In college I pinned up my empty Lucky Charms boxes to create a border around our family room, and oh ya, it went all the way around!! So this of course, would be my General Mills product of choice!
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Some of your favorite General Mills brands are offering even more cash for your local school with the Sam's Club "6 Box Tops on a Pack" promotion.
Plus you can find notebooks, computers, clothes and much more at Sam's to help get you back to on schedule.
To make it even easier - Sam's Club is offering one FitMePink reader a $25 Gift Card to Sam's Club.
3 additional entries: Link on Facebook
3 more additional entries: Link on blog
Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know how many additional entries you receive. The winner will be randomly selected on February 6th at 10:00 pm, EST.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I'm still adjusting to the Southern life, but I'm actually loving the slight change of pace here in mid- Tennessee. Before I jump back into blogging (to tell you all how hard it's been to establish a new fitness routine when I really loved the old one), I am going to tell you about how Sam's Club is helping further a cause I hold near and dear to my heart. As of last month, my sister-in-law is officially 9 years cancer free! Not all women are so lucky. This month (which is already halfway over...so hurry!), Sam’s Club stores will feature exclusive pink packaging on some of your favorite participating General Mills products in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here's how you can help!
Give back by purchasing your favorite cereal or snack! This October, by making simple everyday purchases at Sam’s Club, you can help support breast cancer education and research. Sam’s Club stores now feature exclusive pink packaging on some of your favorite participating General Mills products in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
-For 5 years, General Mills has partnered with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Foundation to bring breast cancer support to local communities, and this year they are making their annual donation of $2 million to the foundation to advance breast cancer research and support education and community outreach projects.
-Purchase specially-marked General Mills products like Cheerios and Fiber One 90 Calorie Brownies at your local Sam’s Club and help decide how half of that contribution will be donated by voting at PinkTogether.com from now until April 14, 2012.
-General Mills’ donations will be divided between two important Komen programs: the Treatment and Assistance Program, which assists women in securing care they otherwise may not be able to afford, and Prevention Research, which helps unlock the keys to preventing breast cancer. Voting results will be announced on Mother’s Day 2012.
Sam’s Club and General Mills through MyBlogSpark is giving one of MY readers a $25.00 giftcard to Sams Club! Contest ends one week from today...October 20, 2011 at 10:00 pm EST. YAY!
Tell your friends about this giveaway!
3 additional entries: Link on Facebook
3 more additional entries: Link on blog
Be sure to leave me a comment letting me know how many additional entries you receive. The winner will be randomly selected on October 20th at 10:00 pm, EST.
Good luck! I hope you win!
“Disclosure: The information and gift card(s) have been provided by Sam’s Club and General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”
Monday, August 22, 2011
Monday, July 11, 2011
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know a little about my personality. Tell me I should slow down, and you can bet I'll try to go faster. Tell me to stop running, and I'll run longer. Tell me I can't and I'll kill myself to prove that I can. When I FIRST started training, I let you all in on a little secret...that it was my goal to someday qualify for the Boston Marathon.
My training was full of bumps and bruises. I fell several times. I was forced to take a month off running to heal from a nasty injury. I was pretty sure there was NO way I could meet my goal pace. But without admitting anything out loud, I still hoped it was possible.
The day before the marathon, I didn't feel mentally prepared. A few friends and I headed up to Ogden, UT to pick up our packets. We ate dinner, we started getting pre-race jitters. And then the normal pre-race talk began. Are you ready? What's your goal pace? And without thinking, I started admitting out loud that I really hoped to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For me, admitting that I hoped it would happen was pretty much like signing a contract with myself. It was going to happen.
On the morning of the race, I was more than a little nervous. My body actually felt great. Better than it had in months. But I had new socks. A new shirt. New GU to try. An energy drink for mile 20. All things I'd NEVER tried in training (which is a big no-no for racing). But the only newbie I was really concerned about was my shoes. I'd bought my new Newton Running shoes only a few weeks before...not enough time to break in this kind of shoe.
Newton Running shoes are designed to force you to run on the forefoot/midfoot. Awesome shoes. After reading Born To Run , I wanted to find a shoe that forced me to run this way without going barefoot. But I really needed more time to break them in. I prayed that I'd be okay.
One thing I've learned with running is that things NEVER go as planned. We got to the start line, and I got my iPod ready. I stuck my ear buds in, pressed play, and waited. And waited. Silence. My music (that I'd charged and tested the night before) wasn't working. Looked like I'd be running 26.2 to the sound of my own thoughts. Not quite the motivation I'd hoped for.
The race started, and I felt great. I settled in to a good pace, and looked at my Garmin way more often than necessary to make sure I was fast enough. The first half flew by. I was pacing for a 3:30 finish at the halfway point. I tried to ignore the increasing burn in my calves (from running on the forefoot). I saw my brother-in-law and searched for my husband and kiddos. They'd gotten stopped on their way up the canyon and just missed me. Disappointed, I kept going.
I was so focused on running that I honestly don't remember noticing the beauty of the course. Later, my sis-in-law asked me if I remembered coming out of a canyon and running around a lake. I seriously had no idea I'd run by a lake. All I saw was my trusty Garmin, runners in front of me, and the road in front of me (although I didn't even see that very well...at one point I completely ran through a pot hole...one foot was soaked through, but luckily my new socks were smart wool running socks...it dried in no time)!
At mile 23, I finally saw the four faces I'd been dying to see. My kids (still in their jammies), and my husband, all with huge smiles and cheers. I stopped, I hugged and kissed my husband, and he pushed me back onto the course. At this point, I remembered why I was running. My kids were watching. They were so proud of their mama. In their minds, no matter what time I finished, I would be "the winner." But someday I would be able to tell them how hard I worked to finish that race. There were gallons of blood, sweat, and tears back home on the roads I'd trained on. The race was much more than race day.
Running has always been spiritual for me. Something about working hard in this life so that we can cross that eternal finish line knowing we gave it our all. Life has so many bumps in the road. But as with running, each bump and obstacle we overcome only makes us stronger. I knew that if I finished this marathon, I could do anything.
Right after passing my family, I hit a serious wall. I wanted nothing more than to walk. I wanted to be done. For a brief moment, I didn't care if I met my goal. I wanted to hop in the car with my husband and go home. And then a thought popped into my mind that my family was praying for me. I looked down at my watch (for the gazillionth time that day) and saw that I had 18 minutes to finish the last 2 miles if I wanted to make it in 3 hours 40 minutes. So I ran. Those 18 minutes were the most painful 18 minutes of my life. I crossed the finish line and broke down. 3 hours 39 minutes and 55 seconds. 5 seconds to spare.
I hope to run in the Boston Marathon next April. If I'm able to register I will...but since I BARELY qualified, I may not even get the chance. But I did it. And yes, I would do it that way again. The race left my calves severely injured (thanks to my new shoes which I will slowly build up to wearing next time around), and my body and mind exhausted. I realized that after child birth, it's not the sleep deprivation that makes you so tired. It's the physical exertion. I felt like I'd just given birth after the race.
When talking to my mom later, she told me that she'd prayed for me specifically several times during the race. I knew my family was praying for me, and those prayers are what got me through. Because at that point? My legs sure as heck couldn't. Another lesson learned. Prayer is real.
I know I'm probably giving myself more credit than I should. Some would laugh that a 3:40 marathon time is nothing to brag about. But I think I would feel the same way if I'd had the same experience finishing in 5 hours if that had been my goal. The mind is very powerful. If you set a goal to do something, work to achieve it, and never doubt yourself, you CAN do anything. I can do ANYTHING. I'm excited to see what the future holds. I will definitely run more marathons. And I think it's safe to say that I'll try to qualify for Boston each time. And I know it's also safe to assume that more things than having my music not work could go wrong next time. But like I've said before, obstacles only make us stronger and better the next time around. So here's to the future!
And as always, happy running!
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
- SKIP THE PASTA PARTY. Yes...your body needs carbs. But you don't need to load up on them ALL. AT. ONCE. I'm actually sort of already in carb-loading mode. I'm loading up on fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc. I'm trying to limit refined sugar (I finally had to throw away my son's left-over birthday cake...I couldn't stop myself!). I actually plan on eating a bigger meal for lunch on Friday, so I don't overdo it Friday night. Stomach issues are not what I want during the race. I've never had issues, but my husband sure has. Code brown=not fun (unless you're going for the best story...then go ahead and order a spicy burrito the night before!)
- DON'T DO ANYTHING NEW. This one is kind of hard for me, because my training hasn't been consistent! I don't eat the same things each time I run, I don't wear the same things each time, etc. And I actually just bought a new pair of Newton Running Shoes a few weeks ago. These shoes require time to adapt...and I haven't had much time. My husband might have to bring my old ones just in case I need a quick change. If I were following my own advice, however, I would stick with a routine. I don't plan on this marathon being my last, so hopefully I'll be able to develop a better routine that works for me. My longest training run (20-miles) was actually my best. I'd already done Zumba for an hour in the morning, and 90-minutes the night before. I was STARVING. Before the run, I went to Jamba Juice for a Peanut Butter Moo'd smoothie, then stopped at Subway for a turkey sandwich on wheat, then ate a slice of leftover pizza. I don't think I'll be able to get all of that in the morning of the race, but my body won't already be as depleted as it has been on a typical Saturday morning during training. But enough rambling...find what works for you WHILE you train, and stick with it on race day. Don't use marathon morning as a time to try all the goodies in your little swag bag. That said.....
- EAT FIRST THING IN THE MORNING. Most of us don't normally eat breakfast at 4:00 am, but most of us don't run 26.2 miles starting at 7:00 am either. Whatever you do, DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST! If you go to bed at 9:00 pm (wishful thinking for me), and the race starts at 7:00 am, that's 10 hours. In that time, your liver glycogen (stored carbohydrate) gets depleted. Eat a simple, high-carb breakfast. Bananas, bagels, energy bars, and smoothies are good picks. I'm also planning on eating a handful of chia seeds before the race starts.
- CAFFEINE UP! Some researchers at Yale did a caffeine-endurance study. The exercisers on caffeine had higher levels of beta-endorphins and a lower perceived effort. Sounds good to me! Lots of GUs and other gels now contain caffeine (my favorite is GU with roctane). Or you can even take caffeine tablets. If you want to be scientific about it, you can take tablets 60 to 90 minutes before the race at a dose of 3 mg per pound of your body weight. That's a bit too complicated for me. I'm not a coffee drinker, and not a soda drinker. But on race day, bring on the caffeinated GU!
- DON'T OVERDRESS! You may be cold at the start line, but you'll most likely be hot before you know it! Check the weather forecast several times and plan accordingly. I'm planning on making a trip to Deseret Industries (a local thrift store) tomorrow to find a throw-away zip-up jacket. I'll wear it at the start, and will ditch it within the first few miles. Most races donate tossed clothing to charities. It's worth $5 to me to not have to worry about retrieving it later, or taking it off sooner than I want to. When you're running, it will generally feel about 10 degrees warmer than it is, and temperatures will rise as the race progresses. If you overdress, not only are you carrying extra weight, you'll also sweat more than you want which increases the risk of dehydration.
- AVOID CHAFFING LIKE THE PLAGUE! Body glide is a runner's best friend. Put it EVERYWHERE! Armpits, toes, neck, thighs. I have some nice scars to show from not following this advice. A chest strap (from my beloved heart rate monitor) worn for 26.2 miles can do some serious damage. So can the rubbing together of inner thighs. I'm no longer a big fan of running skirts for this reason :) And my husband will never again run without nip guards (or Band Aids). I've yet to get the blood stains out of his bloody-nipple marathon shirt. Ouch. (Side note: body glide also works great for wearing high heels!)
- WEAR SUNSCREEN. Got it? Sadly, I neglect this advice far too often. I love me some sun-kissed skin. But lobster skin? Not so much.
- STEADY DOES IT. It's so hard not to run faster than you should at the start line. You're nervous, you're excited, you want to beat that skinny girl in the yellow shorts over there. But 26.2 miles is a LOOOOOONG way to run! If you go too hard at the beginning, you'll slow WAY down at the end. This is one of the most important marathon strategies. EVEN. PACE. RUNNING. At the beginning, you may feel as if you're holding back, but it will feel great when you're passing people later on.
- PLAY MENTAL GAMES. This one is huge for me. I try not to EVER think about the full distance in front of me. I take it little chunks at a time. Make it to mile 5. Then to mile 10. Then to mile 15. If I only have to do 5 miles at a time, I can do it. If I have to do 26.2, there's no way! Part of the reason my 20-miler was so great was that my sister-in-law and I ran around the Olympic Oval track. Sounds like torture, right? I actually loved it because we knew that 11 laps equaled 3 miles. So I took the run 11 laps at a time. We only had to do that 6 1/2 times. Much easier to make it 11 laps 6.5 times than to count 73 laps. Run your marathon in bite-sized chunks. Towards the end when you've hit your wall, don't think about the 6 miles you have left. Take it one mile-marker at a time. I promise the end will come quicker this way.
- LEAVE THE HYDRATION PACK HOME. They're great for training, but most races have plenty of aid stations with water, Gatorade, GU, and even fruit. Don't weigh yourself down more than necessary on race day. It'll only slow you down.
- DRESS YOURSELF FROM HEAD-TO-TOE THE NIGHT BEFORE. Lay all your clothes out the night before, starting with the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. Like to wear sunglasses while you run? Set 'em out. Don't want to search for a sock in the bottom of a suitcase at 4:30 am when you have a 5:00 bus to catch? Lay both socks out. If you're traveling to your race, dress yourself before packing your suitcase. What a nightmare it would be to realize on race-day morning that you didn't pack a sports bra. Yikes!
- SET SEVERAL ALARMS. I recently started teaching a 5:45 am Cycle class, and am picking up an every-other-week 5:00 am Zumba class. The night before teaching, I set the alarm on my phone, make my husband set his phone alarm, and we set the real alarm clock as a back-up. Worse than sleeping in for a waiting-group-fitness-class would be sleeping in and missing the marathon bus that you've spent MONTHS preparing to get on.
- DON'T STRESS THE WARM UP. You can warm your legs up a bit before the race, but you'll want to conserve as much energy as you can. If you're trying to get a certain finishing time, you may want to warm up a bit. If your goal, however, is just to finish, you have plenty of time to get those legs warm!
- AVOID THE RUNNING BUDDY. As much as I enjoy running with a good friend, I'm too competitive to have a running partner on race day. For one thing, if they're faster than me, I'll kill myself to keep up (and will end up crashing during the second half). If they're slower than me, I'll feel super awkward telling them that I'm going to go on ahead. There will be plenty of runners around you during the race...you won't feel alone! Listen to some good tunes to motivate you up the hills, and if you need someone to talk to, strike up a conversation with a nearby runner for a few minutes while your pace remains the same.
- HAVE A DRY SHIRT AT THE FINISH LINE. After a race, I don't feel like I want to rush and take a shower right that second, but I do feel like I want my sweaty shirt and shoes off. Make sure you recruit some cheerleaders to meet you at the finish line. My 5-year old has been given the important job of screaming for mommy to sprint to the end, and then promptly handing over a dry shirt, some chapstick, and some flip flops.
- DON'T STRESS TOO MUCH ABOUT SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE. The week before? Yes...stress about that. (I write as I sit here typing at 12 am). But don't worry too much that you're not getting a ton of sleep the night before. You can make up for it later. For me, stressing about no sleep usually makes me sleep worse! You'll be fine.
- HAVE A DESIGNATED MEETING SPOT AFTER THE RACE. As a runner, you may not be too worried about meeting up with your friends and family after the race. But as the one who's usually dragging my kids around as we search for my husband after he crosses the finish line, trust me. Knowing where he's going to find me would make life a whole lot easier. Finish lines are CROWDED. Pick a tree. Pick a corner. Just pick a spot for your party to wait for you while you relish in the post-race pampering. Then they won't wander around for an hour trying to find you. They'll just wait.
- ENJOY THE JOURNEY. Take it all in. You are part of an ELITE group. A very small percentage of the world's population can say they've run a marathon (or any race for that matter). Run proud. Don't be hard on yourself if you don't run as fast as you'd like. Fast or slow, short or long, crossing a finish line is a big accomplishment! And trust me--getting to the finish line is going to hurt! But you didn't sign up for this thinking it was going to be easy! The reasons are much deeper than physical, and you've worked hard to get to this point. You're going to have to work hard to finish. But it's time to enjoy every moment!
Monday, May 9, 2011
Because it feels good.
Because even when it doesn't feel good, it feels good
Because I love the sweat.
Because I love the hills.
Because the best showers are post-run showers.
Because my resting heart rate is now in the 40's.
Because it's taught me to push myself.
Because I can push and explore my limits.
Because I sleep better and deeper at night.
Because it keeps sickness away.
Because it reduces stress.
Because it fills me with positive emotions.
Because running to music feels like dancing.
Because it's the one thing I know I can accomplish in a day.
Because it makes me feel unconquerable.
Because I could probably outrun any attacker.
Because it brings me back to childhood.
Because of the sprint to the end.
Because it gives me a quantitative way to track my fitness progress.
Because my kids are watching and learning. They think they're runners to.
Because it is fun.
Because races are addicting.
Because finish lines make me cry.
Because early-morning runs allow me to see the sunrise.
Because it gives me freedom.
Because no other exercise compares.
Because it's ME time.
Because monster mom becomes happy mom.
Because when I'm done, I feel like I can conquer the world.
Because I can.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
- On a particularly hectic day, don't skip a workout just because you don't have a full hour to spare. Figure out how to fit in 10-minute mini sessions. Roll out of bed, and do some push-ups, jumping jacks, planks, and lunges. Later in the day, go on a quick, brisk walk. If you're reading something, find a wall, and squat while you read. Do seated Tupler's in the car! End the day with some pre-bed stretches. It may not seem like a lot at once, but throughout the day, you can easily squeeze in a full workout!
- You may be tired of hearing it from me, but wear a heart rate monitor! At the end of the week, it's extremely motivating to see how much time I spent working out, how many calories I burned, and what zones I trained in. I try not to ever go more than two days without a workout! My heart rate monitor keeps me honest with myself.
- Set goals for the ENTIRE year at the beginning of the year. Want to run a few races this year? Schedule them now! Even if the races aren't until later in the year, you'll have them on your mind, and will plan your training accordingly. For me, races aren't just about the race, but about the journey it takes to get to the starting line! And boy, it has been quite a journey this time around!
- Have a nice stash of fitness DVDs at home. Workout DVDs are almost always my back-up plan. When I just can't pull myself out of bed early in the morning, I can start a DVD nearly an hour later, and still be done with my workout at the same time I would otherwise be returning home from the gym. For one, I don't have to brush my teeth (or put on mascara) to work out at home, and I don't have to account for any travel time. I still get in a good workout (as long as the kids and husband cooperate), and the day can continue as planned.
- SCHEDULE your workouts. If you're always hoping to find time to work out, it's probably never going to happen if you have a busy schedule. You HAVE to plan it in. My workout schedule varies slightly from week to week based on my life schedule, but I always know when I'm going to work out the next day. I don't wake up in the morning hoping it will happen sometime that day. I wake up, and get moving. If you need to, put a reminder on your phone, write it on your calender, do whatever you need to do. I normally plan all my workouts a week in advance. Then when a day (or night) doesn't go as planned, I move to plan B. If you're a group fitness groupie (like myself), stay committed to the class! As an instructor, I don't have a choice whether or not to show up. Act as if you don't have a choice either! Be there!
- Add variety to your workouts. If someone were to watch me and my different workout routines, they would think I have serious workout ADD. I don't do the same things day in and day out. I love group fitness classes, because each class is never the same...and I've tried LOTS of different classes. I LIFT. I ZUMBA. I CYCLE. I YOGA. I CORE CROSS TRAIN. I POWER PUMP. I TREK. But my own workouts are never the same, either. I run outside. I lift weights with gym machines. I use free weights. I use my own body weight for resistance. I interval train. I do the elliptical. I climb stairs. You get the idea. Variety is key for keeping workouts interesting. Variety is also key for avoiding plateaus. If your body never knows what's coming, it will never stop changing and improving!
- Keep company with other fitness-minded people. If you try to place yourself in situations and with people where you won't have to compromise your fitness goals, you're much more likely to stay on track. At work, take breaks with the walkers rather than the donut-shop-frequenters. Eat with the brown baggers rather than with the fast foodies. Invite other health conscious couples over for a healthy home-cooked meal, and vice versa. Find a workout buddy, or an accountability partner. If you're not working out together, you can still report to one another and keep each other in check.
- Change your workouts with the seasons. Don't hibernate for the winter just because you refuse to run outside in the snow. Right now I'm SO EXCITED that spring has sprung because I can truly enjoy the outdoors. Working out indoors, however, is the only thing that keeps me going in the depressing month of January. Winter months are great for snow sports, while summer is great for swimming. If your workouts change with the seasons, you'll have more to look forward to every few months than just changing colors and temperatures!
- Forget the all-or-nothing mentality. Just because you may not always have time for a full hour workout doesn't mean you should skip the workout all together. 20-minutes is always better than nothing! The same goes for healthy eating. Just because you splurge at one meal doesn't mean that the whole day should go to waste. One healthy meal is better than a full day of indulging. (Unless indulging for a full day is planned. In that case, one bad day doesn't mean the whole week is shot!)
- Just do it! Stop making excuses, and get moving. Use each day as a step towards your ultimate fitness goals. So what if you have 10- 50- 100-pounds to lose. Losing the weight won't happen overnight. It will, however, happen with lots of small steps along the way. Whatever the obstacles, do what it takes to get up and start. You will get better with time. You'll find what you like. Just push yourself to take the first step, to climb out of bed in the morning, to schedule your workouts. Once you make fitness a habit, it will become a way of life, and you will be that much closer to reaching your goals!
What are YOUR fitness secrets?