goal, accomplished.

Five year ago, it was around this time that I decided to get healthy. This was taken of me and a friend on spring break during my junior year of college.

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I’ve been running for years now, a feat I never thought I was capable, but on Sunday, I ran my first official 5k. I feel silly in saying I felt emotional during the race, considering I’ve run the 5k distance hundreds of time and even more miles than that, but the “official” part of the run made it seem a little bit more special, an accomplishment. This was a checkmark on my bucket list and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m proud of myself. My journey has been a testament to the idea that hard work pays off. And as I say to so many people who say they hate running or could never be a runner, if the girl above on the left could do it, they can too.

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As I had had a productive Saturday , there wasn’t much that needed to be done on Sunday by way of chores for the week. Since it was cloudy and I got my exercise in early, I spent some quality time with my couch, watching 30 Rock, writing, and eating this grilled cheese with extra soup from my lunches ahead:

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As I am writing this in the afternoon, I will not have yet watched The Oscars, but by the time the post goes live, I will have watched and continued to relax. The next couple of weekends will be busy with visitors, so I’m content to curl up now.

On Saturday, I slept in and enjoyed a pancake breakfast before heading out for some errands. First on the list was to collect my racing bib and t-shirt. Next, I went to the gym and worked my shoulders, ab/adductors, glutes, and core before finishing up with a quick cycling session and stretching my legs for race day. I also did my grocery shopping and meal prepping, guzzled a lot of water to stay super hydrated, then headed out for a karaoke night with some friends.

I thought I’d suffer from stage fright, but apparently, I love holding that mic…

Going back to Friday, I did a whole lot of nothing, except force myself to the gym a bit on the late side than usual and watch 30 Rock. The trick is to drive there and go through the motions without overthinking. Habits are easy to follow! It was an early night ‘cus this girl was tired!

Overall, this weekend was the perfect combination of relaxing, active, and productive. I’ll just ignore the fact it was colder on the southern west coast than it was in the northern east coast where my family resides. This is what I get for all the teasing I’ve done whenever it snowed.

Have a great Monday!

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Perfection on a Plate

After I left you yesterday, I headed to the gym for a strength training circuit and a swim. I was experiencing some tenderness thanks to the bump on my head and side lunges, but otherwise felt great! The circuit included 6 sets of 8 reps of bicep curls, tricep extensions, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, alternating front raises, and a move that I think are called inverted rows, but I’m not positive. I also fit in a core workout of diamond push ups, mermaid raises, hip lifts, flutter kicks, sit ups, and Russian twists. Phew.

I was super happy during my swim because I’ve once again increased my mile time! Remember when it took me around 50 minutes? I’m now swimming a lap a minute, which after 36 laps that equal a minute equals a 36 minute mile! This also happened last Thursday so I was pleased that I kept my pace.

Important note. Don’t compare yourself to others in anything in life because then people would rarely have accomplishments. I say this because out of curiosity, I asked what a strong average mile swim time was and was told 20-25 minutes. Clearly, I have improvements to make, but I choose to focus on how far I have progressed rather than how much slower I am than other people. I mean, I’m faster than some folks, right?! Not that it matters…

My recovery lunch was this gorgeous thai chopped salad, a crunchy apple, and a handful of cheezits that hit the spot. Salad included baby spinach, red pepper, tomato, carrots, and cucumber with chicken, black beans, and feta mixed in with an Asian sesame dressing. Divine!

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I also felt good about my study time, put in some time at work, and made it back home for dinner and the first of the Democratic Debates. First, let’s focus on dinner. Grilled tilapia, spinach rice, corn on the cob, and grilled zucchini. A little hot sauce and a new mustard-barbecue sauce combination on the side.

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I won’t get too much into politics, but I will say that I enjoyed watching the debate and was impressed by a few candidates and had no patience for a few others. The best part of the night was following Twitter.

After some writing and once again staying up far too late as I was in a good groove, I was ready for bed. I woke up this morning with one thing on my mind- PANCAKES.

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This is my favorite recipe, possibly ever, and it prevents me from eating anyone else’s pancakes (mostly). I mean, seriously. Not only are they chock full of nutrients, but they are so peanut buttery and chocolatey. And look at those strawberries!

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That is a perfection speared by a fork.

Celebrating the Small Things

After breakfast yesterday, I got started on my workout. Up first was a dumbbell circuit that included bicep curls, standing tricep extensions, shoulder raises, weighted lunges, alternating front raises, and inverted rows. I performed each move in 6 sets of 8 reps and felt strong after my rest day on Sunday. For something a little extra, I went through a plyometrics/cardio circuit of box jumps, jump rope, rope swings, push ups, and sit up twists.

To top things off for the day, I hopped in the pool for a swim. I’ve learned the hard way that my watch does not track swimming, so I still have to count laps to make sure I’m staying on track. It can be a pain, but I break the laps down into groups of twelve, as each set is 1/3 of a mile. When I started, it took me a good 17 minutes to finish each round of 12 laps, which totaled approximately a 51 minute mile. Swimming is slow, especially for me, but I’ve been growing stronger and faster as I practice and learn good form. Yesterday, I swam a consistent 13 minute 1/3 mile swim and put in a little extra effort that last bit to make up a 39 minute mile. That is three year’s dedication right there! I think, when you put in effort and determination, we’re allowed to celebrate the small things as much as the big.

Whether in swimming, running, or lifting as of late, I’ve been noticing myself growing stronger and I take a lot of pride in that. For exercise to be effective and consistent, you have to find what works for you, what you enjoy, and be mindful of how it takes care of your body!

This should be the motto for anything we do in life. It’s hit me lately that if I put as much work, consistency, and determination into other things in my life as I do exercise, I can really make things happen. I consider myself lucky that the greatest challenger to myself and what I do in life, is myself. Not everyone can say that.

To recover from my workout, I enjoyed a lunch of leftover whole wheat spaghetti with peppers, mushrooms, and spinach along with a piece of parmesan crusted tilapia I had prepared the day before. I will share that recipe soon!

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While grocery shopping on Sunday, I checked out the sushi section and decided to try something different. I’m new and unadventurous to the sushi world, but I went with the spicy tuna roll and thought it was delicious! For an extra hit of veggies and protein, I enjoyed a side of carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter for dipping.

Breakfast this morning was a one-egg, two egg-white omelet with spinach, peppers, tomato, and jalapeño and some cheese. I paired the delicacy with two pieces of buttered whole wheat toast and a side of fresh blueberries and raspberries.

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With a little blogging and digesting, I’m off to the gym to fit in another great workout!

Checking In

Yes, I realize I’ve been a bad blogging lady lately, but I’ve been a busy writer. There are only so many hours in the day and the past few weeks, I’ve been working on a couple of exciting creative projects. 

I’m making an effort to check in more often. What’s been going on with you? Remember when it was bitingly cold and snowy? Now it’s bitterly hot. No mare transition seasons as I like to call fall and spring. Just one extreme to another. I won’t complain about the heat, yet, because it’s been lovely outside. Except of course for the allergies and the little black bugs that I think are different than Mosquitos but bite and leave an itch just the same.

I’ve still been exercising and trying to eat healthy. On Friday, I had my personal best in bench pressing: 120 pounds. It was a little scary and a little tough, but an awesome accomplishment!

It’s wedding month, so the countdown is on! I need to be in even more control of my eating the next few weeks as the day grows closer because I want to look my best in those pictures! More to come as it gets closer. Now I have to work on my speech…

Since I’ve been writing more consistently, I’ve found that my mind is swirling with possible stories. It can be difficult to focus on one idea at a time, but I write down anything new and try to focus on the present task. Exciting things are coming together.

Shout out to my cousin Mikey who is graduating from high school today! We celebrated the occasion over the weekend. There are plenty of exciting and inspiring things ahead for you and I’m so happy and proud to know that not only are we cousins, but we’re friends.

Other things I did this weekend? I ran outside on Saturday after the sun went down. It was super hot, so I wasn’t going to be happy out in the blaring sun and I wasn’t going to love it on Sunday in the pouring rain, so I buckled up and got moving Saturday night. I was excited to be done when I woke up on Sunday. I spent most of yesterday watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I watched it for a few seasons when I was younger, but I wanted to go back and rewatch the entire series. Loving it! While I lounged, I did a ton of writing. Rainy Sundays are good for both.

Have a happy Monday everyone!