I’m Thankful for… Thanksgiving Vacation!

Can’t wait to start my short vacation and see my family and friends!  I love when the 5 of my family members are together- and this year with Thanksgiving at the Villages, I’m anticipating golf cart races :).

This morning I hit snooze 5 times.  I couldn’t drag myself out of bed for anything.  I think I was battling the “2 day later” soreness after my Sunday mileage.  I Sparked, and it helped a little but my bod is still dragging.

Breakfast was banana, oatmeal, cinnamon, pie spice, almond milk, muesli.  Kept me full until 11:30am

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Lot of wellness discussions this morning- amongst FSU staff, national colleagues, and the Stanford Wellness staff particularly.  Excited about possibilities for expanding wellness initiatives, and the conversations are scheduled to continue (next week, after we stuff ourselves silly with turkey- or tofurkey in my case!). 

Lunch today was leftovers (hey, have to clean out my fridge for the rest of this week…)

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Veggie medley, whole grains, soy sauce.

Also indulged in banana with peanut butter and honey (I’m always hungrier when I’m tired- which is why if you are striving for weight loss you should always get adequate amounts of sleep)…

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I challenged my staff to the Runners World Challenge- FMC style.  They can do 1+ miles every day of anything- run, walk, swim, bike, elliptical, etc.  They just fill out the form so I can keep track and anyone who (honestly) completes the challenge will get a prize!  If you want to play, join in and fill out the form (click on the picture below)- instructions are on the form (*unfortunately I can only guarantee prizes to my staff, but maybe someday if I get enough blog readership!) For now you’ll get shoutouts 🙂

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Nike shoe update:  Love em.  Never ever said that about a pair of Nikes, but the Frees are light and comfortable.  I haven’t tried to run or crosstrain in them but for everyday use, they are comfortable.

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Finishing up work, then Syd and I head to Jax tonight for Yoga and UNF tours tomorrow before I get to see fam!

Safe travels to all!

 

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You Know You Have a Bad Day When…

…Your car explodes clothing.  Luckily this wasn’t me today but I felt terrible for this poor guy whose car exploded (clothing…).  Your guess is as good as mine. 

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I woke up feeling about 75 years old.  I hurt everywhere from this weekend’s activities.  

Breakfast was quick:

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I had an early morning meeting with the Director of Wellness, then had to rush to get out to the Rez for our staff meeting and holiday potluck.  

Potlucks are kind of bad news for me- I really want to eat everything!  I have to practice extreme self-discipline (especially around mac and cheese).  I did eat some sweet potato casserole though (I mean, it IS the holidays!)

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Dave proves he sometimes eats some vegetables.  I like giving him a hard time about it- he’s a good sport and he does like to tell me all the days he doesn’t drink soda (of which I’m very proud… 😉 ).  

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After the potluck I came back to a present–  Nike Frees…I wonder if I’ll be able to tolerate them?  I love Nike products, minus the shoes…which tend to hurt my feet.  I’ll try them out though and let you know. I also had a new gym bag and some headbands waiting for me.  Love Nike!

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Worked until 6, then headed home for the nightly Laney-April run.  Not as many acorns on the ground, and homegirl was real disappointed. 

Afterwards, I went in search of some Dreaming Tree.  I love Dreaming Tree- it’s one of my favorite wines and tonight I just really wanted a glass.  Didn’t find any, but I did discover a Syrah blend from France. And the name is freaking cool “The Wolftrap”.  Anything “wolf-y” reminds me of my brother (who I get to see soon!).  

Dinner tonight was easy.  Target’s Archer Farms Whole Grain Blend and Publix Veggie Medley.  Tear, pierce, use methods of violence to cook and viola!

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10-Mile Trail Run and Spoonfuls of Peanut Butter

Breakfast this morning was a fallback- oatmeal, a scoop of peanut butter, banana, and muesli.  Microwave for one minute.

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I told Kellie I wanted to run with her this morning.  She’s been good about mixing up my running experiences.  She took me to Miccosukee Trail this morning.  It was absolutely beautiful.  Mostly wooded trail.  And the miles flew by as we ran through the woods.  

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Stats: 10 miles

Avg pace: 9:54 min mile

Calories expended: 1188

We were super inconsistent this morning, some miles were 10:30, some were 8:40.  When we ran St. Marks trail a few weeks ago, we were so consistent in pace each mile was only a few seconds off (for 9 miles).  I’m guessing it was the hills and varied terrain at Miccosukee. 

My hips and knees were screaming at me after Ultimate yesterday and 10 miles today.  

When I got home, this text was waiting for me.  Kellie and I are two peas in a pod (only she’s the more in-shape, competitive pea).  

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I eat peanut butter out of the jar.  All the time. 

I needed to make lunch and something for our staff holiday potluck tomorrow.  Lunch was fettucine, broccoli, pesto, avocado, and egg.  Was delicious after my run. 

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For the potluck, I’m making a pumpkin cheesecake pie:

1 package of sugar free cheescake flavored jello

1 can of pure pumpkin

1 graham cracker crust

Pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon to taste

Lite whipped cream and pecans

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1.  Follow the directions on the box.  I substitute water for milk though (it tastes and mixes exactly the same).

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2.  Add the pumpkin to the mix.

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3.  Add pie spice and cinnamon to taste

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4.  Spread evenly in crust, then pop in fridge to set. 

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I’ll add these tomorrow. 

Hope it sets!  If not, we’ll all be spooning out pumpkin-cheesecake mush with graham cracker crust mixed in.  At least it’ll taste good…

 

Who Brings a Blow-Up Doll to a Bar?

The answer is… these people.  See the doll?  I hope it was some sort of bachelor/bachelorette party last night.

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ANYWAY… met my colleagues at Fermentation Lounge after work – they feature an eclectic atmosphere and serve a wide variety of beer.  

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I decided on this fruity concoction that features blueberry and pear flavors (on a tip from Sydney). It was delish!

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Afterwards I met my cousin at a sushi bar then we went to Wine Loft for a drink (where clearly the night took a turn for the…weird).  

This morning I got to sleep in until 8am- it felt amazing.  Breakfast was something I’ve been wanting to try for awhile- Oats in a Jar. I had an empty jar from a while ago, and added cut-up apple, unsweetened almond milk, and instant oatmeal.  Popped in the microwave for 1 minute, mix all together and viola! Oats in a Jar.

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Later on, went to support one of my Building Supervisors as the Noles Club Softball team took on the Gators.   Megna is President of the club and plays 2nd base.

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They played well but didn’t end up winning the first game.  I left before the second game to go play Ultimate Frisbee with some of the facilities and fitness staff. 

Ultimate teams were pretty evenly matched- and when you add in the level of competitiveness you find from people that work at a gym– well, we ended up playing for a couple hours before someone FINALLY said, “This goal will be Golden Goal!”  (Thank god, I’m def older than the staff and feeling these sprints up and down the field).  Was a blast though and was a great workout!

I worked up quite the appetite with that workout, and ran home for a late Mexican-inspired lunch:

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Time for some grocery shopping- I’m completely out of food! 

Book Review: My Top 4 of Spark

I love my job as Assistant Director of the Fitness & Movement Clinic at FSU- it is exactly what I want to be doing, I have a wonderful group of colleagues and students to work with, and it’s just challenging enough to keep me interested and engaged.

Another reason I enjoy working there- all of my colleagues are focused on the impact physical activity has on both short and long term health.  We were encouraged to read the book Spark– and it has brought a whole new meaning as to why exercise is SO important in our daily lives.

(Fun Fact: This book is also one of the reasons I named my blog “Sparking Health”)

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The author- Ratey- uses evidence-based research and ongoing studies to 1)show that aerobic exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants, 2) prove that women who exercise lower their chances of developing dementia by 50%, 3) that exercise actually sparks new brain-cell growth, and so much more.

I’ve selected my “top 4” impressions from this book:

1. “If you’re in good shape, you may be able to learn and function more efficiently” (pg 45)

During a 2007 study on humans, German researchers found that people learn vocabulary words 20% faster following exercise than they did before exercise (pg. 45)

You know that saying: “once you kill your brain cells, they never grow back”? In 1998, researchers found that that is in fact false.  We grow new brain cells everyday- just like the rest of the cells in our body. (pg. 48). Neurons are born as bland-slate stem cells, and need to develop into brain cells that actually have a function in order to survive.  In order for a cell to survive and integrate, it has to fire its axon.  Exercise spawns this process, and the environment exercise creates helps those new brain cells to survive and function instead of die off (pg 49).

You can’t learn difficult material while you’re exercising at high intensity because blood is shunted away from the prefontal cortex (to power your legs, arms, whatever you’re using for exercise) (pg 53).  However, blood flow shifts back almost immediately after you finish exercising. In 2007, an experiment had 20 adults watch a movie and 20 adults go for a 35 minute run. All 40 adults were given a vocabulary test before the their activity, immediately after their activity, and 20 minutes after their activity. The movie watchers showed no change, but the 20 runners improved processing speed and cognitive flexibility after just one workout (pg. 54)

2) “The way you choose to cope with stress can change not only how you feel, but also how it transforms the brain” (pg 60).

Humans are unique among animals in that the danger doesn’t have to be clear and present to elicit a response- we can anticipate it, we can remember it, and we can conceptualize it.  The mind is so powerful we can set off stress just by imagining ourselves in a stressful situation (pg 63).

Exercise is good stress: the stress exercise produces is predictable and controllable  because you are initiating the action.  With exercise, you develop an ability to manage your own stress instead of relying on negative coping mechanisms (drinking, over-eating, etc).

In 2004, researchers in London had 210 participants during their lunch hour take aerobics, lift weights, or do yoga.  They filled out questionnaires  at the end of every workday about how well they interacted with their colleagues, managed their time, and met deadlines.  65% fared better in all three categories on the days they exercised.

3) In Britain, doctors now use exercise as a first-line treatment for depression, but it’s vastly underused in the United States, and that’s a shame.

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability in the US and Canada, ahead of coronary heart disease, any given cancer, and AIDS.

Benefits of exercise on depression: In addition to the natural good feeling from endorphins, you feel good about yourself, and that has a positive effect that can’t be traced to a particular chemical or area of the brain. If you’ve been feeling down and you start to exercise to feel better, the sense that you’re going to be ok and that you can count on yourself for that feeling shifts your entire attitude (pg 118).

4)Scientists consider addiction a chronic disease because of the way it is wired in the brain to trigger reflexive behavior.  The same changes occur regardless of whether the addiction is to drugs, gambling, eating, etc. Typically, when we learn something, the connections stabilize and the levels of dopamine trail off over time. With addiction (especially drug addiction), dopamine floods the system with each drug use, reinforcing the memory and pushing other stimuli further into the background. Drug-induced type of learned behavior can remain for months or even years after the drugs are stopped, which is why it can be easy to relapse (pg 172)

Exercise effect on addicts = exercise works from the top down in the brain, forcing addicts to adapt to a new stimulus (natural dopamine instead of the drug-induced dopamine) and thereby allowing them to learn and appreciate healthy scenarios.  It’s activity-dependent training, and while it may not provide the immediate rush like a snort of cocaine does, it instills a more diffuse sense of well-being that, over time, will become a craving in its own right. The inoculation works from the bottom-up, physically blunting the urge to act by engaging the more primitive elements of the brain (pg 171).

Spark also addresses the topics of ADHD, Hormonal Changes, and Aging.  It describes the effects exercise has through the many issues of our lives and throughout the aging process.  I highly recommend this book- especially if you are interested in how exercise affects and changes your actual brain chemistry.

Check it out!

We’re Going Streaking!

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Classic.  Watch that movie clip here.

Seriously, though…we’re all going streaking.  Had this tweet from my friend at Baldman Chronicles yesterday:

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The Runners World- sponsored Run Streak- holiday edition is here for 2012.  I haven’t done this challenge before but I am absolutely in.  I keep thinking…all the workouts I do?  This should be cake!  Minus those days I just really want to be lazy.  Or those days I have a tough personal training session.  Or Saturdays.  Or Sundays… ok, this could actually be a good challenge for me. 

Pledge to run with me!

1+ miles EVERYday from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day

Log your miles on twitter using: #RWRunStreak or via RW 2012 Holiday Running Streak Group

Don’t break the running streak!

A credible runner’s reason to shed extra pounds: for every 1 extra lb you carry, you put 4lbs of added stress on your knees!  Crazy, right?  Do your knees a favor and get rid of excess weight!  

Parting pic of the day for this post:  my super adorable group fitness instructor friend, dressed to the (fitness) nines in Lulumon (love that line).  Doesn’t she look like a cute little power ranger?

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Country Music and Cheap Chardonnay

Laney and I played hide-and-seek this morning.  I won.

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Last night was sooo much fun.  It’s my friend’s birthday today (Happy Birthday LT!) and we celebrated last night with dinner and some country music.  Chase Rice is one of her childhood friends and was playing on campus as the Club Down Under.

Dressing for dinner I had a personal victory- I haven’t been able to fit into this shirt in a year!  My arms, chest, tummy were all too big.  Now it’s perfect!  Love it!

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Dinner at Andrews was their California Salad- it was actually really delicious!

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My first time at Club Down Under.  It’s strange to have a venue like this on-campus- my previous institution didn’t have anything like it at all…

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They didn’t have much of a drinking selection so LT and I settled on some cheap Chardonnay.

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And the best part- she gets pulled on-stage and he sang “Happy Birthday” to his old highschool friend.  So cute!

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This morning I woke up VERY sore from my multiple workouts this week.  Breakfast was yummy: Frozen strawberries + vanilla shake = delish

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When I got to work, Kitty Kat and I made a quick Starbucks run before meeting craziness took over our days.  I ventured out and got a skim sugar-free peppermint latte.  It was so festive in the store- holiday festive!

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Looking forward to dinner with my cousin tonight and seeing my beautiful Michelle!!!!

Scary Sleep-Walkers and Scary Sleep-Talkers

Funny, we had a conversation at work this morning about sleep walking and sleep talking–then I came across this “How Health Savvy Are You?” Quiz and one question pertains to sleep walking.  I’ve been sleep walking before and locked myself out of a hotel room (little scary).  My personal trainer has been sleep-talking before about killing his roommate (I told him I’d rather he take his fury out on me than that!).  My mother used to perform exorcisms in her sleep (talk about scary!!). Do you have a weird sleep walking or talking habit?

Fun quiz.  I’m at Health Guru status, by the way.  I know, I’m awesome.

This morning required Spark.  And Catalyst.  And Ibuprofen.  I felt like I got ran over by a semi after my workout yesterday.

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Driving into Tallahassee when it’s dark and peaceful is so nice. And our Capitol building was looking festive…

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I told Forrest I had to role out of bed- that’s how much I hurt.  His response (typical): “Well, you’re going to hurt a lot more after this.”

He wasn’t lying.  Extreme circuit today- was awesome and I can’t even recall everything we did but we sure got some of everything: Powerplate, VipR, Total Body, TRX, Kettlebell, etc, etc.  I can’t feel anything right now.  I’m surprised I can type.

Breakfast was a banana and Meal Replacement- Vanilla.

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Busy morning meeting with students and SGA. Luckily I remembered to grab an apple for mid-morning before I started running around like a mad woman.

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When I finally made it back, I had a late lunch of salad (and forgot dressing).  I really didn’t know what to do, but I do have honey in my cabinet, so I figured, what the heck? Why not!

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It was… weird.

After a meeting with Athletic Trainers, I got a tour of the Human Performance Lab at FSU.  Saw the anti-gravity treadmill, the Dexa, and the balance machine.  I love exercise testing, sometimes I think I missed my calling in that realm.

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It’s been a LONG day… looking forward to getting home to my Laney girl and figuring out what dinner should be tonight!

“Run Annie Run” (THAT’S What Killed Me Today)

The Healthy Campus meeting was so much fun.  Everyone had great ideas and is willing to contribute to make our campus healthier.  Exciting!

Right after the meeting, Kellie- our Marketing Coordinator and crazy competitive workout freak of nature (all love, Kel, all love…)- convinced me to workout with her.  1) I had zero plans of working out until my nightly dog run; therefore had zero workout clothes with me and 2) am not even close to the fitness level Kellie is.  I agreed though…

First, we maxed out sets of 5 squatting.  I maxed with 3 sets of 5 at 165 lbs.  I think Kellie was at 220…

Then we maxed out sets of 5 reps bench press.  I maxed with 3 sets of 5 at 100 lbs.  Proud moment…wait for it… Kellie maxed at 80.  I couldn’t believe it…definitely a fluke today if I could outlift her in anything!  

She then showed me how to use the Jammer machine.  I mean, attempted to show me.  Or showed me and I just made a fool out of myself trying to get my form right. 

After our weight session, we got our heart rates up (WAY up!) with “Run Annie Run”.  The exercise consisted of 200 unders in jump rope, 50 situps, one lap around the track.  Come back and descend the ladder- 160 unders, 40 situps, one lap around the track; then 120 unders, 30 situps, one lap around the track (you get the idea).  

By the end of the session I really just wanted to know- WHO is this Annie that I’m cursing and why did she create a program of cardio torture???  🙂  Then I told Kellie we should do that every Monday/Wednesday.  I may have  a little of the Kellie-workout-freak in me. 

On the way out the door our Group Exercise Coordinator gave me one of the old body bars for my office (since yesterday I was in Kellie’s office doing deadlifts with her body bar- in my skirt.  I’m classy). 

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I inhaled a quick salad lunch

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My afternoon was spent doing Supervisor evaluations.  It really just made me so grateful that I have such wonderful and competent student supervisors working for me.  

Afterwards, I went out to the Rez to join the Rec board for dinner

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Taylor’s excited for her food!

My plate…

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My boss’s plate…

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I got all preachy about greasy BBQ just to tease him, but he just grinned and stuck a forkful of pork in his mouth.  So much for that…

Got home to run Laney and make my dinner. I’m going to have to put Laney on an acorn cleanse I think.  She’s addicted.  My dinner was leftover couscous with avocado.  I wasn’t too creative and I did already eat some veggies, so figured I didn’t have to try to hard tonight. 

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And that’s it today…going to make tea!

Starbucks Is My Everest…

Especially when there’s one literally across the street from my office.  It’s all I can do to stop myself from ordering the high-sugar Salted Caramel Mocha (soooo good in my mouth- not so good on my hips!)

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I settled on a Passion Fruit tea instead (still yummy- much less calories and no sugar) to go with my apple mid-morning pick-me-up.

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I didn’t run this morning…. I decided I needed a day off.  I’m rarin’ to go now, though… kind of wishing I got my lazy butt up out of bed to run this morning!  But who can leave this sweet face?  She clearly needed a little more cuddle time.

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I was worried I’d be really sore this morning from my upper body workout yesterday, but I think the nighttime recovery is actually working pretty well- I was only a little sore and have a lot of energy (atypical for a day after a tough weight session)

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Breakfast this morning was banana, pear, muesli, and almond milk.  Was soooo good (don’t worry, my muesli was low sugar, high fiber)

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And off to a Healthy Campus meeting!  (I love my job!)