I Started A Health and Fitness Challenge!

I’ve started running again, but only three miles twice a week. My ankle is still wonky, and I’m getting it checked out again tomorrow morning. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like I’ll be able to run the Rock n’ Roll Half-Marathon on March 14 as anticipated. I’ve run it the past two years, so I guess I’ll have to settle as a spectator this year. I do have plans to run the Marine Corps Historic Half in May, provided my ankle is okay.

While I am running again, being active only two days a week doesn’t fly for a fitness nut like me. I take barre 3 and yoga classes regularly, so my only “off” day from exercise is typically a Thursday (uhm, today!). To take it one step further, I signed up for the barre 3 Challenge with my girlfriend Tana. It involves four weeks of clean eating, four 60-minute barre 3 workouts, and at least one 10-minute barre 3 workout per week. I’m currently in the middle of Week 1, and I feel great, though I’m happy today is an “off” day—my body needs a rest.

Here is a picture of Tana and me before class on Monday!

Posing in power leg and ready to get fierce!

Posing in power leg and ready to get fierce!

This challenge is really boosting my confidence and I love the accountability! Below is my Challenge Calendar. Isn’t it funny how motivating stickers can be?! The apple sticker means that I tried the required recipe for the week, the barre 3 symbol sticker means that I went to class, and the 10 sticker means that I completed the required 10-minute workout for the week.

The apple means I tried the required recipe for that week, the barre 3 symbol means I went to class, and the 10 sticker means I completed the required 10-minute workout for the week.

Making progress in Week 1!

I’m looking forward to the results of this challenge. My goal is to get whole-body strong before I start training for the half-marathon in May. As tempting as it may be to go full throttle, I’ve learned to listen to my body. It’s something I’ve been trying to improve since last year’s running-related injury.

For the remainder of the week I’ve got a barre 3 class on Friday, three-mile run on Saturday, and a yoga sesh Sunday evening. What are your plans for the weekend? How do you stay active?

New Year, New Goals

Well, this is my first blog entry of 2015. I sit here snacking on baby carrots, thinking about all the goals I want to accomplish this year. I suppose you could call me a goal-oriented go-getter.

David’s recent death added perspective to my life. With a busy, city lifestyle, it’s easy to lose focus on what’s really important. It’s easier to continue the routine, isn’t it?

One of my goals for 2015 (related to this blog) is to be a healthier, faster runner. This doesn’t mean I’m going to kill myself at the gym or start a weird diet. It means that I’m going to incorporate more of what I didn’t last year (like more strength training), tap into my inner yogi for mental health, and try to incorporate more whole foods into my diet. No extreme changes, just some small ones that should result in a healthier, faster me.

Until this past Tuesday, I hadn’t run since the marathon (October 26) because of a strained ankle. There’s not a whole lot you can do to treat a strain…other than not run. I’d seen my podiatrist and chiropractor, took their advice, started taking a natural supplement called Ligaplex I, and decided that after 2 months of not hitting the pavement it was now time.

I ran in my Do It For David race day shirt during my lunch break. Damn it felt good to wear that purple shirt again! I managed 2.75 miles at what I thought was an easy pace (8:36 — my sweet spot) and then walked another .5 miles. My ankle was a little stiff and wonky at first, but after about 1.5 miles, it loosened up and felt okay. Not running for 2 months definitely affected by cardio health and my body needs to learn how to operate anaerobically again. With time…

I’m considering training for the Marine Corps Historic Half, which is May 17 in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Some of my TNT teammates seem interested, so I may not have to train alone! I’m definitely going to train with the team again for this year’s Marine Corps Marathon. The goals: shave off 30 minutes from last year’s finish time and raise at least $2,000 more for LLS!

Now, we’re only two days into 2015, but I’ve already tried two new recipes that I thought I’d share with you. One is for a smoothie and the other is an interesting chili recipe. If you try them out, please let me know what you think! I love feedback.

Here’s to a healthy new year! Let the training begin!

Spiced Winter-Greens Smoothie (serves 2)
Recipe adapted from and courtesy of barre3

1 banana (I use frozen)
1 ripe pear
2 cups raw kale
2 TB ground flaxseed
2 TB chia seeds
1 TB almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (you can use whatever liquid you prefer)

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy! If too thick, add cold water and mix to desired consistency.

NOTE: This is not a good recipe to make the night before. The chia seeds thicken it too much and change the texture. I found that out the hard way…

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Turkey Chili (serves 4+, depending on portion size)

Recipe adapted from and courtesy of barre3

1 lb. organic, free-range ground turkey meat
1 medium-large sweet potato, washed well and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 jalepeno peppers, seeded and diced
2 TB chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp fine sea salt
Black pepper, to taste
2 – 15 oz. cans drained, no salt added black beans
1 – 15 0z. can diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups water

1. Cook turkey meat over medium heat in Dutch oven until no longer pink.
2. Add onion, jalepeno, and sweet potato. Stir often for 4 minutes or until onion and jalepeno begin to soften.
3. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper (if using) and cook for another 3 minutes until flavors marry.
4. Add black beans, tomatoes with their juices, and water. Stir and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until chili has thickened and sweet potatoes are tender (20-25 minutes).
5. Serve in bowls with toppings of your choosing. I like a squeeze of lime and a dollop of sour cream.

NOTE: If chili doesn’t thicken on its own, add some corn starch or flour.