POUNDING PAVEMENT

Three and a half weeks ago, I laced up my sneakers and began my annual 3 season sport of pounding pavement and I struggled. I truly struggled to get through the 3 mile route I had mapped out. After a winter solely focused on weight training and minimal cardio my body was no longer the long and lean machine it had been last summer. However, one of the biggest lessons running has taught me is one of perseverance. My mind always tries to chicken out before my body does and it’s pushing through these moments where the magic happens. This is where I grow.

Once again, I am reminded how quickly the body adapts. We evolved from athletes. While some of us are more athletically blessed than others, we are all programmed to physically adapt to our climates. Three and a half weeks ago, I finished my 3 miler with every muscle in my lower body aching, my heart pounding, and my lungs starving for oxygen. I had pushed myself to the point of nausea and I felt like a failure. Fast forward to week four (this week) and I am pushing through 7 milers with strong stems, a steady heartbeat, and abundant air in my lungs. This is a big win for me because I tore both of my iliotibial bands in high school and long distance running has always been out of the question.

Last night I finished my run with a .25 mile sprint and literally had to force myself not to keep going. The truth is though that while runners look forward to the runs where they feel literally feel invincible, we immediately start formulating a way to create complete exhaustion again. We have learned that pain equals reward. Running is a hard sport. It requires self discipline in the purest form, a lot of heart, commitment, and a tad bit of crazy.

This year I have decided that I wanted to run for more than just exercise and endorphins. I want to run for self-awareness. I want to learn my physical and mental “limitations” and then surpass them.

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TURKEY SAUSAGE AND BROCCOLINI SPAGHETTI SQUASH

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•1 med spaghetti squash
• 2 tbs of EVOO
•1 bunch of Broccolini
• dash organic minced garlic
• 2 tbs of reduced fat feta
• 2 turkey sausage links
•pepper

1) Stab spaghetti squash several times and cook on 375 for 30-40 minutes or until soft.
2) Slice each turkey sausage link into 5 or 6 pieces and sauté with garlic until brown. Set aside.
3) Stem broccolini until soft, then cut into tiny pieces. I didn’t really use the stems. Set aside.
4) Once spaghetti squash has cooled, scoop seeds and “rake” with a fork into a large bowl.
5) Add EVOO, pepper to taste, broccolini, sausage, and feta.
6) Enjoy!!

Makes 2 servings.

BEC MUFFINS

  
Bacon Egg and Cheese Muffins!!

-2 egg whites 
-2 slices of turkey bacon
-1/4 slice of cheese (I used Applegate American because life is short and 1/4 slice of cheese won’t make or break your diet! Your body NEEDS some fat. Remember balance and moderation are key to staying on track!)
-Nonstick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Spray two cupcake tins with nonstick spray for one serving. You can make more than one serving by doubling ingredients.
3. Line with turkey bacon 1 per tin. I have found this works best if you rip the bacon in half and face curved edge down. Ends of bacon will overlap.
4. Mix egg and egg white in a bowl and pour 1/2 egg mixture into each tin.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
6. Turn off oven. Cut 1/4 slice of cheese in half and put on top of muffin. Leave in oven for 1-2 minutes (until melted).
7. ENJOY 🙂

MIND GAMES

I recently read an article that discussed the effects of anxiety and stress on eating habits. It is well known that some of us are emotional eaters. However, this article argued that men deal with being overwhelmed physically, while women turn to a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. While I am not so sure emotional eating is gender specific, the answer seems obvious–put down the spoon and go to the gym.

Easier said than done though..how many of us find ourselves mindlessly munching when things feel like they are out of our control? In order to break these habits, we have to learn to become aware of our emotions and recognize symptoms of anxiety early on.

 The cerebral cortex elicits the release of dopamine, delivering a sense of pleasure and reward. This response focuses the attention of the individual so that the behavior is repeated.* In other words, these learned behaviors, that evolved to promote survival, have taken a turn for the worse. If we can trick our minds by changing the neurological reward to say exercise, then we can begin to change these learned habits.

Can’t get to the gym? Do five-ten minutes of lunges, squats, push ups, planks, and crunches. Go for a walk. Climb a few sets of stairs. If feel yourself starting to become overwhelmed with work, school, or a relationship, take a moment to assess the signals, and refocus.

*Discovery Channel- Neuroscience Psychology

MONDAY

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Mondays are one of my favorite days of the week (followed by Sundays in the fall of course…football, sunday dinner, walks). They promise forgiveness and a fresh start. They give us another chance to do more and be better. They often force us to step out of comfort zones and begin a new chapter. This week I am striving to stay close to whatever brings me the most happiness and letting go everything else. I for one needed some change in my exercise routine and diet.No matter how fit we are, every so often we need reminders of how good our body’s are at adapting. If we don’t switch up our routines, we not only see no progress, but we lose that rush. I’m extremely motived and anxious to see my body change. Never put a limit on your goals.