What I'm Thankful For

2017 has been a crazy year (and there’s still more left) so I have so much to be thankful for. So, this Thanksgiving, I wanted to share just a couple of the the things I’m thankful for.

Mike

Of course, my husband tops this list. Between getting married, my marathon training and our honeymoon, we’ve had a jam packed year. But he’s been there no matter what I needed him for. When I’m exhausted after a run, he cooks dinner and lets me relax. When I’m feeling stressed, he’s there for listen. And of course he always knows how to make me smile.

Family

My family expanded a lot this year and I’m grateful for every single person in it. FIrst, my nephew was born in January (3.5 months early) and had a tough beginning but he’s the happiest boy in the world (until he gets hungry). Then, Mike and I got married in May and I got a huge extended family now (seriously, there’s so many people who are my family now it’s crazy). But I’m thankful for every single person and I can’t wait to see everyone over the holidays.

Photo by Davenport Photography

Photo by Davenport Photography

 

Running

Running has kept me sane this year. Like it does every year. And I also showed myself how much I can push myself to achieve what I want by getting a new half marathon PR and running my first marathon. It’s given me a sense of accomplishment that I wouldn’t have otherwise. And it gives me time to settle my mind after a busy day at work (or when wedding planning got crazy).

Of course, I’m thankful for a ton more but there’s just a little peek into my life. Let me know in the comments what you are thankful for!

Cutting and weight loss during the holidays

Thanksgiving is this week and it kicks off the winter holiday season (for me at least). And with it comes a lot of food. In the past, I’d eat until I was beyond stuffed but I’ve been more conscious about how I’m eating in the last couple of years. So, how am I planning to mix both the holiday season and trying to cut and lose weight?

The first thing that I’m keeping in mind is to take it one day at a time. And even one meal at a time if I need to. Even though there’s over a month between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, it’s not like there’s something going on every single day. At most, we have seven or eight days where we are celebrating. And for a lot of them, it’s not a even a full day thing. So instead of worrying for the entire month or more I just need to take one day (or one meal at a time).

Going along with that, one day isn’t going to ruin all the progress I’ve made. It might make the scale shift up for a couple of days after but it isn’t permanent. It’s not going to take away from the hard work I’ve done. It’s the same mentality I took on the honeymoon with me and it worked great for me then.

I will be keeping up with my workouts and being focused on my eating still on these days so I can make better choices than I have in the past. I won’t be eating until I’m beyond stuffed because that just doesn’t make me feel good. But I’m not going to pass up some of my favorite things (hello mashed potatoes with gravy) just because I’m in a cutting phase. Instead, I’m going to focus on smaller portions of the food I must have a taste of and make sure that I’m focusing mainly on protein and vegetables. Plus, this means I’ll have room for dessert instead of eating pumpkin pie that just adds to that feeling of being stuffed.

Focusing on one meal at a time also comes into play with this. Take for example Thanksgiving this year. We are spending it with my family so we’ll be driving up to the Duluth area and having two Thanksgiving meals. But I’m going to do my normal weights and run before, probably just having a small snack before and using my breakfast as my post-workout meal instead of having breakfast, working out and then having a post-workout smoothie. And I probably won’t be eating as much at that second meal because I’ll still be full from the first. But you can’t bet I’m going to enjoy all that turkey!

What is your approach to keeping balanced during the holidays? Let me know in the comments!

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Salads!

Since I’m cutting right now and eating way less foods than when I was marathon training, I’ve had to switch up how I fill my plate (or bowl). During marathon training, it wasn’t uncommon for me to just add rice or pasta on the side since I needed those extra carbs. But now, my body isn’t needing that many carbs (seriously, I’m not even craving carbs like I was during marathon training) but I still like to have the volume of food.

So I’ve turned to salads and I am loving them! Which is pretty amazing since I’ve never been a huge salad person in the past. But something about it has turned me around. My go-to quick meal after work (if it’s a night we aren’t cooking) is a big salad. Tons of volume, tons of leafy greens  and it fills me up.

I think the main thing that’s made a difference in why I’m actually enjoying salads now is the dressing I’m using. The last time I went through a salad phase (when I was doing South Beach diet in high school over ten years ago), I ate tons of salads. But the low calorie dressings available back then just didn’t taste great.

Not the case anymore! I have discovered what is my holy grail of salad dressings, Botlhouse Farms Dressings. They are made with yogurt and super creamy but don’t use up a ton of macros. Plus, they pack a ton of flavor in that two tablespoon serving so that’s all I need to use. I haven’t tried all of them (yet, I’m working on it) but I’ve loved them all.

What am I having in my salads besides Bolthouse Farms Dressing? They are actually pretty simple with nothing too fancy. Most of the time, it’s lettuce mix with a protein and the dressing on top. I just don’t keep many other vegetables around that aren’t meant for for other dishes so I don’t add them in. And I’m not a fan of too much uncooked vegetables so the only other vegetable I’d probably add in would be cucumber (which makes an amazing salad with some feta cheese, chicken and dried cranberries by the way).

Has anyone else become a fan of salads lately? Share your favorite salad combo in the comments so I can mix mine up some more!

Random thoughts about running in the dark

With the time change, it’s been getting darker a lot earlier in Minnesota. Right now, the sun sets at about 4:45 p.m. (and getting earlier) so I’m having all my weekday runs end after sunset. Which is actually pretty interesting. I’ve written about how I stay safe running in the dark in an earlier post but today is about how I’m enjoying running in the dark.

When I’ve been out on my runs, it feels like I’m running in a completely new place even though I’m on my normal running routes. But everything looks so different in the changing light. It’s even different looking from when I was running before and during sunrise. For me, it’s enough of a difference to feel like I’m mixing up my runs which is helping me stay on track between training cycles.

I’m also finding that I’m more in tuned with my body on these runs. I’ve found myself lengthening my stride and remembering to check in with how my body is feeling. Almost like the outside distractions are taken away in the dark so I’m concentrating more on how my body feels. And, not surprising, I’ve found my pace picking up as I’m paying more attention to running form.

But what I’m most looking forward to is the Christmas lights to be turned on (once we are past Thanksgiving). I’m not a huge Christmas song fan but I love seeing Christmas lights. So hopefully in December I’ll start seeing all the lights and decorations at people’s houses. Of course, it would help too if we have some snow staying on the ground.

Do you enjoy running in the dark too? Let me know in the comments!

Five ways to beat treadmill boredom

So many times, runners call the treadmill the “dreadmill” and I totally agree with this feeling. I avoid the treadmill as much as I can because it can be so boring. But, there are times where I have to get on the treadmill. Right now, the treadmill is the easiest way to get my speedwork done and soon it might get too cold (or icy) to run outside. So here’s five things I do to beat treadmill boredom.

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Watching a show

This is my go-to since I have unlimited streaming on my phone (thanks T-Mobile!). Usually I watch Youtubers but if I have to do anything longer than a three mile run, I’ll switch it up to a show or documentary on Netflix. I hope I don’t have to do a long run on the treadmill but if I do, I’ll be watching a movie!

Mix it up with intervals

Right now, it’s easier for me to my Saturday speedwork on the treadmill because I can set the speed and not have to worry about looking at my watch to see if I’m going at 5k pace for ¼ of a mile. It’s just one less thing to think about and intervals makes the time go faster. Change up with the length of your intervals so you have something else to think about than how much you hate the treadmill!

Listen to music

If you are a regular reader of Oatmeal Runner, you know I usually don’t listen to music during my runs! I save it for speedwork or races but, if, you also don’t usually listen to music, try out a fun playlist for your next treadmill run! I use Google Music which has pre-created playlists for different activities or genres but I’m sure other services offer this too.

Listen to a podcast or audiobook

Likewise, if you usually listen to music while running, switch it up to a podcast or audiobook on the treadmill. It’s a great way to multi-task and keep your mind off of the treadmill while running. And listening to something different than usual might make the time go a little quicker.

Hide the treadmill screen

I don’t know about you, but staring at my time and mileage on the treadmill makes my workout seem to last forever. If you feel the same, cover up the screen so it’s not staring in the face for the entire run. This works well for me since I run based on what my watch tells me and I can set up interval workouts so I know when to switch up my pace or stop running!

Let me know in the comments what some of your favorite ways to beat treadmill boredom are!