Trading the tv for healthy eating

Recently, we got a letter from our cable provider that the cost was going up. Let’s be honest, we pay far too much for tv these days but bundles, right! We started researching alternatives to trade in our cable but not sit in silence.

However, this got me thinking. What would I do if I wasn’t sitting around mindlessly watching tv? I mean, I am unapologetic about my enjoyment of TV. I’m not one of those people who pretends to hate tv but secretly watches it. I LOVE me some tv!

Then I decided I think I will trade tv for all the healthy eating I talk about doing! By healthy eating, I actually mean healthy cooking. For four years in high school I was a part-time culinary student. I LOVED cooking and baking! It’s amazing how quickly you forget those skills when you don’t use them. I mean It was 14+ years ago but still! I want to remember those skills and start to learn and create again!

Time to dive into research, cookbooks, and ideas. I think this is going to mean upgrading the pantry and experimenting again! I’m tired of being lazy and eating processed stuff! Anyone out there in cyber land have suggestions?

Finding the right bike for you

Recently, I decided it was time for a new bike. I’ve been really uncomfortable on my bike for a while and being a novice, I didn’t know any better. Now, uncomfortable can mean a lot of different things. For me, it was that I was that my balance felt off every time I rode. Whenever I tried to reach for my bottle or clip-in/out I was just off.

My old bike

This is my first road bike. An Orbea Aqua Dama 2012. This was the first round of “women’s specific bikes” from Orbea. A line they have since stopped making. Basically, they put a women’s saddle on a men’s bike. Which sounds ok, but depending on the person can have its issues.

For me, and I only learned this recently, your geometry can be “off”. So, the above bike has a very “aggressive” seating or high seat, low handles. Made for racing. Due to the fact that I have a larger chest where everything was placed I was unbalanced. Even though the size/height was correct the other things (steam length, seat height, reach, etc).

So, I started researching and shopping and riding. I spent 3 weekends going to bike shops, testing bikes, and seeing what worked. Then I narrowed it down to 2 different bikes and compared their geometry to the bike I currently had. I had already been bike shopping for my first bike and knew I had to go in with WAY more knowledge. If I was getting the wrong bike at least it would be my fault this time! Thankfully, I got to work with super knowledgeable folks and women to boot!

Most bikes have this info on their sites

Like I said, I rode a bunch of different bikes, asked a crap ton of questions, and in 1 case even asked about the model up that they had decided not to show me for whatever reason. It came down to a Cannondale Synapse and a Felt FRW5. What it really came down to was enjoyment. I LOVED riding the Cannondale and compared everything else I rode to that. It also didn’t hurt that it had better components and system for a better price!

My new bike

For me, it was which bike did I WANT to keep riding right then. Which one did I not want to get off of! It proved to be the right choice for me! I’ve ridden my bike now more frequently that I rode my old one. It has made me LOVE riding again. I’m not nervous, or unbalance, or afraid I’m going to fall! It is the right bike for me.

Me and my new ride

If you are in the market for some new wheels I highly recommend that you do your research, shop around, and ask lots of questions! In my experience, sometime bike shops (not all) will sell you what they want (or need) to move instead of what is the best for you! However, they can’t do that if you know what is best for you! Good luck!!

Optimal Thrive – week 1

Last month I signed up for Optimal Thrive. It is a course that is being offered by Swim Bike Mom (Meredith Atwood) on metabolic efficiency training. The quick definition of it is:

Metabolic Efficiency Training™ (MET) can be defined as improving the body’s ability to use its internal stores of nutrients, specifically carbohydrate and fat, more efficiently, through proper dietary and exercise strategies.

It spoke to me because I feel like we eat pretty well most of the time but I wanted a little more instruction. Not the “eat boiled chicken and veggies for every meal” kind of instruction but “here’s how to fix what you are doing now” kind of instruction. That and I can’t seem to drop weight!!

We are currently in week 2 and I can say that I’ve only kinda started things. At first I was annoyed at the trickle release of information in this course. Then I realized that all the other program I’ve tried give you everything at the beginning, and well, they obviously didn’t work. I’m attacking this with a lot more THOUGHT. Why do I make the choices I make? How is this providing nourishment?

If I keep doing what I’ve always done then nothing is going to change. So…here’s to making the right choices or better yet learning how to make the right choices!

Best Damn Race Review – Leftover 5K

Yet again this year we decided to do the Best Damn Leftover 5K. We did this race last year and I enjoy comparing year over year data. Also, this race is about 15 minutes from the house so no-brainer!

Have I mentioned how much I love these sunglasses?

So, these guy typically do a really good job. I worked with them for Iron Girl for 2 years and I know they have skills…had skills? It felt like they kinda phoned in the details for the race this year. I don’t remember it being so far apart last year but this year anyone running 30 minutes or less started at 7:15 and 30+ minutes started at 7:55.

This is obnoxious because Not only did we have to get there early but Jon finishes in 20 minutes, then has to wait around another 60 minutes for me to start the race and run the race. I get the point to waives but this is a bit much!

Full disclosure, I wanted to hit 35 minutes. I decided to throw caution to the wind and line up at the back of the first group. I figured what’s the big difference between starting at the back of the fast folks or the front of the slow folks? Apparently, about 2 minutes before the start they announced that they were closing the finish line at 31 minutes and anyone after that would be a DNF. Thankfully, Jon ran back to tell me cause we didn’t hear the announcement in the back.

Annoyed I jumped out of line and listened to the announcer keep saying that “the finish line will close at 31 minutes, you must finish”. Imagine my surprise when they didn’t close the finish line until 38 minutes! They also got mad at the 30+ minute runners who were attempting to line up at 7:50 for our 7:55 run! Then they moved us all to one side so people could cross! I’ve never been so blatantly discriminated against at the start of a race.

Annoyed and hot (8am race starts in FL SUCK) I started my race. I stuck with my 1:30/1 intervals and tried to stay as steady as possible. I didn’t want to push too hard due to the heat and humidity. I also ramped up my Orange Theory that week and adding the race probably hurt more than it should. The did change up the course a bit this year and I like the changes. A lot less turns.

PR bell

Well I didn’t reach the PR I wanted I still finished in 39:23 which was 3 minutes faster than this race last year! I’ll totally take a course PR and taking a minute off each mile! I like this race. I really hope that they make some needed improvements to next year. I didn’t see a race survey come out so I assume that they won’t. I know that since they keep this race cheap they aren’t really concerned about opinions but who knows, maybe they will be.

Post race photos 2016 (L) and 2017 (R)

70.3 Chattanooga – the spectators perspective

So, about a year ago my husband was convinced to do another 70.3 this time in Chattanooga. While at this point I have no desire to do a 70.3 I loved the idea of seeing a new place! They could race and I could enjoy my surroundings!

I made Lauren and Jon pose for lots of photos!

Jon and I drove up from Tampa on Friday AM. We stayed at a host hotel that was about a mile from the transition/expo area of the event. The Holiday Inn Express Downtown Chattanooga was very nice!

Thanks to the close proximity to Downtown we were pretty much able to walk everywhere! We ate at some of the most delicious places! It started on Friday when we arrived by walking to find the local bakery!

Cupcake Kitchen pic

Jon and Lauren went for HUGE cupcakes. I however went for a small cannoli and some cake balls! I have a love for cake balls!!

So yummy!!

I’m pretty sure that I pretty much ate my way thought Chattanooga! On Saturday, I sherpa’ed their open water swim practice and then onto packet pickup!

Tennessee River endless pool!


When you are waiting around at athlete info meeting


Expo fun!

After wandering around and watching Lauren spend lots of her hard earned money at the expo and merch tent we started exploring! It began with lunch at The Maple Street Biscuit Company it was scrumptious! Make sure you stop there if you happen upon one of their locations.

Biscuit yummies

Then it was on down the street to check out the Moon Pie General Store! It was super cool and I bought lots of gifts and Moon Pies. Apparently, Moon Pies are made in Chattanooga!

Moon Pies

We also made sure to stop by the actual Chattanooga Choo-Choo! It was such a cool old hotel and train!

Choo-Choo


Train Selfies

OHH there was also a race! I mean, I didn’t do the race but I was an excellent sherpa!

Early morning shenanigans

If I were ever to do a 70.3 I’d totally want the downstream awesomeness that they had! Kristin was my cheer buddy and we had an awesome time!

Obligatory cheer selfie

Why, yes, that is a shark on her head! Made it easy for all our folks to spot her! We dropped them off, dropped the gear off at the car, and waited for the swim to finish. Once they were all out on the bike we went to find coffee and breakfast! We also tracked down the Starbucks Tennessee mug!

Mugs acquired this trip

We then grabbed lunch at Puckett’s BBQ which was SO GOOD! Look, I’m married to a vegetarian, it is nice to go to a quality BBQ! It was during this lunch that I slacked on my sherpa duties. The IM tracker was down and my kids decided to go SUPER fast and get back in 30 minutes earlier than I expected! We finished up quickly and made it out to see them at mile 6.9/12.5.

Lauren going by!

yes, we had cheer beer!

So, the hubs LOVED this race. He says he would never want to do the full 140.6 there but the 70.3 he really enjoyed. The city of Chattanooga was absolutely lovely! It was quaint enough to be able to walk around and enjoy everything it had to offer. However, it wasn’t small enough to feel isolated! If you are into racing 70.3’s I would say this is one you definitely want to do! Great for spectators and racers alike! Check everything out, eat all the food, and enjoy everything this Southern town has to offer!

Gotta Rest

I feel like the best laid plans….

This week we were traveling all over the East Coast! From FL to TN to MD to PA (and back). In TN I got a TON of walking in because we were a mile from town. I easily walked more than 2 miles each day! However, I had plans to workout once getting to MD and PA. Then the weather hit!

If you don’t have WTForcast you should totally get it!

It ended up being cold and rainy up North and we were not prepared clothing wise! I think thought that it was a blessing in disguise. I mean hell, this is my vacation, why do I NEED to workout on my vacation? Isn’t vacation supposed to be about resting, relaxing, and eating all the local goodies I don’t normally get to eat? (Can you say Tuesday detox???)

My most favorite pizza!!!

Yea, maybe my plan didn’t go as….well….planned! I came, I saw, I ate!

The best milkshake in PA!

It was awesome. I have zero guilt!! Now, I mean, I totally need a vacation for my vacation but whatevs. I’ll have a full post about the awesomeness that was Chattanooga next week but for now, rest and be well!!

wind and sweatshirt in May!!

Healthy planning for race sherpa duties

This weekend, actually tomorrow, we are loading up to drive to Chattanooga, TN for 70.3 Choo! No, I’m not racing! At this point in my life I don’t have the desire to do a half iron or full iron distance race. However, the hubby does enjoy it, at least leading up to peak week and the actual race day, so we are gearing up.

he isn’t a fan of training

I however, am gearing up to be race support. Which is more about planning on where to get food, where to cheer, and when to be at certain points for moral support! Also, lots of holding stuff and making sure he didn’t forget to do things like eat breakfast or take things. Now all of this was great before I started limiting sugar and processed foods. This makes my efforts a little more challenging and I actually have to plan!

This means I have purchased some microwave friendly items, some car snack friendly items, and some on-the-go protein items!

yummy goodies ready to pack!

Most important are the on-the-go protein items. I went with some Krave Pink Peppercorn beef jerky and some Seafare pacific smoked salmon. I’ve never tried the salmon before but I think it will be a good choice! (not a sponsored post, just what I bought). These are both bag friendly items I can take with me in the morning when I’m hungry but it is too early for breakfast places to be open! #coffeeislife

I also got some Bare apple chips and whole grain goldfish for the car ride! I also love Kodiak Cakes Powercakes it will give me a protein breakfast at 5am when we head to the transition area but don’t have a kitchen to make a real breakfast in! These tend to be my go-to option when traveling since even though our hotel has free breakfast it doesn’t start serving before the race!

Traveling and food planning really don’t go hand-in-hand. I’m making the best choices I can given the limited options. I will also be packing a cooler for the car with water bottles and a healthy lunch! Hopefully, I can make the best decisions possible while enjoying the local fare as well!

Photos are part of Sherpa duties

Any suggestions on places to try in Chattanooga?

My first blogging photoshoot – #brooksrunning

On Sunday I had a blog first. I have my little blog here but I happen to have friends that have very successful blogs. I was very grateful last month when my running buddy, Meghann, over at Meals and Miles told me that she had selected me as her #runspiration and Brooks hooked me up with a whole outfit!

With that came a super fun “photoshoot” with Meghann. In the couple years that I’ve had my blog I’ve never really “staged” photos.

Meghann setting up the camera

I actually found it to be a bunch of fun! I mean, it helps that her and I have fun with whatever we do! She kept making fun of me for my “photo laugh” and I kept making fun of her photographer skills!

I swear she pushed me first!

She’s got a whole bunch of really great shots from our shoot! I stole a couple anyways! Mainly, because I love how they show our friendship. We met because I took a job and since it was just the 2 of us for a while we bonded. I’m so glad that even when I left, and then she left, that our friendship remained! She was my first Florida friend and I’m happy to keep her.

yea we got a good one!

If you follow me on instagram you know that my 2017 goal is to get faster. Currently, the goal is to get fast enough to run with her and not feel like I’m dying! I’m getting closer but not quite there yet!

So thanks Brooks for hooking me up! In case you love my outfit as much as I do here are the details! The Ghost racerback that I’m wearing is my new favorite shirt. It’s comfy and not form fitting. It is a Large and as someone that is a larger size it was nice that this fit so well over my “ladies”! Also, I was SUPER excited to pick the Greenlight 7in short tights. Yea, you read that right! Brooks makes a 7in short that even has a tummy panel! The are soft and my thighs don’t rub (win-win). The shoes are my trusty Launch 4’s in super bright pink & purple!

Good friend, good gear, and good photos! All in all a good Sunday! I even harnessed my lessons to take my own sweet photo.

Goals for the year – 2017

Since active seasons in Florida are October – April, I decided I should set my goals accordingly. I reached my 2016 goal in February simply because that was when my races were. So, my top 3 fitness goals are:

  1. Complete the 6 month plan in The New Rules of Lifting for Women

Yea, My plan was to start this yesterday but my dental appointment nixed that one . So, I’ll be starting this today.

2. Run a 2:45 half marathon

St. Pete run fest in November is my current goal race!

This is one that I have been chasing for over 5 years. My half marathon PR is from 2011 and it was a 2:48. I came so close in February but a headwind killed that. I’ll be spending the summer training and getting stronger to hopefully hit this goal by the end of the year/beginning of 2018. This is going to take actual planning and stuff! My goal race is the St. Pete Run Fest in November! Super excited about this inaugural race (and goal race). You should join me!!

3. Stick to eating less sugar

Blueberry picking

Ok, we’ve been trying to go sugar free but it is crazy impossible! The hubby and I have decided to go low-sugar, low-carb, less crazy! This means more natural goodies and less processed. It has been an interesting but enlightening experience the past three weeks! Hopefully, I will be able to say we are still sticking to this in 6 months (or more).

Here’s to sticking to focusing and striving towards these 3 goals. Thanking for joining me virtually!

A new blog name

You may have noticed me changing things up a bit! My blog wasn’t focusing on triathlon very much anymore and I decided it was time for a change. The new name “Miles of Sunshine” allows me to encompass not just my running but also my other activities and travels. I feel like it doesn’t pigeonhole me into particular topics.

I’m looking forward to taking you on all of my 2017 journeys and goals! Thanks for following and joining me!