Daring to be Great

Recently I set a December writing goal for myself. It’s a bit lofty and perhaps a more than a little bit unrealistic, but not impossible. (Because, you know, an offensive orange Cheeto is thisclose to holding holding the highest office in the land, so anything’s possible.)

I shared the goal with my writing group, one of my best friends, and my husband, but I am not ready to share it with you.

You’d think it’s silly. Or maybe you wouldn’t, but you’d definitely think it was lofty, more than a little bit unrealistic, and thisclose to impossible. When it happens I’ll tell you. Or if it doesn’t happen I’ll tell you then. (If I’m brave.)

Two weeks ago my friend Kim received a pitch for her blog. It wasn’t a good fit for her, but it was a perfect fit for me, especially if I want to achieve this goal I’ve set for myself.

“Does this interest you?” she asked me.

“Bleep yeah, it interests me!” I answered immediately. (Only I didn’t say bleep.)

I contacted the person who reached out to her and he was receptive to me writing the piece.

Coincidentally (or perhaps it’s serendipitously) two similar opportunities have been placed right in front of my face from different avenues, waving at me, as if they were saying, “Hello, here I am. Come and get me. All you have to do is ask.” And I know if I capitalize on these opportunities they will help me achieve my goal.

But I have to tell you something.

I’m scared.

What if I get shot down? My goal isn’t reliant upon doing these two things, but they will help. A lot.

So if I don’t ask for these things (that theoretically should be easy to get) and then don’t reach my goal, I still fail, but not in a scary way. In an “I didn’t even try way,” because really, who am I to think that I am good enough to get that thing that I want.

It’s silly. Too lofty. Too unrealistic. Not thisclose to impossible. Impossible.

And then Saturday I went for a three mile run. Talk about thisclose to impossible. I haven’t run since May, except for around the building in boot camp where every step is torture and I curse my trainer’s name with every painful breath I take and I hate it so much and am so glad I stopped running.

But I’ve been eating and drinking too much lately (because food: yum! and drinking: fun!) and I didn’t have time to take a class at the gym and I needed to do something and as sucktastic as running is, it’s efficient. A three mile run is a lofty goal for a 51-year-old woman who hasn’t run in five months, perhaps even unrealistic. Thisclose to impossible.

Plus my phone was charged and the weather was perfect. The only excuse I had for not running is that I didn’t really want to because it’s so hard (except that I sort of did).

To keep myself motivated I set Spotify to my running mix and open my Runkeeper app so it would alert me of my time and mileage every five minutes.

Time: five minutes. Distance: zero-point-four-two-miles. Average pace eleven minutes, fifty-four seconds per mile. (Translation: damn, you’re slow)

Time: ten minutes. Distance: zero-point-eight-two-miles. Average pace: twelve minutes, eleven seconds per mile. (Translation: you might want to figure out another form of exercise, you really suck at this.)

That lady is mean to me, sure. But she keeps me going. Every five minutes I tell myself, just five minutes more.

At the 15 minute mark the mean Runkeeper lady tells me how poorly I’m doing (one-point-two miles at a twelve-minute-thirty-second pace) my phone shuts down. Shit. This is so hard. I’m at the steepest part of my run and two minutes away from reaching my turnaround point and I have no music. No mean lady. Only me. My legs. My feet. My heart. Everything I need. And so, I keep going.

I run to the turnaround spot, smack the light pole and head back. It is (both literally and figuratively) downhill all the way home.

When I hit a flat(ish) part I start to walk and fiddle with my phone to get my music and that mean Runkeeper lady back. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis cheer me on.

“Ey ey, ey
Good to see you, c’mon let’s go
Yeah, let’s go”

And I start to run again. When the song ends the music stop. Dammit! Stupid phone. But I don’t want to walk again so I run to the beat of my panting breath and my feet hitting the pavement. Huh step step step. Huh step step step. Huh step step step.

My mind begins to wander with the rhythm I’m creating. I think about how easy it would be to stop running because I don’t have my Runkeeper and my music. And I think about that goal I’ve set for myself and how the biggest obstacles in my way are the ones I’m creating for myself.

My goal my be lofty. Unrealistic. Thisclose to impossible.

But I’ve got  everything I need. I just need to make proper use out of it.

 

So I Kind of Co-Wrote This Book…

Most people who know me (even a little bit) know that I wrote a book.

Like forever ago.

And I’ve been editing it, and editing it, (and effing editing it) and querying it and querying it (and effing querying it) off and on for years.

It’s chick lit (with a heavy emphasis on chick and not so much lit). It’s not groundbreaking or earth shattering or maybe even that original (girl’s life crumbles when she loses fiancé and loses job and has to pick up the pieces and start all over again), but it’s funny. It would make a hilarious romantic comedy. (In my humble opinion.)

But I digress…

This post is not about that book. It’s about this book:

The Making of a Picky Eater

 

One that I co-wrote and you can actually click this link and buy!

I know what you’re thinking… How in the heck did that happen?

Well, I’ll tell you how.

I met this really cool woman named Beth Robeson at the 2013 Middle Sister Wine Gathering. (Which I was lucky enough to attend because I won a contest on Pinterest.) Beth contacted me after the gathering and asked if I’d be interested in adding a bit of humor to a book she’d written about picky eaters being made and not born.

I told her she sure didn’t need me because that was the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. My kids are picky eaters. They were totally born that way. (Or were they?) I mean, I certainly didn’t have anything to do with them being picky. (Or did I?)

She convinced me to take a look at the book and see if maybe I’d change my mind.

I have to tell you that the book was quite eye-opening. Turns out that perhaps I did have a thing or two quite a lot to do with my kids’ semi-picky palates. And by using some of the methods discussed in the book I’ve actually seen some changes in my kids’ eating habits. Admittedly they are small changes, but my kids are teenagers. If I had read this book when my kids were little I have no doubt that they’d be eating a much wider range of foods and I would have spent a lot less time in the kitchen being a short order cook.

So I did my best to add a little humor to the book. And I think I succeeded. (I hope I did anyway.)

If you’ve got picky kids you might want to pick it up. Even if you’ve tried everything. It might help you see “pickyness” in a whole new light. (And maybe even hang up that short order cook apron forever.)

10K Training

I’m training for my second 10K. It’s in less than three weeks. I ran my first 10K last year and said I’d never do one again. One and done. But of course I always said I’d never be a runner either. (Not that I am.) I seem to live in the land of never say nevers.

I wasn’t going to run the 10K this year but all of my running friends talked me into it. “C’mon, it’ll be fun.” “You have to run the Great Race.” Turns out I’m a sucker for peer pressure.

And now? It seems at least half of my friends have dropped out due to injuries. And the ones that are running rarely show up for the Sunday group runs. Kids’ sports schedules. College tours. Life. (Assholes!)

We get running  homework every week from our coach. Last year we had to train five days a week and I never skipped a run. I had to give up so much. I never had time to write. This was part of the reason I wasn’t going to run again. I can’t write in the mornings or go to boot camp – the things I actually enjoy doing at 5AM. But last year I would go to the gym and run on the treadmill (ugh) next to my friends and we’d moan and groan about how terrible running is and how much it sucks and there was a comfort to that. And as much as I hated running, (and I did – still do) it felt good to be doing something hard, something I never thought I could do.

This year I haven’t been running on the treadmill. I’ve been trying to write at 5:00 and then run at 6:30 when it’s light outside. It kind of works, but only kind of. And now that the clocks have moved forward it will still be dark at 6:30. I might have to hit the treadmill again. Ugh.

Our coach has scaled back the training this season to four days a week, but I’ve only been running two or three. I’m trying to find some sort of magic formula between the writing and the running and the boot camp classes, but it’s hard. I haven’t figured it out yet. Last year running was keeping me skinny, but this year the pounds are slowly starting to creep back on. Yesterday I ran six miles and today when I got on the scale I’d gained half a pound. Six miles! WTF!

At least I know I can still run six miles (6.2 actually). It’s the first time I’ve done it since the race last year. I had to walk some of it, but not much. I ran the 6.2 in 1:09:34 – an 11:14 mile. Not great – a little slower than my 1:06:58 10K time last year, but like I said, I’ve really scaled back on my training. My goal is just to finish, not to finish fast.

In less than three weeks I’m going to run this stupid race. My stupid friends who talked me into it had better be at the finish line cheering me on. And then except for Sunday runs on flat terrain where people actually show up and there is coffee and gossip afterwards I am done with running. I will never ever ever run another 10K again. (Says the girl from the land of never say nevers.)

Running Sucks Series: This Time She Shall Be Named

The last time I wrote about her I was kind and did not name her. We ran together on a trail run and I stuck with her even though she was slow. On the streets she’s fast, but trails scare her and she begged me to stay by her side. So of course I did. I’m a good friend like that. (Such a good friend I ended up getting us lost.)

She’s the one that suckered talked me into running in the first place after our Just Lose It program ended. She claimed that she hates running too, but I don’t believe her. I think she’s a liar.

And after the terrible awful thing she did to me yesterday? She’s a liar who will be named.

Juliana.

Yesterday there were only three of us who were able to meet up for our Sunday run and Jennifer was walking because of an injury. We were doing a four mile run around the lake. Juliana said she really didn’t feel like running and would run with me at my pace. Yes, even though we started running at the same time she’s much faster than I am.

If I were the type that makes excuses, I’d say it’s because she weighs about 30 pounds less than I do. (Hey, she’s like four or five inches shorter so shut up!) It’s probably easier for her to run faster – you know, less girth to carry around.

I said she didn’t have to slow herself down to stay with me, but she said she wanted to because she was really tired and really didn’t want to run and had to force herself to come.

She did slow her pace down, but not to my pace, so I had to run faster to keep up. Remember what I said about her being a liar?

I’ve backed off on my running since my race because it takes up so much time. I was running five days a week and now I’m running three. So this run was really killing me. As we got to the light to make the turn back to the coffee house that was 3/4 of a mile away I kept chanting to myself,”Less than eight minutes left, less than eight minutes left.” I was dying, but I could run for eight more minutes.

Maybe.

And then she turned to me, and said, “Let’s go straight and do the five mile loop. We can even walk if you want.”

What?! NO!

I had less than eight minutes left and now she wanted me to run for something closer to eighteen. She told me she didn’t even feel like running. She told me she had to force herself to come and now we were almost done. Juliana is a big fat lying liar who lies! She kept going straight, turned her head and told me she loved me. I told her I hated her. And at that moment I meant it. But I followed her anyway.

And then I was pissed. Like, stomp your feet like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum pissed. I did not want to run an extra mile. I ran for about two minutes this way – hating Juliana and being grumpy and mad and miserable. And then I gasped for air took a deep breath and told myself to calm down. I’ve run five miles before. Hell, I’ve run six. I could do this. I turned up my music, stopped hating Juliana (mostly), and ran.

Juliana started to run faster and then would slow down to a walk until I caught up. I’d take two walking steps and then she’d run ahead again. You know that trick you play on people when they’re getting in your car and as soon as they touch the handle you pull forward a little? She was doing the running equivalent of that. (And I stopped hating her why?)

During that last push I focused on Adam Levine singing that he wanted to make sweet, sweet love to me (he might have used another word) and then I focused on Enrique Iglesias singing that he’d like to make sweet, sweet love to me as well (he definitely used another word). I wonder if Bradley Cooper can sing. If he was singing about all the dirty ways he could make sweet, sweet love to me I think I could run all day.

Or at least for five miles.

I’d like to say that I’m still mad at Juliana for tricking me into that extra mile. For pushing me harder than I wanted to go.

But if I said that, then I might (or might not) be the one who’s a liar.

Reflections on Running My First 10K Race

Yes, the girl who hates running ran her first 10K. Phew! Got that item checked off the bucket list.

Except.

It was never on my bucket list. I never had any desire to run. Ever. I love working out, but I’ve always hated running. It makes you out of breath. And sweaty. It’s solitary. And it’s hard. Really, really hard.

It sucks.

But thanks to some annoyingly fit (and supportive) friends, the best gym in the world, and an incredible trainer (thank you Regan – I couldn’t have done it without you!), I DID IT! I ran my first 10K.

Every year for the last eight years I’ve stood outside my house and watched 10K and 5K runners run past my house for the Great Race of Agoura.

10K runners
It doesn’t look like it, but there are a lot of people running up my street.

 

This year my neighbors were watching me. (Well, me and 1,227 others, but I’m pretty sure mostly me.)

10K runner
My son is a great runner, but a crappy photographer.

 

I have to admit, it was pretty exciting. I gathered at the start line with all my run club friends getting ready to do something I never imagined myself doing. Something I never imaged I could do – running for six miles, putting one foot in front of the other and gasping for breath for over an hour straight. What the hell was I thinking?!

Race Start line
Me and part of my crew.

 

When the gun went off and I crossed the start line I was a bit emotional. A little choked up, actually. (Probably because I realized there was no turning back.) I smiled as I ran down the street and saw the people from my neighborhood waving at me (and 1,227 others). Dave was out early to a NASCAR race (don’t ask) and Marley slept over at my mom’s, but Chandler was waiting for me on our driveway. I waved at him excitedly as I passed. He gave me a head nod and raised his hand in sort-of half wave and turned around and walked inside. Apparently the moment was not as monumentous for him as it was for me. (Whatever. Teenagers!)

Mile One was surprisingly easy. It must have been the adrenaline. The excitement. My neighbors cheering me on. Plus it was all downhill. That certainly didn’t hurt.

The distance between Mile One and Mile Two was not quite as easy. I thought maybe they forgot to put up the mile marker. Or maybe I missed it. I couldn’t have missed it could I? Wasn’t there supposed to be a water station there? I was parched. Where the hell was Mile Two?! Finally! Water station and mile marker. Two miles down, four to go. (Seriously, what was I thinking?)

I hate to admit it, but between Mile Two and Mile Three it wasn’t that terrible. I didn’t like it, but I was well-trained and I knew I could do it. I never felt like I had to walk. Don’t get me wrong – I wanted to walk, but I never felt like I had to. My friends were all long gone. I’ve always been the slowest runner in my group (by far), but that was okay. There were still people behind me. A lot of people behind me!

When I hit Mile Four I was scared. Really, really scared. I knew the dreaded hills (or is that mountains?) were just around the corner.

Great-Race-of-Agoura-10K-elevation
Gulp!

 

But before the mountains hills, I was coming up to a U-turn so the runners ahead of me were running towards me. I’d call out my friend’s names and scream, “Whooo!” as I saw them pass and they’d scream, “Whooo, Charlene” back.

And then I saw him.

There was a child who could not have been more than five years old with a 10K race bib on coming towards me. I’m talking five-years-old tops. I was being outpaced by a freaking toddler!

Have I ever mentioned that running sucks?

(I know what you’re thinking, by the way. You’re thinking that I’m exaggerating. You’re thinking that some short nine-year-old was out there being all Bruce Jenner-like. (When Bruce Jenner was a runner and not a reality star.) No, I’m telling you, if this kid was in kindergarten he is for sure the youngest one in his class. Does one of the local pre-schools have a tiny tot track and field program? I mentioned this toddler running prodigy to my friends at the finish line and they saw him too. My friend Juliana said she saw him pass her, high-fiving people along the way. So I’m telling you, this kid was five-years-old. He was real. And I hate him!)

Anyway… on to the hills.

Here is the first one:

running hill
It’s even harder than it looks!

 

What the F?

Yeah, I had to go up that. Do you see how those people are bent over? No, it’s not because they’re vomiting (although who could blame them if they were?), it’s because that hill is so freaking steep you have to bend over like that to get up it. Also, I took this picture from the middle of the hill, so it’s also longer than it looks.

This is the hill of running legends and myths. This hill is the reason our asshole beloved trainer Regan wouldn’t let us run the course before the race. This is the hill that makes people make that face when you tell them you’re doing the Great Race of Agoura 10K. You know that face that people make when you tell them you’re about to do something stupid? The face with one eyebrow raised, their chin tilted down and the tsk tsk tsk that goes along with it? Yeah, this is that hill.

(I might or might have walked it. That’s for me to know and you to never ever find out.)

And then after going up another very terrible horrible no good hill I saw the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.

No, it wasn’t this:

California beach at sunset

 

 

Or this:

Bobs Big Boy Burger

 

 

Or this:

bradley-cooper

 

Or even this:

Sorry kids!
Sorry kids!

 

It was this:

5-mile-marker
Hello gorgeous!

I cannot tell you the joy I felt seeing the 5-mile marker sign. It made me happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life (maybe this is what they mean by a runner’s high) because in 12 minutes or less I was going to be done! And it was all downhill! Well, mostly downhill. Until that last short but extremely steep hill that took me by complete surprise. (GRRR!)

As I came down the final hill and turned the corner towards the finish line I actually picked up some speed. I really wanted to finish strong. I do wish the last 50 feet weren’t on overgrown un-mowed grass, which is really hard to run on by the way.

My friends were waiting for me at the finish with high fives and sweaty hugs. We did it! And I’ll never ever ever have to do it again. (Maybe.)

10K medal
We did it!

And in case you were wondering how I did (you were, weren’t you?), here you go:

Not too bad for a first race
Not too bad for a first race

 

Oh, and can I end this post with a little bit of a mommy brag? My son? The one who gave me the half-hearted-yeah-whatever wave from the driveway? He ran the 5K and won. Yeah, that’s right – 1st place out of 999 runners. He must get his running gene from me! (Or I guess, probably not.)

One proud mama!
One proud and happy mama!

 

Today I am resting. But tomorrow I might go running again. (We’ll see.)

 

*And yes, Lisa, I did steal that picture of the beach at sunset from your Facebook page. (Thank you!)

 

 

 

Whole Foods 3 Day Facial Care Sale

What’s that on your face?

Yeah, you heard me? What is that on your face? Or rather, what’s in the stuff you put on your face?

Did you know that the U.S. government does not require health studies or pre-market testing for personal care products? So that guaranteed-to-make-you-look-younger-in-just-two-weeks-anti-aging moisturizer you’re slathering all over yourself? That expensive eye cream you so carefully dab around your eyelids at night (with your ring finger – the weakest finger to lessen the finger-pulling wrinkling effects)? That vitamin-enriched soap you wash your face with? Do you even know what’s in it?

Your skin is your biggest organ. (Yes, your skin is an organ, like your liver or your heart.) And your face is, well, your face. You don’t want to be putting lotion with amino-guanadine or Brassicamidoprophyl Dimethylamine or hexahydroxystearate (whatever that stuff is) on your beautiful, beautiful skin do you?

Of course you don’t. And I’m here to help. Or rather I’m here to tell you how Whole Foods is here to help.

Whole Foods has identified over 400 ingredients unacceptable for Premium Body Care standards and when you buy a product at their store and see their Premium Body Care symbol, you know none of that icky stuff is in there.

365_facial_cleanser
See that symbol? Good stuff!

And if you live in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada or Hawaii you are in luck this weekend because Whole Foods is having a 3-Day Facial Care sale which includes 25% off ALL facial care products February 7-9. (Lip balms and makeup are excluded from the sale.)

All kinds of wonderful goodies for your face are on sale. Cleansers, eye creams, toners, moisturizers, scrubs, masks and serums are all on sale. Organic products, natural products, local products, anti-aging products (not that you need those) – yep, all on sale.

Whole-Foods-facial-care-products

Think of how much fun it will be to head to Whole Foods this weekend and scurry down this aisle while saying to yourself, Wow! That’s on sale. And so is that! And that and that and that! Fortunately Whole Foods has chairs. Just in case you need to sit down from all the excitement.

Whole-Foods-aisle

My local Whole Foods is the Thousand Oaks store. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and then head on over this weekend and save 25% as you stock up on all the facial care items you could ever need. Without all the unpronounceable stuff you don’t.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market. (But trust me when I tell you, I’m very careful about what I do -and don’t- put on my face.)

Running: THE Most Awesome Sport Ever!

My friend Simmah says that she’s tired of hearing me complain about running.

Facebook-comment

I know she’s right. In fact, even before her comment on my Facebook wall I had worried that I was coming off a bit too negative. People who know me know that I am not a negative person. I’m the obnoxiously annoying one who finds a silver lining in every dark and gloomy cloud. (Most of the time.) Trust me, I did not get nicknamed Pollyana by being such a Negative Nelly. (Negative Nelly?! – did I really just write that? Shoot me now.)

I do believe that thoughts become actions and in the power of positive thinking and all that bullshit. So maybe I would enjoy running more if I embraced it instead of fought against it.

So on Sunday morning went I went for a 2 mile run (It was actually a 2.34 mile run according to the RunKeeper GPS app on my phone, but my running coach is a known liar), I told myself how excited I was to be outside in the freezing cold crisp air and California sunshine instead of at home, cozy in my warm bed reading my book. And how happy I was to only be running 2 (2.34) miles. Uh, I mean I told myself how bummed I was to only be running 2 (2.34) miles. Oh how I wish I was running 4 (so you know, 4.68) miles instead! Because running is awesome. Running is FUN!

We started off on a hill, but that was okay. I’ve been suffering through practicing inclines on the treadmill and my legs are strong and ready. I started my run in the middle of the pack and when people started passing me in droves, instead of cursing myself for being so slow I looked over my shoulder and saw that there were still three people behind me. Ha ha I am not the slowest runner after all! Eat my dust slow pokes! Great job everybody! (Runners always say great job to the lame people who are trying their best even though they suck at running in back.)

jogging
It is almost impossible to see all of the people ahead of me in this crappy picture, but trust me, there are tons of them!

When I felt out of breath, like I literally could not breathe, I reminded myself that I haven’t passed out yet, so odds are that I wouldn’t pass out this time. Way to go lungs!

And when sweat trickled down my forehead and salty sunscreen got in my eyes, I told myself how glad I was to be cooling myself down and that I was ridding my body of harmful toxins.

And when the sun shone down on my face and I had to squint my eyes against it, instead of cursing the wrinkles and age spots freckles that were surely attaching themselves to my face that very minute, I rejoiced in the joy of receiving a welcome winter tan.

Oh running, my new love, why did I wait so long find you? Simmah is right. By just shifting my perspective, and telling myself that I love you instead of hate you, I find that I do love you.

And best of all, because I ran 2.34 miles on Sunday morning, that means I can eat and drink whatever I want on at the Superbowl party I’m going to later in the afternoon, right?

That’s what I figured anyway. I mean why the hell else would I run? (Other than the fact that now I love it, of course.)

So when I got on the scale this morning only to find that once again my gluttonous ways have netted me an overnight 2 pound weight gain, despite my muscle-building, calorie-burning, cardiovascular-improving fun and awesome run, do you know what I screamed said (very loudly)?

Running sucks!

More on Running and it Sucking

I still hate running. Seriously. I get no joy out of it. Zero.

One might wonder what sort of crazy person does something she hates five days a week. Something that makes her sore afterwards. Something that makes her out of breath and miserable while she’s doing it.

Yeah, when I figure that out I’ll let you know.

I’m training for a 10K – that’s about 6.2 miles, which is about 6 miles too far in my book. To date the furthest I’ve ever run is five miles. And that was so hard. Like really, really, really hard. And I had to walk some of it. (I always have to walk some of it.)

I’m training with the run club at my gym. We meet on Sundays for a long run and then we have running homework every week. I think I’d rather do Chandler’s Math Analysis homework. And I really suck at math. (Except for percentages and how they relate to things that are on sale. I’ll tell you, I can calculate the sale price of something in my head with the snap of a finger, no calculator needed.)

At the start of the training for the 10K our coach told us that we had  to do our homework. “Don’t come to these long Sunday runs without doing your homework,” he warned us. “Because if you do, one of three things are guaranteed to happen. One, you will get hurt. Two, you will die. Or three, you will not finish your race.”

Honestly any of those scenarios sound preferable to me having to run six point two miles.

Last week I was pretty excited because I had it in my head that we had an easy week and our homework was Monday off, Tuesday 2 miles, Wednesday 1 mile, Thursday 2 miles, Friday off, and Saturday one mile. My friend Carol corrected me and told me that is was Tuesday 2 miles, Wednesday 2 miles, Thursday 3 miles. We checked. She was right. Stupid Carol!

I’ve been running for over four months now, but I’m not getting any better at it. Well, it is getting a tiny bit easier, but I’m so slow. I’m always one of the last ones to finish.

On yesterday’s run we did a 4 mile trail run. My friend -who shall remain nameless, but she knows who she is!- asked me to run with her because she hadn’t run for a week because she’d been sick. Yeah, that’s how slow I am. I run with the infirmed.

Also, she got lost on a trail once and hurt her foot, so understandably she hates trails. This trail was pretty narrow in places with sharp drop-offs and very uneven terrain – very hard to do if you are not a trail-run fan. (Or if, like me, you’re not an any-run fan.)

Wildwood-trails
See those dots on the trails? Those are some of the many, many runners in front of us.

My nameless friend had to walk a lot of it because of the unevenness of the terrain, so I, out of the goodness of my heart, walked a lot of it too. You know, because I’m a good friend like that. Not because I couldn’t run it. (Cough cough!)

I will admit that it is a beautiful trail (if you like dry California scrub) and at a little over halfway you end up at a waterfall.

Waterfall-Wildwood-Hike
Feeling strong – of course this waterfall is at the bottom of a canyon and now I have to go back up!

And I suppose I should tell you that the main reason my friend wanted me to stay with her was because she was afraid of getting lost. So you know I got us lost right? And of course getting us lost resulted in us doing an extra mile. (I might or might not have said bad words to our running coach when he found us at the bottom of the trail where we’d taken a wrong turn and told us we’d have to go back.) I probably should have told her that I’m not just bad at math and running. I also have a terrible sense of direction.

Needless to say, we came in last for the people that were doing the four mile run. I’m pretty sure we still would have even if we hadn’t gone the extra mile.

So yes, as far as I’m concerned – running? It still totally sucks.

Whole Foods Whole Body Sale

New Year, New You, right?

This is the year you’re going to be fit. Be healthy. Be strong. How ya doing with that?

They say it takes three weeks to form a habit. (I don’t know who “they” are, but I do know that’s what “they” say.) Well, we’re a little more than three weeks into 2014. Have you formed any healthy new habits yet? Sometimes we need a little help. A little push. Or just an awesome sale!

Well, if you live in Southern California, Arizona, Las Vegas or Hawaii, you’re in luck, because Whole Foods is having one heck of an awesome sale on everything that is going to get you healthy this year.

whole-foods-whole-body-sale

 

That’s right – vitamins, protein powders, homeopathic medicines – all that good stuff that you know you should be taking, but maybe haven’t started quite yet. (And if you are already taking them, this is definitely the perfect time to stock up!)

If you are a regular reader of my blog (thank you from the bottom of my heart, BTW), you know that I’ve been on a fitness routine for the last six or seven months. One of the ways I try to stay fit and strong is by drinking a protein shake almost every day.

Here’s my favorite shake recipe:

  • one cup of almond milk or coconut milk
  • one scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • a tablespoon of chia or flax seeds for my omega 3’s (I switch back and forth between the two)
  • 1/2 banana
  • a glob of peanut butter (yes, my very scientific measurement – a glob)
  • 4-5 ice cubes
  • and once in a while I’ll throw in some spinach or kale (You can’t taste it, I swear!)
green-protein-shake
Green protein shake with chia seeds. Mmmmmm!

 

Well, you’d better believe I’ll be heading to Whole Foods this weekend to stock up on protein powder. No matter what type of protein powder you’re into, Whole Foods will have it on sale January 24-26.

Whole-Foods-Protein-Powder

 

If you’re a vegan and whey powder is not for you…

Vegan-Protein-Powder

 

If you prefer your protein powder made from hemp (hey, I’m not judging!)…

Hemp-Protein-Powder

 

If you like your protein gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, hypoallergenic and vegan then this one will make you feel like a warrior (and give you extra stamina to hold that warrior pose even longer in your next yoga class)…

Warrior-Blend-Protein-Powder

 

They even have protein powder for people who dig Fabio (I kid you not)…

Fabio-protein-powder
If you drink this will you look like or perhaps be able to date Fabio? Maybe.

 

What I’m trying to say is, if you’re into protein shakes, then Whole Foods definitely has a protein powder for you. (Oh and the chia and flax seeds I throw in – they’re on sale this weekend too!)

Another thing I’ll be stocking up on at the Whole Food Whole Body Sale is vitamins and homeopathic medicine. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on my blog, but I will tell you that I am a big believer in supplement taking.

Every day I try to take:

  • Vitamin D (helps me hold onto that calcium being sucked out of my bones due to being a middle aged woman how unfairly the universe treats women’s bodies, is good for warding off colds, and is good for your skin)
  • CoQ10 (great source of anti-oxidants which is great for your heart – and your skin!)
  • Fish oil or Krill oil (good for brain power and reduces signs of aging)
  • Vitamin B (increases energy and is really, really good for your skin)

So in case you haven’t noticed I take vitamins because I’m incredibly vain and terrified of looking my age I like to be healthy.

And because it’s cold and flu season I like to have a lot of Emergen-C and Boiron products on hand. I’ve only been sick once in the last two years and I truly believe it’s because I load up on vitamins and homeopathic products when other people around me are sick. I swear by taking Emergen-C to keep colds away and taking Boiron products at the very first sign of cold or flu if those sneaky viruses somehow slip their way into my body despite my best efforts to keep them at bay. Trust me if you do get sick and take a product like Boiron right away, you won’t feel nearly as bad. (In my opinion anyway. Like I said, I’m not a doctor.)

Homeopathic-medicine-collage
Good stuff here people, good stuff!

 

So, if you really are wanting a new and improved you this year (and live in Southern California, Arizona, Las Vegas or Hawaii) you might want to consider heading out to Whole Foods this weekend (Jan 24-26) to stock up on some fabulous health items. And if you end up in the Thousand Oaks store you might just bump into me. (I might or might not be the one with Fabio in my cart.)

 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for Whole Foods Market, but my opinions on supplement taking and almost-daily habit of protein shake drinking are still 100% true.

How To Stay Skinny During the Holidays

Every year I gain weight over the holidays. I know, we all do. But I’m talking like 10 or 12 pounds. And then I spend most of the following year trying to lose it only to regain it again. I refuse to do that this year. I refuse I tell you!

I mean every time I go to the gym someone tells me how fabulous I look after losing 16 pounds on their Just Lose It program. (Well, 12 pounds on the program and 4 after.) I can’t waddle into the gym in January fat from holiday gluttony. I’ve got a reputation to uphold.

This year, for the first time ever, I’m staying skinny over the holidays. And I’ll tell you how I’m doing it and how you can do it to.

I wouldn’t exactly call these holiday weight loss tips (because losing weight during the holidays doesn’t sound like any fun and in my opinion goes against nature), so let’s call them holiday weight-maintenance tips. That sounds doable. (Even if it doesn’t sound fun.)

How to stay thin during the holidays

Run

Yeah, running sucks. I will admit that running is getting a (tiny) bit easier, but I’m not enjoying it any better. I hate every single heart-pounding, breath-stealing, body-jarring step I take, but I still aim for running a minimum of three miles three times a week. Why? Because runners are skinny. And honestly, I feel great when I’m done. (In a sore and tired and achy kind of way.)

And pu-leaze don’t tell me that you’re not a runner. Did I tell you that I hate running? I hate it! And I’m even pretty terrible at it. If anyone had told me at the beginning of the year that I would take up running I would have told them to go take another hit of their crack pipe because that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. What kind of crazy person takes up running at the age of 48? That would be me. And as sucktastic as running is (and it is), it works.

Eat

That sounds weird, right? Why would you eat if you’re trying to maintain your weight? Because running makes you hungry. (You are running right?) Believe it or not if you’re not getting enough calories your body goes into starvation mode and stores fat. (Oh, the bitter irony.)

The trick is eating the right kinds of food. (But you already knew that right?) So (especially if you are working out) make sure you get a lot of protein – about 20 grams four times a day. I actually eat five times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner with 20 grams of protein at each meal and a mid-morning and afternoon snack with 10 grams of protein. And are you ready for the best part? I also eat carbs. That’s right – 30 grams at each meal and 15 grams at snack time. Again, you just need to eat the right carbs – sweet potatoes, fruit (especially grapefruit), quinoa, brown rice – all good carbs. Bread, pasta and corn chips – bad carbs. BTW – I do eat the bad carbs – look what I had for dinner the other night…

Bob's-Big-Boy-Combo
If I got to choose my last meal, this would be it.

But trust me, this is the exception, not the rule. 99% of the time my dinner looks something like this:

Biggest-Loser-Style-Healthy-Dinner
Before I eat this I pull the skin off the chicken. (Sigh…)

Most days I eat very clean and I never skip meals even if I’m going to a party or a Happy Hour. Going to a party when you’re starving only makes you gorge your way through the buffet table. (As someone whose usual MO is to starve myself before a party so I can dive face first into the food table and stuff as much as humanly possible into my brie and cracker hole, I know what I’m talking about.)

So if you’re going to a dinner party, be sure to eat lunch. That way you’ll be hungry when you arrive, but not famished. If you’re heading out to an appetizer-fest (my absolute favorite), consider eating a light dinner before you go. Maybe 2-3 ounces of chicken with some green beans. That way you can still hang out by the party food table for a little bit, but you’ll be more likely to dip into it instead of swim in it.

Say No

Say no to wine. Say no to sugar. Say no to fun. Okay, that sounds a bit extreme. (And maybe even impossible.) Especially since our calendars are all a bit full this month. Why go to a cookie exchange if you can’t eat any cookies? What’s the point of Happy Hour if you can’t get happy? And what are you supposed to do at your friend’s wine tasting party? Compare the subtle differences of mineral strength in different types of bottled water?

Okay, you don’t have to say not to everything. (I certainly won’t be.) But on the nights that I am home this month I do plan on saying no. A lot. No wine with dinner (which totally sucks), no cookies after dinner (even though trust me, we have plenty), and no No NO to eggnog (I’m pretty sure that sticks to your ass faster and more permanently than anything).

Say Yes

No, I am not psychotic (much). I do realize that I just said to say no. But I’ll be saying no at home so I can say yes when I go out. Indulging is what the holidays are all about. Only this year I plan on indulging less. You’d better believe I’ll still be eating cheese. And shortbread cookies (my absolute favorite). And party drinks. Only this year I’m going to do it in (yeah, I’m gonna say it) moderation. Ugh, I know, I hate that word too. (Almost as much as I hate running.) But if moderation were fun or easy everyone would be skinny.

So, say yes, but in moderation. (And if you’re wondering what you should drink at a party, here is a great Sip It or Skip It guide from my good friends at Party Blu Prints.)

Run

Oh, did I say that already? Well, you probably know that when you’re teaching someone something new, you have to repeat yourself. So I’m repeating myself. And I totally saw you sneak that extra cheese puff in your mouth when you thought no one was looking. (Or was that me?) So suck it up an get running. Otherwise you’ll be waddling the walk of shame into the gym in January.

And you don’t want to do that do you?