Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Pooped

oops, I meant I am pooped.
Huge difference, I realize.
(I will be more careful next time.) 
When I say that mustering up the will to get out of bed
today was difficult. . .that would be an understatement.
My alarm went off.
I growled and hit snooze.
And I thought that would be it.
I didn't realize that my mind would wake me back up
at 7:30 reminding me that I have a host of new friends
who would be disappointed if I quit so soon in my journey.
And for what. . .more sleep?!
I am such a slacker.
So up I trudged.
But NOT because I was excited about my run this morning.
Out of pure obligation.
Don't worry, I promise I won't take it out on all of you.
My attitude was put in check as I headed out the door.
It was like God knew I needed an extra boost.
The air was chilly and wind was plentiful this morning.
There was a light mist in the air as I started down the street,
and just when I was getting good and hot, 
a few tiny sprinkles would fall on my head.
It's the little blessings in life.
But really. . .
When is this added gumption and energy supposed to kick in?
I thought you exercise to gain more energy for the day.
I'm pooped, friends!
Severely exhausted all. the. time.
I'm drowning myself in water, running 3 days a week,
(my thighs STILL look flabby, dangit!) 
and I'm not seeing the results.
Ok, couch potato. . .It's only your second week. . .
But for reals. 
I'm trying really hard to not be over it.
I know this will have a huge pay-off in the end.
(I know I'll be "runner-skinny" eventually.)
And I know that I'll be proud of myself at the finish line.
But today. . .
Today I am exhausted.
But I did it.  
So I'm also content.

What have been your biggest struggles on your 
fitness journey? 
How did you push through?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

22 Reasons To Kick the Soda Habit

Most of this information adopted from

We all know that drinking soda isn't good for us. We know that it would be better for our health if instead we drank [insert pretty much any other beverage choice here — even beer!]. But there's just something about soda that keeps drawing us back. Whether you call it "soda," "pop," "soda pop," "Coke," or something else entirely, it's a good idea to stop drinking it once and for all. Here's why.

Financial Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda

If saving money motivates you to kick a bad habit, here are the top three financial reasons to quit drinking soda.
1. The out of pocket cost of drinking pop adds up.
The average American drinks 216 liters (that's 7304 ounces, or about 365 20-ounce bottles) a year. If you purchased your soda only at a vending machine, that's about $550/ year. If, instead, you put this into a retirement account for 30 years at a 7% interest rate compounded annually, you'd have about $60,000. Even if you buy your soda at the grocery store for 40 cents a can, that's still $243 per year and over $26,000 over 30 years.
2. You'll make poorer financial decisions by drinking diet soda.
research study looking at decision making after drinking soda found that "The sugar-free soda drinkers were more likely to choose the immediate reward, even though it was less money and not the best overall decision. "
3. The long term health consequences lead to high medical expenses.
I've listed numerous health reasons to not drink soda pop below — if you have even one of these health problems because of (or it's exacerbated by) drinking soda, your long-term medical costs will skyrocket. (See also: 5 Places to Check Out Medical Care for the Uninsured)

Health Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda

Here are just a few of the scientifically researched reasons to kick the habit.
4. Soda increases your blood pressure.
March 2011 study links soda consumption to higher blood pressure.
5. Soda destroys your teeth.
In case your dentist hadn't told you, between the sugar and the acidity, pop is terrible for your teeth.
6. It contains an ingredient banned in over 100 countries.
7. It makes you fat.
Calories from drinks including soda make up over 20% of the total daily calories consumed by Americans, according to a 2004 article in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (as cited by WebMD).
8. It may lead to diabetes.
Non-diet soft drinks contribute to the onset of type 2 diabetes. Even if you drink diet, you may not be in the clear (see the study published by the American Heart Association discussed below).
9. It may lead to heart disease.
According to a study published by the American Heart Association, "Drinking as little as one can of soda a day — regular or diet — is associated with a 48% increased risk of metabolic syndrome, a key predecessor of heart disease and diabetes."
10. Soda consumption is linked to osteoporosis.
While researchers aren't sure of the precise reason, people who drink pop are more likely to have osteoporosis.
11. Drinking cola can increase your risk of kidney stones.
study published in Epidemiology found that "Drinking 2 or more colas per day was associated with increased risk of chronic kidney disease."
12. Soda can cause heartburn.
It shouldn't surprise you that highly acidic sodas can lead to heartburn.
13. It's linked with liver problems.
A study found that people with liver problems are also more likely to drink soda.
14. Your soda likely either contains aspartame or high fructose corn syrup.
If you drink diet soda, your pop has some sort of artificial sweetener. If you drink full-calorie soda, chances are it has high fructose corn syrup. There are long debates about these ingredients and studies are not entirely conclusive, but both ingredients are artificial and are likely not good for you.

Environmental Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda

Recycling your pop can or bottle isn't enough to prevent harm to the environment, as soda destroys the planet in numerous other ways.
15. It can take up to 132 gallons of water to produce a 2-liter bottle of soda.
The 132 gallon/2-liter bottle figure includes the water it takes to grow ingredients, and according to a Wall Street Journal article, Coke says that it takes about 1 gallon to make a 2-liter bottle. Chances are the number is somewhere in between. Either way, that's a lot of water.
16. That water has to come from somewhere.
Since a Coca-Cola plant was opened in northern India, the water levels have fallen 18 feet in the surrounding area, and the plant was blamed for it.
17. And the ingredients in the soda have to go somewhere.
According to a German report, the artificial ingredients in soda don't get fully removed by sewage treatment facilities, and those ingredients may end up downstream and even in our drinking water.
18. Be it glass, aluminum, or plastic, all bottles have their environmental costs.
Glass bottles, even if reused, take a lot more fuel to transport. Aluminum cans are only partially recycled, and the mining of aluminum has horrific environmental consequences. And just like bottled water, plastic bottled soda requires an enormous amount of oil to produce.
19. Transportation of soda pop requires a lot of fuel.
Exact figures about how much fuel it takes to transport soda are not evident — but that soda has to get from the factory to the store to your house somehow. And that requires a lot of fuel.
Social Reasons to Stop Drinking Soda
And if the financial, environmental, and health reasons weren't enough to convince you to give up soda, these social reasons may be strong enough for you to make a new resolution.
20. In some countries, soda contains pesticides.
You might consider this a health or environmental reason, but it seems to me that it's socially completely unjust to produce a healthier product for some countries than others. The Center for Science and the Environment found "high levels of toxic pesticides and insecticides, high enough to cause cancer, damage to the nervous and reproductive systems, birth defects and severe disruption of the immune system" in soda manufactured by Coke and Pepsi in India.
21. The rest of the world doesn't drink much soda.
Take a look at this soft drink consumption chart. Ireland is the next lowest soda-consuming country, and they consume roughly half the amount that Americans do.
22. It's just not that cool.
While I have no hard data to back it up, it seems that drinking pop has lost the "cool" factor it tries so hard to market. I asked several friends why they drink soda, and their responses included "for the caffeine," "I like the taste," and "it's the cheapest drink on the menu at restaurants." None of them thought that drinking soda was particularly cool and instead pointed to numerous other drinks that have a much cooler image: tea, coffee, probiotic drinks, and kombucha.

Soda Alternatives

So if you stop drinking soda, what should you drink instead?
Tap water is most cost-conscious and healthiest choice that has the least environmental and social impact. Make it easier to drink by drinking from an eco-friendly water bottle. (I prefer stainless steel water bottles or glass water bottles.) I also like to add a few slices of orange, lemon, or fresh mint leaves to my tap water for a tasty alternative.
If tap water isn't your thing here are some better options depending on the time of day:
  • If you're looking for a morning caffeinated substitute, try coffee or tea.
  • At lunch time, try homemade lemonade or iced tea.
  • In the afternoon, decaf tea or freshly squeezed or locally sourced fruit juices are delicious.
  • In the evening, why not opt for a cheap beer or a glass of wine? (But remember to drink responsibly.)
Do you drink soda? What would convince you to give it up

Monday, May 28, 2012

Playlists, Donuts, and Inspiration

It's Memorial Day.
Amidst remembering those who are gone
and all those who sacrificed so much for our country,
I'm racking my brain trying to figure out some things that 
me and these monster children can do to 
NOT sit on our cute little booties today.
Because it's a daily struggle. 
Just like this morning's run.
Welcome to WEEK TWO of marathon training.
And I'm already annoyed by the songs on my iPod.
I'm STILL not able to all-out run more than 30-40 seconds
at a time. (I know. . .Lord, help this poor couch potato!)
I hate it when my body won't keep up with my will. . .
And then I hear about how my mom-in-law and SIL 
ran a HALF-MARATHON yesterday. . .
Another one!!
(Let me say how jealous of them and how proud of them I am at the same time)
It's so hard to not compare your progress to others. 
If I did focus on it, you may find me curled up in a ball
in the back of my walk-in closet with a dozen chocolate glazed donuts.
(BOY, does that not sound fabulous right about now?!)
But I can't compare.  
I have to do my personal best.  
My personal best is not exciting just yet.
But it will be one day.
So I'm going to keep running, friends. 
Even though I'd rather have donuts.
I'm going to be strong.
And I reeeeeeeeally want those abs for my very own. 

So as a recap. . .Week One didn't suck.
I'm struggling more with waking up at the butt-crack of dawn
than I am with running the designated distances.
And praise God for no shin splints
(I've heard first week horror stories)!
Bring on Week Two.
And suggestions for some new tunes.
My iPod will thank you.
I'm positive it's gotten it's feelings hurt this week from me
hitting SKIP every 5 minutes.
I'd prefer some tunes of the "inspirational" persuasion.  
(yes, I'm one of those corny chicks that likes words of affirmation along my journey.)
Currently, in my work-out playlist:

1. Good Morning - Mandisa
2. Moves Like Jagger - Maroon5
3. You're Beautiful - One Direction
4. All This Time - Britt Nicole
5. Domino - Jessie J
6. He Said - Group One Crew
7. Waiting For Tomorrow - Mandisa

Yea, so help a sister out!

Friday, May 25, 2012

You Are Good Enough

There is this funny thing that happens when you start to do something that you previously thought you wouldn’t be able to do. It shifts your whole perception of yourself, turning thoughts of I can’t do this, into not just I CAN do this, but I WILL do this. But there is a lot that goes on before you even take that first step out the door and into the sunshine to run, and in a lot of ways just getting yourself to the gym or on the road in the first place can be harder than the actual pain of the workout.
I have experienced this to some degree with myself, but especially with a number of my friends, who see my active lifestyle and my drive – which has always existed in some form or another- to get outside and be healthy, and immediately say, “I could never do that.” When I try to get them to come hiking, running, or even to walk around the lake with me, their immediate reaction is, “You don’t want me to come with you, I won’t be able to do it.” They disregard the fact that I am an extremely slow runner, love to stop for water breaks, and am always the first person to run out of breath. They know this about me, but have still convinced themselves that it’s not worth even trying. Instead of trying to get better at something, they would rather sit at home than let another person witness them struggle. And I get it. Have I talked enough about how ridiculously I lack the stamina to even finish walking a 5K at this point? And everyone else in my life is standing around me in encouragement, saying “You can do this! Keep going! You’ve got this!” I can’t help but sometimes think, “These people must think I am so slow.” And that feeling sucks.
Somewhere along the way, and for a lot of people I think this happens really early in life, we reach a point where we are convinced that we aren’t worth the time and effort that it takes to be healthy. Not only are we told that it’s selfish to take personal time or to advocate for ourselves, but for most of us it gets to a point where we’ve neglected ourselves for so long, we feel like it’s not worth it to even try. This is a mom's biggest downfall.  Not to mention the concept of putting yourself out there is terrifying. For me, this happened in the weeks leading up to my very first 5K. I had never ran a race before, and I was (am) a ridiculously slow runner. I had been all excited when I signed up for the race, but in the days leading up I was so anxiety-ridden by my doubts at being able to run the whole thing that I almost dropped out. When I got to the race, I was so nervous that I almost started tearing up. (I know, what a wuss!) I wasn't scared about spraining an ankle or worried that I would get shin splints. I wasn't nervous that I would puke from exhaustion or have to walk, not run, most of the entire race. No, instead I was worried that though I may finish the race,  people would think I was slow.
The picture at the top of this page made me start to think about people’s perceptions of what they are capable of, but also of what they are worth. “You are good enough” can mean two very different things. It can mean, stop trying, you are as good as you are going to get. But I hope that if you are reading this and thinking, This sounds like me. I want to be that healthy person, but it’s too late/hard/ridiculous to start now – I hope that “You are good enough” can mean something different. I want it to mean, You are good enough to advocate for yourself, to trust that your friends will be excited to wait for you while you sweat your way up that hill, to get up early and go to running even though you can't jog for more than 30 seconds at at time (I can’t!), and to start believing that you’re worth the effort.  I'm so glad that I decided that I was. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Running With Technology

Slightly obsessed with tracking your workouts? Grab your iPhone and discover the wonderful world of free running apps. The built-in GPS allows you to track your run no matter where you are: on trails, busy neighborhoods, or dirt roads. Whether you want an actual Google Map of your route, a calendar showing off the days you worked out, or to share your workouts with your pals on Facebook or Twitter — there's an app for that. If you're new to the running app scene, here are six free iPhone apps you'll want to check out! 


It maps out your run using the built-in GPS (no sensor required), so no matter where you go, it can keep track of your pace, distance, calories burned, and map out the route you've completed. I like that the display is easy to read — I can quickly glance down and know how many calories I've burned, or tap the screen to see a map of how far I've gone. There are three workout settings to choose from: Basic (run with no set time or distance), Time (run against the clock), or Distance (run a certain mileage). This app is compatible with your iTunes library, so it's easy to choose a playlist before you begin your workout, and if you want to skip a song, just tap the arrows on the main screen.


If you've used the MapMyRun website before, you'll be happy to know they have a free app for your phone. iMapMyRUN can sync with your MapMyRun online account, so you can automatically upload your workout info. During your run, it records your time, speed, distance, and it can even keep track of your heart rate (as long as you use a compatible heart rate monitor). The stats are in a large font so you can quickly keep track of your progress. If you tap "Map," you can actually watch yourself (a little blue dot) travel along the road map, so it's great if you're running in a new area. I love that the map also has mile markers along the route so when you need a little visual inspiration you can look down and see you only have a few more blocks till you hit three miles.

LogYourRun Free

The LogYourRun Free app utilizes the built-in GPS and accelerometer to map your time, distance, and pace. The main screen is easy to read, and if you swipe to the right, you can see a map of your route, and if you swipe it again, you get info on your heart rate (you must have a separately purchased compatible heart rate monitor).

You can choose your own route or if you need a little nudge, download the free training programs such as Couch to 5K or Your First Marathon. One very convenient feature is that if you like listening to music, you can access your iTunes library playlists, all with a tap of the music button in the upper left corner. My favorite feature is the use of Google maps to see your running route. If you're bored with your usual neighborhood loop, it points out routes other users have mapped out near you.

 5K Free
Most people have heard of the Couch to 5K running program, and here is the app that goes along with it. I'll be upfront and tell you that the free version of the 5K Runner only includes the first two weeks of the eight-week training program, so if you want the complete program, you'll need to fork over $3 for thefull version. It's nice that there is a free version you can test out, and if you love it, you can always upgrade.

This app will gradually guide you through the first two weeks of the eight-week program, mapping out three workouts per week. I love that an audio coach tells you exactly what to do per workout (warm up, walk, run, or cool down) and there's a colorful little chart you can use to follow along. The walking/running intervals increase in intensity over the eight-week program, so this app is perfect for beginners.

If you're a fan of working out to music, you can listen to your iTunes playlists in the background, but you might find it annoying that you have to double tap the Home button, then tap iTunes every time you want to skip a song. I do love that this app keeps track of each workout and charts your progress, and like most of these running apps, you can share your workouts with the Twitter or Facebook world.

Running Log Free

If you like to keep your running data all in one place, you'll love this handy app, Running Log Free. It's purely for recording the duration, distance, pace, and other details of your workouts. Just tap the calender day, fill in the info, and you're set. I love that you can look at each month and visually see how many days you've worked out. Plus it tallies your total distance, exercise time, average pace, and rest days, so you can easily see if you've reached your monthly goal.

Just to be clear, this app will not chart your time, distance, pace, and calories burned while working out. This is just an app to help you log all the data you've already collected from another source, whether it be an app like the Nike+ GPS, your treadmill readout, or your GPS watch. This app has definitely motivated me to keep up with my workouts, because it's fun filling in the days on the calendar and seeing all the red squares (runs) staring back at me. If you tend to run more than once a day, you'll want to upgrade to the full version($1).

Run-Watch Lite

This app has the whole shebang in one place. Run Watch Lite uses your iPhone's built-in GPS to track your run, including the route (shown on a map), distance, pace, time, calories burned, and it even shows your elevation.
The display is clear and easy to read, and I love that the map can be viewed by streets, by satellite (with actual photos of the aerial view of your route), or a hybrid of both. While you move, you can see the little blue trail you make on the map, which not only shows your progress, but also prevents you from getting lost.

Another unique feature is the camera icon in the upper right corner. Just tap it and take a photo while on your run. After your run is completed, if you tap "Route" on the bottom, you can get all the stats for your workout including time, distance, speed, calories burned, and it also shows you a drawing of your route and the photos you've taken. If you're into Twitter and Facebook, you can have your workouts auto-posted. Your run is also charted on the monthly calendar, and after several workouts, all those little green stars are a motivational little pat on the back.

The one downfall to this app is that although you can listen to iTunes in the background, you have to toggle between the two apps in order to adjust your music.

**The majority of this information I received through a very helpful website called  Check it out for lots more advice on how to take your running to the next level!

Do you have an app that works best for you? I'd love to hear some reviews!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Plank This!

No, No, No.

In case you're wondering if I'm going to be posting every flipping day. . .
the answer is No.

I blame this overzealous gesture a result of a  brand-new obsession because I'm still a bit giddy about this new goal in my life. I'm sure the excitement of this new relationship that I have with running/health will wear off any day now and what you will be left with is the regularly scheduled 3x a week posts that I originally had planned.

So have no fear. You are in no way obligated to read this little ditty.  It's just a bonus. :)

We were just playing in the backyard this afternoon in our birthday suits and decided to work a little "planking" in.

(Let me clarify that horrible visual picture I just painted!. . .I have two toddlers. THEY were the ones hanging out in the buff in our backyard wading pool---because hey. . .
who doesn't love a quick skinny dip?!  I, however, was fully clothed, watering the yard, when I felt the urge to not let my "day of rest" from running slip by without getting a slight work-out in.)

So we "planked". . . . .All over the backyard.

The boys decided to take a break from the swamp water they had created and join me on this little work-out binge. I truly wish that I had someone snapping pictures of this from the sidelines. I can only imagine how funny it would have looked to the neighbors were they to peep a grown woman in this position:

with two little men on either side of me with their bare booties stuck up in the air!  It had to look ridiculous!

And then. . . . I'm glad that there are no pictures, because that could be considered "child porn" and I don't want my new exercise regime to get me thrown in the slammer.  So do me a favor and forget that I told you about this whole ordeal.

You can just picture me planking in my backyard, congratulate me for taking every opportunity today to promote good health, and maybe work in a few planks yourself somewhere.

Even if you're at work or out in public.  Go ahead and plank in the breakroom or at the shopping mall. Send me your "planking" photos. No matter what you have going on today, Plank On, dudes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

On Your Mark. . .Get Set. . .RUN!!

Before I get started on how my first run went, 
let's take care of some less appetizing business. . .

So here's the real deal-y.  I plan to post pictures
 (as I've threatened previously)
of the month-to-month progress. 
I'll post these photos on the 20th of every month. 

Photos will likely be enough to give all you "child-less" amigas 
enough birth-control to last years to come. Go on and get those chastity belts ready! 
Kids did NOT do this body good! 
I'm a bit embarrassed to post them at all, so please, if you leave comments,
they had better be of the "you don't at all look like a beached whale!" nature
or I may start running in a full-on hajib for the duration of my training. 
What a sec. . .that may not be a bad idea. . ..I'd definitely "glisten" more. . .
I could certainly be onto something here.
Anywho. . .pictures. . .Lordy, the before pictures. . .
Without further ado
 (unless of course, you have some -ado, then by all means, 
don't let my rushing around to show you half-naked pics of my
 flabby booty get in the way. . .)
Here's the horror and reality of my situation: 
Shock and awe, right?!
I know, I hide it well!  At least that's what I tell myself!

Now I know it's not nearly as bad as some other's situation.
But it's still a "situation" to me.
One that I'm asking God to help me overcome, starting right now.

And now for DAY ONE:
I won't be posting about every single one,
 so please don't get scared off just yet.
But today was a milestone. 
It seems that day one is always the most difficult
for any new project or exercise regime.
Mine was a doozy.
You see in Oklahoma, I woke up to this today:
Not exactly the first morning run I had envisioned. . .
I don't even own a pancho.
But I strapped on the sneakers and set out.
And I found in the process of my belly-aching about perfect running conditions
 that I quite like running in the rain!  Who knew!  
It's like one giant sprinkler follows you around as you burn calories! 
So from now on, on days I have a longer run
you might find me washing my car the night before. 
We all know that will bring the Oklahoma showers!
The run itself was marvelous. 
60 seconds of jogging then 90 seconds of walking.
Repeating that for 20 minutes. 
I got tired of counting in my head instead of enjoying the music in my ipod
so I started a new method. . .
walk during the verses of songs, run during the choruses.
It did the trick nicely.
Day One down and I'm still excited about this project.

Now I need a nap.
Happy running fellow couch potatoes!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why Run?

I'm a stay-at-home-mom. Must I elaborate?

Because 26.2 miles of peace and quiet sounds like heaven on earth, doesn't it?!

Because it's cheap therapy and because I love a good adrenaline high.

Because running around keeps me from running away. Literally.

Being a wife and a mom and a woman in general can be overwhelming. And let's be real honest here. . .all those days of laundry, cleaning up spill after spill, dirty diaper after dirty diaper, breaking up ongoing sibling fights, and having little people on your heels every minute of everyday is enough to make anyone want to drink themselves under the table.

So I'll run.

It's my "me time". The only moment all day when I can be alone in my thoughts.

It's my "God-please-give-me-the-patience-I-need-today-to-not-kill-anyone-in-my-family" time. Because some days are not all cuddles and smiles and hugs and kisses.

And lest I forget. . .It's my "these-thighs-aren't-going-to-walk-themselves-off" time. Because what in the world has 30 years, two kids, and stress and cellulite done to my body!? It's baffling.

It's not a pretty sight. I promise you that.

So I've decided to put my foot down, take back control, pull out the big guns, etc. and invest some time.

Time in myself and time in my family.

Because these two little boys who ride my heels at all times like to run and want mommy to chase them. How can you tell those baby blues and big dimples that mama "ain't got no get-up-and-go?

I want to be around to embarrass them, out-run them, love on them, and set an example for them for years to come.

Because life is short.  Days, moments, memories just fly by.

Because I want to be strong enough to make it through every day.  And make it through fully alive. 

So why RUN a marathon?

Because walking is boring. Everyone does it. And I want to be different.

Because it's hard. And I've done easy my whole life.

Because I want to be proud of myself. Of what I am capable of if I set my mind to it. I want to accomplish something that most people won't.

And most of all, because I can.  And there will come a day when I cannot. And I want to take ahold of every gift I'm given while it's available. I want to live life fully, unabandoned, and without hesitation.

So I will run.

Trust me when I say that I'm starting from scratch here. This mama spends most of her time thinking of creative ways to engage these toddlers in new and exciting activites. . .from the couch. I find myself consistently exhausted, lazy, and about 30 lbs overweight. (I promise, I'll post horrifying pics soon.)

Currently, I can can only jog for about 30 seconds before getting winded and "glistening" from head to toe. Cause southern gals don't "sweat", ya know. . .but you get the point. I'm a couch potato.  A cute couch potato (so my husband says), but a couch potato nonetheless.

So won't you join Me?

Maybe I'm a tad overzealous, but I dream of running a marathon in less than a year. Is this even possible?  I plan to find out!

Even if you'd just like to laugh at me tripping over my shoelaces from the sidelines, I promise, this journey will be worth the watch.  

Join me as I set out to go from "Couch Potato to Marathon Mom" in 50 weeks.

Let the madness begin!