Category Archives: Fitness

Bucket List Item #5: Fit Back Into My Wedding Dress

Today is my 1st wedding anniversary! (Edit: I started writing this post on June 5th, but life with a baby means I’m not actually posting it until one week later ūüėĀ)

Considering I was only married 365 days ago, it shouldn’t be too remarkable for me to fit into my wedding dress again today. However in those 365 days I grew human being, gained 34 pounds, and gave birth! During my pregnancy, it was challenging to see my body changing so quickly and not recognize my new shape.

I have run long distance since I was 14 years old and I’ve always had a more slender or athletic body type which I hoped I could return to after having my baby. Brynnley would be three months old on our wedding anniversary June 5th, so I made it my goal to try to fit into my wedding dress around that date. The skirt of my dress is big and layered, so my hips and legs were guaranteed to fit. The waist and bust were altered to fit snuggly.

I woke up on Saturday morning and went for a short run around the neighborhood. Then I showered and fed Brynnley and decided to try on the dress before I had anymore food, coffee or water in me to give me the best shot ūüėÜ I called Zeb in to help zip and clasp the back……holding my breath (literally).

It zipped to the top and reached the clasps together! No easy feat for this breastfeeding bust, ha!

Aside from that, there’s not much else of a “story” to this particular bucket list item, so I’ll take advantage of this opportunity to instead share some of the dress shopping and wedding details from 2021 since I wasn’t blogging at that point in time. :)

Wedding dress shopping was one of the highlights of the whole planning process. I’ve ALWAYS loved dressing up, and fully embraced the opportunity to dawn as many $2,000 dresses as I wanted in cute little boutiques with bubbly and my best friends.

I knew I wanted a big ballgown skirt. I didn’t want anything super slim fitting all the way down because I wanted to eat, drink and dance the night away at my wedding without thinking about “sucking it in” haha!

I tried them all – long sleeve, no sleeves, sleek satin, pure sequin…..and ultimately it was a strapless ballgown with intricate beading and horsehair hem with lots of layers and tulle that was “the one.” Making decisions can be a little overwhelming for me, so we took a week to think about it and I returned to the boutique with just my mom to make our ultimate decision. She and I both shed some happy tears when I stepped up to the wall of mirrors and envisioned my wedding day. Decision made! I jokingly told Zeb that I had found the perfect yellow crocheted turtleneck dress to keep him wondering until the big day. ;)

I really enjoyed the whole wedding planning process! Picking out each detail like the songs, signature cocktails, favors, decor, bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts, signage, and timeline were all things I found FUN leading up to the big day. I watched tons of YouTube videos on tips and tricks for pulling off a perfect wedding without a wedding planner, and I have to say it really paid off. We had, what I would consider, truly a “perfect” wedding day. The uncontrollable factor in an outdoor reception – weather – did throw us a curveball with some wind, which meant that some of my tabletop decor needed to be modified and it knocked over a vase of flowers on our guest book table, but all things considered I would say we were completely blessed with a snafu-free day that I am still riding on cloud 9 from a year later :)

I knew early on that I did not want to do the first-look with my groom, Zeb. I wanted to build anticipation for the first moment we saw each other on our wedding day to be at opposite ends of the aisle, with our family and friends between us while the wedding music played and my dad escorted me to the white alter that Zeb built with the floral arrangements I put together with my mom and friend Hayley. I like the traditions of weddings, like spending the night before apart. I slept at my parents house the night before our wedding, though I don’t think there was much “sleep” that night with all of the excitement and anticipation and nerves.

My mom, dad and bridesmaids, plus my mom’s best friend/my suto-aunt all met at the venue at 10am to start setting up the ceremony and reception spaces and adding our decor. I was impressed that we covered all of the set-up by noon, plenty of time to transition into getting myself ready with my bridesmaids in our gorgeous bridal suite!

The photographer and videographer showed up around this time, so we popped some bubbly before the hair and makeup team arrived to work their magic. Zeb and his groomsmen had a much more relaxed timeline leading up to the ceremony, so Zeb went fishing in the morning and arrived at the venue several hours after we did.

Leading up to the ceremony, I got lots of special moments with my mom, my dad, and my best friends. I was SO NERVOUS about the wedding ceremony and reading my vows in front of our guests. Looking back, I think that it was one of the best decisions to skip the first look and write personal vows that we shared with each other for the first time at the alter; it made the wedding ceremony so emotional and personal, and I loved our vows to each other. Once we were pronounced husband and wife, we sent the guests to cocktail hour in the beautiful outdoor rustic venue while we took our photographs and finally joined them for some drinks before the dinner and toasts began.

We did the traditional bouquet toss and cake cutting, spending the rest of the night dancing away to some country, some 80s classics and some pop which resulted in the epic candid shots. Candids really are the best!

Our full wedding highlight video is on YouTube here: Zeb & Kenzie’s Wedding Highlights.

Zeb and I rewatched the highlight video, the ceremony and the toasts videos on our first anniversary after we arrived home from dinner and it will continue to be an anniversary tradition for us because I love reliving this day over and over!

As I’m writing this, I have also already crossed off Bucket List Item #6 so I will be working on that post over the next few days…..as my infant allows. :)

Post-Collegiate Racing Season: Competitive Athlete Vs. Recreational Runner

Did the Olympics spark that fire for your inner-competitor too? Obviously the highlight for me was the track events. I have so much respect for these world-class athletes, but I also know how much of a sacrifice they make to commit their life to a sport. Running is literally their job.

Now that I’m on the other side of the collegiate-athlete world, I started realizing how differently I look at running/races as a competitive athlete versus as a recreational runner.¬†

Conference 10k 2013 (stronglikemycoffee.com)

When I signed that scholarship agreement during my senior year of high school, I was committing to represent Northern Arizona University, the Lumberjacks, and Adidas. Training was a mandatory part of every day. Being on an NCAA Division 1 Track team was something I’d worked¬†hard¬†for, and it will always be one of my proudest achievements.

D1 Cross Country Meet Buffalo Park | Stronglikemycoffee.com

When I graduated one year ago, the collegiate running career officially ended as well. Now¬†I have to find the motivation to run myself. Suddenly running is a choice. Do I even want to run anymore? Of course I do. That’s a no-brainer. There’s just no training plan I “have” to follow or any races I must compete in. There’s no one else tied to my performance.

I can’t say I prefer one over the other. I LOVED being a collegiate athlete; it gave me an identity and purpose at my school. It was incredibly rewarding, but stressful at times, and I think 8 years (high school and college) is the perfect amount of time to be a serious competitive athlete.

Gallatin Recreation Area Run (stronglikemycoffee.com)

I’m also learning to LOVE the perks of being a recreational runner. There’s less stress and pressure; there are more options for workouts beyond what’s dictated by a coach. So here’s my comparison of Competitive Athlete vs. Recreational Runner now that I’ve enjoyed my time as both:

Conference Girls Team (stronglikemycoffee.com)

Competitive Athlete: 

  • Collegiate running spoiled me with free¬†race entries, plus free transportation, lodging, food, racing gear and not to mention a dozen pairs of shoes a year. That’s a tough one to say goodbye to after college. (Thankfully I was able to jump right into the Boise Elite running team when I moved to Idaho which has a couple of sponsors and free race entries.)
  • A coach can give you an outside perspective on your weak areas and ways to improve.
  • Your team and coaches hold you accountable for your workouts; skipping a long run is simply¬†not an option.
  • Collegiate races have competitors at or above your level who can help push you through the race to improve your time. The atmosphere, the crowd, and the “official” nature of these types of races also boost adrenaline and help performance.

goofy team pictures

 

After graduation, that all goes away unless you are in the seriously elite 1% who become professional sponsored runners. I’m definitely not in that group :) I said goodbye to my blue and gold uniform but my love of running is still strong and I’ve been enjoying local race events as an individual runner.

Recreational Running:

marathon finish (stronglikemycoffee.com)

  • The stress¬†of pleasing your coach and representing your school is lifted.
  • I actually find¬†enjoyment from my sport again now that I put less pressure on myself.
  • You meet so many people in your community, who are just happy to be there, and it instantly boosts your mood.
  • You can find scenic courses and run through gorgeous scenery rather than a turf oval track.
  • You can win money ;) NCAA rules prohibit any “extra benefits” which include race prizes.
  • You can race with an iPod!!! This one is HUGE for me because I run twice as fast it feels like when a really good beat comes on.

    Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

    Just a track workout with 2 of the Rio 2016 Olympians, Shalane Flanagan and Emily Infeld. No big deal.

This weekend, I’ll be racing a local 10k road race. After that, I’ll continue training for an upcoming half-marathon. Transitioning from a student-athlete to a random road race runner isn’t too difficult because both have their perks. Let me know if you have any additions to these lists!

I’ll catch ya later on this week with a new back-to-school breakfast recipe I’m working on too :)

Clean Blueberry Almond Bites & A Body-Weight Strength Circuit

Coming at ya with a recipe AND a workout this morning. It’s a two-for-one! Both were amazing and I just had to share. Plus food and fitness are two of my most favorite things. I could read about and talk about both for hours, but most of my family and co-workers don’t share the same enthusiasm for health topics as I me. So I just post it out here and hope someone else will find it useful :)

First, the BITES!

I’ve made and posted some clean energy recipes here a time or two

Homemade Protein Bite Flavors on Stronglikemycoffee.com

These types of recipes are SO easy, so versatile, so convenient to have on hand and so much better than a similar processed packaged snack! One batch easily makes enough for a few weeks, especially when you keep them in the fridge or freezer. I’m all for these portion-controlled clean snacks before or after a workout :)

Clean Blueberry Almond Bites Stronglikemycoffee.comThis recipe is 4 ingredients, unless you prefer to leave out the chocolate chips which aren’t considered “clean.”

Clean Blueberry Almond Energy Bites:

  • 1.5 cups raw almonds
  • 25 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chocolate chips

1.) In a food processor, pulse the raw almonds until it is a coarse chopped texture.

2.) Add the dates to the almonds in the food processor and pulse until they are well-combined.

3.) Add in blueberries and 1/4 cup of chocolate chips until the mixture is a soft, dough-y texture.

4.) Transfer the mix into a larger bowl, stir in the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

5.) Form into 1-inch balls; place the bites on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

6.) Store in a ziplock bag or airtight container in the fridge.

Clean Blueberry Almond Bite Recipe  Stronglikemycoffee.com

These little guys are like a fruity cookie dough. Without the whole salmonella thing. They’re also very similar in texture and taste to Larabars. I don’t know what I’d do without a food processor <3

Part II: Body-Weight Strength Circuit

This post is a little hodge-podge. Switching gears….

My weekly workout schedule is pretty cardio-heavy (increasingly so, as I’ve begun training for marathon #2). So I make my way into the weight room and strength machines at the gym at least at least two times per week. Last night, the place was PACKED and I didn’t feel like waiting in line for equipment. So I found a little corner, wrote out 8 exercises on a post-it, and completed a 25-minute body-weight strength circuit that focused on CORE (glutes, low back, obliques and abs). I kept the post-it because I definitely plan to repeat it. I was sweating half-way through, and I think I’ll be a little sore tomorrow (which my fellow gym-rats will understand is the best kind of pain).

Body Weight Core Strength Circuit on Stronglikemycoffee.com

And since this post is already a complete hodgepodge, why not add one more music video of another running playlist favorite :) Hope your September is off to a fantastic start!

 

XOXO

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