A Visit to the Glazer Children’s Museum

The first day of Staycation? A BIG SUCCESS! It’s wasn’t the most “relaxing” day, but oh we made some great memories.

The kids and I headed out early toward Tampa (about an hour away) for our first visit to the Glazer Children’s Museum. I had gotten a deal on Living Social a while back, and Staycation seemed like the perfect time to use it. We fell in love with this museum the moment we walked in the door!

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The downstairs area has an amazing waterplay feature. The Mini Athlete especially loved rolling a ball down this track that went up and over a replica of the Sunshine Skyway. Another thing you’ll notice in the photo above is the FABULOUS windows in this place – so much sunlight!

They had all sorts of things set up that taught kids about how water flows – and the Mini Athlete couldn’t get enough of it.

 

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We headed up stairs, and started in the “Design and Build” area – specifically designed for little ones 3 and under.

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There were so many things to discover! I loved this little garden area they had set up…

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And the Mini Athlete loved dressing up like a construction worker.

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Everything in this area really engaged the kids’ imagination.

After a while, we moved on and explored the other areas. There were areas for art, a restaurant, a vet’s office, a firehouse, a doctor’s office…and PUBLIX!

The Mini Athlete absolutely lit UP in this area. He always goes grocery shopping with me and loved that everything was his size. He probably could have stayed in this area all day!

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Another awesome area? The performance stage. They had music and lights and different draperies to set scenes. He loved dressing up and performing for us.

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Almost everything in the museum was perfect for the Mini Athlete’s size. Little Miss enjoyed a lot of activities too, but it seemed prime age would be 3-5 years old.

They did have this awesome climbing apparatus that was just a little too big for the Mini Athlete – give him a few more months and he will be climbing all over it.

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I could not be more impressed with this museum. If you have little kids in the area (or if you’ll be visiting Tampa soon) be sure to check it out! I’m even toying with the idea of getting an annual family membership – it’s only $100.

We left around 2:30pm – WAY past the kiddos naptimes. Little Miss fell asleep in the stroller and the Mini Athlete wanted to be carried. No big deal right? No big deal unless you forget where you parked and end up roaming up and down three parking garage ramps while holding a 3 year old and pushing a stroller. Oof.

Monday nights are our weekly running night – we meet up with some folks at the Daquiri Deck 5k each week. I honestly planned to walk last night. The 30 Day PiYo Challenge started yesterday so I knew I still had to get my DVD done when we got home. And running with an extra 60 pounds from two toddlers in the stroller isn’t easy.

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But…let’s just say that the Mini Athlete might be a little competitive. He HATES walking when he sees people running in front of us. And so he SCREAMS at me the whole time to RUN. Walking breaks? Not an option. Unless you want an earful from Coach Mini. I turned around at the 1 mile mark (I’m not quite up for a full 5k pushing them yet) and headed back toward the start. This invoked more screams from the Mini Athlete. Apparently the kid already understand the importance of staying on the race course.

Thankfully, it’s an out and back course so my sweet husband took over on his way back.

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I tried to stick with him for a while, but even when he is pushing the stroller, he is WAY faster than me.

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And THEN…I came home and did my first PiYo DVD. The Challenge has begun! There are 13 of us in the group (almost all blog readers!) and I love the accountability already. Motivating and inspiring others is my favorite part about doing this - I’m already looking forward to creating more Challenge Groups in the future.

I have some folks who might be interested in starting another PiYo Challenge at the beginning of September, and there is some interest in doing one based around the T25 workouts (a great workout if you’re short on time since they are only 25 minutes). If you want me to keep you posted about those future groups, shoot me an email at calliecowan (at) gmail.com.

Speaking of accountability…it’s time for me to go do my PiYo DVD on this lazy day of Staycation. Or maybe I’ll take a nap first. :)

Speaking of motivation – I’ve been looking for some great fitness-related quotes to motivate the people in my PiYo Challenge. What’s a great one you’ve heard lately? 

 

 

 

 

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Staycation Suggestions

See that smile on my face?

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That’s the smile of a girl who walked out the door of her office and into TWO straight weeks of vacation!

It’s actually my first vacation since I came back from maternity leave after having Little Miss. It’s been a long time coming! But when you work at a small non-profit, it’s hard to ever find the time. Finally, my Board basically gave me the ultimatum and told me I had no choice but to take at least two consecutive weeks off. I wasn’t going to fight them on it. :)

Instead of going away, I decided just to take a “staycation”. I live in paradise anyway (I’m about 5 minutes away from the Gulf of Mexico and beautiful beaches) so why not just take some time to enjoy it? I have a few things planned to do with the kids, and then plan to have some “me” days too.

That’s where I need your help. If you were able to have a “staycation”, what would you do? I don’t want to get to the end of two weeks and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. But I also don’t want to schedule every minute. There are a few projects I’d like to do around the house, and I want to spend some time working on some recipes since I’m normally too busy to cook.

But I also want to spend some time reading at the beach. I’m planning to head to the library and find some good reads – what books are you loving lately? When it comes to fiction, I don’t like anything too dark, but too light sometimes bores me. I also really like non-fiction books, especially something motivational or inspiring.

Other than that, I’m not sure what these two weeks will hold. But I’m looking forward to some rest and relaxation

What would you do if you were able to have a two-week “staycation”? Any book suggestions for me?

 

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Excited About a Fresh Start

Look what came in the mail last night!

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We were both pretty excited.

I have been longing for a “plan” for so long. If you’ve ever trained for a race, there’s a sense of security in a training plan. You know what to do and when.

That’s why I get so excited looking at this – a plan!

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It tells you which workout to do on which day – and includes rest days. The workouts are between 20-45 minutes in length…I have high hopes for being able to fit them into my busy schedule.

Oh and it comes with an eating plan too. Lots of suggestions for “eating clean.” Abs are made in the kitchen, right?

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I’m excited to add Shakeology into my life. My mornings are SO crazy busy getting myself and both toddlers out the door on time for me to get to work. It will be nice to not have to give any thought to what I’m having for breakfast! Not to mention the nutritional value. Let’s just say there are more than a few days when I look back over the past 24 hours and realize that NO veggies have been consumed. Oops. No wonder I have digestive issues. That’s what made me even try Shakeology in the first place – the fact that it makes you “regular”. And I’m sure this is TMI, but this girl could sure use some help in that department if-you-know-what-i-mean.

But the part I’m probably most excited about? The fact that several blog readers have taken the plunge to join the “Back to School” PiYo Challenge Group. There is something inspiring about doing fitness journeys TOGETHER. That’s why the only time I stuck with a running plan is when I was running with my best friend and our running group. Life is meant to be lived TOGETHER. Fitness journeys are better when we do them TOGETHER. That’s why we all read healthy living blogs at all, right? I can’t wait to get to know these readers better and see their transformations over the next 30 days. I’ve said it time and time again – accountability is key!

And FYI…if you’re sitting there thinking, “Oh that sounds amazing. I want in on that…” Don’t worry! There are still a few spots left in the PiYo Challenge Group – email me at calliecowan {at} gmail.com  if you want more information. Just don’t put it off because this particular Challenge starts MONDAY!

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Sidenote: Several readers have asked me if they have to buy Shakeology to do the Challenge. Nope! Do I think it will help you get the results you want? Absolutely. But it’s not a requirement. Email me…I’ll fill you in on all the details.

It feels good to be excited about something fitness-related again. It has re-energized me on so many levels…including blogging. I’ve actually joined a team of coaches that includes several bloggers, and being part of it has reinvigorate my desire to blog. It’s hard to have a blog called “The Wannabe Athlete” when you haven’t been doing a whole lot of “athletic” things. :) I can’t wait to get started on this program! I’m actually having some local friends over on Saturday so we can do one of the DVDs together…again, strength in numbers. You’re part of this journey too. I promise to share with you the good, the bad and the (non-TMI) ugly. :) Thanks for coming along for the ride!

What motivates you to get a fresh start when you hit a rut in your fitness journey? 

 

Disclosure: As I’ve mentioned, I am an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. This means that I am an independent distributor for Beachbody, and I make a 25% commission on any Beachbody product that you purchase through me or my blog. To find out more about how you can become an Independent Team Beachbody Coach and earn 25% commission on Beachbody products, not to mention the discount you receive on Beachbody products that you purchase, email me at calliecowan {at} gmail.com. Thanks!

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3 Ways to Improve Your Posture

Confession: I have terrible posture.

I think I have good posture – until I see a photo of myself. Can anyone relate?

Case in point:

posture1A friend took this picture a few weeks ago – and I have to say it kinda depressed me when I saw it. We were having an awesome time. But my slumped shoulders? My stomach sticking out? Not exactly the look I want to portray.

The first thing it did was inspire me to start getting my eating and fitness under control and I’m happy to report I’ve lost five pounds over the past three weeks. It’s amazing how much of a difference five pounds makes!

But there’s no diet plan for better posture.

So how can we improve it?

1) Strength

So many times, poor posture can be related to poor muscle tone. When our muscles are weak, we compensate in ways that often result in poor posture. Want to see something crazy? My shoulders are two different heights. See what I mean?

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I have slight scoliosis, but a little research taught me that having an elevated shoulder is often a result of poor muscle strength, especially in the muscles below your chest – the ones that run from your ribs to your shoulder blades. Who knew? Yet another argument for strength training…

2) Flexibility 

When our muscles get tense, our posture can get out of whack. It’s so important to not just be strong, but stay strong AND flexible. Workouts like yoga, Pilates or PiYo, help increase flexibility while still building strength.

Even simple stretches will help. If you work in an office job like I do, it’s so easy to end up with slumped shoulders. There are so many stretches you can do, even at your desk, that will help with posture. This blog post shows a few, including this one which is one of my favorites:

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Take a few minutes to stretch your back and shoulders. It will make a big difference in your posture!

3) Confidence

Have you ever noticed that people you perceive as “confident” and tend to have great posture? Presidents. Movie stars. Successful business people.

There is something about someone who walks into a room with her head held high. Conversely, someone with slumped shoulders doesn’t exactly exude confidence.

In fact, the Association for Psychological Science summarized it this way:

New research suggests that posture plays an important role in determining whether people act as though they are really in charge. The research finds that “posture expansiveness,” or positioning oneself in a way that opens up the body and takes up space, activates a sense of power that produces behavioral changes in a person independent of their actual rank or hierarchical role in an organization. (Source)

So before you walk into that next staff meeting, that next blind date, or that next job interview – straighten those shoulders. Exude confidence. Hold your head up high. Because I think this is a pretty true quote:

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I know posture is something I need to work on, and I’m excited to see how doing this 30 Day PiYo Challenge is going to help with that. Because let me tell you, the “Before” photos I took yesterday showed that uneven shoulder, and slumped shoulders more than I ever realized. I’m thankful for the reality check – now to do something about it!

Do you struggle with poor posture? What ways have you found to improve it? 

PS: There is still time to get in on the PiYo Challenge – email me at calliecowan{at}gmail{dot}com if you’re interested!

 

 

 

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Easy One Pot Meal: Veggie Pasta

 

Fact: I am not a cook.

My thought process for “meal planning” usually goes something like this: I walk out the door of work, get in my minivan and realize, “Uhoh. I have no idea what we’re having for dinner.”

Can anyone relate?

I’ve seen some recipes for “one pot pasta” pop up on Pinterest so I decided to give my own version a try – using this one and this one for inspiration.

Shopping List:

  • Grape tomatoes (I had some fresh on hand, but canned would be fine)
  • Frozen broccoli
  • Onion
  • Garlic (4 cloves)
  • Spaghetti noodles (1 box)
  • Veggie broth (4 cups)

I enlisted the help of the Mini Athlete to break the spaghetti noodles in half and throw them in a pot. He loves to help me make dinner - and I love finding easy ways to include him.

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I cut the grape tomatoes in half, threw in some frozen broccoli, chopped up some onion, minced some garlic, and poured in the veggie broth. Super easy. I added a little bit of black pepper and basil to the mix and put it on the stove.

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I covered the pot and brought it to boiling – then reduced it to a simmer, stirring every 2 minutes or so for about 15-20 minutes. All the broth ended up being soaked up by the noodles.

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I love that it didn’t require much attention. Basically just throw it all in and then BOOM! You have dinner!

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Now that’s MY kind of meal!

I did find myself wishing I had some shrimp on hand to throw in. My husband doesn’t think a meal is complete without meat and that would have been an easy way to keep everyone happy.

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The kids sure didn’t seem to mind though. They loved it! Especially Little Miss. Can you tell?

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So the next time you’re wondering what to make for dinner, I highly recommend this quick and easy meal. You’re definitely not limited to the veggies I used – use whatever you have on hand.

What’s your favorite meal when you’re in a time crunch? 

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Rays Game with the Mini Athlete

Last Sunday, the Mini Athlete and I had a rare mother/son date – at a baseball game!

He has been really into baseball lately and I’ve been itching to take him to a game. We only live an hour away from the stadium, so it’s not a tough trip. I just hadn’t figured out the timing – until my best friend mentioned she had two extra tickets to the next day’s game, and she would give them to us for free. SOLD!

We got there early and walked down beside the dugout. I’ve been to enough games to see that’s the best chance for getting autographs – but I’ve never tried to get down there myself. I couldn’t believe we got right up next to the field!

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At the last minute, I had thrown some sharpies in my bag – and I’m so glad I did. We were able to get three players to sign the Mini Athlete’s hat! Including Matt Joyce…well, helllooooooo…

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As it got closer to first pitch, we headed up to our seats. Not exactly as close – but he was still all smiles!

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We watched a few innings up in the stands, and my heart melted when this little guy said he wanted to hold my hand. Anytime, son. Forever.

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Despite how much he loves baseball, he got a little restless. We went exploring and saw all that Tropicana Field has to offer. One of the coolest things? The Rays touch tank! You can see that the Mini Athlete was pretty excited – this photo was take right as he said, “OOOH! A BIG ONE!”

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We went back and watched the game until it was time to head down to get in line to go on the field. Go on the field for what, you ask?

An IMAGINATION MOVERS concert! We were about five rows back which is pretty crazy exciting when you’re three years old. Apparently.

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What a day. I love this little boy.

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Life flies by way too quickly. I’m so thankful for these special moments and special days I get to spend with my little ones.

Tell me about something you did recently with someone you love – do you like to do something special, or just spend time together doing nothing?

 

 

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Back to School PiYo Challenge

I’ve talked about accountability on this blog time and time again. It is SO important to creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I know when I’m lacking accountability, I falter. But when I’m being encouraged and motivated by others, I keep going. I stay focused.

In fact, my favorite thing to do is motivate and inspire others. That’s kinda been the theme of this blog all along – to take those of us who feel like “wannabe athletes” and help us find a healthier, more athletic version of ourselves. I find I am healthiest and most motivated when I am motivating others to be healthy.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, (or read my recent post) you know I’ve been loving PiYo. In fact, I went again last night – the room was packed!

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Our local gym offers a live class two days a week and I’m now planning my schedule around it. It’s that good. But…my schedule at work is about to get a lot busier. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it all the time.

So I decided to order the DVDs to do it at home. Confession: I’ve never been good at committing to doing dvds at home. It’s that lack of accountability thing. “No one will notice if I just turn it off halfway through…right?” Please tell me I’m not the only one. This is why I’ve never tried p90x or Insanity or all the other things that I’ve seen people do.

I think PiYo is different. Why? First of all, I can do it without wearing shoes. Don’t ask me why, but I absolutely hate working out in my living room with tennis shoes on. Maybe it’s the carpet factor? I don’t know. I don’t like it. Second, the workouts are only 25-45 minutes long. I can do that.

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But I know accountability is still the key. It probably is for you too.

If you’ve been feeling stuck in a rut, if you need some accountability, if you just need a fresh start, I want you to consider joining my “Back to School PiYo Challenge.” It will be a refreshing 30 days of accountability, motivation and CHANGE. Summer can be a hard time for consistency in our workouts. Too many bbq’s and ice cream cones don’t help. I always loved the start of a new school year – fresh notebooks, new pencils, everything shiny and bright. Why not do that for yourself? Maybe you’re a teacher about to go back to the classroom – this is a great way to start the school year off right and get yourself in a healthy routine. Maybe your kids are going back to school after a summer at home – you know how important it is to get into a healthy routine and stick with it. Or maybe no one in your life is going “back to school” – that’s okay. Give yourself a fresh start.

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If you’re interested, shoot me an email at calliecowan {at} gmail {dot} com or leave a comment below and I get get you more details. Or you can sign up directly HERE. I have officially joined Beach Body as a coach (working with fellow blogger Madeline!) and I’m excited about using this tool to keep motivating people. Oh and if you’re a blogger who is interested in this whole Beach Body thing, let me know – Madeline and I are excited about bringing the whole “blogger” angle to this coaching thing. I’ll write in another post about why I decided to become a Coach (and no, it’s not to make millions or retire from the job I LOVE). It’s to motive others and at the same time give myself the motivation to live the healthy life I want to live.

PS: If you sign up TODAY (before midnight on July 31) you can get a pretty big discount on the Challenge Pack. You know me – I’m all about saving money! 

The accountability group will officially start on August 11 and I’m excited to see the changes ahead. The piece of this that excites me the most? Doing it TOGETHER. I don’t have this all figured out. I’m not some super fitness model. I’m a busy, working mom who just wants to lead a healthier life and motivate others to do the same. I hope you’ll think about joining us!

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Don’t Let the Obstacles Win

I’ve been thinking a lot today about obstacles – those things that hold us back from living the life we want to live. We all have them. We all succumb to them. But often that excuse or obstacle only has as much power as we are willing to give it.

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Far too often, our biggest obstacle to living a healthy life is – ourselves. The very thing we want to improve is the thing that holds us back! We can be our own worst enemy.

Is your obstacle “time” – or lack thereof? I hear you. When life gets busy, when our schedule gets busy, the first thing to go is the time we take to care for ourselves. If you’re a mom like me, guilt starts building up. I can’t go to the gym – I need to spend time with my kids. I should do this, instead of that. No matter how busy you are, I would challenge you to really look at your schedule this week and chart how you’re spending your time – just like how you might track what you eat. Where are you spending your time? Is there time that you’re currently wasting in front of the TV or scrolling through Instagram that could be used toward bettering yourself? Or is there a way to capitalize on your time – spending time with the kids by going for a walk with them, or running around the park with them?

Is your obstacle “money” – or lack thereof? I’m right there with you. When money is tight, it’s hard to “splurge” on things like a gym membership or healthy foods. But again – I challenge you to track your spending. Find out where there is something that can be cut for something that can be gained. What if we focused on investing in our health the way we focus on investing in other things in our lives? Does it feel selfish to spend money on our health? Sometimes. It’s a tough investment because we can’t point to it like we can the new dress in our closet or the car in our driveway. Investing in our health feels much less tangible – but at the same time, it is so incredibly important.

Is your obstacle yourself? Is it emotional eating? Mindless eating? Been there. Let me introduce you to the big bag of tortilla chips that often find themselves sitting in my lap at 10pm as my husband and I binge watch Scandal on Netflix. It’s a battle. It’s a struggle.

But you’re worth it.

You’re worth overcoming those obstacles. We only get one shot at this life – what do you want yours to look like? One of defeat, giving in to the obstacles? Or one that overcomes them?

Here’s the great (and yet somehow scary) thing about that – only YOU get to decide.

You have to wake up every day and decide if the obstacles will win, or if you will. 

Who will win today?

What are the biggest obstacles you face on your journey to a healthier lifestyle?

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My First PiYo Experience

It seems like a PiYo craze has been sweeping the blogging world. Some of my favorite bloggers (like Katy and Katrina) are teaching PiYo, and since I don’t live close enough to check out their classes, I wanted to try one here.

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Honestly? I wasn’t sure what I was getting into.  I figured it was a mix of Pilates and yoga…but I’ve also heard that’s a little misleading. Other posts I’ve read made it sound more like dance – which freaked me out. I’m not a dancer. At ALL.

So I showed up to the YMCA after work, not really sure what to expect. That was pretty obvious since I wore shoes – and everyone else walked in in their flip flops. Oops.

The room filled up – pretty full actually. The ladies beside me were there for the first time. That immediately made me feel better. I hate going to a class where it seems like everyone knows the drill…except me. Newbies unite!

For the next hour we did more squats and lunges than I knew were possible. We did some yoga poses – warrior, sun salutations, etc  - and many of the strength moves were familiar. But they were done in a whole different way. It flowed with the music. It flowed from one to the next. The hour flew by.

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I didn’t bring water. That was a mistake. So was not bringing a towel. I sweat more than I did at one of my recent kickboxing classes.

And yet, I never got out of breath. I never felt like I was going to pass out. And things moved so quickly that I never got that awful shaking feeling that comes when you have to hold a squat for too long.

My butt started hurting before I got to my car. My quads started aching when I got home. Walking is going to be interesting tomorrow. I will definitely not be wearing high heels.

I think I’m hooked.

I loved that it is high intensity without being high impact. You might remember that I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – a connective tissue disorder. I have to be really careful to take care of my joints and build strength around them. Things like running and kickboxing probably aren’t the best for someone with this disorder. Oops.

But PiYo? PiYo is a great option for someone like me. High intensity, low impact. It builds strength around the joints, and it doesn’t put them in danger. Our gym offers the class two days a week and I’m already looking forward to Friday. (And no, I’m not getting compensated in any way for writing this post – I just enjoyed it and hope you will too!)

Have you tried PiYo? 

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Getting (Back) Into the Running Groove

I ran yesterday. I ran today.

I can’t remember the last time that happened.

My husband got up with our little one in the middle of the night on Saturday night, so I offered to take them out for a jog so he could sleep in a little bit on Sunday morning. I loaded up my little buddies in the Double BOB stroller and headed out.

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I walked more than I ran, but I covered three miles. About halfway through, I came across these chairs on the side of the road, waiting for trash pick up. I wanted them. I neeeeeeded them. But I knew I shouldn’t wake my husband up to ask him to come get them. So I continued on. Everytime I wanted to walk, I’d say to myself, “Must keep going! Must get the chairs before someone else does!” Great motivation! I drove back and picked them up. I’m thinking about recovering them in a bright, fun fabric – just need to find out what that will look like! Suggestions?

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Tonight we headed down to our weekly Daquiri Deck 5k. We decided to switch things up tonight, so my husband headed out with the stroller. Even pushing two toddlers (weighing about 30 lbs each), that man is FAST!

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I covered the whole distance this time (from Daquiri Deck to the South Jetty and back) – total distance was 3.44 miles. And it was HOT. Brutally hot.

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Yes, I averaged 11:16 minute miles – I”m pretty proud of that!

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The view wasn’t too shabby either. I love living in paradise.

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The only downside? I was so excited to receive a new pair of running shoes in the mail today as a gift from Asics (I’ll be reviewing them soon on the blog) that I made the rookie mistake of wearing brand new shoes to a race. Oops. I have more than a few blisters to show for my run. That being said – I think I’m really going to love these shoes. They just need a little more breaking in.

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The Mini Athlete was pretty upset that he didn’t get to race tonight, so when we got home, he and Daddy ran races around the house. What a dad.

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Little Miss? She just wanted to pick flowers….

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My little cutie.

I don’t have any plans to run again this week (hoping to fit in at least one kickboxing class in the midst of a busy schedule) but I’m hoping I might squeeze one in. I’m thinking it might be time to sign up for a race…I may have finally gotten my groove back!

When is your next race? How do you get yourself back into the running groove after a long hiatus? Have you ever found anything on the side of the road while running – or driving for that matter?

 

 

 

 

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