Posts Tagged 'running'

running and life update

Hey hey friends!  

I know, I know…I won’t even start with my excuses for not blogging.  Let’s just say that I’ve been living life and enjoying it!  I absolutely love blogging and will continue to do it, but whenever it starts to feel like a chore, I make myself step away for a bit.  

The half marathon count down is on!  In five weeks and five days, I will have finished my very first half marathon!  My training has been like my blogging lately – inconsistent.  However, I feel good on my runs and definitely feel like I can rock the 13.1 when the time comes.  Yesterday, I ran 8 miles before church.  I didn’t map out my route before hand to see exactly how long it was, and I ended up having to book it the last 2 miles to make it home in time to get ready to be at church!  It was a good push.

My new running shoes have made the biggest difference in my runs!  I cannot say enough good things about FleetFeet and the Mizuno Wave Riders.  In. Love.

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Next week is football homecoming – yeah – in September.  It’s crazy early, but it’s coming so I guess I better prepare for it!  We are having a TON of cheerleading practices this week and next week, and we are decorating the school this weekend.  Our theme is Back to the Future, and the dress up days go throughout the decades (we even have a futuristic day – I think I’ll make an outfit out of aluminum foil hehe).  Any dress up ideas for me?  I like to go all out! 

Another random thing I want to tell you about is yet another new obsession from Trader Joe’s: Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds.  Seriously – these are the most addicting things I’ve ever eaten.  If you looked up perfection in the dictionary, this is what you would see:

I’m convinced that the little bit of sea salt is what keeps me reaching for just one more, and one more after that.

OH – and big news!  It’s officially my birthday month!  Of course I started celebrating on September 1 (even though my birthday isn’t until the 26th) – we went out for sushi and then frozen yogurt!  Daniel asked me like 3 weeks ago what I wanted (he’s so awesome – I didn’t buy his gift until the day before his birthday…shhhh don’t tell him!  It was a great gift – does that make up for it??), and I originally said I didn’t want anything.  This is very unlike me, because usually I’ll want something for a while and instead of buying it I’ll make it a birthday or Christmas suggestion.  However, I honestly couldn’t think of anything I wanted this year!  Five minutes after I answered with “Nothing.  Seriously – I can’t think of anything.  Let’s not spend any money on my birthday and save it for our anniversary trip or something,” I went in the kitchen to make a smoothie.  Daniel heard me yell, “I know what I want now!!!!!!!!!  A vitamix!!!!!!!”  

It’s only $650…that’s not too much to ask, is it? 🙂  

One day, my friends, I will own a vitamix, and it will be amazing.  One day.

I know this post is all over the place, but I wanted you to know that I’m still alive and kicking running!  

I hope that you have a GREAT week!

much love,


so tell me….

What have YOU been up to lately?

What do you want for your next birthday??? 


my favorite running day ever

Hey y’all!  

I sincerely hope that you each had a marvelous Monday!  I am just so excited right now because I hit a new running milestone yesterday!

In case you are new around here, I’m training for my very first half marathon.  The race is a little bit less than two months away now, and I’m trying to increase my mileage in an extremely safe way.  However, in the last few weeks, I haven’t been getting in my long runs on the weekends.  Sure, I’ll run two or three short runs during the week (usually 2-3 miles each), but the distance running just hasn’t happened lately.  Last time I ran any sort of long run (for me – remember I’m still a running newbie) was almost a month ago, and it was a six miler.  

Enter Monday: my favorite running day ever.

Yesterday morning, I woke up super early – 4:30 – and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I read my Bible (on my phone via the youversion Bible app – it’s awesome!) for about 30 minutes until my alarm went off.  I hopped up and started getting ready to go out for a run, and I was all set to go at 5:15.  I kissed Daniel goodbye and headed out the door.  Did you know that it’s still pitch black dark at 5:15 a.m.???  It may be just me, but I don’t feel safe running in the black dark with no street lights (too many CSI, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds episodes!).  It was also drizzling rain, so I headed right back inside.  I was determined to run today since I didn’t get a long run in over the weekend.  I packed up all my stuff for the day, took a quick shower, and drove to school to run on the track.



The track around our football field is one quarter of a mile.  I set out with the goal of running twelve laps, which would equal three miles (I know, I’m an amazing mathematician).  The rain had stopped and it was a cool 62 degrees with a light breeze.  I reached in my bag for my little shuffle, and came up empty-handed.  WHAT??????  NO MUSIC????  HOW WILL I RUN???  Yeah – all those things went through my mind!  I then remembered that I am strong (and extremely stubborn) and could get myself through 12 circles around the track.  As soon as I started, I decided to pray through the first lap.  Then, I decided to pick one thing to pray about for each lap I did.  This seems like no big deal, but I know I am guilty of the 2 minute prayer that encompasses everything, so it was a nice change to really focus on one thing or person and pray about nothing but that for at least two and a half minutes.  I kept thinking of more things that I wanted to talk to God about, so I ended up running 14 laps total (3.5 miles).  The run felt amazing.  I honestly did not even miss the music.  Prayer is such a powerful and peaceful thing, and it was the best start to the day and to the week.  I think this will be my new Monday morning routine!  Anyone else want to join me for a prayer run?


I went throughout my day planning, teaching, and prepping for the rest of the week.  I had it in my mind that I wanted to get in at least 2 more miles after cheer practice.  When I got home, I was having those “oh, I ran this morning” and “man, I just want to sit down!” thoughts.  I punched those thoughts in the face and mapped out my evening run.  I set out at 6:15 and ran a loop that ended up being 4.15 miles.  That’s right – I, Natalie, the former non-running-enjoyer, ran TWICE in one day for a total of 7.65 miles.  Yep, I’m proud!  On Wednesday, my friend Amy and I try to run after school together, and this week we are planning on either 4 or 5 miles depending on what time we get to start.  It’s supposed to be warm, but hopefully it won’t be too terribly bad.


I still can’t believe all this running talk is coming from me – who have I become?  🙂

I hope that y’all have a great day today!

much love,


so tell me…

Why do you run???

What motivates you the most to get out the door and start your run (or any workout)?

running is hard

It’s FRIIIIIIDAAAAAAAYYYY!!! Who’s excited???

So, I’ve said before that running has never been easy for me.  It has gotten easier since my legs are very used to dancing like crazy for Zumba all the time, and I’m better shape in general.  As I’ve been training for my first half marathon, I’ve had some awesome runs.  I’ve also had some not-so-great runs (I blame the heat).  However, this week, I’ve had some awful awful runs.  One run actually turned into a walk, and the other almost killed me.  Instead of just saying it was a hard week, I knew there was more to the reasoning behind these discouraging runs.  

Lately, my digestive system has been all wonky, and I was trying everything I could possibly think of to get it back to normal.  Nothing was working, so I decided to do a detox for a few days.  I started Monday morning doing a version of the Master Cleanse, drinking tons of water and herbal tea, and taking a few supplements.  The first two days were no problem at all as far as hunger pains or weakness, but boy did it mess with my run.  On Wednesday my stomach was definitely feeling a lot better (buh-bye bloating), and I was feeling good overall.  Thursday morning, I set out to meet my gorgeous friend Amy to do my scheduled short run.  In the heat.  With no fuel in my body.  We started out strong and made a pit stop at mile 1 for a bathroom break, then at the end of mile 2 I told Amy I was going to have to walk for a bit.  She was sweet enough to walk with me, and after about a third of a mile I felt okay to run again.  We ran about one more mile back to our cars and walked for a few to cool down.  I thought I was going to die.  What in the world was I thinking?!?!?!?!  I tell people all the time about the importance of properly fueling your body for running and working out, but apparently that doesn’t apply to me haha.  I guess I thought since I was feeling okay that my run would be normal.  Wrong.  

Food is fuel


I drove home and juiced an apple, three small cucumbers, and a zucchini (not part of the cleanse, but I needed some nutrients).  It helped tremendously.  I decided that being as active as I was that it wasn’t reasonable to try to do the cleanse without adding some extra nutrients into my body.  I decided that watermelon would be a good food to ease back into a “regular” diet, so I cut a couple of pieces off.  It was the best watermelon in the whole world (or maybe I was just a tiny bit hungry).  I ended up eating about half the watermelon (it was a small seedless one) yesterday.  I also had some squash and zucchini from the garden (which are coming in like crazy, in case you were wondering).

So, the lesson for today is that our body needs fuel to function.  You wouldn’t try to to run your car without gas in it, so why try to push your body without any food in it?  Another lesson – I need to practice what I preach.  Seriously – I can’t believe I thought I would be okay.  Who did I think I was?  Wonder Woman???



From now on, I promise to fuel my body properly.  Speaking of, I need to know some of your favorite pre and post-run eats!  I need ideas for both short runs and long runs.  Help a girl out.

I hope that y’all have a GREAT weekend!  To all the dads out there, have a great father’s day weekend!

much love,


so tell me…

have you ever worked out without properly fueling beforehand?  

tell me those pre and post workout eats!

whirlwind weekend and the return of hot yoga

Happy Tuesday, friends!  I hope that you enjoyed your weekend and your Monday!

Looking back, our weekend was fun but a total whirlwind.

Friday night, my cousin and I went out for our girls’ night and had a blast.  We started with a delicious dinner at Coyote Blues, then went to hear some live music.  It was so nice to get to spend some quality time together and get caught up on everything.  Side note: during our talks throughout the night, I once again realized that I can relate any situation in life to an episode of Friends.  I seriously wish they would do a reunion.  We got home later than normal, and I opted to let my body sleep instead of pushing through a run early Saturday morning.  I was so thankful that I chose not to run, because by the third song in Zumba that morning my left knee was giving me fits.  After Zumba I elevated and iced my knee for a bit, and it definitely helped.

I can’t really remember what all we did on Saturday during the day, but I know that at some point we went and checked the yarden (I renamed it yarden instead of garden since it takes up the whole yard!).  We picked squash, zucchini and onions; and we will have cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers soon!  We are going to be having squash and zucchini at every meal I do believe.  That’s not a bad thing in our opinion!  Saturday night, Daniel grilled some hamburgers (we buy fresh beef from a local farmer) and roasted the veggies that we picked.  I topped my burger with caramelized onions and a quick sriracha mayo that I mixed together.  It was a perfect summer meal (if only we had our tomatoes ready!).  We watched Madagascar while eating dinner.  I told D that we had to watch it so I could get all geared up to see the third one!

Saturday night is when things started to get all crazy.  I think I’ve mentioned before that both Daniel and I love to cook, and that he is extremely crazy-talented when it comes to grilling and smoking meats.  Our church asked us if we would be willing to prepare the meat for our church picnic that was held last night. Of course we jumped on the opportunity, and Saturday night we got everything ready to start cooking.  We went to bed about 11 and got up a short two hours later to fire the grill. 


the burn barrel

Even though we had hardly any sleep, neither of us felt tired and we had a blast hanging out for 8 extra hours.  I told Daniel we should get up in the middle of the night more often just to hang out and have silly conversations.  We took turns asking each other questions like “If you could only have five foods for one month, what would they be?” and “Which five places do you want to visit the most?”  In case you were wondering, my answer to the first question was sweet potatoes, sushi, zucchini or asparagus, honeycrisp apples, and dark chocolate.  I had a hard time choosing between dark chocolate and nut butters.  Daniel’s answer was steak, zucchini or squash, bananas, seafood, and biscuits and gravy.  

Back to the cooking – we smoked twenty Boston butts (that’s a TON of meat, in case you didn’t know).  Since we were sitting out by the grill, we decided to go ahead and make a double batch of homemade bbq sauce as well.  The sauce takes about four hours to cook, so we took turns stirring the gigantic sauce pot throughout the night.  I can’t share the recipe with you because it’s a family secret, but man, it is good!  I was a little heavy-handed with the cayenne pepper, and it had a nice kick to it and left that slight burn in the back of your throat.  Perfection.


the meat before going on the grill


this picture makes me drool


Daniel’s famous deer poppers made a special appearance (these are one of my favorite foods in the entire world)

I decided to go run around 5:45, but it was starting to rain.  Instead of taking the loop I had mapped out, I opted to run up and down our street so I didn’t get caught in a storm or something.  After running 3.25 miles with the rain pelting into my eyeballs, I jogged back to the house.  For not having any sleep, I was proud that I ran at all.  I’ll go back my usual long runs this coming weekend.  After all, that half marathon is now less than three months away!  I think we may need to start a countdown!

We took the meat off the grill later in the afternoon, and oh my gosh y’all, it was absolutely perfect.  You could tell that it was incredibly juicy and was falling off the bone.  We took it to the picnic at the park down the street, and everyone went crazy for it.  It was a fun way to get to actively participate with our church, and we were able to meet several people we didn’t know by talking about the food and cooking.  After the picnic, Daniel and I went home and crashed.  I was trying to read, and I think I fell asleep like 16 times.  I kept doing the head bob thing.  Finally around 8:30, we called it quits and headed to bed.  It was a good thing we went to bed so early, because I had a lot planned for Monday!

After training my client, I met one of my friend’s at Gold’s Gym for Bikram yoga.  Bikram, also known as hot yoga, is a practice that is set in a very warm studio.  I think the temperatures in the room stay around 100 or 105 degrees (see picture of burn barrel above and you’ll get the idea of the temperature).  When I tell people this, they all freak out and say they couldn’t do it, and I try to remind them that it’s not a high impact cardio class in that warm of a room.  It’s similar to lying by the pool in the summer heat – it is hot, but you don’t really focus on that.  We went through 75 minutes of twisting, turning, stretching, bending, and holding.  It’s been over a year since my last hot yoga class, and I could really feel how tight some of my muscles were.  It was a great class, and I felt like a sweaty noodle by the time we finished.  I’m going back on Friday, and I hope to go twice a week throughout the remainder of the summer.


The rest of Monday was typical – I taught cardio dance, abs, then Zumba.  Tuesday will be filled with training, running, cheer practice, and teaching SHRED.  I think I may also have to spend some time reading – any good book suggestions for the summer?

I hope y’all have a FABULOUS day!  Much love!

So tell me…

If you could only eat five foods for a month, what would you choose?

Have you ever taken a hot yoga class?  What did you think?  Would you like to take one if you haven’t?

Training update and running buddies

Hey hey my lovely friends!  I hope that you are enjoying your weekend!  I’m heading off to cheer camp this morning, and I am incredibly excited!!!!!  I know my squad is going to do amazing things this year, and I can’t wait to see how much they learn at camp.

Thursday morning I set off much later than planned on a short run at the park.  I had some coding issues that I couldn’t figure out, and I finally had to put it on hold so I could run before it got way too hot.  I set out around 9 and as soon as I took the first step I knew it was going to be a very warm run.  I did three miles at the park, and when I finished I think I was close to being overheated.  I walked for a bit and doused myself in cold water before walking slowly home.  As soon as I arrived home, I whipped a delicious post-run treat (recipe coming soon!) and then something magical happened…

The UPS guy brought me my new running buddy!


My new shuffle!  I don’t like wearing the band on my arm for my iPod touch (tan lines), and the way I’ve been carrying it lately just isn’t working.  I’ve been putting in between my sports bras (I wear two to run), but it keeps slipping out the bottom so then I carry it in my hand.  Shuffy is the solution to all these problems.  🙂  I’m calling him Shuffy for now, but I would definitely be open to some name suggestions if you have any.  I ran with him yesterday for the first time, and it was amazing.  Actually, the whole run was amazing yesterday!  I took off from house around 7:45 since the temps were much cooler (only 60 degrees when I started and cloudy), and I finished my 5.1 hilly miles in 53:30.  I was pretty happy with my time, but I was ecstatic that I enjoyed the whole run.  I think I was distracted (in a good way) by my new running buddy.  Not Shuffy, but this dog that decided to run with me the whole time.  He didn’t have a collar, and I don’t know where he came from, but he was the best little running partner.  His pace was quite a bit faster than mine (I honestly think a running buddy snail would have faster pace than me, but that’s okay…for now), and he kept looking back at me like, “Are you coming????”  He joined me as I hit about 1.5 and stayed with me until the very end.  I hope he joins me next weekend too!

Oh, and jumping back to the UPS delivery with Shuffy…here are a couple of other goodies that I received.


Coaches oats

Both of these are awesome products, and I can’t wait to share some recipe ideas with you! 

One last random picture from the weekend – Daniel and I went to the Blues Festival downtown and this was my running fuel for yesterday hahaha.  I know these are terrible for you, but there’s something about a carnival/fair style footlong corn dog.  We split this and some bbq nachos and had a great time listening to the live music!

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I hope that you enjoy the rest of your day!  I’ll be chilling with 400 screaming girls.  Much love!

So tell me…

Do you order things online often?  What do you get?  Where do you shop online the most?

What did you do over the weekend?

Recent eats and my first “long” run

Happy Memorial Day!  I hope that you are enjoying a long weekend filled with fun and lots of good food!  Before we get to my first “long” run, I want to share some delicious eats that I’ve recently enjoyed.  First, some fresh crabcakes with roasted squash and zucchini and a baked sweet potato.  This is a very typical meal for us during the week – either chicken, fish, or some type of seafood paired with roasted veggies.  Daniel and I will usually split a sweet potato with a meal like this (even though I could easily put away a whole one on my own).


Then there’s this little beauty.  I like to call this one the banana coconut cake protein smoothie.  You could easily adjust the ingredients to suit your taste, but trust me, it’s good as is!



Banana Coconut Cake Protein Smoothie

*This recipe yields about 24 ounces, so I poured 8 ounces into a small mason jar and saved it for the next day. 

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder (I use Optimum Nutrition Performance Whey Vanille Shake)

1 frozen banana

pinch xanthan gum (this makes it so thick and creamy)


1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla)

1/2 tsp coconut extract

1/4 cup low fat unsweetened finely shredded coconut (optional)

2-3 handfuls fresh spinach

1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese (it may have been closer to 1/2 cup, I wasn’t using measuring cups)

1 cup unsweetened almond coconut milk

3-4 ice cubes

Blend all ingredients and enjoy!  This baby was perfect after a hot and sweaty workout!

Now, onto that run I’ve been talking about.  As I’ve said before, I am brand spankin’ new to the world of running.  Last week, I ran about two miles on Tuesday and again on Thursday.  Saturday morning, I got up at 6 to get ready for my first “long” run in my half marathon training program.  I fixed a light breakfast consisting of half a toasted sandwich thin topped with one teaspoon of peanut butter and a little homemade strawberry jam.  I pulled on my shorts and a loose tank and headed out the door about 6:35.  After a 5 minute warmup, I took off on my run.  (I had already mapped out my run on Friday so that I would know my exact mileage.)  I left my street and ran to my parents’ neighborhood and went down every single street then finished up by running to my cousin’s driveway (gotta love living close to so much family!!!).  Man, I didn’t realize how many hills there were in my parents’ subdivision!  I felt like I was constantly running up a low grade incline.  Towards the end of the run, I had about a third of a mile that I got to run downhill.  It was glorious, but then I remembered that the very final piece of my run was one third of a mile up a fairly steep hill.  After jumping over a snake (I ran back to make sure he wasn’t dead – he wasn’t), I was feeling so tired for that last uphill climb.  The thoughts of “man, this is not going to be fun” and “I wish I was finished already” were creeping into my mind, but then something amazing happened.  “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana starting blasting into my ears, and it was the perfect motivation to finish my run strong.  I ran my 4 miles in exactly 40 minutes, so I was happy.  I would like to get faster at some point, but I know that will come with training.  

Even though it was pretty early, I knew my cousin would be up with her kiddos, so I walked up her driveway and she met me at the door.  She was kind enough to let me have a large glass of water AND chocolate milk, and then she even gave me a ride home.  She is too sweet.  When I arrived home, I ate the other half of my sandwich thin and then did about ten minutes of deep stretching and used my special foam roller, aka my rolling pin.  Even though it was a little painful at the time, it paid off because my legs were not sore at all the next day. 

This picture has nothing to do with this post, but it was taken this weekend at my friend Amy’s wedding reception.  It’s my new favorite picture, so I wanted to share it with you. 🙂

I’m off to fix some food for our pool party and cookout with family today!  Even though we are all enjoying the holiday weekend, I hope that everyone takes the time to remember and appreciate all those that served our country in the past, those that gave their lives for our freedom, and those that are currently serving.  


So tell me…

What are some of your best eats lately?

Do you have the day off today?  How are you celebrating?

It’s Official!

I think I’ve used that post title before…and most everyone thought it was about me being pregnant.  Once again, sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not it.  In fact, you should be warned that a baby probably won’t be in my future any time soon (unless God has a totally different plan for me).  

So what’s the news then???  It’s officially SUMMER BREAK!!!!!  WAHOOOOO!!!!!  It hasn’t feel real to me lately that school was about to end, but then when I went today, none of the kids were there and it was suddenly very real.  Just in case you’re wondering, yes, the summer breaks are one of the best parts of being a teacher.  To celebrate, I treated myself to Subway and then had a no sugar added fudgesicle.  Okay, that’s not much of a celebration, but then I went to hang out with some of my favorite kiddos, my cousins Jackson, Grant, and Chase.  These boys are full of energy and SO MUCH FUN!  I can’t wait to hang out and go swimming with them later this weekend.

Aren’t they so adorable?


Spending some quality time with these handsome boys was the perfect way to celebrate the start of summer.  I love them so much!

Now, I said on Wednesday that I would be back with some workout inspiration today, so here it comes!  It’s more Pinterest workouts, of course!  What else would you expect from me?  Lately all of my workouts have been at the park using the playground equipment and also my homemade trx-style suspension trainers.  The workouts have been FUN and very effective!  All of these workouts were posted by other awesome bloggers, and the links can be found on my pinterest workout page!

Clockwise from top left: 1000 rep workout (repeat circuit ten times), have a ball workout, ab pyramid, and the playground workout.

Now I’m off to get my highlights touched up (they are about two months past due…and don’t even get my started on my crazy eyebrows that I’m getting waxed today!  I swear they grow straight OUT like an old man’s…it’s ridiculous).  I believe after that Daniel and I are going out on a date! 

I hope that y’all have a great holiday weekend!  I have my first “long” run tomorrow (4 miles), and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

Love y’all!

So tell me…

Do you have a three-day weekend???  What are your weekend plans?

Have you tried any of these workouts?


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