Connect the Dots Ginger | Becky Allen: July 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vega Sport's Electrolyte Hydrator Review

A Couple of weeks ago I was give the opportunity through Sweat Pink to try out Vega Sport's Electrolyte Hydrator as part of their #fuelyourbetter campaign. I was super excited to try this out because I have never tried Vega products before and am always up to try new things that help keep me hydrated and are ok to use while nursing! 

Since I am not familiar with the Vega brand, I checked out their website and all of their products are plant based, gluten free and non GMO. They have many products for sport and also for everyday use. They have smoothie mixes, energy bars, things to use to help prep for exercise, to use during and after exercise to help with recovery, and many, many more products. All their products are good for you and for the environment so I be sure to check them out!
As a nursing mom it is so important for me to remain hydrated so that I can feed my son efficiently. I am drinking a TON of water every day. Drinking plain old water can get boring. The Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrators are individually wrapped so no measuring needed to get the right amount and it is easy to pour into a 16 oz water bottle, shake it up and I'm ready to go. Love how convenient it is and easy for this busy momma of 2! And zero calories, so it is great that it won't add to my calorie count when I am trying to stay as fit as possible and try to lose this baby weight safely! 

Per Vega's website:

A natural, alkaline-forming drink mix, free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator is formulated with all the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated during workouts.  

With zero calories per serving, Electrolyte Hydrator tastes great, so you can sip it not just during your workout, but throughout the day to: 

Replenish electrolytes and minerals
Enhance metabolism and alkalinity
Provide antioxidant protection

It's Available in Lemon Lime and Berry flavors.

I received the Berry flavor and it mixes well with the recommend 16 ounces of water. I choose to sip all day long, since I need the contestant hydration. I enjoyed the taste, it is a little more sweet than I was expecting and tastes similar to other water flavoring options available however this has the added benefit of electrolyte balancing. This would be great to have in one of my running drinks to help sustain my longer runs! I think it's great! 

QOTD: How do you fuel your better? Tag #fuelyourbetter, #vegasport, @SunKissedBecky on Instagram! 

Disclaimer: Although this product was given to me, all opinions are my own.

PiYo Week 2

I just finished my second full week of PiYo Monday! YEA for working out 7 days last week. 6 days were PiYo! I am sure feeling it though this past week. This is the week where my body was screaming at me to stop because it was working so hard. I pushed myself a little harder and tried to stick the positions longer. My arms were shaking, my legs were shaking and I have gotten better with some of the exercises. I have learned to modify them to fit my body while still getting a great workout.

My shoulders though are super weak! I had to drop my arms quite a bit this week to let them rest for just a second. But when I felt that need to drop them I held it 2 seconds longer just to strengthen them and show my body who is boss! So my goal for this week is to keep my arms up longer, to strengthen my shoulders more. Also to spend more time in a regular plank. I tried each day to try holding a plank position at least 1 time. Time to increase it to 2. (Maybe this is the real reason why my shoulders are so SORE!)

Core was AMAZING! BY THE WAY! I really enjoyed the core workout. And I felt it the next day in my obliques, just below my ribs. It was amazing but OUCH! So I really look forward to doing core 2 TIMES this coming week, plus we throw in BUNS!

Adding a new section this week with showing how much weight I have lost and inches lost. I will do this ever 2 weeks.

Weight Lost: 0
Inches Lost: 6.25

BTW!!! Today, JULY 31 is the LAST day to get the PiYo Challenge Pack at a discounted sales price plus you will get a free EXTRA CD! CLICK HERE TO GET IT TODAY!

Monday, July 28, 2014

July Week 3 Workout Recap

~So in love with these two!~

One more week done in July and only one more week left to go. Sad to see this month ends, as I am in the final days of maternity leave. I begin teaching again soon. I love teaching, but I also love staring at my babies all day long and playing. I am super excited to see how much my students have changed in the last 3 months and excited for them to meet Collin as most haven't met him yet.

This past week has been a great one for me workout wise. I am still going strong with PiYo, and it is still kicking my butt! I will give my week 2 recap of PiYo later this week!

I also did a great speed walk with Collin on me on Saturday. My legs were screaming at me yesterday for it though. I am going to try to incorporate a daily walk into my routine. I should be able to walk, and that way I am still getting my mileage in. I have yet to start running because other things have come up but my plan is to start running in August on a regular basis. (Which was my plan all along, funny how things happen that way)

Workout Recap: 
Sunday: Double Duty Routine. PiYo: Define Upper and Lower
Monday: PiYo: Sweat
Tuesday: PiYo: Define Lower
Wednesday: PiYo: Core- spent 4 hours cleaning rental house to sell
Thursday: PiYo: Define Upper
Friday: PiYo: Sweat
Saturday: 2.5 mile speed walk

Total Mileage: 2.5 miles
9 weeks postpartum

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Shakeology, I LOVE YOU!

So I am convinced, truly convinced, that this stuff is MAGIC! It's been 2 weeks that I have been on Shakeology and I LOVE IT! Here's why:

I have lost 2.5 lbs in 2 weeks. I am not starving at all! I FEEL GREAT! I don't have to take a nap anymore during the day because I have energy to get me through the day. I don't crave candy, sugar, sweets, or salty foods. I have had an increase in my milk production (not that you are going to start producing milk if you drank it, but I am getting the things my body needs to make more beneficial milk for my little guy!) And I feel like I am cheating on my "diet" because I get to have a yummy chocolate shake!

So I hadn't lost any weight since 3 weeks postpartum. I actually gained weight because my milk came in and stabilized, so I was stuck at 3 lbs above my pre-pregnancy weight for this pregnancy for 5 weeks. I know that doesn't seem so bad, but I have some weight to lose and I want to do it in a healthy way so that I can still provide the food that my son needs. It is really hard to find that line of eating too little and eating too much. But I have finally found it and it is with drinking a meal replacement shake! I don't know about you but have you ever done Slim-fast? I have. I have done it with tons of exercise, without exercise, and just to help maintain. Well with Slim-fast I was always starving. I felt hungry because I wasn't getting everything that my body needed. And about 1 time every 2 weeks I would binge on sugars and things that my body needed to replenish itself. No joke, but I have not had the urge to go binge eating in the last 2 weeks. I don't crave sugar or sweets or salty things anymore. (THAT IS HUGE FOR ME!) I crave clean food. Simple food. Chicken, eggs, fruit, butternut squash soup with amazing spices in it that I don't know what they are cause we get them from our favorite Afghan restaurant but it is clean food! I still can't eat salads, they make me gag, but I can eat other veggies and I plan on adding kale to my shakes this week to get more of the yummy goodness in my body.
~LOVE This commercial with Tony Horton!~
Matt, my husband, has been on Shakeology for the past week and he is enjoying it too. He has lost 5 lbs! SAY WHAT!?! I am so jealous! This is a guy who has been complaining for over a year because he couldn't lose weight and was too close a number he didn't ever want to be near and has now lost 5 lbs in 2 full weeks! SO UNFAIR! But, here's why. He is eating clean food. He is exercising hard everyday or almost everyday, doing an hour of cardio or weight training or cardio and weight training. He is eating the right portions too. but he also is eating pizza, and popcorn on a regular basis. He doesn't crave it he just likes to eat it and he is still losing weight! SO UNFAIR, I say again! So combining Shakeology with some serious exercise is a must!

That's 2 of us drinking Shakeology a day. We are not eating out as much and saving money and that is how we can afford to do this. Our purse strings are pretty tight right now because we are trying to sell our other house and that means we are paying 2 mortgages. My families health is so important that to me that we are making this work. If you really want to commit to yourself and lose the weight you find a way to make it happen. That's all it comes down to. Anyone can do this you just have to commit to it.

The stuff is awesome, I love it and am so glad that my friend Janet told me about it. If you have any questions about it, leave a comment, send me an email, just contact me because it really is that amazing and I can help you get it!

QOTD: Have you ever tried another kind of meal replacement? Have you heard of Shakeology before? 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Exercise, Eat, Ignore, You

I saw this on Facebook this past week and fell in love with it! Seriously this just defines me right now in my life.

EXERCISE: I will never, ever be skinny. My BFF she will, and my BFF from high school was and still is skinny. I was never skinny in High school and I will never be skinny now. But I can be fit. That is what I want, to be fit and healthy.

EAT: I have been learning and trying to eat to nourish my body. I still can't get greens down for the life of me. Seriously, I gag on anything green unless it is hidden in something else. A salad, nope can't even get them down. I think I had 5 bites and I almost threw it back up, but I am making smart choices in what I do eat, trying to follow the nutrition plan that was made for me by my nutritionist a couple years ago. A nursing plan that allows me to eat enough calories but still produce milk for Collin. Plus with Shakeology, I know that it is super healthy for me! It has super foods and minerals and vitamins in it that I don't normally get. It tastes great and has everything that I need to fuel my body, and I don't have to think about that meal for the day. It is done!
IGNORE: Ignore those naysayers. The ones that say, nope you can lose the weight. I personally don't have any naysayers because I have done it before but the one voice I do need to ignore is my own sometimes. Yep, I doubt myself and my ability to actually lose the weight again. I want to lay on the couch with Collin and watch Fringe re-runs and be lazy, but I also want to be here for them for as long as possible. I want to run after them, ride bikes with them, and most of all play with my grandchildren. I want to be healthy for them. All my children and their children, and if I live long enough their children. So I am constantly working on my own mind that I have lost the weight before I can totally do it again!

YOU: I am worth a lot more that I realize and I am learning that. I have 2 children who rely on my me. Love me and I have a lot to teach them, lead them, help develop them into great young men who respect their bodies, and want to be healthy. And someday when I have a little girl, for her not to ever hate her body or size and appreciate how beautiful she is. And to have enough respect to take care of it and protect it. I am a mother! I have such an amazing job of raising the next generation and I will honor my "job" by being the best example for my kids as possible and that means to be healthy and stick around as long as possible!

QOTD: What was the first thing you thought about when you read the quote above? 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Who's Supporting Who?

I seriously love this! Being a military wife I am so impressed with the actions of all involved with this act of kindness. The race benefits the Pat Tillman Foundation which provides scholarships to military veterans and their spouses. So the runners were supporting military families and a vet was supporting the runners! Win, win in my opinion! Way to go runners, you did good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

PiYo Week 1

So I have been doing PiYo for a whole week now. What do I think of it? IT IS GREAT! Granted I have only done a few of the DVD's and I suspect the "easier" ones to get used to it first but so far really so good. There are only a few moves that I really can't do very well due to flexibility and balance and some because my belly is still too big but I have learned to modify them enough to still get a good workout.

-->I have already LOST ONE POUND In 1 Week! And this was the "easy" week of getting to know PiYo! (I have not lost any weight since 3 weeks postpartum)<--

Here are a few observations so far:

~Sweating- I am sweating after every single workout! It feels great to really sweat and know that I am doing work! They are fast moving enough that I am getting a good workout in without dying though and I can really feel the stretch before we move on to the next stretch.

~Stretching- I am feeling the stretch! I am following the cues that Chalene is giving about lifting my tail bone in a certain move or squaring off my hips and I feel the stretch so much more deeply.

~Flexibility- I feel a little more flexible but no splits for me yet! Can't lift my leg very high in the downward dog split.

~Strength- I have felt the most soreness in my arms and shoulders. It is a lot of planks and downward dogs and I have always felt them more in my weakest muscle, my shoulders. But I also have noticed, on Sunday, that they are getting stronger. I was able to go up into a plank instead of a modified plank for 5 whole seconds without my core and arms shaking like a mad person!

I have had less lower back pain this past week and I think that is because my back is finally getting stretched. My chiropractor, who I am seeing every 2 weeks right now, was pleased with my back and hip alignment this past week. Since I had Collin my body wasn't holding the adjustments but this past appointment on Thursday he said that it is doing really well. Hoping to get cleared for every 4 weeks by the next adjustment this week. (I have a massage on Wednesday and will get an adjustment just before.)

So my 1st week review of PiYo is I really like it. It is entertaining. The music is fun. Chalene is great and funny and I can feel a difference in my arms strength wise. I will have another review at 30 days in.

If you are interested in joining me in my journey or in a PiYo challenge group in the next few weeks let me know here! or EMAIL me!!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

July Week 2 Workout Recap

Already over halfway through with July! CRAZY! This week has been crazy. We have my first week on PiYo and Shakeology by Beachbody. Mason turned 3 years old. Collin is 8 weeks old and I am 8 weeks postpartum.

So keeping this purely about my weekly workout recap here I go. The others will be found here later this week. I am so happy to be able to exercise again. Things are going great. Breaking a nice sweat and really feeling my legs, arms and shoulders get nice and sore. Not too sore but a good sore. PiYo has been great. Took it easy to learn all the moves and watch more of the DVD so this week will be a different story. By the end of the week I was feeling stronger in my core and legs and definitely in my arms.

Goals for this week: 

1) Get my food more in control. Follow my nutritionist diet plan that I have and make sure I am eating enough calories! (yes, I need to actually eat more. I am falling under and if it wasn't for Shakeology I think my milk supply would diminish a little but it has been pretty good!)

2) Push harder during my PiYo exercises. Really feel the burn more this week.

3) Work with the hubs to schedule 2 running days during the week. Need to start getting this in if I am going to be running. And to do running this Saturday with the training program. Going to be leaving Collin with Matt so I can do my run!

Workout Recap: 

Sunday: rest
Monday: PiyYo: Alignment
Tuesday: PiYo: Define Lower
Wednesday: PiYo: Define Upper
Thursday: Sweat
Friday: Rest (made a cake and could barely eat it, too sugary!)
Saturday: 1/2 mile walk plus walking around Washington DC, which is actually a lot of walking. Est. about 2 miles.

Total mileage: about 2.5 miles
8 weeks postpartum

Friday, July 18, 2014

Mason IS 3!!!

Out of the terrible 2's to the troublesome 3's, here we come! (actually I think he arrived here a while ago.) So happy to have Mason in our lives! He is our little miracle baby and life is so much fun watching you learn and grow.

This year you have learned to really talk! Now you are counting and using full sentences. It impresses us every single day how much you are learning and growing. Thank you for blessing our lives with your awesomeness! You also became a big brother this year and you are an amazing big brother! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH BUDDY!
This morning was spent opening gifts and playing with the balloons in his room that he woke up to and watching his year in review slideshows. It's so impressive how much he has changed in the last year. Today we have a jammed packed day of going to Bounce-n-Play, playing in the kiddo pool out back and eating an EPIC birthday cake that I am making for him today! Just you wait, it is going to be AWESOME!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Running Tips and Tricks: Clothing

Remember that good ol' saying, "Running doesn't cost anything, just open the front door and go!" Well, that statement is true to a point. It depends on how much you want to pursue running but eventually continuing running will cost something. It is best to be well prepared and as safe as possible and when running often what you are wearing can help you or hurt you.

Shoes: Are a must investment. I am all about pinching pennies and all but when it goes to keeping my body healthy and fewer discomforts when I am exercising than I will spend what needs to be spent. And shoes are the first thing I invest in when running. I can't really say that my running shoes are my most expensive shoe in my closet but they are the most expensive shoe that I wear on a regular basis. (I have gotten my money worth!) Go to an actual running store. Every medium to large city has one. The kind where they actually watch you when you are running or jogging in the shoes that you are trying on. You need the shoe that fits your stride. It makes a difference. It can help you be faster, reduce shin splints, or other aliments that you can get from incorrect shoes support.

Apparel:  This is the next area where I really try to get the right stuff.

Running tops: Make sure that you get the right running tops. I started out exercising in my cotton tanks. I got them from a running store though and wasn't educated on what was the proper top to wear. I bought them originally when I was doing all indoor exercising in an air conditioned facility with a fan blowing on me. I didn't sweat all that much and when I did it was on the way home and time to go. Last summer when I joined the 4 miler training program I wore those tops. (I even raced in them you can see them in my first couple of races the green and yellow tanks.) At the training program they educated us on what not to wear and what to wear. They were right, because of my cotton tank they got saturated in sweat and it was just so hot to wear them. I noticed a HUGE difference when I started to wear teach shirts. Tech shirts wick moisture away from your body and it evaporates so much more easily keeping you cool and dry. They are awesome. One draw back though, they can smell really bad after awhile. When washing follow the label on how to wash. DON'T use fabric softener.

They are more pricy though, check with the local running stores to see if they have any discounted shirts. Sometimes races have extra and might sell them for cheap, cheap just to unload them. So ask around! They are worth the investment though.

Bottoms: Make sure again that you have running bottoms. Shorts that have the fit dry capability that keep you dry and cool are great. There are also super sassy and cute running skirts. The skirts have either a brief or shorts under them or you provide your own shorts. One thing that is a must when running especially in briefs is anti-chaffing cream for your inner thighs or anything that rubs a lot when running. Body Glide is my personal favorite.

Socks: Socks are the next investment. Again you don't want moisture building up where it shouldn't because you are prone to get more blisters due to the moisture and friction rubbing. I used the Thorolo Experia Ultra lightweight socks for my 1/2 marathon and the couple of long runs prior to try them out.

Accessories: A hat for super sunny days is also good to have. Make sure that the hat has perforations in it thought so that your head doesn't overheat. Or a visor (as 80's as it is) is a great thing to try out too. It keeps the sun out of your eyes and some of your face. I also like to wear a headband to keep all stray hairs out of my face! I HATE IT when I have a hair on my face that is dripping sweat and it won't go away. I have tried 3 different non-slip varieties and found that BAMRbands are my fav! I guess I have a funky head shape because all the bands slipped off my head except for the BAMRbands! And Katie, the owner and mastermind, has super cute designs! I am building quite the collection!

Also tutu's are fun to have BUT you must do a run prior to your first race wearing them. Tutu's can be fun but if it is the wrong length it can become annoying because the tulle will get caught between your legs and rub. Janet my fellow pink lady ended up running a race with her tutu pulled up super high because she kept having to pull it from between her legs. Also try not to get the tutu's with glitter on it because they use glue to adhere that glitter on it and it can run and you will get covered in glitter. But they are fun when you get the right length and get used to them. I feel like I am flying sometimes in mine because it bounces so much! RaceJunkie is where I purchased in the past.

Hopefully these tips and tricks help you with your running! 

QOTD: What are your must haves for running? Fav brands? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon Sign Up TODAY!

Who's signing up for the 1/2 marathon today??? Not I, said this ginger! Not this coming year at least. I will run it again, at some point but not this coming year. Why you ask? Well, I would love to run in the Disney Wine and Dine 1/2 in November of 2015 and Disney races are a little pricey and require me to save up some money. But for those of you who are going to be signing up today, here is some advice I would love to share with you!

1. Sign up early. IT WILL SELL OUT QUICKLY! This race is becoming more and more popular every year. The more people are doing it the more want to do it. So registration opens at 12 eastern. SET YOU ALARM! And sign up.

2. Pre-decide if you want to run the glass slipper challenge so that you are not sitting and waiting and deciding to do that or not. It is difficult! I was on the fence and decided as I was signing up that it would have been too much for me as it was my first 1/2 marathon. Glad that I didn't sign up for it since I was 29 weeks pregnant!

3. Once you sign up, start saving your money! The race itself is expensive but so is going to WDW! Hotel, the expo, and of course going to the park wearing your medal after you run the race. It adds up and take my advice, don't start saving for the trip in December. Start saving some money now!

4. Do not train for the 15 min/mile that they suggest if you plan on peeing during the race. Or taking pictures with characters. Just don't! Or hold it for the entire 3 hours and 30 minutes it will take to finish. If you are training at the 15 min/mile exactly know that there are natural choke points and you will have to slow down or walk to get through. (Like down main street or going through the castle.) Corrals A-C don't have to deal with this but if you are in Corrals L-O you better believe that yes you will have to slow down! It is just what it is. There are so many people and the bathroom lines and picture lines get so long that you are going to be strapped for time and watching you back for the sweepers. I was running a consistent 14:30 up until mile 10. I had 4 potty breaks. No pictures with characters. I had to walk the last 3 miles because my body was done. I came in over the time limit and everyone behind me was saying, "The sweepers were coming" When we hit the on ramp loop on the way to Epcot. That was the big fear, the sweepers! So decide now what pace you are going to train at and try to train at it and maybe just a hair faster! That's my 2 cents!

5. Have fun! This is a fun race. As hard as it was for me and as frustrated I was knowing that I was going to come in over the recommended time at just 3 miles in because the bathroom lines were so long, I still had an amazing time! It truly was magical. I will never forget the relief that I felt crossing that finish line with my best friend and knowing that I was done and I did it. Still kicking myself for not getting a decent pic of me wearing my finishers medal just after the race. Oh well, something for next time!

But seriously, DO THIS RACE! At least once. IT is amazing to be surrounded by so many strong, and beautiful women (and some men too) running. Looking at our society with how many people are overweight, how many children are overweight and we had 24,000 women running in the race. And they weren't the same 24,000 from the previous year or the other years. Most of the women running are mothers, being a great example to their children of showing their dedication, effort and determination to run in a race that is physically and mentally challenging! Their children appreciate what their mother is doing, and along the way the child will learn that exercise can actually be fun and uplifting but hard work. It is getting our children to be more active when they see their parents being active. Live by example people! That is what we need to do!

Hope you sign up! WELL WORTH IT! Well done RunDisney for providing such an amazing experience! CLICK HERE to go to the registration page!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day 1- Piyo

Today marks my day 1 of doing Piyo by Beachbody! And started Shakeology. I'm a little nervous to say the least. To commit to 60 days doesn't seem like a lot but it really is. And for someone who has lost a lot of their strength, yeah I'm a little nervous.

Can you believe that a lot of my strength is gone! It is a really funny thing. Right after you have a baby, any strength you had in your arms, legs and core are just GONE! I have no idea why (except for the core, being stretched as much as it was, I get that one.) But arms and legs so weird. So I have a lot of strength to build up in my legs and arms over the next 6 weeks.

What I'm looking forward to most, is my core strength. I have never really worked on core strength and I keep hearing over and over how great it is to work on for runners. We need a stable core for proper running stance. But I have a little extra fluff in my tummy from both kids and I am looking forward to that going down a bit!

So here we go! I will have a weekly recap of how it is going so stay tuned!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

It All Begins...Tomorrow

Here we go! The beginning of my in home exercise program begins tomorrow with Piyo by Beachbody! My friend Janet told me about Piyo after I mentioned that wanted to take yoga and pilates at the gym when I go back. So why not combine the two together, right? Since I can't go back to the gym anytime soon I had to take matters into my own hands and so here we have it.

I am part of a support group and I am super excited to do this challenge program with a ton of other people. Have you ever been part of an exercise support group??? Do you wanna join one with me. Even if you aren't doing a "beach body" specific DVD we could still work together to get fit together. Let me know if you are interested in just needing daily motivation to get fit and go take that walk or what not!

On top of the DVD I am going to be trying out Shakeology. It is a meal replacement shake that you drink 1 time a day. It has more than 70 super nutritious ingredients and only costs about $4 a day. If you were to buy all the ingredients to match what is in the shake at the store than you would be spending about $42 A DAY! And for a busy mommy of 2 now not having to think, "What am I going to have for lunch today?" is priceless! Most people replace their breakfast, but I love my 2 eggs and oatmeal for breakfast too much to give up and I eat a very healthy breakfast in the first place. It is lunch that I struggle with! So please let me know if you are interested in a hassle free meal replacement shake that increases your energy, stops cravings and is a MOMMY PROOF easy option to help you lose weight!

Stay tuned here and check back OFTEN to see my progress and see how it is going! First goal is to make it through 1 week, then 2 weeks and so forth. Small goals to reach the bigger one!

Again if you are interested in more info about this challenge group or Shakeology let me know at my email!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Running Tips And Tricks: Breathing

I really love doing the 4 miler training program! I am meeting so many people each and every week and my goal is to talk to at least 5 new people and get to know them. Since I am a pink lady I often get asked questions about running. I am no expert on running but I tell them what works for me and we go from there. So today the topic is on BREATHING!

QUESTION: This is my first time adding running into my walking and I am having a hard time breathing. I can't catch my breath at all. What do I do?

Answer: You are exerting your body more than you have in a very long time. This is common. You are working hard. So your body is following suit. The harder we work the more our breath is shallow and rapid.

So First, when running breathing through your mouth so you are getting a full breath and not a constricted breath. Then, Focus on breathing in and out with the rhythm of your steps. I like to vary between breathing in for 3 steps and out for 2 or in for 2 and out for 2, depending on the speed and length of my run, hills or no hills and how humid it is.

Next, deep breaths are also key. Make sure when you are breathing you are breathing down into your belly and not into your lungs. (I am kind of a master at this as this is how you teach breathing for an instrument and since I teach french horn I talk about deep breathing ALL THE TIME!) Try right now, take a deep breath...ok now answer me this. Did you fill your chest (did your chest rise?) Or did your breath go into your belly (making your belly stick out a little more?) As females we don't like making our belly stick out and we actually have great abs because we suck in our bellies without thinking about it. But when running we need to be relaxed but stable in our abs and core and our breath should fill our belly not our lungs. NO SHALLOW BREATHS!

TIP: Practice deep breathing to a steady beat before you run to get a feel for how to fill your belly and not your lungs. Sit on the couch and put on your favorite moderate paced song and tap your foot to keep the beat. Breath in for 3 stomps filling all the way to your belly and out for 3 exhaling all of the air. And repeat a ton to get a good feel for it. Then try when running.

Question: Ouch! I am finally running and I am keeping my breathing under control but after some time I get a cramp in my side. How do I not get that or make it to go away?

Answer:  Welcome to the world of YOU ARE WORKING YOUR LUNGS AND THEY ARE FIGHTING YOU! But guess what? You are strong and your body will adjust over time to this and the stitch will go away. Or maybe every single time you run, at 17 minutes in, you will get a cramp in your right side just under your ribs and it feels like you can't take another breath but by 19 minutes it is gone and whew you can keep going! Welcome to my world!

Seriously, when I was running at a 12 min/mile at 17 min (1.5 miles) I always, ALWAYS got a cramp in my side for 2 minutes. I think though at some point during running you might always get a stitch because you are working your lungs so hard. I got one every time while training for my half marathon. Either you just get used to it as you train more or here is a tip on how to make them go away!

TIP: This was taught to me last year by another pink lady, Janet. Going back to foot falls. When you get a stitch reverse your foot falls with your breathing. HUH!?! Ok so if you are breathing in for 2 and out for 2, it is easier to think about, stick with me here, Ok so every time you start to breath in your right foot goes down. Then when you start to breath out your right foot goes down again. Now Switch it to have your breath begin with your left foot and out with your left foot. I don't know why this works but seriously IT DOES! And it works FAST! SUPER FAST! Maybe it gets your mind thinking about something else other than the pain I have no idea but it works!

QUESTION:  I hack up a lung every time I run. Am I ok?

ANSWER: This goes back to  YOU ARE WORKING YOUR LUNGS AND THEY ARE FIGHTING YOU! So my husband when he would do his Army physical fitness test he would push himself super hard with his running to make sure he came in at a good time. Often he would cough a ton afterwards and once he even coughed up blood. Just a little bit.(EWWWW) Well your lungs are being worked a ton. This is where training comes in. When we are training for a race we slowly increase our speed and increase our distance. We don't go out there and kill it every time and push ourselves to the max. And if you push too hard too fast your lungs are gong to fight you. Slowly increase your mileage and speed over weeks not a day. My hubs could run, but he would push himself too much on testing days. DON'T DO THAT!

Tip: If you notice that if you are coughing a lot after running, and it is super humid out. Next time slow down just a bit. The air is super thick because it is not moving at all. Our bodies have to work harder to move the air in and out of our lungs. Take it easy and don't over do it!

Running is meant to be fun. Don't over exert yourself because you want to keep coming back for more! Hope these tips help you in your training for your race or your everyday fun run!

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Thinking About Doing A Race?

Is this your first race ever, or your third 5k? How about your first 1/2 marathon or full marathon? You have made the decision that you want to run in a race. GREAT! It is such an amazing feeling to cross the finish line after all the hard work, time and dedication that you have put into doing this race.

Normally you don't just roll out of bed and say, "I'm gonna run a 1/2 marathon today!" NO WAY! (ok there might be some people that do do that but they have probably been running for years and can do that or this is a person that is just going to get hurt.) You must first train for it! Your body needs to get conditioned to the activity you are going to be doing to it. There are callouses that need to be built, strength that needs to be made and determination needs to be set in your mind to get through a race, any race! Here are some things to think about when deciding to start training for a race.

1. Be EXCITED! Be excited about the thought of your new race. Start to plan ahead on what you can do to be ready for it. Check out what you eat, make a food journal. Make a running journal so that in the future you can look back and see what worked and didn't work. Make this a lifestyle change and stick to it! Make a game plan too on how much you are going to run and when you are going to run. Find a training plan or join a local running group. runDisney has great training programs that can be modified to meet your needs. They have training programs for 10k's up to full marathon, with different levels of running to choose from. Novice to elite!

2. How's your body feel when exercising? Are you used to walking already? Or running? Do you have any aches or pains when you walk or do some running. If you have constant pain in your shins or body and it has been weeks and you are icing and using compression it's time to get the pain checked out! Either try out new running shoes or go see your doctor. (I love my chiropractor) Running is a high impact sport. There will be some aches and pains in the beginning but they should go away as you become more used to the movements and what you are putting your body through. Constant pain for a long period of time is not normal. GET IT CHECKED OUT! 

3. Eat Right! Eat to fuel your body. It takes the right foods to sustain the activity you are going to be doing. Find out the super foods that are great and gives you energy and keeps you satisfied for as long as possible. Also figure out what you are going to eat before you run and always do that. Prep for the race while you train. If you always eat a banana and a cliff bar before training, do that the morning of the race. Figure out what works and stick with it!

4. Coordinate with your family. This is a biggie. Seriously. Training for a race, any race takes a lot of planning for you and your family. Set a schedule to when you are going to run or exercise. I have to figure out a time I can go out and do my runs without Collin right now and I have to be back in a certain amount of time because he gets hungry and grumpy without me and I don't really want to spring a leak while I am running. Saturdays until September I am probably going to go out twice. Saturday mornings work with the training program then do my long run in the afternoon to make sure I am getting my mileage in. Also know that you might have to rest in the afternoon. I had to take a nap every single time after I had a long run. My body needed it. My mind needed it too. So prep your family that you are going to have to have nap time! Then there is race day. I haul my family with me early, early, early in the morning to get to the race, wait for me and watch me run then stay through the awards until it is time to go.

5. Work a race. Volunteers are amazing! They are the ones there super early, walk out to wherever they are working, cheer you on and stay until the last person passes them. They hand out water, often getting covered in spilled water. Pick up the trash, direct you to where you go so you don't get lost. I volunteered at my first race for the 4th of July and really tried to cheer everyone on as they passed! Especially the back of the pack because I know what it is like to be in the back and not have as many supporters cheering you on. I had a ton of fun and it was awesome to see the front of the pack, and the first person to come in and to walk in with the last. I had a lot of fun.

6. Get a buddy! Try to have a buddy that you can report your training to. See if they can be your running buddy either with you on actual running days or long distance. My BFF K was my running buddy as I trained for my 1/2 marathon. I would text her with my times after each time that I ran and she would congratulate me every single time. We would talk about what I was planning on running that weekend, often matching the mileage on my long runs (and kick my butt in the speed factor every time!) But it was awesome to have my running buddy to check in with and be held accountable with!

So plan wisely and you can go from the start line all the way to the finish!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

First Run After Baby

I stopped running at 30 weeks pregnant. I was no longer training for my 1/2 marathon and my body was just tired. That is also when I started to gain weight and for the first time in the pregnancy go over my pre-pregnancy weight. I did run short distances during my 40th week of pregnancy doing what I could to get the baby out! But not anywhere near what I was doing before 30 weeks.

Now that I have had my baby it is time to get this party started and get back into running. However, there are a few things to watch out for and make sure that you are being safe and not harming your body because the body is still healing. You might feel great but we have no idea what is going on in the inside!

1. Get clearance from your doc. That was my first mistake. I didn't. I took things in my own hands. I felt great. Bleeding had stopped for a few days. I thought I was ready. So I ran. Granted I was just shy of 6 weeks pp. Well, that whole next week I had started bleeding again, to the point I thought I would have to go to the ER because it was so bad. I won't make that mistake again. Get the ok from your doc! TRUST ME!

2. Running will feel funny. The first few times you exercise your insides will feel out of place. You will giggle more than you did before and your legs and other parts of your body will hurt. Oh, and if you are breastfeeding, your breasts will feel very, very heavy and only feel more heavy. It will get better though. Your body is different. You have had a baby. It just takes some time to get used to. Your insides won't feel out of place and the giggle will go down. The whole breast thing though, nope that will stay for awhile, you will just get used to it. Just make sure you nurse or pump before you exercise so you don't have a leak due to the stimulation from running.

3. GO SLOW! Please don't expect to be running an 8 minute mile right out of the gate. It just won't happen and if you do, you are setting yourself up for injury.

4. Watch out for baby. If you are stroller running, go slowly at first to allow your baby to get used to the movement and feel of the jogging stroller. Also, watch baby's head support. The head support is still lacking. Watch for potholes or cracks in the sidewalk. Backward facing in the stroller is still great so you can see your baby the whole time. There are running strollers that use a car seat to hold small, small babies. My stroller is not a jogging stroller but it holds the car seat in it. Not sure how much stroller jogging I will actually do.

5. Have fun. Make small goals. You will be surprised how easily running will come back. My body misses it. My legs burn for it. My first run felt AMAZING! (it was the after affects that sucked) Congratulate yourself after every run because you are a mom who is finding time for yourself! YOU DESERVE IT!

Monday, July 7, 2014

July Week 1 Workout Recap

~Me and Annemarie sporting our BAMRbands that I won in a July 4th giveaway at the training program meet up on Sat morning!~

Sadly there is nothing to report on my workout. I got grounded by my doc. Read some of why here. I had planned on beginning my postpartum workout routine this past week but that has been moved. I do have a check in with my doc today so I am really hoping that he clears me or gives me a date at which point I can begin again. I do not want to go through what I went through last week again. AWFUL! I just want my body to be ok with the fact that I am going to be exercising again.

I did buy this though!!! In an effort to help the hubs out with making sure he has a regular healthy breakfast he will be trying Shakeology for the month and on top of that I ended up getting the new Piyo DVD's from Beachbody.

WHY??? Well, We are in the process of selling our other house, it was being rented out, but our tenant is moving and we are just going to sell it. So for the short time being until that house gets sold, no gym for me. BOO! (if you know anyone looking to buy a house in central VA let me know and I will send you the info!!!) So, to help me with my exercising and getting back into shape I will be pulling out my old DVD's to do at home. I WILL go to Matt's gym at work to get my runs in on the treadmill if I need some alone exercise time or just go out my front door, but during the day I can be doing the DVD's. I am excited to try out Piyo and have heard some great things about it. 

QOTD: Have you heard about this Piyo??? Do you do workout DVD's?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Top Running Songs OF ALL TIME!

I guess I am a little behind on the times, I did just join Pinterest. Today I found a pin on the 100 top Running Songs of All Time! Seriously? How on earth did I miss this because I have been trying to find amazingly awesome songs to add to my playlist that will keep me going and strong! The article came out over a year ago but the songs are still great! I think I have about 45 of these songs on my running playlist already. Time to add some more!!!

Do you have any fav songs on your playlist that you always will listen to? I do!!! The top 5 most played songs on my Running Playlist per the play counter are:

1. I Got A Feeling- Black Eyed Peas

2. All We Know- Paramore

3. Super Massive Blackhole- Muse

4. 15 Step- Radiohead

5. Duck and Run- 3 Doors Down

What are your top 5 on your playlist???

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Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July!

I love to celebrate my freedom in this country! Yea for the 4th! I am so thankful for living in a country where I have the right to choose what I want. That I am free to choose what I want. I am so thankful for my husband for fighting for our freedom on a daily basis to give us these rights.
~Daddy's return from Iraq in 2012~

On the schedule for today is fun in the sun at our friends house for a BBQ and I am sure plenty of swim time for Mason. Collin and I will stay clear of the sun as I am very prone to FRY and I think that Collin will follow suit with me. I look forward to yummy food, time with friends, and fun fireworks at the end of the day!
~Mason's first July 4th- 2012~

Happy 4th everyone!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Little Bit of a Set Back

Recovery from having a baby is unpredictable and hard! When you think you are all better, BAM! you take 2 steps back and have to take it easy again. It all started with the run on Saturday. Now 4 days later I am still having "problems" and having to just take it easy. I have been sick to my stomach, not really hungry at all, and other problems. I am 6 weeks postpartum and thought that I would be through with all the post baby stuff but nope! So here I rest because when I do too much it bites me in the butt! ARGH!

It is all worth it though, I love Collin, and I would go through this again to bring such a sweet angel into this world. It is just hard when you want to actually go running and chase after your toddler whom you also love very much. Balance is the key!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

runDisney Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler

~I bet the hitchhiking ghosts on the 5k medal glow in the dark! AWESOME!~

New bling was announced yesterday for the runDisney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler. It is AWESOME! My BFF Elizabeth ran in this race last year and loved it. During my training runs and even during the 1/2 I did 10 miles seemed like it was my max before my mind started to trick my body into thinking that I couldn't do it. That is my breaking point as it were. So a flat course at night 10 miler would be a pretty fun race. I will run this race eventually, but not this year.

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