Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Move a Blog

Dear friends, fans and followers:

Well it’s been a year or so since I’ve written a post for Fit Chick Diaries and you deserve some sort of explanation. Last year was extremely tough for unexpected personal reasons and many, many changes happened. First off, I did not move to New York! I ended up finding a fantastic job in Madison, Wisconsin and now live here in this much smaller (but no-less incredible!) city. Second, I did not run ANY races last year. Boo. I know! I was extremely disappointed. But with all that was going on at the time (which I won’t bore you with), my heart wasn’t into it. In fact, it hit a dead stall and only within the last couple weeks have I had the desire to even lace up my running shoes. Third, I have added another passion to my life…TRAVELING. After dreaming of visiting another country for years, I finally had the money and gumption to just do it. I spent three weeks backpacking solo in Ireland and England last fall followed by a short trip to Germany last month. Traveling seems to offer the same benefits as running, in that it clears my head and allows me to truly test my comfort zone in a whole new way. The only problem? Drinking beer in Germany does not count as exercise.

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Now that life has calmed down a bit and I’m falling back in love with running and adding new hobbies to my life, I’ve decided to create a new blog. I’m calling it Running Dust and Wanderlust – I would love to have some familiar blogger faces follow along! I’ll still be blogging about running, fitness & recipes, but I’ll be adding some bits about my adventures as well.

I’ve missed you all and hope to see you there!

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P.S. I’ll leave Fit Chick Diaries up for a while because I notice it is still receiving quite a bit of traffic :)

A Letter to My Younger Self

To My Younger Me,

First off, let me reiterate how incredibly strong, intelligent, and capable you are because I know you have a tendency to doubt yourself. I know you hate change, but I want you to embrace each obstacle that life throws in your way. You can handle it, and you can handle it with grace.

Don’t sell yourself short, and hold tight to a sense of optimism about the world. Learn to forgive people for their shortcomings, and remember that you aren’t perfect either. Embrace your enemies and those who try to bring you down–love is a stronger weapon. Find beautiful qualities in everyone and everything that you come across because beauty is all around you.

Never stop learning. Open your mind to new ideas and hold tight to your passion for knowledge. Don’t half-ass school. You are smart and capable of achieving your goals, so set them higher than you think is possible. They are within your reach. Be patient with yourself. You will get where you want to go if you persevere.

Stop comparing yourself to other girls. You are beautiful, loving, and kind. Besides, confidence is the sexiest quality–so show it off. Stop dating guys because they play in a band or have spiky hair. If they can’t hold a job and don’t treat you with respect, they aren’t worth your time.

Surround yourself with people who love you for everything you are–the ones that take the good with the bad. Remember that your family will always be there, and make sure you return the favor. Show compassion to those who need it most.

Always follow your heart. You will be pulled in a million directions at once, but listen to your gut. Don’t be afraid to take risks or  rise to a challenge. These will build your character and self-esteem. You will be better, even if you fail. Don’t get discouraged.

Lastly, believe enough in yourself to go after what you want. No one will do it for you. If you want something bad enough, make it happen. There is always a way.

Your future you,
Me 

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have any of you ever written one of these before? 

Finding Motivation through…Pinterest?

I feel like I was one of the last few people among my friends to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon. The last thing I thought I would need is yet another computerized distraction to keep me from getting real work done. That being said, I finally broke down and joined the pinning community. I had no idea I would find so many useful tips, tricks, quotes, or workouts to help with my training — or simply to get my butt off the couch and out the door!

Last Saturday, I was facing my first 6-mile run of this training program. I felt overwhelmed by my fear of failure. The little voice in my head was trying to talk me out of it. I was tired. I had an essay to write for class. The weather would be better the next day. All of these excuses flooded my brain as a result.

I was procrastinating, which is usually what happens when I’m faced with a challenge that I’m not sure I’m ready to tackle. I found myself browsing Pinterest, and wasting time. Thankfully, the fitness category was chuck full of motivating tidbits that managed to tune out the negative self-talk. Before I knew it, I was double knotting my tennies and strapping on my Garmin — ready for the challenge. Before I left the house, I grabbed a pen and wrote, “6-miles. Don’t quit and don’t stop,” on the back of my hand, just for good measure.

The first 3-miles seemed to breeze on by. I didn’t check my pace as I went, but instead listened for the beeping of my Garmin to tell me when I completed another mile. I thought that sneaking a peek might psyche myself out. By the last stretch, I could tell I was getting tired and my legs felt heavy. I was almost within view of my house, and kept up the pace. I rejoiced when I heard the final beep telling me that I had reached my goal for the day!

The sense of accomplishment was amazing. I can’t imagine what I will feel like when I cross the finish line in an actual race! I’ll probably laugh, cry, fall over from exhaustion, and be looking for a snack all at the same time.

I have to say, my attitude toward Pinterest has certainly changed. It may be a weird way to find motivation, but it worked for me that day and it has worked for me since. I guess anything to get me out the door!

The week after that infamous 6-miler was pretty easy, and this Sunday my long run was only 4-miles. But from here on out, the training will become more grueling and those 6-mile runs are going to feel like a drop in a bucket compared to what lies ahead. Can’t wait!

Have you found inspiration through “pinning”? 
 How do you get yourself pumped before a long run?
Do you get intimidated by new distances? 

11 Random Things About Me

Today brings a rather unconventional post because I was tagged by Jamie @ My Run is Not Done to complete this 11 Random Things Questionnaire! You may have already seen circulating the blogging world. If not, here are the rules:

RULES

1. Post these rules. 
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you’ve tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

Now that you know what the heck I’m doing here, on to the fun!

1) I have a scar on my right leg from dirt biking in high school. I was attempting to show off my skills, only to find that I had none!

2) My husband and I met while he was in the Army stationed in Afghanistan. I sent him a care package, he wrote back thanking me, and when he finally was able to come home we met for the first time. We’ve been together ever since.

3) We actually won our wedding in a competition for Wisconsin veterans with a great love story.

4) I played basketball for two years in middle school and never made a basket during a game. I did call a time out to tie my shoe! Apparently, I thought I was too essential of a player for me to miss any of the action!

5) I lived on an island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a summer.

6) They call me the “car killer” because I always am driving whenever our cars break down.

7) I won $500 off a scratch-off ticket purchased at a random rest stop, while on vacation. I didn’t even know I won, and almost threw it out!

8) I’ve been rock climbing, white water rafting, and sea kayaking.

9) I’ve never traveled outside the United States.

10) My biggest fears about moving to NYC are bed bugs and cockroaches. Yuck!

11) I am a total old lady when it comes to going out — I’d rather be a homebody and stay home relaxing.

So that’s my little bits of random! Now I’ll answer the questions Jamie posted…

Questions:

1. What is your favorite kitchen utensil/appliance?

I would have to say my coffee maker! I need my coffee in the morning…

2. What fitness activity have you always wanted to try?

I’ve been wanting to give Bikram Yoga a whirl for a long time. I don’t think they even offer classes anywhere within a 50 mile radius. I live in the middle of nowhere… Boo!

3. Where did you take your best or worst vacation?

I have a tie for best vacation. It’s either Ocracoke Island on the Outer Banks or my honeymoon in Disney World. I was with my hubby for both of them, and I think those were some of the happiest times for both of us, and we left with amazing memories and nice tans.

4. What’s your favorite season?

Summer is my top favorite followed closely by spring. I love warm weather, but I also love that first day of the year when you walk outside after a long winter and you know spring is on it’s way!

5. Tap water or filtered water?

Filtered. I will drink tap, but we don’t have the best tasting tap water. I bought one of those filtered water bottles so I don’t buy bottled any more.

6. You have no distractions or obligations, how would you like to spend your day?

I would want to go hiking/camping in Devils Lake with my husband and our dog. I love being outdoors and active, and involving the whole family just makes it that much better. It’s nice to be able to turn off technology, and just enjoy the solitude.

7. How many bones in your body have you broken?

None! Considering I’m prone to being a klutz, I don’t know how I managed to avoid serious injuries.

8. Who is your fitness inspiration?

I never thought about this before! I don’t know if I really have one! I see people that are in shape or running great distances, and I admire them. At the same time, I don’t really follow their training or try to emulate them.

9. Do you have a sweet tooth or a salty tooth?

Kind of both, but usually a sweet tooth! I love ice cream, pie, cake, cookies, brownies…you get the idea! If I’m watching sports, I tend to crave an unhealthy portion of nachos.

10. What’s your favorite shoe style?

When it comes to sneakers, I love bright colors! If I’m wearing dress shoes, I try to pick out a sexy pair of pumps. I’m already tall, but I’m not giving up my heels.

11. What are you most looking forward to doing when the weather warms up?

Running without having my face freeze over! And not having to worry about driving in snow. I have a tendency to wind up in ditches.

Onto the last part of this whole shebang!

I’m tagging these blogs to continue on the 11 Random Things. I chose people from among my followers, so hopefully you’ll be happy to do this little activity! If you’ve already done one, I apologize! I guess just let me know, and I can tag someone else.

Forever is Composed of Nows, The GSB, endurancegalOn these feet, Lavendar Parking, Running in Mommyland, Run with Chips , bearrunner, runner on the right, domestic diva, speedy cupcake

My questions for you all:

1. Do you prefer to listen to music, or no music, while running or working out?
2. Where do you find the most support in your life?
3. Would you rather read the book, or watch the movie?
4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?
5. What is your favorite meal to prepare?
6. How many states and/or countries have you visited in your lifetime?
7. Ever travel a great distance for a race?
8. Favorite flavor of ice cream?
9. If your life was a title of a song, what would it be called?
10. What is your greatest temptation (food or otherwise) that might cause you to be less healthy?
11. What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?

Have fun with this! I can’t wait to see what you answer!

Foodie Friday!

If you’re anything like me, you may have found yourself stuck in a rut in the kitchen. You end up cooking the same recipes over and over and, while they might be good, they get old fast.

I’ve been trying to kick myself of that habit by making a point of trying at least one new recipe per week. So far, I’m really enjoying tasting new dishes! I go out of my way to pick recipes that won’t use a bazillion unknown ingredients, and that are reasonably healthy.

On that note, if you haven’t already stumbled up Chocolate Covered Katie’s blog yet, I highly encourage you to do so. I found the recipe for my Double Chocolate Brownie Batter Pancakes on there, which were incredible and unbelievably low in calories! So far she’s two for two in terms of serving up heavenly and healthy versions of a variety of chocolatey goodness. This little baby is a recipe she created as well, and holy cow! It’s freaking good.

One-Minute Chocolate Cake
(can be gluten-free!)

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons spelt flour (or white, or even peanut flour)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1 more tablespoon sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegetable oil (Edit: many commenters have said it still tastes good if you sub applesauce or mashed banana. But I can’t personally vouch for the results if you make that substitution.)
  • 3 tablespoons milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

Step 1: Combine dry ingredients: cocoa powder, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and stevia, and mix very, very well. I used one tablespoon whole wheat and 2 tablespoon white flour.

Step 1

Step 2: Add liquid, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin,
or even a coffee mug. I used the unsweetened applesauce instead
of oil to add less fat to the recipe.

Step 2

Step 3: Microwave 30-40 seconds. If you don’t want to eat it straight out of the dish, be sure to spray your dish first (and then wait for it to cool before trying to remove it).

Step 3

Step 4: Chocolate Covered Katie has a recipe for raw frosting you can use to top it off, or do as I did and drizzle with chocolate syrup!

Voila!

If this doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, I don’t know what will! It’s the perfect single serving dessert, if you want something guilt-free! The pictures don’t even do this justice, in my opinion.

Of course, there are days when you just have to have the real thing, but this is great when you want to feel indulgent. My husband was out of town, so making a whole cake for just little-old-me seemed like a lot of work. This was a great alternative, and I could have my cake and eat it too! (Ok, that was lame.)

**I have since made this for a second time, but I added a tiny scoop of hot fudge in the batter before microwaving. If you’re not afraid of a few extra calories, this is a melt-in-your-mouth addition!

Do you have any recipes that are to die for? Do you splurge on desserts, or do you like to find ways to make them healthier? Share!

A Few Minor Setbacks…

This past week has been the worst since I began seriously training for this half. Granted, I’m not very far into this process and I imagine I will have to face many more difficult challenges in the future, both metal and physical. But compared to past runs, everything this week seemed off.

Let’s recap, shall we?

Monday: Wisconsin got hit with quite the snow storm. The night before, roads were coated in freezing rain. By morning, these dangerously slippery conditions were layered with 4 inches of fresh, white powder. Did this keep me from running? Nope. But I was supposed to do 3 miles, and instead it was a lousy 2.54. I was too afraid to run on the street, for fear that a car might slide into me, but sidewalks weren’t even remotely clear. I could hardly tell where they were, and half the time I was probably running through people’s yards. Sorry neighbors!

Tuesday: This was supposed to be a rest day, but I couldn’t resist doing a little something at the gym. In between classes, I got in a half-mile warm up, and 8 miles on the stationary bike. I felt nice and energized by the end of this workout! I got to my next class probably smelling like sweat and B.O. because I didn’t have a chance to shower. To the guy sitting next to me in English 385, my apologies.

Wednesday: I decided to bust out my P90x DVDs for some real cross training. I did the full Plyometrics video, which definitely got my heart rate up and my muscles engaged. I used the heart rate monitor on my Garmin, and it showed my average HR being 144 bpm, and max HR at 170 bpm.

Thursday: This is when things went down hill. I was all psyched up to do a solid 3 miles, and I thought I could fit this in on the treadmill at school. I used it quite a bit in the past, so I wasn’t expecting this run to feel like so much work. Almost immediately, shear boredom set in. Watching TV with captions just doesn’t do it for me anymore, and my music wasn’t enough to occupy my mind. After a mile and a half, I said forget it and went home to run the other 1.5 in the great outdoors. While I still got in 3 miles, I hate splitting them up because I feel like, for me, I need to challenge myself to suck it up and keep going.

But I'm sorry, this made for much better scenery!

And, Friday

I’m pretty sure I hit what all you experienced runners call a “wall.” The weather was nice for a Wisconsin January. I planned to make up for my lack luster performance from the day before by running a 3 mile do-over. My mind couldn’t get into the game. I couldn’t find that driving force to push me through to the end. My left hip flexor was beginning to get increasingly painful, and I gave up after barely a mile. Yuck.

I went home to re-evaluate. I read up on all the potential causes of my hip flexor pain, and decided to take the weekend to: ice, stretch, elevate, yoga, pilates and repeat. By Sunday, my hip still ached and I could tell it wasn’t at 100%, but it had improved drastically.

This week my focus is on keeping my head in check, and practicing what I preach! Wasn’t it just last week that I wrote a post about not giving in when you hit a wall? Yup, that was me. I make no excuses, I was totally weak. I absolutely need to find the strength to stop quitting mid-run, and tough it out. Boredom, or no boredom. Snow, or no snow.

Luckily, I’m off to a good start! I’m repeating last week’s training since I clearly bombed out in the running department. On the bright side, at least I identified my weak points and can now work to improve them!

Do you have any tips to help me push through these walls?

How do you keep yourself from throwing in the towel during a run?

Also, how do you know when it’s safe to push through the pain and when to give yourself healing time? 

Getting Out of My Own Way

Source: Cathy on Pinterest

I have not always been a confident individual. For a long time, I wouldn’t even bother to set goals for myself. In my mind, I wasn’t an athlete, so I didn’t try out for a single high school sport. I didn’t consider myself capable of being a straight-A student, which allowed me to excuse the occasional bad grade. I knew I was a good person, and I never got into any trouble. I just had no desire to push myself outside of my comfort zone. When I looked in the mirror, I saw an average girl and I never once tried to prove myself wrong.

When it came to running, I utterly refused to believe I could last a single mile — let alone more than one! I saw runners as strong, powerful, and somehow above me. I looked up to them, and to me they were people who were able to push themselves to limits that I could only dream of. My freshman year of high school, I actually yelled at my gym teacher when he got frustrated that I was walking the last lap of the required mile run. I made some excuse about how I was hurt, but I’m sure he knew I was full of crap. I was a relatively quiet girl, and that was the only time I ever talked back to a teacher. But I had predetermined what I was capable of doing, and what I was not capable of doing. In my mind, there was no point in setting myself up for failure.

I don’t know what changed, exactly. Part of me seemed to get tired of watching everyone around me achieve greatness, while I stood on the sidelines. My husband, Nick, helped push me for the first time in my life. He saw potential in me that I wasn’t aware of. The first time we went running together, he took me on a mile jog. I felt like I was going to die by the end of it, but he didn’t let me quit. Instead, he had me sprinting the last stretch! At the time, I wanted to kick him in the shin — not literally of course! I was exhausted and angry that he didn’t let me rest. Looking back, I can now see that it was the best thing anyone has ever done for me. He didn’t let me give up, and I haven’t wanted to give up since.

It seems the biggest obstacles that we all have to overcome lie within ourselves. We have to stop letting our negative thoughts and self-image get in the way of what we want out of life. You have to believe in yourself enough to set goals for your life — even if they’re small ones, and find a way to make it happen. Don’t expect success to arrive overnight, or without any hard work. It might take a lot of your time, energy, and determination. You might feel like you want to quit. Don’t do it! Keep it moving, keep putting one foot in front of the other and push through the wall. Prove to yourself that you are capable of doing what you set your mind to, and it will propel you in whatever you choose to accomplish next.

Okay, I will now step off my soapbox. 

Anyone ever have a similar experience?
What walls have you had to push through?
What are some goals you hope to accomplish?