So This is Goodbye

For once I’m at a loss for words.  How do you write an intro paragraph to the demise of something you’ve enjoyed doing the past year? I guess you don’t, you just jump into it.

First and foremost, I want to thank all of you for sharing this journey with me.  13 months ago I started Noshing on Asphalt as a way for me to keep family and friends up to date on training for one of the biggest challenges I had accepted – running my first marathon.  While every ‘first’ marathon is absolutely special the one that I chose to be my first had extra meaning.  I would be running the Marine Corps Marathon in memory of my brother who was killed in Iraq.

Roger

On October 28th, as Hurricane Sandy started showing her ugly face, I laced up my tennis shoes and set out on a 26.2 mile journey.  They say you discover who you really are during a marathon.  Your mental and physical strengths pushed to the limits.   What I discovered during that race was that it wasn’t the race itself that showed me who I was; instead it was the months of preparation that went into it.  During those months of training highs and lows, I realized that I had finally come to some peace about my brother’s death.

MCM

So that’s how Noshing on Asphalt got it’s roots.  But something happened during those few shorts months of training and blogging about my experiences, I discovered you, my readers.  We forged a bond through your sweet comments, advice and encouragement.  I had friends who weren’t active asking me how they could start living a healthier lifestyle.  Even though I’m nothing special, I realized that people were motivated and intrigued about my lifestyle and that excited me.

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So I kept blogging.  I kept sharing my ramblings.  Bits and pieces of my quirkiness.  My love for all things bright, colorful and obnoxiously neon.

My love for running.  Without running, I don’t know where I would be.  It is my bliss.

109141-111-018fI shared my passion for healthy eating and expanded my knowledge of what it really means to me.  I discovered that I feel better when I follow a more Paleo diet instead of the beloved clean eating which was one of the cornerstones of my blog.

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Ah spaghetti squash, how I love thee.

Ah spaghetti squash, how I love thee.

I discovered some truly fantastic bloggers that have helped me grow in my fitness and healthy living life.  Make sure to check out my Good Reads tab if you’re looking for some good blog recommendations.

Ready to rock-n-roll.  Bring on the brains!

Zombie Run with several of my fun blogger friends.

During the past 13 months I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some amazing companies and found several products that I seriously can’t live without.

Nothing but thumbs up for Handana after a very sweaty run!

Nothing but thumbs up for Handana after a very sweaty run!

To say the least, I’ve really enjoyed breaking out of my comfort zone and sharing my adventures.  I’m not quite ready to shut everything down but life is funny with how it happens so I now need to devote my time to other matters.  I don’t know if this is my absolute last post or if I’ll pick it up down the road when things calm down a bit.  However, for now at least, this is goodbye.

Thank you again for sticking with me and enjoying this fun roller coaster journey I’ve been on.  I will miss you all very much but I know you’ll continue to do exciting things.  Keep pushing yourself; don’t stop striving for healthier lifestyles.  Remember, you’re a role model for others – even if you don’t realize it.

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Weekly Workout Recap

Earlier this month I mentioned that I was shutting down Noshing on Asphalt and that my last post would be on June 26th. Unfortunately one of the {unspecified} life events that I mentioned on my horizon has officially (and unexpectedly) jumped forward. It’s now staring me in the eyes, demanding my full attention. I hate it when life doesn’t follow my timeline….Ugh. So this Friday will be my last post. I’m sorry to be so vague but since this is a public blog I don’t want to advertise everything to the world. A girl’s gotta have some secrets, right? 😉

As far as workouts go last week, they were hit or miss.  Honestly, more miss than hit since I was dealing with some personal stuff.

Weekly Workout Recap:

Monday: Yoga.
Tuesday: Nada.
Wednesday: 6 mile beach run.
Thursday: Nothing.
Friday: Nothing….again.
Saturday: 7 mile run.
Sunday: House/yard work. Lots of it in 103* heat index.  Totally counts as a workout, right?

Speaking of Saturday’s long run, I have a confession to make.  It almost didn’t happen.  Friday night, I was the embodiment of a stress eater which is something that rarely happens.  I got home late, got some not so great news and didn’t have any clean or paleo food prepped. I was tired and didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to get ingredients to make anything.  So what did I do? I hopped online and ordered pizza.

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And I paid for it dearly…..let’s just say my body HATED me.  When 4:30am came around to get up for the long run I was still feeling incredibly sick. Why did I eat that crap??  I know my body can’t handle it.  I considered not going but I knew I needed to for my own sanity.  So I hauled my butt out of bed, questioned what in the world I was doing, and got dressed. I selected my Zombie Run t-shirt since it was most reflective of my grumpy disposition…and I felt like the walking dead.

Yikes. No makeup, 4ish hours of sleep and

My poor running girls, this is what they had to deal with on Saturday.  Grumpy, sick Gina with only 4 hours of sleep and no makeup.

I met my favorite running girls for 7-10 miles (ended up with 7) and I was so glad I did. By the end of the run I had perked and felt much better.  I ❤ my running girls.

I’m so disappointed with myself and my workout last week but it is what it is.  And this week isn’t going to be much better. Although, I know I will at least get some exercise this week since I’m committed to a duathlon. YAY!!! This was my first ever duathlon and last year I placed 3rd in my age group. I’m in better shape this year so  hoping to come home with another trophy.

My running buddy Lorena signed up, too, which made this race even better!

From last year’s duathlon.
This is Lorena, one of my best running friends. She keeps me accountable when I don’t want to be (or when I eat pizza the night before a run).

Don’t forget, today’s the last day to enter my Gymboss giveaway! 🙂

Question:  Were your workouts hit or miss last week?

Weekly Workout Recap

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m finally getting back on track with my workouts.  I wish I would have gotten a few more miles in but I’m definitely happy with myself.

My view from Saturday's long run. Gorgeous.

My view from Saturday’s long run. Gorgeous.

Monday:  3.5 mile beach run.

Tuesday: Cycling (8.54 miles in 30 minutes), weights – hip abductors & adductors,  triceps, biceps and deltoids.

Wednesday: Happy National Running Day! 4.5 miles with my two favorite running girls.

Thursday: Quickie weights session – biceps, triceps, deltoids, lats.

Friday: Rest day – holla!

Saturday: 10 mile run.  First double digit run in way too long.

Sunday: HIIT workout.

Well there you have it, last week’s sweat sessions.  And I have big plans on the workout front this week, too.  Ok, not really.  I’m just hoping to keep up the momentum, add some yoga and foam rolling into the mix.  I definitely feel less stressed when I can get some good workouts in.  I sleep better and am a happier person to be around – my hubby can vouch for that.

Speaking of The Hubster, I have to brag on him for a minute.  He ventured outside of his NON-clean eating comfort zone to try some Paleo banana raisin bread I made.  And {drumroll please} he liked it!  Maybe I shouldn’t have written him off as a lost cause. =D

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Big props to my friend Carrie at Fitness and Frozen Grapes for the awesome recipe.  It was super simple to make and I can vouch that it’s worth the ingredients to try it.  Although, I noticed that I lacked a bit of self control -3 huge pieces right out of the oven- so I will only make this periodically.  Even though it’s paleo, it still should be viewed as a decadent treat.

Question:  What did you do this weekend that made you happy?

Beat the Heat: Summer Training Tips

If you missed my announcement Monday about shutting down Noshing on Asphalt, please make sure to check it out. Thank you for all of the sweet comments, I promise I will respond to them soon.

Now onto today’s post. Summer is officially here in Mississippi. There’s no denying it anymore. Mother Nature has parked her big, hot hiney right on South Mississippi and I don’t think she’s planning on moving it until November. I went for a run Monday evening and it was 87* but had a heat index of 94*.

weather

Honestly, I really shouldn’t complain because those temps are mild compared to late July and August where it’s not abnormal for the heat index to soar into the 110* range. But I’m a big baby and hate heat so, doggonit, I’m going to complain! Give me temps in the 30-40* range any day.

This time last year I was freaking out preparing to start training for my first marathon. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be training for marathon #3 soon. (3 marathons in a year? I think I might be hooked…) This means another brutal summer full of trainings. Luckily, I learned some things last year so I don’t feel quite like the training novice.

Tips to Not Dying During Summer Training:

1.) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!! Sorry for the repetition, but I really can’t stress this enough. During hot summer sweat sessions, you can lose anywhere from 2-5lbs just from sweating. This is bad. Your body needs fluids and electrolytes to function properly.  There are plenty of hydration options out there like Camelbaks (my favorite), hand held bottles, belts, or just old fashioned water stops.

Loooooooooove my Camelbak!

Loooooooooove my Camelbak!

2.) Replenish your electrolytes. Because you sweat so much (see #1) you are also losing valuable electrolytes that help regulate your body and muscle functions. Water is great to keep yourself hydrated but it doesn’t do anything to replenish your electrolytes. For longer runs, 10+ miles plan on consuming at least one sports drink. This can be Cytomax (my fav), NUUN, gatorade, etc. A few of my friends use salt tabs during their training runs; I’ve never tried them.

It's good to have options.  I don't care that it's neither clean nor paleo. I drink it once a week and it keeps me alive.

It’s good to have options.
I don’t care that it’s neither clean nor paleo. I drink it once a week and it keeps me alive.

3.) Fuel.  Gels are a great way to make sure you’re taking care of tip #2. There’s all sorts of different gels and chews out there (my fav are Huma and Honey Stingers) so feel free to experiment with the ones that work best for you. The amount of fuel you consume is totally up to you.

Ready to Rock-n-Roll 26.2 miles fueled by ch-ch-chia!

Love this stuff!

4.) Run early.  This is the coolest (HA!) part of the day so take advantage of it. It wasn’t abnormal for me to meet my training partners last year at 4:30am. We may or may not have looked like the running dead for the first mile.

5.) Keep it loose and light.  I’m talking clothing here. It’s tempting to wear tight tanks and shorts for optimal movement but the looser fitting clothes actually keep you much better ventilated.  Light colored clothes are preferred.

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Taken last summer. Yes I look like a dork, and yes, I’m drenched in sweat.

6.) Protect yourself.  Unless you want skin cancer when you’re 50, make sure to slather on the SPF. The higher the SPF, the better. Just make sure you get a sport version otherwise you’ll be feeling the burn from it melting off your face into your eyes. Also, wearing a visor to keep the sun directly off of your face.

7.) Slow down.  It’s ok to run slower during summer long runs. Most training plans recommend slowing your pace as much as 30 second – 1 minute per mile. It doesn’t mean that you’re turning into a turtle; it just means you’re being safe. Use your short weekday runs to do speed work.

8.) Plan your route.  Take a few minutes to plan your route before running. Try to choose shady routes, neighborhoods (hello sprinklers!)  and loops if at all possible. Loops allow you to stop at your car to refuel, stretch, etc… They can also be a godsend if you need to cut your run short because you feel off.

Which brings me to my final point:

9.) Listen to your body.  If you feel in any way ‘off’ stop immediately. It’s tempting to try to push through but you may be experiencing the first signs of heat distress. Remember, you want to get to your race alive.

So there you have it.  My tips to not dying this summer.  Don’t forget that today’s National Running Day!! I’ll be meeting my favorite running girls later tonight to log some hot and sweaty miles – what are you doing?

Question:  What tips do you have for summer training?

The 1% Club…More Exclusive than Abercrombie

If you were anywhere online last week, you know all about the crap storm that Abercrombie and Fitch’s CEO Mike Jeffries created for his company.

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This man.  A man who doesn’t appear to be capable of blinking his eyes or closing his mouth (but fully capable of scaring small children) drew the proverbial line in the sand and declared war against the average American when he openly stated that Abercrombie sells only to skinny women; no fat girls allowed. And just in case you’re wondering what size Mr. Jeffries starts considering women fat – anything above a size 10.  The quote below is from Mr. Jeffries regarding his views about beauty and Abercrombie’s marketing strategy:

“It’s almost everything. That’s why we hire good-looking people in our stores. Because good-looking people attract other good-looking people, and we want to market to cool, good-looking people. We don’t market to anyone other than that.

In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and then there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes], and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don’t alienate anybody, but you don’t excite anybody, either.”

As you can see from his own words, he’s pretty proud of the exclusionary club he’s created.  A club that forces unrealistic and unhealthy body images at us with every seductive advertisement.  A club that is responsible for countless tears shed by teenage girls because they don’t can’t belong in that club.  Psychologically damaging doesn’t even begin to describe Mr. Jeffries’ club.

I could go on and on about the damage Abercrombie has caused by its bigoted marketing practices but that’s an entirely different post.  Right now , I want to introduce you to another club.  One that’s MORE exclusive then Mr. Jeffries’ could even imagine. The 1% Club.

marathon graphic

Welcome to the 1% Club. This club literally is the ‘cool kid’s club.’ However, as exclusive as this club is, it really is one of the most inclusive clubs out there.  There is no discriminating in the 1% Club; we want and welcome everyone and every body.  You can be short, tall, skinny, fat, able bodied or disabled.  The only thing you have to do to belong is to decide that you want in.

Initiation into the 1% Club doesn’t come easy, but it’s worth it.  To get in, it will take you months of preparation, countless hours of questioning if you can actually do it, and one 26.2 mile race that will test your mental fortitude.  However, crossing that finish line secures lifelong membership.

Wondering what type of company you’ll be in once you’re a member?  These are just a few of the characteristics the members of the 1% Club exhibit: determination, tenaciousness, confidence, empowerment, patience, selflessness, empathy, acceptance of others, camaraderie, and the list could go on and on.  Members are supportive of each other, encouraging of each other, and celebrate each time someone, including a someone they don’t know, crosses that finish line.  You will never feel like you have to change who you are to belong to the 1% Club.

I wanted to showcase some of the fabulous marathoners out there so I reached out to my fellow Sweat Pink Ambassadors.  The following pictures are of women, all shapes and sizes, who are proud to call themselves marathoners and be part of the 1% Club:

Mary V. (my runspiration) and her dad Mel. Both are proud marathoners.

Mary V. (my runspiration) and her dad Mel.
Both are proud marathoners.

marathoner

Tanya B.
Blogs at Run Turtle Run

Mindy B. Blogs at Road Runner Girl

Mindy B.
Blogs at Road Runner Girl

2

Tabitha Y.
Blogs at Tab a Dilly

3

Pam
Blogs at We Run Disney

Colleen D. Blogs at Live Free and Run

Colleen D.
Blogs at Live Free and Run

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Megan S.
Blogs at Elbowglitter

Karolynh Blogs at Karolyhn Can Run

Karolynh
Blogs at Karolyhn Can Run

Abby L. Blogs at Back at Square Zero

Abby L.
Blogs at Back at Square Zero

Megan J. Blogs at #RunMeganRun

Megan J.
Blogs at #RunMeganRun

Cori Blogs at Olive to Run

Cori
Blogs at Olive to Run

Kate E. Blogs at Run with Kate

Kate E.
Blogs at Run with Kate

And meeeeeee! Proud marathoner & 1% Club member.

And meeeeeee!

Even though the women pictured above are all quite different, there are a few common traits that you can see: grit, determination, and pure happiness.  Happiness that can’t be purchased in a store.  This is the type of club I’m proud to be a part of.  One that celebrates the diversity in people and encourages self growth through a 26.2 mile journey.  Not the club Mr. Jeffries’ & Abercrombie has taken so much care and bigoted energy to create with their clothing.

One of my favorite running quotes of all time is “If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”– Kathrine Switzer.  Obviously Mr. Jeffries has never spectated a marathon; that doesn’t seem like something ‘cool’ people do.  It’s kind of hard to restore your faith in humanity when you’re busy destroying everyone else’s.  Who knows, maybe he’ll have a change of heart with his narrow fat/skinny view of the world someday, but as far as I’m concerned, he did us all a favor by being ignorant enough to boast about his discriminatory viewpoint.  It makes my decision {and hopefully millions of other’s} to never shop there again incredibly easy.  Even though I’m their target demographic, their clothes will never touch this body.  Ever.

Don’t let someone else’s narrow view of the world define your worth.  However, if you’re upset about being excluded from the Abercrombie club, remember two things: 1.) you have the purchasing power to shut that club down and 2.) you have a standing invitation to an even more exclusive club. Myself and everyone of those ladies pictured above can’t wait for you to join us.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that the 1% Club includes also includes clothing.  As a member, you’ll be the recipient of some of the most amazing race t-shirts, tanks, shorts, shoes and more accessories then you can ever imagine.  And the absolute best part? Elastic band pants are the preferred clothing choice. Word.  Abercrombie doesn’t have anything on the comfort, style and fashion of workout clothes.  Suck it Jeffries.

Question:  What do you think about Mike Jeffries’ / Abercrombie & Fitch’s viewpoint on selling clothing only to certain people.

Weekly Workout Recap

I’ve been complaining for the past few weeks about my low amount of miles since starting CrossFit but this week I feel pretty good about my runs.  Even though I still logged a very low amount of miles (15) it was nice getting 4 runs in this week.  Now that CrossFit is over I’ll be able to start upping my miles again and mixing up my runs.  Believe it or not, I’m actually looking forward to speed work, hill training, and strides.

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One of the workouts from last week deserves some special attention.  Wednesday’s Run for Boston 5k.  I loved this one for so many different reasons.

Boston

Boston 2

This was a community run / walk in honor of Boston.  It look place at the Irish Coast Pub where I run on Wednesday nights (when I can make it, that is).  Typically we have 15-20 runners at the pub but this week there were almost 500 and over $10,000 was raised for Boston.  Simply amazing.  I know I say this a lot, but the running community never ceases to amaze me.

And now onto my workouts.  This the breakdown of my daily workouts for last week.  Any time you see AM circuit, it refers to this graphic:

workouts (edited)

Monday: AM circuit.

Tuesday: AM circuit, 3 mile run,  CrossFit (sprints, kettlebell swings, hang snatches).

Wednesday: AM Circuit, Run for Boston 5k

Thursday: Yoga, 2 mile run, Crossfit (double unders, rowing, squats, pushups and pullups).

Friday: Nada, nothing.

Saturday: 7 mile run, 25 minutes HIIT

Sunday: Rainy rest day.

I’ve been doing the above AM circuit for the past two weeks and have really enjoyed it.  However, my poor husband hasn’t.  I guess there’s just something annoying about your wife jump roping at 5:45am.  I tried different room and even going outside but he swears I keep waking him up. *whomp whomp*  So this week I’m changing it up a bit.  i.e. No jump roping.

workouts (without jump rope)

Feel free to join to me.  I created this circuit to address my weak hip flexors, and to increase upper body and core strength.  The last circuit took about 10 minutes to do so I’m assuming this one will take in between 10-15.

Question:  Does your early morning routine ever bother others in your house?

My {brief} Love Affair with CrossFit

As quickly as the affair started, last night it ended.  Since lacing up my first legit pair of running shoes in late 2011, running has been number one in my heart when it comes to exercising.  Sure, I like to do other things like yoga, cycle or kayak but running has been numero uno.  Well, until this month when I let another form of exercise into my heart.  CrossFit.   But alas, yesterday evening was my final class.

running

If running is my love, CrossFit has become my paramour.  I realize that may be a bit of an extreme example, but it’s the best way I know how to describe it.  When I signed up for my month of on-ramp (beginners level) classes at Bandit CrossFit I had some expectations of what I hoped to achieve. My ultimate goal was to learn some weight lifting techniques that would improve my running.  What I gained from the experience was so much more than that.

From the very first class, I knew I had found something special at Bandit.  CrossFit has always intimidated me quite a bit and to say I was nervous is a complete understatement.  I was petrified of the unknown.  Can I handle this? Am I going to make a fool of myself? Lord, please don’t let the instructor eat me for breakfast.

Wall balls practically chewed me up and spit me out.

Bandit CrossFit. Best. Box. EVER.

However, all that worry was completely wasted energy.  When I met my instructor Janice (she also owns Bandit CrossFit) I practically laughed at how worked up I had been.  Janice carries herself with the ease of someone you’ve been around your entire life.  She and her amazing assistant (co-instructor) Kim have the patience of Job when teaching us something new. And trust me, my lack of coordination meant LOTS of patience.  But don’t mistake that patience for slack, I got my butt handed to me on more than one occasion. “McKnight! Chest to the floor. McKnight! All the way down on those squats.”

Kim (R) & Janice (L). Excuse my tired look, this was post WOD.

Kim (R) & Janice (L). Excuse my tired look, this was post WOD.

I learned to push through the bruises and muscle aches to discover a strength in me I didn’t know I had.  Over the course of this past month I did things I had previously told myself “I can’t” do.  Man, am I glad I threw “I can’t” out of my vocabulary! Because I learned that I can….and I did! I did climb a rope all the way to the ceiling. I did do pull-ups. I did do deadlifts, hang snatches, wall balls and rowing. And I did do lots of other fun stuff. Each class was a new challenge and I couldn’t wait to tackle it.  It’s amazing how much we can accomplish we the right mindset.

My first attempt at rope climbing (pictured) didn't go so well. BUT I owned that rope the week after!

My first attempt at rope climbing (pictured) didn’t go so well.
BUT I owned that rope the week after!

What??? You don't dead lift in obnoxiously bright socks and no shoes? Clearly you're doing it wrong.

What??? You don’t dead lift in obnoxiously bright socks and no shoes?
Clearly you’re doing it wrong.

<3<3<3 Rowing!! <3<3<3

<3<3<3 Rowing!! <3<3<3

And what fun would CrossFit be without some inappropriate humor sprinkled in? I present to you my poo stance.

And what fun would CrossFit be without some inappropriate humor sprinkled in?
I present to you my poo stance.

The other thing I was surprised to find was how much of a ‘family’ my on-ramp class became.  The cheers and encouragement of my fellow crossfitters helped me push through the WODs when I felt completely spent.  Each time one of my classmates pushed themselves past their limits I felt complete pride in them.

Happy on-ramp graduates. LOVE this group of people!

Happy on-ramp graduates.
LOVE this group of people!

I honestly didn’t expect to grow so attached to CrossFit which makes stopping so much harder.  However, with training for marathon #3 (in a year!) looming in my very near future, I won’t have the time to dedicate to it; after all, my husband needs to see me sometime, too.  After a month of CrossFit, I feel like I accomplished my goal of learning techniques to improve my running.  I’m excited to take that knowledge and apply it on my own. But I can’t lie that I’m going to miss the heck out of it.  I’m still trying to figure out a way to mesh the two (running and CrossFit) together but haven’t come up with anything yet.

If you have ever wondered about CrossFit or considered taking a class, I highly recommend it.  Put your fears aside and just take the plunge.  YOU CAN DO IT! I encourage you to do an on-ramp class first that way you don’t get overwhelmed.  If you live in an area that offers more than one Box, don’t be afraid to shop around until you find the right one.  You want your box to have instructors who will take time with you, teach you proper form and correct you when you’re wrong.  I was lucky to find my box, Bandit CrossFit, in the first try.  If you’re on of my local readers, I wouldn’t consider going anywhere else.

And before I completely forget, the winner of my ViewSPORT sweat activated t-shirt giveaway, selected by Random.org, was lucky comment #40.

viewsport winner 2viewsport winner

Congratulations Hollie for sweating like a man and being proud of it! Be on the lookout for a message from me on how to claim your prize.

Question:  Have you ever done something outside of your comfort zone and loved it?