinos. #lessonlearned

Katie and I got along fabulously! It was so much fun getting to know her in person and chatting about blogging and running. I so rarely get to do that in real life, so it was lots of fun!!

Come back anytime, Katie!

The rest of my weekend was spent watching movies and TV. And blogging a bit, too.

My legs were feeling pretty good on Sunday, but the DOMS definitely set in as I lounged on the recliner. Walking seemed to get more and more difficult as the day went on. I spent quite a bit of time massaging them throughout our movie marathon.

When I went to bed Sunday night, I was definitely happy about my decision to take Monday off work as well.

Thankfully, my legs were feeling much better yesterday. I even took Sallie for a 2-mile walk. They felt so good in fact that I think I'll even try going for a short, slow run before work today.

How was your weekend? Do anything particularly fun?
How long after a marathon until you're walking 100% normal again?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Marathon Monday: Tri-States Marathon Recap

Ok. Since I didn't get this posted yesterday, I guess there will be one more Marathon Monday. :)

On Saturday, I ran my 3rd marathon. My first in 10 years. It really was an amazing experience!

After walking around the Strip for a couple hours Friday afternoon, Katie and I headed to Mesquite, NV. We checked into our hotel, settled in, and then met up with George for a carbo-loading dinner. I ordered the Chicken Parmesan, and it was mediocre at best.

Carbo Loading before the Tri-States Marathon

I headed to bed early - only to awaken around 11 pm with a stirring in my tummy.

**TMI alert** I had to spend some time in the bathroom; it wasn't very pretty. I was so afraid the smell would wake up Katie!

Luckily, I was able to fall back asleep, but I was nervous about the race. Would I be able to make it through the race without any more tummy issues?

My alarm was set for 5 am, and when I woke up at 4:30 I laid in bed until the alarm went off. I was excited, but I wanted as much sleep as possible. Finally I crawled out of bed, got dressed, and we headed down to breakfast. The fine folks at the Holiday Inn Express were kind enough to open their continental breakfast a couple hours early for all of us crazy marathoners. I had a bagel with cream cheese, and it was delicious!

The marathon was a point-to-point course, so we hopped on a bus around 6 am to take us to the start line.

Busing to the marathon start
Ready to run!

THANK YOU to everyone who offered me advice on what to wear for a cold weather marathon, but ultimately, I chose adorableness over warmth.

Race Day Outfit #procompression #teamsparkle
Adorable, right?

It was COLD, but I wasn't miserable. True, I might have appreciated another long sleeve layer and/or a turtleneck layer to cover my neck and maybe another layer covering my bum, but I definitely didn't freeze. I was more afraid of overheating, and that definitely didn't happen. :)

Besides, it was super fun to get all kinds of comments on my outfit. When you feel cute, you run cute. LOL.

As you can tell, there was snow on the ground at the start, and YES, there was the slightest of flurries falling from the sky. Combine that with the mountain in the background, and the start was absolutely gorgeous.

Tri-States Marathon start line
It looks a little dreary here, but it really was so pretty.

We did our 1st mile in 9:39. Whoo hoo!! I wasn't tired, but I decided I wanted to take a walk break. I hadn't set a timer for 10:1 intervals, so I decided I'd walk one minute at every mile. Katie had never run intervals like this before, but she decided to give it a try.

Since I had those tummy issues in the middle of the night, I didn't want to take any chances, so when I saw the first port-a-potty around mile 6, we decided to wait in line to use it. SEVEN MINUTES LATER because of the line, not because I was in there that long we were back on the road. Ugh! In all reality, I probably could have made it another 3 miles until the next port-a-potty, but once the decision had been made to wait, we decided to wait.

Tri-States Marathon | 12.07.13
At least the scenery was pretty while we waited!

Just past mile 9, we crossed the state border from Utah to Arizona.

Tri-States Marathon | Arizona State Line

Whoo hoo!! One state down, two to go. Little did we realize that we'd really only be in state #3 for less than 1/2 mile. AZ was the bulk of our race, for sure.

Katie and I were just enjoying the course - chatting here and there, taking in the scenery, having a great time.

My first little wall came at mile 12. There was still so much more to go. I was cold. My legs were already getting tired. We weren't even halfway there yet!!

And then all of a sudden, we crossed over the 1/2 marathon start line.

Tri-States Marathon | Half Marathon Start Line
Pretty classy start line, right?

It totally took me by surprise; the first half had just flown by! The time isn't exactly accurate, because I had to turn around to go back and snap the pic.

My intention had been to start my music at the 1/2 marathon mark, but around mile 11, Katie had attempted to turn on her ipod and it wouldn't come on. I didn't really need music, and I felt a little guilty turning mine on, when she didn't have the option of turning on hers, so I continued just enjoying the course.

Just after we passed the 17-mile marker, we were faced with the first huge hill.
Me: Why do most marathons have a nasty hill around mile 17 or 18? And by most, I mean the two I've done. But I do think I've heard others complain about hills at this point in other marathons, too.
We walked up most of the hill, and therefore, most of mile 18. Little did we know, that was the first of many treacherous hills to come. What?! I thought this was going to be a mostly downhill, flat course?!

At mile 20, I started to get really excited. ONLY A 10K LEFT TO GO!! I couldn't believe it! I'd exceeded my longest training run (19 miles) and still felt relatively okay. Pretty much everything below my waist was sore, but without any pain, and time was flying by!

We were getting so close to the finish, but the thought suddenly came to me around 20.5 miles that I could turn on some music without headphones that we could both listen to. Yay!!

I turned on the Fit to Fight mix that I'd downloaded from RockMyRun. This is a great mix filled with lots of run-inspired songs that get me pumped up. A few minutes in, Break My Stride started.
Me: Katie, this song is making me cry!
Katie: Why? What's it saying?
Me (singing): Ain't nothing gonna break my stride. Ain't nothing gonna slow me down. Oh no. I've got to keep on moving.
Me: I ♥ running to this song. I usually belt it out loud and run as fast as I can. So. Much. Fun!!
With almost every following step and every mile marker passed, I got a little more emotional. This was really happening. I was almost a marathoner. Again.

We'd done pretty good with our race strategy up to this point - taking minute walk breaks at every mile. With a few extra walks sprinkled here and there. We gave that up after mile 22, and just walked whenever we needed.

At mile 22, there was an aid station with a very peppy volunteer. So peppy that she inadvertently (I hope) lied to all the runners. There always has to be one, doesn't there?
Her: Only 4 more miles to go! Not really a lie. This is the last long hill. Big, fat, HUGE lie!
With every hill, we not so silently cursed that volunteer.

Thankfully, Katy Perry's Roar came on to help us up one of the crazy hills.
Me: I'm going to sing it for you. YOU got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire 'Cause YOU are a champion and WE'RE gonna hear YOU roar.
Kind of dorky, I know, but singing it like that to Katie, really helped motivate ME to keep on going.

Finally, we made it to the 5k start.

Tri-States Marathon 5K Start

The end was near. So exciting!

Until we hit mile 24.
Me (screaming): WE'RE SO CLOSE YET SO FAR AWAY!!
But seriously, no one gives up at that point, right? Even if we walked the entire rest of the marathon, we would definitely finish.

Just past mile 25, we saw the biggest hill of the marathon or so it seemed looming in front of us.
Me: Do you think we'll have to tackle that hill, too?
Katie: Yes.
Me: We're so close to the end, and it looks far enough away. I bet we turn off before it.
Katie: No, I bet we'll have to go up it.
Me: No, it's too far away. The finish would be halfway up the hill. We must turn off before it.
We watched the guy in front of us to see if he turned before the hill. Nope. He started trekking up that damn hill.
Me: Oh, I really didn't want you to be right.
Katie: I didn't want to be right, either.
So, we slugged up the hill from 25.5 to 25.9 miles. Booo. Who plans a hill that close to the finish?

We picked up the pace at mile 26, and when I saw that finish line, I gave it my all and finished strong. It felt great!

Tri-States Marathon Finishers

I couldn't help it. I broke into tears after crossing that line. I had done it. I'm a marathoner again. And I'd do it again!

I paused my watch at 5:21:44.

There weren't any sensors at the start, so everyone had the same start time. Apparently, it took us 13 seconds to get to the start.

Official results:

We didn't get Katie a sub-5, but we did get her a 13-minute PR. Definitely a WIN!! You can read her recap here.

Overall, I really enjoying this race!

It was really well organized.

The aid stations were nicely placed, every 2-3 miles. They always had water, and some sort of candy - from Red Vines to M&Ms. Some of them had pretzels, and usually there were gels or Hammer Heed energy drink. There was always something that I needed right at that moment. Honestly, I probably could have easily run this without my hydration vest.

This was definitely not a marathon for spectators. It was really small, so there was no point along the course where there were crowds cheering you on. In fact, the course was on an open highway. Sometimes, the drivers at least waved as they passed by. :)

I'm mostly a solo runner. I was a little nervous to run with someone, but it turned out to be amazingly fun to run this with Katie. We ran a lot of it in silence, but it was nice knowing she was there if I ever need to talk or walk or whatever.

The course was absolutely gorgeous. Even when the sun was just peeking through the clouds far in the distance instead of shining on us, we were still surrounded by majestic mountains sprinkled in snow.

The second half of the course was tough, but it was worth it, and I'd definitely consider running this one again. Next year, it will be in November, so hopefully it will be much warmer.

Did you race this weekend?