Running Like a Well-Oiled Machine

Forgive the pun-ny title, but I just couldn’t bring myself to come up with anything more creative to give you an update on how things have been going this past month.

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With the Dark Side Challenge about a month away, I’ve been keeping up with my training relatively well – only got sidelined with minor life-related issues twice so far, which isn’t too bad considering I never really stopped training after the Rebel Challenge in January. My weekly runs are hovering around the 11:00/mile pace and under, and even my long runs are strongly around 11:30ish.

Aside from running all the miles, I’ve also branched out this training cycle, and have tried things I never did before. Namely, taking a Barre class with my sis-in-law Meredith.

I’d heard of Barre before, and know that lots of celebrities swear by it – it was the kind of thing I read about and go “Hmm. That’s nice,” and move on. But when Mere suggested we try out a class at a shop not too far from where we both work, we went for it. And let me tell you – I now know why all those celebrities are in such good shape. Holy hell.

For those of you who haven’t tried this specific form of torture, it goes like this: you enter a small room lined with mirrors and a ballet barre with about 20 other women. A small, energetic woman then comes in, blasts music and starts barking orders that all the other women seem to already know, and you struggle – for the next 50 minutes – to keep up with these teeny tiny movements they’re doing with a tiny medicine ball, resistance bands, and a red yoga mat. You stand, you sit, you hover, you balance, you squat, you lunge, but here’s the kicker: all of these movements are done in TINY, TEENY INCREMENTS. At one point the instructor told us to “trace the outline of a quarter with your toes”.

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It doesn’t sound difficult, but I – and my fluttering, screaming thighs – assure you that it is extremely difficult. I specifically remember glancing over at Mere in the mirror at around the 15 minute mark, and we both looked like this guy at each other:

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It was intense.

BUT – having said that – we WILL be doing this again. It was an insanely good workout, and we both felt it help open up our hips and strengthen parts of our legs we never knew existed before. I’m all for trying new things, and this was no different!

Speaking of trying new things, I recently picked up a bunch of ice cream and snacks courtesy of the folks at Eat Enlightened – have you ever tried this stuff??

Their shtick is ice cream that’s low in sugar and higher in protein – think Halo Top – but it’s SO creamy and unbelievably delicious. I’ve already devoured the Peanut Butter Cup pint and gotten halfway through the Red Velvet, no shame in that game. They also sent me some of their Bean Crisps, which are a real game changer. I struggle with savory cravings and hate that my only options are chips or other semi-junk-y food that only take care of my taste buds but not my actual hunger. The crisps have 7g of protein per 100 calorie pack (!) and the flavors are awesome. In addition to the sea salt pack I already put away last night, they have sweet and savory flavors like wasabi, sweet cinnamon, sriracha, garlic & onion, and cocoa-dusted. Full disclosure, they sent me this stuff for free to review, but I’m not making it up when I say:  So much yum. 

How about you: How was your February? Have you tried Barre? Or Eat Enlightened snacks? Tell me all about it in the comments!

Fireworks, Ice Cream and Running

I’m not going to lie – I’ve got nothing left in the tank today. It’s the first day back to the grind after a 3 day weekend filled with gardening, walking, running, biking & swimming, and I am feeling it.

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Wednesday I woke up in a terrible mood – I don’t know if it’s the super sticky weather, the summertime blues, or what. So I hit the pavement after work around my office for a 2 mile run (avg. pace 10:56!) to stick with the schedule and felt OK. The air was thick with humidity and I had to deal with the honks of my coworkers as they passed me by on their way home. Maybe my ridiculous ombre-filled outfit had something to do with that?

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That night when I got home, though, things started to look up. Because I walked in the door and found myself face to face with this big ol’ box of happiness:

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The folks at Arctic Zero sent me a delicious care package filled with 5 of their new Chunky Pints for me to try, and I am 100% hooked. I tried their regular flavors last summer and found them to be pretty good – a nice substitute for when you need that ice cream fix but don’t want to undo all of the great work you’ve done by eating healthy and working out all week. And while I’m not usually an ice cream fiend, all that changed when I tried these babies.

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Where their standard flavors are 35 calories per serving (or 150 for the whole pint), these chunky flavors have add-ins that make them a little more decadent at 75 calories per serving (or 300 per pint), which is still peanuts compared to regular ice creams. But I’ll be the first to tell you: those extra calories are SO worth it. I immediately dove into the cookie dough chip and mint flavors, while Mike tried the butter pecan and key lime pie. Soon we were spoon-fighting over who got the last scoop in our bowls, and every night since then I’ve created little masterpieces mixing flavors and adding in things like melted organic peanut butter, reduced sugar chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Just typing it is making my mouth water… is it dessert time yet?

Aaaaanyway! Thursday I woke up without all the guilt of a post-ice-cream-binge (because of the whole guilt-free, good-for-you thing they’ve got going on at Arctic Zero!) and headed to work for a half day. Before leaving I managed to get my biking in (5 miles in 16 minutes) and then we walked about 3 miles to and from our town’s fireworks show that night.

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Thankfully, Friday was nice and sunny and hot, so we took on our lawn all morning. it turns out that “weeding” is really short for “a bunch of squatting and bending over at odd angles to yank out stubborn roots while sweating in full sun for 2 hours”. As a reward, my friend invited me into his pool that afternoon where I went for a dip and did a lap or two, along with a lot of water treading while we chatted for a few hours. I know it wasn’t the standard pool workout, but I counted it – my poor body was tired!

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Saturday I woke up early for a pedicure and took a 100% rest day (and loved every minute of it, naptime included)! Because Sunday I hit the grind again pretty hard: in search of a triathlon tank and shorts, my cousin and I walked about 14 miles (slight exaggeration) around 6 different stores, all with no luck. I started to get discouraged (and Wednesday’s ucky anxious feeling started to return), so I dealt with it the best way I know how: with a run.

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I went out SUPER hard in the first half mile to burn off the restlessness and kind of set myself back for another 2.5 miles of pain in doing so, but it was OK. I lapped around the park and along the water for the full 3.1, eating bugs (ew) and dodging bats (double ew), but I finished sweaty and exhausted and feeling more like me. My pace was still pretty good considering how much I wanted to die after that first half mile, and given the fact that it was 88 degrees and 80% humidity at 8:30PM!

And that was my 4th of July weekend in a nutshell – how was yours? How are you handling this Monday?

Disclosure: Arctic Zero provided me free samples in exchange for my honest review. Receiving product did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.