Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This week has been a quiet week for me as I've been dealing with a funky mood of sorts. However, I'm glad it's Friday and that Thanksgiving is less than a week away! I'm looking forward to running my first Turkey Trot, spending time with my family and, of course, the food! Since, it's Friday, let's recap some of the good things of this week ....

How cute is this Santa pig? I want him so much!! I spotted him at Target this past weekend and wanted to take him home, but sadly I left him on the shelf. I might need to go back after Thanksgiving and pick him up though. He's just too adorable!!

I'm addicted to holiday blend coffees. Last week it was Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend, this week it's Caribou Reindeer Blend. I need to stock up on these two amazing coffees!! I love that they're both dark roast coffees and each has their own unique holiday taste.

I would love to make a cheese ball for Thanksgiving that looks like this. How funny!! I wouldn't use the recipe that it links to, but I'm sure I could figure something out. But I would feel bad eating him!!

I signed up for two challenges this holiday season that make me feel excited. First, is Jamie Mendell's The Good Life Holiday Challenge. This one intrigues me because I suffer from a LOT of food guilt lately, and I could use some guidance on making it through the holidays. Each week will have a different theme to focus on overall health and help guide you through the end of 2013 feeling your healthiest. Sounds great, doesn't it? The second challenge is the Runner's World Holiday Streak. I'm going to be running at least one mile daily from Thanksgiving to New Year's. I'm not a daily runner, but this challenge, although intimidating, sounds fun!

Lastly, just need to share a photo of my baby, Mercedes. She's just too cute not to share photos! 

I hope you all had a good week or can look for some good in the week. Every day might not be wonderful, but there is something good in every day. You just need to search for it sometimes!

Thanks for hosting the awesome linkups Lauren and Clare!

Until next time~

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

This Crazy Funk

This past week and a half I have been in a funk of sorts. From the outside, I've been trying to hide that. I post my gratitude posts on Facebook, post how happy I am with my runs on Twitter and put cute pictures up on Instagram. However, that's just part of the story. 

There's so much more going on personally. I haven't been feeling unhappy necessarily, but more unsettled, on edge and critical. Very critical of my body, the food I'm eating and my workouts. On edge about everything. Unsettled with where I am in my life. 

Here's the truth - my life isn't always happiness, rainbows and butterflies.

So what's brought this funk on? 

Next week will be the start of the holiday season and Saturday will be my birthday. Last year at this time, I was planning an amazing birthday with someone special. Or something that I thought was someone special. 

I was so busy planning my birthday, shopping for a beautiful dress and planning future holidays with this someone special, that I never took the time to focus on the fact that it was my first holiday season alone because I didn't feel alone. I saw a future with this person, and that was a great distraction from facing my first holidays as a widow.

This year is the complete opposite. I am very much alone. This holiday season will just be Mercedes and me putting up the tree, shopping and wrapping presents, and traveling to my parents' house. Now, this isn't necessarily a BAD thing. It just means that this is the first holiday season that I'm truly facing alone. 

And that puts me in a funk. I don't know how else to describe it. I know I just need to shake myself out of it and I'm trying, I really am, but I don't know what it's going to take to fully get out of it other than time. Embracing that I'm single and alone, and that's okay. 

My life might not be perfectly happy right now, and I know that I'll get through this. 

Until next time~

Monday, November 18, 2013

MIMM: Back to Running and an Upcoming Challenge

Happy Monday! I know it's difficult to be happy on Mondays, so I'm glad there's a linkup to assist with finding the marvelous in it - Marvelous in My Monday. So many great bloggers join and I'm happy to be a part of it!

So what's marvelous this Monday? Well, first it's this. Just because I love coffee and minions!

Also marvelous? This past week I was finally able to get back to running!!! Woot woot!! After dealing with crazy ankle pain no matter what I did, it finally went away. So what did I do? Simple - I changed the insoles in my shoes before Wednesday's run. Seriously. That is all I did and it made a world of difference. I did take it easy for mileage and pace last week just in case that actually wasn't the issue, but every run just got better. By Friday, no pain at all. I am a very happy runner!

So how did I do for mileage last week? Well, not great running-wise, but like I said, I took it easy because of my ankle. Total miles covered though, is pretty good. Here's a quick recap:

Sunday: 4.3 miles + stability ball/ ab work, planks and squats
Monday: 3 miles elliptical, 4 miles bike + free weight exercises and planks
Tuesday: 3.6 miles elliptical, 1 mile treadmill run + stability ball/ ab work, planks and squats + Pilates
Wednesday: 3.4 mile run, 4 miles bike + cable weight machine weights and plank
Thursday: 4 mile run + leg day (squats, Bosu ball mountain climbers, lunges, calf raises, etc.), planks and ab work + Pilates
Friday: 5.6 mile run + planks
Saturday: Rest Day

Miles Covered: 18.3 running + 14.6 elliptical/ bike = 32.9 total miles

As much as I love running, I'm also enjoying more gym time with the elliptical and bike. Plus, I'm getting in more weight lifting time. Which I LOVE!! I definitely want to get more toned and feel stronger, and now that I'm not training for a half marathon, I have more freedom to do that. However, I do miss having a plan, a schedule. I'm someone who thrives on a schedule. I feel lost without one! I still want to keep up the basic schedule I had during half marathon training - running shorter distances during the week with a long run on weekends - but I also need a new challenge. Something to keep me going every day. Which is why I'm excited I found this ....

Runner's World Holiday Streak Challenge. Every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day you have to run at least one mile. It doesn't have to be outside, but it does have to be an actual run, not a bike ride, swim or elliptical. I saw it in the latest edition of Runner's World and signed up immediately. What a great challenge! I am a little scared not having any rest days, but I get that my "rest days" are supposed to be one easy mile, and I think I can handle that. I can still cross train as long as I do my one mile run as well. I think this will be good to get me outside and acclimated to winter running. I'm not a quitter so every day I will be getting in a run! Who else wants to join?? It will be fun!

Just to post a few tips from the Runner's World website - this isn't for injury prone, injured or newbie runners. They recommend only joining if you've been running regularly for at least six months. Take as many one mile days as you would rest days; don't make every day a high intensity day.

Hope everyone is having a marvelous Monday!

Until next time~

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This week has been just one of those weeks. I've been feeling a little down, frustrated with myself and, not unhappy, but unhappy with myself, my body, etc. Does that make sense? It's just a funk, a mood, I know that and it will pass. But I know some good things must have happened so let's see what I can find for my Friday Favorites!

My new favorite coffee is this Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend. It's so yummy - dark roast with a hint of spices. It really is Thanksgiving in a cup! Someone posted a photo of it on Instagram a few weeks ago talking about how awesome it was, so I had to pick it up when I made it to a Starbucks. I should probably buy another one soon before they run out!

Speaking of coffee, how cute are the holiday cups at Caribou Coffee? I stopped there on Friday as I headed up to my parents for a little coffee treat to drink along the way and these holiday cups are incredibly cute!

I made my own homemade peanut butter this week. It's delicious!! I've never made homemade peanut butter before, but felt the urge to try it. I just used unsalted dry roasted peanuts, sea salt, a small amount of pure honey, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Yum! I can't taste the vanilla; I figured next time I'd try vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste for a vanilla peanut butter.

I finally ordered my half marathon sticker for my car. Yup, I'm one of those "annoying" runners who will have an oval sticker on the back of their car now. And guess what? I don't care! I'm proud of what I did, and I don't think it's bragging. I think it's just showing off my interests and lifestyle; showing that I'm a part of the running club of the world. Can't wait for it to come!

Last year for Christmas, my parents bought me a gorgeous white wool winter coat. I love it, but it's not exactly convenient for walking Mercedes, to wear as an extra layer for a run or casual errands. I had been wearing an old coat that I had, but by now it's HUGE on me. I figured it was probably time to find a new coat and I settled on this North Face. I had no plans of buying a North Face, but it was so cozy when I tried it on I couldn't resist. Plus, it's pink! I'm hoping it was a good choice!

Those are a few of my favorites from this past week. Hope you all had a wonderful week and can find things to be grateful for, even the small things!

It's been a quiet, uninspiring week so I only have one other post to check out:
MIMM: Time with My Family

Until next time~

Monday, November 11, 2013

MIMM: Time with My Family

Happy Monday! I just checked the weather and it's a balmy 23 degrees outside, and the weather app says it feels like 6 degrees. Wow. That's cold! I will be sticking to a gym workout today; I'm such a wimp when it comes to running in freezing cold and windy weather!

Since it's Monday, I thought I would like up with Healthy Diva Life for Marvelous in My Monday. What a great way to start this week!

Marvelous is definitely spending time with my family this weekend. It was hunting season opener in Minnesota this past weekend, and although I'm not a hunter, my dad and brother are so my mom asked me to come home for the weekend to spend time with everyone. I, of course, said yes since it had been awhile since I'd been up there with my half marathon training. It was so refreshing and relaxing to spend time with my parents, my brother and nephew, and to see my grandma and my grandpa. We visited, got caught up in each other's lives, made some delicious food and just relaxed.

My mom and I went into the local craft fair they had at the high school. We didn't buy anything, but I really wish I would have bought a turkey hat for the upcoming Turkey Trot. I need to find them again! I found these ones on Etsy, but I need to find ones a little less expensive!

Marvelous is also my new workout tank my mom bought me as a present for finishing my first half marathon. I feel so loved!

Yesterday I got out for a run, which is definitely marvelous after having to take some time off of running. I didn't go super far or fast, but I got to run! The weather was perfect yesterday afternoon for running (unlike today!) and I felt so happy running. Although I did feel some twinges in my ankle, it didn't bother me too much. We won't talk about how my ankle feels this morning though ....

How was your weekend? I hope it was marvelous, too!

Until next time~

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This Runner's Frustration

These last two weeks after my first half marathon have been extremely frustrating to me. I didn't want to cut back on my running, but I've been forced to from sore legs (expected), bad weather and, the most annoying, my ankle. I did expect the sore legs for a few days after the half and planned for that. I figured I would cut back my miles for a few days, then get back into my usual routine. 

However, my ankle has been starting to bother me more and more. Last week I managed a few runs, pushing myself through the pain, and also spending some time on the elliptical. This week, however, has been worse. Monday night I ran a quick three miles on the treadmill at the hotel gym where I was staying. After, my ankle really started to bother me. My plan was to get up early Tuesday to squeeze in another run prior to my meetings, but my ankle had another plan.

I ended up taking Tuesday off, and during the day the uncomfortable feeling just got worse. Wednesday I could only manage two miles before I had to stop and move to the elliptical. Today, I didn't even try anything other than the elliptical. My ankle hurts when I walk, go down the stairs or move it wrong so running wasn't even an option.

I'm just so frustrated. All I want to do is run and clear my head; feel good again. But I'm not going to do anything that will further hurt my ankle. The pain started in my Achilles tendon and now the left side hurts as well. It's not a constant pain, but sharp pains while walking or running. 

I'm definitely feeling sidelined right now. Luckily I don't have a race until the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot, but I really miss running! I feel lost without it! Every time I see a post about running or how many miles someone ran, I feel jealous. Honestly, I also feel like I'm a failure because I'm not out there, too; that I'm being a wuss or something for not pushing it.

So that's where I am .... frustrated and lost without knowing how to work out without running. I'm hoping a few days off from running is all I need and I can get back into it soon. Sunday I'm hoping - send positive vibes! I've done so well not getting injured up until now. At least the worst of the pain waited until after the half marathon!

Me too, running shoes, me too. I miss you.

Have you ever hurt your ankle like this? 
Would you go to the doctor or try rest first? 
How do you work out if you can't run?

Until next time~

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Count Your Blessings

Yes, I am one of those people who post what I'm thankful for during the month of November. I think it's great to count your blessings, remember what you're grateful for in your daily life, for a whole month. I think we lose sight of the good things sometimes and giving thanks is a great reminder that even through the tough days there is always something to be thankful for, even if it's something small.

However, lately I've noticed that there are posts all over social media poking fun of this practice or hating on it. People are annoyed by other people being thankful.

This saddens me. Why are we taking something so good and pure, and poking fun? Why do we need to turn something that's meant to be positive into something negative?

I think it's so important to be grateful. Yes, we should be grateful more than just during the month of November. And I think many people are. However, I do think that sometimes we need a month of thanksgiving and gratefulness to be reminded of all that's good. We get so wrapped up in the negative, in the daily struggles of life, that it's good to take a step back and think of the positives. 

I've done the month of thanks for a few years now. Last year I found it incredibly beneficial. It was my first holiday season as a widow and it was important to focus on the good things happening rather than the sadness of what could have been. 

So I'm going to continue on with my daily be thankful posts. I'm not going to apologize for them. I am thankful every day of the year for the life I live and to God for all that He has done for me, and for 30 days I want to acknowledge those things. I encourage others to do the same; count your blessings. And to those who find this to be annoying, I don't care. Block my posts from your newsfeed if you must. I think it's important to be thankful; to be reminded of the good things in our lives especially when we're struggling. Counting your blessings is such a rewarding and refreshing experience.

Until next time~

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Things

It's November 1st - happy November!! The best month in my opinion! ;) It could, possibly have to do with the fact that my birthday is this month, and the holiday craziness begins with Thanksgiving, which equals lots of family time. It's such a great month!!

It's also Friday and I actually see some peeks of blue sky, which hopefully means the sun will come out today. It's been a very gray week here in Minnesota! Despite the gray skies, it hasn't been a bad week (thank goodness!); here are the good things from this week for the high five for Friday linkup!

Of course, my most favorite thing of the week (and all of October and probably fall!) is running my first half marathon. It was such a spectacular experience. I can't explain how fulfilled I feel after accomplishing that goal. You can read all about it here!

Yesterday, of course, was Halloween. I don't hand out candy (a dog who barks every time the doorbell rings + a neighbor who hates me my dog = no bueno), but I did receive a treat! The October Scentsy scent of the month is heavenly; perfect scent for this time of year!

Since my hair is getting longer, I've been playing around with different hairstyles lately. I found a new braid technique on Pinterest that I love - it's so easy and looks so cute! I still need some practice though.

Let's talk about the perfect snack. I love popcorn, peppermint and white chocolate so I HAD to buy this once I spotted it in the grocery store. It's like the taste of the holidays explode in my mouth! If you see it, try it!! It's gluten free, non-GMO and absolutely delicious!!

I've been taking it easy getting back into running after last Saturday's half marathon, mostly because my body is making me, and Mercedes is enjoying the extra cuddle time. I think she would prefer me to never leave the house!

I hope you all had a wonderful week and enjoyed your Halloween! Make sure to check out my other posts from this week:

Until next time~