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.
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!
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.
- 2 Free Grokker Premium Videos/week
- Full Access to Non-Premium videos
- Always free
- 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)!
*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.
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. *
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
Happy Saturday Friends!
Just popping in to share my thoughts on this fun little product! Vega Sport Hydrator.
Full Disclosure: I was provided this product by Vega and Fit Approach, for the “Fuel Your Better” Campaign, in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
As you know, I run…and I sweat… a lot. As I’ve started running longer distances over the last couple of years, I’ve learned that my body does not do well with just water… I’ve also learned that my stomach doesn’t like a lot of the energy gus and gels on the market (hence my obsession with ENERGYbits). And Gatorade? not my favorite. So, when Fit Approach sent out information on their campaign with Vega, I was excited to try it! Fuel Your Better? Heck yes!
I’ve been reading a lot about Vega and following them on Social Media. I like that they offer a plant-based and natural alternative to the mainstream endurance and nutrition products on the market. Not gonna lie, I am a little obsessed with the Fuel Your Better campaign. Check it out for some serious motivation.
Anyway, I was sent the Berry Sport Hydrator. I liked that it came in single serve packets. Super easy (just add to 16 oz of water, stir and drink!). I also loved the fun pink color! Not your standard lemon-lime or blue raspberry!
Here is a look at the nutrition label on the hydrator I received.
Notice the lack of scary ingredients!
So what exactly is the Electrolyte Hydrator?
From their website: “A natural, alkaline-forming drink mix, free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator is formulated with all the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated during workouts.
With zero calories per serving, Electrolyte Hydrator tastes great, so you can sip it not just during your workout, but throughout the day to:
- Replenish electrolytes and minerals
- Enhance metabolism and alkalinity
- Provide antioxidant protection”
Sounds promising, right?
How did it taste?
I LOVED that it wasn’t as sweet as your standard sports drink… It also didn’t stain my lips/clothes and it didn’t have that weird aftertaste.
That being said, it was still a little too sweet for me, but this was easily remedied by adding a little more water than the 16 oz per packet. Honestly, I think I would have preferred the lemon-lime flavor over the berry, but this was still pretty good.
Did it work?
I definitely noticed that I didn’t feel as depleted/drained after a hard workout when I drank this before/during (Also, here is where I tell you that I’ve had this product for a little while, and it took me forever to test it out because life seriously cut into my workout time. No big deal.).
I also drank it while I was running around doing errands or at my regular job and it definitely helped me to feel more hydrated.
Would I buy this?
Definitely. I love that there aren’t crazy ingredients and will definitely be adding this to my water for long runs with CamelBak.
Thank you to Vega and Fit Approach for the sample! I would definitely recommend it to my fellow runners looking for a better alternative! #fuelyourbetter
Let’s Chat: Favorite Hydration Product? Flavors?
Last Saturday, I woke up early. This will shock you, but I really hate getting up early—especially on weekends. However, I will do it for a race (long runs are still debatable).
I had registered for the Run for Hope a few weeks earlier and had hoped to do the half marathon. Unfortunately (and in addition to my sporadic training) I slipped at job number 2 and managed to bang up my knee… which caused me to skip my last two long runs.
On Friday night, while having a fancy date night out with Farmer Ben, I was still debating which distance I was going to do.
My Thought Process:
“I know I CAN finish the half BUT it is a pretty challenging course (read: HILLS). So the big question is should I run the half and risk messing up my knee in doing so? Or play it safe and stick with the 5k? I’m not expecting a great time, regardless…but is it worth running it just to run it?!”
On Saturday morning, the 2 glasses of wine I had at dinner were not settling well and I was not looking forward to (another) cold and windy run. I took some ENERGYbits and drank a giant glass of water…then I stumbled around gathering everything I would need to race—including a change of (dry) clothes. I ended up leaving a few minutes later than I wanted to, but I wasn’t too worried as I knew that this was a relatively small race.
On my way out of town, I stopped and got iced coffee and a bagel for breakfast and jumped on the highway to make the 40 minute trip south to Elizabethtown.
As long of a drive as it is, it’s one of my favorites view-wise. I blasted the radio and tried to not drive off the road (driving conditions were horrible!). My stomach was flip-flopping as I drove and weather conditions were, for lack of a better word, crappy.
Once I pulled into the school parking lot, I had made my decision. I found the race director, introduced myself and asked if it would be possible to switch to the 5k. Of course this was not a problem…even if I wasn’t entirely happy with my choice.
After getting my registration/check-in straightened out, I wistfully watched the half-runners jump on the waiting school bus and drive away to their starting line…then I realized that I had about an hour and a half to kill before the 5k started. So, I got some water, found the bathroom, caught up on my tweets/Instagram/favorite blogs and finally went into the high school gym to ditch my hoodie and keep warm. I ended up running into someone I knew (her husband was doing the race) and chatted with her while I stretched.
I have to say, I was pretty impressed with how hi-tech this race was. We even had an ankle timing chip—my first time racing with this!
I also noticed this little gem in the swag bag (yup, no shame).
Anyway, we lined up in front of the school and waited for the race to start. It was a flurrying and windy. I had opted for a pair of tights, a long sleeve core layer, a t-shirt and my trusty blue hat.
The 5k was an out and back, complete with some little hills and an uphill finish. The wind was rough running out, there was one spot that I felt like I just wasn’t moving. Coming back was really nice because the wind was at our backs.
It started snowing even harder right after I finished. Not gonna lie, I was happy that I opted out of the half at this point.
After taking the obligatory post-race photo, I headed back into the gym to scope out the snacks. Locally made delicious looking bagels (I may have grabbed two of these to bring home with me), coffee, hot tea, a great looking salad and some homemade chili. I opted for the latter options.
I ended up hanging around to wait for my time and the awards ceremony and I’m so glad that I did!
My official time was 28:28 and I placed 2nd in my age group (16-29!)—24th overall—not gonna lie, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn’t really gone into this with a race mentality, so placing was an added bonus.
They butchered my name…but I’ve gotten used to this.
Overall, this was a great race; super chill, very well organized and a great group of people. I will definitely do this again (hopefully, running the half).
Let’s chat: Ever had to change your distance on race morning? Favorite post-race snackage? What are your plans this weekend?
Happy Monday Friends!
How was your weekend? Mine was pretty spectacular. Not only did I get to spend some quality time with the hubby, but we also knocked off two races this weekend!
Friday night was spent hanging out with the teens in our youth group. P.S.: I’m starting to feel really old when I make movie/music references and they have zero idea what I am talking about….sigh… but other than that, we had a good time.
Run to Chocolate (2 Miles):
On Saturday, Farmer Ben and I got up early, layered up, packed a bag with extra clothes and headed across the lake.
After we got off the ferry, we stopped at Wally’s Bagels for breakfast and coffee. If you’ve never been, check them out. Best. Bagels. Ever. I went with egg and spicy cheddar on a rosemary olive oil bagel.
Once we had our bagels, we jumped on the highway and headed north to Fairfax, Vermont. It actually wasn’t too long of a trip. Even better, I can finally say that I have driven on a covered bridge…unfortunately, I forgot to document this with a photo.
The hubby and I got to the school where the race was held about 40 minutes before starting time. Luckily, it was a pretty low-key event, so we had plenty of time to register, stretch and stay in the warm gym.
We lucked out with the weather, it was a beautiful, sunny day… but the course was snow-covered and slippery. It was an out and back on a dead end road, complete with a nice uphill toward the end… coming back through the school parking lot for the finish was a little tricky, so I didn’t have my usual kick. Farmer Ben ran the race in 17:34 and I finished at 18:44, not too shabby for the conditions.
After the race, we walked back into the gym to find tables of chocolate. There were chocolate bars, truffles, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, hot chocolate and a chocolate fountain. The chocolate bars, truffles and fountain were all local. Heck yes! We even scored a few Fleet Feet $10 certificates… not too shabby for a $10 registration fee!
Farmer Ben and I got some hot chocolate and brownies and grabbed some of the other chocolate goodness for later. We ended up chatting with two women from Hardwick, VT and even talked them in to coming across the lake for Strides for James!
After the race, we headed to Fleet Feet so I could pick up a new pair of running shoes. The staff sized me, did a gait analysis and then had me try on a few pairs of shoes and watched me run on the treadmill. I ended up getting the Mizuno Wave Inspire 10….with $35 off.
Then, we went to Chipotle. And we had a gift card.
After Chipotle we headed to downtown Burlington and meandered around Church Street.
We ended up going to the Saratoga Olive Oil Company and came out with 4 bottles…1 was free!
I guess you could say Saturday was the day of the discount!
Overall it was a great day off and it was so fun to race with the hubby!
How was your weekend? Did you race? Would you run for chocolate?!
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!
-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:
-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?
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.
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?!
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!
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.
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!