Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Birthday Weekend Recap - Eating, Running, Eating

Today is Wednesday, but also like my Friday with Thanksgiving being tomorrow. Can we collectively vote for 3-day workweeks every week? Since I ended up doing a healthy holiday tips post yesterday, I thought I would do a quick birthday weekend recap today.

I could really sum it up as eating, running, eating if you need the abridged version.

On Friday (my actual birthday), I had taken off work so that I could sleep in, be lazy, and just enjoy the day. A gift to myself if you will. Jason wanted to take me out for lunch, so we met up for a late lunch after a hair appointment. Later we ended up going out again for dinner at a restaurant just a couple of blocks from our house called South On Main.

I didn't get any pictures of the food, but it was all good. They definitely aren't famous for their vegetarian options, mostly serving meat dishes, but the options they had were quite good. Jason made it a point to let them know it was my birthday and to insist on ordering a dessert. He ordered Pumpkin Pie in a Jar. It was basically pumpkin pie filling and it was topped with a locally made (Loblolly Creamery) Snickerdoodle Ice Cream (also known as sin in a jar).

The staff signed a birthday "card" for me
Saturday morning I was planning to run with Amy. The temps were suddenly warmer than they had been, upper 50s at the start. Friday had been super rainy, so Saturday was super damp and humid. From the start of the run we were both sort of struggling.

I blamed it on the sin in a jar dessert and wine. But since Amy was having a hard run as well, we knew it was the suddenly warmer temps combined with wind and humidity. Even worse I ran out of water completely because I was banking on water along the way, but all the fountains on the river trail were shut off.

Dehydration lead to stabbing pains in my side - as in stop immediately and double over kind of pains. We did manage to get water somewhere around mile 11 and I eked out 15 miles, very thankful that it was a "shorter" run week and thankful for a running friend who stuck it out with me.

After a much-needed nap (and gallons of water), the rest of the day was spent trying to prepare for my birthday party. I had decided that I wanted to celebrate the Big 4-0 with a wine tasting party. I made lots of different appetizers, even sandwiches, for everyone to enjoy along with a cheese tray and fruit tray.


My hope was to spend the evening surrounded with friends. I was definitely feeling a bit down about the whole aging thing and just wanted an evening of laughter and fun to help me embrace the birthday.

Without getting all Debbie Downer, it ended up being bittersweet. Many people who said they'd be there didn't show up. One friend in particular not only never replied about the party, but also never even wished me a happy birthday. I felt a bit let down, sad. But, I have since decided that it's me who has the power to allow others to make me feel that way, and I'm taking control and moving on.

Sunday we headed to our hometown to celebrate Thanksgiving early with my dad, stepmother, sister, her kids and her boyfriend, and stepbrother. Having a hug from your dad and your sister can really help when you're feeling down by the way. So the timing was ideal. Even better, they ended up surprising me with the only cake I'll eat, an Italian cream cake. We actually used these cakes for my wedding. Simply incredible!


For fun: What's your favorite indulgent dessert or treat?
For serious: How do you deal with feelings of disappointment? 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Trainer Tips for a Guiltless Thanksgiving

It's hard to believe, but Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. While Thanksgiving is a day about giving thanks, it also tends to be a holiday all about indulging.

Now, I'm not going to sit here and say, don't touch that pie and skip the rolls or avoid the fried turkey, but I am going to share a few tips to get you through the holiday without the post-feast guilt.


Tips for a Guiltless Thanksgiving 


Break fast. Don't skip breakfast or even your typical mid-morning snack trying to bank some calories. That'll only leave you hungry and more likely to mindlessly fill your plate.

Tackle a race. Participate in a Turkey Trot fun run/walk. It doesn't have to be a speedy 5K, it can be a family, fun event.

Be active. Go for a walk at some point during the day with family or friends. It's a great way to visit and catch up.

Skip "any day" foods. If your Aunt Sue makes some amazingly scrumptious dish this one and only time of the year, enjoy it. But mashed potatoes? You can get those any time.

Healthify a recipe. Health doesn't have to be a four-letter (ok, longer than 4 letters) word when it comes to food. You can have food that is healthy AND tasty. Try smashed cauliflower in lieu of mashed potatoes. Even better, get creative and try some non-traditional recipes like savory smashed sweet potatoes or smashed roasted winter squash.

Portion control. Plain and simple, pay attention to your portion sizes and don't go back for seconds.

Eat slowly. Savor your food. Enjoy the conversations. Don't inhale the food mindlessly.

Choose dessert wisely. Choose the absolute one and only dessert you can't live without, but keep the portion small. You're already full from your meal right? Even better, reach for the healthier desserts and skip those that you know are high-calorie sugar bombs (yes pecan pie, talkin' about you).

Hydrate. Don't forget to drink water, especially if you are enjoying adult beverages.

Of course, the biggest tip for Thanksgiving is to be grateful and enjoy the time with your family and friends.

What are some of your healthy tips for the holidays?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Much to be Thankful For

So, tomorrow is my birthday. I know some people get really excited about celebrating their birthdays, celebrate for an entire week or even a month. Me? I tend to end up getting a bit depressed quite honestly.

I think it's a culmination of several things. By this time in November, the showy display of fall colors is mostly over. The trees begin to simply look bare and dormant. The grass is no longer plush and flowers have faded.

My birthday also typically gets rolled into Thanksgiving because it always falls close to the holiday (though never actually on Thanksgiving).

And quite frankly, I don't want to get older. (stomp foot) In my mind I feel like high school was just yesterday. While I do feel stronger, healthier, smarter now than I did in my 20s, I'm also not ready to let go of my 30s. I feel like life is whizzing by me quite frankly.

Even just typing that makes my wistful, reflective, and, yes, sad. With the passing of time has come the passing of friends, family, beloved furbabies. I know that as more time passes, there will be even more loss. Can we hit pause?

And....let's find something happy right? I'm going to jump on the Thankful Thursday train today to remind myself of all the things in my life that make it rich and full, age completely aside.

I'm Thankful For ...

My husband. Who puts up with me. All of me and my insanities. He deserves sainthood or a stiff drink.


My sister. My mom told us over and over that she had us for each other. And I truly believe that.


My parents. Not only have they had to put up with me my whole life, they have always been there for me, supported me, loved me, and taught me so much more than they'll ever know.

Friends. I may not have a huge circle of friends, but the friends I do have, I know that I can count on them through thick and thin. And some of these friends don't even live nearby (sad face) but they are still always there for me and it some days, it means the world to me (you know who you are).

Running. Never in a million years did I think I would call myself a runner. I never thought I would run half marathons or be training for a full marathon. Running has taught me so much about life, about myself.


Running friends. I mentioned it in my post on Monday, but I'm realizing how important it is to surround yourself with people who have similar passions, like running. A) They'll make you feel far less crazy and B) They'll support you during those tough miles.



What are you thankful for today? Do you ever get depressed about your birthday or do to savor the celebration?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Miles with Friends

I had wanted to title this post "The Miles Fly By With a Little Help From My Friends" (a la the Beatles), but it was a bit wordy. But, it's a preface as to how my long run went on Saturday.

Somehow we ended up skipping fall temperatures and dove straight into winter. Other than frozen frozen fingers, the downside is trying to figure out how to dress for the cold weather all over again. In other words, how to listen to your rational brain and NOT over-dress.

Your body it screaming at you, shivering from the cold. It's saying, "wear more clothes." But then you know deep down you're going to warm up, eventually. And if you're like me, you have some long-sleeved tops that are heavier than others, some that block wind, some that don't, so then you have to figure out how to arrange all that.

Saturday morning I debated my attire over and over and finally just went with short sleeves under one of my heavier tops (wind blocking). Was I over-dressed. Yep. Oh well. Live and learn right?

The plan was to run some miles before meeting up with Amy and a new running partner, L, that Amy had met the previous week. L also brought a friend with her so we had a nice little running group going on for my long run. Amy was going to run 12 with me, and L and C were shooting  for 10 miles.

With four miles under my belt, the four of us set off on some sight-seeing miles. L was not familiar with my neighborhood area, which is historical, so Amy and I thought it would be nice to meander the 'hood and show them the homes and landmarks.

The weather ended up being almost perfect for a long run. It was sunny, not terribly windy, and certainly not too hot out. The trees finally decided to turn, so it was a very scenic, gorgeous start to the day.


The miles flew by with the new company. Seriously, having running buddies is so important. Something I'm really just learning with this marathon training. I think some of my first long runs were bad mentally because I was alone and started letting that affect me.

The long runs I've had lately have been really really good. And I think, know, that it's because I've had support for the biggest chunk of the miles. I don't have many friends that run, or that run at a compatible pace. So this? Meeting two more runners? It really and truly helps to have support and I was so incredibly thankful for having new friends to help me through the miles.

For me, it was a solid 18-mile run. So much better than my first 18-miler. I was able to finish the last couple of miles at a faster pace as well, so that was good for me mentally, knowing that I still had some oomph left. I almost went for another 20, but reeled myself in. So there you go, another 18 mile training run in the books.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Mustache You Some Questions. I Answered.



It's been a long time since I've been tagged for one of these survey types of posts. I actually really enjoy them and they remind me of my beginning blogging days. So when Angela at Happy Fit Mama  tagged me with the I mustache you some questions survey, I was more than happy to comply!

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:
  1. Stitter - my sister for some reason would say stitter vs sister and it stuck
  2. Rosie - my mom's nickname for me
  3. Red - my dad sometimes calls me this (or Little One)
  4. Heath - I've had many friends over the years shorten Heather to Heath (hEEth)

Four jobs I have had:
  1. Retail - Waldenbooks
  2. Waitress 
  3. Personal trainer
  4. Web content/Social media coordinator

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
  1. Pretty Woman
  2. Reality Bites
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean (Hello Johnny) 
  4. Funny Farm
I'm not really a big movie buff, but these I have seen a million times and are the very few I can even quote.

Four books I’d recommend:
  1. Icy Sparks - Gwyn Hyman Rubio. I read this long before it was an Oprah book.
  2. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt (also loved his book City of Falling Angels)
  3. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (her memoir is really good too)
  4. Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer 
(note, links to Amazon but I am not an affiliate)

Four places I have lived:
  1. Hot Springs, AR
  2. Auburn, AL
  3. Alexander, AR
  4. Little Rock, AR

Four places I have been:
  1. Grand Caymans (not sure if it counts because it was a cruise)
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Florida (beach, beach, beach)
  4. California (San Diego and Long Beach)

Four places I’d rather be right now:
  1. On the beach
  2. Italy
  3. Home
  4. On the beach

Four things I don’t eat:
  1. Black licorice
  2. Meat (of any kind and yes fish is meat)
  3. Cucumbers 
  4. Watermelon 

Four of my favorite foods:
  1. Pizza
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Wine (that counts right?)
  4. Pizza (because you can't have enough pizza, ever)

Four TV shows that I watch:
  1. The Walking Dead
  2. Modern Family
  3. New Girl
  4. Last Man Standing 

Four things I am looking forward to this year:
  1. Completing my first marathon (what the what?)
  2. Annual beach vacation
  3. Hopefully a visit from my friend Jessica
  4. Christmas 

Since this year is nearly over, I decided to take the liberty of extending into 2015.

Four things I’m always saying:
  1. F*ck
  2. Sh&t
  3. Maddie stop
  4. I need new running shoes

Four People I Tag:
  1. Krysten from Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail
  2. Kim at Day with KT
  3. Jennifer at Running with the Girls
  4. Lisa at RunWiki


I always hate having to come up with people to tag because I want to hear answers from everyone! So pick a question (or two) and share!

Monday, November 10, 2014

First 20-Mile Run

I know weekends typically go by way too quickly, but this weekend seemed to have gone by faster than usual. Jason was out of town, so it was a girl's weekend all the way around. It started off Friday evening meeting up with Tara from Running n' Reading.

We met up at Baja Grill for dinner and lots and lots of chatting! Pretty sure we could have sat there for most of the night just visiting. Tara is super sweet and I was so happy to finally be able to just sit down and visit with her. It felt like we had really known each other and were just catching up.

Because I had a 20-mile run planned the next day, I did have to get home and in bed at a very adult (old lady) time. Because of my super responsible behavior, I was up by just after 5 am. Amy was going to meet me at 6:30 to get in 13 miles, so I decided to go ahead and get in a few miles before she got to my house.

When I first set out, the temps were around 42 degrees and I had on shorts and long sleeves. I ended up weirdly hot almost immediately, so I changed into short sleeves before she arrived. The temps were really good for a long run. I never got over-heated (of course I did change), and was never too cold either.

Because there was a 5K downtown, we had to change our original route plans and ended up doing some of the same route we had done last week, but then meandering around ending up near the State Capital. It's a bit of a hilly area, but I know that I really do need to include hills in my long runs because of my marathon route. So all good, plus fun to just sight see and enjoy being outdoors.



Amy dropped off at 13.3 miles then I continued on to finish out my run. I was really glad I had done the 3 before meeting up with Amy because that meant I only had just shy of 4 left. Mentally, that was what I needed. I was feeling really good and finished out so much stronger than I ever expected. Now, if my marathon can just go that well ...

After the run I re-fueled, stretched, showered and then napped. Thankfully, I wasn't really sore at all other than my nagging heel pain. But I kept stretching it and moving it, so that helped. My sis came up and then we met my bestie for lunch. It was really a great afternoon. I hadn't seen Cris in a few weeks, so I was super happy that she was free and able to join us.

Later, Sarah had one of her best friends from high school come by with her friend. They had driven in from Texas and were staying in Hot Springs, but wanted to come up to Little Rock. Sarah swears she told me about the company, but I must have mis-heard or blocked it out. I felt a little bad because it really is hard to be a great hostess after a really long run. I was in yoga pants and a t-shirt, looking fairly bummy. And the house? Um, yeah. If I ever ever ever train for another marathon, I will do so when I can or am willing to pay for a house cleaner.

Either way, it did end up being a great evening. They didn't mind that my house wasn't spotless, and I suppose that's really how it should be right? I did realize, however, that while I don't feel like I'm about to be 40, I am certainly NOT 21 or even 31 for that matter ;-) Ouch.




Friday, November 7, 2014

Fun for Friday - Pros and Cons of a Gym Gym and a Home Gym

Once upon a time, I belonged to a gym. I went there religiously. I even ran on the treadmills before I figured out the whole outside running thing. Even then, I was at the gym most days of the week lifting weights and/or taking spin classes.

I learned to enjoy the environment of the gym. Before I was a member, I only ever worked out at home to my vast collection of Cathe Friedrich DVDs. I was initially intimidated by the gym, most of us are. But I sort of made it my home away from home. I was comfortable with the equipment, the classes, the people.

Then the gym closed.

I panicked at first. No spin classes? No squat rack? What if I needed a treadmill out of desperation on a bad winter day?

Of course I learned to make due. I don't have a squat rack, that one still bothers me, nor do I have a chin up bar (the ones supposed to fit ANY door? Yeah, not a house built in 1890). I have a wide range of dumbbells, an EZ Bar, aerobic step (use as a bench or for step ups, dips, etc.), even a bike trainer.

Occasionally I miss the idea of the gym environment. But then I remember the annoying aspects too. As is typical of most things, there are pros and cons.

Pros of Being a Gym Rat

  • Access to lots of equipment
  • Availability of classes, if that's your thing
  • Squat racks!
  • Friendly, familiar faces

Cons of Being a Gym Rat

  • Not always getting "your" spot/treadmill/elliptical/spin bike
  • People not re-racking weights
  • People hogging fans or turning them off
  • People being inconsiderate (talking on phones, hogging equipment, etc.)
  • Sweaty benches that don't get wiped down

Pros of a Home Gym

  • You control everything: temperature, tv shows, lighting, all of it
  • You can wear whatever you want
  • No one will be in your way or hog any equipment
  • You can listen to your music sans ear buds, and loudly
  • You know if the bench or mats are clean or not (and it's your own sweat)

Cons of a Home Gym

  • Limited space (for me at least)
  • Cost of equipment (so sometimes lack of equipment)
  • Lack of camaraderie 
  • No group classes 
Do you have a home gym or do you belong to a gym? What are your pros and cons?