Monthly Archives: December 2012

Busy Monday and a CrossFit Workout

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My thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary last week.  There are no real words that can truly describe what everyone must be going through.

There are also several virtual races starting up for Sandy Hook Elementary. Here is one that I found that I thought y’all might be interested it. Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Half Marathon and 5K. The funds from this race will go to the families affected by the tragedy on 12-14-12.

It is another one of those insanely busy weeks for us!  Somehow we have more than one place to be each day.  Thankfully we are the types that like to be busy and have fun with it, so let this fun week begin!!

Tonight is our local book club meeting.  I love our holiday meeting, because we get to have a book swap!  It is one of those swaps where you have a number, and you can steal the other person’s gift.  Last year we spent the whole entire time laughing, and we hadn’t even had a drink yet!  I cannot wait to have another great evening with the ladies!

Blackberry Winter

Speaking of books…I finally got a chance to finish Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio.  It was such a good book.  I actually stayed up till 3 am to finish it…Yup it was that good!  I have truly enjoyed all of Jio’s novels, but this one is her best one yet!  Blackberry Winter was such a heartbreaking, enticing, suspenseful, and touching story.  Jio did such a wonderful job connecting the past to the present in this moving novel.  I found myself falling in love with the 2 main characters and found myself cheering for them throughout the novel.  If you have not read this novel yet, I recommend you pick it up (or as a gift from Santa Winking smile).  If I write anymore I will end up totally spoiling the novel for you, so I’ve posted the book description below:

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.
Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways.

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Before I forget…I have signed up for another virtual race!  I’m going to have my 13 in 13 all done before September at the rate I’m going.  The Clearwater Halfathon and Marathon virtual runs runs from January 12-27.  You can complete the run all at once, or you can break it up into as many separate runs as you need to.  My goal is to break up the half into 3 separate runs.  Net proceeds (after costs of bib, medal, shipping, administration) will be donated to several small local non-profits to be determined, including running clubs and the Partners For Life Foundation, created by Lorraine Yaslowitz to memorialize her husband Jeff, a K9 police officer in St. Petersburg, FL lost in the line of duty on January 24, 2011. The foundation’s mission is to lend support to families who lose loved ones to senseless acts of violence.

Well, it is time for me to go workout, so I can get the rest of the cooking/baking, laundry, and cleaning done for today. Not to mention I have to come up with a dish to make for our book club meeting tonight. Any suggestions, because I have no clue what to make for once?

This mornings workout that I will be doing is an old CrossFit workout-of-the-day.  As you will notice, this workout is only 15 minutes long, but boy does it pack a punch.  With this workout you will complete the 3 five-minute rounds, performing each exercise for one minute.  Then, rest for 60 seconds between each round.  Write down how many reps of each exercise you complete.  This way, when you go back and do this workout again you can see what improvements you have made and try to beat your previous score.  As always…remember to stretch afterwards!CrossFit WOD

Hanukkah Recap

What a fun 8 nights we had for Hanukkah!  My son loved lighting the candles and saying the blessing each night, and I was so proud of him.

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I got a few questions from friends about if we give our son gifts on each day.  My answer to this is a big fat NO!  This year my kid turned into your typical little materialistic child.  I think he hit and new record on the words “I want” this year.  I’m determined not to let him get worse, and I’m hoping to nip this problem in the bud early.

Most Jews that I know make it so you are giving more than you are getting.  This is what I was taught too.  Our son only got 1 gift for Hanukkah, and he was very excited about it, and he didn’t ask for more (big sigh of relief from me…we still have Christmas left so he will get a few on that day too).  The rest of the days were focused on him giving gifts to friends, neighbors, family, pets, and a charity of his choosing.  He and I had a great time giving to others and watching their faces light up with smiles.  Now, he is already talking about what he is going to give to others next year!

I already gave you a few recipes from our first night of Hanukkah, but I didn’t write up how that first night went, because I’m just now getting over being a bit ticked off about a cute stunt my hubby pulled.

I ended up having to clean and prepare the veggies for the evening in our guest bathroom, and here is why:  my husband brought in dead birds and put them in our sink to thaw.  Yup that is right!  The 3 pheasants and 1 grouse he killed earlier in the day froze before he got home, and he needed them to thaw before he could clean them.  See pic below in case you don’t believe me.  Just to let you know, there are no bugs or diseases on them at all.  They are as organic as you can get.  I also made my husband scrub that sink till I could see my reflection in it.

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Now, this gets better…Of course I objected to this whole thing, but I did not get my way.  Well, thankfully the barbeque brisket was already in the crock pot and the baked blueberry doughnuts were all done.  The only thing left was the cheesy garlic polenta (see recipe below) and roasted veggies.  Since I had 2 hours before I had to start making the rest of the dinner, I Trouble Makerswent downstairs to watch a movie with our son and my hubby left for work.  Sadly I should have thought that having 3 bird dogs and 4 dead birds in the house would equal a problem.  Well, I came upstairs halfway though the movie to check on the brisket and found a sink with only 1 pheasant in it.  I then walked around the corner into our living room to find all 3 furbutts having their own Hanukkah feast!  I did not take a picture of this.  Just imagine feathers everywhere!  Thankfully they were not that far into their feast and were kind enough not to have made a bloody mess!  I had caught them just before it could have gotten really ugly.  I shall leave the story there.  I’m sure most of you know what kind words I had for my husband.

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Other than that little bird blip in our 8 days of Hanukkah, we had a great time!  My favorite was each night we had a game night.  Although, we still seemed to play Farkle every night along with whatever other game we chose.  We all had a ton of fun playing different games each night, and I finally won a few games too!

On to that polenta or grits recipe (in the south they are called grits and everywhere else, polenta).  I have my wonderful friend in Florida to thank for pointing me in the direction of garlic cheese.  Yup!  Garlic cheese!!  It is as good as it sounds.  I love using it in pasta dishes and pizza the most.  Never once did I think to use it in polenta.  Thank you Judy for your wise ways in cooking!!

Judy’s Cheesy Garlic Polenta (Grits)

Polenta

Ingredients:

  • 1 c Quick-Cooking Polenta
  • 1 1/2 c. Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 c. Milk
  • 8 oz Shredded Garlic Cheese

Directions:

First and foremost:  DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THIS ONCE YOU START MAKING IT!  It all cooks up quickly, and will burn if you are not there watching the milk and broth come to a boil and you have to constantly stir the polenta once you add it.  That said, this recipe takes less than 10 minutes to make Open-mouthed smile

Shred the cheese.  Then, add the chicken broth and milk to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and add the polenta.  Constantly stir until it has thickened.  Watch out for the bubbling polenta…it likes to “pop”.  I just stir really fast to keep it from “popping” at me.  Once the polenta is good and thick, remove from the heat and stir in the shredded garlic cheese.  Serve immediately!

A Race, A Recipe, A Run

It is hard to believe that today is already Friday!  This week has been jammed pack full of things for us this week and it has totally flown by!  It still has been a fun week for us even while we were running and doing 10 things in one day.

I did my very first virtual 5K, Once Upon a Time, on 12-12-12!  I ended up alternating between running for 4 minutes and walking for 1 minute for the whole 5K.  I was going to do the run for 3 walk for 2, but I was feeling good with the 4 minute run so I stuck with it.  I wanted to stick with what I knew would work, and I had fun with it.  Sadly I was nowhere near my PR, but I’m getting back into the swing of running again, and I want to enjoy it.

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I cannot wait to get my medal in the mail!  Don’t they look sweet?

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On to that crock pot brisket recipe we had the first night of Hanukkah…Then a treadmill workout to help you burn off the brisketSmile  I must apologise for the picture of the brisket.  My family dug in before I could get a better pic!

I do have a little note to make when it comes to you choosing a barbeque sauce.  Please look at the ingredients in your barbeque sauce before you buy it.  A ton of barbeque sauces out there have corn syrup and it’s many variations in it.  You all know how bad corn syrup is for you, so please stay away from any sauces that contain it.  Thank you!

Easy Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Barbeque Brisket

Easy Barbeque Crock Pot Brisket

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 lb brisket (basically as big a one as you can fit in your crock pot)
  • 1 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients together.  Pour some of the bbq mixture in the bottom of an airtight container that is big enough to hold your brisket.  Place the brisket into the airtight container on top of some of the sauce.  Then, coat the brisket with the remaining sauce, and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, place your brisket and sauce fat side down into your crock pot.  Cook on low for 9-10 hours.  Enjoy!

Now on to that treadmill run!!  Remember to stretch afterwards!!
35 Minute Treadmill Interval

Workout Wednesday and a “Small” Coffee Addiction

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Can I get a show of hands from all of you out there who might have a “small” coffee addiction…maybe Starbucks related too?  I “might” be one of those people who have a “small” coffee addiction (3-5 cups a day…and I consider a venti non-fat latte from Starbucks as only a cup).  Okay, maybe it is a “medium” sized addiction.  But I know you other coffee drinkers out there know where I’m coming from.

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For our last week of Best Body Bootcamp I made one of my goals, to only drink 2 coffee beverages a day.  I saved this goal for our last week for a reason…I knew it was going to suck big time, and boy has it ever.  I totally failed on the first day.  I had 2 cups of coffee at home in the morning, and then I “had” (you other coffee drinkers out there understand me…right?) to have an afternoon cup.  Ugggg!!

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Yesterday I accomplished my goal of only 2 cups, one in the morning, and then my latte after work.  I won’t lie to you; it got pretty ugly from 3-4:30 pm yesterday.  I was tired and totally crashing and craving coffee.  I swear to you that there was a little voice inside my head saying java, java, java over and over again.  However, I persevered and prevailed!!  Fist pump for me!

As for today…I won’t lie to you, it may get scary.  I only had one cup this morning, and I INDIA-STARBUCKS/always have 2 every morning.  I should probably let you know that I’m not a morning person at all, and with only one cup in me I’m still dragging.  However, I’ll be a good girl and save my other cup for a Starbucks run I will make after my son’s swimming lesson in the afternoon.  Lets pray I don’t bite anyone’s head off today.  Just kidding!!  I’m not that bad…yet Winking smile.  I just realized that I sound like I did when I gave up chocolate for a month…Now there is a month I don’t want to revisit!

Enough of me griping about my lack of coffee this morning and on to the workout for Workout Wednesday!!  This is a workout that will totally Wake Up those muscles in the morning without the added coffee!!  If you are unsure of how to do any of the exercises, you can go to the Exercise Glossary page, and it will have links to examples of many of the exercises that I post.  I have posted the link to the Oblique V-Ups below, since they are a new move that I have not posted before.

  • Oblique V-Ups – If you are a beginner, just focus on lifting your legs.

Wake It up workout

Healthy Creamy Creole Pasta with Chicken

I absolutely love pasta and the creamy goodness that comes along with it.  I however do not like the fat and how it sticks to my body from that creamy goodness.  Therefore, I set out on a quest to convert some of my pasta recipes that call for butter and a lot of heavy whipping cream.  For this recipe I substituted Greek yogurt and skim milk for the butter and heavy whipping cream. It came out perfectly!!

Creole Pasta

I must thank my friend from Bulgaria, Katie, for encouraging me to switch over to Greek yogurt in my cooking.  She told me about all the different dishes she makes using just Greek yogurt, and I became hooked and had to try it myself.  Thank you Katie!

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz spaghetti or linguine pasta
  • 4-6 chicken breasts sliced or cubed into bite size pieces (depends on how much chicken you want in your dish)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 8 oz fresh sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion sliced
  • 3 cloves of minced
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 c frozen sliced okra (optional)
  • 1 c chicken broth
  • 1 T flour
  • 12 oz plain Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c skim milk
  • 2 tsp Cajun or Creole seasoning (you can add more if you want)
  • 1 tomato diced
  • sliced scallions
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and diced (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Add water to a large pot and boil pasta in it till it is al dente following the package directions.  In the mean time, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and sauté the chicken until completely cooked.  While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce for the pasta.  Combine the milk, flour, yogurt, and creole/Cajun seasoning.  Set sauce aside for later.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for later.  Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms.  Sauté until the veggies are tender.  Add the frozen okra about half way through the veggies cooking.  Then, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute.  Reduce the heat to medium-low.  Add the chicken broth and the sauce prepared earlier.  Allow sauce to reduce for 2-5 minutes while occasionally stirring.  Return the cooked chicken to the pan.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  In a large serving bowl add the cooked pasta.  Pour the chicken and veggie mixture with sauce.  Lightly toss to coat the pasta.  I have the diced tomato, scallions, and jalapeno in separate bowls so everyone can garnish their pasta to their liking.  Enjoy!!

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Add water to a large pot and boil pasta in it till it is al dente following the package directions. In the mean time, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil and sauté the chicken until completely cooked.

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While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce for the pasta. Combine the milk, flour, yogurt, and creole/Cajun seasoning. Set sauce aside for later. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside for later.

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Add a little more olive oil to the pan and add bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Sauté until the veggies are tender. Add the frozen okra about half way through the veggies cooking. Then, add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Reduce the heat to medium-low.

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Add the chicken broth and the sauce prepared earlier. Allow sauce to reduce for 2-5 minutes while occasionally stirring.

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Pour the chicken and veggie mixture with sauce. Lightly toss to coat the pasta. I have the diced tomato, scallions, and jalapeno in separate bowls so everyone can garnish their pasta to their liking. Enjoy!!
Creole Pasta

What Happened to Me!?!

I won’t lie to you.  Some things come naturally to me and fitness is one of them.  Once I start in on something new in the fitness department it is not long before I’m hooked and working at a higher level earlier than others.

Running use to be something I did quite a bit back when we lived in Florida.  However, since moving to North Dakota I really haven’t “gone out for a run” in the past 2.5 years.  So, when I went to jog around the indoor track at the gym the other day I figured I would slip right back into running at a steady pace like I always have in the past (at this point the word “naive” should have slipped into my head.  I’m sure most of you are thinking it right now as you read this).  After all, I’m teaching 4-5 spinning classes each week, lifting weights, and doing insane amounts of burpees…Why shouldn’t I be able to go run 3 miles right off the bat?

Boy was I wrong!  After 8 minutes I thought I was going to have a heart attack or something.  I mean what the heck!?!  I can sprint on a heavy hill over and over again in spinning, but I cannot jog for 8 minutes without dying?  My ego just took a hard hit.  Then, when I told my husband about it he commented on me not being as young as I used to be.  The man is lucky he made it out of the house with his balls still attached.Angry smile

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Therefore, I’m now a beginner runner/jogger.  Oh how this is going to suck.  I’m not the most patient person when it comes to my own goals.  I also have a virtual 5K on the 12th, Once Upon a Time 5K.  Silly little me thought I really wouldn’t need to train that much for a little 5K.  HA (insert the word “naive” here again)!  That 5K is going to be a training experience more than an actual 5K run.

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Since I’m doing the 13 in 13 Challenge I need to get to training.  I already have 3 races in January, and I plan on getting in running shape for those.  So, it is time for me to put my big girl running panties on and get to it.  I’m actually going to train for running.  My plan is to start out with the walk for 2 minutes and run for 3 minutes.  Hopefully that will go well, and I will be able to move on from there.

In the grand picture, I’m looking forward to training the right way and the progress that goes along with it.  Here is to becoming a better runner!!  I hope all you beginners out there join me by starting out running too!  We can be each others cheerleaders (and gripe with each other tooWinking smile)!!!  Are there any newer runners out there?  If so, how are your runs going?

Since I’m also working on my core strength for my upcoming trip to Florida, (to train for aerial silks and hammock yoga) I’m doing more core work during the week.  In the theme of 300 workouts that I have posted earlier, here is a 300 rep core/abdominal workout!  Remember to stretch afterwards!!

300 Core Workout

The Last Week…Till January

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past few months, then you know how much I have been loving Tina’s Best Body BootCamp.  I have loved all of our workouts, and I really see quite a difference in my muscle tone and strength.

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Tina Reale has came up with a great 8 week workout program! I was lucky enough to have met Tina ages ago, and I can tell you that she is the real deal. Not only is she an amazing trainer she is also an amazing and caring person, and she wants to see everyone succeed.  Did I mention that she is great at kicking my butt!?!

Sadly this upcoming week is our last week of Best Body Bootcamp.  I’m not happy about it ending, but there is another Best Body Bootcamp starting back up on January 7, 2013!!!!  Guess who has already signed up?  Yup that’s right…I have.  I’m totally in love with Tina’s workouts, and I’m already excited about all the new workouts Tina will have for us, and the great shape I’m going to be in!  Registration is currently open till December 31st for the next round of Tina’s Best Body Bootcamp, and I highly suggest you sign up too.

It is only $25, and you get great workouts for every week!!  Where can you go wrong?  Not only do you get 8 weeks worth of amazing workouts you can do at home…you get huge cash prizes! At the end of the 8 weeks there will be five $1000 cash prizes! Then each week there will be a $100 cash prize! The prizes are determined/based on your consistency and commitment to staying active and achieving personal health and fitness goals of your choosing. This is NOT about who loses the most weight/inches or looks “the best” in progress photos. It IS about staying committed to better choices and habits, challenging yourself, and making a lifestyle change for the better.

Here is an overview of how the program works:

  • Every two weeks, Tina emails everyone in the group new workouts with detailed instructions and links to online videos to watch in case you’re unsure about how to do certain exercises.  Tina also offers modifications of each exercise in case you need an easier version of the exercise or a harder version of the exercise.  About 90% of the workouts can be done in the comfort of your own home using free weights and stability balls.  If it is an exercise that calls for a machine at the gym, Tina gives you an at-home version of the exercise in case you cannot go to the gym.

My advice is for you to sign up today!!  It will be a great post Christmas gift to yourself, that will keep giving for the 2 months to followSmile

Virtual Fun Run for Children!!!

Boy have I got something for your kids!!!  A virtual run with fun bling for our children!!!  Both boys and girls will love these 3 fun medals, and this is a great way to keep our kids excited about fitness during the winter months.  My son is already registered and beyond excited about running for another medal.  For all of you running the 13 in 13 this is a great opportunity for our kids to be out there having fun and setting their own running goals for 2013!

The Kid’s Fun Run is hosted by FUNd Run 4 Bling.  The entry fee is only $10, and all the proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The distance is up to your and your child (you know what they can and cannot handle running wise).  Sandra always mails out the medals as soon as she gets them, and you do not have to post your time or pic in order to recieve your medal.  However, she would love it if you did post something about your run (pic too) on the FUNd Run 4 Bling Facebook Page.

FUNd Run 4 Bling will also host several more virtual runs throughout the year of 2013.  I know my son is already waiting to sign up for the next oneSmile!

How Did It Get Here So Fast!?!

This week has been absolutely chaotic for our family.  All of us have had something to go to every day and evening.  Therefore, it was no surprise that I ran out of clean socks yesterday morning.  I ended up having to wear my son’s socks to the gym, and change into an extra pair I had in my locker.  Thankfully my husband and son still had plenty of clean clothing.  One of these days I’m going to get all the laundry caught up…I’m just not sure when.  Is there a mom out there who has ever been able to stay caught up on laundry?  If so, please share your secret, because it is starting to get out of control here.

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With our busy week I somehow thought that the holidays were farther away than they really are.  We are a half Jewish half Catholic household, so December can get pretty busy with Hanukkah and Christmas all in one month.  Somehow, I thought I had more time to prepare for Hanukkah…I don’t.  Hanukkah starts tomorrow evening at sundown, and I don’t even have the potatoes for the latkes!!!  What kind of Jew have I become!?!  I will be making a mad dash to the grocery store after I teach my spinning class to stock up on all the food for our Hanukah feast!   I’m planning on brisket, latkes, garlic grits, roasted veggies, and baked blueberry glazed doughnuts!  I’ll post all the recipes soon!

This year I’m going to bake doughnuts instead of frying them.  Jelly filled doughnuts are a Hanukah tradition in most Jewish households.  This year I’m going to make baked blueberry glazed doughnuts, in an attempt to try to make the holidays a bit healthier.  I found a great recipe at the Country Cleaver blog.  This actually looks like a delicious and somewhat healthy (it is as healthy as a doughnut can get) doughnut.  The recipe even uses Greek yogurt!

Blueberry doughnuts

I do have the menorah out, polished, and ready to go!  At least I can get that part done.Smile

In the meantime, here is the treadmill workout I’ll be doing before I workout with Rita and teach my spinning class.
30 Minute Treadmill Hills with Runs

Workout Wednesday

I hope everyone is having a great week!

I have had a great week except for the at-home exercise department.  My dear sweet dog Hank has been thwarting my workout efforts more than usual this week.  I had to spend about 15 extra minutes just moving him away from my workout zone yesterday.  Hank has never liked me exercising at home, and he has always felt the need to force me to stop.  If I’m on my spinning bike, he will bark at me.  If I’m doing push-ups or planks he will crawl underneath me and roll on his back.  If I’m doing an exercise while standing, he will lay on my feet.  And, if I’m doing concentration curls he will crawl under my legs and lay down, as you can see below.  He is not neglected either.  This boy gets a ton of cuddle and play time everyday.  I really have no idea why he hates me exercising so much.  Do any of you have furbutts that do not like it when you exercise at home, or am I the only one?

Hank

Since everyone was really getting into the virtual races after my last post, I figured I would continue to list others that I come across.  You can also check out my 13 Races in 2013 page…I will have the races posted that I have signed up for, and a big chunk of the winter ones will be virtual races.  Here is another virtual race with awesome medals:

FUNd Run 4 Bling is having a Princess or Fairy in Training Run starting in January.  Earn some PRINCESS bling – Princess In Training!! Or FAIRY in Training bling 🙂 princess in trainingThe proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
INCLUDED WITH REGISTRATION IS:
the medal for the race you registered for
matching digital photo
run bib(s)
temporary tattoo – will run 4 bling
prizes
There is a 5/10km option or if you need motivation for a long run there is a 10 mile option!!
You can register for one, two or all 4 . Registration is limited to 50 of each. You will get an actual medal in the mail.

tink in training

I’ve decided to post a new workout every Wednesday, making it Workout Wednesdays.  I will still post other workouts during the week, but Wednesday will always be a workout post day.  Today is the elliptical workout I will do this evening at the gym…This elliptical workout focuses on strength with a few sprints thrown in to give your endurance a boost!  Feel free to add an incline for an extra challenge!  Remember to stretch afterwardsSmile
30 Min Elliptical