Real Talk: Grokker Review & *GIVEAWAY*

Hi Friends!

So I know that I am behind on my #GBN (Gross But Necessary) posts, but I am super excited to share this fun website with you!

Have you heard of Grokker? I know it has a funny name, but it is awesome!

Grokker is a total wellness website. 

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This site is not your typical streaming website. You can find workouts, yoga and cooking videos…I even watched a few videos on food and wine pairings! How cool is that?  It’s comforting to know that if I ever really want to impress Farmer Ben, I can bring a professional chef into my kitchen for a quick lesson without having to clean up/shower!

Also… Upstate NY in Late Fall/Winter… It’s COLD! And dark! Now, I love running, but winter running can be tough and, if I don’t make it out during the day, dangerous! Knowing that I can use Grokker as an alternative to an outside run AND as an option for cross-training is huge! On top of that, I don’t even have to leave my house, which means that if I am up crazy late doing homework and the mood strikes, I can totally do a dance workout in my pjs. Winning!

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Speaking of dance workouts… one of my favorite videos on Grokker is this one… this is super kind of embarrassing (because I can’t dance to save my life!) but I LOVE to dance, especially anything with a latin flavor… so this mambo dance workout was right up my alley!

In addition to their videos, Grokker allows you to track the videos that you’ve done and the amount of time spent being active. They also allow you to save videos for later, create collections based on your preferences and schedule workouts for a later date and time! In addition to that, you also have the ability to ask questions to a huge team of experts!

Have a I mentioned that I love this site?

Grokker currently has two plans.  Basic (the freebie!) and Premium (it’s unlimited videos!). Typically I’d say go for the free plan, but honestly, the Premium plan has a lot of perks (and a lot more videos) and is well worth the $10/ month if you pay for a year.

Basic
  • 2 Free Grokker Premium Videos/week
  • Full Access to Non-Premium videos
  • Always free
Premium
  • UNLIMITED Grokker Premium videos
  • Full access to non-premium videos
  • Enjoy Group Classes online
  • Watch on mobile, tablet, web, and TV
  • Ask Grokker Experts questions
  • $9.99/month for an annual plan, $14.99/month of a monthly plan

And now…for the fun part! The Giveaway! 

Grokker is allowing me to give one of you a 3-month premium membership ($60 value)!

Rules:

*Must be 18 years of age or older
*Enter below through Rafflecopter.
*Giveaway begins today, 10/29/15 and ends 11/6/15.
*I will email the winner randomly chosen through Rafflecopter.  The winner will have 24 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.

Click here to enter.

But wait! In case you don’t win the giveaway, Grokker is giving all Noelle’s Notebook Readers a sweet deal! Enter 99CENTS for 99 cents for first month of premium membership on Grokker! You can’t beat that!

Thanks to Fit Approach and Grokker for this awesome opportunity! 

*Full disclosure: As a Sweat Pink ambassador,  I was provided a three month premium membership to Grokker in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. * 

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Gross But Necessary: Two Weeks

Hello Friends!

You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything for GBN last week, so we are making up for it with two weeks of workouts today!  I started my online orientation class and I’ve had a ridiculous amount of meetings the last couple of weeks, AND Farmer Ben’s schedule has changed, which makes the morning run a bit trickier now… so there were many missed runs. Even though I am a bit frustrated by this, I realize that I just have to prioritize my time better. And, today is a new day!

Right?

Right.

Farmer Ben joined me on a couple of runs over these two weeks and I was absolutely ecstatic. There is something about running with the hubs that just makes it so much better…even if he is way faster than me!

That being said, my runs were … just okay last week. I don’t know if I was overtired or just bored, but pretty much every run was a struggle. Also, apparently last week was the week of meetings. Holy moly! I literally had some kind of meeting every day!

This week… I was sore. Like, I had a hard time bending over and putting pants on kind of sore…So, there’s that.

Anyway, here we go!

Gross But Necessary: August 23-September 5.

Sunday: So… I’ve decided to just go ahead and call Sundays a rest day.

Monday: No run. Instead of my usual forcing myself to run in the morning, I came into work early with the intention of running to a friend’s house after work for our usual dinner and small group. As I was about to literally run out the door, I got a phone call from someone who needed help. I was annoyed that I missed my run, but it was perfect timing and I was able to pray for this person AND practically help them…And honestly, that’s more important to me.

Tuesday: Short Night Run. I ended up going out in the evening with Farmer Ben for a little over 2 miles. This was after a taco dinner and a beer. Needless to say, this was extremely poor planning on my part and I didn’t feel too hot and it wasn’t pretty.

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Wednesday: I woke up at 5:00 am and got ready for a work conference just north of Albany (I was thrilled. Heh). We got back to town around 4:30 and I was incredibly car sick from the trip. After lounging around on the couch, Farmer Ben forced me to go out (God bless that man!). We did 3 miles and a cool down.

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Thursday: 4 Mile Morning (!) Run and a 1.5 Mile cool down. Knowing that I had a meeting on Thursday night, I set out to do five miles in the wee morning hours. And I tried. I got to 4 miles and decided to finish the loop as a cool down, so I alternated walking and running. This was a “meh” workout.

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Friday: I slept in that morning, went to work, had another meeting and marathon cleaned my house that evening, prepared for my monthly book club, cooked and baked until about 1:30 in the morning.  Does anyone else do this? I always pick really inconvenient times to decide to do the really OCD cleaning. Am I alone on this?

Saturday: I finished tidying up, did dog duty for friends who were out of town,w drove to a work luncheon, sped back to my house, frosted cupcakes for book club, hosted book club, second dog duty, had dinner with the hubby and took some chicken broth, soup and medicine to my mother who caught the black plague.

Sunday: See note above. Work, lunch with friends, work, delicious pizza with Farmer Ben celebrating the end of the week of meetings. Phew!

Monday: I can’t even lie, big fail; I didn’t drag my butt out of bed early enough…Then, instead of running in the evening, I started classes.

Tuesday: This workout from Erica House. I loved this workout…and I hated it. I love doing pushups and squats. I HATE lunges. Especially being as out of shape as I am…I’m still sore. Yesterday, I had trouble putting pants on! I know this means that I should probably do more lunges.

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Two notes: We actually did a 1/2 mile warmup and 1/4 mile cool down… We also did about .32 miles instead of 400 meters. Also, did you know that running on a soccer field is more challenging when it needs to be mowed (we did this at a field near our house)? True story.

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Wednesday: Um…I hurt all day. I had a lunch meeting and then ended up doing school work til late.

Thursday: Still in pain. I probably should have gone out and done something, but after work and homework, I really just wanted to spend some quality time with Farmer Ben…so that’s what I did.

Friday: Evening run. 3 miles, slow and easy.

Saturday: 5 miles with lots of hills.

Takeaways from the last two weeks?

I was very happy to get at least one good workout in this week after such a rough time the week before… I probably overdid it (or else I am just a major wuss) but I’m thinking that it was better for me to just start doing stuff like this, instead of waiting to “get back in shape.” If I wait for that, it’ll never happen. So, in spite of being sore, I am really glad that Farmer Ben and I did it and we will keep it in the rotation…it can only get easier, right?

Looking at my calendar, I really need to just go ahead and block out time for working out, otherwise, it won’t happen. Especially with schoolwork and all these meetings!

I’m also thinking that I need to sign up for a race… I unfortunately won’t be able to do the Ragnar Relay like I’d hoped, which means I haven’t done any races this year and have none coming up! That’s kind of depressing. Any race suggestions? They have to be Saturday races.

Happy Weekend, Friends!

Tell me, how are your workouts this week? Any Saturday race suggestions? 


Real Talk: Every Body Matters Book Review

If you’ve seen my last few posts, you already know that I’ve been working through this Gary Thomas book. I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

I typically read very fast–I am totally guilty of rushing through a book to finish it and not taking enough time to think critically and reflect on it. I couldn’t do that with this book. It’s not incredibly long, but it is FULL. I have about 2/3 of the pages dog-eared with information/quotes that I want to go back and read.

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The basic premise of this book (at least from my point of view) comes from 2 Timothy 2:20-21:

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.

As Christians we are called to be:

  • Instruments for special purposes
  • Made holy
  • Useful to the Master
  • Prepared to do any good work. 

That’s a lot of responsibility.

As Gary puts it:

 “Desiring a silver soul means that we stop treating our bodies like ornaments-with all the misguided motivations often displayed by those who build their bodies out of pride and ambition-and start treating our bodies like instruments, vessels set apart to serve the God who fashioned them. Whether we have strong or weak bodies, healthy or sick, overnourished or undernourished, how do we begin moving from where we are now to more purposefully building bodies that function like instruments?” 

Um… treating our bodies as ornaments? Guilty. This means that we must put our vanity aside. That we stop beating ourselves up or worshiping our looks and start treating our bodies as something that God has given us…and use them accordingly!

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This is heavy stuff. And that was only the first chapter!

I mentioned before that this really hit home. I’ve been a bit lax about taking care of my physical health the last few months. Not that I’ve taken up binge drinking, smoking and eating bacon cheeseburgers for dinner every night (How fun would that be?)… I just haven’t made a concerted effort to get out and move. And I was starting to feel it.

With my new-ish job, being healthy and physically fit is important. I have to be on the move at any given time…I never really know what I’m going to end up doing during the week (Seriously).

And then there is the other aspect of my job; As much as I don’t like to admit or think about it, people are watching what I do and say. Especially younger people. And their parents.  What I do directly impacts my accountability. How is that for scary responsibility/reality? Wow.

There is a chapter called The Three-Hundred Pound Pastor that hit the nail on the head in this regard. Let’s just say that my Gross But Necessary posts came back right around the time I read that chapter.

To quote the book:

“Let’s be honest: There were times when I was discredited because of the way I looked. When I talked to the kids about self-control in other areas, they could look at me and understandably ask why I wasn’t addressing my issues with food…” 

The chapter goes on to talk about how the church can actually enable people who struggle with food/physical fitness. Farmer Ben and I have definitely noticed this before-someone always brings cake/cookies to a group function, there are donuts and coffee on Sunday mornings, and so on.

As the books states;

“Please don’t misunderstand. Making delicious meals is a wonderful way to serve and love others. There’s nothing wrong with communal meals and tasty snacks. There is something wrong, however, about enabling someone who is trapped in an unhealthy pattern of living…

…Let’s create room in our churches for conversations rooted in love as we show concern not just for a person’s emotional well-being but for the physical well-being of that person too. Let’s be more concerned about someone walking in right relationship with God than with whether that person thinks we are loving accepting, and tolerant.” 

Now, I realize that I may have a slightly different view because of my employment and my personal areas of struggle…but I think this is definitely something that needs to be talked about.

And the author is not saying to go around and criticize someone’s eating choices/physical appearance. Not at all. But he is saying, that maybe we shouldn’t be so accepting, so nice about letting someone continue an unhealthy lifestyle. There’s a balance.

Moving on, the book has many stories of people who were spiritually strengthened as a result of becoming physically stronger and as I mentioned before, there were many inspiring quotes.

There was also some tough reading.

Gary Thomas doesn’t mince words. He’s very honest about what he feels is the role of the church and its members And he doesn’t excuse a total focus on spiritual health:

“All this talk about fitness, facing the pain of getting in shape, actively combating indulgence and laziness, is in many ways an appeal for the church to get tougher. We are soft. We often cave in at the slightest challenge. Men are lost to superficial sins; women are lost to superficial cares, and the work of the kingdom is neglected. If we don’t get tougher, the work will never get done.”

He has a point. Being a Christian isn’t easy. Heck, being human isn’t easy! If we can’t suffer through an hour of strength training, how will we suffer through persecution?  A crisis of faith? Or worse?

It’s pretty clear that I loved this book.There is so much more that I could go write about but we’d be here for another week! That being said, it was not an easy read. Did I take everything in this book as an absolute? Of course not. But it gave me a lot to think about.

There were many pages that made me say, “Amen! Yes…Absolutely!,” There were slightly more that gave me pause… that caused me to ask if I am really living up to the standard to which God calls us.

It’s definitely a process.

Because I loved this book so much, I’m going to give one away!*** Update: Giveaway closed! 

To enter, simply comment on this post and tell me what gets you motivated to improve your physical health!

(US or Canada Only)***

For additional entries (1 entry for each item): 

  • Tweet about the giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did so.
  • Follow me on twitter and comment telling me that you did. (@noellesnotebook)
  • Follow my blog and tell me how you follow (email, WordPress, BlogLovin, etc.).
  • Follow me on Instagram and let me know in the comments! (@noellesnotebook)

I’ll pick a winner on Saturday, August 29! Good luck!

*I purchased this book (and the giveaway copy) with my own money. No affiliation, I just really loved this book and want to share with y’all!  


Gross But Necessary; And Then I Did Something Stupid

Hi Friends!

Another week has flown by and it was a good one! I had a “laser maze” evening with the kids at work and Farmer Ben and I celebrated 4 years of marriage. Thanks to all who called, texted, emailed and brought bottles of wine to celebrate!

I will admit, I didn’t get out the door as much as I would have liked, but sometimes spending an evening with your hubs and watching him make you an amazing dinner* (which will be continued this weekend) far outweighs needing to workout.

And then, on mornings like this one, we need to run. We need that time to be alone with God, to cry out to Him and to push ourselves…for Him. This morning’s run blew me away.

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Anyway, here we go!

Gross But Necessary-August 16-22: 

Sunday-Rest Day? I’m still trying to figure out how to get a workout in… And then I wonder if I should just call it a rest day. I can’t seem to get a handle on Sunday workouts because I’m busy with work. Any thoughts?

(Side note: We were also recovering from a super speedy trip to Mass the day before. No big deal.)

Monday-Afternoon Walk with Farmer Ben. We didn’t have a lot of time, but it was good to get some steps in, even with the heat.

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Tuesday-Rest Day. I had every intention of going for a short run…instead I spent the afternoon taking a hardcore nap and reading. You win some, you lose some.

Wednesday-4 mile run, 1.6 mile walk/jog/cool down. It was disgustingly hot and I was completely drenched by the time I finished this run. It took me almost all day to recover.

Now, this is #GBN

Now, this is #GBN

On Wednesday evening, my friend Tina and I prepped the Laser Maze (a workout in and of itself).

Sidenote: I think we made it too hard.

And then the “Something Stupid.” After the maze, I was pooped and had a ridiculous amount of stuff that I had to lug in from my car. I decided to carry as much as I possibly could inside, instead of making two trips or pausing to shove a few things into my bag. As I was carrying/juggling everything into the house, I managed to drop a mason jar on my foot. Let’s just say, it hurt and I had a few choice words that do not bear repeating. It still hurts.

Thursday-Date Night with Farmer Ben. *I ended up going into work a bit early to make sure I would be out by 5. And then I had a date night in with Farmer Ben. Dinner, wine, etc. Perfect anniversary date.  This was supposed to be our appetizer… but we were full after this.

Course 1 (But really the only part of the meal because we were incredibly full after this.)

Friday-4.5 Miles. I mentioned above, this run blew me away. I could tell it would be a struggle and I could not get my head in the game. So I gave it to God. I spent the run praying. I prayed for loved ones, personal struggles and so much more. I was absolutely empty, yet overflowing when I finished. That peace which surpasses all understanding… and it helped so much. 

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Saturday-5 or 6 miles. I have a route picked out and I’m aiming for 5 miles. If I feel good, I’ll run 6.

Overall: The heat and humidity was rough this week. I have given up feeling badly about not running fast… it’s too stinking hot! I’ve been using my runs to pray, to think and to listen to terrible girly pop.  Also, I’m still not a morning person. Yes, I’ve been running in the morning, but it’s only because I force myself to. I’d much rather go for a night run any day of the week.

I’m happy to report that I’m down 3 lbs since I started running again and our food has been relatively healthy (80/20 principle).

Your Turn: How are you sweating this week? Are you better at running in the heat or in cooler weather? (I’m definitely a cold weather runner). 


What’s Next? Fitness Goals in 2015

Hi Friends! It’s Saturday! Can we talk about how amazing it felt to sleep in?!

Today is our church’s youth Christmas party, so this afternoon, I’ll be busy making a ridiculous amount of mac and cheese and hanging out with some teenagers who are way cooler than me.  
Moving on, today’s #elf4health challenge is to set (and announce) a new fitness goal…so I figured we would discuss goals again.

The New Year is one of my favorite holidays because of the feelings of expectation and being able to turn over a new leaf. Making a fresh start is always exciting…and sometimes terrifying. I have to say that I have been very blessed in my 27 years with many “new beginnings.” That being said, I very rarely make resolutions any more. Goals, yes. Resolutions, no.

As I mentioned yesterday, 2014 was not the year of fitness. And that’s okay. But, I’m ready for another go at it!

So knowing that I’ve had this challenge coming up and keeping in mind everything that I’ve learned over the last few months, it was tough to settle on a goal (not resolution) for 2015.
 
This is what I came up with:

1. Marathon # 2. It didn’t work out this year, but I am ready to commit to it in 2015. I’m not sure which race I’m doing, so I’ll keep you posted.

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After Marathon 1, 2013 Adirondack Marathon

2. Coaching Certification. This is something I’ve secretly thought about for some time… I’ve been searching for a way to better serve others. Running has opened up so many doors for me and brought me so much joy and I want to share that!

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So I will be working to become a certified running coach in 2015! I have the certification narrowed down to two programs… any advice on this is welcome! Stay tuned!

3. Life is too short for cheap chocolate. I try to live by the 80/20 principle… But lately it is more of a 70/30 ratio. So this is my new reminder.

There is a candy drawer in a co-worker’s office and for whatever reason, I have been making way into it a lot more often than I care to admit…and you know the ridiculous part? When I eat the chocolate in this drawer, it’s not all that satisfying!

Please do not misunderstand, I am NOT giving up chocolate, or even depriving myself, but I want to get back to being more intentional with everything I put in my body.

I know there are foods that make me feel terrible. And others that make me feel not so great. So why am I wasting my time eating something that doesn’t do it for me when I could be enjoying something else that satisfies me and doesn’t have a lot of weird junk in it?  Exactly.

Your turn: what are your fitness goals for 2015?


#Elf4health and #HolidaySweat weeks 2 & 3

Hi friends!

My apologies for being a bit behind on these updates… let’s catch up! Full disclosure: my participation has only been so-so.

#elf4health

I’ll come right out and say that Weeks 2 & 3 were kind of a bust. I’ve been pre-occupied with work and had an awful cold that has kicked my butt for the last two weeks… but here we go:  

Monday-12/1-Handwritten note: I still need to do this and try to make a point to do this on a somewhat regular basis.

Tuesday-Eat the rainbow: Yes, Done. I’ve been really good about eating my veggies lately.

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Wednesday-Go Makeup Free: this is most days, so it wasn’t really a challenge for me.

Thursday-Buddy Workout: Fail. Nothing more than walks lately.

Friday-Operation Beautiful Note: Nope. I did send some encouraging emails/texts though!

Saturday-= Pantry Purge: This is an on-going process in our house. Farmer Ben and I have a lot of food in our house, but we’ve been making a conscious effort to clean out our cabinets. Some things have been tossed, some given away and we’ve been baking/cooking up a storm to give ourselves some cabinet space.

Sunday-20 things gratitude list: Okay, I didn’t physically write out a list, but I did get to share so much that I am thankful for at my book club last weekend, so I’m counting this as complete.

Monday 12/8-Fastest Mile Challenge: To be totally honest, I haven’t done much running as of late, so this is on the to-do list.

Tuesday-Pay it Forward: I took care of something for a friend of mine. I can’t say what because I don’t want to be found out.

Wednesday-Pack a Healthy Snack: I typically bring some kind of healthy snack every day. I don’t remember what it was on this day…probably energybits or something with my homemade nut butter.

Thursday-Take Some You Time: I had an unexpected snow day (seriously, this NEVER happens at my place of employment) so I ended up having breakfast with Farmer Ben, going for a walk and grabbing lunch with two friends. Then I went home and spent the evening with Farmer Ben. Win all around.

Friday-Circuit Workout: Fail. I barely made it to work on time and then I spent the rest of the day prepping for my book club meeting. After a hot toddy, I fell into bed.

Saturday-3 food groups per meal: Yes, I did this. My book club meal was (hand-grated!) mac and cheese with whole wheat pasta, veal chorizo, mushrooms, onions and red peppers, a big salad and roasted pumpkin with a maple chipotle & fig balsamic vinaigrette. This was on repeat for dinner.

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Sunday-12/14-Clean Out Your Closet: As Farmer Ben and I only have one closet in our new place, this has already been done a few times over… I also did some frantic cleaning before my book club on Saturday.

#HolidaySweat:

As I mentioned above, running hasn’t happened much lately as I have been under the weather (and, okay, I admit, lazy). I’ve done some walking, which is something, but I know it’s NOT enough.  This week is my week to get back on track…I’m finally starting to feel better and can almost breathe normally again.  
However, I have hit my freggie (fruit and veggie) and water goals almost every day.

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Pumpkin Smoothies

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Let’s Chat: How’s your fitness/health this season? Doing any challenges?


#Elf4Health and #holidaysweat-Week 1 Recap

Hi friends! Hope you’re having a great week!  Here’s a  look at two challenges I’m participating in at the moment (Click respective links for more info!) So far I am doing pretty well…and am loving the extra motivation!

I took some time off from running after my October Half as I had a pain in my foot that just wouldn’t quit, along with some other reasons, so these challenges came at the perfect time to help me ease back into a routine!

Lets start with #elf4health:

Day 1: Meatless Monday-I started out my day with a smoothie, then had a big-ass salad for lunch and topped off the evening with sushi, margaritas and friends! YUM!

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Day 2: Unsubscribe challenge… fail. I DO need to do this.

Day 3: A New Workout: I went for a walk… I realize this isn’t a “new workout,” but it’s different for me.

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Day 4: Recommend a good book/blog/podcast: I recommended three: The Best Yes, Sacred Marriage and The Lipstick Gospel.

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Day 5: Veggie Smoothie-I didn’t do this. But I recommend Kale or Spinach.

Day 6: Treat Yourself-I headed to the library and picked up some reading material. Easy on the wallet and great for the mind!

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Day 7: Meal Prep-Farmer Ben had to work on Thanksgiving so we ended up celebrating on Friday with his fam…. Needless to say, my fridge is still full… so I half did this?

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Holiday Sweat:

Water Goal: hit daily
Freggie Goal(5-9 servings over fruits and veggies daily): 5 days out of 7… Cant win ’em all!

Monday-2 mile walk at lunch, 1 mile walk with hubby after work and 2 mile run.

Tuesday: Fail

Wednesday: 2 mile walk

Thursday-5 mile run because I slept in instead of turkey trotting.

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Friday-Rest day/Turkey day

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Turkey smoking in progress

Saturday-2 mile run at night (I’m such a chicken!)… It was freezing!

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Sunday-kind of a rest day. Hubby and I did some mall walking when we had an hour or so to kill… I didn’t count this in my points.

That’s all… What are you doing to stay active this month?