Running Playlist–Need Suggestions!

When I trained for my first marathon in college, I made a kick-butt playlist that I listened to on all my long runs.  To this day, those songs (plus the taste of strawberry-lime Gatorade) remind me of the early morning in Harrisonburg, VA.  I don’t typically listen to music while I run, but there’s no question that it helps me stay motivated and keep pace during a run.  

As we move toward cooler weather, I am tentatively planning to run another marathon in December (“tentatively” because I haven’t signed up yet, but I am putting in the runs.)  The time has come for another kick-butt playlist to get me through those 18 and 20-milers.  I want a fresh batch of songs that will pump me up and years later remind of this time in my life.  

I need your suggestions:  What are some great songs for my running playlist that are:

     a. clean
     b. relatively current
     c. make no mention of “bein’ in da club”?  

I’m open to any genre.

Thanks!!

Trampolines, a Brave Birthday, and Family

Happy Monday, everyone!  We had a full weekend in North Carolina celebrating our niece Lauren’s 4th birthday.  My dad, aunt, and uncle drove up from Georgia for the weekend, and my mom and brother drove down from Richmond Saturday.  I know there will come a time that the entire family can’t gather for the nieces’ parties, but for now I love the tradition. 🙂

We drove down early Friday evening and met my sister, brother-in-law, nieces and friend Jeanine at Defy Gravity–Raleigh’s indoor trampoline gym.  If you have never been to a place like this, find the one closest to you and go.  Today.  Jumping in a room full of trampolines makes you feel like a kid… and also gives you a fantastic workout!

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Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to get a non-blurry, mid-jump iphone photo. 😉

Saturday morning, before the party prepping picked up for the day, my aunt Ann and I went for a run through the Capital Area Greenway–a beautiful park with lots of trails (paved and unpaved) and wildlife.

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I took these photos as the end of the run, but I wish I’d run with my phone to capture some of the beauty of this place.  We ran around a lake, jumped across streams, high-stepped over roots, and ran within feet of a bunch of deer, who were obviously accustomed to having people around.  It was fantastic!

After the run, it was party prep time.  I’ve mentioned this before (see Kendall’s birthday party back in March), but Whitney and Jeanine go all out for birthdays.  Lauren’s party was “Brave” themed (the movie, not the adjective ;-)).  Here are a few of the details:

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Plus the Highland Games in the backyard:

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Beanbag toss (board painted by Jeanine), log toss, and archery

Everyone had a great time at the party, and we were all pretty wiped out afterwards!  For the rest of the evening we relaxed, made tacos for dinner, and just enjoyed time with family.  Most of the crew hit the road early Sunday morning, but Andrew and I hung around to have brunch with the birthday girl (her actual birthday was Sunday.)  Finally, with full bellies, we said goodbye and drove back home.

The first thing we did when we arrived home was crawl into bed and take a 45-minute power nap;  between the travel and the excitement of the weekend, neither one of us were going to be functional without a nap :).  Afterwards we made a trip to the grocery store, and when we arrived back home, Andrew mowed the grass, and I started dinner:  salmon, roasted acorn squash, and a brown rice/quinoa mixture (we had about 1/2 c left of each that we needed to use!)

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Delicious.

What was the highlight of your weekend?
Have you ever been to an indoor trampoline gym?  What did you think??

Atonement Workouts (I’m not for ’em)

On Saturday night while Andrew and I were chowing down on chips and salsa, we eavesdropped overheard a conversation between two women at the table next to us.  One of the women appeared very fit–thin and toned–and was giving nutrition advice to her friend.  At first glance you’d think she had it all together, but after listening for a few minutes (unintentionally, of course;  Andrew and I couldn’t really talk because it would have required us to take breaths between bites ;-)), I thought, Whoa, this lady is way off base.

“Women need at least an hour of heavy cardio every single day.”

“I generally eat 1500 calories a day, but things carry over day to day;  I’ll make up for this indulgence [motioning to her small cocktail] tomorrow by only eating 1000 calories.”

In immediate response to that I said to Andrew, “That sucks.  I won’t.”

I witnessed a similar event a couple of months ago; I overheard a woman in the gym locker room say this to another woman after they’d just taken a group fitness class together:

“Well, I’m going to go do the Elliptical now because I decided to eat Girl Scout cookies last night!”

In addition to what sounded like a grueling class, this woman completed a full workout on an Elliptical machine in order to make up for something she’d eaten the day before.

I call this an “atonement workout” or “atonement eating,” in the case of the sad 1000 calories–in which a person thinks they must work off a food debt they’ve created or make right the horrendous wrong of, say, eating a few Girl Scout cookies–and I think this attitude is all wrong.

While there’s obviously a connection between our weight and the calories we eat and burn, this attitude misses the big picture… and can drive a person nuts.  Food is not something to be punished for, but is, along with physical activity, a means to care for our bodies.  I like to think of physical wellness not in terms of the “bad” things we “shouldn’t” have (“I can’t eat carbs/fat/cookies/chips…”) but rather the sum of the kind things we do for our bodies.  I feel well not because I didn’t eat dessert yesterday (I did,) but because I ate a lot of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein and took a walk–The sum of the good stuff rather than the absence of the bad stuff.  And I am not working out for longer today because I ate a delicious, homemade cupcake yesterday.

Health is about more than hitting a certain calorie goal each day.  And by the way, if I completed an hour of hard cardio daily and only ate 1500 calories, I’d be a very unpleasant person;  don’t even get me started on the 1000 calories (which, for the record, is below what is considered starvation.)

Be good to yourself!

What kind things will you do for your body today?

Buttermilk Trail Hike

Marriage requires many compromises.  Saturday morning, I wanted to drive to the mountains to hike, and Andrew wanted to watch TV for a few hours, then complete some projects around the house (anything to not drive anywhere.)  Our compromise: a quick garden clean-up and harvest, followed by a local hike in the afternoon.

The Buttermilk Trail runs along the James River from the Boulevard Bridge to Belle Isle (I know that probably means nothing to non-Richmonders…sorry), and despite being within the city limits, the hike definitely gives you the I’m-miles-away-from-civilization feeling.  We started on the north bank of the river (by Maymont,) crossed the foot bridge, and headed east.

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Soon we were in the woods and letting out our wild sides:

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After about three miles, we arrived at Belle Isle.  Well, we arrived at the large rocks beside Belle Isle;  we had to do some rock-hopping to reach the island.

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From there we crossed the river on the pedestrian bridge…

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I ❤ the River City.

…and began walking back on the North Bank Trail.  We enjoyed some pretty nice views of the river, Hollywood Cemetery, and fields of ivy.  We also picked and snacked on a few blackberries. 😀


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While not the mountains, the Buttermilk and North Bank Trails were a surprisingly pleasant local substitute.  They satisfied my desire to be outside in the woods with a serious layer of back sweat.   Hiking is also my favorite active date, and I loved the quality time Andrew and I had while creating the aforementioned back sweat.  😀  According to Hiking Upward, we covered about 6.3 miles.  Not bad!

Have you ever hiked or biked the Buttermilk Trail?
What’s your favorite active date?

Ultimate Frisbee + My New Favorite Squash Recipe

I am sore this morning!  Last night we played Ultimate Frisbee with friends, and we played hard.  I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, dinner.

We enjoyed leftovers from an awesome dinner Monday night: chicken sausages with a potato, squash, and goat cheese gratin.  I used this recipe for the gratin (minus the milk and Parmesan cheese; Andrew can handle goat cheese.)

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Oh, it was delicious.  Squash by itself?  Not my favorite.  Squash with my beloved potatoes?  Oh, yes.  This recipe is a winner, for sure.

After eating, we made our way to the University of Richmond to meet the Ultimate Frisbee gang.  We went a little bit early so Andrew and a few others could play Spikeball first.  I embraced the opportunity to go for a walk through the beautiful campus.

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Ready. To. Play. 😉

Last week we had 8 people for Frisbee;  this week we had twenty.  Rather than play a crowded 10-on-10 game, we made four teams and had a mini tournament on two adjacent fields.  We each played one game (first team to score 11,) then the winners played, and the losers played.   By the end, we’d all spend about 90 minutes running pretty hard.  The teams were beautifully even in terms of abilities, so although we won our games (:-D), both were very close, and there was no time to rest.

After driving home and hobbling from the car to the house, I made my favorite workout recovery meal–a smoothie.  This cup contained frozen berries, banana, mixed greens, peanut butter, and soy milk.  While this sounds rather strange and is not my typical smoothie combination–I usually use spinach, but we have mixed greens on hand right now, and I usually forego the peanut butter, but I wanted some extra protein–it actually tasted great!  And no, I could not taste the greens. 🙂

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I love smoothies as workout recovery fuel because they contain carbohydrates, protein, and lots of vitamins, depending on what fruit you include.  Unfortunately, none of that is preventing my legs and glutes from being incredibly sore this morning. 😀

What do you eat/drink after a hard workout?
Do you ever play Ultimate Frisbee?

Fitness Apps and Listening to Your Body

Last week I mentioned that I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app out of curiosity about how my diet measures up to recommended guidelines.  Since then I have been recording my food and exercise (on week days), and I have one overarching thought about the app: It’s a helpful tool, but it’s still crucial to listen to your body.  Before I go into that, here’s what my week looked like in terms of workouts:

Monday: Running-30 minutes (AM); Walking-25 minutes (PM)
Tuesday: Weight circuits- 30 minutes; Walking-30 minutes (AM); Ultimate Frisbee- 70 minutes (PM)
Wednesday: Walking- 30 minutes (AM); Yoga-60 minutes (PM)

Thursday: Weight circuits (upper body)-20 minutes; Walking- 30 minutes
Friday: Running- 30 minutes

Let me draw your attention to Tuesday.  I burned a lot of calories through exercise that day–in the morning I lifted weights and did some light cardio, and after dinner I played a very intense game of Ultimate Frisbee with a group of friends.  The game was four-on-four, which means we all did a lot of running (with so few people on each team, you really cannot take a break,) and the only other girl playing (opposite team) was very comparable to me in terms of physical abilities (speed, willingness to crash into someone to catch the frisbee ;-)), so I was giving my all the entire game.

When we arrived back home around 9 PM, I had a substantial snack, but according to MyFitnessPal, I still fell way short on calories (and fat) that day.

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(Side note: check out my fantastic protein intake;  the only meat I had that day was about 2 oz of pork tenderloin at dinner.  Bam.)

Wednesday was a different story, however.  I took it easier with my exercise, but I was so much hungrier as a result of the previous day.  MyFitnessPal is just a tool and does not recognize that hunger can carry over, so on Wednesday I exceeded my recommended calories, fat, and…well, everything!  I think it would have been detrimental to my health to adhere strictly to what the app said I needed–my body knew it needed more.

My point is, this app is a great tool for getting the nutrients you need, but it doesn’t know your body as well as you do.  Listen to and honor your body!

Sharing the Harvest + Weekly Workouts

“Honey, we should share some of this produce with our family and friends.”

You know the look an eight-year-old gives you when you tell him he has to stop playing video games with his friends and clean his room?  That is precisely the look I received from Andrew yesterday when I uttered those words.  It was a mix of, “Are you really speaking English right now?” and “I cannot even believe how unfair you are.”

Share?  We can freeze it!  How are we going to store up for the winter if we share?

Family, friends–we are working on it. 😉

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As it turns out, Andrew’s reluctance to share only extends to the zucchini because he loves it, but he is more than willing to part with some of the other veggies.  On the flip side, I am happy to hand out zucchini to anyone walking by the house because 1.  I don’t love it, and 2. We have so much of it!  The photo above is today’s harvest, which includes three zucchini totaling 4.5 lb.  Each one is seriously bigger than my forearm.  Also today we picked three cucumbers, one yellow squash, and about 10 oz of cherry tomatoes!

Here’s our haul from a couple days ago:

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Cucumbers (which are now in the process of becoming pickles!), fantastic peppers, even more zucchini, cherry tomatoes, and the coolest looking, most delicious tomato I’ve ever beheld (<–That sounds like an exaggeration simply because I used the word “beheld” in reference to a tomato… it was very tasty. ;-))

The goodness just keeps rolling in.

In other news, I am rebounding from my cold that developed last weekend.  I’ve been limiting my workouts this week to easy walks, yoga, and light weight-lifting.  Yesterday afternoon I was feeling mostly better, so I went to the gym to do intervals on the Elliptical.  I pressed through–10 minute warm-up, 10 minutes of 30 seconds hard/30 seconds recover, 10 minutes of moderate intensity, 5 minute cool-down–but during the last bit I felt exhausted, and not in the I-just-had-a-great-workout kind of way, but in the I-don’t-feel-well way.  I probably should have given myself one more day to recover.  Oh well.

I have a busy day ahead–my family is coming in town this weekend for my grandmother’s memorial service, so in addition to work, I need to do some house cleaning, and, uh, finally put on paper what I want to say at the service tomorrow.  I have been thinking about it, but putting off actually doing it because I know I will need a few boxes of tissues just to write it.

What’s on your schedule for the weekend?
Do you workout when you are sick?
Zucchini: love it or hate it?