Friday, November 29, 2013

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal!

The Lean Green Bean
This month I participated in Foodie Pen Pals, a fun food exchange set up by Lindsay of The Lean Green Bean blog.  She started Foodie Pen Pals in 2011 and it has been going ever since!  If you are interested in signing up, please check out her blog.  It happens every month.  Make sure you sign up by the 4th of the month.  Lindsay will take it from there, generating a match for you.  Then you correspond with your Pen Pal to find out more about them and their food preferences and get working on your care package!  This was the first time I've done it and I really enjoyed it.  I got matched up with Meagan of I Run 4 Chocolates.  She is a runner and teacher who lives near the Jersey Shore.  In addition to the great treats you will get by participating in Foodie Pen Pals, you get to meet new friends!  Additionally, you don't have to have a blog to participate - just a valid email and mailing address. 

Today is Reveal Day which means I get to share with you all of the wonderful things Meagan sent me this month!  Check out all this great stuff:

Meagan included a lot of snack and sport fuel items - two of my favorite food categories - plus a cute handwritten note attached to each item!  I received my package about a week ago but haven't tried any of the treats yet because I didn't want this post to include pics of half eaten (or missing) food items! Hahaha.  But I'm excited to dig in and try all of these items out in the next few weeks.
Here's a more in-depth look at what Meagan sent me:
1.  Trader Joe's Lemon Pepper Pappardelle Pasta - Confession: I have only been to Trader Joe's twice! Ahhhhhhhhhh I know.  What kind of blogger am I?!  I have been a Whole Foods addict for 9 years simply because there was not a Trader Joe's in close proximity to my home or work, but I read about TJ's on pretty much every blog out there so perhaps this warrants further visits/investigation on my part :)  I am so intrigued by this pasta.  And here's another confession:  I've never had flavored pasta.  I mean my mother's family is Italian so I grew up just eating regular pasta (what other kind was there?).  This notion of flavored pasta is blowing my mind right now.
2.  Clif Bars - I have had Clif Bars before but quite a long time ago.  I remember eating them in high school a lot before workouts or just as snacks.  I'm excited to try these as a pre-race or pre-run food as Meagan suggests since I usually eat a bagel beforehand.  The two flavors she sent me to try are Crunchy Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Raisin Walnut.

3.  Nature's Promise snack bars - I live on protein bars/snack bars/granola bars during the day and I always keep things like this in my bag so I love finding new bars to add into my rotation.  I've never had a Nature's Promise bar either so I'm looking forward to diving into one of these bad boys the next time I'm sitting in hours of traffic and about to start eating my steering wheel. 
4.  PowerBar Performance items - Meagan sent me a package of PowerBar Energy Blasts as well as a PowerBar Energy Gel.  I've had items similar to these before but never a PowerBar variety.  For gels,  I usually consume Gu, mostly just during races, sometimes on a long run.  And for chews, I usually eat Clif Shot Bloks or Honey Stinger Chews.  I can't wait to try the PowerBar varieties of both!
5.  Yogi Teas.  I love tea!! Especially in the wintertime.  I actually sent Meagan my favorite holiday tea (which I mentioned in this post).  I've never heard of Yogi teas but these flavors look delicious.  I am a big green tea drinker and the caramel apple spice tea just sounds heavenly. 
6.  And last but not least, a Magic Towel! Hahahaha.  This is great! I remember getting these as a kid and thinking they were the coolest thing ever.   I actually didn't even know they still made these, but I love the randomness and awesomeness of this item!
Pretty great stuff huh?  If you'd like to know what I sent Meagan, you can head over to her blog today and check out her post.  And if you're interested in signing up for Foodie Pen Pals, check out all the info on The Lean Green Bean.  Today's post on The LGB will also have links to everyone who participated in this month's exchange. 
Well, that's all for today folks.  Hope you are all continuing to enjoy the Holiday weekend!
Your turn!
Have you ever participated in Foodie Pen Pals?
Or ever been a pen pal in general?  Like back in the day, old school style?!
I was in a pen pal relationship with a young chap from Germany back in middle school.  It was set up my German teacher back then. I thought it was awesome!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Part 5

As I write this post, I can't believe November is almost over!  I loved being more mindful of all the blessings in my life this month, and wish I took the time to do this more often.  I hope this month has set me on the right path to do just that.  As 2013 winds down, I look back on this amazing year of change and growth for me, and just can't believe what a whirlwind it's been.  I am working on putting together some deliberate end-of-year recap posts as well as goals for the coming new year.  Things have come together this year in a way I never thought possible, and it's spurred even bigger goals and plans in me for 2014.  More to come.  But for now, let's wind down this month with my last gratitude list:

November 22 - My cats!  I know I've alluded to them in the past, but I am so grateful that I have these two special boys in my life.  I was always an animal lover, but prior to adopting them, I never considered myself a 'cat person'.  That seems absurd to me now because I was missing out my whole life on such a special little species!  And truly, being an animal lover means loving all animals, right?  I'm so glad I took the plunge and welcomed these guys into my home 9 years ago.  Today we had a visit to the vet, and one of my boys has a health ailment.  Something that sounds promising with treatment, and so that's what brought up these feelings.  I mean, obviously we were meant for each other - they're into protein shakes and running shoes!

November 23 - A clean house.  I will be the first to admit, I am no Susie Homemaker.  Many people in my life will surely pipe in and verify this.  I do not enjoy cooking (at all), cleaning, and housekeeping.  I know some people really do enjoy these activities and take pleasure in their ability to keep a beautiful home and prepare delicious meals.  I wish I enjoyed these activities more, especially cooking.  However, every once in awhile I get inspired to clean my little palace (ie. my 1 bedroom apartment) and the feeling I get after scrubbing this place from top to bottom just can't be beat! I was pretty proud of myself today and thankful that I that I have this place to call home.  Also, um, cleaning is a pretty hardcore workout!
November 24 - Church.  It's been awhile since I've been to Sunday Mass.  And it felt really nice to wake up early this Sunday morning and go.  Even if it's been awhile, I always feel this sense of peace and comfort going back (yes, even though they've changed the prayers that were ingrained in my head since Catholic school and I now have to look at that little pew card!).  Anyway, there was a phrase that stood out for me today in the priest's homily.  It was all about Love and how our purpose here on earth is to share the Love God gave to us with everyone we meet.  That's it.  Just BE LOVE.  This theme of Love is coming up a lot lately in my life, in my readings, writings, and daily experiences.  I feel like there's some kind of magic in this message; I like it, and I'm learning a whole lot from it. 
November 25 - Apple magic.  Seriously.  I did a whole post on it so you know this knowledge has had a profound effect on me this week.  Have you tried it yet?!
November 26 - Patience.  My trip home in the evening usually takes anywhere from 30-45 minutes.  tonight it took 2 HOURS.  No, I am not exaggerating.  There was pretty much a perfect trifecta of circumstances that made my commute trying, to say the least, and somehow I kept it together.  It's this new thing I'm trying where I just Let it Go.  It sounds weird, new-agey, I know.  It's something I've been reading about and it's hard to do.  Really hard sometimes, for me.  But the fact of the matter is, there are many, many things you will not be able to control in life.  And when you/me/people, struggle to try to control these things we just add unnecessary stress into our lives.  Obviously, there is nothing you can do about traffic.  The only thing you can do is surrender control, and let it go.  And once I did that tonight, I felt FREE.  Sure, it changed my plans this evening but what could I do.  That's life.  Things won't always go according to plan.  I just let it go and it was amazing the effect this had!
November 27 - Green Smoothies!  (I may or may not be posting this in response to a recent post by OlivetoRun in which she admitted she's never had a green smoothie...what?! KIDDING!)  In all reality, I LOVE green smoothies.  And pretty much all smoothies.  I have admitted I am no cook, but I really love experimenting with smoothies and creating my own recipes.  I don't measure anything and I don't follow other recipes, I just throw stuff in there that looks good! And most of the time it comes out ok :)  This morning's breakfast smoothie consisted of the following:  Unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a little water, vanilla pea protein (vegan), 2 handfuls of spinach, pineapple, cherries and wild blueberries.  Lots of good stuff.  You get fruit, vegetables, antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients and protein.  What is not to love about that?  Behold the deliciousness:
November 28, 29, 30 - Family, Friends & Food.  I love Thanksgiving because it means I get to go home and spend time with many of the people I love the most!  It also kicks off the holiday season, which to me is all about Family.  I am excited to spend the next few days really doing nothing but enjoying quality time with my people.  Well, that and the food!  There is nothing better than home cooked food from your extended family.  Since my mom's side of the family is Italian, we eat a few different things on Thanksgiving.  Perhaps I'll snap some pics and post them on Instagram for you!  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving today as well.
How about you?
How was your month of mindfulness and gratitude?






Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Healthline - Best Health Blog 2013 Nomination

Happy Tuesday everyone!  This is a strange short week and I was thinking it was Hump Day all day...not the case.  Regardless, I will be heading home for the holidays Thursday morning so I am lining up some blogs for you later in the week!  I participated in a fun activity this month that I'm looking forward to sharing with you on Friday.  Speaking of Friday, I plan on sleeping in, going for a run, and then maybe hanging out with some friends at home.  No shopping for this gal.  I've never been Black Friday shopping and have no interest in that game whatsoever! 

Today I wanted to share with you that I was nominated by a website called Healthline for their Best Health Blogs of 2013 Contest!  There are lots of entrants I recognize on the list.  If you'd like you can vote for me via the button below, or check out this link for a list of all blogs that are nominated, and vote for the blog of your choice!
Best health blogs 2013

I hope you are all enjoying a short work week and preparing yourselves for the feasting that's about to take place in T-2 days!

Safe travels.  Catch you on the flip side.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Life Changing: Apples - You're Doing it Wrong

So a couple weeks ago, I came across this video on my Facebook feed and needless to say, my mind was BLOWN.  Do you mean to tell me that I've been eating apples incorrectly my entire life?!  My upbringing was a sham.  What other lies have I been fed?!  (Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus - so let's not even go there.)

Watch and prepare to be amazed:

So what do you think?  Did this just turn your world upside down like it did mine?  I have always eaten apples sideways.  I mean what other way was there?  Well the only thing I could think after seeing this video was 'I must try this'.  And try I did.  Today.  And I'm sharing my results with you. 

Behold the photo evidence of my experiment:


I began my experiment with your average every day Gala apple (one of my favorite varieties).  I then turned that apple upside down and dove in!  Disbelief at first bite.  I was expecting to 'feel' some of the core as I bit in and chewed.  Nothing.  Another bite.  Nothing.  It was only when I got to where the seeds were contained that the texture changed slightly and I could feel a little bit of the harder casing that surrounds the seeds, but nothing daunting. I dumped out the seeds, chewed and kept going.  And going.  Until the stem fell out.  Then I finished the ENTIRE apple with no waste.  All that was left were the seeds and the stem.  Oh I felt so accomplished.  My Monday is made people.  Actually maybe my week, or my month.  I am still in awe.  My life is changed and I will never look at, or eat, an apple the same way again.  I can't wait to do this in public next time and share the magic.

How about you?

Will you try this?!

Or perhaps you are so evolutionarily advanced that you already knew you should be eating apples this way?!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Part 4

So much to be thankful for again this week.  This has been a busy, busy week for me.  It started out with a weekend in Pennsylvania to celebrate two very important birthdays (see below), several days of boot camp, and lots of other appointments - some last minute.  I can definitely feel that the holiday rush has already started.  Before things get too crazy over the next month, I'm glad I'm taking the time to slow down and notice all the blessings that surround me. 

One of my goals for next year (ohhhhhh there are many!) is to try to incorporate meditation into my life.  I actually signed up for Deepak Chopra and Oprah's 21 Day Meditation Challenge as a way to kick this off, and although I've been reading the emails and thinking about the daily mantra's, I unfortunately haven't even tried to meditate once.  At least I am headed in the right direction.  Baby steps.

Now, let's jump right into this week's gratitude list, shall we?

November 15 - This is the day I headed back home to PA.  And where do you think one of my first stops was when I got there?  Vegan Treats!  I am so thankful that this delicious, beautiful, little slice of heaven exists in Bethlehem.  I stop by for something pretty much every time I am in town.  This evening it was chocolate soft serve:

November 16 - Today I was lucky enough to celebrate this marvelous girl's 11th birthday!  She is the stepdaughter of one of my very best friends in the world and I have known her since she was about 2 or 3 years old?  My word, that's 9 years!  It has been pretty incredible to watch her grow up.  She is incredibly smart (like is probably better at puzzles and brain teasers than me!), plays the piano beautifully, is a star cheerleader, and learned Cups before I even knew what that was!  Just a vibrant, sweet girl and I'm so glad to know her!
November 17 - Another birthday party!  What what.  Party animal right here!  Haha  Today I was so lucky to also be able to celebrate my nephew's 3rd birthday.  My sister planned the party of the century at a ski lodge back home, complete with a photo booth, Mickey Mouse bounce house, giant piñata, catered buffet, OPEN BAR (what?!) and a huge array of homemade, Pinterest-worthy cupcakes and desserts (including some vegan fudge for me)!  Oh and about 30 other little kids!  I can't believe my nephew is 3.  It seems like just yesterday he was a baby, and now he's walking around like a little man.  He's the sweetest boy I know.  So curious, polite, and loving to everyone he meets.  I love him to the moon and back.  Here are a few pics:
November 18 - Today I am thankful for Love, in all it's many forms, and from every single person I feel it from and give it to.  Today I was asked by a 4 year old "Do you love me?".  To which I wholeheartedly answered "Yes I do!".  I was reminded that even at a very young age, we know what love is, we need it and we respond to it. 

November 19 - Big salads!!  "It's a salad, only bigger, with lots of stuff in it." (Elaine, from Seinfeld)
Every once in awhile, I treat myself to the salad bar at my local grocery store when I do my shopping because it's always really good and very fresh.  Today's salad included: spinach, spring mix, mushrooms, hard boiled eggs, chickpeas, tomatoes, red pepper, olives, and sunflower seeds.  Vegan and dairy free.  YUM!

November 20 - Boot camp!  I'm loving it so much.  I am so energized after each workout.  It's like Christmas morning every time I go to class because I have no idea what to expect.  I love the instructor, the people, the new moves I learn each time and the soreness!  It's all that I thought it would be and more, and exactly what I wanted to do during this off season from training.
November 21 - My morning walks.  Because there is something so renewing about nature.  Because I'm walking at a slower pace than I run and I have no headphones, I am able to notice everything around me so much more.  The crispness in the air lately is just adding to my good feelings.  I hear the crunch of the leaves beneath my feet, I smell houses with wood burning fires, I hear birds everywhere (this morning I saw so many cardinals and one very vocal blue jay!) and I see squirrels foraging their rations away for winter.  The animals and plants have so much going on behind the scenes than we ever notice, even in the city.

How has your week been?
What's on your gratitude list lately?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Adventures in Boot Camp

Adventures in boot camp continue.  Every day I walk into class having no idea what form of torture we will be subject to...and I'm loooooving it!  I love being challenged, and waking up sore the next morning from working muscles that have longed for their day in the sun.  I feel like the work I'm doing now is only going to benefit me once I start training again for a spring race.  I think doing all of these strength drills will help with any muscle imbalances I develop at times when the bulk of my training is just running. 

The trainer of this studio is awesome as well.  He runs around the room, checking in with everyone  to make sure we're performing the moves correctly and feeling ok, and cheers everyone on by name.  He is so full of energy and I love the encouragement.  It's such a team atmosphere in there.  Oh, and he is also RIPPED. 

So to give you another taste of what we do there, here's a play by play of tonight's workout.

Warm Up:  800 meter run (outdoors)

Workout:  45 mins of a 4 part circuit that consisted of Rowing, Medicine Ball Slams, Box Jumps, and Wall Walks.  The time for each interval depended on when the person on your team finished their wall walks and then bumped everyone along to the next drill.  (See below for video demos.)

Tonight's workout reminded me very much of CrossFit.  The only thing that I think differentiated this from a typical CrossFit WOD was that there were no heavy weights involved and the workout length was a bit longer than a typical WOD. 

Here are some videos, in order, of what our 45 mins consisted of.  And lucky you, you're in for a treat because the last video is of ME!  That's right.  My trainer took a video of yours truly doing the Wall Walks and sent it over so I could take a look at my form.  And if I appear exhausted, your assessment is correct because this was at the very end of the night.  Jilly's little arms are about beat.  Enjoy!

Be Careful!!

Medicine Ball Slams

Box Jumps

Wall Walks
Helloooooooo Jilly
How about you?
What workouts have you been excited about lately?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I had a completely different post planned for tonight.  But then as I was coming out of boot camp tonight, high as a kite, I happened to glance down at my phone as I got back into my car - and there sat a text that brought me crashing back to reality and stopped my heart on a dime.  Devastating news from a friend about someone we both know.  And you see firsthand how life can change in an instant.  So my planned post for tonight just seemed silly and paled in comparison to what I had just heard. 

The lesson for me here is clear and timely, and something I have been hearing from the Universe all year.  Life is short people.  And most of us realize this far too late in the game.  So whatever you want to be, go be it.  Whatever you want to do, go do it.  Say what you mean, love with all your heart, because this is it.  This one life.  Get it all in.

So tonight I'm just going to share a few words of inspiration I've found on Pinterest.  And I'm going to send prayers out to this person, focus my heart on everything I have right now and say a great big THANK YOU.  This month of gratitude just became even more important and real. 

What do you do when you hear shocking news? 
Has this month of gratitude taught you any lessons so far?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday - Part 3

I must tell you - the strangest thing has happened since I started to actively notice and be grateful for small blessings in my life.  I've started to notice them more and more.  Some days it seems I notice things to be thankful for all day long - green lights when I'm running late, a friendly cashier at the store, the sun hitting my face while I'm out walking, people smiling and laughing all around me, snuggles from my cats.  And I think I've just been taught another lesson from the Universe.  Once you start practicing gratitude, you not only see more and more to be thankful for, you become the recipient of more blessings!  This is a practice I hope I can continue throughout the year.  I believe positivity breeds positivity and that is the path I want to be on.

So, even though some days it was hard to choose just one thing, let me present this week's list without further ado:

November 8 - Great customer service from Panera.  Last week I had ordered a salad to go, no cheese, but didn't discover until I got home and sat down to eat, that there was Gorgonzola cheese sprinkled all over it. Oy vey.  I felt terrible having to waste that food but I just can't digest dairy.  So I phoned the café and the manager said the next time I'm in he would comp me a meal and a free bakery treat for my trouble!  Score!  So on this day I redeemed his generous offer and enjoyed a delicious Friday night meal plus dessert :)  (I'm loving their Roasted Turkey Harvey Wheatberry Salad right now.)

November 9 - The reappearance of my favorite Christmas tea.  This is limited edition folks and only makes it way onto shelves this time of year, so if you're in the mood for ingesting liquid sugar cookies - get some!  It's herbal and caffeine free so you can drink to your heart's content, as I have been doing.
November 10 - For my health and these legs, that allow me to do the things I love, and a new personal best for me.
November 11 - For Freedom, and all the Veterans who earned that right for me... Especially my two grandfathers who served in the military.
November 12 - A close encounter with nature.  As I was walking this morning, the largest buck (male deer) I've ever seen with big beautiful antlers crossed right in front of my path, perhaps 15 feet away.  We both froze as we looked into each other's eyes.  It was surreal.  And then just like that he leapt off.  Mind you I was still in the city of Baltimore (a wooded neighborhood, but the city nonetheless).  I just hope he made it back into the woods safely.
November 13 - The kindness of 'strangers' and making new friends at boot camp.  I don't think 'stranger' is really a nice word to call someone you don't know, do you?  Just because you don't know someone doesn't mean they're strange!  We are all souls inhabiting this planet, just waiting to make connections with each other, so I think a better way to think of a stranger, is just a friend you haven't met yet :)

November 14 - All the wonderful new people who have come into my life lately and with whom I'm developing great new relationships.


What do you think? 
Are you practicing thankfulness this month, and if so, have you noticed you have more things to be thankful for each day? 



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Well I Didn't Die...

Ok, I may be a bit over dramatic.  But, today was my first day of boot camp and I'm still alive - Winning!
As I previously mentioned, I had a Groupon for one month of unlimited workouts at this studio, and I wanted to wait until my race was over to get started.  Going into today's 1 hour class, I didn't really know what to expect other than the workouts varied day to day and were going to be high intensity/circuit type workouts.  And even though I've only been to one class so far, I LOVED it!  So I thought I'd recap what we did today so you too can share in my excitement/soreness :)
When I entered the private studio space this morning, there were about 8 or 9 other girls there for the class.  I liked the small class size already.  The owner/trainer came over to introduce himself to me and ask me a few questions about my current workouts, fitness level, any injuries and my personal goals.  I then also had to sign a Last Will & Testament.  Kidding!  Just your standard legal release that I wouldn't hold the gym liable for any injuries.  Then one of the girls came over and introduced herself to me and we started chatting.  How sweet!  She made me feel welcome and comfortable.  And then we got started!
We began with a few warm up exercises including squats, lunges, planks, jumping jacks, 'good mornings' (never heard of these before - description here), and a few others that I can't even remember now.  Then we partnered up - my new friend offered to be my partner! - and got into the meat of today's workout. 
The first drill was a 13 minute partner AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible -  using CrossFit terms here) that went like this:  One partner got on the rowing machine and rowed 200 meters while the other partner held a low/elbow plank until the rower was finished, and then we switched.  The first few rotations I felt pretty good but as the 13 mins wore on I was getting tired!  I would estimate that we held the plank for a minute to minute and half each time.  And then without break we were on to the next partner drill!
Our second 13 minutes looked like this: 
First, partner sit ups with an 8 lb medicine ball -


Followed by running across the gym twice while holding your partner via piggyback?! What?  I did not attempt to piggyback my partner.  I am a mini 5'2" and she was much taller than me. I did not want to drop, injure or maim my new friend!  So, the modification was to push your partner back and forth across the gym while they resisted as hard as they could - think of football drill where they push those big pieces of equipment across the field.  Well my partner DID piggyback me and I pushed her (that entire statement somehow sounds wrong!) and we switched back and forth between these activities about every minute to minute and a half for 13 minutes.

And that my friends was probably the most intense 26 mins of working out I've had since my CrossFit days.  Oh but we weren't done yet!  I went to get a drink of water and the trainer called me out.  Haha.  "Jill, where are you going? We're not done yet." 

The last portion of class was what he called The Finisher.  He had a series of exercises written up on the board that we were to complete for time (as fast as we could).  It was 10 each of:  Pushups, Squats, Pushup with Side Plank, Squat jumps, Pushup with Reach, Burpees, and a few others that again I can't recall.  Then we stretched and did a group fist pump! 

I loved the energy of the trainer and the class.  I felt like a kid back in gym class doing all these different drills and even though it was intense I was actually smiling and laughing the whole time.  This is exactly my type of exercise and much how I would envision structuring a personal training business once I finally get that certification (future goal - just putting it out there).  I loved how small the class was and how all the girls encouraged each other throughout.  My partner especially was so great in that respect. 

I can't wait to get to class tomorrow and see what we do!  Today was almost entirely arms & abs so I'm thinking legs but I have no clue.

At the end of 30 days, I imagine I'll look something like this:

Ok, maybe this:
Happy Hump Day to you all!

Your turn!
Have you ever done a boot camp style workout?
What's your favorite non-running way to exercise?



Monday, November 11, 2013

The Race of Life...and my Weekend Race Recap

It's been awhile since I ran a 5K race.  The only other one I did this year was the Baltimore Women's Classic in June (recap here), since it was the culmination of the training program in which I was a coach.  5K's are fun because they're so short, but this also makes them painful!  I somehow forget this every time I sign up. 


I innately love to run.  I just do, and this is why I do it.  But I wouldn't say I'm a racer.  I don't run to race. I run just to RUN!  If that makes any sense.  I think I shared previously that I was briefly on the track team in high school.  I credit that experience to introducing me to the sport and sparking a love for running that I never knew existed inside me.  But I quickly burnt out from track because of the racing aspect.  It took much of the joy I experienced from simply running and turned it into a lot of pressure (internal and external).  So although I admit to racing against myself many times, hoping for a new PR, I don't set out to be competitive amongst others.  I'm simply not that fast! HA 

So back to the race....I signed up for this local 5K a few weeks ago on a whim.  Since this is my off season, I didn't want November/December to be filled with any kind of training schedule or race goals when it came to my running.  I am doing a lot more cross training now and just running whatever mileage feels good to me that day/week.  However, I remembered that even though the BWC 5K kind of hurt in June, that I really had fun doing it.  Someone told me about the race this weekend and it was right in my backyard so I thought why not?! 

It was chilly yesterday morning - mid 40's - and I wasn't sure how to dress.  It was the same temperature a few weeks ago when I ran the Runner's World Half, and I ran that in a t shirt and shorts, but dressing for a half marathon vs. a 5K is a whole different beast.  Just when I'm starting to get warmed up 3 miles in, the 5K is over!  You see what I mean about torture here?!  There is no room for easing into your race in a 5K, you have to go off like a bat out of heck from the start.  In any case, I decided to go with capri tights and a long sleeve tech t shirt (and my compression socks).  I was definitely cold in the beginning, but warmed up slightly by mile 3, or in other words, by the finish line!  Because I don't race 5K's regularly, I have no strategy for them, other than to run faster than I normally would.  So I set my Garmin at the start and this is how my splits fared:

Mile 1:  8:24
Mile 2:  8:22
Mile 3:  7:52

Negative splitting at it's finest!

In fact, according to my Garmin I had my fastest mile split ever in yesterday's race! I know sub 8:00 is not fast for most people, but for me it is!

My official chip time was 25:21 which was fast enough for me to place 1st in my age group (I was also 5th female overall)!  Yeehaw!  Oh the joys of being in the over 30 running crowd :)  So I got this nice little ribbon at the awards ceremony after the race:   

I felt good throughout the whole race.  No pain in my legs or knees anywhere, no cramping, and my breathing was easy.  And even though I ran faster than I normally do, I still feel like I held back a bit.  Like I always do in every race.  I'm always afraid to push myself a little bit more, because I never want to get to a point where I feel like I'm going to die, or not have enough at the end of the race.

And honestly, I think this is how I go through life a lot.  I feel like I'm often holding back a little bit, not giving something my all, because I'm afraid I'll fail.  I'm afraid I won't be good enough to make it to the end, to reach my goal, whatever it is at the time.  Even though time and time again, I literally see how strong I am - I accomplish new goals, things I never thought possible - when I begin again on something new, I have these thoughts of failure.  It's just not logical!  I am in fact, my own worst critic.  I am sure many of us are the same way.  I remember reading somewhere that you should try to see yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you.  Whether that be a partner, parent, sister, friend.  They see only the best in you, they believe in you, they think you are the best thing since sliced bread - so why don't you?! 

However, I have seen some shifts in my attitude and perceptions of life recently, and I have started to give more, to fight through my fear in different situations and to go all out.  Perhaps it's because I'm getting older, but I'm starting to realize this is the only life I get.  Just this.  To do everything and anything I've ever dreamed of.  I'm starting to care more about regretting not trying something, than trying and failing at something.  This race was just another metaphor for my life in that I don't want to leave anything in the tank.  In the end - I want to be able to say this:

How about you?
Do you give your all to everything you do?  Or do you hold back sometimes?
Any races this weekend?