Thursday, February 28, 2013

Post Race Day Four & Cleanse Prep

Four days out from the race, and I'm half way back to "normal". I say "normal" because my "normal" will never be the same again. I still feel like the baddest chick in town. If you're considering doing the half marathon, stop thinking and start doing. STILL on a high. Mentally I feel, I'm on top of the world right now, but physically my legs are saying  hold up swole up we need a breather.

My first post-race run? Terrible, but it got done. I took it super slow, my calves/hips/quads felt tight, but I foam rolled for a good 20 minutes post run. I decided to switch up my Thursday work out schedule. I found out Wednesday night that one of my favorite trainers is doing a kick butt weight lifting to exhaustion class tonight and I want in. Instead of starting Thursday with weight training, I started with cardio. I had planned a fairly intense walk/run routine however, my legs just ain't ready. This morning I focused on walking/slow jog incline treadmill work. I had planned to try this new treadmill routine from PB Fingers, while mentally I'm ready for a speed work out my legs need some more time to catch back up. Instead I did a 35 minute incline speed walk/ jog work out that left me feeling super challenged and uber sweaty. It went something like this...

One Minute Warm Up Speed 3.5 Incline 3
One Minute per incline at 4.0 from 3.5-8
Two Minute Intervals increasing incline 9-12 at 4.5
Two Minute Intervals 10 Speed 5.0
Decreasing Incline at 4.0 8-6
Two Minute Intervals at 5.0 Incline 6
Decreasing Incline at 4.5 6-3
Cool Down at Incline 3 at 4.0

I wrapped that up with upside down bosu ball squats and core work. I'll try another incline treadmill run Friday morning with my next recovery run scheduled Saturday. My favorite ab move as of late- the hang and twist, 15 leg ups per side, yes it's difficult and guess what?! It WORKS!


Who else is AMPED to start the Advocare 10 day herbal cleanse on Monday?! I've received so many questions about the cleanse but really it's quite simple. Just order the supplement, follow the meal plan it comes with, lose a few lbs, feel energized, and get to working on your next goal! Lucky for all of us, Kassie has already started the cleanse, and is keeping updating on all the tips and tricks to success! Be sure and follow her posts here. Skinny Meg and Mama Laughlin also hosted a link up yesterday for cleanse recipe ideas which you can check out here. It's basically getting easier and easier for those of us starting the cleanse next week! Ain't nothing wrong with a little shameless copy!

Food I am currently obsessed with- Target's stuffed tilapia and stuffed Salmon. Check out my straight up don't ya wish your dinner was yum like me- don't ya meal I had Wednesday night. Stuffed tilapia, cauliflower mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli. SO GOOD!



Hope you're all having a full on fabulous week! I am so ready for spring- and some color in my wardrobe. Time to go shop-ping! (sing the ping it's more fun that way)



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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Aches, Pains, & Half Recovery

Good morning! WHOA it's already Wednesday, I am loving this week! I'm still physically recovering from my first half marathon run this past weekend.  On Race Day, I really expended all of my energy and effort into that run that day. Which is what any runner will tell you they do on the day of a race. Save the big energy for the actual race. My legs are super sore and I'm definitely waking up in the morning walking like a Thriller video extra, however, it does get better through out the day. I'm a little nervous about my planned three mile recovery run this evening. I know it won't feel great, but it's something I need to do in order to move forward in recovery.  Throughout training each short run following a long run has been slow and difficult, but making myself complete these runs helped not only with physical strength but also mental endurance. The brain plays a big a factor in a long run as shoes, music, and breathing.

Tuesday night was my first post half work out, and much to my surprise, it felt absolutely fantastic! I completed 30 minutes on the stair master and 35 minutes on the elliptical trainer focusing on low impact activities in an effort to give my legs some recovery time. I worked on upper body and core strength training in between rounds of cardio.

The truth about running and my body-
Any runner will tell you that running comes with aches and pains. The body absorbs three times it's weight with each step on the pavement, over time,  that continuous pounding will add up. I have noticed with increasing mileage, especially in the last few weeks, that my body has become better adjusted to these long runs and with time, that endurance level will continue to increase. One thing I haven't talked much about on the blog is how heavily I relied on anti-inflammatory medication to complete half training and reach my goals. I was taking 4 Motrin two afternoons per week before short runs, four Motrin the evening before a long run, and four Motrin the mornings of the long run. The sore tight feeling in my legs, has been a nearly a constant. Training for a long run like this really takes a toll on the body. I'm not sure if my leg soreness is more or less than others, or if it's just not something people talk a whole lot about. I don't want to feel dependent on any type of medication, even if it's just Motrin/ Ibuprofen  so I opted to stop taking the anti inflammatory post half, at least for a week or so. Things that have helped me with leg soreness- losing the high heels. I've been avoiding them at all costs. Stretching my hips and calves. The hip that I injured last summer has never felt like it made a full recovery, but I've been working on strengthening and stretching. Don't skip out on stretching after a run or during training. Another thing I wish someone would have reminded me to do before the race- trim your toe nails down to nubs.I forgot to do this before the half and I am paying for it now!

Low impact recovery activity and, during training, Motrin was my very best friend. My body does feel like it is finally becoming accustomed to all the high mileage I've worked up and I do not want to back down as I'll need to do rack up more mileage to train for the full. I'm taking it one day at a time at present, sans the Motrin. I don't want to scare anyone with this post, the good far outweighs the bad, but running does come with aches and pains. It is fact, it is what it is.

In other news, so many of you are excited about the 10 day herbal cleanse! I'm super pumped to get going with it on Monday, March 4th! Be sure and place your order with with Kelly Larrow here. I can't wait to get going and hear about every one's amazing results! I'm shooting for five pounds. My last five pounds. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.... 



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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What's Next & Weekly Goals

WOW! All of you continue to amaze me with your support and kind words. Sharing this experience has been right up there with living it. I'm still on a high two days post race. How am I ever going to follow this up?! Run a full Marathon, der!

I revealed in my post yesterday that my husband uses an ap to keep an eye on me when I'm out on the road. It's an extra safety precaution for runs when I'm out running the road alone, and it gives him peace of mind to know that if I'm jamming out to Destiny's Child and get hit by a car he'll know because my dot stops moving. haha No seriously, it's possible that could happen to me. Anywho, he knew which section I was struggling with during the half marathon because my pace decreased from a 9:15 to a 10:30 so he sent me that sweet pick me up text. He's a super star. It's true.


The ap he follows me with is called Find Friends. It's not a running ap but it's free (we love that word) and we only add one another to "track" or "find". This ap also comes in handy if you have a bad habit of leaving your phone in random places- I may have this problem. The ap uses a GPS system to track your phone allowing you to grant permission to other users to track your location. Nothing fancy, but it's incredibly handy!

After the race, there's lots of celebrating going on. Back at our hotel, the lobby bar was hopping at 1pm on a Sunday. The champagne was flowing, beers were thrown around, runners were sharing stories, which spots on the route were most difficult, when did they tap into that feeling, the reason why we all love running. During one of these chats, I met a full Marathon runner names Jesus Silva, Jr. Coincidentally, I'd met Jesus at the start line, he was looking for baggage pick up and I had couldn't help him because I was using Mr. Noel as my pack mule. Jesus is one of the most kind and genuine people I have ever met in my life. Everyone in my run group wanted to talk to Jesus, because turns out he was out accomplishing something pretty incredible. He's running 32 Marathons this year alone. Chocolate Milk is sponsoring him to run the entire Rock N Roll series in addition to other runs.

Jesus is sponsored by Chocolate milk to do all of these runs, and all he has to do is get people to vote for him. Click here to vote for Jesus and keep his story going. You can learn all about his story here as well.


What's Next? Now what am I gonna do? I'm going to run the full Marathon, I just need to decide which race will be my first. I've found I need the super high energy provided by a run like the Rock N Roll series. I may pick one of those to run.  I've got three races planned in March, and I'm going to do the New Orleans Jazz Half in October. I want to get faster. I want to get comfortable in the eight minute mile range. To do that, I need to be stronger. More leg muscle equal more power, oh yeah! 

Also on my to do list, Operation Red Bikini. Don't think for a second I've forgotten about Operation Red Bikini and swim pics. My summer vacation is officially on the books. I'm ready to focus on shedding more fat, increasing muscle, looking, and feeling like a total ACE this summer. Countdown to May 31st continues!

I'm joining the Advocare Cleanse Challenge starting March 4th with Skinny Meg and Mama Laughlin. I got my cleanse from my girl Kelly Larrow. Holler at her if you'd like to join us in the 10 day challenge. I look at it this way, The Advocare Cleanse still allows me to exercise, I've been assured and reassured it won't have me running to the bathroom, Mel lost 8 pounds in ten days, and I trained for and ran a half marathon. I can do anything for 10 days. I'm done playing around with these last few pounds, time to bring out the big guns. Look out goal weight here I come! Cleansing your body and starting fresh is a great way to rejuvenate your goals! I did it with the Shakeology cleanse back in August and I felt a-maz-ing when I finished that cleanse. Plus I gave up carbs and cheese for lent so the eating part won't be difficult for me at all. I'm excited to get going and have superstar results!

Weekly Work Out Goals-

Monday- 
Rest/ Recover

Tuesday-
50 minutes Cross Training and Strength

Wednesday-
3 Mile Recovery Run & Strength

Thursday-
AM Weight Training
Incline Treadmill Work - New Routine from PB Fingers

Friday-
AM Cross Training & Strength

Saturday-
6 Mile Run & Strength

Sunday- Rest

Daily self shot. My outfit today is random, because I have a ton of laundry to do. I may have gone on a random day date to the Zoo and written this blog post instead of doing laundry yesterday. Whoopsies :)


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Monday, February 25, 2013

I've Got the Dreamer's Disease- Half Marathon Number 1

My first half marathon. I will always hold this experience incredibly close to my heart. Even having shared it with so many people, it will always feel incredibly personal and monumental to me. What a weekend. I have to be honest, it got off to a rocky start. Saturday, when something could go wrong it did. Organizing large groups of people is always complicated and can be stressful, and honestly, Saturday was just that. Stressful. BUT I woke up Sunday morning and decided Saturday would not affect Race Day, and guess what? It didn't. Sunday was perfect. The weather during the race could not have been better. No rain. Little wind. It was cool out but not cool enough to need a jacket, the stars really aligned on this day. We booked a hotel on the same block as the start line and all of the Soul Sistas met up in the hotel lobby at 6am. Positive Patty was all up in my kool aid Sunday morning. I woke up with energy, excitement, and tons of enthusiasm. I'm sure it can be annoying at times to be around someone who is just so dang excited and happy but I didn't care. One of the Sole Sistas even had glitter spray to douse everyone with. Happy, excitement, AND literally sparkling. It was going to be an epic day. After 3 months of training, Race Day was finally here! I could not wipe the smile off of my face. I was about to do something HUGE. Something that a very small percentage of the population does in their lifetime, I was about to run a half marathon. Going into the race, I never had any doubts or thoughts of Can I finish? Can I run 13.1 miles? I knew I could do it. I knew I would do it. I felt prepared and confident. My goal was to finish the race under 2:10:00.


I was a little anxious about my start corral. I had been told by other runners to really over estimate my finishing time, as people who walk the race, aren't sure of their finish time, and I may have to dodge slower runners for miles. So I lied when I signed up. I said I thought it would take me 1:45:00 to finish(HA HA) this put me in corral 3, out of twenty something. Woopsies. My run buddy Sabrina did the same, and another friend of mine who runs (ALOT), but he really can run it in 1:45:00. He actually ran the race in 1:58:00...after going out drinking the night before. It was his 7th or 8th half, just a lil 13 mile jog to start the day right?! Cray. It was just the three of us, in corral three, with the serious people. To my surprise, we didn't stand out. The hardest part was containing my emotions at the start. I think someone played the national anthem, there may have been a prayer, Honestly, I wasn't paying attention to anything other than the energy around me. It was buzzing around the air, like you could reach out and grab it, excitement.


A gun went off, and the clock started ticking. Corral number one was released, about a minute later, corral two, and before I could blink five times fast, the crowd began to move. I started my ap, and music filled my ear buds, time to roll. We started off fast, but I was conscience of my speed. My super fast friend shot off before we hit a quarter mile, but I focused not to run to quickly right at the start. Even trying to hold back, my first mile was still my fastest of the day. Sabrina and I ran together for about 9 miles. We fell into a comfortable pace, laughing at different people's signs, and enjoying the experience. We never passed on water taking some at every stop, when we also ate two shot blocks per water stop. I found trying to run and eat and drink to be quite difficult. It wasn't something I practiced during training and I won't make that mistake again. I ended up pausing at several stations to eat my shot blocks and drink water. Let's just say my middle name is not Grace.

The route was crowded. Runners on top of runners. I still had to dodge other people and weave through the crowd, and other people did the same to me, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. At mile 6,  I saw a few girls I went to high school with working the Medical tent, and they cheered so loudly for me I heard my name through the obnoxiously loud music in my ear buds. I was so touched. They gave me a huge boost. I enjoyed the spectators immensely. My favorite signs read Run Like Kenyans- Drink Like Belgians, At least New Orleans is Flat, Look Alive Cemetery Up Ahead, Run Random Stranger Run, YOU CAN DO IT and Chafe Now Wine Later. There was music and constant cheering. My play list ROCKED, the whole run felt, dare I say it...easy. That was until...womp womp womp, miles 10-12. This was the hardest part of the course for me. I started thinking negatively. the sun was baring down on us and it got hot. I had fallen behind Sabrina and was on my own with the road. I was still on pace to complete my goal, but I couldn't shake the negative feelings. I thought about quitting. I even thought about who I would call to pick me up. I asked myself why I wanted to run this half marathon anyway. Why did I want to torture myself like this. My legs hurt. My knees hurt. My lungs hurt. I had blisters all over my right foot and I could feel one of my left toe nails coming loose. It was ugly. I seriously contemplated walking. In the end however...

My pride refused.

At one of the last stops, I drank two Gatorade's just hoping to regain some energy. Miles 10 and 11 were slow for me. Everyone I talked to, even the full marathon runners, said this section of the course was the most difficult. It was a struggle. My husband was following me though an ap, ya know he tracks me when I'm out on the road- ain't nothing bad happening to this girl I tell ya- and he sent me a text, You can do it you're almost there. 

I dug deeper and kept running. I thought about all of my runs previously. The months of training, the races I'd already run, and the girl I used to be. The girl who couldn't run a half mile, a mile, a 5k without walking. The girl who was over weight, self conscience and plagued with self doubt. I thought about all of you and how fortunate I've been to have such a constant stream of positivity backing me through the amazing world of social media. I started counting all of my many blessings. The positive energy started to return. I started to feel good again.

I saw the mile 12 marker. I was almost there. The end would be coming soon and I thought to myself, You can do anything for one mile. One measly mile. Think about all you've already done. Finish Strong!! I picked up the pace and really got to pounding. I couldn't believe my speed was increasing. It started to feel good again. Every step brought me closer to completing the run. The finish line was inside of City Park, when I saw the marker for the park, I started to cry. Every nerve ending in my body felt like a live wire. I suddenly had a burst of energy. I high fived a group of spectators with outstretched hands on the route leading into the park. Then I saw the barricades lining the road. The people. 20,000 runner's loved ones. Cheering. Waving Signs. This was it. This was the moment I had been working towards. I'd made a last minute addition to my playlist the night before. On the drive into New Orleans, I heard Christina's Aguilera and Pitbull's new song Feel This Moment, and I thought, what a great song, I'm adding it to my list. That song was blasting through my ear buds as I powered out the last leg of my first half marathon.

One day when the light is glowing
I’ll be in my castle golden
But until the gates are open
I just wanna feel this moment (ohhh)
I just wanna feel this moment (ohhh)
I just wanna feel this moment
 

I really felt that moment. Every step bringing me closer to the finish line and further from my past. The pride I felt was so intense, I thought surly my heart would burst. The tears were flowing. Full on ugly cry. I saw the finish. I couldn't focus on anything else. Here I was finishing a half marathon. Finishing a half marathon and completing my time goal. All of the hard work, the sacrifice, the aches, pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, learning to love new things, all of it was worth it.



My family and friends were there, My heart waiting for me to complete this journey. It was an incredibly emotional moment. One I always remember and cherish for my entire life. It was the type of moment that every single person should experience in their life time. It was up there in my top five moments in life thus far. I will never forget how amazing it felt. I sprinted out the finish. Hands in the air, tears streaming down my face. I did it!


Official time-



Nike Ap Tracker- It had me over 13.1, everyone's aps seemed to be a little off Sunday



Directly after finishing the race, there was a flurry of activity. People are crying, people are celebrating, people are hugging one another. There are pictures, and people shoving bananas, protein bars, water, power aid, and pretzels at you. I was looking for one thing and one thing only. My medal. At first glance, some people thought they were just handing out Mardi Gras beads, but I knew what was dangling from the end of a seemingly innocuous bead. My medal. I walked right up and grabbed one. I'll take that thank you!


My Aunt and Uncle found me first, I didn't even know they were coming down to watch the finish, I was so touched to see them both. Then came Mr. Noel with the biggest hug I think he's ever given me. It felt like summer, wedding bells, and glitter all wrapped in an embrace. I found my Mom with pride beaming from her face. Hugs all around. My best friend Madeline and her man Pitbull who had videoed my finish and taken the above action shot. My family and friends had made me feel like I'd won the most loved award that day too.

I found my Sole Sistas and run buddies, and we cheered along the barricades to wait for the rest of our group. I felt emotional every time I saw one of them with their eye on the finish. Knowing the intensity of the emotions they were feeling and what those tears symbolized. Pride, self wroth, realizing your potential, the euphoric glory of accomplishment, I will never look at a run the same way.

Then came my dear friend Kate. Who 12 weeks ago had never run a mile and was collectively coerced into training for a half marathon. Her first race...ever. In her life. Kate had been plagued by self doubt, like any new runner, through out this process. Can I do it? Can I do it? Am I crazy to attempt such a big race? I've only ever run 10 how can I run 13.1? I was so proud of her when I saw her running for the finish. We hung on the barricade and yelled and cheered at full volume.  I could see her hitting her own runner's high. We had all done it. We had all run our first half marathon. It wasn't until this morning that the full enormity of our accomplishments fully sunk in. We spent the rest of Sunday eating, laughing, reliving the moments, and drinking in celebration.

Yoyo check out my medal!


We stayed up late, we partied, we plotted our next run. We shared the high. I will always cherish this experience and the people I shared it with. This morning, with sore legs a new Rock N Roll pull over and a my medal still hanging from my neck, I slapped that 13.1 sticker on the bumper of my car with pride. I did it, and I can not wait to do it again. Look out full Marathon. I am coming for you!

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Weekly Weigh In & Rock N Roll Playlist

TGIF TGIF TGIF!!!!!!!!!!!! We made it! The weekend I've been dreaming of, sweating  for, going to bed at 9pm every Friday night for the last three months for, is FINALLY here!! I am so pumped. I will be out of body this weekend. The energy the Sole Sistas are putting off is straight contagious. All of the ladies in my running group are so excited to hit those big bad NOLA streets. The weather looks like it's going to cooperate, we have a game plan, and I feel so prepared to run this race. My goal is to finish under 2:10:00. I KNOW I can do it.

This morning, I got in my last work out before the half. This means my first ever half training is officially over. This morning I met up with two of the Sole Sistas for our last 5am sweat session,  my dear friends Kate and Kat. I got in this treadmill work out from Pinterest and an arms & core routine. I'm so proud of my 12 weeks of training for this race. I never missed a  long run, however I did occasionally rearrange the short runs during the week for speed training, incline work, circuit training, etc. BUT I always made sure to get the miles in. I really feel that is the most important factor in the short runs. I have literally never felt better, yes,  in my entire life. I could not feel more prepared. I followed Hal Higdon's Novice 2 half training program.


Finishing the training feels bitter sweet. While I miss being able to do things socially on Friday evenings, I'm going to miss seeing this group of smiling faces bright and early Saturday morning! I'm sure we'll continue to run on Saturdays just not at 7am for 10 miles, tee hee! Running updates- I've signed up for two more races in March. Yep, already. Gotta keep the running legs moving. I'm doing the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure 5k on March 16th and The Crescent City Classic 10K on March 30th. 

I'm still researching which full marathon I'm going to sign up for. I really don't want to wait a full calendar year to run one (ie Rock N Roll 2014), but the running season in South Louisiana is so short. Basically November-February for Marathons. Does anyone have any recommendations? I'm willing to travel!

The right running music is so essential to my success. I'm that annoying person at the gym blaring their ear buds so loud you can kinda catch what I'm listening to. I like to rock out, music keeps me in the zone! I hand picked each song on my half play list for a very specific reason. It makes me want to dig deep and MOVE!

Rock N Roll Play list

Put the Gun Down- ZZ Ward
What About Us- The Saturdays
Better- K'naan
Feel Again- OneRepublic
If I Lose Myself- OneRepublic
Too Close- Alex Clare
Whistle- Flo Rida
Let's Go (feat. Ne-Yo)- Calvin Harris
Cinema (Skillex Remix)- Benny Benassi
Finale (Original Mis)- Madeon
Cracks (Flux Pavilion Remix) [feat. Belle Humble]- FreeStylers
Survivor- Destiny's Child
Don't Hold Your Breathe- Nicole Scherzinger
We Run the Night (feat. Pitbull)- Havanna Brown
Harlem Shake- Baauer
Hey Porsche (DJ Shocker Remix Radio Edit) - Chani
My Moment (feat. 2 Chainz, Meek Mill and Jeremih) - DJ Drama
Who Says- Selena Gomez & the Scene
Hall of Fame (feat will.i.am)- The Script
Remember When (Push Rewind)- Chris Wallace
Farewell - Rihanna
Look At Her Go (feat Chris Brown)- T-Pain
Catch My Breath- Kelly Clarkson
Your Body- Christina Aguilera
Who's That Chick? (feat Rihanna)- David Guetta
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)- Kelly Clarkson
Loser Like Me (Glee Cast Version)- Glee Cast
Blown Away- Carrie Underwood
Fighter- Christina Aguilera
Don't You Worry Child (Radio Edit) Swedish House Mafia
Va Va Voom- Nicki Minaj
Paris (Ooh La La)- Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Higher (Bonus Track)- Taio Cruz & Travie McCoy
Fight for You- Morgan Page
I Cry- Flo Rida
Miracle- Matisyahu

The weekly weigh-in, I'm up two pounds. Yap, Mardi Gras did catch up with me after all, or maybe it's increased muscle weight. Who knows. The female body is straight cray, but I'm not stressed. I have a post half marathon cleanse in the works to shed this last 5 pounds. Everyone always says the last ten are the most difficult to lose, and that ain't no joke. I knew it was gonna be hard, but I didn't know just how hard reaching goal weight would be. Regardless, I feel trim, toned, strong, and freaking fabulous. That is what matters most! Looks out NOLA, I'm ready to Rock the Roll! WOOP WOOP!!!!!!!!



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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Abs are Made in the Kitchen

Good morning and Happiest of Thursdays to you! We're almost to the weekend and that is something HUGE to smile about :) There's so many new people here today, we need to do a little housekeeping! Be sure and head over and check off a like at Elle Noel on Facebook and a follow on Instagram @ellenoelfitness (lots of over sharing going on over there!)

For those of you just tuning in, I decided to give up bread and cheese for lent. I've been having lots of internal debate over what my exact definition of "bread" will be. I'm mostly concerned with eating carbs Saturday night,before the half marathon. I fueled with carbs before my eleven mile run and it was my strongest run to date. I've decided I will have whole wheat pasta the night before the race, but I'm still going to pass on the cheese. In other news, avoiding bread and cheese is working wonders on my stomach. I feel more toned and tight than ever before! I may have to reevaluate eating bread and cheese after lent as well. Hmmmm Operation Red Bikini is only 99 days away, and I promised swim suit pics. Gotta look fiya, and we all know abs are made in the kitchen!

Here's a look at some of my gluten free/cheese free meals as of late:

Jimmy Dean Turkey Sausage Crumbles & Egg Beaters
Gluten Free Rice Cakes
Subway Double Chicken Spinach Salad with all veggies & Vinegar dressing
Greek Yogurt & Banana
Chocolate Peanut Butter Powder & one cup fruit
Seafood Stuffed Salmon and Steamed Veggies
Messy Lettuce Wrap, Pop Chips, & Fruit infused water
Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti, Pop Chips, & Diet DP
Crab Stuff Tilapia & steamed Veggies
Cucumber & No Bake Energy Bites
Quinoa Scramble- Peas, Bell Pepper, Egg Whites, Grilled Chicken
I feel like this could be my week to hit my goal weight. If not this week I am super close. Even if I reach my goal weight this week, I reminded of my other goals. Hitting ideal body fat, Operation Red Bikini goals, running a full marathon, completing a set of ten unassisted pull ups, and goals I know I've yet to dream. Hitting this goal is simply a reminder of other goals to come. Regardless, I feel fantastic, and that's what it's all about. Feeling great in your own skin!

There's been some concern among the Rock n Roll runners as the weather wasn't looking to promising Sunday. However, New Orleans weather Sunday morning is looking on the up and up, but I was never really worried. Ain't nobody raining on this girl's parade :)


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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

You want to run 13.1 miles? That's crazy

T-Minus 4 days to the big run! My first half marathon, I still can't believe this is how I'm ending my first year as a runner. Running a half marathon, when this side of 12 months ago, I found running a half mile to be excruciatingly difficult. Yet, here I am, feeling incredibly confident in my abilities to BEAST up on my first half.

The half marathon is the perfect way to conclude this trans formative year in my life. The year I forever said good bye to my former self. The girl who was over weight, lacking confidence, and felt miserable in her own skin. She is a thing of the past. I still think  of her often and the things I learned from that time in my life. Why I lost myself when I was over weight. There's a Nicole Scherzinger song that I love working out to, Don't Hold Your Breathe. The lyrics are about lost love and an abusive relationship, but when I hear this song, I think of the abusive relationship I used to have with myself. I think about how self destructive and miserable being overweight can be. I imagine running away from the person I used to be. 


It took all the strength I had but I crawled up on my feet again

Now you’re trying to lure me back but no those days are gone my friend
I loved you so much that I thought that someday you could change
But all you brought me was a heart full of pain



You can’t touch me now there’s no feeling left
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
What you did to me boy I can’t forget
If you think I’m coming back don’t hold your breath
Don’t hold your breath


I think of that person as I'm pouring myself into my workouts at the gym. I thought of her Saturday as I dug deep to pound out my twelfth mile. I think of her every time I'm shopping and have to look for a smaller size. I think of her on days when I'm craving fast food for lunch. I think about her every time I look in the mirror and like what I see. I think of her when I put on jeans fresh out of the dryer and they slide right on. I think about her when I sit down and I don't feel self conscience about my stomach or muffin top. Thinking about her only makes me want to work harder, get better, get faster, get stronger, and continue to put distance between myself and that girl I used to be.
Left- March 2012 Right February 2013
Race day kinda feels like graduating from college all over again. Not only do I feel it's a major life accomplishment for me, but my biggest cheerleaders will be there too, as they have been in my big days in the past. My husband will be there, a few of my most dear friends, and my biggest life long cheerleader, my Mom. Knowing my whole heart will be waiting at the finish line only makes me want to run harder and faster. There is an after party to get to after all : )  I am so grateful and thankful for all of the amazing people in my life who have supported me throughout this journey to discover who I really am. I have never felt more confident, self sufficient, empowered, and strong. Running gave that to me.

People who don't run don't get it.  I know this, because I didn't get it for a long time. I remember last year, after the Sole Sistas running group at my gym had come home from the half marathon. They were all high on their accomplishment, ecstatically discussing their run, proudly proclaiming the intense feeling when crossing the finish line. They described it as, "One of the coolest things I've ever done in my life" and one woman said,"I felt like I'd just done something really great, like when I gave birth to my children" Say WhAt?!?!?! 

Honestly, at the time I thought she was crazy. It was just a run, and running was torturous. Why would anyone want to do that to themselves? These ladies were clearly insane.However, when being really honest with myself, deep inside I wanted to have the courage to do what they were doing. I wanted to feel proud of myself like that. I wanted to melt fat off of my frame. I wanted to feel the way they were feeling too, empowered. March - April 2012 Nike Running App Stats, at that time, I couldn't imagine ever running 5 miles or 10 miles, much less 13.1. My focus was to keep moving, and not walk.


Fast forward one year. I'm running faster, longer, and stronger. I'm also 30 pounds lighter, that really helps too :)

I'm not a solid nine miler just yet, and I really really want to be, but I know next year I'll only be stronger, faster, better. Four more days until the run. I am so ready! Taking it to the pavement is one of the best things I have ever done for myself. I said this before the Cajun Cup (10K), when I was already dreaming of running the half, I'm already on to dreaming about the full marathon. Look out road- I am coming for you! I get it now. I'm one of those people, and I wouldn't want it any other way!


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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What Does Clean Eating Mean?

What is clean eating? What does it mean to you?

I get this question so frequently, most often when I hash tag a picture on Instagram @ellenoelfitness #eatclean and someone will ask, "Is that really clean? It has blah blah in it" or "What do you mean when you say clean eating?".

Womp Womp.

Clean eating means something different to every single diet conscience person you ask that question. Eat Clean/ Clean Eating is definitely the buzz word or phrase of the moment and there are variations of clean eating, just like there are variations of cleaning your house, that means something different to each and every one of us. Some of us are clean freaks mopping daily, military style precision in making the bed, closet organized by color and season, dusting the ceiling fans daily, etc. (Paleo) Some people may only do floors once or twice a week, and be OK with a little extra dust on the fan, and not worry about laundry but once a week as well. Then there are those who do the rush job before having guests over- like crash dieting before an event- so that everything looks nice and neat on the outside but there's peanut butter M&M's hiding under the bed.


I try to "eat clean" each and every day. When I say eat clean, I mean that I try to consume minimally processed foods, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables. I eat six small meals a day, this way I'm never hungry.  I DO eat foods that have been processed. I DO eat frozen foods. While I want to follow a clean diet, I have to be economical about my eating habits and time constraints  I have time to grocery shop once a week. In addition to writing this blog, I work a full time job, work out 10-12 hours per week, my husband would like my attention a few hours a day, and have an active social life. I need for meal prep to be snappy. I also have to make time to keep my house clean and laundry done blah blah mundane stuff we all have to deal with. I do not have time to visit the grocery store three times a week, and nothing irks me more than watching food go bad in the refrigerator aka rotting money.


I buy lots of frozen foods, ie frozen vegetables and fruits. I've discovered this is the easiest and least time consuming way for me to do food prep. I use frozen fruit for smoothies, breakfast, and snacks with my peanut butter powder. Presently, my favorite frozen/pre-chopped fruit comes from Sam's Wholesale. I've been purchasing an 11 pound bag of chopped peaches, strawberries, and pineapple that lasts me a little more than two weeks. For awhile I was making smoothies from scratch, buying and chopping fruit twice a week and it was taxing. I had little "me" time. Then I discovered pre-chopped frozen fruit and I never looked back. It has ZERO added sugar. It is simply frozen fruit. Dole just did the work for me.


Another favorite product is Danoon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt. YES it is processed, but I still consider this a clean food.




I also consume lots of frozen vegetables as I'm the only one eating vegstables daily at my house. I prefer frozen broccoli and frozen California blends. I do eat fresh carrots, cucumbers, squash and cauliflower.Great super foods I add in to my diet are spinach, almonds, natural peanut butter, and peanut butter powder. Foods I avoid- Gluten, Starches, 100 calories cookie packets, limit diet sodas (I allow myself two per day MAX), all lean cousins and smart ones. They are the devil. Seriously, stop eating dat. I wish I had accepted that fact 30 pounds ago. I would've gotten where I am so much faster. Recently, I've been cutting out my protein bar intake as well and making my own energy bites. I did this for a few reasons, mainly because I truly believe the best protein bars are the ones we make ourselves. I was hesitant to go in this direction because I thought it would be expensive and time consuming but it is anything but. I am still eating Think Thin products about twice a week but I had to cut out my daily intake.

Long story short- YOU determine what clean eating means to you. Eat often, drink lots of water and avoid processed food. Do the best with what you have and learn as you go. We are so very different and one method may not work as well for the next.

In other news, my mufasa hair made it's triumphant return this morning, all of my work pants are now to big. This is so crazy to me. I worked so hard to get back into all these cloths and now it's time to say bye bye. Can we go thrift shopping? What What What What In my next life I'm going to be a super famous rapper. Just watch.


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Half Marathon Number One- Race Week Goals

It's finally here. The week before my first half marathon. I'm so excited to run the race. I feel prepared and confident going into the race Sunday. I want to make sure I get plenty of rest this week (NO two a days), and I have short runs on the agenda for the final week of training. I'm follow Hal Higdon's Novice 2 half- marathon training program, and week 12 calls for backing off in mileage. Tuesday- Thursday calls for a 3 mile run, followed with two two mile runs. I've decided to keep all of my runs indoors this week and focus on speed training. I've had lots of success with the treadmill work and increased speed in the past, so I'm going to stick with what I know works best for me.

Weekly Work Out Goals-

Monday-
R.I.P.P.E.D.

Tuesday-
Circuit Training
Strength and 10 Minute Runs (4 Rounds)

Wednesday-
Incline Treadmill Work
Strength Class

Thursday-
Circuit Training
Strength and 10 Minute Runs (4 Rounds)

Friday-
AM Incline Treadmill work
Strength Training

Saturday-
Rest

Sunday-
Rock N Roll Half Marathon Race Day

In eating news- I'm still good on giving up cheese and bread for lent. I found these crab meat stuffed tilapia fillet's at Target this weekend. 330 calories per serving and it was delicious  I served them up with cauliflower mashed potatoes and green beans. I also purchased a seafood stuff salmon that I'll cook sometime this week. This was a quick, easy way to change up my meals, sans cheese and bread.


Giving up cheese and bread has been difficult, I can not tell a lie. My husband thinks it's crazy town, esp since he was hard core craving the Chinese Buffet for Sunday lunch. I stood strong and got a salad. I'm going to hit my goal very soon- I can feel it in my bones!

Is anyone else itching for spring? Color? Sunshine? Green grass? Maybe a tan? Last weekend of February coming right up, spring is right around the corner :)



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Sunday, February 17, 2013

12 Miles- The Final Countdown

This time next week, I'll be loopy from runner's high and New Orleans fun. I'll have my first half marathon medal hanging around my neck. All of the hard work, the sacrifice, the hard runs, the aches, the pains, all of that will be worth with it, the euphoric glory of accomplishment. I've only been running for one calendar year. I remember my first half mile run, last February 2012, and thinking it was torture. It took me 8 minutes to run a half mile. I couldn't understand why anyone would actually want to run. I wasn't one of those people. I had always been a slow runner and, I've never had a high endurance level. I had only ever run a mile in grade school when they made us, and it would take me 12 minutes to complete. I hated every second of running, but last year, as the weight started coming off, and my distances got longer, I began my love affair with running. Something magical happens when a great run gets under your skin. When your legs feel light and it's just you and the road. Zooming along, beating up some fat and solving the world's problems. Running is empowering. Proving to yourself that you are capable of so much more than you could have ever even imagained. Running has literally transformed my life.


Saturday morning I set out on my last long run of training before my first half marathon. It was a cold windy day. I didn't do any treadmill work this week and the combination with the weather working against me made my run rough. It was hard run, an extreme metal test. It made me question why I ever wanted to embark on this journey to marathon running. Clearly, my love of physical activity is no longer about weight loss, it's about pushing my physical limits and molding the very best possible version of me. All kinds of thoughts ran through my head on the 12 mile run. I struggled from mile 7 to mile 12. My legs were heavy, I was forming a blister under my right foot, and my hips and knees hurt. I wanted to quit at ten. I wanted to quit at eleven. It felt like the run would never end. I had to force my brain into what I call Zombie mode. No thinking. Just one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving, do not stop. One step at a time. This run took all of my self coaching. You do not quit. Finish what you started. You CAN do this. You WILL do this.

My run group had run 10 miles, with only my run buddy Kat and I doing 12. We planned a destination run, meeting at the gym and running to a little breakfast place where we'd left a few cars. I rounded the corner and they were all done having completed their 10 miles. I still had a half mile left to run. I started to cry knowing they were finished and I had to keep moving, but I did not stop. I kept running for another half mile making the block one more time. It was miserable. I can't sugar coat it, but finishing that 12 miles, when I was trying to convince myself to quit, felt euphoric. It wasn't my slowest run, it wasn't my fastest run, but it was my longest. There was a big jump for me between miles 11 and 12. My 11 mile run last week felt like flying. This wasn't my week for running, and that's ok. I'd rather have a tough run this week, than a tough run next week on race day.



Three months I've been training for this lil half marathon run next week. When 20,000 other people who think running 13.1-26.2 miles sounds like fun, will meet at the start line at 7am Sunday morning. I've been dreaming of the finish line at the race. What will it look like? How will crossing it feel? Who will be waiting there? What will my time be? Are they gonna give me my medal right away? I really want that medal. I'll be wearing it all day after the race. I want that medal.

I'm looking forward to the running expo, to spending time with friends and family, and celebrating the half marathon accomplishment with my Sole Sistas! I can not wait to share this experience with all of you. I read that a half marathon should be on everyone's bucket list. I'm amped to cross I off mine!

I'm planning on running the full marathon next. I have to do it. I have to prove to myself that I can. My husband says I've been bit by the running bug.Whatever it is, I'm so glad the bug picked me. I really feel like running picked me. One week. Let's get it!

Find me on FacebookBeachbodyPinterest, Instagram @ellenoelfitnessKeek, and My Fitness Pal!


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