Friday Five: Happy Halloween!

Hi everyone!  I’m mixing things up a bit this Friday because I really wanted to join the Friday Five Linkup with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia!  I’m still going to recap my goal progress at the end.  This week’s Friday Five topic is Halloween!  So what are my five favorite things about halloween?

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1.  PUMPKIN EVERYTHING.  All day long.  And every day for the month before and after Halloween too.  But today is the big pumpkin celebration day so you best believe I’m getting a PSL after I eat some pumpkin bread that I made last night!

2.  Candy!  I’m lucky because I have bags of candy all over my office to use as prizes for my students (hey, everything in moderation right?) but I’ll be stealing a few extra pieces since it’s Halloween!  We don’t think we’ll get any trick or treaters in our apartment so we didn’t buy any candy.  It’s really for the best because we’d eat it all anyways!

3.  Dressing up.  I’m not teaching any classes tomorrow so I’m totally dressing up for my day at the office!  I have like 4 coworkers and only my manager knows what I’m going as.  Hint:  it is something TERRIFYING that scares the living daylights out of me.  Any guesses?  And while you’re thinking about that, let’s throwback to my favorite costume.  I wore this 4 years ago and I made the whole thing myself!

wonderwomanBella was the cutest pumpkin ever!

4.  Pumpkin beer.  Does that fall under the pumpkin category?  Whatever, it’s the best way to celebrate Halloween!

5.  The beginning of pre-Christmas season.  While everyone was watching scary movies last night, I was watching Elf.  Sure, I won’t be decorating, listening to Christmas music, or even talking about Christmas until the week of Thanksgiving, but it’s definitely in the back of my mind  :)

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As for my Fall Fitness Friday goals this week, well…working out every day didn’t happen.  Nope.  But I think it’s okay.  I’m still trying to get settled in my apartment, in my job, and in Alaska!  So we’ll just take a look at the rest of my goals:

Get completely moved in:  We have 5 more boxes and need to hang our curtains.  That’s it!!!  I’m so excited to finally be done, especially since my friend is coming to visit from Bethel, AK (they don’t even have any shopping – not even a Walmart there – so I predict a lot of shopping that weekend!) and I want it to be all set up by then!

Step up my running game:  Done!  I ran in the coldest conditions yet.  On Sunday I ran 4 miles on the coastal trail and was having trouble breathing from the cold.  My chest and upper back hurt so bad.  This is why I hate the beginning of winter – it always takes a bit of time for my body to adjust to the cold.  It was in the 20s and the trail was icy on the hilly parts, so I had to walk quite a few times.  Not fun, but the views were killer!

IMG_3324Oh hey downtown Anchorage!

When I ran on Wednesday, I wore a running scarf (this one from Run Pretty Far).  It made such a huge difference!  I wore it only on my neck unless I had to stop and walk through the icy parts of the trail – that’s when I used it to cover my face to keep warm.  It was 18 degrees but I felt great!

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Join a gym:  I’m pretty sure The Alaska Club is the winner.  The problem now is that they are ruthless with recruitment so I don’t want to contact them until I’m totally ready to join.  Once I do, they will stalk me until they get my money!  I’ll definitely join before Thanksgiving but I’m in no hurry to spend a ton on a gym.  Although I really want to take some group classes ASAP!

Start cooking more:  We are doing more and more each week!  Best thing I made?  Pumpkin bread last night that I’ll be sharing with my coworkers tomorrow!

Go pumpkin crazy!  DONE.  Pumpkin yogurt, PSLs, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cheesecake, and this incredible invention.  Thanks Target!

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I hope everyone else had a fantastic week and a super spooky, pumpkin-filled Halloween!

What are your favorite things about Halloween?  What is your best costume ever?

Rave Runs

Hi everyone!  If you’ve ever read Runner’s World, you’ve probably seen the pictures that they show in the beginning of every magazine of the Rave Run of the month.  They’re usually some amazing location, and the runner is running on some impossible looking trail that would probably make me pass out from altitude sickness if I ever tried it.

raverunAn actual Rave Run photo from RW

While each month shows a beautiful location, I’m always wondering how many people can actually run in a place like that.  I mean, if I was hiking on the above trail I’d be nervous about falling and would be staring around at everything taking pictures – there’s no way I’d be running along there like it was no big deal!

I recently found this Runner’s World article online which talks about Rave Runs vs. normal runs, and I totally have to agree with the author.  In the article, he states that, “There’s natural beauty everywhere if you look for it. And there’s an important point here concerning long-term success in running: Getting the most today out of the good-enough almost always trumps waiting for the perfect, whether we’re talking weather, training partners, shoes, racing fitness, motivation or where to run.”  No matter where you’re running, you’re probably having an awesome moment even if you don’t realize it.  I’ve run in some really boring places in my life, and whenever I do that I realize that I start to notice things that I never did before – like parks I didn’t know existed, streets with awesome christmas light displays, really pretty gardens, and hills that are perfect for hill repeats – and they don’t seem as boring anymore!  A run could be a few laps around your neighborhood, but if the temperature feels good and you’re in a great mood then it’s totally a Rave Run!  There are so many factors that go into making something a Rave Run, and location is only a small part of it.

20140602-231151.jpgThis glacier-side run might look like a Rave Run, but I was super hot, dehydrated, and couldn’t wait for it to end!

Ever since moving to Alaska, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to run in some seriously beautiful places.  And what I’ve learned is that sometimes, location isn’t everything!  You might be in a beautiful place, but you’re probably going to be sweating, hungry, and hoping that you can get through the last 5 minutes of your run just like you would if you were running in a boring place.  So if you want to have a Rave Run this week, get out and make it happen!  Choose to go at your favorite time of day, run with a killer view of the sunset or sunrise, try a new route if you’re bored, and spend time noticing all the beautiful things you see.  And if you do have one, let me know!

20140702-164133.jpgMy current favorite Rave Run of all time – running an 8 miler in Seward at midnight!  Pretty views AND negative splits!

When was your last personal Rave Run?  Where is the prettiest place you’ve ever run?

Fall Fitness Challenge: Week Two

Hi everyone!  It’s time for week #2 recap of the Fall Fitness Challenge hosted by Nora at Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running Duo!  The following bloggers have joined up too:

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Ariana at HappyLife.HealthyLife | Brandi at Noteworthy Running | Michelle at Fearless Beauty Fitness | Kathy at MamaMarathoner | Diane at Runnin Rocker | Alicia at NeverEverBeenSkinny | Kristin at Exploring Domesticity

Just to recap, we need to do some sort of active thing for at least 10 minutes a day.  Here’s the weekly breakdown (with lots of moving-related workouts):

Last Friday and Saturday:  We seriously worked our butts off to get everything finally moved in to the apartment!  Between bringing the last big heavy boxes of stuff from the storage unit to bringing in boxes of shelving units and then building them, we were exhausted!  And sweating, so I consider that a workout.  You know it’s aerobic if you’re sweating in 35 degree weather!

Sunday:  The super Alaskan run that I wrote about on Monday.

IMG_3286So excited about this sunset running shot!

Monday and Tuesday:  We got snow on Monday which kind of messed with my outdoor-only running routine.  And while I do have Yaktrax, parts of the trails here were clear right away and many parts were not, and Yaktrax will break if they’re not used on snow and ice at all times.  So I made sure to do some relaxing yoga videos from Yoga With Adrienne indoors.

IMG_3296SNOW!!!!  And I’m still not wearing a coat!

Wednesday:  I decided to brave the trails for a run.  Sadly, they were so icy that half the time I wasn’t even running anymore, just hopping around trying not to fall!  I cut my run short at 2.5 miles and powered through the last minute of my run.  As I was pressing the “stop” button on RunKeeper, I noticed to my horror that I was 3 feet away from two large moose that were hiding in the woods.  If you’re wondering how I reacted to my first surprise close-range moose encounter, I immediately checked the other side of the trail for babies (which almost guarantees that I am going to get chased/stomped) and then I almost blacked out from shock and fear.  I assumed they were going to murder me for literally running into their personal space, but they just kept eating leaves and ignored me.  So I snapped a picture and got the heck out of there!  It was kind of a frustrating run with all of the snow, ice, and moose heart attacks, so I’m hoping the trails clear up or I can get my shoes studded soon!

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Thursday:  Between late parent conferences at a charter school where I teach 2 groups, some errands at the bank, and stopping at the DMV to learn more about getting an Alaska license, I ran out of sunlight.  And I saw moose while driving home so I decided not to attempt a workout in the dark (the trails are lighted here).  So I figured I would work out after dinner – until my husband accidentally destroyed the small toe on my left foot!  So Thursday was a no-official-workout day for me in an attempt to not make things worse.  I did teach a high school session for an hour at work though, does that count?

And now for a quick look at my other goals:

1. Get completely moved in to our new place: We are SO CLOSE to being totally unpacked!  Everything is organized and in the correct room, and our closets and cabinets look great!  And we have all of our furniture built and in the right place!  The boxes we have left are the decorative stuff and the random stuff that I never know where to put (paperwork?  Is there ever a good spot for that?).  I think we’re doing really well considering how much we had to do in the last 2 weeks!

2. Step up my running game: I ran twice this week again.  Boo.  Honestly, the snow threw me off and made me delay running until Thursday which was still super icy anyways.  I really need to have my old running shoes studded because more snow is on the way!

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3. Join a gym: Progress has been made!  I’ve been looking into the very limited gym selections here, and narrowed it down to The Alaska Club (the giant gym monopoly up here) and Alaska Fitness based on their hours and their class schedules.  I’d like to take classes if I’m paying for a gym, and since I’m not a morning person it’s important to find a place with good classes after work!  I’m going to try to reach out to The Alaska Club to see about prices this week but I’m seriously dreading it because they are the most expensive gym up here for sure and I don’t even want to know what this is going to cost.

4. Start cooking more: We got dishes (and lots of other fun cooking stuff at Bed Bath and Beyond with our wedding gift cards!) and cooking has started!  And my Kitchen Aid will officially be stored in the closet, but it’s within easy reach so I can use it whenever I want.  SO EXCITED!

5. Go pumpkin crazy!  I literally bought every single Oikos Pumpkin Pie yogurt at Walmart this week.  There were only six, but still…all of them.  I also searched for pumpkin bread mix at the store because I have no idea what baking supplies I have right now, and they didn’t have any at Carrs  :(  I will make sometime pumpkin related ASAP!

IMG_3308I own all of it.  Mwhahahaha.

What was the scariest animal encounter you ever had on a run?  Have you ever bought out your favorite food at the store?

BANDI To The Rescue!

Hi everyone!  I wanted to take a moment to talk about something I’ve been using on my recent runs that has been super helpful!  As you all know, I’m running in a place that has lots of potential dangers – bear, moose, ice, etc.  Even in Philly I had to worry about stuff (mostly people) posing a threat to my run.  Because of that, ever since I started running I always carried my phone with me.  It just feels safer to know that I have a way to call for help if anything were to happen.  And if you’re wondering where I keep my phone on my runs, unfortunately I just keep it in my hands!  I’ve never had a way to hold my phone while running.  Now that it’s getting colder, I wanted to make sure I had a place to store my phone and my car keys while I run so that I could be hands free.  While Googling “running belts” I found an awesome new company called BANDI which makes running belts and headbands in really cute colors and patterns.  And after reaching out to the owner, Beth, she let me try out a BANDI belt of my choice!  The website had tons of cute patterns, but I eventually decided on Night Garden because I thought it would match with a lot of stuff that I own.  *Even though I received this belt for free, all opinions are my own*

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Things have been crazy with the move and I couldn’t find anything until I started unpacking, so I didn’t get to try my BANDI belt until last week.  I drove to the trail so I needed to store my car keys and my phone.  And I was so happy I had the BANDI belt because it was great running with my hands free for once!  I’m already wearing my gloves for every run and it’s so much harder to carry a phone with me when I’m wearing a glove.

IMG_3269Obviously my phone is not in there because I’m using it to take a picture, but you get the idea with just my keys!

IMG_3282The storage area

So what did I love about my BANDI belt?

  • I love the pattern – it matches all of my stuff and is so much cuter than a plain black belt!
  • It has 2 compartments so I can store both my phone as well as my ID, money, or anything else I might need and it has another key pocket on the right side (although I clearly need to take off my huge keychain before storing them in there again)
  • It’s big enough for my iPhone 5c
  • It closes with a flap that folds over, not a zipper (I hate zippers when I’m running!  My fuel belt has one and it drives me crazy!)
  • It’s super lightweight and I couldn’t feel it while running
  • It didn’t bounce!
  • It’s adjustable which means it will fit most people

IMG_3281Two separate pockets for more storage!

There were a few things I wasn’t a big fan of though:

  • Once I had it on, I had trouble using the clasp to get it off – but as you can see with my zipper issues, I have issues dealing with small objects after running   :)
  • The material was a bit slippery and I had to adjust it a few times to get it to stay in a comfortable spot while running (it’s made with a moisture wicking fabric so it’s a slippery material)

Overall, I am so glad I found BANDI!  I’m really intrigued by their storage headbands (with room for your key in the back!) but we all know how unlucky I am with finding headbands that work.  Definitely check out their website if you’re looking for a fun and colorful alternative to boring running belts!

Where do you keep your phone and keys while you’re running?

Moose: 0, Kristen: 1

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  I spent most of mine working on unpacking the apartment, and it’s looking a lot better!  My closet is pretty sweet.  Hopefully I’ll be done by next weekend and have some pictures soon!  Despite being excited about how the apartment is coming along, I had my first mini-homesickness on Sunday.  I think it was brought on because I spent all morning seeing tons of people on Facebook posting cute fall pictures and talking about races they had run today, and then I went out to my car to find it covered in frost.  It’s definitely not fall here anymore!  After working on the apartment for a while I just started to feel pretty down about everything, so my husband suggested going out for a run on the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail.  I’ve been dying to do this ever since we moved here, so we headed out the door with about 40 minutes left until sunset.  Andrew was going to walk while I ran 3 miles.  Everything sounded like a good plan, until we parked our car at Earthquake Park and started walking towards the trail – and saw this!

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I feel like it’s pretty easy to tell when you’re about to have a wildlife sighting in Anchorage because you’ll see someone taking a picture and figure out that something must be there.  And that’s what was happening with these moose.  We came around the corner to see two men taking pictures.  They were so close to the babies and the mom looked pretty mad.  She was HUGE too!  Andrew and I kept our distance and watched the moose for a while.  The babies were walking back and forth all over the trail, but the mom was standing in the woods not moving which had us worried because we knew she wasn’t comfortable.  At one point a baby stated running towards us and the mom starting moving too and I was like “NOT TODAY, MOOSE!” and started power walking back to the car.  We ran into a family with a baby and they decided not to try to get any farther on the trail either.  I was all ready to give up on my run since I’d wasted 10 minutes dealing with the moose and daylight was quickly fading, but the family gave me some directions to a nearby parking area farther down on the coastal trail and I decided that I’d go for it and just cut my run short.  As we were driving we noticed a ton of cars pulled over and people taking pictures of something and I thought “Not again” until I saw what they were all looking at!

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This is Denali, the tallest mountain in North America and it’s located 4 hours away from Anchorage!  When we went there on our honeymoon my husband and I started talking about moving to Alaska, so I credit it for our move.  And there it was, just hanging out on my evening run!  Denali is notoriously difficult to see due to the fact that it’s tall enough to make its own weather patterns, but you can see it late in the day from Earthquake Park and the coastal trail if it’s a clear day.  So with Denali in the background, I headed out for a quick 2 mile run before sunset!

IMG_3286Credit for this one goes to Andrew!  He should be my full time running photographer  :)

IMG_3290A seriously awesome view from the trail.  So many people were watching the sunset!

I will definitely be coming back to this trail again in the future, but you better believe that I will be on high moose alert!  Also, it was pretty hilly so this might not be the best spot for long runs.  I fully plan on trying out every inch of the coastal trail which will probably take months to do since it’s 11 miles long.  Hopefully I don’t let any other moose cut my future runs short!

What’s the craziest reason you had to cut a run short?  What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen on a run?

Fall Fitness Challenge: Week One

Hi everyone!  You may have noticed in Monday’s post that I’ve joined the Fall Fitness Challenge hosted by Nora at Adventures of a Mother-Daughter Running Duo!  The following bloggers have joined up too:

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Ariana at HappyLife.HealthyLife | Brandi at Noteworthy Running | Michelle at Fearless Beauty Fitness | Kathy at MamaMarathoner | Diane at Runnin Rocker | Alicia at NeverEverBeenSkinny | Kristin at Exploring Domesticity

The challenge is to do at least 10 minutes of exercise a day.  And I’m excited to report that I did that, although most of it was not “traditional” exercise!

Last Friday:  I RAN through the airport with my coworker to catch our flight to Anchorage!  Plus I spent 45 minutes teaching a mock lesson to my trainers so I think those both count.

Saturday:  I was super sick all day, but managed to get my dance on at Oktoberfest in Alyeska!  There’s a local ska band in Anchorage and they were playing all night.  So much fun!

IMG_3240Fake pretzels are healthier than real ones

Sunday:  I carried the last of our belongings into our apartment, including our bed, 2 dressers, a mattress, and the new sofa that we bought Saturday night.  That is one way to get in an arm workout!

Monday:  Andrew and I went for an hour long walk on the Chester Creek Trail, which is where we learned how crazy pretty it is!

Tuesday:  My first run in Anchorage, which you can learn more about here.

IMG_3255I have a weakness for creekside trails

Wednesday:  Hours of unpacking and more heavy lifting.  I hate moving.  On the bright side, my closet is almost done and it looks awesome!

Thursday:  Another 3 miles on the Chester Creek Trail because you can never have too much of a good thing!

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As for my other goals:

1. Get completely moved in to our new place:  Nope.  But I’m hoping by the end of this weekend it will be mostly done!

2. Step up my running game: I ran twice this week which is awesome because I’ve barely run this month at all.  Baby steps here, but I’m thinking I can get in 3 runs next week!

3. Join a gym: I’ve been asking around at work to get an idea of what the gyms here are like.  I’m probably going to start calling places next week, but I just had too much to do in the apartment this week to devote any time to this.

4. Start cooking more: I don’t even have dishes yet, so this one has clearly not been accomplished.  Maybe next week?

5. Go pumpkin crazy!  This one definitely happened!  Out of the 3 pumpkin yogurts I tried this week, Oikos was my favorite!  I will be stocking up on that at Walmart this weekend  :)  I also tried Quaker Pumpkin Spice oatmeal and it was pretty good, but kind of fake tasting.  I need to try to make my own!

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I’m loving this challenge so far because it’s definitely making me more conscious about what I’m doing when I get home from work and clearly I need all the help I can get.  Also, I don’t feel guilty eating pumpkin flavored yogurt every day.  I love fall!  By next week hopefully I’ll meet goal #1, continue to do great with #2 and #5, and start with goals #3 and #4.  Wish me luck!

What are your goals this week?  What’s the best pumpkin thing you’ve eaten in the last week?

My First Run in Anchorage!

Hi everyone!  I’m so excited about this post because it’s about a pretty awesome event.  Remember your first run ever?  Your first race of each distance?  Or your first run in your current city?  I do, and I think as a runner it’s so important to remember those crazy moments in your running history.  And I’m very excited to report that on Tuesday I went out for my first run in Anchorage!  Yes, technically I ran here in July during the Her Tern Half Marathon, but that was the kind of run that involved no thinking about a course and some protection from moose/bears due to the amount of people running.  On Tuesday, it was my chance to finally discover what a typical run will be like here in Anchorage!

After trying to pick a running route out of the crazy amount of trails here in Anchorage, I decided to go with the Chester Creek Trail starting at the Valley of the Moon Park.  It’s a 45 second drive away from our apartment which means it will definitely be walking distance as long as the weather is good!  It was 43 degrees and the sun was setting (we’re losing 6 minutes of sunlight a day!), so I chose to wear long, thin leggings and a fleece-lined shirt with gloves and an ear warmer.  It was the perfect outfit because I didn’t feel too hot or cold.  There were a lot of other people on the trail, and they were all wearing different things – some wore t-shirts but most wore long sleeves or even coats!

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It was hard getting myself out the door for this run – not only had I not run in a week, but I was pretty scared to run alone for the first time in bear and moose country.  My supervisor wears bells on her shoes when she runs alone, but I don’t have anything like that!  But I sucked it up and got myself out the door anyways.  I thought it was perfect running weather and my body really loved not feeling overheated after weeks in the Lower 48.  The first mile was along a busy section of the trail and there were a lot of other runners/cyclists, so I felt pretty comfortable about the wildlife situation.  There were tons of turn offs on the trail, and I’m sure I could spend months exploring where each one goes!  But for now I stuck to the main trail.  Mile 2 was spent running along a more secluded section of the trail and it was seriously the best feeling ever to be running through the woods alone, with a perfect view of the snow-covered mountains and falling leaves.  It was the first time in a long time where I felt myself totally enjoying my run without any worries about training, pacing, weather, etc.  It was the best feeling ever!  And it finally hit me that this is where I live and I’m so excited that I get to run here whenever I want!

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IMG_3253I had awesome snowy mountain views for half of my run!

I finished my 3 mile run with one of my fastest mile times in a while and a lot of excitement about running in Anchorage!  Yeah, I’m going to run into some bears and moose while running.  But I didn’t do it on Tuesday, so I’m just going to keep running with wildlife awareness (although bears should be asleep soon!) and hope that they stay far away from the Chester Creek Trail!  I think this will be one of my go-to running routes for a while, and I’m so excited to see how beautiful this trail will be in the winter.

Bonus picture:  on the way home the sun was setting and we had some serious alpenglow on the mountains!  It’s when the pink colors of the sunset show up in the snow on the mountains and it looks beautiful.  I didn’t have the chance to get a picture of it until we got back to our apartment, and this doesn’t do it justice.  But since I’m sure you’ll see much better pictures in the future, I’ll leave you with this:

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Can you remember the first run you did in your current city?  What things do you love/hate about running there?  Anyone else have to worry about moose all winter long?

Here’s To New Beginnings!

Hi everyone!  Guess what?  I’M BACK IN ALASKA!  And I’m beyond excited about it, even though it’s in the 40s/30s here!  After a super tearful goodbye last weekend when I left Philly, I was so nervous about being alone in Seattle for a week of training, starting my new job, and dealing with moving into our new place in Anchorage.  And I was pleasantly surprised!  I didn’t cry or feel homesick once in Seattle, and in fact kept my nights busy with running, shopping, and hanging out with friends.

IMG_3229Late night PSL run to the first Starbucks with my old coworker and her sister!

I did pretty well in training and got great feedback on the mock lessons I taught, and I’m now a certified trainer for the teen health program that my company provides!  And although I was sick all weekend, we were able to get everything into our apartment, including our new sofa that we bought yesterday!  And I’m in LOVE with the place!  I mean, check out this beautiful (and snowy) view from our bedroom window!

IMG_3241There will be no indoor pictures until it stops looking like a bomb exploded inside

Now that I’m finally settling in to our permanent life in Anchorage, I’ve got a few goals in mind!  I’ve been talking about a few of these for a while, but during the rest of October I plan to:

1.  Get completely moved in to our new place.  It’s a bit of a mess right now, but I think I can get everything unpacked and organized in the next two weeks, even with my job keeping me busy!

2.  Step up my running game.  Since the Beat the Blerch half, I’ve run only twice!  I’ve been super busy, stressed, and overheated in the crazy 80 degree “fall” weather down in Philly, but now I’ve got a lot of running to make up for!  My goal is at least 3 times a week until it’s time to start training for my half marathon in March!  And I’m hoping I can get brave enough to join up with the Skinny Raven Sports Pub Run on Tuesdays!

3.  Join a gym.  I weighed myself at home, and the results were not pretty.  The combo of eating all my old favorite foods and not exercising was not good.  Since moving to Alaska I’ve gained 10 pounds, and I need to get back down to my Lower 48 weight!  Since it will be harder to run outside starting in November/December once it’s dark and snowy outside, this will ensure that I can always get a run in.  And some of the gyms here even have classes I can take, which will keep things fun!  I’m going to try to see if I can find a place that offers yoga or barre classes!

4.  Start cooking more.  I’m so excited to FINALLY have our own kitchen, and it’s got room for lots of cooking – including space for my Kitchen Aid mixer!!!!  I didn’t have that in Philly!  So I’m going to start cooking more and eating out less so that I can be healthier.  I think my crock pot is going to be my new BFF as the weather gets colder!

5.  Go pumpkin crazy!  It may look like late fall here (especially with the snowy mountains in the background) but I’ve still got time to eat as much pumpkin stuff as possible!  I feel like drinking PSLs in 35 degree weather makes more sense than 85, so it’s not that hard to get excited!  And after reading Scoot A Doot’s Pumpkin Yogurt Throwdown, I’ve got some good places to start!

IMG_3242I am SO excited for lunch tomorrow!

 And to help me reach some of my goals, I joined up with some amazing bloggers for a Fall Fitness Challenge!  It’s hosted by Adventures of A Mother-Daughter Running Duo and I’m pretty excited because that was one of the first blogs I ever started following when I started blogging one year ago!  Nora and her mom are posing a challenge to do some kind of fitness activity for at least 10 minutes per day.  Since I’m hoping to get back into shape, I’m really excited about starting the challenge!  Technically, I spent 2 hours doing heavy lifting on Sunday so I’m off to a good start.

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I’m excited to get this blog back to its fitness and running roots!  Every Friday we’ll spend some time talking about what we did each week and I’m looking forward to the extra motivation to meet my goals.  Wish me luck!

Do you belong to a gym?  What do you look for when joining one?  Have you ever joined a running club without knowing anyone?

Friday Five: Running Fuel

Hi everyone!  Fun fact:  By the time you read this, my week of training will probably be over and I will be heading back to Alaska after a month of being in the Lower 48!  I’m excited to start unpacking everything in our apartment and finally meet my students and the few coworkers in the Anchorage office!  Plus running in 30-40 degree weather sounds much nicer than in the 70-80 degree weather I’ve had for the past month and I can’t wait to explore the running trails in Anchorage!

Anyways, I’ve been so busy the last month that I’ve had to skip a lot of Friday Five linkups with Eat Pray Run DC, You Signed Up For What?!, and Mar on the Run.  But this week I’m back because it’s about one of my favorite things:  food!  More specifically, food that we use to fuel our running.

20140529-215718.jpgI never let myself run out of these!

Before a run:

1.  Oatmeal:  Specifically anything cinnamon or brown sugar flavored.  Right now I’m all over the Better Oats Maple and Brown Sugar Steel Cut Oats, which I buy at Target.  It’s so yummy and filling, and it never makes my stomach hurt while running!

2.  Pretzels:  For some reason, If I’m starving before running and I eat these I feel pretty good!  I’ve also eaten them after long runs and I think the salt really helps me feel better!

During a run:

3.  Jelly Belly Sport Beans:  I love Fruit Punch Sport Beans!  They taste pretty good and they don’t ever make me sick or feel like I’m in pain while running.  I usually go through 1 entire pack during a half marathon – I take 3 every 30-45 minutes after the first 45 minutes of my run depending on how I’m feeling that day.  Nothing else I’ve tried has given me the same boost of energy I get with these.

After a run:

4.  Chocolate milk:  As soon as I found out that chocolate milk is used by athletes to refuel after they run, I was sold!  You don’t need to convince me to drink chocolate milk after a long run  :)  Darigold is my favorite brand, but I think that’s a west coast thing?  It’s really delicious though and is seriously the most perfect thing after a long run or race!

5.  Nuun:  Specifically Strawberry Lemonade!  After a long run, Nuun really helps me feel better faster.  I’ve started craving it after long runs and love the fizziness!

Sadly, donuts didn’t make the list.  They’re awesome for a post-run celebration, but I like to eat well right before and after I run because I’ve learned the hard way that pizza is not good pre-run fuel!

IMG_3098Nutella isn’t the best post-race fuel either.  But sometimes your inner Blerch wins, you know?

What are your favorite types of fuel before, during, and after a run?  Who else is obsessed with post-run chocolate milk?

Seattle is For Hill Lovers

Hi everyone!  I’m now officially two days into my training and loving Seattle so far!  This might sound weird to people, but Andrew and I have been together for so long (over 8 years!) and I forgot what it’s like to live alone!  I can chose to eat whenever/whatever I want, can plan out my evenings without thinking about anyone else, and can stay up late in bed reading blog posts without bothering anyone.  And I’m loving that it’s in such a fun city!  Seattle is having gorgeous (and slightly hot and humid) weather right now and I’ve been trying to take advantage of it while I can.  Especially since my husband texted me a picture of the snowy mountains back in Anchorage!

Since I have all this alone time after work, I decided to make sure I explore Seattle a lot since I’m so close to the downtown area.  And the best way for any runner to explore a new city is by going for a run!  So on Monday night I had a fabulous dinner (at Chipotle of course) and then went back to my hotel to change before walking down to the waterfront for a 3 miler.  As I walked down there, the hill got steeper and steeper.  I was seriously dreading getting back up that thing!  Once I got down to the flat area by the sound, I ran past the market area, all of the piers, and finally out to a cute park that had amazing sunset views of the sound and the mountains!

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At that point I realized that I was going to have to run back up that hill at some point, so I took off toward the Space Needle.  Selfies were taken of course.

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After getting up there, it was pretty dark out and running uphill was starting to make me feel sick, so I ended my run by staying on flat and busy 3rd Ave.  It was pretty populated and I didn’t really feel worried, although I did have people cat calling me and homeless people shouting (at me?  or other people?) as I ran by.  I’m not used to that after my summer in Seward!  By some amazing miracle 3 miles happened right before I had to go up the big hill leading to my hotel, so I was able to walk up it instead of run.  On the way up I was passed by a guy that I saw running down by the waterfront, and it made me think about how awesome I would be at hill running if I lived here!  Even the walks to and from training have been awesome exercise and I feel like any race I ever run in this city will be super hard!

In other news, job training is going really well!  It feels so awesome to be preparing lessons and learning how to teach again, although teaching sex ed is very different from what I did as a student teacher!  I got through our first mock lesson today with no issues so I’m excited for the next 3 days of training which will be spent getting familiar with the specific curriculum that I’ll be using with my teen groups!  The highlight of training so far was learning that there is a killer donut/coffee shop down the street from my hotel and that they have pumpkin spice everything!  I’m not sure if I can expense that kind of thing, but you better believe that I’ll be there every day until I fly out!

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Now that I’ve been on one run in Seattle, where else should I run in the Downtown/Capitol Hill area?  Is there any food I need to try before I leave?