Siggi’s Culture Club & a giveaway{closed}!

Update: because I am late, I chose two winners! Inspired Spoons and Jennie J, you each are getting some siggi’s certificates! Email me at NoellesNotebook @gmail.com and let me know where to send!

You may or may not know this about me…but I am kind of a weirdo when it comes to yogurt. Plain yogurt is my jam. 

I do NOT like flavored yogurt. I can eat plain with fruit mixed into it, but I can’t eat the fruit-flavored stuff. It doesn’t make any sense.

Flavored yogurt makes me gag.

My stomach just doesn’t do well with pre-flavored yogurt. For my taste, there is usually WAY too much sugar/sweetener in it and I usually end up with an upset stomach and a headache.

But one day, this changed for me…on a whim, I tried siggi’s vanilla skyr (Icelandic-style, strained yogurt) . And then siggi’s orange ginger…and it didn’t make me gag! I actually liked it…And the ingredients were REAL and all things I could pronounce/possibly have in my kitchen (like real vanilla bean!)!

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The flavor that rocked my world

To be honest, I didn’t really know how to react to this earth-shattering revelation. I had identified myself as a flavored-yogurt hater for so long, I was having a crisis of epic proportions! What was I supposed to do now?! What would Farmer Ben think?!

Obviously, after this yogurt turned my world upside down, I had to find out more about the company behind the goodness. And I was very pleased with what I found.

siggi’s is a truly great brand! Their motto is “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar.” If you check out the nutrition/ingredient label, you can see that they stick to this motto.

 I also love that the company was started by one man in his own kitchen, and has expanded. Talk about motivation!

They  are a NY company and use NY dairy. Their yogurt is made with dairy from cows that are grass-fed, and hormone-free and there are no artificial ingredients!

I realized that this was a company I could get behind.  So I did what any former flavored-yogurt hater would do… I applied to be a part of their Culture Club! I did it on a whim and honestly, I didn’t know if I’d be accepted or not (I actually told them I wasn’t big on flavored yogurt… over share!)…but 4-5 weeks later I received a magical email.

I was in the club!

A couple weeks later I received my culture club welcome kit.

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siggi's hookup

I’ve been using the bag every day.

As a long overdue way to celebrate my initiation into the culture club, I’m going to give away 5 coupons for free siggi’s yogurt to one lucky reader in the US!

The only requirement: leave a comment telling me what your favorite flavor of yogurt is.  

 I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 6.

Full disclaimer: As a siggi’s brand ambassador, I received coupons (and may get product on occasion) in exchange for spreading their message of “simple ingredients, not a lot of sugar,” however all opinions are my own.

Happy Friday!


Life Lately, Weird Edition

Hi friends!

Please ignore the fact that I’m behind on my blogging. To be completely honest, I have no excuse other than I’ve been struggling with some nasty headaches and their side effects. They leave me feeling drained and with little to no motivation. I’ll discuss them more in another post.

In the moments I’m not dealing with said migraines/side effects, I’ve been juggling race planning, helping with Bistro to-do items, running, catching up with friends, cooking and squeezing in moments of quality time with Farmer Ben…and you know, regular life and work stuff.

As a result, I just haven’t had the urge to sit down and blog. And I haven’t felt that I’ve had much to say.

Life is kind of weird right now…and I’m trying to wrap my head around it.

Here is some of what is happening:

For a long time, I’ve worked my regular job and then worked job number 2 at least three nights a week…typically more. I’ve had a routine that required a lot of planning and remembering, keeping my work clothes and shoes in the car and trying to keep a somewhat set schedule… but a few weeks ago my time at job number 2 ended.

I knew it would happen sooner or later…but…The circumstances were bizarre and although issues were resolved I can’t really explain how or why. I will say that my tenure was up at least a month before I was planning on it. In the end, I left on a good a note, so it worked out.

As a result, I have some unexpected free time…kind of.

I’m NOT used to just going home after work, to having a somewhat flexible schedule in the evening.  I am not a schedule oriented person, but I also don’t do well if I have a lot of free time. Needless to say, it feels weird to be finished work at 5 PM.

Granted, this will be short-lived once the bistro opens, but its been a period of adjustment. It feels a bit like… limbo.

I’m savouring this time, however, because I know in a few short weeks, the nights where Ben and I can sit down to dinner together will be few and far between.

I’ve enjoyed being able to come home and cook something delicious for the two of us. Or being able to rent a terrible movie and hang out with a glass of wine…and being able to go to bed before 10pm if the mood strikes.

I’ve also used the free hours I have to get some race details taken care of and to get out and connect with some sponsors. I’m constantly amazed at how generous people are. Have I mentioned this before?!

In addition, because spring is finally here, I’ve been able to squeeze in some runs after work.

This week, Farmer Ben used my car to run errands and such. This forced me to either run to his workplace (~4 miles) to catch a ride home or to stay cooped up in my office to catch up on little things for a couple of hours until he picked me up.

As it is finally above freezing, I’ve chosen to run more often than not. Whether it’s a long run or run/walk to catch up with a friend, I am enjoying the time outside…especially because I stare at a computer for most of the day.

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Yup, the lake is still frozen.

I’m happy that my running mojo is coming back.

Sometimes I forget why I run… I forget that I enjoy that time of tuning out the world and just being. And that time is exactly what I’ve needed the last few weeks.

Not gonna lie, I haven’t been running every day, but I am savoring the days I do get out the door.

So, that’s where I’ve been/where I am at this moment.

What have you been up to? How do you deal with times of transition? Favorite terrible movie?


Oh Hey! It’s March

Hi Friends! 

Can you believe February is over? 

I realize that things have been a little quiet on the blog as of late, but I can assure you that I’ve been running, eating delicious things, spilling stuff on myself and being a weirdo, per usual. 

I’ve spent the last two weeks doing some major race planning items. I had a planning meeting last Friday and pestered a bunch of local businesses whenever I had any free time…Seriously, I glanced at the list I have and it appears that we have already contacted over 130 businesses…. not too shabby for January and February! 

I also got the official word that Clif will be sending us some sample size bars for the race! That will be in addition to a ton of other goodies we’ll be getting…. I’m so excited about this, I can barely handle it! 

In other news, I am absolutely loving my new running shoes. I’m sad because they’ve gotten a little dirty with all of the mud/rain we’ve had….but it’s fine. They’ve even helped motivate me to go out and run on my lunch break a few days last week. 

Wednesday, I talked Farmer Ben into meeting me for a lunch run (on his day off), even though it was so cold that my face hurt and we could barely breathe!  We only ended up doing a little over two miles but it was well worth it.

As we started running, he looked over at me and said, “Noelle, you are my ONLY motivation for being out here right now.”
 

That comment had me smiling for the rest of the run and the rest of the day! 

I know he was trying to be funny… but, seriously? Swoon! I love that guy! 

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Our favorite kind of date....

It got me thinking about what my motivation is. I’ve discussed this before, so I won’t go into great detail, but I’d love to hear what motivates you…especially on your “I don’t want to do this!” days. 

So, let’s discuss, what is YOUR motivation for getting out and running…even when it’s so cold that it makes your face hurt? 


Five on Friday

I cannot tell you how ecstatic I am that today is Friday…. even though I got suckered into working at job number 2 tomorrow night with the dreaded stairs (my calves are going to be ten times bigger than they already are in a couple of weeks!). This week took a lot out of me and I so looking forward to sleeping past 7:00 am. Isn’t that such a glorious feeling?

Anyway, here are five random facts for your reading pleasure:

1. Strides for James is taking over my life… and I am kind of okay with that… I’ve mentioned it before, but this is something very close to my heart and it’s a great way to give back to the community. I’m also super excited because we are getting a post-race chocolate milk donation. For the win!!!

2.I’m wondering if there is any topic that you’d like to see more of/featured more in-depth on Noelle’s Notebook… I have this slightly-larger-than-the-blog project (idea) that I’m kicking around…but I want to know that it’ll be something people are interested in. So, any input is totally welcome! Help a girl out!

2a. To go along with said project, I want to do an “ask me anything” post/series (depending on how many questions I get).

So, if you could do me a huge favor and asking me ANY of your burning questions in the comments below, I’d be forever grateful, and will be answering all questions next week. Many thanks!

3. I am STILL doing my planks and push-ups every day… I think this is the longest/most consistent I’ve ever been with sticking to one of these challenges. It makes me feel so accomplished and I can see a little more definition!

4. I don’t remember what it’s like to have long hair. In related news, I recently had a co-worker tell me he doesn’t remember me with long hair either (who has worked with me for the last 3+ years)… so I dug up this photo….

June 2012

June 2012

To compare:

December 2013

December 2013

Weird. Weird. Weird. Long or short?

5. Current Guilty Pleasure: Rum Caramel Chocolate bar from Lake Champlain chocolates… our co-op always stocks Lake Champlain chocolate but they never seem to have this kind. I hit the jackpot the other day while shopping for my foodie penpal… I sent her one and took one home to share with Farmer Ben…and I’ll probably be going back to check and see if they have more. Pricey but so worth it.

6. Bonus Fact. I got an email from a friend today with this verse and I just had to share it with you all…food for thought:

“…From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” -Luke 12:48, NIV

Now it’s your turn: Current guilty pleasures?  Long hair or short?

Don’t forget to ask me anything!

 


Why Can’t You Just Be Happy?

Hi Friends!

Can we have a real, honest-to-goodness conversation? I need to unload a bit…there are a lot of thoughts roaming around in my brain!

I am a big ball of nerves and randomness lately…not sure if you’ve picked up on this or not. But, as strange as it sounds, I feel more focused and clear-headed than I have in months. It’s strange; I’m all over the place, yet… I have it together (in my head anyway). Does that make any sense? Have you ever felt like that? I just feel like something big is coming… what it is, I couldn’t tell you, but it’s something important!

I’m looking forward, hopeful…but I’m also enjoying the present (mostly). This is something that I’ve always struggled with and this feeling of hope and moving forward is relatively new—and exciting! I’m ready to challenge myself and to do bigger things than I think are possible…it’s scary territory but I am finding it’s exciting and helps me push past those feelings of uncertainty.

I try to keep this relatively light-hearted on the blog… I also don’t hide my faith, but I don’t discuss it very often in this space. However, I feel like we know each other well enough that I can be truthful and open. I’ve wanted to tell this story for some time but I wasn’t sure if the time was right… today feels like the right day to take a chance and to make a confession.

The winter months are typically very difficult for me. I struggle.

I have a hard time being my best self in the winter. I don’t know how else to explain it and I never understood it in my younger years, it was just something I dealt with…I still don’t completely understand it and I still “just deal” with it.

When I was a kid,  I’d push my feelings down and focus on something else… then I would eventually have a melt-down and repeat. Not the best way to deal with things, but it got me through.

As I got older, I had a harder time dealing and pushing my feelings away. I would go to work every day, but on weekends I would hide away, not changing out of my pajamas and just trying to block the world out. Or I would cling to other people, other things, put all of my hope on them for my happiness and self-worth, which automatically set them (and me) up for failure. I never talked about my struggle.

I vividly remember a conversation with someone close to me during a particularly bad year. I was having more frequent meltdowns because I couldn’t find a good distraction and things were falling apart before my eyes, I couldn’t deny it much longer. We were having an argument and he looked at me and said “Why can’t you just be happy?”

I was stunned. And I couldn’t answer, so I did what I always did; ended the conversation and cried myself to sleep that night.

I had asked myself the same question several times but I had never uttered it out loud… I would make up excuses and just tell myself that I wasn’t happy…yet. That it wasn’t my fault. But even though the same question had always tugged at my heart, no one had ever asked me that out loud… and it hurt. It made me feel like a freak…a failure.

Even though I never answered him and that person is no longer in my life, that question has haunted me. (Looking back, I realize how completely insensitive that question was…but he had every right to ask it, even if I couldn’t answer it.)

I blamed my failure at happiness for making my life fall apart (this happened a few months after that conversation).  I took all of the blame; it was all my fault because I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t attractive enough, my job wasn’t good enough,  I wasn’t HAPPY enough. I was messed up. Looking back, I realize that this is all bull shit (pardon my French). Yes, I did some stupid, terrible things, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. And it’s never entirely one person’s fault.

It was a God thing… I needed to be broken so I could be made stronger. And I’ve never been more grateful for a series of events.

In a recent conversation with a good friend, this time in my life came up and she asked if I was truly “over it.” Answering as honestly as I could, I said, “Yes. I’d be lying if I said I still didn’t get upset thinking about certain things, but I have no ill will. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t still painful to think about at times, but it’s because I didn’t like the person I was then. And thinking about that former self is difficult.”

A lot has changed in the years that have passed since that question was spoken into existence.

I’ve regained my faith as a direct result of things falling apart.  It’s incredibly freeing to know that no matter how much I mess up, God is there. That He will take care of anything I give to him, even if it doesn’t always feel like it.  Yes, I still have responsibility, but He’s behind me.

I still struggle with “just being happy,” especially in the winter months, but I’ve been blessed with an incredible support system that gets it and the ability to find joy in the small things. This doesn’t mean that I don’t get down and I don’t get depressed…however, I don’t pin all my hopes and future happiness on other people and events…that’s just not realistic. But I do things that make me happy and I try not to over-obsess about the negative. And I try to be a better person and to help others.

If I’m having an off day, I admit it. Embrace it. And I talk about it… then I try to find the good and move on. Some days, this a lot harder than others.

In recent years, people ask me a completely new question and it always catches me off guard: Why/how am I “always so happy?” Quite a change, right? The answer is simple; I’m not. But, I don’t let my off days consume me as they once did.

In my slightly older/not-that-much-wiser years, I’ve discovered there are things that help me.

The number one thing is my faith, the second thing is my incredibly understanding and hilarious husband, Farmer Ben.

Running helps. A lot of people assume that I run because I want to get/stay in shape. That’s not the reason (most of the time). I run because it reminds me that I can survive and that I can persevere. It makes me feel strong and brings me a joy that I can’t completely explain. It’s also my time to talk to God. Running helps me get out of my head, get out my frustrations and my fears and just helps me … to be.

Speaking of talking to God, prayer. I’ve been a “re-Christian” for almost five years and sometimes I still have a hard time with prayer, especially praying in front of other people…but I’m finding that practice makes perfect and HE can do amazing things.

Another thing I’ve found is reading my Bible helps. I’ve always been bad about reading, but this year I am making a concentrated effort at making this a daily habit. It’s amazing what you find reading through this book. David, for example, was a man after God’s own heart. Yet, he STRUGGLED. He faced so many challenges; including someone trying to kill him… and he also struggled with “just being happy.” The first time I really read Psalms and paid attention, I was overwhelmed….speechless.

I had a lot of hard lessons to learn before I could “just be happy” and I probably still do. I suffered a lot of heartache and setbacks, but it forced me to take responsibility, to take a long look at myself and it made me move forward. Again, I’m far from perfect, but I’ve I feel like I am finally there–or at least a lot closer–even with my off days and my struggles…I’m in a good place and I’ve been incredibly blessed. Great things are happening, and there’s a plan for me (and you!) in spite of those times when I don’t feel like my best self.

Why can’t YOU just be happy?


Confessions; Life, Lately

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while…so here we go…

-Friday, I applied to be a part of  the “fit team” for a company that I adore… with my cell phone. I could NOT get the link to work on my computer so I finally resorted to using my phone… Desperate times call for desperate measures, right?! I really hope I didn’t make any fat-finger typos…and I really hope they pick me!!!! I’m 90% sure that they won’t… but there’s always that 10% chance…keep your fingers crossed!

– You may or may not know that I haven’t been on Facebook in a long time. In all honesty, I don’t miss it (other than it seems to be the only way some people keep in touch), however, as much as I hate to admit it, as I am trying to grow/improve the blog… I may have to reactivate it sooner rather than later… any thoughts on this? I’d love some opinions from other bloggers.

-I really miss just hanging out with my best. I haven’t seen her face in far too long and it really stinks…we keep in touch, don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice to hang out in person and not through phone or internet.

-Speaking of social media, Twitter completely overwhelms me sometimes. That is all.

-The #WinterMiles Challenge? I ran a total of 20.25 miles for week 1 (that includes an unscheduled rest day to deal with the head cold from hell).  I am pretty proud of myself because getting up the gumption to run in the cold is really difficult for me…some nights, I’ll sit in my car for 20 minutes before I finally talk myself into getting out and actually doing the run!

-Speaking of running, we have our first two registered runners for Strides for James! I am so excited! Once again, if you’re looking to visit Upstate NY…or live here, sign up! It’s going to be a great race! Not to mention, we have some amazing swag!

strides for james

-I told a white lie the other day, Farmer Ben and I never made it to the gym the other night… by the time he got home the other day, we wouldn’t have made it before they closed…but we did get out and run on a crazy windy night… this weekend, I took advantage of the ridiculously warm weather… maybe this week. I’m dying to check it out!

-I was really happy to get some positive feedback on this post. In case you missed it, here it is again:

budget

-I probably forgot to mention this, but Farmer Ben and I are doing the core and more challenge from Lifting Revolution. Basically, you commit to doing a plank, followed by some push-ups every day for the month of January. I am happy to report that I haven’t missed a day yet…. this never happens!

-Yesterday, Farmer Ben forced me to go to Burlington with him for a mini-date day…which meant that I had to do a night run. I don’t regret it one bit.

-I haven’t been working at job number 2 much lately… really not at all for the last month or so (except New Year’s Eve). Anyway, I got called in to work Friday and Saturday night at the new location. This location has an upstairs…. my calves are ridiculously sore from running up and down the stairs carrying trays of food and drink…can we call this cross-training?

-I saw a post on Instagram the other day that really ticked me off. It was one of those “inspirational” quotes that people take time to fancy up and make pretty. It said something along the lines of  “It’s easier to get up early and workout than it is to look in the mirror every day and not like what you see.”

Ugh!!! Why is it that the only reason a person needs to work out is if they don’t like their appearance? Okay, I get it…sometimes we need to lose a little weight or tone up and it’s easy to get stuck on that, but seriously?! Chances are if you hate the way you look that much, working out at 5:00 am is NOT going to change that. Why can’t someone work out because they like to? AND why is it that in order to be considered an athlete, you have to wake up at some ungodly hour in order to “get your sweat on?!” I’m sorry, but I do the majority of my workouts in the evening…and I’ve always been that way. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with getting up early, and I truly envy those who have the discipline to do so… but I am NOT one of those people …and I still like myself… and I don’t workout because I hate what I see in the mirror…I workout because I like the way it makes me feel …End rant.

Your Turn: What’s going on in your life? Any juicy confessions I need to know about? “Fit-spirational” quotes, yes or no?

 


It’s All About the Benjamins; Running on A Budget

I bet you thought that this post was going to be about Farmer Ben, but it’s not. Sorry…I know he’s a pretty neat guy. Instead, I’m talking about cash. Dinero. Money. It can be a dirty word. Having money is really nice, and not having it…well, it stinks.

I hesitated whether to write this post or not… but in all honesty, I feel like there are plenty of people out there who deal with the same kind of thing… so here’s some real talk, straight from the Notebook.

The other day, the hubs and I were having a discussion about money. We have some silly debt (student loans, car payment, etc.) that we just want to get rid of. So, we are committing ourselves to paying them off–early!–one at a time. It’s kind of like when you’re running a race, you start from the back, pick off the slower runners first, and move up to take on the big guys last–after you build up your confidence.

So, we are getting back to our B-U-D-G-E-T.  Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with that word? I find it empowering and depressing at the same time.

This means that we had to take a good hard look at where our money is going. What are we buying? What are we spending money on that isn’t necessary?

As I’ve rekindled my relationship with running, I notice that I spend more of my hard earned cash on running-related things…whether it be a race entry fee, new sneakers, or some shiny new gadget, running on the regular can add up.

True, all you really need to run is a good sports bra (if you’re a female), and a good pair of sneakers… but even those can cost upwards of $100…and if you’re on a tight budget like myself, it can be tough to afford it.

Obviously, it’s easy to be envious of other runners (especially other bloggers) who are able to do all of the cool races, have all of the latest models of running shoes and other gadgets and always seem to be up to date on…everything…especially when we are constantly hit with images of their cool stuff on social media. Am I right? BUT….it’s also a perfect example of why we have to work hard, on our runs and in real life.

This year, one of my goals is to run 14 races (click the little icon on my sidebar for more info!) in 2014. Depending on when and where races are, that can add up.

Side Note: I decided on (committed to) this goal right before the previously mentioned “budget conversation” with Farmer Ben. Impeccable timing, am I right?

Unfortunately, I don’t have any free race entries, running shoes or other fun gadgets/apparel coming my way… I also don’t have a ton of extra income to spend on said items because right now, paying off the silly debt comes first…but that’s okay. It just means I have to get creative.

So, I decided to share my plan for saving money AND accomplishing my 14 in 2014 goal.

budget

1. Sign up early. Most races will have the cheapest entry fees the further out you sign up…. if you wait closer to race day, you’re likely to pay up to $60 more! Bonus: If you already spend the money, you’re more likely to stick to your training!

Real Life Example: Remember how I signed up for the Wineglass Marathon in December? Well, the registration fee has already gone up $10!

2. Scope out smaller races. My first marathon was an $80 entry fee (and that was after the price increase), why? Because it was small. Not only do you get to see more and feel less rushed, but you save! Bonus: A lot of times smaller races have some pretty unique swag (Wineglass has a blown glass medal!) that you won’t find in a bigger race.

Real life Examples: With more popular races, such as the Rock n Roll Series, you’re going to pay $130 (got that from their website), plus you’re going to have to shell out travel and lodging expenses in major cities–if you don’t live in said city. (Not that I wouldn’t love to run a Rock N Roll race…but this year will not be that year). I paid an $80 entry fee for Wine Glass. Next, I was perusing active.com the other day and found a half-marathon about 40 minutes from me for $20. Um, yes please!

3. Stay close to home or with friends! While it may be temping to turn a vacation into runcation, if you’re a penny-pincher, like myself, shelling out big bucks for a hotel room and air fare is not always an option. So, if possible, stay with friends/family,  race within driving distance, or car pool! (When I run Wineglass, I’ll be crashing at my sister’s house!) It’ll be more fun!

Real Life Example: When I ran the Army Ten Miler a couple of years ago, I drove down and stayed with my friend Liz-this saved me over $200 that I would have had to spend on a hotel room. AND while it took more time, I ended up saving quite a bit by driving instead of flying (This was due to the fact that I ended up getting into the race at the last minute, and the closest airport to me only flies direct to Boston, Florida and Vegas.).

4. Use discount codes. Many bloggers are also race ambassadors. That means, if they are running a big race, they’ll often have a discount code to share with their readers. This also applies to gear and running fuel (Shameless Plug; 25% off ENERGYbits with code, “NoellesNotebook.”).

Real Life Example: I’ve found some great discount codes for brands such as ProCompression, ENERGYbits (see above) and Reebok from some of the blogs I read and #RunChat is always offering discount codes to their twitter followers.

5. Bring something with you. A lot of races will allow for a discounted race entry if you do something for the organization.

Real Life Example: I’m looking at a “run for chocolate” in February–they will discount your race entry if you bring something chocolate! Other races will ask that you bring a canned good or similar with you.

6. Volunteer. I’ve seen a trend in the last few months that certain races (or a race series) will give you a credit for a future race if you volunteer. OR, if you bring a volunteer with you, you’ll get a free race entry. What a great way to give back and save some cash! Team up with some friends and make it a party!

Real Life Example: This organization out of Massachusetts.

7. Run as a team. Some races allow runners to form a team, especially corporate groups. This allows team members to get a discounted registration, while repping their organization….now if only I could get some of my co-workers to run!

8. Look for deals. I cannot stress this one enough. I very rarely pay full price for running apparel/sneakers. Not because I’m cheap (okay, maybe I am), but because I look for the deals… whether in the store or online–I hate getting weekly emails, but I keep myself subscribed because every once in a while, I find a GREAT deal. I also look in places out of the ordinary (Craig’s List, TJ Maxx, Woot, etc.) Lastly, I try not to worry about getting the newest model clothing/shoes because last year’s model is usually discounted.

Real Life Examples:  I always update my cold weather running gear in November. Why? Because Dick’s has all Reebok cold weather gear on sale for 50% off AND I use coupons (I saved $85 this year)! I also get apparel at Target–I found a pair of C9 compression capris that are the most comfortable I’ve owned and weren’t ridiculously priced. Next, I snagged Ben a pair of Vibram Five Fingers from Woot.com for $30…Lastly, I purchased my foam roller at TJ Maxx for $15 and frequently see high-end sneakers there for a very affordable price, just never in my size. Bonus: Now and then you can score an amazing deal on treadmills or other equipment on Craig’s List, it never hurts to check the “free” section!

9. Save your race goodie bag! I know it’s tempting to just toss it  without looking through it, but speaking from experience, people spend a lot of time putting those together…at least take a peak at what they’ve got for you!

Real Life Example: I’ve gotten $30 worth of gift certificates (to the same store!) from the last two races I’ve done…not to mention other coupons, all in my goodie bag. That’s $30 off the price of my next pair of running shoes.

10. Start Saving. This may seem a bit elementary, but it doesn’t hurt to set aside some money in your budget specifically for races (especially if there is a big race you REALLY want to do)…even if it’s just saving the random change you find while cleaning your car. It all adds up.

Real life Example: The other day, I was going through a pile of stuff I had been neglecting and found $23. It immediately went into savings. I also set aside some of my tip money whenever I randomly pick up a shift.

That’s it. Simple enough, right? We’ll see how I do as the year progresses!

What about you?! Any tips and tricks for saving on races or running must-haves?! Favorite major savings story on running related items/events? Best race swag you’ve gotten? What races are you running this year?!


“A List for Last Year,” A FINAL Update on 2013.

Oh hey! It’s officially 2014… I won’t get used to writing/typing 2014 until June…but it’s fine…

Anyway, I figured I should give you all one last look at how my 2013 goals were accomplished. I’ll keep it short and sweet, I promise!

Enjoy!

Noelle’s (Re-Re-Updated) List of Things to do before December 31, 2013:

1. Create a logo for the blog and go self-hosted.

Fail. That’s all.

2. Excel in my job.

I think for the most part, I do my job pretty darn well, but I’m still learning a lot… so I’ll call this one about 85%…..

3. Make 2013 a “Yes!” year/7. Be more present.

Yes. I killed this one.

5. Take more time to read.

Again, killed it.

4. Run a half marathon/6. Run 26.2 miles.

Half Marathon-I still haven’t raced it…but I’ve run it.

Marathon-Done.  So we’ll call this even.

8. Pay off at least one big bill–Get better about saving money.

Didn’t happen… 2013 was the year of random things that come up and shot our budget to Hades AND realizing that we really need an emergency fund.

2014 will be the year of actually having an emergency fund (We’re 75% of the way to our EF goal!) and being able to handle those budget killers.

On the plus side, I upped my 401k contribution and Farmer Ben started his retirement fund at work in 2013…so it wasn’t all bad!

9. Do 100 Burpees in a row.

Nope…. I can probably do about 30 without stopping…maybe 40 if I am feeling like a boss.

10. Do more food-ing.

Absolutely! Done.

Told you that it would be short and sweet… I’d say I did well… granted, I failed miserably at two of my goals…but I definitely learned something from most of these challenges. And of the few that I didn’t accomplish, we are better prepared for them this year.

2013 was a good year, but 2014 will be better… I’ve got big plans for this year and can’t wait to fill you in along the way!

Now it’s your turn! How did you do with your goals for 2013? Anything you’re still struggling with? OR, do you have any advice for 2014?! Let me know! 


Would you Rather Running Style Survey

Hi friends! Happy 2014!

How did you celebrate?

I spent New Year’s Eve working both jobs and spent yesterday (mostly) in bed, trying to kick this nasty head cold… today, I am back at work, drinking Kombucha and a fruit smoothie, in hopes that I’ll be back to normal in the next day or so…

Anyway, Cori over at Olive to Run posted another one of her awesome “Would you rather…” running surveys and I had to join in! Check out her post to see more responses or join the link-up party!

Let’s get started!

#1. Would you rather run in a thunderstorm or a snowstorm? I’d say thunderstorm…there’s something so freeing about running in the rain and I feel like a bad-ass… not that I mind snow… but rain is better.

#2. Would you rather breathe through your nose or breathe through your mouth? I do both, depending on the day…. today, I’m a mouth breather…. yuck.

#3. Would you rather do 100 squats or 100 crunches? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)] I’m going to go with 100 crunches.

#4. Would you rather have a baked good for dessert or an extra serving of your favorite entree? Extra serving of my favorite entrée…. unless it’s really good chocolate cake (and I am picky about my chocolate cake).

#5. Would you rather run on a treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour? I’d pick running around the same street block…I HATE the treadmill.

#6. Would you rather have a headache during a run or a side stitch? Headache….I think.

#7. Would you rather have a rest day on a work day or a day off? I’d say probably a day off…but I normally end up doing my rest days on a work day…. weird.

#8. Would you rather be a race director or a race volunteer? I’ve done both… I love being a race director and am currently in the process of planning Strides for James 2014. It’s so rewarding and I love getting to meet/keep in touch with so many people in the community–both runners and volunteers!

Last Year's Race Prep...

Last Year’s Race Prep…

#9. Would you rather spend your money on running gadgets [HRM, GPS watch, Headphones] or running shoes? Running shoes… I’m not a huge gadget person.

Resampled_2013-07-09_20-29-16_3352

#10. Would you rather run in a relay or do the run portion of a distance triathlon? Run a relay…Ragnar Relay, anyone?!

ADK Ragnar Relay 2012

ADK Ragnar Relay 2012

What about you?! How would you answer these questions? What’s your best “would you rather…”  question?


Throwing it Out There

Good Evening Friends!

We made it through the work week… is anyone else ridiculously happy that it’s Saturday? For whatever reason, a lot of my co-workers were in TERRIBLE moods all week… it’s quite a buzz kill, you know? And, as much as I love them (most of the time)… I was ready for a break.

Moving on, I have a confession to make; I’ve totally been holding out on you.

See… I did something at the beginning of this month and I’ve kept mum about it. Well, mostly mum… I’ve only told Farmer Ben and a few others in my “inner circle.”

I wanted to tell you all, I really did! But I didn’t feel that the timing was right…and I just wasn’t quite ready to write it out loud. I wasn’t ready to see MY words in front of my face…so I kept it quiet.

Anyway, I decided today was as good as any day to spill the beans… especially because today’s elf4health challenge is to announce our fitness goals for the coming year.

So….here you go:

image

Yes. I am officially registered for the Wineglass Marathon. And I am SO EXCITED!

While that’s not my only goal for next year, it’s certainly the biggest one at the moment. I’m on my way to marathon number two.

Phew! I feel better now that I have that off my chest!

What about you? Any races scheduled for next year? What are your fitness goals?