Making the Best of Any Situation

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Our before pic

Another weekend, another run. We typically do one glow each month, but May is special so we did two runs! The Disney Expedition Everest Challenge (blog to come) and the Foam Glow 5k in Nashville. Saturday night was the Foam Glow run and we had our biggest group yet! We ran with 9 of our friends, and while the race was a complete disappointment, we still had the time of our lives.

The start
The start

Let me do you all a favor: do NOT sign up for the foam glow run when it comes to your town! It was such an unorganized mess. It was impossible to actually run because of the crowds, mess, darkness and a myriad of other issues, and it was not nearly what they advertised. Having said all of that…we still had a great night.

lined up under the black lights and ready to go!
lined up under the black lights and ready to go!

Here’s why, we were with awesome people and we made the best of a disappointing situation. We went all out with our white clothes and glow gear, and I’m always happy when I get to dress up in some form or another. While waiting in the crowd of 15,000 people, we started a trend of breaking our glow sticks open and splattering them all over our clothes. (BTW, it burns if it gets in your eyes.). We walk/jogged/skipped through the dark course while tripping over strollers, children and holes. A couple of us may have peed in the bushes to avoid VERY long port-a-potty lines. We sang, danced, finished the race with a myriad of new inside jokes. Next, was the foam party.

This is what it looks like when you throw glowing liquid on your clothes: awesome.
This is what it looks like when you throw glowing liquid on your clothes: awesome.

There was a DJ, a mosh pit and several colored foam machines. There was foam up to our knees and thousands upon thousands of bubbles showering us from above. We jumped around and danced like college kids again, but we were done after about 20 minutes. Of course, we then realized we were drenched and none of us brought towels or a change of clothes. Woops.

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It was a good time, but honestly, the best part of the night was probably our very late and long dinner at iHop, because where else do you go at midnight when you are covered in neon foam?

The view when you looked up.
The view when you looked up.

I won’t sign up for this even again because I prefer more organized 5k’s, but I will definitely be spending more time with these crazy people who know how to make anytime a good time!

And, the after shot.
And, the after shot.

Cheers!

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My Favorite 5k Yet

Our Valentine’s Day began bright and early, well dark and early. I was up at 4:30 am, and for once, it wasn’t Luna’s fault. We had to get up, get ready, drop-off baby at the Grandparents and head downtown for the Hot Chocolate Run!!! Who wouldn’t want to do a run with that title?

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It was the most organized and well put together race. It all began at the Expo where we easily picked up our race packets and hoodies. Everyone was so nice and helpful. They allowed us to try on the hoodies and even exchange them for a different size if it was needed. Everything was neatly stacked, color coded and well-stocked. It is one of the few races where I actually got the size I requested. They also handed out hot chocolate and chocolate dipped marshmallows, not a bad way to kick off the even.

The Hot Chocolate Run is by far the biggest race we’ve ever done. Over 9,000 people signed up, and when we parked downtown at 6am, the only people we saw walking the streets were other runners. It was below freezing, but everyone seemed happy and excited at the prospect of running towards a mug of hot chocolate. We were running a little late (surprise, surprise), and had to park about a mile from the Start line, so by the time we arrived and joined our corral the race started.

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Dressed in matching Valentine accessories, we ran around Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and through the streets downtown. Since so many people were there, it made running a lot more fun and the race went by much faster. There were tons of excited volunteers cheering us on as we ran, photographers, signs, and video cameras. As we approached the finished line the race announcer actually said our names over the speakers…Here comes Hilarie! Bella is approaching the finish line.. It was all very motivating. At least it must have been because we finished the race with an 8.10 pace and we haven’t run in weeks. I was very happy with that time.

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After we caught our breath we picked up our mug full of hot chocolate, fondue and treats to dip in our fondue… all of which were delicious and so needed. We were freezing when we finished! The little amount we sweated chilled us to the bone once we stopped moving. We stuck around to check out the after party, but soon enough we were too cold and left for our traditional breakfast, cupcake and Starbucks. It was the perfect way to start our day of love.

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Thanks, Husband for running with me, even though I know you are faster, hate running and don’t actually enjoy us forcing everyone to wear matching outfits. I love you the most. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cheers!

Fat Free

As a teenager and young adult I was pretty typical in the sense that I thought I was fat and tried a million different unhealthy strategies to stay skinny. I exercised non-stop, tried a million yo-yo diets, stopped eating altogether at one point and of course, survived on a myriad of “fat-free”, “low-fat” and “sugar-free” products. From what I remember, many teens at that time dieted on these supposedly healthy options. If we only knew what we know now we could have saved ourselves a lot of health problems, money and wasted time.

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In high school, I remember my physics teacher getting really upset about someone eating a fat-free yogurt. She said something to the extent of “None of you should be eating these fat-free foods! They’re terrible for you!” I remember thinking she must be concerned with eating disorders or something. I don’t know why she didn’t take the time to explain herself. In college, I became more and more involved with my health and began actually researching ways to remain thin and healthy. I was shocked when I discovered that things like fake-sugar can not only cause terrible diseases like cancer, but that they have proven to have no effect on weight loss!

I was shocked and appalled that all these food companies had been lying to me for so many years. This just inspired me to dig deeper and learn a lot more about what I’m putting into my body. Thanks to the Internet and the ability to gather and share critical information so easily, I have learned much more about the various disgusting things that most of us eat: fake sugar, fake food colors, preservatives and a ridiculous amount of chemicals. These chemicals are wreaking havoc to our bodies, but it’s so hard, like really hard, to cut them out.

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I’m a mostly healthy eater, but even I have to admit that I love some pretty crappy foods… hot fries, reese’s cups, taco bell, fast food fries and sour gummy worms are all some of my favorite treats. Over the last year, especially since having Luna, I have put in an extra effort to cut out processed fake foods, but damn, it’s hard! Honestly, cutting out fake sugar has been mostly easy. I’d much rather a real sugar product over a fake sugar, or diet, one. The only problem is, fake sugar sneaks into so much stuff.

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I learned the hard way that basically anything that claims to be “sugar-free”, “lite”, “diet”, “fat-free”, “low-fat”, “less sugar” or “zero calories” actually means “full of fake sugar and chemicals to make the product taste better”. I hate that I have to read virtually every food label now, but it’s often the only way to be sure that I’m eating real food and not a bunch of chemically engineered crap. What’s worse is that many food companies do not even have to put all of their ingredients on their labels. They are actually allowed to sneak that shit into their products and not tell us.vodka

Anyways, I’ll step off my soap box for a minute to get to my point. As of lately, I am eating way less processed and frozen foods. I haven’t managed to cut them completely out because come on? Who seriously has the time and money to always eat fresh food? Not me. Since eating more fresh, real, organic food and drinking tons more water I am feeling unbelievably better! I look better, my skin is clearer, my hair is healthier and I am rarely bloated.

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I don’t deprive myself of stuff I crave either. Instead, if cutting carbs, snacks and desserts out of my diet completely, I just find healthier versions. I still eat carbs and chocolate and other things I crave (moderately, of course) and I am not gaining weight….at all. However, weight is not a priority anymore either. I want to be fit and healthy and I want to create healthy habits for my daughter. I think I’m on the right track and I hope to stay on this path for the rest of my very long life!

Cheers!

Prenatal Workouts

For many years now I have been a very active and health conscious person. I still have my days where I eat like crap and watch too much America’s Next Top Model, but mostly I lead a healthy lifestyle. It all began in high school…partially because of an eating/image disorder and a lot because of my fears and anxieties of dying of heart disease. I had some unhealthy and extreme habits for a while, but after lots of education, practice, training and even a job and teaching certification through the local gym I learned what it truly meant to be fit and healthy.

Now, I’m so thankful to have started healthy habits at a young age because I was healthy when we decided to conceive and can continue my fit lifestyle throughout my pregnancy, which any doctor will tell you is a very good idea. That being said, there are still many precautions I have had to take to keep active during my pregnancy, which leads me  to this post…

I have been a little extreme with my workouts (Beachbody’s Insanity and the Asylum have been my top 2 workouts this pregnancy), but I followed some cardinal prenatal exercise rules before starting these workouts.

1. ALWAYS consult with your doctor before continuing or starting a workout plan. My doctor was happy with my health and encouraged me to continue my regular exercise routine, with caution. He warned me not to work out to fatigue (that’s a challenge) and to always be smart and listen to my body. Throughout the pregnancy I have consulted with him about what I am doing, verified that I am still being safe and got his blessing to keep on keepin’ on. After the “false alarm” a couple of weeks ago I triple checked with the doctor and nurse that my workouts had nothing to do with our hospital visit. Thankfully, they did not.

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2. Like the doctor says: Listen to your body! Normally, I will push through my workouts no matter the little aches and pains and fatigue, but not while pregnant. It’s been challenging to change this habit, but I am much more concerned about doing what’s safe and healthy for our baby girl. I have learned to slow down, take breaks, modify and even take a day off or two (gasp!). I actually took two days off of exercising this week because I knew my body needed extra rest and for whatever reason was not up for my normal activity. I did feel guilty, but I certainly don’t regret it.

26 weeks pregnant and just finished the first (modified) day of The Asylum.
26 weeks pregnant and just finished the first (modified) day of The Asylum.

3. Drink A LOT  of water. The week before I found out I was pregnant I was the thirstiest I have ever been, no amount of water could quench my thirst. This pregnancy symptom has stuck with me throughout the whole experience and it turns out there is a good reason for it. Pregnant women don’t necessarily need more water, but need enough water, which most of us typically do not get. If you are working out and pregnant you need even more.

4. Find a supporter. Having someone to workout with or at least hold you accountable is essential. Thankfully, my Husband has become dedicated to working out since we found out about the baby. He encourages me everyday, but is also supportive when I need to take a step back. I’m also participating in a fitness group on Facebook. Two of my friends are Beachbody coaches and they created a group of girls on Facebook to encourage each other to eat healthy, workout  and share success stories. I am not even in the same state as any of them, but it is still really nice to know I have that extra support group.

We often take "Wacky Wednesday" pics to share in our fitness group. This is from our "planking photos" day.
We often take “Wacky Wednesday” pics to share in our fitness group. This is from our “planking photos” day.

5. Make it part of your routine. It’s hard enough when you aren’t pregnant to workout on a regular basis, but it’s SO much harder when you are growing another human! However, if you make it a habit, consider it as necessary as brushing your teeth and stick with it, then it won’t seem quite so difficult. Keep in mind you can break a 30 minute workout into ten minute increments on busy days: a ten minute walk in the morning, ten minutes of yoga after lunch or whatever you can do for ten minutes…it all counts!

6. Think about your baby. Recent studies show that exercising can actually make your newborn healthier, smarter, and easier!

7. Snack on healthy snacks. You’ll need it to keep up your energy and to make up for too many burnt calories. This is tough for me because I LOVE snacking, but in an unhealthy way…I prefer chips and french fries. Right now, I keep soy yogurt, granola, pistachios, and fruit on hand for easy healthy snacks.

8. Don’t overheat. Getting too hot actually causes blood to go away from the uterus to the skin as an attempt to cool off your body. It also raises your blood pressure. So if it’s too hot outside, stay inside and enjoy working out in the AC.

9. MODIFY! The further along you get, the more difficult it is going to be to continue on as normal. At 27 weeks, I am having to modify something new almost every week. The first 4 or 5 months I could do basically every move full-out, but my body just isn’t capable at this point, and that’s okay.

10. Don’t let naysayers get you down. MOST people around you are looking out for you and will give you advice (good and bad) because they love you and want you and your baby to be healthy. However, there will be the occasional few who try to scare you from working out. They may tell you it’s dangerous, you aren’t gaining enough weight or anything else to discourage you. Just remember, if you have the green light from your doctor and you are being safe and listening to your body, then you’re doing the right thing. Just nod and smile to those who don’t understand. I have to say that most of my friends and family have been really supportive, and I am so grateful.

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Cheers!