Real Talk: Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart Bars

Helloooo! Happy Tuesday y’all!

Can we talk about snacks today?! I am stopping in today with a quick review for Manitoba Harvest. They recently came out with a new product, their hemp heart bars, and I was lucky enough to get to sample two of the flavors!

*Full Disclosure-Manitoba Harvest provided me with product for review purposes through my relationship with Fit Approach as a Sweat Pink Ambassador. Per usual, all opinions are my own.*

I was excited to test these out as I am a big fan of hemp seeds as a plant-based protein and am always game for trying new snacks.

There are many days when I get caught up at work and do not have time to sit down and eat a real lunch, so I try to keep relatively healthy and filling snacks around. These definitely fit the bill!

I was sent the apple cinnamon and the chocolate to try. While both were good, the chocolate was definitely the winner in my book. I will be on the lookout for the vanilla so I can try all three!

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Side note: I know this probably doesn’t matter to most people, but I really like the packaging for these… it’s nice and simple, just like the ingredients.  

Speaking of the ingredients, I can pronounce all of them, which if you know me, is very important! You can also see pretty much everything listed!

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A quick run down of the bars from the Manitoba Harvest Website:

“Manitoba Harvest Hemp Heart bars are crafted with the goodness of hemp and other tasty ingredients too. We’ve whipped up three different delicious flavours to choose from: vanilla, chocolate and apple cinnamon. Each 45 gram bar contains 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of omegas, so whether you grab one for a pre-workout snack or nutrition on the go, these convenient bars are sure to get you through even your busiest day!”

10 grams of protein! I was super thankful to have one of these in my purse the other day… Once again, I hadn’t had time for a real lunch and I needed a quick snack before heading out to meet a friend for a run! It didn’t bother my stomach and kept me satiated through my workout and up until dinner! Winning!

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Overall, I would absolutely buy these again. However, I would definitely recommend the chocolate over the apple cinnamon. It’s just…I personally would rather eat an actual apple…but that’s just me…don’t let that rain on your apple cinnamon loving parade!

In other exciting news, Manitoba Harvest is running a wicked cool photo contest! You can find the full details here.

Here are some quick details if you’d like to play along: 

  • Tag @manitobaharvest #hempheartbar #fuelledbyhemp #sweatpink @fitapproach for a chance to win a box of your favorite flavor of Hemp Heart Bars!
  • A winner will be chosen each month!
  • Eligibility: open to US and Canada residents.

AND if you’d like to order your own hemp heart bars, Manitoba Harvest is generously offering 15% off your purchase. You can buy them here.

  • The discount code hhbarlaunch1015 will get you 15% off! Expires 3/31/2016 

A big thank you to Manitoba Harvest and Fit Approach for allowing me to sample out another awesome product!

Lets’ chat: Hemp Hearts-yes or no? Favorite pre-run (or other workout) snack? Chocolate or Apple Cinnamon? 

 

 


2015 In Review

Hey Y’all! Happy New Year! I totally started writing this post last week last year but I put it aside for a few days….

Last year In December 2014, I wrote a post outlining my goals for 2015. There were three (marathon number 2, coaching certification and cleaning up my diet).

Not gonna lie, reading this post now makes me laugh!  I have only partly accomplished one thing on the list. Just ONE (half)!

While a normal person would look at this as a major failure, I am giving myself a bit of grace this year. Am I letting myself off the hook too easily? Probably… but I am okay with that.

I was dissatisfied with myself last year in 2014.  I was stressed to the max, ready to snap at any moment!

This year… I don’t really feel that way…at least not as much. Am I perfect? Heavens NO! Of course not! But I have made some progress. While I am still striving to make improvements and I still have stress, I’m not obsessing over it and I am enjoying this chapter and what God has planned.

One of the major changes of 2015 was on the work front. I am in a job that I love. Is it easy? No. Absolutely not. But I know this is where I need to be. This is where God wants me, a place where I have to fully rely on Him.

A hard part of my work is that it requires me to work on Sundays. Unfortunately, this means no racing on Sundays….and all of the local(ish) half marathons and marathons take place on Sundays (except one…which I was and will indefinitely be unable to attend due to another work conflict).

As a result, not only did I NOT accomplish marathon number 2, but I also did not do ANY races this year. Not a single one! I realized this the other day… am I little bummed out about this? Yes, but it’s not the end of the world.

Another change that 2015 brought was going back to school. I started taking classes for my minister’s license in August. This means that a typical day (while classes are in session) starts around 7 am and goes until 2 am, when I finally finish my homework. I’m still working on my schedule and how to fit in regular life activities (including exercise and dinner!

While finding my footing with a new job, classes and the many changes that occurred (and are still)  with our head pastor’s death, I had many days where I was just trying to hang on… But even in that, I am amazed at the work that God accomplished. I haven’t written about this (on the blog) very much, and I am not entirely certain that I will, but it’s been a very good year. Tough… but good.

Will I ever get that run coaching certification? I think so. I get updates about upcoming courses and I would still like to take the certification course, but my reason for wanting it is a bit different than it was last year. I guess I will let that one roll over to 2016.

2015 was also a year of friendship.

This afternoon, I sat around my kitchen table with five other women for our monthly book club. As we laughed together, I realized how lucky I am to call them friends. When I started the book club, I never knew how much of an impact it would have on me. When I was first approached about working at my church back in February, I sent an email and with the click of the send button, I knew that I had (at least) 12 people praying for me, asking God to give me direction, even though they didn’t know the details.

When our pastor was sick, and eventually passed away, Ben and I knew that we had friends we could grieve with and walk through this chapter with.  We’ve been blessed to have support in many areas of our life and are glad to offer our support to the people in our life.

Ben and I have an ongoing group text with our friend’s Ben and Ashley. There are many times throughout the week when these texts will absolutely crack me up… but we can also send out a group “Hey, can we pray about XYZ together in the next few minutes?” It’s comforting, knowing that we have friendships where this is a normal occurrence. God is so good!

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image via She Reads Truth.

To be honest, 2015 was a huge blur! There are a few moments that stand out, but honestly, I have no idea how it is already January 2016!

I had no idea what was in store when I wrote this post last January….but I hope that I don’t lose that boldness and that desire to speak life!

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I’m looking forward expectantly, wondering what God has planned for us.

 

Cheers to 2016!

Let’s chat! Favorite moment in 2015? Did you accomplish all of your goals? 

 

 

 

 

 


What’s Been On My Plate? #HempHearts Review & Giveaway

Hi Friends!

Happy Weekend! Any big plans? Farmer Ben and I are spending our weekend at our district’s ministry retreat.

Today I want to talk about Hemp Hearts!

Have you had these tasty little seeds before? Farmer Ben and I love them! Confession: We put them in everything. And I mean EVERYTHING!

Hemp Hearts are actually the center of the hemp seed (basically, it’s what remains after the seed is de-shelled). They are also super good for you. In one 30 gram serving, Hemp Hearts contain 10 grams of plant-based protein and 10 grams of Omegas. They also have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax (AND don’t get stuck in your teeth!). Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts are also Non-GMO Project verified. This is something super important to Ben and me.

I love them because they have a nutty flavor that goes with anything. Seriously, Ben and I use them as a topping for yogurt and salads, a stir-in for smoothies or eggs, filling in meatballs (yes, I’m serious) and muffins. Sweet or savory, these will work! Click the link or the picture below for the muffin recipe. I made these a while back and actually just use all hemp seeds now.

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One of my favorite ways we’ve used the hemp hearts is in a veggie packed pasta sauce. We started with Farmer Ben’s homemade marinara sauce, added a splash of wine, threw in some vegan sausage, swiss chard, spinach and mushrooms and let those cook down, then right before we served it, we stirred in some hemp hearts for a little added crunch and flavor (then, to certify our hippie status, we topped it with nutritional yeast and served with whole wheat pasta)

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Another way that we love to eat hemp hearts is with plain yogurt and some fresh berries. As you probably know, siggi’s is my go to!

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So, long story short, we are huge fans. These little seeds are a staple in our house.

AND! Good News, Manitoba Harvest is generously offering one of you lucky readers the chance to win a package of Manitoba Hemp Hearts to try.

To enter pick any or all options below and leave a comment letting me know that you did it! (1 entry for each)

  • Follow @ManitobaHarvest on Twitter
  • Follow @ManitobaHarvest on Instagram
  • Tweet about the giveaway using @ManitobaHarvest #hemphearts @FitApproach #sweatpink
  • Follow @NoellesNotebook on Twitter
  • Follow @NoellesNotebook on Instagram
  • Leave a comment telling me your favorite way to enjoy Hemp Hearts

The Fine Print: 

  • Open to US and Canada residents
  • One prize per person. If you win this giveaway, and have already won another prize from Manitoba Harvest through another blog, please disclose that you have already won so we can choose another winner. 

****Giveaway ends Wednesday, November 11.

Ever had Hemp Hearts? What’s your favorite way to eat them? 

*Full disclosure: As a Sweat Pink ambassador,  I was provided a free sample of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own. *  Thank you Manitoba Harvest! 


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. * 


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). 


2014 Running Recap

Since I spilled my guts about my 2014 great racing plans gone awry last week, I figured that I should give you all a proper recap. Looking back, I kind of failed at posting race recaps this year.

Anyway, I did nine races this year…with the schedule I had, I am pretty proud of that! True, I didn’t have any crazy PRs or end up doing a full marathon, but it wasn’t too bad of a year after all.

Races of 2014 Past:

Race 1: Run to Chocolate. This was only a two mile race, but Farmer Ben and I had so much fun!
Time: 18:44

Race 2: Frostbite 5k. The day after Run to Chocolate… It was cold. REALLY cold. But we ran fast, had fun and our friends’ son ran his first 5k that day! Time: 29:01

Race 3: Doc Lopez Run for Hope (5k). I was supposed to do the half but after taking a spill at work and messing my knee up, I decided to drop down to the 5k. It turned out to be a pretty fun race and had amazing post-race food! I took second in my age group.
Time: 28:28

Race 4: Plattsburgh Half Marathon. This was my first (official) half marathon. My friend Kristy ran with me the whole race (even though she is faster than me), and I am so glad she was there! We were decked out in pink tutus and got a lot of encouragement along the way because of this wardrobe choice. My training for this was…okay. I did a few long runs. Regardless, it was great to spend a couple hours hanging out with Kristy, running all over Plattsburgh. The hardest part was running on the neighborhood streets behind the college, I don’t know why but that part of the course really messed with my head. Either way, it was a good race. Time: 2:28:30

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Race 5: Families Helping Families 5k. This was really well put together and had an interesting and flat course. I ran the fastest 5k I’ve done in a couple of years and ended up running into an old friend. Another plus? The proceeds went to a local charity.
Time: 27:34

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I stopped my watch late...

Race 6: Biggest Loser Half Marathon. Not gonna lie, this sucked. I wasn’t sure I was going to do this race but I ended up signing up at the expo the day before. The race took place shortly after the restaurant opened and I really hadn’t done any running (other than 4 or 5 miles here or there) in at least a month. We worked really late the night before and I woke up knowing that this was going to be tough. Kristy started out with me (we rocked our pink tutus again) but I immediately started feeling some stomach discomfort and told her to go on without me a few miles in. From mile five to six, I seriously considered not finishing but I refused on the grounds that I had paid to race. I ended up walking a lot and finished about 15 minutes slower than the half I had done a month before. As for the race itself, it was a let down in that I expected more people to be out watching/cheering, especially down town. Also, there were so many runners in the 5k but hardly any running the half.
The plus side is that I had a lot of people cheering me along the course and the volunteers were great!
Time: 2:45:49

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Race 7: Dirty Girl Mud Run in DC/MD. My friend Liz scored a Groupon deal on this race and I ended up road-tripping with our friend Kayla down to DC. This was my first obstacle run and first time running a women-only race. We had a good time.
It was rainy and cold…and muddy… I think the best part was being able to hang out with Liz and Kayla for the weekend, eating delicious food and drinking too much wine. The only negative aspect was the parking was super disorganized and the wait for the showers/changing area was outrageous.  Luckily, we aren’t that modest and ended up changing in the parking lot.
Time: I have no idea!

Race 8: Adirondack Ragnar Relay. Shortly after the mud run, I decided to drop down to the half marathon for Wineglass and Ben and I got an invitation to join our friend’s Ragnar team. Of course we said yes.

I chose the shortest leg but also ended up running a few extra miles for one of our teammates. Ben chose one of the longer legs and hit a distance PR. I was so so so proud of him! Unfortunately, he ended up hurting his knee.
Ragnar also showed me that I was not in that great of shape and confirmed that my decision to do the Half instead of the Full was the right one.
Time: various.

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Race 9: Wine Glass Half Marathon. I was excited to run this as it takes place where I grew up…but also pretty nervous…Part of this was my total lack of training in the months of September and most of August, and part was that I put a lot of unnecessary pressure on myself with racing and this was no exception. I was thrilled that Farmer Ben was (unexpectedly) able to join me on the trip down to my sister’s (where we stayed) and we got to spend some time with the family, toodling around my old stomping grounds. We hit up the race expo to pick up my bib and swag bag (champagne for the win!) and then spent the rest of the day with the family.

On Sunday, we woke up at an ungodly hour and my sister and Ben drove me to meet the shuttle to the starting line. There was some confusion with this and I breathed a sigh of relief because if I had shown up any later, I would have been one of the poor people who missed the last shuttle and weren’t able to race. This was the first time I had taken a bus to the starting line, luckily, I met some pretty cool people waiting. As my bus was one of the last ones to arrive the starting area, I had to sprint to the bag check and the porta-potties and barely made it to the start line before the gun went off. There were a lot of people!

Since I had already decided that I wasn’t going to race this, I just had fun, talking to the people around me and enjoying the autumn scenery. The weather was perfect.

I hung out with a couple of the pace groups, but ended up leaving them so I could be alone with my thoughts. I randomly ran right by my sister, Meghan, and Farmer Ben (unbeknownst to me, they would end up buying a new battery for my car because mine died…Thanks!) just before the 8 mile mark. This made me so happy, I can’t even tell you! Running down Market Street, toward the finish line, I passed my dad and was called a Bad Ass by another runner (she found out I had run it the weekend before).

The finish area was super organized and there was delicious soup, pizza, bagels and other goodies. I ended up eating half of the items and sharing the rest with Ben and my dad.

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I ended up running the race in 2hrs and 31 minutes… not my fastest time for 13.1, but I was definitely happy with it, considering my training.

To be honest, I got a little emotional, especially watching the first marathon runners cross the finish line (it turns out, I actually ran Cross Country with the winner!)…people of all abilities, running to complete the elusive 26.2 mile race… and I wasn’t even one of them this year! Then Ben told me that he was really proud of me and I almost cried.

I definitely enjoyed this race the most, from the hand-blown glass medal, to the volunteers and the finish on Market Street, it was really well organized and everyone was SO nice. My family being there definitely helped.
Time: 2:31 (I think)

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In short, It was not the year I had planned, but it still pretty fantastic!

Your turn: Favorite race? Greatest achievement in 2014?