{Getting Back on Track}

Do you ever have those moments when you feel like you are so off track? It could be about anything-your exercise routine, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, finding time for yourself, cleaning the house or completing that project before a deadline. With being on the road for literally the past four weeks I’m really feeling the lack of structure in my life.

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The last four weeks have been absolutely amazing and I feel so stinkin’ lucky to have gotten to travel all over the country and my home state, but it is time to get back on track. Specifically with eating and getting projects done around the house. Once the school year starts I find very little time to get anything extra done with long work days and coaching.

While during the work week I don’t look forward to Monday’s ever, I currently am seeing today as a fresh start to getting back on track. While being on vacation and on the road for the past month, I did my best to make healthy food choices. While our trip was extremely active (I ran two marathons and we hiked 100 miles of trails), we also did a lot of sitting in the car and eating not so fresh foods. It is hard to take fresh foods into bear country and being miles away from grocery stores is a challenge.

Despite those challenges I tried to balance my foods throughout the past month. When out to eat I ate tilapia, spinach and salads balanced with burgers and french fries. I ate energy bars (Clif bars and Picky bars) balanced with s’mores.  Doughnuts balanced with bananas.  I think you’re getting the idea, but no matter how much balancing I did it just wasn’t like what I eat when I’m home making my own meals. When I think about the last time I really meal planned and made meals that make me feel good and nourish my workouts, months pass by in my brain. It has been too long. Add in sampling local beers pretty much every night and wedding and college get together weekends, and I’ve had a whole lotta extra liquid calories going in the body.

If I listen and look at what my body is telling me, then it is time for me to make a positive change. I feel better when I eat better. I feel stronger and run better when I eat well. My midsection is telling me this. My pants are telling me this. My overall puffiness is telling me this. Now that I’m not training for any particular races (more on this later) I also need to make sure I’m making healthy food choices.
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So today is a fresh start. Pinteresting away while watching my latest obsession, House of Cards, last night I came across a two-week clean eating plan. After reviewing the plan it seems completely doable, manageable and the food looks yummy (most of it). While the plan is identified as a detox plan, I don’t plan to use it for that reason.
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Just like Frank Underwood I don’t believe in following rules. I don’t believe in following strict diets or even clean eating all the time. If I want a coffee I will have one. If I want a beer I will have one. The goal is to limit my intake of these things more and get some control back in my eating and drinking. The plan also is low carb which doesn’t really meet the needs of runners the best, so I will add in carbs if I feel I need them. If I want a treat or something that doesn’t adhere to the plan then I will, but then I will get back to the plan after.

Life is too short to never allow yourself the things you truly enjoy. At the same time, life is so much better when we feel good. We can achieve more and feel better doing it. I can’t wait to feel that way again. Plus with this plan sets you up for success in so many ways.

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The clean eating plan outlines a grocery list, when to prep the foods with a prep list, and what to make for every meal and snack for two weeks including recipes for each (example of prep and recipes). The biggest attractions to this plan for me were that the hard work of meal planning was already done for you and the meals themselves actually looked tasty and easy to make. The plan even tells you when the meal will make leftovers, what kitchen tools you will need, and when you need to prep something the day before. So helpful!

One of my favorite things is the prep list. It reads like a set of instructions for when and how to prep. How easy is this!
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This plan really isn’t a two-week eating plan and then your done. I’m using the two-week plan to get me back on track with meal planning and eating cleaner in general-like the way I used to do when I had routine and structure in my life. I take no credit for creating this plan in any way. I simply thought it seemed easy and yummy and was worth sharing with others.

Are you ready to feel better? Have more energy? Nourish your body? Then take a look at the two-week clean eating plan and join me in getting back on track. You can do this! Your body wants you to do this! I’ll be sharing photos of my eats on Instagram (@sneaksandstilettos) over the next two weeks to hold myself accountable and show that this is really something we all can do.

Happy Monday and Clean Eating!

Sarah

*All credit for meal plan photos goes to Yael Malka for BuzzFeed. Design of photos by Chris Ritter/BuzzFeed. The actual plan was created by nutritionist Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, of Food Coach NYC, and BuzzFeed Food editors. I take no credit for creating any part of the plan.

{Friday Fab 5-Snicker Chex Mix, Map Art, Chester Woods 50k, Slow Cooker Lasagna,…}

{#1-Snickers Chex Mix}

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Last weekend for the Super Bowl we had a few friends over. I love any opportunity to make new recipes and the husband loves Snickers, so I knew this would be a good one. It ended up completely exceeding my expectations. Amazing! Seriously-go to the grocery store and get the ingredients to make this NOW! Definitely a treat not to keep in the house all the time as it’s addicting. I took the rest of ours to share with other teachers at school. The husband got home on Monday night, saw the empty container, and demanded to know where the Snickers Chex Mix was. He was mad that I took it to school. It is that good. Another favorite of the night was the Feta-Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs I made. They were yummy!

{#2-Lululemon Keep It Up Jacket}

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In a Wisconsin Marathon Training post a few weeks ago, I mentioned my new favorite running jacket. When I bought the jacket I wasn’t completely sure it was worth the money (I put my x-mas gift cards towards the purchase of the jacket). The jacket seemed so simple, almost a bit boring.

Shockingly, I don’t own another black running jacket for cold weather so I decided to keep it. Taking it out for its first run, it was love at first mile. The jacket stays put, the soft shell blocks wind and repels wet snow without trapping heat, and keeps me warm. The hood isn’t annoying, you can button the hood without wearing the hood providing neck warmth, and remove it completely if you want. As you run and warm up a mile or two in, you can hold the jacket open in place with magnetic fasteners on either side of the zipper. It is easy to layer under and does look stylish, too. If you’re looking for a new jacket to wear in the winter weather that has been colder than most for many, this is a great choice.

{#3-Slow Cooker Lasagna}
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Hate making lasagna because of its time consuming layers? Then try this super easy to make, fast cooking time, and delicious to eat version. Plus, there are so many ways to personalize this dish to your liking; you can choose your favorite sauce, cheese(s), veggies, and even pasta type if lasagna isn’t your thing.

{#4-Map Wall Art Project}

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I have an obsession with daydreaming about travel. Wanderlust gets the best of me at least once a day. I’m grateful of the places I’ve gotten to visit despite my not-so-full Passport. I love reminiscing about the places I’ve (we’ve) visited, the food and beers I tried, and the sights of each place.

To remember and revisit these memories, spend more time cherishing the travels I’ve made, and to remain inspired to enjoy the journey-I created this map art project. Each pin represents a place the husband and I have been either together or on our own. The purple pins represent my travels and the teal pins represent the husband’s travels. Most of the pins represent OUR travels.

One of my favorite things to do with the husband is travel as he is my favorite travel companion. We simply have so much fun exploring together, talking, and life dreaming. It’s our philosophy that {Home Is Wherever I’m With You}. The song Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetics Zeros is basically our theme song! 🙂

To make the larger map I purchased a map that was appealing to my eye and matched the colors in our family room. I then glued the map to foam board that the husband cut to size with an utility knife.

Then came the fun part-putting in our pins. Reminiscing over our travels before we were a twosome and after was a great way to spend an evening. We then put the map in a frame leaving out the glass. Each time I look at our project on the wall I’m reminded of travels past and coming in the future, and my heart skips a beat.

The last step of the project is putting the black and white photos taken from our different travels on the wall surrounding the map. I’ll be sure to share a photo when this is complete. All we have to do is hang the photos.

{#5-Chester Woods 50k}
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I officially registered for my first ultra marathon (50k) as of a few weeks ago. I had a race schedule change to the Chester Woods 50k rather than the Kettle 50k. The Chester Woods was closer, half the cost, and in the morning-all logical reasons to switch. Plus I’ll need the husband’s support, so it worked better for him, too. So scary, but so excited for this next adventure!

Anyone have a new distance on their race calendar this year? Don’t forget…get Snickers ingredients NOW. It is worth the break in clean eating.

Happy Weekend and eating of Snicker Chex Mix!

{Don’t Act Your Age-30 Things During My 30th Year}

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My little sister and I way before “30” had any meaning or expectations.

This post has been sitting in my drafts since October.  Since I’ve already started in on this list, it is definitely time to share it.  I’m not getting any younger after all.  For some reason I was a little afraid to share it as these thoughts are so personal and often seem so different from others.  This post is simply my thoughts and not based on any person, event, or conversation I might have had with anyone.  You might totally disagree with my thoughts, and that is fine.  We all get to make our own choices in life, and this post shares a glimpse into how I want to live my life.  In the spirit of this post and not acting my age-here goes.

I not sure what it is about turning 30 that has me wanting to be adventurous and try new things. When I was a kid I thought turning thirty meant you were old. It has always marked in my head when one really became an adult. I imagined I’d be married with children and acting a whole lot older than I do. The reality is that I don’t feel any older than I did ten years ago. I don’t have children because I’m having too much fun with my freedom and independence…except my cat who I do consider to be my first son.
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I still love new experiences, being adventurous, and doing stupid things I should have learned not to do in the last ten years. I would rather spend money on an experience than save it for 35 years later when I might be dead. I still have the ignorant “it won’t happen to me” mindset far too often. I don’t always eat my vegetables. Sometimes I have too many drinks when I know it won’t feel good the next day. Just the other night after a couple of drinks with friends I put a giant temporary tattoo on my arm that took up my entire forearm just for fun. Sometimes I eat popcorn for dinner. How can I be turning 30?

Turning the big 3-0 doesn’t really scare me or freak me out; it is just a number after all. I’ve always believed you are only as old as you decide to be. There are no ages to do things at or not do them at. Yet at times I feel societies pressure to follow these often unwritten age rules. But why?? Why must this, this, and that happen by this age. Why should I be slowing down instead of speeding up? Who decides these things? Why are we supposed to start acting old?
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Maybe it is more of that ignorance is bliss thing combined with the fact I don’t have kids, but I refuse to get old. I want to be young. By young, I mean alive, curious, full of wonder and wanderlust, and desire to fill my life with rich and rewarding experiences. I want to be a life-long learner and goal setter. I want to fight for my right to PaRtY!
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As I get older in a numerical sense, I feel there are fewer and fewer people around me who don’t act their age. People sacrifice so many things in exchange for what they are supposed to have and for who they are supposed to be. I slowly see people give up on dreams, goals, or hopes because they say they are too old. Too this. Too that. But what we are is too afraid. Too worried about our age and how it looks to others. Too fearful of bad things that have held us back previously. Too set in our ways to do something differently.  Too stuck on a path or plan to ever diverge.  Now I ‘m not talking quit your job and move across the country (although if my husband ever said he would I would be tempted-but he NEVER would).  I’m referring to letting adventure find me and not being so afraid of it when it does.  To do the things I’ve said I want to do, but never have.  To stop waiting for those experiences to find me, and instead create those moments for myself.  To do more following of the Holstee Manifesto below.
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I credit running for the most part for giving me a younger spirit that doesn’t want to think old. It has taught me in the past few years about how much I want to see the world, how unhappy I am with the mundane and average, how working hard rewards you in so many ways you can’t even begin to imagine. Running has shown me how age is just a number not a sentence, statement, or dictation of how to think, act, or feel. Seeing people in their 70’s and 80’s still running and living active lives inspires me everyday to do the same. And I’m talking LIVING people! These young souls are not home-bound and plagued by health ailments. Can I guarantee this won’t be me-obviously no. Can I guarantee you I won’t wait to find out-an astounding YES!
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As I enter my 30th year on Earth, I want to remind myself that we only have this one life to make our own rules and follow our own dreams. In the end it doesn’t matter what society says. It’s your life! So many runners, moms, dads, and individuals out there DO inspire me because I see them going for it. Readers of this blog inspire me with their goals and dreams. They work hard to balance family, responsibility, and their dreams.
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Besides being a list person, setting smaller dreams and goals gives us a sense of accomplishment while lighting that motivational fire under our arses. This year I want a list of 30 things to go for leading up to my birthday and in my 30th year, and I need your help. What are some ideas to add to my list in my journey to and during 30 years young? What cool experience did you make, see, do, explore, etc.  I want a balance between the adventurous and the it’s-ok-to-have-a-calm-life.

Goals for 30th year
1) Race 30ish mile race (50k)
2) Skydive
3) get a tattoo
4) improve blog
5) become a trail runner
6) read 30 books (This will be hard for me as I usually read like 8 books a year…on a good year.  Any suggestions?)
7) hike in natures beauty (Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park)
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8) visit Portland, Oregon
9) take a(nother) road trip
10) become a yogi or at least get committed to yoga/take classes
11) become a Marathon Maniac
12) go scuba diving
13) visit another country (plan to travel to Mexico with family)
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14) visit ten (minimum) new state parks
15) cross at least two more states off my 50 in 50 list
16) try new foods (new ethnic eats)
17) Try 30 new to me beers
18) complete a century ride on trails (Perrot State Park to 400 Trail in Reedsburg)
19) get a massage-truth, I’ve never had one
20) go downhill skiing again-it’s been 7 years
21) complete a monthly photo challenge-I’ve got a ton saved, but have never done one
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22) go ice skating again-it’s been 16 years
23) ride on a train
24) visit another baseball stadium
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26)
27)
28)
29)
30)

I still need six more ideas. I’m open to suggestions! Keep in mind these events will happen in the next 16 months, so I can’t fly to Mykonos, Greece or visit the Australian outback as much as I’d like to-unless your paying ;)! I want to make the next year about adventure, fun, and living life…not about a number!

Suggestions…Go!

{Friday Fab 5}

I cannot believe July has come and past!
{#1-Garlic Lemon Herb Chicken}

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With the cooler temperatures this week I used the oven to make this AMAZING chicken. It was so simple, juicy, and delish! If you don’t want to turn the oven on, then you’ll have to save this for fall. It would be worth the wait! On Ryan’s official rating scale (5-I would eat it once a week to 1- I’d eat it if I had to) he gave it a 5!

{#2-Slow Cooker Chipotle Black Bean Dip}

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Another good recipe I’d normally reserve for fall, however this was just was too easy and went with the taco chicken we grilled. Add as much cheese and green onion as your taste buds like. I also added green chilies for more spice. For the link to the recipe click here.

{#3-No treadmills… Well maybe}

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The day after I posted this photo to Instagram I was running on a treadmill. Wait, did you catch that? I was RUNNING! Thursday at physical therapy I got to slow jog 3 minutes and run easy pace for 3 minutes. That is six minutes of running. Tomorrow is the three week mark on my ankle sprain. This is all positive. I was told no biking or running today and take it easy this weekend (while doing my ankle exercises 3X daily of course.) I will be able to try a mile or two on Tuesday before going to therapy! So exciting!

{#4-Biking}

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Sunday I rode my bike for the first time in 10 years. I have to say I really liked it. Heck, after weeks without running…I loved it! 52 miles of biking this week later and I’m planning my next long bike ride for Monday!

{#5-New York City}

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This picture is in our family room and has been for the past three plus years. Why would I share this, well…I will be going there next week. So excited! I’m hoping to have a picture or two of a run in Central Park if all goes well with therapy!

Anybody racing this weekend?
Happy Weekend!