Another #50ish Birthday

So today is my birthday, the day I came crashing into history.   Another chance to spin around the sun once more.  The older I get the less I view that as something I’m entitled to. It’s a gift pure and simple and one worthy of celebrating, appreciating, and giving thanks for.

Before I get going on this I do wanna give a shout out to Chunky Tribe Creations for working with me on creating this fun birthday tank using one of my signature hash tags. She was super sweet and went out of her way to be helpful with my…uh… unusual request.  Find them on Facebook and check out their page.  Black is one of my favorite colors and I love how the pink and white compliment it and pull it all together.

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A special birthday shirt because, why not?

 

I “technically” won’t roll to my new age until the evening of my birthday, according to my mothers meticulous record of my birth day.

I love how vintage, old and cool my baby book looks now.

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I’m vintage. Nifty.

You can see I came into this world longer and bigger than most of my petite 6 or 7 lb counterparts.

I kinda never slowed down and grew into all of my 6’0 height by middle school… awkward at best and not knowing what to do with all of me.

Fast forward a very good number of years and I am more than comfortable in my skin and taking up all my space on this planet.

I don’t shrink back, try to be small, or less than anything I am.

I guess that’s one thing about getting older, right?  Getting to where you know who you are and owning it. Making no apologies for anything or to anyone for being yourself.

It’s a matter of simply being comfortable in your skin and embracing and loving yourself.

And yeah, it’s really ok to love yourself. If you don’t, how do you expect others to?

Age brings wisdom… or so they say….but there won’t be grey hair to prove it

I guess you don’t get to this point in life where you haven’t learned a thing or two… or at least you should have. I have a lot of younger friends and I enjoy their enthusiasm, energy and zest for life. It sometimes doesn’t take long though for me to realize in chatting with them that I do have words of wisdom and advice that I can offer. Sometimes I relate to situations, other times it’s a matter of just being able to see things in a more clear, objective way.

Hey, I guess age does have it’s benefits, right?

My daughter in laws often tell me the same thing, that they appreciate my wisdom. I love that they come to me when they need advice, counsel, or to just talk.

I think being older often lets you see things in a more objective manner, to discern them differently or a little more rationally.

I’m not afraid to use my voice

I think when you’re younger, you may hold back or not feel comfortable speaking your thoughts, ideas, objections or view points.

Being older I’m not afraid to let go, or to hold back. I’ve learned silence can be powerful but I’m not afraid to speak my mind and call it like I see it either.

I can see black and white, but I also know there is a grey ground too when it comes to topics or thoughts and ideas.

Having a blog and being active on social media has certainly given me a broader platform to use my voice and to speak out loud, to live out loud, and that feels powerful.

Speaking of power….

getting older means you know yourself better, what you can do and accomplish and you’ve learned what you’re made of by now and that’s pretty empowering.  The more struggles, trials, life learning events and other fun stuff you go through only builds and strengthens you in a deeper way.

My first tattoo ( ha and supposedly, “only” tattoo) was a wrist bracelet that says “strength”. It is one of my life words. When I see it, it’s a constant reminder of what I’m made of, what I’ve been forged by, and that I have strength for all things I deal with in life.

I have earned this in these years of my life, this deep strength.

Don’t sweat the small stuff….

If there’s one thing I quietly observe in the world around me is how often people waste time on things that don’t matter. They waste time on unnecessary drama with people they love when they could be loving them or enjoying that time together instead of camping on stuff that just doesn’t matter.

Through social media I often observe people throwing dirty laundry and drama out for the world to view. It’s rather sad, but more sad is that they are wasting time that could be spent loving, laughing, and appreciating the lives they have together.

Remember, none of us are entitled to anything. Don’t squander it over the small stuff that doesn’t matter.

I’m older and I’m really ok with that….really.

I had to laugh the other day when my daughter asked my age and came in a number of years behind where I am.

She said” I’m sorry Mom, I just forget, I don’t think about your age!”

And I don’t either. It’s rather irrelevant to me. I do what I want and do what makes me feel good, alive and what’s fun.

I don’t ever plan to be hindered by some age card or held back in any way.

I have to roll my eyes when I see some copy and paste post going around about older women and how they look at 20 something aged women wishing they were still there or looked like them or whatever… hahaha… no.

Don’t get me wrong. My 20’s were great. I was happy, I was happy with life and all that stuff. I was starting my family and tending babies and running a household.  Life was good.

Life is still good.

But the reality is I’m in better physical shape now then I was then. I’m also way more confident, stronger, smarter and in touch with myself than I was then.  I know what I’m about, what I want, what I don’t want.

I don’t wish to be something I used to be, to do so only takes away from what I am now.

Reflecting back on this past year….

As I write this, I’m thinking back over this past year, ways I’ve grown, things I’ve accomplished and learned.

In the ways of my family, they’ve grown and some have married, started new households and new jobs. I’ve graduated my final one from high school last year and watched her start her second semester of college.  I celebrated another year with a man I’ve been with most of my life now.

I not only went out and trained for my first multi-sport event last year, the duathlon, I took first in my age group. Never would I have seen myself doing that, yet I did, and I’m going after it again this year.

I also stumbled into a new hobby/new business at the beginning of the year as I started flipping old antique furniture. I had zero experience with it but it turns out I’m pretty good at it and people like it so I’m gonna see where it continues to grow to.

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks??

Unapologetically me.

I guess on the topic of getting old I can just say that I’m unapologetically me. I won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, yet there are others who love every weird, funny, smart, quirky, sassy vibe about me.

And that’s cool in both directions.

I’ve learned other peoples problems or hang ups they may have are their own, not mine. It’s irrelevant to me and my life.

I will never march to the beat of someone else’s drummer. I will always go against the flow and I will never intentionally conform to someone else’s standards or thoughts.

Now on with the celebrations….

Ok so I’ve kinda been working the birthday thing all week, even though as I write this, the 11th is the “official” day.

I think birthdays are worth celebrating no matter how old you get.

Cake… heck yes. My daughter made me an amazing German Chocolate one that we all devoured. Toss some ice cream on it too.

I love presents and all those unexpected treats. No, I’m not to big for gifts.

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Metallic rose gold Converse 🙂

Speaking of gifts… my daughter knows of my Converse love and gifted me with these lovelies to sport around. How pretty are they ??

Of course I shared with you in my Monday Musings post this week, hubby totally surprised me with a Go Pro, to which I’m in the process of assembling and getting all put together.

You can read about that here…..https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/07/09/monday-musings-18/

Then it will be off for some adventures with it. 😉

Being older has some other advantages…..

Like… I have no idea what the most popular mini van, “sport” van, or SUV is no days… I traded mine in for a  Charger R/T Max almost 2 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I know more about it’s 0-60 abilities than I do features on new vans 😉 #nomoremomcars

I skim into the grocery store  peacefully getting what I need while I pass Moms with kids hanging off baskets or crying babies. Bless them but I’ve been there, done that, free now.

I can come in a total mess from a workout and get ready in record time. Although my mane of hair definitely takes the longest, I learned a long time ago less is more with makeup.  All the things young women go through  now days with makeup, I’ve got no time for that. You’ll just have to look at my awkward “un contoured, un bronzed, un highlighted” face 😉

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50ish and unfiltered. Hubby asked me one morning what I was doing… I was actually heavy into strength training… he got this little gem in his phone.  This might make him more cautious about asking in the future 😉

 

I’ve got more “me” time. All my kids are grown, self sufficient, get themselves up and off for work, tend to their own needs, or better yet they live in their own homes.  I can do things during the day I want to do.

I can stop for a coffee and read on the patio at my local coffee hangout…one of my fav leisure activities. Coffee, reading, and people watching.

Also, another birthday puts me closer to getting a Senior citizen discount on my breakfast… so there’s that 😉

In the year ahead….

I’m not gonna get all deep and introspective on you. My approach to my new year is simple….

Take no prisoners.

Take challenges, take risks, work hard, don’t be afraid to fail when attempting new things, seize new opportunities, live fearlessly, believe strongly in myself in what I can do, love with abandon, let go of what is useless, embrace the things that matter, be kind, accept some things are what they are, work hard, and never let age be an excuse to not accomplish something new.

I think that’s a crazy fine way to head into another year of being #50ish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No Exercise Required

It was early morning and I was still bleary eyed, sipping on my first wonderful cup of hot coffee slowly coming to life.

For the record I’m not “anti” morning. I mean most weeks I’m out on the road running or cycling while people are still crawling outta bed. On the other hand, I may just prefer to cuddle and be alone with my coffee for a bit till the fog clears my head 😉

I am more of strong night owl if I had to label myself … anyway…

I’m waking up, laptop in front of me as I do a final read through and edit on my post before launching it into the world and blog land.  I do my level best to make sure you, my faithful readers, don’t stumble through to much of my ramblings haha

And can I take a moment to say thank you?

However, you follow me, whether through e-mail, Facebook, IG, Pinterest or on WordPress, thank you for taking your time to read what I write.  I know our time is valuable and I appreciate you taking yours to read my offerings.

I will always attempt to make it worth your while, to keep it sassy, and hopefully to educate, inspire, or challenge you.

Now, where was I?

Waking up, drinking coffee and proofing my post… yes that’s where I was. So while I’m doing that, the morning news is on and the morning commercials.

Sweet heavens.

It must be the cheapest time of day to advertise ’cause obnoxious car sale ads are on along with ads for medical clinics, lawyers and all kinds of other services I can do without hearing about that early in morning.

All of them are so… loud. So very, very loud.

Anyway, this weight loss commercial comes on advertising how you can lose weight with some miracle something or another and “no exercise required!!”

I guess that’s where my still sleepy, yet slowly coming alive brain kicked in.

I thought, how is that a good selling point ? But then I realized, to a lot of people, that IS a good selling point.

Lose weight and you don’t have to exercise? Heck yeah.

I get it. Exercise is work. If you do it right, it’s hard work.

Of course, if you’re out of shape it really feels like hard work. Your heart and lungs are screaming at you and you get all red and you are breathing way to hard so of course a weight loss offer of no exercise might seem like a good deal.

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It’s just not.

Let’s just forget losing weight here as we discuss this. Really, exercise shouldn’t be what you do to lose weight, it’s really what you put in your mouth and how much of it that matters more.  Exercise can just support those efforts.

Exercise offers so much more to us than being a weight loss tool. Think about how you feel when you leave your house on a nice evening to go for a short walk. Chances are it gives you time to think, clear your head from the day, brain storm ideas, and just unwind a bit. When you come back in you probably feel rejuvenated and refreshed, even if you may be sweaty 😉

In time, you most likely will want to walk a bit further as you start to really enjoy it and look forward to it.

Maybe going to a yoga class let’s you feel more connected to yourself, makes you more aware of your body.  For me, yoga definitely slows me down, but it also let’s me have some time that is a bit more quiet and reflective.

Whatever activity you may enjoy, if you get started in it, you will most likely enjoy many benefits that have nothing to do with losing weight.

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Remember, your heart is a muscle that needs work too 😉

 

 

So…get this…..

Exercise is the single best thing you can do for your brain in terms of mood, memory, and learning.  Even 10 minutes of activity changes your brain.

Jumping on the treadmill or cross trainer for 30 minutes can blow off tension by increasing levels of “soothing” brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. What’s fascinating, though, is that exercise may actually work on a cellular level to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process. according to a 2010 study from the University of California—San Francisco. The researchers found that stressed-out women who exercised vigorously for an average of 45 minutes over a three-day period had cells that showed fewer signs of aging compared to women who were stressed and inactive. Working out also helps keep us from ruminating “by altering blood flow to those areas in the brain involved in triggering us to relive these stressful thoughts again and again.

I wrote a post on exercise and aging… find it here….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/24/exercise-and-aging/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/07/24/aging-and-the-fountain-of-youth/

It can help with depression. Research suggests that burning off 350 calories three times a week through sustained, sweat-inducing activity can reduce symptoms of depression about as effectively as antidepressants. That may be because exercise appears to stimulate the growth of neurons in certain brain regions damaged by depression.

Exercise can improve our learning. Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help make new brain cells and establish new connections between brain cells to help us learn. Interestingly, complicated activities, like playing tennis or taking a dance class, provide the biggest brain boost. You’re challenging your brain even more when you have to think about coordination. Like muscles, you have to stress your brain cells to get them to grow.

It improves self-esteem and body image. You don’t need to radically change your body shape to get a confidence surge from exercise. Studies suggest that simply seeing fitness improvements, like running a faster mile or lifting more weight than before, can improve your self-esteem and body image.

It may keep Alzheimers from setting in. The Alzheimer’s Research Center touts exercise as one of the best weapons against the disease. Exercise appears to protect the hippocampus, which governs memory and spatial navigation, and is one of the first brain regions to succumb to Alzheimer’s-related damage.

Is that enough evidence for exercise?

Those are some pretty convicting reasons to exercise, right? Yet not a single one of them have to do with losing weight. The point being, exercise benefits all of our body, soul and spirit.

Exercise is a good tool to help with weight loss but as you’ve seen it offers so many more benefits to keep us healthy and whole.

It shouldn’t be viewed as something you don’t “need”. Our bodies are made for and are designed for, movement.  So many of our modern day illnesses and health issues could be helped and improved with regular consistent exercise.

What exercise has taught me

ok admittedly, a few years ago when I was an out of shape middle aged woman, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of vigorous daily exercise. As I mentioned earlier in this post, it’s hard, and it’s really hard when you’ve been doing nothing and  then start doing “something”.

I purposefully made myself go walk each day. I dutifully walked 2 miles. I did it no matter what was going on, some days I had to fit it in at different times, but I did it.

I did it enough it turned into a new habit.  One day I got brave and actually went farther. One mile turned into another, before I knew it I was running some, and then, well the rest is history…

Exercise was certainly a good discipline tool. Those scheduled daily times on the road disciplined me to getting up and making a commitment to something.

That discipline eventually carried over into other areas of my life.

When I trained for my first marathon I learned a lot more about discipline, sacrifice, and some serious hard work. Honestly, once you run a marathon ( I actually went on to do more and eventually in 2014, a 50k) you develop the feeling and attitude you can take on the world.

I learned more about concrete goal setting, short and long term.

Exercise has built my confidence in what I can do and what I’m capable of doing.  This translates far beyond what I do on  the road.

The more I’ve grown athletically, the more I’ve seen that transfer into my daily life.

Becoming mentally strong dealing with physically activity has given me a tough mind in dealing with life.

I shared in a recent post about my yearly check up with my doctor.  My HDL ( good cholesterol ) was 75 on the lab report. It should be mentioned the highest number they had as “good” was 39. My doctor just gave me a level look and said… “it’s from all that exercise you do”.   So exercise is good for stuff like that 😉

I’ve also learned I can do some of my most creative thinking out on the road. It’s a time to process, discard, think and get clarity.

It’s taught me to get out of my head, get out of my way, so I can see what I’m made of.  I’ve learned I have strength I didn’t know I possessed, mentally and physically

Oh yeah. and somehow along the way of learning that, I lost weight and got decently fit.

So yeah, you do need to exercise

So if you’re one of the “anti-exercisers” 😉 I hope I’ve given you something different to think on.  Find something you enjoy and want to do, then commit to getting good at it. DO it often enough and frequently enough and it will turn into a habit, a good one at that.

And then, before you know it, you too will have lost some weight and be getting decently fit too.

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I love and anticipate my workouts now, physically and mentally.

 

Your turn… tell me… do you wish you didn’t “have” to exercise? Do you wish you could lose weight and get all the benefits without doing it, or are you at a place where you love it and would miss it? Have you ever considered exercise as beneficial to you in ways besides helping with weight loss?

Monday Musings

So I’m gonna start today off with a rant. Why not. And you might laugh or be surprised when I tell you the rant is over…. donuts.

Yes. Donuts.

I don’t really eat them much, rarely actually.

But I do have a little thing for powdered sugar donuts. I’ve talked about them before.

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/09/22/food-choices-deprivation-or-empowerment/

Sometimes in the mornings I just want one or two. That’s it.

I don’t binge on them or eat a half a bag. I have the discipline/self control/ whatever you want to call it to have a taste and put them away.

In fact unless some of the others who live in my household eat them, I will often throw half a bag away when they’ve sat for awhile. ( here’s a nod to all the preservatives that keep them alive and well haha)

Anyway….

Since I am selective in how I eat them I expect them to be good, ya know? With the most recent purchase it appears they have somehow changed up the donut recipe, and not for the better.

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Posing with a bag of defective donuts. Why am I smiling???

The donuts are like… sponges. Chewy sponges. Sugar coated chewy sponges.

They are awful. Hideous. Not worth wasting calories on.

I’m contacting the company and asking them what they’ve done to my little white, fluffy tasty treats. I’m going to whine and cry and ask them… why?? Why did you go and mess with a good thing?

Incase you don’t know, the donut should be rather light, fluffy, and kinda melt in your mouth with the powdered sugar.

It should not be like chewing through a kitchen sponge.

I guess that’s one way to break me from them, right?

**sniff, sniff**

I’m done whining now….

Ok maybe I don’t really need them after my doctor appointment this past week.

Yes, everything is good.  I don’t talk much about this but I have hypothyroidism.

I really never mention it ’cause 1) I don’t want to be defined by anything and 2) it’s not a big deal to me as I see my doctor yearly to monitor my TSH levels and I take my meds like a good girl.  I also think eating healthy and exercise help as well.

But besides my check up on my thyroid  he runs a whole panel of blood tests. He got to my cholesterol and said “Your HDL ( the good kind of cholesterol) is 79.”

It should be mentioned here that the highest level the lab has as, I guess, an “optimal” level is 39mg.

He laughs and calls me an over achiever and then says “it’s all that exercise you do that drives it up”

Consistent, daily, vigorous exercise is the best way to help your good cholesterol levels. So if you struggle with cholesterol issues, you might want to consider trying to get more purposeful movement into your week.

It’s not only good for your cholesterol, but all of your body as well.

In my furniture adventures…..

 

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An old window screen with a few additions

 

Ok this isn’t like, furniture, but it is old and crusty. Look how cute this old window screen turned out with some additions to it 🙂

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Vintage buffet

I did score this vintage buffet this week. Other than some veneer damage on top ( ugh, which I’m removing) it won’t have much repair work to start transformation.

20180607_121008Actually this little piece will be adorable as a coffee bar or a entry way piece. There are so many ways to repurpose  buffets.

In the past few weeks I’ve finished off a few chairs and a cute table. I have several things on the list for the upcoming week, including the buffet.  Hubby has told me I get nothing else… but he accompanied me on a run for some stuff this past weekend haha

Seriously. I’m so grateful for how he supports all my craziness and adventurous ideas 🙂

I promise a peek at the buffet when it’s all done.

When I’m not doing furniture….

I’m slowly working my training back up in preparation for the duathlon later this year. I think if there’s one thing I’ve had to learn as an athlete is the ebb and flow of a training season. It is SO hard to give up a high level of fitness, to be at a peak, and then come off that and have to start building it again.

Not that I’m “out of shape”  not even being in peak condition I know I can still do more physically than most people. I have a good physical “base” to build on as I start my training. I just kinda wish I could always stay at that level although I know my ( or any athletes) body isn’t designed to always be in such peak condition.

So I’ll start increasing my training, building each week, and celebrating as I conquer new goals.

I’ll start with a brick session today  ( bike/ run) and gradually add  those workouts in twice a week. There will be specific long rides and on foot, mile repeats working on kicking up my speed a little.

And in the mix, I’ll keep up strength training to keep my body strong and balanced for my on road activities and because I like having some muscles too 😛

I’ve written a couple posts on that… find them here…….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2016/03/03/muscles-are-for-girls/

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2017/05/10/menopause-muscles-and-middle-age/

Seriously though, I feel so alive when I’m out on the road whether I’m running or cycling. I’m ready to work hard and enjoy the fruit of my labors 🙂

I’m ready to take on this tough duathlon again.

Now… have I ever mentioned……

My son is in the ball python business.  Yeah. Snakes. Check out this little baby, and it literally is a baby at only about 12 days old.

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He’s being a little shy and hiding out ….

Oh no! Have I creeped you out now????

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Getting a little more adventurous now….
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I think he likes me now.

 

I may have just lost half my readers showing these photos haha

Evidently, according to my son, ball pythons are big business now days. While I was letting this little guy crawl around he casually informs me it’s a 1,500.00 snake.

Yikes!

And you may now have assessed that I’m not a girl who runs from snakes.

Here’s the deal, after raising three boys, I’ve learned to roll with just about anything… it definitely has made me a stronger woman on a lot of levels.

If you’re still with me….

tell me if you’re someone who gets creeped out over snakes or if you find them interesting?

Are you sympathetic over my donut plight ? Have you ever been disappointed in some particular food you find enjoyable to have it not measure up?

Have you tried any new foods or recipes this week ? Summer heat is in full swing and I am more about eating light foods and plenty of salads. Do you have any light, cool recipes you prefer ?

Do you have an upcoming event you are training for?

Monday Musings

Hello boys and girls… and hello Monday.  As I’m writing this ending out the week, I guess I’ll start with our weather and how we’ve been dancing into the 100 degree temps this week.

I should be used to it after living my entire life in the South.

I should be used to going from warm, sunny, pleasant, perfect days that are enjoyable to be  outside, to the weather turning crazy hot in an instant leaving those mild days a memory till fall rolls around.

Maybe I’m mean, but I think, really, the weather reporters don’t need a job when all they do is show a picture of the sun shining all week and the temperatures listed at 100-102.

I mean if you have nothing else to share, you don’t need to be there telling us nothing has changed. 😛

Exercise and the heat

Once those temperatures start getting hotter again, I know I’ll be feeling it in my workouts. I am pretty acclimated to training outside but when there have been months of mild weather, it does take me a few weeks to get used to the heat and humidity again. Even going out early, like 7-730, it’s already warm, often hot, and then there’s the humidity along with it.

This turns most workouts into a crazy sweat fest. No one. And I mean  no one, takes my offers of a hug when I come in from working out.

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Believe it or not, this is still early in the morning and I have a hot 5k in front of me.

 

Of course if I’m not out running, then I’m doing this….

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It’s cool to be all matchy, matchy with your bike, right?

 

Needless to say, I try and become a little more aggressive with my hydration during these hotter days.  Once I learned how to check my sweat rate, I was amazed at how many pounds of fluid I could lose in a training session. Anywhere from 2-5 pounds depending on the temperature and duration of my workout.

I learned that I needed to replace those lost pounds with 16oz of water for each lost pound and then keep drinking to maintain normal hydration.

I know the drill and do it. And I’ll have to stay on top of things since it appears summer is gonna be really hot as I get my training ramped up for my second duathlon in November.

The race organizers just dropped the date this week for it so I anticipate that registration will open soon.

I tell you this… once I cough up money for an event… there is no backing out and it gets me more motivated knowing I’ve made that commitment.

Of course nutrition will be as important as ever….

I whipped up my own tasty salad to take with me when I worked with my son this week. I shared in a previous post I’ve been helping him some at work so instead of running out to a drive thru for a salad, I put one together that’s cheaper and tastier.

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Spinach, cherry tomatoes, avocado, green apples, grilled chicken, feta cheese with a lime vinaigrette dressing.

Oh… if you missed my spotlight on apples post and how good they are for you find it here…  https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/06/01/spotlight-on-apples/

Seriously though as the weather gets warmer I love the lightness of salads and how they fill me up but don’t make me feel lethargic like eating a more carbohydrate laden meal would.

Of course with salads, you can make endless combinations that won’t get boring. When making your own just make sure you add plenty of protein in with your veggies and add in variety of textures and flavors. Watch the dressing you use because you can add 100’s of calories to a healthy meal.

I hate seeing people trying to make a better food choice with a salad and then drowning it in Ranch dressing. At that point, a sandwich would be healthier and offer way less calories than a salad covered in so much dressing.

Consider using dressing on side and dipping your fork into it or look for dressings that have a low calorie content. Better yet, whip up some of your own for a tasty treat.

So I’ve got these other projects….

I have a room my now married son vacated so I decided I was going to paint it this week when I scored paint for 5.00 a gallon. How could I not??

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I hadn’t used this particular brand so I wasn’t sure exactly how the paint would be. It turned out to be as thick and covering as a big name brand I always buy. I had brushes so my total purchase here was 11.65 for this little room project.

Go me.

I’m almost done ’cause I wanna get back to some of my furniture projects I’ve got going on.  I have one really needy chair waiting for my attention and a cute vanity I’m eager to get started with.

Ha… I have plenty of projects waiting for me. I don’t NEED any other projects, yet I keep my eyes open for anything cute or unique that comes along and needs some help.

Painting, writing, training for my duathlon, life stuff, some extracurricular “work”, I also finally got a business page launched for my vintage furniture… ah… sometimes I’m busy.

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This is where I enjoy crafting out my posts for the blog 🙂 I hadn’t been here in awhile.

 

Iced coffee. That’s where it’s at during the summer months for me. My baristas usually have it served up before I’ve made it through the line.

If you get coffee at coffee shops I seriously hope you appreciate the young people behind the counter who are serving up your coffee. They put up with more in their days sometimes than you and I will ever have to. I have unfortunately seen several instances where customers acted in sad, deplorable ways because something wasn’t “right”. I believe of course, if I’m paying for something that it should be what I want. I also believe you can express yourself in a courteous way if there is a problem with your order.

It is disturbing to me how some people seem to view themselves as “above” those behind the counter and can therefore speak in ugly ways.

That’s just… not… cool.

Drinks need food…

Last week was Memorial Day in the states and I shared some recipes I’d be experimenting with on the family.

One that was a huge hit was a brownie recipe….

Mocha brownies with coffee cream cheese frosting.

The bad thing about them? I should’ve doubled the recipe as there were battles breaking out over who got the last one. I had to laugh when the recipe said to refrigerate left overs.

Left overs. Right.

They were beyond amazing. If you want the recipe, find it in this post….

https://sassyfitnesschick.com/2018/05/28/monday-musings-13/

You’ll also find the recipe for an avocado salad I made… it was pretty good too.

That’s a wrap…

Did you make any new recipes this week?  Are you dealing with really hot weather and how does that affect any training you might be doing? Do you have a favorite hot weather drink?

It’s The Small Things

You know that saying “it’s the small things in life?”  Meaning it’s those things we might not think much about that really matter in big ways. Things we seemingly take for granted and don’t often give maybe a lot of thought too.

Sometimes, the small things really are big things.

For example, my week. I hurt my hand last week.  And not just “a little hurt” but hurt enough to make some things not only painful ( as in make me sick to my stomach pain)   but also super inconvenient as well.

My advice… don’t stick your hand in when two dogs are at odds with each other.  Dumb I know. It’s an unthinking move at the time.

Of course, it was my left hand.  And yes, that’s my dominant hand. I’m one of the few unique ones operating with a hand many of you still express surprise over when it’s revealed.

Ha… where… do you think all my artistic creativity comes from ? 😛

I’d never view my health or body wellness as a “small” thing, it’s just that I’m used to going through my days fairly effortlessly and without dealing with inconveniences.

I never really pondered the ease of doing zippers, buckling belts, tying shoes, doing my makeup, driving! , writing,  waking up without my hand instantly aching or attempting to grasp things with my hand.

I have now pondered it a lot.

What physical activities?

Given my hand had some serious injuries, it’s curbed me from activities like boxing, rowing, cycling, weights.. pretty much anything that requires me to have a good strong grip.

Yes, I can still run but my hand was swollen and I didn’t think it was a great idea to be out swinging it and running and all that would come along with it.

Today was my first venture back out, a short 5kish distance to see how it felt. I tried to be mindful to hold it up more and not let my arm move as freely as I usually might. I guess it worked ok ’cause I didn’t feel awful after.

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It’s a good thing I like running ’cause it appears I will only be doing that for awhile. I’m ok with the idea since there are so many ways I can adjust running to mix it up and not get bored.

Running let’s me plot different routes, distances and I can determine how easy or hard that will be.

Do I include a route where I know I’ll get plenty of hills? Or do I keep it mostly flat? Better yet, do I want to do just hill repeats which is a strength and speed workout all in one? I really, weirdly, love doing hill repeats. If you’ve read my posts before on them, they aren’t your average “hill” but literally are mountains that have been paved over. It’s really quite a nice workout.

I was picking up my mail one day and one of my neighbors was there at that time. Our conversation went like this…

“Hey! I saw you running up that big hill this morning!”

Me… “yes, yes I was.”

Neighbor… “Running. You were running up it.”

( he said it like a statement of something I may or may not have been aware of)

“Yes sir, I was running up that hill. You are correct.”

“Girl you are crazy. I don’t even think I could manage to walk up it.”

Ha I should be semi amused he called me “girl” and  it should be noted this isn’t the first time my neighbors may have referred to me as a little crazy in regards to my cycling and running on some of the tough terrain we live on.

So yeah. Hill workouts will definitely be a part of my regime as my hand heals until I can get back to that other stuff I love doing.

But I digress….

in this week as I’ve dealt with it I have thought about those things, big and small, I can take so casually. Perhaps it’s when you go through struggles or difficulties that you focus in on it more.

It should be noted, I really don’t do confinement well. I don’t do good with clipped wings. I don’t do well not being able to confidently take care of the things around me I need to.

I literally have grass threatening to grow over my head…. I need to have a strong enough hand for that push mower.

Perhaps it’s in these times that I am more aware of those seemingly small things I assume is a privilege and it’s really not.

small things

 

None of us are really, entitled to anything. Which makes the gifts we have so much more treasured and valuable.

Being able to freely use my hand to drive, to cook, to grasp, cut, lift, do my makeup or blow dry my hair, to do all of the creative artistic things I’m enjoying ( ha I’ve just sucked it up and endured some pain to keep on with a few of my projects) write something without looking like someone hijacked my penmanship, so many things I’ve found myself considering.

In the course of life, this isn’t earth shaking and awful.

Certainly people daily go through so much more. It doesn’t have to be huge to make us stop and think and reflect on what we’re given and how precious it is and how we should value the abilities and gifts we have.

It’s all about gratitude

perhaps it comes down to that. Understanding that no matter what our situation we can choose to have a grateful attitude. Not for what we’re going through necessarily, but for all the small things, big things and everything in between.

For me, it’s simply easier to stay there than focus on the negative.

So I will try and appreciate all those small things in life that I previously hadn’t. I will celebrate daily improvement getting back to “normal” ( hahaha well that will most likely never happen as I’m far from that 😛 )

I will fully embrace my abilities when I get them again to wrap my hand firmly around heavy metal and lift it. To ride my bike at swift speeds and feel my hand clamp down on the brakes slowing my speed.   To slip into my boxing gloves and sink my body weight into the bag. To be seated on the rowing machine hands wrapped around the pull as my entire body responds to the work.

Sometimes the small things aren’t so small. Sometimes it’s those very things that make us feel alive and quicken our spirits.

Tell me, how do you embrace difficulty? Have you ever given much consideration to those “small things” in your life? Can you choose to be grateful in those times or are you annoyed to be in them?

 

 

So You Want To Be A Runner

I was checking my notifications the other day and realized someone had tagged me in their friends post. This person was looking for advice on starting to run, ideally when the weather was warmer and how did they start?

Ok, first of all, running is a pretty natural thing. Our bodies are designed for it and most are capable of doing it.

Most don’t do it because well let’s be honest, it’s hard.  I was thinking on a run the other day the only way to get better or stronger at it is to constantly push myself out of my comfort zone.

I can run decently fast ( I think) for a middle aged woman tipping into her senior discount years. Speed is relevant depending on the individual and certainly not a factor to being a good runner. I just like being able to do it. I know when I get out of my comfort zone I’m capable of delivering up faster speeds…

 

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Somehow my running evolved into doing a run and cycle event with my first duathlon last Nov.

 

 

Faster speeds though are hard, require a lot more effort than an easy run, and can make me feel powerful and helpless all at once.

So that being said, anyone can run if they don’t have some health limitation ( and thinking it’s hard doesn’t count)

The next thing. I’m not an expert, ok?

I’m not some running coach or a person who’s run their entire life. ( I was in my late 40’s when I got started) I never, ever would’ve thought I’d become a runner. Ever.

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And then… all the sudden…. I’m finishing a 50K….  am I a runner now??

 

 

I do think now in terms of miles and distance. I think that a mile driving or on a treadmill is…. for….ever….but a mile on foot can go by rather quickly. I can grumble driving behind a slow person that I could run there faster… yeah….

I guess I’m a runner.

I believe anyone can go run without having to focus on all the technical stuff, unless you have big goals and want to keep improving your game.

Then we need to talk about intervals, speed training, long runs, negative splits and pacing etc….

Well how do I get started?

Listen, you don’t need a lot of fancy gear to run but you do need some solid good shoes under you.

** hubby does delight in reminding me how my low maintenance, not expensive athletic shenanigans have changed** haha the more you get into it, the more cool stuff you find to make it fun…

I spend more money on my running shoes than anything that goes on my feet. Other than my cycling shoes but thankfully those last longer since they aren’t taking a pounding.

Go to a sports store and try several on. Don’t drag out shoes you’ve had 5 years… please don’t.

And don’t buy the prettiest ones. I’m right there with you on liking those but you really need to go for what fits and supports you best and then go for your color.

Once you get set with your shoes, you can pretty much wear what you’re most comfortable in.  Again, the more time you spend doing it, the more you’ll figure out how you’re most comfortable doing it.  What you choose to run in will be determined by your budget, how much you like to be covered, and how you can stay cool/warm enough doing it.

I’ve actually learned to shop discount type stores and have found name brand sports bras and the boy shorts I prefer to run in at a fraction of the cost as the sports store sells them.

The weather, to run or not to run

 

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Enjoying a rare sunny warm run in Feb.

 

 

When I first started off with my running adventures I was what I now think of as a “fair weather” runner. If the weather was the slightest bit not good, I stayed in for another type of workout.

Funny thing over these years how that has changed. I’ve trained in everything from pouring rain, to freezing cold with wind slicing through me. Maybe I am crazy.. or ridiculously disciplined.. there could be a fine line there..

If I have an event I’m training for my take is, I have no idea what the weather will be like on race day. If I train in it all, then I’m better prepared for whatever it is.

I weirdly now like being out when the weather is a bit rough and less than perfect. But that’s me… were talking about you…

This will all come down to what you want to do, your commitment, and if it’s a matter of staying in for safety ( I won’t run in fog, lightning or icy roads there is to much risk)

If it’s cold, layer up accordingly but keep in mind running warms you up fast! I know once I hit my first mile all engines are go and I am often tossing something in the trees till I come back by to claim it. I just don’t run as well being to warm, and you probably won’t either.

You will have to determine how much layering you need to stay comfortable.

Same with hot weather, getting over heated or having soggy clothes hanging off of your body isn’t fun ( hello dri-wick fabric) how much you run in to stay cool will be determined by your personal level of modesty and what you can move best in. I spend most of my time in boy shorts and a sports bra and I’m comfortable in that.

Hitting the road

Assuming you’ve not run before, or haven’t run in a long time, I’m going to suggest you start the way I basically fell into running…

the walk/run method. It’s a great way to practice running yet allowing your body to adapt to the rigors that running places on it. It can also protect you from injury when you do to much to soon.

You start off with small increments of  walking,  and running. If you’ve never run before those running seconds might seem like eternity to you, trust me, the wheels won’t fall off, hold on.

Using a walk/ run method allows you to gradually increase your running time and ease into your mileage.

Start with this plan to get you going

So that’s about it peeps. If you want to run, it’s easy to get started. You just have to get your mind in gear to make it happen, and hey, don’t forget to go get those cool new running shoes!

Do you run? What do you enjoy most about it?  Do you want to but haven’t known how to get started?

 

Reflections From The Road

It’s a quiet afternoon in my fav coffee cave which is a bit unusual given the time of day but I’m not gonna complain about that. Sometimes, I wonder where all the people have come from and why they are taking up my space haha

It’s also another day in this long week that is nothing but grey skies and feels perpetually like morning…. all… day… long.

Sometimes it makes it hard to feel like doing anything more than grabbing a blanket, a good book and chilling somewhere.

Instead, I’m going to write and let my thoughts out if you’ll humor me. Writing is often cathartic for me and let’s me examine things more closely through words.

As in… thinking about my first multi sport race this upcoming Sunday. My first duathlon.

Did I mention it’s listed as the toughest in the state? Yeah I don’t start with easy things.

I’ve certainly spent a significant amount of time on the road preparing for it. So much time to think and reflect, to ponder this journey that I’ve taken myself on.

I view myself as somehow a most unlikely candidate to turn into a duathlete.

This journey has been over 2 years in the making. It’s been out there in front of me, sometimes taunting and sometimes a bit illusive as I’ve had to bide my time waiting for the right moment.

You see when I first got the crazy idea I was fully in the mix of an ugly Achilles injury that had me doing no running at all. It’s during this time that cycling came into the picture a bit more. I had thought the following year I’d be up to it but just had things working against me that kept me from fully pursuing it. I remember seeing the cyclist out that year during the race and feeling a bittersweet longing to be able to do what they were doing.

My goal, my wish, began to be “just let me get healthy enough to run the distance required for the duathlon”. which at the time was bookend 5k’s.

All I had to do was run 6.20 miles … in two parts.  Was that asking to much ?

I diligently rehabbed myself. Spent a lot of time strength training, learning to row to stay strong with my cardio ( for the record rowing to me has many similar feelings to running), and doing cycling. As I got better I took it back to the road for some strong walking. It just felt good to be out there going through the motions even if I couldn’t all out run yet.

Time moved on, I improved and was able to pick up some running again, albeit, cautiously .

This time… the duathlon seemed more feasible. I continued with slow. easy, short “runs”. I stretched, foam rolled, iced and did whatever I could to keep getting better.

When I saw the promotions start coming up for it this past May I knew it would be something I’d take on in this year.

In June I made the commitment and registered. And I say commitment ’cause when you cough up money to pay for an event, you’ve just invested yourself fully to it.

With that, my “official” training began.

I think back to those first brick sessions I did. ( fyi a brick session refers to back to back activities. For me it was a bike and run session. Eventually it turned into a run/bike/run sessions)

I did only 8-10 miles on the bike and then a 2 mile run. I remember getting off bike, changing shoes, and then taking off on legs that felt like loose spaghetti noodles.

It’s hard work changing gears from one activity to another!

I wondered how long it would take or if I would adapt to getting my body from cycling mode to running.

Months later, it’s definitely still work especially after running and cycling, then running again but I’ve found I’m stronger and have managed some decent mile times… you know… for an old lady 😛

And here I am. Months later with the race staring me down the face.

I’m as ready as I can be. I’ve worked hard and prepared to the best of my abilities. I’ve trained in horrible weather and good weather. Right now the forecast is for a chilly but sunny day and I couldn’t be more thrilled with that!

I’ve practiced riding those crazy hills. I remember the first time I took on one that I thought would eat my lunch, which then fed into a second hill immediately after.

 

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So this is the first one…. it doesn’t look so scary in this pic 😛

I cried when I topped the second one. I know. I’m such a girl.

Doing hard physical things and accomplishing them brings out strong emotions in me. Maybe it’s a relief that I could do it. Maybe it’s overcoming something I thought might be insurmountable.  Or once again realizing I’m stronger than I gave myself credit for.

Spend some time on the road making your body work hard, you begin to see what you’re made of. You begin to see how your mind and body can work together or against each other.

I’ve learned I can push a bit longer and farther. I can dial in and focus on that moment in front of me and set aside anything else so I can keep pressing on to my goal.  I’ve learned how to listen to my breathing, to keep it even and steady even when I’m working hard. I listen to my body but try not to let it convince me it wants to quit or back off because it’s getting uncomfortable. ( not injured or hurt, but out of my comfort zone, there’s a difference )

If there’s one thing endurance sports has taught me it’s about discipline, determination, perseverance, and sacrifice.

I’ve learned to deal with hot, warm, humid weather.

 

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Nothing like a good sweat to cleanse the soul haha

 

As well as those  mornings I’ve geared up and headed out into a cold, wet, rainy, or foggy misty morning to train.

Yeah. All I really wanted to do was stay in warm and dry. Yes I considered I might be crazy but there was a deeper thing in me that wouldn’t let me give in or back off from what I had committed to undertake.

If race day dialed up a cold, wet, foggy morning I better be able to handle myself in those conditions.

Of course months of training has leaned me out more, almost a side effect of all my training. I know it’s working when hubby tells me I feel to thin haha

I’ve peaked in my training and with that comes a physique that reflects my work, endurance to do my running and cycling, and improved times doing them.

There is a bittersweet aspect to this as well. I know there will be the inevitable “let down” when it is finished. The thing I’ve focused on will be done, my goal accomplished. It will be time to thing of new goals.  I know these feelings go along with the excitement and thrill of doing it.

Now.. it’s almost show time.

With days out I’ll focus on stretching, rolling, eating well, getting rest and of course making sure my gear is ready and I have the coolest clothes to wear 😉

Looking good helps your performance, right ?

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Sporting the new cold weather cycling jacket I got for the event.

 

One thing I always remind myself of before races… the world doesn’t stop spinning based on my performance. It somehow takes some of the hyper energy off me.

Oh. I didn’t mention that did I? All the hyper energy and edginess counting down to it.. the “taper week”. That energy continues to build till I’m standing on the start line.

As much as I want to do the very best I’m capable of, the fact remains, when I cross that finish line, I’m a winner.

I win because I set out goals and dreams for myself and I worked hard and pursued them and I won’t go through life wondering “if” I could do it.

And nothing will feel better than that.