Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Turkey n Taturs 50k 2018

It is always hard after all your training comes to a close and your race is over. I mean, what is next?!  It is almost a surreal feeling.

Amber and I had a great time on our running vacation. We were kids less and husband less. We shopped, ate some great food (5 Star Mexican restaurant and gourmet burgers with  fried pickles) after our race, got a massage, and took our time before heading back to the real world. It was so bittersweet for it to end.

Once again, the people that put on Turkey n Taturs  and volunteered at the aid stations were fantastic. and Turkey Mountain is always beautiful this time of year.


Our course did not just stick to hiking trails but sent us climbing/scrambling up rocky hills. Right before our last aid station we had to walk up three hills. One of which is infamously named "Lip Buster."  The course itself seemed more technical and challenging this year and the rain the night before did not help. No one was expecting for the two inches of rain. We ran through lots of mud, small creek crossings, and over slick rocks and tree roots. I tend to be a little cautious when it comes to  tricky sections. And fortunately, I did not roll down a hill like the third place runer did.

The storm messed with some of the trail flags directing runners. In fact, Amber and I were the only ones who managed to stay on course, which is ironic because it is our emo to get lost on the trails, lol.

We made good time and were feeling strong when we came down the mountain for our first loop around mile 15. Our nutrition was on point. I slowly ate my gels, downed pickle juice and coke shots, ate lots of pickles, sampled a few M&M's, chewed energy gum, and constantly hydrated with NUUN.


Then around mile 26 (once again - about the same time during my first 50k), I began to have issues where my left knee would seize up. I would have sharps pains behind my knee and around my knee cap that would come and go. Once, it subsided, I could comfortably run. But after two miles, the pains came more frequent and the pains were sharper. When I would step a certain way or go to jump over something, they would come again. But I refused to stop and walk. I would drag my foot and try to put most of my weight on my right side, which really was making my right side very sore and tired. There were moments were I would get a sharp burning pain and a popping sound  that would cause me to cry out. It felt like I had torn something. But I continued because I thought that perhaps it was just a pinched nerve and not an injury.

The last aid station was a welcoming sight. During the last couple of miles, I just tried to breathe through the pain and may have cried a bit. I was really mad that it was slowing down our time. When we came down the mountain and I saw the bridge,  I was overcomed with emotion and pride/relief. I may have cried coming through the finish line and and we hugged and ugly cried it out. We had finished our second 50k!

Even though we had slowed down that second loop, we were still in the top 50% and we had PRed by almost two hours!!  We trained harder and smarter this time around and it paid off. Here is hoping the third time around, there will be no issues.


Being an ultra runner is all about pushing past the pain, negative thoughts, and comfort zones. You really third about how much that you are capable of enduring.

Have you ever thought about running an ultra? I promise that it is not as scary as it seems.

- Michelle










Friday, November 2, 2018

Life Lessons from a 50k

In November 2016, I ran my first 50k. Now I am getting ready to run my second one this Sunday.
Throughout the training I was taught a lot of valuable lessons which can be applied to everyone even if you don't run. Have you trained or worked for something that required a lot of blood, sweat, and tears? Started your own business? Are you just trying to make it day to day? Then this blog post applies to you as well.


Courage

Anything worth having is worth fighting for. Great things happen when we step outside our comfort zone. Having the courage to set and try to accomplish something crazy such as running a 50k, allowed me to grow as a person in so many ways. By having courage, we can learn a lot about ourselves and what we are actually capable of. Are we limiting our potential because of the fear of failure, or not being able to see things through when times gets hard. Are we looking at the amount of time and work we may have to put into something and it seems impossible or difficult so we often times throw in the towel.

Determination

Determination can take us far in life,  vowing that no matter what,  we will accomplish what we set out to do. That yes, there will be road blocks and obstacles to overcome. It may take time but we will see it through. We are resolved to run the race set before us. Training for an ultra takes a lot of determination. When others were out spending their afternoons doing something fun and my weekends were filled with long runs, determination got me through. And it was all worth it in the long run.

Perseverance

Perseverance and determination go hand in hand. You can't really have one without the other. Times will get tough. You will run out of energy or be completely exhausted. Training was long. Back to back long runs were sometimes difficult. My body was tired, and sore, but I kept on hitting the trails. Sometimes, I wanted so bad to just sleep in and I craved my Sunday afternoon naps. My feet hurt. During the race when both knees started hurting  and it was hard to run,  I could have not finished. And I am sure nobody would have blamed me.  But I was determined to perserver, so I took each step at a time. I may have slowed down in order to do so, but I still made progress towards the finish line. And that is true in life too. No matter how slow we have to go, or when we just have to just take it day by day, forward motion is movement. Progress is progress.

Life is sometimes more of a mental game than anything else. When we let our mental capacity become clouded with doubts, we start believing them. I remember the 18 mile run that I did where everything was going wrong.  The camel pack was too hot and heavy. It chaffed and moved around too much. My music wasn't working and the Spotify app wouldn't load. We were not running in the trails at that time, so I was not distracted by beautiful scenery. I had discarded the pack after about mile 4 or 5 with Amber's niece. I had no back up water. It was hot, I was thirsty, and the sun was beating down on us. Those next  13-14 miles where filled with negative thoughts, and self doubt. Every little problem was amplified because I had nothing to distract myself from me. But I kept going. I wanted to quit, I wanted to throw in the towel. What was I thinking? Who do I think I am?

Isn't that a lot like life? Maybe your health or fitness journey? Have you ever wanted to throw in the towel? Give up on a dream or a career? Have you ever lost faith or blamed God? Friends, we have all been there before. Falling down is not failure if we get back up. Baby steps are still steps in the right direction. Discouragement will come and there may be days where we just throw our hands up.

Remember, life is like training for an ultra not a sprint. It doesn't matter how long it takes you, just keep your eyes on the finish line.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Back at it Again

Hey! Well, It been a while, but I am back at it again.

Training for a 50K again. Now that school is back in session, Amber and I are training for the Turkey n Taturs 50k in Tulsa Oklahoma on November 4th. Turkey Mountain is calling my name! I miss that place and I left a part of me on the course two years ago. Wow, I can't believe that it has been so long!



This time, we are going in it wiser and smarter. Last time, we started out too conservative the first three miles. Plus, I wasn't wearing trail shoes but my favorite Brooks shoes. Everything was going great until six miles from the finish. You can read the full recap here to find out what happened.

To counter any injures, I will be uping my strength training and doing plyometric workouts to get me ready for the technical trail.


I am getting emotional just thinking about it! I am so pumped and a bit nervous. I have done it before, but you need to respect ultra races, especially trail ones. I grew so much during our training  physically, spiritually, and mentally. You can check out my post on how much you can apply training for an Ultra to life: Life Lessons from a 50k. In fact, I highly recommend it, but don't take my word for it. 😃

What races are you training for? Do you prefer trails or road races?

- Michelle

Sunday, August 19, 2018

2 Foods that Help with Muscle Soreness

This week has been a dozy in activities and the added stress has made recovery a little slower. To help aid in my recovery, there are a few foods that I  like to call upon especially when I am training hard.

1. Watermelon


Research has shown that the specific amino acid known as L-Citrulline, naturally occurring in watermelon, may help improve blood flow, while also reducing arterial pressure. According to a small study conducted in Spain on the bioavailability of L-Citrulline, athletes were given watermelon juice as part of their fluid-replacement regimen. Preliminary data shows that those participants that consumed the juice after a 24-hour period had a reduction in muscle soreness and recovery.


For a refreshing drink, place chopped melon in a blender with ice, lime juice, and sugar substitute such as stevia or agave nectar (to taste) for a tasty afternoon refresher or you can try my DIY Watermelon and Coconut Sports Drink

2. Cherry Juice



Concentrated tart cherry juice is my main go-to. Most grocery stores or Sams/Costco now carry tart cherry juice. Tart cherries are rich in phytonutrients and anthocyanins. They have natural anti inflammatory properties which fight free radicals, repair cell damage, and block the inflammation-causing enzymes which your body produces during exercise. Drinking tart cherry juice helps to reduce muscle pain following long runs or hard workouts, and aids in recovery. Tart cherries also contain melatonin which helps with falling asleep quicker and improves sleep quality.



Cherry juice tastes great blended into a healthy smoothie or mixed with apple juice.


 Have you ever tried a drink made with watermelon or tart cherry juice?

-Michelle

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Stinky Problem

It's embarrassing and sometimes unexpected.

It’s a taboo subject  to talk about in public but everyone deals with it. And sometimes it is the butt of many jokes. But today I am getting real on the blog. #realtalk


Gas.

Bloating.

Tummy issues.

It brings with it discomfort and can stem from your gut health/bacteria overgrowth, and or food sensitives/allergies.

It can make you look five-10 pounds heavier or like you are pregnant. #foodbaby #megabloated
According to the American Nutrition Association, 70,000,000 people everyday suffer from some form of digestive issues.

Enter in the triple force from Plexus. 



I was originally a big skeptic about these products. There is a lot of over the counter  products that claim that they can do this and do that. Butt hey only took care of one area of gut health. They all miss a key ingredient. I know because I have tried everything, even staying away from certain foods. But nothing helped.

I was discouraged and felt like I would always have to feel this way. But I had finally had enough! I had enough with the chronic boating and discomfort, gas, always feeling full when I was actually hungry (if that could make any sense), having a distorted belly that couldn’t fit in any of my clothes ( if I bought a bigger size, then they would  fall of me), irregular bowel movements, running to the bathroom a lot during the day, and even constipation. And I felt tired ALL of the time with brain fog and concentration issues.

It made family functions uncomfortable, I preferred stretchy waist bands, and my work days seemed extra long as anything seemed to trigger the symptoms. Let me tell you, it is hard  and painful when you have to sit with people all day and have to  hold back, if you know what I mean. I am just thankful for scrub tops that hide my midsection really well.

Finally, I pulled the trigger and tried this  TriPlex Microbiome Activating Combo for 30 days and this is what it did for me.


I was down four pounds without making any changes to my diet or exercise. While I had a few flare ups,  I had more energy and felt the best that I have felt in a long time. My bloating was down, my skin cleared up a little. The constipation was gone, my mood was better, I was more productive and took less naps. 

The reason why it worked is because of several actors. Chitosanas, an enzyme only contained in this probiotic, actually breaks down the barrier protecting the yeast. The ProBio5 kills off yeast overgrowth, which prohibit vitamin and minerals from being absorbed. Yeast overgrowth can make you feel sluggish, crave sugar, feel bloated, and can cause constipation or other IBS symptoms.

Slim’s microbiome formula helps feed the good bacteria helping it flourish. It increases Lactobacillus by 365 times and the Bifidobacterium by 290 times. It supports a healthy glucose metabolism, balances out your blood sugar from the Alpha lipoic acid and other ingredients, helps with your energy, and increases the metabolism microbes by 257 times. Not to mention the drink tastes amazing and only has 5 calories. I really enjoyed the convenient single serve packets.

The BioCleanse really helped get things moving and balanced out my bowel movements. I stopped having upset stomach followed by constipation.

Our gut health is directly tied to our immune system, mood, and overall health.  I plan to keep on taking the ProBio5 to completely heal my gut. I am really looking forward to being able to enjoy social functions more and not having 90% of what I eat end of causing me discomfort.

Have you ever tried Plexus? Are you a skeptic too? 

Disclaimer: I was not paid or endorsed for promoting these products. This post contains my views and personal experiences with Plexus. It is to take the place of any medical advice. 


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Warm and Satisfying Chicken Soups

The weather outside is frightful....

Brrr! I am not a cold weather person. In fact, I would rather be burning up than cold. I can't wait until the birds are singing again, the warmer weather, and it staying light longer. I mean, hello more running outside and less time on the treadmill!

During the colder months, my family eats a lot of soup. Soups just seems to warm your body and soup, and it is so filling. Not to mention it helps warm up the house and it just smells so good.

Here are some chicken soups you can make that are both warm and satisfying (because I am on a chicken kick). This is more of a round of delicious soups from other bloggers to get you started. My own recipes are to come in future posts.













Looking for soups that you can prep ahead and freeze? Then check out these (chicken and non-chicken)





Stay warm my friends! 
- Michelle


Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Survival Guide for the Holidays

Christmas has a way of sneaking up on you. The hustle and bustle adds stress and takes atoll on your health and well-being. When it is all said and done, you are partied out, have sampled dozens of cookies and pies, and are feeling frazzled.


With Christmas around the corner, I have complied my holiday tips together along with 2 fun and quick workouts to create a holiday survival guide to help you survive the holiday hustle and bustle.

Also, you can read more about 10 Ways to "Take 10" for Healthy Holidays here.


While celebrating in the Christmas festivities, take time to warm your belly with homemade peppermint hot chocolate and clean eating whipped topping. Nothing says Christmas like peppermint and hot chocolate! Looking for more holiday recipes, try my Healthier Holidays Sampler that can be downloaded as a PDF to your computer.

Tips 1 & 2


Don't forget to take care of your health.Taking care of our health can help decrease the holiday slump, extra weight gain, and stress that the season brings along with it. Give your self a gift this year by making your health a priority. Instead of baking cookies or candy for co-workers, friends, or family, try making other homemade goodies so you wont be tempted to nibble while baking, or try making healthier edible gifts such as roasted nuts. 

Do what you can do. It all adds up and every little bit counts. No time to go to the gym or fit in a full workout, try a fun circuit workout such as this one. Repeat it 2-3 times throughout the day or break up the circuit while cooking dinner, doing laundry, or wrapping presents. Stretch between your tasks, do some jumping jacks when the cookies are in the oven, or do calf raises while brushing your teeth. Just try to do something.


Or try this workout if watching the Grinch with your family. 


Workout from heandsheeatclean
Tip 3:



Never leave home without a protein packed snack. Traveling, shopping, and running errands during the holidays can increase chances of ordering fast food, skipping meals, or falling prey to the sweet aroma of Cinnabon. Choose foods made with real ingredients to energize and fill you up until meal time. On-the-go high-protein snacks such as portable peanut butter, a handful of nuts, a "healthy" or homemade protein bar, string cheese, or a protein shake can help you feel full and satisfied. Better yet, have a snack before you even leave the house. Hummus with veggies and pita bread, half a sandwich, or some Greek yogurt are great options.

Tip 4:


This may may hurt you in the long run! Not eating can cause you to want to binge at the party. Low blood sugar which also raises your cortisol levels. Raised levels cause you to crave sugary,fatty, and salty foods. Instead of saving up on your calories, nibble on healthy snacks like nuts, raw veggies, and fruit throughout the day to keep you from binging at Christmas parties or giving into less than healthy snacks during the day.

Tip 5:


Rest is important. Make sure you listen to your body! It can get crazy busy and stressful. Try to get a good nights sleep of at least 6-7 hours. Rest or take naps when you need to. Lack of sleep or rest can be harmful on your immune system. Our immune systems are already vulnerable this time of year. Added stress, no sleep, and lots of sugary treats can knock you down, cause you to feel sluggish and cranky, or depressed.

Christmas time can be a wonderful time of year if you don't neglect to take care of your health or get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Here's to surviving the holidays!