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Happy Sunday! I remembered to take a photo of my fitness planner spread this week. I could decorate every week in a pink and gold color scheme and never get bored with it.

I saw a cute unicorn sticker sheet for $1 at Walmart last week and had to buy it. So, I decided to use it under “goals” because that’s my goal this week. Become a unicorn.
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My workout schedule for the week:

Monday: upper body + abs

Tuesday: speed intervals

Wednesdsy: rest

Thursdsy: speed intervals

Friday: Barre

Saturdsy: 5k

Sunday: Leg day

I have been following a similar workout pattern for a few weeks now and really like it. Cardio 3x a week, strength 2x and one day for a lengthening/stretching workout. I am planning on adding just a few minutes of core/arm work on one or two of my cardio days. I’ve still got a mommy pouch I’d like to tone up some more.

For my main planner I used a sticker sheet from Isabelle the Owl on etsy to decorate.
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I’m still trying to figure out how to take nice photos with very little natural light! I can’t wait until it’s summer here and light out 20 hours a day.
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After last week full of appointments I’m glad this week has little on the agenda. I start another grading project with Pearson this week so I’ll be training as of Thursday. I love the extra money it brings in but I’m glad the projects only last a few weeks as it’s hard to fit another 20 hours of work in each week!
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Meals will be quick and easy this week.

Breakfast: oatmeal + mothers milk tea

Lunch: greek salad or burrito bowls

Dinner: giant protein smoothie

Snacks: hard boiled eggs, trail mix, yogurt and fruit.

For greek salads I throw in green olives, red onion, feta and I microwave a vegetarian sausage to cut up and throw on top. Burrito bowls consist of brown rice, black beans, olives, onion and tomatoes on a huge bed of lettuce and topped with buffalo ranch dressing. My smoothies are always premier protein powder, 1 giant handful spinach, 1 frozen banana, ice, almond milk, 2 T cocoa powder and a squirt of honey.

I will be cooking later in the week as part of a meal train for a military family in Travis’s unit. The wife is pregnant and flying to California next week to await the birth of their baby as it has to go immediately into surgery. I can’t even imagine. I’m so glad there’s something I can do to help, even if it’s as small as taking over a meal. I’ll be making a Mexican casserole and bringing chips, salsa, and stuff to make root beer floats.

I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! We’ve had a busy one. Salems vet appointment didn’t go too well yesterday and I chopped off a few inches of my hair (at a salon on Santa Clause lane in North Pole, Alaska.) I’ll be back tomorrow to share more about Salem!

How is your weekend going? 

Fitness Friday: 1st 5k in 6 months!

December 18th, 2015 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness - (18 Comments)
Cookie Jar

Saturday: T25 Speed 2.0 + 1.5 mile walk

Sunday: rest

Monday: 2.5 mile run

Tuesday: T25 Speed 2.0

Wednesday: 5k!

Thursday: rest

Friday: Tracey Mallet FIT

I ran my first 5k without walk breaks since …. April? May? I can’t remember when I really stopped running in my pregnancy but it’s been a good 6-7 months since I ran that far. It certainly wasn’t fast (38 minutes) but it felt so good to finish. There is a marathon here in September I’ve thought about doing, but just don’t know if I’ll have the time to train. My focus for the next few months will be getting my 5k time down via speed work 1-2x a week. There are a lot of 5k’s here starting in April/May that I’d love to run. My 5k PR is 25:15 so ultimately I’d like to sub 25 minutes.

Now that the fudge is out of the house (for now, I’m making a few more batches this week for a cookie swap and Christmas dinner at a friends house) my diet was pretty healthy. A giant Greek salad for lunch, and equally massive chocolate protein shake for dinner. Breakfast is always oatmeal and Mothers Milk tea to help with my supply. In addition to those three meals I eat a lot of snacks; nuts, cheese, crackers…. Pretty much every two hours I’m eating whatever I can get my hands on.

Yesterday we went out to eat at the Cookie Jar. It was highly recommended so we were looking forward to trying it out. We heard it can be quite busy so opted to go for a late lunch around 2. Of course the moment we sat down the baby started to fuss so we alternated standing up with him and walking him around. He’s quiet the moment we stand up, so I ate lunch one handed. He fell asleep right when the check came. Perfect timing, kiddo.
Cookie Jar I has their “Becca” black bean burger with guacamole on top. Why have I never thought to put guac on a burger?? It was so good! The fries were perfect as well. Super crispy and nicely seasoned. We ordered a dessert to split, the Savannah, which was some rum infused angel food cake concoction and we were both underwhelmed with it. Cookie Jar Fairbanks Even though I promised myself I wouldn’t buy anymore Christmas decorations this year I totally did. In my defense they were 60% off at Michaels, so the two items I got were originally $25 marked down to $10, and we had an additional 15% off coupon. So, they were basically free. How could I resist this cute little Santa? Santa
I also made a stop into Ulta to use the rest of the Christmas money my parents sent me. They had a great sale on Boots and Redken items and I needed some new shampoo + conditioner and face lotion. I am obsessed with the Boots micro-dermabrasion exfoliator. Since having a baby I’ve been spending more attention on taking care of myself and doing things that make me feel….nice. Long baths, expensive lotions, face products I wouldn’t normally use. I get so little time to myself now that when I do get that time it feels extra special to spend it in a way that makes me feel better. The Boots exfoliator makes my skin feel baby soft, and I’ve never used a night cream before but my skin is getting so dry acclimating to Alaska weather that I wanted to try one out. So far I’m equally impressed with the lotion. No breakouts, which is pretty much the one thing I really require from a face product. I just ran out of my Burts Bees eye serum this week so I want to replace that before my 20% off coupon from Ulta expires tomorrow. Any suggestions? Preferably one that makes me look like I’ve slept more than three hours in a row and erases all wrinkles. That would be grrrreat. Ulta haulA new online test scoring project started this week so I’ll be trying to cram in as many hours on that as possible this weekend. Travis has the next two weeks off so the timing is perfect (the job is set to end mid-January.) We are hoping to drive to Chena Hot Springs today to walk around and tour the ice museum. I’m a bit nervous about driving 2.5 hours round trip with little man, but I’m trying to get out of the house as much as possible and find fun things to do here during the winter. The lack of sunlight and inability to stay outside for long has officially gotten to me. At least the Winter Solstice is this weekend, and that marks the shortest day of the year, and every day after will gain a little bit more light each day until the Summer Solstice. When we will have 20 hours of sun and I’ll complain about that.

What are you up to this weekend?

Please tell me you know of a magic eye cream.

Haircut

I had a great week of workouts!

Saturday: 2 mile walk with babe (so a 10 pound weighted vest basically!)

Sunday: 5k run + 2 mile walk

Monday: T25 + 5k walk

Tuesday: 5k run + 2 mile walk

Wednesday: REST

Thursday: 2 mile walk

Friday: 5k run. My last in Florida!

I’ve been trying to soak up this Florida weather as much as possible. Little man seems to love going on walks, which we sadly won’t be able to do for a while in Alaska, so I’ve taken him out almost every day for an hour before dinner.

I’m still not running more than 1.5 miles at a time, so all my 5k runs this week have included some walk breaks. Even still I finished my 5k Tuesday in about 42 minutes and was thrilled!
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Whenever I go out with the baby I take shaded routes so he doesn’t get too much sun, and put one of his little hats on to cover his bald head. He will stay awake the first 5-10 minutes and then pass out the rest of the time. I usually listen to podcasts/periscopes on blogging while I walk and it’s such a nice break to be outside!

I’m still on my salad a day kick. Dad makes me these amazing salads before work every day when he makes one for himself.
SaladMom made these taco bowls last night that I’ll be making next week in Alaska. I’m just going to cook up a bunch of brown rice and everything else is just thrown into the bowl cold. So easy! She had some buffalo ranch dressing I used on it as well that really brought everything together. Salad1It had been a few months since my last haircut so I finally got in and had a few inches taken off. I know you can hardly even tell. I keep thinking of chopping a good amount of length off, but always chicken out!
HaircutWe are about 24 hours away from boarding and apparently there’s a hurricane heading toward our first layover (Dallas.) Awesome. I can just imagine how fun it would be getting stuck in an airport for 24 hours with a 6 week old baby. Hopefully the weather calms down by the time we fly in.

I’ve got so much left to do before we leave. Packing mostly, and some random errands around town. This month has flown by and it’s surreal to think I’ll be in Alaska tomorrow!

What are you up to this weekend?

How soon ahead to you pack for trips?

10 Ways to Find Your Next Race

September 30th, 2015 | Posted by Erica House in Fitness - (8 Comments)
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Since becoming an obsessive runner a few years ago I’ve spent hours pouring over websites trying to find races. Finding my next race wasn’t always as straight-forward as I would have anticipated. There are hundreds of different websites that all list different races, and it seems like there isn’t one central location to find information on all the races at once.

I certainly don’t plan on running anytime soon, but I hope to start doing some run/walk intervals after my six week checkup in a few weeks. I’ve already started looking around at what races are coming up in Alaska. We will be living near a town called North Pole so they have lots of holiday themed runs, and there’s a Winter solstice run in December where you run from sun up to sun down and see who can get the most miles in. Of course the time the sun is out is only four freaking hours at that point! I will definitely be doing that race before we leave just so I can say I ‘ran an entire day’ once.

Here are my top 10 favorite websites and ways to find races.

Find Your Next Race

1. Running in the USA. Always my first stop when searching for a race. Seems to be the most comprehensive and up to date.

2. Runners World Race Finder.

3. Active.com’s Race Finder.

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My Dad (the 5 or 6x marathoner!) and I after my first marathon

4. Cool Running Race Finder.

5. Road Race Runner.

6. Run Locator.

Country Music Marathon

Foam rolling in the parking lot after the Country Music Marathon!

7. RunKeeper’s Race Finder.

8. Running Bug (for my UK friends!)

9. Rock N Roll Marathon Series. I’m an ambassador for this race series because it’s freaking awesome and they have races all over the world. I’ve run the Country Music Marathon in Nashville and the New Orleans Half and loved both of them. You can use code RUNWITHERICA to get $15 off your registration!

Pensacola marathon1The marathon my husband and I ran the day after our wedding!

10. Finally, my favorite way to find races is to look for a local running store. Usually they will have a race calendar that lists all the local 5k’s that hardly ever make it onto the main websites listed above.

Half Marathon1Half Marathon with Pops!

How do you normally find races? 
How many races do you do a year?

Something weird happens when you sign up to do a trail race in a small city.

You actually have a chance of placing top 3 in your age group even if you are, comparatively, pretty slow.

Travis and I have been looking forward to doing the Love 2 Run’s 5k for Wounded Warriors for a few weeks. It was out first race together on a trail that Travis loves and it supports an incredible cause. Saturday morning we were up and full of energy! It was cute to see how Travis acted the morning of a race. He’s always a morning person but we were both more energetic and happier than usual.2014-08-16 07.17.52-2The race started at 8 a.m. and my main goal was to finish injury free. I’ve ran the course a few times with Travis and it’s challenging so I was worried I’d slip and hurt myself in the middle of marathon training. I didn’t have any real expectations on finish time since I’m running 40-50 miles a week now and not focusing very much on speedwork. I do one speed session a week where I run intervals at a 9 minute pace, but my prior 5k PR was done at an 8:15 pace.

I told Travis I’d be thrilled if I came in under 27 minutes. I decided to try and do an 8:40 pace and that’s almost exactly what I ended up doing. Travis has a little bit of a problem pacing himself so he gunned it at the beginning and ran the first mile in under 6 minutes! Travis ended up setting a PR with a finish time of 23:08 and I came in at 27:05.

The race didn’t use electronic timers on the bibs so we immediately went over to where the finishers were being organized by time and one of the guys was writing down the top 3 in each category. They came to Travis’s number first and he came in 1st place in his age group! This is the first time he’s placed and he killed it. About 20 minutes later we were still anxiously standing behind the guys watching them fill the form out and I could see them putting names down in my age group. I knew it would be close so I didn’t want to get my hopes up, so I was thrilled when I saw I came in 3rd. This was our first race together, and the first time either of us placed!
2014-08-16 08.48.03After we finished creeping we headed over to the area where the awards ceremony was going to take place. 2014-08-16 08.54.50For a 5k the race perks were unbelievable. Most 5k’s I do you get a shirt when you pick up your packets and a banana at the end. That’s it. Our race bags had a shirt, gu, honey stingers, KT tape samples, a koozie, pen, and a pedometer. The post race treats included freaking frozen yogurt, and the usual oranges and bananas. I grabbed two of the yogurts. Probably not the brightest idea since I had to run another 5 miles after the award ceremony (in ridiculous Alabama afternoon heat – got to love marathon training!)

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The award ceremony was simple – just called our names up to get the medal. Since Travis came in first he also got a gift certificate for a free pair of swiftwick socks & some more gu (and he gave both to me. awwww.)

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After the awards they had some raffle prizes to give away. Everyone who raced had their names entered and one of the prizes was a 1 hour massage. If you weren’t at the award ceremony when they called your name they picked another. When the massage came up everyone wanted it and the first few names didn’t get called and suddenly …. while he’s chanting under his breath “call my name, call my name” … they call out Travis’s name! I told him I must be his good luck charm he had such a great day.

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2014-08-16 11.45.55For a girl who just started running two years ago, and whose first 5k was 31 minutes, I’m pretty damn proud of myself. Travis said we have to start working on speed more so we can start winning all the races.

Yeah, like that’s going to happen!

Have you even won a sporting event?

Workout Wrap Up

Saturday: 6 miles (11:10 pace)

Sunday: 12 miles (10:40)

Monday: 6 miles (10:50) + T25 Core Speed

Tuesday: 4×1200 (9:00 pace) total of 6 miles (9:40 pace) + PiYo Define Lower Body

Wednesday: PiYo Define Upper Body & Sweat

Thursday: 10 miles (7 @ 10:00 pace)

Friday: 6 miles (11:00)

Total Miles: 46

For the first time in months I went 7 days without a rest day. Normally I rest on Wednesdays but my PiYo DVD’s came in the mail on Monday and I was just so excited to try them out! I won’t do that again while marathon training as that tempo run on Thursday was rough.

This weekend will be my last here in Alabama. I’ve been up here for about two weeks staying with Travis since I had time off between semesters. It’s been amazing to be able to see him every day and I don’t know how I’m going to transition back into only seeing him on the weekends. Thankfully, I’ll be so busy with my usual blog, writing, training and teaching 5 classes this Fall that I will have lots to do to keep busy until the coveted Friday night!

Running on post has been a struggle, but I’ve finally found routes that I really enjoy. The sunrises here are incredible.

Rucker1I love how run-friendly the post is. All the drivers are extremely cautious and move way out of their way when they see me coming. Other runners, usually military, always say hello (I can’t count how many times I’ve been called mam this week) and they have a great track for doing speed work on. I ran this loop about 6 times yesterday for my 10 miler and got to watch all the soldiers doing their PT. I also got to see my baby driving by on his way to work as I was hitting the 7.2 mile mark and it was just the motivation I needed to finish strong!
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After that run I came home and had the best breakfast ever. I’ve been obsessed with Udi’s GF bagels with onion and chive cream cheese. I received this Vega recovery accelerator to try months ago and figured after a 10 mile tempo run it was the perfect time to use it. The taste was great! I put it in the blender with some water, ice, and half a frozen banana so it was about 125 calories. It’s supposed to:

  • Replenish energy and electrolytes
  • Reduce inflammation, muscle, and joint pain
  • Support immune system function
  • Reduce recovery time

Since I’ve only used it once I can’t really tell how effective it is. The reviews for it on Amazon are incredible, and I’ve had many people tell me on Twitter they swear it helps cut down recovery time. At $1.50 a serving it may be something I invest in when classes start to use after my 2 hard runs each week.

BreakfastDinners this week have been super simple. An omelet and roasted veggies. Travis and I both love roasting up huge pans of veggies to have on hand for the week as it’s such a simple way to make sure your getting your daily veggie quota. I’ll cut up two giant bins of them (pictured below) and roast up a pan at a time at 450F for about 30 minutes. I’ll drizzle some olive oil and salt on them while they are on the pan before I put them in. Our favorite veggies to roast are asparagus, broccoli, carrots, parsnips, cauliflower, brusslel sprouts, and broccoli.  The USDA suggests adults get 2-3 cups of veggies a day and we hit that goal usually with just dinner. VeggiesMy shakeology arrived last weekend so I’ve been having one a day usually with lunch or as an afternoon snack. I will be doing a full review of it (and the PiYo program) next week but for now I love the vegan chocolate flavor way more than the strawberry, it keeps me full for about 4 hours, and I have noticed a significant decrease in my cravings!
ShakeologyI’ve spent a lot of time this week getting ready for my Fall classes. I don’t care how old I get I will always geek out when new school supplies start to hit the shelves. I love organizing and planning (and have a post coming Monday that talks about that!) While staying with Travis I spent most mornings working on the blog/freelance work, and after a 7th Heaven lunch break would spend the afternoons getting my syllabi ready and preparing my lecture slides. I can’t wait to meet my students!
deskTomorrow morning Travis and I are running out first race together. It’s a trail 5k in Dothan and if I’m being 100% honest we are both secretly hoping to place in our age groups. I really have no idea how fast I’ll be able to go since I’m in the midst of marathon training and just ran 46 miles this week, but I’m going to give it my best and hope all of the fast 30-34 year old females decided to sleep in this weekend.
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Remember the killer Theragesic Giveaway I hosted earlier this month? Congratulations to the winners!  Julie Brew Finlayson (Grand Prize winner) and Bert Ruiz & Katie Walsh (Runners Up.)

I’m actually sad that this post has to end because it means the next post you will likely see I will be writing it from Pensacola and my summer break is official over.

I will console myself by looking at fall scented candles online at Bath & Body works and daydream of cute Fall boots and sweaters, and cold cuddle weather.

What are your weekend plans?
What do you look forward to most about the Fall?