What the Heck is Carb Cycling?!

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve heard “carb cycling” at some point over the last few months.. but do you really know what it is?

Here’s the deal with carbohydrates — not only are they the preferred fuel source for our bodies, but they are also necessary to get you through tough workouts, particularly the ones that help you build lean, calorie-burning muscle. However, if you eat too many carbs, it can lead to ...  READ MORE

Low Carb Day Tip – Eat More Fiber!

One of the things I hear so often from friends when they hear me mention a low carb day is that there is NO WAY they could do a low carb diet.  You’re preaching to the choir friend, because there is NO WAY I could do a low carb diet either!

I do, however, carb cycle.  I’ll explain carb cycling another day.  Right now all you need to know is two days a week, my goal is to eat less than 50 grams of net carbs per day (net carbs are equal to your total carbohydrate intake minus the total ...  READ MORE

Y’all! I’m going to be a FASTer Way to Fat Loss® Certified Coach!

I am so thrilled to announce that I have been accepted as a FASTer Way to Fat Loss® coach! The FASTer Way to Fat Loss® is the first program that has worked for me and I believe with my whole heart that it is the best program on the market. We fuel our bodies with real food and a LOT of it. Seriously, I’m eating about 1,900 calories a day right now and the fat is literally melting off. My favorite thing is how easily I’ve been able to integrate ...  READ MORE

Jess and Mike Tie the Knot

Last month, in early October, one of my dear friends got married!! Her wedding was at the Guy Harvey Outpost Islander Resort in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys. You’ve seen Jess in several of my running posts and if you’ve been reading for a while, you may have even heard us chatting with the Another Mother Runner ladies on their podcast last year. Jess was friends with my husband in college and she’s one of the many wonderful people that came into my life when we got together.

Michelle, Aleisha, Me

Jess and Mike were married on a Thursday night, so we all headed down on Wednesday to start the celbration early. Since everyone was an out of town guest, they had a Welcome Bash in leiu of a Rehearsal Dinner the night before the wedding. It was so nice to see everyone, take in the beautiful view, and just relax together!

One thing you may not know about me is that I’m a picky eater. I’m pretty good about trying new things, if they’re not too weird. I have issues with thinking too much about what I’m eating, which grosses me out, then makes it hard to enjoy. I know, I’m weird. I was so proud of myself this night. Since we were in the Keys, the majority of the food options were seafood, which I typically do not eat. I tried it though and actually liked the Conch Fritters, so yay for more seafood options in my diet.. even if they are deep fried! 🙂

Me, Jess & Aleisha

Shortly after we got there, I noticed a sign for stand up paddleboarding, which is something I’ve been wanting to try. I quickly started trying to sell my friends on doing it the next day before the wedding.

Colby, Jess, Mike, Aleisha, Me, Michelle, Jenn

We were up bright and early the next morning for a Wedding Day 5K! Jess and Mike actually met through running. She had a list of things she wanted to accomplish before she turned 30, and one of those was running a marathon. She joined Team in Training, where Mike was one of the running coaches. She finished her first marathon with Mike by her side and he’s pretty much been by her side ever since.

In the days leading up to the wedding, Jess and Mike kept telling us about this amazing breakfast place in Islamorada, Bobs Bunz. They were talking about it at the Welcome Bash and commented that it was along the 5K course. Adam and Michelle ran the first half mile, then bolted across the street to Bobs Bunz while the rest of us ran. Cheaters! 🙂

They “finished” the race (after massively cutting the course! ha!) with their coffee from Bobs in hand. After the 5K, a big group of us followed Adam and Michelle back to Bobs for breakfast.

If you’re ever in Islamorada, you should definitely stop there for breakfast and get this:

It was french toast made from banana bread, layered with strawberries and bananas, then topped with blueberries.  SO, SO GOOD!  Worth every calorie, and then some.

I forgot to mention – we all got wedding coozies, a bottle of wine, and a finishers medal for participating in the race.  Nice swag, for sure.  It’s like Mike knows how to be a Race Director or something.. 😉

I did a pretty good job of convinving everyone that stand-up paddleboarding was a good idea, so we went back to our rooms to change and then walked over to the resort next store to give it a try. It wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be, so I got brave and decided I’d try to do some of the yoga poses I’d seen other friends doing on them.. yeah, I found out rather quickly that these free boards are not exactly the most stable.

I totally fell in and screamed like a baby. Like, so loud that the poeple on the shore stopped what they were doing to look and see what happened. For some reason I decided to try to do a tree pose when I was in like two feet of water, so when I fell I landed in the marshy stuff on the bottom. So, so gross!

We finished paddleboarding and headed back to our resort for lunch and to hang out in the pool for a bit. We chatted with the best man, some of Jessi’s family, and even Michelle’s dad. After an hour or so, it was time to get ready for the wedding!

Once the bridal party was finished with their pictures, we met Jess in her room to oooh and ahhh over her and her beautiful dress! She’s a beautiful person, inside and out, but I’ve never seen her look more gorgeous, or more happy!

The ceremony location was beautiful and I was thankful for the allergy attack I had the day before, because that meant I had a packet of tissues in my purse to pass around. Watching one of your friends commit her life to a wonderful guy.. well, it brings on the tears.  If you have a few minutes, you should definitely go check out their wedding pictures, they are absolutely incredible.

After the newlywed left the ceremony site, the minister asked us to sit tight because they had a surprise for us. A few moments later a.. well, I’m not sure what they are called, but a group of people playing all sorts of instruments and blowing whistles came walking toward us. They led the entire group of us away from the cermony site, through the resort, and to the reception site.

I forgot to mention earlier, Adam had three dates and we kept joking with him that we were his sister wives. He’s lucky to have so many pretty ladies around him all night, am I right?? 🙂

After the cocktail hour (I ate more conch!) we settled into our table for the first dance. I wish I had a picture of the tables because they were beautiful! They were rustic, farmhouse style tables with a dark stain and topped with light driftwood with beautiful pink, orange, and lime green flowers. Jess really outdid herself with the table decor.

After the speeches, where Mike’s son amazed us all with his (he’s 13!), we had dinner and then dancing…

We had a wonderful time – it was so nice to be able to get away for a few days with our friends and to celebrate Jess and Mike. We definitely need to make it a point to plan trips like this with our friends at least once a year! We planned to stay through the weekend, but we had to get back early on Friday to go camping with Braden’s Cub Scout pack. We were up before the sun on Friday and on the road. I want to go back!!

2015 Marine Corps Half Marathon

For as long as I’ve been a runner, I’ve been told that the one race you want to avoid running in Jax is the Marine Corps Half Marathon. Not just from one person, but from nearly every single person I know that has run it in the past. The main complaints are the terrible weather (it’s hot and humid!) and that the end of the course is brutal. You run up a pedestrian bridge, over the rail road tracks, then have to run down a spiral ramp.  Then you run, in full sun, along the river. That part sounds nice, but not when it’s 85 degrees in full sun!

This year, the weather was projected to be great. My running group was running the Marine Corps Half in lieu of a long run on Saturday morning, so I had to decide if I wanted to run 13 on my own or sign up for the race. When I saw that race-time temps were supposed to be in the mid-60’s, I bit the bullet and signed up. On Friday afternoon, less than 24 hours pre-race. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

I was excited about it and looking forward to running with two of my BRF’s, TK and Jess.  TK and I met up at the Galloway tent, but couldn’t find Jess.  We lined up, started, and I texted Jess that we’d hang out on the right side of the course.  She found us within the first mile.  TK had a time goal and I told her I’d hang with them for as long as I could, but that I’d probably have to drop back and that it was okay to leave me.

Around 4 miles, I started thinking I wanted to slow down.  I decided I didn’t want to run nine miles solo though, so I held on.  I told myself to just get to the halfway point with them. Then my hip started hurting.  And I realized I was running my mouth and forgot to take my gu.  Oops!

I held on ’til the halfway point and Jess and TK kept encouraging me, they didn’t want to leave me and I didn’t want to hold them back, so I kept pushing. Finally around ten miles, my hip was done.  I told them to keep going and I’d be fine running the last three on my own.  They both offered to stay back with me but I told them to go and promised I was okay. I could tell they felt bad and I hated making them feel bad, but my hip really hurt.

I should probably mention that my hip tends to hurt when I run long when I haven’t been running much during the week. I know this, it’s how I ended up injured last winter. I know better and I learned my lesson – no more slacking during the week. (Someone remind me of this when my alarm goes off at 5:30AM please!!)

I stopped to stretch my hip on a bench then carried on and stuck with our :90/:30 intervals.  I really like those intervals, I feel like I can push in the run segments and get a brief recovery, without completely letting my heart rate come down, in the walk interval.

I stopped again somewhere along the river walk to stretch out my hip again.  I ended up finishing about five minutes behind TK and Jess, in 2:30:14. Considering I was using this as a training run (where I aim to average 12mm pace) and I was hurting, I’m calling it a win!

I think this may be a one and done race for me.  Unless there is some really, really amazing weather, I don’t know that I’ll run this one again.  The race was fine, I have no complaints, but I would be singing a totally different tune had it been a typical hot, humid October in Florida kind of day!

2015 Run Diva 5K

Early last month, I ran the Run Diva 5K as part of my partnership with Ultimate Racing.  I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but if you haven’t run any of the UR races, you’re missing out!

They have fun events, gorgeous medals, nice courses, fun after parties, and are very well-managed.. and I’m not just saying that because they covered my race entry.  I’d gladly pay to run their races – they are worth every penny!

The Run Diva 5K was held in Nocatee.  I’ve run several races there and love it.  They have great running trails.  I need to add it to my list of places to go for long runs.

I ran with my good friend Jessi.  Well, we hung out before and after the race.  She left me in her dust during the race 🙂

I finished just before the rain started, my official finish time was 31:21.  Not my fastest 5K, not by a long shot, but I felt good throughout the entire race and enjoyed myself so I’m counting it as a win.  They can’t all be PRs!

I wish the rain had held off a bit longer, the finish area was great.  There were mimosas (which we did stop for!) and salads from PDQ and all sorts of goodies!

Random Happenings

We’re going to play another game of catch up. I get so behind on these posts but my OCD tendencies won’t let me skip them, and I really want to write a recap of the race I did earlier this month, so today we’re playing catch up. Lots of pictures of what we did in September and October and maybe, hopefully, I won’t get behind again. I wouldn’t hold your breath though 😉

First things first, there is a really great race coming up this Saturday night at 5:30PM and registration closes SOON, the Ultimate Racing Fall Frolic 5K! I’m thinking about signing the kids up for the Kids Races this time and I’m super excited, I’ve heard great things about their kids races!

Now, on to the pictures!  Lots of pictures, just a few words.  Kenz got a new big girl bed!  I have lots of ideas for things to do in her room and can’t wait to find the time to do it all!

Both kids are playing soccer.  Braden loves it and is doing well.  Mackenzie.. well, she sometimes decides to play but most of the time sits out socializing with her teammates.  She says she doesn’t want to play, but I hate to have her quit the team.. but she’s 4.  Her last game is next week so hopefully she will stick it out.

I’ve been doing lots and lots of group runs, which require me to get up at 4:30AM on Saturday mornings.  I love having a group to run with.  Hopefully this helps me see some improvement in my marathon time 🙂

I’ve been seeing lots of these ladies too!  Kids birthday parties, bachelorette parties, girls dinners!  It makes me happy 🙂

Cub Scouts started back up again.  Adam is the Cubmaster this year and started the year off with a lesson on honesty involving ice cream and salt. The boys faces were hilarious!

Kenz’s social calendar has been full, but she squeezed in some mommy time and we had a lunch date at our favorite Mexican restaurant before her friends birthday party.

We’ve been to a lot of birthday parties lately..

And Kenz has re-discovered bubble baths.  I need to make more time for these!

I spent Labor Day weekend in Orlando with some of my girlfriends celebrating this girl!  We had SO MUCH FUN!

She’s getting married next week in the Keys and I can’t wait!!

Braden lost another tooth.. oh, and both kids had check-ups with their dentist too.

We went to yet another birthday party.  This one was at Sweet Pete’s, a candy factory in downtown Jacksonville.  It was so cute and the kids loved making chocolate pizzas.

We spent a Sunday afternoon at the playground, where we were serenaded by my high school cheerleading coach.  His band was singing on the stage in the background and I recognized his voice as soon as he started singing.

We have had ice cream dates with friends from school.  And I’m realizing that Braden REALLY does not like having his picture taken!

We spent last weekend at Disney World. We debated renewing our annual passes, but after this weekend, there’s no more debate. We are definitely renewing.  We had a wonderful time.

2015 Tijuana Flats Summer Beach Run

This is one of those things that should probably be filed under “not my best idea ever”. It worked out though and I had fun, so I guess it was not my worst idea ever.  All I know is I was one tired mama the next day!  So what was this silly thing that I did??

The day started off like a normal Saturday for me.  I was up at 4:30AM to meet my running group for our long run.  This week, we had 10-miles on the schedule and started at One Ocean in Jacksonville Beach.

We ran and watched the sun rise while doing a photo scavenger hunt along part of the 26.2 with Donna marathon course — not a bad way to start the day!  Pretend that the picture below was from that day (it was actually from the previous week, I think) because I can’t find a group picture from that day that isn’t all blurry.

We somehow cut the course short and ended around nine miles, so I ran (without stopping!) the last mile with two of the ladies in my group at a pretty decent (for me) pace.  I was really happy about that.

I got home, showered, took a nap, then got dressed to drive back out to the beach with Adam to meet our good friends Brad & Aleisha to run the Tijuana Flats Summer Beach Run.

You know, because five miles on the beach, in Florida, in August, in 900% humidity, when it’s 564 degrees outside (maybe I’m exaggerating just a bit) is a great idea.

I have two gripes about this race, one I’ll get to in a bit, but the other is the water situation.  The water at the water stop was warm and so was the water at the finish line.  It was seriously SO hot and cold water in both places would have made such a difference.  That’s why I typically carry my own 🙂

My plan for the race was to take it easy and enjoy the run.  I knew I was going to be running on tired legs and that it wasn’t smart to try to push myself at all.  I’m trying really hard to train smarter this time around.

I was surprised at how good I felt.  I stuck with the 1:30/:30 intervals that my group runs and kept a pretty steady pace the entire way.  Even though it was brutally hot and sunny, I felt great the entire time.  I got caught up with a group of Navy Chief selectees that were running as a group.  They’d pass me when I was walking, then I’d pass them again when I was running.

They chanted/yelled the entire time.  It was motivating to hear, but I couldn’t help but think of how exhausting it must be.  The humidity made it so hard to breathe, I don’t think I would have been able to run and yell.  Major kudos to them.

My official finish time was 55:32, for an 11:06 pace.  I was pleasantly surprised with that since my original plan for the race was to find my group leader (she ran 20 miles that morning) and walk most of it with her.

While 1st Place Sports knows how to organize a race (minus the water situation), they can’t seem to get it together when it comes to ordering medals.  It’s been an issue with them for a few years now.  It’s not a huge deal, I don’t run for the medals, but it is annoying to get a card at the finish line asking you to not take a medal since it will mean more to those who finish after you.  Really?!  I have several running buddies, some who are much faster than me, who LOVE getting medals.  Sometimes those medals are a reminder of a huge PR or overcoming a big hurdle or struggle during the race.  Just because I’m a middle of the pack runner doesn’t mean that it doesn’t mean anything to me.

To be honest though, it didn’t mean anything that day.  I didn’t take a medal and although they did order more, which have since come in, I haven’t made time to go by the store to pick mine up.  I typically don’t care very much about medals, but the card they gave us really rubbed me the wrong way.  It reminded me of volunteering for them at the finish line of a local marathon a few years ago, where they told us they were going to run out of medals and to not give them out to the first finishers, unless they asked.  That was in 2013, I think?  I can’t understand why they haven’t figured this out yet 🙂

Anyway, outside of the medal issue and the warm water at the  water stop and finish line, this was a really fun race.  I loved running on the beach, the party afterward was a lot of fun, and maybe most importantly, the free beer at the finish line was nice and cold!

First Day of Pre-K and 2nd Grade

It’s time to go back to school! I’m sitting here wondering where the summer went, it seems like it just started and it’s already mid-September.  Braden is in 2nd Grade and Kenz is in Pre-K this year.  It’s kind of bittersweet – this is our last “first day” at the school the kids have been at since they were infants.  Next year they’ll both be in elementary school.

I feel like I should be super sad about that, but to be honest, I’m super excited about dropping the daycare school payment, so I’m actually looking forward to it.  We’ll miss everyone there, but we’ve got a year left.. so no sad feelings yet!

Since I’m playing catch-up, the kids have been in school for about a month now.  Braden really loves his teacher.  He’s learned a lot in just the first few weeks and is thriving.  He’s blowing through chapter books now and amazes me with the things he’s learning and doing.

Kenz is starting to learn sight words and how to write her name.  I was shocked last night when she was drawing and wrote “Macke” all on her own!  She’s getting there.. I kind of feel bad now for giving her such a long name to learn!

Hopefully the kids remain happy and loving their teachers.  We’ve had a few rough drop-off’s with Kenz, but I’m hoping it’s just adjusting to a new classroom and a new teacher.  Fingers crossed that its smooth sailing from here on out!

Mackenzie’s 1st Hair Cut

I have this thing with my kids, I don’t want to be a controlling mom. I want to teach them to think for themselves, to make decisions on their own. I want them to learn that their decisions and actions have consequences. I want them to grow up to be adults that can gather information about a situation, assess it all, and decide on the right course of action.

Well let me just tell you, that backfired in a big way.  Holy cow.  Also, before I go any further, I probably should tell you that I am absolutely overreacting.

For the last few years, Adam has bugged me about cutting Mackenzie’s hair.  He LOVES short hair on girls.  I pretty much told him to zip it and that until it starts to look scraggly or she asks to have it cut, we weren’t cutting it.  I adore long hair on little girls!

Then I made the epic mistake of cutting my hair a few months ago. All I have heard since then is “Mommy, can I please cut my hair like yours?” I love that she wants to be like me, I think it is super sweet, but I love her long hair!

I convinced her to wait until after her Rapunzel birthday party.  I told her we needed her to have long hair for Rapunzel to braid. I secretly hoped that she would forget about it.  I should have known better.

The very next day, she asked me if we could go visit Mrs. Rebecka so that she could get her hair cut like mine. Thankfully, the hair salon was closed on Sunday and Monday.. so I had a few days to try to change her mind.

Didn’t work. She kept asking and I finally gave in and realized that it is just hair.  It will grow back. It will be okay.  (I’m still convincing myself of this, just so we’re clear, ha!).

After explaining to her over and over that once it was cut, we couldn’t put it back on, and being sure that she understood, I told her she could get it cut.  She was SO excited.

I tried one more time to change her mind – I made Braden an appointment for the day before and showed her how once Mrs. Rebecka cut his hair, it was gone.. we couldn’t put it back.

Her response was “I KNOW, MOM!!”  Well, okay then, Miss Sassy Pants!

When it was finally time for Kenz to go see Mrs. Rebecka, she could barely contain herself.  She went in, picked out a movie to watch, then climbed up in the chair like she’d been doing this her whole life, and not just watching her brother.

I tried to be excited and happy for her.  In Mackenzie’s little world, this was a BIG day!  She was so excited, it was hard not to be excited for her.

After Rebecka cut the pony tail off, I was okay.  Her hair is still adorable, but I really miss those little curls at the end.  Those won’t grow back and that makes me a little sad.  She looks so much older now.  That makes me sad too.

After her hair cut, we went to lunch, then Kenz and I went home to take a nap.  Who knew a simple thing like a hair cut would be such an emotional experience (for me!!).

Now, a little over a month later, Kenz still LOVES her hair.  It is a lot easier to take care.  Washing it is so much easier.  Brushing it is not such an ordeal either (her hair tangles very easily and she has a sensitive head).  I still don’t love it, but I love that she loves it.

This was later in the day at a Food Truck Rally.  Once I got her home and brushed it, blow dried it, and pulled it up, it wasn’t such a big shock.  She’s still my gorgeous girl <3